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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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3 July 2008

Israel seals off Gaza again after unclaimed rocket strike
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/4/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: The Israeli military closed border crossings to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Thursday after a rocket was fired from the territory in defiance of a truce that has been in effect since June 19. "A Qassam rocket was fired from the Beit Hanun area. We have not identified an impact but an explosion was heard north of Sderot," an army spokesman said of the southern Israeli town that bore the brunt of Palestinian rocket attacks before the truce. Several rockets and mortar rounds have been fired at Israel from Gaza since the truce between Israel and the territory’s Hamas rulers went into effect. The truce was supposed to lead to the easing of a crippling blockade Israel imposed more than a year ago when the Islamist movement seized power in Gaza, but the military said the crossings would be closed until at least Sunday.

Israeli forces arrest 24 Palestinians from two Nablus families
Amin Abu Wardeh, Palestine News Network 7/3/2008
Nablus -- Before dawn on Thursday Israeli forces invaded the northern West Bank’s Nablus and arrested 24 Palestinians, most of whom are Fateh members. The massive round-up and raid targeted the Dawabsheh and Salowdeh families in a village to the southeast of the city. Residents report said that dozens of Israeli military mechanisms stormed the village this morning. Soldiers raided several houses, wreaking havoc, before withdrawing and taking 24 people with them. Most of the arrested are from the Dawabsheh family: Zudhi, 19, his 16 year old brother Farraj, 20 year old Sohd, 21 year old Montasir, 22 year old Ahmed, 24 year old Ahmed Zuhair and his 25 year old brother Aysar, 42 year old Qasam and his sons: 25 year old Mortasam and 23 year old Mohammad. Arrested from the Salowdeh family are 27 year old Fadi, 22 year old Hasan, 19 year old Baha, 18 year old Amin and his teenaged brother Thahmeen.

Bulldozer attack: Cut off East Jerusalem, says Israeli minister
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem, The Guardian 7/4/2008
Israel’s deputy prime minister, Haim Ramon, yesterday called for some Arab districts of East Jerusalem to be cut off from the city in the wake of the attack by a Palestinian construction worker who killed three people when he seized control of a bulldozer in the city centre. The attacker, Hussam Dwayat, 30, drove a large bulldozer from a construction site into oncoming traffic on Wednesday, crushing cars and toppling a bus before he was eventually shot dead at the wheel. He was from the Sur Baher district of East Jerusalem and was the second Palestinian resident of Jerusalem to carry out a major attack in the city in the past four months. Others in the government called for his family’s house to be demolished. Ramon said the route of the Israel’s West Bank barrier should be changed to cut off the Arab areas of East Jerusalem.

Israeli troops attack a mosque in Silwad village near Ramallah
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/3/2008
Palestinian sources reported that Israeli forces attacked a mosque in the village of Sliwad, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, on Thursday morning. Witnesses said that at least 25 military vehicles stormed the village then searched the local mosque and library next to it. Soldiers confiscated files and a computer then left. The resident of Sliwad said that the army has been attacking the village more frequently lately and targeting local organizations. [end]

ACRI: Citizenship Law severe racial prejudice against the rights of Palestinians
Palestine News Network 7/3/2008
Jerusalem / PNN -- The Israeli Knesset moved to amend the Citizenship Act and the provisional entry into Israeli boundaries for an additional year. This comes despite the criticism of Israeli Supreme Court judges, and despite the existence of another petition to the Supreme Court against the law. This law, which was extended by 21 members of the Knesset and objected by eight, prevents Palestinian citizens of the occupied areas, who married Palestinians who are also Israeli citizens, to reside within the current Israeli boundaries with their spouses and children. On 14 May 2006, the Israeli Supreme Court decision in the petition demanded the cancellation of the Law of Citizenship and Entry into Israel (Temporary Order). A majority of six judges from among the eleven judges decided that the law, (which prevents Palestinian citizens of the occupied areas, who married Israeli citizens,. . .

U.S. admiral: Iran strike on Israel ’likely’
Amir Oren, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
Iran is likely to launch ballistic missiles against Israel and the United States and the NATO alliance should prepare for it, was the warning issued earlier this week by Admiral James Winnefeld, commander of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. In recent years, the missile boats of the Sixth Fleet practiced intercepting Shahab-3 missiles from Iran aimed at Israel, along with the Arrow batteries of the air force and U. S. and Israeli batteries of Patriot missiles. In an article entitled "Maritime Strategy in an Age of Blood and Belief" in the U. S. Naval Institute’s monthly Proceedings, Admiral Winnefeld describes the possibility of an offensive barrage of ballistic missiles fired from Iran against Israel as being "by far the most likely employment of ballistic missiles in the world today, and it demands our immediate attention in the event of a need for a U.

One injured, three kidnapped, during separate Israeli attacks targeting Hebron
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/3/2008
One Palestinian man was injured and three others kidnapped during morning attacks the Israeli army did in Hebron city in the southern part of the West Bank on Thursday. Abed Al Azzez Nahro, 17, was injured during clashes that took place between invading Israeli troops and local youth in Al Fowar refugee camp near Hebron. The clashes erupted when soldiers stormed the refugee camp and searched homes, witnesses said. Meanwhile the Israeli army kidnapped Mussa Al Tawil, aged 28, after searching homes in downtown Hebron city on Thursday morning. In the nearby Beit Omer village, Israeli forces attacked a number of homes there on Thursday at dawn, soldiers left the village after kidnapping Mohamed Awwad, 42, who works at a local NGO. Witnesses said that troops also took Awwad’s Camera.

Several youth wounded in an Israeli invasion to Hebron refugee camp
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 7/4/2008
Eyewitnesses reported on Thursday evening that at least six youth were wounded by Israeli military fire after the army invaded Al Far’a refugee camp, north of the northern West Bank city of Nablus and clashed with local youth who hurled stones at the invading forces. The eyewitnesses added that one homemade explosive charge was hurled at a military jeep near the camp and that the explosive directly hit the jeep; the Israeli army reported no injuries. Later on, Soldiers, supported by more than 20 military vehicles, closed the area and invaded the camp. Dozens of youth took off to the streets and hurled stones at the invading forces. Soldiers fired rounds of live ammunition and rubber-coated bullets causing at least six injuries among the Palestinian youth. Also, soldiers surrounded the camp, installed roadblocks, and initiated a search campaign that targeted dozens of homes in the camp.

Soldier invade a Palestinian town near Nablus
IMEMC News, International Middle East Media Center News 7/4/2008
Palestinian sources in Kuful Hares village, north of the West Bank city of Salfit, reported that Israeli soldiers invaded the village on Thursday evening and installed tents on its entrances in order to enable a group of settlers visit some religious sites. The sources added that soldiers divided the village into several "security sectors" and barred the residents from entering these sectors or even walk in the streets. Thousands of settlers are expected to visit the area this night until 6 a. m on Thursday morning. Soldiers topped several Palestinian homes and installed roadblocks on the entrances of the village, local sources reported. [end]

The Israeli army attacks a village near Nablus and kidnaps 24 civilians
Ameen Abu Wardeh- Nablus, International Middle East Media Center News 7/3/2008
The Israeli army invaded on Thursday the village of Duma, south of Nablus city in the northern part of the West Bank, troops kidnapped 24 civilians during the attack. Local sources said that soldiers and jeeps stormed the village on Thursday at dawn, during the attack that lasted for several hours, Israeli troops searched and ransacked a number of homes, witnesses said that soldiers did cause some damage to the homes they searched. On Thursday morning the Israeli army left Duma village taking the 24 men to an unknown detention camp. Sources in the village said that most of those taken by the army are Fatah supporters. The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas heads the Fatah party, who are now leading the peace talks with Israel. Translated by Ghassan Bannoura- IMEMC News Room

Israeli officials mull demolition of Jerusalem attacker’s family
Charly Wegman, Daily Star 7/4/2008
Agence France Presse OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities on Thursday were considering demolishing the home of a Palestinian man who went on rampage with an earthmover in Occupied Jerusalem and killed three people before he was shot dead. A previous military inquiry found that the practice was ineffectual, but much of the political establishment has come out in favor of destroying the house of any Jerusalem Palestinian who carries out an attack in Israel. "Following a request by the government, Attorney General Menahem Mazuz will look today into the legal problems that might be involved in demolishing the houses in East Jerusalem," justice spokesman Moshe Cohen told AFP. Israeli law distinguishes between Arab East Jerusalem, which Israel illegally annexed after the 1967 war, and the rest of the Occupied West Bank, which remains under military rule.

Jerusalem terrorist’s family told to take down mourners’ tent
Jonathan Lis Avi Issacharoff and Eli Ashkenazi, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
The family of the East Jerusalem Palestinian who killed three peoplein an attack in the capital on Wednesday was told by Border Police on Thursday to remove a mourning tent it had set up to mark his death. Hussam Duwiyat, 30, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Zur Baher, was shot dead by security forces after stealing a bulldozer from the construction site where he was working and driving it into a bus and a number of cars on Jaffa Street in downtown Jerusalem. Three people were killed and dozens were wounded. The family lawyer said Wednesday that Duwiyat was not a terrorist and therefore the attack could not be described as terror. "This is a tragic event, the family and I send our condolences to the bereaved families and wish the wounded a speedy recovery,": said Shimon Kokush.

Human rights report indicates barbaric methods used during 243 arrests in June
Palestine News Network 7/3/2008
Nablus / PNN - The Palestinian Centre for the Defense of Prisoners reports that Israeli forces arrested approximately 243 Palestinians, including children, during the month of June. The arrests were made in 11 governorates throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. "Dirty Methods" Used During ArrestsThe Centre also explained that Israeli forces used "dirty methods" during their arrest operations, such as police dogs, death threats and firing automatic weapons. They also arrested children and women, including the wives and mothers of several men, in order to intimidate them. On 25 June in a southern Hebron neighborhood, Israeli forces invaded the Taha Abu Sneineh family home. Israeli soldiers attacked Jawaher Rajeh Taha, 31, and severely beat and arrested her 19 year old brother, Ghalid Rajeh Taha. This is one example of dozens of arrests made by Israeli forces daily.

