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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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12 July 2008

East Jerusalem towns being cordoned off, nearby village under complete isolation
Palestine News Network 7/12/2008
Jerusalem / PNN -- Israeli forces have imposed a travel ban on the street leading to the East Jerusalem town of Beit Hanina and the Bir Nabala neighborhood. Nabi Samwiil is utterly isolated due the road closure and impossibility of passing the checkpoint. Residents from neighboring villages are unable to use the street as well, causing a wide gap in the international right to freedom of movement. Israeli forces will also not allow any cars with Palestinian license plates to pass through the checkpoint that is near the illegal Israeli settlement of Ramot. Access within East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and that between the two, is being further restricted. This cordoning off of Palestinian lands severely contravenes international law. The Palestinian village of Nabi Samwiil has also recently been separated by Israeli forces from the rest of the West Bank.

Two peaceful demonstrations in Ni’lin, violently dispersed by the Israeli army
International Solidarity Movement 7/12/2008
Ramallah Region - Photos - On Friday the 11th of July, in the village of Ni’lin on the West bank, two non-violent demonstrations were violently dispersed by the Israeli army using rubber bullets, teargas, flares and sound bombs. Hundreds of Palestinians and dozens of internationals and Israeli activists were driven away from their peaceful manifestations against the apartheid wall which will steal 70% of the villages land if constructed as planned. Army violence resulted in one injured and one Palestinian arrested and the soldiers set fire to the villages’ olive groves, destroying at least forty trees. Protesters gathered for a weekly prayer demonstration close to the construction site of Israel’s apartheid wall were driven away shortly after prayer ended, as the Israeli army moved in a disproportional response to a few boys throwing stones towards the nearby checkpoint at the entrance to the village of Ni’lin.

Ahrar Al-Jalil claim responsibility for Jerusalem shooting
Ma’an News Agency 7/12/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Ahrar Al-Jalil Brigades have claimed the latest attack in Jerusalem on Saturday. The attack took place Friday night, when an unknown shooter opened fire and injured two soldiers. The Brigades said in a statement that a gunman affiliated to the group opened fire at a group of "settlers" near the Lion’s Gate of the old city of Jerusalem. The statement explained that the attack came as part of the group’s promise to undertake qualitative operations. "Here we fulfill our vows and we tell the enemy’s leaders that we will stun them with unprecedented operations. " According to the statement, the shooting took place at 11:15 pm on Friday and the shooter escaped unharmed. The operation, according to the Brigades’ statement, was dedicated to "martyrs in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as well as Imad Mughniyya, ’Alaa Abu Dheim and Husam Dwayyat.

PA will appeal to Quartet to reverse closure of Nablus institutions
Ma’an News Agency 7/12/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority is appealing to the international Quartet on Middle East peace to reverse Israel’s decision to close several charitable and commercial institutions in the West Bank city of Nablus for their alleged ties to Hamas. Speaking in Nablus, Kamal Hassouna, the Minister of National Economy in the caretaker government, said the Palestinian Authority aims to fulfill its responsibility to provide security and prosperity to the people of Nablus. Hassouna was sent to Nablus on Saturday by President Mahmoud Abbas and caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to meet with local political and security officials and respond to two Israeli attacks on the city. The Israeli military invaded Nablus last Monday and Tuesday, raiding Mosques, charities, and a shopping mall.

Fateh spokesperson holds Hamas responsible for the death of a political prisoner
IMEMC News, International Middle East Media Center News 7/12/2008
Fahmi Al Za’areer, spokesperson of Fateh movement, accused Hamas movement of causing the death of Bassam Al Anani, 40, one of Fateh members, who was arrested by Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip and died in one of their prisons. Al Anani died on Saturday after one month in captivity. Al Za’areer said that Al Anani was tortured by Hamas security forces and was hospitalized for 15 days but the doctors could not save his live due to the severity of his condition. The spokesperson added that Al Anani is the brother of Mahmoud, a Fateh member who was killed in a suicide attack against Kfar Darom Israeli settlement on May, 7, 2003. Al Za’areer accused Hamas of acting in order to foil all national unity efforts and added that Hamas is ongoing with its violations in the Gaza Strip. He also stated that there are solid proofs that Al Anani was tortured and claimed that Hamas forces used. . .

Israeli army apprehends medical team at the entrance to Ni’lin
Ma’an News Agency 7/12/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – The Israeli army apprehended a medical team from the Palestinian Medical Relief Society and the Committee of Physicians for Human Rights in the early hours of Saturday morning at the entrance of the village of Ni’lin. Secretary General of the Palestinian Natioanl Intiative and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Dr Mustafa al Barghuthi denounced the Israeli act of apprehending the medical team in a statement and affirmed that "the Israeli procedure is a form of punishment… [for] steadfastness in the face of settlement expansion. " He added that Israeli soldiers apprehended the medical team while they were trying to reach Ni’lin to offer treatment to residents who had been under a strict curfew. The team was barred entry into the town, and was not able to transfer in the medications that they had brought with them.

’Recommendation to indict PM expected within weeks’
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 7/13/2008
Law enforcement sources estimate that following new suspicions, investigation file against Olmert to be handed over to State Prosecutor’s Office soon. Investigation team expanded in order to meet timetable - The police and State Prosecutor’s Office are now handling six investigations against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. In light of the multiple probes, the investigation team dealing with the various affairs has been expanded. The reinforced team plans to complete its work soon and will likely file a recommendation for an indictment against Olmert. Sources in the law enforcement system told Ynet that the new travel affair is viewed as a surprising ramification of hte Talansky affair. The same sources estimated that the investigation file would be handed over to the State Prosecutor’s Office by the police within several weeks, with a recommendation to indict the prime minister in both affairs.

Qassam rocket explodes in western Negev
Yonat Atlas, YNetNews 7/12/2008
Color Red alert system activated Saturday afternoon in Gaza vicinity communities, followed by blast in open area; no injuries or damage reported - A Qassam rocket landed Saturday afternoon in an open area near a community in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. There were no reports of injuries or damage. The Color Red alert system was activated at around 1:05 pm in Sderot and the Gaza vicinity communities. Several seconds later, an explosion was heard near one of the communities. On Thursday, two Qassam rockets landed in the western Negev. There were no reports of injuries or damage. The al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Fatah’s military wing, claimed responsibility, saying the rockets were fired in response to the assassination of Talal Abed just outside the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Wednesday.

Hamas rounds up more Al-Aqsa men over rockets
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/12/2008
GAZA CITY: Hamas has arrested four more members of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades for firing rockets at Israel or trying to do so, a member of the militant group ruling the Gaza Strip said on Friday. Four Brigades members "were arrested in Beit Hanun overnight as they prepared to fire rockets in response to Israeli violations" of a three-week-old truce, a Hamas official told AFP on condition of anonymity. Another three members of the group were detained on Thursday after two rockets were fired at the southern Israeli town of Sderot. Brigades spokesman Abu Qussai said the trio was released on Friday, adding that he hoped the others would also be freed "as quickly as possible. "The Brigades, an offshoot of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction, claimed Thursday’s rocket attack, saying it was in retaliation after Israeli troops shot dead one of its members.

Israeli Troops Kill Gunman in West Bank Clash
Ali Daraghmeh And Diaa Hadid, MIFTAH 7/12/2008
West Bank (AP) -- Israeli troops killed a Palestinian gunman who opened fire on an Israeli civilian driving in the West Bank early Friday, the military and Palestinian officials said. An Israeli officer was also wounded in the nighttime clash, the military said. The gunman opened fire on the civilian driving near the Palestinian town of Qalqilya just after midnight, lightly wounding him, the military said, and then shot at troops who arrived on the scene. The gunman shot and wounded one officer before troops returned fire and killed him, the military said. No Palestinian group immediately claimed responsibility. But Palestinian security officials said the man, 49, was a member of Hamas who was wanted by Israel. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release details of the incident to the media.

QB vows retaliation to assassination of commander
Palestinian Information Center 7/12/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas Movement, on Friday vowed to retaliate to the Israeli occupation forces’ assassination of its field commander Mahmoud Asy in the West Bank. The armed wing in a communiqué said that the "martyr was wanted by the IOF and the PA security apparatuses (in the West Bank) for the past year". The communiqué described those apparatuses as "loyal to the enemy". It noted that Asy, 45, was killed after a "violent clash with the Zionist occupation forces" during which one of the officers was wounded. "The disciples of Sheikh Mahmoud Asy will avenge his assassination one day," it underlined, adding that the armed wing will retaliate to the "crime" at the "opportune time and place". For his part, Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said that the IOF assassination of Asy fell in line with the "Zionist attempts to liquidate resistance groups atop of which the Qassam Brigades".

The Israeli army conducted 14 invasions and erected 4 military checkpoint in the West Bank
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/12/2008
Local sources reported that the Israeli army conducted 14 invasions at several cities of the West Bank and erected 4 military checkpoints - The national security media office reported on Friday that the Israeli invasions started on Saturday and lasted till 8:00a. m. this morning. Local Sources reported that the Israeli army invaded the West Bank city of Jenin and had intensive gun fires, moreover it surrounded and raided some of the homes of residents for a couple of hours. No kidnappings were reported. Local sources also reported that the Israeli army invaded the West Bank city of Tulkarem at several areas and ransacked some residences of Rabee’ Ammar, Amer Jaber and Muhammad Ammar from the Palestinian national security in town. Moreover the Israeli army invaded Der Astia town in Sealift city and imposed curfew on the city, banning civilians from getting outside their homes.

