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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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22 April 2008


Three Palestinian gunmen killed in attack on Israeli military base
Ma’an News Agency 4/22/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Three Palestinian fighters were killed on Monday evening in an attack on an Israeli military base near the evacuated Israeli settlement of Dogit in the northern Gaza Strip. Palestinian medical sources identified the fighters as Fadi Salim from the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City, ’Uthman Abu Hajar from Ash-Shati refugee camp and Mahmoud Shalash from Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. The military wing affiliated to Fatah, the Al-Aqsa Brigades and the Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades said that a joint group of fighters raided an Israeli military base and clashed with Israeli troops. An unnamed spokesperson from the Al-Aqsa Brigades said that mortar shells were fired at the base to cover the attackers as they went in. Israeli sources confirmed that three Palestinian gunmen had approached an Israeli base in the northern Gaza Strip.

Gaza power plant faces shutdown
Al Jazeera 4/22/2008
The sole power plant in the Gaza Strip that provides 30 per cent of the territory’s electricity is running out of fuel. Officials have warned that the power plant would shut down within 30 hours if Israel does not resume fuel shipments to the isolated territory. Kanaan Obeid, vice-president of Gaza’s power authority, said in a press conference: "The supply of fuel will only last another 30 hours, which means that we expect the power generating plant will stop on Wednesday night. " He added reserves of industrial-grade fuel have dwindled to 400,000 litres since Israel halted fuel deliveries after Palestinian fighters attacked the territory’s main fuel terminal on Thursday. The Israeli army’s co-ordinating office and the private Israeli company charged with supplying fuel to Gaza declined to comment on the matter.

US arrests man for passing secrets to Israel
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 4/23/2008
NEW YORK: US authorities have arrested an American man on charges that he disclosed classified defense information, including on nuclear weapons, to Israel, the Justice Department said Tuesday. Ben-Ami Kadish worked as a mechanical engineer at a US Army weapons center in New Jersey when he provided the documents to Israel’s consul for science affairs in New York over several years, the department said. US authorities also accused Kadish of illegally acting as an agent for Israel from 1979 to 2008 without notifying the US attorney general’s office. The complaint alleges the consular official, identified in the indictment as "CC-1," gave Kadish lists of classified defense documents to obtain from the US Army’s Armament Research, Development, and Engi-neering Center at the Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, New Jersey. On numerous occasions between 1979 and 1985, the suspect took classified. . .

Israeli army attacks the village Marda: Detains 50 civilians and kidnaps two
Aaron Lakoff & Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 4/22/2008
On Tuesday morning, at least 40 Israeli military vehicles stormed the village of Marda, located near the northern West Bank city of Salfit. The army searched homes, detained 50 civilians, and kidnapped two. Troops surrounded the home of Hazem Ibdah, located in Marda. Soldiers forced his family out, then made the house as a military base, Hazem told the IMEMC. He added that there were around 60 soldiers in his home. Troops then started to round up men between the ages of 17 to 55 from the village and brought them to the home of Ibdah for interrogation. Ibdah added that troops forced men to identify themselves and their occupation, and then sign documents which the soldiers had with them. The operation ended at around 10:00 am on Tuesday when troops left after kidnapping two men from the village.

Qassam rocket slams into Sderot home; residents suffer shock
Avi Issacharoff, Yuval Azoulay and Mijal Grinberg, Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
Palestinian militants on Tuesday fired three Qassam rockets at Israel, one of which slammed directly into a home in the southern town of Sderot causing a number of residents to suffer shock. The rocket caused property damage to the Sderot home. Another rocket struck an open area and caused a fire, according to Army Radio. A further Qassam rocket hit Ashkelon’s industrial district on Tuesday afternoon. There were no reports of casualties or property damage. On Monday, Gaza militants fired eight rockets at Israel one of which lightly wounded afour-year-old boy was lightly wounded in a western Negev kibbutz. The boy was hurt by shrapnel from the rocket, which had been launched by Palestinian militants in northern Gaza. The Qassam struck in Kibbutz Gevim, close to the rocket-weary town of Sderot.

Mash’al and Zahhar at loggerheads over Carter proposals
Ma’an News Agency 4/22/2008
Bethlehem – Hamas politburo chief Khalid Mash’al and senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar are at loggerheads over the proposals set out by former US president Jimmy Carter, the right wing Israeli daily newspaper Maariv reported on Tuesday. According to Maariv, Zahhar is urging further military actions against Israeli targets and is refusing to allow captured Israeli soldier Gil’ad Shalit to send a message to his family. Maariv quoted unnamed sources as saying that following separate meetings with Carter, Mash’al and Zahhar had a volatile meeting in Damascus. During the meeting Mash’al said he agreed to Carter’s proposal for a 30-day ceasefirebut Zahhar was vehemently against the proposal, which Zahhar described as a "submission to a de facto situation," while demanding an increase in military action against Israel.

Field of olive tree seedlings in Wadi Qana destroyed by settlers
International Womens’ Peace Service 4/22/2008
18. 04. 2008 Time: 3 a. m. to 11 a. m. - Place: Wadi Qana - Witness/es: Farmers from Deir Istiya - Description of Incident: At 7. 30 on Friday morning, the 18th April 2008 farmers from Deir Istiya noticed a white jeep with Israeli license plates leaving a field of newly planted olive trees in Wadi Qana, close to Qarnei Shomron Settlement. They then saw that almost all of the new olive seedlings were uprooted and broken. The farmer who planted the land in agreement with the owner stated, that family members had last been on the land on Thursday evening, the 17th April, around 6. 00 p. m. , implying that the seedlings must have been destroyed between then the next morning. He further stated that he had planted about 200 olive seedlings on this plot of land January this year and that he had invested about 5000 NIS in developing the land and planting and irrigating the olive seedlings.

Israeli Army invades Marda village, mass interrogates youth, arrests two
International Womens’ Peace Service 4/22/2008
Date of incident: 22. 04. 2008 - Place: Marda, Salfit District - Witness/es: Family members/IWPS team members - Description of Incident: At approximately 3 am on Tuesday, 22nd April 2008, the Israeli Army and Israeli intelligence service, the Shin Bet (aka the Shabak) entered the village of Marda with at least 16 military vehicles. They broke down the door of a house located next to the village’s schools, taking over the top floor of the house and the roof, confining the Palestinian family of six (3 adults and 3 children) to the lower floor. Over the next several hours the military and the Shabak invaded numerous houses through out the village, throwing sound bombs at some of them and randomly detaining young boys and men between the ages of 14 and 25 for interrogation at the occupied house. IWSP team members arrived at the village at 9am, after receiving a call from one of the village leaders.

Shot film-maker’s family doubt Israeli payout claims
Mark Tran, The Guardian 4/22/2008
The family of a British film-maker shot dead by an Israeli soldier today reacted cautiously to reports that Israel had agreed to pay £1. 8m in compensation ahead of a court case. Relatives of James Miller, who was killed five years ago, said reports of the deal could be a "ruse" by the Israeli authorities to delay court proceedings due to start next month. "We have grave concerns that the suggestion from the Israelis that a settlement has been reached is merely a ruse to allow the Israeli defence submission to be delayed - they have asked for an extension," Miller’s family said. "Assurances given in the past have been reneged upon or renegotiated to our detriment and therefore we must assume that our court action goes ahead on May 13 as scheduled. Miller, 24, from Braunton, Devon, died in 2003 while making a film about Palestinian children living in the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza.

DFL: IOA bars Gaza patients from leaving for treatment
Palestinian Information Center 4/22/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Doctors for Life international has complained that Israel’s general security apparatus, the Shabak, was tightening conditions for allowing Gaza cancer patients to travel for treatment. The international organization said that it tabled 12 requests with the Israeli security apparatus over the past few weeks for treatment of cancer patients from Gaza but no response was given so far. The Shabak claimed that Palestinians were forging medical documents just to leave the Gaza Strip and head to other areas. It said that the 12 requests were referred to the coordination and liaison department. In a related development, a 60-year-old Palestinian woman died on Monday due to the tight Israeli siege. One of the relatives of the old woman, Fulla Abu Dakka, told the popular committee against the siege that she left for Egypt to undergo a kidney transplant operation but died there due to the delay in receiving proper treatment.

ISRAEL-OPT: ICRC concerned by suspension of family visits to prisoners
Shabtai Gold/IRIN, IRIN - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 4/23/2008
JERUSALEM/GAZA, 22 April 2008 (IRIN) - For families in the Gaza Strip with sons or daughters in Israeli jails, the past 11 months have been especially hard, as they could no longer visit their imprisoned relatives and have only had contact through brief written messages. "This issue is a humanitarian concern for us, for the families and the prisoners," Katharina Ritz, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Jerusalem, told IRIN. "It is very important the families have contact with the people in jail; and psychologically, for the prisoners, it is important to have contact with the family," she said, noting that families bring books and clothes for their relatives. According to the Israeli rights group B’tselem, over 760 Gazans, including four women, are in Israeli jails.

Health Minister in the West Bank warns of a health crisis in Gaza
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 4/22/2008
Dr. Fathi Abu Maghli, Palestinian minister of health of the West Bank-based government, warned of an imminent health crisis across the Gaza Strip because of the lack of fuel and shortage of several health services. Abu Maghli sent out an urgent message to concerned international organizations and human rights groups on Tuesday, denouncing the Israeli measures against Gaza and calling on them to pressurize Israel into allowing fuel and food supplies in the Gaza Strip. In his message of appeal, Abu Maghli pointed out that the health sector in Gaza has recently suffered a great loss of essential items such as fuel for ambulances. He maintained that stoppage of ambulances would make aiding Gaza wounded out of Israeli attacks on the region so difficult, for example. Over the past two weeks, Israel strictly limited fuel shipments into the coastal territory, thus further hardening civilian life of the population.