If the Wadi Nar checkpoint goes, it will be replaced with another closer to Ramallah
Palestine News Network 7/3/2008
Bethlehem / PNN - Israeli barriers are still being imposed within the West Bank despite negotiations and promises to contrary. Thousands of Palestinians are unable to enjoy their right under international law to freedom of movement. Palestinian officials have spent hours negotiating their removal, as has the US administration and other international bodies. However on Wednesday at 2:00 pm local agencies published news based on eyewitness testimony that Palestinians passed through the Wadi Nar / Container Checkpoint within the West Bank between Abu Dis and Bethlehem without being stopped. Israeli forces, in the meantime as witnessed on Sunday, are doing construction work at the checkpoint. The question is, are they removing it or simply restructuring the barrier. The reports that were published were not entirely accurate.

Bodies of 200 Palestinian fighters buried in Israeli military cemeteries
Ma’an News Agency 7/3/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The bodies of at least 200 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, killed during the first and second Intifadas, are buried in unmarked graves in Israeli military cemeteries, deputy of detainees committee in the Legislative Council Issa Qaraqe’ said on Thursday. "Four graves were discovered in Israel, but there are more, as the total number of bodies still held in Israeli cemetaries is unknown," Qaraqe’ explained. He demanded they be returned to their families for proper burial. Qaraqe’ told Ma’an that the bodies are not to be included in the prisoner swap between Israel and Hizbullah, which is due to take place within the next two weeks. He said that any future deal regarding the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit should include the return of the dead fighters.

UN official says Israeli siege on Gaza increased poverty, destroyed its economy
IMEMC & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 7/3/2008
Head of the special UN committee on Human Rights in Palestine, Prassed Kariyawasam, stated on Wednesday that the Israeli violations against human rights in Palestine, has increased poverty and destroyed the Palestinian economy in the coastal region. He added that the deteriorating conditions in the Palestinian territories and the grave situation in the Gaza Strip, in addition to the Israeli Annexation Wall in the occupied West Bank and settlements are worsening the conditions in the Palestinian territories and causing further deterioration to the humanitarian condition. The statements of Kariyawasam came during a press conference in Amman -- Jordan on Tuesday. He stated that his statements rely on testimonies of those who visited Palestine and observed the situation there. Members of the UN committee on Human Rights were not allowed to visit the occupied territories.

Al-Quds brigades claim 13 Israeli violations of Gaza truce
Ma’an News Agency 7/3/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, said on Thursday that Israel has violated the Gaza truce 13 times since it began on 19 June. According to statistics issued by the Brigades the violations are as follows -1 - Thursday 26-6-2008 at 6:00 pm - Israeli jeeps opened fire on citizens and farmers east of Khan Younis. 2 - Thursday 26-6-2008 at 8. 18 pm - Israeli boats fired on Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Rafah. 3 - Thursday 26-6-2008 at 9 pm - Israeli boats fired on Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Khan Younis. 4 - Thursday 26-6-2008 - intensive flights by Israeli aircraft over the Gaza Strip5 - Friday 27-6-2008 at 11. 30 pm- Israeli boats fired on Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Rafah. 6 - Friday 27-6-2008 - a large number of military jeeps, one of which was armed with missiles patrolled the Gaza border near Nahel ’Oz.

Qassam hits Negev, sixth since start of Gaza truce
Reuters, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
Militants in the Gaza Strip fired a Qassam rocket the western Negev on Thursday, putting further strain on a fragile ceasefire deal in the Hamas-controlled territory. An Israel Defense Forces spokesman said the rocket hit an open field near the Gaza border town of Sderot and caused no casualties. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the rocket fire, the sixth such attack since an Egyptian-brokered truce took effect on June 19. Israel will close its border crossings with Gaza on Friday in response to the attack, an Israeli official said. "Because of the rockets being fired today, the crossings will be closed tomorrow," said Peter Lerner, a defense official. The crossings are generally closed from Friday afternoon to Sunday. Israel has responded to previous rocket salvoes by closing border crossings. . .

Qassam prompts Israel to reclose Gaza crossings
Reuters, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
Gaza Strip militants fired a rocket at Sderot yesterday, prompting Israel to order an early weekend closure of its border crossings with the Hamas-ruled territory, officials said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the rocket attack, the sixth since an Egyptian-brokered truce between Israel and Hamas took effect on June 19. An Israel Defense Forces spokesman said the rocket landed in an open field near Sderot and caused no casualties. Second punitive closure since lull "Because of the rockets being fired today, the crossings will be closed tomorrow," said Peter Lerner, a defense official. The crossings are generally closed from Friday afternoon to Sunday. Israel has responded to previous rocket salvoes by closing border crossings used to bring supplies into the Gaza Strip, which Hamas Islamists seized from President Mahmoud Abbas’ more secular Fatah forces a year ago.

Homemade shell fired at a Kibbutz in the Negev
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 7/4/2008
Israeli sources reported on Thursday that one Palestinian homemade shell was fired from the Gaza Strip at a Kibbutz in the Sha’r Ha-Negev Regional Council; no injuries were reported. So far, armed groups in Gaza did not issue any release claiming responsibility for the attack. Meanwhile army sources said that sirens were sounded in the area and several settlements adjacent to the Gaza Strip. The sources added that the shell landed in an open area in the Western Negev area causing no damages or injuries. This is the second time homemade shells are fired since the beginning of this week. A homemade shell was fired this week by a group calling itself the Hawks, one of the armed groups of Fateh movement. The truce was declared two weeks ago, it was achieved via Egyptian mediation between Hamas, which rules Gaza, and Israel.

Hamas: Human situation in Gaza reached an uncontrollable catastrophic level
Palestinian Information Center 7/3/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement warned that the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip reached an uncontrollable catastrophic level, appealing to Egypt to necessarily find a formula enabling the opening of the Rafah crossing on a regular basis until agreeing on a mechanism to operate it permanently. In a press statement, Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, denied that the civilian scramble that took place Wednesday on the outskirts of the Rafah border crossing was intentional and attributed the incident to the suffocating and miserable living conditions in Gaza and to not implementing what was agreed upon in Cairo about the need for initiating talks to open the crossing. Dr. Abu Zuhri held PA chief Mahmoud Abbas fully responsible for the suffering of the Gaza people because of his refusal of the formula reached in Cairo to open the Rafah crossing.

Haneyya: The road to break the siege is through stabilizing the calm with Israel
Palestinian Information Center 7/2/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Ismail Haneyya, the premier of the caretaker government, stated Wednesday that the road to break the siege and to achieve the national interest are through stabilizing the truce between the Palestinian factions and the Israeli occupation in the Gaza Strip and extending it to the West Bank. During his meeting with the minister of justice, the attorney general and a number of prosecution deputies and judges, Haneyya hailed the positions of the Egyptian mediator, urging him to make more efforts to end the Israeli siege and to open the Rafah border crossing permanently under Palestinian-Egyptian control in coordination with the concerned parties. The premier reiterated his call for a comprehensive national dialog, noting that signs of defeat and disappointment have started to appear on those who worked against the interests of Palestinian people.

Israeli forces attack homes in Jerusalem old city, one civilian injured
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/3/2008
A n Israeli police force and army units attacked on Thursday morning homes of Palestinian families that live in Jerusalem’s old city. Witnesses said that soldiers fired tear gas and sound bombs at residents’ homes then searched a number of them, during the search, witnesses added that police officers detained men and beat them up. Eid Qawass, an owner of one of those homes was beaten up so badly that he had to be sent to a hospital, sources in the old city of Jerusalem reported. Qawwas was harshly attacked by Israeli policemen who punched and kicked him. Local sources stated that the attack happened for no reason and that soldiers were attacking randomly the homes and gave no justifications. Qawwas voiced an appeal to human rights groups to intervene for the protection of the Palestinians in Jerusalem and called on the residents to remain steadfast in their lands and homes as Israeli is attempting to force them out.

IOF troops kill 78 Palestinian children; kidnap 260 others within six months
Palestinian Information Center 7/2/2008
TULKAREM, (PIC)-- The IOF troops killed 78 Palestinian children, and kidnapped more than 2,500 Palestinian citizens, including 260 children, throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip since the start of this year, a report issued by the Nafha society asserted. The society, which caters for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, explained that 1500 of the kidnapped Palestinian citizens were from the West Bank, in addition to hundreds of Palestinian citizens in the Gaza Strip rounded up by the IOF troops during military incursions into the tiny Strip. The report also added that 13 Palestinian women were among the arrested citizens, including human rights activist Ahlam Johar who was later on forcibly deported to Jordan. According to the report, the West Bank cities of Nablus and Al-Khalil had the biggest number of the arrested citizens of 465 and 450 citizens respectively, while in. . .

IOF troops raid 3 mosques in the Ramallah district
Palestinian Information Center 7/3/2008
RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- IOF troops raided on Wednesday evening the village of Silwad, to the north east of Ramallah and stormed the Abu Obeida Mosque at the centre of the village, more troops raided the village Shiqba to the west of Ramallah. Locals at Silwad reported that more than 25 military vehicles carrying tens of occupation soldiers raided their village around 10:30 pm and that the occupation soldiers ransacked the mosque and its library. They also reported that the invading troops confiscated 5 computers used in the mosque’s library in addition to paper files in the library. Shiekh Yaser Hamed, the mosque’s Imam said that the attack on the mosque reflects disrespect for faith and places of worship. A Palestinian youth who was present in the vicinity of the mosque suffered an unprovoked assault by the invading occupation soldiers.

