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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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22 July 2008

Relative of imprisoned PLC member conducts operation with bulldozer in Jerusalem
PNN, Palestine News Network 7/22/2008
Jerusalm - As Israeli forces continue to bulldoze Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, this is the second time that a Palestinian with a bulldozer fought back. The first time was at the beginning of the month. Ghassan Abu Tair is dead Tuesday afternoon after being shot by an armed Israeli civilian and then shortly after by Israeli forces when he hit a bus and five cars near the King David Hotel. The number of Israeli injuries are said to be at 16, but only one in serious condition, according to Israeli medical reports. Abu Tair is the relative of imprisoned Palestinian Legislative Council member Mohammand Abu Tair. Israeli forces have held him in their prisons for approximately two years. Ghassan Abu Tair is from the East Jerusalem village of Umm Tuba, one of many suffering under the Israeli policy of ethnic cleansing of the native Palestinian population.

IWPS: Settlers spray unknown chemicals on Palestinian farmers
International Women’s Peace Service, International Solidarity Movement 7/22/2008
Qalqilya Region - At approximately 5. 30pm on July 21, 2008, two Palestinians farmers from Immatin in the Qalqiliya district were working on their land, in a valley close to Far’ata when they saw five settlers from the illegal Israeli outpost of Havat Gilad approaching, two on horses, three on foot. As the settlers started surrounding the two Palestinian farmers, they phoned their family for help. In the meantime, an additional fifteen Palestinians from Far’ata who had been working in their land nearby rushed over towards the farmers from Immatin to help them. Seeing this, the settlers went up the hill, yelling at the Palestinians that they would beat them, throwing stones on them and starting smaller fires. Approximately 15 more masked settlers gradually joined them. At approximately 6pm some 15 Israeli soldiers arrived.

2 Arabs narrowly escape lynching in Jerusalem
Roi Mandel, YNetNews 7/22/2008
Dozens of ultra-Orthodox Jews assault two Palestinians in Jerusalem Tuesday evening; ’people in yeshiva were yelling: murder the Jews who protect Arabs,’ says Jewish man who saved lynch victims’ lives - Hatred in Jerusalem:Two Palestinians narrowly escaped a lynching attempt in Jerusalem Tuesday evening after they were assaulted by dozens of ultra-Orthodox Jews. The two Arabs were wounded, while a Jewish resident who protected them with his body was stabbed. "Blood was boiling, and these crazy people almost killed me," the Jewish man told Ynet. The police are looking into the incident and searching for the attackers. According to eyewitness testimonies, an angry mob stormed the backyard of a home located near a Jerusalem yeshiva. The family at the home was sitting shiva at the time after a relative died.

Abbas threatens to pull security forces from Nablus if Israeli attacks continue
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/23/2008
OCCUPIED RAMALLAH: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas threatened on Tuesday to withdraw his security forces from the Occupied West Bank town of Nablus unless Israel halts military raids there, a Palestinian MP said. "President Abbas said if the Israelis continue their attacks against Nablus he will order his security forces to leave," Najat Abu Bakr said Abbas told a meeting of Fatah party leaders that he attended. Abu Bakr said Abbas would deliver the message to the Israelis through his negotiating team, headed by former Prime Minister Ahmad Qorei. Abbas deployed hundreds of Palestinian security forces to Nablus in November in what was envisioned as the start of a territory-wide crackdown to underpin US-backed peace talks relaunched later that month. They have largely brought law and order to the town, which was roiled by violence during the last Palestinian uprising, which began in 2000.

Hamas will not work with Abbas as PA president after January 2009
Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
[Ma’anImages]Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas and the de facto government in Gaza will not deal with president Abbas as president of the Palestinian authority after the end his current term, Sa’id Siyam, interior minister in the de facto government, announced on Tuesday. In a meeting with journalist released for publication on Tuesday, Siyam said that, "President Abbas’ term ends on 9 January 2009, and this should help build national reconciliation. There must be a Palestinian president who reunites the Palestinian people and speaks on behalf of both Fatah and Hamas. " Siyam would not be drawn, however, on the issue of whether Hamas would take part in the presidential elections, and said that this would need to be resolved within the movement. He added that little progress has been made in moving towards national unity and since this situation was partly Abbas’ fault, it fell upon him to resolve the situation before he leaves office.

Brother and sister drown in Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – A Palestinian girl and her brother died on Tuesday after they drowned in an open sewage reservoir in the Shuja’iyya neighborhood of Gaza City. Spokesperson for the de facto Palestinian health ministry in the Gaza Strip, Khalid Radi, identified the victims as 5-year-old Raghad Abu Sabt and her brother 7-year-old Tamir. They were rushed to Ash-Shifa Hospital, but arrived dead. Investigations are ongoing to reveal the details of the incident. [end]

Settlers and soldiers injure three Palestinians close to Far’ata, Qalqiliya district
International Womens’ Peace Service 7/22/2008
Date of incident: July 21, 2008 - Time of incident: Approximately 6pm - Place: Far’ata, Qalqiliya district -= Witness/es: Victims, villagers - Description of Incident: At approximately 5. 30pm on July 21, 2008, two Palestinians farmers from Immatin in the Qalqiliya district were working on their land, in a valley close to Far’ata when they saw five settlers from the illegal Israeli outpost of Havat Gilad approaching, two on horses, three on foot. As the settlers started surrounding the two Palestinian farmers, they phoned their family for help. In the meantime, an additional fifteen Palestinians from Far’ata who had been working in their land nearby rushed over towards the farmers from Immatin to help them. Seeing this, the settlers went up the hill, yelling at the Palestinians that they would beat them, throwing stones on them and starting smaller fires. Approximately 15 more masked settlers gradually joined them.

Zionist settlers burn Palestinian farms
Palestinian Information Center 7/22/2008
QALQILIA, (PIC)-- Zionist settlers set fire to Palestinian farms planted with olive trees northeast of Qalqilia district on Monday evening in an area called Abul Jud valley, locals reported. They said that tens of citizens rushed to extinguish the fire with the help of civil defense squads, and noted that the quick action on the part of those citizens prevented the spread of fire. Witnesses reported that the settlers assaulted farmers in the same area and opened machineguns to terrorize them while IOF soldiers escorted those settlers and fired teargas and rubber-coated bullets at the locals causing suffocation among farmers and citizens. Meanwhile, IOF soldiers raided the Balata refugee camp east of Nablus city shortly after midnight Monday and kidnapped Jamal Al-Ayed. Local sources said that the soldiers stormed the city and roamed its streets.

