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

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2 July 2008

Three dead in Jerusalem after bizarre attack
Ron Bousso, Daily Star 7/3/2008
Agence France Presse OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: A Palestinian man killed three people and injured 45 more as he rammed a payloader into buses and cars in Occupied Jerusalem on Wednesday before being shot dead by Israeli police, who branded the incident a terror attack. National police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld described the as a "terrorist" act by a 30-year-old man from Occupied East Jerusalem who worked for an Israeli company at a nearby construction site. Chaos erupted as the heavy vehicle barreled along the busy Jaffa Road, smashing into two crowded public buses, using its shovel to overturn one of them, and ramming other vehicles, reducing one car to a mangled wreck. Police officers climbed onto the payloader and shot the man dead. The attack was the first in Occupied Jerusalem since a Palestinian gunman killed eight students at a Jewish seminary in March.

Palestinian land in Silwan, East Jerusalem faces demolition threat
Maisa Abu Ghazaleh, Palestine News Network 7/2/2008
Jerusalem -- The Jerusalem Municipality sent ten notices stating its plans to reactivate the demolition order of Al Bustan, a neighborhood in Silwan, East Jerusalem this week. The demolition would destroy 50 acres of land and the homes of 1,500 Palestinians. Al Bustan residents managed to freeze a demolition order issued two years ago by putting political pressure on the Jerusalem Municipality. When Israeli forces imposed further land confiscation in February, residents began nonviolent protests, emphasizing that Israeli expansion into Palestinian territory is illegal under international law. According to Fakhri Abu Diab, a member of the Committee for Defending Land in Silwan, the committee will stand by the residents of Al Bustan to confront the present threat to the region. "During our visit to the Jerusalem Municipality office, we saw a map of Silwan," he said.

Bulldozer operation excuse to prevent reunification and revoke identification
Palestine News Network 7/2/2008
Jerusalem / PNN -- After Wednesday’s bulldozer operation by a Palestinian from East Jerusalem’s Sur Bahir, the Israeli Interior Minister, Meir Sheetrit said that all identity cards must be revoked and that no family reunification could be passed. This is already an issue that the Israelis have been trying to pass: preventing families who live within Israeli boundaries and those outside and in East Jerusalem, from being together. Those inside Israeli boundaries and in East Jerusalem carry Israeli-issued "blue" identity cards. The Ministry is calling to revoke them now under the guise that this is a new move due to today’s attack. The Israeli Ministry said that the Palestinians must be entirely separated while the Israeli Jerusalem Mayor called to demolish the family home of the man. Sheetrit said that the East Jerusalem man, because he had a blue identity card, received. . .

Palestinians break through Rafah crossing at Egypt border
Xinhua News Agency, ReliefWeb 7/2/2008
GAZA, Jul 02, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network) --Hundreds of Palestinian travelers broke into the Egyptian side of Rafah crossing on Wednesday, a day after being stuck between the Palestinian and the Egyptian gates, witnesses said. Some of the travelers could cross into the Egyptian territory as Egyptian forces boosted its presence with anti-riot gear. The Egyptians also opened water cannons at the Palestinians who were pushing towards the gates. Palestinian youths threw stones towards Egyptian forces at Rafah crossing and Palestinian forces that deployed on the border. Three Palestinians were reportedly injured by stones. Egypt announced that the crossing was closed following the turmoil, Palestinian sources said. The Hamas-controlled interior ministry also called on the people to evacuate the crossing.

John Holmes: Continued Pressure on Israel to Allow Humanitarian Good
Kuwait News Agency, MIFTAH 7/2/2008
UN Under-Secretary-General for Humaniitarian Affairs and UN Coordinator for the food crisis John Holmes said Tuesday that the policy adopted is of continued pressure on the government of Israel to allow a much freer flow of humanitarian and commercial goods in order to allow the Palestinian people to breath and bring an end to a policy that "we" have described as that of collective punishment. In response to questions from reporters, Holmes explained that his department has intensive discussions with the Israelis on what is going in and about the right amounts of medical assistance needed. "This blockade, this isolation is wrong, should be relaxed and much humanitarian as well as commercial assistance must be allowed as soon as possible," he stressed. Holmes said, in a news conference today, that if the truce can help with that, so be it, but even if a truce was not there humanitarian aide must certainly be delivered.

New laws aim to revoke Israeli Arab terrorists’ citizenship
Shahar Ilan, Ha’aretz 7/3/2008
The Knesset approved in a preliminary reading on Wednesday two bills that would enable the government to revoke the citizenship of Israeli Arabs involved in terror activities as well as that of their families. The vote came hours after a Palestinian man went on a deadly rampage in downtown Jerusalem, ramming a bulldozer into a crowded bus and a string of vehicles, killing at least four people and wounding dozens. The bills were proposed by MKs Yuli Edelstein (Likud) and Nissan Slomiansky (National Union-National Religious Party), and were approved by an overwhelming majority in the Knesset. Slomiansky proposed granting the interior minister the authority to revoke the permanent residency benefits of East Jerusalem residents involved in terror and those of their families.

IOF troops kidnap paralyzed youth along with six others in Nablus
Palestinian Information Center 7/2/2008
NABLUS, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces at dawn Wednesday rounded up seven Palestinians in various Nablus suburbs including a paralyzed youth, local sources reported. They identified the paralyzed man as Othman Al-Khalili, and added that the invasion troops wreaked havoc in a number of citizens’ homes in Nablus city and nearby villages. Around 50 army vehicles stormed the villages of Beit Forik and Beit Dajan east of Nablus and declared them closed military zones, locals said. Meanwhile, locals in Marada village, north of Salfit, said that IOF bulldozers uprooted and buried hundreds of olive trees in a bid to pave the way for the construction of a highway that had previously led to the confiscation and/or destruction of hundreds of dunums of Palestinian cultivated land lots in Salfit district.

One more patient dies in Gaza as Israel maintains closure
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 7/2/2008
Spokesman of the popular committee against the Israeli blockade, Rami Abdo, announced on Wedensday that patient number 200 died after having been unable to go for treatment outside of Gaza as Israel continues to close border crossings for more than one year now. Mazen Arrar, 20 a cardiac patient, died while he was awaiting to enter through the Rafah crossing terminal yesterday, but he could not do so due to the continued closure of Gaza, which Israel enforced in June2007. Arrar’s death is the second in 24 hours, as well as the eight-month-old infant Ayat Anwar Dhaik, of the Nuseirat refugee camp, after she was unable to go outside of Gaza yesterday. In the meantime, spokesman of the Gaza’s crossings administration, Mohammad Sultan Odwan, told media outlets today that he expects a reopening of the commercial crossings as well as the Rafah crossing terminal by Wednesday morning.

Arab Negev man dies of wounds sustained after being attacked by Israeli placement 3 months ago
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/2/2008
The Naba’ News Agency reported on Tuesday that an Arab young man from the Negev died on Wednesday evening at an Israeli hospital after three months of suffering since he was brutally attacked by Israeli policemen in Ashkelon. The man was identified as Sabri Atwa Al Jirjawi, 26, from Wadi Al Ni’am village in the Negev. He is a father to one child girl. Al Jirjawi was attacked by two Israeli policemen in an area close to Ashkelon beach and was first moved to Barzilai hospital Ashkelon then he was moved to Soroka hospital in Be’er Sheva due to the seriousness of his condition. His brother, Ibrahim told the Naba’ news agency thatSabri left home along with his friend Ismail Abu Moharib, 21, and both headed for a picnic at the beach. While both were attempting to sit down, tow Israeli policemen approached them and started hitting them.

Israeli forces seize 15 Palestinians in the West Bank
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an – Israeli forces seized fifteen Palestinians during raids in the West Bank cities of Nablus, Ramallah and Bethlehem on Wednesday morning, Israeli sources said. In Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, 20 Israeli military vehicles arrived. Israeli troops ransacked several Palestinian homes before seizing Khadir Wishahi and Abdul-Latif Atiq, security sources said. Atiq is from the nearby village of Birqin, and he was in the camp visiting relatives at the time. Eyewitnesses told Ma’an’s reporter that Israeli troops fired randomly at houses in the camp, and detonated sonic bombs inside homes during house-to-house searches. In Nablus, Israeli forces detained six young Palestinian men from the Ad-Dahiya area south of Nablus after storming several houses. Palestinian security sources told Ma’an’s reporter that among the arrestees was a physically disabled man, 27-year-old Uthman Al-Khalili.

Olmert orders ministers to consider destroying attacker’s Jerusalem home
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Immediately after a Palestinian man plowed a massive construction vehicle into a bus in West Jerusalem on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered his government to look into the legality of destroying the home of the bulldozer driver’s home in East Jerusalem. Olmert also told Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog, and Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann, to consider revoking National Insurance Institute stipends from the terrorist’s family. Israeli media reported that the ministers are to examine the legal ramifications of both orders and report back later on Wednesday. Four people, including the attacker, were killed in the rampage, which left a bus overturned and a number of cars flattened. Israeli government officials and media were quick to label the incident a "terrorist attack," but the attacker’s motives are not known.

MK Barakeh: Racist Israeli law of citizenship up for extension
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Jerusalem – Ma’an – Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset Muhammad Barakeh representing the Democratic Front said on Wednesday that "those who prepared the racial Israeli law of citizenship must be tried in international court because it is a racial and dangerous law. " Barakeh was speaking before the Knesset while it discussed a one year extension of the emergency citizenship law. Under the law, Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza who are married to Israeli citizens are prohibited from living in Israel. The law was passed for the first time in 2002, and has been extended several times since. The law has been discussed several times recently, Barakeh added, and even the Israeli High Court has criticized it and warned against its continuation. However, he said, the Israeli government and an overwhelming majority of Knesset members are insisting on going ahead with the extension.

Jerusalem Mayor responds to this afternoon’s attack
Taylor Bray, International Middle East Media Center News 7/2/2008
After this afternoon’s attack in Jerusalem by a Palestinian man driving a bulldozer and killing at least three Israelis and injuring about 30 more, the Jerusalem Mayor responded in his own way. "My daughter was in the next bus, but she wasn’t hurt," Lupolianski told reporters. "To our regret the attackers do not cease coming up with new ways to strike at the heart of the Jewish people here in Jerusalem. " Along with the Jerusalem Mayor, the Deputy Prime Minister and Shas Chairman Eli Yishai also responded to the attack, stating, "Israel should demolish the home of the perpetrator’s family. If the perpetrator was an Israeli citizen, the law must be changed so that when an Israeli Arab carries out an attack his citizenship is revoked and he is deported," Yishai stated. The Shas leader added that even with the attack, he still wants the talks over the release of Gilad Shalit,. . .

Olmert, Barak: Demolish terrorists’ homes
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 7/2/2008
Prime minister, defense minister call to reverse 2005 decision to suspend policy of razing homes of terrorists after attacks as means of deterrence -After the shooting rampage at Mercaz Harav seminary in March left eight students dead, Defense Minister Ehud Barak called for the demolition of the terrorist’s home in east Jerusalem. It was never carried out. Following Wednesday’s deadly terror attack in Jerusalem which left three Israelis dead and dozens more wounded, Barak reiterated his position. In a letter released by his military secretary, Brig. Gen. Eitan Dangut, Barak wrote that the defense establishment and government must not fail to respond to a situation wherein a terrorist bearing an Israeli ID carries out a nationalistically- motivated attack in the heart of Israel. Earlier in the day Prime Minster Ehud Olmert issued a similar call to raze. . .

