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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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9 July 2008

Throughout the West Bank thousands took to the Wall marking 4 empty years since the ICJ had its say
Palestine News Network 7/9/2008
Bethlehem / exclusive / PNN -- Throughout the West Bank on Wednesday thousands of Palestinians and foreign supporters demonstrated against the Israeli-built Wall on the occasion of four years since the International Court of Justice handed down its decision in The Hague. A Palestinian bulldozer attempted to demolish the Wall in Ramallah’s Qalandiya. Israeli forces opened fire on the driver. "I don’t like the European governments because there was a court decision and they didn’t do anything about it," Umm Hassan, a Bethlehem woman at the Umm Salamuna protest told PNN. "If we were any other country, they would have done something. " In the northwestern West Bank’s Tulkarem village of Deir Al Ghusun Israeli forces fired gas, injuring dozens of nonviolent demonstrators, including journalists and an elected Palestinian official.

The Israeli army confiscates charitable institutions in Nablus city for the third day
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/9/2008
Israeli army ransacked on Wednesday charitable institutions in Nablus city for the third day in a row. Local witnesses reported that dozens of military vehicles penetrated the city from the eastern and western sides, in the middle of an intensive shooting followed by a huge number of military troops. Witnesses also added that a huge Israeli force surrounded and stormed Nablus’ municipality building in the middle of the city. Eye witnesses reported that snipers were seen at the roof of the municipality building. Municipality guards reported that an Israeli force demolished the municipality offices at midnight and confiscated some of the computers, moreover it blew up the accounting room. In addition, the army abused the municipality guards and forced them to stay out of the building.

Gaza Ministry of Health warns that hundreds of patients’ lives are in danger because of Israel
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/9/2008
The Palestinian Ministry of Heath in Gaza reported on Wednesday that the number of the killed civilians in the last 12 months reached 203. The heath ministry warned that hundreds of Palestinian patients are endangered to die if they don’t receive immediate medical care because of the imposed siege over the Gaza Strip. Medical sources reported that 59 year old Hassan Issa died of cancer, as he was banned from getting medical treatment because of the imposed siege. Moreover 50 year old Samiha abu Jary died on Sunday of a heart disease for not being able to get medicine because of the closure. The health ministry also reported that there are more than 450 cancer patients in the Gaza Strip, and all are suffering from lack of medicine and need to have immediate surgeries.

Report: 90% probes into attacks against Palestinians close with no indictment
Ynet, YNetNews 7/9/2008
Human rights organization Yesh Din releases data showing only small number of police investigations into offenses committed by settlers against Palestinians in West Bank end with indictments filed against defendants. Police say data inaccurate, a respectable number of files reach court - Nine out of 10 investigations into attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank end without no indictment served, according to data released Wednesday by the human rights organization Yesh Din which monitors the handling of investigations into offenses committed against Palestinians. The report includes 205 inquiry files opened in recent years, out of which police processing and prosecutorial review have concluded in only 163 files. Out of those 163, only in 13 (8%) of the cases were indictments filed against defendants. AttackedPalestinians: Settlers fired rockets at us. . .

Israel approves 920 homes for colonists in East Jerusalem
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/10/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: An Israeli commission has approved the building of 920 new homes in Occupied East Jerusalem, the municipality said on Wednesday, in a new blow to shaky peace talks with the Palestinians. The Palestinians reacted angrily to the new settlement expansion, warning of its negative impact on the peace process. "The district commission has approved for construction 920 housing units in Har Homa," a statement said, referring to a neighborhood in East Jerusalem, Jabel Abu Ghneim, that already has more than 10,000 residents. The Har Homa project is part of a plan to build some 40,000 new homes over the next decade in neighborhoods in both East and West Jerusalem, that the housing minister approved in June, a ministry official told AFP. Until now, specific aspects of the project were unknown. Israel occupied the eastern half of the city after the 1967 war and illegally. . .

Palestinian tries to topple West Bank barrier using bulldozer
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 7/10/2008
A Palestinian man tried to ram a tractor into Israel’s West Bank barrier, on Wednesday, police said, as 10 people were hurt in separate proests against a project branded illegal by the World Court four years ago. The unidentified man drove up to a concrete barricade at Qalandia, a military checkpoint outside Ramallah, but turned back toward the Palestinian-ruled city after being confronted by border guards, Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said. "They used riot-dispersal means to make him leave the scene. I understand there were no damage or injuries," he said. In Na’alin, a West Bank village that has seen weeks of demonstrations and Israel Defense Forces clampdowns as a section of the barrier goes up nearby, soldiers injured seven protesters during scuffles, witnesses and medical officials said.

Settlers attack town in southern Nablus
Amin Abu Wardeh, Palestine News Network 7/9/2008
Nablu - Last night Israeli settlers shelled the Palestinian town of Burin in southern Nablus. As reported by a Palestinian source, the settlers are believed to be from the Bracha and Itshar settlements. Jamal Al Muhaisin, Governor of Nablus, reported in a telephone interview with PNN that projectiles fell around 9:30 and 10:00 Tuesday night. They came from territory adjacent to the town of Burin, and landed about 150 meters away from residential buildings. A source at the Office of Civil Defense in Burin reported that youth in the town found remains of the projectiles. Israeli soldiers arrived and barred them from approaching the shells. [end]

Israeli settlers launch homemade shells at Burin and Madma villages near Nablus
Rula shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/9/2008
A Palestinian official source reported that on Tuesday night that a group of Israeli settlers attacked several Palestinian villages near Nablus city with homemade shells. [end]

Fayyad: IDF West Bank raids sabotage Palestinian security efforts
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 7/9/2008
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad warned on Wednesday that Israeli military operations in the West Bank were hampering his administration’s effort to improve security in the territory. Earlier in the day, Israel Defense Forces troops raided the city hall of the West Bank town of Nablus, confiscating five computers as part of an ongoing crackdown on Hamas’ civilian and social infrastructure in the West Bank. This week, troops have raided and shut down various Nablus facilities with links to the militant organization that rules the Gaza Strip. "The operations undermine grossly our efforts aimed at rebuilding our capacity and reestablishing law and order," Fayyad told a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.

Israel Closes Gaza Crossings after Mortar Attack (1:00am Est)
Reuters, MIFTAH 7/9/2008
Israel closed all but one of its border crossings with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday in response to a mortar attack 24 hours earlier, Israeli officials said. The Jewish state said one mortar shell was fired from Gaza on Monday and landed in southern Israel, causing no casualties or damage. " All crossings, except for the Erez terminal, will be closed today because of the mortar fired yesterday," said defense official Peter Lerner. Israel has responded to previous rocket and mortar salvoes by closing border crossings into the Gaza Strip, where the Islamist Hamas movement seized control a year ago by routing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah forces. Under a truce brokered by Egypt on June 19, militants in Gaza are required to halt rocket and mortar fire in return for Israel gradually lifting a blockade of the coastal territory.

Israeli army attacks a peaceful protest near Tulkarem and injures a number of civilians
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/9/2008
On Wednesday morning the villagers of Dier Al Ghson near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem along with international supporters protested the Israeli Wall built around the village. The protesters gathered at the gate of the wall which separates the villagers form their lands, Israeli troops fired tear gas at the villagers and their supporters injuring scores of them. In the West Bank today the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements are organizing a number of activists in commemoration of the 4th year after the International Court of Justice announced on July 9, 2004 that the Israeli Wall being built in the West Bank is illegal and should be removed and those damaged must be compensated.

Non Violent protest against the wall in Al Ma’sarah village near Bethlehem
Ghassan Bannoura & Rula shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/9/2008
Around 50 villagers supported by Israeli and international peace activists protested the Israeli Wall on Wednesday midday at Al Ma’sarah village located near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem. The protest was part of the activities organized by the Popular Committees Against the Wall and Settlements in the West Bank campaign marking the 4th year after the International Court of Justice, which deemed the Israeli Wall in the West Bank is illegal on July 9th 2004. Israeli troops erected a military barrier at the settlers road separating the village from its lands where the Wall is being built. Troops banned the non violent protest from heading forward. The protest organizers delivered speeches then the march ended without any clashes with the army.

Non-violent protest against the wall in Azun al Atmeh village near Qalqilia
rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/9/2008
200 Palestinians supported by international and Israeli peace activists staged a nonviolent protest on Wednesday midday near Azun Al Atmeh village east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia. The protesters marched from the nearby village of Izbit Isliman until the gate of the wall that leads to the village of Azun Al Atmeh. Azun Al Atmeh is completely surrounded by the Israeli Wall and settlement, this gate of the Wall is the only way for the farmers to move in or out of their village. At the gate the organizers of the protest chanted against the Wall and demanded its removal. In the West Bank today the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements are organizing a number of activists in commemoration of the 4th year after the International Court of Justice announced on July 9, 2004 that the Israeli Wall being built in the West Bank is illegal and should be removed and those damaged must be compensated.

Statement from the Ni’lin Popular Committee Against the Apartheid Wall
International Solidarity Movement 7/9/2008
Ramallah Region - As of today, Tuesday 8th of July 2008, the military curfew in Ni’lin has been lifted. In response to statements released earlier today by an Israeli army spokeswoman claiming that "There were discussions between the villagers and the army commanders and they decided to lift the curfew," and that "The villagers promised not to protest and to keep the village quiet" (Reuters 7/8/08), the Ni’lin Popular Committee Against the Apartheid Wall wants to clarify the following: The Popular Committee, who is representing the Ni’lin municipality, political parties, institutions and organizations in Ni’lin, has not been in any discussions with any Israeli army commanders and has not made a promise to the Israeli army that there will be no more protests. No such discussions have taken place with the village.

Palestinians in Jerusalem protest against the Wall
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/10/2008
Marking the fourth anniversary of the advisory ruling of the International Court of Justice in which it ruled that the Israeli Annexation Wall is illegal, hundreds of Palestinians from the Jerusalem district organized a protest on Wednesday in Beit Hanina area in Jerusalem. The residents carried Palestinian flags and marched in a peaceful protest against the Wall which swallows their land and isolates them. They said that they have a legitimate right to preserve their Olive trees and the right to access their lands and plant them. Hatim Abdul-Qader, Jerusalem Affairs advisor to Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. Salaam Fayyad, Abdullah Siyam, deputy to Jerusalem governor, Ali Amer, head of the Wall and Settlements unit at the Prime Ministers’ office and several other Fateh leaders along with Beit Hanina village council head, Ahmad Al Barsh, also participated in the protest.