Jewish settlers accused of firing rockets on Nablus
Middle East Online 7/22/2008
NABLUS, West Bank - Palestinians found a burning projectile south of the occupied West Bank town of Nablus on Monday and said it was a makeshift rocket fired by Jewish settlers. The Palestinian Ma’an News agency quoted a local leader as saying settlers fired a projectile that hit agricultural land between the villages of Awarta and Odala, without causing casualities. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld dismissed the account, however, saying it was "absolutely not" a home-made rocket. "It was a leftover 105 mm mortar (round) that was found and played with by a Palestinian boy who also set it on fire," Rosenfeld said, without providing further details on where the projectile may have come from. He said such mortar rounds have been used by the Israeli army in the past as flares, but he could not confirm its origin. Print

Settlers launch another rocket attack in Nablus region
International Solidarity Movement 7/22/2008
Nablus Region - Photos - Settlers fired a rocket at Awarta village on Monday afternoon. Local people say that this is the second such attack this year, while it is the fourth attack involving rockets from settlements in the Nablus region. The homemade device, measuring around twenty five centre meters in length, struck an olive grove near to the village but failed to detonate. The attack was launched at around one o’clock in the afternoon. The Israeli army closed roads close to the area for five and a half hours and used a remote controlled robot to approach the device. At half past six a controlled explosion of the rocket was carried out. People from Awarta are frequently harassed by the local settlers and army. Israeli soldiers also arrested one local man for apparently failing to comply with their orders.

Israeli settlers spray chemicals on Palestinian farmers during attack
Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an – Israeli settlers sprayed chemicals on a group of Palestinian farmerswhile attacking them in the Qalqilia area of the northern West Bank on Monday, human rights fieldworkers reported. According to a report compiled by the International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS), five settlers, two of them riding horses, from an outpost called Havat Gilad approached two farmers while they were working on their land in the village of Immatin. As the settlers started surrounding the two Palestinian farmers, they phoned their family for help. In the meantime, an additional fifteen Palestinians from Far’ata who had been working in their land nearby rushed to the aid of the other farmers. The farmers told IWPS that the settlers threw stones at the Palestinians, threatened to beat them, and set small fires on the hillside.

VIDEO - News / Bulldozer driver goes on rampage in Jerusalem, wounding at least 24
Channel 10 and Haaretz Staff, Ha’aretz 7/23/2008
Haaretz. com/Channel 10 news brief for July 21, 2008. In this edition:A Palestinian bulldozer driver goes on a rampage in downtown Jerusalem on Tuesday, wounding at least 24 people, just weeks after a similar attack in the capital left three dead. [end]

Driver killed after second digger rampage
AP, The Independent 7/22/2008
The driver of a construction vehicle rammed into cars and a city bus in Jerusalem today, wounding four people before he was shot dead, police said. The attack was a chilling imitation of a similar incident early this month, when a Palestinian driver went on a rampage with his earthmoving vehicle on a busy Jerusalem street, running over vehicles and pedestrians, killing three and wounding dozens before an off-duty soldier shot and killed him. The identity of the driver in today’s attack was not immediately clear. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Israeli police called it a "terror attack. " Minutes after the attack, the man’s body was visible sprawled backward in the cabin of the yellow front loader. Three cars were heavily damaged, including one that was overturned. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police sealed off possible escape. . .

Another Palestinian family fighting Israeli efforts to expel them
PNN, Palestine News Network 7/22/2008
Jerusalem -- The Palestinian Jerusalem Affairs Ministry, reiterated that East Jerusalem remains under intense Israeli attack. Ahmed Ruidi of the Ministry said that the city of Jerusalem is under a fierce onslaught of political ethnic cleansing by Israeli forces. He said, "We are faced with a new policy in Jerusalem, which necessitates support on a national and international level. " Ruidi spoke during yesterday’s press conference convened by Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood residents of East Jerusalem, about the Israeli decision to expel the Umm Kamal Al Kurd family from their home, and the plan to establish Israeli settlement construction on the ruins of 28 Palestinian homes. The press conference was held in the Umm Kamal Al Kurd family home. Ruidi added, "The Israeli intention is to expel 500 citizens from 28 families from the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, in addition to expelling. . .

VIDEO - Killing of terrorist captured on video
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 7/22/2008
Caught on video: Bulldozer driver goes on rampage in Jerusalem, wounds 18 people; terror attack ends quickly thanks to rapid respone by settler Yaakov Asael, Druze Border Guard officer Amal Ganem who shot and killed terrorist - VIDEO - The Jerusalem bulldozer attack Tuesday afternoon left 18 people wounded but could have been much worse had it not been for the quick reaction of settler Yaakov Asael and Border Guard officer Amal Ganem, who shot and killed the terrorist. The last moments of the incident were captured on video. The video shows Ganem fire at the terrorist from one side of the bulldozer. In the backdrop a man is heard saying "is there anyone here who can provide first aid? There’s somebody wounded here. " Ganem is then seen moving over to the other side of the bulldozer, while an eyewitness tells him that the driver is still alive: "He’s not dead, he’s dead.

MIDEAST: Roadblocks Cripple West Bank Economy
Mel Frykberg, Inter Press Service 7/22/2008
A new checkpoint at Tarqumia in the southern West Bank. Credit:HEBRON, West Bank, Jul 22(IPS) - The Israeli military has erected three additional roadblocks, further blocking vehicular access on the road between the south Hebron village of At-Tuwani and the commercial hub of Yatta in the southern West Bank. The West Bank is the Palestinian area west of the Jordan river, much of it under Israeli control. Besides being the main economic hub for the region, Yatta is also the principal provider of critical services such as hospitals, secondary schools and public administration offices. Yatta is a town of just under 45,000 people situated 8km south of Hebron, which is 30km south of Jerusalem in the southern West Bank. Several communities in the South Hebron Hills continue to be cut off from basic supplies.

Apartheid military zone in Susiya
International Solidarity Movement 7/22/2008
Hebron Region - After the settler attack on 20th of July in which two Palestinians and four internationals were arrested for no apparent reason, the Israeli army closed the valley between the villagers of Susiya and the nearby settlement. The army declared the area as a closed military zone for three days, until three o’clock the 22nd of July. However, they made it clear that the closure could be extended for at least another three days, until Friday the 25th of July. Despite the settlers not being allowed into the closed military zone, they were able to build an outpost on the 20th of July. Furthermore settlers were seen grazing their sheep in the closed military zone in the morning of Monday the 21st and Tuesday the 22nd of July. Palestinians called the army to clear the area, but the soldiers just let the settlers stay.

Police to closely watch Arab workers in Jerusalem
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 7/22/2008
Police to be in touch with construction site managers in bid to prevent further bulldozer attacks - Jerusalem District Commander Aharon Franco ordered police Tuesday evening to more closely scrutinize Arab workers who are residents of east Jerusalem, in the wake of the latest bulldozer terror attack in the capital. Following assessments by police officials, senior officers decided to undertake strict checks and patrols at construction sites in the capital. Police source say that the attention given to construction sites has been boosted following the first bulldozer attack, and now they also plan to be in touch with site managers regarding any unusual incidents or employees with a criminal record. The police will also continue their activity at east Jerusalem villages in an effort to prevent clashes between Arab residents and far right activists.

Bulldozer driver a relative of Hamas lawmaker
Ali Waked, YNetNews 7/22/2008
Man who carried out Jerusalem attack named as Ghasan Abu-Tir of east Jerusalem. His relative, Palestinian Parliament member Muhammad Abu-Tir, is jailed in Israel - Palestinian sources in Jerusalem reported Tuesday that the man who carried out the bulldozer attack on Jerusalem’s King David Street was Ghasan Abu-Tir, 22, of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Umm Tuba. His relative, Hamas lawmaker Muhammad Abu-Tir, is jailed inIsrael. Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, who arrived at the scene of Tuesday’s bulldozer, said that "this is another east Jerusalem resident from on of Jerusalem’s villages. " He added, "You throw terrorists out the door, they climb through the window with all kinds of means and ideas. Every working tool becomes a means of terror and we must rethink how we employ those working here.