Israel demands UN condemnation of attack
Yitzhak Benhorin, YNetNews 7/2/2008
Israel files formal complaint with UN Security Council demanding it issue condemnation of deadly terror attack. US President Bush phones PM Olmert to express his condolences, British foreign secretary denounces rampage as ’horrific’ - WASHINGTON -UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement Wednesday saying he "condemns today’s attack in Jerusalem. " Ban’s press office said he "sends his condolences to the families of those killed and wishes those injured a speedy recovery. "A short while before his announcement Israel’s mission to the UN lodged a complaint with the Security Council, demanding it denounce the deadly terror attack which claimed the lives of three Israelis and wounded dozens more. The Israeli request recalled the council’s failure to condemn the murder of eight seminary students at the Mercaz Harav rabbinical college in March.

Secretary-General condemns deadly Jerusalem bulldozer attack
United Nations Secretary-General, ReliefWeb 7/2/2008
The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: The Secretary-General condemns today’s attack in Jerusalem, in which several people died and many were injured. He sends his condolences to the families of those killed and wishes those injured a speedy recovery. [end]

Islamic Jihad: Bulldozer attack is natural Palestinian reaction
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Islamic Jihad and its military wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, on Wednesday applauded the bulldozer attack in Jerusalem, saying it was "a natural reaction to Israeli criminal acts. " "The Gaza ceasefire should not mean Israelis can do whatever they like in the West Bank," they said in a statement. "The operation is a clear message to the occupation and the attacker did it on behalf of all of the Palestinian people and the Arab nation," the statement added. Furthermore, the statement said Israel should expect more attacks if they retaliate. In a separate statement, the Al-Quds Brigades threatened to retaliate to any Israeli violation of the ceasefire, calling on all Palestinian factions to take part in joint operations whether in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip.

ISRAEL-OPT: Hamas enforces ceasefire in Gaza
Tamar Dressler/IRIN, IRIN - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 7/3/2008
JERUSALEM/GAZA, 2 July 2008 (IRIN) - The shaky ceasefire between Israel and Hamas could relieve the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and benefit Hamas politically, but there is a way to go yet. A successful ceasefire would lead to Israel relaxing restrictions on Gaza, allowing a greater movement of goods and people in and out of the blockaded territory and help Hamas get the international recognition it has long craved, observers say. The ceasefire deal, brokered by Egypt last month, could also improve Hamas’s chances of opening the Rafah Crossing to Egypt. If Hamas is able to further consolidate its hold on Gaza it may be able to better control the use of force aimed externally, said Nicholas Pelham of the International Crisis Group, an international think-tank.

EU Official: Rafah won’t be Permanently Opened any Time Soon
The Jerusalem Post, MIFTAH 7/2/2008
Palestinian diplomat Nabil Amr said Monday that Egypt will open the Rafah border crossing for two days on Tuesday to allow hundreds of stranded on both sides to cross, but EU officials said this was only a temporary move, and did not represent the reopening of the crossing. Lt. -Gen. Pietro Pistolese, head of the EU Border Assistance Mission that monitored the Rafah crossing in 2005 and 2006, said that although the crossing is open from time to time for humanitarian reasons or to allow delegations to pass through, this did not constitute the legal opening of the crossing. While Israeli officials have said that under the cease-fire agreement Egypt hammered out for the Gaza Strip the Rafah crossing is not to be opened until significant progress is made for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit, Pistolese said there was no link between the two issues.

VIDEO: Policeman shoots and kills Jerusalem terrorist during rampage
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 7/3/2008
A policeman and an off-duty Israel Defense Forces soldier were being hailed as heroes Wednesday after they climbed up on the cab of the bulldozer driven by a terrorist and shot him dead. The terrorist - an Arab resident of East Jerusalem - had smashed the bulldozer into a series of vehicles, including a commuter bus, killing three people and wounding dozens more. Policeman Eli Mizrahi said he was at the Mahane Yehuda open-air market when he heard over his radio that the bulldozer was rumbling in his direction. Speeding to the scene on his motorcycle, Mizrahi arrived just after a policewoman shot the Palestinian driving the vehicle. But then, unexpectedly, the attacker stepped on the gas pedal once more and ran over a police car, Mizrahi said. "He started to drive like crazy and held the steering wheel, pressing against it, and. . .

Two teachers among the dead in Jerusalem attack
Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 7/3/2008
Three Israelis were killed and dozens more wounded on Wednesday when aPalestinian construction worker driving a bulldozer plowed deliberately into a crowded bus and a string of cars in downtown Jerusalem. Jerusalem residents Bat Sheva Unterman, 33, Elizabeth Goren-Friedman, 54, and Jean Raloy, were named as the fatalities in the attack. Unterman was a resident of Jerusalem’s Rehavia neighborhood, and worked as a nanny in a religious kingergarten in the city’s Har Homa quarter. She was killed when the car she was driving was crushed by the oncoming bulldozer. Unterman’s 6-month-old daughter, Efrat, was evacuated from the car just before the vehicle was hit. Her husband, Ido, was notified only hours after the attack that his wife had been killed.

Mother crushed to death in rampage, baby girl saved
Ronen Medzini, YNetNews 7/2/2008
Paramedic Eyal Zehavi rushed to scene of murderous Jerusalem terror attack with his pregnant wife, found himself treating infant extracted from crushed car her mother died in - Six-month-old Efrat Onterman is left motherless after the murderous terror attack on Wednesday evening in Jerusalem. From the time her mother Batsheva Onterman was crushed to death right next to her during the terrorist’s tractor rampage, Efrat was already placed in the hands of a foster family "that first and foremost embraced her. "  Afterwards, she was placed in her aunt’s care. This heart-wrenching story started with the trampling of one of the vehicles during the terrorist’s lethal massacring campaign. Batsheva did not survive, but small Efrat who was by her side was miraculously left untouched. Disloyal CitizensKnesset votes in favor of stripping citizenship from families. . .

Bulldozer turns over bus in Jerusalem terror attack
Globes'' correspondent, Globes Online 7/2/2008
There were at least 3 killed and about 36 wounded in the attack. A bulldozer, apparently driven through Jerusalem by an Arab man who went on a rampage, overturned cars and other vehicles, including a bus. One woman was killed and dozens were wounded in the attack. The wounded have been evacuated to hospitals. The police confirmed that a terrorist drove a bulldozer on Jaffa Road. The bulldozer had been used in work on the Jerusalem light rail. The incident began near the Israel Broadcasting Authority Building on Jaffa Road. A policeman saw the bulldozer approaching the bus with the intention of hitting it with the blade. The policeman fired at the bulldozer’s driver and hit him. Jerusalem District Commander Police Maj. -Gen. Aharon Franco told Channel 2 News, "The driver overturned two buses. The driver was killed by a policeman.

VIDEO - Man shot dead after Jerusalem bulldozer rampage
Mark Tran, David Batty and agencies, The Guardian 7/2/2008
A man seized control of a bulldozer and overturned a bus on a main road in Jerusalem today, killing at least three people before he was shot dead, Israeli police said. Officials identified the man as a Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem who had an Israeli identification card and a criminal record. He was shot by an off-duty soldier and then by an anti-terrorism officer, Eli Mizrahi. "I ran up the stairs [of the vehicle] and, when he was still driving like crazy and trying to harm civilians, I fired at him twice more and, that’s it, he was liquidated," Mizrahi said. A TV camera captured footage of the caterpillar bulldozer crushing a vehicle and an off-duty soldier shooting the driver in the head several times at point-blank range.

Lightning operation in Jenin: Israeli forces take man at gunpoint without explanation
Palestine News Network 7/2/2008
Jenin / Ali Samoudi - An Israeli special unit abducted a man from his home in Jenin City, late afternoon Wednesday. The quick operation lasted just 15 minutes. The eyewitness from beginning to end is just 12 years old and arrests such as this are common. A 12 year old nephew, Ala’ Abu Barmiil, describes the Israeli special forces as disguised in civilian attire when they hit his neighborhood overlooking Jenin Refugee Camp. They drove a white Subaru with Palestinian license plates. Ala’ reports, "I was standing in from of our house when the car arrived and then within minutes a larger car, jeeps and a bus followed, screaming through loudspeakers. Immediately four armed soldiers jumped out and burst into our house. Exactly after that 10 jeeps and three trucks loaded with soldiers arrived. "The 12 year old described the soldiers surrounding his father’s home and that of his uncle, while preventing cars from passing.

Witness says settlers’ rockets were third attack in three weeks
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – A Palestinian civilian who witnessed the homemade rockets launched from and Israeli settlement of Bracha near Nablus said that this was the third projectile attack in as many weeks. Jamal Najar, a resident of the village of Burin, where the rockets landed, told the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) that he was sitting on his veranda on Tuesday when saw a projectile launched from near the settlement’s mobile phone tower. The homemade projectiles made international headlines due to their resemblance to the rockets fired by Palestinian fighters from the Gaza Strip. “It looked like a rocket,” he said. The projectile landed on his land, amongst his olive trees, just 150 meters from his house. A second projectile followed two minutes later, coming from the same direction. “The rockets made a loud sound, and a small fire.

The Israeli army invades several areas in the West Bank and kidnaps 10 Palestinian civilians
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/2/2008
Palestinian sources said that the Israeli army has conducted at least 11 attacks targeting a number of West Bank cities and towns on Wednesday at dawn. The sources said that during those attacks 10 Palestinian civilians were kidnapped. The invasions were reported in Nablus city were five civilians were kidnapped. In addition to Jenin where troops took two civilians while three were kidnapped from Hebron city and nearby villages. The Israeli army stated that all those kidnapped were on what the army calls a "Wanted List" Palestinian sources confirmed all those kidnapped are civilians. [end]

Palestine Today 070208
Ghassan Bannoura - Audio Dept, International Middle East Media Center News 7/2/2008
Click on Link to download or play MP3 file|| 3 m 0s || 2. 75 MB || Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www. imemc. org, for Wednesday July 2nd, 2008. A Palestinian patient died in Gaza due to the Israeli siege, and an attack in Jerusalem leaves three Israelis killed, these stories and more coming up stay tuned. The News Cast Spokesman of the popular committee against the Israeli blockade, Rami Abdo, announced on Wednesday that patient number 200 Mazen Arrar, aged 20 a cardiac patient, died after having been unable to go for treatment outside of Gaza as Israel continues to close border crossings for more than one year now. Arrar’s death is the second in 24 hours, as well as the eight-month-old infant Ayat Dhaik, after she was unable to go outside of Gaza on Tuesday.

75 children and 23 women killed, the harvest of Israel’s terrorism in the first 6 months of 2008
Iqbal Tamimi, Palestine Think Tank 7/2/2008
The Israeli occupying forces have killed 75 children and 23 Palestinian women during the first half of this year, says a report published yesterday by the National and International Relations Department of the PLO in Ramallah. The report informs us that the Israeli military occupation authorities continued their violations of the rights of the Palestinians, showing no respect to international protests and Palestinian efforts to secure peace in the region, and to end the conflict. The report highlighted the main violations against the Palestinian people during the first half of 2008, most important of all the violation of the right of living … The report pointed out that the occupation army killed 466 Palestinian citizens during military operations carried out in the Palestinian territories during the first half of this year, including 75 children under the age of 18 and 23 women.

Hamas: 41 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces during June
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Gaza – Ma’an - Hamas announced on Wednesday that during June Israeli forces killed 41 Palestinians, including 16 Al-Qassam brigades affiliates, in addition to four children. Another 28 died as a result of the embargo imposed on the Gaza Strip, bringing the total number of victims to 199 since the start of the crippling siege on the coastal sector in June 2007. In a statement sent Ma’an the Hamas information office said that during June, 194 Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces, 179 of whom are from the West Bank. They also asserted that Israeli forces staged 136 incursions into the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the month. Hamas added that despite the invitations for dialogue but still the security services in the West Bank launch the political arrests of Hamas members and other Palestinian resisters and they are still detained in the Palestinian jails. . .