Israeli government continues policy of ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem
Palestine News Network 7/9/2008
Jerusalem / PNN - The Ahli Coalition warned on Wednesday of the rise in the pace of Israeli violations in Jerusalem and is calling on the international community to intervene immediately. Jerusalem residents are still being slowly ethnically cleansed as reported by one of the recently expelled. A Palestinian born and raised in East Jerusalem went to the United States to study, leaving his wife and two children at home. While he was in the US he went to the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco, California to renew his travel documents which were about to expire. The Israelis in the US confiscated his travel documents and told him that he could not return to his home, Jerusalem. He eventually obtained an American passport and tried to enter Palestine through the Israeli-controlled borders. Israeli soldiers denied him entry.

Troops assassinate a resistance fighter in Jenin
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/10/2008
Undercover forces of the Israeli army assassinated on Wednesday evening, Talal Sa’id Abed, 32, one of the leaders of Abu Ammar Brigades, one of the offshoots of Fateh movement, in KufrDan Village, west of Jenin in the northern part of the West Bank. The fighter was shot and abducted by the Special Forces and later on the Israeli Coordination Office informed the Palestinian Coordination Office that Abed died of his wounds at Rambam hospital in Haifa. A spokesperson of the Brigades and several eyewitnesses reported that the assassination was carried out during early evening hours when the forces infiltrated into the village through its eastern entrance using a Palestinian licensed vehicle. The undercover forces then ambushed Abed and intercepted his vehicle. The fighter noticed the forces and attempted to escape but members of the undercover unit fired several rounds of live ammunition at him.

Another targeted assassination
Ali Samoudi, Palestine News Network 7/10/2008
Jenin -- The Abu Ammar Brigades, named for the late President Yasser Arafat, are mourning the loss of one its leaders in the northern West Bank’s Jenin village of Kafr Dan. Talal Abed Sa’ed was murdered in cold blood, in contravention of international law, on Wednesday night. Not in contravention to international law is the right of an occupied people to defend themselves "by any means" at their disposal. Sa’ed was 32 years old. Israeli special forces snuck into the western Jenin village of Kafr Dan and eventually killed him in a targeted assassination. Official Palestinian sources report that he was not dead at first, but was taken by the Israelis to a hospital within Israeli boundaries in Haifa after being shot this evening. Tonight the information was obtained that he is now dead.

Wanted Palestinian shot to death by troops near Jenin
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 7/9/2008
Suspect shot after trying to evade arrest; Palestinian sources: He may have been executed - Israeli troops continue to operate in West Bank: A wanted Palestinian man was shot to death Wednesday by IDF and Border Guard forces operating in the Jenin area. According to security forces, the man was shot after attempting to evade arrest. The wanted Palestinian, Talal A’abad, was shot in the neck by troops who arrived at the scene of the incident in order to detain him. He was evacuated to Israel for medical treatment, butwas pronounced dead en route to an Israeli hospital. Reports on A’abad’s organizational affiliation were contradictory. According to intelligence information gathered in Jenin, he belonged to the Fatah’s Abu-Amar Brigades, but other sources claimed he was a Hamas member. Eyewitnesses reported he had been shot in the foot, so residents of his village were surprised to hear of his death.

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory 02 - 08 Jul 2008
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights - PCHR, ReliefWeb 7/8/2008
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)- A Palestinian child from Rafah died from the explosion of an unidentified object left by IOF. - 23 Palestinian civilians, including 8 children, and a French human rights defender were wounded by IOF gunfire. - 11 of these civilians were wounded during peaceful demonstrations organized in protest at the construction of the Annexation Wall. - IOF conducted 30 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. - IOF arrested 58 Palestinian civilians, including four children, in the West Bank. - IOF raided 2 mosques in Beit Reema and Silwad villages near Ramallah. - IOF raided and closed a number of charities, cultural centers and commercial buildings in Nablus.

Khudari discusses health conditions in Gaza with European doctors
Palestinian Information Center 7/9/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- MP Jamal Al-Khudari, the head of the popular committee against the siege, met with a European medical delegation of nearly 15 doctors from several nationalities who came to the Gaza Strip in order to give medical aid and perform difficult surgeries for Gaza patients as well as train Palestinian doctors. MP Khudari expressed his thanks to the European doctors for their visit to Gaza to alleviate the suffering of some of the patients and the wounded, saying that such a move is an important model of communication and a translation of the real feelings of the European street towards the Palestinian cause and the Israeli siege on Gaza. The lawmaker briefed the delegation about the tragic humanitarian conditions of one and a half million people living in Gaza under the suffocating Israeli siege which led to the paralysis of all service sectors in the Strip especially the health sector and resulted in the death of more than 200 patients.

Urgent appeal for saving more than 500 Palestinian patients
Palestinian Information Center 7/9/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The health ministry in Gaza appealed Tuesday to all humanitarian organizations in the world to urgently intervene to save the lives of more than 500 Palestinian patients in need of immediate life-saving medical treatment outside the Strip, warning that any delay could jeopardize their lives any moment. In a statement received by the PIC, the ministry also warned that the closure of Gaza crossings claimed the lives of more than 200 patients and the toll is likely to increase. The statement explained that there are about 450 cancer patients in Gaza almost 35 percent of them are children and 25 percent are women, pointing out that those patients are in need of medicines which are unavailable in Gaza; besides, Israel imposes restrictions on their travel for medical treatment abroad.  The statement also said that there are 400 patients with kidney failure and about 450. . .

OPT: Gaza Strip inter-agency humanitarian fact sheet, Jun 2008
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - OCHA, ReliefWeb 6/30/2008
The ceasefire that took effect on June created a sense of optimism that after more than a year of heavy restrictions on movement and economic activity, goods and fuel might be able to enter Gaza more freely. By the end of June, there was a small but irregular change in access restrictions. Many farmers have returned to their fields close to the border fence. At least two were shot but many others were able to harvest crops. Other dangers included landmines and unexploded ordinance which put children at particular risk. The police unit responsible for de-activating explosives reported dealing with two cases per day before June 19 and eight per day after that date. No Palestinians or Israelis have been killed in or around Gaza as a result of the conflict since before June 19. Access - A comparison of the ten days before June 19 and the ten days after showed that more goods and fuel entered Gaza after the ceasefire.

Protection of civilians weekly report 25 Jun - 01 Jul 2008
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - OCHA, ReliefWeb 7/1/2008
Of note this week - Gaza Strip: - The IDF injured two Palestinians (unarmed civilians) near the border in Khan Younis governorate. - On 1 July, approximately 25 patients and 130 other Palestinians on a list approved by the Egyptian government crossed from Gaza to Egypt via Rafah crossing. According to police officers at Rafah crossing, approximately 5,000 Gazans applied for permits to leave Gaza for medical treatment, schooling, trading and other reasons. - On one occasion, IDF patrol boats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats at sea. No injuries or damage were reported (Central Gaza). - Raw and partially-treated sewage continues to pour into the Mediterranean from the Gaza Strip due to the lack of fuel supplies and spare parts for treatment plants. The worst affected areas are southern Rafah, north of Wadi Gaza and the beaches alongside Gaza City.

Detainee facing death as he heart conditions worsened
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/10/2008
Palestinian detainee Basheer Hashshash, 28, is currently facing a sharp deterioration in his health condition as he is suffering from a heart condition, high cholesterol and high blood pressure but is not receiving the needed medical treatment due to ongoing rejection by the Israeli Prison Administration. Secretary-general of the Palestinian Popular (Folk) Committees, Azmi Shiokhy, stated the four brothers of Basheer died due to the same conditions, and added that Basheer is now very weak and needs urgent medical attention. Shiokhy voiced n appeal to the international community and the Red Cross to intervene for the release of Basheer in order to enable him receive the needed medical attention. He slammed the ongoing Israeli violations against the detainees, and the lack of food and clothes. Shiokhy also said that all sick detainees have the right to receive medical treatment. . .

Mothers of the incarcerated
Rami Almeghari & Rami Almeghari, International Middle East Media Center News 7/10/2008
Every Monday for over a year, dozens of women gather at the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza City to protest their inability to visit their sons who are detained in Israeli jails. Since last June, Israel has denied the families entry for reasons that remain unknown and the women are appealing to the ICRC in the hope that the Israeli authorities will finally allow them to visit their sons. Fatma Alnems, 75, of the Sabra neighborhood in Gaza City held a picture of her son, Ghazi, while attending the sit-in at the ICRC offices. Ghazi has been sentenced to 100 years of imprisonment in one of Israel’s detention facilities and Fatma explained that "I have not seen him for the past year. Before this denial I used to visit him twice a month, but now I no longer see him, and I don’t know why, why Israel deprives me of seeing him. "

Birzeit University student held in administrative detention
Release, Right to Education Campaign, Electronic Intifada 7/9/2008
In the middle of the night of 27 March 2008, at around 3am, Hanna Qassis was woken up by a loud thump at the door. When he went into the living room he saw seven soldiers standing in his house. His mom had opened the door. A soldier who appeared to be the commander and spoke in broken Arabic, asked who else lives in the house. Hanna, the eldest in the family after his father passed away, said his brother also lives there. He was told to go and wake him up. Once Omar got up and joined his family, the three of them were locked in the balcony of the house which was guarded by a soldier, while other soldiers searched the house. After 10 minutes, the commander returned and took Omar into another room for questioning. Hanna could hear their conversation and heard Omar repeat many times that he did not know what they were looking for. This questioning went on for about five minutes until the commander came back into the balcony and asked Hanna to give Omar some clothes -- Omar was under arrest.