Settler grandpa saves the day
YNetNews 7/22/2008
Yaakov Asael, 53-year-old grandfather of six, kills rampaging bulldozer driver - Published: 07. 22. 08, 16:43 /Yaacov Asael, a resident of the Susiya settlement in southern Mount Hebron is Tuesday’s hero. Asael shot and killed the terrorist who carried out the bulldozer attack in Jerusalem earlier in the dayFifty-three-year-old Asael is an IDF reserves company commander, a father of eight, grandfather of six, and a teacher. Ayelet Recanati, Asael’s daughter, told Ynet that her father is "resourceful. " "He was a military man in commanding positions in combat units, in the armored corps," she said. "He is a bible teacher and an agriculturalist but has studied judo his whole life. He is a Jewish Israeli who combines the Torah and labor and tremendous politeness," she said.

Diskin says Hamas using truce to plant mines in Gaza
Amnon Meranda, YNetNews 7/22/2008
Shin Bet chief tells Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Palestinian group has missiles which can reach Kiryat Gat, Ashdod - Hamas has been taking advantage of the truce in order to plant mines in wide areas in the Gaza Strip, Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin warned the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs on Tuesday. "This is one of the reasons I objected to the ceasefire," he said. "I’m not saying how we should do thing, but in order to fight terror we have no choice but to be present in the area. " The Shin Bet chief went on to say that "Hamas today has missiles which can reach Kiryat Gat, and maybe even Ashdod. " Diskin said the Palestinian group was interested in maintaining the truce in order to stabilize its power and rule. Israeli officials recently expressed their concern over Hamas’ armament during the ceasefire.

Diskin calls for reoccupying Gaza, maintaining permanent military presence
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 7/22/2008
Israeli Shin Bet head, Yuval Diskin, called on Tuesday for reoccupying the Gaza Strip and maintaining permanent Israeli military presence in the coastal region. Diskin claimed that Hamas is using the truce is order to rearm its military wing. Speaking at the Knesset’s Foreign and Security Committee meeting, Diskin claimed that Hamas is gaining more military power and that the movement managed to obtain "missiles" that could hit areas as far as Ashdod. He claimed that the best solution is to occupy the Gaza Strip and maintain military presence there. Diskin also claimed that the "significant decrease of Palestinian attacks in the West Bank happened as a result of the Defensive Shield operation which was carried out in 2002". He added that the drop in attacks also comes as a result of the Wall and ongoing military presence.

Khreisha: Kidnapping MP Mansour shame on occupation
Palestinian Information Center 7/22/2008
TULKAREM, (PIC)-- Dr. Hassan Khreisha, the second deputy PLC speaker, has charged that the Israeli occupation authority’s kidnapping of MP Mona Mansour was a shame on this authority that kidnaps the second female MP within the past few months. Khreisha in a press statement on Monday said that the kidnapping was meant to get the Palestinian people and their political leadership used to detaining female MPs. He asked PA chief Mahmoud Abbas to adopt steps to end the kidnapping of those female lawmakers and to condemn "these unjustified measures on the part of occupation". He also appealed to the human rights groups and world parliaments to step in and prevent occupation from such practice. Mona Mansour, a widow whose husband was assassinated by Israel, is the sole breadwinner of a big family that includes a chronically ill son who is in constant need of her care, the MP underlined.

Haneyya: We are in a better position today against the occupation
Palestinian Information Center 7/22/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- PA Prime Minister Ismael Haneyya said on Monday that the Israeli occupation government wasn’t carrying out its obligations as stipulated in the Gaza truce agreement, adding that the Palestinian people were in a better position today against the occupation. He also noted that many equations have been changed, and big variations have occurred in the region, stressing that the "USA was defeated in Iraq, in Lebanon, and in Palestine". "We have been steadfast, resolute, and we succeeded in achieving victory against the Israeli occupation government, and we also succeeded in forcing it to accept a position that they never wished", said Haneyya. He explained that the Israeli occupation did not strive for truce in Gaza as it was seriously mulling invading Gaza militarily and destroying the ingredients of the Palestinian community altogether, but, Haneyya confirmed, they. . .

Haniyya cheers coming prisoner swap deal with Israel
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 7/22/2008
The Prime Minister of the dissolved government of the Palestinian people, Ismail Haniyya, stated Monday that the Palestinian people will soon celebrate a dignified prisoner swap deal, adding that the Hamas party will not concede any of their demands until the detainees are freed. Haniyya’s statement came during a ceremony at the Ministry of Detainees in Gaza, where he described the detainees as "the leaders of the resistance movement which fights for Palestinian rights". He also challenged the Israeli abduction of Palestinian legislator Mona Mansour, as well as several prominent West Bank businessmen, on Thursday, and the ongoing daily abduction campaigns in Nablus, saying that these actions prove the bankruptcy of Israeli policies and promises. He stated that his government pledges to pay the families of all Palestinian detainees $500 during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Sari Nusseibeh tells British Prime Minister that EU aid to Palestinians should be cut
Marian Houk in Jerusalem, Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
Sari Nusseibeh, former Palestinian Authority representative in Jerusalem, and now president of Al-Quds University, said he urged British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in a meeting on Sunday to "think very seriously about stopping aid to the Palestinians. "The suggestion, aimed to shock but nonetheless apparently quite serious, ran at counter-purposes to Brown’s visit to the region, which was aimed in part at promoting an "economic road map" to help improve conditions for the Palestinian people living under occupation as a kind of political incentive. Nusseibeh told a group of journalists at a briefing in Jerusalem on Monday that he spoke during a meeting organized the day before by the British Consulate to introduce a few Jerusalem Palestinians to Brown during the British Prime Minister’s visit to the region.

’Hatikva’ belongs to women, too
Haaretz Editorial, Ha’aretz 7/23/2008
Only the male third of the Knesset Choir was allowed to sing the national anthem, "Hatikva," on Monday, at the end of a special meeting in honor of visiting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. It turns out that this is state policy. To sing the anthem, the Knesset invites to the plenum only male singers or child choirs, as long as the girls are not over 12 years of age. The reason for this is the concern that female singers will make the ultra-Orthodox MKs leave the assembly hall, arguing that "a woman’s voice constitutes sexual incitement. "What was special about the meeting with Brown was that no all-male or children’s choir had been invited, so they simply made do with the male section of the Knesset Choir. The women, who make up two thirds of the choir, were left in their offices.

Iran rebukes British PM over inaccurate remarks
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/23/2008
TEHRAN: Iran on Tuesday rebuked British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for making "inaccurate" remarks during a speech to the Israeli Parliament on Monday. Brown used the speech to attack Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his "abhorrent" threats against Israel. "The inaccurate comments of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in his recent trip to the occupied lands is in contradiction to the prevailing atmosphere of the [nuclear] negotiations," the ISNA news agency quoted Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as saying. Mottaki was speaking at a meeting with the Permanent Undersecretary of the British Foreign Office Peter Ricketts, who was making a rare visit by a high-ranking British official to Tehran. "It depicts London’s wrong impression and therefore it is required that London corrects its strategy and take a constructive position," he added.