Acute shortage of foodstuffs in Gaza due to fuel crisis
Palestinian Information Center 4/22/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The ministry of national economy in Gaza issued Tuesday an urgent warning of an acute shortage of basic foodstuffs as a result of the fuel crisis that slashed the number of vehicles carrying food commodities into the Strip. In a press statement received by the PIC, the ministry called on international human rights organizations to save the lives of 1,500,000 citizens from an impending humanitarian catastrophe as a result of lack of basic foodstuffs and to pressure the Israeli occupation to allow in fuel supplies. The statement pointed out that a number of storekeepers complained to the ministry that the wholesalers in Gaza became unable to deliver goods to them quickly because they use carts pulled by animals to transport goods. In the context of fuel crisis, Dr. Basim Naim, the health minister in Gaza, warned that the ministry’s ambulances became unable to transport. . .

Gaza power plant on brink of shut down
Middle East Online 4/22/2008
JERUSALEM - The Gaza Strip’s only power plant will run out of fuel and be forced to shut down within 36 hours if Israel continues its blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory, an Israeli human rights group warned on Tuesday. The Gisha Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement quoted a letter by the power plant’s director, Rafiq Maliha, warning that "in the event that there are no sufficient fuel deliveries, GPGC (Gaza’s power generating company) would be forced to shut down the power plant completely by tomorrow evening. " The Israeli army had no immediate reaction to the report. Israel cut fuel supplies for Gaza’s power plant by half and halted the supply of petrol and diesel after Palestinian militants attacked the Nahal Oz fuel terminal two weeks ago, killing two Israeli civilian employees. Gisha sent a request to the attorney general "warning that the supply stoppages violate the. . . "

Gaza Power Plant to shut down by Wednesday evening if no fuel arrives
Marian Houk in Jerusalem, Ma’an News Agency 4/22/2008
Jerusalem - Ma’an - The Israeli human rights organization Gisha says it sent an urgent letter to the State Attorney’s office on Tuesday urging that industrial diesel fuel should be delivered to the Gaza power plant in time to prevent its imminent shut-down – by Wednesday evening. Gisha’s Executive Director Sari Bashi reported in a statement released Tuesday afternoon that Rafiq Maliha, Project Manager at the Gaza power plant, warned in a letter to the Palestinian Energy Authority that "In case there are no sufficient fuel deliveries, GPGC [Gaza Power Generating Company] would be forced to shut down the power plant completely by tomorrow evening time". Reached in Gaza, Maliha said he does not know now the exact time, but the power plant will run out of fuel sometime on Wednesday evening. He added that he received no word at all on Tuesday about possible fuel deliveries Wednesday.

Gaza power plant to run out of fuel in 36 hours: rights group
Agence France-Presse - AFP, ReliefWeb 4/22/2008
JERUSALEM, April 22, 2008 (AFP)- The Gaza Strip’s only power plant will run out of fuel and be forced to shut down within 36 hours if Israel continues its blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory, an Israeli human rights group warned on Tuesday. The Gisha Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement quoted a letter by the power plant’s director, Rafiq Maliha, warning that "in the event that there are no sufficient fuel deliveries, GPGC (Gaza’s power generating company) would be forced to shut down the power plant completely by tomorrow evening. " The Israeli army had no immediate reaction to the report. Israel cut fuel supplies for Gaza’s power plant by half and halted the supply of petrol and diesel after Palestinian militants attacked the Nahal Oz fuel terminal two weeks ago, killing two Israeli civilian employees.

Gaza receives aid shipments after two crossings open
Yuval Azoulay and Amos Harel, Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
Israel reopened the Sufa and Erez crossings into the Gaza Strip yesterday, allowing some 60 trucks to enter with humanitarian supplies. The crossing at Sufa had been closed since last Thursday after an attempted terror attack on the Kerem Shalom crossing to the south. Kerem Shalom, where a terror attack was carried out last Saturday, will apparently be reopened later this week. The Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip was closed early this week because of a terror alert there, and reopened yesterday. Last week the supply of diesel fuel was resumed through the Nahal Oz depot, where two Israeli civilians were killed by terrorists two weeks ago. The fuel is intended for operating Gaza’s power station. A defense official said the crossings were reopened to prevent Hamas from generating a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and blaming it on Israel.

Israel allows entry of aid into Gaza
Hanan Greenberg, YNetNews 4/22/2008
Despite repeated infiltration attempts and attacks on Gaza crossings, Israel reopens Sufa border crossing in southern Strip to allow entry of some 80 trucks carrying food, medical supplies - Several days after it was sealed off following the Palestinian attacks on Gaza’s border fence Saturday, the Sufa border crossing in the southern Strip has reopened Tuesday morning. More than 86 trucks carrying food and medical supplies are expected to enter Gaza until noon. The Erez crossing in northern Gaza, which was closed Monday, will also open later in the day. This crossing mainly serves Palestinian patients entering Israel to receive medical attention. The Nahal Oz fuel terminal and the Kerem Shalom crossing will remain sealed off at this time. According to security officials, Hamas’ attacks on the border fence are aimed at getting

OPT: Easing of restrictions for Palestinians in West Bank
Government of Israel, ReliefWeb 4/18/2008
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman) As part of the planned easing of restrictions for the Palestinian population in the West Bank, a coordination meeting took place today, April 18, 2008 between the Head of Civil Administration, Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai, Palestinian Authority Minister of Social Affairs, Hussein a-Sheikh, and representatives of the Palestinian security forces. The participants discussed the continued implementation of the easing of restrictions policy. During the meeting, viewed by the participants as successful, it was decided that Israel will in principle allow the opening of 20 police stations manned by Palestinian policemen in various cities and villages in Judea and Samaria. The extent of their areas of jurisdiction will be coordinated with the IDF. Local IDF Brigade Commanders will be holding coordination meetings with their counterparts prior to the. . .

Israel partially reopens two crossings in Gaza
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 4/22/2008
Israeli sources said today that Israel decided to partially reopen the Eritz checkpoint (Beit Hanoun crossing), to the north of Gaza Strip. The sources told Israel’s radio that the reopening is meant to allow entry of scores of Gaza patients who are in need for medical treatment outside Gaza as well as several other foreign journalists, international staff and diplomats. Also, the Israeli radio reported that the Sufa commercial crossing in southern Gaza Strip, was reopened on Tuesday after it has been closed following a cross border attack on Kerem Shalom crossing early this week. The sources told the radio that at least 80 trucks, loaded with food items, crossed into Gaza today morning through the Sufa border crossing. Israel has closed all Gaza’s crossings strictly over the past two weeks, after three Palestinian groups carried out. . .

Opposition slams decision to allow aid into Gaza
Amnon Meranda, YNetNews 4/22/2008
MKs outraged over government decision to reopen Gaza crossing on Tuesday for humanitarian aid despite terror attack at Kerem Shalom on Passover Eve. MK Eitam: ’Government busy rescuing Hamas instead of overthrowing it,’ Labor’s Yatom: ’Israel not responsible for Gaza’ - "Is the blood of the soldiers and civilians not as precious as rice, sugar and tomatoes? " - asked MK Israel Hasson (Yisrael Beitenu) on Tuesday in response to the renewal of operations at the Suffa border crossing in central Gaza and the decision to continue facilitating the passage of humanitarian aid to Palestinians a mere four days after the bombing of the Kerem Shalom crossing. Hasson, who is a member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, warned that "he who fails to disengage from Gaza will unilaterally bring. . "

Israeli troops kidnap nine Palestinian civilians from the West Bank
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 4/22/2008
Palestinian sources reported that the Israeli army attacked several parts of the West Bank and kidnapped nine civilians on Tuesday morning. Four of those kidnapping were taken from the city of Nablus and nearby Burka village. Troops searched and ransacked homes then kidnapped Maher Baiyado, 17, Sadam Salah, 16 and his brother Munjed, 18, all three from Burka village, while Sami Al Huoh, 26 was taken from his house in Nablus city. In Qalqilia city troops attacked and searched the house of Mohamed Nufal, then took his son Jihad after beating him up, the family reported. Saher Rezik-Allah, 25, was kidnapped by the Israeli army during an invasion targeting the village of Attel near Tulkarem city on Tuesday at dawn. Three men, Kayed Al Namurah, 20, Mohamed Al Sharha, and Mo’taz Abu Zind, 18, were all taken when Israeli troops stormed the village of Dura near Hebron and searched a number of homes there.

Israeli forces raid Jenin and Qabatia
Ma’an News Agency 4/22/2008
Jenin – Ma’an – Israeli forces broke into the headquarters of a charity funded by the United Arab Emirates in Jenin as well as raiding the town of Qabatia south of Jenin in the northern West Bank on Tuesday morning. Eyewitnesses said the Israeli soldiers broke down the doors of the charity and ransacked the offices. The same charity was raided a month and a half ago. In Qabatia, Israeli troops stormed the town and raided several homes. No arrests have been reported. [end]

Qassam rocket hits home in Sderot
Shmulik Hadad, YNetNews 4/22/2008
Some cases of shock among Sderot residents reported after Qassam hits house. Altogether three rockets were fired at Israel on Tuesday - A Qassam rocket hit a home in Sderot on Tuesday, causing some of the residents in the city to be treated for shock. Another rocket landed in open spaces outside Sderot. Altogether three Qassam rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza on Tuesday. Earlier, during the afternoon, a Qassam rocket landed in Ashkelon’s industrial zone. No injuries or damage were reported. The morning was relatively quiet, after yesterday the Air Force attacked gunmen close to the border fence in northern Gaza. The IDF reported that one of the gunmen was killed in the air strike, after which ground forces killed the other two accompanying him. Yesterday a boy was injured from a Qassam rocket that landed in Kibbutz Gevim.

