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

VTJP Archives | Newslinks Archives  
5 June 2008

New Gaza violence claims man, toddler
Mehdi Lebouachera, Daily Star 6/6/2008
Agence France Press - NIR OZ, Israel: An Israeli man was killed in a mortar attack by Gaza militants on Thursday, triggering an air raid on the impoverished territory that left a 4-year-old Palestinian girl dead. The Israeli was killed when two mortar rounds slammed into a kibbutz in southern Israel in an attack claimed by the armed wing of the Islamist Hamas that rules the Gaza Strip. A military spokesman said three mortar bombs were fired from Gaza, with two hitting near a factory in the Nir Oz kibbutz, east of the southern Gaza Strip, in what was the first such deadly attack by militants since May 12. Israel’s military initially said rockets had hit the kibbutz but later corrected the statement. Several hours later, Aya al-Manjar, age 4, was killed and her mother critically wounded in an air strike by an Israeli drone which the Israelis said was targeting militants in southern Gaza.

Haniyya of Hamas welcomes Abbas’ calls for national dialogue
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 6/6/2008
Senior Hamas official, Prime Minister of the dissolved government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyya welcomed on Thursday the calls of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas for holdingcomprehensive talks with Hamas and all other factions in order to achieve reconciliation. In a televised speech on Thursday evening marking the 1967 Israeli capturing of the rest of Palestine, Haniyya said that he issued orders to prepare the atmosphere for dialogue, and called for ending all incitement campaigns and for the release of all political detainees, ministers, legislators and mayors imprisoned by Israel. He demanded an immediate launch of a comprehensive dialogue based on the Yemini declaration and also based on all signed internal unity agreements including the Mecca Agreement and the National Unity Document. Haniyya also called on the Arab League to supervise the national dialogue and reconciliation efforts as it did when dealing with the recent Lebanese crisis.

Israeli forces attack Beit Ummar, shoot 15 year old on his way to school
Palestine News Network 6/3/2008
Hebron / Bekah Wolf - At approximately 1am Thursday Israeli soldiers, with their faces painted in camouflage (to blend in with the gray concrete and tan stone walls of Palestinian homes? ) invaded the home of Mohammed Fuwad Al-Qoom near the central mosque in Beit Ommar, Hebron District. The family was forced from the home and the soldiers remained all night. At approximately 8am, seven hours after soldiers first entered the village, an Israeli soldier shot Tariq Jamal Abu Maria, 15, in the abdomen on his way to school. He was taken to the hospital in Hebron, where he underwent surgery and is still in critical condition. By 9:30am 4 large Armored Personnel Carriers and 4 jeeps were in the center of the village, shooting copious amounts of tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets and throwing sound grenades. The youth of the village came out in force, throwing stones, paint, and oil at the APC from which Tariq was shot.

Fulbright recipients allowed to leave, but 700 other students still trapped
Palestine News Network 6/3/2008
Gaza / PCHR - Three days ago, on 1 June, Hadeel Abu Kwaik was sitting in her computer lab at Al-Azhar University in Gaza looking worried, and perplexed. Having just been told her Fulbright scholarship has been reinstated, she says she is "Happy but still worried. I’m still not sure we will [all] be able to leave for the US." Hadeel is one of seven Gaza students who, on 29 May, all received letters from the US Consulate in Jerusalem, informing them that their Fulbright scholarship applications would not be finalised. The US consulate letter gave no reason for the sudden withdrawing of the 7 scholarships: instead all seven students, three women and four men, were "Strongly encouraged" to re-apply for the same Fulbright scholarships the following year, and assured they would receive "Priority consideration." The withdrawing of these Fulbright scholarships caused international. . .

Occupation forces beat demonstrators, hospitalize a child and the leader of the Popular Committee
Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, Stop The Wall 6/4/2008
June4th, 2008 - The actions in Ni’lin continued yesterday, part of nearly daily demonstrations against the last phase of the construction of the Wall. Around 500 people turned out for yesterday’s demonstration against the construction of the Wall. The current route of the Wall will strip the village of a further 2,500 dunums of land from the village. Demonstrators approached the construction site yesterday and split into three groups. The first group engaged with the soldiers while the other two groups blocked the work of the bulldozers. One approached the bulldozers from the front while the second circled around to enter the worksite from behind. This action made it difficult for Occupation forces to target demonstrators. Even with the use of massive amounts of tear gas, soldiers failed to break up the demonstration.

Gaza ’army push closer than truce’
Al Jazeera 6/5/2008
Israel’s prime minister has said that fresh military operations in the Gaza Strip are more likely than a ceasefire agreement. "As it seems now, we are closer to a military operation than to another arrangement," Ehud Olmert told reporters in the US on Thursday. He said Egyptian peace efforts on the Gaza strip were "not ripening in a way that can bring a ceasefire". Olmert spoke after an Israeli man was killed in a mortar attack by Gaza fighters, triggering an air raid on the territory that left a four-year-old Palestinian girl dead. The girl’s mother and another woman were wounded in the air strike by an Israeli drone which the Israelis said had targeted Palestinian armed groups. The girl and her mother were outside their house near Khan Yunis in southern Gazawhen a drone fired a missile, witnesses said.

Abbas asks Rice to pressure Israel on settlement construction
Ma’an News Agency 6/5/2008
[Ma’anImages archive] Ramallah – Ma’an – In a phone conversation on Thursday with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas discussed developments in the peace process and the ongoing Israeli settlement expansion. Abbas demanded that Rice work to end Israeli settlement activities, including ‘natural growth,’ and to implement the Road Map. He confirmed the Palestinian side’s commitment to the relevant international legal decisions, the Road Map plan and US President George W. Bush’s vision for a Palestinian state, as well as the Arab peace initiative. Rice reviewed with Abbas the results of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s recent visit to Washington. Abbas explained to Rice his initiative regarding the internal Palestinian situation, which is based on implementing the Yemeni initiative deriving from the Arab summit in Damascus.

Obama’s praise of Israel angers Palestinians
Middle East Online 6/3/2008
WASHINGTON - On his first day as presumptive Democratic nominee, Barack Obama on Wednesday provoked a foreign policy row with Palestinian leaders after pouring lavish praise on Israel. The victorious Democratic presidential candidate said Jerusalem must remain the undivided capital of Israel, and said any Israel-Palestinian peace deal must preserve Israel’s integrity as a Jewish state. His comments on Jerusalem triggered immediate condemnation from across the Palestinian political spectrum, a possible political boon to Obama, who Republicans have slammed as the favored candidate of Islamist movement Hamas. In his first foreign policy speech of the general election, Obama spoke to the US-Israel lobby, targeting a perceived weakness with Jewish voters, and Republican claims he is naive on national security.

Bishara: Israel offered Golan to Syria during war
Sharon Roffe-Ofir, YNetNews 6/5/2008
Former MK who fled country to escape espionage charges gives tell-all interview to Israeli-Arab newspaper, says negotiations between with Damascus are ’a hopeless sham,’ accuses Olmert of having been corrupt for years - "Israel offered Syria to cede the Golan Heights during the Second Lebanon War in exchange for Damascus cutting its ties with Hizbullah," former Knesset Member Azmi Bishara said in an interview with the Nazareth-based ’al-Anwan al-Raisy’ newspaper. Journalist Yazid Dahamsha met with Bishara in a hotel in Amman earlier this week and heard him address current events in Israel as well as the circumstances surrounding his escape from a police investigation into whether he had indeed been collaborating with Hizbullah. "I could have gone to prison and become a hero, but the future of Balad (the political party he belonged to) was important to me, and so I preferred to become a refugee," said Bishara.

Female detainees demand feminist groups to intervene against Israeli decision to deport a detainee
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 6/6/2008
Palestinian female detainees, members and supporters of Hamas movement, imprisoned Israel demanded international and local feminist groups to intervene and practice pressure on the Israeli occupation in order void a deportation order against a female detainee and her six children. The detainees said that they observe with deep concern the Israeli decision to deport detainee Nora Al Hashlamoun, and her six children, to Jordan. They added that they are astonished by the international silence especially the silence of organizations that defend human rights and the rights of women. The detainees sated in a letter which was leaked to the press that "it is now the time for all Arab and Palestinians women, for all women around the globe, to voice their support for the release of Al Hashlamoun, instead of her deportation along with her children".

Attacks on Palestinian journalists from all sides: this time not the Israelis but from within
Palestine News Network 6/3/2008
Kristen Ess -- The Director and Founder of the Palestine Press News Agency, otherwise known as Pal Press, has been informed that no Gaza journalist working with the agency will be paid. The site is cut-off. The official notice came from a phone call on behalf of Rafiq Husseini, Director of President Abbas’ office in Ramallah on Thursday. The Gaza Strip is already suffering from Israeli siege, skyrocketing unemployment and underemployment, and continual attacks. The rate of poverty is ever increasing. Why the President’s Office is only focusing on the 23 Pal Press employees from the Gaza Strip is unknown. Husseini gave no explanation to Pal Press Director Wasim Gharib, nor did he answer his telephone when Gharib attempted to speak with him after receiving the news. Husseini also did not answer his phone when I attempted to reach him later this afternoon.

One Palestinian killed, 29 injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 6/6/2008
Gaza - Ma’an - One Palestinian civilian was killed and 29 others were injured in a series of Israeli airstrikes and ground attacks during Thursday night in the Beit Lahia area in the northern the Gaza Strip and east of Gaza City. Palestinian medical sources said that 27-year-old Khalil Sokkar was shot dead by special Israeli forces who invaded the Ash-Shuja’iyya neighborhood in eastern of Gaza City. Eyewitnesses said that Sokkar was on his way to rescue two injured civilians when the Israeli army shot him dead and opened fire on other civilians in the area. Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes targeted a security post related to the foreign ministry of the Hamas-run de facto government in Al-‘Atatreh, north of Beit Lahia, destroying the post and damaging neighboring houses. Medical sources announced that at least nine injured civilians were transferred to hospitals for treatment, while another twenty were treated in the field.

IDF soldier wounded by Palestinian gunmen
Hanan Greenberg, YNetNews 6/6/2008
Palestinians fire at army patrol working on Gaza border fence, wounding one; different patrol kills Hamas gunman near Nahal Oz. Palestinians report at least 10 people injured in overnight Gaza airstrikes - An IDF soldier was lightly to moderately wounded after Palestinian gunmen opened fire at an army patrol doing engineering work on the border security fence in the northern Gaza Strip. The soldier was evacuated to the hospital for treatment. Meanwhile, an IDF patrol operating in the Nahal Oz area shot and killed a Hamas gunman. Earlier, Palestinian sources reported at least 10 Palestinians injured in an Air Force (IAF) strike on a Hamas firing post in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya early Friday morning. The sources said an infant was among those injured. Palestinian sources also reported an IDF strike that occurred in the central Gaza Strip, but no injuries were reported.

A 4-year-old girl killed, her mother wounded in an Israeli air strike on Gaza
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 6/5/2008
The 4-year-old Aya Alnajjar, was killed on Thursday after noon, and her mother was wounded after an Israeli air strike hit the southern Gaza Strip village of Kheza’a. Palestinian medical sources confirmed that Aya arrived at the hospital with many wounds in her little body as her mother was wounded critically. The source said that a third residsdnt was also wound. Witnesses said that the victim child was walking along with her mother down the street in the Kheza’a town in southeastern Gaza Strip, when an Israeli missile mistaken a group of resistance fighters in the area. The targeted area has been witnessing an Israeli army invasion since the early hours of Thursday morning, as several Israeli tanks rolled few hundred meters depth into this Palestinian village. The latest Israeli air strike came hours after a Palestinian homemade shell landed on the Israeli settlement. . .