Brown tells Knesset: Iran must end uranium enrichment or face consequences
Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
Jerusalem - Ma’an - Speaking to the Knesset on Monday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called on Iran to freeze all activity related to uranium enrichment immediately. He warned that Iran would be subject to international isolation and sanctions if they did not comply. Brown also criticized what he called the ’abhorrent threats’ made by Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, towards Israel. Brown’s comments come at a time of heightened tensions around the issue of Iran, with the US still failing to rule out the option of military action and Israel continuing to press for a harder line towards the Middle Eastern regime. Browns speech is the first time that a British Prime Minister has addressed the Israeli Knesset.

Obama arrives in Israel after condemning Jerusalem attack
ASSOCIATED PRESS, Jerusalem Post 7/22/2008
US presidential contender Barack Obama arrived in Israel late Tuesday, facing a full schedule of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders after pledging to work for peace as soon as he takes office. In an airport statement, Obama condemned an attack a few hours earlier by a Palestinian tractor driver who ran amok on a Jerusalem street, smashing into a bus, overturning a car and seriously injuring an Israeli before being shot dead by a civilian and a police officer. "It’s just one more reminder why we have to work diligently, urgently and in a unified way to defeat terrorism," Obama said. "There are no excuses. " The attack took place near the historic King David Hotel, where Obama is staying during his visit. In Jordan before flying to Israel, Obama said he would plunge into Mideast peacemaking, where efforts have failed for decades, warning there were no quick solutions. He cautioned it is "unrealistic to expect that a US president alone can suddenly snap his fingers and bring about peace in this region. "

Obama pledges to support Israel’s war on terror
News Agencies, YNetNews 7/22/2008
Presidential hopeful Barack Obama condemns Jerusalem terror attack ahead of Israel visit -US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama condemned the bulldozer attack in Jerusalem on Tuesday and said he would always support Israel in "confronting terrorism. " "I strongly condemn this attack and will always support Israel in confronting terrorism and pursuing lasting peace and security," Obama told a news conference in Amman,Jordan. Nonetheless, the Illinois senator pledged to work to reach a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians from his first day in office but said it would be difficult. " The Israeli government is unsettled. The Palestinians are divided between Fatah and Hamas. And so it’s difficult for either side to make the bold move that would bring about peace," he said.

Hamas: Jerusalem operation natural response to occupation’s crimes
Palestinian Information Center 7/22/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement on Tuesday said that the bulldozer attack in occupied Jerusalem was a natural response to Israeli occupation’s crimes and its insistence not to halt those crimes. Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri told the PIC that the operation was also a natural result to Israel’s refusal to halt aggression on "our people especially in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem". Israeli police reported that 19 Israelis were wounded in the incident during which the driver drove the bulldozer at high speed in one of occupied Jerusalem’s streets only 20 days after a similar incident in the same city. The Hebrew press reported that the bulldozer hit a number of cars and injured 19 Israelis one of them seriously until he was shot dead by a border guard. The press identified the driver as Ghassan Abu Tir a resident of a village in the Jerusalem district.

Obama warns US president can’t solve Mideast crisis alone
Stephen Collinson, Daily Star 7/23/2008
Agence France Presse AMMAN: White House hopeful Barack Obama stepped into the maelstrom of the Middle East Tuesday, warning the next US president could not just snap his fingers and make peace, as fresh violence rocked the region. The Democratic senator’s high-risk tour to prove his commander in chief mettle touched down in Jordan for talks with King Abdullah II, and an onward journey to Israel and a packed presidential-style schedule. But the region’s tensions immediately intruded, as a Palestinian man was shot dead after going on a bulldozer rampage which wounded at least 16 people near Jerusalem’s King David Hotel where Obama was to stay. Obama condemned the attack, saying it was a reminder of what Israelis have to "courageously live with on a daily basis for far too long," and promised to vigorously join the search for Middle East peace if he is elected in November.

Three Islamic Jihad fighters survive Israeli attack near Tulkarem
Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
Tulkarem – Ma’an – Three Islamic Jihad fighters escaped an Israeli assassination attempt in the town of Qaffin, north of the city of Tulkarem, in the northern West Bank on Tuesday, sources in Islamic Jihad said. According to the sources, Israeli troops in several jeeps surrounded a car containing Fadi Kittani, a leader in Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, and two companions. The fighters then clashed with the Israeli soldiers. The troops blew up the car and searched houses in the area, but the three managed to flee safely, the sources said. This was Israel’s fourth attempt to kill Kittani. [end]

Mahmoud Al Aloul calls for communication with Israeli forces to end attacks in Nablus
PNN, Palestine News Network 7/22/2008
Nablus -- Palestinian Legislative Council member and former Nablus governor Mahmoud Al Aloul spoke out about the continued daily attacks against Nablus yesterday. He told PNN the escalating violence in this northern West Bank city is "unprecedented and unjustified" and a solution is only possible with increased communication between Palestinians and Israeli forces. Al Aloul reported that Israeli forces have detained at least 20 public figures in Nablus, including businesspeople, journalists, and Muna Mansour, a PLC member. He considered these arrests "dangerous operations that threaten the peace process in the region as a whole. ""This is part of an unjustified campaign against the Palestinian people aimed at striking Nablus and its institutions," Al Aloul added. "They have recently targeted Nablus as the political and economic center in the northern West Bank.

Fayyad threatens to withdraw Palestinian security forces in protest of Israeli incursions
Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad threatened on Tuesday to withdraw the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) security forces from Palestinian cities if Israel continues its military incursions in areas of PA control. Fayyad said at a press conference with members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah that the PA may give up on its plan to reassert control in West Bank towns in protest of Israeli infringement on its authority. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had made the threat earlier on Tuesday in remarks carried on the Palestinian official news agency WAFA. "We have security responsibilities in the Palestinian areas, especially Area A, and Israel continues to interfere in the Palestinian Authority. They increased their attacks in these areas, especially in Nablus," Fayyad said.

Palestinian and Israeli presidents to meet today
PNN, Palestine News Network 7/22/2008
Bethlehem -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem today. Senior Palestinian officials will accompany President Abbas. In this group will be Dr. Sa’eb Erekat who has led negotiations in the Palestine Liberation Organization. Discussion of the political future for Palestinians and Israelis is expected. Issues of economic and regional development aimed at furthering cooperation are also on the table. Israel will fly "Palestinian flags alongside the star of David" for the visit, reported Ha’aretz, an Israeli daily newspaper. Although some describe the meeting as historic because it is the first time Peres has invited Abbas to his home, the local community is not hopeful that it will produce a tangible result.

