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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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29 April 2008


Israeli Supreme Court, without jurisdiction, rules that Israeli army can destroy village homes
Ali Samoudi, Palestine News Network 4/29/2008
Jenin -- The Israeli Supreme Court issued a decision to demolish the majority of homes in Aqaba Village near Tubas in the northern West Bank. Sami Al Hajj Sadeq, Chairman of the Board of Aqaba Village in Tubas, said that the Israeli decision to demolish the majority of village houses and displace the population is part and parcel to an ongoing campaign against the region. Israeli forces have been attempting to seize the Palestinian land for years, and now the Israeli court system has given them the green light. However, under international law the Israeli Supreme Court has no jurisdiction in the occupied West Bank to make such a decision. Sadeq told the Palestine News Network on Tuesday that the Village Council received the text of the resolution yesterday. As it so happens, two years ago the Israeli military attempted to forcibly remove the Palestinians from their town and replace them with their own population.

OPT: UN to resume food distribution in Gaza
Agence France-Presse - AFP, ReliefWeb 4/28/2008
JERUSALEM, April 28, 2008 (AFP)- The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees will resume distributing food aid in Gaza on Tuesday after a four-day interruption caused by fuel shortages, a spokesman said. "UNRWA has collected 55,000 litres (14,470 gallons) of diesel. Because of that we will be able to resume our food distribution tomorrow," said Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the agency. "But this falls well short of solving Gaza’s fuel crisis," he said. On Thursday, UNRWA halted its food distribution to 650,000 people in the besieged Palestinian territory, saying it no longer had any fuel for its aid trucks. Officials said fuel tankers on Monday collected the diesel from the Nahal Oz terminal, which supplies virtually all of Gaza’s fuel. On Thursday, a demonstration Israel claims was stage-managed by the Hamas movement that rules Gaza prevented tankers from reaching Nahal Oz.

Palestinian patient dies as a result of Israeli siege imposed on Gaza
Ghassan Banoura, International Middle East Media Center News 4/29/2008
Palestinian medical sources reported that a Palestinian patient from Beit Hanoun, located in the northern Gaza Strip, died on Tuesday because she was prevented by the Israeli army from leaving Gaza for medical treatment. Sou’ad Qushita, 54, had cancer and needed life-saving medical treatment outside of the GazS strip. Her family said that she applied twice last week to leave the gaza strip for medical care, but was refused by the Israeli army because they claim that Israel is celebrating holidays. The Gaza Strip has been placed under total siege by the Israeli army since June 2007, shortly after Hamas took power in the coastal region. Since then, 139 Palestinian patients have died as a result of this Western-backed siege.

Cairo hosts Palestinians for talks on truce offer to Israel
Nadra Saouli, Daily Star 4/30/2008
Agence France Presse - CAIRO: Palestinian resistance groups were in Cairo on Tuesday for Egyptian-mediated talks on a possible truce with Israel that has already been approved by the Islamist movement Hamas. The Palestinian factions traveled from Gaza, Damascus and Amman for two days of talks with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who is in charge of mediating Palestinian-Israeli contacts. Egypt has been serving as a go-between in truce negotiations as Israel refuses any direct contacts with organizations it considers terror groups. Rabah Mohanna, from the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), told AFP that the talks would begin Tuesday evening behind closed doors. Other factions include the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the Popular Struggle Front (PSF) and Islamic Jihad, which fires most of Gaza’s rockets at Israel.

Israel objects to outline of Gaza cease-fire deal
Amos Harel Barak Ravid and Yoav Stern, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
Israel relayed a message this week to Egypt that it objected to the outlines of the cease-fire now under discussion for the Gaza Strip, since it might lead to the strengthening of Hamas and the weakening of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Meanwhile, Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin warned at yesterday’s cabinet meeting that Hamas was planning a major terror attack ahead of Independence Day. Although he noted that fewer weapons were now being smuggled into the Gaza Strip from Sinai, he ascribed the reduction to the fact that during the breach in the border with Egypt at Rafah, weapons flooded into the Strip, and demand had therefore fallen. The message Israel transmitted was given to Hossam Zaki, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit’s bureau chief, who was in Jerusalem on Sunday for meetings with senior officials in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry.

PA negotiators furious over Israeli proposal
Roni Sofer and Ali Waked, YNetNews 4/29/2008
Worrying strife breaks out between top Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia and Israeli counterpart after latter presents proposal of regional division in which Israel maintains claim to large settlement blocs, Jordan River Valley and Jerusalem - Those in Washington pushing for an Israeli-Palestinian deal by the end of President Bush’s term may have to scale down their expectation as the gaps between the two sides only seem to be growing larger. A new bout of discord arose after a blowout between the Palestinian Authority’s head negotiator, Ahmed Qureia, and Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni. Qureia angrily rejected a proposed map presented by Livni in which any future agreement would see Israel retaining control of the larger settlement blocs in the West Bank as well as the Jordan River Valley and Jerusalem.

Fateh: Israeli attacks on Gaza must face repercussions
Palestine News Network 4/29/2008
Nablus / PNN - The Palestinian National Liberation Movement, Fateh, in the Nablus District, condemned the "continued Israeli massacres in the Gaza Strip. " Fateh says that the continued Israeli attacks are aimed at furthering the efforts of the Palestinian armed resistance against them in order to stall any sort of ’peace process’ and movement toward Final Status issues, such as refugees, Jerusalem, the state, settlements and prisoners. Fateh’s Nablus Branch issued a statement on Tuesday indicating that the "Israeli massacres continued to lure reactions towards the elimination of pacification efforts by Egypt and its sister-backed Palestinian presidency to reach the lifting of the siege and suffering of our people in the Palestinian and Arab world. " Fateh is demanding formation of an international commission of inquiry to "verify the deadly Israeli policy" in order to hold the Israeli leadership accountable.

Israeli snipers kill Palestinian young man in Beit Hanoun
Palestinian Information Center 4/29/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The IOF troops killed Monday evening a Palestinian young man called Mu’ad Al-Akhras, 21, near the Nada towers in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip. According to medical sources, Akhras sustained gunshot wounds in his chest and head fired by IOF snipers who are deployed on the borders between northern Gaza and the Palestinian lands occupied in 1948. The IOF troops killed earlier Monday seven Palestinians including a mother and her four children from the family of Abu Ma’taq after their house was pounded by three projectiles fired by Israeli tanks that also led to the injury of 13 citizens. The Palestinian masses of the northern Gaza Strip marched on the same day in the funeral procession of Abu Ma’taq family and bid farewell to the Palestinian mother and her four children.

PM voices ’deep remorse’ for Gaza deaths, but says Hamas put victims at risk
Barak Ravid, Yuval Azoulay, Fadi Eyadat and Yoav Stern, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, responding Tuesday to the deaths of four small children and their mother as IDF forces hunted gunmen in Gaza the day before, voiced "deep remorse" for the victims, but said Hamas militants operating in civilian areas had exposed non-combatants to danger and turned them "into an inseparable part of the war. "Israel and Hamas have traded accusations over the Monday incident, with the Israel Defense Forces maintaining that the deaths occurred when two missiles fired against Palestinian militants near the family’s tin-hut home detonated explosive devices carried by the militants, causing a "secondary explosion" that killed the civilians. Hamas maintains that an IDF tank fired a shell that killed the family. Speaking at the opening of a cabinet meeting, Olmert hinted at his own position regarding widespread speculation over an imminent truce with Hamas.

IDF insists Gaza mother, four children killed by militants’ explosives, not shell
Amos Harel Yuval Azoulay and Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
The security cabinet will meet Wednesday to hear a report from the IDF on the findings of its investigation into the incident Monday in which a mother and four of her children were killed during an operation in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. The IDF decided to initiate a probe into Monday’s killing in order to verify the cause of the blast that killed the Palestinian family. Assigned to lead the investigation is the colonel in charge of the artillery units in the Southern Command. Major General Yoav Galant, the head of Southern Command and Air Force head Major General Eliezer Shkedi, decided Monday to initiate the probe due to the Palestinian claims - which received significant coverage in the international media - that the five family members were killed by a missile fired by an IAF aircraft.

Mother and her four children killed during Israeli incursion
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem, The Guardian 4/29/2008
A Palestinian mother and her four children were killed yesterday as they ate breakfast at home during an Israeli military attack in the Gaza Strip. The violence came despite efforts led by the Egyptians to arrange a ceasefire between Israel and the militant groups in Hamas-controlled Gaza. Shortly after 8am yesterday, Meyasar Abu Me’tiq was in her home in the eastern town of Beit Hanoun with her six children. Israeli military vehicles had crossed into Gaza on one of their now frequent incursions and there were reports of heavy gunfire in the area. The Israeli military said it launched an air strike against two men who it said were gunmen approaching the Israeli soldiers. Shrapnel from the attack appears to have severely damaged the Abu Me’tiq house, and particularly the front door. Four of the children were killed immediately, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights: Saleh, five, Rudeina, four, Hana, three and one-year-old Mes’id.

Rights groups probe Israeli killing of Gaza family
Joseph Krauss, Daily Star 4/30/2008
Agence France Presse - OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel expressed regret on Tuesday over the killing of four Palestinian children and their mother during an Israeli attack in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and vowed to probe the incident. The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, which is carrying out its own investigation of the killings, called on the military to release footage from the drone that fired the missile that killed them. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said his government deeply regrets the killing of Meissar Abu Maateq and four of her children, all under the age of six, in their house in the village of Beit Hanun on Monday. "The state of Israel and the government deeply regret that civilians not involved [in the violence] are affected and even more so when it concerns a mother and her four children," Olmert said at the weekly Cabinet meeting.

Human rights organizations on a joint call - Cease restrictions on Gaza’s fuel supply
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Gisha, ReliefWeb 4/29/2008
Al-Haq * Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights * Al Dameer Association for Human Rights – Gaza * Gaza Community Mental Health Programme * Gisha - Legal Center for Freedom of Movement * Hamoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual * Physicians for Human Rights-Israel * The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel * Yesh Din: Volunteers for Human Rights Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups today issued an urgent call to cease restrictions on Gaza’s fuel supply and stop the unprecedented harm to Gaza’s humanitarian needs. The above-listed rights groups warned: "We express concern and outrage at the systematic dismantling of the Gaza Strip’s vital systems by preventing the residents of Gaza, a territory under Israel’s occupation,. . .

United Nations concerned over the situation in Gaza
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 4/29/2008
The United Nations voiced yesterday grave concern over the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip in the shadow of strict Israeli blockade and deadly Israeli army attacks. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General, condemned on Monday the latest Israeli army killing of eight Palestinians including a mother and her four children yesterday in the northern Gaza Strip. Ki-Moon was quoted as saying " it is a responsibility of the security forcers to ensure protection for civilians, in accordance with the international norms". He condemned claiming civilian lives, especially the Israeli army killing yesterday of a mother and her little children in the northern Gaza Strip city of Beit Hanoun. Meanwhile, operations director of United Nations Works and Relief Agency for Palestine Refugees in Gaza, Mr.

Secretary-General condemns loss of civilian life in Gaza
United Nations Secretary-General, ReliefWeb 4/28/2008
The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: The Secretary-General condemns the loss of civilian life earlier today in Gaza, including the tragic deaths of a mother and four of her children. The Secretary-General calls upon Israel to exercise maximum care and restraint, and reminds the Israel Defense Forces of its responsibilities to protect civilians under international humanitarian law during its military operations. The Secretary-General also condemns the ongoing attacks and rockets fired today against Israeli targets by Hamas. He calls on Hamas and other militant groups to cease such acts of terrorism. He also reminds them that civilian areas within Gaza should not be used as a base from which to launch its actions. The mounting loss of civilian life in and around Gaza is deeply worrying and the Secretary-General calls for an immediate calming of the situation.

