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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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7 July 2008

Israel to close Gaza crossings Tuesday in wake of mortar fire
Fadi Eyadat, Ha’aretz 7/8/2008
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday called for Gaza Strip border crossings to close starting on Tuesday, hours after Palestinian militants fired two mortar shells into Israel, which struck an open space between the Karni crossing and Nahal Oz causing neither casualties nor property damage. Since the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas went into effect in the Gaza Strip June 19, militants have fired several Qassam rockets into Israel, including one last week that fell in the western Negev region. Israel closed its border crossings with Gaza in the wake of the rocket fire, but reopened them on Sunday to allow goods into the Strip and Gazans in need of medical assistance out of the coastal territory. A farmer operating a tractor near the western Negev Kibbutz Nahal Oz on Sunday said a Palestinian sniper in the bordering Gaza Strip opened fire on him.

Three Palestinians shot with live ammunition, three arrested and many injured as siege of Ni’lin continues for 4th day
International Solidarity Movement 7/7/2008
Ramallah Region - As the Israeli blockade and imposition of curfew in Ni’lin nears the end of its fourth day (7th July), the violence continued as the Israeli army has escalated its force by completely surrounding the village and is maintaining a constant presence on the streets inside. The blockade, intended to prevent Ni’lin’s demonstrations against the apartheid wall, comes as the four year anniversary of the International Court of Justice declaring the Israeli barrier illegal approaches on Wednesday. At least three residents of Ni’lin have been seriously injured with live ammunition as the villagers came out again to demonstrate against the closure of the village, while three Palestinians were arrested by Israeli border police earlier in the day. One of those shot is currently being operated on in a local hospital.

Israelis ransack West Bank charity linked to Hamas
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/8/2008
NABLUS, Occupied West Bank: Israeli troops on Monday shut down a Hamas-linked charity in the northern West Bank city of Nablus in a dawn raid, according to Palestinian security officials and witnesses. The soldiers searched and vandalized the offices of the Tadamon [Solidarity] association, confiscating documents and computers before sealing the building. They then placed a sign on the door saying "the offices. . . have been closed because they were part of terrorist infrastructure," witnesses said. Journalists who entered the building later found offices strewn with wrecked equiment and damaged furniture. The military would not immediately comment. Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said the army has decided to intensify its campaign against charities and other civil associations linked to the Islamist movement which seized power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007.

Marriage to an Arab is national treason’
Roee Nahmias, YNetNews 3/27/2007
Recent poll reveals steep rise in racist views against Arabs in Israel; many participants feel hatred, fear when overhearing Arabic, 75 percent don’t approve of shared apartment buildings - Over half of the Jewish population in Israel believes the marriage of a Jewish woman to an Arab man is equal to national treason, according to a recent survey by the Geocartography Institute. The survey, which was conducted for the Center Against Racism, also found that over 75 percent of participants did not approve of apartment buildings being shared between Arabs and Jews. Sixty percent of participants said they would not allow an Arab to visit their home. Five hundred Jewish men and women participated in the poll, which was published Tuesday. According to the survey, racism against Arabs in Israel has seen a sharp rise since a similar survey was conducted two years ago.

Abbas meets Syria-based leaders - but not Meshaal
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/8/2008
DAMASCUS: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has met Palestinian leaders based in Damascus, excluding the political chief of the rival Hamas movement, a member of his delegation said on Monday. The meetings aim "to restore order in the Palestinian house. However, Mr. Abbas will certainly not meet [Hamas leaders]," the official toldAFP on condition of anonymity. On Monday, Abbas held talks with Ramadan Abdallah Shalah, who heads the hard-line Islamic Jihad group, but not Hamas political supremo Khaled Meshaal, who like Shalah is also exiled in Syria. Abbas, head of the US-backed Fatah faction, met separately late Sunday with Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Nayef Hawatmeh and with Maher Taher of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, quoted in the government daily Tishrin, said his country was trying to find common ground between the Palestinian factions.

Fayyad wants foreign troops in Gaza
Reuters, YNetNews 7/7/2008
Palestinian prime minister proposes deploying Arab security forces in Gaza Strip to reassert Palestinian Authority’s control over region. Israel remains skeptical - Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Monday he was proposing ideas that include the temporary deployment of Arab security forces in Gaza to help reunite Hamas-run Gaza with the West Bank. Fayyad said his ideas, proposed in meetings with foreign Arab and Western officials, complemented an initiative by President Mahmoud Abbas last month to offer a national dialogue to end the rift between the secular factions of the Palestine Liberation Organization and their Islamist rival Hamas. Fayyad said restoring Palestinian Authority control over the Gaza Strip, run by Hamas since violence a year ago and separated from Abbas’ Fatah-run West Bank "is a key objective of policy and has to be pursued vigorously at all times".

Abbas security kidnaps husband of MP Samira Al-Halaika
Palestinian Information Center 7/7/2008
AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- The PLC presidency has condemned PA chief Mahmoud Abbas’s security apparatuses in the West Bank for abducting the husband of MP Samira Al-Halaika in Al-Khalil city on Sunday. The PLC chairmanship in a statement said that the security apparatuses in the West Bank were persisting in human rights violations and in breaching Palestinian traditions in a way that harmonized with the Israeli occupation authority’s methods. It noted that those security elements on Sunday morning detained Sheikh Mohammed Zaitun Al-Halaika, the husband of the lawmaker, along with other citizens in Al-Khalil who also included a mayor. The PLC chairmanship held the security apparatuses fully responsible for the life of Halaika and other detainees, denouncing the way the director of the preventive security apparatus replied to the MP when she asked about what were the reasons for detaining her husband.

Gaza locked in despite truce
Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani, Electronic Intifada 7/7/2008
CAIRO (IPS) - Despite a torrent of mutual recriminations, the fragile truce between Israel and Palestinian resistance faction Hamas survived into its third week. Israel, however, has been slow to fulfill its pledge -- as laid down in an Egypt-brokered ceasefire agreement -- to allow desperately-needed humanitarian supplies into the outdoor prison that is the Gaza Strip. "Repeated closures of the border crossings [by Israel]. . . are indicative of Israel’s lack of seriousness regarding the Egyptian ceasefire agreement," Ismail Haniyeh, head of Gaza’s ruling Hamas government, told reporters Friday on 4 July. "If the ceasefire is to survive, Israel must open the crossings [into the Gaza Strip] and lift its siege. " After several months of indirect negotiations in Cairo, Israel and Hamas -- along with smaller Palestinian resistance factions -- accepted a tahdia, or "calming" of hostilities, early last month. Despite stated reservations by both sides, the truce officially took effect on 19 June.

Naim asks Mousa to assist in ending tragedy of trapped patients
Palestinian Information Center 7/7/2008
CAIRO, (PIC)-- Dr. Basem Naim, the health minister in the PA caretaker government, has asked Amre Mousa, the Arab League secretary general, to help in ending the tragedy of Palestinian patients trapped at the Gaza borders with Egypt. He said that more than 1,000 seriously ill Palestinians and around 5,000 other humanitarian cases, "which could not be delayed", were impatiently waiting for the opening of Rafah crossing. Naim, who met with Mousa on the sidelines of the periodical meeting of Arab doctors union that was held in Cairo in the period July 3-4, also asked for dispatching Arab medical specialists to work for certain periods of time in Gaza. He also asked for providing scholarships and professional courses to rehabilitate and elevate competency of the Palestinian medical staff. The minister hoped that the Arabs would deal seriously with the Palestinian issue similar to the Arab role in the Lebanese and Iraqi questions.

First shipment of iron allowed into Gaza in a year
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Gaza - Ma’an - Israel allowed 100 truckloads of goods to pass into the Gaza Strip through the Sufa and Nahal Oz crossings on Monday morning. Israel allowed iron into Gaza for the first time in over a year, in addition to a desperately needed shipment of cement that was delayed at the border on Sunday, according to Muhamad Udwan, the spokesperson of the General Administration of border crossings in Gaza. Israel allowed only severely reduced supplies of fuel, especially diesel and gasoline, into Gaza, continuing a policy of punitive fuel cuts that began last year. A slight increase in shipments of cooking gas was allowed. Udwan criticized Israel for continuing to limit shipments of vital goods into Gaza, “as if they are shipping those goods for us for free. Traders are paying millions of dollars for those goods daily while Israel is disrupting the shipments and preventing them sometimes.

Hebron: Israeli army kidnaps a civilian and continues to impose closure on the city
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/7/2008
The Israeli army kidnapped on Monday a civilian and conducted a series of attacks in different parts of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Security sources reported that the Israeli army kidnapped 26 year old Muhammad Atallah after he was stopped a checkpoint at near the city. The Palestinian Prisoners Society in the city of Hebron reported that now the number of men kidnapped from Hebron by the army in the past seven days stands at 10. On the other hand, the Israeli army continued to force closure on Hebron, and erected more checkpoints at crossroads, surrounding the city and surrounding villages. [end]

Israeli forces seize six Palestinians in Zububa, near Jenin
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Jenin - Ma’an - Israeli forces seized six teenagers in the West Bank town of Zububa, northeast of the city of Jenin, during an overnight raid on Monday. Local sources said that Israeli forces stormed a number of houses in the village and detained Mahmoud Mohammad Jaradat, Mubdi Mahmoud Maqaldeh, Rami Freihat, Nour Mohammad Saleh, Tha’er Freihat and Sabeel Freihat all of whom are 18 years old. The sources added that Israeli forces had been patrolling near the separation wall in the village since 11pm on Sunday night, crossing Palestinian farmland and eventually invading the village at 1:30am. [end]

Ramallah: the army kidnaps a civilian and invades several villages
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/7/2008
The Israeli army kidnapped one Palestinian civilian during invasions targeting the central West Bank city of Ramallah and a nearby village. Local witnesses reported that the Israeli army kidnapped 18 year old Imad Arrar during a house to house search in the village of Qrawiah near Ramallah. Israeli forces also attacked and searched residents’ homes in Dura Al Qaree, and Bruka villages, in addition to Ramallah and Al Biereh cities. No kidnappings were reported there. [end]

Israeli forces kidnap six boys from villages near Jenin city
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/7/2008
On Sunday night Israeli troops kidnapped six boys from Rumana and Izbuba villages near the city of Jenin in the northern part of the West Bank, and took them to unknown detention camps. Local security sources said that three boys were kidnapped from Izbuba villages for being near the illegal Israeli wall that destroyed many of their farm lands. Moreover the other three were kidnapped when Israeli troops invaded and searched homes in Rumana village near Jenin. [end]