Siyam: Abbas rejects dialog, we will stop dealing with him on 1/9/2009
Palestinian Information Center 7/22/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Sa’eed Siyam, the interior ministry in the PA caretaker government and the senior Hamas official, said that his government and his Movement would not be dealing with PA chief Mahmoud Abbas after 9/1/2009 when his tenure in office expires. In an interview with a number of journalists including the PIC reporter to be published on Tuesday, Siyam asked Abbas to restore Palestinian cohesion before end of his term in office. He explained that the internal rift happened in his term and he should rectify it before he leaves office. He said that Hamas was ready for national dialog but Abbas was rejecting it, describing his (Abbas) call for dialog as "not serious". Indicators point that there is no inter-Palestinian dialog soon, noting that many parties proposed that Qatar would host such a dialog in cooperation with the Arab League, the minister said, noting that the Arab parties, however, realize that the problem was with Abbas.

Bardawil: Abbas-Peres meeting prepares for declaring deal
Palestinian Information Center 7/22/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil, the spokesman of Hamas’s parliamentary bloc, has underlined that the meeting on Tuesday between PA chief Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli president Shimon Peres points to the presence of a political deal being hatched to save the weak trio: Abbas, Israeli premier Ehud Olmert and American president George Bush. Bardawil in a statement to the PIC said that the meeting indicates that an agreement was being "cooked", but said that it would be a "shelf agreement" meaning that it would not be for application and would be shelved soon after its announcement. He said that the said agreement would serve as an attempt to save the weak parties from the political scandals engulfing their administrations. The MP noted that Abbas was about to end his tenure in office (by January 9, 2009) and Olmert was facing corruption scandals and political chaos while the American. . .

Abbas, Peres call for Shalit’s release
Ronen Medzini, YNetNews 7/22/2008
Palestinian president arrives for first-ever visit in presidential residence; Abbas, Peres issue joint plea for immediate release of IDF captive Gilad Shalit - President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Tuesday in the presidential residence in Jerusalem. The two issued a joint statement calling for the immediate release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. The visit - the first by a Palestinian official in the presidential residence - enraged right-wing politicians, who criticized Abbas forcongratulating Samir Kuntar’s family upon the latter’s release from prison. Kuntar was set fee as part of the prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hizbullah, meant to secure the release of IDF captivesEldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. Abbas received a warm welcome in the presidential residence, and the subsequent. . .

Peres to Abbas: Israeli spirit linked with Gilad Shalit
Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres on Tuesday morning at the Israeli presidential residence in Jerusalem, where the two discussed developments in the negotiations and on the ground. Israeli press sources reported that Shimon Peres told Abu Mazen during the meeting that the Israeli spirit is linked to the case of captured soldier Gilad Shalit, adding that Israel will not compromise its goal of freeing Shalit and will make every possible effort to secure his release. In welcoming Abbas, Peres stated: "I can say that I am now receiving a man of peace, and that there is a deep past between us, and I consider it a special kind of meeting with a man of peace leading his people towards peace. I will not forget how we met 15 years ago to sign the Oslo agreements, and I see in our meeting today a light of hope.

Palestinian legislators criticize Israeli abduction of female legislator
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 7/22/2008
After Israeli forces abducted Palestinian legislator Mona Mansour, along with thirty other people in Nablus Monday, a number of prominent Palestinian legislators have condemned the abduction and called for Mansour’s release. The abductions by Israeli forces occur on a daily basis, but usually do not include such prominent figures as those taken Monday. But this is not the first time Israeli forces have abducted elected figures in the Palestinian government. After the Hamas party was democratically elected in 2006, Israeli forces went on a raid of Palestinian legislators’ homes, abducting dozens of them. Many of those legislators are still being held today, including the seriously ill Dr. Aziz Dweik. In the case of Mona Mansour, Palestinian legislators like Khaleda Jarrar and Ayman Daraghma have made public statements calling for her immediate release.

Hamas: Abbas’s meetings with Israeli leaders ''harmful''
Palestinian Information Center 7/22/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Hamas on Tuesday lashed out at PA chief Mahmoud Abbas’s insistence on continuing meetings with Israeli leaders, especially today’s meeting with Israeli president Shimon Peres, describing those meetings as "futile and harmful". Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, told the PIC that continuation of such meetings only gave pretext for occupation to continue in its aggression. He added that Israel was benefiting from those meetings because it continues its settlement and judaization drive unabated. Such meetings are harmful to the Palestine cause, he underlined, and called on Abbas to immediately stop all forms of contact with the Israeli occupation. He expressed dismay at Abbas’s insistence on maintaining those meetings despite the growing occupation’s crimes and settlement activity.

Daily News Egypt: Scottish couple barred from delivering medical supplies at Gaza’s Rafah crossing
Eva Bartlett, Daily News Egypt, International Solidarity Movement 7/22/2008
International Actions - Gaza Region - Photos - Ten days after setting out from Edinburgh, five days past their projected July 15 arrival, Scottish humanitarian Khalil Al Niss and his wife Linda Willis finally pulled up Sunday afternoon at the Gaza-Egypt Rafah crossing only to be denied entry to Gaza. The Gazan side, just over 100 meters from the Egyptian gate and Israeli-constructed wall, is visible from where the couple’s van sits idle; doctors inside Gaza wait for the expected delivery of essential medical aid. Having arrived by ferry after 11 pm, Khalil and Linda were made to wait over 24 hours at the border town of Nuweiba, where Egyptian authorities sent them around repeatedly to six different departments to fill out form after form. Once again, the van was unloaded, Egyptian officials inspecting the contents and re-loading,satisfied the couple really was bringing in vital medicines and equipment.

Scottish truck loaded with medical assistance to Gaza stranded at Rafah
Palestinian Information Center 7/22/2008
RAFAH, (PIC)-- A truck that is loaded with one and a half ton of medicines and medical equipment destined to the Gaza Strip was stopped at the Egyptian side of the Rafah border terminal. The truck, which started a long journey from Scotland to assist the besieged Palestinians in the Strip, was driven by a British man, of Palestinian origin, and his wife. They are both members in the Scottish National Party and took a leave from their jobs to ferry the assistance via land route to rally support during their trek for the Palestinian plight. The man and his wife, who have been stranded at the terminal for two days, would not return back home. They insist on entering Gaza with the assistance, which they say was a gift from the Scottish parliament and people. They passed through 12 countries over 6,000 miles to bring the Rafah border closure to the attention of the world.

Building materials, food, and other goods allowed into Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Israel allowed 89 trucks to pass through the Sufa commercial crossing into the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the de facto government in Gaza said. The trucks contained food including fresh fish and juice, building materials, and consumer goods such as shoes and paper. One hundred fifty four trucks were allowed through the Karni crossing on Monday. The Karni crossing is mainly used for grain and feed for animals. After severely restricting shipments of vital goods into the Gaza Strip for a year, Israel began to ease restrictions following the implementation of a ceasefire agreement in June. [end]

Soldier who shot prisoner at close range released
Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli soldier who was filmed shooting a rubber-coated metal bullet at a hand-cuffed Palestinian man returned to serve in his military division after Israeli military prosecutors released him on Tuesday. In interrogation, the soldier said he received a directive to shoot at the Palestinian from his commander who was present at the time. However, the commander has denied giving the order, asserting that he just asked the soldier to point his rifle at the prisoner in order to scare the hand-cuffed young man. He claims not to have seen the incident despite appearing in the video. The incident occurred in the village of Ni’lin west of Ramallah in the central West Bank on the 7 July. Ashraf Abu Rahma, 27, was arrested during a demonstration against the separation wall in Ni’lin. He told the press that Israeli soldiers attacked him after he was hand-cuffed and masked before he was taken into a military jeep.