Killing of young man brings Beit Hanoun death toll to eight
Ma’an News Agency 4/29/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli troops killed a young Palestinian man, 22-year-old Mu’adh Al-Akhras, in the An-Nada neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday evening, witnesses and medical sources. Muawiya Hassanain, the director of ambulance and emergency services in the Palestinian Health Ministry, said the victim was taken to Kamal Udwan Hospital in the town of Beit Hanoun. Eyewitnesses said the Israeli troops continued to fire at residential houses in the area. Israeli tanks and aircraft invaded Beit Hanoun early on Monday and bombarded the town until evening. Eight Palestinians were killed in the incursion, including a mother and her four young children, a teenager on his way to school, and one armed fighter. Palestinian leaders condemned the killings, terming Monday’s events a "massacre.

Qassam hits Sderot home; residents treated for shock
Mijal Grinberg, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
Nine Qassam rockets and six mortar shells fired from Gaza slammed into the western Negev Tuesday morning causing damage at three different locations, but no injuries. One of the Qassams directly hit a house in Sderot, while it was empty. There were no injuries in the attack, but a few people were treated for shock. Earlier Tuesday, a Qassam hit a guard post at Sha’ar Negev Kibbutz while another rocket hit an infirmary at another Kibbutz. On Monday, at least 18 rockets and dozens of mortar shells were fired at Israel from Gaza Monday, IDF sources said. The rocket attack comes in the wake of the death of a Palestinian woman and her four small children in their home in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip during an Israel Defense Forces operation in the area.

IOF shelling knock out Beit Hanun electricity transformer
Palestinian Information Center 4/29/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- IOF shelling of the Beit Hanun electricity transformer station during its incursion into the town in northern Gaza on Monday knocked out power in the area and paralyzed water supplies. A Hamas statement on Tuesday charged the Israeli occupation forces with deliberately targeting the transformer station in line with the policy of tightening the siege on Gaza. It said that around 200,000 citizens in northern Gaza spent Monday night in complete darkness and are still suffering from electricity outage and lack of water for 24 hours, which also affected work in hospitals and clinics. Attempts to repair the transformer went in vain because the IOF troops continued to shell the vicinity, Hamas said, and held the "Zionist enemy" responsible for the catastrophic results of continued electricity blackout for the second consecutive day.

Settlers attack Palestinian homes near Hebron
Ghassan Banoura, International Middle East Media Center News 4/29/2008
A group of radical Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian homes located in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday at dawn. Witnesses reported that a dozen armed Israeli settlers from the illegal Qiryat Arba settlement, located in the eastern part of Hebron, hurled stones and empty glass bottles at residents’ homes and cars. Witnesses added that several homes sustained damage and a number of cars were also wrecked in the attack. The settlers also attempted to set fire to a number of homes, but the residents defended them and managed to make the settlers leave the area. [end]

Israeli forces raid Qarawat Bani Zeid, near Ramallah
Ma’an News Agency 4/29/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Israeli forces on Tuesday morning invaded the West Bank village of Qarawat Bani Zeid, north of the city of Ramallah. Palestinian journalist Yahya Nafi’ told Ma’an that Israeli troops searched and ransacked Palestinian homes. The Israeli soldiers did not say who they were looking for. They also erected a flying checkpoint at the entrance to the village impeding residents’ movement and searching them as they move in and out of the community. Qarawat Bani Zeid is located on the main road between Ramallah and the towns of the northern West Bank. [end]

Israeli forces seize 12 Palestinians in West Bank raids
Ma’an News Agency 4/29/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Israeli forces seized 12 several Palestinians in the West Bank on Tuesday morning, the Israeli military said. Palestinian security sources identified the arrestees as being from Al-Am’ari refugee camp near Ramallah, and Al-Ezariyya and Abu Dis in East Jerusalem. Others were seized in Tulkarem, Qalqilia and Nablus and Jericho. [end]

News in Brief - Border Police officer indicted for shooting Israeli protester
Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
A Border Police officer has been indicted for shooting an Israeli protester at an anti-separation fence demonstration staged at the West Bank village of Bi’lin. The case is the first in which a member of the security forces has been charged with opening fire on protesters participating at the frequent anti-fence rallies at Bil’in. In August 2006, attorney Limor Goldstein sustained a hit to the head by a rubber-tipped bullet allegedly shot by a border policeman about 10 meters away. The incident, in which Goldstein was seriously wounded, was captured on tape and broadcast widely in Israel and abroad. Three years ago, a Border Police officer lost sight in one of his eyes when he was hit by a stone thrown by demonstrators. (Meron Rapoport) A 19-year-old soldier was killed yesterday in a traffic accident near the northern village of Ilania.

IOF troops kidnap wife of detained Jihad leader, 30 others in one village
Palestinian Information Center 4/29/2008
JENIN, (PIC)-- IOF troops have kidnapped Nawal Al-Saadi, the wife of detained Islamic Jihad leader Bassam Al-Saadi, at one of the Nablus city’s roadblocks leaving their seven children parentless. Fuad Al-Khafash, the director of Ahrar center for prisoners’ studies, denounced the kidnap of the 49-year-old mother of seven for no known reason except pressuring her husband. Khafash noted that Bassam was already sentenced to five years imprisonment term while one of her children was detained for one and a half year. He charged the IOF command with deliberately detaining wives of Palestinian prisoners in an attempt to pressure those internees and to weaken the moral of Palestinian families and their social life. The Saadi family had adopted a child from Bosnia a few years ago while two of their children (twins) were killed by IOF soldiers in Jenin refugee camp within a period of 40 days.

OPT: Due to the lack of fuel, Al Mezan Center suspends partially its activities; Calls for solitarily with Palestinian human rights organizations
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, ReliefWeb 4/29/2008
The human rights situation in Gaza Strip has seen rapid deterioration recently because of the Israeli blockade, which has brought about negative impacts on the enjoyment of basic human rights, and threatens to impede the activities of the different Palestinian and international human rights and humanitarian organizations in the Strip. Under a sharp lack of fuel as well as materials and equipment essential for their work, such as printing paper, ink, and computers, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, like many other organizations, has had to reduce its activities during the last few months. Al Mezan, however, has managed to maintain its work on human rights priorities despite these obstacles. However, under the current full blockade and lack of fuel, it has been compelled to relocate its staff in its three offices because they have been unable to reach the offices where they work.

Palestinian and Israeli groups issue urgent call for end to fuel cuts to Gaza
Marian Houk, Ma’an News Agency 4/29/2008
Jerusalem - An urgent call was issued on Tuesday by Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups who are demanding an end to restrictions on Gaza’s fuel and to the “unprecedented harm being caused to Gaza’s humanitarian needs. ”The groups, in a joint statement, expressed "concern and outrage at the systematic dismantling of the Gaza Strip’s vital systems. ”They called for an immediate end by Israel -- the occupying power – to the six-month long military-ordered restrictions on fuel supply that have paralyzed Gaza’s infrastructure and endangered the health and well-being of Gaza’s 1. 5 million residents. The fuel cuts have drained reserves and left essential systems vulnerable to supply interruptions, the statement explained. The Israeli military exerts total control on all entry and exit of people and goods to and from Gaza.

Health ministry demands fuel for ambulance vehicles
Palestinian Information Center 4/29/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The health ministry in the PA caretaker government has asked for fuel to be able to move its ambulance vehicles to carry the wounded whose lives are at risk in the event they were late to hospitals. The ministry in a statement on Tuesday said that horse driven carts were used to carry the casualties in Monday’s massacre in Beit Hanun to hospitals after ambulances came to a complete standstill due to the lack of petrol. The scene reflected the seriousness of the situation in the Gaza Strip on the lives of citizens in Gaza Strip as a result of the "suffocating Zionist siege", it added. The ministry condemned the Israeli occupation forces’ bloodbath that claimed the lives of a mother and four of her children including a one-year-old baby, and lashed out at the world silence vis-à-vis "this slaughter of children".

More children murdered in Gaza: Al Mezan condemns IOF’s crimes; calls for international intervention
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, ReliefWeb 4/28/2008
The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed four children and their mother when it shelled their home in Ezbet Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza Strip today. Another man was killed in the attack which occurred under an IOF incursion different parts of the town of Beit Hanoun. The findings of Al Mezan Center for Human Rights’ monitoring shows that the IOF stepped up its aggression on Gaza. In April 2008 alone, the IOF killed 66 Palestinians; 20 of whom were children and one was a woman. 139 others were injured, including 18 children. IOF launched 29 incursions into the Gaza Strip during the same period. According to Al Mezan Center’s field investigations, at approximately 8. 15am on 28 April 2008, IOF scouting drones fired two rockets that landed in front of the house of Ahmed Eid Abu Me’teq, which is located near Abdullah Azzam mosque in Ezbet Beit Hanoun.

Gaza needs massive fuel shipment ''urgently''
Ma’an News Agency 4/29/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The Gaza Strip needs an immediate infusion of 15 million liters of diesel and seven million liters of gasoline to cover essential needs, the director of the Palestinian Oil Corporation in the Gaza Strip, Ahmad Ali, said on Tuesday. "Israel has always been giving promises, and they have to fulfill those promises. Egypt has been exerting efforts in that regard," Ali explained. On Monday fuel distributors in the Gaza Strip refused to accept a severely inadequate fuel shipment from Israel, despite warnings of an imminent humanitarian crisis. Ali says the Israelis claim that they can’t ship fuel to the Gaza Strip because the tanks at the Nahal Oz fuel terminal are full. However, he explained that there are only 800,000 liters of gasoline at Nahal Oz, which can only barely cover the urgent needs of hospitals, ambulances and the fishing industry.

Al-Mujahidin Brigades fire four homemade projectiles at Israeli sites
Ma’an News Agency 4/29/2008
Gaza – Ma’an –The Al-Mujahidin Brigades, an armed group linked to Fatah, claimed on Tuesday morning that their fighters launched four homemade projectiles at Israeli targets near the Gaza Strip. They said in a statement that two projectiles were launched at the Nahal Oz military position and two others at the Kerem Shalom border crossing. The statement added that the shelling was part of "the Palestinian resistance’s retaliation for Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people, the last of which was in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday. " [end]

PFLP’s military wing fires projectile at Sderot
Ma’an News Agency 4/29/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades claimed responsibility on Tuesday for firing a homemade projectile at the Israeli town of Sderot, near the Gaza Strip. They said in a statement that the shelling came in retaliation for ongoing Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people. [end]

Qassams, mortars rain on western Negev
Shmulik Hadad, YNetNews 4/29/2008
Projectile attacks on Israel renewed after brief lull over afternoon, in all over 15 rockets, 20 mortar shells fired from Gaza on Tuesday - Palestinian rocket attacks against southern Israel resumed on Tuesday evening after a short respite. The barrage was launched in the early evening hours, with two Qassam rockets and eight mortar shells landing in and around communities in the western Negev. The rockets landed south of Ashkelon and in the Sha’ar HaNegev and Eshkol Regional Councils. No injuries were reported and no damage was caused. In all, over 20 mortar shells and 15 Qassam rockets have been fired towards Israel throughout the course of the day. Magen David Adom emergency crews tended to five people who were lightly wounded by rockets in Sderot, including one woman who injured her leg while running for cover.