Report: Israel killed 29 Palestinians in June including four children
Palestinian Information Center 7/2/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Quds Press reported that the IOF troops killed last June 29 Palestinians including four children which means that the total number of the victims murdered during the first six months of 2008 rose to 449 Palestinians, mostly killed in the Gaza Strip. According to the report, Israel during June killed 24 Palestinians in Gaza alone due to its military escalations while five were murdered in the West Bank. The report also pointed out that the IOF troops have killed since the beginning of this year a total of 66 children. Most of the victims were killed before the calm took effect on 19 June and after that date the IOF killed four others in the West Bank taking advantage that the truce had not yet been activated in the West Bank. In a new development, a 20-year-old Palestinian young man called Mazen Arrar was proclaimed dead due to the closures and the Israeli siege.

Israel reopens crossings; UN says 600,000 Gazans face food shortage
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/2/2008
Israel announced on Wednesday that it will open the border crossings used to supply Gaza with goods and fuel according to orders by the Israeli defense minister Ehod Barak. Barak had ordered the army to close the border crossings on Tuesday after claims of Hamas violating the cease-fire deal with Israel and firing a home made shell at an Israeli area near Gaza. Meanwhile the Palestinian Center for Human Rights PCHR based in Gaza announced today that Israel has kept the border crossings closed between the May 25th and June 25th 2008 and did not open them as the truce deal states. Two weeks ago both Israel and Palestinian Resistance factions in Gaza agreed to a truce in the Gaza Strip, after long Egyptian mediation efforts. The ceasefire initially includes the Gaza Strip, on which Israel has been enforcing a crippling closure since June of last year.

Cement shipment insufficient to revive Gaza’s paralyzed construction sector
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Gaza - Ma’an – Israel allowed the first delivery of cement into the Gaza Strip in a year on Wednesday, but Palestinians in Gaza say the shipment was woefully short of what their besieged communities need. Israel allowed the passage of five trucks containing 40 tons of cement each, as well as five trucks containing iron and another five containing gravel. There has been absolutely no construction in the Strip in the last year. Millions of dollars in United Nations, World Bank, and private sector projects have been at a standstill. Private citizens have also been affected. One man told Ma’an he waited a year to get married because it was impossible to build a new house to start a family in. “A number of young men who were to get married had their dreams ended due to the crossings’ closure,” he said. The chief of the public union of Palestinian industries, Amr Hamad. . .

A Palestinian-Scottish couple are driving a ton and a half of urgently-needed medicines to Gaza
George Rishmawi, International Middle East Media Center News 7/2/2008
A Palestinian man and his Scottish wife will take a van loaded with 1. 5 tons of urgently needed medical supplies from Scotland to the Gaza Strip. Khalil Al Niss and Linda Willis will leave from the Scottish Parliament at noon on Thursday, July 10th and are expected to arrive at the Rafah crossing in Egypt on Tuesday, July 15th. The couple will drive their van which carries stickers reading "From Scotland to Gaza", across Europe and the Middle East to Egypt’s border with Gaza, where Israel’s US- and EU- backed siege is causing critical shortages of all medical supplies, needless deaths and immense suffering. Richard Falk, a noted Jewish-American and the UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine, has likened Israel’s cruel siege of Gaza to the behavior of the Nazis. Archbishop Desmond Tutu recently visited Gaza and called Israel’s siege an "˜abomination’.

Israel allows goods into Gaza
Associated Press, YNetNews 7/2/2008
State lets fuel, wheat, animal feed and dry cement into Gaza Strip, in accordance with ceasefire agreement. ’Security assessment enabled us to reopen crossings,’ says military spokesman -Israel will allow cement into the Gaza Strip later Wednesday for the first time in a year as crossings with the Palestinian territory are reopened in accordance with theceasefire agreement with Hamas, an Israeli spokesman said. Four crossings between Israel and Gaza reopened on schedule Wednesday, Israel and the Hamas rulers of Gaza said. Since a truce began June 19, Israel has closed the passages a total of six days in retaliation for the firing of rockets. "After evaluating the situation where we had a couple of days where rockets were fired, no rockets were fired yesterday and this has enabled us to reopen the crossings," Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner said.

Israel reopens Gaza crossings for goods
Middle East Online 7/2/2008
GAZA - Israel reopened Wednesday three border crossings for goods into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, ending the blockade it had reimposed on the Palestinian territory for a rocket attack, an Israeli military spokesman said. "The Karni, Nahal Oz and Erez terminals were reopened this morning," said spokesman Peter Lerner. Israel claimed it closed the three crossings -- the main points for transit of goods into the impoverished territory -- on Tuesday in response to a rocket attack the day before in violation of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement. Egypt partially opened its Rafah crossing point with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, allowing Palestinians needing to leave the territory to do so. Palestinians and UN officials had said the Israeli army fired shots across the border on several occasions over the first week of the truce, wounding a farmer and another man.

Haneyya calls on Egypt to pressure Israel to respect truce agreement
Palestinian Information Center 7/2/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Ismail Haneyya, the premier of the PA caretaker government, called Tuesday on Egypt to intervene to pressure Israel to respect the truce agreement and also called on the Palestinian factions to protect the national consensus about it, deploring Israel’s retreat from the truce obligations. In a speech during a popular meeting held on the second anniversary of the kidnapping of PLC lawmakers, Haneyya stated that the Israeli siege, which was imposed on the Gaza people to achieve political objectives, had failed to undermine their steadfastness and push them to make concessions. The premier underlined that the calm was concluded within a national consensus on condition that it starts first reciprocally, simultaneously and comprehensively in Gaza and then in the West Bank later on the basis of responding to the demands of the Palestinian people for lifting the siege and stopping the aggression.

Al-Aqsa Brigades deny link to group that claimed truce-breaking attack
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Fatah’s armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Brigades, reaffirmed its commitment to the ceasefire with Israel on Wednesday, denying a report that a Fatah-linked group was responsible for a truce-breaking projectile attack. The Al-Aqsa Brigades denied any connection with an armed cell called "Suqour Al-Assifa," saying they would distance themselves from anyone who uses the name of Fatah or its military wing to foment political conflict among Palestinians. "The statement released under the name of "Suqour Al-Assifa" was an intrigue and those who released it aimed at distorting Fatah’s positions and to get the movement involved in needless plots while the Palestinian people need unity in order to break the siege and stop aggression against them," anAl-Aqsa Brigades’ statement added. Earlier on Wednesday a group calling itself “Suqour Al-Assifa in Palestine” claimed responsibility. . .

De facto interior ministry: only those on list can pass through Rafah crossing
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Gaza – Ma’an - The interior ministry of the de facto government in the Gaza Strip announced on Wednesday that citizens will only be allowed to pass through the Rafah crossing if their names are registered on their official list. Egypt announced the closure of the Rafah border crossing on Wednesday after thousands of angry Palestinians stormed the gates and were pushed back by Egyptian security. Hundreds of people have been issued travel permits by the Ramallah-based interior ministry, without the de facto interior ministry being informed. The de facto ministry called on the Ramallah ministry to inform them of the list of permits they have issued to avoid any further problems.

OPT: Egypt closes Rafah crossing following travelers’ turmoil
Xinhua News Agency, ReliefWeb 7/2/2008
GAZA, Jul 02, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network) --Egypt closed Rafah border crossing with Gaza Strip on Wednesday following the turmoil created by the Palestinian travelers who wanted to cross from Gaza into Egypt, officials in Gaza said. A statement issued by the deposed government of Hamas movement in Gaza said that following riots and chaos at Rafah crossing, Egypt announced that the crossing is closed until a further notice. Egypt had decided to open Rafah crossing for three days from Tuesday to Thursday. On Tuesday very few numbers of travelers, most of them patients who need urgent medical treatment managed to leave the Gaza Strip. The interior ministry of the deposed government of Hamas accused Egypt on Wednesday for tightening the siege imposed on Gaza Strip by slowing the movement at Rafah crossing.

Al Ghussein to PNN: Rafah crossing deplorable situation, many try to push through
Palestine News Network 7/2/2008
Gaza / PNN -- In the southern Gaza Strip’s crossing with Egypt this afternoon, dozens of Palestinians are trying to get out. It is their only chance, however the Egyptians threatened to keep the crossing closed if it is stormed. The Democratic Front said that this is the natural response to siege and closure, for which the Israelis bear full responsibility. The Rafah Crossing with Egypt opened late and closed early yesterday after not allowing passage for all of those scheduled for passage, Interior Ministry Spokesperson Ihab Al Ghussein told PNN from Gaza. "There was an agreement to allow 50 medical patients and 67 others to pass today, in addition to the 230 people who were scheduled for yesterday. "Al Ghussein pointed out that a fraction of those people were allowed and that the humanitarian situation is worsening.

Hamas calls on Egypt to speed up solution to the problem of stranded passengers
Palestinian Information Center 7/2/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement said on Wednesday that today’s incidents on the Rafah border terminal between Egypt and the Gaza Strip were the "natural result" of the stranded passengers and sick people’s attempt to end their suffering. Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, told the PIC that what happened was a clear message to the Egyptian side that it should allow swift passage for patients and students across the Rafah terminal especially when hundreds of them had been waiting for a long time to cross into Egyptian territory. He asked Cairo to adopt speedy steps to arrange for a meeting grouping the PA, Hamas, Egypt and the European Union in a bid to end the problem of the Rafah terminal. He also asked Egypt to pressure the Israeli occupation authority to end the suffering of one and a half million Palestinians besieged in the Gaza Strip.

Ghussein: Egypt promised to open borders for departures and arrivals
Palestinian Information Center 7/2/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Ihab Al-Ghussein, the spokesman for the PA interior ministry, stated that Egypt informed the Palestinian side two days ago that it would open the Rafah border crossing on Tuesday and Wednesday for departures and on Thursday for arrivals. In a statement, Ghussein explained that Egypt told the ministry that it would allow 50 Palestinian patients into its lands in addition to 67 Egyptian families stranded since the events of the border wall breach, noting that this small number does not solve the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. According to the spokesman, the Palestinian police have been making arrangements since the early morning hours of Tuesday to organize the movement of passengers where only 10 citizens were allowed in, adding that Egypt has not yet provided any information about the groups which will leave Gaza on Wednesday.

7000 Palestinians storm Rafah crossing; pushed back by Egyptian security
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Gaza - Ma’an - Egypt announced the closure of the Rafah border crossing on Wednesday after thousands of angry Palestinians stormed the gates. Seven thousand Palestinians stormed the Rafah crossing Wednesday, and were pushed back by Egyptian security. According to Ma’an sources, none of those waiting managed to cross. The storming came after an Egyptian promise to open the crossing, in response to an appeal from Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas on his recent visit to the country. The crossing was to be opened to let approximately two hundred Palestinians stranded in Egypt back into Gaza. On Tuesday approximately 100 Palestinians were allowed to pass into Egypt from Gaza, according to Ma’an’s sources. Thousands of Palestinians from Gaza lined up at the border after hearing the news that the crossing would be opened on Wednesday.