Ramat Gan police chase, arrest 12 illegal Palestinian workers
Yigal Hai, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
Police in Ramat Gan on Thursday arrested 12 illegal Palestinian workers, after a car chase involving gunfire. Policemen instructed the car filled with illegal workers to stop, but the driver refused to oblige and continued to drive down the city’s Jabotinsky Street. One of the police officers proceeded to fire into the air as the police chased the car. Once the car had been brought to a stop, the 12 illegal squatters were taken to police custody and a police sapper examined the car. Heavy traffic jams were reported in the area during the time of the chase. Related articles: B’Tselem: Israeli security forces abuse Palestinian workers Finance Minister: All illegal migrant workers will be expelled by 2013

Palestinian Workers Union slams Israel’s arrest of 50 Palestinian workers
IMEMC News, International Middle East Media Center News 7/4/2008
Shaher Sa’ad, secretary-general of the Palestinian Workers Union, slammed the Israeli attacks against Palestinian workers and said that Israel arrested 50 workers inside Israel after claiming that they do not carry the needed work permits. Sa’ad added that Israeli policemen chased and arrested 50 workers in an area in Jerusalem. The workers were assaulted, humiliated and were taken to a nearby police station. He also stated that these assaults violate the international law and human rights regulations as those workers are trying to work in order to sustain a decent living to their children and families. Sa’ad urged international organizations to practice pressure on the Israeli Authorities in order to stop their violations against the workers especially since the Israeli restrictions caused a sharp increase of poverty rates in Palestine.

VIDEO - Ni’lin: our struggle against the Apartheid Wall
Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, Stop The Wall 7/3/2008
This video shows the ongoing struggle of Ni’lin village against the occupation’s campaign of dispossession. Located in west Ramallah district, the village lost the greater part of its lands in 1948. The Apartheid Wall is now destroying the rest of the lands, the village’s thriving economy. Farmers, workers and small businessmen are all equally affected by the ghettoization of the village. The bulldozers arrived in Spring 2008 to destroy the farm lands and isolate them behind the Wall. However, the occupation forces have met with determined resistance. Hundreds of people are out in the fields three times a week to ensure that the works for the Wall are interrupted or delayed. As the international community stands idle, unwilling to implement its own decisions on the illegality of the Wall, the people from. . .

ISRAEL-OPT: Palestinians to face water shortages this summer - rights group
IRIN - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 7/4/2008
JERUSALEM, 3 July 2008 (IRIN) - Palestinians in the West Bank consume far less water than people in Israel, but they are likely to face a shortage this summer, the Israeli human rights group B’tselem has warned. "The chronic water shortage results in large part from Israel’s discriminatory policy in distributing the joint water resources in the West Bank, and the limits it places on the Palestinian Authority’s ability to drill new wells," B’tselem said in a new position paper. "The average water consumption per capita of Israelis is 3. 5 times that of Palestinians," B’tselem said, adding "access to water without discrimination is recognised by international law as a fundamental human right. Palestinians consume about 66 litres per capita per day, though in some areas that amount can drop by two-thirds. Israel tends to cut the amount to Palestinians during the summer months, the paper said, in order to supply the needs of Israeli settlers.

Mohammed Omer, former Vermont Guardian correspondent, assaulted by Israeli security forces
Christian Avard, Green Mountain Daily 6/29/2008
GAZA CITY- IPS reports award winning journalist Mohammed Omer, Rafah, was assaulted and abused by Israeli security forces at the Jordan-West Bank checkpoint Thursday. Omer was on his way home from a Netherlands trip sponsored by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and the Dutch Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel. IPS details the shocking treatment Omer experienced at the hands of Israeli security forces. "Accompanied by Dutch diplomats, Omer passed through the Jordanian side of the border without incident. However, after arrival on the Israeli side, trouble began. He informed a female soldier that he was returning home to Gaza. He was repeatedly asked where Gaza was, and told that he had neither a permit nor any coordination to cross. Omer explained that he did indeed have permission and coordination but was nevertheless taken to a room by Israel’s domestic intelligence agency the Shin

Palestine Today 070308
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/3/2008
Click on Link to download or play MP3 file|| 4 m 0s || 3. 66 MB || Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www. imemc. org, for Thursday July 3ed, 2008. The Israeli army attacks a village in the West Bank and kidnaps 24 civilians while in Jerusalem demolishes two Palestinian homes, these stories and more coming up stay tuned. The News Cast One Palestinian man was injured and three others kidnapped during morning attacks the Israeli army did in Hebron city in the southern part of the West Bank on Thursday. Abed Al Azzez Nahro, 17, was injured during clashes that took place between invading Israeli troops and local youth in Al Fowar refugee camp near Hebron. The clashes erupted when soldiers stormed the refugee camp and searched homes, witnesses said. Meanwhile the Israeli army kidnapped Mussa Al Tawil, age 28, after searching homes in downtown Hebron city on Thursday morning.

Hamas government blames Israel for Rafah crossing incidents
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 7/3/2008
The Hamas-dominated government in Gaza blamed Israel yesterday for the outbreak of violence at the Rafah crossing terminal in southern Gaza on Wednesday midday. In a statement, faxed to press, the government’s spokesman, Taher aL-Nunu, said that the Israeli procrastination to lift the blockade of Gaza in accordance with the Egyptian-mediated ceasefire deal, has helped the eruption of Rafah crossing incidents. Al-Nunu maintained that his government has made contacts with Egyptian officials to restore calm and ensure reopening of the Rafah crossing terminal in agreement with all parties concerned. Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmad Abu Elgheit, described the Wednesday’s incidents as a ’ ridiculous attempt’ to breach the border lines with Egypt. Abu Elghiet said that if this breaks out once again , it will have grave consequences , asserting that his country will never allow the recurrence of such an episode.

Haneyya calls on Egypt to open the Rafah crossing once and for all
Palestinian Information Center 7/3/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haneyya said on Thursday that what took place on Wednesday at the Rafah crossing was spontaneous and not planed, calling on Egypt to hasten the opening of the border crossing officially. Haneyya’s comments were made during a speech to police officers at their headquarters in Gaza city where he stressed that frustration and the pressures of the siege were to blame for the people’s attempt to storm the gates of the crossing. Haneyya stressed that the Rafah crossing should be officially opened once and for all after reaching an agreement between different parties concerned and called for accelerating the process so as not to keep the Palestinian people hostage to the siege and closure. He said that these pressure cause some young people to get out of line and cause problems and added that the Egyptian brothers were informed of. . .

PA in the West Bank and Hamas government in Gaza conflict causing chaos at Rafah border
Palestine News Network 7/2/2008
Gaza / PNN -- The Interior Ministry of the Palestinian government, which is Hamas in the Gaza Strip, announced on Wednesday that it will not allow any Palestinian citizen to enter the Rafah border crossing with Egypt without official registration and disclosure with the Ministry. The Interior Ministry said that Wednesday’s crisis could have been prevented. Hundreds of Palestinians have obtained travel permits by coordinating with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank’s Ramallah or with Egyptian authorities without the knowledge of the Interior Ministry in Gaza. The Ministry says that the "sudden presence of these citizens at the crossing impedes the progress of work and is causing chaos. " Hamas announced earlier this week that pre-payment is required. It has risen from 100 shekels to 1,000 USD, according to a Gaza journalist, in order to pass the crossing.

Fayyad presents Fatah, Hamas reconciliation plan
Barak Ravid and Avi Issacharoff, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad recently presented a national reconciliation plan for rival groups Fatah and Hamas. At the crux of the plan is an initiative to deploy an Egyptian security delegation to the Gaza Strip; it will act as an arbitrator between the opposing sides and supervise the disarmament of Palestinian groups and unification of security organizations. A source privy to the details of the proposal said Fayyad believes the cease-fire in the Gaza Strip is the right time to push for such a move. The same source added that Fayyad considers the cease-fire fragile; therefore the speedy adoption of a reconciliation plan is imperative. Fayyad’s plan comprises three elements: an internal Palestinian security agreement, a transition government and a date for new parliamentary and presidential elections.

Egypt to host inter-Palestinian talks ’soon’
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/4/2008
CAIRO: Egypt will "soon" host inter-Palestinian talks between Fatah and Hamas as well as other factions, Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt Nabil Amr was quoted as saying on Thursday. The talks are aimed at bringing together, under a Yemeni plan, the factions, which have been divided since Hamas routed Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas from the Gaza Strip in a power struggle a year ago. Last month, Abbas told Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that "Cairo should be the center of joint Arab efforts to end the Palestinians’ internal crisis. "

AMB: We are committed to national consensus on truce in Gaza
Palestinian Information Center 7/2/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah faction, has made it clear on Wednesday that it was committed to the Palestinian national consensus of holding a truce agreement with the Israeli occupation government in Gaza. In a statement it issued and a copy of which was obtained by the PIC, the AMB dissociated itself from the Soqoor Al-Asefa (Hawks of the Storm) group that fired a missile at the Israeli settlement of Sderot last week, asserting that the group was working against the interests of the Palestinian people. "We have directed our fighters to abide by the instructions of president Mahmoud Abbas, and to preserve the calm because it works in favor of the Palestinian national interests and paves they way to restore the Palestinian national unity", the AMB underlined in the statement. The armed group also warned of certain groups trying to use its name. . .