EU VP: ''escalation of the Israeli raids is unacceptable''
Ma’an News Agency 7/12/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an - Vice President to the European Parliament Luisa Morgantini released a statement Friday condemning the "ongoing raids, closures, arrests and confiscations actuated by the Israeli army against Institutions, associations and even schools in Nablus. " She stated that such actions are illegal, and represent "not only a clear violation of International law" but "a direct attack on the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s Government. " "The escalation of the Israeli raids is unacceptable. " Morgantini expressed full support for the efforts of Fayyad which, she said were being "undermined by the actions of the Israeli army. "In her statement she called the recent shop closures in Nablus "illegal and invalid," and stands by Fayyad’s denunciation of the orders. Holding up Fayyad’s call for Nablus "shopkeepers and residents to. . .

Protest against the apartheid wall in Beit Hanina
International Solidarity Movement 7/12/2008
Jerusalem Region - Photos - On Friday 11th of July, the people of Beit Hanina marched to the settler road where Israel is about to build the wall. About 100 Palestinians and international solidarity activists participated in the demonstration. Israeli soldiers and border police came to dissolve the demonstration. They were shouting and yelling at the demonstrators, eventually forcing them to leave the spot. On the other side of the road, another demonstration with people from the cut off part of Beit Hanina took place. The two demonstrations weren’t able to meet up because of the settler road which is surrounded by fence and watched by soldiers. ---- Beit Hanina gathered in protest, 9th of JulyAbout 300 people from Beit Hanina and villages close by joined in a demonstration against the wall on the 9th of July.

IWPS: Jayyus villagers protest the Apartheid Wall and the theft of their land
International Solidarity Movement 7/12/2008
Qalqilya Region - On Friday July 11th, IWPS volunteers joined the villagers of Jayyus, other international activists, Israelis and local Palestinian government officials in a peaceful demonstration against the Apartheid Wall. Jayyus, located in the Qalqilya district of the West Bank, was one of the first villages to be affected by the construction of this "separation barrier": over 78% of Jayyus’ land (9,800 dunums), as well as 2,000 olive trees were confiscated by Israel for the construction of the wall in 2002. Farmers who wish to access the fields lying beyond it must now apply for difficult to obtain permits and pass through one of three gates in order to reach their land. This has caused numerous financial problems in the village’s families, as most are now cut off from their main source of income, agriculture.

Scores injured at the weekly Bil’in protest
Adullah Abu Rahmah, International Middle East Media Center News 7/11/2008
The villagers of Bil’in marched after the Friday prayers along with the international and Israeli supporters in their weekly protest against the illegal wall Israel is building on the village’s land. The protest was part of the ongoing campaign initiated earlier this week in commemoration of the 4th year after the International Court of Justice in The Hague deemed the wall illegal. Leaders of the Islamic Jihad political group, the Palestinian Liberation Front and the Popular Liberation Front from Ramallah city joined the protestors today. Protestors marched to their lands trapped behind the wall and as soon as they arrived to the gate of the wall the soldiers showered them with tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets leading to scores suffering from gas inhalation. In related news the Bil’in village council raised a court case in Quebec County in Canada against two Canadian. . .

Many injured or detained at Ni’lin march
Ma’an News Agency 7/12/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – As has now become custom, people in Ni’lin began marching on Friday afternoon in an effort to peacefully condemn the separation wall which has confiscated most of their lands and threatens their livlihoods. Ni’lin’s residents and farmers were joined by international solidarity groups showing support for their call to stop the wall. The protest began with a prayer, participants spreading mats on the ground, and listening to Sheikh Mohammed Daoud speak about the necessity of popular struggle; against settlements, against the wall. When the prayers concluded, the protest turned into clashes with army troops that surrounded the site. Mohammed Nazhi Hussein was injured and Mohamed Hussein Srur was detained. Along with what was left of the village land on the east side of the wall, 50 olive trees were burned.

Israeli medical team detained at Ni’lin checkpoint
International Solidarity Movement 7/12/2008
Ramallah Region - Photos - On the 11th July, a team of 22 Israeli medical volunteers from "Physicians for Human Rights" where stopped and detained at the Ni’lin checkpoint, wanting to participate in a free medical day in Ni’lin to provide free health-care to villagers. Physicians for Human Rights has for a long time worked together with the "Palestinian medical relief" and gives free medical help to people affected by the occupation, both inside and outside the occupied territories. Today when they reached the checkpoint they where stopped and questioned and then detained for around 2 hours. One of the doctors reported soldiers saying that this was done to punish Ni’lin for the continuing demonstrations. This was the third time the team visited Nilin this year, the big presence is due to the difficult situation.

Israeli army prevents medical team from entering
Palestinian National Initiative, Palestine Monitor 7/12/2008
12 July 2008 Ramallah 12-07-08: Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, today condemned the detention of a joint medical team from the Palestinian Medical Relief Society and the Physicians for Human Rights at the entrances of the town of Ni’lin. The team were attempting to reach injured people in the town of Ni’lin where peaceful protests against construction of the apartheid wall have been ongoing since May. The team have been detained at the entrance of the village since the early hours of this morning. Dr Barghouthi said: "The occupation is a form of punishment practised by Israel against the peaceful non-violent struggle of the people in the face of settlement expansion and construction of the apartheid wall".

The Wounded from Ni’lin: From Non-violent struggles to Ramallah’s hospitals
Palestine Monitor, Palestine Monitor 7/11/2008
Within the week that followed the curfew imposed on Ni’lin, the hospitals of Ramallah welcomed the victims of the Israeli violence. Amongst a lot of injured, three men have been shot by live bullets during a peaceful demonstration on Monday, the 7th July. According to Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, by using live bullets, the Israeli army is playing a dangerous game "that aimed at breaking the popular, non-violent struggle against the Wall, pushing the peaceful demonstrators to retaliate with violence. "  Ni’lin people are now paying the price of their non-violent struggle against the Wall, lying in a hospital bed. On the morning of the 4th July, the Israeli army entered the town of Ni’lin and declared a complete curfew on the entire village that was declared "˜close military zone’ and denied from entry and exit for four consecutive days.

Israeli house demolition angers Hebron family
Reuters Foundation, ReliefWeb 7/10/2008
HEBRON, West Bank, July 10 (Reuters) - Israeli troops demolished a house in the West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday without giving the Palestinian family who lived there an explanation why, one of the family members said. An Israeli army spokesman described the demolition, which destroyed the home of two brothers and their families, as a "military operation" but declined to comment further. Such incidents have been rare in recent years in modern parts of Hebron away from the historic Old City, where tensions have long run high between Palestinians and Jewish settlers. Faisal Karameh, 31, one of the two brothers, told Reuters soldiers forced the occupants from the house at gunpoint during the morning. After he told them his 39-year-old brother Jamal was not present, the troops demolished the two-storey building.

Prisoner’s family appeals for knowing fate of their son hospitalized in Soroka
Palestinian Information Center 7/12/2008
NABLUS, (PIC)-- The family of prisoner Ziyad Al-Fararja appealed to local and international human rights organizations to urgently intervene to determine the fate of their son imprisoned in Israeli jails who was transferred at night to the Soroka hospital in Beersheba after he had a severe heart attack. Until this moment, his family does not know anything about his health condition after the heart attack and expressed its anxiety about his life especially in light of the policy of medical neglect pursued by IOA against Palestinian prisoners in its jails. Despite submitting a file about his health status to the prison administration and the Israeli judiciary, Fararja still has been administratively detained since October 2007 and his detention is extended every three months. For his part, Dr. Ahmed Shweideh, the minister of prisoner affairs in Gaza, held the IOA fully responsible. . .

Asrana: Israeli prisons hold Responsibility for life of detainee Al Fararge
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/12/2008
The media office in Jerusalem "Asrana" holds the Israeli prisons department responsible for the life of the critically ill political detainee "Al Fararje" The office asked international and law institutions to intervene to allow the political detainee’s family to have their rights of visitation and check on their son at the Israeli hospital "Soroka". Adding that 48 hours have passed since the family was first informed that their son was in critical condition at the prison hospital, the Center demanded that Israeli prison officials allow the family to see the detainee. Abu Roomi, with the Asrana Center, stated that it is common practice for the Israeli prison administration to deny treatment to political detainees.

Israeli forces raid Al-Yamun near Jenin
Ma’an News Agency 7/12/2008
Jenin – Ma’an – Israeli forces raided the northern West Bank town of Al-Yamun on Saturday, in addition to nearby neighborhoods. No arrests have been reported. Palestinian security sources stated that Israeli military vehicles stormed Al-Yamoun west of Jenin and patrolled streets in the town’s center firing into the air and detonating sonic bombs. The sources added that Israeli forces stationed themselves in the areas between the towns of Kafr Dan, Al-Yamun and Al-’Araqa. At the north end of the Jordan valley, Palestinian security sources said that Israeli forces ordered the closure of several small fruit and vegetable stands. According to reports, Israeli forces have destroyed and closed several stands twice during the past year and a half.