Palestinian military groups active in Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 4/22/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – A group of Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Brigades claimed responsibility on Monday evening for launching two homemade projectiles at the Israeli city of Ashkelon. Separately, another group said its fighters clashed with an Israeli force stationed in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. The military wing affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, said their fighters fired two homemade projectiles at the Kfar Azza Israeli Kibuttz. The military groups said in separate statements that their activities were in retaliation for Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people. [end]

PRC’s military wing fire 4 mortars at Israeli forces
Ma’an News Agency 4/22/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The An-Nasser Salah Addin Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) claimed responsibility on Tuesday for firing four mortar shells at Israeli forces in the area of Juhr Ad-Dik, north of Al-Bureij camp in the central Gaza Strip. They said in a statement that the shelling came in retaliation for the ongoing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. [end]

Two Palestinian military groups fire projectiles at Israeli targets
Ma’an News Agency 4/22/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The military wing affiliated to Islamic Jihad, the Al-Quds Brigades, claimed responsibility on Tuesday afternoon for launching two homemade projectiles at the Israeli city of Ashkelon. Separately, Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Brigades said their fighters fired a homemade projectile at the same city. The military groups said in separate statements that the shelling emphasized that they are going ahead with resistance in retaliation for Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people[end]

OCHA-oPt socio-economic fact sheet
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - OCHA, ReliefWeb 4/22/2008
Poverty definition: The PCBS has developed two poverty lines according to the actual spending patterns of a Palestinian average household of six individuals. The first line is the ’absolute (deep) poverty line’ that reflects a budget for food, clothing and housing. The second line is the ’relative poverty line’ that adds other necessities such as health care, education, transportation, personal care (i. e. cosmetics, hairdresser and other hygiene personal items) and housekeeping supplies (i. e. hygiene domestic items and cooking utensils). In 2006, the relative poverty line and the absolute poverty line for the average household in the oPt stood at a monthly income of less than 2,300 NIS (USD 518) and 1,837 NIS (USD 414) respectively. a) Poverty rates in the oPt, West Bank and Gaza Strip Full_Report(pdf* format - 546 Kbytes) (*) Get Adobe Acrobat. . .

Nahal Oz widows: Dismissed commander was scapegoat
Yonat Atlas, YNetNews 4/22/2008
Widows of Nahal Oz attack victims blame system for husbands’ deaths. Charniak: ’I don’t feel safe here anymore’ -"The entire system is to blame for the deaths of Oleg and Lev; the fact that blame was placed on the shoulders of the regiment commander makes him a scapegoat," Irena Charniak, the widow of Lev Charniak, who was killed during the terrorattack on Nahal Oz , told Ynet. Charniak expressed anger at the dismissal of Lt. -Col. Yair Barnes, due to his failure in dealing with the attack on the fuel terminal. "An investigation committee needs to be set up, in order to examine the conduct during the attack and to check the army’s response, not just that of this particular regiment," she said. Janna Lipson, Oleg’s widow, was not relieved at the commander’s dismissal either. "It doesn’t change a thing," she said.

Palestinian resistance fighters storm Israeli military post in Beit Lahia
Palestinian Information Center 4/22/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad Movement, and the Aqsa Brigades, the groups of martyr Nabil Massoud, announced the death of three of their fighters during a joint operation at night Monday which targeted an Israeli intelligence post west of Beit Lahia town, northern Gaza Strip. In a joint communiqué, the two groups stated that their fighters managed to infiltrate into a fortified Israeli post, north of Dugit, and engaged in fierce clashes with the IOF troops that lasted for an hour and a half during which the fighters used RPGs and grenades before aerial and land reinforcements managed to kill the three fighters. In another context, Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, warned Monday that the Israeli occupation is preparing for new military campaigns against the Gaza Strip, pointing out that the next Israeli political policy is aimed at eliminating. . .

Anti-skyjack pilot ID system glides through testing
Zohar Blumenkrantz, Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
A month-long pilot program to test a new anti-skyjack system was recently completed with near-perfect results, Haaretz learned yesterday. The Security Code System (SCS), also known as Code Positive, is a pilot identification system for civil aircraft flying in Israeli airspace. In the latest test, the system identified over 90 percent of the participating planes. Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz is to convene a meeting early next month to discuss the ramifications of the pilot test, and to decide whether to install the system for domestic and foreign aircraft flying in Israeli air space. Danny Shenar, head of security at the Transportation Ministry, reported two minor areas of failure in the tests. One was a technical issue involving communication between the aircraft and the ground. The second, which concerned the smart card itself, was corrected in the course of the testing.

Palestine Today 042208
Ghassan Bannoura - Audio dept, International Middle East Media Center News 4/22/2008
Click on Link to download or play MP3 file|| 4 m 0s || 3. 66 MB || Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www. imemc. org, for Tuesday April 22nd, 2008. The Palestinian health ministry warns of an imminent health crisis across the Gaza Strip while in the west Bank the Israeli army kidnaps 11 civilians, these stories and more coming up stay tuned. The News Cast Dr. Fathi Abu Maghli, minister of health in the Palestinian caretaker government based in the West Bank , warned of an imminent health crisis across the Gaza Strip because of the lack of fuel and shortage of supplies that are essential for the delivery of medical services. In his appeal, Abu Maghli pointed out that the health sector in Gaza has recently suffered a great loss of essential items such as fuel for ambulances.

More settlements in East Jerusalem, despite international law
Palestine News Network 4/22/2008
Jerusalem / PNN -- The Israeli government is touting all international law and public opinion by continuing to not only expand settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, but to add new ones as well. The Director of Maps in the Arab Studies Society, Khalil Tufakji, said Tuesday that Israel has ratified the construction of a new settlement in the Ras Al Amud neighborhood. It will be called "Ma’aleh David. "Tufakji said that the objective of this project is the establishment of 110 settlement units in addition to the construction of six Israeli institutions in the same region. He added that the Israelis used their own laws to transfer ownership of this area to that of "public lands," instead of private Palestinian lands. This allows them, by their own laws, to overtake the Palestinian lands and build or expand settlements.

Detained Mayor of Qalqilia facing a deteriorating health condition
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 4/22/2008
The Municipality of Qalqilia city, in the northern part of the West Bank, voiced on Tuesday an appeal to several human rights groups to save the life of its Wajeeh Qawwas, imprisoned by Israel under administrative detention orders since one year, and facing bad health conditions. Media spokesperson and member of Qalqilia City Council, reporter Mustafa Sabri, stated that the municipality dispatched lawyer Mohammad Abed to visit the detained mayor. The lawyer managed to visit the detained mayor and found out that he is suffering from complications in his heart as he suffers from a heart and blood condition. The mayor will be examined in Al Ramla prison hospital in the coming days as in order to check his heart and the artificial valve which was implanted previously. Sabri stated that the municipality contacted the Red Cross and appealed it to. . .

VIDEO - News / Jewish American man arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
Haaretz. com/Channel 10 news roundup for April 22, 2008. In this edition:A Jewish American man is arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel in the 1980s. On the day of the Pennsylvania primary, the Clintons promise to support Israel. A 12-year-old boy who was buried alive saves five people in his death. [end]

To catch a spy / The more things change...
Yossi Melman, Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
The latest espionage affair is in fact an old story. That will neither diminish its damage to Israel or the punishment that Ben-Ami Kadish will receive if convicted. A number of conclusions can be drawn from the case, which points to a pattern that has characterized Israel’s security and intelligence establishments for many years. First, the American judicial memory is very long, and the long arm of justice there does not withdraw, even after a quarter-century or more. Colonel (res. ) Aviam Sela, who was involved in recruiting American Jonathan Pollard to spy for Israel, and Jackob Nimrodi, who was involved in Irangate, the sale of Israeli arms to Iran, with U. S. cooperation, both know this well. Since the 1980s, both have avoided the U. S. for fear of being arrested upon their arrival. One could also conclude that Israel’s claims that the Pollard affair was an exception has once again been disproved.

’Kadish is an American patriot’
Yitzhak Benhorin, YNetNews 4/23/2008
Good friend of US citizen accused of spying on Israel’s behalf says Kadish a loyal American, adds he saw no change in his behavior over past weeks. A US army veteran himself, Kadish was active in charity fundraising for disabled former servicemen - Friends of Ben-Ami Kadish, the 83-year old American accused of spying for Israel, expressed disbelief at the allegations against him. His wife, Doris Kadish. refused to comment on the matter. The Department of Justice in Washington reported that Kadish is suspected of giving military secrets involving nuclear weapons, fighter jets and air defense missiles to Israel during the 1980s. Court papers indicate Kadish acknowledged his spying in FBI interviews and said he acted out of a belief that he was helping Israel. George Applebaum, a good friend of Kadish, told Ynet that the latter was an American patriot.

The espionage connection / Anything is possible
Amir Oren, Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
When the Jonathan Pollard case broke in November 1985, journalists who had the scoop hesitated: Could it be that at a time when the Reagan administration had bolstered strategic cooperation with Israel, a Jewish American naval officer would spy for Israel? When they asked journalists writing for Israeli newspapers, the answer was unequivocal: It makes no sense, but because it has to do with Israel’s government and defense establishment, anything is possible. A strange duality continues to characterize U. S. -Israel relations. The Israel Defense Forces and the military industries have professional ties with Picattiny Arsenal, an armaments development and testing facility in New Jersey, where the suspect in the current espionage case, Ben-Ami Kadish, worked. Mark Mershon, the FBI agent in charge of the investigation against Kadish, has close. . .

U.S. engineer, 84, arrested for spying for Israel in 1980s
Yossi Melman Shahar Ilan and Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
A former U. S. Army mechanical engineer was arrested Tuesday on charges that he spied for Israel over 20 years ago. Government officials in Israel said they were not familiar with the case. Ben-Ami Kadish, 84, was to be charged with slipping classified documents about nuclear weapons, fighter jets and air defense missiles to an Israeli Consulate employee who also received information from convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, authorities said. Kadish acknowledged his spying in FBI interviews, and said he acted out of a belief that he was helping Israel, court papers said. A U. S. citizen, Kadish was scheduled to appear in U. S. District Court in Manhattan Tuesday, where he was facing four counts of conspiracy, including allegations that he conspired to disclose U. S. national defense documents to Israel, and that he acted as an agent of the Israeli government.