Families seek clues, hoping POWs are not dead
Jack Khoury, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
The families of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser carefully followed the news conference yesterday by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, hoping to gain more information on the abducted soldiers’ fate and the exact date of their release in the upcoming prisoner exchange. Nasrallah did not give details on the soldiers’ condition and even mocked statements by Israeli commentators and military officials about their status. He called reports that they are dead "speculation. . . not based on anything tangible. " ’He’s keeping us on a short leash’ Miki Goldwasser, Udi’s mother, said Nasrallah was continuing his psychological warfare against Israel and the captives’ families. "He is keeping us on a short leash, but we won’t be weak. Still, the fact of his refusal to explicitly say that the boys are not alive leaves us with a sliver of hope that at the end we will see Udi and Eldad on their feet," she said.

Source: Hezbollah swap to take place next week
Yossi Melman, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
The prisoner exchange between Israel the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah is likely to be carried out within a week, a defense official told Haaretz on Thursday. Israel’s negotiator in charge of prisoner exchanges, Ofer Dekel, is currently in Europe meeting with UN-appointed German mediator, Gerhard Konrad. He is expected to return to Israel later Thursday. This was the first time Konrad and Dekel have met to discuss the report Hezbollah is planning to submit to the UN regarding the fate of Ron Arad, the Israeli Air Force navigator who has been missing since his plane was shot down over Lebanon in 1986. During their talks, Dekel and Konrad will set the terms for the implementation of the swap deal. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a video-linked Beirut press conference Wednesday that the prisoner swap would take place on or around July 15.

Nasrallah: Our report contains firm conclusion on Ron Arad’s fate
Yoav Stern, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
The prisoner exchange with Hezbollah will take place on or around July 15, the group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a press conference Wednesday in Beirut. Nasrallah also says a written report that Hezbollah will submit to the German mediator on missing Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad contains "a definite conclusion based on. . . witness accounts [gathered] on the ground. "He described the effort made in investigating Arad’s fate as unprecedented, but he did not give details. The Hezbollah chief said his men have been investigating Arad’s fate since 2004, and have reached a "firm conclusion" on what had happened to him. Nasrallah has in the past said he believed Arad was dead but did not know the location of his remains. Regarding the welfare of abducted Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, Nasrallah said that "so far. . .

Obama enlists Jewish lawmakers in outreach effort
Nathan Guttman and Jennifer Siegel, The Forward, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
About 150 Jewish voters gathered in June at a private home in Los Angeles for what marked a new phase in Senator Barack Obama’s outreach effort to the Jewish community. Some were longtime Obama supporters who came to hear what kind of help they can offer as the campaign moves to the general election from the primary. Some were backers of Senator Hillary Clinton hoping to learn more about the candidate and get some answers to questions about his views on Israel, the Middle East and domestic issues of concern for Jewish voters. The event itself, led by Rep. Howard Berman and former congressman Mel Levine, resembled any other meeting with Jewish voters in which the candidate’s foreign policy is praised and a call is voiced to bring out the Jewish vote come November elections.

How many missiles will be fired from Iran, Syria, Lebanon in the next war?
Yossi Melman, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
How many missiles will be fired from Iran, Syria and Lebanon against Israel in the next war? This question, as well as the various future war scenarios, was the subject of an enlightening lecture early in the week by the commander of the Israel Air Force from 1996 to 2000, Major General (res. ) Eitan Ben Eliahu. His lecture surveyed the changes in Israel’s national security doctrine amid the changing nature of wars, technology and the threats posed by the country’s enemies. The lecture was initiated by an organization established after the Second Lebanon War, when the Israeli home front was hit by thousands of Hezbollah rockets. The Israel Missile Defense Association (www. imda. org. il) was founded by Avi Schnurr, a senior engineer who worked for many years in the United States military industries, immigrated to Israel and served as "the voice of missile defense in Israel.

Iran: Israel holding diplomats who vanished in Lebanon in 1982
Yoav Stern, Ha’aretz 7/3/2008
Iran’s embassy in Beirut this week released a statement claiming that Israel is holding four Iranian diplomats who vanished in Lebanon in 1982. "This is what we have concluded from the information we have, which comes from a variety of sources, and which has no contradictory evidence," says the statement, issued to mark the 26th anniversary of their disappearance. Hezbollah is demanding that Israel present a document detailing the incident, which occurred during Israel’s first war in Lebanon, as part of the imminent prisoner exchange between the two sides. The fate of the four has been raised during every round of negotiations between Hezbollah and Israel in recent years. The Iranian statement also claims that Israel is responsible for the fates of the diplomats, as it was the occupying force in Lebanon at the time.

To wait - or to strike?
Amir Oren, Ha’aretz 7/3/2008
A volley of missiles fired offensively by Iran at Israel, noted James "Sandy" Winnefeld this week, "is by far the most likely employment of ballistic missiles in the world today, and it demands our immediate attention in the event of a need for a U. S. or NATO response. "Admiral Winnefeld, whose warning appears in the July 2008 issue of the U. S. Navy monthly "Proceedings," is a fighter pilot, and former commander of an aircraft carrier and of a task force involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. At present, he is commander of the Mediterranean Sixth Fleet, which is expected to participate - in Haifa Bay and with the help of Herev Magen (the Arrow missile) and Yahalom (the Patriot missile) - in the interception of Shahab-3 missiles. Winnefeld did not describe a scenario that would cause Iran to attack Israel.

Iran warms to freeze-for-freeze plan
Gareth Porter, Asia Times 7/4/1908
WASHINGTON - A senior Iranian official reportedly told members of the Iranian parliament on Monday that Iran had agreed to freeze its enrichment program for six weeks and begin negotiations with the "Iran Six" group of states as early as next week, according to reports of that decision by the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) and by a Farsi-language website in Iran. Remarks by Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki and a top adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday also seemed to indicate that decision to accept a "freeze-for-freeze" proposal from the "Iran Six" to begin at least preliminary negotiations. The "Iran Six" consists of the permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia - and Germany. The apparent Iranian decision comes in the wake of an atmosphere of heightened threat of attack on Iran by Israel created

ANALYSIS / Hezbollah using swap deal as quick fix for problems at home
Zvi Bar''el, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
Why was Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah so anxious Wednesday to report the signing of the prisoner exchange? And why doesn’t he provide details on the abducted Israeli soldiers? Nasrallah’s distrust in the Israeli government, even after the cabinet approved the deal, apparently lies behind his insistence on staying mum. But announcing a done deal makes Israel responsible for any deviation. The timing of Nasrallah’s announcement is related to the harsh criticism being voiced by his political rivals at home. "Isn’t signing this agreement tantamount to indirect negotiations with Israel? "former president Amin Gemayel goaded Nasrallah. So the Hezbollah chief saw an opportunity to show his organization in a positive light against the background of efforts to forge a national unity government and the justified argument that he is responsible for the Lebanon’s political paralysis.

Mother of Kuntar victim: This monster will be a Lebanon hero
Eli Ashkenazi, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
The mother of a man killed nearly 30 years ago by Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar has written to President Shimon Peres regarding the imminent prisoner swap expected to take place this month with the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah. 82-year-old Nina Keren’s son Danny Haran and granddaughter Einat were killed by Samir Kuntar when he broke into their Nahariya home in 1982 and shot them. Keren’s other granddaughter, Yael, also died during the incident. Only Smadar Haran, Keren’s daughter-in-law, survived the attack. In her letter to Peres, Keren appealed to Peres to cancel plans for Kuntar’s release. "When I close my eyes at night, I see Einati’s black eyes, wide open in fear, not understand why her hero of a father was not saving her the rifle hitting her on the head," she wrote.

A junkie and a martyr
Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel, Ha’aretz 7/3/2008
Sur Baher. The home of bulldozer driver Hussam Duwiyat, who killed three Jerusalem residents and injured dozens more in the heart of the capital on Wednesday, is located opposite the Jewish neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv. On the slope of the adjacent hill lies Jabel Mukaber, the hometown of yet another terrorist, Ala Abu-Dahim, who murdered eight students at Jerusalem’s Merkaz Harav Yeshiva just four months ago. The reactions of the residents were very subdued; no flags of any organizations were flown. One neighbor said softly that the killer had had a serious drug problem. "A drug addict, you know. He’d shoot up all the time. "One of the neighbor’s friends scolded him: "Why don’t you keep quiet? He’s dead, may Allah have mercy on his soul. "But the neighbor continued. "Had they checked his blood, they would have found drugs, he was doing that all day.

Terror victim’s family mourns in silent seclusion
and Staff, By Anshel Pfeffer, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
The family of Bat-Sheva Unterman, who was killed in the bulldozer terror attack in Jerusalem on Wednesday, stayed closed in their home on the capital’s Sokolow Street yesterday. They have been refusing to talk to journalists, or even to provide a photograph of Unterman to publish in the newspapers. Unterman, 33, had been driving with her 5-month-old daughter when Hussam Duwiyat plowed into their car. He had been shot, but rallied despite his injuries and launched a second rampage, taking her life. "They have nothing against anyone; they’re simply very quiet, reserved people," said a relative who refused to give his name. "The worst thing for them would be to see Bat-Sheva’s picture in the newspaper. ""Bat-Sheva married Ido, who was born in London, four years ago at the age of 29, which is considered very late for a religious, ultra-Orthodox girl," a relative said.

Dichter: Kadima won’t win elections with Olmert
Shahar Ilan and Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
Ehud Olmert at the helm of Kadima is tantamount to the party not emerging victorious in the next elections, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter declared yesterday at a press conference shortly after the terrorist attack on Jaffa Road in Jerusalem. Despite the attack, Dichter did not cancel the press conference. Dichter’s statements touched a sore nerve among the Prime Minister’s supporters, who responded with their own attacks against the Minister of Public Security. "Instead of going to the scene and doing his job he is busy with politics," senior Kadima sources said yesterday. Other senior Kadima figures went as far as to call on Dichter to resign. "Any trick whose purpose is to prepare for the reelection of Ehud Olmert as head of Kadima deceives the leadership of Kadima, our coalition partners and the Israeli public," he said.