One Israeli killed, five others wounded in a shell attack on nearby Israel
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 6/5/2008
One Israeli citizen was killed and five others wounded after a homemade shell landed on the Israeli settlement town of Nir Auz, in the southern Israeli region of Negev, near the Gaza Strip. Israeli media sources reported that all wounded people were evacuated to the Suruka hospital of Beer Sheva’. Haieam Ramon, head of the so-called Israeli regional council, was quoted by the media outlets as saying " the alarms didn’t not work as the shell was falling, therefore, there occurred causalities". The Alqassam brigades, the armed wing of the ruling Hamas party, claimed responsibility for such an attack, saying it is a response to the Israeli army attacks on Gaza. Also on Thursday, several armored Israeli army vehicles invaded the southeastern part of Khan Younis city in southern Gaza Strip. Israeli political analyst Tsikiva Bahzakly, of the Israeli channel ten, commented. . .

Hamas vows to continue attacks
Ali Waked, YNetNews 6/5/2008
After claiming responsibility for shelling of kibbutz factory that killed Israeli father of three, senior official in Islamist group says attacks will only stop when ceasefire agreed on. ’But if that truce never comes, we have no intention of holding back our fire,’ he says - Hamas warned on Thursday afternoon that it would continue to launch attacks against Israeli communities near the Gaza border. "The firing will stop only when the zero-hour of a ceasefire goes into effect, but if that hour never comes - we have no intentions of holding back our fire," said a senior Hamas official following the shelling of a paint factory in Kibbutz Nir Oz earlier in the day in which 51-year-old Amnon Rosenberg was killed. The source emphasized that the attacks would continue "in particular if the enemy’s army continues its ground operations and airstrikes against Palestinians.

Human rights group condemns ’honour killing’ in Rafah
Ma’an News Agency 6/5/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The murder of a Palestinian woman in Rafah on Tuesday 3 June 2008, allegedly by relatives seeking to "maintain the family’s honour," was condemned by the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) on Thursday. The Centre called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the de-facto government in Gaza to prosecute the perpetrators of such ’honour crimes,’ and to take appropriate legal action to deter others from committing similar crimes in the future. In a statement to the media, PCHR reported that the body of 32-year-old Khouloud Mohammed al-Najjar was brought to the Mohammed Yousef al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah after Palestinian police arrived at the house of her father, Mohammed Hussein al-Najjar, in the al-Brazil neighborhood late on Tuesday evening. Her body was then transferred to the Forensic Medicine Department at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Father of 3 killed in mortar attack, IAF strike kills girl in Gaza
Yonat Atlas, YNetNews 6/5/2008
Mortar shell crashes into kibbutz factory, claims life of 51-year-old Amnon Rosenberg. Hamas claims responsibility for attack. IAF strikes gunmen in Gaza, Palestinians say young girl killed - The man killed Thursday morning by a Palestinian mortar shell attack has been identified as 51-year-old Amnon Rosenberg of Kibbutz Nirim. Rosenberg, a member of the kibbutz since 1982, is survived by a wife, Tali, and three children - Dor, Eldar and Yarden. Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades have claimed responsibility for the firing of the mortar, which crashed into the Nirlat factory in Kibbutz Nir Oz, which is located within Eshkol Regional Council limits. Five other employees sustained light-to-moderate shrapnel wounds and were evacuated to the Soroka Hospital in Beersheba for treatment. Several people were reported as suffering from shock at the scene.

Report: Palestinian girl killed in Gaza strike
Associated Press, YNetNews 6/5/2008
Hamas security reports Israeli aircraft fired on militants in southern Strip, missed. IAF confirms striking east of Khan Younis, says hit gunmen near mortar shell launch pad. Strike said to follow deadly attack on western Negev kibbutz - Palestinian doctors reported Thursday that a 4-year-old girl has been killed and her mother wounded in an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip. Hamas security said that an Israeli aircraft targeted a group of militants in the southern Gaza Strip but missed them. Relatives of the girl said that she and her mother were in the yard of a house that was hit by the errant missile. Thursday’s airstrike came shortly after Palestinian mortar fire on a southern Israeli community killed one person. The violence dealt a new setback to Egyptian efforts to mediate a truce between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

Israeli incursion east of Khan Younis; Israeli troops fire at farmers
Ma’an News Agency 6/5/2008
Gaza – Ma’an - Several Israeli military vehicles staged a limited incursion on Thursday in the small town of Absan, east of Khan Younis. The army approached Palestinian houses amid gunfire and moved towards toward a group of farmers who were working on their lands. Eyewitnesses reported that the Israeli forces were 500 meters from people’s houses while Israeli helicopters flew overhead, and bulldozers began razing agricultural lands and shooting at farmers. Meanwhile, Hamas’ military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, announced it had attempted to counter the Israeli incursion by firing a number of rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) at the Israeli bulldozers. They said they also fired six mortar shells at the invading Israeli troops.

Brigades target Migin military post
Ma’an News Agency 6/5/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The military wing of Islamic Jihad, the Al-Quds Brigades and the Fatah-affiliated As-Sa’idani Martyr Brigades claimed joint responsibility for launching three homemade projectiles at the Migin Israeli military post on Wednesday night. The Brigades said that the attacks were retaliation for the ongoing Israeli crimes against Palestinians. [end]

PFLP military wing launches homemade rocket at Sufa military base
Ma’an News Agency 6/5/2008
Gaza - Ma’an - The Abu Ali Mustafa brigades, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) party, claimed responsibility on Thursday for launching a homemade projectile at the Sufa military base east of Rafah. The brigades said in a statement that this came as a natural response to the ongoing Israeli aggression. [end]

Al-Quds brigades announce shooting Israeli soldier near Kisufim
Ma’an News Agency 6/5/2008
Gaza - Ma’an - The Al-Quds brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, said on Thursday that they were able to shoot an Israeli soldier in the area of Kisufim, east of the central Gaza Strip. The brigades said in a statement that the operation came in response to the ongoing Israeli atrocities. [end]

Al-Qassam launch three mortar shells at Israeli military post
Ma’an News Agency 6/5/2008
Gaza - Ma’an - The Al-Qassam brigades, Hamas’ military wing, claimed responsibility for launching three mortar shells at an Israeli military post east of Khaza’a southern of the Gaza Strip on Thursday. [end]

PA interior ministry condemns attack on Gaza fuel pipelines
Palestinian Information Center 6/4/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The legitimate PA interior ministry has condemned on Wednesday the attack on the fuel distribution pipelines that seriously wounded an employee of the petroleum public bureau. Sources in the ministry said that the attack occurred while allowing a shipment of the fuel into the besieged Gaza Strip, adding that the ministry was coordinating with concerned parties to allow the victim, who was identified as Wael Al-Ashram, medical treatment outside the Strip. However, the ministry, in a statement it issued regarding the attack, and a copy of which was obtained by the PIC opined that the assault was deliberate, and it might be carried out at the hands of local collaborators working for the "Zionist occupation", persons driven by their personal interests, or could be executed at the hands of vandal and irresponsible groups.

IDF stops flow of fuel into Gaza Strip
ASSOCIATED PRESS, Jerusalem Post 6/4/2008
A rocket fired into the Nahal Oz fuel terminal on Wednesday prompted the IDF to cease transferring industrial fuel, cooking gas and diesel to the territory. Fuel trucks drive in and out of the Nahal Oz fuel depot, used by Israel to pump fuel into Gaza, between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Wednesday. The rocket hit the Gaza side of the crossing, wounding a Palestinian worker there, Palestinian doctors said. Government spokesman David Baker said Wednesday’s attack showed terrorist groups’ "total disregard for the well-being of the Palestinian people." In late May a potentially disastrous terror attack at the Erez Crossing into Gaza was averted. . .

Palestinian girl, 6, killed as Israel retaliates for fatal kibbutz attack
Ibrahim Barzak in Gaza City, The Independent 6/3/2008
An Israeli man was killed and four other people were wounded yesterday when Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip fired a mortar shell at a kibbutz in the western Negev desert. Amnon Rosenberg, 51, who had three children, died when the shell landed outside a paint factory at the Kibbutz Nir Oz. The other casualties were hit by shrapnel. Not long after the attack, a six-year-old Palestinian girl was killed and her mother wounded as Israeli warplanes launched a strike on the militants suspected of firing the mortar. A missile missed its target and landed in the garden of the family’s home in Gaza. The violence dealt a new blow to Egyptian efforts to broker a truce between Israel and the Islamic militant group Hamas, which seized control of Gaza a year ago. The attacks came a day after the moderate Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, called for renewed dialogue with Hamas, which claimed responsibility for the kibbutz attack.

Israeli killed in rocket attack from Gaza
Middle East Online 6/3/2008
NIR OZ - An Israeli was killed on Thursday when a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a kibbutz in southern Israel, the army and medics said, in an attack claimed by the armed wing of Hamas. The home-made Qassam-style rocket hit an industral zone in the Nir Oz kibbutz east of the southern Gaza Strip, an army spokeswoman said. The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas which has ruled inside Gaza for almost a year (although the Strip is still under Israeli occupation), claimed responsibility. "There is one dead and four wounded - three seriously," said Itzik Elfassi, deputy head of the Magen David Adom emergency service in the Negev. Kibbutz official Haim Dery told reporters three rockets were fired, and that the first hit a local cemetery. "The second struck the factory perimeter.

Israeli forces bulldozing southern Gaza Strip’s Absan
Palestine News Network 6/3/2008
Gaza / PNN -- Palestinian security sources and eyewitnesses reported that Israeli forces again invaded eastern Khan Younis’ town of Absan on Thursday. This southern Gaza Strip area has been under particular target for weeks. Israeli bulldozers began razing homes and agricultural lands while soldiers opened fire. During a similar scenario just days ago Israeli forces killed a 70 year old man while opening random fire on the homes that are now being destroyed. A two-story home was destroyed while another was overtaken for a military outpost. The armed resistance attempted to intervene. As the attack continued on Thursday afternoon, Israeli forces arrested four Palestinians from the town of Absan.

Soldiers confiscate belongings of two charitable societies in Hebron, close them for 3 years
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 6/6/2008
Israeli soldiers stormed on Thursday two charitable societies in the Hebron area, in the southern part of the West Bank, confiscated their properties and closed them by military orders for three years. The two societies, in Al Shiokh village, and Beit Ola town, belong to the Islamic Charitable Society in Hebron. The Charitable society fosters orphans and schools them but it was also shut down by the Israeli forces earlier this year. The National Committee for Aiding the Orphans stated that more than fourteen military vehicles and jeeps invaded Al Shiokh village on Friday at dawn, and broke into the Charitable Society and its school and confiscated their belongings. Soldiers confiscated chairs, computers, office equipment, and documents that belong to the society and the school. Troops then hanged a military order shutting down the society for three years.

Israeli forces detain four civilians in Hebron; weapons seized
Ma’an News Agency 6/6/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an - Israeli press sources said that Israeli forces detained four civilians in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Friday morning. The sources added that Israeli forces claimed the detainees werein possession of a number of different kinds of weapons, including knives and homemade arms. The detainees were taken to an unknown destination. [end]

The Israeli army kills a Palestinian gunman and injures two in Hebron
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 6/5/2008
The Israeli army opened fire at a group of Palestinian gunmen killing one and injuring two in the old part of the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday. Security sources told IMEMC that armed clashes took place between armed men from two Palestinian rival families, Al Rajabi and Al Ajloni, on Thursday, in the old part of Hebron city near an Israeli illegal settlement. The sources added that Israeli troops from a nearby military tower opened fire at a group of armed men from Al Rajabi family, three were injured, one critical. Medics said that 22-year-old Adham Al Rajabi died before reaching the hospital due to the wounds he sustained; doctors said that Al Rajabi sustained deadly wounds in his chest. Israeli army sources said that its troops opened fire at a group of armed men near the settlement; soldiers confirmed that their fire was aimed at killing those men and not stopping the fight.