Palestinian villagers try to sue Canadian builders
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem, The Guardian 7/10/2008
Lawyers for a Palestinian village have begun a rare legal case against two Canadian construction companies working in a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, accusing them of breaching war crimes laws and demanding an injunction to halt their work as well as damages worth around £1m. Although there have been court cases in Israel against settlement construction, it is unusual for lawyers to take cases abroad against individual foreign construction firms, particularly under war crimes legislation. The case, brought to the Quebec superior court in Montreal, alleges that the two Canadian firms are breaching international law by building and selling homes in part of the settlement of Modi’in Illit on land originally belonging to the Palestinian village of Bil’in. In so doing, the defendants are aiding, abetting, assisting and conspiring with the state of Israel in carrying

2 Bedouin from Negev ’admit links to Al-Qaida’
Amos Harel and Yuval Azoulay, Ha’aretz 7/10/2008
Two Bedouin from Rahat have been held in custody since late May on suspicion of links to Al-Qaida and plans to carry out terrorist attacks in Israel. The two men, who are active in the Islamic Movement in Israel, have admitted to the suspicions against them. The arrests were made public yesterday following indictments filed against the two at the Be’er Sheva District Court. Taher Abu Shut, 21, and Omar Abu-Shut, 20, both from Rahat in the Negev, are suspected of providing Al-Qaida with a list of possible targets for large-scale terror attacks in Israel. The list included Ben-Gurion International Airport and the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv. The arrests resulted from a concerted effort by the Shin Bet security service, the police and the Border Police. The Shin Bet investigation had focused on Taher, who had turned toward radical Islam in recent years.

Family of Israeli Al-Qaida suspects: They’re no terrorists
Yuval Azoulay and Mijal Grinberg , and The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 7/10/2008
The Shin Bet security service has arrested two Israeli Bedouin suspected of passing strategic information to the al-Qaida terror network, a charge the men’s relatives are denying. The two Bedouin, residents of the southern village of Rahat, allegedly transferred information about Israel Defense Forces military bases and other strategic sites through the Internet, the Shin Bet said. The two are also suspected of giving the militant network details about key Tel Aviv loactions, including the Azrieli towers and Ben Gurion International Airport, as well as other populated public places that could be used as targets in potential attacks. The suspects - Taher Abu Sakut, 21, and Omar Abu Sakut, 20 - were charged on Wednesday with membership in a terror organization, of aiding an enemy and of transferring information to an enemy with the intent to harm state security.

Brother of al-Qaeda suspect: He’s no terrorist
Yonat Atlas, YNetNews 7/9/2008
Brother of Bedouin indicted on charges of affiliation with al-Qaeda dismisses accusations, says suspect merely visited ’wrong websites’; two members of Islamic Movement arrested following joint Shin Bet, police operation - Residents in the southern Bedouin community of Rahat say they are shocked over reports that two local young men have been indicted over charges of affiliation with al-Qaeda. Majid Abu-Sakut, whose brother Omar is one of the two suspects, told Ynet Wednesday evening: "Taher and Omar are just two kids who visited the wrong websites. They’re innocent. " "We still have not digested what has happened," Majid said. "I do not believe that the Shin Bet has enough evidence to convict Omar at court. The Internet is open to anyone, and the same way they could also accuse me of affiliation to a terror organization.

2 Israeli ’al-Qaeda suspects’ detained
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 7/9/2008
Two members of Islamic Movement indicted on charges of affiliation with terror organization following joint Shin Bet, police operation; suspects supplied handlers with sensitive information about strategic facilities - Cleared for publication: Two residents of the southern Israeli town of Rahat were indicted Wednesday for allegedly being al-Qaeda operatives. Taher and Omar Abu-Sakut, who are registered members of the Islamic Movement, were arrested following a joint Shin Bet, police and Border Guard operation that took place in June. According to Shin Bet records, Taher abu-Sakut’s interest in radical Islam began in 2006, when he became involved with the Islamic Movement. Soon after that, the Shin Bet says, he began surfing al-Qaeda-affiliated websites, as well as sites calling for the destruction of

Woman detained after claiming to be al-Qaeda member
Avi Cohen, YNetNews 7/9/2008
53-year-old woman arrested after calling Army Radio, claiming Tel Aviv towers to be bombed - A 53-year-old Bat Yam woman is suspected of calling Army Radio Wednesday afternoon and reporting that she belongs to al-Qaeda. She also told the radio station that a terror attack was planned at Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Towers. The woman was detained by police and will spend the night in detention. Her actions may have been prompted by news reports earlier in the day regarding the arrest of two Bedouins on suspicion of affiliation with al-Qaeda. The woman did not bother blocking her phone number when calling the radio station, prompting Army Radio to relay her message and phone number to the Tel Aviv District police. Police officials who looked into the report discovered that the woman has been known to call 100, the police’s emergency number, on occasion and make false reports.

Most attacks on Palestinians go unpunished
Middle East Online 7/9/2008
JERUSALEM - Nine out of 10 investigations into attacks against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are closed without anyone being indicted, the Israeli Yesh Din human rights group said on Wednesday. It said that of 163 such completed investigations it monitored in recent years, only 13 led to indictments being filed, 149 files were closed without indictments and one file was lost and never investigated. Ninety-one files were closed on grounds of "perpetrators unknown," 43 for "lack of evidence," nine for "no criminal culpability," five for unknown reasons and one was closed for "lack of public interest," Yesh Din said. The group said the cases it monitored included Israeli civilians allegedly assaulting Palestinians, seizing their land, uprooting their trees and damaging their crops or agricultural equipment, and for arson and theft.

The Israeli army kidnaps civilians from the West Bank
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/9/2008
The Israeli army kidnapped on Tuesday at midnight and on Wednesday morning seven Palestinians from different parts of the West Bank accusing them of being involved in terrorist activities Two Palestinians were kidnapped near Nablus city while five others were kidnapped in the central city of Ramallah. The kidnapped Palestinians were taken to detention camps for investigation. The Identifications and affiliations of the kidnapped Palestinians are still unknown. The Israeli army is launching daily kidnap attempts in the West Bank that even reached civilians. [end]

IOF troops tighten blockade on Al-Khalil
Palestinian Information Center 7/9/2008
AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- The IOF troops on Wednesday tightened their blockade on Al-Khalil and closed all entrances to the city and scrutinized IDs of all citizens causing long queues of people, including women and children, to line up under the sun for hours. The IOF soldiers have been practicing this measure since Wednesday 2/7/2008 and were particularly checking citizens leaving the city. IOF patrols have been since then roaming most cities and villages in Al-Khalil district and breaking into homes. Meanwhile, IOF soldiers in Salfit district imposed a curfew on Kuful Hares village on Wednesday at the pretext a petrol bomb was thrown at the highway near it that is trekked by Israeli settlers. The soldiers stormed the village and two other nearby villages amidst shooting and firing of sonic bombs that terrorized villagers.

Palestine Today 070908
Ghassan Bannoura - Audio, International Middle East Media Center News 7/9/2008
Click on Link to download or play MP3 file|| 3 m 0s || 2. 75 MB || Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www. imemc. org, for Wednesday July 9th, 2008. The army attacks peaceful protests across the West Bank and kidnaps at least seven civilians in pre- dawn invasions, these stories and more coming up stay tuned. The News Cast Hundreds of Palestinians protested on Wednesday the Israeli illegal wall being built in the West Bank. Protests were reported in Bethlehem, Tulkarem, Qalqilia and Ramallah. The protests were part of the activities organized by the Popular Committees Against the Wall and Settlements in the West Bank campaign marking the 4th year after the International Court of Justice, in the Hague which deemed the Israeli Wall in the West Bank is illegal on July 9th 2004.

Israel frets ’tripling’ in Hizbullah’s rocket force
Daily Star 7/10/2008
Siniora ’not interested’ in Italy’s mediation offer - Hizbullah now has three times more rockets than it had when Israel went to war with Lebanon two years ago, Israeli public radio cited intelligence officials as telling a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Members of the inner security cabinet were told Hizbullah has an arsenal of 40,000 rockets ready to be fired at Israel, three times more than in July 2006, when Israel launched a devastating warLebanon after the resistance captured two soldiers in a deadly cross-border raid. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had called Wednesday’s meeting of the security cabinet to discuss what he said were violations by Hizbullah of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 34-day war. The resolution called for the disarming of all militias - an allusion to Hizbullah as well as to Palestinian militant groups - and the prevention of illegal arms sales and smuggling operations in Lebanon.

3 dead, 41 wounded in north Lebanon clashes
Reuters, YNetNews 7/9/2008
Explosions, machinegun fire rock city of Tripoli from midnight as Sunni Muslim supporters of government, Alawite gunmen close to the Shiite Hizbullah-led opposition battle on outskirts of mainly Sunni Muslim port - At least three people were killed and 41 wounded on Wednesday in renewed sectarian clashes in Lebanon’s second largest city Tripoli, security sources said. Explosions and machinegun fire rocked the city from midnight as Sunni Muslim supporters of the government and Alawite gunmen close to the Shiite Hizbullah-led opposition battled on the outskirts of the mainly Sunni Muslim port. The fighting began after four grenades were fired at a street separating the Sunni Bab Tibbaneh district and Alawite Jabal Mohsen district, scenes of deadly clashes last month. The sources said two people, one from each side, were killed and 41 were wounded, including two Lebanese soldiers.

Cabinet meeting on Hizbullah cut short
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 7/9/2008
Time constraints, previous obligations bring cabinet session on Hizbllah to premature end - Hizbullah threat not important enough? Time constraints and ministers’ commitments to the Knesset plenary cut short Wednesday’s cabinet meeting on the growing Hizubllah threat in the north. The ministers were only notified of the session Tuesday night. During the discussion, IDF Intelligence, Mossad and Shin Bet officials reviewed the erosion of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which put an end to the Second Lebanon War two years ago. Defense Minister Ehud Barak andForeign Minister Tzipi Livni have addressed in the past day the continued weapons smuggling from Syria to Hizbullah. Israel is also concerned about the political power gained by Hizbullah as a result of clashes in Lebanon. The group has been grantd a veto right in Fouad Siniora’s Beirut government.

Fayyad Suggests Foreign Troops for Gaza
Reuters, MIFTAH 7/9/2008
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 Organisation 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’ Fateh-run West Bank "is a key objective of policy and has to be pursued vigorously at all times". " The separation has to end. I’m deeply worried that over the past year, the separation has been reinforced.