Israeli forces detain two Palestinians in Balata refugee camp
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Nablus - Ma’an - Israeli forces detained two men in the Balata refugee camp east of Nablus on Monday, after storming their houses. Palestinian security sources told Ma’an’s Nablus correspondent that Israeli forces detained 17-year-old Majdi Shaher Hashash and 21-year-old Ra’ed Sa’ed Al-Ka’bi. [end]

Israeli forces detain three Palestinians in Tulkarem
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Tulkarem - Ma’an - Israeli forces detained three civilians in the city of Tulkarem in the northern West Bank on Monday. Ma’an’s correspondent quoted Palestinian security sources and eyewitnesses as saying that Israeli forces stormed the western neighborhood of the city and detained 18-year-old Murad Riyad Al-Mughrabi. He works in a local Israeli factory. He added that Israeli forces detained 20-year-old Mohammad Sa’id Badran and 21-year-old Ahmad Adel Badran who are residents of the town of Deir Al-Ghusoun north of Tulkarem as they headed to work in Jerusalem. [end]

Israeli settlers use religious visits as reason to control Palestinian land
Amin Abu Wardeh, Palestine News Network 7/7/2008
Nablus - Dozens of Israeli settlers have flooded Palestinian territory in the last two days under the pretext of visiting religious sites. This does not diminish the fact that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. Last week a group of settlers visited Joseph’s Tomb near Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus. They did not leave the site until late the next morning in a deliberate attempt to provoke Palestinians, according to local residents and officials. In negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilmai said that Israeli presence will resume at Joseph’s Tomb. Israeli forces withdrew from the shrine with the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000. Israelis from the Bracha and Itamar settlements also invaded Awarta, a town in the eastern Nablus Governorate.

Israeli army build earth-mound ''by mistake''
International Solidarity Movement 7/7/2008
Hebron Region - Photos - On the afternoon of the 5th July, the Israeli army built an earth mound blocking the only entrance to the village of At Tawamin in the southern hills of Hebron. Just in time international and Israeli activists showed up whereupon the soldiers claimed, "it was a mistake". Half an hour later the earth mound was removed by the same forces that earlier constructed it. Around 20 soldiers were based by the entrance of At Tawamin busy putting up blocks and gravel in the middle of the road with a bulldozer, preventing Palestinian vehicles to enter or leave the village. A large number of international and Israeli activists were just a few kilometres away and managed to show up before the soldiers were ready to leave. Of some reason the soldiers then backed off from their decision claiming that "it was a mistake".

Israeli army attacks local solidarity and journalists
Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, Stop The Wall 7/7/2008
Ni’lin village this morning tried for the second day to break the four days siege imposed by the Occupation forces, to enable food and medical supplies to enter. Dozens of Palestinians came in solidarity from Bil’in, Deir Qaddis and other areas, joined by international activists. National and international media were present. Just as the crowd gathered, the Occupation Forces blockading the village started to throw tear gas and sound grenades to disperse the people. Many were temporarily detained. Journalists were particularly targeted. After the crowd was dispersed, the people from Upper Ni’lin, a small part of the village outside the besieged area, started to attack the checkpoint with stones and tyres. Salah Khawaja, spokersperson of the popular committee against the Apartheid Wall reports from inside the village that the Israeli army invaded the local girls school and used it as a military site adding that troops attacked local businesses and set fire to a local car.

Ni’lin under seige for fourth consecutive day
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Israeli forces opened fire on a curfew-defying march in the central West Bank town of Ni’lin, west of Ramallah, after the noon prayer on Monday, injuring dozens of demonstrators. The mayor of the village, Ayman Nafi’, said that resident Jamil Srurwas shot in the stomach, and two others, Mutee’ ’Amira and a child named Abdul Karim Srur, were shot in the legs. The other wounded marchers could not be identified. Israeli forces blocked ambulances from taking the wounded to Ramallah. The Israeli military has laid siege to the village for four days in an attempt to stifle protest against the construction of the illegal Israeli separation wall. For his part, Muhammad Srur a member of the Ni’lin committee to resist the wall said that clashes between the Israeli military and residents of the village were renewed on Monday evening.

Israeli army continues to attack civilians in Ni’lin, kidnaps three on Monday
Rula Shahwan & Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/7/2008
Israeli army continued its attacks targeting the villagers of Ni’lin near Ramallah city in the central part of the West Bank on Monday for the fourth day in a row. Israeli bulldozers intentionally destroyed the car of Tahha Al khawaja and shot tear gas into his home. The bulldozers also intentionally destroyed a car that belongs to resident Taha AL Khawaja, while soldiers fired teargas at his home and broke some of its windows. Salah Al khawaja, of the local Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, said that the Israeli army invaded a local school for gils and used it as a military base. He added that that troops also attacked local businesses and set fire to a local car. Al Khawaja also reported that soldiers firedteargas at villagers’ homes; several residents, includinga four-day old baby soffocated agfter inhaling gas.

Prisoner released after spending a third of his life in prison; family was separated for 22 years
Palestine News Network 7/7/2008
Nablus / Amin Abu Wardeh - After a collection of arrests that have caused Palestinian Samer Shirab to spend a third of his life in prison, he was released from an Israeli prison this week. His family’s joy was bittersweet, however, as his two brothers, Amjad and Majdi, were arrested two weeks ago by Israeli forces. The family has been separated now for 22 years. As the family prepared to welcome Samer home, their arrest came as a surprise. Samer’s release from prison followed a seven-year period in jail. He had previously spent five and a half years in prison after being arrested in 1996, adding to his total time in jail. Samer was arrested for the first time during the first Intifada. He was taken from his home during the night and sentenced to five years, which he spent in the Megiddo Prison. He was released in the first year and then rearrested after six months, interrupting. . .

Na’lin under curfew for fourth day
Palestinian Information Center 7/7/2008
RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation forces on Monday renewed the curfew imposed on Na’lin village, west of Ramallah city, for the fourth consecutive day, Palestinian sources said. Ayman Nafe, mayor of the village, said that the IOF troops have been imposing a strict curfew on the town and blocking traffic in and out of it. He said that the soldiers provocatively patrol the streets as their jeeps destroy whatever infrastructure is in their way. Villagers are deprived of marketing or even taking their patients to clinics, he elaborated. Sources in the town said that almost 50 Palestinians were wounded in clashes between stone throwing young men and the heavily armed soldiers, while 20 others were detained, some of whom had his limbs broken. Villagers along with foreign sympathizers used to organize popular rallies over the pat few weeks in Na’lin against the construction. . .

Two Palestinians arrested, two internationals injured as groups attempt to break the siege on Ni’lin
International Solidarity Movement 7/7/2008
Ramallah Region - Two Palestinian activists have been arrested and a Canadian activist has been shot in the leg by a rubber-coated steel bullet while attempting to take in food and other supplies to the West Bank village of Ni’lin, which has been holding constant non-violent demonstrations against the Israeli annexation barrier for the last two months. In a separate attempt in the evening a large group of Palestinian residents of Budrus, together with international and Israeli solidarity activists, were opened fire on as they were bringing supplies into Ni’lin. One Palestinian was hit twice by rubber-coated steel bullets and one Swedish activist was hit by a tear-gas cannister fired at the group. Basel Mansour, a member of Bi’lin Popular Committee and Ashraf Abo Rahma were arrested at the Ni’lin village entrance this morning as they attempted to enter the besieged village together with international solidarity activists.

Official PA paper: Israel poisoning prisoners
Roee Nahmias, YNetNews 7/7/2008
In bid to increase Palestinian public pressure, official newspaper for Palestinian Authority reports of ’medical experiments’ being conducted by Israel on Arab, Palestinian prisoners. ’The Israeli occupation is killing prisoners through slow deaths,’ claims director general of prisoner affairs center at Al-Quds University - Incitement in the Palestinian media is far from rare, but with Israel on the cusp of a prisoner exchange deal with Hizbullah and the fate of a similar deal for Palestinian prisoners still far from being finalized - the Palestinian Authority’s official newspaper is trying to ratchet up the pressure. In a series of reports published in the ’al-Hayat al-Jadida’ newspaper Israel is accused of poisoning Palestinian prisoners in its custody and conducting "medical experiments’ on them. In a special report issued on Monday by ’Palestinian Media Watch,’. . .

Paralyzed detainee facing slow death
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 7/8/2008
The Ahrar Center For Detainees Studies and Human Rights reported on Monday that detainee Rabee’ Harb, 27, is facing slow death in Israeli prisons, and voiced an urgent appeal for his immediete release in order to receive the needed medical treatement. The Center reported tha Harb was shot and injured by the Israeli forces, the injury caused paralysis. He was shot in his spine before he was kindapped by the army, and is currently at the Al Ramla prison hospital which lacks the fundemental equipment. The Center also stated that the health condition of Harb is gradually deteriorating as bullet fragments shattered his spine and also penetrated his kidney and other bullet fragments shatterd his bowels. He is currenty isolated at the ospital as he also suffers from a viral infection. Fuad Al Khuffash, a researcher and the head of the Ahrar Center, stated that Harb is not receiivng. . .

Detainee freed after speding more than one-third of his life in detention
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 7/8/2008
Palestinian detranee Samer Shirab, was release from an Israeli detention facility this week. He spend seven years in detenton and in the past he was imprisoned for more tanb five and a halfd years folowng his abduction by the soldiers in 1996. The family was releaved after his release but still this joy is mixed with sandess as his two borthers were kidnapped by the Israeli forces two weeks ago. Samer was first kidnapped by the army during the first Intifada. He was abducted from hoime during a night raid and spent five years in Magiddo Israeli prison. He was also kidnapped again and was detained for suix months. During this period he continued his studies and received his secondary certificate while in prison, yet he was unable to attend a univeristy. Samer still recalls the days and months he spent in etention and recalls an incident which took place on August 22, 2003, when there was a fire in the Negev detention camp.

High Court to give ruling on Palestinian girl paralyzed by Israeli attack
Palestine News Network 7/7/2008
Jerusalem / PNN - The highly publicized court case is finally here Monday. The Israeli High Court will determine today the fate of 7 year-old Palestinian girl, Maria Aman. Left paralyzed from the neck down in May 2006 by an Israeli aerial attack on Gaza, Maria is now facing expulsion from the only hospital in the country equipped to deal with cases like hers. The Israeli Ministry of Defense is seeking to transfer Maria to a rehabilitation institution in the West Bank’s Ramallah. According to doctors who are treating the young girl, a transfer to Ramallah will endanger her life. Maria’s severe spinal injuries and the sustained damage to her respiratory tract mean she has to stay within close distance of a hospital that can provide her with 24-hour specialist care. This is not available in Ramallah or anywhere else in the occupied Palestinian lands.