Terrified residents forced into the streets at 3 am
Palestine News Network 7/12/2008
Jenin - Since the notion of "calm" began in the Gaza Strip on 19 June, Israeli attacks, both those of soldiers and settlers, have increased throughout the West Bank causing officials and residents alike to call for an extension of the "calm" to the West Bank. Nablus has been under siege for days, western Ramallah became a "closed military zone," and Israeli forces have turned central Hebron into a virtual "Israeli settler only" zone. A Jewish-only school will be built in the center of the southern West Bank’s Palestinian city. Israeli troops launched a pre-dawn raid Saturday, replete with shootings and home break-ins throughout Jenin Refugee Camp and the neighboring town of Yamoun. Local sources report that 20 military vehicles surrounded the camp after the incursion which began around 3:00 am and broke into houses, forcing residents outside and into the streets.

130 West Bankers arrested in one week
Ma’an News Agency 7/12/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The Palestinian Center for Defending Detainees, a Gaza-based organization, revealed on Saturday that Israeli forces apprehended 130 Palestinians in six West Bank districts during the first week of July. The report said that there were children and disabled individuals among those arrested. According to the report, Israeli forces relied mainly on undercover forces which raided cities, towns and villages in order to apprehend and assassinate Palestinians. They used police dogs to scare women and children during arrest raids. The report shows that the Nablus district was subjected to the largest number of raids and a correspondingly high number of 47 residents arrested. In Ramallah district 23 have been arrested, in Bethlehem there were 21, Jenin and Hebron had 14 and Tulkarem 11. The center called on local, Arab and international humanitarian organizations. . .

Israeli army enforced curfew on Deir Istiya and detained three young men and a boy
International Womens’ Peace Service 7/12/2008
Date of incident:July 11th 2008 - Place:Deir Istiya, Salfit district - Witness/es: Villagers, IWPS - Description of Incident: On 11th July IWPS received a call at 10. 00 pm to say that the Israeli army had not been allowing the residents of Deir Istiya to enter the village due to curfew imposed on the village. When IWPS volunteers reached the village at approximately 10. 30 pm, there were 17 people waiting with their animals at the entrance to the village; most of them were farmers who had been waiting since 4 or 5pm to return home from their land in Wadi Qana. At 11pm the soldiers allowed them to enter the village and go home. In the meantime, IWPS witnessed the Israeli military bringing to the entrance of the village four young men. Two were brothers, aged 19 and 25, while the other two were their friends, aged 14 and 18.

France denounces Israeli approval for large settlement construction in East Jerusalem
Ma’an News Agency 7/11/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an - France denounced on Thursday the Israeli decision to continue building homes in the Har Homa settlement, located on Abu Ghneim mountain near east Jerusalem. Spokesperson for the French ministry of foreign affairs Eric Chevallier called for the Israeli government to reconsider this decisionChevallier said that France is calling on Israel to stop any unilateral act that might negatively affect the final status of the Palestinian territories especially concerning Jerusalem. The French statements were made in response to an announcement by the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem Wednesday affirming the recent approval of the planning committee for a construction project that will see 920 new settlement houses built in East Jerusalem.

Islamic Jihad leader praises Jerusalem attacks
Ma’an News Agency 7/13/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Sheikh Nafeth Azam, a leader of the Islamic Jihad movement said on Saturday that Friday night’s shooting attack in East Jerusalem was a sign of "growing" rage among Palestinians against occupation, settlement, and other Israeli policies. "The Jerusalem attack and the bulldozer attack that was carried out few days earlier came as a proof that resistance is an option not only to for the Palestinian factions but also for all Palestinians," Azzam said"We see resistance as the only way to respond to the Israeli attacks on the Palestinians, their land and holy sites. These attacks will increase because they are the choice of all of the Palestinians," he added. A total of four people were killed on 2 July when a Palestinian construction worker from East Jerusalem plowed his bulldozer the wrong way down a crowded street in West Jerusalem.

Another Jerusalem Attack as Israel Cracks Down in Nablus [July 6 – July 12]
MIFTAH, MIFTAH 7/12/2008
Just before midnight on June 11, an unknown gunmen opened fire at a group of armed Israelis near Jerusalem’s Old City’s Lions Gate, wounding two policemen. The assailant was able to escape despite Israeli security measures such as closing the Old City gates for hours following the attack. Later on the next day, the group Ahrar Al Jalil claimed responsibility for the shooting attack, saying in a statement it was part of the group’s promise to carry out "quality operations" against Israelis. This previously unknown group also claimed responsibility for the yeshiva school shooting back in March, which resulted in the deaths of eight Israeli yeshiva students. Even though the perpetrator was not, caught Israeli police say they are treating the incident as a "terror attack", especially since it comes on the heels of last week’s bulldozer rampage carried out by an east Jerusalem resident in which three Israelis were killed.

Two Israeli policemen wounded in shooting incident
Palestinian Information Center 7/12/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Two Israeli policemen were wounded at midnight Friday when a man armed with a pistol fired at them in occupied Jerusalem, the Hebrew radio reported. The broadcast said that the man fired at a group of Israelis in the Old City of Jerusalem wounding two one of them seriously and the other moderately. The radio quoted a police spokesman as saying that policemen in the area fired back at the attacker, who managed to escape unharmed. David Cohen, the police commissioner in occupied Jerusalem, described the incident as "serious" but would not link it to another attack last week when a Palestinian attacked Israelis in occupied Jerusalem with a construction vehicle. He said that his police command investigates each incident separately, noting that his police force had launched a large-scale search operation for the attacker and arrested a number of citizens.

Hamas: Success of operations in Jerusalem reflect Israeli security’s fragility
Ma’an News Agency 7/12/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas described the success of Palestinian attacks against Israeli targets in Jerusalem Saturday as "reflecting the fragility of Israeli security services and Palestinian insistence on resistance. " Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement, "These are messages which Israel must understand; more pressure on the Palestinian people, confiscation of lands andsuppression of Palestinian sovereignty will lead to more resistance. " He added that resistance has proved to be the most effective choice for the Palestinians to restore their stolen rights. Israeli vandalism and criminality against the Palestinian people will be avenged. [end]

Hamas: Jerusalem attack shows the weakness of Israeli security agencies
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/12/2008
Hamas movement announced on Saturday that the Jerusalem attack today reflects the success of the Palestinian groups to hit the Israeli security system. Hamas’s spokesman Fawzi Barhoom reported in a press statement on Saturday that the Palestinians are going to keep resisting to defend themselves, protect their interests and get back their stolen rights. Hamas’s spokesman also added that the Palestinian resistance will continue till the Israeli’s violent attacks on Palestinians and their lands stop. Hamas’s spokesman said: "As long as there is occupation there will always be Palestinian resistance movements. "[end]

Two Israeli troops were shot in Jerusalem
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/12/2008
Local sources reported that 2 Israeli troops were shot on Saturday at dawn near the Asbat Gate in Jerusalem. one was drasticaly wounded and one moderately so. Eye witnesses reported that anonymous gun men opened fire from al Rahme cemetery nearby. Local sources also reported that the Israeli army announced the area a closed zone and kidnapped some of the Palestinians to detention camps for questioning. [end]

African migrant shot dead on Egypt-Israel border
AFP, YNetNews 7/12/2008
Refugee dies as Egyptian police fire on a group of Africans trying to sneak into Israel from the Sinai Peninsula - A migrant died on Saturday when Egyptian police fired on a group of Africans trying to sneak across the border into Israel from the Sinai peninsula, a security official said. "Police opened fire on a group of African migrants who were trying to cross the border into Israel south of Rafah," the official toldon condition of anonymity. "One of the migrants, whose identity has not yet been established, was hit by two bullets," he added. The official could not say if the rest of the group were arrested or managed to flee. The death brings to 17 the number of migrants killed by Egyptian police at the border since the beginning of the year.

4 Israelis Arrested for Allegedly Selling Weapons to Palestinians
Jack Khoury, MIFTAH 7/12/2008
Security forces last month arrested four Israeli citizens suspected of selling weapons to Palestinians, a gag order lifted on Friday revealed. The Shin Bet security service and the Galilee District Police arrested three residents of the northern village of Kafr Makr and a resident of Acre for allegedly carrying out the crime. The official complaint was lodged against the suspects on Friday, ahead of the indictment. Earlier this week, the Shin Bet announced that it had 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 suspects - Taher Abu Sakut, 21, and Omar Abu Sakut, 20 - were charged

Settlers fire more rockets at Burin
International Solidarity Movement 7/11/2008
Nablus Region - Photos - On the 9th July 3 more rockets were fired from settlements towards Palestinian villages. Settlers from the two settlements Yetshav and Brakha, both of them placed on land from the village of Burin, started for about four weeks ago to shoot home made rockets on the Palestinian. At least nine rockets have been fired so far, with a maximum of three rockets in one day. They’ve been fired both during night and in the middle of the day, with the rockets have become more and more advanced. The first rocket wasn’t very big, but they’ve grown each time to about the size of a three litre water bottle. The rockets are covered with steel and have an inside of explosives and needles. Only one of them has exploded so far, causinga fire. The rockets are able to be shoot from a distance of about three kilometers and they have landed in different places around the village, one time in a house.

Fayyad Calls on Palestinians to Defy Israeli Army
Reuters, MIFTAH 7/12/2008
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad called on Palestinians on Thursday to defy an Israeli army attempt to shut down a major commercial center in Nablus. In a striking intervention in an affair that Israel says is aimed at disrupting funding for Fayyad’s Islamist opponents in Hamas, the Western-backed premier visited the modern complex which rises above the center of the West Bank city and urged businesses to reopen there despite an Israeli raid on Tuesday. " Shopkeepers are invited to open their stores and ignore the Israeli decision," Fayyad said, after soldiers who searched the building ordered it closed on the grounds its owners had passed funds to Hamas. "The Israeli army orders and decisions are not valid. . . We will deal with them as if they don’t exist. " Fayyad, a former World Bank economist, was appointed by President Mahmoud Abbas a year ago after Hamas, which ran the previous, elected government seized control of the Gaza Strip in fighting with forces from Abbas’s secular Fatah movement.