Egyptians use water cannons on Palestinians at Rafah crossing
Said Khatib, Daily Star 7/3/2008
Agence France PresseRAFAH, Gaza Strip: Egyptian security forces used water cannon Wednesday to keep thousands of Palestinians from storming across the border from Gaza, where Israel was due to ease a punishing blockade by opening crossings and allowing in truckloads of supplies. "Egyptian security forces are using water cannons to control thousands of Palestinians trying to enter Egypt," a Palestinian security official said, adding that calm was later restored. Witnesses on the Gaza side of the border said hundreds of Palestinians had stormed the border terminal in Rafah as Israel was easing the blockade of the impoverished territory. Six members of Egyptian security forces were lightly injured when Palestinians threw rocks at them, the official said, adding that Egypt later gave security forces an order "not to respond to Palestinian provocation.

US approves plan to increase military aid to Israel
Palestine Monitor, Palestine Monitor 7/2/2008
Last week, the US approved a $170 million addition to military aid to Israel. The addition constitutes what will be a 25% increase in military aid to Israel in 2009. Total military aid from the US to Israel over the next decade will be $30 billion. The new deal represents the biggest commitment from the US over the longest period of time in aid to Israel. Since Israel’s inception in 1948, the US has been tied financially to the Jewish state. US money has gone to Israel in the form of grants and loans for weapons, development, and economic aid. The Israel-US relationship is unique among international relations in several ways. First, US aid to Israel is one-third of the annual US foreign aid budget despite Israel’s small population and strong economy. While nearly $3 billion per year goes Israel (and primarily to Israel’s military), only $570 million collectively goes to the nations of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Sudan for humanitarian and development aid.

Russian aid plane for Palestinians lands at Amman
Xinhua News Agency, ReliefWeb 7/1/2008
AMMAN, Jul 01, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network) --A Russian cargo plane, laden with 80 tons of food and medicine for the Palestinians, arrived at Amman Civil Airport on Tuesday. The aid is the third batch of humanitarian assistance Russian government sent to the Palestinians in a week, according to Mohammed Majed Al Eitan, Secretary General of the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization. It comes to alleviate the Palestinian people’s suffering from the lack of food and medicine due to the Israeli siege imposed against them, Eitan added. He also praised the Russian role in the peace process and its continued support to the Arab issues, the forefront of which is the Palestinian cause. Israel closed all but one Gaza border crossings earlier Tuesday in response to a Palestinian mortar attack on southern Israel late Monday, halting supplies of food and other essential items to the Palestinian enclave.

Akron dinner raises fund for buying food for the needy in Palestine
Life for Relief and Development, ReliefWeb 7/1/2008
LIFE hosted a fundraising in Akron, OH to benefit poverty-stricken families in the Gaza Palestinian orphans in refugee camps in Jordan. LIFE for Relief and Development hosted a fundraising dinner on June 29, 20008 in Akron, Ohio to benefit poverty-stricken Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip as well as Palestinian orphans living in refugee camps in Jordan. The dinner’s keynote address was delivered by the new head of the Palestinian embassy in Washington, DC, Ambassador Nabil Abuznaid. Fund was raised during the event as LIFE speaker motivated audience members to use the wealth that Allah has blessed them with to assist those who are less fortunate. Additionally, one generous supporter donated thousands of dollars worth of brand new clothing, a brand new wheelchair, and a new walker, adding to the other in-kind contributions that LIFE has been collecting across America in order to ship to Gaza.

Prisoners’ lawyers announce boycott of Israeli courts
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – The Committee of Palestinian lawyers who defend prisoners in announced a two-day boycott of Israeli courts on Wednesday and Thursday. They said the boycott is meant to protest the actions of Israeli military prosecutors against Palestinian lawyers and detainees. The committee called on all lawyers and prisoners’ families to participate in the boycott. [end]

Administrative detention orders extended for 2 Palestinian detainees
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Nablus - Ma’an - The Israeli authorities on Wednesday extended the administrative detention orders for two Palestinian prisoners, according to a lawyer from Nafha, the Palestinian prisoners’ society for defending prisoners and human rights. The periods of detention for 37-year-old Faraj Abdel Rahman Rummaneh and 43-year-old Hussein Muhammad Abu Kweik were extended for the second time by six months. They were detained by Israeli forces who stormed their houses in Ramallah on January 18 2008. [end]

Friends of Humanity International campaign for release of PLC deputies
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Bethlehem- Ma’an- The Friends of Humanity International resumed their international campaign for the release of head members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) imprisoned in Israeli jails. The campaign includes sending emails to European and Arab members of parliament and the heads of international unions and organizations. The message will urge the leaders to call for the immediate release of PLC members. Organizers of the campaign have asked Arab and international media sources, institutions with websites, and email groups to post the link for the campaign, and spread the message as far as possible. [end] -- See also: Link to Campaign

Russian aid for Palestine reaches Amman airport
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Bethlehem- Ma’an- A Russian aid plane arrived at Jordan’s Amman airport on Tuesday carrying 80 tons of food, medical supplies and tents from the Russian Republican Union to the Palestinian people. This plane is the third plane to arrive in a week. Secretary General of the Jordanian Hashemite Charity Panel Mohammad Majed Al-Eittan expressed appreciation to the Russian Union, for its important role in the peace process. In a press statement he praised the Union’s continuous support for Arab issues especially the Palestinian cause. He said that the aid arrives at a time of great need; as Palestinians suffer from a great shortage in basic supplies and medicines due to the Israeli blockade.

Appeal for ending isolation of two Palestinian female prisoners on hunger strike
Palestinian Information Center 7/2/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The ministry of prisoners in the PA caretaker government on Tuesday appealed to international institutions and human rights groups to swiftly pressure the Israeli occupation authority to save the lives of two Palestinian female prisoners. The ministry in a statement said that the two prisoners, Amna Mona and Abir Atef started an open ended hunger strike since Saturday 21/6/2008 to protest their continued solitary confinement. It noted that both suffered a number of diseases and that Abir’s body weight drastically went down from 85 kilograms to only 31. The two on strike prisoners are daily harassed and pressured in their isolation cells in order to end their strike, the ministry pointed out.

Delegation of 2002 Nativity Church deportees meet with Haniyeh
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – A delegation of the Nativity Church deportees, taken from Bethlehem by Israeli forces during the 2002 incursion and deported to Europe and the Gaza strip, met with Prime Minister of the de facto government Ismael Haniyeh on Tuesday evening to discuss the national dialogue and the issue of deportees. One of the representatives of the group, Iyad ’Adawi, said in a phone call with Ma’an that the delegation includes all deportees affiliated with Fatah, Hamas, the Popular Front and the Islamic Jihad movement. "The deportees of the Church demanded Haniyeh to include them in the prisoners’ swap so they can return to Bethlehem. They insisted that they don’t want to return as prisoners, but they want their case to be separated from the exchange deal of Palestinian detainees where Haniyeh supported the issue of deportees," ’Adawi explained.

Protection of civilians weekly report 18 - 24 Jun 2008
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - OCHA, ReliefWeb 7/2/2008
Of note this weekGaza Strip: - On 19 June, at 6 am, the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas went into effect. As part of the ceasefire, Palestinian militants agreed to immediately halt their attacks on Israel and Israel agreed to cease its military operations in Gaza. Israel also agreed to ease its blockade of Gaza and to gradually lift its ban on the import of a large number of commodities. The ceasefire is supposed to be in force for six months. - The IDF killed one and injured six Palestinian militants. The IDF also injured a 67-year-old Palestinian man (unarmed civilian) on 23 June when the soldiers opened fire at a group of Palestinians collecting wood near the border (North Gaza). - On three occasions this week, IDF boats patrolling west of Beit Lahiya opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats at sea, forcing the fishermen to return to shore (North Gaza).

Abbas introduces Iraqi president to Israeli minister
Palestinian Information Center 7/2/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- PA chief Mahmoud Abbas introduced Iraqi president Jalal Al-Talbani to Israeli war minister Ehud Barak during the recent conference for socialist international in Athens, press reports said. Hebrew daily Ha’aretz said that Talbani warmly shook hands with Barak in the presence of Abbas, describing their meeting as "historic". A statement for the Iraqi president’s bureau said that Abbas was the one who introduced the president to Barak, and added that Talbani dealt with the matter in his capacity as deputy chairman of socialist international and as secretary general of the national Kurdistan party and not as president of Iraq. It said that what took place was a "civilized behavior" that did not carry any more meaning and did not reflect a change in the country’s position in support of the "Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority based on Arab unanimity and international resolutions".

Hamas official criticizes Abbas for introducing Iraqi President and Israeli Defense Minister
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/2/2008
Dr. Yiha Mussa, a Hamas MP, slammed on Wednesday the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas because the latter introduced the Israeli Defense Minister Ehod Barak to the Iraqi President Jallal Al Talebani on Tuesday in Greece. Mussa said that Abbas’ acts are shameful and the Palestinian people should block conference on Abbas. He said that Barak represents the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian President should not have done this. Barak shook the hand of Talebani in the Greek capital, Athens, on the sidelines of the annual gathering of the Socialist International congress, President Abbas was there. The Iraqi President Office stated on Wednesday that the hand shake did not mean that Iraq will have any diplomatic ties with Israel. Iraqi political groups have not yet responded to the incident. On Tuesday President Abbas addressed the Socialist International congress in Athens.

Erekat meets with British delegation to discuss prospects for 2008 peace
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Jericho- Ma’an- Chief Negotiator for the PLO Sa’eb Erekat met with former British Ambassador to Israel and Foreign Affairs representative Simon McDonald,British delegate for the peace process Michael Williams, and British Consul General Richard Makepeace on Wednesday. The meetings were held to discuss the 2008 "Year of Peace" initiative. The initiative hopes to reach a comprehensive peace agreement regarding all the issues of the final situation: Jerusalem, borders, settlements, refugees, water, and prisoners, by the end of this year. Erekat confirmed in a statement that the ongoing negotiations between both sides are deep and serious but that there remain a number of divisions on some issues. The first stage of such an agreement, says Erekat, will be pressuring Israel to implement its commitments to the first stage of the road map: ending the building of settlements, removing. . .

Britain tightens ban on Hezbollah to cover military wing
Reuters, Ha’aretz 7/3/2008
The British government said on Wednesday it was amending a ban on Hezbollah to cover its entire military wing and accused the Lebanese group of supporting terrorism in Iraq and the Palestinian territories. The ban, which needs parliamentary approval, replaces one on Hezbollah’s "external security organization". It will outlaw the group’s entire military wing in Britain. "This means that it will be a criminal offense to belong to, fundraise and encourage support for the military wing of the organization," the Home Office said in a statement. The statement said the group’s political, social and humanitarian activities would remain unaffected. "Hezbollah’s military wing is providing active support to militants in Iraq who are responsible for attacks both on coalition forces and on Iraqi civilians, including providing training in the use of deadly roadside bombs," it said.

Iran willing to talk
Kaveh L Afrasiabi, Asia Times 7/3/2008
This week, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki is in New York to attend a meeting of the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council, as well as to shore up support for Iran’s embattled diplomacy. Increasingly, Mottaki has been playing a leading role in the nuclear crisis and much depends on his ability to conduct skillful diplomacy with regard to the "Iran Six" group that has recently proposed a package of incentives to Iran in exchange for Iran’ suspension of its uranium-enrichment program. The group comprises the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany. On Monday, Mottaki met with several US editors and reporters at Iran’s mission to the UN, and in addition to sounding conciliatory and in favor of earnest negotiations without preconditions, he promised to reply to the letter of the "Iran Six" foreign ministers accompanying their package "within a couple of weeks".