Italy to expel Palestinian who took part in Achille Lauro cruise hijacking
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 7/8/2008
Italian authorities have ordered a Palestinian man expelled after he served his sentence for taking part in the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship, which resulted in the murder of an American citizen. The 43-year-old Ibrahim Fatayer Abdelatif was freed Monday from a temporary holding center for illegal immigrants in Rome, his lawyer said. Lawyer Francesco Romeo said authorities have ordered Abdelatif to leave Italy within 15 days. Romeo said a request for political asylum had been turned down, but he plans to appeal the expulsion order because his client has nowhere to go. Abdelatif was born in a refugee camp in Lebanon but is not a citizen of that country and Beirut will not let him back in, he said. Abdelatif was given a 25-year sentence for being a member of the four-man team that took over the Italian cruise ship off the Egyptian coast.

Israeli forces raid Nablus; ransack and close four charities
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli forces closed four Hamas-affiliated charities in Nablus in the northern West Bank on Monday, after ransacking the offices and confiscating computers and cash. The closure has been imposed for three years. Israeli authorities claimed the charities were part of Hamas’ infrastructure in Nablus, and that was the reason they were shut down. Palestinian security sources said The Orphan’s Charity, The Charitable Solidarity Club, Islamic School in Rafedia and the At-Tadamun Dispensary in the Rawda mosque were closed. The Israeli forces also stormed the directorate of the Ministry of Endowment offices in the city. Director of the At-Tadamun dispensary in Nablus, Dr Hafizh As-Sadr told Ma’an, "Israeli soldiers destroyed all the contents of the dispensary, including its safe.

Hamas operative slams Israeli ban on charity funds
Ali Waked, YNetNews 7/7/2008
No official response yet from Islamist movement on Israel’s decision to outlaw charity organizations working to support its operations, however a top field operative for Hamas says funds targeted by Israel are charities that only work to aid needy - A senior Hamas field operative from the northern West Bank criticized Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s ’declaration of war’ on Monday against global funds working to support Hamas. Barak recently signed an edict outlawing the operations of 36 charity funds party to the ’Union of Good’ organization in Israel after having declared them to be directly involved in fundraising operations for the Islamist group. However, the operative asserted, the 36 global funds singled out by Israel are completely unaffiliated with funding Hamas’ activities and work solely to aid orphans and the destitute.

Israeli forces target charitable institutions in Nablus
Amin Abu Wardeh, Palestine News Network 7/7/2008
Nablus -- Israeli forces invaded the northern West Bank’s Nablus and stormed yet another charitable organization. Israeli forces have been after charities in the south’s Hebron for months. In Nablus on Monday morning the target was the Aloul Building and Abu Salha which hold the headquarters of the Charitable Branch of the Solidarity Association. Israeli forces hit the charity, the Directorate of the WAQF and a sports clubs, confiscated the contents and ordered their closure. Soldiers hung a poster on the entrance of the Solidarity Association referring to it as a facet of "Palestinian terrorism. " Several sources concurred that at least 40 military vehicles invaded Nablus City at 1:00 am and began by bursting into the mosque kindergarten in the Rafidiya neighborhood. Residents were unable to hold dawn prayers due to the presence of soldiers inside the mosque.

Israel versus Hamas’ ''˜Union of Good’
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 7/7/2008
Defense minister signs order of unprecedented scope banning 36 global fundraising organizations as Israel steps up efforts to cut off flow of cash to Hamas government - While a relative calm is being maintained in the Gaza Strip, the struggle against Hamas in the West Bank continues andIsrael is stepping up its efforts to prevent the transfer of funds to the organization. Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently signed an edict declaring 36 funds party to the ’Union of Good’ organization as banned in Israel as they are deemed directly involved in fundraising operations for Hamas. This is the broadest ranging ban ever issued in Israel and joins a series of previous similar bans against charity organizations abroad connected to this union and to Hamas. Such organizations include the British Interpal fund, branches of the al-Aqsa fund in Europe, the. . .

Israel shuts down Hamas-linked facilities
Associated Press, YNetNews 7/7/2008
Following unrestful ceasefire with Hamas, IDF forces raid West Bank as part of intensified crackdown meant to avoid repeat of Hamas takeover in Gaza -IDF troops in jeeps swooped down on the West Bank town of Nablus early Monday, shutting down a girls’ school, a medical center and two other facilities of a Hamas-affiliated charity, witnesses said. Computers, documents, cash and furniture were seized, the witnesses said. The IDF had no immediate comment on the Palestinian reports. But the raid appears to have been part of an intensified crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank byIsrael and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The violently Islamist Hamas wrested control of the Gaza Strip from Abbas’ forces a year ago, and neither Israel nor Abbas want that takeover reprised in the West Bank. Three weeks ago, Israel and Palestinian militants in Hamas-ruled. . .

Mortar shell lands in Israel near Karni crossing
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Gaza - Ma’an – A mortar shell landed in Israel near the Karni border crossing southeast of Gaza City on Monday, Israeli military sources said. No injuries or damage resulted. Israeli forces headed to the scene of the reported attack. A ceasefire has been effect in the Gaza Strip since 19 June. [end]

Israeli sources: homemade shell hits Karen A border crossing
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/7/2008
Israeli sources reported on Monday midday that a Palestinian home made shell struck an open area near the Karen A border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel causing no damage or injures. [end]

PFLP leader: ''We need to reconsider the truce deal; situation in Gaza did not change''
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 7/8/2008
Member of the Central Committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Jamil Mizhir, called for reconsidering the truce agreement which was sponsored by Egypt between Hamas and Israel, and stated that the situation in Gaza remained unchanged as the siege continued, the borders remained closed and the occupation repeatdly violated the truce. Mizhir added that the Israeli ocupation is using this truce deal in order to continue its attacks in the occupied West Bank. "We should reconsider the issue of truce, Egypt must pratice pressure on Israel to end its violations", Mizhir said, "Israel did not open the crossings except for the entry of basic goods, it did not increase the ammount of goods that should be allowed through the crossing as stated by the truce deal". He also said that Israel did not allow the entry of mertials needed to ensure factories are operating and thousands of workers are actually employed.

Gaza truce still holding, but observance is patchy
Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani, Daily Star 7/8/2008
Inter Press Service - CAIRO: Despite a torrent of mutual recriminations, the fragile truce between Israel and Palestinian resistance faction Hamas has survived into its third week. Israel, however, has been slow to fulfill its pledge - as laid down in an Egypt-brokered cease-fire agreement - to allow desperately-needed humanitarian supplies into the outdoor prison that is the Gaza Strip. "Repeated closures of the border crossings [by Israel]. . . are indicative of Israel’s lack of seriousness regarding the Egyptian cease-fire agreement," deposed Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyya, head of Gaza’s ruling Hamas government, told reporters late last week. "If the cease-fire is to survive, Israel must open the crossings and lift its siege. " After several months of indirect negotiations in Cairo, Israel and Hamas - along with smaller Palestinian resistance factions - accepted a tahdia, or "calming" of hostilities, early last month.

VIDEO - Gaza crossings closed in response to mortar attack
Hanan Greenberg, YNetNews 7/8/2008
Merely two days after Israel opens crossings with Strip, Defense Minister Barak orders they close in response to recent rocket fire on western Negev - Defense Minister Ehud Barak ruled Monday against the reopening of Israel’s goods crossings with Gaza on Tuesday, in wake of Sunday’s mortar fire on Israel. Palestinian gunmen fired a mortar shell at Karni crossing on noon Sunday. The rocket landed in an open area near the crossing causing no injuries or damage. Barak’s order came just 48 hours after Israel reopened the crossings, in accordance to thceasefire agreement brokered with the militant groups in the Gaza Strip. Video courtesy of infolive. tv Sunday saw a another violation of the truce, as Palestinian snipers fired at farmers at Kibbutz Nahal Oz. No injuries or damage were reported in the incident, which was the first of its kind since the ceasefire came into effect.

Progress on Gaza crossings’ functioning: Hamas sources
Xinhua News Agency, ReliefWeb 7/7/2008
GAZA, Jul 07, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network) --Some progress was made on the functioning of commercial crossings into Gaza for the first time sine they were reopened under the Hamas-Israel ceasefire which took effect on June 19, Hamas sources said on Monday. The sources said that Israel increased the number of shipments it sends to Gaza, explaining that more than 100 truckloads have crossed into Gaza through Sufa crossing for the first time since Israel imposed the sanctions on Gaza. Israel sealed off all crossing points into Gaza in June 2007 when Hamas took control of the territory after routing security forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. But months of Egyptian efforts have succeeded to broker a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, stopping Gaza violence and easing the siege. Before the sanctions were imposed, between 400-500 truckloads used to enter Gaza on daily basis.

Hamas delegation to head to Cairo Tuesday
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an - A Hamas delegation will head to Cairo on Tuesday for dialogue with Egyptian officials over the Rafah crossing, deputy chief of Hamas’ politburo Moussa Abu Marzouq revealed to the London-based daily newpaper Al-Hayat on Monday. “We want to talk with Egyptians about the need to activate the Rafah crossing more often, e. g. twice or three times a week for allowing families in and out,” he told Al-Hayat. The proposed prisoner swap with Israel and implementing internal Palestinian national reconciliation will also be on the agenda. With regard to the possibility of holding a meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leaders on the sidelines of his current visit to Damascus, Marzouq replied that it was up to Abbas to decide if it happens or not. He added that it would be in everyone’s interest to end the split and bring about national unity.

Na’im meets WHO officials, discusses deteriorated health conditions in Gaza
Palestinian Information Center 7/7/2008
CAIRO, (PIC)-- The PA health minister in the legitimate PA caretaker government under premier Ismael Haneyya Dr. Basim Na’im has met on Monday with officials of the World Health Organization in the Egyptian capital Cairo, and briefed them on the horrifying health conditions in the Gaza Strip. Na’im also explained that the Israeli economic siege on the tiny Strip caused sharp shortage in medicine and medical equipment in Gaza hospitals, in addition to the Israeli rejection to allow sick Palestinian people to receive proper medical treatment abroad. More than 200 sick Palestinian citizens suffering chronic diseases died so far as a result of the Israeli economic blockade and the Israeli closure of the crossing points of Gaza Strip for more than a year now. For his part, Dr. Hassan Al-Jazari, the chairman of the WHO administrative council, expressed the organization’s solidarity. . .