US man accused of spying for Israel
Al Jazeera 4/22/2008
US authorities have arrested an engineer on suspicion of passing classified defence information to Israel during the 1980s, according to the justice department. Ben-Ami Kadish, 84, is suspected of passing nuclear weapons and air defence information to Israel while working as a mechanical engineer at an army base in New Jersey. Court papers say Kadish’s spying took place between 1979 and 1985, although he maintained contact with an Israeli official until this year. Kadish was arrested in New Jersey on Tuesday and was scheduled to appear before a court in New York later in the day. US authorities also accused Kadish of illegally acting as an agent for Israel from 1979 to 2008 without notifying the US attorney-general’s office. Kadish was suspected of reporting to the same Israeli official as Jonathan Jay Pollard, who is serving a life term on a charge of spying.

’Espionage case could seriously damage relations with US’
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 4/23/2008
Senior government official warns arrest of US citizen charged with spying on Israel’s behalf in 1980s could impair diplomatic relationship with key ally despite decades that have passed since affair. ’This will overshadow Bush’s visit and, primarily, decrease any chance of securing a pardon for Jonathan Pollard,’ say State sources in Jerusalem - The prosecution of a second US citizen charged with spying on Israel’s behalf is "like a Tomahawk missile to relations between the two countries" a top government official told Ynet on Tuesday evening following the arrest of Ben-Ami Kadish. The 83-year-old Kadish has confessed to sharing sensitive classified information with Israeli agents in the 1980s, he will be arraigned in a New York court on Wednesday afternoon. Other officials in Jerusalem said the new affair would overshadow the scheduled visits of US Secretary. . .

’Jonathan doesn’t know accused spy’
Sharon Roffe Ofir, YNetNews 4/22/2008
Esther Pollard says US Justice Department wrong to link her husband with American charged Tuesday with spying for Israel in 1980s. ’Neither I nor Jonathan know this man,’ she tells Ynet - "Jonathan never worked with this man," Esther Pollard asserted on Tuesday evening in an interview with Ynet following the arrest of a US citizen accused by American authorities of having spied on Israel behalf during the 1980s. Pollard, whose husband Jonathan is serving a life sentence after being convicted of passing classified information to Israeli agents from within the US navy in 1985, slammed the connection made between the two espionage affairs. "Those trying to link them are waging a cheap propaganda campaign to try and postpone my husband’s release," she said. "Neither I nor Jonathan know this man," she said.

Hamas deputies hold nonviolent protest against Israeli siege on Gaza
Palestine News Network 4/22/2008
Gaza / PNN - Hamas members in the Palestinian Legislative Council are on hunger strike Tuesday. The protest is being held in front of the PLC headquarters in Gaza for 10 hours. Its purpose is a full rejection of the Israeli siege imposed on the Strip. The Parliament began the strike ten o’clock and will remain until seven p. m. The Hamas deputies called the strike to move the Arab and international communities to garner a lifting of the Israeli siege that has had devastating repercussions for the Strip’s 1. 5 million residents. Many Palestinians, from the street to officials, have repeatedly concurred that the virtual silence from the Arab and international communities has contributed to Israeli actions and the government’s sense that it is above international law. Acting Chairman of the Legislative Council, Ahmed Bahar, says the strike illustrates that PLC deputies are. . .

Hamas: Rice’s conditions are rejected
Palestinian Information Center 4/22/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement expressed its rejection of the conditions set by American secretary of state Condoleezza Rice for the Movement during her visit to Bahrain Monday, underlining that the American administration does not recognize the Movement and thus cannot set such terms. In an exclusive statement to the PIC, Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, stated that "once Rice and the US Administration recognize Hamas and the Palestinian people’s rights, the Movement will be willing to hold dialogue with them, but in light of their attitude, their conditions are rejected. "Rice said in Manama that Hamas must take certain steps to prove that it wishes to achieve peace, adding that Hamas must release the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, halt rocket fire, and go back on the so called coup in Gaza. In another context, Dr.

Israel rejects Hamas ‘conditional’ peace
Middle East Online 4/22/2008
TEL AVIV - Israel says efforts by former President Jimmy Carter to work out a cease-fire with Gaza’s Hamas rulers failed. Senior Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad says that Hamas presented nothing new in its demands for a truce during Carter’s recent meetings with officials of the Palestinian resistance group. Gilad told Israel’s Army Radio Tuesday that Mashaal had not budged in his demands, and thus the Carter mission failed. Carter said on Monday the democratically elected Palestinian movement Hamas told him it would recognise 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. "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. . . "

Two Palestinian resistance Groups in Gaza reject ceasefire with Israel
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 4/22/2008
The Al-Quds brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad and the Shuhada Al-Aqsa brigades, the armed wing of Fatah party of President Mahmoud Abbas, rejected Tuesday ceasfire with Israel, at what they term ’at the expense of the Palestinian people’. In a joint press conference held by the two groups in Gaza, they claimed responsibility for an attack on an Israeli army post in the settlement of Dogeit, just north of the Gaza Strip. "three fighters of our ranks clashed with the Israeli soldiers, manning the post, for almost one hour, in which the Israeli air forces shelled the area, killing the fighters", the statement reads. Palestinain resistance groups in Gaza say that any truce deal with Israel should be mutual and comprehensive, including the West Bank as well, where Israel grips a military control.

’Lull possible within days,’ says Hamas
Roee Nahmias, YNetNews 4/22/2008
Hamas sources confirm Arab media reports of impending ceasefire with Israel, brokered by Egypt; Jerusalem denies knowledge of any breakthrough in talks - Egypt has been able to strike an agreement with Hamas for a ceasefire witIsrael, the Egyptian al-Ahram weekly reported Tuesday. According to the report, Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman is expected to visit Israel in the very near future to present Jerusalem with the agreement. Meanwhile, Kuwait’s al-Rai al-Aam newspaper quoted high-ranking Egyptian sources as saying the ceasefire agreement was still in the works, adding that Egypt now awaits the final decision of [end]

Hamas ready to accept 1967 borders
Al Jazeera 4/21/2008
Hamas has said it is ready to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders but "will not recognise Israel". Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Khaled Meshaal, the exiled Hamas political leader, reaffirmed Hamas’s stance towards Israel and clarified his comments as relayed earlier by Jimmy Carter, the former US president. "We accept a state on the June 4 line with Jerusalem as capital, real sovereignty and full right of return for refugees but without recognising Israel," Meshaal said. The Hamas leader was making his first public comments following two meetings with Carter in Damascus last week. Carter, speaking in Jerusalem earlier on Monday, said that Hamas had told him it would accept the right of Israel "to live as a neighbour" if a peace deal was approved by a Palestinian referendum. Carter said Hamas leaders had told him they would "accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders if approved by Palestinians.

Al Salhi: ''Signals coming from Hamas, positive progress that should be invested''
Manar Jibrin, International Middle East Media Center News 4/22/2008
Bassam Al Salihi, secretary-general of the leftist Palestinian People Party, stated on Tuesday that "the signals that came from Hamas movement over its acceptance of establishing a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders are a positive progress that should be invested. "The statementsof Al Salhi were broadcasted in an interview with the Palestinian Radio. He said that major efforts should be made and invested in order to clarify the available options without being submissive to Israel and its preconditions and demands. He added that the Palestinians do not need to give Israel more recognition, as the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) already recognized Israel through the National Reconciliation Document that Authorized the PLO to negotiate with it. Al Salhi also stated that the PLO accepted the establishment of a Palestinian Independent State within. . .

Hamas ready to accept Gaza truce
Mark Tran, The Guardian 4/22/2008
Hamas said today it is prepared to accept a partial truce that would cover only the Gaza Strip, in an apparent softening of the Islamist group’s position. Ghazi Hamad, a Hamas spokesman, said the proposal had been relayed to Egyptian mediators. The apparent shift in Hamas’s position came amid reports that Egypt has brokered a preliminary agreement on a truce between the group and Israel. In the past, Hamas has demanded that the West Bank - which is under the control of its Fatah rivals - be part of any deal. In return, Hamas wants Israel and Egypt to open their border crossings with Gaza. Israel and Egypt have both largely sealed their borders with the territory since Hamas wrested control from Fatah last June. Israeli sources credit the turnabout in Hamas’s position to the economic and military pressure on Gaza, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported.

Hamas to give final decision on ceasefire on Thursday
Ma’an News Agency 4/22/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas will give Egypt its final decision on an Egyptian mediated ceasefire between Hamas and Israel on Thursday, Hamas spokesperson in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Dr Salah Bardawil announced on Tuesday. "A ceasefire in the Gaza Strip alone will have repercussions, but a comprehensive ceasefire will also have repercussions," he said, adding "the entire issue will be discussed in the meeting between Egyptian intelligence chief Umar Sulaiman and a Hamas delegation headed by Mahmoud Zahhar. " "Hamas has been examining the proposal after shuttle meetings in Damascus involving leaders in-exile as well as leaders of the movement from the Gaza Strip," Bardawil explained. According to Bardawil, Hamas has stipulated a number of preconditions for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip: -If the Palestinian resistance undertakes military operations against. . .

Israel keeping low profile on Egyptian-mediated truce in Gaza
Avi Issacharoff Amos Harel and Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
Israel is refraining at this stage from making public statements on the latest Egyptian mediation effort to secure a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has said it will announce its answer to the plan on Thursday. Reports in the Arab press in recent days suggest that Cairo is aiming this time for a long-term cessation of hostilities. Hamas sources said Tuesday that the new proposal envisions a cease-fire for several months in Gaza extended, if successful, to the West Bank. That idea could be acceptable to Israel as well. But Israeli military and government sources doubt that a long-term cease-fire can be reached in the near future. The move for a truce in Gaza alone would mark a significant concession by Hamas in dropping a demand that the agreement immediately include the West Bank as well, as Egyptian mediators try. . .