Palestinians: Man killed by IDF fire near Hebron
Ali Waked, YNetNews 6/5/2008
Sources in Hebron say Israeli soldiers intervened in violent clashes between rival clans, killed armed Palestinian -Palestinian sources said a man was shot dead Thursday by IDF soldiers who intervened in clashes between rival clans near the West Bank city of Hebron. The IDF said soldiers came upon a group of armed Palestinians in the Jabel Juar area, opened fire in their direction and identified a hit. According to the Palestinians, during clashes that erupted between members of the Rajabi and Ajlouni clans, Israeli soldiers that arrived at the scene opened fire at an armed Palestinian from the Ajlouni clan and killed him on the spot. In a previous clash that took place between the clans a few months ago IDF soldiers shot and killed and armed member of the Rajabi family. "The army has evened the score with the killing of an Ajlouni clan. . .

Palestine Today 060508
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 6/5/2008
Click on Link to download or play MP3 file || 4 m 0s || 3. 66 MB ||Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www. imemc. org, for Thursday June 5th, 2008. As Palestinians mark the 41st anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israeli military attacks leave a child and a man killed. These stories and more, coming up. Stay tuned. The News Cast On June 5th 1967, Israel occupied the Gaza Strip, the city of Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank. For 41 years, Palestinians have marked this day with protests against the ongoing Israeli occupation of their lands. Meanwhile, a four-year-old girl has been killed and her mother wounded in an Israeli air strike on the Gaza Strip. Another woman was also wounded in the attack, which Israelis authorities reported had targeted Palestinian armed groups.

IOF troops storm charity, wound 4 citizens in Al-Khalil
Palestinian Information Center 6/5/2008
AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces at dawn Thursday stormed Shuyukh village to the northeast of Al-Khalil and broke into and confiscated property of the Islamic charitable society branch in the town. Eyewitnesses said that soldiers in a big number of armored vehicles barged into the town in a pre-dawn raid and blasted their way into the premises of the charity then confiscated all its property after wreaking havoc in it. The soldiers handed the charity officials an order stipulating closure of the branch for two years. In a similar manner another IOF unit burst into Beit Ola west of Al-Khalil and ransacked a branch for the same charity before handing its officials an order for its closure for two years. Meanwhile, four Palestinians including two young women were wounded during an IOF incursion into Beit Ummar, north of Al-Khalil, on Thursday morning.

Israeli forces detain seven Palestinians from several districts in Nablus
Ma’an News Agency 6/5/2008
Nablus – Ma’an - Israeli occupation forces detained seven Palestinians including a father and his two sons at dawn on Thursday from several districts in Nablus, after storming the homes of dozens of citizens. Palestinian security sources said that the Israeli forces stormed the city from several sides at 2 am on Thursday, raiding homes in the Balata refugee camp and the old town of Nablus, as well as the village of Beit Ibba, west of the city. The sources confirmed that the detainees are: 25-year-old Ammar Mahmoud Sa’ida, 52-year-old Khalil Al-Nawwas and his sons Samir and Hassan Al-Nawwas from the Balata refugee camp, 21-year-old Ali Salim Adib, 21-year-old Mutaz Ismail Adib and 28-year-old Haitham Monib As-Sayeh from the Al-Qassareyah neighborhood in the old town.

Israeli authorities seize sulfuric acid from truck heading towards Palestinian territories
Ma’an News Agency 6/5/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli police and employees of the military’s civil administration seized 1,300 liters of sulfuric acid from an Israeli truck heading towards the Palestinian territories at the Eliyahu crossing near Qalqilia on Thursday afternoon. The Israeli authorities generally prevent the transfer of chemical or acidic materials to the Palestinian territories, as ordered by the Israeli central area commander, for fear that such materials could be used to produce explosives. Sulfuric acid is widely used to produce manufactured goods including fertilizers, detergents, dyes and pigments, medicines, some metals, and car batteries. [end]

Israeli forces detain citizens from Tulkarem district
Ma’an News Agency 6/5/2008
Tulkarem – Ma’an – Israeli forces detained two Palestinian citizens from Tulkarem and the town of ’Allar north of the city on Thursday morning after an extensive search of their homes. Security sources said that an Israeli military force raided the west side of the city and stormed the house of Yousef ’Odeh and detained his 22-year-old son, Mu’tassem. The source added that an Israeli force raided the town of ’Allar north of Tulkarem and detained 22-year-old Nader Ibrahim Al-Kharouf, taking him to an unknown destination. [end]

Olmert: Israel close to launching Gaza op
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 6/6/2008
Prime minister heads back to Israel, concurs with defense minister’s assessment of likely timetable for Gaza operation: ’There’s genuine problem here. We aren’t gung-ho about a possible military operation, but we certainly are not afraid of one’ - WASHINGTON Israel is close to launching an operation in Gaza," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told reporters moments before lifting off the tarmac in Washington en route back to Israel on Thursday evening. Olmert said he sees eye to eye with Defense Minister Ehud Barak on the latter’s assessment of the probable necessity at hand to launch a wide-scale counterterrorism operation in the Gaza Strip. "We’re nearing a crossroads in Gaza, both in terms of setting a timetable and the exacerbation of the problem," said the prime minister. During a tour of the. . .

Official: US-Israel strategic alliance strengthened during PM’s visit
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 6/5/2008
Official: US-Israel strategic alliance strengthened during PM’s visit. Members of Olmert’s delegation to Washington say US agreed to eqip Israel with F-35 fighter jets, connect country to missile alert system. WASHINGTON - WASHINGTON – "The strategic alliance between Israel and the US has grown stronger amid the Iranian threat," a member of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s delegation said Thursday, adding that the countries agreed to cooperate in case of an attack by the Islamic Republic. The official said President George W. Bush promised Olmert that the US would stand by Israel’s side and supply the necessary means for its defense. "We reached agreements regarding the offensive and defensive resources Israel will require in light of the reality in the Middle East," the source said prior to the delegation’s departure for Israel following an 80-hour visit that included meetings with senior

Israel says more military action likely in Gaza
Agence France-Presse - AFP, ReliefWeb 6/5/2008
ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, June 5, 2008 (AFP) - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Thursday Israeli military operations on the Gaza Strip were more likely than a ceasefire agreement, after the killing of an Israeli civilian. ’As it seems now, we are closer to a military operation than to another arrangement,’ Olmert told reporters as he prepared to end a US visit, referring to efforts by Egypt to mediate a truce. ’We are nearing the decision point,’ Olmert said. ’We are not happy about a military option but we certainly not afraid of one. It is my impression that Israel’s conditions for a truce are not bearing fruit in the way that could lead to a ceasefire. ’ Olmert spoke after an Israeli man was killed in a mortar attack by Gaza militants, triggering an air raid on the impoverished territory that left a four-year-old Palestinian girl dead.

Barak predicts operation in Gaza ’closer than ever’
Yonat Atlas, YNetNews 6/5/2008
Defense minister tours factory hit by Hamas mortar barrage, says Israel likely to launch act against Gaza terror groups before ceasefire agreement can be reached. Municipal leaders of bombarded communities in South demand government ’start putting safety of our residents first. ’ Meanwhile, Israel files formal complaint with UN over Palestinian attack - Defense Minister Ehud Barak arrived at the Nirlat paint factory in Kibbutz Nir Oz on Thursday evening to examine the site where a Hamas mortar barrage killed 51-year-old Amnon Rosenberg and wounded five other employees earlier in the day. Barak also visited the neighboring Kibbutz Nirim, of which Rosenberg and his family had been members since 1982. The defense minister sounded pessimistic regarding chances to secure a ceasefire deal with terror groups in Gaza in the near future.

Zawahri urges Gazans to step up attacks on Israel
Ali Khalil, Daily Star 6/6/2008
Agence France Presse DUBAI: Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahri has urged Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip to escalate attacks on Israel over its crippling siege of the territory. In an Internet message, Osama bin Laden’s Egyptian-born right-hand man also urged his countrymen to rise up to break the blockade and lambasted Arab governments, according to the message attributed to Zawahri and posted on an Islamist Web site Wednesday. "Do not give up. . . increase your martyrdom attacks, the number of rockets you launch and your ambushes. There is no other solution," he said in a message marking the anniversary of the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Gaza has been under a punishing Israeli blockade since the Islamist movement Hamas seized power in the impoverished Palestinian territory last June, in a move Israel claims is aimed at halting rocket attacks.

Zawahiri urges more Israel attacks
Al Jazeera 6/5/2008
Al-Zawahiri called Mubarak a "criminal traitor" - Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, has called on Palestinians to step up attacks on Israel, according to a new audio clip. Increased suicide and rocket attacks were the only way to end Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, a voice attributed to the Egyptian-born al-Qaeda deputy said in the message posted online on Wednesday. The message marked the 41st anniversary of the 1967 Middle East war, which Arabs refer to as the "naksa" or "setback", a banner accompanying the 11-minute audio file read. Israel occupied the West Bank, including Arab East Jerusalem, Gaza, the Sinai and the Golan Heights during the war. In the audio clip, the speaker told Palestinians: "Step up your martyrdom-seeking operations, and increase your missiles and ambushes, as there is no solution but this.

Zawahiri urges attacks on Israel
Middle East Online 6/3/2008
DUBAI - Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri urged Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip to escalate attacks on Israel over its crippling siege of the territory, in an Internet audio message. Osama bin Laden’s Egyptian-born righthand man also urged his countrymen to rise up to break the blockade and lambasted Arab governments, according to the message attributed to Zawahiri and posted on an Islamist website on Wednesday. "Do not give up. . . increase your martyrdom attacks, the number of rockets you launch and your ambushes. There is no other solution," Zawahiri said in the message marking the anniversary of the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Gaza has been under a punishing Israeli blockade since the Islamist movement Hamas seized power in the impoverished Palestinian territory last June, in a move Israel says is aimed at halting rocket attacks.

US Presidential candidates promise full support to Israel
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 6/6/2008
The three major candidates for the US Presidency all voiced their overwhelming support for the state of Israel this week, at the annual conference of the American Israel Political Action Committee, or AIPAC. Democratic Senator Barack Obama took a much more hawkish stand than he has in the past. In his speech to the pro-Israel group, Obama stated that he would meet with the leadership of Iran QUOTE "if and only if it can advance the interest of the United States. "This reverses a position he took last year that he would meet with Iranian leaders without preconditions. Obama also took a position on the disputed city of Jerusalem, saying that Jerusalem should be the QUOTE ’undivided’ capital of Israel. This statement goes even further than the position of George W. Bush, who met this week with Israel’s Prime Minister to discuss the status of Jerusalem, among other issues.

Israeli parliament endorses Jerusalem as ''capital of Jews''
Palestinian Information Center 6/5/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Israeli parliament on Wednesday endorsed the first reading of a draft law amending the Basic Law on Jerusalem to serve as the capital of "Jewish people" and not only of "Israel". Parliament member Zevelun Orlev, the leader of the far right Mafdal party, had tabled the amendment and said that Jerusalem must be the home of all Jews. The first reading was passed with 58 members voting yes and only 12 voting no. For his part, acting speaker of the Palestinian legislative council Dr. Ahmed Bahar on Wednesday called on Arabs and Muslims to shoulder their historic, religious and national responsibility toward Jerusalem. Bahar, who was speaking at the inauguration of the PLC session, asked the Arabs and Muslims to boost the Palestinian people’s steadfastness in face of the Israeli occupation’s attempts to expand settlements in the occupied holy city and to judaize its landmarks and displace its indigenous inhabitants.