Medical supplies on the way to Gaza! Please help if you can!!
David Halpin, Palestine Think Tank 7/7/2008
Bon Voyage to Khalil Al Niss and Linda Willis - This couple have decided to take precious medical supplies by road to the prison which is Gaza. They set off on Thursday 10th of July. They are doing this under their own steam but donations towards their expenses have beenrequested and directed to the Dove and Dolphin under which banner they will besailing. They will be crossing from Edinburgh to Belgium with two further leapsover the Bosphorus and at Aqaba. They will enter the Gaza strip at Rafah wherehardly a mouse goes in and out. The hospitals in Gaza willwelcome them with open arms, as will all the people. I told Khalil two days agothat plastic tracheostomy tubes are needed at the Al Wafa Rehabilitation hospital. These are for very ill patients who need assistance with theirbreathing; mostly these are people with severe head injuries. -- See also: Link to news story

Hamas accuses Israelis of manipulating Gaza crossings issue
Palestine News Network 7/7/2008
Gaza / PNN - The deposed Hamas government emphasised on Sunday that Israel is continuing to "manipulate" the issue of border crossings in order to put pressure on people in the Gaza Strip. Hamas Finance Minister, Ziad Az Zaz, was quoted by the Ramatan News Agency as saying that, "Israel has not abided by the terms of the ’calm,’ neither in terms of the quantity nor the quality of goods they are allowing into Gaza. " He pointed out that, under the agreement, the Israelis were supposed to permit unlimited supplies of all goods, without exception, from 1 July onwards. "What has happened is that Israel has only opened the crossing for a total of two days, with only modest quantities of goods being allowed through," Az Zaz stated. "This is completely insufficient for the everyday needs of Palestinians in Gaza," he added.

In response to Israeli media reports, Hamas warns Israel from attacking Gaza
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/7/2008
The Hamas movement, which controls Gaza, warned Israel on Monday from attacking the Gaza strip. The statement was in response to Israeli media reports that Israel will resume its attacks on the Palestinian coastal region if Palestinian resistance groups fire home made shells at nearby Israeli areas. The Al Qassam brigades’ spokesman declared that home made shells recently fired from Gaza are based on decisions by individuals and not part of the resistance. The Al Qassam brigades said that they will attack if Israel does so and accused Israel of violating the truce terms. The Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that the Israeli army will respond to every home-made shell attack by a series of military attacks.

Mashal hands Egyptian officials document which set basis for talks with Abbas
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 7/8/2008
Senior source in Syria told Al Hayat newspaper on Monday that Khalid Mashal, Hamas’ political bureau chief, handed Egyptian oficials a document which sets the basis for internal talks with Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas. The source added hat Syria, as the current head for the Arab Summit, is seeking to arrange a meeting between Abbas and Mashal in order to set the basis for fundemental talks. When set, the meeting would be followed by another meeting with Fateh parlemntairan bloc head, Azzam Al Ahmad, who intends to visit Syria. One of the propsed steps is a meeting which could take place between Abbas and Mashal or a meeting organized by Syria to include all factions, including Hamas. Also, Syria is curretly stressing on the importance of holding a meeting between Abbas and Mashal but wants this meetings to be fundemental in order to discuss the core issue which could end the conlfict between Hamas and Fateh.

DFLP: ''Ending international divison and holding comprehsive talks, a national necesity''
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/8/2008
Mohammad Naser, media spokesperson of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) in Khan Younis district in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, stated on Monday that internal divisons and conflicts weekened the Palestinian stance and ecncouraged Israel to conitnue its offenwsives and siege in the Gaza Strip. Naser added that the Israeli occupation is ongoig with it assasinations, lands grab, and unjust siege, and that it is encouraged by the internal Palestinian conflicts. "we need to end these divisions, this is a national demand and the only means to end our current crises", Nasser stated, "We at the DFLP welcome that speech of President Mahmoud Abbas in which he called for a comprehensive dialogue, we consider this speech as marking the beginning of national talks which include all factions, especially those who signed the Cairo agreement and the Nationa Unity Agreement".

Abbas meets with Islamic Jihad leader in Syria, but no sign of Hamas encounter
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 7/8/2008
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday met with the leader of the militant Palestinian Islamic Jihad group in Syria, in the latest incremental step to reconcile the divided Palestinian factions. Talks with Abbas’ Fatah movement’s archrival Hamas, however, still appear to be far off. Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdullah Shallah told reporters after the meeting that Abbas was open to a national dialogue to end the bitter feud between the two main Palestinian factions, but lots of measures and contacts should be done in order for this dialogue to start, he said. Shallah, a close Hamas ally, did not, however, carry any message from the militant group and on the second day of Abbas’ visit to Syria to address the Palestinian infighting, it is looking more unlikely that he will meet Hamas officials.

Abbas meets Islamic Jihad leader in Damascus; will not meet with Mash’al
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday met with the Secretary General of the Islamic Jihad movement Ramadan Shallah to discuss the resumption of Palestinian national dialogue. Following the meeting, Shallah stated that all Palestinian factions, including Hamas, were ready to begin serious dialogue to resolve the current internal Palestinian political crisis. However, he stressed that certain details must be tackled before dialogue is resumed. He also demanded that Arab countries give guarantees to secure the success of the intended dialogue. Meanwhile, media sources affirmed that Abbas will not meet with head of Hamas politburo Khalid Mash’al during his visit to Syria. The sources explain that Abbas blames Mash’al for sending two letters to the Secretary General of the Arab League and to the Yemeni President Ali Abdullah As-Salih telling them. . .

Fayyad reiterates support for Abbas’ unity initiative
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad once again denied a report by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that he planned to launch his own independent initiative to end the Palestinian internal political crisis on Monday. Speaking at a cabinet meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Fayyad says there is only one such initiative, that of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel blocking funds transfer to GazaFayyad, who is also the finance minister, said that Israel is refusing to allow the Palestinian Authority to transfer salaries to its employees in the Gaza Strip. He said the Palestinian Finance Ministry is "doing its best" to overcome this problem. The prime minister also briefed the ministers about his visit to the West Bank city of Hebron on Sunday, where he inaugurated a number of projects implemented by the Hebron municipality.

President Abbas holds meetings in Damascus over Palestinian dialogue
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 7/7/2008
Secretary General of the Islamic Jihad group in Damascus, Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, asserted on Monday that his party is up for a comprehensive dialogue among all Palestinian factions, including the rival Hamas and Fatah. Shallah’s remarks came on the sideline of a meeting between himself and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, during an underway visit by the latter to Syria. Palestinian media sources, close to Abbas, excluded a meeting between Abbas and Hamas’ exiled supreme political leader, Khaled Mash’al. The sources said that the Palestinian president blamed Mash’al for two letters, Masha’l was reportedly sent out to both Secretary of Arab States’ league Amr Mousa and Yemeni President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, in which the Hamas’s leader believed that Abbas’ last month’s initiative for dialogue was meant to pave the way for upcoming agreements with Israel.

Nazzal: Fatah is not using the truce to blackmail Hamas
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Fatah’s commitment to the Gaza truce shows their commitment to President Mahmoud Abbas’ leadership and is not an attempt to blackmail Hamas, Fatah spokesman Dr Jamal Nazzal said on Monday. "The truce is not a gift from Fatah to Hamas on a golden platter and it is not to please Israel. It is that Fatah appreciates the president’s efforts and it is for the sake of the Gaza Strip and its people," Nazzal added. "The government of President Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] is very concerned about stability in the Gaza Strip and he wants to build more development projects for the benefit of the population in the sector as well as providing a healthy atmosphere for reopening all the crossings," Nazzal commented. He added that Fatah’s support of the truce demonstrates their commitment to the national interest directed by President Abbas to stop the bloodshed.

Abbas, Assad hold Mideast talks in Syria
Middle East Online 7/7/2008
DAMASCUS - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday held talks with visiting Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas, after pledging to help achieve inter-Palestinian reconciliation, state news agency SANA reported. The agency quoted Abbas as saying he would also discuss with Assad "peace negotiations with Israel. " Khaled Meshaal, the exiled political chief of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas which seized power in Gaza a year ago during deadly fighting with Fatah forces loyal to Abbas, is based in Syria. The takeover effectively split the Palestinians into two entities as Abbas security forces fled from the impoverished territory for the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Last month Abbas called for talks with Hamas, breaking with his previous position that the movement must relinquish power in Gaza before any negotiations can take place.

PFLP delegation in exile meets with Abbas in Damascus
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – A delegation from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) led by Mahir At-Tahir, head of the PFLP in exile, metwith Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Damascus on Sunday. The meeting came after Abbas’ talks with Syrian President Bashar Al-Asad. Abbas updated the PFLP delegation on the results of his meeting with Al-Asad. At-Tahir told the press that the Abbas-Al-Asad meeting was fruitful and positive and they had discussed Palestinian-Syrian relations. He expressed his hope that Abbas’ visit to Syria would help the Palestinians resume unity and end the state of intra-Palestinian political rivalry. He said Syria’s role was vital as it has strong ties with all the Palestinian resistance factions, enabling it to play a major role in any comprehensive Palestinian national dialogue.

Israel signs swap deal, begins exhuming bodies of Hezbollah guerillas
Barak Ravid and News Agencies, Ha’aretz 7/8/2008
Israel has signed an agreement to swap prisoners with Hezbollah, according to a statement released Monday, as Israel Defense Forces soldiers began digging up the bodies of Lebanese guerillas to be exchanged in the deal. In the statement released by Prime Minster Ehud Olmert’s bureau, officials relayed that Ofer Dekel, Israel’s chief negotiator for securing the release of abducted soldiers, signed the deal on Sunday after meeting in Europe with the German mediator charged by the UN with brokering the exchange. Hezbollah officials refused to comment. Olmert’s bureau further stated that the signing of the deal was meant to trigger the execution of the swap. "The continuation of the deal’s implementation is conditioned on the existence of another few components," the bureau said, without explicitly stating what those components were.

Israelis sue U.S.-based Lebanese banks accused of aiding Hezbollah
Tomer Zarchin, Ha’aretz 7/8/2008
Sixty Israeli civilians last week filed a lawsuit against five Lebanese banks operating in the United States, claiming they knowingly maintained accounts that fund the militant group Hezbollah. The petitioners, who were either injured or lost relatives in the Second Lebanon War, filed their lawsuit in a federal court in New York. The lawsuit claims that the banks were Hezbollah’s partners in crime, as they knowingly offered financial services to the group, which is recognized by the U. S. as a terrorist organization, and to its fund-raising arm. The statement of claim included a copy of a Hezbollah donation form, which includes the option of having one’s money applied toward the acquisition of missiles and weapons for Hezbollah fighters. The lawsuit is part of an international effort to fight terror by curbing the cash. . .