Russian official warns against attack on Iran
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/3/2008
MOSCOW: Any military attack on Iran would have a "catastrophic" effect on the Middle East, a Russian Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday after reports that Israel might launch such an attack. "All this is very dangerous. If force is used it will be catastrophic for the whole Middle East," the official told journalists on condition of anonymity. The official also said Iran was "ready to look seriously at proposals" presented on June 14 by six world powers aimed at getting the Islamic Republic to suspend uranium enrichment. He called Iran’s attitude a "positive signal. "[end]

Oil rises above $142 on Israeli threats against Iran
Middle East Online 7/2/2008
SINGAPORE - Oil rose more than $1 a barrel on Wednesday, within sight of Monday’s record high above $143 on forecasts that global supply will lag demand and expectations the European Central Bank will raise interest rates later this week. US crude CLc1 rose $1. 24 to $142. 21 a barrel by 0559 GMT, while London Brent crude LCOc1 gained $1. 43 to $142. 10. The International Energy Agency on Tuesday cut its global oil supply capacity forecast by 2. 7 million barrels per day (bpd) to 95. 33 million bpd by 2012, boosting prices already lifted by Israeli threats against Iran and Tehran’s potential retaliation. Traders also bought crude on the weak dollar, which softened against the euro on Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s European Central Bank meeting, which is widely expected to conclude an interest rate hike to deal with quickening euro zone inflation.

Hizbullah said to train Shiite militiamen in Iraq as part of Iranian proxy war
Associated Press, YNetNews 7/2/2008
Sources tell AP Iranians prefer to use Hizbullah instructors because as Arabs, they can communicate better with the Iraqi Shiites, maintain lower profile than Farsi-speakers from Iran; add that instructors fled across border to Iran in late March or early April after US-backed Iraqi forces launched crackdown -Hizbullah instructors trained Shiite militiamen at remote camps in southern Iraq until three months ago when they slipped across the border to Iran - presumably to continue instruction on Iranian soil, according to two Shiite lawmakers and a top army officer. The three Iraqis claim the Lebanese Shiites were also involved in planning some of the most brazen attacks against US-led forces, includingthe January 2007 raid on a provincial government compound in Karbala in which five Americans died.

Hezbollah trains Shi’ite militias in Iraq on Iran’s behalf
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 7/3/2008
Hezbollah instructors trained Shi’ite militiamen at remote camps in southern Iraq until three months ago when they slipped across the border to Iran - presumably to continue instruction on Iranian soil, according to two Shiite lawmakers and a top army officer. The three Iraqis claim the Lebanese Shi’ites were also involved in planning some of the most brazen attacks against U. S. -led forces, including the January 2007 raid on a provincial government compound in Karbala in which five Americans died. The allegations, made in separate interviews with , point not only to an Iranian hand in the Iraq war, but also to Hezbollah’s willingness to expand beyond its Lebanese base and assume a broader role in the struggle against U. S. influence in the Middle East. All this suggests that Shi’ite-dominated Iran is waging a proxy war against the. . .

Palestinian Leader, Israeli Defense Minister Meet
The Associated Press, MIFTAH 7/2/2008
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met briefly Tuesday on the sidelines of a worldwide socialist party conference near Athens. The two met privately for a half-hour on the sidelines of a three-day Socialist International conference in this coastal resort, 25 miles south of Athens. After the meeting, Barak said he expected U. S. -backed peace talks with the Palestinians to continue, according to aides who were there when he spoke. " The Israeli public is ready for painful concessions," he said. "If there will not be peace in this round it will be responsibility of the Palestinians. " Addressing the conference earlier, Abbas said the talks "still face great obstacles" but the chance for a settlement should not be lost. " There is still a wide gap between the respective positions that cannot be overcome unless the Israeli government adopts positions

Nasrallah dedicates prisoner swap with Israel to ’all Lebanese’
Daily Star 7/3/2008
During the course of the news conference, Nasrallah also made his clearest indication yet that his party is willing to discuss the issue of its weapons within the context of a national defense strategy. "We are always ready to discuss the defense strategy. We are not afraid of discussion," Nasrallah said. "Anyone afraid of discussion is weak and has done something wrong. We have a comprehensive defense strategy and we are ready to discuss it at all times. "Nasrallah added that the 2006 Memorandum of Understanding between the Free Patriotic Movement and Hizbullah had formally "concretized" Lebanon’s defense strategy for the first time. Discussing the expected prisoner exchange with Israel, Nasrallah said he would not "set an exact date" for the swap. "The sooner it takes place the better," he added. "I expect that in a week or two it will be implemented.

Hezbollah chief: Prisoner swap to take place within two weeks
Yoav Stern and News Agencies, Ha’aretz 7/3/2008
The leader of the Lebanon-based Hezbollah militant group, Hassan Nasrallah, said on Wednesday the group has agreed to a deal to exchange prisoners with Israel and expects the swap to take place in one to two weeks. "I officially announce that we accept this deal," Nasrallah said, speaking by video link to reporters in Beirut. "We have accepted this agreement and consider it a great accomplishment. " The exchange should take place around July 15 or "a little before or a little after," Nasrallah said. "I think in one to two weeks the issue will be completed. "The deal, approved by Israel on Sunday, would see Hezbollah return captured Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, believed to be dead, for five Lebanese prisoners and the remains of around 200 Lebanese, Palestinian and Arab infiltrators to northern Israel.

Iranian Jews demand information on missing relatives from prisoner swap deal: petition to be heard in Israeli Court
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli Supreme Court is scheduled to discuss a petition against the prisoners swap deal with Hizbullah on Wednesday. According to Israel Radio, the petition was submitted by the families of 12 Jews of Iranian origins who disappeared in the 1990s when they tried to illegally flee from Iran to Israel. The petition submitted by the families asks that information about these 12 individuals be included in the demands of the swap agreement. They have requested that Israel withhold information about the four Iranian diplomats who disappeared in Lebanon in the 1980s, until Hizbullah gives over information about the fate of the Iranian Jews. It is expected that the prosecution will ask the court to annul the petition, citing the fact that "the prisoners swap is a political and security affair, and it is preferable that the court does not intervene.

Assad: Peace Talks Need New Push
Roni Sofer, MIFTAH 7/2/2008
Following the approval of the prisoner swap deal with Hizbullah, negotiations with Syria have undergone developments. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s envoys to Turkey, Yoram Turbowicz and Shalom Turgeman, are set to leave for the third round of indirect talks with Syria. On Monday Syrian President Bashar Assad dubbed the political climate in the Middle East "positive", and called on the EU to increase its involvement in the peace talks with Israel. " The political climate in Israel is generally positive. We must give the different political processes a new push in order for them to proceed in the right direction," Assad said during a meeting with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store in Damascus. He was quoted by the official Syrian news agency Sana. The president also called on Europe to "renew its role in the region, especially within the Israeli-Arab peace process," and emphasized his desire to strengthen ties between Syria and the European Union.

Direct Syria-Israel talks imminent, Turkish officials say
Roee Nahmias, YNetNews 7/2/2008
Turkish Foreign Ministry officials say date for launching of direct peace negotiations between Israel, Syria to be set following Assad’s upcoming visit to Paris -Sources in the Turkish Foreign Ministry estimate that direct peace negotiations between Israel and Syria will follow the next round of indirect talks between the countries, London-based Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat reported on Wednesday. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s advisors, Yoram Turbowitz and Shalom Turgeman arrived in Ankara on Tuesday to discuss, among other things, the possibility of launching direct talks with Syrians. The fourth indirect round of talks is scheduled to begin in two weeks’ time. A date for the launching of the direct negotiations, as well as the level of the officials who will participate in them will be determined following Syrian President Bashar Assad’s trip to Paris in about a week-and-a-half.

Syrians, Israelis continue third round of talks in Istanbul
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/3/2008
ANKARA: Israeli and Syrian negotiators pressed ahead with a third round of indirect talks under Turkish mediation on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said. The negotiations started in Istanbul Tuesday and would be wrapped up Thursday, Babacan told reporters at a joint press conference with visiting Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. "We believe this process will move forward as long as both sides maintain determination for a settlement," Babacan said, adding that the talks were "still at a very early stage. ""A successful outcome will have a positive effect on the Middle East," he said. Under the format agreed between the parties, the Israeli and Syrian officials do not see each other, and Turkish diplomats are shuttling between them. The talks started in May, ending an eight-year freeze.

Olmert pays secret visit to Dimona nuclear reactor
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday paid a secret visit to the Dimona Israeli nuclear reactor and listened to a report by the new manager Audi Adam. Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu had said 20 years ago that Israeli prime ministers used to visit the nuclear reactor regularly and oberve it from the Golda Meir balcony. Israeli sources abstained from publishing details of the visit which came two days after reports that Iran might strike the reactor if Israel carries out threatened attacks on Iranian nuclear reactors. Audi Adam, leader of Israeli northern command who was dismissed after the 2006 war against Hizbullah in Lebanon, was appointed the new manager of the Dimona reactor only two months ago. The Dimona reactor was established in the 1960s with French support, and current Israeli president Shimon Peres is believed to be the organizer of the project.

Bill Calling for Israeli Withdrawals only by Referendum Approved in First Reading
Amnon Meranda, MIFTAH 7/2/2008
A bill stating that a referendum will be held before the ceding of any land belonging to the State of Israel has been approved in its preliminary reading by the Knesset on Monday. The motion was approved with a majority of 65 MKs, and was opposed by 18. According to the bill, if the government approves the ceding of Israeli land the decision will be brought before the Knesset, and if it is approved by the Knesset, a referendum will be held within 180 days. However, should a withdrawal be supported by at least 80 MKs, the matter will not be brought to a referendum. The bill refers to areas that Israel has full sovereignty over, such as the Golan Heights and east Jerusalem. The West Bank does not fall under this category. MK Yisrael Katz (Likud), head of the Knesset’s Golan Heights lobby, said following the vote "the result is a victory (for MKs who oppose an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan).

Bill Banning Those Who Visit Enemy States from Knesset Duty Approved
Amnon Meranda, MIFTAH 7/2/2008
The Knesset passed a bill on Monday determining that any Israeli citizen who visits enemy territory without a proper permit will not be able to serve in the Knesset for seven years. Bishara Affair Continues Shin Bet estimates Bishara recruiting for Hizbullah / Tova Tzimuki 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’ Full story The bill was initiated by MKs Zevulun Orlev (National Union-NRP) and Esterina Tartman (Yisrael Beiteinu), following the affair of MK Azmi Bishara (National Democratic Assembly). The bill was approved by a majority of 52 to 24 MKs. Among those opposed were Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and Education Minister Yuli Tamir. According to the amendment to the basic law, those who visited an enemy country unlawfully within the seven years prior to the

Interior Minister: Arab councils collect less taxes
Erez Wollberg, Globes Online 7/2/2008
Meir Shitrit: Arab residents get assistant grants that are three times what they should be getting as a proportion of the population. "Arab residents get assistant grants that are three times what they should be getting as a proportion of the population," said Minister of the Interior Meir Meir Sheetrit in a comment on the local government crisis. Sheetrit,was speaking at the 16th annual Israel Democracy Institute Annual Caesarea Conference on national economic policy, which is being held this year in Eilat. He added that the rate property tax collection by Arab municipalities was four times lower than that of Jewish municipalities. Sheetrit added that a new committee had been formed in place of the Suari committee to determine the formula for calculating the balancing grants to be given to local authorities from 2009.

B’Tselem report says Israeli water policies violation of basic human rights
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – According to a new study conducted by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, average water consumption in Israel is 3. 5 times that in the West Bank. This discrepancy, the study says, will "have serious repercussions on the economy and the health of tens of thousands of Palestinians. " Already, according to the report released Tuesday, water consumption in parts of the West Bank is only one-third of what the World Health Organization (WHO) states as the minimum per capita usage. Since the past winter and spring saw little rainfall in the region, this summer’s water shortage is expected to be severe. Access to water is hampered by a number of factors. External problems stem from Israel’s discriminatory distribution policy—according to B’Tselem testimonials during water shortages supplies are diverted to settlements—and the limited drilling that the Palestinian Authority is permitted.