Fayyad to US: stop Israeli incursions into West Bank
Ma’an News Agency 7/12/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Friday evening that he sent a letter to the US monitor General William Fraser complaining about Israeli incursions in the West Bank, specifically in Nablus in the northern West Bank. Fayyad explained in an interview with the Associated Press that Israeli activity impeded his government’s efforts to keep law and order. He added that he was fed up Israel’s claims about easing restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank, since it is clearly not true. The number of Israeli military operations in the West Bank, said Fayyad, rose by 50% during the first half of July compared to the same period in June.

Salam Fayyad complains to the U.S Security coordinator of the latest Israeli raids in the West Bank
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/12/2008
The Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad reported that he sent a complain letter to the U. S security coordinator General William Frères about the latest Israeli raids on The West Bank mainly at Nablus City. Dr. Salam Fayyad also announced that the Israeli acts are hindering his government’s efforts to imply law and order in the zone. He added that he got fed up of the Israeli statements claiming that Israel intends to ease restrictions on the Palestinians’ movements in the West Bank Fayyad pointed out that the number of the Israeli military operations has risen by fifty percent during the first half of this month compared by the same period of last month. [end]

Israeli forces try to arrest pardoned Fatah activist
Ma’an News Agency 7/12/2008
Jenin – Ma’an – Israeli forces stormed the northern West bank refugee camp of Jenin at 2:00 am on Saturday with the aim of arresting a pardoned activist from Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Brigades. Palestinian security sources said that invading Israeli forces besieged a four-storey building while they searched for Mahmoud Amarna. Amarna is an Al-Aqsa Brigades activist who was pardoned by Israeli authorities as part of a deal between Israel and the Palestinian authority. The soldiers spoke to residents of the building via loudspeakers, and demanded that they evacuate the building. After six hours of searching the soldiers were unable to find Amarna. According to Al-Aqsa Brigades’ sources, Amarna was visiting a friend, Hatim Ararawi when the Israelis attempted to arrest him. They affirmed that he spent 8 months in Palestinian custody as the amnesty deal stipulated, and he left on Friday for a social visit.

Al-Khudri to Carter Center delegates: ''Where are the ethics, where is the law protecting civilians?''
Ma’an News Agency 7/11/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Head of the popular committee against the siege and Palestinian Legislative Council member Jamal Al-Khudri held a meeting on Friday with delegates of Carter Center where he urged the international community to stop the Israeli attacks and to break the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip. During the meeting Al-Khudri expressed that the current Palestinian situation has been imposed on the population via the Israeli siege. He wondered to the delegation about the international silence around the issue of the siege, and said "how can the world remain silent about a siege when it prevents a child, wearing a crisp uniform and a new backpack from going to school? " "How can the world be silent," he continued, "while a patient waits for medicine that is not allowed through the borders, and he waits until he dies? " "Our beach" he explained, "is polluted daily with millions. . .

Nablus Women’s centre stages protest against the Israeli army’s invasions of Nablus
International Solidarity Movement 7/11/2008
Nablus Region - Photos - On the night between July 9th and 10th, Nablus was again was invaded by the Israeli army. This time health clinics, two women’s centers, the local TV-station Afaq, the shopping mall for the second time and a mosque was attacked and school buses were stolen. In all locations computers, files and other important equipment was confiscated. Afaq, a local TV-station of social issues, financed by commercials, has been invaded by the Israeli army two times before, but last night was arguably the worst. Between 12. 30am and 5am in the morning of July 10, 2008 the army broke in to their workplace in central Nablus. When Aisa Abu Elizz and his colleges arrived in the morning they found their door welded. All electronic equipment and furniture was taken or immediately destroyed by the military. The military also left a paper which stated the order to close the TV-station for one year.

Hamas official: ''We rejected Israeli offer to release 71 detainees, instead of 450 proposed''
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/12/2008
The Deputy Head of the Hamas political bureau, Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouq, stated Saturday that the Hamas movement rejected an Israeli offer to release only 71 detainees out of a proposed list of 450 detainees, in exchange for the release of the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. Israeli authorities currently hold over 10,000 Palestinians in prison camps inside Israel, while Palestinian resistance groups hold one Israeli soldier (Gilad Shalit) as a prisoner. Abu Marzouq added that Hamas had given a list of450 names of Palestinian detainees held by Israel to Egypt, which has been acting as a mediator. The Egyptians then handed the list over to Israeli authorities, who agreed to only release 71 detainees out of the 450. Abu Marzouq said that this was not acceptable, and said that Hamas insists that all detainees mentioned in the list should be freed.

Taha: Hamas delegation ends talks in Cairo, heads for Yemen
Palestinian Information Center 7/12/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Ayman Taha, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, on Saturday said that his Movement’s delegation had ended talks in Cairo and was heading for Yemen where it would be joined and led by Khaled Mishaal, the supreme leader of Hamas. Taha in a press statement said that the delegation discussed with Egyptian officials latest developments pertaining to stabilizing the calm between Palestinian resistance factions and Israel in addition to the prisoners’ swap deal and the Rafah border terminal. He said that Mishaal along with the delegates, grouping Sa’eed Siyam, the interior minister in the PA caretaker government of Ismail Haneyya, and Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk, the deputy chairman of Hamas’s political bureau, will meet with Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh to exchange views on a number of issues especially activating internal Palestinian dialog.

Lebanese-Israeli prisoner swap to take place Wednesday
Palestinian Information Center 7/12/2008
NAZARETH, (PIC)-- Israeli media sources reported that a swap of prisoners between the Lebanese resistance and the Israeli occupation will be taking place next Wednesday at the Ras Al-Naqoura border point. Gerhard Conrad, the German mediator in this swap, will hand the Israeli side on Saturday a report he received from the Lebanese resistance on the fate of Israeli pilot Ron Arad. The Israeli government will issue on Sunday an official statement about the deal and the release of Lebanese prisoners especially prisoner Samir Al-Quntar. Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that the purpose of issuing an official statement is to provide an opportunity for Israelis wishing to submit petitions to the Israeli higher court against the swap deal. The Israeli sources underlined that the Israeli government would not back off on its approval of the deal even if the Lebanese report was a disappointment to the cabinet.

Israeli generals urge ’diplomatic disarmament’
Daily Star 7/12/2008
According to a report published Friday in the Israeli daily Haaretz, top Israeli defense officials have said that Israel should recommence diplomatic efforts to end alleged Syrian arms smuggling to Hizbullah. Although Israel and Syria are currently engaged in indirect, Turkish-mediated peace negotiations, Israeli officials have said that Syria continues to transfer weapons to Hizbullah on a weekly basis. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke Thursday of the dangers of the continued weapons transfer, calling them a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, drawn up to end the 34-day 2006 war on Lebanon. Speaking at a meeting of his Labor Party on Thursday, Barak said that 1701 was slowly being eroded and that Hizbullah had "doubled and perhaps tripled the quantity of its missiles" since the 2006 war. His comments came after members of the Israeli security cabinet were told. . .

Gaza family left to hope that prisoner swap will see son’s body return home
Ma’an News Agency 7/12/2008
[Ma’anImages]Gaza – Ma’an – "We do not know whether my brother’s body is among other bodies Israel is going to hand over with the Hizbullah exchange deal," says the brother of Khalid Al- Khateeb, whose body has been held by Israel since April 1995. Al-Khateeb’s family is "hoping that his body will return to be buried in his homeland. " Israel has been withholding al Khateeb’s body from his family since April 1995, when he bobby-trapped a car in the middle of a number of Israeli military vehicles near the illegal Israeli settlement of Kfar Darum in the central of the Gaza Strip (the settlement was evacuated in 2005 during the unilateral Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip). Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for this attack that killed 7 Israelis and injured 40 others. The Al- Khateeb family accused Israeli authorities of intentionally withholdingthe body of. . .

PLO official meets Dalal Mughrabi’s family in Lebanon in advance of prisoner deal
Ma’an News Agency 7/12/2008
Beirut - Ma’an – Preparations are moving forward in Lebanon to honor the dead whose bodies will be handed over by Israel to Lebanon as a part of the planned Israel-Hizbullah prisoner deal. The Representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Lebanon, Abbas Zaki, met on Saturday with the family of Dalal Mughrabi, the Palestinian woman, who at the age of 19 lead a brazen bus hijacking in the Israeli city of Herziliya, killing 70 Israelis and the Palestinian attackers in 1978. The attack led, three days later, to Operation Litani, the first major Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Mughrabi’s body, and the bodies of other Palestinian and Lebanese fighters are part of the deal with Hizbullah, who have agreed to hand over the bodies of two Israeli soldiers captured in 2006. Zaki told Ma’an that the Palestinian leadership in Lebanon is preparing to receive the bodies.