Israeli soldier shot young Palestinian three times, now released without trial
PNN, Palestine News Network 7/22/2008
Bethlehem -- An Israeli military prosecutor released the soldier who opened fire on Palestinian youth yesterday in Ramallah. B’Tselem, an Israeli organization fighting for Palestinian human rights, has circulated a videotape of the soldier firing rubber coated metal bullets at Ashraf Abu Rahma, a young Palestinian who was blindfolded and handcuffed after his arrest. Israeli radio said the soldier admitted that he shot Rahma three times. During an Israeli military police interrogation, the soldier said that he received an order from his commander, who was standing next to him at the time, to fire at the young Palestinian. However, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak does not condone the soldier’s actions. He told Israeli Army Radio, "An Israeli soldier shooting rubber bullets at young Palestinians is a dangerous and isolated incident and does not represent the moral values cherished by this army.

Israeli soldier filmed shooting at blindfolded Palestinian
Middle East Online 7/22/2008
RAMALLAH, West Bank - A human rights group has released a video that shows an Israeli soldier firing a rubber-coated bullet from close range toward the feet of a bound, blindfolded Palestinian man. The Israeli military said Monday it was investigating the video, taken two weeks ago, and described the shooting as a "stark violation" of army rules. The Palestinian, Ashraf Abu Rahmeh, said Monday he was shot in one of his left toes and treated at the scene. During an interview, Abu Rahmeh, 27, took off his shoe and showed a large blister on his toe, with bruising underneath. He said for several days after the shooting, the toe was swollen. The shooting took place on July 7, on the outskirts of the West Bank village of Naalin, said Abdullah Abu Rahmeh, a relative of the injured man. At the time, several dozen Palestinians including Abu Rahmeh participated in a protest against Israel’s. . .

Bound Palestinian protester shot by soldier
Diaa Hadid, Associated Press Writer, The Independent 7/22/2008
A human rights group has released a video that shows an Israeli soldier firing a rubber-coated bullet from close range toward the feet of a bound, blindfolded Palestinian man. The video, taken two weeks ago, has sparked an investigation by the Israeli military, which described the shooting as a "stark violation" of army rules. The Palestinian man, Ashraf Abu Rahmeh, said yesterday he was injured in his left toe and treated at the scene. During an interview, Abu Rahmeh, 27, took off his shoe and showed a large blister on his toe, with bruising underneath. He said for several days after the shooting, the toe was swollen. The shooting took place on July 7, on the outskirts of the West Bank village of Naalin, said Abdullah Abu Rahmeh, a relative of the injured man. At the time, several dozen Palestinians participated in a protest against Israel’s separation barrier, which is under. . .

The Israeli army released the soldier who shot a bound Palestinian in Ni’lin two weeks ago
IMEMC Staff, International Middle East Media Center News 7/22/2008
The Israeli National Radio reported on Monday evening that the Israeli Army District Attorney has released the Israeli soldier who shot a bound Palestinian civilian in Ni’lin village near Ramallah in the northern part of the West Bank two weeks ago. A video showing an Israeli soldier shooting a bound Palestinian in the village of Ni’lin near Ramallah raised uproar among human rights organizations. The tape, which was released on Sunday by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, shows an Israeli soldier shooting Ashraf Abu Rahme with a rubber coated-steel bullet at short range while his arms were bound almost two weeks ago. B’Tselem said that other soldiers witnessed the shooting but moved no limb to stop it, and demanded an investigation to be opened into the incident. The shooting took place July 7, during an anti-wall demonstration in the village.

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.

Palestinian officials meet with Israeli military leaders to discuss situation in Nablus
Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian officials met with Israeli military leaders on Tuesday evening to discuss the situation in Nablus, following a series of Israeli military incursions and raids in the city over the last two weeks. The Palestinian side was represented by Hussein Ash-Sheikh, chief of the Civil Affairs Authority, advisor Hikmat Zeid, and Nablus governor Dr Jamal Muheisen. General Gabi Shmai, Commander of the Central Region of the West Bank, and General Yoav Mordechai represented the Israeli side. The Israeli crackdown on Nablus institutions began on July 7th when the Israeli army closed six charitable associations, confiscating documents and equipment as part of a wider campaign against Islamic charities in the West Bank. Since then Israeli forces have arrested dozens of people from Nablus, including prominent community leaders and Palestinian Legislative Council deputy Muna Mansour.

Report: Hamas operative killed in Gaza blast
Roee Nahmias, YNetNews 7/22/2008
Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades say man died while ’on special jihad mission’ east of Gaza City; two Palestinians injured in incident - A member of Hamas’ military wing was killed Tuesday morning and two others were severely injured in an explosion which took place east of Gaza City, the Palestinian news agency Maan reported. The man was hurt by shrapnel in all parts of his body. Hamas’ military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, declared that the man, 24-year-old Halil Ibrahim Jundiah, was killed "while on a special jihad mission. " Two weeks ago, two Palestinians were killed and two were injured in a blast at a Hamas training base near the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis. A source in the Strip said that a facility in the base collapsed following the explosion. The IDF said the incident was a "work incident".

Gazans arrested for violating fuel price limits
Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian police arrested a number of fuel merchants in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday for selling fuel for higher than the official price. The investigation unit of the police affiliated to the Hamas-run government said that its officers raided the shop where the fuel was being sold. Police say that further investigations have been opened in the case. The police also said that selling fuel at higher than the government mandated price is a violation of the law, a way of taking advantage of Gazans’ harsh living conditions. [end]

Hamas ’abduct woman in Beit Lahia’
Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
Beit Lahia - WAFA news agency - According to Palestinian sources, Hamas members abducted a woman in Beit Lahia in the north of the Gaza Strip on Monday. Eyewitnesses claim that they abducted Ne’meh Al-Qabet, a member of ’the committee for the martyr Baha Abu Jarad’, from her house and have transferred her to an unknown location. Sources added that the abduction comes as Fatah prepare to begin summer camps for children in the area. [end]

Eight Palestinian prisoners in hospital after swallowing shampoo to protest continued detention
Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Nablus governor Dr Jamal Muheisen said on Tuesday that eight Palestinian detainees were transferred from Al-Juneid prison in Nablus to hospital after swallowing shampoo as part of a protest at their continued detention. Al-Muheisen told Ma’an that the eight have spent seven months at Al-Juneid prison and are to stay under Palestinian Authority (PA) custody until the Israeli authorities allow their release. They are among the Palestinian activists who accepted the Israeli amnesty agreement, gave up their weapons, and voluntarily entered PA custody seven months ago. Although they were supposed to be released after three months to resume their lives as normal citizens, the Israelis have ignored pleas to set the men free and keep postponing their release date. As a protest at the Israeli delay, the detainees took the drastic action of swallowing shampoo.