Gaza Reporter Says Mistreated by Israel
Nidal Al-mughrabi, MIFTAH 7/2/2008
A Palestinian journalist said from his hospital bed on Monday that he was abused and injured by Israeli security personnel on his way home to the Gaza Strip after receiving a journalism award in Britain. Mohammed Omer, who writes for the pro-Palestinian Washington Report, said he was strip-searched and detained for nearly four hours at the Israeli-controlled Allenby Bridge when he crossed from Jordan into the occupied West Bank, en route to the Gaza Strip, on June 26. " They wanted to humiliate me. I collapsed in tears. . . I had to throw up twice and I fainted twice," Omer said. "They asked silly questions about everything I had done during my trip to London and Europe and they made fun of me. " An Israeli government spokesman declined immediate comment and said he would seek information about the incident. Omer, 24, received the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, awarded to journalists who expose "establishment propaganda", according to its Web site, at a ceremony in London on June 16.

US Air Force integrates Expand Networks technology
Globes'' correspondent, Globes Online 7/2/2008
The communication system for the joint surveillance target attack radar system will include Expand technology. - xpand Networks has delivered over 9,000 accelerators throughout the US government and in all branches of the US military since its initial rollout in the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) in 1999. Battle-proven in Afghanistan and Iraq with the US Army and Marine Corps, Expand accelerators are also deployed in US government enterprise networks, such as the Treasury Department’s office of the comptroller of the currency. - WAN optimization firm Expand Networks announced that Northrop Grumman and the United States Air Force have integrated its solution into a command and control system. Expand’s Accelerator 4820 and Accelerator 6940 were integrated into the joint surveillance target attack radar system (Joint STARS) beyond line of sight (BLOS) communication system to provide application acceleration and bandwidth optimization.

Palestinian poet: History laughs at both victim and aggressor
Reuters, Ha’aretz 7/3/2008
Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish said on Wednesday his new works blend sarcasm and a deep sense of hope in their treatment of the decades-old conflict with Israel. Darwish drew thousands of Palestinians to a rare public reading in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday night. The crowds unable to get seats in the city’s Cultural Palace watched him on outdoor screens nearby. Newspapers said millions abroad watched him live on al-Jazeera. Darwish toldthat his new poems reflected a sense of hope, and were also laden with a necessary sarcasm. "Sarcasm helps me overcome the harshness of the reality we live, eases the pain of scars and makes people smile," Darwish said in an interview. "The sarcasm is not only related to today’s reality but also to history. History laughs at both the victim and the aggressor," Darwish said in an interview.

Cartoon of the day
Palestine Think Tank 7/2/2008
War. [end]

Photostory: The month in pictures, June 2008
Slideshow, Electronic Intifada 7/2/2008
The above slideshow is a selection of images from the month of June 2008. The month in pictures is an ongoing feature of The Electronic Intifada. If you have images documenting Palestine, Palestinian life, politics and culture, or of solidarity with Palestine, please email images and captions to photos A T electronicintifada D O T net. [end]

Mahmoud Darwish recites poetry in Ramallah
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Renowned Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish participated in the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Ramallah’s municipal council, held Tuesday evening. The hall of the Culture Palace in Ramallah was packed with poetry lovers who came to listen to Darwish’s recitation. There were so many in attendance that organizers had to erect giant screens outside so that those unable to fit inside the hall would be able to see the recitation. [end]

’Girls, go to the back’
Neta Sela, YNetNews 7/2/2008
Rabbinical transportation committee calls on young women to ride buses in halachic manner, meaning to congregate in back of bus, even in those buses not deemed ’kosher’, in which driver won’t open back door - In a brochure distributed recently among the girls of the Beit Yaakov congregation, the Rabbinical Committee of Transportation asked the young women to preserve "halachic riding" during every bus ride, and not only on the buses defined as "kosher". A kosher bus is one that allows the boarding of men through the front door, while women board using the back door. "Unfortunately there are still buses driving through the ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods that have not received permission from the Transportation Ministry to open the back door for the female travelers," the rabbis explained in the handout.

Jerusalem bus driver: Terrorist looked me in the eye and drove at me
Haaretz Service and News Agencies, Ha’aretz 7/3/2008
Bus driver Assaf Nadav never got a chance to tell the Palestinian at the wheel of a 20-ton bulldozer to drive more carefully. "I saw a bulldozer coming towards me and initially there was a small bang on the left side," Assaf said about the initial moments of an attack on Wednesday on Jerusalem’s main Jaffa Road in which the bulldozer ploughed into vehicles and pedestrians. "I opened the window to tell him to watch his driving. He looked me in the eye and drove towards the bus and then lifted it and turned it on its side," Assaf told reporters. He said his No. 13 commuter bus was full, and some of the passengers werestanding. After it was flipped over, a policewoman broke the back window and people streamed out. Asked to describe what it had been like inside the bus, Assaf replied: "Screaming would be too mild a word.

Three dead, dozens hurt in Jerusalem terror attack
Jonathan Lis, Ha’aretz 7/3/2008
A Palestinian from East Jerusalem deliberately plowed a bulldozer he was driving into a passenger bus on Jaffa Street in the capital shortly after noon Wednesday, killing three people and wounding dozens more. One of the fatalties in the attack was named as Elizabeth Goren-Friedman, 54, of Jerusalem. She had been driving her car at the scene of the attack, and was crushed by the oncoming bulldozer. She will be laid to rest at 10:30 P. M. on Wednesday at the Givat Shaul cemetery. The second woman killed was named as Bat-Sheva Unterman, 33. The name of the third fatality has not yet been released. Police shot and killed the driver of the bulldozer, who held an Israeli identification card, and who had a criminal record. Footage of the attack shows the policeman and an off-duty soldier climb up to the cab of the moving bulldozer, reach in through the window and shoot the driver dead.

Teachers killed in terror attack laid to rest
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 7/3/2008
Elizabeth (Lili) Goren-Friedman, 54, dedicated her life to teaching the blind. Preschool nanny Bat Sheva Unterman, 33, managed to save her daughter’s life before being crushed to death - Hundreds of relatives and friends attended the funeral of Elizabeth (Lili) Goren-Friedman who was killed in the deadly terrorist attack in Jerusalem. Goren-Friedman, 54, was laid to rest at the Har HaMenuchot cemetery at Givat Shaul. Elizabeth, a resident of Jerusalem, was killed when the massive bulldozer operated by the terrorist crushed her to death. She was a teacher at a school for the blind in the city. "Lili was a veteran teacher, in charge of the syllabus, an educator and at one point the vice principal," Principal Rachel Sakrovish told Ynet. "It is hard to talk about Lili in the past tense, she’s an amazing person.

Four dead in West Jerusalem ''bulldozer rampage''; Ahrar Al-Jalil Brigades claim responsibility
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Ahrar Al-Jalil, a self-proclaimed militant group based inside Israel, claimed responsibility for the bulldozer attack in Jerusalem that left four people dead and more than 70 injured on Wednesday afternoon. In a statement Ahrar Al-Jalil named the attacker as 30-year-old Husam Tayseer Dwayat from a village in east Jerusalem. They said he was married and had two children. The statement also said he was recruited to the Ahrar Al-Jalil on 5 February 2008. Ahrar Al-Jalil also calls itself the "Imad Mughniyya Group" after the slain leader of the military wing of Hizbullah. During the attack the bulldozer overturned a bus on Jaffa Road in West Jerusalem in what Israeli media have labeled a deliberate attack. The bulldozer left a nearby construction site and plowed into a crowded single-decker Egged bus, colliding with other vehicles and pedestrians on the way.

Three killed in Jerusalem bulldozer attack
Steven Gutkin, AP, The Independent 7/2/2008
A Palestinian rammed a bulldozer into an Israeli commuter bus, cars and pedestrians on one of Jerusalem’s busiest streets today, killing at least three people and wounding at least 45 before he was shot dead. The violence, the first major attack in Jerusalem since March, left a large swath of damage on Jaffa Road, a main thoroughfare in downtown Jerusalem. Traffic was halted, and hundreds of people fled through the streets in panic as medics treated the wounded. Three Palestinian militant groups took responsibility for the attack, but the claims could not be independently verified and Israeli police referred to the attacker as a "terrorist" acting on his own. Israeli police said the man was a bulldozer operator who worked in the area for a local construction firm. The attack took place in front of a building housing the offices of The Associated Press and other media outlets.

’Terrorist yelled Allah Akhbar’
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 7/2/2008
It took four security officers to finally subdue terrorist on bulldozer rampage in Jerusalem which left three civilians dead. Off-duty soldier who helped officers is brother-in-law of army officer who took out Mercaz Harav terrorist in March - The top brass of Jerusalem’s police forces gathered on Wednesday afternoon to review the security situation in the Jerusalem following the deadly terror rampage in the city’s center earlier in the day. ThreeIsraelis were killed and dozens more were wounded after a Palestinian construction worker from east Jerusalem drove a massive bulldozer into crowded traffic. An initial inquiry into the event conducted by Jerusalem District Police chief, Maj. Gen. Aharon Franco, determined that at least four different security personnel attempted to subdue the terrorist before he was finally shot and killed by a SWAT officer who jumped on the tractor.

VIDEO - 3 killed as Palestinian bulldozer driver goes on killing spree in Jerusalem
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 7/2/2008
(Video) Bulldozer driven by Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem tramples over pedestrians, cars in central Jerusalem; driver shot dead by police officer; three women killed, dozens injured in attack. Reports say two buses flipped over by tractor - VIDEO - Three women were killed and at least 30 more people were injured when a bulldozer driven by a Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem trampled over pedestrians and vehicles and plowed into two buses in downtown Jerusalem at around noon Wednesday. Magen David Adom reported of casualties on Rashi, Jaffa and Sarei Yisrael streets. The driver, who reportedly had a criminal record and was the holder of an Israeli (blue) identification card, was shot dead by a SWAT officer near the old Shaare Zedek Medical Center. The terrorist was identified as 31-year-old Hossam Dawiath, a father of two from the village of Tzur Baher.

Four Israelis dead, 30 wounded in a bulldozer attack in Jerusalem
IMEMC Staff, International Middle East Media Center News 7/2/2008
Four Israelis have been killed and 30 were wounded, two seriously, as a bulldozer attacked a bus and a number of cars in Jaffa street in West Jerusalem on Wednesday midday. Israeli sources said a Palestinian from Jerusalem, identified as Tayyser Dowikat age 31 carried out this attack, and was shot by Israeli police who were in the area. The attacker according to an Israeli police source had a criminal record. No Palestinian groups claimed responsibility for the attack. However, Abu Ahmad, of the Islamic Jihad told Al-Jazeera TV, said the movement does not have information about this attack. He added that this is a natural rsponse to the "Israeli daily crimes" against the Palestinian people. In a report by International Soldiery Society for human rights on Monday the Society stated that the Israeli army has killed 35 civilians and kidnapped at least 320, from Gaza and the. . .

Three killed in Jerusalem bulldozer rampage
Middle East Online 7/2/2008
JERUSALEM - A Palestinian rammed a bulldozer into Israeli buses, cars and pedestrians on one of Jerusalem’s streets on Wednesday, killing three people and wounding more than 40, emergency services said. Police said the driver of the 20-tonne earthmoving vehicle was shot dead by a civilian and a policeman who climbed onto its cab as it careered for 500 metres (yards) along Jaffa Road. There was no immediate claim of responsibility from resistance groups and police said they were trying to establish if the dead man, a 30-year-old from Arab East Jerusalem (illegally occupied by Israel since 1967), acted alone. Television footage showed bystanders pursuing the yellow roadworking vehicle as it ploughed through traffic. Some men in civilian clothes had climbed aboard and one fired a pistol into the cab as others wrestled inside.