Bereaved families file lawsuit in US against Lebanese banks
Roni Lifshitz, YNetNews 7/7/2008
Under US law allowing foreigners to claim damage, injuries, 60 Israelis file claim with New York Federal Court against Lebanese banks for allegedly aiding Hizbullah during Second Lebanon War - Israelis who have lost their dear ones or were injured during the Second Lebanon War have filed a lawsuit in the US against Lebanese banks who they claim had aided Hizbullah during the conflict. The amount of the claim is estimated at $100 million. The claim was signed by 60 Israelis and was filed at the New York Federal Court against five banks, claiming they held accounts and knowingly provided financial services to Hizbullah and its fundraising entity IRSO (Islamic Resistance Support Organization) - openly raising capital to fund the organizations’ terror activities. The claim states that the banks violated international law.

Terror victims’ family sues Palestinian Authority for $172 million
Vered Luvitch, YNetNews 7/7/2008
Relatives of Israelis killed in murderous 2001 shooting attack submit claim against Palestinian Authority, six imprisoned terrorists -Relatives of Israelis killed in a shooting attack in August of 2001 submitted a damages claim against the Palestinian Authority and the six terrorists imprisoned in Israel for the amount of NIS 559 million (about $172 million). "It is impossible to describe and to contain the pain, sorrow, loss and fury that have become the lot of the plaintiffs in this appeal, which is an outcome of the crimes committed by these malicious people," as written in the suit’s introduction. According to the claim, two of the accused supplied their friends with weapons and ammunition. Then the armed men left Ramallah on Highway 443 with the intention of carrying out a terror attack.

PA facing 559 million lawsuit over death of Israeli family
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Jerusalem - Ma’an - The family of three Israelis shot dead by Palestinian attackers seven years ago have filed a 559 million shekel (172 million US dollars) lawsuit against the Palestinian Authority and the six Palestinians alleged to have carried out the shooting. In August 2001 Palestinian gunmen opened fire on a Volkswagen Passat travelling on Highway 443 near Ramallah. Yaniv Ben-Shalom, his wife Sharon, and her brother Doron Yosef Sviri were shot dead and their two young daughters Efrat and Shahar were seriously injured. The compensation claim has been lodged with an Israeli court in Tel Aviv. The six Palestinians have already been sentenced to life imprisonment for carrying out the operation.

Hamas: hostile US stand on Aqsa TV a badge of honor to the channel
Palestinian Information Center 7/7/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Hamas Movement has condemned on Monday the US targeting of the Aqsa TV channel after the US congress proposed a draft resolution to classify the channel as "terrorist", saying that the US hostile stand on the TV is considered as a badge of honor to it. The Movement also confirmed that the draft resolution is another attempt by the USA against the resistance media outlets in the region with the aim to formulate the region’s culture in accordance to the US vision and in service of the Israeli occupation government. "This US step reflects the degree of success those TV channels were able to achieve against the US will, and shows the growing US fear on the ability of those channels to derail its venture in the region", asserted Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, the spokesman of the Movement in Gaza Strip, adding that the US procedure exposes the American and western disrespect of democratic examples.

Hamas: European countries offered to mediate in prisoners’ swap deal
Palestinian Information Center 7/7/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement has revealed that European and non European mediators had offered their good offices on the prisoners’ exchange deal between Israel and the Palestinian resistance factions. Dr. Ismail Radwan, a prominent Hamas political leader in the Gaza Strip, said that his Movement deals with all offers with the aim of serving Egyptian efforts to complete the exchange deal. He said in a press statement on Sunday that Hamas suspended indirect talks over the exchange of captured soldier Gilad Shalit due to Israel’s non-adherence to the calm conditions. The Hamas leader denied press reports that Egypt had stopped its mediation in the inter-Palestinian dialog, explaining that Egypt did not start such mediation in the first place. He charged that the American veto on such dialog was the main obstacle before its initiation, recalling that American secretary of. . .

Relative: Initial police failure to kill bulldozer terrorist cost victim her life
Shahar Ilan, Ha’aretz 7/8/2008
A representative of the families who lost loved ones in last week’sbulldozer attack in Jerusalem told the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee on Monday that the fact that police failed to immediately kill the perpetrator had cost a life that could have been spared. Hussam Duwiyat, who killed three people in a stolen bulldozer in Jerusalem on Wednesday had been initially shot, but rallied despite his wounds, and launched a second rampage, taking the life of 33-year-old Bat-Sheva Unterman. Avraham Kol Tuv, a relative of Unterman’s, told the Knesset committee that "the fact that [the policeman] didn’t make sure he was dead cost my relative’s life. A man that goes on a killing spree loses his right to live. If [the policeman] had killed him, I wouldn’t be sitting here. "

Relative of Jerusalem terror attack victim blames ’officer’s hesitance’
Amnon Meranda, YNetNews 7/7/2008
MKs discuss why police officer didn’t ’finish off’ bulldozer driver who went on killing spree in downtown Jerusalem. Victim’s relative: Officer didn’t shoot because he was afraid of being put on trial. Beilin: Demolishing homes may lead to more terror -The Knesset’s House Committee convened on Monday to discuss whether the increased number of State inquiry commissions is having a negative effect on the conduct of Israeli police officers on the ground. The Knesset members specifically examined the conduct of a police officer who arrive at the scene of last week’sterror attack in Jerusalem and wondered why he did not make sure that the Palestinian bulldozer driver was dead after being shot in the head by a female officer a few minutes earlier. A relative of Batsheva Unterman, one of three people killed in the terror attack, told the committee,. . .

People smugglers gun down Egyptian border guard
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/8/2008
AL-ARISH, Egypt: Human traffickers shot dead an officer in Egypt’s border police on Monday as they tried to smuggle a group of African immigrants into Israel, security officials said. At least 16 migrants have been killed by Egyptian police on the border with Israel this year, while the last known death of a member of the border security forces at the hands of traffickers was in December 2007. [end]

Assad: Direct talks with Israel only after Bush leaves office
Barak Ravid and Reuters, Ha’aretz 7/8/2008
Syrian President Bashar Assad told the French daily Le Figaro Monday that he will not begin direct talks with Israel while U. S. President George W. Bush is in office. Assad said that American involvement was crucial to the talks’ success, and "frankly, we do not think that the current American administration is capable of making peace. " Also on Monday, an Israeli government source said Turkey is pressing Syria to move swiftly into direct talks with Israel. The Israeli source said that Turkish officials have told their Syrian counterparts in recent days that the indirect talks mediated by Ankara have exhausted their usefulness, and it is now necessary to move to the next stage. The Turks are pressing Damascus fairly hard on this issue, Israel has been told. The Turks argue that the indirect talks have already fulfilled their function, which was. . .

Assad: No peace until after Bush
Reuters, YNetNews 7/7/2008
Syrian president sees little chances for direct talks with Israel during current US president’s term. ’Frankly, we do not think that the current American administration is capable of making peace,’ says Assad - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has told a French newspaper his country is unlikely to enter direct peace talks with Israel while US President George W. Bush is in office. However, in an interview published on the website of Le Figaro daily on Monday, Assad said he was betting that the next US leader would get more involved in the peace process. Assad said Syria and Israel were looking for common ground to start face-to-face negotiations, adding that it was vital to find the right country to mediate such talks. "The most important thing in direct negotiations is who sponsors them," Assad told Le Figaro, saying the United States had an essential role to play.

Kinneret hits red line, endangering water quality
Eli Ashkenazi, Ha’aretz 7/8/2008
The water in Lake Kinneret on Monday hit its lower "red line" of 213 meters below sea level, below which further pumping could damage the water quality. As a result, the Water Commission plans to announce an emergency water conservation plan this morning. "Even before I came here this morning, I was in a bad mood," said Shuli Chen, the Water Commission official who has been measuring the Kinneret’s level for the last eight years, a moment before opening the meter box in the Rimonim Galei Kinneret Hotel in Tiberias. He was almost certain of what the meter would show and indeed it did. When the country’s main water source hits the lower red line at the beginning of July, with the worst of the summer still to come, it is not just Chen who has reason to worry. Granted, Israel has been in this situation before: Seven years ago, Chen pointed out, the lake. . .

484,000 Israelis earn less than minimum wage
Zeev Klein, Globes Online 7/7/2008
Central Bureau of Statistics: The average gross national salary fell by 1. 6%, compared with March to NIS 8,056 in April. The average gross national salary fell by 1. 6%, or NIS 131, compared with March to NIS 8,056 in April 2008, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported yesterday. The average salary was 1. 3% higher in the first quarter compared with the corresponding quarter of 2007. In February-April, the average salary rose by 1. 6% in trend figures, and by an annualized 1. 9%. Central Bureau of Statistics reports that 484,200 persons earned less than the mandated minimum wage of NIS 3,850 a month, including a quarter of whom earned an average of NIS 2,000 a month. As alwaysIsrael Electric Corporation (IEC) (TASE:ELEC. B22 ) andMekorot National Water Company employees topped the salary table, with an average gross salary of NIS 23,338 in April, almost triple the average national salary.

Israeli MPs call for prosecuting Baraka for reportedly meeting Mishaal
Palestinian Information Center 7/7/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- A number of Israeli parliament members called for the prosecution of Mohammed Baraka, their Arab colleague, for reportedly holding a meeting with Khaled Mishaal, the leader of the Hamas Movement. Press reports claimed that MP Baraka held an in-camera meeting with Mishaal on the sidelines of a seminar in Abu Dhabi on the 60th anniversary of the Nakba (disaster) or the usurpation of Palestine. The sources said that discussions during the meeting were deep and serious. Baraka, for his part, refused to comment on the meeting saying that he was preoccupied with restoring national unity to the Palestinian arena. The MP added that he was ready to exert all effort possible in order to restore that unity. A fanatic member of the Israeli parliament and leader of the Mifdal party Zevulun Orlev said that he asked the Israeli government’s judicial advisor Menachem Mazuz to interrogate Baraka.