Qassam rockets, mortar shells hit Negev
Shmulik Hadad, YNetNews 4/29/2008
Gaza vicinity residents wake up to another morning of rocket alerts. Ten Qassams fired from Strip; one directly hits house in Sderot, several people sustain light injuries. Mortar lands near clinic, causing light damage -Gaza vicinity residents awake to another morning of rocket fire: Palestinians fired 10 Qassam rockets towards Israel on Tuesday morning. Four of the rockets exploded in Sderot and the area, one directly hitting a house, causing damage. Three people sustained light wounds. Magen David Adom emergency crews tended to three people in Sderot, including a woman who hurt her leg while running to take shelter. She was evacuated to the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. Two people were treated for shock. Five rockets exploded within the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council.

PRC’s military wing launches projectiles and mortars at Israeli targets bordering Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 4/29/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, the An-Nasser Salah Addin Brigades, claimed responsibility on Tuesday morning for firing six homemade projectiles and two mortar shells at Israeli targets east of the city of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip. The military group said in a statement that they fired two mortar shells at Israeli forces east of Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, two homemade projectiles at the Nirim Kibbutz, two more at the Nir Oz Kibbutz and two at the Kisifim military installation. The statement said the shelling was in retaliation for Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people in the West bank and the Gaza Strip.

Israeli soldier injured in shooting near Nablus, Al-Aqsa Brigades claim
Ma’an News Agency 4/29/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – The armed wing of Fatah, the Al-Aqsa Brigades, claimed on Monday evening that their fighters shot and injured an Israeli soldier near the Huwwara intersections south of the West Bank city of Nablus. The Al-Aqsa Brigades’ northern West Bank spokesperson, Abu Mujahid, told Ma’an that a group of fighters opened fire at an Israeli settler’s and then fired at a military patrol to aid the settlers. However, Israeli sources did mention any injured soldiers in that area. Israeli forces later stormed the village of Beita, also near Nablus, imposing a curfew. [end]

Israeli forces seize two Palestinians in Tulkarem and Nur Shams refugee camp
Ma’an News Agency 4/29/2008
Tulkarem – Ma’an – Israeli forces seized two young Palestinian men from the West Bank city of Tulkarem and nearby Nur Shams refugee camp on Tuesday morning. Israeli troops entered the city and broke into the home of Imad Safi, damaging objects in the house and abducting 22-year-old Safi Safi. In Nur Shams camp, Israeli soldiers seized 20-year-old Mu’min Nabrisi who was released from an Israeli jail just two months ago after serving three and a half years. [end]

Planned settlement in East Jerusalem an attempt to negate Palestinian claims to their capital, researchers say
Ma’an News Agency 4/29/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – A new illegal Israeli settlement planned in occupied East Jerusalem is a part of a plan conceived by former Israeli leader Ariel Sharon to negate Palestinians claims to Jerusalem as their capital, researchers in Jerusalem are saying. On Monday, Israeli and Palestinian media reported that the Israeli police will allow right-wing settlers to take up residence in a former police station in East Jerusalem’s Ras Al-Amoud neighborhood. The site of the police headquarters will become the nucleus of a new settlement called "Ma’ale David. " According to the Mapping and GIS Department of the Arab Studies Society, a research center in Jerusalem, Israeli planners have already approved the construction of a the new settlement. Maps obtained by the Arab Studies Society show a plan for 110 housing units on approximately 10 dunams of land.

Palestine Today 042908
Aaron Lakoff, International Middle East Media Center News 4/29/2008
Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www. imemc. org, for Tuesday, April 29, 2008. On Tuesday The Israeli High Court of Justice in Jerusalem ruled against the villagers of Al Aqaba. Al Aqaba village is located in the northern part of the West Bank. Two years ago the Israeli army issued orders in Al Aqaba cutting permission for Palestinian home construction from 3000 dunums of land to just 100. The villagers contested this action in the Israeli Court, which today ruled in the Israelis Army’s favour. The Al Aqaba village council stated that at least 60 per cent of village homes face demolition as a result of the decision. The council added that the army has already distributed demolition orders to all the houses outside the permitted 100 dunums. According to the village council, the Israeli army wants the land due to its strategic importance for military training.

Ex-worker may have carried out Nitzanei Oz shooting
Amos Harel, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
Security officials are examining the possibility that Friday’s shooting attack at the Nitzanei Oz industrial zone, in which two Israeli civilians were killed, was carried out by a disgruntled former employee at one of the factories there. There has been a lot of tension in recent years between Palestinian employees and Israeli employers at the industrial zone near the West Bank city of Tul Karm, with many cases of Palestinian workers arguing that they were not receiving their full salaries or benefits. Several Palestinian groups have claimed responsibility for the attack, but so far there has been no evidence linking any of the groups to the shooting. However, the IDF is also examining the possibility that the Tul Karm network of one of the organizations, Islamic Jihad, is behind the attack. Since the shooting, the Israel Defense Forces has arrested several Palestinians in Tul Karm.

Israeli army intends to lower the scale of operations in Gaza
Ghassan Banoura, International Middle East Media Center News 4/29/2008
Israeli security sources reported on Tuesday that the Israeli army intends to lower the scale of military operations targeting the Gaza Strip in coming days in order to avoid any possible escalation in the region during the Israeli holidays. Israeli radio reported that despite the tragic accident in Beit Hanoun on Monday, which left seven civilians dead, including four children, Hamas will not create an escalation. Rather than to militarily engage Israel for the time being, the movement has decided to wait for the Egyptian mediation efforts to broker a truce between Hamas and Israel. [end]

Israeli-Palestinian paper criticizes 10 W. Bank roadblocks
Akiva Eldar, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
Ten roadblocks that Israel set up in the West Bank have little security value and are needlessly disrupting trade in the Palestinian territories, according to a joint Israeli-Palestinian report recently submitted to security authorities. The report, drawn up by a team that included U. S. experts, Palestinian officials and former Israel Defense Forces officers working under the auspices of the Peres Center for Peace, The Palestine Center for National Strategic Studies and the Danish government, urges Israel to remove the roadblocks. "Alternative solutions [to the road blocks] can easily be employed and reduce disruptions that hurt the trade [coming] from and within the West Bank," the team argued. ’No doubt, the long waits, bypasses and uncertainty regarding these points seriously sabotage effective passage of goods in the West Bank and to Israel and abroad.

LEBANON: Fatah says it will take over security at all Palestinian refugee camps
Hugh Macleod/IRIN, IRIN - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 4/30/2008
A Fatah militant on patrol in Ain al-Hilweh. The secular Palestinian faction has regularly clashed with a small but radical Islamist group based at the edge of the camp, causing casualties and displacing civiliansBEIRUT, 29 April 2008 (IRIN) - Fatah’s security chief in Lebanon says his faction will extend security control over all Palestinian camps in order to prevent the rise of Islamist radical groups such as the Al-Qaeda-inspired Fatah Islam, whose conflict with the army last summer destroyed the northern Nahr al-Bared camp. "After what happened in Nahr al-Bared, [Palestinian] President Mahmoud Abbas asked me personally to take over security in the other camps to prevent it happening again," Fatah commander Mounir Maqdah told IRIN. The move comes as Al-Qaeda mastermind Ayman Zawahiri called on followers in Lebanon to fight Israel and UN peacekeepers and as tensions. . .

Lebanese detainee transferred to administrative detention after serving 6-year term
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 4/29/2008
The Ahrar Center for Detainee’ Studies reported on Tuesday that the Israeli Prison Authorities transferred the Lebanese detainee Naseem Nasr, to administrative detention after he served a six-year term. The Center slammed the Israeli order and stated that it comes in direct violation to the basic principles of human rights as the detainee should be freed instead of being transferred to administrative detention without charges or trial. The Center added that Nasr was informed of the new decision and that the prison administration told him that the Israeli authorities do not intend to release him. Furthermore, the Center said that these violations contradict the basic international law and that this decision comes to practice pressure of Naseem as the Lebanon based Hezbollah party demanded his release during the 2004 prisoners swap deal.

UNIFIL says Haaretz report of incident ’without any basis’
Anthony Elghossain, Daily Star 4/30/2008
BEIRUT: The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on Tuesday denied charges of bias circulating in the Lebanese and Israeli press since a UN patrol was intercepted by unidentified gunmen on March 30. In response to the Israeli daily Haaretz’s coverage concerning the March 30 episode, UNIFIL spokeswoman Yasmine Bouziane issued a statement denying biased enforcement of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and slamming "incorrect reporting" of the incident. Haaretz’s reporting of the incident - which stated UN peacekeepers withdrew from the area without using their weapons - contradicts UNIFIL claims that the patrol confronted the gunmen and caused them to retreat. The statement issued by Bouzianne maintained the validity of the UNIFIL version of the confrontation, and lashed out against a Monday Haaretz report that "adds unfounded allegations, attributed to unnamed sources, of improper reporting by UNIFIL of developments in its area of operations.

UN denies forces underreporting Hizbullah activity
Associated Press, YNetNews 4/29/2008
Peacekeeping force rejects Israeli assertion its forces fail to report weaponry stockpiling in southern Lebanon along Israeli border. UN spokeswoman says UNIFIL gives full reports of incidents - The UN peacekeeping force in south Lebanon is denying Israeli charges that it has been ignoring Hizbullah activity in the area of the Israeli border. In one incident, Israeli officials charge that the UNIFIL force stopped a truck filled with weapons but did not filed a full report. The officials say that Hizbullah has beefed up weapons’ stockpiles in south Lebanon since the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and that UN forces stationed in the border area are not reporting sightings in the area of armed Hizbullah gunmen to the Security Council. UNIFIL spokeswoman Yasmina Bouziane released a statement late Monday saying, "These reports inaccurately represent the way in which. . .

The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah to implement an electricity supply project in Gaza
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 4/29/2008
Palestinian information minister and spokesman of the Ramallah-based government , Riyad al-Maliki, said yesterday that his government has agreed with Egypt to connecting the Gaza Strip’s electricity lines with Egyptian ones, within a grand project. Almaliki, who was speaking during a press conference in Ramallah, was quoted as saying that the project agreed upon will be make Gaza’s current lines with those of the nearby Egyptian city of aL-Arish, within an estimated distance of seven kilometers , depth into the Gaza Strip city of Rafah in southern Gaza. The project, whose costs are estimated at 15 million dollars and funded by the Islamic Bank of Development, will be executed in two phases, al-Maliki clarified. Implementation of such a project will commence upon the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s endorsement, the minister further noted.

Israel to allow Badr Forces from Jordan to deploy in Jenin
Ma’an News Agency 4/29/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israel plans to allow hundreds of members of the Badr Forces, a Palestinian military unit based in Jordan, to deploy in the West Bank city of Jenin after Israeli forces withdraw next week. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has for years requested that these troops be allowed to enter the West Bank. Several thousand strong, the Badr Forces are composed mainly of longtime Palestine Liberation Organization activists. Israeli and Palestinian security commanders held a meeting on Monday night in an Israeli army installation to discuss the deployment and other matters, Sources with knowledge of the meeting told Ma’an. Israeli West Bank commander Noam Tibon, civil administration coordinator Yoav Mordechai and a number of Palestinian commanders attended the meeting. At the conclusion of the meeting Israeli forces began to remove a military checkpoint. . .

Road opened between Nablus and its northern villages
Government of Israel, ReliefWeb 4/28/2008
In accordance with a decision made by MOD Barak and Chief of Staff Ashkenazi to facilitate movement of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, the IDF has authorized the opening of a road between Nablus and villages to the north. The road allows fast and easy movement for thousands of Palestinians. (Communicated by the IDF Spokesman) Today, April 28th, the IDF and the Civil Administration opened the road between Nablus and the village of Asira Ash-Shamaliya, located north of the city. The opening follows a decision made by the Minister of Defense, Mr. Ehud Barak, and the Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, to facilitate movement in Judea and Samaria. The road opening, permitted after security assessments, allows the easy and fast movement of thousands of citizens of Judea and Samaria between the city of Nablus and the neighboring villages.