Miki Goldwasser: We are very anxious
Ahiya Raved, YNetNews 7/12/2008
Friends of Goldwasser, Regev gather at point of their capture to mark two year anniversary, then visit soldiers’ homes. ’I hope two years of nightmares end here,’ Goldwasser’s mother says - As the prisoner swap deal with Hizbullah draws near, dozens of friends of kidnapped soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev gathered on Saturday morning to honor the two year anniversary of their capture. They met at the site of the kidnapping near the northern town of Zar’it and carried signs featuring pictures of the two, and afterwards visited the soldiers’ homes. Miki Goldwasser, Ehud’s mother, said: "We are very anxious; extremely nervous. It is very difficult for us to stand it. I really want this week to be over already and for no more obstacles to block the deal. I hope two years of nightmares end here. "Court DecisionHigh Court rejects petition against. . .

Lebanon army enters abandoned Shebaa Farm
Middle East Online 7/11/2008
SHEBAA, Lebanon - The Lebanese army moved on Friday into Bastara Farm, the only one of the occupied Shebaa Farms that the Israeli army evacuated when it pulled out of south Lebanon in 2000, an AFP correspondent said. Lebanese army vehicles and bulldozers could be seen moving for the first time into the farm, which lies some 300 metres (yards) away from other farms which Israel has occupied for more than 40 years. A road has been reconstructed to link this new position to other Lebanese army posts in the southeast of the country. Israel captured the 25-square-kilometre (10-square-mile) area of land on the Israel-Lebanon-Syria border as part of the Syrian Golan Heights during the 1967 Six-Day War (which Israel initiated) and later annexed it along with the rest of the strategic plateau. Lebanon today claims sovereignty over the territory with Syrian approval.

Syria asks France to help direct talks with Israel
New agencies, YNetNews 7/12/2008
Assad meets with Sarkozy in Paris, says US, France should contribute to future security arrangements in region. French President says Damascus, Beirut to open embassies in each other’s countries - Syrian President Bashar Assad asked France on Saturday to assist in direct peace negotiations between Syria and Israel, alongside the United States, and contribute to future security arrangements in the region. A joint Franco-Syrian statement issued after Assad met President Nicolas Sarkozy also said the French leader welcomed the Syrian president’s strong determination to establish diplomatic relations withLebanon. "The Syrian President has expressed his wish that France, together with the United States of America, fully contributes to a future peace agreement between Syria and Israel, both to the direct peace talks and to the implementation of the peace agreement," the statement said.

Lebanon, Syria to establish diplomatic ties
Middle East Online 7/12/2008
PARIS - Lebanon and Syria said on Saturday that they had agreed to establish diplomatic relations, opening embassies in each others’ capitals for the first time since their independence from colonial rule. French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the landmark decision following talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, whose election in May ended a drawn-out political crisis in Lebanon. "For France, this is historic progress," Sarkozy told a press conference. "Of course there are a number of legal questions that have to be settled. . . but for us. . . this announcement is absolutely historic. It is great news for all those who love Lebanon and are concerned by developments there," he said. Presidents Assad and Sleiman confirmed the news at a joint press conference later on Saturday.

''Siege with a new flavor'': Gazans disappointed with truce
Ma’an News Agency 7/12/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Three weeks after Israel and Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip agreed to hold their fire, Palestinians in Gaza are disappointed with the results. Life in Gaza has improved marginally – the constant shelling has stopped and a few more goods have been allowed into the besieged territory – but Israel’s continuing total closure of the borders to civilian travel has rendered the ceasefire a letdown. Only the purported reason for the closure has changed. Whereas before Israel blockaded Gaza in response to homemade rockets fired by Palestinian fighters, it now justifies the closure in terms of "violations of the truce. "Some Gazans call their new predicament a "truce-struggle. "It is a struggle over their own fate, in which ordinary Palestinians see themselves as powerless. Twenty-year-old Mohammad, a university student, who Ma’an spoke with on the Gaza beach,. . .

Israeli Soldiers Kill Unarmed Palestinian Lad
Hisham Abu Taha, MIFTAH 7/12/2008
A 17-year-old boy who crossed into Israel in search of work was killed by Israeli troops yesterday. Mouawiya Hassnin, a Health Ministry official, told Arab News that the teenager, identified as Salem Hamedi, was wearing a T-shirt and jeans and had sustained bullet wounds to the stomach and shoulder. The Israeli Army confirmed that their soldiers killed a Palestinian close to the Gaza-Israeli border, near the Kissufim crossing. The army said that when the man crossed the border fence into Israel, soldiers asked him to stop and fired several warning shots in the air. But when he continued to move toward them, they shot him dead. The army later discovered he was unarmed. Palestinian fighters later fired two rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip. The rockets landed in an open area in southern Israel and no one was hurt, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

U.S. Tries to Help 3 Scholars Barred from Leaving Gaza- Not Those with Links to Hamas
Ethan Bronner, MIFTAH 7/12/2008
American consular officials drove from Jerusalem to the Gazan border on Thursday in an unusual effort to interview three Gazan Fulbright scholars who Israel says are too dangerous to allow into the country. Using a portable fingerprinting machine flown in from Washington for the interviews, the Americans were seeking to expedite the granting of study visas to the three scholars, despite Israeli concerns. The scholars, all former students or teaching assistants at the Islamic University of Gaza, a stronghold of the radical Hamas group that runs Gaza, were among seven winners of Fulbright grants in the territory. In May, the State Department, which sponsors the program, told all the scholars that their awards were canceled because Israel would not permit them to leave Gaza. But after word of the cancellations spread, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated publicly that the Fulbright

Former US diplomat gets year for anti-Arab comments
Reuters, YNetNews 7/12/2008
Patrick Syring convicted of sending abusive, intimidating e-mails and voice mails to employees of Arab American Institute. Among his comments: ’The only good Arab is a dead Arab’ - A retired US diplomat was sentenced on Friday to one year in prison and fined $10,000 for sending racist, threatening messages to an Arab-American group, the Justice Department said. The diplomat, Patrick Syring of Arlington, Virginia, sent abusive and intimidating e-mails and voice mails to employees of the Arab American Institute, a Washington group. He was sentenced in federal court in the US capital after pleading guilty to federal civil rights charges, the Justice Department said in a statement. Among his comments in a series of e-mails, Syring wrote that "the only good Arab is a dead Arab. " Of particular target was the institute’s president, James Zogby, "and his wicked Hizbullah brothers.

Bulgarian delegation expresses shock at Israel’s human rights violations
Palestinian Information Center 7/12/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Press sources in the 1948 occupied lands reported that Dr. Peter Byron, the deputy speaker of the Bulgarian parliament, and his accompanying parliamentary delegation expressed their shock at Israeli human rights violations against Palestinians they witnessed during their visit to Palestine. The visiting delegation which was invited by Arab Knesset member Wassel Taha and the national democratic assembly said that what they saw and heard during their visit exposed the size of the Israeli official lies to the public opinion in Europe. The sources added that Byron promised Friday to relay the facts to the Bulgarian public opinion and to the European parliament members. Ironically, the Knesset presidency had invited Byron to visit the occupied lands years ago and provided him with fabricated and false information about the human rights situation then.

UN Criticises West Bank Barrier
BBC News, MIFTAH 7/12/2008
The West Bank barrier Israel is building will be devastating for Palestinians if completed along its proposed route, the UN says. In a report, the UN said thousands of Palestinians had already been cut off from their jobs, land or key services. The report blamed Israel’s decision to build the barrier inside the West Bank rather than along the agreed border. The report was compiled to mark four years since an International Court of Justice ruling on the barrier. In an advisory judgement rejected by Israel, the court ruled in 2004 that the barrier is illegal where it cuts into the West Bank. Israel says the barrier is needed to keep out Palestinian attackers, but Palestinian officials describe the barrier’s route as a land-grab. Major impactDetailing what it called the humanitarian impact of the barrier, the UN report said some Palestinian communities which did export food before had now been reduced to receiving food aid.

Khudari urges Carter center to take action to end Palestinians’ suffering
Palestinian Information Center 7/12/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- MP Jamal Al-Khudari, the head of the popular committee against the siege, called, during a meeting with a delegation of the Carter center, for taking concrete positions on the ground bigger than making solidarity statements in order to end the Palestinian suffering in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. MP Khudari explained to the delegation the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the West Bank under the ongoing Israeli siege and aggression, stressing that the Palestinians should not take the blame but rather the Israeli occupation should be blamed for persistently blockading and assaulting the Palestinian people. The lawmaker also called on the delegation to work on pressuring Israel until it admits the wrongdoing of its acts and ends its siege and aggression. For its part, the delegation deplored the Israeli practices against the Palestinian people and underlined that Israel should not have imposed its siege from the beginning.

Sarkozy asks Syria to help resolve Iran nuclear crisis
News Agencies, Ha’aretz 7/13/2008
PARIS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Saturday asked Syrian President Bashar Assad to help resolve the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program by persuading Tehran to cooperate with the international community. Syria and Iran have good relations, but Assad expressed doubt that his intervention could help. At a joint news conference following a meeting between the two leaders in Paris on Saturday, Sarkozy said he had asked Assad to convince Iran to show proof of its intentions. The international community has asked Tehran to stop enriching uranium, which can be used to make nuclear weapons. The United Nations has imposed sanctions on Tehran for failing to stop. But Iran insists its nuclear program is for civilian, peaceful use. The West most recently offered a package of incentives to persuade Iran to comply.