Showing Olmert the door
Yossi Verter, Ha’aretz 7/3/2008
Two days ago, when Avi Dichter was asked to describe the condition of Kadima under Olmert, he said: "We’re sailing down the river in a boat. It’s quite pleasant. Gradually we start to feel that the current is growing stronger and we hear a noise. By the time we notice that the noise is coming from the waterfall in front of us, it’s too late. We can’t grab on to the sides. "The press conference Dichter convened on Wednesday was meant to cause an earthquake in Kadima, and to position the interior security minister at the top of a list of unsullied candidates in a party that is not afraid to tell the prime minister to pack his bags. But the planned event turned into a public relations disaster. While Dichter was criticizing the prime minister, 500 meters away as the crow flies, on Jaffa Road, the bulldozer was on the rampage.

Winograd panelist regrets not calling on Olmert to resign
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/4/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: A member of the panel that probed the disastrous summer 2006 Israeli war in Lebanon said on Thursday he regretted not having recommended at the time that Premier Ehud Olmert resign over his role in the conflict. "I was sure that the prime minister would resign. It’s amazing this hasn’t happened yet. This is not what I expected. It’s beyond my nightmares," professor Yehezkel Dror told YNet News. "I regret that. . . I did not insist that the report would include an institutional recommendation to the government and its head to resign following the findings," said Dror, who was a member of the Winograd Commission that probed the war. Olmert is currently fighting for his political life over the latest in a string of corruption claims against him. He came under intense pressure to resign in April 2007 after the commission made its preliminary findings, accusing him of "serious failure" but stopping short of calling on him to quit.

The Chief Rabbi is one of the boys
Anshel Pfeffer, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
Maariv’s report last week that Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger had propositioned a young French cameraman during an interfaith conference in Spain a couple of years ago barely caused a ripple on the surface of the religious establishment swamp. This weekend’s part two, which will detail Metzger’s oligarch-sponsored trips around the world and the way he has enlisted himself in the service of Chabad interests, will most likely sink out of sight just as quickly. A controversial chief rabbi of Israel is not rare - certainly not all of Metzger’s predecessors were paragons of virtue - but it is hard to imagine such allegations being raised against any of them without some kind of public response. One obvious reason for this indifference is that nobody really has any expectations of Metzger. No list of the hundred most influential Ashkenazi rabbis in Israel would include his name, and he probably wouldn’t even get into the second hundred.

Former Tax Authority heads to be indicted
Noam Sharvit, Globes Online 7/3/2008
The former Tax Authority director and two deputy directors will be charged with accepting bribes. The Office of the State Prosecutor will prosecute eight suspects in the Israel Tax Authority affair, headed by former Tax Authority director Jackie Matza, and deputy directors Gidi Bar-Zakai and Shmuel Bubrov. Most of the suspects will be charged with accepting bribes and breach of trust. Prime Minister’s Bureau manager Shula Zaken will be charged with fraud and breach of trust. Businessmen Yoram Karshi (Zaken’s brother), and Kobi Ben-Gur will be charged with bribing Matza and other Tax Authority staff. The final decision is subject to a hearing for the suspects. The indictments state that Matza was at the beck and call of Karshi and Ben-Gur and allowed himself to be manipulated by them. The two businessmen accumulated tremendous power and influence within the Tax Authority and secured. . .

Supreme Court president: Our justices are the target of incitement
Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
Supreme Court President Dorit Benisch on Thursday hinted that the current state of turmoil over the court’s authority was reminiscent of the period of incitement just before then-prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, was assassinated. Benisch made the comparison during an inaugural ceremony for 13 new Supreme Court justices, at the President Residence in Jerusalem. Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann considered Benisch’s adversary over the reforms he has been trying to implement in the justice system, was also present at the ceremony. "Unfortunately, day after day and hour after hours, different sources are trying to lower the public’s faith in the justice system, to harm the honor of the judges and even to incite against them," Beinisch said. "Israeli democracy has paid an expensive price.

Mishaal meets President Asad and discuss latest developments
Palestinian Information Center 7/3/2008
DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- A Hamas delegation headed by Khaled Mishaal, the head of the movements political bureau, met, on Thursday morning, with President Bashar al-Asad, the Syrian president. A statement by Hamas said that the meeting lasted for about one and a half hours during which the latest developments in Palestine and the region were discussed. President Asad expressed his support for Palestinian national reconciliation talks which would lead to Palestinian national unity and said Syria was ready to exert efforts in this regard. Asad also expressed his support for the Palestinian people’s struggle to regain their lands and rights and welcomed the truce in the Gaza Strip which was the result of the Palestinian people’s steadfastness. Mishaal for his part welcomed national reconciliation talks that would deal with the root causes of the discord in the Palestinian arena.

U.S. envoy: We won’t intervene in Israel-Syria talks
Yoav Stern, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
U. S. Ambassador Richard Jones said Thursday that Washington would not intervene over Israel’s renewed negotiations with Syria, calling it a private Israeli matter. Speaking at a ceremony in his honor at the home of Deputy Defense Minister Majele Wahabe, Jones said the U. S. has not presented a stance on the indirect peace talks. He said that the U. S. , like many Israeli officials, were wary of establishing contacts with Damascus, but would not opposed the renewed negotiations. Meanwhile, a Turkish government source on Thursday told Reuters that Syria and Israel have indeed agreed to hold a fourth round of indirect talks in Turkey in late July. The two countries also agreed to hold fifth and sixth rounds of talks in August. They will decide at the July meeting whether the August talks will be indirect or direct, the source added.

Olmert: Direct Israel-Syria peace talks needed ’very soon’
Reuters, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Thursday peace talks between Israel and Syria, now mediated by Turkey, would have to be conducted face-to-face "very soon. ""With the Syrians, we are talking seriously and in my estimation very soon the negotiations will have to be direct. They will not be able to continue in the mode in which they are currently being held," Olmert told an economic conference in the southern resort city of Eilat. Olmert made his comments as a third round of indirect talks between Israel and Syria came to a close in Turkey on Thursday. A Turkish government source toldthat Israel and Syria have agreed to hold a fourth round of indirect talks in late July. During that meeting, the sides will decide whether to move to direct talks starting in August, the source said.

US prosecutor won’t let go of Palestinian professor
Ali Gharib, Daily Star 7/4/2008
Inter Press Service WASHINGTON: Palestinian activist and former university professor Sami al-Arian was arraigned this week in US federal court on two counts of criminal contempt for his refusal to testify in a grand jury investigation of a Northern Virginia Muslim think tank. The indictment is the latest episode of a long, Kafka-esque process that has violated nearly every tenet of Arian’s plea agreement following the end of his first trial in 2005, and kept him in prison for over five years. "The government has made a complete mockery of the plea agreement," Arian’s attorney, Jonathon Turley, told IPS. "Dr. Al-Arian has received zero benefit from his plea agreement. "Supporters of Arian cited the charges as an attempt by an overzealous Justice Department prosecutor to keep Arian behind bars indefinitely despite an inability to secure a jury conviction.

For first time, Israeli rabbi to attend Saudi-sponsored interfaith meet
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
An Israeli rabbi will attend this month’s interfaith conferencein Madrid at the invitation of Saudi Arabia. It’s the first invitation of its kind. The invitation could potentially be the first step in wider contacts between the kingdom and Israel, Rabbi David Rosen said on Thursday. Rosen said Saudi Arabia called the conference, set for Madrid from July 16-18, to bring world religions together to confront common challenges. He said he received an invitation from the World Muslim League, sponsored by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Rosen called it a historic step for them. On the other hand, he warned that it might be no more than a Saudi attempt to improve its image and that of Islam in the face of criticism over the 9/11 attacks in the U. S. and other instances of Islamic extremism.

Triple whammy
Rasha Saad, Al-Ahram Weekly 7/3/2008
As Iran faces a new round of sanctions -- and covert operations to undermine its government, Israel threatens to bomb its nuclear facilities, writes Rasha Saad Iran warned the EU it would lose from its new set of sanctions aiming to pressure Tehran over its sensitive nuclear programme. "If they want to stop doing business, no problem. We have gas and oil resources that the whole world wants to buy from us," said Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mahdi Safari recently. EU nations on Monday agreed on new sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear programme. Among the measures was the banning of the country’s largest bank, Bank Melli, from operating in Europe. " We are going to withdraw our money and invest it elsewhere," Safari warned. "If we withdraw $100 billion from European banks, that will of course prompt a lack of money and have consequences for the world economy," he added. The sanctions, adopted by EU ministers, also added 20 individuals and 15 organisations to the union’s blacklists imposing visa bans and asset freezes.

TASE down sharply; Israel Chemicals plunges
Yael Gruntman, Globes Online 7/3/2008
The fall in Potash Corporation stock is apparently the trigger for Israel Chemicals’ fall today. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) fell sharply this morning, trading under the influence of losses on international markets. The Tel Aviv 25 index fell 2. 1% to 1043 points, the Tel Aviv 100 index fell 2. 3% to 944 points, the Tel-Tech fell 3. 2%, the Real Estate 15 index fell 3. 4%, and the Mid-Cap 50 index is down 4. 6%. Wall Street closed sharply down yesterday, and the market is now considered bearish. General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) led yesterday’s losses, falling 15% to a 54-year low, and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (NYSE; TSX: POT) also fell sharply in both markets. Israel Chemicals Ltd. (TASE: ICL) and its parent, Israel Corp. (TASE: ILCO), were the focus of attention.