Israel told to tackle West Bank plight
Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem, The Independent 4/29/2008
Israel is coming under concerted international pressure to give swift agreement to specific measures to improve Palestinian life in the West Bank which senior diplomats believe could eventually make or break negotiations between the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, and the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas. Efforts are under way to persuade Israel to agree ahead of President Bush’s visit in just over two weeks’ time to relaxing a series of restrictions on the Palestinian economy and testing the Ramallah-based authority’s ability to take more responsibility for security in parts of the West Bank. Israel is expected to face sharp criticism at Friday’s international donors’ conference in London for not doing more to boost the Palestinian economy after circulation of a World Bank paper reporting zero growth in 2007 and arguing that that the "contributing effects of the closures and movement restrictions cannot be overestimated".

Gaza is running out of fuel
International Committee of the Red Cross - ICRC, ReliefWeb 4/29/2008
The current fuel crisis is causing increasing hardship for the people of the Gaza Strip. The ICRC warns that the long-term consequences may be severe if sufficient supplies are not made available to ordinary people and for facilities like public transport, hospitals and water pumping stations. Ten per cent of nurses, doctors and other hospital staff are unable to get to work due to lack of transport. As a result, patients are having to wait for operations. Several have simply given up trying to reach hospital. Schools and universities are only functioning partially, with some 15-20 per cent of children, students and teachers absent. There are few cars on the usually crowded streets. Even in Gaza City, donkeys have become the usual means of transportation. Daily life affected - "This is affecting every aspect of daily life. Farmers cannot harvest their crops, fishermen cannot go to sea and workers have difficulties getting around," said Antoine Grand, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Gaza.

UNRWA resumes food aid delivery to Gaza refugees
Deutsche Presse Agentur - DPA, ReliefWeb 4/29/2008
Gaza_(dpa) _The United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) said Tuesday it has resumed food deliveries to 650,000 Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, after suspending the deliveries due to the salient’s chronic fuel shortage. "Gaza Strip refugees can receive food aid Tuesday," John Ging, director of UNRWA in the Gaza Strip said. UNRWA vehicles could now also begin collecting refuse in the refugee camps, he added. Ging said the Israeli government had agreed to supply Gaza’s main power plant, as well as UNRWA, with needed fuel, but said that "all parties are responsible to find a quick and real solution for the crisis. " Israel halted its supply of fuel to the Strip following a deadly attack by militants on the Nahal Oz fuel depot on April 9, which killed two Israeli civilians. "Violence at border crossing points must stop in order to enable goods, food supplies. . .

Gaza streets to be flooded with wastewater if fuel crisis continues
Palestinian Information Center 4/29/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The popular committee against the siege warned that the Gaza streets are threatened to be flooded with wastewater after drainage wells stopped working as a result of the fuel crisis and the Israeli persistence in preventing the entry of any kind of petroleum derivatives. The popular committee underlined that the situation in Gaza as a result of the fuel crisis is worsening every day and new negative impacts surface, where this crisis already led to the collapse of many crucial services such as ambulance service and garbage collection service. The committee added that the nitrous gas which is used to narcotize patients during surgical operations also ran out of hospitals leading to the closing of operating rooms which is foreshadowing a dangerous health catastrophe.  In a related context, nine human rights organizations in Gaza and the 1948 areas issued an urgent. . .

Soldier sentenced to 6 years for killing a Palestinian youth after pushing him off a speeding jeep
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 4/29/2008
The Israeli Central Court in Jerusalem sentenced an Israeli soldier to six and a half years imprisonment although he was convicted of killing a Palestinian youth after pushing him off a speeding military jeep in Hebron, the Arabs48 news website reported. The incident took place six years ago when Israeli border-guard policemen kidnapped several residents from the southern West Bank city of Hebron, including Amran Abu Hamdiyya, 17. As the military jeep was moving, one of the soldiers identified as Yania Lalza, pushed Abu Hamdiyya off the moving vehicle, the Arabs48 added. The officer, Yanai Lalza, was also convicted of robbery, destroying evidence and obstructing justice. Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that the soldier and his fellow soldiers abducted several Palestinian residents of Hebron and beat them with truncheons and rifles.

Nadine Gordimer denies her Jerusalem visit conflicts with ’our struggle against apartheid’
David B. Green, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
South African writer Nadine Gordimer yesterday defended her decision to attend a writers conference in Israel next month. Saying that her "comrades" should have no doubts about her "solidarity with the struggle - our struggle - against apartheid," Gordimer noted that her invitation came not from the Israeli government but from Mishkenot Sha’ananim. About 15 foreign and 40 Israeli writers are expected to attend the mid-May five-day gathering. The 1991 Nobel Prize for Literature laureate had been under enormous pressure at home and abroad to boycott the conference. Last weekend she said she decided to attend after arranging to meet with Palestinians as well as Israelis. Her remarks yesterday came in a statement she released from her Johannesburg home. Gordimer, a longtime supporter of the African National Congress and an outspoken critic of Israeli policies, suggested that the purpose. . .

Health Min. official: Israel should not be on intellectual property blacklist
Ronny Linder-Ganz and Yoram Gabison, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
Israel has been kept on the priority watch list of countries accused of intellectual property rights (IPR) violations because the Industry and Trade Ministry hid key information from the health and justice ministries, according to an unprecedented accusation leveled by Yoel Lifschitz, the deputy director general of the Health Ministry. "The conduct of the Industry and Trade Ministry is hard to understand," Lifschitz told TheMarker. Last week the Office of the U. S. Trade Representative (USTR) published its decision to keep Israel on the list of IPR violators, a decision that caused a storm not only among local generic pharmaceutical companies, but also within the health and justice ministries, which felt that the decision is unjustified, and caused by the problematic conduct of the Industry and Trade Ministry.

Zahhar: Saudi Arabia, Arabs exerting efforts to break Gaza siege
Palestinian Information Center 4/29/2008
RIYADH, (PIC)-- Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, one of Hamas’s prominent political leaders, has said that Saudi Arabia along with Arab countries was exerting "big efforts" to end the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip. Zahhar, who is a former PA foreign minister, told Saudi paper ’Okaz’ that Saudi Arabia is coordinating efforts with Egypt to break the siege. He denied, in another context, that guarantees were offered for a truce with the Israeli occupation, recalling that his Movement offered truce twice before with the IOA in 2005 and in 2006 and in each time the IOA breached the calm and killed leaders of Hamas. Zahhar, who is also an MP, denied that differences existed between his Movement and Islamic Jihad over the truce, saying that details of the calm would be tabled with all resistance factions. He stressed that Rafah border terminal among other crossings in the Strip should be. . .

Palestinian groups in Cairo talks
BBC Online 4/29/2008
Israel has already rejected an offer of a truce in Gaza from Hamas - Officials from three Palestinian militant groups are in Cairo for talks with the head of Egyptian intelligence, Omar Suleiman. The talks aim to draft a common position on any truce proposal with Israel over the Gaza Strip. Israel has rejected a truce proposed by Hamas, saying that it was a ruse to allow the militant group to re-arm. Egypt is trying to mediate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the militant group which controls Gaza. An Egyptian security source said each of the factions would talk separately to intelligence officials today and on Wednesday. Islamic Jihad, which is responsible for firing many rockets at northern Israel from the Gaza Strip, said it planned to send a delegation from its base, in the Syrian capital Damascus, to Cairo on Monday evening.

Hamas: Calm to be implemented only if all factions approved it
Palestinian Information Center 4/29/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement on Tuesday hoped that Egypt would reach a tangible result in the issue of calm between Palestinian resistance factions and the Israeli occupation authority. MP Mushir Al-Masri, the secretary of Hamas’ parliamentary bloc, said in a press statement that the proposed calm did not infringe on any of the Palestinian constants. He affirmed that Hamas would never agree to calm unilaterally but rather would approve it only when the Palestinian factions are united over it. Masri said that Hamas was waiting for results of the Egyptian efforts in this regard. Egyptian security officials started Tuesday evening bilateral consultations with a number of Palestinian factions to form a joint speculation on calm.

Palestinians to discuss truce plan
Al Jazeera 4/29/2008
Palestinian factions are due to meet in Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials in a bid to draft a common position on a truce with Israel - The factions are to hold talks with Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian intelligence chief, on Tuesday and Wednesday to further discuss the plan. "Each faction will meet with Suleiman separately, and then they will have a joint meeting," a security official said. The Hamas movement which rules the Gaza Strip held similar talks inEgypt last week. Hamas said it was ready to accept a phased ceasefire that would start in Gaza and extend to the West Bank after six months. The group proposed a six-month truce with Israel, aimed at easing a blockade on the Gaza Strip. The group proposed a six-month truce with Israel, aimed at easing a blockade on the Gaza Strip. It offered to cease cross-border rocket attacks if Israel opens crossing points into Gaza and ends military incursions into the Palestinian territory.

Bush says Syria nuclear disclosure was warning
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 4/30/2008
WASHINGTON: US President George W. Bush said Tuesday that he released details of alleged Syrian nuclear program to send a "message" to North Korea and Iran that they could not hide their own nuclear activities. In a White House news conference, Bush was asked why he decided to inform members of Congress about an Israeli strike on an alleged Syrian nuclear facility, and why it took him eight months to offer the briefing. US national security officials briefed lawmakers last week, presenting intelligence they said showed Syria had been building a secret nuclear reactor for military ends. Bush said the briefing, about a plant US officials say was being built with help from North Korea until its destruction by Israel in an air raid on September 6, was intended to advance "certain policy objectives. " "One would be to the North Koreans, to make it abundantly clear that we know more about them than they think," Bush said.

VIDEO - News / Syrian reactor said to have been within weeks of completion
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
Haaretz. com/Channel 10 news roundup for April 29, 2008. The CIA says the Syrian nuclear reactor was within weeks of completion before it was destroyed by the Israel Air Force. Findings show Israel failed to distribute German payments to Holocaust survivors since the 1950s. Intelligence warns of a major terror attack ahead of Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations. [end]

CIA: Syrian reactor capacity was 1-2 weapons per year
Reuters, YNetNews 4/29/2008
US intelligence agency director says plutonium reactor was within weeks or months of completion when it was destroyed in airstrike last September. ’In the course of a year after they got full up, they would have produced enough plutonium for one or two weapons,’ he tells reporters - A suspected Syrian reactor bombed by Israel had the capacity to produce enough nuclear material to fuel one to two weapons a year, CIA Director Michael Hayden said on Monday. Hayden said the plutonium reactor was within weeks or months of completion when it was destroyed in an air strike last September 6, and within a year of entering operation it could have produced enough material for at least one weapon. Bombing Casualties? N. Koreans may have died in Israel raid in Syria /News agencies Japanese public broadcaster quotes South Korean intelligence officials. . .

EU Faults Hamas for Gaza Fuel Crisis
Herb Keinon, MIFTAH 4/29/2008
Jerusalem expressed mild satisfaction Sunday night that a statement issued by the EU on the fuel shortage in Gaza placed at least part of the blame on Hamas’s shoulders. After expressing "grave concern" at reports that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) had suspended its humanitarian work in the Gaza Strip because of a fuel shortage, and after calling for "regular and unrestricted delivery of fuel supplies" through the "controlled reopening of the crossings" into the area, the EU then singled out Hamas. " Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza have their share in aggravating the humanitarian situation, including through carrying out the attacks on the Nahal Oz and Kerem Shalom crossings," the statement read. "The [EU] president condemns such actions, which only lead to further suffering of the population. "

Hamas Ready to Accept 1967 Borders
Al Jazeera English, MIFTAH 4/29/2008
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".