Israel could attack Iran via Iraq
Middle East Online 7/12/2008
BAGHDAD - An Iraqi website said that Israeli warplanes have been using Iraqi airspace to practice for possible bombing of Iranian nuclear facilities. Nahrainnet. com, quoting unnamed sources in the Iraqi defence ministry, said that for the past month Israel has been using US bases in Iraq to conduct overflights. Defence Ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askari dismissed the report on Friday. "We have no information about Israeli jets using Iraqi airspace for rehearsals," he said. Meanwhile, an Israeli military spokesman said he was aware of the report and said, "I have no information on this. " The US military did not comment on the report. Nahrainnet. com, a news portal, said the defence ministry sources were told by retired army officers that Israeli jets had been entering Iraqi airspace from Jordan and landing at an airport in Haditha in the western province of Anbar.

Official says Iran will destroy heart of Israel if attacked
Dudi Cohen and Reuters, YNetNews 7/12/2008
Assistant to Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei threatens that ’smallest move’ against Islamic Republic over its disputed nuclear program will prompt missile attack on Jewish state, 32 US bases in Middle East ’before the dust from the US missile settles’ -Iran will destroy the heart ofIsrael and 32 American military bases in the Middle East if the Islamic Republic is attacked over its disputed nuclear program, a senior Iranian official was quoted as saying on Saturday. "The US knows full well that with the smallest move against Iran, Israel and 32 US military bases in the region would not be out of the reach of our missiles and would be destroyed," the semi-official Fars News Agency quoted Mojtaba Zolnour as saying. Israeli WarningBarak warns Iran ’we won’t hesitate to act’ / Attila Somfalvi Defense minister issues stern warning aimed. . .

West seizes £800m-worth of drugs from Iranian ports
Kim Sengupta, The Independent 7/13/2008
Worsening tension between Iran and the West has been given a new twist by the revelation that the Royal Navy and allied forces have intercepted smuggled narcotics worth more than £800m coming out of Iranian ports. Much of the money, it is claimed, helps to fund the Taliban in Afghanistan. Although raids on drugs-carrying dhows have been going on for several months near the sensitive Straits of Hormuz, at the mouth of the Gulf, they have only now been made public. According to military sources, the dhows carrying the narcotics are loaded in a number of small Iranian ports, but Tehran strenuously denies being involved in the illicit trade. It says any Western allegation of a link to trafficking is propaganda, partly aimed at justifying its large-scale naval presence in the area. The accusations come amid growing fears of an attack on Iran by the US or Israel to halt Tehran’s alleged. . .

Fatah spokesperson responds to Hamas’ criticism on truce, national dialogue
Ma’an News Agency 7/13/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – The Fatah movement says that the current ceasefire in the Gaza Strip puts it in position to regain control of the Gaza Strip. On Saturday Fatah spokesperson Ahmad Abed Ar-Rahman said, "The truce in the Gaza Strip is in the interest of the Palestinians. The national interest is above other narrow partisan interests. " "That’s why it should be understood that this truce opens the door for national dialogue to end the coup and the state of division that led the Gaza Strip to this tragic situation and set Israel free in attacking the West Bank and East Jerusalem through settlement," he added. Abed Ar-Rahman blamed Hamas for the lack of progress in reinstating direct talks with Fatah. He also rejected the notion that Fatah is hesitating to begin talks because of pressure from the United States, through the international Quartet, which Hamas views as an instrument of the US.

QB: All attempts to liquidate us in the WB will fail
Palestinian Information Center 7/12/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The armed wing of the Hamas Movement, the Qassam Brigades, on Saturday asserted that all attempts by the Israeli occupation authority and its agents in the PA security apparatuses would fail in liquidating its presence in the West Bank. Abu Obaida, the armed wing’s spokesman in Gaza, said in a press statement that the "hideous security coordination with Israeli occupation has reached a serious stage in the West Bank, which led over the past couple of days to the assassination of two Qassam members Talal Al-Abed and Mahmoud Asy". He pointed out that both martyrs were wanted for the PA security apparatuses that worked day and night to apprehend them. The spokesman regretted the fact that the martyrs were wanted by both those apparatuses and the IOA, charging that those apparatuses had turned into a unit of the Israeli army that performs its duty against the Palestinian people and resistance in the "ugliest form".

Fayyad calls for interim Palestinian government to prepare for elections
Ma’an News Agency 7/12/2008
Jerusalem – Ma’an –The London-based Al-Hayat daily newspaper said, "The Palestinian Prime Minister [Salam Fayyad] behaved more like an Intifada man than an academic or an economist. " The paper was responding to the recent actions of the prime minister, as he ventured out of his offices and into the lives of Palestinians. Fayyad left his office in Ramallah Friday and went to the town of Ni’lin west of Ramallah, where he observed the confrontations that erupted between peacefully protesting residents and Israeli soldiers under the heat of July. Before leaving the area, he announced that his government would provide every possible support to the residents who demonstrated against the separation wall. According to those present, Fayyad spoke in a tone that reflected the challenges faced by Ni’lin residents and went a log way to encouraging Palestinians in their efforts to resist Israeli actions.

Hamas: Fayyad is ''most dangerous man in the history of the Palestinian question''
Ma’an News Agency 7/12/2008
Gaza – Hamas’ spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum described Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Saturday as a man who is implementing a US-Israeli agenda rather than Palestinian one. Speaking over Palestinian radio, Barhoum described Fayyad as "the most dangerous man in the history of the Palestinian question because of his US-backed beliefs which he tries to implement. " Barhoum’s comments came in response to Fayyad’s calls for Hamas to respond to Israeli aggressions through Palestinian unity, which the latter made during an interview with the Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat based in London. The formal Hamas response to Fayyad’s suggestions, Barhoum said, is that "Hamas is too great to listen to a man who destroyed the Palestinian question. " "Hamas is a great Palestinian faction which once formed a unity government and lead the Palestinian people," continued Barhoum.

Internal chaos in Gaza continues: local Fateh leader dies to alleged abuse in Hamas prison
Palestine News Network 7/12/2008
Gaza / PNN Fateh officials reported the death of their Secretary from the central Gaza Strip’s Nusseirat Refugee Camp this afternoon. He died on Saturday after spending a month and a half in a Hamas run prison. Bassam Al Anani was the father of five children. Hamas arrested the 40 year old nearly five months ago on 22 February, however due to alleged beatings and torture inside the prison he was taken to Al Shifa Hospital 15 days ago where medical personnel rushed him into intensive care and pronounced his condition "critical. " Doctors reported today that Al Anani died at noon today in the hospital. Sources from Gaza told PNN this afternoon that Hamas is being accused of injecting poison into him while in the hospital so that he would enter a coma before dying, rendering him unable to speak out regarding what had happened to him in the prison.

Shallah: Arab countries must help end Palestinian discord
Ma’an News Agency 7/12/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Arab countries must play an effective role in order to bring to an end to the divisions between the Palestinian territories, said Ramadan Shallah, secretary general of the Islamic Jihad movement on Friday evening. In a televised interview with Al-Arabiya TV station Shallah said that Islamic Jihad has "suggested dialogue at the local Palestinian level in which Fatah, Hamas and other factions take part, but the suggestion was not accepted. "The latest news on national unity, says Shallah, are rumors about a comprehensive conference tobe held under Egyptian supervision. The ball, Shallah affirmed is now in the Palestinian court. President Abbas’ recent calls for dialogue stem from real perception inside Fatah that the national unity crises must be overcome. However, there have been no practical moves to act on this sentiment.

Hamas Arrests Fighters after Rockets are Fired into Israel
Gulf News, MIFTAH 7/12/2008
Hamas has arrested three fighters who fired cross-border rockets into southern Israel from the Gaza Stripon Thursday. It is the first such detentions since the Islamists and Israel agreed a truce last month, fighters said. An official with the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, said Hamas security forces arrested three of its members who were involved in firing two rockets at Israel. " They chased them after they fired the rockets and abducted them," the official said. Hamas had no immediate comment. Al Aqsa said it fired the two rockets into southern Israel after Israel’s killing of an unarmed infiltrator from the coastal area earlier in the day, and Israel’s killing of one of its members. The rockets landed in an open area in southern Israel and no one was hurt, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Israeli Sources: Palestinian homemade shell fired toward Negev desert
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/12/2008
Israeli sources announced on Saturday that a Palestinian homemade shell was fired across the border of the Gaza Strip into Israel, and hit the ground in the Negev desert. According to an Israeli military spokesperson, the homemade shell hit near a residential area, but no damages or injuries were reported. No Palestinian resistance group took responsibility for firing the shell, which was in violation of the three week old Israeli-Palestinian truce in the Gaza Strip. This marks the fourth reported violation of the truce on the Palestinian side, none of which caused any casualties. Two homemade shells were reportedly fired into the desert on Thursday July 10th, and one homemade shell was fired on June 24th. Human rights groups have reported at least ten truce violations by the Israeli military. Several of the Israeli violations have resulted in injuries of Palestinian civilians,. . .

Israel claims Gazans launched another round of projectiles at western Negev
Ma’an News Agency 7/12/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israel said on Saturday that Palestinian homemade projectiles launched from the Gaza Strip Saturday landed in Sha’ar Hanegev (Negev gate area) in the western Negev. No casualties have been reported. Israeli media sources stated that an explosion was heard in the area, and upon investigation, remnants of a homemade projectile were found. On Thursday, two homemade projectiles fell in the same area. Al-Aqsa Brigades claimed responsibility, but then spokesmen issued a statement that the initial claim had been forged. Israeli authorities considered launching projectiles to be a breach of the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas which went into effect on 19 June. Also on Saturday, Islamic Jihad issued a statement highlighting 13 breaches of the ceasefire by Israel over the past week.