Palestinians to face water shortages this summer
Middle East Online 7/9/2008
JERUSALEM - Palestinians in the West Bank consume far less water than people in Israel, but they are likely to face a shortage this summer, the Israeli human rights group B’tselem has warned. "The chronic water shortage results in large part from Israel’s discriminatory policy in distributing the joint water resources in the West Bank, and the limits it places on the Palestinian Authority’s ability to drill new wells," B’tselem said in a new position paper. "The average water consumption per capita of Israelis is 3. 5 times that of Palestinians," B’tselem said, adding "access to water without discrimination is recognised by international law as a fundamental human right. " Palestinians consume about 66 litres per capita per day, though in some areas that amount can drop by two-thirds. Israel tends to cut the amount to Palestinians during the summer months, the paper said, in order to supply the needs of Israeli settlers.

Water Authority details emergency plan
Michal Margalit, Globes Online 7/9/2008
Water Authority chairman Uri Shani: Israel is at a low point not seen since 1932. The Water Authority Council yesterday detailed its emergency plan to deal with the country’s water crisis, and launched a media campaign, entitled "Israel goes from red to black". The reference is to the red line, which mark the minimum safe water levels in the Kinneret and aquifers and the black lines that mark the point of irreversible damage. Water Authority Council chairman Uri Shani said Israel was at a low point "not seen since measurements began in 1932. "For the past five years, he has warned that the water level in the country’s three strategic sources - the Kinneret and the mountain and coastal aquifers - was nearing the black line. "Falling below the black line will cause irreversible damage to the water sources," he warned.

Report: Arabs’ life expectancy in Israel 4 years shorter than Jews’
Sharon Roffe-Ofir, YNetNews 7/9/2008
Annual Sikui organization analysis shows gaps between Jewish, Arab populations in Israel; says Jewish population has higher standard of living than Arab population, despite government’s declarations of equality between all citizens - The lifespan of Israeli Jews is four years longer than that of Arabs, a new report revealed Wednesday. The report was composed by the SIKUI organization which monitors the situation of Arabs within Israel vis a vis their civil and human rights. The report, which presents the past year’s data, displayed a somber picture, indicating that not only has no improvement been made, but some of the gaps between the two populations have grown. For instance, the gaps in infant mortality rates are significant showing that in 2007, 8 Arab babies died for every 1,000 births and amongst the Jews, 4 babies died for every 1,000 born.

Israeli Knesset endorses another racist law against Palestinian Jerusalemites
Palestinian Information Center 7/9/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- More than 50 Israeli lawmakers have voted in favor of a draft resolution authorizing the Israeli occupation government of confiscating properties of Palestinian Jerusalemites and those of the 1948-occupied lands involved in retaliation attacks against IOF aggressions against the Palestinian people. According to the Hebrew radio, Gedion Saer, the extremist Israeli lawmaker of the rightist Likud party drafted the resolution that gained the blessing of 50 Knesset MPs against 13 members who opposed it in its first reading. The resolution becomes a law only if it is approved by the second and third reading. "The resolution is meant to serve as a deterrent [to the Palestinian Jerusalemites]", said Saer in justifying his racist proposal. The Knesst also approved in the first reading another racist draft resolution presented by member of the ruling Kadima. . .

Hamas: We welcome comprehensive dialog away from selectivity
Palestinian Information Center 7/9/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement stated Wednesday that it welcomes any comprehensive inter-Palestinian national dialog away from selectivity and arbitrariness to end the state of division in the Palestinian arena. In a press statement, Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, underlined that the comprehensive dialogue has a strategy which is the agreement on a set of principles according to which all files will be discussed openly at the dialog table in order of priority and if there is a Palestinian consensus on something, Hamas will respect it. The London-based Al-Hayat newspaper quoted today Palestinian sources as saying that the PA leadership made an overture to the effect that the security apparatuses file and the formation of a transitional government could be discussed as a prelude to national dialog. Hamas rejected that and described it as selectivity in dealing with the dialog issue.

PLO calls for implementing the ICJ ruling against the Wall
Saed Bannoura news, International Middle East Media Center News 7/10/2008
The National and International Department at the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) called on the various international peace groups and the Arab countries to act in order to achieve the implantation of the International Court of Justice advisory ruling which ruled that the Israeli Annexation Wall is illegal. The department added that the wall must be demolished and the Palestinians who are affected by it must be compensated. It its statement, the department said that "on the fourth anniversary of the ruling of the International Court of Justice in Lahai, the Palestinians must achieve their rights, as this ruling exposed the occupation policies which violate all international laws and regulations". The department also stated that Israel is ongoing with its violations against the Palestinian people and insists to ignore the international legitimacy by practicing crimes against. . .

Troops clash with protesters near wall around West Bank
Joseph Krauss, Daily Star 7/10/2008
Agence France Presse NILIN, Occupied West Bank: Palestinian and international protesters clashed with troops in the Occupied West Bank Wednesday in one of several demonstrations marking four years since the World Court called for the demolition of parts of Israel’s separation barrier. Soldiers fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets as teenagers hurled stones in running clashes among the terraced olive groves and cactus walls outside the village of Nilin, where residents stage weekly demonstrations against a nearby expansion of the barrier. About 200 Palestinian and international activists had marched to the construction site, a wide gravel gash running down a hillside, before several young men climbed onto an earthmover and broke its windows. Soldiers in several jeeps rushed to the scene and fired tear gas as the youths took cover among the olive trees and threw rocks at them.

Bulldozer targets West Bank fence
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 7/9/2008
Protestors reportedly take over bulldozer during demonstration; earlier rally turns into riot - Border Guard police officers used crowd dispersal means in order to prevent a bulldozer Wednesday from hitting the West Bank security fence in Kalandiya, north of Jerusalem. No injuries were reported in the incident. Demonstrators at the scene said that protesters were able to chase away a bulldozer driver and took over his vehicle. Forces dispatched to the area promptly dispersed the demonstrators, who said the soldiers mostly targeted journalists at the site. Protestors take over bulldozer (Photo: AP) Earlier Wednesday,, some 150 Palestinian, Israeli peace activists and foreign ones rioted in the town of Naalin, near the West Bank city of Ramallah in protest of the ongoing construction of the security fence in the area.

Israel continues to build illegal wall in defiance of ICJ ruling
Defence for Children International/Palestine Section - DCI/PS, ReliefWeb 7/9/2008
[RAMALLAH, 9 July 2008] - On the 4th anniversary of the landmark ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which found that Israel’s construction of the Wall in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem is illegal under international law, DCI/PS exposes the harmful impact of the Wall and its associated regime on the rights of Palestinian children and is challenging Israel’s continued construction of the Wall in total disregard of the 2004 ICJ advisory opinion. Today, the Israeli High Court will hand down its decision in the petition brought by DCI/PS and Al Haq on behalf of the residents of the West Bank village of Al-Nu’man. The majority of the residents of Al-Nu’man have West Bank IDs but have been cut off from the West Bank by the Wall which surrounds them on three sides and illegally incorporates the village into the Jerusalem municipality.

PA ministry calls for activating The Hague’s ruling on separation wall
Palestinian Information Center 7/9/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The agriculture ministry in the PA caretaker government has called for activating popular rallies and marches on the Arab and international arenas to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the international court of justice in The Hague’s ruling that described Israel’s separation wall in the West Bank as "illegal". The ministry in statement noted that the anniversary, which falls on Wednesday, was coupled with the "ferocious" campaign waged by the Israeli occupation forces on the people of Na’lin for protesting the establishment of a section of that wall on their lands. It also denounced the continued IOF bulldozing of citizens’ lands in Beit Hanina town northwest of occupied Jerusalem that witnessed uprooting hundreds of years old olive trees in a bid to construct another section of that racist wall.

Attempting on popular non-violent resistance against the apartheid wall
Palestinian National Initiative, Palestine Monitor 7/9/2008
Ramallah, 08-07-08: MP Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, the Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initivative held a press conference on the eve of the 4th anniversary of the International Court Advisory decision that determined that the Wall is illegal under the international law and is not a security necessity. As a consequence, the ICJ ruled that Israel must halt the construction of the Wall, return the land to Palestinians whose property has been seized and pay compensation to them. Still, four years after the International Court of Justice opinion, Israel is passing over the international by the ongoing building the apartheid Wall in Ni’lin. Dr. Barghouthi stressed on the needed support on non-violent popular struggles against the Wall and invited the PLO to immediately transfer the resolution to United Nations.

Palestinian driver tries to demolish part of separation wall using bulldozer
Palestinian Information Center 7/9/2008
Occupied Jerusalem, (PIC)-- A Palestinian driver tried on Wednesday to demolish part of the separation wall in Qalandia refugee camp near Ramallah city using his bulldozer, the Hebrew radio reported. It said that the unknown man drove his bulldozer into the wall and tried to knock down part of it. The broadcast noted that police guards fired rubber-coated bullets at the driver who fled the scene. Police and army elements are searching the area for the driver, it added. The attempt is the first of its kind by a Palestinian and coincided with the fourth anniversary of The Hague’s international court of justice’s ruling on the racist wall that deemed it "illegitimate". [end]

Listing of Barrier gates open to Palestinians and map ofWest Bank Barrier Route Projections
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - OCHA, ReliefWeb 7/8/2008
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) - Area Affected: The Barrier’s total length is 723 km, more than twice the length of the 1949 Armistice Line (Green Line) between the West Bank and Israel. The total area located between the Barrier and the Green Line is 9. 8 % of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and No Man’s Land. When completed, approximately 13 % of the Barrier will be constructed on the Green Line or in Israel with 87 % inside the West Bank. Map: West Bank Barrier Route Projections - July 2008 Full_Report (pdf* format - 484. 4 Kbytes)[end]

Israeli army confiscate shopping mall in massive invasion of Nablus
International Solidarity Movement 7/9/2008
Nablus Region - Photos - On the night of July 7th, 2008, the Israeli army, numbering between 120 and 150 jeeps, entered the city of Nablus. They entered a suburban shopping mall, several charity organizations, a girl’s elementary school and adjoining medical clinic, the last of which they did not have an army order to enter. According to the Israeli army, the owner of the mall building is a member of the political party Hamas. Their pretext for taking control of the mall is therefore his alleged ties to deemed terrorist organizations. The army intends to close the mall on the 15th of August, 2008 and convert it into a military base. Without compensation are the approximately 120 small shop owner and renters who will lose their businesses. A typical example is that of Ahmed and his four brothers’s who bought a small pizzeria for 250, 000 Dinars ten years ago and have maintained it as a family run-business in the ensuing time.