Olmert at AIPAC: United with Bush on Iran
The Real News Network, International Middle East Media Center News 6/5/2008
Just as the Democratic Party was securing its nominee during their South Dakota and Montana primaries last night, Isreali Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was giving a speech to more than 7,000 people at the AIPAC dinner in Washington with possibly just as much consequence on the future of America’s foreign policy. In the midst of a conference that has been immersed in the question of how to deal with the conceived threat Iran presents, Olmert encouraged sanctions on Iran and nations that refine gasoline for Iran, and called for nations to make it clear that Iranian businesses are not welcome within their borders. He based this on the grounds that Iran is the world’s "largest exporter of terrorism" and that the country’s "defiance of international resolutions and its continued tactics of deception and denial leave no doubt as to the urgent need for more drastic and robust measures.

Arabs shocked by Obama speech
Al Jazeera 6/5/2008
Arab leaders have reacted with anger and disbelief to an intensely pro-Israeli speech delivered by Barack Obama, the US Democratic presumptive presidential nominee. Obama told the influential annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Council (Aipac): "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided." His comments appalled Palestinians who see occupied East Jerusalem as part of a future Palestinian state. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, told Al Jazeera on Thursday: "This is the worst thing to happen to us since 1967. . . he has given ammunition to extremists across the region". "What really disppoints me is that someone like Barack Obama, who runs a campaign on the theme of change - when it comes to Aipac and what’s needed to be said differently about the Palestinian state, he fails.

VIDEO - Obama pledges support for Israel
The Guardian 6/5/2008
In his first foreign policy speech since declaring himself the Democratic nominee for president, Barack Obama pledges unwavering support for Israel [end]

Obama on Israel
Robert Dreyfuss, Middle East Online 6/3/2008
Two days after John McCain paraded his tough-guy image in front of 7,000 supporters at the annual meeting of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Barack Obama delivered his own version of the Israeli national anthem June 4. For Obama, the AIPAC conference seemed like a tough room to work. But, by all indications, he wowed ’em. He started out by citing "provocative e-mails" circulating in the Jewish community. (He didn’t provide details, but people in the AIPAC audience did, when I asked: that Obama is captive of Palestinian ideology, that Obama is a secret Muslim, and so on. ) "Let me know if you see this guy Barack Obama," said Barack Obama, "because he sounds like a scary guy." Virtually every speech ever delivered to an AIPAC conference, going back 54 years to the first AIPAC conclave, is a litany of pro-Israeli shibboleths.

Iran fumes as Syria nods to Arab world
Sami Moubayed, Asia Times 6/6/2008
DAMASCUS - The strings pulled by Qatar, which helped end the stand-off in Lebanon last May, are now working to orchestrate a rapprochement between Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who meet King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia lastweekend in Jeddah, told the Qataris he does not mind mending relations withDamascus, but wants first to see a soothing of tension between the Syrians andRiyadh. Tension between Damascus and Cairo, after all, had stemmed from sour relationsbetween the Syrians and Riyadh, with regard to Lebanon, and led to the no-showof both Mubarak and Abdullah at the Arab summit in Damascus held in March. Bothcountries accused the Syrians of prolonging the presidential crisis in Beirutand preventing the election of Michel Suleiman as president. That is nowhistory.

Syria ’will cooperate’ during IAEA visit
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 6/6/2008
VIENNA: Syria told the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Thursday that it is ready to cooperate with agency inspectors when they visit an alleged clandestine nuclear facility in the Syrian desert, diplomats said. Syria’s atomic energy agency chief, Ibrahim Othman, told the IAEA’s 35-member board that Damascus would let inspectors examine a building which the United States alleges was a covert nuclear reactor built with North Korea’s help, the diplomats said. However, the building was destroyed in an Israeli air attack last September. The attack was strongly condemned by IAEA chief Mohammad ElBaradei. "The gist [of Othman’s remarks] was that Syria would cooperate with the IAEA," a diplomat close to the IAEA said on condition of anonymity. Syrian President Bashar Assad similarly said that Damascus would cooperate with UN inspectors, who are to travel to the country on June 22-24.

Siniora delivers draft of unity cabinet lineup to Sleiman
Hussein Abdallah, Daily Star 6/6/2008
BEIRUT: Prime Minister Fouad Siniora headed to the Presidential Palace late on Thursday to meet President Michel Sleiman and show him a first draft of the new cabinet’s lineup. Earlier on Thursday, Siniora contacted Sleiman and informed him about the outcome of his Wednesday meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri. Siniora’s information office said that the prime minister also briefed Sleiman on the security situation and the political complications that the recent incidents have caused. Siniora urged Interior Minister Hassan Sabeh and Defense Minister Elias Murr to take all necessary measures to preserve security in the country after recent clashes have put the consultations aimed at forming a new cabinet in jeopardy. Meanwhile, Sabeh called the Central Security Council to session late Thursday to discuss possible measures to be taken to contain the situation.

Assad hinges embassy on Lebanese unity government
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 6/6/2008
KUWAIT CITY: Syrian President Bashar Assad said in remarks published Thursday that he was prepared to open an embassy in Lebanon once a unity government that has good ties with Syria is formed in Beirut. Syria raised the issue of setting up diplomatic ties in 2005 "in light of new circumstances," but it was "not appropriate to open an embassy at a time when relations with Lebanon were not good," he was quoted by Kuwaiti newspapers as saying. "Our condition was that there should be a government of national unity [in Lebanon] and that we should have good relations with it," Assad said during a visit to Kuwait this week. "It is obvious that if there is a unity government that represents all Lebanese factions, we will have good relations with it," he said. "When these circumstances are in place, we will hopefully soon exchange embassies with Lebanon.

Shin Bet estimates Bishara recruiting for Hizbullah
Tova Tzimuki, YNetNews 6/5/2008
Deputy attorney general says internal security service suspects former Arab-Israeli MK ’remains in contact with elements that are hostile to the State of Israel’ - The Shin Bet internal security service estimates that former Arab-Israeli Knesset member Azmi Bishara is involved in recruitment on behalf of Hizbullah, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Thursday. According to a letter sent by Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri to Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel - Bishara is wanted for questioning in regarding his ties to the Lebanese terror group. "According to intelligence gathered by the Shin Bet, Bishara remains in contact with elements that are hostile to the State of Israel," Nizri wrote, adding that the internal security agency fears that these ties will lead to recruitment for Hizbullah and has warned members of Bishara’s former party Balad not to contact him.

Assad ready for ties with ’friendly’ Lebanon
Middle East Online 6/3/2008
KUWAIT CITY - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in remarks published on Thursday he was prepared to open an embassy in Lebanon once a unity government that has good relations with Syria is formed in Beirut. Syria raised the issue of establishing diplomatic ties in 2005 "in light of new circumstances," but it was "not appropriate to open an embassy at a time when relations with Lebanon were not good," he was quoted by Kuwaiti newspapers as saying. "Our condition was that there should be a government of national unity (in Lebanon) and that we should have good relations with it," Assad told local editors during a visit to Kuwait this week. "It is obvious that if there is a unity government that represents all Lebanese factions, we will have good relations with it," he said. "When these circumstances are in place, we will hopefully soon exchange embassies with Lebanon.

Key Lebanon bloc threatens to quit cabinet talks
Middle East Online 6/3/2008
BEIRUT - Lebanon’s ruling parliamentary bloc on Wednesday threatened to walk out of talks aimed at forming a national unity government, an official from the Future Bloc said. The warning came as Prime Minister Fouad Siniora continued efforts to form a new government after a deal last month between rival politicians and as newly elected President Michel Sleiman admitted some complications. The Future Bloc official said the group threatened "to suspend its participation in the consultations to form a government" after one of its supporters was shot and wounded, allegedly by a supporter of the opposition. Tuesday night’s attack "is a violation of the Doha accord," he said. The agreement, which was struck May 21 in the Qatari capital between rival Lebanese politicians, ended an 18-month crisis that erupted into street battles that killed 65 people.

Irish union passes motions in support of Palestine
Statement, Trade Union Friends of Palestine - ICTU, Electronic Intifada 6/5/2008
At its Biennial Delegate Conference in May 2008 the public sector union IMPACT passed two motions criticizing Israeli suppression of the Palestinian people and calling for a boycott of Israeli goods and services. The motions also called for divestment from those companies engaged in or profiting from the occupation as well as an education campaign to raise awareness of the plight of the Palestinian people. Conference furthermore called on the Irish Government to take a stand on Palestine independent of EU foreign policy, demanded the restoration of EU funding, and also called for the suspension of the preferential trading status enjoyed under the Euro-Med Agreement. The passing of these motions is yet another very significant development in terms of trade union solidarity since IMPACT is the largest public sector union in Ireland.

Chief PA negotiator: It needs a miracle to conclude peace this year
Palestinian Information Center 6/5/2008
RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- Ahmed Qurei, the chief PA negotiator with the Israeli occupation, has acknowledged that it needed a miracle to conclude a peace agreement before end of this year. He told a meeting for Fatah leading cadres in Ramallah on Wednesday that the gap between the two parties was still "very big". The Ramallah authority along with the Israeli occupation government had revived the negotiations track in November 2007 during the Annapolis conference with the aim of reaching an agreement in 2008 before end of American president George Bush’s term in office. Qurei said that no tangible progress on the ground was achieved on final status issues such as Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, lands, borders and all other questions despite formation of committees to discuss each issue. He called for solving the internal Palestinian division and initiating national dialogue, and added that the internal rift was not in the interest of any party.

Isolated Jenin opens to some cross-barrier traffic
The Christian Science Monitor, ReliefWeb 6/5/2008
Once a militant bastion, the West Bank city is now open to visits from Israeli Arabs. The move could help bolster the peace process and provide a much-needed economic boost. Jenin, West Bank - Once reputed as the cradle of suicide bombers, this northern West Bank city was the first Palestinian region that Israel sealed off by building its controversial separation barrier. But now, with militant gangs subdued and local police units fighting crime, for the first time in years Israeli Arabs like Iyad and Munah Sbeihad are being allowed to make day trips to Jenin to shop and visit relatives after years of separation. Prodded by the United States, the Israeli army and a reinforced Palestinian security force have tightened their security cooperation, attracting a stream of foreign dignitaries who are directing millions of dollars of aid to stoke renewed economic prosperity in the region.

Jerusalem conference seeks to ’build paths of peace’
Ynetnews, YNetNews 6/5/2008
’Our objective is to promote a rapprochement between Western and International societies and Israel,’ AMISRAEL head says of conference hosting politicians and delegates from 14 Latin American countries - "For a considerable group of Western citizens, Israel is synonymous with war, conflicts and injustice, which to our judgment is an erroneous vision," AMISRAEL head Dr. William Soto said during of the Brazil-based organization’s Jerusalem International Conference (JIC), which runs through June 5 at the Moriah Hotel in the capital. The conference will host politicians and delegates from 14 Latin American countries and will feature meetings at the Foreign Ministry and the KnessetAMISRAEL said it has recently established the Jerusalem International Conference as a key annual event bringing government ministers, legislative and judicial officials, and academic leaders. . .

Secretary-General condemns fatal attacks by militants, Israelis
United Nations Secretary-General, ReliefWeb 6/5/2008
The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: The Secretary-General condemns the ongoing rocket and mortar attacks by militant groups, including Hamas, from Gaza against crossing points and Israeli civilian targets, which caused the death of an Israeli civilian and four casualties today. He calls on Hamas and other militant groups to cease such acts. He also reminds them that these actions, as well as attacks on crossings, have detrimental implications for the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza. The Secretary-General also condemns the death of a Palestinian child and the injury of its mother in Gaza as the result of Israeli Air Force (IAF) fire. While recognizing Israel’s right to self-defence, the Secretary-General calls upon Israel to exercise maximum restraint, and reminds the IAF and the Israel Defense. . .