Zahhar: Hamas’ ceasefire offer still on the table
Ma’an News Agency 4/29/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas will not send any more emissaries to Egypt to discuss the possibility of a ceasefire with Israel, and will wait for Egyptian intelligence chief Umar Sulaiman to compel Israel to accept a truce offered by Hamas, senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar said on Tuesday. Speaking at a political meeting at the Islamic University in Gaza, Zahhar expected Umar Sulaiman to visit Israel soon in a final attempt to secure Israel’s cooperation with a ceasefire. Zahhar also warned that Hamas would not hesitate to strike back if Israel refused to cooperate: "If Israel decides to reject a ceasefire, they will pay a heavy toll because the besieged Gaza Strip’s people will have no choice but to defend their lives against the siege," added Zahhar. Nonetheless, Zahhar’s remarks suggested that Hamas’ offer for a truce is still on the table despite ongoing Israeli attacks, especially in the Gaza Strip.

Mofaz warns returning Golan to Syria would mean ’Iranian foothold in a strategic region’
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 4/30/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel’s deputy prime minister said Tuesday that returning the Occupied Golan Heights to Syria would give Iran a foothold in the strategic plateau overlooking northern Israel. "Any Israeli withdrawal will lead to an Iranian presence on the Golan Heights," Shaul Mofaz told Israel’s Army Radio in a telephone interview from Washington, where he was attending an Israeli-American security conference. "Syria is part of the front of extremists," he added, "which means that after any transfer of the Golan, Iran will get a foothold in the Golan, a strategic region. " Israel says it considers Iran - a close ally of Syria - its greatest strategic threat because of its nuclear program and remarks by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predicting the demise of the Jewish state. Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful and notes that Israel has the region’s sole - if undeclared - nuclear arsenal.

Top Syrian emissary: Israel peace won’t cut our Iran ties
Yoav Stern and Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
Syria will not sever ties with Iran and Hezbollah even as part of a possible peace agreement with Israel, a senior Syrian analyst who is handling the government’s contacts as it relates to the peace process said on Tuesday. "It would be naive to think Syria will neglect or abandon its strategic alliances that do not stem from the Arab-Israeli conflict," the analyst, Dr. Samir Taqi, said in an interview with Al-Manar television. When asked why Syria elected to trumpet messages from Israel and relayed by Turkey of Jerusalem’s willingness to cede the Golan Heights in exchange for peace, Taqi replied that the intent behind the media campaign was "to solidify the right" of Syria to the strategic plateau it lost as a result of the Six-Day War. As such, Taqi sought to emphasize that he is personally not involved in the. . .

Israeli officials: ''Gap between Israeli and Syrian positions is still wide''
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 4/29/2008
Israeli officials stated on Monday Turkish mediation to push peace talks between Israel and Syria is unlikely to achieve any progress as the gap between the Syrian and Israeli positions is still wide. The officials added that it is unlikely that a Syrian-Israeli meeting could be held before the US President, George Bush, leaves office. Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reported that an Israeli official said that the gap is still wide and that Israel’s Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, demands talks without preconditions, as Syria demands achieving an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Golan Heights. Meanwhile, Turkey is attempting to achieve a compromise that would give a momentum to peace talks between Israel and Syria. Yet, Israel officials said that it is unlikely that a breakthrough would occur and lead to a meeting before Bush leaves office.

Secretary-General’s message to the United Nations International Conference on Palestine Refugees
United Nations Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General - OSSG, ReliefWeb 4/29/2008
Paris, France, 29 April 2008 -[Delivered by Angela Kane, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs] I send warm greetings to the participants of the United Nations International Conference on Palestine Refugees, held under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. This year marks the 60th year of Palestinian dispossession, an anniversary that underlines the importance and urgency of finding a solution to the question of Palestine and of addressing the plight of the Palestine refugees. The Palestinian people’s desire or right to live a normal daily life in their own sovereign land remains undiminished, as do the individual and collective rights of Palestine refugees. Each generation is born and grows up with the reality of life under the impact of occupation, with many Palestinians living a lifetime in refugee. . .

Think tank chief handles Syrian talks on Israel
Yoav Stern, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
The Syrian official in charge of the Turkish-mediated contacts with Israel is Samir Taqi, head of a Damascus-based research institute, Israeli officials told Haaretz yesterday. The officials said Taqi was very close to decision-makers in Damascus and enjoyed the confidence of the Turkish government. People who know Taqi personally said yesterday they believed he was very well-connected to the Syrian intelligence services. Taqi served for years as an adviser to the previous Syrian president, Hafez Assad. In recent years he received the official title of adviser to the prime minister, and heads the Center of Oriental Studies, a political think tank. Prior to taking up his advisory posts, Taqi, who is a Christian, was a cardiac surgeon, who studied medicine in London. In recent years he has has frequently met with journalists and academics to discuss political issues.

WJC chief Lauder implores Swiss to cancel Iran gas deal
Reuters, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
The president of the World Jewish Congress said Tuesday he wanted Switzerland to cancel a multibillion-dollar Swiss-Iranian natural gas deal because it threatens Israel and the U. S. Ronald Lauder, a billionaire cosmetics magnate, said the deal signed during a visit of Swiss Foreign Minister Calmy-Rey in Tehran last month has angered the WJC because of Iran’s hardline president and because it comes at a time when the United Nations has imposed sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program. "Maybe that money that Switzerland is paying to Iran will some day be used to either buy weapons to kill Israelis or buy weapons to kill Americans or buy missiles to be able to deliver nuclear weapons," he said. "I’d like them to cancel it, yes," Lauder told reporters in the Swiss capital.

EU contributes €5 million to UNRWA for the most vulnerable Palestine refugees
European Commission - EC, ReliefWeb 4/29/2008
Mr. John Kjaer, the head of the European Commission office in Jerusalem, today confirmed the EU’s signature of an additional €5 million commitment to UNRWA for 2008. This is in addition to the EU’s contribution of €66 million to UNRWA’s General Fund for 2008, of which 95% has already been disbursed. The €5 million will be used to help run UNRWA’s Special Hardship Cases Programme throughout the occupied Palestinian territory and to support UNRWA’s ongoing reforms. "The plight facing Palestine refugees remains a genuine concern for the EU" said Mr. Kjaer. "I am only too aware of the very difficult living conditions in which many refugees still live. UNRWA provides a vital lifeline to this population, in particular the poorest of the poor. The EU’s extra contribution comes at a critical time. " UNRWA Commissioner-General, Karen AbuZayd, said "I thank the people and. . .

Palestinians in Europe to mark Nakba anniversary at conference
Ma’an News Agency 4/29/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – The organization of Palestinians living in Europe will begin its sixth conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 3 May 2008, conference planners said on Tuesday. The General Secretariat of the Palestinians in Europe said the meeting will mark the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba ("Catastrophe") of the expulsion of Palestinians from much of their homeland by Zionist forces in 1948. According to the General Secretariat, Palestinian delegations from all over Europe will participate in the conference under the banner "60 Years: And the Return is Nearer. " The guest list includes former Lebanese Prime Minister Saleem Al-Hus, chair of the Palestinian National Conference Bassam Shak’a, the head of the Islamic movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, and the general director of the Union of Arab Community Based Organizations (Ittijah), Amir Mukhwal,Furthermore,. . .

OPT: Protection of civilians weekly report 09 - 15 Apr 2008
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - OCHA, ReliefWeb 4/15/2008
Of note this week - Gaza Strip: - The IDF killed 21 Palestinians and injured 56 others. These include six Palestinians killed (including three children) and 24 injured (including four children) by tank shells during the IDF incursion into east of Al Bureij Camp between 11 and 12 April. - One IDF soldier was killed and four others were injured by Palestinian militants’ gunfire. In addition, two Israelis employed at Nahal Oz fuel crossing were killed when Palestinian militants infiltrated into the crossing and opened fire at them. - The Israeli authorities closed Nahal Oz fuel crossing one day following an attack by Palestinian militants. This resulted in additional fuel shortages affecting all aspects of daily life in Gaza. - Israeli patrol boats opened fire on two occasions towards Palestinian fishing boats, forcing them to return to shore.

Psychosocial activities help disadvantaged Palestinian children relieve stress
Monica Awad, United Nations Children''s Fund - UNICEF, ReliefWeb 4/28/2008
QALQILYA, West Bank, 28 April 2008 – Laughter fills the playground as more than 100 children with disabilities anxiously await their first visit to the only zoo in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. ‘I want to see the monkey and try to feed him bananas,’ said Ala’, 8, using sign language. Ala’, like many children with disabilities, has limited opportunities for play, and she has never been to a zoo before. ‘I like the giraffe and the lion. They are proud and strong animals,’ said Ayman, 12, also using sign language. UNICEF supports the YMCA in arranging outings for Palestinian children in need. Funded by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Department, these activities aim to restore childhood to the most disadvantaged children. Qalqilya under closure - The YMCA stages activities that many other children take for granted:. . .

Qorea’: ''We know our rights, and we will struggle for them''
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 4/30/2008
Head of the Palestinian Negotiations Team, Ahmad Qorea’ (Abu Ala’), stated on Tuesday that peace talks with Israel will set facts on the ground, and added that the ongoing Israeli attacks are a blow to all international and regional efforts to achieve peace. ""We know our rights", Qorea’ stated "We will fight for them in all means. He also said that the Palestinian leadership totally rejects the Israeli statements regarding not fully withdrawing from the occupied territories captured by Israel in 1967. He also slammed the Israeli attack which was carried out on Monday in Beit Hanoun, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, in which seven civilians, including a mother and her four children, were killed. The Maan News Agency quoted Abu Ala’ stating that "the ongoing Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people, the ongoing construction of settlements and the Annexation Wall, will not lead to peace and stability in the region".

MI chief: Hamas planning to hit Israeli targets ahead of Independence Day
Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
Terrorist organizations are planning to carry out attacks on Israeli targets on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the state’s independence, Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin warned yesterday. Speaking at a cabinet meeting, the Israel Defense Force’s Yadlin said Hamas is interested in launching a series of simultaneous attacks for Independence Day next week, similar to the attacks it carried out on Israeli border crossings with Gaza on the eve of Passover. Yadlin told ministers that the Islamic group in control of the Gaza Strip is determined to relieve the siege imposed on the coastal territory. Hamas has been instigating popular protests to break the back of Egypt’s will to observe the embargo, Yadlin said. He added that Egypt’s determination to maintain the siege may cause Hamas to direct activities against Israel.

Seventh semi-annual report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 (2004) (S/2008/264)
United Nations Security Council, ReliefWeb 4/21/2008
I. Background1. Over the past six months, Lebanon has continued to experience a severe political crisis, currently centred on the failure to elect a President of the Republic. The position has remained vacant since 24 November 2007, when the extended term of President Emile Lahoud ended. Despite the energetic and sustained efforts of Lebanese, regional and international players, all attempts to elect a new President have been fruitless. The electoral void has fuelled political polarization and impeded the normal functioning of the legitimate constitutional institutions of the country, in particular the Government and the Parliament. It has also contributed, at times, to violent confrontations between the opposing parties, leading to casualties. The absence of an agreement on the presidential election threatens the very foundations of the Lebanese State, and the sovereignty, independence and stability of Lebanon.