Shekel-dollar rate dives further
Yossi Nissan, Globes Online 7/3/2008
The trend is in line with world markets ahead of UK and European interest rate decisions. The shekel-dollar exchange rate fell 1% in morning inter-bank trading to NIS 3. 25/$. The latest drop comes after yesterday’s fall to NIS 3. 28-3. 29/$. At one point yesterday, the shekel-dollar exchange rate was down 1. 9% to NIS 3. 27/$. The shekel’s appreciation against the dollar is in line with the dollar’s weakness on international markets ahead of today’s upcoming interest rate decisions by the Bank of England and the European Central Bank. The shekel-euro exchange rate fell 0. 3% in morning trading today to NIS 3. 517/€. Yesterday’s shekel-dollar representative exchange rate was set at NIS 3. 284/$, 1. 6% lower than the day before, while the shekel-euro representative exchange rate was set at NIS 5. 19/€, also down 1. 6%.

Finance Ministry chief: The tidal wave will hit us
Erez Wollberg, Globes Online 7/3/2008
"Joining the global economy has limited our options. " "There is extreme uncertainty and the tidal wave will probably hit us and cause a slowdown," said Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav at the Israel Democracy Institute 16th Annual Caesarea Conference in Eilat. Ariav added, "The decision to integrate into the global economy has greatly limited options for the Israeli economy. 10% annual growth by emerging markets affects raw materials, oil, and disposable goods. "There is no doubt that the world is out of balance. There are long-term processes underway and you have to know how this affects the distribution of financial wealth. As for the domestic economy, it’s important to keep the sense of ’adult responsibility’. We’re seeing signs of inflation that are not only imported, but are also caused by domestic demand.

Independence Day cooperation
Daniel Ayalon, Globes Online 7/3/2008
The special relationship between Israel and the US extends to the economy, too. This week’s American Independence Day is another opportunity to discuss what is commonly referred to as the "special relationship" between Israel and the US. The immediate association attributed to this relationship is in the political, strategic, and military sphere, rather than in economics. But economic cooperation, which began 40 years ago, and has steadily grown, is no less important than the other spheres, and even more so in the limits of today’s globalized world. The US-Israeli cooperation began as a one-way street, in the form of $1. 2 billion a year in US transfers to the Israeli government. Twice in the past, the US came to the aid of the Israeli economy by extending huge loan guarantees: $10 billion in 1992 to help finance the massive immigration from the collapsed USSR, and another $10. . .

Hard look / Eighty companies, NIS 8 billion down the drain
Rotem Starkman, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
By now it’s clear that a lot of the companies that borrowed money from investors during the corporate bond boom of 2006-2007 won’t be able to repay. This year and next, we will see which honor their debts and which fold up whimpering. But the truth is that in most cases, the writing on the wall is pretty clear. Market sources are whispering about 80 companies in trouble that raised some NIS 8 billion altogether. And some portion of our pension money is invested in these firms. On the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, each bond has a name and the figures are there for all to see. No less than 140 corporate bonds are trading at double-digit yields; 90 are trading at yields above 15% and 60%. Some are trading at yields above 20%. This is junk bond status - the capital market doesn’t believe these companies are likely to repay investors in full.

Crossing the divide: Cooking with the enemy
The Independent 7/4/2008
There’s a moment when one of the two strong women at the centre of Good Intentions, a ground-breaking television drama series showing at prime-time on Israel’s Channel Two, leaves a voicemail for the other, who is preparing to drop her son off at the induction camp for the first day of his compulsory army service. "I only wanted to wish you good luck for your son," she says. "I hope he will be safe. "That would be unremarkable. Except that the woman making the call is Amal, a Palestinian from Ramallah whose brother is paralysed from the waist down after being shot by an Israeli army patrol; has just passed through a hated military checkpoint on her way home from work; and is struggling to protect her own daughter from the perils and pressures of life under Israeli occupation. Both women are chefs recruited for the series’ show within a show, a TV cookery programme with the -- in. . .

Egyptian intellectual Dr. Masiri dies at the age of 70
Palestinian Information Center 7/3/2008
CAIRO, GAZA, (PIC)-- Renowned Egyptian intellectual Dr. Abdel-Wahhab al-Masiri died on Thursday morning at the Palestine Hospital in Cairo aged 70 after suffering from cancer for a number of years. Dr. Masiri will be buried Thursday afternoon in his hometown of Damanhour, in the northern district of Buhaira, where his funeral will start from the Rabea al-Adaweyyah mosque in Nasr city east of Cairo. Dr. Masiri was born in 1938 in Damanhour were he completed his secondary education, then in 1955 he joined the Alexandria University and graduated in English Literature. On his graduation he was a pointed a tutor at the same university. In 1963 he travelled to the USA were he completed his Masters degree in 1964 at Columbia University. He then went on to gain his PhD in 1969 at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He went back to Egypt where he lectured at the Ain Shams university as. . .

Study: Israelis like to smoke marijuana, less keen on coke
Ofri Ilani, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
The percentage of Israelis who smoke marijuana is higher than the rate in developing countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico and Colombia, but lower than in the developed countries of Europe, according to research conducted by the World Health Organization. The study, published Tuesday in the open-access online medical journal PLoS Medicine, found that 58 percent of Israelis drink alcohol, 48 percent have smoke tobacco, and 11. 5 percent have smoked marijuana. Only one percent of Israelis have used cocaine. Of the 17 countries surveyed, Israelis ranked sixth in marijuana consumption, 14th in alcohol consumption, 15th in tobacco and 11th in cocaine. The 17 countries surveyed by the global health body were: Belgium, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Holland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Spain, South Africa, Ukraine and the U.

Peres: No chance of peace with Palestinians
Yossi Verter, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
President Shimon Peres believes there is no chance of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Peres, the one-time proponent of a "new Middle East" made this statement last Saturday at a dinner with the Jordanian and French ambassadors in Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s Tel Aviv apartment. At the end of the meal an argument erupted between the Jordanian envoy, Ali Ayed, and a well-known "dovish" attorney, who said Israel had no chance of reaching an agreement with the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas’ leadership. Barak supported his guest’s hawkish stance. At a certain point, Peres intervened, surprising the participants by joining the attorney’s prediction. "It would be very hard to reach an agreement," Peres said, due to the Hamas-Fatah split. He said Abbas had no support among his people, no power to carry out security agreements and that any agreement. . .

Poll backs greater UN role in Mideast peace
Khody Akhavi and Ali Gharib, Electronic Intifada 7/3/2008
WASHINGTON (IPS) - 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 seven percent saying the Israelis. In contrast, those polled think the UN Security Council should take a robust role in resolving the dispute.

Senior officers laud response to bulldozer frenzy
Jonathan Lis, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
Senior Jerusalem police officers are pleased with the way the police forces conducted themselves during Wednesday’s chase and takeover of the bulldozer driven by a terrorist on the capital’s Jaffa Road. The police’s improved performance was particularly noticeable when compared with their conduct during the attack on the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in March, when officers opted to wait outside the building, allowing the terrorist to continue his killing spree. The officers involved in Wednesday’s incident were keen to point out during interviews that they had "sought to make contact" with the terrorist, professional jargon for taking the offensive. Police sources have said that the negative Mercaz Harav experience prompted major changes in the way terrorist incidents are approached. Meanwhile, in the autopsy carried out on the corpse of the terrorist, six or seven bullet wounds were identified.

Legal Analysis / Family can appeal demolition
Ze''ev Segal, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
Following the terror attack in Jerusalem this week, the cabinet is considering resuming house demolitions, including the East Jerusalem homes of terrorists. The authority to demolish homes has existed on local law books since 1945, requires no due process, and also applies to houses inside Israeli territory. The state has said in the past that house demolition is a critical means of pressuring Palestinian families to prevent acts of terror. A series of High Court of Justice rulings state there is no guarantee that the method is effective. However, given "the few means at the state’s disposal to defend itself against living bombs, it cannot be scorned," the court has stated. The Supreme Court has avoided commenting on the efficacy or wisdom of the means, and addressed only its constitutionality. The rulings state that demolition cannot be used as a punishment.

Bulldozer driver on downtown J’lem rampage leaves 3 dead, 80 injured
Barak Ravid and Jonathan Lis and Agencies, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert decided to act swiftly to resume the demolition of homes of East Jerusalem terrorists who hold Israeli ID cards, following yesterday’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem. Olmert said the attack "must be answered harshly" as a deterrent. Shortly after the attack, Olmert ordered ministers to examine the possibility of razing the terrorist’s home in East Jerusalem. In talks with 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 and report back by the end of the day, so that the cabinet could begin the proceedings. After the terror attack on the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem a few. . .

Foreign reporters converge on nearby terror attack site
Asaf Carmel, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
The bulldozer terror attack in Jerusalem yesterday took place right in front of the Jerusalem Capital Studios Group (JCS) building, housing the offices of several foreign television and news agencies. Numerous reporters and photographers rushed out of the building to cover the attack in real time. BBC photographers filmed the plainclothes Yasam (SWAT) officer shooting the terrorist point blank and the footage was broadcast by the Israeli media and around the world. BBC reporter Tim Franks broadcast an emotional report from the site minutes after the attack. "One of our editors saw what happened from her window," said Agence France Presse’s Patrick Aniger. "She grabbed a camera and filmed one of the overturned buses with the bulldozer rampaging in the background. This quickly became the main picture on the New York Times site.

Young recruit left his bike, felled bulldozer terrorist
Yuval Azoulay Jonathan Lis and Nadav Shragai, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
An 18-year-old recent conscript from Jerusalem, who had just completed basic training this week, was having a day off in town yesterday. Riding his bicycle on the way home, he saw a bulldozer overturning a bus. He says he immediately realized this was a terrorist attack. "I approached the bus on my bicycle, and then began to run to the site, looking for a weapon to use against the terrorist," he told reporters yesterday. The military censor imposed a gag order on his identity. Near the bulldozer the young soldier found a civilian, Oron Ben-Shimon, 28, a regional manager of a security firm in Jerusalem, who was armed. "Together we tried to neutralize the terrorist, at least to lift his feet off the pedals. "He shouted ’Allah Akbar. ’ At that moment I pulled the pistol that Oron carried and shot the terrorist three times in the head.