Jordan’s king to ask Bush to defer or cancel trip to Israel
Yoav Stern, Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
Jordan’s King Abdullah is set to ask U. S. President George W. Bush to postpone or cancel his upcoming trip to Israel, scheduled to coincide with the country’s 60th anniversary in May, diplomatic sources in Amman have told the London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Hayat. According to the report published yesterday, Abdullah will advise the American president not to come to Israel unless a real agreement is struck between Israel and the Palestinians. The two sides are in the midst of a U. S. -backed peace process. The diplomatic sources told Al-Hayat that Abdullah’s position has been adopted by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which have been holding intensive talks with Abdullah over recent days ahead of the Jordanian king’s visit to Washington today. Abdullah was planning to travel to Washington for two days.

UNIFIL finds Hezbollah arms; gunmen scatter peacekeepers
Barak Ravid and Yoav Stern, Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
Armed Hezbollah militants warded off members of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) last month when the peacekeepers discovered a truck carrying weapons and ammunition belonging to the Lebanon-based guerilla group. The incident was referred to briefly in a semi-yearly report submitted to the UN Security Council by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. The incident was the first time that UNIFIL forces were confronted by armed Hezbollah men south of Lebanon’s Litani River, an area which Security Council resolution 1701 prohibits Hezbollah from entering. According to a government source in Jerusalem, the incident caused great embarrassment for UNIFIL. The source described the incident, explaining that UNIFIL troops on patrol discovered the truck and chased it down and pulled it over.

Hamas says Israeli defense minister’s remarks a ’failure of Israeli army in Gaza’
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 4/22/2008
Hamas’s spokesperson in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri stated on Tuesday that the remarks made today by the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, signaled ’failure of the Israeli army actions on Gaza’. In a statement, faxed to press, Abu Zuhri said that Barak has implicitly acknowledged the fact that there is ’ an international conspiracy by Israel and international players against Hamas underway’. Abu Zuhri reiterated his party’s commitment to the resistance against the Israeli occupation, whatever the cost for such resistance is. Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, was quoted Tuesday as telling the Israeli radio-Hebrew service, that Israel can not achieve the dream of Israel, America, Arab and European countries to diminish Hamas. The Israeli army has been relentlessly involved over the past several months in large-scale attacks on the ruling. . .

Abu Zuhri: Barak’s statement an admission of occupation’s failure
Palestinian Information Center 4/22/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement on Tuesday said that Israeli war minister Ehud Barak’s statement in which he said that his government was incapable of achieving Israeli, American and European dream of wiping out Hamas was a clear admission of its failure and Hamas’s victory. Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, in a press release, said that Barak’s statement was an Israeli acknowledgement of failure of all attempts to break or weaken the Movement, and that such a dream could not be achieved. The statement further reflected an admittance that the conspiracy against Hamas was an international one in which Israeli occupation and other parties were involved, Abu Zuhri charged. He said that Hamas would like to assert that it would proceed along the path of resistance and would stick to constants and rights. He underlined that the upcoming stage would only lead to victory of Hamas and resistance and defeat of occupation.

Gaza: UN and partners set to meet on critical humanitarian situation
United Nations News Service, ReliefWeb 4/22/2008
The Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East (UNSCO) today reported that the world body and international agencies operating in the Gaza Strip were expected to hold an emergency gathering to review the increasingly dire humanitarian situation there. If fuel is not allowed in by tomorrow, Gaza’s power plant will be forced to halt operations and there will be electricity cuts in most areas lasting as long as eight hours per day, UNSCO said ahead of the scheduled meeting. According to UNSCO, no diesel or petrol has entered Gaza since the 9 April attack by Palestinian militants on the Nahal Oz fuel depot. In a bid to conserve fuel, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is prioritizing food distribution, solid waste removal and sewage projects.

Palestinian minister of information: disagreements within Hamas over Rafah crossing
Ma’an News Agency 4/22/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – The Egyptian efforts to reach a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel are appreciated by all sides, the Palestinian minister of information in the caretaker government, Riyad Al-Maliki, said on Tuesday. He told the Voice of Palestine radio station that Hamas was interested in reaching a ceasefire through the Egyptians, but there are disagreements within Hamas regarding operating the Rafah crossing. He pointed out that Hamas wants to deploy its own security forces alongside the security forces affiliated to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas at the Rafah crossing. "The Palestinian authority will not accept that Palestinian citizens be classified according to their political affiliation, or according to how close or how far they are from Hamas," Al-Maliki added.

Hamas open to peace deal with Palestinian backing: Carter
Joseph Kraus, ReliefWeb 4/21/2008
JERUSALEM, April 21, 2008 (AFP)- Former US president Jimmy Carter said on Monday the Islamist Hamas movement told him it would recognise 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 neighbour, next door, in peace,’ Carter told the Israeli Council on Foreign Relations think-tank. While in the Middle East Carter met with senior Hamas leaders from the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Syria, but was unable to secure a ceasefire. . .

Israeli think tank: Muslim anti-Semitism is strategic danger for Israel
Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
A new Israeli study of anti-Semitism with Muslim roots has concluded that the phenomenon is growing, even in Jordan and Egypt, which have peace treaties with Israel, and that "Anti-Semitism and the accompanying hate industry are a strategic danger for Israel and the Jewish people. "The study was conducted by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, a research institute under the aegis of the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC), an NGO which commemorates the fallen of Israel’s intelligence services. According to the findings of the study, "generations of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims are brought up hating the Jews; the peace process is damaged and obstacles to the normalization of Israel’s relations with the Arab countries of the Middle East are erected; indiscriminate Palestinian terrorism. . . "

U.S. dispatching top envoy to work with Blair on aiding Palestinians
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
The Bush administration is sending a senior U. S. State Department official to run the Mideast office of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as part of new efforts to support Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, The Associated Press has learned. Robert Danin, the deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, will take up his post next week as head of mission for Blair, the special envoy to the Palestinians for the international diplomatic quartet on the Middle East, U. S. officials told the AP. They spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a public announcement. But the appointment was announced in an internal memo sent to State Department staff on Tuesday as the embattled Abbas arrived in Washington for talks with President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Former IOF General champions kidnapping Hamas leaders to swap them for Shalit
Palestinian Information Center 4/22/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Former commander of the IOF air force Gen. Avihu Ben-Nun has called for kidnapping Hamas leaders in a bid to force their Movement to free the captured IOF serviceman Gilad Shalit. He said that negotiations with Hamas on this issue would reflect "weakness" on the part of the Israeli leadership. The former commander told Hebrew daily Ma’ariv in an interview published on Monday that Israel had lost its second Lebanon war and if it did not learn the lesson then it would inevitably lose any future military confrontation there. He criticized the Israeli chief of staff Gen. Dan Halutz for his performance during the second Lebanon war, charging that Halutz worked alone without assigning a group of advisors to assist him. Ben-Nun finally opined that the two Israeli soldiers captured by Lebanese Hizbullah party fighters were dead.

Zawahiri criticises Hamas position
Al Jazeera 4/22/2008
In a new internet message urging support for Muslim fighters in Iraq and elsewhere, Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, has criticised Hamas for reportedly being ready for peace with Israel subject to a Palestinian referendum. "As for peace agreements with Israel, they [Hamas] spoke of putting it to a referendum despite considering it a breach of the Sharia [Islamic law]," he said in a message posted on Tuesday on the World Wide Web. "How can they put a matter that violates Sharia to a referendum? " Al-Zawahiri also criticised Muslims for failing to support Muslim fighters in Iraq and other regions. "I call upon the Muslim nation to fear Allah’s question [at judgement day] about its failure to support its brothers of the Mujahidin and [urge it] not to withhold men and money, which is the mainstay of a war," he said.

Zawahri and Rice lash out at Hamas and Carter
Ali Khalil, Daily Star 4/23/2008
Agence France Presse - DUBAI: Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahri lashed out at Hamas in a new audio message posted on the Internet Tuesday, accusing the Palestinian group of violating Islamic law by its reported willingness to consider a peace deal with Israel. "How can they put a matter that violates Sharia to a referendum? "he asked. Former US President Jimmy Carter said on Monday that Hamas told him it would recognize Israel’s right to live in peace if a deal is reached and approved by a Palestinian vote. Zawahri also criticized Hamas for resorting to what he said were non-Sharia-compliant measures like elections. "Those who claim to [plan] to implement Sharia through resorting to other than Sharia would be only fooling themselves," he said in an apparent reference to Hamas’ participation in the Palestinian elections in January 2006 which swept Hamas to victory and prompted its boycott by the West.

Qaida No. 2: Hezbollah started rumor that Israel planned 9/11
The Associated Press and Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
Osama bin Laden’s deputy Al-Zawahri on Tuesday accused Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television of starting a conspiracy theory that Israel was behind the 2001 suicide airplane hijacking against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. "The purpose of this lie is clear - [to suggest] that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no else did in history. Iranian media snapped up this lie and repeated it," he said in a lengthy audiotape posted on an Islamic web site. The tape could not be immediately confirmed as authentic, but the voice sounded like past audiotapes from the terror leader. With reference to Hamas’ apparent readiness to agree to a peace agreement with Israel, pending a referendum, Al-Zawahri expressed scathing criticism, branding it was a violation of Islamic law.