Israel Firm on No Talks with Hamas
United Press International, MIFTAH 4/29/2008
Israeli government officials reiterated Friday there will be no talks with Hamas leaders despite the group’s declaration of a six-month truce. Unidentified sources told Ynetnews the declaration from the Israelis followed four rocket attacks into northern Gaza from the Palestinian territories. Israeli officials said the attacks showed that talks would be futile, the sources said. The sources said as long as Hamas ignored the three internationally prescribed conditions of recognizing Israel’s sovereignty, renouncing terror and fulfilling the Palestinian Authority’s obligations there would be no talks. Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar met with Egyptian intelligence officials to discuss the cease-fire and strategy, and later said, "The ball is in Israel’s court now," Ynet reported. The Israeli sources told Ynet the Hamas cease-fire didn’t hold water, as it wasn’t backed by agreements with other extremist organizations.

Support the Canadian Union of Postal Workers’ campaign against Israeli apartheid
Appeal, Tadamon, Electronic Intifada 4/29/2008
We the undersigned organizations congratulate the Canadian Union of Postal workers (CUPW) for joining the international boycott of Israeli apartheid. We call on workers and labor unions worldwide to join CUPW in creating a strong and effective labor movement in solidarity with struggles against Israeli apartheid and violence. At the national convention of CUPW, representing over 50,000 workers across Canada, a strong majority of delegates voted for a resolution in support of the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli apartheid. Marking the first time a country-wide labour union in North America has voted to participate in the global campaign against apartheid in Palestine, CUPW’s resolution represents a critical juncture for the involvement of North American labour in this campaign. International support for CUPW’s resolution -- which recognizes the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights, including the right of return -- could prove key to shoring up this victory.

ANALYSIS: Livni and About Gheit starting to sing harmonious duet
Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
Relations between Egypt and Israel are undergoing a change, say sources at the Foreign Ministry. Following the terse exchange between Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and her Egyptian counterpart, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, over Egyptian security efforts in the Sinai Peninsula, the mood has changed. The change grew out of the Hamas action of breaching the wall between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. In Jerusalem sources say they believe Cairo is interested in significantly upgrading the diplomatic dialogue between the two countries. The breach in the wall with the Gaza Strip shocked the Egyptians and led to quiet talks with Israel in an effort to find a joint solution to the problem. Aboul Gheit sent a message to Livni through his ambassador in Tel Aviv, essentially saying there was a need to talk about the Gaza problem.

Livni, Egyptian counterpart to meet in London
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 4/29/2008
Israeli, Egyptian foreign ministers schedule UK meet for first time since falling out over monitoring of Philadelphi route in December - Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will leave for London later this week for a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit on Friday. A political source in Jerusalem confirmed news of the meeting, saying it was meant to ease differences between the two, after a verbal strife in mid December. While speaking before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Livni had slammed Egypt’s monitoring of the Philadelphi route, saying that "Egypt’s role in the Annapolis peace conference was a positive one, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that it cannot manage the situation in Philadelphi"¦ which in turn hindered the peace process. "

Defense Ministry not worried by FBI Cisco probe
Shmulik Shelah, Globes Online 4/28/2008
The ministry claimed its equipment has no connection to a security investigation. Earlier this year, reports in trade journals claimed that the FBI was investigating reports that counterfeit Cisco equipment had been installed in networks at US government agencies and in the military and that this equipment may contain a "back door" which allows access to those networks. In late February, reports stated that the US Department of Justice had seized nearly $80 million worth of counterfeit Cisco equipment. Concerns were raised recently that the problem could be prevalent in Israel as well, since the Ministry of Defense uses Cisco equipment extensively in various communications projects. The ministry told "Globes", "The equipment that the ministry buys from Cisco is original equipment of the company, and there is no connection to the counterfeit equipment discovered in security breaches. "

Hamas and Islamic Jihad slam Fayyad threats of continuing war on resistance
Palestinian Information Center 4/29/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Hamas and Islamic Jihad Movements strongly denounced the statements of Salam Fayyad, the head of the unconstitutional government, in which he threatened to continue his war against the weapons of the Palestinian resistance in the West Bank at the pretext of achieving the mastership of legitimate weapons and the unity of law. The two Movements highlighted that the resistance weapons are a necessary and urgent need to face the Israeli crimes and to liberate the Palestinian land. In a statement to the Palestine newspaper published on Tuesday, Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, underlined that Fayyad’s government is illegal and unconstitutional, and has no right to talk about law, constitution or legislation, adding that such statements only serve the Israeli occupation. Barhoum also underscored that the reality on the ground confirms that the weapons of the PA security. . .

Fatah lawmaker criticizes Hamas plan to expand de facto government in Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 4/29/2008
Ramallah - Ma’an – A prominent member of Fatah criticized Hamas on Tuesday for a plan to appoint new ministers to the cabinet of the de facto government in the Gaza Strip, saying the move will exacerbate the political division in Palestinian society. The Fatah-affiliated chairperson of the Palestinian Legislative Council’s (PLC) political committee, Abdullah Abdullah, said, "This step maintains the idea of separating the Gaza Strip from the rest of the Palestinian territories, and it is the most dangerous slap in the face of the Palestinian national project and the efforts to establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 territories. " Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, the de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip, announced on Monday that he is ready to appoint several new ministers to take over positions left vacant after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas fired a Hamas-Fatah unity government last June.

Bahr: Israel committed a massacre against 400 factories in Gaza
Palestinian Information Center 4/29/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Dr. Ahmed Bahr, the acting speaker of the PLC, described, during a visit to a number of destroyed and closed Palestinian industrial institutions in the Gaza Strip, the impacts of the Israeli siege as a "massacre committed by the Israeli occupation against 400 factories. "Dr. Bahr pointed out that the Israeli siege affected all walks of life in Gaza including more than 200,000 workers who joined the lists of unemployment due to the lack of fuel supplies needed to operate those factories. The acting speaker called on the international community to assume its responsibilities towards the industrial institutions which are either exposed to Israeli aerial attacks or closed because of the suffocating Israeli siege on Gaza.

Moyal: Sderot in danger of mass abandonment
Shmulik Hadad, YNetNews 4/29/2008
Sderot mayor meets with Olmert, warns PM residents of Sderot leaving town due to frequent rocket attacks. Olmert: Tough decisions will be made soon - Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal met with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday in order to discuss the recent barrage of Qassam rocket attacks on the city. The two discussed the effects of the rocket attacks, including the recent abandonment of Sderot by many of its residents. Moyal questioned Olmert as to how he plans to minimize the constant rocket attacks. Olmert pledged that the government would soon be making crucial decisions. "We care about the security of Sderot, and work day and night towards stopping the rocket fire. We will be making very important decisions soon, and they will not be simple or easy," he said. Moyal said much of the meeting was devoted to the exodus from Sderot.

Breakaway Pensioners agree to represent Gaydamak in Knesset
Mazal Mualem and Lily Galili, Ha’aretz 4/29/2008
The Pensioners Party has split and the breakaway members intend to form tycoon Arcadi Gaydamak’s new Knesset faction, dubbed Justice for Pensioners. However, it is not clear how many of the party’s seven MKs, if any, will follow MK Moshe Sharoni to form the new faction. MK Elhanan Glazer, formerly one of the party’s mavericks, decided not to quit Monday, after being promised a post of deputy minister. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promised the Pensioners chairman, cabinet minister Rafi Eitan, to appoint Glazer a deputy minister in the Pensioners Affairs Ministry, thus preventing a split of a third of the party’s Knesset faction. Splitting with less than one third of the faction will not enable the new faction to receive the proportionate party funds, as the rebels and Gaydamak had been hoping.

Pensioners’ season is over
Haaretz Editorial, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
It was a great marketing ploy. Who would have thought that a group of elderly people could engender such interest among the young of Tel Aviv that they voted in their thousands for an issue normally beyond their ken? But the charm wore thin very quickly, and the Pensioners Party will be remembered as one more repellent and frustrating episode in the history of Israeli politics. Its two breakaway MKs, Moshe Sharoni and Sara Marom-Shalev, have apparently found themselves a wealthy patron to support them, and are therefore not frightened by having to give up the party funding they would have received had three MKs left the faction. They have also found an innovation that will allow them to get around the Basic Law on the Knesset. The law states that MKs who break away from a certain party cannot stand for election in the next Knesset in the party they have joined.

Police reject Lieberman’s ’persecution, blackmail’ charges
Jonathan Lis, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
Israel’s Police Commissioner David Cohen yesterday rejected claims of "persecution" and "blackmail" made earlier in the day by Yisrael Beiteinu leader MK Avigdor Lieberman against the police officers conducting a probe into his affairs. Cohen said he had "complete faith in the norms, decency and ethics" of the team that is investigating suspicions Lieberman allegedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes while serving as a cabinet minister from 2001 to 2004. In his previous position, Cohen was head of the department charged with initiating the investigation against the former minister. Public Security Minister Avi Dichter also issued a statement supporting the conduct of law enforcement officials in the affair. At his Tel Aviv press conference, Lieberman lashed out against police and state prosecutors, saying they were "hunting" him down.

Number of students at state secular schools getting extra tuition in Jewish studies climbs by 92 percent
Or Kashti, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
The number of students at "regular" public schools attending supplementary Jewish studies classes funded by the Education Ministry rose by 92 percent in the past two years, while the number of students in state-religious or ultra-Orthodox schools benefiting from these funds has remained stable. Despite the sharp rise in Jewish studies in non-religious schools, however, most of the budget for this subject goes to religious schools. The Education Ministry is considering changing the criteria for receiving these funds in order to direct the money to more non-religious secular schools - a move expected to spark opposition from the religious parties. "Today there is much greater awareness in [non-religious] state education that dealing with Judaism is not only for the religious, and that it is also appropriate for our students to study Judaism, which is magnificent and pluralistic,". . .

Budgets director: 2008 will see a big drop in tax revenues
Zvi Zrahiya, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
Ram Belinkov, the Finance Ministry’s budgets director, expects a large drop in tax revenues in 2008, and for the budget deficit to be larger than planned. Belinkov told the Knesset Finance Committee on Monday that despite the drop in tax revenues, the budget would not be cut this year. According to Be-linkov, this year’s budget cuts have nothing to do with the drop in revenues, but are only intended to prevent increases in government spending. The decision not to cut the budget because of lower revenues sends a significant fiscal message," he told the committee. "When the economy expects a slowdown - whether it is sliding in to a recession of low growth - the first thing businessmen tend to do is to reevaluate their investments. In order to create a strong incentive to invest.

Think tank proposes bill to define IDF-government relations
Amos Harel, Ha’aretz 4/29/2008
A group of experts from the Institute for National Security Studies has drawn up a draft law which defines, for the first time, the nature of the relationship between the government and the Israel Defense Forces, and the division of powers and responsibility between the two bodies. In its report on the Second Lebanon War, the Winograd Committee said the lack of such organizational clarity was a "structural weakness" which "critically" needed repair. The proposed law, which was sent to Haaretz, will be disseminated among cabinet ministers and Knesset members in the near future. The INSS proposal touches upon a range of issues, such as the declaration of war, setting strategic goals and defining what types of authorization IDF operations in enemy territory require. "It gives leeway to leaders to act in accordance with their job requirements," Dr.