Japanese-backed agro-industrial project for the Jordan valley gains traction
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – A proposed Japanese-funded agro-industrial project in the Jordan valley area of the West Bank took a step towards its realization on Monday, as international officials discussed the project in Tokyo. Speaking at the Palestinian cabinet meeting on Monday, Samir Abdullah, the Palestinian minister of planning, said that the proposed project will require the availability of land, inexpensive services, and free movement of goods and people between the project site and the Palestinian market at large. According to Abdullah, the project will create 6000 jobs. Palestinian, Jordanian, and Israeli firms are involved in the project. The proposal has drawn criticism for legitimizing the Israeli presence in the occupied West Bank. Abdullah said the onus is on Israel to make more land available for the project. The entire Jordan valley region, outside of the city of Jericho, is under full Israeli military control.

Palestinian military court delays verdict against collaborators
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Hebron – Ma’an – A special Palestinian military court in Jenin in the northern West Bank on Sunday postponed until July 15 the sentencing of a group of Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel. Sources in the military prosecution in Jenin told Ma’an that suspect number one, referred to by the initials WSS is the main suspect accused of running a group of 14 collaborators who operated in Hebron in the southern West Bank. He is believed to have given the Israeli intelligence information about Palestinian activists, resulting in their apprehension as well as the destruction of several houses. The session was headed by Judge Abdul-Kareem Al-Masri with Nabil Jabir and Muhriz ’Ityani as consultants. Head of the Jenin military prosecution, Judge ’Issa Amr was also present. In April 2008, the Higher Palestinian military court sentenced a Palestinian security officer referred. . .

Haniyeh visits security compounds seized by Hamas a year ago
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The Prime Minister of the Hamas-run de facto government in the Gaza Strip, Isma’il Haniyeh, on Monday visited the security compounds in Gaza City known as "As-Saraya" and "Al-Muntada" claiming that his visit has no political connotations. Hamas took control of the security compounds during a brief civil war with Fatah just over a year ago. During his visit on Monday Haniyeh reiterated Hamas’ commitment to dialogue with Fatah. Haniyeh said his visit was only meant to solute the Palestinian security forces for their work in the Gaza Strip. "We would like to thank you and we appreciate tour performance despite the siege and the conspiracies intrigues against the Palestinian people. You have defended security and order," Haniyeh told the security services. He added, "We reiterate before you that none of our inalienable rights would never be abandoned.

Haneyya: Visiting security headquarters not politicized
Palestinian Information Center 7/7/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Ismail Haneyya, the premier of the PA caretaker government, said on Monday that his visit to the headquarters of security apparatuses in the Gaza Strip had no political connotations. He told reporters during an inspection tour of a number of those buildings that he called on those institutions because they served the Palestinian people and to thank their cadres for their efforts. He explained that the visits did not mean that any change had taken effect on his position towards national dialog. Meanwhile, Haneyya underlined that a delegation of Hamas Movement would head to Egypt on Tuesday to discuss the calm with Israel, Rafah crossing, inter-Palestinian dialog and Palestinian detainees in Egyptian jails. He said that his government was in constant contact with the Egyptians over the Israeli violations of calm, which Cairo exerted big efforts to reach.

Erekat meets high-ranking Bulgarian MP
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Jericho - Ma’an - The chief negotiator of thePLO, Sa’eb Erekat, and Jericho Mayor Hassan Saleh met with high-ranking Bulgarian MP Petar Beron in the West Bank city of Jericho on Monday. During the meeting, Erekat reaffirmed the PLO’s commitment to negotiating a peace agreement with Israel that includes the creation of a Palestinian state on the territories captured by Israel in 1967 with Jerusalem as its capital. He called for the resolution of all the "final status issues," including Jerusalem’s status, borders, settlements, water, security, and prisoners, according to international law. Erekat also urged Israel to stop all settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, return prisoners, allow deportees to return, and allow Palestinians to reopen their institutions in East Jerusalem, and end the blockade of Gaza.

Ahmadinejad: Israel and U.S. won’t dare attack Iran
Haaretz Service and News Agencies, Ha’aretz 7/8/2008
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday said his country would not stop enriching uranium, as demanded by the international community, and charged that Israel and the United States were too scared to attack. He rejected as "illegitimate" the demand by major powers that Iran stop producing enriched uranium, which can be used as fuel for power plants, or if refined much more, provide material for nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, a British newspaper, quoting intelligence reports received by Western diplomats, reported Monday that Iran has resumed work aimed at producing a nuclear bomb. The remarks were Ahmadinejad’s first comment on the dispute since Irandelivered its response on Friday to a package of incentives offered by world powers seeking to curb its nuclear activities.

VIDEO - News / Iran releases video of man facing death for spying for Israel
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 7/8/2008
Haaretz. com/Channel 10 news roundup for July 7, 2008. Iran releases an interrogation video of the man sentenced to death for spying for Israel President Moshe Katsav asks the Treasury to finance a luxury vehicle and a lavish Tel Aviv office. Prime Minister Olmert and Nasrallah sign the prisoner swap deal expected to go into effect next week [end]

Iranian ’spy’ reveals Mossad methods
Dudi Cohen, YNetNews 7/7/2008
In interview with Iranian television, man convicted of spying for Israel exposes tactics and technology used by his Mossad handlers - The Iranian sentenced to death after being convicted of spying for Israel tells of his dealings with the Mossad in an interview with Iranian television on Monday. The spy, Ali Ashtari, detailed the demands made of him by his Mossad handlers, who he said took advantage of his occupation as a computer broker whose clientele included top Iranian military officials. "I was given a laptop computer so I could communicate with him and write to him by encoded and ciphered email, and he gave me two encrypted communication devices that I was to give to my clients, to test them out," said Ashtari, adding that he was told by his handlers to plant bugging equipment in the electronics he sold to his customers.

Ahmadinejad: Iran will not renounce nuclear rights
AFP, YNetNews 7/7/2008
Iran’s president insists his country unwilling to waive nuclear rights. Iranian IRNA news agency quotes Ahmadinejad as saying, "˜Even if some countries like Israel, United States join forces they will not dare to attack Iran and they know it very well’ - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted on Monday that Iran would not give up its nuclear rights, dismissing calls for Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment, the official IRNA news agency reported. "It is a repetitive scenario," IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying in an interview with Malaysian television from Kuala Lumpur where heis to attend the summit of the D8 group of developing nations. "On one side they (world powers) ask to negotiate and on the other they threaten and say that we must give in to their illegal demands and renounce our rights," he added.

Iran resumed nuclear bomb project, experts say
Ynetnews, YNetNews 7/7/2008
Daily Telegraph says Revolutionary Guard set up several civilian companies to work on constructing components for advanced P2 gas centrifuge. ’If Iran’s nuclear intentions were peaceful there would be no need for it to undertake this work in secret,’ western official says -The UK-based Daily Telegraph reported Monday that the latest intelligence reports received by Western diplomats indicate that Iran has resumed work on constructing highly sophisticated equipment that nuclear experts say is primarily used for building atomic weapons. According to the report, the work is aimed at developing the blueprint provided by Dr AQ Khan, the "father" of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, who sold Iran details of how to build atom bombs in the early 1990s. The Telegraph said Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which has overall responsibility for the country’s nuclear program,. . .

Abdelwahab Elmessiri (1938 - 2008) In Memorium
Palestinian Information Center 7/7/2008
Abdelwahab Elmessiri passed away on Thursday the 3rd of July in the Palestine Hospital in Cairo at the age of seventy. There is a befittingly poetic resonance about the name of this hospital - the place of his final struggle - when one considers that Elmessiri had devoted almost his entire intellectual career to the defense of the Palestinian cause. Over the past few years Elmessiri had been fighting a prolonged battle with a form of brain cancer that ultimately cost him his life; what the cancer could not do was to rob him of his intellect! Elmessiri remained fully engaged as a thinker until his very last breath. In an intellectual career spanning over more than thirty years, Elmessiri managed to write over 50 books and scores of articles on a diverse range of topics ranging from Zionism to Postmodernism, Secularism, Muslim Political Thought, Palestinian Liberation Movements, the Intifada, Palestinian Poetry and English Literature.

Hip-hop for Palestine represents in New Orleans
Mai Bader, Electronic Intifada 7/7/2008
On 14 June 2008, a wide coalition of grassroots organizations -- including NOLAPS (New Orleans, Louisiana Palestine Solidarity); INCITE Women of Color Against Violence; New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival; and the Third World Coalition of the American Friends Service Committee -- held a historic event called "Liberation Hip-Hop," which commemorated the 60th year of the Nakba, the dispossession of the Palestinian people. Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts center was filled that day with folks from different backgrounds, ages and religions. Speakers and audience members from around the US and across the world got together to link their struggles and build an alliance against the injustice they all face. Addressing the standing-room-only crowd, local spoken word artist PoeticOne introduced Jordan Flaherty from Left Turn Magazine and Darryl Jordan from the Third World Coalition of the American Friends Service Committee.

Dead Sea hotel goes Haredi for weekend, but forgets to tell secular guests
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 7/8/2008
Haaretz. com/Channel 10 daily feature for July 7, 2008. Secular guests at the Golden Tulip Hotel at the Dead Sea were surprised last weekend to find the views from their rooms blocked by plastic sheets. Even more disconcerting was the fencing off of the sea, with the hotel’s beach suddenly divided to separate to male and female bathers. The surprises didn’t end there. A curtain had been erected in the lobby, blocking the view of the pool, which was also unexpectedly closed to coed swimming. It emerged that several months ago, an ultra-Orthodox travel agency in Bnei Brak reserved 400 rooms in the Golden Tulip, making very specific demands, which the hotel accepted. But it seems they forgot to notify the other guests.

Hebrew tablet ’predates Bible on resurrection’
Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem, The Independent 7/8/2008
A pre-Christian Hebrew text shows that the idea of a messiah rising from the dead after three days was already in Jewish tradition before the birth of Jesus, a prominent biblical scholar will argue today. The controversial theory of Professor Israel Knohl, citing his new reading of a tablet inscribed in the 1st century BC discovered nearly 10 years ago, is expected to trigger a new Judaeo-Christian debate over the meaning and origin of the most central tenet of Christianity, the death and resurrection of Jesus. Professor Knohl, a professor of biblical studies at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, will unveil his interpretation of the text at an Israel Museum conference of scholars, saying that it quotes the Archangel Gabriel telling an earlier "Prince of Princes" that: "In three days you shall live, I Gabriel, command you. "

Dead Sea tablet suggests Jewish resurrection imagery pre-dates Jesus
Ofri Ilani, Ha’aretz 7/8/2008
The premise that the Messiah died and was resurrected after three days is considered the foundation of the Christian faith, one which differentiates it from Judaism. Through the generations, this belief stood at the center of the debate between Christians and Jews. But now, a mysterious tablet from the time of the second temple has led researchers to believe that this premise of messianic resurrection is not unique to Christianity, but rather existed in Judaism years before Jesus was born. The tablet, which has been dubbed "Gabriel’s vision" because much of its text deals with a vision of the apocalypse transmitted by the angel Gabriel, was discovered eight years ago, but a large part of it is illegible and researchers have had difficulty interpreting its meaning. Israel Knohl, a professor of Bible studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem,. . .