Al-Qaeda: Iran must stop crediting Israel for 9/11
Associated Press, YNetNews 4/22/2008
Bin Laden deputy slams Tehran for purporting Israel behind terror attacks on US, says Shiite rule Iran trying to discredit Sunni group’s ’successes’ - Osama Bin Laden’s chief deputy in an audiotape Tuesday accused Shiite Iran of trying to discredit the Sunni al-Qaeda terror network by spreading the conspiracy theory that Israel was behind the Sept. 11 attacks. The comments reflected the increasing criticism by al-Qaeda’s No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri against Iran, which al-Zawahri has accused in recent messages of seeking to extend its power in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and through its Hizbullah allies in Lebanon. Al-Zawahri spoke in a two-hour audiotape posted on an Islamic militant Web site, in which he replied to hundreds of questions submitted on the Internet by al-Qaeda sympathizers.

Bahar appeals to Egypt and Jordan to end unjust siege on Gaza
Palestinian Information Center 4/22/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the acting speaker of the PLC, appealed Monday to the Arab governments especially in Egypt and Jordan to intervene to end the tightened siege on the Gaza people, announcing at the same time that the PLC members would go on hunger strike for nine hours on Tuesday within its anti-siege activities. In a press conference held at the Shifa medical complex, Dr. Bahar stated that the ambulance service in Gaza has been at a standstill for a long period of time as a result of the acute shortage of fuel, questioning the role of Arab health ministers as they watch the daily suffering of thousands of Gaza patients in hospitals. In the same context, Amin Abu Rashid, the head of the European campaign to lift the siege, appealed to the Europeans especially the officials to use their political clout and role in the Middle East to redress the injustice against the Gaza. . .

Ministry of prisoners asks Arab govts to demand release of their prisoners
Palestinian Information Center 4/22/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The ministry of prisoners’ affairs in the PA caretaker government on Tuesday asked the Arab governments to intensify efforts to secure the release of Arab prisoners in Israeli occupation jails especially those who spent tens of years in captivity. The ministry in a report on the occasion of the Arab prisoner’s day said that the Arab countries must act even if they severed relations with Israel, for those who have relations with the Hebrew state, or at least to threaten to sever those relations. It noted that 56 prisoners from various Arab countries are still languishing in Israeli jails under harsh incarceration conditions despite the peace agreements signed between each of Egypt and Jordan with Israel. Israel does not accord those prisoners any special treatment but rather they are accorded the same amount of repression and harassment accorded to their Palestinian colleagues, the ministry said.

World Bank approves US$ 55 million to support Palestinian economic recovery and Palestinian livelihoods
The World Bank Group, ReliefWeb 4/22/2008
Press Release No:2008/281/MNA Washington, 22 April, 2008 – The World Bank Board of Directors today approved US$ 55 million in replenishment of the Trust Fund for Gaza and West Bank. "The World Bank Group’s assistance is aligned with the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (2008 – 2010). "said Daniela Gressani, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa Region. "We work closely with donors and Palestinians to strengthen institutions, to support development, job creation and basic services," she added. The World Bank will continue to leverage its technical expertise and financial resources to achieve the following objectives: (i) improve governance and support fiscal reform (ii) support health education and social safety nets for the most vulnerable, (iii) support economic and private sector development and (iv) support for public infrastructure development.

UAE’s Red Crescent overseas operations reach Dh52 million in 3 months
Government of the United Arab Emirates, ReliefWeb 4/22/2008
The United Arab Emirates’ Red Crescent Authority (RCA) has said its overseas humanitarian and charity operations from February to March 2008 reached Dh52. 1 million (around US$14,1 million). Dh16,572 million were pumped by the UAE’s largest humanitarian agency into charity and development projects around the world while its relief operations reached AED 9,645 and orphan care and sponsorship programmes (in the UAE and overseas) received around Dh14 millions. RCA has made a giant jump in providing emergency relief aid to affected areas during the said period, RCA’s secretary general Dr Saleh Al-Taei’ said adding that the number of beneficiaries of orphan care and sponsorship programmes was significantly increased and humanitarian support was actively mobilized for their causes. RCA’s humanitarian and relief operations in Iraq, occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT), Afghanistan Somalia. . .

UN and Saudi Arabia stress importance of Arab Peace Initiative
United Nations News Service, ReliefWeb 4/21/2008
The senior United Nations envoy on the Middle East and Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister have underscored the continued importance of the Arab Peace Initiative during a meeting in Riyadh on the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process Robert Serry and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal also stressed their shared commitment to a comprehensive regional peace based on Security Council resolutions and international law during yesterday’s meeting, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters in New York today. They conferred on the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian talks as well as on the situation on the ground in the occupied Palestinian territory, including moves to address the grave humanitarian conditions faced by the Gaza Strip. ’In addition, they discussed efforts to ensure implementation of Phase I Road Map obligations,’ Ms.

RCS spends 2.5 million on charity projects in Palestine
Government of the United Arab Emirates, ReliefWeb 4/21/2008
Jerusalem - The UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA) spent US$2. 5 million on charity projects during the last six months, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Social Affairs. In a statement here today, the Ministry of Social Affairs said the charity projects were undertaken in Gaza and the West Bank. The beneficiaries came from a cross the social spectrum of the Palestinian society, which has been hard-hit by the Israeli economic blockade. - Emirates News Agency, WAM [end]

Clinton: If Tehran nukes Israel, U.S. could ’totally obliterate’ Iran
Haaretz Service and News Agencies, Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, facing a crucial primary in Pennsylvania Tuesday, said that if she were in the White House and Tehran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons, the United States would be able to ’totally obliterate’ Iran. Interviewed on ABC’s Good Morning America program, Clinton was asked what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons. "I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran," Clinton replied. "In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them. "Meanwhile, U. S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he believes Iran is "hell-bent" on acquiring nuclear weapons, but he warned in strong terms of the consequences of going to war over that.

News in Brief
Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
Rice: Carter warned not to talk to Hamas - U. S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that the Bush administration explicitly warned former U. S. President Jimmy Carter against meeting with members of Hamas, which is regarded by the U. S. as a terror group. Rice contradicted Carter’s assertions that he never got a clear signal from the State Department. Rice told reporters that the U. S. thought the visit could confuse the message that the U. S. will not talk to Hamas. "We had certainly told President Carter that we did not think meeting with Hamas was going to help further a political settlement between Israel and the Palestinians," she said. (AP)[end]

Dahlan: no one can take away right to armed resistance
Palestine News Network 4/22/2008
Cairo -- Palestinian Legislative Council member from the Fateh division, Mohammad Dahlan, said that the vision of Palestine has currently been lost. He was one of the front members of the political strife with the Hamas party. "The Palestinian state will more than likely not come about by the end of this year due to many reasons that will prevent it. "He said that all of Palestine is at crossroads, and has lost its sight. Dahlan told journalist Nasser Abdel Wahab in Cairo that the Palestinian situation in Gaza and the disastrous Israeli occupation are at their worst points ever. He said that in the past the negotiations were for a Palestinian state on 1967 borders, Jerusalem on 1967 borders and the Right of Return. However now, says Dahlan, Hamas is only negotiating for an end to Israeli attacks on Gaza. Dahlan told the press, "I am not one attending the Fateh Sixth Conference,. . . "

VIDEO - American Jewish rabbi practices peacemaking in Damascus
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
Haaretz. com/Channel 10 daily feature for April 22, 2008. In recent years, Rabbi Marc Gopin increasingly finds himself in meetings with senior religious leaders in Syria, where he is considered a guest of honor. Gopin is the director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University in Virginia. He is a strong believer of the potential religious texts have to encourage peace making. [end]

Independence Day campaign: Israeli faces on Fifth Avenue
Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
An Israeli who visits New York’s Fifth Avenue next month will encounter more than a few familiar faces, and bigger than life: 10 Israelis, including basketball player Derrick Sharp and "A Star is Born" finalist Sasha Grishkov, will appear on giant banners along Fifth Avenue. Israel’s Consulate General in New York launched the promotion as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations, which includes the annual Salute to Israel parade along Fifth Avenue on June 1. Entitled "Faces of Israel," the campaign is designed to present the diversity of Israeli society to the American public. "The goal is to introduce Israelis as they are, without media filters or prejudice," explained Consul General Assaf (Asi) Shariv. Well-known and less-familiar figures will be depicted in the campaign, and each is supposed to represent a sector of Israeli society.

Fateh spokesperson: ''Hamas can change its stances, cannot claim representing the Palestinian stance''
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 4/22/2008
Fahmi Al Za’arir, the official spokesperson of Fateh movement, stated on Tuesday that Hamas has the right to change its political positions or stances, but "as an outlawed movement, it cannot negotiate or talk about the Palestinian political positions". Al Za’arir added that Hamas does not have sufficient political experience to conduct political negotiations. The statements of Al Za’arir came after Hamas movement said that it accepts the establishment of a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders but without recognizing Israel. The Fateh official said that Hamas can express its political position, "but after it carried its coup in Gaza, it cannot and should not talk about the general Palestinian stance". He also said that President, Mahmoud Abbas, is the only person who is authorized to hold and steer the negotiations as he is the head of the executive committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

Israeli soldiers on Youtube kicking their helmets
Ma’an News Agency 4/22/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli army has issued an order that soldiers serving in certain units are banned from having mobile phones with cameras during their military service. The new directive was issued after some of the soldiers uploaded film footage of their fellow soldiers throwing and kicking their helmets aroundon the Youtube website. The Youtube film shows Israeli soldiers competing to kick their helmets the furthest, which the army consider to be denegrating army property. [end]

Gaza power plant to shut down by tomorrow due to lack of fuel
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 4/22/2008
The sole power plant in Gaza declared on Tuesday it will stop generating electricity for Gaza’s 1. 5 million residents by tomorrow evening, due to sharp shortage of gasoline, needed to generate current. In a statement , faxed to press today, the power plant said the Strip will suffer a deficit of 35 to 50 percent of current , because the plant only has some quantities needed for making power available for one day and few hours only. " we have now some quantities of gasoline that only generate electricity for one day and few hours, this means we will be forced to shut down the plant by tomorrow evening", Dr, Derrar Abu Sisi, operation director of the plant, told IMEMC in an interview. Abu Sisi confirmed that they have received no promises from the Israeli side, through European parties, that the electricity fuel will be re-channeled to the plant.