UN Secretary-General condemns Palestinians, Israel too
Yitzhak Benhorin, YNetNews 6/5/2008
Ban Ki-moon issues statement slamming Gaza rocket attacks after Israeli man killed in barrage on kibbutz while denouncing death of Palestinian girl in IAF strike - WASHINGTON- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement on Thursday condemning "the ongoing rocket and mortar attacks by militant groups, including Hamas, from Gaza against crossing points and Israeli civilian targets, which caused the death of an Israeli civilian and four casualties today." Ban called on "Hamas and other militant groups to cease such acts," saying the attacks "have detrimental implications for the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza." In the same statement the secretary-general also denounced "the death of a Palestinian child and the injury of its mother in Gaza as the result of Israeli Air Force fire.

Participants in Middle East meeting call for early status agreement
United Nations General Assembly, ReliefWeb 6/4/2008
International Meeting on Question of Palestine closes in Malta - MALTA, 4 June -- As the United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine closed this afternoon in Malta, participants urged support for all efforts aimed at achieving a final status agreement by the end of 2008, agreeing that the momentum provided by the Annapolis Conference of last November must not be lost. For that purpose, current Israeli-Palestinian negotiations must be sustained by tangible results on the ground, they said in a final document for the Meeting, which was held on 3 and 4 June 2008 by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People under the theme ‘Advancing the peace process -- Challenges facing the parties’.

Aid convoy heads to Palestinian territories today
Government of Jordan, ReliefWeb 6/3/2008
Amman, 3/6/2008, (Communication & Information Division - Royal Hashemite Court) -- Upon His Majesty King Abdullah’s directives, the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation (JHCO) will dispatch a 15-truck convoy laden with foodstuff and medical supplies to the West Bank and Gaza Strip to help reduce Palestinians’ suffering. JHCO Secretary General Mohammad Aitan said the aid is part of Jordan’s continued assistance to the Palestinians. The convoy, which will cross King Hussein Bridge today, is carrying 200 tonnes of drugs, medical supplies and foodstuff, he said, noting that eight of the trucks will head to the West Bank. [end]

Assistance to the Palestinian people: Report of the Secretary-General
United Nations General Assembly, ReliefWeb 5/7/2008
Summary - During the period under review, the Palestinian economy continued to suffer hardship and decline. In the aftermath of Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip and the formation of a new Palestinian Authority Government under Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the West Bank witnessed some modest economic recovery. The Gaza Strip, however, continued to experience drastic economic decline and private sector collapse due to a near-complete closure. There was significant progress in reform and pledges from international donors in the amount of $7. 7 billion for a three-year period to enable the implementation of the new Palestinian Reform and Development Plan. These developments reflected the de facto political split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip from June 2007 onwards. While bilateral political negotiations resumed between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. . .

Major Chinese business delegation visits Israel
Globes correspondent, Globes Online 6/5/2008
The 110-strong delegation’s visit coincided with the China (Shanghai) Economic & Trade Cooperation Exhibition in Tel Aviv. A 110-strong business delegation from Shanghai was in Israel this week. The visit coincided with the China (Shanghai) Economic & Trade Cooperation Exhibition in Tel Aviv, which in turn was part of Shanghai Week in Israel, held to mark the 15th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between Shanghai and Haifa. Alongside the exhibition was a forum for match-making between Israeli and Shanghai companies. Zhou Hui, Economic and Commercial Counselor at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Israel, told "Globes" that the delegation and exhibition had several aims. "We would like to import more Israeli competitive products to reduce the trade surplus," he said, and added that the kinds of products in which Israel is a world leader matched areas in which the Chinese government was keen to invest.

Israeli pension group invests in US private equity
Ron Stein, Globes Online 6/5/2008
Eight funds in the pension group created Israel’s largest institutional investor. Amitim, the group of eight old pension funds supervised by Ministry of Finance deputy budget director Yael Andoran, is continuing to expand its investments overseas through specialist investment managers and private equity funds. As part of this policy, the group recently agreed to a $200 million investment over three years in private equity fund US Partners Group. Partners Group has $17 billion in funds, and it will act as a gatekeeper on behalf of Amitim, making investments on its behalf in leading funds in Europe such as BC Partners, CVC Capital Partners, and Permira. Private equity is one of the preferred alternative investment instruments among institutional investors in Israel. It is an instrument that is becoming increasingly important for large institutional investors seeking to diversify their investment portfolios.

Bribery probe jeopardizes $2b India defense deal
Ran Dagoni, Washington, Globes Online 6/5/2008
Other countries may have an interest in the deal’s collapse. One of the biggest deals in the history of Israel’s defense industries, and the biggest deal in Israel-India trade has run into budgeting difficulties, in the wake of the allegations of bribery involving Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP. B1) and the Indian Defense Ministry, which have been under investigation since October 2006. Under the deal IAI, which is headed by chairman Yair Shamir and CEO Itzhak Nissan, will supply a defense system, worth a total of around $1. 5-2. 4 billion, based primarily on upgraded Barak sea-to-sea missiles with a range of 100-150 kilometers - the result of a joint effort by engineers at IAI and India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). In addition to the missiles, Israel is also said to be supplying India with launchers, UAVs, and radar systems. . .

Haniyya accepts offer of dialogue from Abbas
Adel Zaanoun, Daily Star 6/6/2008
Agence France Presse GAZA CITY: Palestine’s rival Fatah and Hamas factions appeared set to start reconciliation talks Thursday after the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip welcomed a call from President Mahmoud Abbas for national dialogue. A year after the Islamists seized power in Gaza, causing a political and territorial split, their head in Gaza, deposed Prime Minister Ismail Haniyya, said he wanted talks to take place as soon as possible. "We welcome the call by President Abbas to hold a national dialogue and the new positive spirit in his speech, and we state that our hand reaches out for national unity," Haniyya said. The US-backed Abbas on Wednesday unexpectedly called for talks with Hamas, which ousted his Fatah party from the Gaza in June 2007 after deadly factional fighting. "We call for the immediate launch of a national dialogue based on the Yemen initiative". . .

Hamas welcomes Abbas call for national dialogue
Palestinian Information Center 6/6/2008
DAMASCUS, (PIC)--Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of the Hamas political bureau said on Thursday that his Movement was amenable to the call of PA chief Mahmoud Abbas for national reconciliation , describing it as step in the right direction. "If we (Hamas and Fatah) agreed on the contents of the Sana’a declaration, then it will be good news for the Palestinian people", confirmed Abu Marzouk in an interview with the PIC. On Wednesday, Abbas delivered a televised speech, in which he called for the start of talks between Hamas and Fatah. Hamas had been calling for such dialogue for almost a year. The speech of Abbas was widely welcomed by Hamas Movement and other Palestinian national and Islamic factions. "Indeed, the speech of Abbas was quite different than his previous speeches both in the general atmosphere and the circumstances, and in the language used by Abbas for. . .

Three leftist Palestinian groups welcome Abbas’ calls for internal dialogue
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 6/6/2008
Three leftists Palestinains groups; Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and the Palestinian People Party (PPP) held a meeting in the Gaza Strip, discussed the reconciliation initiative of president Mahmoud Abbas, and welcomed all calls for internal dialogue and reconciliation. The three leftist groups stated that they have always supported all initiatives and efforts of reconciliation and that they have always presented similar initiatives calling for a comprehensive dialogue based on the Cairo Agreement, the National Unity Agreement and the Yemini Initiative. The groups also called on all factions, especially Fateh and Hamas movements, to positively respond to the calls of Abbas for a comprehensive dialogue in order to end the current crisis and the divisions which serve the interest of the occupation.

Haneyya to deliver important speech on inter-Palestinian dialog this evening
Palestinian Information Center 6/5/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Ismail Haneyya, the premier of the caretaker government, will deliver an important speech Thursday evening on the anniversary of the 1967 war, the speech will include the position of the Hamas Movement towards PA chief Mahmoud Abbas’s call for renewed comprehensive national dialog, Palestinian informed sources said. The sources told the PIC reporter that Haneyya will reiterate the welcoming position of his government and Hamas towards the resumption of unconditional national dialog to end the inter-Palestinian discord. The source underlined that most importently Abbas’s speech should be translated practically into unconditional dialog based on achieving the national interests without yielding to the external pressures. In a televised statement, Abbas called Wednesday for conducting inclusive national dialogue to implement the Yemeni initiative which he had previously rebuffed.

PLC deputies call on Hamas to respond positively to dialogue initiative
Ma’an News Agency 6/5/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – In a meeting held at the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) building in Ramallah on Thursday, PLC members and representatives of the different parliamentary blocs confirmed their support for President Mahmoud Abbas’ initiative to seek talks with the Hamas movement. The deputies called on Hamas to accept the initiative and respond positively to Abbas’ invitation, as it serves citizens and the national interest. They noted that restoring national unity and ending the internal divisions are crucial steps towards ending the Israeli occupation, establishing a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and the success of the Palestinian national project. The session was headed by Fatah parliamentary deputy Intissar Al-Wazir, and was attended by 30 PLC members from different parliamentary blocs, although the Reform and Change bloc was not represented at the meeting.

Hamas calls on Palestinian resistance to wage painful attacks against Israel
Palestinian Information Center 6/5/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement stated Thursday on the 41st anniversary of the 1967 war that it would remain adherent to the option of resistance against the Israeli occupation and to the inalienable Palestinian rights and constants, calling on the Palestinian resistance factions to wage painful strikes against Israel to force it to retreat from the Palestinian lands. In a statement, the Movement expressed its rejection of the Israeli manipulation regarding the prisoner swap deal, pledging that it will spare no effort to get all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails released. The statement warned PA chief Mahmoud Abbas of being lured by Israel and the American administration into lackluster partial solutions denying the Palestinian rights and giving the Palestinian people mere illusions. "Today is the 41st anniversary of the fifth of June 1967 defeat which was the biggest setback. . .

Ahmad Yousef: We hope Abbas will visit Gaza in the coming days
Ma’an News Agency 6/5/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Ahmad Yousef, Political Counselor in the Foreign Ministry of the de-facto government in Gaza, on Thursday applauded Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to restart the national dialogue. In statements to Ma’an, Yousef said that Abbas’ speech on Wednesday and Hamas’ immediate acceptance of it lay the groundwork for a return to political awareness and wisdom in the Palestinian arena, and constitute an important step towards national reconciliation and healing the divisions between Hamas and Fatah that have prevailed since June 2007. He told Ma’an, "We hope that there will be an Arab and Islamic effort to support the dialogue and reconciliation endeavors, push them forward, and deal with any obstacles on our path to success." Referring to Abbas’ Wednesday speech, Yousef stated: "We are waiting for this positive language to motivate everyone to. . .

Cautious optimism in Gaza after Abbas calls for implementing Yemeni initiative
Ma’an News Agency 6/5/2008
Gaza - Ma’an report - Gazans are feeling cautiously optimistic after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to commence a comprehensive national dialogue aimed at implementing the Yemeni initiative and accomplishing national reconciliation. Civilians in the besieged Gaza Strip are hoping a national dialogue will begin immediately after a year of internal crisis in the Palestinian territories that have split the territories in two with the Fatah government controlling the West Bank and Hamas in charge in the Gaza Strip. A taxi driver in Gaza told Ma’an, “we are fed up with talks and initiatives. We want a fast and practical implementation. ”A supermarket owner in Al-Wehdeh Street in Gaza expressed his hope that the dialogue will succeed, saying, “we feel things are different this time. A long time has passed since the division and, as we say, time is a healer.