Barbican’s tribute to 1948 accused of demonising Israel
Arifa Akbar, Arts Correspondent, The Independent 4/29/2008
As far as the organisers of the exhibition are concerned, these photographs of Arab refugees, displaced from their homes in Israel in 1948, are merely an artistic slice of life from a dramatic point in Middle Eastern history. But the Barbican Arts Centre’s show Homeland Lost, consisting of 16 black and white images taken by the photojournalist Alan Gignoux soon after Israel gained independence, is the unlikely frontier of new hostilities between Britain’s Israeli and Arab communities. Jonathan Hoffman, of the Jewish umbrella group the Zionist Federation, has complained to the London arts venue’s director Nicholas Kenyon about captions accompanying the photos, which state that the 800,000 Palestinians who left their homes were "uprooted" and "dispossessed". He accused the Barbican of "falsifying" history. Mr Hoffman insisted he was not speaking on behalf of the federation, on whose. . .

Executive pay up 45% - while employees’ rose 0.8%
Shay Niv, Globes Online 4/29/2008
According to an Adva study, employees continued to earn 62% of national income. The distribution of salaries in Israel between employees and executive was stable in 2006-07, with employees earning 62% of total national income and employers earning 13%, according toAdva Center Labor Report: 2007 by Dr. Shlomo Swirski and Etty Konor-Attias. However, on the basis of the salary cost of executives of Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) listed companies published by "Globes", Adva states that the average executive salary cost rose by 45% in 2003-07, while employees’ salaries rose by just 0. 8%. Adva notes that Bank of Israelreports on the economy state that the primary beneficiaries of Israel’s economic growth in recent years has been executives. Adva says that the salary distribution has been become more unequal since 2000, when employees earned 68% of national income and employers earned 10%.

VIDEO - Green Line village facilitates black market transactions into Israel
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
Haaretz. com/Channel 10 news roundup for April 29, 2008. Barta’a, an Arab village on the Green Line, has become a de facto Free Trade Zone, through which black market transactions benefit Israeli businesses that take advantage of Palestinian prices. Half of the village is inside Israel, and other half in the West Bank. It was divided after the 1948 War of Independence, but with the Six Day War in 1967, it was informally reunited. The western half of the city is subject to Israeli law, and the eastern half is under Palestinian civilian control. But travel between the two halves is now possible, and along with it, cheap shopping for Israeli citizens. [end]

Report: Inequality grows as top 1% earns same as bottom 25%
Ido Solomon and Motti Bassok, TheMarker, Ha’aretz 4/29/2008
According to a report by the Adva Center for Information on Equality and Social Justice released Tuesday, inequality has risen sharply in the past decade. Today, the top percentile in Israel earns more than the bottom 25% of the workfore. In the year 2000, employers accounted for 68% of the national income and employers contribution (their "operating surplus") accounted for 10%. By 2007, while the national income had grown, employers accounted for 62% and employees contributed 13% (similar to figures for the two years prior). Meanwhile, Finance Minister Roni Bar-On is expected to tell the government Tuesday that he plans to cut taxes for the rich in coming months. These include reduction of VAT by 0. 5% to 15. 0%, which will cut state revenues by NIS 1.

Gas prices to rise by 29 agorot per liter Wed., reaching record high
Avi Bar-Eli, TheMarker, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
Gas prices will jump at midnight Wednesday by some 29 agorot per liter, reaching record highs for the price of benzene per liter in Israel. Wednesday’s price hike makes April the third consecutive month in which gas prices have risen. A liter of benzene 95 octane will jump by 4. 61 percent to a record price of NIS 6. 58 per liter (at self-service pumps); the cost of benzene 96 octane will climb at a rate of 4. 6 percent, selling at NIS 6. 60 per liter. The charge for service by a gas attendant at a pump will stand at 12 agorot per liter, including VAT. Despite the recent revaluation of the shekel, gas prices have risen over the last three months by 10 percent, and since the beginning of the year by 5. 6 percent. The soaring prices are due to the rise in petrol prices worldwide, which have resulted in the cost of a barrel rising to almost $120.

Shekel-euro rate down after interest rate decision
Yael Gruntman, Globes Online 4/29/2008
The interest rate remains at a record low. The shekel-dollar and shekel-euro exchange rates are split following yesterday’s decision by the Bank of Israel to leave its interest rate unchanged. In morning trade, the shekel-dollar exchange rate is up 0. 16% to NIS 3. 4685/$ and the shekel-euro exchange rate is down 0. 76% to NIS 5. 4025/€. Yesterday evening, the Bank of Israel announced that Governor of the Bank of Israel Prof. Stanley Fischer left the bank’s interest rate at 3. 25%, which is the lowest ever rate in Israeli history. The governor did imply that if the pace of inflation picks up, he would raise interest rates in upcoming decisions. Tomorrow the Fed will announce its monetary policy decisions, and is expected to cut the Federal Funds rate by 0. 25%. This would widen the yield gap between Israel and the US, which currently stands at 1%.

Criminal activity costs Israel billions every year
Jonathan Lis, Ha’aretz 4/29/2008
Criminal activity in Israel inflicts a net loss of billions of shekels every year, the annual report of the Public Security Ministry revealed on Tuesday. According to the Ministry figures, criminal activity cost Israel NIS 100 billion since 2001, and NIS 13 billion in 2007 alone. The numbers, submitted to Director General Rani Falk, take into account pre-emptive police activity, including protective measures and insurance, the actual damage caused by the criminal act itself, and the operational cost of the reinforcement system, including the deployment of police and the work of the judicial system. [end]

Hariri vows election will take place on May 13
Hussein Abdallah, Daily Star 4/30/2008
BEIRUT: Parliamentary majority leader MP Saad Hariri said on Tuesday that he was certain a new Lebanese president would be elected on May 13. bSpeaking after a meeting with Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Hariri also said he had no objections to meeting the head of the opposition Free Patriotic Movement, MP Michel Aoun. Hariri added that he was still waiting for a response from Speaker Nabih Berri regardinghis request for a bilateral meeting, not as a member of the ruling coalition, but as the leader of the Future parliamentary bloc. But sources close to Berri told The Daily Star on Tuesday that the speaker was against holding national dialogue in the form of bilateral meetings with Hariri and preferred holding all-party roundtable talks. Ali Hamdan, Berri’s media adviser, said that Berri did not mind meeting Hariri to discuss the prospects of dialogue but was strongly against substituting roundtable dialogue with bilateral talks.

Women, children among 37 dead as clashes continue in Sadr City
Salam Faraj, Daily Star 4/30/2008
Agence France Presse - BAGHDAD: At least 37 people were killed in Baghdad’s Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City on Tuesday as gunmen clashed with US soldiers under cover of a severe sandstorm. Several rockets or mortar rounds also struck the Iraqi capital’s heavily fortified government compound, as militants took advantage of the absence of US air cover during the storm, witnesses said. In one of the most intense firefights in weeks, the American soldiers killed 28 militants in Sadr City, stronghold of hard-line cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, the military said. Four US soldiers also were wounded in the fighting that began at around 9:30 a. m. The fighting erupted when a US patrol was targeted with small-arms fire that wounded one soldier, Lieutenant Colonel Steven Stover told AFPAs the soldier was being evacuated, a US vehicle was struck by two roadside bombs, small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

Registrar of Hariri court to take up post this week
Michael Bluhm, Daily Star 4/30/2008
BEIRUT: The establishment of the UN tribunal to try suspects in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has moved one step closer, as the UN announced on Tuesday that the tribunal’s registrar was formally taking office this week. As registrar, Robin Vincent will function akin to the manager of the tribunal, preparing the premises of the tribunal in Holland’s The Hague, recruiting administrative personnel and laying out the court’s budget, said the statement issued by the office of UN chief Ban Ki-moon. UN Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Nicolas Michel has said that when Vincent entered office, it would represent an "important sign" on the road to the creation of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The statement added that Vincent would also be "coordinating the transition" between the commission investigating Hariri’s killing and the tribunal, but a UN spokesperson. . .

Turkish military claims success againss PKK
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 4/30/2008
ANKARA: The Turkish military said Tuesday that "many" Kurdish rebels were killed in two bombing raids in neighboring northern Iraq last week. Forty-three fighter-bombers took part in the air strikes on Friday and Saturday, which targeted Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions in the Zap, Avashin and Khakurk regions, the statement said. More than 100 rebel targets were destroyed and "many terrorists believed to be preparing for attacks against Turkey were rendered ineffective. "Turkish warplanes have been bombing PKK positions in northern Iraq since mid-December. In February, the army conducted a week-long ground offensive against rebel hideouts in the region, where Ankara estimates more than 2,000 militants take refuge. The Turkish government has a one-year parliamentary authorization, which expires in October, for cross-border military action against the PKK.

U.S. Jewish leaders call for boycott of Beijing Olympics
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
A wide-ranging group of U. S. Jewish leaders plans to release a statement Wednesday urging Jews worldwide to boycott the Summer Olympics in Beijing, citing China’s troubling record on human rights and Tibet. The statement also notes China’s close relationships with Iran, Syria and the militant group Hamas. So far, 175 rabbis, seminary officials and other prominent Jews have signed the declaration, which comes shortly before Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, organizers said. "We are deeply troubled by China’s support for the genocidal government of Sudan; its mistreatment of the people of Tibet; its denial of basic rights to its own citizens; and its provision of missiles to Iran and Syria, and friendship for Hamas," the statement reads. "Having endured the bitter experience of abandonment by our presumed allies during the Holocaust,. . .

JORDAN: Increased domestic violence among Iraqi refugees - IOM report
IMC, IRIN - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 4/30/2008
With little or no income, Iraqis in Jordan are under increasing pressure, heightening tension in households - AMMAN, 29 April 2008 (IRIN) - A study published in March by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on the mental state of Iraqis in Jordan and Lebanon has pointed to mounting social and economic problems as the cause of increased domestic violence. "Most families prefer to sweep their problems under the carpet because [to them] reputation matters more than anything else," said Shankul Kader from the Jordanian-Iraqi Brotherhood Society, a non-governmental organisation trying to help the Iraqi community in Jordan. "The fact that most men are forced to stay at home due to the lack of jobs, and the lack of social interaction among the refugees, has heightened tension in households," the study said.

US envoy slams Iran’s alleged destabilizing role in Iraq
Middle East Online 4/29/2008
UNITED NATIONS - The US ambassador to the UN on Monday slammed the alleged destabilizing role of Iran and Syria in Iraq and urged them to stop the flow of weapons and foreign fighters into their war-scarred neighbor. US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told a Security Council meeting that recent clashes between Iraqi government forces and "criminal militia elements" in Baghdad and Basra pointed to "Iran’s destabilizing influence and actions. "He said the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, known as Qods Force, "continues to arm, train, and fund illegal armed groups in Iraq. " He added that the bulk of weapons used by these militias were "made in Iran and supplied by Iran, including mortars, rockets and explosively-formed penetrators (EFPs). ""This lethal aid poses a significant threat to Iraqi and multinational forces and to the stability and sovereignty of Iraq," Khalilzad said,. . .

Redefining Iran as the Enemy in Iraq
Ivan Eland, Middle East Online 4/29/2008
According to General David H. Petraeus’s progress report to Congress on Iraq, the latest worst threat to the shaky US position is Iranian-backed “special groups. ” This label refers to parts of Moktada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army, which Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his security forces ham-handedly sought to confront and undermine in Basra before the fall local elections. Al-Qaeda in Iraq is so passé. This repeated allegation during the congressional hearings and the firing of Admiral William Fallon as commander-in-chief of US forces in the Middle East, who was an opponent of any attack on Iran, should again raise worries to war-weary Americans about a cowboy attack on Iran before the Bush administration leaves office. On cue, administration surrogates, such as former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, repeated Petraeus’s charges: “.