Lawsuit filed in Spanish court to try Israeli ''war criminals''
Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – A lawsuit has been filed in the National Court of Spain with the aim of issuing warrants for the arrest of high-ranking Israeli security officials for war crimes. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) has filed the suit against those involved in the sanctioning of the 2002 bombing of a building in the Daraj neighborhood of Gaza City in which fifteen civilians were killed. The warrants include former Defence Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, his former military advisor, Michael Herzog, former Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Moshe Ya’alon and Dan Halutz, former Commander of the Israeli Air Force. If the case is successful those charged would be arrested upon entering Spanish territory, stripping them of the diplomatic immunity some of them currently enjoy. PCHR have filed the lawsuit on behalf of six Palestinians who survived the Israeli extra judicial execution operation.

Support Bil’in’s historic court case
International Solidarity Movement 7/22/2008
Dear Friends, As you may already know, the village of Bil’in recently announced the launch of an unprecedented legal action against two Canadian companies, Green Park International Inc. and Green Mount International Inc. , charging them with war crimes. The case has been filed in the Quebec Superior Court in Montreal, Canada. What you can do to show your solidarity with this historic action The village of Bil’in is calling on supporters from all over the world to join them in solidarity actions during the court case. The village also needs your help setting up and financing a legal fund to fight the court case, which currently is in need of approximately $50,000. Please consider doing any one or more of the following * Donate directly to the cause throug Paypal- click on ’send money online’.

Quarterly Regional Humanitarian Funding Update, Apr - Jun 2008
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - OCHA, ReliefWeb 6/30/2008
Main Findings: - NGOs remain under-funded in Iraq, having received just 7% (US$1 million) of the requested amount - Countries in the MENACA region gave over US$ 144 million in aid this quarter. The main recipients of this assistance were China and Sudan. There have also been several large humanitarian pledges, including US$500 million from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the World Food Programme. - The Central Emergency Response Fund provided more than US$43 million in grants to countries in the MENACA region by the end of the second quarter 2008. The majority of this went to Afghanistan, Iraq and Tajikistan. - The largest donor for Tajikistan so far this » »year is Saudi Arabia, which gave US$10 million bilaterally. Consolidated Appeal for 2008:In December 2007, the United Nations launched the Consolidated Appeals for 2008, requesting a total of USD 2.

Amman: Gunman who shot himself after wounding 6 people dies of wounds
ASSOCIATED PRESS, Jerusalem Post 7/23/2008
A Jordanian security official says a Palestinian gunman who shot himself after wounding six people in Jordan’s capital last week has died of his injuries. The official says 19-year-old Thaer al-Weheidi died at a hospital on Tuesday, a day after undergoing surgery to stop a brain hemorrhage caused by the bullet wound. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation into the shooting was continuing. Al-Weheidi shot and wounded six people outside Amman’s Roman amphitheater on July 16. He shot himself in the head when police tried to subdue him. He had been in a coma since. Police are investigating whether he had links to extremist groups after initially saying he had none.

Jordanian aid convoy reaches Gaza and West Bank
Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The Jordanian ambassador to the Palestinian Authority, Yahya Al-Qarrala, announced on Tuesday that a convoy of food and medicine has arrived in the Palestinian territories from Jordan. The ambassador explained that the aid was sent by the Jordanian Hashemite Charitable Society under the direction of King Abdullah II, as part of ongoing Jordanian efforts to support the Palestinian people and ease their suffering. He also emphasized that King Abdullah II of Jordan has directed the Jordanian government and national charities to continue sending aid to the Palestinian people. The convoy included 15 trucks containing 200 tons of food and medical supplies. Eight trucks were sent to the Gaza Strip and seven to the West Bank.

cartoon of the day
Al-Gumhuriyya, Palestine Think Tank 7/22/2008
Al-Gumhuriyya, March 3, 2008 (Egypt) - The caption above reads: "The International Legitimacy. "  On the paper, in Arabic: "Gaza’s Holocaust. "[end]

Talansky: Olmert always said he’d return the money
Aviad Glickman, YNetNews 7/22/2008
On last day of cross-examination, key witness in corruption case asked by prime minister’s lawyers about funds he gave Olmert to pay for flights, luxury hotels: ’I would argue with him and tell him I have no money, but he always said he needed my help’ - The fifth and last day of US businessman Morris Talansky’s cross-examination by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s lawyers dealt with funds transferred to Olmert and his former bureau chief Shula Zaken. Talansky is considered the key witness in the latest corruption affair involving the prime minister. Attorney Eli Zohar read out segments from Talanky’s police interrogation, according to which Zaken asked the US businessman to pay for Olmert’s stay and flights to New York. "For part of the expenses," Talansky replied. "In one event, the organization did not want to pay for a first class ticket, so I gave Olmert cash.

Livni: When I’m PM, I’ll seek unity gov’t with Labor, Likud
Mazal Mualem, Ha’aretz 7/23/2008
Launching her campaign for the Kadima primary in September, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni declared Tuesday that after winning the race, she will immediately work to form a national unity government with Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu and Labor’s Ehud Barak. Speaking at a gathering of activists at the Kadima branch in Hadera, Livni said that a unity government is the best thing for Israel at a time of internal disputes and external threats, and promised there would be room for members from Meretz to Yisrael Beiteinu. "I think that out of this swamp it is possible to generate a very broad common denominator: a unity government that will advance the peace process," Livni told Haaretz. "Bibi, too, understands now that the concept of economic peace is not enough. He also says so.

PA: Israel pardoned another 24 wanted Fatah men
Ali Waked, YNetNews 7/23/2008
Palestinian sources: Al-Aqsa Brigades members removed from Israel’s most wanted list -Israel has informed the Palestinian Authority that it is willing to pardon 24 wanted al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades’ members as part of the prisoner release deal signed between both sides in 2007, Palestinian sources said Tuesday. The decision was made following defense establishment assessments. Four of the men will be fully pardoned and would be able to move freely within Palestinian territories. The rest would be able to move freely within Palestinian Zone A and will no longer be included on Israel’s most wanted list. Ynet reported about six months ago that Israel and the PA were able to reach an agreement whereby hundreds of wanted Fatah men will begin a three-month probation period. Those who were to refrain from engaging in terror activity were to be pardoned according to the agreement and removed from Israel’s most wanted lists.

Palestinian baker makes ‘Obama bagel’
Middle East Online 7/22/2008
RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian baker Nasir Abdul Hadi is so grateful Barack Obama is making time to visit the occupied West Bank that he has named a bagel after him. The bagel is baked with cherry tomatoes and mint and is on display Tuesday at Abdul Hadi’s bakery in downtown Ramallah. The presumptive Democratic nominee for US president is spending a few hours in this West Bank city on Wednesday, as part of a Mideast tour. Obama’s Republican challenger, John McCain, did not visit the occupied West Bank during a recent trip. Despite the baker’s enthusiasm, many Palestinians displayed little interest in the Obama visit. Many here believe the US is biased in Israel’s favor and that this is unlikely to change after the November elections. Israelis, too, are showing skepticism over Obama’s visit. Israelis fear the Illinois senator will abandon President George W.