Haniyeh hails calls to renew talks with Fatah
Ali Waked, YNetNews 6/5/2008
Hamas prime minister responds to PA President Abbas’ proposal to return to negotiations table, calls on Arab League to sponsor reconciliation process in similar manner to resolution of Lebanese crisis -Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh welcomed on Thursday evening the call of PalestinianPresident Mahmoud Abbas to renew dialogue between their warring factions. "We welcome the call by president Abbas to hold a national dialogue and the new positive spirit in his speech, and we state that our hand reaches out for national unity," said Haniyeh, adding that the talks must not be based on a principle of victorious and defeated. Speaking at an event marking 41 years since the Six Day War, Abbas extended a hand towards Hamas, urging it to go back on its military coup last year that ended in the collapse of Fatah’s rule over the Gaza Strip.

Hamas accepts talks with Fatah
Al Jazeera 6/5/2008
Hamas has said it is ready for reconciliation talks with Fatah and called for discussions to take place under the auspices of the Arab League. The announcement, by Ismail Haniya, the Hamas political leader, on Thursday came a day after Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, advocated dialogue between the rival factions. "We welcome the call by President Abbas to hold a national dialogue and the new positive spirit in his speech, and we state that our hand reaches out for national unity," Haniya said in a televised address. "We call for an immediate national dialogue. We are ready to make all efforts to have a successful dialogue," he said. Abbas made his appeal for talks in a televised speech on Wednesday, after months of insisting that Hamas relinquish control of Gaza before dialogue could begin.

Abbas calls for dialogue with Hamas
Agence France-Presse - AFP, ReliefWeb 6/4/2008
RAMALLAH, June 4, 2008 (AFP) - Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas called on Wednesday for a national dialogue toward reconciliation between his Fatah party and Hamas, which seized the Gaza Strip from forces loyal to him last June. ’For the sake of unity and following calls from Arab and friendly countries to return to the situation that prevailed in Gaza (before the takeover), I call for a comprehensive national dialogue based on the Yemeni intitiative,’ he said in a speech. In March, Hamas and Fatah reached a Yemeni-brokered deal on Sunday to open their first direct talks since the Islamists’ bloody seizure of the Gaza Strip. Hamas’s first reaction to the Abbas initiative was favourable. The group’s supremo in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, ’receives favourably this very positive call for a national dialogue in line with the Yemeni initiative,’ spokesman Taher Nunu said.

Hamas welcomes calls for national reconciliation dialogue
Palestinian Information Center 6/4/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Hamas said that it welcomes any Arab or Palestinian initiative for national reconciliation to serve the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people’s interests. Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahhar told PIC correspondent in a telephone contact on Wednesday evening that Hamas welcomes any Arab or Palestinian initiative calling for inter-Palestinian dialogue without preconditions and on the basis of serving the Palestinian people’s interests. Zahhar, who was responding to a call made by PA president Mahmoud Abbas for comprehensive national dialogue, called for setting up a preliminary committee to insure success of such dialogue. Earlier on Wednesday, Hamas political bureau member, Sami Khater denied media reports that there was a Qatari initiative to end the Palestinian political rift although he confirmed that Qatar was strongly moving on this track.

Rival Palestinian factions eye deal
Middle East Online 6/3/2008
GAZA CITY - Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas on Thursday appeared headed toward reconciliation talks, a year after the Islamists seized power in Gaza causing a political and territorial split. The US-backed Abbas on Wednesday unexpectedly called for talks with Hamas, which ousted his Fatah party from power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after deadly factional fighting. Hamas, which both Israel and the United States consider a terrorist organisation, welcomed the call. The head of the Islamist government in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, was to respond formally in a televised speech later on Thursday. Abbas wants the talks to be based on a Yemeni-brokered reconciliation deal which Hamas and Fatah reached in March but failed to implement amid disagreements over its conditions. Abbas had insisted the talks could only start after a return to the political status quo that. . .

Former MK Benizri to appeal bribery conviction
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 6/5/2008
’He feels he’s been done an injustice, and he intends to fight for his reputation,’ say representatives of former Shas MK found guilty by District Court of corruption - Former Knesset Member Shlomo Benizri filed an appeal with the Supreme Court on Thursday after being convicted on corruption charges. Benizri was found guilty of having accepted bribes from Moshe Sela, a building contractor, by the Jerusalem District Court in April. He was sentenced to an 18-month jail term and slapped with a fine of NIS 80,000 ($23,900). The court also ruled that Benizri’s acts carry moral turpitude. His attorney, Benny Nahari, said the former Shas MK "feels he’s been done an injustice. He maintains his innocence and he intends to fight for his reputation. "Two years ago, Benizri was indicted for passing on advance information to Sela which included details on the quota of foreign laborers expected to arrive in Israel.

Labor to support dissolution of Knesset
Attila Somfalvi, YNetNews 6/5/2008
Weekly party meeting ends with decision to push future bill of dissolution through preliminary reading. The twist: Even is passed, actual dissolution of Knesset would still be months away - Labor will support a bill calling for the dissolution of the present Knesset - that was the conclusion of Thursday’s Labor Party meeting. Labor Chief Ehud Barak seems inclined to support such a bill, should it be brought before the House for a preliminary reading. Labor ministers are expected to follow suit and vote in favor of the bill as well. The party’s willingness to support a dissipation bill coincides with Barak’s previous

Power cuts in Gaza Strip due to maintenance work
Ma’an News Agency 6/5/2008
Gaza – Ma’an - The reason Gaza City residents are undergoing frequent power cuts is because of essential maintenance work, Kan’an ’Obaid Deputy of the head of Energy Authority in the Gaza Strip said on Thursday. "The technical team from the ABB Company is still doing the maintenance work at the power station. They are fixing the first unit but the second unit is still working," ’Obaid told Ma’an. He appealed to citizens to be economical with their consumption of electricity to ease the pressure on the power plant and facilitate the working process. Meanwhile, Vice President of the Petrol Station Owners Assembly in Gaza Mahmoud Al-Khaznadar said that Israel did not allow any fuel into the besieged coastal sector on Thursday. On Wednesday, Israel closed the Nahel ’Oz crossing and halted the supply of fuel and gas after a mortar shell attack on the crossing.

Israel agrees to return of 55 patients to Gaza Strip
Ma’an News Agency 6/5/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Negotiations have been completed between the Palestinian health ministry and the Israeli authorities to allow 55 patients who have been receiving medical treatment in Jordan to return to the Gaza Strip, Mu’awiyah Hassanein, head of ambulance and emergency services in the Palestinian health ministry said on Thursday. Hassanein said, "the Israeli occupation will allow the return of all the patients from Jordanian territory after public administration and emergency service appeals. They can go through the Al-Karama crossing to Erez, north of the Gaza Strip," he said. Hassanein pointed out that the coordination took place with the Palestinian Embassy. [end]

Israel uses term ''unlawful combatant'' to justify detention without charges
Palestinian Information Center 6/5/2008
GAZA, (PIC)- The ministry of detainees and ex-detainees in Gaza stated Wednesday that the Israeli intelligence apparatus started using the term "unlawful combatant", which has no basis in international law, to justify the detention of Palestinian prisoners for an indefinite period without charge. Riyadh Al-Ashqar, the director of the ministry’s information office, underlined that the use of such a term incurs serious legal and human rights consequences where the IOA uses it to continue detaining Palestinian prisoners without pressing any charges or indictment against them or granting them a fair trial at the pretext that there are secret files which prove that they are "unlawful combatants". Ashqar pointed out that this decision is a gross violation of the minimum standards of human rights and international humanitarian law especially the fourth Geneva convention on the protection. . .

Mothers of the imprisoned: we want them to know that we have not given up
Palestine News Network 6/3/2008
Gaza / PCHR - Every Monday morning a crowd of women gather in the courtyard of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza city. Most of the women arrive carrying a framed photograph of one or two men. When journalists start to arrive at around 10am, the women ask them to take pictures, and to film the vigil. "Some of us have been waiting more than six years to visit our sons in Israeli prisons," says one woman. "And we have all been forbidden to visit the prisoners in Israel for a year now. So we want our jailed husbands, sons and daughters to see us in newspapers and on television. They will then know that we haven’t given up." This vigil first started thirteen years ago in 1995, when two women, Um Jaber (Mother of Jaber) and Um Ibrahim stood together outside the ICRC, holding photographs of their imprisoned sons.

PCHR Weekly Report: 2 Palestinians killed, 12 wounded in Israeli attacks
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 6/6/2008
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)’s Weekly Report, during the week of 29 May - 04 June 2008, 2 Palestinians, including an elderly woman and a civilian who died of earlier injuries, were killed by Israeli forces. In addition, 12 Palestinians, including 8 civilians, were wounded by Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israeli attacks in the West Bank:During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 34 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Israeli forces abducted 43 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children. Since the beginning of this year, 1,267 Palestinian civilians have been abducted by Israeli forces in the West Bank. On 31 May, a Palestinian child was injured when Israeli forces fired live ammunition at a number of children who threw stones at Israeli military vehicles in Sarra village, southwest of Nablus.

Protest camp built in Qaffin, Tulkarem, as part of ‘Summer Against Apartheid’
International Solidarity Movement 6/5/2008
Tulkarem Region - Photos - On the 5th June, hundreds of Palestinians, joined by international and Israeli activists demonstrated in the village of Qaffin, in the Tulkarm region of northern Palestine, marking the beginning of the ‘Summer Against Apartheid’ campaign. Qaffin village is situated close to the apartheid barrier and, while it has traditionally enjoyed good relations with the people of the nearby Jewish town of Metzar (in Israel proper), illegal seizures of farmland for the construction of the wall has added to tensions. A protest cam was established close to the apartheid wall. This camp will act as a center for activism and protest throughout the Summer. Several hundreds of townspeople, accompanied by international solidarity activists,Christian activists, Jewish sympathisers and Israeli Anarchists Against the Wall, marched from the town hall to the site of the Summer camp, set up on village land close to the apartheid barrier.

Inauguration of the third international conference of popular resistance in Bil’in
Ma’an News Agency 6/5/2008
Ramallah - Ma’an - Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad attended the third international conference of popular resistance in Bil’in on Wednesday. Fayyad said in his inauguration speech that "the Palestinian will to achieve liberty and independence, and to safeguard the future of peace in the region will not be vanquished." He added that "the will of the residents of Bil’in in the face of the Israeli bulldozers will not be weakened and Palestinians’ confidence in establishing an independent Palestinian state will not be affected by Israeli barbaric practices." Fayyad said that Bil’in represents "the sacrifices given by Palestinians in each city, village or refugee camp or elsewhere who resist and struggle every single day to defeat death; their will of construction in confronting destruction; their will of endurance in confronting Israel’s plans of displacement. . .

Qafien village protest the Israeli illegal Wall
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 6/5/2008
Scores of Palestinians from Qafien village near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem supported by international and Israeli peace activists marched on Thursday afternoon against the illegal Israeli wall built of the village land. The protesters marched from the village towards the Wall that separates local farmers from their lands, upon arrival speeches were delivered by the organizers. According to local farmers in Qafien the Israeli Wall annexed at least 5 thousand Dunoms of their lands to Israel. (One Acer = Four Dunoms). The protest is part of a two months campaign "Together against the Wall" wich is organized by the local popular committees against the Wall and settlements construction in the West Bank. The organizers told media that on Friday another protests will be organized in Bil’in village near Ramallah, and in al Khader village near Bethlehem.