International Humanitarian Law: The Siege on the Gaza Strip
Yasmin Abou-Amer, MIFTAH 4/29/2008
      Since the declaration of Gaza as a “hostile entity” in September 2007, Israel has employed a strategy which aims to politically cripple Hamas into submission at the expense of the 1.5 million innocent Palestinians who populate the Gaza Strip.Israel justifies its actions by asserting that Hamas is an Islamic group which refuses to recognize Israel and is intent on destroying it by launching homemade Qassam rockets into southern Israel.
     Although Israel claims that it no longer bears the responsibilities of an occupier since its withdrawal from Gaza in September 2005, Israel still controls the borders, the airspace and the sea of the 365km2 area, exploiting this fact to impose a blockade on Gaza.Israel periodically releases resources on a drip and fails to provide adequate amounts of fuel, food and medical supplies.This isolation has plunged the area into a dire humanitarian crisis, with commentators describing Gaza as “the largest open air prison in the world”.
     By collectively punishing the Palestinians to ensure political gain, Israel is in complete violation of international humanitarian law, a fuller discussion of which will now follow.

Israeli closure of charity may put orphans on street

Zack Baddorf, Daily Star 4/30/2008
      Inter Press Service - HEBRON, Occupied West Bank: Nibaal Shriteh may soon be homeless. The 17-year-old Palestinian lives in a Hebron orphanage but, if the Israeli military has its way, she and 240 fellow orphans like her will be out on the streets. "I am talking to you today from this place, from my home, from my school, from my class," Shriteh told a handful of independent media and assembled local and international supporters at a news conference in early April at Al-Shariya Girls Orphanage. "But tomorrow I’ll be talking to you as a lonely, lost person from the street."
     The Israeli military issued orders on February 25 for the closure and confiscation by April 7 of orphanages, schools and other facilities owned by the Islamic Charitable Society (ICS), claiming the foundation "masquerades as a charity organization in order to cover its activities of increasing support of the Hamas terror network.

Al Nakba: some of us left without our shoes

Kristen Ess, Palestine News Network 4/29/2008
      Dr. Nazmi, among the directors of the Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation in Ramallah says that 1948 was not just Al Nakba, the Catastrophe, for the people. He says, ’it was a massacre for the cultural heritage in Palestine."
     In the southern West Bank, refugee Abu Yasser from Deheisha Refugee Camp talks about his experience being driven from Telasafi, now within Israeli boundaries, in 1948. He is a poet and grinds coffee with an old wooden urn, the sound like a song from his past.
     Dr. Nazmi, among the directors of the Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation in Ramallah says that 1948 was not just Al Nakba, the Catastrophe, for the people. He says, ’it was a massacre for the cultural heritage in Palestine."
     He is careful not to use the word Palestinian heritage because the mix is too great. He intends to ensure that the idea is transported that Palestine is a place, was a place, inhabited. It was not a “land without a people for a people without a land,” no matter what the Zionist rhetoric may be.

The Annapolis Review Minus Israel

Caelum Moffatt, MIFTAH 4/29/2008
      When two parties partake in vigorous discussion in the hope of resolving contentious topics of dispute through compromise and cooperation, it is customary that the respective sides meet frequently to ensure that targets are being met within the timeframe, obligations are respected and that the collective aim of the process is understood in accordance with previous agreements.
     It is almost five months since Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas journeyed to Annapolis and agreed to implement stage one of the 2003 road map – the US instigated initiative which predominantly calls on Israel to cease settlement expansion and alleviate movement and access restrictions in the West Bank. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority is charged with dismantling “terrorist” infrastructure in the West Bank. The parties involved agreed that the road map would be the platform with which to propel to a final peace agreement before US President G. W. Bush officially leaves office in January 2009.

Tony Blair & the Quartet ... Where are You?

Fadi Abu Sa''ada, Palestine News Network 4/29/2008
      Since Tony Blair was appointed as a envoy to the International Quartet Committee for Palestine and Israel and the Middle East generally, we heard about meetings and meetings between Blair and the Palestinians and Israelis, or joint meetings.
     We heard about launching economic projects, and about easing restrictions in order to facilitate Palestinians lives. Today we still hear about Israeli promises to remove several checkpoints from West Bank roads.
     I do not know whether Blair thought that Israel, after announced the removal of 66 military checkpoints in the West Bank, indicating that it had removed only 44 of them, mostly sand road blocks and not major ones, had impacted Palestinians lives, or facilitated them. The facts were confirmed in a United Nations report. Perhaps Blair did not read the report.

Breaking the Silence: Israeli Soldiers Speak

Stephen Lendman, MIFTAH 4/28/2008
      They’re called "Refuseniks" but not for refusing to serve. They’ve done it proudly and courageously, and here’s how "Courage to Refuse" members state their position:
     "We, reserve officers and soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)....have always served in the front lines....were first to carry out any mission, light or heavy, (and we did it) to protect the State of Israel and strengthen it.
     We....served....long weeks every year, in spite of dear cost to our personal lives, have been on reserve duty all over the Occupied Territories, and were issued commands and directives that had nothing to do with the security of our country (but were only given to perpetuate) our control over the Palestinian people. We(’ve)....seen the bloody toll this Occupation exacts from both sides.
     ....the commands issued to us in the Territories (have) destroy(ed) all the values (we learned) growing up in this country.
     ....the (way) the Occupation (undermines the) IDF’s human character and (exposes) the corruption of the entire Israeli society.

Book review: ''Not Everyone Can Throw Stones''

Adri Nieuwhof, Electronic Intifada 4/28/2008
      In his Dutch-language book launched in the Netherlands last week, The Electronic Intifada co-founder Arjan El Fassed demonstrates how his life is deeply entwined with Palestine. Not Everyone Can Throw Stones tells the history of El Fassed’s life in the Palestinian Diaspora in a personal, moving and tense style.
     In 1963, Arjan’s father Walid El Fassed arrived in the Netherlands along with 65 other Palestinians from Nablus as a migrant worker. He eventually fell in love with and married the girl next door, Maretje Vermeer. During Israel’s initial census after seizing the West Bank in the June 1967 War, Walid was in the Netherlands and thus he became "displaced," like tens of thousands of other Palestinians who were abroad at that time.
     Walid and Maretje’s son Arjan was born 35 years ago in Vlaardingen, a small provincial town in the Netherlands. Inter-religious marriages were not common at the time, and almost unthinkable when one partner was Muslim, making El Fassed’s family a unique one.

Deep regret would suffice

Uzi Benziman, Ha’aretz 4/30/2008
      On April 17, 1996, during the Grapes of Wrath campaign, Israel Defense Forces artillery fired a number of shells at the Lebanese village of Kanna. One hundred and two Lebanese villagers were killed in the attack. Israel cut short the military campaign and withdrew its forces. In retrospect, the shelling is seen as a decisive mistake which completely upset the campaign and prevented its objectives from being reached. The reactions on the part of the senior brass in the IDF reflected some embarrassment: Accusations were traded between Military Intelligence and the Northern Command over who was responsible for the serious error. The tragic attack, two days ago, on the Abu Muatak family in Beit Hanoun shows that the IDF has not learned a thing but has forgotten a great deal.
     The IDF’s first reaction concerning the killing of the mother and her four children was one of denial of any involvement in the tragedy. Southern Command sources fed alternative information to radio broadcasters: There was no shelling from a tank on the house next to the one in which the family lived; there was firing from the air but it was aimed at armed men; if people who were "not involved" were hurt, the reason for this apparently was extremely powerful explosives that were being carried by the armed men who were hit from the air. These explanations were accompanied by a laconic expression of regret over the fact that there had been casualties and that Hamas chose to wage its struggle against Israel from inside areas densely populated by civilians.

Letters: We’re not celebrating Israel’s anniversary

Various Undersigned, The Guardian 4/30/2008
      In May, Jewish organisations will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. This is understandable in the context of centuries of persecution culminating in the Holocaust. Nevertheless, we are Jews who will not be celebrating. Surely it is now time to acknowledge the narrative of the other, the price paid by another people for European anti-semitism and Hitler’s genocidal policies. As Edward Said emphasised, what the Holocaust is to the Jews, the Naqba is to the Palestinians.
     In April 1948, the same month as the infamous massacre at Deir Yassin and the mortar attack on Palestinian civilians in Haifa’s market square, Plan Dalet was put into operation. This authorised the destruction of Palestinian villages and the expulsion of the indigenous population outside the borders of the state. We will not be celebrating.
     In July 1948, 70,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes in Lydda and Ramleh in the heat of the summer with no food or water. Hundreds died. It was known as the Death March. We will not be celebrating.

Syria and Israel: Paradox and Danger

Tariq Alhomayed, MIFTAH 4/29/2008
      We are facing an odd political paradox in the region as Syria and Israel continue to flirt in hope of reaching a peace agreement, the price of which is costly for both parties since both sides want a victory that would exclude it from military confrontation, which seems inevitable.
     Damascus wants the Golan Heights to be returned to it and to break the Arab and international isolation [that it is experiencing] in order to actualize a victory that it could benefit from both internally and externally especially since the Syrians have placed all their eggs in one basket, that is by allying themselves with Iran. Now they have no choice but to achieve peace with Israel and to regain the Golan Heights so that they could outmaneuver their opponents. If they do not accomplish peace then at least they would have benefited from the elapsing of time until the Bush administration leaves office.
     Israel, in turn, also wants to escape the dilemma of unavoidable military confrontation that looms on the horizon. For the first time, and in an unprecedented situation, Israel finds itself surrounded by Iran from three directions. Firstly, there is the South Lebanon front, that is Hezbollah; secondly, there is the Gaza front, namely Hamas, an ally of Tehran; and finally, there is the Syrian front, especially that the Iranians exerted much effort in their preparations on Syrian territories, suffice to mention the Iranian listening stations set up in Syria to spy on Israel.

For the good of all its people, Israel must pursue diversity

Amitai Etzioni, The Guardian 4/30/2008
      If Jews and Arabs alike had the right to practise their religions - or none at all - violence and hatred would be curbed.
     To ask "Should Israel be a Jewish State?" is like asking if the Pope must be a Catholic. But champions of individual rights do raise this question, frequently using arguments similar to those raised by their counterparts in Britain and many other countries, who argue that unless national identity is greatly attenuated, minorities will not feel at home and will turn into fertile fodder for terrorists. These arguments ignore the nurturing that is provided by the national community, by the core values and identity it provides, and the normative glue that prevents nations falling apart.
     In Israel the argument for minority and individual rights is made in two parts. The relatively easy one points out that a continued occupation of the West Bank forces Israel either to persist as a colonial power or to give up on its Jewish identity by turning into a bi-national state. Withdrawing to the 1967 borders, following some redrawing, is considered vital not merely to end the evils of occupation and its corrosive effect on Israel’s soul, but also to maintain a demographic basis essential for a Jewish, democratic state.

The New Occupation Managers

Oriol Poveda, International Middle East Media Center News 4/29/2008
      The military operations in Gaza and Bethlehem last May signalled once more that the Israeli security establishment (the military-industrial complex encompassing also the private security sector) has no interest in the so called "peace process." In Israel it is not only the non-Zionist left that does not believe in Annapolis; neither does the army, though for very different reasons.
     While other layers of the Israeli society regard the Occupation as a burden, for the security establishment the Occupation represents its most valuable asset. The Occupation not only justifies access to massive amounts of public money and the central role of the army in the state’s affairs, recently it has also become profitable through the outsourcing of checkpoints to private security companies and, as the dynamics of globalisation further impact on the conflict, new forms of exploitation are to be expected.
     Since its economic well-being and grip on politics depend on the Occupation, the security establishment does not contemplate the possibility of finding a political solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Instead, the army and its aggregates hope to manage the crisis indefinitely....