Iraq demands US pullout timetable
Middle East Online 7/7/2008
BAGHDAD - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday that he is negotiating a deal with Washington that will provide for only a short-term US troop presence beyond this year and will also set a timetable for a full withdrawal. It was the first time that Iraq had made a pullout deadline a condition for a promised new agreement with the United States setting the basis for a troop presence into 2009. "The direction we are taking is to have a memorandum of understanding either for the departure of the forces or to have a timetable for their withdrawal," a statement from Maliki’s office quoted him as telling Arab ambassadors to the United Arab Emirates. "The negotiations are still continuing with the American side, but in any case the basis for the agreement will be respect for the sovereignty of Iraq," he added.

Maliki now wants timetable for US pullout
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/8/2008
BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Nurial-Maliki said on Monday he is negotiating a deal with Washington that will for the first time set a timetable for a withdrawal of foreign forces as part of a framework for a US troop presence into next year. It was the first time that Baghdad’s Shiite-led government has made a pullout deadline a condition for a promised new agreement with the United States for a troop presence into 2009. "The direction we are taking is to have a memorandum of understanding either for the departure of the forces or to have a timetable for their withdrawal," a statement from Maliki’s office quoted him as telling Arab ambassadors to the UAE. "The negotiations are still continuing with the American side, but in any case the basis for the agreement will be respect for the sovereignty of Iraq," he added.

Israel waiting for clarifications on Arad report
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 7/8/2008
German mediator Gerhard Conrad receives Hizbullah report on MIA navigator Ron Arad but demands number of clarifications. Olmert, Nasrallah sign exchange deal. IDF begins exhuming bodies of Lebanese fighters -The initial stages of the prisoner exchange deal with Hizbullah are already underway - but the much-anticipated Hizbullah report on the fate of MIA navigator Ron Arad may delay the proceedings. German mediator Gerhard Conrad recently received the report, but the United Nations envoy was unsatisfied with the extend of the information provided and asked the Hizbullah representative to rework and clarify a number of points before the report is handed over toIsrael. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s specially appointed envoy overseeing MIA affairs, Ofer Dekel, is expected to meet with Conrad in the coming days to receive the full report.

ANALYSIS / Ron Arad info crucial in advancing Hezbollah deal
Yossi Melman, Ha’aretz 7/8/2008
"The humanitarian agreement," is the title of the document, numbering a few pages and containing dozens of clauses, that summarizes all of the understandings in connection with the prisoner exchange deal. The document does not mention in its title the two sides - the Israeli government and Hezbollah - or Gerhard Konrad, the BND German intelligence agency official appointed by the United Nations to broker the deal and who helped formulate the piece. The deal was signed in Tel Aviv on Tuesday by Ofer Dekel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s envoy for negotiations on missing and abducted Israel Defense Forces soldiers. At the same time in Beirut, the document was signed by one of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s two aides who are involved in the negotiations and work alongside Dekel.

Israel to exhume Hezbollah bodies
Middle East Online 7/7/2008
JERUSALEM - The Israeli army was on Sunday set to exhume bodies of Hezbollah fighters ahead of a prisoner swap with the Shiite Lebanese movement in exchange for two captured Israeli soldiers, officials said. The army declared a cemetery for enemy combatants near Amiad in northern Israel a closed military zone as representatives of the military rabbinate began preparing to exhume the remains of the Hezbollah men, a defence official said. "The process of exhuming is expected to begin tomorrow (Monday) and will last several days. . . as part of the process to retrieve the abducted soldiers," the official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah last Wednesday said that the prisoner swap would take place within two weeks after the Israeli government approved the deal, brokered by a UN mediator Gerhard Konrad.

Islamic Relief Deutschland in Lebanon
By Dr. Sanaa Ashour, Islamic Relief Deutschland, ReliefWeb 7/7/2008
Water and sanitation aid for the families returning to the adjacent area of the Nahr El Bared Palestinian refugee camp provided by Islamic Relief Deutschland in partnership with the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department. - From May to September 2007, the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr el Bared (NBC), north of Tripoli, Lebanon has experienced intense fighting between the Fatah al Islam group and the Lebanese army. Many infrastructure components, such as buildings, water networks were totally damaged. 28,000 Palestinian refugees in the Nahr El Bared camp have fled to the neighboring refugee camp of Beddawi, almost doubling its population in the process. Others have been accommodated in public buildings and different refugee camps. On 10 October 2007, the Palestinian refugees who fled out from the camp and its adjacent areas started returning.

Hizbullah - Israeli prisoner swap deal signed
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hizbullah has been officially signed, reliable Lebanese sources told Ma’an on Monday. The deal was signed by Ofer Dekel, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s representative for the return of kidnapped soldiers, and Wafiq Saffa from Hizbullah. However, due to logistical obstacles, the execution of the deal has been postponed until Sunday, 13 July 2008, according to the Lebanese sources. Israeli sources said that Olmert would receive a detailed report about missing Israeli airforce pilot Ron Arad, through the UN-appointed German mediator, Gerhard Konrad. According to a Hizbullah report, Arad ejected from his plane in 1986 and was taken captive by the Shi’ite militant group Amal. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is also being updated on the progress of the prisoner swap.

Brothers of terror victim appeal against Kuntar’s release
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 7/7/2008
Relatives of police officer killed by Lebanese terrorist during 1979 attack in Nahariya demand he not be included in prisoner swap with Hizbullah. ’We’re going to regret it if we release him,’ one of them says -The family of an Israeli police officer who was killed by Samir Kuntar filed an appeal Monday with the High Court of Justice against the release of the Lebanese terrorist within the framework of the prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hizbullah. Eliyahu Shahar was killed by Kuntar along with Shimon Peres’ office is expected to receive the official request to pardon Kuntar within the next few days, but an aide said the president won’t approve the request until "a certain stage" in the deal is reached to make certain the prisoner swap is implemented in full.

Russian-born U.S. billionaire offers to buy Ma’ariv
Guy Leshem, Ha’aretz 7/8/2008
The Russian-born U. S. billionaire Leonard Blavatnik has made an offer to buy the controlling share in the financially ailing tabloid Ma’ariv from the Nimrodi family. Blavatnik recently began forging business ties with Israel. He’s been teaming up with media producer Aviv Giladi to buy a 20% holding in his media firm RGE, through Blavatnik’s holding company Access Industries. Attorney Zvi Hefetz, who also has represented another Ma’ariv shareholder, Vladimir Gusinsky (25%), acted as Blavatnik’s intermediary. Hefetz served as Maariv’s deputy chairman until four years ago, when he was appointed Israel’s ambassador in London. Born in the former USSR to Jewish parents, Blavatnik founded Access upon completing his studies, and is the company’s president and chairman.

Elbit Systems wins $20m UAV contract in Europe
Sharon Baider, Globes Online 7/7/2008
The Hermes 450 UAV is used in Iraq and Afghanistan. Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) has won a contract to supply Hermes 450 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and the ground systems to a European country. Deliveries will be made during 2009. Elbit Systems developed the Hermes 450, which is IDF’s primary UAV system and used by other Israeli security forces. The Hermes 450 is also the basis for the British Army’s Watchkeeper program, the largest UAV program in Europe. They are used extensively by armies worldwide, including active war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan. The Hermes 450 has accumulated over 100,000 operational flight hours to date. Elbit Systems UAS Division general manager Haim Kellerman said, "The new order is yet another link in the chain of successes in the marketing of the Hermes 450, building on the level of maturity the system has achieved.

Weather forecast: Monday
Ma’an News Agency 7/7/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an - The Palestinian meteorological center expects Monday’s weather to be partly cloudy to clear with a slight rise in temperatures which remain around the annual average. Winds will be southwesterly to westerly and slight to moderate and the sea will be calm. Tuesday’s weather is expected to be mainly clear with a slight rise in temperatures. Winds will be northwesterly to westerly and slight to moderate and the sea will remain calm. Expected temperatures are as follows (°C):Jerusalem: 19 to 30 / Ramallah: 18 to 29 / Qalqilia: 19 to 30 / Salfit: 19 to 30 / Nablus: 20 to 32 / Jenin: 22 to 34 / Tubas: 21 to 33 / Hebron: 17 to 29 / Jericho: 25 to 39 / Gaza City: 24 to 32 / Khan Younis: 24 to 32 / Rafah: 23 to 33

Olmert lambasts Labor for being unreliable and weak
Shahar Ilan, Ha’aretz 7/8/2008
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had harsh words for the Labor party during a Kadima meeting at the Knesset on Monday, stating that ’Labor is a negligible power in the public arena. ’ During the meeting, called to discuss internal Kadima elections, Olmert said that ’Labor is not exactly the party that creates and honors agreements - it breaches agreements with us on a daily basis and members of Labor are the last people who can come to us with complaints. ’Olmert’s comments came against the backdrop of an agreement reached between Labor and Kadima, which will require the Kadima council to decide by Thursday on a specific date for the elections, to be held before September 25. The head of the Kadima council and Mayor of Rishon LeTzion, Meir Nitzan, who mediated between Kadima and the Labor party, said that under these circumstances, he does not intend to make a trivial effort.

Mazuz: Rabbi Metzger unfit for office
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 7/7/2008
AG files High Court brief following social group’s demand Metzger be ordered to step down; asserts chief Ashkenazi rabbi ’unfit,’ but stipulates court has no jurisdiction in case -Attorney General Menachem Mazuz presented the High Court with a brief Monday, stating that Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger "is unfit to be chief rabbi and his tenure should be terminated. " Rabbi Metzger has been under investigation for allegedly receiving illicit benefits, after it was found that he and he family stayed in various Jerusalem hotels, paying little-to-nothing for their stay. Mazuz decided there was not enough evidence to indict Metzger on criminal charges, but did recommend he be dismissed. Five months ago, the religious judges’ election committee - headed by Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann - decided not to terminate Metzger’s tenure, prompting the OMETS group: Citizens for Proper Administration, Social Justice and Moral Strength, to petition the High Court in order to make him step down.