Egyptian police uncover 250kg explosives cache in Sinai desert
ASSOCIATED PRESS, Jerusalem Post 7/12/2008
EL-ARISH, Egypt An Egyptian security official says police have discovered 250 kilograms of explosives hidden in the Sinai desert near the border with Israel. The official says Bedouin trackers working for authorities found an underground hiding place in Nagaa Shabanah, a village a few miles south of the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to media. Several anti-tank land mines were also found with the explosives. The official said Saturday that the material was to be taken across the border into Gaza. Israel has repeatedly accused Egypt of not doing enough to stop smuggling of weapons into Gaza.

Palestinians: Let us Tame Wild Jenin
Ilene Prusher, MIFTAH 7/12/2008
Throughout most of the decade, Jenin has been synonymous with what Palestinians generally call fawda: a mix of chaos with the might of gun-toting militants trying to impose their own brand of law and order. Today, the Palestinian Authority (PA) police and paramilitary forces, recently returned from US-sponsored training in Jordan, have fanned out around Jenin as part of a new security campaign to regain control of West Bank cities such as this one, which have been in disarray since the start of the Al Aqsa intifada nearly eight years ago. But getting in their way, Palestinian officials charge, is an ongoing series of Israeli army raids here, in nearby Nablus, and elsewhere in the West Bank. While uniformed Palestinian police may look as if they’re in control by day, when the clock strikes midnight, the Israeli army comes out to arrest and sometimes assassinate militants on its wanted list.

Abu Marzouk: We declined the Israeli offer to release only 71 prisoners
Palestinian Information Center 7/12/2008
CAIRO, (PIC)-- Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk, the deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, stated Saturday that the Movement rejected the Israeli approval of releasing only 71 names on the list submitted to the Egyptian mediators which includes 450 names, stressing the Movement’s adherence to all names on the list of the first stage. In a press statement to the London-based Hayat newspaper, Dr. Abu Marzouk underlined in another context that the exclusion of the West Bank from the truce agreement from the beginning is one of its failure factors, warning that the provocative acts in the West Bank will have reflections in Gaza. The Hamas leader underscored that the Hamas delegation demanded Egypt to make more efforts with Israel in order to end its constant gunfire and aggression especially on the Gaza borderline. The Hamas leader pointed out that Israel would not have sought the calm. . .

Hamas: Pressures on Palestinians would breed more resistance
Palestinian Information Center 7/12/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement on Saturday warned that more Israeli pressures on and harassment of the Palestinian people would only lead to more insistence on resistance against occupation. Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in a press release that the Israeli occupation authority’s continued "criminal practices" against the Palestinian people would enhance the Palestinians’ persistence in defending themselves, protecting their interests and restoring usurped rights. The spokesman, who was commenting on last night’s attack in occupied Jerusalem in which an armed man, believed to be a Palestinian, fired at and wounded two Israeli policemen, said that the IOA would pay the price for its abhorrent practices. Describing last night’s attack as "daring", he underlined that the Palestinian people are entitled to resist occupation.

Hezbollah: Second Lebanon War was biggest Israeli defeat ever
Haaertz Service, Ha’aretz 7/13/2008
Hezbollah’s deputy secretary general Naim Qassem on Saturday said that the Second Lebanon War was the greatest defeat of Israel ever, Army Radio reported. "Israel today is beaten and frustrated. And the United States also finds itself in defeats and problems, Qassem told a rally marking the war’s second anniversary. According to Army Radio, the rally was held in the Shi’ite Dahiya quarter of south Beirut, where Hezbollah headquarters were situated during the war and which was bombed heavily by the Israel Air Force. He also said the Lebanon-based guerrilla group had become a school for the release of prisoners. Israel’s prisoner exchange withHezbollah for Israel Defense Forces soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, kidnapped by the Lebanon-based guerilla group in 2006, is set to take place Wednesday or Thursday, barring any last-minute changes.

Abbas updates Lebanese counterpart via local representative
Ma’an News Agency 7/12/2008
Lebanon – Ma’an – Lebanese president Michel Sulaiman hosted Abbas Zaki representative of the Palestinian Authority to Lebanon on Friday - During his visit, Zaki delivered a letter to Sulaiman from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The letter, said Zaki, addressed Abbas’ recent "visit to Damascus and the mechanisms [discussed there] to heal the rift between Palestinians. "The letter also updated Sulaiman on "negotiations on all tracks including Israel’s and the international Quartet. "Zaki added that Abbas is working to maintain Palestinian-Lebanese and improve Palestinian-Lebanese relations. Responding to a question about the latest developments in northern Lebanon and whether the situation in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon is stable, Zaki said, "We [diplomatic representatives] have exerted all possible efforts to become bridges of love, and we keep ourselves away from any disputes or rivalries.

Hezbollah readies for prisoners return party
Middle East Online 7/12/2008
SIDON, Lebanon - Hezbollah is speeding up preparations in south Lebanon to celebrate a prisoner swap with Israel that is expected to take place next week, a media correspondent said on Saturday. A worker at the media affairs office of the Shiite movement in the town of Nabatieh said hundreds of volunteers have been hanging banners throughout the south to praise Hezbollah’s role in securing the exchange. Israel’s cabinet last month approved a deal for the release of five Lebanese prisoners, the remains of Hezbollah fighters and a number of Palestinians in exchange for the bodies of soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. Hezbollah captured the two Israelis in a cross-border raid on July 12, 2006 that Israel used as an excuse to start a devastating 34-day war that killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

Hizbullah report says Ron Arad apparently dead
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 7/12/2008
Prime minister, heads of intelligence services receive over weekend document summarizing Lebanese group’s efforts to obtain information on missing Israeli navigator. Intelligence chiefs to discuss report Sunday, present their conclusions to government - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert received over the weekend a report prepared by Hizbullah on the fate of missing Israel Defense Forces navigator Ron Arad, as part of theprisoner swap deal securing the return of kidnapped soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. The report claims that Hizbullah has no accurate information on Arad’s whereabouts, but that the Lebanese organization believes he is no longer alive. According to the detailed report delivered to Olmert, it appears that "there are no scientific and unequivocal conclusions as to the fate of Ron Arad.

Love’s labor’s lost in post-invasion Iraq
Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail, Middle East Online 7/12/2008
BAGHDAD - As statistics go, at least 655,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the occupation, now in its fifth year. Every one of them has left behind once loved ones to mourn the loss and to think of what might have been. This is the land of the Arabian Nights, and of love stories that became fables far and wide. In these stories, in the traditions of which they were born, the lover thought nothing of giving up his life for a beloved. But no one thought death would come to this land under the present circumstances. All who have died had their own love stories, if not all romantic ones. And that must be a million of them. The figure of 655,000 – of Iraqis who died as a result of the US-led invasion and occupation -- came from the British medical journal Lancet based on a study in July last year. The number would have risen significantly after one of the bloodiest years of the occupation.

The Nuclear Showdown between the US and Iran
Tim Buchholz, Middle East Online 7/12/2008
Every day we seem to be inching more and more toward more war. According to Ali Akbar Dareini’s article in the AP, “Iran test-fired nine long and medium range missiles Wednesday during war games that officials said aimed to show the country can retaliate against any US and Israeli attack. ” He also says that “Israel’s military sent warplanes over the eastern Mediterranean for a large military exercise in June that US officials described as a possible rehearsal for a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. ” Our boys too are running war games, preparing for a possible attack on the Strait of Hormuz, “a strategic waterway through which about 40 percent of the world’s oil passes. ” All this because we say Iran wants Nuclear Weapons. The Nuclear Program in Iran is a long story, and at the beginning, is US. The US, that is. In the 1950’s the US was very friendly with the Shah of Iran.

Adalah-NY: Palestinians sue Canadian companies owned by Shaya Boymelgreen for war crimes
International Solidarity Movement 7/12/2008
New York, NY, July 10, 2008 -Evidence gathered by Adalah-NY indicates that Brooklyn-based billionaire Shaya Boymelgreen owns the two little-known Canadian companies sued Wednesday for war crimes in Canada by the West Bank Palestinian village of Bil’in. Three Hebrew language Israeli media reports from 2005-2006 report that Boymelgreen owns the Green Park companies that are now being sued for $2 million in Quebec Superior Court for building and selling the Israeli settlements of Mattityahu East/Modi’in Illit on Bil’in’s land in violation of international law. The construction of Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory violates the Fourth Geneva Convention according to a broad international consensus.

Ehud Olmert Will Not Contest Leadership, Officials Say
Sheera Frenkel, MIFTAH 7/12/2008
Ehud Olmert’s tenuous grip on power weakened further yesterday when officials of his ruling Kadima party suggested that he would not contest the leadership primaries in September. Already reeling from a corruption scandal, the fallout from the disastrous war in Lebanon two years ago and poor opinion poll ratings, the Israeli Prime Minister is being asked not to run for re-election by concerned members of his own party. Today Mr Olmert will be questioned for the third time by police investigating allegations that he accepted bribes, in the form of cash stuffed into envelopes, from Morris Talansky, an American businessman. Mr Olmert has announced that he will step down from office if an indictment is filed against him. Mr Talansky is currently in Israel for a five-day interrogation into the affair. “The Prime Minister is trying to hold out for as long as possible, with little thought of

Key witness in Olmert’s travel affair proclaims his innocence
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 7/12/2008
Diaspora affairs advisor to PM takes vow of silence amidst media turmoil on new "˜Olmertours’ case, saying he "˜never pocketed a shekel’ to fund family pleasures. Non-profit groups associated with affair surprised by investigation -The travel coordinator at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor during Ehud Olmert’s term as minister, attacked Saturday the police’s conduct in what is termed the "Olmertours" affair. " I regret that in my own country what you say in an investigation room is published in the newspapers the following day and no one thinks it abnormal," wrote Rachel Risby-Raz, who is considered a key witness in the affair. Rocking the BoatOlmert aides say new fraud suspicions a coup attempt/ Attila Somfalvi Source close to prime minister responds angrily to allegations that non-profit groups funded Olmert’s trips abroad, says ’this is an attempt to oust a governing prime minister.