VIDEO - News / Police tear down mourning tent erected by Jerusalem terrorist’s family
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
Haaretz. com/Channel 10 news roundup for July 3, 2008. Border Police tear down a mourning tent erected for the man behind Wednesday’s terror attack. The perpetrator’s Jewish ex-girlfirend gives a different view of Hussam Duwiyat. Preparations begin for the prisoner exchange between Israel and Hezbollah. Related articles: Olmert: Raze terrorist’s home, revoke family’s social benefits ANALYSIS / Terrorist or petty criminal run amok? Mother of Kuntar victim: This monster will be a Lebanon hero Also on Haaretz. com TV: Language barrier lands immigrant soldier in military police detention Terrorist kills three, wounds dozens in downtown J’lem rampage News / U. S. official says concerned Israel will attack Iran by end of 2008 For more video news and features, visit Haaretz. com TV

Family believes killer was drug addict
Avi Issacharoff and Eli Ashkenazi, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
The terrorist who carried out the attack in Jerusalem Wednesday was Hussam Tayisir Duwiyat, 30 from the village of Sur Baher, southeast of Jerusalem. Duwiyat was married and a father of two children, aged four and five. The security forces raided his home Wednesday and arrested several family members. According to his family, Duwiyat had been employed as a bulldozer operator in recent years. He was not known to be involved in political activism in his community. However, the Battalions for the Liberation of the Galilee claimed responsibility for the attack, saying Duwiyat was recruited several months ago. Security sources said that the claim was likely false. The family, through attorney Shimon Kokush, maintained that Duwiyat was not a terrorist, and that the attack was not terror-related.

Police prepare for clashes in E. J’lem neighborhood
Jonathan Lis Shahar Ilan Avi Issacharoff and Eli Ashkenazi, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
Immediately after Wednesday’s terror attack, Jerusalem police sent reinforcements to the Sur Baher neighborhood in East Jerusalem due to concerns violence could erupt in the area. District commander Aharon Franko instructed police to suppress signs of mourning in the village and prohibit symbols of the Palestinian Authority, Hamas or Palestinian nationalism altogether. Police were also ordered to prevent the erection of a mourning tent. District police officers yesterday were quick to enforce those orders and instructed the bulldozer driver’s family to take down its mourning tent. Based on past experience and intelligence gathering, the police are preparing to prevent violence by local Sur Baher residents as well as clashes with right-wing activists who could come to Sur Baher to protest the terror attack.

ANALYSIS / Terrorist or petty criminal run amok?
Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
During the years prior to the Six-Day War, divided Jerusalem was rife with the phenomenon of the "mad Jordanian": A soldier from the Arab Legion suddenly and with no apparent reason began taking shots at civilians on the Israeli side of the borders. The Jordanians said that the man was crazy and in that way absolved themselves from any responsibility for his acts. Hussam Duwiyat, the terrorist who ran amok with a bulldozer in the middle of Jerusalem - and his neighbor, Ala Abu-Dahim, who murdered eight students at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva four months ago - appear to be a Palestinian incarnation of the same modus operandi. The Shin Bet security service agents who arrived at the home of the terrorist’s family in Sur Baher in East Jerusalem, are now looking for clues as to the motive behind the deed.

Olmert: Raze terrorist’s home, revoke family’s social benefits
Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Thursday reiterated his call to demolish the home of the East Jerusalem resident who plowed deliberately down a major Jerusalem thoroughfare a day earlier, killing three people and wounding dozens. "This is an attack which came from within Israel, into Israel. It creates a string of scenarios we never thought we would have to deal with in the past. We have invested thousands in the construction of a security fence. While it has been very effective, it turns out that a fence cannot give us the answer to the problem of terror which comes from our side," he said. Speaking from the Ceasaria business forum in the southern port city of Eilat, Olmert also said the social benefits of the terrorist’s family should be taken away in light of the attack.

Viewers complain after BBC News broadcasts Jerusalem shooting
Tara Conlan, The Guardian 7/3/2008
BBC News has received 61 complaints after its 10pm bulletin on BBC1 showed police shooting dead a man who drove a bulldozer into vehicles in Jerusalem. Viewers last night saw shots being fired at the man in the cab of the bulldozer and his final moments. It was shown a minute into the programme. The film was shot by the BBC, which has a bureau office on the busy road in downtown Jerusalem where the attack took place. Tim Franks, the BBC’s Jerusalem correspondent, was sitting in his office overlooking the Jaffa Road when the attack took place. He warned viewers of BBC1’s 10pm news at the start of his report that the cameraman had captured the shooting on film. He said: "I should tell viewers that in the report you are about to see, we did film the moment when the attacker was shot dead. "The footage was also shown on the 6pm news but frozen just before the man was shot.

Obama says Iraq trip could alter 16-month timetable for withdrawing troops
ASSOCIATED PRESS, Jerusalem Post 7/3/1908
US presidential candidate Barack Obama opened the door Thursday to altering his plan to bring US troops home from Iraq in 16 months based on what he hears from military commanders during his upcoming trip there. "I’m sure I’ll have more information and continue to refine my policy," he told reporters on the airport tarmac here. During his presidential campaign, Obama has gone from the hard-edged, vocal opposition to Iraq that defined his early candidacy to more nuanced rhetoric that calls for a phased-out drawdown of all combat brigades that, at a rate of one or two a month, could last 16 months. He has said that if al-Qaida builds bases in Iraq, he would keep troops either in the country or the region to carry out "targeted strikes.

Betancourt compares rescue to Israeli operation
Yossi Melman, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
Former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, who was released after six years in captivity on Wednesday, compared her "impeccable" rescue operation to Israeli commando operations. Perhaps she did not know it, but Israel indeed contributed to the elaborately-planned, daring rescue mission. Betancourt, who was kidnapped in 2002 by Marxist rebels in Colombia (FARC), was rescued without a shot being fired. Colombian military agents, who had penetrated FARC’s leadership, instructed her guards to transfer her to another rebel group. Her captors put her on a helicopter that arrived as scheduled, little knowing that their comrades-in-arms were undercover Colombian soldiers. Betancourt and 14 other hostages who had been held in the jungle, including three Americans, were freed. Since word of the dramatic rescue spread, speculation in the world media has attributed the success to people trained by Israeli intelligence.

Mending fences
Bassel Oudat, Al-Ahram Weekly 7/3/2008
France and now Germany have decided if they can’t beat ’em, they will let them join, notes from Damascus Slowly but surely, Europe is edging closer to Syria. European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pottering, who is planning a visit to Damascus next month, told reporters that Syria "is a key country in the Middle East and a major partner in the peace process". He is not the only one to think so. Last week, Syria played host to Iceland’s Foreign Minister Ingibjorg Gisladottir and German Foreign Ministry Middle East coordinator Andreas Michaelis. For the moment, Europe’s overtures to Syria are still of an exploratory nature. And Western sources say that Damascus has some way to go to prove its willingness to cooperate on various regional issues. It’s a message that the Syrians are taking to heart. Syrian Vice-President Farouk Al-Sharaa recently told Hizbullah- run Al-Manar television that Syrian- European relations were "going into a new phase".

An ever-receding ’breakthrough’
Saif Nasrawi, Al-Ahram Weekly 7/3/2008
Re-integrating the main Sunni group in the cabinet is not a sufficient condition to heal Iraq’s political wounds, writes Click to view caption An Iraqi child rests while waiting to fill his jerry can with fuel near a petrol station in BaghdadDespite his recent successful military campaigns to crack down on the Mahdi Army militias as well as Sunni insurgent groups in southern and northern Iraq, several contentious political challenges await Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki before he can claim a breakthrough in the war-torn nation. These challenges include broadening the political process, improving the security forces, signing the joint Iraqi-US security pact, and holding local council elections. However, given Iraq’s complex reality, tackling one problem can lead to an even worse one. Capitalising on his success in beginning to dismantle the Mahdi Army militia cells in Baghdad and Shia- dominated

Haredim riot across Israel in protest of slain rebbetzin’s autopsy
Jonathan Lis, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
Several ultra-Orthodox groups rioted across Israel on Thursday in protest of the prospective autopsy of the body of Ziona Samin, who was murdered in her Ashkelon apartment a day before. Police detained eleven protesters for burning tires outside the National Institute of Forensic Medicine in Abu Kabir and trying to enter by force. In Jerusalem, masses of Haredi people barricaded Shivtey Israel Street, set fire to garbage bins and hurled stones at police cars. In Bnei Brak, rioting Haredim blocked Ezra Street. Ziona Samin, a 65-year-old resident of Ashkelon, was murdered on Wednesday, apparently during a botched robbery. Her husband, Rabbi Yosef Samin, found her tied hand and foot, after apparently being severely battered. No suspects have been arrested.

Bouncing on a hot stage
Oula Farawati, Al-Ahram Weekly 7/3/2008
Jordan’s arts showpiece has become an embarrassment for the government, writes in Amman What a debut for Jordan’s Festival for Culture and Arts, due to start official on 8 July. The pre- festival activities have already been marred by an angry public, civil society boycotts and cancellations by many Arab and Jordanian artists. Jordan’s professional associations and opposition are leading a tough campaign against the festival, with allegations that it is a Trojan Horse for normalisation with Israel. The campaign alleges that a French company, Publicis Groupe, is organising the festivity after it arranged both Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations and the Arab Nakba commemoration. Those allegations, which have been denied several times by the government, have put the entire festival in the dog-house. Several Arab artists, including Amr Diab, Mohamed Hamaqi and Elissa said they will boycott the festival if the allegations turn out to be true.