Masri: Closure of charities aim to transform Palestinians into beggars
Palestinian Information Center 7/9/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- MP Mushir Al-Masri, secretary of the change and reform parliamentary bloc, has charged that the Israeli occupation authority’s closure of charitable societies in the West Bank aimed at converting Palestinians into a nation of beggars. Masri, addressing a massive rally organized by Hamas in Jabalia refugee camp north of Gaza on Tuesday evening, said that the campaign wants the people to beg official institutions for money that would only provide such money to serve Zio-American agendas. "The enemy today is fighting orphans, widows and the poor in their sustenance through closing charities in the West Bank and targeting sports clubs, medical centers and shops in a fresh crime to be added in this enemy’s records," he elaborated. The Hamas leader told the IOA that its attempt to weaken Hamas through fighting orphans, the poor and the needy and through confiscating and. . .

MP Moussa: Israel’s fierce military assaults in WB will fail like previous ones
Palestinian Information Center 7/9/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- MP Yehya Moussa, a member of the Hamas parliamentary bloc, stated that the Israeli fierce campaigns committed on Tuesday morning against charitable societies in Nablus would fail like the previous ones and would boost the popular rallying around the Movement. In a press statement to the Palestine newspaper published on Wednesday MP Moussa underlined that Hamas won the Palestinian people’s hearts because it is in the forefront in defense of the Palestinian rights and constants, expressing his strong belief that the Israeli occupation and aggression are getting closer to an end. The lawmaker added that the arbitrary acts of the PA leadership in Ramallah against the West Bank people tempted Israel to commit more aggressive actions. For its part, the committee on national and Islamic activities called for participating in a comprehensive strike on Wednesday in Nablus. . .

Abu Zhuri: IOF campaign against charities in W. Bank won’t break Hamas
Palestinian Information Center 7/9/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Hamas Movement has called on the Palestinian people in the West Bank to stand up in defense of their properties and charities that had been confiscated and sealed by the IOF troops, vowing to support the West Bank with all possible means. "The IOF troops targeting of those humanitarian societies was indeed a continuation to the mission of the PA security forces in the West Bank with the aim to exterminate Hamas Movement in the West Bank", asserted Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, the Movement’s spokesman in Gaza Strip. But he underlined that the IOF troops’ mission would fail like all previous campaigns they carried out against the Movement in the West Bank, urging the PA leadership to break up security coordination with the Israeli security departments. Abu Zuhri also urged all concerned parties to immediately intervene to bridle the Israeli practices against those benevolent. . .

Israeli Troops Raid Girls’ School and Medical Centre in West Bank
The Associated Press, MIFTAH 7/9/2008
Israeli troops in jeeps swooped down on the West Bank city of Nablus early on Monday, shutting down a girls’ school, a medical centre and two other facilities of a Hamas-affiliated charity, witnesses said. Computers, documents, cash and furniture were seized, the witnesses said. The Israeli military 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 by Israel and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Three weeks ago, Israel and Palestinian militants in Hamas-ruled Gaza agreed to a truce. Although the ceasefire is limited to Gaza, confrontations between Israel and Palestinian fighters in the West Bank have already provoked Gaza groups to violate the agreement. Moral crime "We consider the Israeli decision to shut down charities that take care of families of martyrs, orphans and poor people as a moral crime," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in Gaza.

PCHR Condemns IOF Measures against Nablus Charities
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights - PCHR, Palestine Monitor 7/9/2008
PCHR strongly condemns Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) for closing several charities and humanitarian organizations in Nablus over the past two days. The Centre calls upon the international community to intervene to put an end to these measures. The Center’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 1:35 on Monday, 7 July, IOF raided the Benevolent Solidarity Association, the Islamic School for Girls, Benevolent Solidarity Club, Solidarity Mosque, and Solidarity Medical Center in Rafedia Quarter west of Nablus. IOF confiscated medical equipment and computers from the medical center. In addition, IOF issued an order closing the association for 3 years. The order was signed by the Israeli army commander in the West Bank.

Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP): Mid-Year Review of the Appeal 2008 for the occupied Palestinian territory
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - OCHA, ReliefWeb 7/16/2008
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - During the first five months of 2008, the overall humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) continued to deteriorate, notwithstanding slight improvements in some sectors. The humanitarian situation is particularly desperate in the Gaza Strip, where the already fragile space for human rights and dignity is narrowing. Palestinians in Gaza are confronted with interference in their normal social and political lives and also daily degradations like reduced access to water, electricity, proper sanitation and garbage collection, and adequate health care. They face increased violence and casualties, extended closures of crossings, severe limitations on basic supplies, shortages of spare parts, raw materials, and other commercial and agricultural supplies, and an overall economic contraction.

Egyptian police shoot another migrant near Israel
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/10/2008
AL-ARISH: Egyptian police shot and wounded an Ethiopian man on Wednesday as he tried to cross the border illegally into Israel, a security official said. The 28-year-old man was shot in the foot by police south of the border town of Rafah. He had failed to stop following police warnings, the official told AFP. This year, Egyptian forces have killed at least 16 people trying to cross into Israel from the Sinai in search of work. The latest casualties included a Sudanese girl aged 7, who was shot dead last month. Dozens of illegal immigrants, mostly Africans, have also been arrested in the past year. The 250-kilometer frontier between the two countries is notoriously porous and is often used by drug smugglers and people traffickers. Last Monday, gunmen trying to smuggle a group of African immigrants into Israel shot dead an officer in Egypt’s border police.

Paralyzed Palestinian Girl Fights to Stay in Israel
Reuters, MIFTAH 7/9/2008
Paralyzed from the neck down in an Israeli strike on the Islamic Jihad in Gaza, six-year-old Palestinian Maria Amin is fighting an order to move her from a rehabilitation centre in Israel to the West Bank. Maria can move around in a wheelchair controlled by a joystick she guides with her chin, but her Israeli doctors say her life would be in danger if Israel’s Defense Ministry sends her to the West Bank city of Ramallah. Two years ago, Maria was paralyzed from the neck down when the car she was traveling in was caught in a missile attack on a leader of the Islamic Jihad group in Gaza. Her mother, grandmother and older brother were killed. The Defense Ministry, which has covered Maria’s medical expenses and sponsored her father and younger brother to live with her at a Jerusalem hospital, has been seeking since last year to send her to Ramallah’s Abu Raya Rehabilitation Centre.

OPT: Giving the gift of hearing to Gaza
American Near East Refugee Aid - ANERA, ReliefWeb 7/9/2008
Randa Mansour-Shousher, Doctor of Audiology, was born in France and educated in the United States. But she has never forgotten her roots. She is Palestinian – her parents from El-Bireh and Jerusalem. A year ago while visiting Washington, DC, Randa learned about ANERA. And, quickly she decided to join her own expertise with the strengths of ANERA to meet a need in Gaza – helping children with hearing impairments. Working with staff from ANERA’s office in Gaza and project partner, Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children, Randa saw a way to parlay her professional strengths and connections into meaningful action. ‘I have sent money to the region in the past,’ explained Randa, ‘but I don’t get overseas as much as I would like. I really appreciate being able to trust that ANERA has a staff in Gaza who will take this work seriously.

Paralysed Palestinian girl fights for treatment
Middle East Online 7/9/2008
JERUSALEM - Paralysed from the neck down in an Israeli attack, six-year-old Palestinian Maria Amin is fighting an order to move her from a rehabilitation centre in occupied Jerusalem to the occupied West Bank. Maria can move around in a wheelchair controlled by a joystick she guides with her chin, but her Israeli doctors say her life would be in danger if Israel’s Defence Ministry has its way and sends her to the West Bank city of Ramallah. Two years ago, Maria was paralysed from the neck down when the car she was travelling in was caught in an Israeli missile attack in Gaza. Her mother, grandmother and older brother were killed. Israeli claimed to be targeting members of the Palestinian resistance. The Defence Ministry has been seeking since last year to send her to Ramallah’s Abu Raya Rehabilitation Centre.

Living alongside the enemy
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem, The Guardian 7/10/2008
Coexistence projects bring Jews and Arabs together within Israel, but it is much harder to bridge the larger gap between Israel and the Palestinian territories - In the circles of Middle East peacemaking it is called "coexistence", the often difficult and usually pioneering work that brings together Jews and Arabs, treats them as equals and tries to bridge their differences. Within Israel it still happens a lot, despite the terrible violence of the second intifada and the flagging political peace process. There are organisations that run bilingual Jewish-Arabic schools, including one in Jerusalem. There are joint business projects, musical ventures and even comedy shows. In Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv, the small Yaffa cafe and bookshop became the first store in the mixed Jewish and Arab city to sell Arabic books since 1948.

Iranians test-fire missile capable of hitting Israel
Kim Sengupta, The Independent 7/10/2008
A day after threatening to "set fire" to Israel and American targets in the Gulf, Tehran test-fired nine ballistic missiles yesterday, including a long-range one capable of hitting Tel Aviv. Iranian state television said the "highly advanced" missiles tested by its Revolutionary Guards included a "new" Shahab-3 missile, capable of reaching targets 1,250 miles (2,000km) away. Reacting to the announcement, Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, said: "Israel does not threaten Iran, but the Iranian nuclear programme, combined with their aggressive ballistic missile programme, is a matter of grave concern. " Washington, which accuses Tehran of developing a nuclear weapons programme, declared that the development of the new missile was in breach of UN Security Council resolutions while a number of European Union states condemned the test as "dangerous" and "provocative".

Israeli expert: Iran bluffing over range of tested missiles
Yuval Azoulay and Yossi Melman, Ha’aretz 7/10/2008
The missile launched as part of large-scale military exercise in Iran on Wednesday is not a more capable version of the Shahab-3 ballistic missile, according to Israeli experts. Revolutionary Guard Commanders said that the nine missiles tested were medium and long-range weapons including some that are capable of striking Israel. General Hossein Salami, head of the Revolutionary Guards Air Force, claimed on Iranian television that a Shahab-3 long-range ballistic missile had been tested, which is capable of traveling longer distances, with greater accuracy, and with a larger payload. "Our finger is always on the trigger, and our missiles are always ready to launch," he said. However, Uzi Rubin, who was a program director of Homa, under which Israel developed the Arrow anti-missile system, is convinced that this was not a new version of the Iranian ballistic missile.