Demonstration against Beit Eba checkpoint, Nablus: ‘Summer Against Apartheid’ is launched
International Solidarity Movement 6/5/2008
Nablus Region - Photos - On 5th June, at 11am, approximately 50 demonstrators attempted to march to Beit Eba checkpoint to commemorate the 41st anniversary of the Naksa and as part of the 3-day, Palestine-wide, launch of the ‘Summer Against Apartheid’ campaign. Organised by the Nablus Committee Against the Siege; the Women’s Union; the Committee of Political Parties; and the Workers’ Unions, in conjunction with villages around Nablus, the demonstration commemorated the 41st anniversary of the Naksa - the date in 1967 when Israel first began their occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, which has since continued unabated. The demonstration was part of a series of actions throughout Palestine to launch the ‘Summer Against Apartheid’ campaign of 2008, with further actions planned across the West Bank throughout the summer.

The Israeli army stops a peaceful march near Nablus
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 6/5/2008
Israeli troops stopped on Thursday midday a peaceful protest organized at a military checkpoint near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Local NGOs and political groups in the city of Nablus with the participation of international peace activists organized the protest to commemorate the 5th of June. The protesters carried banners calling for the end of the Israeli occupation, and the removing of the Israeli army checkpoints. The protest was organized at Beit Iba checkpoint near Nablus city, as soon as the people marched towards the checkpoints Israeli soldiers stopped the march and did not allowed it to move. Organizers delivered speeches calling for the end of the Israeli occupation to the Palestinian land. In June 5th 1967 Israel, which was only occupied the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem city and the rest of the West Bank.

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory 29 May - 04 Jun 2008
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights - PCHR, ReliefWeb 6/4/2008
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) - An elderly Palestinian woman was killed by IOF in the Gaza Strip. - A Palestinian civilian died from previous injuries. - 12 Palestinians, including 8 civilians, were wounded by IOF in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. - IOF conducted 33 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and 5 ones into the Gaza Strip. - IOF razed 295 donums(1) of agricultural in the northern and southern Gaza Strip. - IOF completely demolished one house, and partially demolished five others in the southern Gaza Strip. - IOF arrested 43 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, in the West Bank, and detained 11 others in the Gaza Strip. - IOF have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT.

Route of Israeli barrier severely impacts Palestinian lives, isolates communities, expert panellists say
United Nations General Assembly, ReliefWeb 6/4/2008
UN International Meeting on Palestine Discusses Implications for Viable State - MALTA, 4 June - Israel’s construction of a barrier in the West Bank not only severely restricted the daily life of Palestinian civilians, but it also would render the creation of an independent, unified Palestinian State impossible, members of an expert panel told participants in the United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine in Qawra, Malta, this morning. ‘ Israel has the right, indeed the duty, to protect its citizens against attack. The objections are to the route,’ according to Thierry Delbreuve of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), who, along with other panellists, presented graphics and descriptive information to show how the barrier cut off areas from a contiguous. . .

Court martial acquits US Marine in massacre of 24 Iraqi civilians
Daily Star 6/6/2008
LOS ANGELES: A court martial on Wednesday acquitted a US Marine for his role in the deaths of 24 civilians in Haditha in Iraq in 2005, the sixth man to be exonerated in the affair, a military official said. Lieutenant Andrew Grayson, 27, was declared "not guilty on all charges" by a jury, said a spokesman for the Camp Pendleton military base in southern California. Grayson had been charged with making false statements and attempting to "fraudulently separate" from the Marine Corps. He was also charged with obstruction of justice, but the military judge dismissed this charge Tuesday. He was the first Marine to stand trial in connection with the killings of 24 men, women and children in Haditha, the most serious war-crime charges leveled at US forces since the 2003 invasion to oust Saddam Hussein. On November 19, 2005, a US soldier on patrol was killed by a roadside bomb in the village of Haditha, 260 kilometers west of Baghdad.

IRAQ: Government contributes to WFP food aid operations
Cohen A. Young/US Army, IRIN - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 6/6/2008
BAGHDAD, 5 June 2008 (IRIN) - The Iraqi government has said its US$40 million donation to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to provide internally displaced persons (IDPs) nationwide with food assistance would help ease the displacement problem. "We do believe that this contribution will boost international efforts in Iraq and will ease the suffering of our people who are in dire need of help," a government statement said on 2 June. However, there was no detail on how the food aid would be purchased or distributed, although WFP said it was considering buying food from the Iraqi market to reduce transportation costs and to help stimulate the local economy. "This contribution came at a crucial time and will allow us to maintain a regular and continuous food supply and distribution. . .

Iran threatens to sue countries damaging its nuclear reputation
News agencies, YNetNews 6/5/2008
Islamic Republic’s chief delegate to IAEA accuses US of pressuring UN agency to base latest probe on its nuclear program on fake evidence - Iran is threatening to sue countries that it says have damaged its reputation and pushed to have UN Security Council involvement in its nuclear program. It is also accusing the US of pressuring the International Atomic Energy Agency to base its latest probe of Iran’s nuclear program on fake evidence suggesting Tehran has tried to make nuclear arms. The comments were made Thursday to the 35-nation board of the IAEA by Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, Iran’s chief delegate to the agency. Last week the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued an unusually strongly worded report saying Iran may be withholding information needed to establish whether it tried to make nuclear arms, said Monday in.

US ’plans permanent bases in Iraq’
Al Jazeera 6/5/2008
Details have emerged of a deal between Washington and Baghdad that would allow the US forces to occupy permanent bases in Iraq, carry out military operations and have immunity from Iraqi law. The details, revealed in a report by The Independent, a British newspaper, on Thursday, is likely to prompt a violent backlash in the country. The deal would also cement the US military presence in Iraq and could prevent Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential hopeful, from making good on campaign promises to withdraw US troops if elected. The proposed pact has been controversial in Iraq, where there have been protests against it. "Iraqi sovereignty would be very much diluted if this pact goes ahead as Washington wants," Patrick Cockburn, author ofThe Independent report, told Al Jazeera.

Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control
Patrick Cockburn, The Independent 6/3/2008
A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November. The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq’s position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country. But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated.

US intelligence classified white phosphorus as ’chemical weapon
Peter Popham and Anne Penketh, The Independent 6/3/2008
The Italian journalist who launched the controversy over the American use of white phosphorus (WP) as a weapon of war in the Fallujah siege has accused the Americans of hypocrisy. Sigfrido Ranucci, who made the documentary for the RAI television channel aired two weeks ago, said that a US intelligence assessment had characterised WP after the first Gulf War as a "chemical weapon". The assessment was published in a declassified report on the American Department of Defence website. The file was headed: "Possible use of phosphorous chemical weapons by Iraq in Kurdish areas along the Iraqi-Turkish-Iranian borders." In late February 1991, an intelligence source reported, during the Iraqi crackdown on the Kurdish uprising that followed the coalition victory against Iraq, "Iraqi forces loyal to President Saddam may have possibly used white phosphorous chemical weapons against Kurdish rebels and the populace in Erbil and Dohuk.

Bush Replays Iraq Games on Iran
Ray McGovern, Middle East Online 6/3/2008
Stop! Please. Get beneath the hype over former White House press secretary Scott McClellan’s book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception. Don’t miss forest for trees. Not since John Dean told the truth about President Richard Nixon’s crimes have we had an account by a very close aide to a sitting president charging him with crimes of the most serious kind. McClellan writes that George W. Bush abandoned “candor and honesty” to wage a “political campaign” that led the nation into an “unnecessary war. ” The chief US prosecutor of senior Nazi officials at the post-World War II Nuremberg Trials, US Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, labeled such action – more correctly termed a war of aggression – the “supreme international crime. ” In other words, President Bush used propaganda and deception to lead the United States into what. . .

Five Years on, Saddam’s Successor Resurfaces
Nicola Nasser, Middle East Online 6/3/2008
Addouri Outlines Anti-US Strategy - For the first time since the US-led invasion of Iraq in April 2003, the deputy of Saddam Hussein, the late President of Iraq, Izzat Ibrahim Addouri has resurfaced, despite a $10 million US bounty on his head, in a lengthy interview with Abdel-Azim Manaf, the editor-in-chief of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Mawqif Al-Arabi, not a mainstream, on May 26 to lay out the strategy and tactics of the Iraqi resistance led by the former ruling party, Al-Baath. Addouri’s resurface and the resistance strategy he has laid out represent a direct challenge to the US occupying power. Manaf told The Associated Press (AP) he interviewed addouri "on the battlefield. "The "dialogue" was conducted "with a commander in his lion’s den and among his soldiers," in the "war zone" and on the "combat field while weapons were talking," Manaf said in his introduction.

US issues threat to Iraq’s $50bn foreign reserves in military deal
Patrick Cockburn, The Independent 6/3/2008
The US is holding hostage some $50bn (£25bn) of Iraq’s money in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to pressure the Iraqi government into signing an agreement seen by many Iraqis as prolonging the US occupation indefinitely, according to information leaked to The Independent. US negotiators are using the existence of $20bn in outstanding court judgments against Iraq in the US, to pressure their Iraqi counterparts into accepting the terms of the military deal, details of which were reported for the first time in this newspaper yesterday. Iraq’s foreign reserves are currently protected by a presidential order giving them immunity from judicial attachment but the US side in the talks has suggested that if the UN mandate, under which the money is held, lapses and is not replaced by the new agreement, then Iraq’s funds would lose this immunity.

US Marine acquitted of Haditha murder
Middle East Online 6/3/2008
LOS ANGELES - A court martial on Wednesday acquitted a US Marine for his role in the deaths of 24 civilians in Haditha in Iraq in 2005, the sixth man to be exonerated in the affair, a military official said. Lieutenant Andrew Grayson, 27, was declared "not guilty on all charges" by a jury, said a spokesman for the Camp Pendleton military base in southern California where the hearing started on May 28. Grayson had been charged with making false statements and attempting to fraudulently separate from the Marine Corps. He was also charged with obstruction of justice, but the military judge dismissed this charge Tuesday. He was the first Marine to stand trial in connection with the killings of 24 men, women and children in Haditha, the most serious war crime allegations leveled at US forces since the 2003 invasion.

Poll: Majority of Israelis support conversions
Kobi Nahshoni, YNetNews 6/5/2008
New data presented by Immigrant Absorption Ministry reveals Israelis are highly supportive of immigration, conversion process, but fear mass none-Jewish immigration may lead to assimilation - A special survey held by the Immigrant Absorption Ministry looking at public stances regarding immigration, assimilation and conversion, revealed Thursday that a majority of the Israeli public is concerned that increased non-Jewish immigration into Israel may cause assimilation of the Jewish culture. Despite that view, said the ministry’s poll, the majority of the Israeli public is highly supportive of immigration and is willing to support the conversion process in order to keep the Jewish nature of Israel intact. Held in association with the Kelim Shluvim Institute, the survey polled 700 participants, both secular and religious, on questions of immigration, absorption, conversion and assimilation.


Articles


Welcome to year 41
Michael Sfard, Haaretz, International Solidarity Movement 6/5/2008
      The military commander of the West Bank, Major General Gadi Shamni, is a busy man. He has a country to run, and he has no separation of powers to worry about. He is at once legislator, judge, and director general of his little government that comprises his minister-officers aged 20-something.
     Only a small portion of his activities are known to the public, because running occupied territory includes countless daily decisions, instructions and actions. The following are some examples of his recent activities.
     One day the commander declared war on the handicapped of Qalqilyah. In an order he signed, he declared organizations he suspects of terrorist activities to be outside the law: the Association for the Rehabilitation of the Handicapped in Qalqilyah, the Handicapped Association, the Handicapped Rehabilitation Association, the Qalqilyah Association for the Rehabilitation of the Handicapped, the Qalqilyah Association for the Handicapped, the Organization for Assisting and Caring for the Handicapped, the Qalqilyah Association for the Rehabilitation of the Handicapped. These organizations thus became illegal and their members criminals.