Critics see vendetta in al-Arian’s legal limbo
Ali Gharib, Electronic Intifada 7/3/2008
      WASHINGTON (IPS) - Palestinian activist and former university professor Sami al-Arian was arraigned Monday in US federal court on two counts of criminal contempt for his refusal to testify in a grand jury investigation of a Northern Virginia Muslim think-tank.
     The indictment is the latest episode of a long, Kafka-esque process that has violated nearly every tenet of al-Arian’s plea agreement following the end of his first trial in 2005, and kept al-Arian in prison for over five years.
     "The government has made a complete mockery of the plea agreement," al-Arian’s attorney, Jonathon Turley, told IPS. "Dr. al-Arian has received zero benefit from his plea agreement."
     Supporters of al-Arian cited the charges as an attempt by an overzealous Justice Department prosecutor to keep al-Arian behind bars indefinitely despite an inability to secure a jury conviction. There is no maximum penalty for criminal contempt.
     "The whole case against him is a vindictive act by sore losers that lost the Florida case badly because there was no evidence," al-Arian’s daughter, Laila, told IPS. "So they’re manufacturing crimes to keep him in prison as long as possible. It’s almost as if the whole plea agreement was just a way to buy time." -- See also: US prosecutor won''t let go of Palestinian professor

Will Non Violent Resistance Work in Palestine?

Dr. Vijaya Rajiva, International Middle East Media Center News 7/3/2008
      Palestine, the last of the Liberation movements has a special place in the hearts and minds of the countries that were liberated in the 20th century.
     The newly liberated countries, India being one of them, voted against the partition of historic Palestine and in 1967, Arthur Lall the Indian representative at the UN called for Israel’s withdrawal from ALL occupied territory. Although India has normalized its relations with Israel since then, the sentiment of wanting to see Palestine liberated from the Occupation is still there.
     A comparison with the Indian freedom struggle is inevitable, although each struggle has its own unique characteristics. One of the themes in the Palestinian struggle which has been explored is the prospect of a non violent struggle against the Occupation (See Mustafa Barghouti’s "˜Strategies for Non Violence’ in Palestine Chronicle).It must be pointed out that the African National Congress’s armed struggle in South Africa made it possible for the international community’s Boycott and Divestment Movement to succeed, but only in conjunction with the armed struggle.

Running against the clock

Dina Ezzat, Al-Ahram Weekly 7/3/2008
      Dina Ezzat reviews progress in and opinion regarding Egyptian mediation efforts on the Palestinian-Israeli front
     President Hosni Mubarak and Jordanian Monarch King Abdullah met this week in Sharm El-Sheikh to synchronise diplomatic and intelligence efforts on the Palestinian-Israeli front. According to diplomatic sources, the prime objective of both Egypt and Jordan at this point is to sustain the fragile truce between Hamas and Israel. The second objective, the same sources add, is to move on to phase two of their mediation and secure the release, in return for the release of a few hundred Palestinian prisoners, of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit captured two years ago by an Islamist resistance movement loyal to Hamas. The third objective is to support Palestinian-Israeli negotiations that aim to lay down the outlines of a final status agreement -- even if not fully developed -- before US President George W Bush exits the White House later this year.
     Egyptian sources say that Egypt is keener to work on the first two objectives and doubts the ability of Palestinian and Israeli negotiators to deliver the third. However, they add that Egypt is still willing to provide support. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met earlier this week with President Mubarak in Sharm El-Sheikh on the sidelines of the African Union summit. During the meeting Abbas expressed hope that "something could come out" of current negotiations. "Despite our doubts we are not going to withdraw any support that is requested," one Egyptian source said. According to this source, Egypt, in coordination with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Jordan, has demanded that the Arab League abandon earlier plans to hold an Arab foreign ministers meeting this summer to express Arab dismay at the outcome of the Annapolis process that last November promised a final status agreement before the end of 2008.

Britain’s role revealed

Roger Owen, Al-Ahram Weekly 7/3/2008
      New research is shedding light on the depth of British involvement in the break-up of Palestine, writes In the vast -- and largely ideological -- literature produced by the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, Britain’s responsibility for the events of 1948 is not often directly discussed, neither polemically nor from a more academic point of view. It was thus something of a novelty to attend a whole conference devoted to the subject of "Palestine, Britain and Empire" at King’s College, London, in mid-May. It was also a great pleasure to observe how much dispassionate, archive- based research is being conducted by young scholars whose commitment to old passions and the rehearsal of stale arguments is much less pressing than that of many of their older colleagues.
     Three new lines of argument seemed to me of particular interest. One was the role played by the international mandate for Palestine itself, a subject often dismissed as being of trivial significance compared with the more obvious importance of Palestine as a quasi colony. However, as a paper on "The powers and uses of the mandate system" amply demonstrated, the fact that the Balfour Declaration was written into the mandate document itself enormously reduced Britain’s power of manoeuvre, particularly in the mid- 1930s when it was becoming clear that Palestine contained two irreconcilable communities unable to agree on almost anything.

If ’Never Again’ is to be a pledge

Joseph Agassi, Ha’aretz 7/4/2008
      Collective memories are usually celebratory, focusing on elements of the past that a society is most proud of. This is unfortunate. After all, societies stand to learn as much from their failures as from their successes. The memory of the Shoah is a major component of Israel’s character, but when it comes to the question of the Jewish response to the Holocaust, it is still a cause of some amnesia, particularly with regard to our failures at the time. Refusing to acknowledge those failures only compounds them.
     A strategic dispute that ran through the Zionist movement from its earliest decades had an impact on its response to the plight of European Jews. The "political" faction (whose most prominent leaders were Theodor Herzl and Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky) advocated trying to effect mass migration to Palestine by any means, whereas the "practical" faction (whose most prominent leaders were Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion) believed selective migration of young workers, preferably with agricultural skills, was both preferable and more realistic.
     ....This same dispute can help explain the terrible and shocking fact that during the war’s final phases, the Zionist movement in Palestine and the Jewish leadership abroad actively worked to foil the activities of the Emergency Committees to Save the Jews of Europe....

Tipping the balance

Hussein Ayoub, Al-Ahram Weekly 7/3/2008
      In sealing a prisoner swap with Israel, Hizbullah has vindicated its strategy, writes from Beirut The prisoner exchange deal between Hizbullah and the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert differs from earlier exchanges between Israel and Palestinian or Arab parties, most significantly in terms of the "price" Israel has been compelled to pay. That this is so is due mainly to the July 2006 war and the unprecedented strategic failure of Israel’s assault.
     The Israelis are agreeing to exchange prisoners in return for corpses, among them Samir Kuntar, convicted of killing three Israelis, and they are doing so in a deal cut with a Lebanese party.
     Ask today about the Palestinian Liberation Front or Operation Gamal Abdel-Nasser which it planned and carried out 30 years ago in Neharaya during which a number of Palestinian and Lebanese fighters were either killed or captured and most people will look blank. Ask about Kuntar, however, and it will soon become clear that the man is far more famous than the operation in which he participated, or indeed the faction, led by Abul-Abbas, that planned it.

When you shoot the messenger

Mel Frykberg, Electronic Intifada 7/3/2008
      GAZA CITY (IPS) - The assault of IPS Gaza correspondent Mohammed Omer has left Israeli security personnel with a lot of explaining to do. And they are not doing a very good job of it.
     Omer was abused and assaulted by Israeli security personnel at the Allenby border crossing into Israel from Jordan as he tried to return to his home last week in the Gaza Strip.
     Omer was returning from Europe where he had addressed European parliamentarians on the situation on the ground in Gaza. In London he picked up a prize as joint winner of the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism (along with IPS correspondent Dahr Jamail).
     Omer, who also reports for The Washington Report , told IPS he was verbally abused, strip-searched at gunpoint and physically beaten. He was later hospitalized with broken ribs and related trauma.
     Israeli officials denied to IPS in Jerusalem that the award-winning journalist had been mistreated. They said the Gazan journalist had "lost his balance" after being searched on "suspicion of smuggling in illegal items." -- See also: Mohammed Omer, former Vermont Guardian correspondent, assaulted by Israeli security forces

More foot-dragging

Khaled Amayreh, Al-Ahram Weekly 7/3/2008
      The "Shalit affair" is being delayed for cynical ends, writes in Ramallah Gilad Shalit Hamas has accused Israel of "dragging its feet" and "showing little seriousness" about negotiating a prospective prisoner swap deal whereby Israel would free hundreds of Palestinian political and resistance prisoners in exchange for Hamas releasing an Israeli occupation army soldier captured by Palestinian fighters near Gaza two years ago.
     Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he would like to speed up the negotiations with Hamas on a swap deal. Olmert was quoted as saying that he instructed all those who are involved in the negotiations with Hamas "to do what is necessary" so that the talks can progress as quickly as possible.
     However, the Israeli government, especially the intelligence and security establishment, seems generally opposed to freeing hundreds of prominent Palestinian prisoners on the grounds that such a step would boost Hamas’s popularity, mostly at the expense of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) regime.

I Shall Visit Israel

Paul Grenville, Palestine Think Tank 7/3/2008
     I shall visit Israel
     I shall visit Israel when the olive trees are in blossom
     I shall visit Israel when an Arab can marry a Jew
     I shall visit Israel when Torah Jews are no longer beaten up in the streets of Jerusalem for reminding their countrymen of the commandments of Moses
     I shall visit Israel when the speaking of Arabic in certain neighbourhoods no longer causes heads to turn
     I shall visit Israel when the learning of Arabic is mandatory in Israeli schools
     I shall visit Israel when Arab and Jewish children mingle freely in one system of state education
     I shall visit Israel when the 7 million refugees from the land of Palestine can choose between a country they can call their own, or compensation for what they lost...