Website exposes Israeli ’nuke secrets’
Tal Rabinovsky, YNetNews 7/9/2008
Leftist Israeli website claims to expose nuclear secrets published by foreign sources - Are Israel’s nuke secrets available online? The Armageddon website claims to sport vast amounts of information about Israel’s nuclear program and its manufacturing and storage facilities, as published by various foreign sources. The site is the brainchild of a large group of Israeli intellectuals, journalists and philosophers affiliated with an Israeli group advocating a Middle East free of atomic, biological, and chemical weapons; the organization says Knesset Member Dov Khenin (Hadash) is among its supporters. According to the website’s owners, the site is registered on an Israeli domain and is hosted on Australian-based servers. Armageddon’s owners claim to be the proprietors of a second domain - armagedonz.

Nuclear ’scare’ against Iran exposed
Gareth Porter, Asia Times 7/10/2008
WASHINGTON - A 15-page paper on the process requirements for casting and machining of uranium metal into hemispherical forms - said to useful only for making the core of a nuclear weapon - has been raised by the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in recent months as evidence of an alleged Iranian intention to build nuclear weapons. The agency’s May 26, 2008, report said Pakistan had confirmed that "an identical document exists in Pakistan" but provided no additional information on what had been learned about it. The same report asserted that the issue remains "outstanding", and that the IAEA’s "overall assessment of the nature of Iran’s nuclear program. . . requires, inter alia, an understanding of the role of the uranium metal document". Two days later, the deputy director and head of the Safeguards Department of the IAEA, Olli Heinonen, was quoted by an anonymous

US bristles at Iraqi call for timeline of withdrawal
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/10/2008
WASHINGTON: The White House said Tuesday it still aims to reach agreement with Iraq this month on the presence of US troops there, as it downplayed differences between Washington and Baghdad over a possible timetable for withdrawal. Spokesman Scott Stanzel told AFPthe goal remained the achievement of a deal with Iraq’s government by the end of the month, despite Baghdad’s demand for a date for US-led foreign troops to leave Iraq. Earlier in the day the US State Department rejected a demand from Iraq for a specific date for a pullout of US-led foreign troops from the country, saying any withdrawal will be based on conditions on the ground. "The US government and the government of Iraq are in agreement that we, the US government, we want to withdraw, we will withdraw. However, that decision will be conditions-based," State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said.

Syrian FM: US not helping control border with Iraq
ASSOCIATED PRESS, Jerusalem Post 7/10/2008
Syria’s Foreign Minister accused the United States on Wednesday of not giving his country the equipment needed to prevent foreign fighters from crossing into Iraq. Walid al-Moallem said Washington fears Syria could use such equipment against Israel. He did not specify what type of equipment he was referring to, but Syrian authorities have complained in the past that their border guards lack night-vision binoculars. Al-Moallem told Lebanon’s Orange TV in an interview that the US was pressuring other countries not to give Syria such equipment. The US has accused Syria of being behind the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq. Syria denies the claim and says it’s impossible to control the long desert border.

Syria says US needs guidance in Mideast
Middle East Online 7/9/2008
DAMASCUS - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, speaking ahead of a weekend visit to France, said a US role in the Middle East was vital for peace but Washington does not understand the region and needs guidance. The United States "is a world superpower which maintains privileged relations with Israel. No European country can replace the US. The European role is complementary," Assad told French journalists. "The problem is that the United States does not understand what is going on in the region. Because of the positive relations which France has with this country, it may be able to help the US understand the region better. " Assad, speaking on Tuesday, said he wanted Paris to play an important role in the Middle East peace process, "particularly if we reach the point of direct negotiations" with Israel. The Syrian leader, who is to meet President Nicolas Sarkozy on July 12,. . .

New Irish foreign minister to tour Middle East
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/10/2008
DUBLIN: Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin is making his first Middle East visit this week for talks on regional and international efforts to restore momentum to the peace process, his office said on Wednesday. Martin, who was appointed foreign minister in May, will meet Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian political leaders during his three-day trip. In Cairo on Wednesday he will meet his Egyptian counterpart, Ahmed Abu al-Gheit, and Arab League chief Amr Moussa. On Thursday, Martin will visit the West Bank and meet local officials and staff from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. He will also have talks with Palestinian political leaders in Ramallah, including Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. On Friday he will meet Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni

Irish FM makes first visit to Mideast
Middle East Online 7/9/2008
DUBLIN - Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin is making his first Middle East visit this week for talks on regional and international efforts to restore momentum to the peace process, his office said on Wednesday. Martin, who was appointed foreign minister in May, will meet Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian political leaders during his three-day trip. "I want to discuss openly the prospects for peace at a difficult time, building on the ceasefire in Gaza and the series of contacts between the parties which are now underway across the region," Martin said. In Cairo on Wednesday he will meet his Egyptian counterpart, Ahmed Abul Gheit, and will have talks with the secretary general of the Arab League, Amr Mussa, on efforts to build on the ceasefire in Gaza which was brokered by Egypt. He will also discuss regional issues, including the situation in Lebanon, and developments in Sudan and Darfur and in Chad.

Middle East: UN envoy wraps up talks in Egypt and Jordan
United Nations News Service, ReliefWeb 7/9/2008
The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) today concluded a series of discussions in Cairo, Egypt, and Amman, Jordan, following earlier talks with President Mahmoud Abbas and senior Israeli officials. In his travels, Robert Serry discussed all facets of the Middle East peace process, expressing the UN’s support for Egyptian efforts to consolidate calm in Gaza and enhance conditions for civilians, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told journalists. He also underscored the Secretary-General’s backing of the continuing Israeli-Palestinian political negotiations, steps taken by President Abbas’ to boost Palestinian unity and the indirect talks between Israel and Syria, she added. UNSCO was established in 1994 following the signing of the Oslo Accord, and since 2002, the Special Coordinator has been the Secretary-General’s envoy in the Middle. . .

G8 says remains committed to helping Palestinians
News Agencies, YNetNews 7/9/2008
Three-day summit of eight rich nations ends with statement reiterating full support of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, hopes sides can see way to reach agreement by year’s end -The G-8 remains committed to providing assistance to the Palestinians and helping to strengthen their institutions, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said at the end of a three-day summit of the Group of Eight rich nations. Fukuda, in a chairman’s statement on the meeting, said the G-8 had reiterated its full support for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations with a view to reaching an agreement by the end of the year and called on all parties to refrain from any action that would undermine the negotiations. In a statement, G-8 leaders - which include the US, Japan, Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Canada and Russia - called on both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to put a stop to. . .

Israel-Hamas Truce Boils Down to Simple Tradeoff
The Associated Press, MIFTAH 7/9/2008
An Israel-Hamas truce has boiled down to a simple tradeoff: For a day of calm, Israel adds five truckloads of cows and 200 tons of cement to its shipment of the barest basics to Gaza, but also punishes sporadic rocket fire by resealing the territory for a day. Since the cease-fire deal was reached nearly three weeks ago, the trickle of extra goods has barely made a difference in the daily lives of 1. 4 million Gazans, who’ve been cut off from the world since the violent Hamas takeover a year ago. Gazans are struggling with fuel rationing of five gallons (20 liters) per driver a week, frequent blackouts and soaring food prices. At the same time, the truce remains shaky and the two sides seem unable to move forward. Still, weary residents cling to hopes that this truce will stick where many others failed. " We need to breathe," said Gaza trucker Shawki Abu Shanab, 40, who stretches scarce diesel for his flatbed truck with motor and cooking oil and has no spare parts to fix worn tires and broken lights.

HIV infection rises in Israel
Middle East Online 7/9/2008
TEL AVIV - HIV may be a relatively small problem in Israel, but the soaring rate of new infections among vulnerable populations has forced health officials to take action. According to the Israel AIDS Task Force (IATF), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) providing HIV/AIDS education and support among men who have sex with men (MSM), the proportion who contracted HIV had shot up by 67 percent between 2006 and 2007. This "worrying increase" had been recorded among young people aged 18 to 25, said Gideon Hirsch, a medical doctor and director of IATF. He warned that the actual increase could even be higher, as accurate statistics were hard to come by. Vulnerable groups such as sex workers, intravenous drug users, and MSM are most at risk. HIV prevalence in Israel is less than 0. 2 percent, with the UN estimating that 4,000 people were living with the virus by the end of 2005, but experts have warned that the HIV caseload is growing.

Fischer must act
Avi Temkin, Globes Online 7/9/2008
Nothing short of central bank intervention will change the shekel trend. At the end of the G8 meeting in Japan, German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy expressed regret that the summit failed to produce any declaration about what was happening on world foreign exchange markets. The two leaders said they were fearful of the consequences of the weakening dollar, which will further weaken European industries. In a nearby part of the world, the Bank of Korea intervened in the foreign exchange market strongly today, in order to try to bolster the local currency. The amount of the intervention, some $5 billion, was enough to cause a 2. 5% turnaround in the direction of recent trading in the won. These examples should bring home to Governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer that he is not alone in the battle.

Senior Kadima officials: Olmert won’t run in primaries
Attila Somfalvi, YNetNews 7/10/2008
Several hours after Kadima leadership candidates agree on mid-September primaries, senior party officials estimate that Prime Minister Olmert will not compete; PM has not yet officially announced whether he intends to run - End of the road for Olmert? Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will not be running in the Kadima leadership primaries, a senior party official estimated late Wednesday. According to sources in the party, including some who are closely associated with the prime minister, in the coming weeks Olmert will attempt to come up with a way to quit his post in a dignified manner and possibly retire from politics altogether. Earlier Wednesday, agreement was reached on holding the Kadima primaries in September. Top Kadima officials said that the uncertainty conveyed by Olmert regarding his intention to run in the primaries stems from his desire to leave his post in a dignified manner.

Olmert’s associates: PM is not likely to run in Kadima primary
Mazal Mualem and Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 7/10/2008
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will not run for the Kadima leadership despite his statements to the contrary, Olmert’s associates in the party predicted yesterday. The associates said the prime minister understands that his chance of swaying public opinion back in his favor was minimal and that he was unable to stop the move to oust him in his own party. "Olmert has realized that even if he does contend for the leadership, Kadima’s people won’t support him because they see how badly he is doing in the polls. He has used the party until now as a bullet-proof vest, but there’s a limit," a Kadima source said. Olmert’s aides said yesterday that he has not decided yet whether to run for the leadership and will make that decision in August, a few weeks before the primary. They said Olmert will not attend Kadima’s council meeting, which is expected to start the move to oust him, due to another commitment.