With economic siege comes malnutrition

Rami Almeghari writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Electronic Intifada 6/4/2008
      "Can you imagine that when a child of mine asks me for one shekel [USD 0.30], I can’t afford to give it to him? That’s why I hide from my children from early in the morning until evening."
     Naser al-Batran is a 41-year-old father of five children living in the central Gaza Strip. He used to work for a weaving factory inside Israel but found himself jobless after Israel’s total closure of Gaza’s travel and commercial crossings in June 2007, worsening an already difficult economic situation since Israel began shutting out Palestinian laborers years ago.
     "Life has become miserable, extremely miserable," he said.
     The crippling economic blockade of the Gaza Strip colors all aspects of life there. According to the Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry, 70 percent of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents suffer from anemia, including 44 percent of pregnant women.
     Malnutrition among Palestinian children has also increased over the past 11 months, affecting more than 10 percent of Gaza’s children under the age of 18, according to the Gaza City-based Ard al-Insan health organization.

The stigmatization of anything Palestinian or Arab

Lilith Hope, Electronic Intifada 6/5/2008
      An article recently published on the BBC’s website told of a recent controversy regarding a Dunkin’ Donuts online commercial in which an American celebrity chef appeared wearing something that resembled the traditional kuffiyeh checkered scarf. The article stated that:
     "This fashion choice incensed at least one prominent conservative blogger, who said it evoked extremist videos.
     The blogger, Michelle Malkin, called the garment ’a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos.’"
     Admittedly, this is not a surprising reaction to come from a conservative American blogger, but it nevertheless sounds alarm bells in the minds of those who are aware of the increasing tendency to collapse everything Arab, especially Palestinian, into the category "terrorist." Moreover, the fact that the BBC offered no alternative analysis to Malkin’s comments indicates that it implicitly accepts them, another blow to representation of elements of Arab identity in the Western mainstream media. The visceral reaction of Malkin and her supporters, who succeeded in getting the Dunkin’ Donuts commercial removed from the web, should be shown for what it really is: another attempt at denying symbols of Palestinian resistance their history, and hence their legitimacy, and thereby relegating them to the category of irrational, violent incitements to terrorism.

The Watch List Through the Prism of Global War on Terrorism

Ahmad Al-Akhras, PhD, Palestine Think Tank 6/5/2008
      Ahmad Al-Akhras has a collection of his boarding passes for the past four plus years. Most of these boarding passes were marked for "secondary screening." Dr. Al-Akhras is the Vice Chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR.
     Like racial profiling, the so-called Watch List hinges on a false premise that people commit crimes because of their racial, ethnic or religious background. This false premise caused huge suffering to African America, Japanese Americans and now Arab and American Muslims. The worst part of this is the assumption th at practicing Islam, never mind being an activist at that, gives one an appetite for terrorism. In the process, people who are in good standing who did not commit nor had a criminal record are treated as "posing a threat to civil aviation or national security" or as "potential enemies of the state"
     Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post reported last year that since 2003, a database that stores names of "individuals that the intelligence community believes might harm the United States" has quadrupled from 100,000 to 435,000. I am sure the numbers now are way higher. The question is that if the US has these many "terrorists" or "dangerous people," then we have a real and huge problem that cannot be solved by a watch list that selectively targets people.

Losing ground

Ramzy Baroud, Al-Ahram Weekly 6/5/2008
      The agenda of US-Israeli hawks appears mired, for the time being, writes On 15 May, President Bush gave a speech before the Israeli Knesset decrying "radicals and terrorists" (basically anyone who opposes the United States and Israel). His archaic references to the "promised land" and "chosen people" certainly appealed to the equally outdated and exclusivist views of many, though not all, Israeli Knesset members who reportedly saw in Bush the quintessential Zionist.
     A few days later, Bush took his message to Sharm El-Sheikh, stating, "we must stand with the good and decent people of Iran and Syria, who deserve so much better than the life they have today. Every peaceful nation in the region has an interest in stopping these nations from supporting terrorism."
     Yet, on 21 May, media reports revealed that Israel and Syria were engaged in mediated peace talks in Turkey. Both sides sounded upbeat, with Syrian officials stating that Israel showed readiness to withdraw from the entire Golan Heights, which it occupied in 1967 and illegally annexed in 1981.

Lest we forget

Amira El-Noshokaty, Al-Ahram Weekly 6/5/2008
      Sixty years of Israeli occupation are being defied stitch by stitch.
     In a bright, spacious room, Sana Al-Digani sits among a group of women examining embroidered garments that are kept neatly folded in a glass cabinet alongside traditional silverware. For these women the embroidered clothes are far more than items to be worn. Each stitch is a reaffirmation of identity, a setting down of the past, for these women are Palestinians and in practising their craft they are reminding the world of the land that they have lost. "Palestinians are fighting to keep their heritage while reminding the world and the future generations of the biggest lie in history, one that claimed that Palestine was a land with no people and Israelis were the people with no land," says Al-Digani, head of the heritage committee at the General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW).
     A Palestinian flag marks the first floor of the building in Ramses Street where the women gather around a wooden table to sew stories of their homeland in vivid colours onto fabric.

Reflections on the 1967-war anniversary

Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank, Palestinian Information Center 6/5/2008
      Today marks the passage of 41 years since the outbreak of the 1967 war, or the Six-day war, as it is  known in the Israeli political phraseology. However, despite overwhelming Israeli military and political advantages, mainly due to Zionist influence and predominance in the West, particularly the United States, it is amply clear that the Palestinian people are keeping up the struggle for freedom and justice and self-determination.
     This struggle, everyone must understand, will never come to an end, until racism and oppression come to an end.
     In this somewhat lengthy article, I will  present some of my personal  recollections in relation to life under the sinister Israeli occupation. Interestingly, the nightmares of the occupation have only become more ghoulish. Now Israel’s Nazi face is exposed to all and sundry.

Bottomless basket

Khaled Amayreh, Al-Ahram Weekly 6/5/2008
      The Judaisation of occupied Jerusalem continues apace while the hapless Palestinian president refuses to quit "peace talks", reports from East JerusalemIsraeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is contemplating a large-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip which observers say is intended to deflect attention away from the corruption scandal in which he is increasingly mired. Speaking before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) convention in Washington on Tuesday night Olmert hinted at a wide-ranging "military campaign" in Gaza.
     "Israel will not be deterred from a large military operation in Gaza if and when we come to the conclusion that this is the best way to restore calm on our southern border," Olmert told the powerful American-Jewish pressure group. Earlier, Olmert had told representatives of Israeli settlers from the southern region bordering Gaza that "the moment of decision is imminent... the rockets will be stopped one way or another.

Can Qatar do it again?

Khaled Amayreh, Al-Ahram Weekly 6/5/2008
      On the back of its success in mediating Lebanon’s political standoff, Doha may soon be placing a toe in Palestinian waters, writes in Ramallah Having succeeded in getting erstwhile warring Lebanese factions to get their act together, Qatar is now exploring the prospects of mediating between Fatah and Hamas in the hope of restoring Palestinian national unity.
     However, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamed Bin Khalifa Al-Thani and his influential premier and foreign minister, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasem, seem to be treading cautiously (some say too cautiously) in the more complicated "Palestinian minefield".
     According to reliable Palestinian sources, Qatar has voiced its "initial willingness" to help "the Palestinian brothers" overcome their differences and re-establish national unity. The same sources were careful, however, to add that Qatari officials -- especially Bin Jasem -- wouldn’t be in a position to help the Palestinians if they were not willing to help themselves.

The ongoing Arab grief

Azmi Bishara, Al-Ahram Weekly 6/5/2008
      Until now, Arab denial of the reasons for the 1948 catastrophe leaves its meaning locked in echoes and beyond reach, writes The Nakba is a rupture in Palestinian history. Palestinian society was uprooted, the Palestinian city destroyed, and with each the dream harboured by Arab elites and middle classes between the world wars of building an independent Arab nation and catching up with the modern world. The Palestinian peasant who had vied with the forces of nature on his land with his hoe was ejected from that struggle and that harmony. Whereas once his dreams were woven with the fragrance of basil and olives, the lazy crawl of time and the seasons revolving slowly but surely like a waterwheel, his dreams fell into the hands of politicians, balances of power and international resolutions; his rites becoming seasonal conferences calling for return, the transistor radio proclaiming the promise of liberation and the fragrance of place evaporating in a haze of nostalgia.
     The Nakba is a rupture in modern Arab history because afterwards history became the repercussions of reactions to the Nakba in the course of which the dialectic of relations with the enemy supplanted and then became identified with the internal dialectic. The Arabs were stunned by what happened, but that collective shock marked the beginning of modern Arabism -- the Arabism of ruling regimes as opposed to the Arab nationalist ideas and movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They regarded what happened as an aberration of fate and insult that took the shape of the "alleged state of Israel"....

The alternate lobby

James Zogby, Al-Ahram Weekly 6/5/2008
      Not before time, in Washington there has emerged a counter-balance to hardline pro-Israel groups, writes Last month’s launch of "J Street" marks the culmination of a two-decades old evolution within the pro-Israel community in the US.
     J Street, which defines itself as "the political arm of the pro-Israel and pro-peace movement", states that it was founded "to promote meaningful American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli conflicts peacefully and diplomatically... [and] support a new direction for American policy in the Middle East."
     In what they refer to as their "family of organisations", J Street will include a lobbying arm that will advocate for peace on Capitol Hill, and an "unconnected" political action committee that will endorse pro-peace candidates for public office.
     While the hardline positions of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) have long-defined pro-Israel politics in Washington, in reality, American Jewish opinion has never been monolithic. AIPAC has always been opposed by those in the Jewish community who have argued for a more balanced approach to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Critical thinking

The Guardian 6/5/2008
      Celebrating Israel’s 60th anniversary this month has not been easy for me and many of my friends here who feel that Israel has taken a horribly wrong turn in the last 40 years. I am left with a feeling of desperation, and with a strong need to clarify the question what kind of criticism of Israel is constructive.
     Let me begin with a basic belief of mine: any criticism of Israel that does not actually incite racism and antisemitism is legitimate. Many supporters of Israel automatically play the card of antisemitism to muzzle criticism. This is intellectually and morally wrong and it is dangerous.
     Brian, I have been following the debate in the UK and the activities of Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), and I was happy to see a growing group of Jews liberate themselves from the stranglehold of Jewish organisations who, however sincerely, believe that Israel is best served by uncritically defending Israeli actions, whatever their human cost and long-term political consequences.

Gaza’s 700 (and counting) stranded students

Report, PCHR, Electronic Intifada 6/5/2008
      Three days ago, on 1 June, Hadeel Abu Kwaik was sitting in her computer lab at al-Azhar University in Gaza looking worried, and perplexed. Today, having just been told her Fulbright scholarship has been reinstated, she says she is "Happy but still worried. I’m still not sure we will [all] be able to leave for the US."
     Hadeel is one of seven Gaza students who, on 29 May, received letters from the US consulate in Jerusalem, informing them that their Fulbright scholarship applications would not be finalized. The US consulate letter gave no reason for the sudden withdrawing of the seven scholarships; instead, all seven students, three women and four men, were "strongly encouraged" to re-apply for the same Fulbright scholarships the following year, and assured they would receive "priority consideration."
     The withdrawing of these Fulbright scholarships caused an international uproar, momentarily focusing the world’s attention on the plight of the seven Gaza Strip students. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice intervened, saying she was "surprised" by the decision, and added, "If you cannot engage young people and give complete horizons to their expectations and their dreams, I don’t know that there will be any future for Palestine."