Shas, Labor still disagree on Braverman nomination
Lilach Weissman, Globes Online 7/7/2008
MK Avishai Braverman associate: Shas is scared of Braverman. Tension between Shas and the Labor Party is rising over the saga of the appointment of MK Avishai Braverman (Labor) to chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee. Although the cabinet approved the appointments of Ruhama Avraham as minister of tourism and Eli Aflalo as minister of immigrant absorption, Shas continued to threaten not to support Braverman’s appointment. Shas officials said that it would support the ministers’ appointments if they are sent to the Knesset plenum for approval without the appointment of a new Finance Committee chairman on the agenda. However, if the issue is put on the agenda, the party will vote against it, and the party may review its coalition commitments. An associate of Braverman told "Globes" today, "Shas is scared of Braverman.

Palestine Today 070708
Ghassan Bannoura - IMEMc - Audio, International Middle East Media Center News 7/7/2008
Click on Link to download or play MP3 file|| 3 m 0s || 2. 75 MB || Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www. imemc. org, for Monday July 7th, 2008. The Israeli army continues to attack a village near Ramallah for the fourth day, while troops kidnap 10 civilians during dawn invasions, these stories and more coming up stay tuned. The News Cast The Israeli army continued its attacks targeting the villagers of Ni’lin near Ramallah city in the central part of the West Bank on Monday for the fourth day in a row. Sources in the village reported that the Israeli army invaded the local girl’s school and used it as a military site adding that troops attacked local businesses and set fire to a local car. The sources added that the army shot tear gas at villagers homes, which caused several injures, among them a 4 day old baby.


Farmers Living Under Occupation
Palestine Monitor, Palestine Monitor 7/7/2008
     The children of this valley are put at constant risk by the live-fire exercises that the Israeli military conduct in the area. Their mother, pictured below, told us how soldiers would set off explosives of all sorts, from gas bombs to sound grenades, on the hills surrounding their farm. The ground is then left dangerous, as many explosives remain undetonated.
     The kindness and hospitality of this family, who live in the Tubas region, was something we had grown accustomed to during our stay in Palestine. As part of the Brighton Tubas Solidarity Group, our small delegation made a short and intensive visit around the Jordan Valley region of the West Bank. This article focuses on the lives of some of the farmers, Bedouin and otherwise, we met during this brief period.
     This farming family lives among a small collection of tents, also near the town of Tubas. Like other Bedouin, they are denied access to any of the local springs and are forced to travel far to buy water. Their greatest hardship, however, is without doubt the presence of an Israeli military base about one mile from their homes. In recent years, the military have built huge trenches across the plains that the Bedouin people farm, and have used the area for rifle and tank exercises. I spoke to a woman in the next farm along who was shot in the head while picking crops in the field. She had survived with fifteen stitches.

Arabs find barriers insurmountable in Israel

Vita Bekker, The National, Palestine Think Tank 7/7/2008
      JERUSALEM // Asma Nasar is afraid to leave her home. Like many other Palestinians married to Israeli Arabs, the 21-year-old from the West Bank city of Hebron is living illegally in Israel with her husband and two young daughters.
     During the four years she has resided in the central Israeli city of Jaffa, she has not worked, remains in the family’s apartment for entire days and barely ventures out of her predominantly Arab neighbourhood.
     Her husband, Abed, 26, who works at a shawarma stand, said he was afraid his wife would get caught by police and be sent to Hebron. “I’m dying to take her on a trip to Jericho or Tiberias, but it’s not possible,” he said, smoking a cigarette in the family’s living room as his blue-eyed wife sat quietly nearby. “It’s like carrying a large pack of [illegal] drugs on you – it’s a risk.”
     Abed and Asma Nasar are only one of thousands of mixed Israeli-Palestinian couples facing an uncertain future as a result of Israel’s strict limitations on granting citizenship or permanent residency to Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who are married to Israelis.
     Those barriers are part of the Nationality and Entry into Israel law, which the Israeli parliament passed in 2003 as a one-year temporary measure amid the Israeli-Palestinian violence of the second Intifada.

And then they came and turned our paradise into a desert

Reham Alhelsi, Palestine Think Tank 7/7/2008
      I love taking photos, it is a hobby of mine and my camera is my constant companion wherever I go. I love taking photos of the green meadows, the blue sea, the clear sky, etc…. but most of all I am fascinated by trees, especially the olive tree, standing strong and green as ever, its roots extending into the depths of the earth, clutching to it and refusing to leave. Recently a friend of mine asked why I take so many photos with trees and greenery. I automatically replied: it reminds me of Palestine. In that moment it occurred to me that the Palestine I know, the green Palestine of my childhood to an extent no longer exists. The last couple of times I was there I searched in vain for my favorite childhood spots; the green hilltops with their colorful carpet of red, yellow, and pink flowers, the olive fields and wheat and barley meadows that extended to the horizon, and where by sunrise and sunset the fields would change into a single sea of gold and green. I searched for the fig trees, which grew on sloppy hills, making it difficult but at the same time exciting for us to pick up their fruits. That was a dear spot to me. It was far away from any houses or street noise. We used to sit under the fig trees and watch the shepherds with their sheep and goats on the opposite hills. After enjoying a few ripe figs, we used to race to the other hills, feeling so free as if we owned the whole world. We used to look for egg nests in trees and snake nests in caves. We used to collect snails, as father used to tell us how as little boy he used to collect snails and sell them to restaurants in Jerusalem and so earn a few pennies. In spring we used to collect flowers and dry them, and mostly we loved collecting the red Poppies, which we call Hannoun. As children we were told that this flower is red because it absorbs the red blood of the martyrs who fall for Palestine, and as long as there are martyrs dying to free Palestine, Hannoun or red poppies will always grow and decorate the hills and meadows of Palestine. We used to spend our free time running in the nearby meadows. Depending on the time of year, these meadows would be either a sea of green, yellow or a beautiful mixture of spring colors. The crops would grow so high, that we literally swam in these meadows. We used to play hide and seek there, and in summer, just before the harvest began, we would sit there among the long stems and pick and eat the edible crops. During the harvest, you could smell the burning of the crops almost everywhere. People would gather around a fire in the evening and enjoy the roosted crops.

Marx in Gaza: Occupation and Class

Philip Rizq, MIFTAH 7/7/2008
      At the border crossing into Gaza a middle aged woman sat next to me looking rather pale. She was accompanied by what looked like her mother, even frailer than her.
     Between her hands the sick woman grasped a pack of six tea glasses. It seemed a bit strange of an item to be bringing back into Gaza with so few permitted to make this rare excursion beyond Gaza’s borders. Later that day, after a large welcoming lunch and over tea in plastic throw away cups I found out that tea glasses like so many other things had run out in Gaza. A single glass had nearly reached the cost of the price of a whole set and for my hosting family this was simply not affordable.
     Much of my second day I spent at the beach. The one outlet for a majority of Gaza’s population is still very much a reality and on summer days like this one, hundreds of people flock to the beach to forget the daily routine.
     Every occupation has its winners and losers, those that profit and those that lose almost everything. Recently I have been reading Marx who considered the making and the writing of “history” to be based on class divisions. According to Marx, the world was not so much explainable by the acts of God on passively receiving humankind, as a world that was driven and lead by the acts of people. For Marx, these acts of history were determined and received their meaning by the division of classes.

A constant Nakba for Palestine’s Bedouin (Part 1)

Ida Audeh writing from Beit Iksa, occupied West Bank, Electronic Intifada 7/7/2008
      "We [Bedouin] are the [Native Americans] of Palestine," is how 60-year-old Mohammad Ahmad Abu Dahook introduced the author and a colleague to Beit Iksa. Located nine kilometers northwest of Jerusalem, the land of Beit Iksa’s 1,600 residents is among that targeted by Israel for the expanding of its illegal Ma’ale Adumim settlement. Abu Dahook is one of the approximately 50,000 Bedouin whose traditions and lifestyle have been nearly destroyed by Israeli colonization. Their communities are still being displaced by Israel’s illegal land annexation and the transfer of Israel’s civilian population to territory it occupies, in violation of international humanitarian law. Abu Dahook and others like him see no relief in sight as they are constantly dogged by Israeli threats of further displacement and neglect by the Palestinian Authority.
     "My people were forcibly expelled by the Israelis in 1951, three years after the Nakba," Abu Dahook explained, referring to the forced displacement of the indigenous Palestinian population from their homeland perpetrated by Zionist militias during the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948 -- the year of Abu Dahook’s birth. "The Israelis came to [my people’s] areas and killed people. They burned Bedouin tents and possessions and killed livestock. They used terrorist methods and instilled fear. People didn’t leave because of rumors; they left because they were forced out. Many were martyred." -- See also: A constant Nakba for Palestine''s Bedouin (Part 2)

A constant Nakba for Palestine’s Bedouin (Part 2)

Ida Audeh writing from Beit Iksa, occupied West Bank, Electronic Intifada 7/7/2008
      Bedouin like Mohammed Abu Dahook found little respite from Israeli policies after the 1993 Oslo Accords were signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. According to Abu Dahook, "The hounding of the Bedouin in and around Hebron, Bethlehem, Jericho, Jerusalem and Ramallah picked up in 1997. The Israeli government wanted to expropriate more land for settlements prior to final status negotiations and to expand the city limits of Jerusalem to incorporate all surrounding settlements.  About 60 families [450 people] were relocated to a hilltop, which was unsuitable for grazing and adjacent to a Jerusalem municipality city dump and unfit for habitation; they subsequently took their case to the courts. Other Bedouin families living near Anata, near East Jerusalem, have been given eviction notices so that Israel can build bypass roads. They have refused to leave. Bedouin tribes throughout the West Bank have been similarly targeted for displacement: al-Rashaydeh tribe east of Bethlehem; the Froush Beit Dajan north of Nablus; the Abu Abed Hamdan al-Turkman tribe in the Jenin area; the Arab al-Azazma, al-Ajajra, and al-Masaid tribes near Jericho; and the al-Hanajreh and al-Azazmeh tribes east of Hebron."
     Abu Dahook explained that "In the 1990s, they started to give warnings stating that our homes would be demolished because we lacked building permits. As though a tent needs a permit! Sometimes they’d hand it to you, and sometimes they come by and if they don’t find anyone, they’ll post it [where you see it]." He added that "All of the tents here [in Beit Iksa] have gotten warnings from Israel in the 1990s. I myself received about four. In 1994 the Israelis came to me and gave me a warning. So I hired a lawyer, Shlomo Lecker, and the case went on for several years, and it reached the high court. The court issued an order overruling the expulsion and I was to go with them to Beit El so that the leaders there could resolve the problem. They never got back to me again." -- See also: "We [Bedouin] are the [Native Americans] of Palestine" (Part 1)