Witnesses capture bulldozer attack on phone cameras
Neta Sela, YNetNews 7/2/2008
Jerusalem attack victims recall horrific attack in city center. ’I don’t know how I made it out alive. We flipped over until a wall stopped us,’ bus passenger says -"I was trying to enter a parking lot when the bulldozer’s driver signaled me to move back. I moved my car, and then he began ramming into it over and over," one of the women injured in Wednesday’s terror attack in Jerusalem recounted. Three women were killed and at least 30 more people were injured in the attack. "There were people there but no one attempted to rescue me or stop him," Miki Aharonson, said. Asaf Nadav, the driver of the line 13 bus also recounted the horrific attack. "I was in a traffic jam on Jaffa Street and I suddenly saw hoards of people running toward the bus and then continuing toward the market.

Three killed in Jerusalem bulldozer attack
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem, The Guardian 7/2/2008
A Palestinian construction worker killed three people when he drove a large bulldozer down a busy one of Jerusalem’s busiest streets yesterday, crushing cars and toppling a bus in what Israeli police said was a terrorist attack. At least 44 others were injured: drivers in cars, pedestrians and passengers in the bus that was driving up Jaffa Road, in west Jerusalem, at the time of the incident. Police said the man, aged 30 and a resident of East Jerusalem, seized control of the Caterpillar bulldozer shortly after midday and drove several hundred metres down the street into the oncoming traffic before he was overpowered by policemen and private security guards and eventually shot dead. [end]

VIDEO - Jerusalem bus attack
The Guardian 7/2/2008
Jerusalem bus attack Man hijacks bulldozer and overturns a bus on the city’s main road. [end]

P.A security arrests 11 Hamas supporters in the West Bank
IMEMC News, International Middle East Media Center News 7/3/2008
Sources close to the Hamas movement reported on Tuesday that Palestinian security forces, loyal to Fateh movement, arrested eleven members and supporters of the movement in the West Bank. In Qalqilia district, in the northern part of the West Bank, security forces arrested Riyadh Walweel, one of the leaders of Hamas, and Mahmoud J’eidy, Eyad Khalid Nofah and Mohsin Hardan. In Tulkarem district, in the northern part of the West Bank, security forces arrested a journalist identified as Tareq Shihab, who works as a correspondent for the Al Aqsa Radio. The security forces also arrested Abdul-Fattah Bdeir, Riyadh Ofy, Khalid Zeidan, and a lawyer identified asShadi Hijazi. In Nablus district, also in the northern part of the West Bank, security forces arrested Majdi Fatayir who was recently released from an Israeli detention facility.

Palestinian National Initiative Gains Membership of Socialist International
Palestine Monitor, Palestine Monitor 7/2/2008
2 July 2008Ramallah, 01-07-08: The Palestinian National Initiative has gained membership of the Socialist International, a worldwide organisation of social democratic, socialist and labour parties that brings together 159 political parties and organisations from all continents. The PNI’s membership was accepted as its Secretary General, Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, is attending the XXIII Congress of the Socialist International in Athens, Greece from 30 June to 2 July. Palestinian representation at the Congress includes Dr. Barghouthi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas - both of whom gave speeches on the opening day. The Congress, being convened under the overarching theme of "˜Global Solidarity: The Courage to Make a Difference’ will address four key issues: climate change, peace and the resolution of conflicts, the world economy and the question of migration.

Director general of Palestinian police: Berlin conference a success
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Nablus – Ma’an - Major General Hazim Atallah the director general of Palestinian police said in a meeting with the Police Information Office on Wednesday that the goal of the Berlin conference was to provide support to the Palestinian police to improve safety and security for all Palestinians. He added that fourteen projects were presented to the conference for which donor states have pledged 242 million US dollars. "One of the most important projects is the forensic laboratory, which is the backbone of any criminal investigation, in addition to other projects needed for rebuilding police centers destroyed by the Israelis," Atallah said. He added that other projects are underway to train officers on public relations and information in all the districts. He pointed out that the European Union must also support the establishment of the Palestinian State.

Qabbani describes prisoner swap as national victory
Daily Star 7/3/2008
BEIRUT: The prisoner swap with Hizbullah which the Israeli Cabinet agreed to on Sunday is a victory for Lebanon and the resistance, Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani said Monday. "Liberating the Lebanese prisoners held in Israeli jails is a national victory. . . after Israel’s defeat to achieve its goals during the destructive 2006 war," Qabbani said. Qabbani added that he hoped the Shebaa Farms would soon be liberated and that the Lebanese people could once again be united. Separately, senior Shiite cleric Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah discussed current events with former Minister Wadih al-Khazen. After the meeting Khazen said that the resistance is aimed at liberating Lebanese territories under Israeli control. He said internal disputes would only serve Israel, adding that the issue of the resistance’s weapons had nothing to do with the formation of a cabinet.

Nasrallah: prisoners will be exchanged with Israel within two weeks
Ma’an News Agency 7/2/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an - The Secretary General of Hizbullah Hassan Nasrallah revealed on Wednesday that the prisoner swap between Hizbullah and Israel will take place within two weeks. Nasrallah delivered a speech on Wednesday evening saying that Hizbullah has accepted the deal which will include all Lebanese prisoners and around 200 bodies of fighters killed when they infiltrated into Israel. "All the bodies are related to Lebanese, Palestinians and Arabs before and after 1982 and we will be done with this file by the 15th of July," Nasrallah said. He confirmed the exchange deal will include Samir Quntar, who was convicted of murdering three Israelis in 1979. The bodies of Tel Aviv bus hijackers Dalal Al-Mughrabi and Yehyah Muhammad Skaf and five of their fellow hijackers will also be included. "The deal will include Samir Quntar, Maher Qurani, Khader Zidan, Hassan Lasman and Mohammed Sbun," Nasrallah added.

Nasrallah: Deal with Israel a Lebanese victory
Roee Nahmias, YNetNews 7/2/2008
Hizbullah chief comments on prisoner swap deal, says he assumes exchange will occur within next two weeks; also promises new info regarding Ron Arad. ’We have reached decisive evidence,’ he says - Kidnapped soldier Eldad Regev’s father, Tzvi Regev, said Wednesday night that the speech given by Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, is another attempt at mocking the kidnapped soldiers’ families. In his first reference to the prisoner swap deal, Nasrallah said that Israel has no information regarding the fates of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. Tzvi Regev said that he didn’t watch the televised speech but understood that this was another opportunity to laugh in their faces, "Just like he has ceaselessly done in the last two years. "Anyway, according to the information we have, the deal has been concluded and it’s only a matter of time.

Bringing it back home
Avi Temkin, Globes Online 7/2/2008
Repatriation of funds by Israeli businesses is making the shekel appreciate. The Israeli business sector is mostly responsible for the downward pressure on shekel exchange rates. Bank of Israel data on foreign currency flows show that Israeli businesses have greatly slowed capital outflows and also brought home extensive foreign investments. At the same time, foreign investors are continuing to invest in Israel. Taken together, these two phenomena are creating the immense pressure that is causing the shekel’s appreciation. In recent weeks, Governor of the Bank of Israel Prof. Stanley Fischer has several times noted that Israelis are liquidating their foreign investments, because of worries about instability, and bringing the proceeds back home. However, the Bank of Israel explains that these are long-term capital flows, which cannot explain day-to-day flows in the market,. . .

Dichter speech at time of Jerusalem attack raises ministers’ ire
Shahar Ilan and Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 7/3/2008
Public Security Minister Avi Dichter convened a press conference on Wednesday to criticize the functioning of the Kadima Party, of which he is a member, while aterror attack was being carried out in Jerusalem. This move sparked the outrage of his fellow ministers and prompted them to demand his immediate dismissal. The press conference was scheduled for noon, and despite the fact that a Palestinian assailant had just rammed a bulldozer into a string of vehicles in downtown Jerusalem, killing at least three people, the press conference went ahead as planned. Dichter, the minister in charge of Israel’s police force, told reporters at the press conference that "any maneuver aimed at bringing about the reelection of [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert as the leader of Kadima would be misleading for Kadima members, our partners in the coalition and the Israeli public.

Olmert: State invested $837 million in rehabilitating north since war
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 7/2/2008
PM says money was used to renovate shelters, schools and infrastructure damaged during Second Lebanon war. ’North flourishing, prospering like never before,’ he says -Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday that the State has invested NIS 2. 75 billion (approx. $837 million) in rehabilitating northern Israel since theSecond Lebanon War ended. According to Olmert, the money was used to renovate shelters, schools and infrastructure. " Anyone who visits the north, and I’ve had the chance to do so a number times over the past few months, can see that it is flourishing and prospering like never before," he told a meeting of the cabinet on northern affairs. The prime minister called on the various ministries to work toward expediting the renovation process in the north "in order to bring about a developmental boost there in accordance with this government’s policy.

Mossad agents awarded Israel Defense Prize
Danny Adino Ababa, YNetNews 7/2/2008
President Peres, Defense Minister Barak honor eight Mossad agents for outstanding contribution to Israel’s security in photo-free ceremony - President Shimon Peres awarded the Israel Defense Prize to eight Mossad agents Tuesday, for their part in an unusually complex operation. The operation entailed the use of some of the most sophisticated technology available, allowing its outcome to make a pivotal contribution to State security. The ceremony was held at the president’s official residence in Jerusalem. The obvious sensitive nature of the situation prevented those attending it from taking any photographs, and the entire event - as the winners themselves - was heavily guarded by Shin Bet officers. SupremacyMan on a mission/ Yoav Limor, Alon Ben-David Mossad Chief Meir Dagan took a dreary, weary organization and turned it back into. . .

VIDEO: Police anti-terror unit steps up preparations for hostage scenario
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 7/2/2008
Haaretz. com/Channel 10 news roundup for July 1, 2008. The special anti-terror unit of the Israel Police has recently expanded its drills in order to prepare security forces for an array of possible hostage-taking situations. Drills have become more intensive and more imaginative since the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah’s second-in-command. Mughniyeh was killed in Damascus in a February car blast with which Israel denies involvement. However, Hezbollah has threatened to take revenge on Jewish and Israeli targets around the world. In one drill, forces practice freeing hundreds of passengers from a plane hijacked by terrorists. In another, theatergoers are rescued from a terrorist siege.

Palestinians Queue in Droves as Egypt Reopens Rafah Crossing
David Byers, MIFTAH 7/2/2008
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were today queuing in their hundreds at the territory’s hated border with Egypt after it was opened for the first time in months. Crowds gathered at the Rafah crossing after Egypt agreed to ease the closure for two days, with officials saying that Palestinians requiring medical attention would be allowed treatment at Egyptian hospitals. The Rafah crossing — the main gateway for Gaza’s 1. 4 million people to leave the country — was sealed permanently after the Islamist group Hamas’s military takeover of Gaza from the pro-Western Fatah group in a coup a year ago. The closure, which coincided with Israel’s decision to seal off its main Erez and Karni crossings, has prevented people from travelling for medical care, studies and family visits and has left the Gaza Strip isolated and increasingly impoverished.