Gazan officials warn of imminent blackouts
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 4/23/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Officials warned on Tuesday that the sole power plant in the Gaza Strip would shut down Wednesday evening if Israel does not resume fuel shipments to the isolated territory. "The supply of fuel will only last another 30 hours, which means that we expect the power generating plant will stop on Wednesday night," Kanaan Obeid, vice president of Gaza’s power authority, said. He added that reserves of industrial-grade fuel have dwindled to 400,000 liters since Israel halted fuel deliveries. The Israeli Army’s coordinating office and the private Israeli company charged with supplying fuel to Gaza declined to comment on the matter. Israel cut fuel supplies for Gaza’s power plant by half and halted the supply of gas and diesel after Palestinian militants attacked the Nahal Oz fuel facility two weeks ago, killing two Israeli civilian employees.

Fateh wins Student Council elections in Bir Zeit University
IMEMC News, International Middle East Media Center News 4/22/2008
Palestinian sources reported on Wednesday that Yasser Arafat Student Bloc, which belongs to Fateh movement, won 25 out of 51 seats of the Student Council in Bir Zeit University. The elections were held on Tuesday April 22. The sources added that the Al Wafa’ Islamic Bloc garnered 19 seats, and the Progressive Democratic Block garnered 5 seats, the Islamic group garnered one seat and the Student Unity Bloc also won one seat. The elections started on Tuesday morning as 5283 students out of 6347 (83. 24%) casted their votes. Bir Zeit University Dean in charge of students’ affairs Dr, Abdul-Karim Abu Khashan, said that the elections were conducted in a democratic way. Seven blocscompeted in the elections; Yasser Arafat bloc, Al Wafa’ Islamic Bloc, Qawim Islamic Bloc, Progressive Students Union Bloc, Progressive Democratic Bloc, the National Union Bloc, and the Palestinian National Initiative.

Thousands of Haredim protest against chametz sale ruling in Jerusalem
Reuters, Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
Thousands of ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Jews in black coats and fur hats protested in Jerusalem on Tuesday against a recent court decision that allows stores to sell chametz, food banned by Jewish law during Passover. About 3,500 Haredi men gathered in Jerusalem’s main ultra-Orthodox neighborhood to pray and listen to rabbis warn that selling chametz during Passover in contravention of Jewish law risked bringing destruction upon the city they regard as holy. "Chametz during Passover will bring devastation on Jerusalem," Rabbi Amram Hoffman told the crowd. "If you don’t cry over this Chametz then Jerusalem won’t stay in our hands. "To commemorate the biblical Israelites’ hasty exodus from slavery in Egypt, Jewish law forbids eating leavened products during Passover, which began on Saturday.

Christians flock to Jordan river but can’t take the plunge
Middle East Online 4/22/2008
Thousands of Orthodox Christian pilgrims flocked under a scorching sun on Tuesday to the site where they believe Jesus was baptised but could not take the traditional plunge into the Jordan River. Incense rose into the desert sky as the faithful from Greece, Eastern Europe, Russia and other parts of the Orthodox world marched in procession from the Qasr Al-Yahud monastery, dedicated to St John the Baptist, down to the Biblical river. Israeli security forces kept a watchful eye on the celebrations to ensure no one strayed onto the surrounding minefields or rushed down to the waters that mark the border with Jordan. A Palestinian Boy Scout marching band from the nearby occupied West Bank town of Jericho welcomed the faithful to the revered site set in a harsh landscape of arid hills, barbed wire and military positions.

Israel moves up in ''Euromoney'' ranking
Zeev Klein, Globes Online 4/22/2008
Israel is placed among the top 40 economies. "Euromoney" ranks Israel 34th in its corruption adjusted rankings and 37th in the global risk rankings in the magazine semi-annual risk survey for March 2008. Israel rose from 39th position in the global risk rankings, with a score of 71. 06 out of 100. Israel outranks Oman, the Czech Republic, South Korea, Poland, Chile, Slovakia, Barbados, Brunei, and Lithuania in the global risk rankings. Israel is ranked fourth in the corruption adjusted rankings for the Middle East, after Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, and Bahrain. Israel also ranks behind Saudi Arabia in the global risk rankings. The top five countries in the latest survey are Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, and Sweden. The US dropped to 11th place because of fears of an economic downturn and an uncertain political future dent analysts’ confidence.

Defense exports jump
Yael Gross-Englander, Globes Online 4/22/2008
Israel is the world’s fourth largest defense exporter, after the US, Russia, and France. Israel’s defense contracts, including deliveries to be spread over several years, reached $5. 1 billion in 2007, up from $4. 8 billion in 2006 and $3. 4 billion in 2005. Defense exports for signed contracts already paid for rose to $2. 8 billion in 2007. Israel is the world’s fourth largest defense exporter, after the US, Russia, and France. Exports account for 70-75% of the defense industry’s total output. The industry has about 100,000 employees. The US continues to be Israel’s main defense export market, followed by Western Europe, Asian countries, and Eastern Europe. Land systems are the largest defense export, including tank target acquisition and firing systems, armor kits, and anti-tank missiles. Aviation and air combat systems are the second largest defense export, including avionics and missiles.

Lebanon postpones presidential vote again
Middle East Online 4/22/2008
BEIRUT - Lebanon’s parliament speaker Tuesday announced the postponement of the latest scheduled session to elect a state president amid continuing political deadlock. Nabih Berri, the speaker and opposition leader, made the announcement on state television but reiterated an invitation to Lebanon’s rival factions to hold talks on the formation of a national unity government and a new electoral law under his auspices. "If they agree to dialogue, together we will set a date for the vote," Berri said, adding that he would set the date for a new session himself if he did not get a positive response to his appeal. The 18th attempt to elect a president was postponed despite the presence in parliament of a number of MPs from the rival groupings, which Berri said did not reach the requisite two-thirds quorom to hold the vote.

Western, Arab states urge immediate election of Lebanese president
Hussein Abdallah, Daily Star 4/23/2008
BEIRUT: Western and Arab states called on Tuesday for the immediate election of a president in Lebanon and the "redefining" of Beirut’s relations with Damascus. The call was made at an international meeting in Kuwait, from which Syria was excluded, and drew warnings from the Syrian foreign minister that the participants were creating the risk of an "internationalization" of the crisis in Lebanon, which has been without a president for five months. The meeting’s final statement called for "the immediate election" of the consensus candidate, the commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces, General Michel Suleiman, as president, "without prior conditions. "The participants called for the "establishment of a national unity government and the holding of general elections in conformity with an electoral law agreed upon by all parties," in accordance with an Arab League plan to break the deadlock.

Intruders strike home of judge tied to Hariri court - again
Hussein Abdallah, Daily Star 4/23/2008
BEIRUT: Justice Minister Charles Rizk said on Tuesday that veteran Judge Ralph Riachi’s home in Al-Douwar, Mount Lebanon, had been vandalized by unknown individuals late Sunday in an apparent attempt to intimidate the jurist. Riachi is one of two judges assigned by the Lebanese government to cooperate with United Nations officials in setting up the international tribunal to try suspects in former Premier Rafik Hariri’s murder. The vandals reportedly broke into Riachi’s house and shattered most of its furniture without stealing anything, as none of the house’s contents were reported missing. Well-informed sources told The Daily Star that the vandals wrecked some closets in what seemed to be an attempt to find a specific item. Fingerprints were lifted from the crime scene, the sources added. Speaking to reporters after meeting Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir on Tuesday,. . .

Congress to be briefed on alleged Syria-N. Korea nuclear ties
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 4/23/2008
Members of Congress will be told this week about intelligence suggesting that North Korea was helping Syria build a nuclear reactor similar to one it has constructed, a government official familiar with the matter said Tuesday. The Senate and House intelligence committees were scheduled to be briefed on Thursday, and several other panels such as the Senate Armed Services Committee were expected to be briefed as well. North Korea has been suspected of helping Syria with a secret nuclear program, but both countries deny it. Pyongyang says it has never spread its nuclear expertise beyond its borders. Israeli warplanes bombed a site in Syria on Sept. 6 that private analysts say appears to have been the site of a reactor, based on commercial satellite imagery taken after the raid.

Watchdog rips US witch-hunt against Islamic charities
William Fisher, Daily Star 4/23/2008
Inter Press Service - NEW YORK: The US government’s anti-terrorist financing programs are based on the "guilt by association" tactics of the McCarthy era and have had a widespread negative impact on US charities, critics say. That is the view of Kay Guinane, director of the Nonprofit Speech Rights Program for OMB (Office of Management and Budget) Watch, an independent not-for-profit government watchdog group. Guinane told IPS that US actions have resulted in program cutbacks and increased fear of speaking out on important public issues. The organization accused Congress of "an unfortunate pattern of insufficient congressional oversight of anti-terrorist financing programs, neglecting to address the unnecessarily harsh impacts the programs have on US charities and philanthropy. " As an example of insufficient congressional oversight of charities’ alleged support. . .

US snipers accused of targeting civilians in Sadr City
Middle East Online 4/22/2008
BAGHDAD - Civilians caught up in the crossfire during raging street battles between Shiite militiamen and security forces in Baghdad’s Shiite bastion Sadr City are blaming an unseen danger – US military snipers. At least 321 people have been killed in Sadr City since March 25 and hundreds more wounded, many of them brought to hospitals with wounds that doctors say appear to be caused by high-powered rifles and "American bullets. "US military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Steven Stover dismissed claims that US snipers are targeting women and children as "preposterous" and said the wounds could be the result of "un-aimed" militia fire. Residents of Sadr City, however, bastion of the Shiite militia of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, blame US snipers whenever someone is shot in the stomach or the legs. The mother of Ali Murtatha, a three-year-old boy lying with bullet wounds to his stomach. . .