Ex-president Katsav denied request for lavish office, luxury car
Zvi Zrahya, TheMarker, Ha’aretz 7/10/2008
Accountant General Shuki Oren on Wednesday announced that the state would not provide former president Moshe Katsav the luxury car and extravagant office he requested, and that would have cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of shekels a year. Katsav, who faces a litany of sex crime charges including possibly rape, on Monday had asked the Finance Ministry to subsidize a black Audi A6, worth roughly NIS 300,000, along with a 150 square-meter office in Tel Aviv’s Azrieli tower. Oren said that the ministry will provide Katsav an office at one of the governmental buildings in Tel Aviv or find a modest short-term rental for him. Katsav, who has ve is entitled to all the conditions and benefits of any other former president until he is convicted in a retrial. Existing regulations would revoke the benefits only after he is convicted of a felony.

Talansky lands in Israel ahead of cross-examination in Olmert probe
Jonathan Lis, Ha’aretz 7/10/2008
Jewish American businessman Morris (Moshe) Talansky arrived in Israel on Wednesday, a week before he was scheduled to appear for a cross-examination as a key witness in a graft investigation being conducted against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Talansky, who appeared before the Jerusalem District Court last month to give his initial deposition, was to be cross examined by Olmert’s attorneys on July 17, but Channel 2 reported Wednesday that the questioning may be postponed. Sources close to Olmert said last week that the cross-examination would not stir sensatio. Contrary to what others close to the prime minister have been saying, the source said the cross-examination "is not expected to generate a revolution or drama. " Meanwhile, Sharon Tzur, a former Likud activist who was considered close to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, is. . .

Police: We’ll get tougher with Olmert on corruption probe
Jonathan Lis, Ha’aretz 7/10/2008
This Friday’s questioning of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is going to be dramatic, police officers said: They’ll be "taking off the kid gloves. " Police officials unleashed unprecedented criticism of the prime minister in response to statements by Olmert’s media adviser that the police had leaked details of the investigation in order to lead the main witness, American fundraiser Morris Talansky. Olmert’s attorneys are scheduled to cross-examine Talansky on July 17 regarding the deposition he gave in court in May. He is the main witness in this probe against Olmert. This Friday’s questioning of Olmert is preparation for Talansky’s next court appearance. A source said on Wednesday that Olmert was trying to scare his investigators, and had "crossed a very dangerous red line.

PM’s advisor accuses police of disrupting investigation
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 7/9/2008
Ahead of Olmert’s interrogation Friday, key witness Talansky’s cross examination next week, prime minister’s media advisor says policy tendentiously leaking investigation material through media - An aide to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday accused the police of disrupting investigation procedures and intentionally leaking material through the media to US businessmanMorris Talansky, who allegedly bribed Olmert before he began his tenure as prime minister. Olmert’s legal advisor Amir Dan said that "the publication of investigation material over the past two days is not coincidental. The police are briefing a witness and coordinating versions ahead of Talansky’s testimony next week at the Jerusalem District Court. "Ongoing InvestigationOlmert to be questioned by police Friday/ Prime minister to be interrogated for third time since alleged bribery offenses revealed.

Talansky fails to appear for second court hearing on assault charges
MICHAL LANDO, NEW YORK, Jerusalem Post 7/9/1908
Morris Talansky, the Long Island businessman who says he handed Prime Minister Olmert envelopes filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars, failed to appear for a second court hearing in New York Wednesday, on assault charges involving a dispute with his dentist. Talansky’s lawyer, Anthony Colleluori, said his client could not appear because he was in Israel where he will be questioned next week. The hearing was adjourned. Talansky, 75, faces third-degree assault charges, a misdemeanor, for allegedly attacking his longtime dentist Leonard Barashick, 84, at a dental lab over a financial dispute last year. [end]

Israel widens bribery ban
Lilach Weissman, Globes Online 7/9/2008
The amendment to the law will enable Israel to joint the OECD Convention on bribing foreign officials. The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee has approved for second and third reading an amendment to the Criminal Code [New Version] (1977) which sets a maximum prison sentence of three and half years for offering a bribe to a foreign official. The amendment defines a bribe as a payment designed to procure, guarantee, or promote business activity or any other business advantage. Until now, the law addressed offenses of bribery relating to Israeli officials only. Under the law, the maximum penalty for giving a bribe to an Israeli official is three and a half years imprisonment, and the maximum penalty for accepting a bribe is seven years imprisonment. The amendment to the law will enable Israel to join the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

Olmert acknowledged receipt of envelopes
Globes'' correspondent, Globes Online 7/9/2008
According to "Ma’ariv", the prime minister claimed in earlier questioning that the envelopes contained "only a few hundred dollars". Hebrew daily "Ma’ariv" reported today that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert claimed in earlier questioning by Israel Police investigators that the envelopes he received from US businessman Morris Talansky contained "only a few hundred dollars". Talansky said in his advance testimony that the amounts totaled thousands of dollars. Olmert is due to be questioned on Friday for the third time in the affair. Friday’s questioning is scheduled to take two hours. Investigators will try to verify Olmert’s claims with the evidentiary material gathered so far. This will include preliminary material and some of the findings of the investigation currently underway in the US. Talansky is due to return to Israel in a few days.

Tehran test-fires long-range missile in face of mounting pressure from West
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/10/2008
TEHRAN: Iran on Wednesday test-fired a missile it said is capable of reaching Israel, angering the United States amid growing fears that the standoff over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program could lead to war. The Shahab-3 was among a broadside of nine missiles fired off from an undisclosed location in the Iranian desert during maneuvers currently being staged by the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), state television showed. "The aim of these war games is to show we are ready to defend the integrity of the Iranian nation," state-run Arabic channel Al-Alam quoted General Hossein Salami, commander of the IRGC’s air force, as saying. The United States led Western condemnation of the tests, complaining that they would reinforce suspicions over Tehran’s military ambitions at a time when efforts are under way to resolve the long-running nuclear standoff.

Iran test fires missiles said to be capable of hitting Israel
News Agencies, Ha’aretz 7/10/2008
Iran test-fired nine missiles on Wednesday and warned the United States and Israel it was ready to retaliate for any attack over its disputed nuclear projects. Washington, which says Iran seeks atomic bombs, told Tehran to halt further tests. Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil producer, says its nuclear program is only for electricity. Iran later announced night-time missile maneuver, and its missile tests rattled oil markets, helping crude prices to rebound about $2 a barrel after recent falls. Speculation that Israel could bomb Iran has mounted since a big Israeliair drill last month. U. S. leaders have not ruled out military options if diplomacy fails to end the nuclear row. Revolutionary Guards air force commander Hossein Salami said in televized comments that thousands of missiles were ready to be fired at "pre-determined targets.

Defiant Iran angers US with missile test
Middle East Online 7/9/2008
TEHRAN - Iran on Wednesday test-fired a missile whose range puts Israel within reach, angering the United States amid growing fears that Israel backed by the US are preparing to wage a war on Tehran. The Shahab-3 was among a broadside of nine missiles fired off in the early morning from an undisclosed location in the Iranian desert, state-run Arabic channel Al-Alam and its English counterpart Press-TV reported. Al-Alam said the missiles test-fired by the elite Revolutionary Guards included a "Shahab-3 with a conventional warhead weighing one tonne and a 2,000-kilometre (1,240-mile) range. " The firing comes at a time of growing tension over Tehran’s nuclear drive, which Iran has insisted is peaceful but some fear could be aimed at making an atomic bomb. "The aim of these war games is to show we are ready to defend the integrity of the Iranian nation," Al-Alam quoted Revolutionary Guards air force commander Hossein Salami as saying.

Iran test fires longer range Shahab-3 missile
Reuters, YNetNews 7/9/2008
Islamic republic’s elite Revolutionary Guards test fire nine long- and medium-range missiles, including one which it has previously said could reach Israel and US bases in region, state media reports - Iran has test fired nine long- and medium-range missiles, including one which it has previously said could reachIsrael and US bases in the region, state media reported on Wednesday. The tests occurred at a time of increased tension between Iran and Israel over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program, which the West fears is aimed at making bombs. Iran says its nuclear program is only for power generation. State Press TV said the missiles tested by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards included a "new" Shahab 3 missile, which officials have said could reach targets 1,250 miles away. On Tuesday, an aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader was quoted as saying the Islamic Republic. . .

Iran warns US it will retaliate if attacked
AP, The Independent 7/9/2008
Iran test-fired nine long and medium range missiles today during war games apparently designed to show that the country can retaliate against any US or Israeli attack. The exercise was being conducted at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway through which about 40 percent of the world’s oil passes. Iran has threatened to shut down traffic in the strait if attacked. Oil prices jumped on news of the missile tests, rising 1. 80 to 137. 84 US dollars a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by afternoon in Europe. General Hossein Salami, the air force commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, said the exercise would "demonstrate our resolve and might against enemies who in recent weeks have threatened Iran with harsh language," the TV report said. Footage showed at least six missiles firing simultaneously, and said. . .

Elie Wiesel testifies over hotel confrontation
Associated Press, YNetNews 7/9/2008
Holocaust scholar, survivor Elie Wiesel says feared he was being kidnapped when New Jersey man allegedly yanked him off San Francisco hotel elevator. Assailant’s lawyer says client not anti-Semitic - Holocaust scholar and survivor Elie Wiesel testified that he feared he was being kidnapped when a New Jersey man allegedly yanked him off a San Francisco hotel elevator. Wiesel’s testimony Monday came after opening statements in the trial of 24-year-old Eric Hunt, who is accused of accosting the Nobel Laureate in February 2007. The 79-year-old managed to escape uninjured. Hunt has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of attempted kidnapping, elder abuse, false imprisonment, battery, stalking and hate crimes. Hunt’s attorney has described his client as mentally ill and not anti-Semitic.