Former judge urges prime minister to resign
Ynet, YNetNews 7/12/2008
Retired Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner calls on Olmert, public to draw conclusions, claiming Israelis cannot wait for PM’s affairs to be thoroughly probed before he is ousted - "I expect the public to apply strong pressure, so that in a situation like Olmert’s, a prime minister will no longer be able to continue his premiership," former Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner said Saturday during an event in Ramat Gan, following the new allegations on the "˜Olmertours’ affair. According to Dorner, there is no point in waiting for Prime MinisterEhud Olmert’s affairs to reach a final conclusion: "When facts are clear, and in Olmert’s case there are more than a few facts that he himself does not contest, a public figure must draw the conclusions. "  Dorner also attacked Vice Premier Haim Ramon’s attempts to launch a commission of inquiry on the wiretapping affair during his trial.

Olmert suspected of defrauding state, charities to fund trips abroad
Jonathan Lis Tomer Zarchin and Ofra Edelman, and News Agencies, Ha’aretz 7/12/2008
Israel Police and the Justice Ministry released a joint statement Friday saying that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is suspected of asking a number of different public organizations, and the state, to pay for the same trips abroad. The money was then allegedly used for family holidays. "The prime minister was asked to give his account about suspicions of serious fraud and other offenses," said the police and the ministry joint statement, following a third round of questioning of Olmert in an ongoing corruption investigation. The premier was quizzed by investigators at his official residence in Jerusalem on Friday. The statement says that the latest suspicions pertain to Olmert’s stint as Jerusalem mayor and his time as minister of industry and trade, during which he allegedly asked for and received the money from organizations primarily in Israel and primarily involved in public activity.

Olmert aides say new fraud suspicions a coup attempt
Attila Somfalvi, YNetNews 7/12/2008
Source close to prime minister responds angrily to allegations that non-profit groups funded Olmert’s trips abroad, says ’this is an attempt to oust a governing prime minister. ’ Olmert tells his associates, ’I never took a penny from them. . . I’m being turned into a criminal’ - We are witnessing an attempt to carry out a coup and oust a governing prime minister, sources close to Ehud Olmert said Saturday following the publication of the new suspicions against the prime minister over which he was questioned by the police on Friday. Olmert’s associates harshly criticized the police, noting that the prime minister had worked for many years to raise funds totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars for thenon-profit organizations associated with the affair. According to the latest accusations, several organizations were asked to fund Olmert’s official trips. . .

Labor official: We shouldn’t do a thing about Olmert
Attila Somfalvi, YNetNews 7/12/2008
Party members unmoved by new suspicions against prime minister. ’It’s all part of the same filth, and in any case the race for primaries in Kadima has begun,’ a senior source says - A senior Labor official said Saturday evening that his party, Kadima’s main coalition partner, should not do a thing following the publication of the new suspicions against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. "It’s all part of the same filth," the official said. "In any event, a process for primaries inKadima and for Olmert’s replacement is underway, and therefore for the time being we shouldn’t do a thing and nothing will happen. " Addressing the no-confidence motion against the government expected to be voted on by the Knesset on Monday, Labor members clarified that they have no plans to support the opposition’s attempt to bring down the government.

Olmert says ’personally hurt’ by new suspicions
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 7/12/2008
Moments before leaving for Paris, prime minister slams fresh police investigation against him. ’The attempts to link my family to this affair are despicable,’ he says - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Saturday evening that the attempts to link his family to the investigations against him were ’despicable’. Olmert spoke moments before leaving for the Mediterranean Forum in Paris hosted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, on the backdrop of the publication ofnew fraud offenses he is suspected of. The prime minister implied that the police had leaked the details of the investigation in a tendentious manner. "The investigation and the publications surrounding it, as well as the leaks which followed shortly afterwards, breach of the norm of anything considered appropriate and just in a democratic regime.

Anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews Condemn Zionist Pogroms in West Bank and Strangulation of Gaza
IMEMC Staff, International Middle East Media Center News 7/12/2008
"Anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews worldwide condemn the savage pograms unleashed against the Palestinian people in the West Bank by the Zionist terrorist gang known as the ’IDF’, " a statement by the Neturei Karta in Palestine started. The statement, which was signed by Rabbi Meir Hirsh, condemns the attacks against the Palestinian people and describe it as a program aimed at terrorizing the civil society in Palestine, and describes the Gaza Strip as a prison made by Israel. The statement also calls on the International community to take steps to change the situation in the Palestinian Territories and to boycott Israel. "We implore the world community not to stand idly by and allow the Palestinian people to be terrorized and sacrificed solely in order to make life comfortable for the Zionist regime. Where are the peacekeeping troops? Where are the UN declarations? Where are the world. . .

79% of seculars don’t wish to study Judaism
Ynet, YNetNews 7/12/2008
Despite latest poll by Gesher Institute showing religious sectors still leading in Jewish studies, Gesher educational director Shoshi Becker maintains that yearning for Yiddishkite is common to all -Torah studies are flourishing among the secular sector and summer brings once again the "Lo Ba’Shamaim" Jewish festival at Kibbutz Kfar Blum open to the wide public. Has the subject matter become common knowledge or does it still belong to the "religious only? "  A survey conducted for ’s Jewish channel and the Gesher Institute shows that an outstanding majority of the public neither studies Judaism nor is interested in doing so. However, students of Judaism find different ways to study the subject - independent studying from books, group studies, formal educational frameworks and even online.


High Court Ruling Keeps Palestinian Village in Limbo
Dan Izenberg, MIFTAH 7/12/2008
      The 200 Palestinians living in El-Nu’man, a village in the extreme southeast corner of Jerusalem, will continue to live in their never-never land, trapped without status between the West Bank and Jerusalem, in the wake of a High Court of Justice decision handed down earlier this week.
     Israel does not recognize the residents of Nu’man as living in Jerusalem and has never granted them residency status. It claims that they moved illegally from the West Bank into the city after a post-Six Day War census that determined exactly which Palestinians lived in areas annexed to Jerusalem as a result of the war. Since the war, the city of Jerusalem has not provided the village with municipal services, including water and garbage collection, nor has it collected city taxes.
     Since for many years there were no travel restrictions between Jerusalem and the West Bank, Nu’man residents had strong day-to-day ties there, including employment, commerce, social, family and religious connections.

Politics, religion and nationalism was the message at this wedding

Amin Abu Wardeh, Palestine News Network 7/12/2008
      East Jerusalem is being destroyed one step at a time as the Palestinians who claim it as the capital of the future state are slowly being ethnically cleansed.
     Nablus -- Political analyst and Professor at An Najah University, Abdel Sattar Al Qassim watched his daughter marry in Nablus. But it was not just a traditional ceremony during this high wedding season.
     Twenty-four year old Mays Abdel Sattar Al Qassim carried a diorama rendition of the Al Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock complex in her hand.
     The words written on this East Jerusalem Palestinian monument and Islamic holy place were: The Homeland Above All. A Palestinian flag flew in the breeze behind the bride, groom and the bride’s father.
     The groom, Walid Ghassan Al Shami, also carried one, the object bringing the attention of the media who hastened to interview the wedding party regarding the political statement.

Why the Socialist Solution in Palestine!

Adel Samara, Knaa''an Online, Palestine Think Tank 7/11/2008
      And why the Secular Democratic State will serve the Zionist and Arab Comprador Solution!
     More than ever before, the One-State Solution (OSS) [i] for the Arab-Israeli conflict jumps to the forefront of the debate by some Israeli and Palestinian activists.
     While some returned to this solution after they realized that the Two-State Solution, which they believed in, is vague, others did so because they are accustomed to shift from one position to another.
     But most of those who argue for OSS, i.e. those who argue for the so-called Secular Democratic State in Palestine (SDS) have fallen in the trap of ignoring the current situation. [end]

Summer 2008 water crisis

Palestine News Network 7/12/2008
      The Israeli organization, B’Tselem, working for the human rights of Palestinians, has issued a report on the current water crisis. The chronic water shortage in the West Bank, resulting from an unfair distribution of water resources shared by the Palestinians and Israel, will be much graver this summer because of this year’s drought. In the northern West Bank, water consumption has fallen to one-third of the minimal amount needed.
     The 2008 drought, the most serious drought in the area in the past decade, aggravates the built-in, constant shortage of water in the West Bank. Rainfall this year in the northern West Bank was 64 percent of average, while in the southern sections of the West Bank, it was 55 percent. As a result, the water stored from rainfall has already been used.The Palestinian Water Authority estimates this year’s water shortage in the West Bank at 42 to 69 million cubic meters. The total water consumption in the West Bank is 79 mcm. The PWA has already requested Mekorot – the Israel Water Company – for an emergency supply of eight mcm.