The choice of non-violence: our strategy for Palestine
Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP, Palestine Monitor 4/22/2008
      Sixty years after the Naqba, the catastrophe, Palestinians are still without a state. They are living under occupation, many are in refugee camps, others are scattered around the world, and a part of the Palestinian people are no more than second class citizens in Israel itself.
     The Palestinian struggle to achieve freedom and independence is therefore firstly a struggle to exist as a people. In this endeavour, resistance is essential. Resistance through memory, resistance through unwavering demands for their rights, resistance against open or covert attempts to displace them and take their land from them.
     But what sort of resistance?
     Armed resistance to occupation is legitimate and legal under international law, under the strict condition that it does not target civilians. But as someone who truly believes in the sanctity of human life, and as a doctor who always puts human life, and as a doctor who always puts human life first, I have an inherent belief that non-violence is a fundamental philosophical choice.

Report: Family members used to pressure Palestinians in Israeli detention

Report, PCATI, Electronic Intifada 4/22/2008
      The following is the introduction of a report by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel entitled "’Family Matters’: Using Family Members to Pressure Detainees."
     "They said that if I confessed to everything they wanted, they would release my wife, and that she was in the isolation cell because of me."
     "The interrogator told me that my father was in detention (afterwards I discovered that he had lied), and threatened that they would also arrest my grandmother if I didn’t confess."
     These and similar testimonies of detainees interrogated by the Israel Security Agency (GSS, also known as the Shin Bet or Shabak) during the past year indicate a phenomenon whose gravity must not be minimized: the use of a detainee’s family to "break" him. The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) is determined to combat and eliminate this immoral practice of "psychological torture."
     Psychological torture does not usually receive the same degree of public attention as physical torture. The Israeli public generally associates torture with the terms "moderate physical pressure," "shaking," "bending the detainee’s back," and "painful shackling," and relatively little attention is given to psychological torture. -- See also: PCATI

Continuing Land Grab

Arab News - Editorial, MIFTAH 4/22/2008
      In case a comprehensive Palestinian-Israeli accord is reached by the end of this year, as espoused by US President George Bush, Israel is taking no chances. It is seeking whatever it can get its hands on should a peace deal that includes a Palestinian state be reached. Hence, the announcement that 100 new houses will be built in a West Bank settlement.
     The Israeli government argues that it is building new houses in existing settlements, not establishing new settlements. But all Jewish settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law. Even the United States has pressed Israel to dismantle about two dozen outposts to comply with the road map peace plan that calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and other areas. Instead, Israel will now go the other way, building 100 houses in the settlement of Ariel as a reward for the recent voluntary evacuation of two unauthorized outposts that held fewer than 10 mobile homes.

Israel’s £1.8m for family of Briton killed in Gaza · Offer pre-empts civil action over cameraman’s death

Toni O''Loughlin in Jerusalem, The Guardian 4/23/2008
      The family of a British cameraman shot dead by Israeli troops in Gaza five years ago said yesterday they may accept a compensation offer of £1.8m despite their grave concerns that the move was a "ruse" to delay a civil action over the shooting.
     James Miller was killed while filming a documentary in Rafah, near the border with Egypt. The journalist who accompanied him, Abdurahman Abdallah, said he was shot as he tried to leave a house while holding a white flag.
     A British inquiry, based on a video of the incident, said Miller was shot in the neck by an Israeli army patrol. Miller’s family is due to begin a civil action in the Israeli courts next month to decide culpability.
     "We have grave concerns that the suggestion from the Israelis that a settlement has been reached is merely a ruse to allow the Israeli defence submission to be delayed. They have asked for an extension," the family said in a public statement.
     Based on our experience with the Israeli authorities over the past five years and the fact that the action will take place in an Israeli court - albeit a civil one - we do not have a great deal of confidence in a fair or just outcome," it said.

Carter; Still a Presidential Outsider

Dr. Elias Akleh, MIFTAH 4/22/2008
      Former American President Jimmy Carter had always been atypical president. His personal life, his presidency, his political and humanitarian services are totally different than the rest of the American presidents. He has been “cut from a different clay”. He has been, and is still considered, a presidential outsider. Yet this does not change the fact that he is a real genuine humanitarian figure.
     Being a new comer to the Congress, still not tainted by its corrupting politics, especially after Nixon’s Watergate scandal, the American people trusted Carter more than any other 1976 presidential candidates, and elected him president.
     Since his first day in presidency Carter had implemented reforms on the internal front. His first step was the reduction of unnecessary expense by reducing the size of White House staff to one third, and the reduction of government agencies from 300 to 30. He appointed record numbers of women, blacks, and Hispanics to government jobs and signed legislation to increase the payroll tax for social security. He declared unconditional amnesty for Vietnam War-era draft evaders. He pushed for legislature providing equal state aid to schools in the poor as the wealthy areas. His deregulation acts lessened government control over transportation and travel industry, and over the interest rates to encourage people to save their money. He created the United States Department of Energy to encourage conservation and research in alternate energy resources. He was the only president who installed solar panels on the White House, later removed by President Reagan. Carter’s Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act preserved 103 million acres as national parks in Alaska.

Carter Causes Controversy

Caelum Moffatt, MIFTAH 4/22/2008
      The visit of the 39th President of the United States to the region has not surprisingly attracted a lot of heated and opinionated discussion as to what his somewhat unconventional itinerary, especially when compared to visits from other international figures of similar repute, plans to achieve during his trip which will take the 2002 Nobel Peace laureate to Israel, the West Bank, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
     Former President Jimmy Carter, who by bringing Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin together in 1978 at Camp David initiated the first peace agreement between Israel and an Arab country, arrived in the region just 18 months after his book, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid was published. The book, which compares Israeli occupation with South African apartheid, condemns the Israeli occupation and their settlement expansion policy in the West Bank while highlighting the lack of movement and access as well as the excessive levels of land confiscation experienced by Palestinians as a result of the occupation.

Crossing the Line interviews author Michael Neumann

Podcast, Crossing the Line, Electronic Intifada 4/22/2008
      This week on Crossing The Line: Many Palestinians and solidarity activists advocate for the one-state solution as the best for both Israelis and Palestinians. Host Naji Ali talks with author and professor Michael Neumann who argues that the one-state solution is an illustion rather than a practical and possible solution to the conflict.
     Next, Israeli Occupation Forces have been given new orders that allow troops to use live rounds against Palestinians demonstrating against the apartheid wall in Jerusalem. Author and activist Anna Baltzer joins Ali to discuss these latest tactics and the broader implications they have on resistance to the occupation.
     And as always, Crossing the Line begins with "This week in Palestine," a service provided by The International Middle East Media Center Listen Now [MP3 - 19.6 MB, 49:00 min] Crossing the Line is a weekly podcast dedicated to giving voice to the voiceless in occupied Palestine. Through investigative news, arts, eyewitness accounts, and music, Crossing the Line does its best to present the lives of people on the ground.

Palestinian education delegation to UK gets special treatment

Rumy Hasan, Electronic Intifada 4/22/2008
      Following a motion passed at the inaugural Congress of the University and College Union (UCU) in the UK last May, a tour of British universities by Palestinian trade union academics was authorized. Its aim is to raise awareness among UCU members of the extraordinary difficulties of maintaining tertiary education under Israel’s military occupation. After much delay, this tour began on 21 April where four members of the PFUUPE, the union of university and professional educators in Palestine, spoke at several UK universities. To my knowledge, this is a first: never before have Palestinian trade unionists been allowed to give a first-hand account of their lives under occupation -- and for this alone, the UCU should be commended.
     However, the UCU has taken a strong line that only its members will be allowed to attend these meetings and attendees are required to bring identification.Apparently, this draconian line is based on a precautionary principle given the invariably heated nature of debates relating to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Thus, the tight restrictions on entry to these meetings should obviate any abuse that may be hurled at the Palestinian visitors by those not in the UCU, whilst allowing effective sanctions to be taken against any members who resorted to behavior that breached union rules.

Mideast Peace Prospects

Ziad Asali, MIFTAH 4/22/2008
      Though I have been to the region many times, my most recent trip to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan confirmed the alarming new obstacles facing the quest for peace in the Middle East and the urgency with which they need to be addressed by all parties.
     Tackling these issues now is crucial because, even though it is obvious that there will not be a conflict-ending agreement by the end of the year as President Bush and others have hoped, momentum must be maintained. The negotiations, dormant for seven years but restarted recently in Annapolis, require forward movement, no matter how modest, in order to avoid total collapse.
     Progress on the ground is required in coming months not only to encourage both parties to take full advantage of an engaged administration looking for a legacy, but to ensure that the next president of the United States comes into office with some forward movement taking place. Without improvements on the ground, the temptation for the next president to avoid the issue altogether will be difficult to resist. He is unlikely to throw much political capital into a stagnant diplomatic quagmire in which progress appears impossible. We have often witnessed the severe political damage such neglect has caused in the past.

The Lion and the Gazelle

Uri Avnery, Middle East Online 4/22/2008
      Tonight the Jews all over the world will celebrate the Seder, the unique ceremony that unites Jews everywhere in the defining Jewish myth: the Exodus from Egypt.
     Every year I marvel again at the genius of this ceremony. It unites the whole family, and everyone - from the venerable grandfather to the smallest child - has a role in it. It engages all the senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. The simplistic text of the Haggadah, the book which is read aloud, the symbolic food, the four glasses of wine, the singing together, the exact repetition of every part every year - all these imprint on the consciousness of a child from the earliest age an ineradicable memory that they will carry with them to the grave, be they religious or not. They will never forget the security and warmth of the large family around the Seder table, and even in old age they will recall it with nostalgia.