Egypt closes Rafah crossing terminal after riots
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 7/2/2008
The Egyptian authorities closed on Wednesday afternoon the Rafah crossing terminal after hundreds of Palestinians, mainly patients and stranded, flooded into the Egyptian side of terminal, as their entry has been delayed. The angry awaiting travelers began heading for the terminal on Wednesday midday after they have been waiting since the early morning , while their entry has been delayed by the Egyptian authorities, witnesses said. Witnesses added that hundreds of youth hurled stones at Egyptian security personnel, manning the border line, as more security forces have been beefed up to prevent further clashes. The Egyptian forces responded with rocks throwing and water pumping into the angry crowds, sources at the crossing told media outlets. From its part, the interior ministry of the ruling Hamas party called on the travelers to come back to their homes as the Hamas forces have been trying to restore calm.

Palestinians storm Egyptian border crossing, attack troops with rocks
Associated Press, YNetNews 7/2/2008
Witnesses say Egyptian forces repelling crowd with water cannons, no one made it across border -Palestinian witnesses say an angry crowd of people in the Gaza Strip has stormed a border crossing with Egypt and is throwing rocks at Egyptian troops. The witnesses say Egypt is repelling the crowd with water cannons, and no one has made it across the border. The Palestinians are upset that they are not being allowed to cross into Egypt. The Egyptians had promised to open the Rafah crossing on Tuesday, but only a small number of Palestinians have been allowed through. Egypt has kept the crossing sealed since Hamas militants seized control of Gaza more than a year ago. Rafah is the main gateway for Palestinians to the outside world. In January, Hamas militants blew open the border, allowing thousands of people to cross through until it was resealed about two weeks later.

Barak: Israel must respond immediately to Jerusalem attack
Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 7/3/2008
Defense Minister Ehud Barak declared Wednesday that Israel must respond immediately after a Palestinian mandeliberately plowed a bulldozer into a crowded bus and a string of vehicles in downtown Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing three people and wounding dozens of others. Shortly after the attack, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered ministers to examine the possibility of razing the terrorist’s homein East Jerusalem. In talks with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog, and Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann, Olmert also ordered the ministers to consider revoking National Insurance Institute stipends from the terrorist’s family. The ministers promised to examine the legal guidelines of each order and report back by the end of the day, so that the cabinet could begin the proceedings.

Knesset votes in favor of stripping citizenship from families of terrorists
Amnon Meranda, YNetNews 7/2/2008
In move unrelated to Jerusalem terror attack - Two bills granting interior minister permission to revoke citizenship rights from families of terrorists pass preliminary readings at Knesset - Just a short while after the bulldozer attack shocked Jerusalem, the Knesset approved in a preliminary reading two bills revoking the rights to citizenship from the families of terrorists. The bills were brought to a vote without relation to the attack on Wednesday. Similarly to the terrorist who attacked the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in the capital, in which eight yeshiva students were murdered, the terrorist that carried out the bulldozer attack was a Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem. He was also a father of two. The first bill was proposed by MK Nissan Slomiansky (National Union - NRP), and called on the government to allow the interior minister to deny terrorists and their families the right to settle permanently in Israel.

UN official voices concern over Israel’s human rights violations in Palestine
Palestinian Information Center 7/2/2008
AMMAN, (PIC)-- Prasad Kariyawasam, the head of the special UN committee on human rights in Palestine, voiced deep concern about the ongoing Israeli violations against human rights in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, pointing out that the Israeli siege increased poverty and destroyed economy in the Strip. Kariyawasam, the representative of Sri Lanka in the three-member committee, warned against the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in the Palestinian lands occupied in 1967, the grave situation in the Gaza Strip, the impact of the separation wall on the lives of Palestinian people, and the continuing settlements policy. The UN official told a press conference in the Jordanian capital Amman on Tuesday that the committee, which also includes representatives of Malaysia and Senegal, relies on testimonies of those who come from the occupied Palestinian lands because the IOA does not allow the members to visit the occupied lands.

Israel opens two commercial crossings into Gaza
Xinhua News Agency, ReliefWeb 7/2/2008
GAZA, Jul 02, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network) -- Israeli sources on Wednesday said commercial crossing points into Gaza Strip reopened in the day after Palestinian rocket attack blocked earlier openings. The Israeli radio reported that cement will be allowed into Gaza for the first time since June 2007 when Israel imposed economic sanctions on the coastal Strip after Hamas took control of the territory by force. The ease of the Israeli blockade comes as part of an Egyptian- brokered ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, took effect on June 19. Jehad Salim, a spokesman for transportation companies, said that Israel opened Karni commercial crossing in eastern Gaza city and Sufa crossing in southeast Gaza Strip. "It is expected that 80 trucks will enter today, including five truckloads of concrete and five truckloads of calves.

Conference insists Arab reforms must precede WTO entry
Daily Star 7/3/2008
BEIRUT: Arab governments should pass new laws and make preparations before joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), businessmen and leading researchers said Wednesday. "The biggest challenge facing the Arab countries is whether they will be able to benefit from the terms of the WTO," Imad Shehab, the secretary general of the Arab Chambers of Commerce, told participants in a two-day conference on free-trade agreements that was held at the Adnan Kassar Arab Economic Building. Other speakers at the conference underlined the importance of the WTO and other free trade agreements. At present, only 12 Arab countries have actually joined the WTO while seven others, including Lebanon, are still negotiating with the organization. Lebanon hopes to join the WTO in 2009. But the US and European countries are pressing the government to combat copyrights violations more efficiently before becoming a member in the organization.

Zebari says controversial security pact with America is ’almost finalized’
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/3/2008
Salam Faraj Agence France PresseBAGHDAD: Iraq said Wednesday it was on the verge of agreeing a controversial pact with the United States that will govern US troop levels and ground rules in the nation beyond 2008 when the UN mandate expires. Tough negotiations between Washington and Baghdad on the security deal had yielded progress and an initial framework arrangement was "almost finalized," Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told a press briefing. "We are talking about a strategic framework agreement that will improve cooperation between Iraq and the United States on a whole range of issues. . . we have almost finalised the document. "In Washington, US National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe declined to comment on Zebari’s remarks but said "negotiations are continuing on a regular basis. " Zebari also announced that Jordan’s King Abdullah II will visit to Iraq. . .

Majority of global publics back greater UN role in promoting Middle East peace - poll
Khody Akhavi and Ali Gharib, Daily Star 7/3/2008
Inter Press Service WASHINGTON: A majority of global publics say their governments should "not take either side" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, instead supporting a call for the United Nations to play a greater role in regional peace, according to a new international poll of 18 countries released here Tuesday. World publics gave low marks to Israeli, Palestinian, US and Arab leaders when asked how well the international actors were doing to resolve the 60-year-old conflict, according to the poll conducted by WorldPublicOpinion. org. On average 58 percent of those polled said that they believed their country should not take a side, with only 20 percent saying their country should favor the Palestinians and just 7 percent saying the Israelis. In contrast, those polled think the UN Security Council should take a robust role in resolving the dispute.

U.S. army chief: Israeli strike on Iran would destabilize Mideast
News Agencies, Ha’aretz 7/3/2008
An Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities would be a high-riskmove that could destabilize the Middle East, the top U. S. military officer said Wednesday. At a Defense Department news conference, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, refused to say what Israeli leaders told him during meetings last week about any intentions to strike Iran. But asked whether he was concerned Israel would strike before the end of the year, he said: "This is a very unstable part of the world and I don’t need it to be more unstable. " The U. S. military is severely strained already by wars on two fronts - the nearly seven-year-old campaign in Afghanistan and more than five years in Iraq. "Opening up a third front right now would be extremely stressful on us," Mullen said.

Khelil: OPEC couldn’t replace Iran oil output
Middle East Online 7/2/2008
MADRID - OPEC could not replace lost Iranian output should Tehran carry out its threat to stop oil exports if attacked, OPEC President Chakib Khelil said on Tuesday. "It’s obvious that if you curtail 4 million barrels per day (bpd) from the market, you are going to have a big problem. I don’t see who can replace that, including OPEC," Khelil told a news conference in Madrid. Khelil said the perceived threat of conflict had helped to drive oil prices higher, although he said the main reason for crude near $143 a barrel was the weakness of the US dollar. "Unless we address those causes we’re not going to see low oil prices. . . We need to do something about geopolitics. We need to do something about the dollar," Khelil, who is also Algeria’s oil minister, said. Fears that Iran, OPEC’s second largest producer and the world’s fourth biggest producer, could retaliate by disrupting. . .

US military chief: Israeli strike would be high-risk
News agencies, YNetNews 7/2/2008
Adm. Mike Mullen says raid on Iranian nuclear facilities would further destabilize region, warns American forces already struggling to maintain two military campaigns. Meanwhile Iran’s foreign minister signals Tehran may be ready for more talks - An Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities would be a high-risk move that could destabilize the Middle East, the Pentagon’s top military officer said Wednesday. At a Defense Department press conference, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, refused to say what Israeli leaders told him during meetings last week about any intentions to strike Iran. Mullen said he favored more dialogue with Tehran to avoid a confrontation. But asked whether he was concerned Israel would strike before the end of the year, he said: "This is a very unstable part of the world and I don’t need it to be more unstable.


Israeli water consumption leads to worse crisis since 1948
Palestine News Network 7/2/2008
      Tel Aviv / PNN - Israeli water experts have declared the current situation to be "the most serious since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948." Water levels in Lake Tiberias are expected to fall below the "red line" next week. Most alarmingly, a further drop below the "black line" is predicted for this October. Once the level falls below the black line, it will no longer be possible to operate the pumps in Lake Tiberias.
     The current water crisis will have serious implications for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. Since the Nakba of 1948, Israeli authorities have controlled the key water sources in the region. With Israeli forces occupying the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967, the Israeli grip on Palestinian water has further tightened.
     Today Israelis consume more than 80 percent of the ground water in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinians are denied use of the Jordan River. On an annual per capita basis, Israelis consume over four times as much water as Palestinians.

Khalid Amayreh - Behavior Unbecoming of a Palestinian

Khalid Amayreh, Palestine Think Tank 7/2/2008
      Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, holds a number of key portfolios of immense significance and symbolism.
     He is the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), President of the Palestinian "˜national’ Authority (PA) and Chief of the Fatah organization.
     As such, he ought to strive to represent his tormented people in the best possible manner. He should also make every possible effort to eloquently and effectively communicate to the world at large the Palestinian people’s pains and grievances as well as their hopes for freedom and liberation from the manifestly criminal Israeli occupation.
     More to the point, Abbas should carefully shun any behavior that would harm his people’s dignity, image and national interests.
     Indeed, these are the most elementary tasks a leader, let alone a leader of a people languishing under a sinister foreign military occupation, is expected to perform.

Crossing the Line focuses on a possible Israeli strike on Iran

Podcast, Crossing the Line, Electronic Intifada 7/2/2008
      This week on Crossing The Line: The Israeli Air Force recently conducted long-range exercises over the Mediterranean Sea, a move that US intelligence officials say might be a prelude to a strike on Iran. Is Israel being used as a proxy by the US to attack Iran? Or is Israel, which has struck sites it alleged to be nuclear in Iraq and Syria in the past, planning to strike Iran on its own? Bill Christison, a former CIA intelligence officer, will join host Naji Ali to discuss a possible Israeli strike on Iran.
     Also this week, the Israeli army assassinated two Palestinians in the West Bank while a tense cease-fire went into effect in the Gaza Strip on 19 June. With the ceasefire Israel has promised to ease restrictions on gas, and allow an increase of goods into Gaza. But how has the ceasefire improved life for Palestinians in Gaza? Are Gazans now receiving their basic necessities denied to them since the total closure began in June 2007? Palestinian journalist Rami Almeghari speaks with Ali on the new developments in Gaza.