''Happy Birthday'' to the Israeli violations of international law
Palestine Monitor, Palestine Monitor 7/9/2008
      On Wednesday the 9th of July 2008, it has been 4 years that the International Court of Justice of La Haye, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has given its ruling concerning the Israeli apartheid Wall in the West Bank and East-Jerusalem.
     Clear and accurate, the advisory opinion determined that "The construction of the Wall being built by Israel in the occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem is contrary to international law." As a consequence, the ICJ ruled that Israel must halt the construction of the Wall, dismantle forthwith the structure, return the land to Palestinians whose property has been seized and pay compensation for all the damage caused to them. Although this is an advisory -nonbinding- legal opinion, an overwhelming majority of UN member states voted for General Assembly Resolution which called on Israel to comply with the ICJ opinion.
     Still, four years after the International Court opinion, Israel has not complied with the ICJ opinion yet and the apartheid Wall construction continues. It is Ni’lin turns now to fight and organize popular non-violent struggles to resist the confiscation of their land. But before Ni’lin’s people, the villagers from Bi’lin demonstrated, as well as the ones from Jayyous, Abud, At-tuwani, Beit Sira, Qybia and some many more all across the West Bank. Israel is continuously stealing land by establishing settlements and building new sections of the Wall while villagers are peacefully demonstrating -sometimes for years- to protest against what has been recognized illegal by The Hague.

Israeli policies create difficulties for the right of children to education

Hiba Lama, Palestine News Network 7/9/2008
      PNN -- Despite numerous attempts by the Palestinian Authority to improve the educational system in Palestine, Israeli forces continue to impede the ability of teachers and students to attend schools.
     The right of children to education is protected under international law, as stipulated by the Geneva Conventions.
     During the last uprising, Israeli forces injured and detained countless students and teachers. This had a significant impact on the ability of schools to provide students with a continuous and regular education.
     Global Convention on the Rights of the Child: "A child’s right to education became the most important right under international law in September 1990 when Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child was enacted," Intesar Hamdan, the Palestinian Teacher Creativity Center program director, said. “Article 28 says that primary education is a basic right for all children.”.
     She added: “Through the items contained in the Geneva Conventions, we can discern that a child’s right to education includes the right to enroll in school and receive a quality education. Students should learn basic skills that enable them to become active members of society and the state.” There are thousands of students, with Palestinians having one of the higher literacy rates world-wide.”

The Challenge of Development Under Occupation

Hassan Al-battal, MIFTAH 7/9/2008
      I gently pressured my colleague, Abd Al-Naser Al-Najjar, to continue the third part of his field investigation into the realities and problems of the Jordan Valley, and the ways to solve them. His excuse is that he’s busy as an editor in chief, a weekly columnist with additional editing duties during the summer time, and, soon, the director of the Media Center at Birzeit University.
     But I have my reasons, not only as a reader and a citizen but also as a journalist, because every good editor and heavyweight writer needs, from time to time, to go out into the field and write a solid investigative piece to set an example to his fellow reporters.
     In reality, the Palestinian-Israeli relationship is almost entirely defined by crossings, checkpoints and walls; they cast a shadow over any future political relationship. And so, a four-party international regional project (involving Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Japan) may add a new practical reality to the ones imposed by the crossings, checkpoints and walls, that is a "Peace Path" project, which plans to establish a joint industrial-agricultural zone to export Palestinian agricultural goods, both fresh and processed, through a special airport in the Jordanian part of the Jordan Valley, to the Gulf states and Japan, as well as to Palestine, Israel, and Jordan.

Reintegrating Lebanon’s Shiites

Rabih Haddad, Daily Star 7/9/2008
      Lebanon’s Shiite population has been neglected in one way or another by governments, lawmakers and the rest of the population for at least the past 75 years. As a result, the community as a whole has lagged behind others in terms of economics, education, health, public services and career opportunities. There is little debate that until relatively recently, the remainder of Lebanese society had to some extent forgotten about the Shiites.
     Up until the onset of the Civil War in 1974-1975, many Lebanese did not even view Shiites as a separate entity, considering them part of a larger Muslim community alongside the Sunnis and, to some degree, the Druze. This led to under-representation in government and society, which in turn led to an under-educated, largely impoverished community which was eagerly looking for a leader. This leader came in the form of Imam Musa Sadr and the Amal Movement, which took it upon itself to improve the horrid conditions facing Lebanon’s Shiites.

Curfew in Ni’lin

Palestine Monitor, Palestine Monitor 7/9/2008
      The morning of July 4, 2008 the Israeli army entered the small village of Ni’lin and imposed a curfew on the residents.The army said it was in response to the demonstrations against the wall.Since mid May the residents of Ni’lin have had weekly non-violent demonstrations against the building of the apartheid wall on Palestinian land.
     The Israeli army invaded the village of 5000 with great force and violence.Over the four day occupation the soldiers shot rubber-coated steel bullets at anyone who was in the street including media.Soldiers shot tear gas at homes and into homes of residents, even homes with small children.
     For four days residents were trapped in their homes not even allowed to go to their roofs much less look out of their window without fear of being shot at. Soldiers were walking the streets lobbing sound bombs and tear gas into the streets and at homes.

Putting a name to Gaza’s injured

Eva Bartlett writing from Cairo, Egypt, Electronic Intifada 7/9/2008
      Bedridden but painfully conscious, nearly paralyzed with no feeling from the waist down, 16-year-old Abdul Rahman (nicknamed Abed) is one of the hundreds who were injured by intense Israeli shelling and firing on Gaza between 27 February - 3 March 2008, during an operation dubbed "Hot Winter" by Israel. According to a World Health Organization report, during this period the Israeli army killed at least 116 Palestinians, nearly half of them civilians and more than a quarter children, including a six-month-old and a 20-day-old baby, and injured 350. Later counts put the number killed as high as 150, with more than 55 killed in one day alone. Over half of the week’s fatalities and injuries occurred in and around Jabaliya, the refugee camp where Abed was born and has called home all of his life.
     At 11:00am on 2 March, Abed stood on the roof of his family’s home, observing as Israeli tanks overran the camp. No curfew had been announced, and he was unaware of the presence of soldiers on a neighboring rooftop. The youth was struck from behind by an Israeli sniper’s bullet that dug into his spine, destroying three of his vertebrae and leaving him paralyzed and bleeding on the roof where he lay for 15 minutes before his younger brother found him. The 13-year-old dragged Abed to the stairs and down into the family’s home, dodging further sniper fire as he went. The invasion outside continued, preventing ambulances from coming for Abed. Three hours after his injury, the teen finally reached a hospital in Gaza City where doctors, after seeing his injury, were surprised to see the youth was still alive. Unable to provide adequate emergency care in Gaza, they immediately loaded him into an emergency transfer ambulance bound for the Rafah border crossing to Egypt.

The End of the Road for Hamas?

Joharah Baker, MIFTAH 7/9/2008
      Israel has never disguised its true intentions towards Hamas. For years, the Islamic movement has been a thorn in Israel’s side, one which it has longed to extricate but has so far failed to do completely. Throughout the past decade or so, Israel has at times exploited Hamas for its own interests, the latter often unwittingly falling into the trap of becoming the Israeli occupation’s pawn in this filthy game of chess.However, only now is it starting to look as if Israel might finally be getting its way.
     Over the past few days, Israeli authorities have cracked down hard on the Hamas infrastructure in the West Bank, especially in Nablus. So far, Israeli occupation troops have stormed, raided and shut down dozens of shops, factories medical centers and charities in the city under the pretext of their affiliation with Hamas. Troops have also broken into the Nablus municipality headquarters, confiscated documents and computers and ransacked the premises. At least six mosques were also raided and five school buses expropriated. On July 7, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced his government had outlawed 36 Palestinian NGO’s he claims are linked to Hamas. While Israel has been carrying out this campaign against the movement for years, under this new legal umbrella, Israel can now move forward with its plans with full force.

Satan’s Counsel

Uri Avnery, Middle East Online 7/8/2008
      It was just a passing conversation, but it has stuck in my memory.
     It was soon after the Six-Day War. I was coming out of the main hall of the Knesset, after making a speech calling for the immediate establishment of a Palestinian state.
     Another Knesset member came down the corridor - a nice person, a Labor Party man, a former bus driver. Uri, he said, catching me by the arm, what the hell are you doing? You could make a great career! You are saying many attractive things - against corruption, for the separation of religion and state, about social justice. You could have a great success at the next elections. But you are spoiling everything with your speeches about the Arabs. Why don’t you stop this nonsense?
     I told him that he was quite right, but I couldn’t do it. I didn’t see any point in being in the Knesset if I could not speak the truth as I saw it.
     I was elected again to the next Knesset, but again as the head of a tiny faction, which was never going to grow into a strong parliamentary force. The man’s prophesy came true.

Boycott committee launches comprehensive website

Announcement, Palestinian BDS National Committee, Electronic Intifada 7/9/2008
      On 9 July 2008, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) launched a major new online resource for the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. will bring together news, campaign materials and resources from Palestinian and global activists in a single site to support, coordinate, and provide information, updates and analysis about the international BDS movement.
     It has been three years since over 180 Palestinian organizations, movements, parties and unions came together on 9 July 2005 to launch the unified Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions , offering a new way forward to challenge Israel’s multiple forms of colonial and racist oppression of the indigenous people of Palestine. Since it was issued, the call has reverberated throughout the solidarity movement. BDS initiatives have been gradually and persistently spreading all over the world, and BDS has become a key tactic for solidarity with the Palestinian people. -- See also:

Israel Opens Gaza Crossings Despite Palestinian Mortar Fire (10:00am Est)

The Associated Press, MIFTAH 7/9/2008
      Israel agreed to an Egyptian request and opened its border crossings with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday despite Palestinian mortar fire that violated a three-week-old truce.
     The request from Egypt was an attempt to prod forward the cease-fire, which was designed in part to ease Israel’s crushing blockade of the coastal strip. In so doing, Israel suggested it might stop automatically closing the crossings in response to every truce violation, like the mortar shell Palestinian militants fired Monday.
     Hours after the crossings opened at noon, militants fired another shell into Israel, causing no casualties or damage, the Israeli military said. No Palestinian group immediately claimed responsibility for the fire, and Israel kept the crossings open.
     In all, 13 rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza since the truce began. In response, Israel has kept the crossings closed about half of the time since the truce took effect June 19.
     Under the first phase of the cease-fire, Gaza militants were to halt their assaults on southern Israel, and Israel was to gradually allow more supplies to enter impoverished Gaza, home to 1.4 million Palestinians.