US ready for rare talks with Syrian officials
P. Parameswaran, Daily Star 7/23/2008
Agence France Presse - WASHINGTON: The United States said Monday it was ready to hold rare talks with two visiting key Syrian officials this week, in another signal of Washington’s recent policy shift to engage directly with its enemies. Syria is on a US blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism. Riad Daoudi, Syrian lead negotiator with Israeli officials in Turkey and legal adviser to the Syrian foreign ministry, and Ahmad Samir al-Taki, a consultant to the Syrian prime minister, are in Washington on a private trip. Part of a four-member group from Damascus, they will participate at a forum "Engaging Syria: new negotiations, old challenges" at Washington-based Brookings Institution on Wednesday. Their visit is sponsored by Search for Common Ground, an international non-governmental organization, headquartered in Washington and Brussels, which had sought a meeting for them with the State Department.

US announces unofficial talks with Syrian representatives
Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an - The US administration announced on Tuesday that it is preparing to carry out discussions with Syrian officials who are currently visiting Washington. Spokesperson for the US Foreign Ministry said that the assistant foreign minister for Middle East affairs, David Walsh, will meet Riyad Ad-Daoudi,from the Syrian ministry of foreign affairs who has been leading the indirect negotiations with Israel and acts as an advisor to the Syrian Foreign minister, Ahmad Samir At-Taqi. Walsh confirmed that the discussions between the countries are not of an official nature. [end]

Providing medical services for Palestinian refugees in Syria
United Nations Children''s Fund - UNICEF, ReliefWeb 7/21/2008
By Monica Awad JARAMANA, Syria, 21 July 2008 – Noujoud Moh’d is a Palestinian refugee residing in the Jaramana camp in Syria. Like the other 5,000 refugees living in the official camp – as well as the nearly 17,000 living outside in an unofficial camp – she and her family endure overcrowded housing, poverty and limited work opportunities. Her husband is sick and unemployed, so Ms. Moh’d is forced to leave her five children early every day to work as a street seller to feed her family. ’Our situation is very bad. I have to work on a daily basis in the crowded streets of Damascus to earn a few pounds,’ she said with despair in her eyes. Ms. Moh’d, who did not complete her schooling, relies on the assistance of United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to provide food aid and cash assistance to meet her family’s basic needs.

Palestinian killed in ’copycat’ attack in Occupied Jerusalem
Mehdi Lebouachera, Daily Star 7/23/2008
Agence France Presse OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: A Palestinian man was shot dead after going on a rampage with a payloader in Occupied Jerusalem on Tuesday, wounding at least 16 people as he ploughed into cars in the second such attack this month. Police chief Aharon Franco said the assailant, identified as a man from Occupied East Jerusalem, rammed his vehicle into a bus near the King David Hotel, failing to overturn it, but smashing its windows. "The bulldozer then rammed five cars and damaged them. A civilian tried to stop him when a border guard arrived and neutralized him. " The attack comes on the eve of a visit by US presidential candidate Barack Obama who is due to hold meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials Wednesday on the latest leg of a tour of the Middle East and Europe. Obama condemned the attack, telling reporters in neighboring Jordan he would support Israel "in confronting terror.

Shin Bet sources: East Jerusalem security measures ineffective
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 7/23/2008
In face of east Jerusalem residents’ growing involvement in terror, Shin Bet officials tell Ynet current security measures ineffective; Israeli security forces should enter Arab villages in Jerusalem more frequently, one official says - Current security measures aimed at curbing the terror threat in east Jerusalem "aren’t effective enough," Shin Bet sources told Ynet Tuesday night in wake of the latest bulldozer attack in the capital. The terrorist, an east Jerusalem resident, wounded 18 people before he wasshot and killed by a civilian and a Border Guard officer. Security officials told Ynet that what they characterized as "popular attacks" such as the hurling of Molotov cocktails and stabbing attacks are on the rise. Heavily armed police near terrorist’s home (Photo: Reuters) "There is a link between events in Gaza and the pictures. . .

Bulldozer driver goes on rampage in Jerusalem, apparent copycat of recent deadly attack
Nadav Shragai , Haaretz Service and News Agencies, Ha’aretz 7/23/2008
A Palestinian bulldozer driver went on a rampage in downtown Jerusalem on Tuesday, wounding at least 24 people, just weeks after a similar attack in the capitalleft three dead. The driver was identified as a 22-year-old resident of East Jerusalem who held an Israeli ID card. Police sealed off possible escape routes into the predominantly Arab area of Jerusalem and were searching for two suspects who fled the scene, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. One of the wounded was in serious condition and the rest sustained light wounds. They were taken to Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem for treatment. The driver of the tractor struck a bus and at least five cars before being shot dead by security forces, Jerusalem police said. Television footage showed an elderly woman being wheeled into an ambulance and rescue personnel assisting visibly shocked passersby.

East J’lem terror activity on the rise
Amos Harel, Ha’aretz 7/23/2008
Responding to the sharp rise in terrorist attacks in the capital, carried out by Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities are keen to expedite procedures that would authorize the resumption of punitive measures, such as the razing of terrorists’ homes. For the second time in three weeks, a Palestinian terrorist went on a rampage with a bulldozer in central Jerusalem. Eighteen Israeli civilians were injured, one seriously, before the driver was shot and killed by a Border Police officer and a civilian. The attack occured close to 2 P. M. , near the King David Hotel, where Barack Obama, the presumptive U. S. Democratic presidential candidate, stayed last night. Security sources expressed concern yesterday at the sharp rise in the number of attacks in the capital, and the role of East Jerusalem’s Arab residents in them.

Abbas slams the Jerusalem bulldozer attack, Hamas angered by his statements
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/22/2008
Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, slammed the bulldozer attack which was carried out on Tuesday by a Palestinian in Jerusalem. During the attack, the attacker was shot dead and at least twenty-four Israelis were wounded. The Palestinian News Agency, WAFA, reported that Abbas severely criticized the attack and said that the Palestinian Authority condemns any attack that targets civilians. "I learned today that this attack was deliberate. We cannot accept it, we condemn this attack", Abbas said, "Such attacks harm our image and harm the cause of peace in general". The Palestinian president also wished a quick recovery to the wounded, and stated that the Palestinian Authority cannot accept "any terrorist attack, and any attack that targets civilians". Meanwhile, the Hamas movement was angered by the statements of Abbas, who failed to mention the ongoing Israeli military attacks against the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank.

Palestine Today 072208
IMEMC News - Audio Dept, International Middle East Media Center News 7/22/2008
Click on Link to download or play MP3 fileWelcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www. imemc. org, for Tuesday July 22nd, 2008. One killed in Gaza, while 16 Israelis injured in Jerusalem, these stories and more coming up, stay tuned. The News Cast The Al Qassam brigades, the armed wing of the ruling Hamas party in Gaza, announced on Tuesday that one of their fighters was killed and two others were wounded in eastern Gaza City. In a statement, faxed to media outlets, the brigades said that the three causalities were taking part in a resistance- mission when a blast occurred at a Qassam post in the Shijaiya neighborhood, east of Gaza City. Dr. Mo’awiya Hasanin, chief of the Emergency Department at Gaza’s Health Ministry told media outlets that one man arrived dead at the hospital while the other two wounded people, including a child, underwent life-saving surgeries.

Palestinian bulldozer driver killed in Jerusalem
Middle East Online 7/22/2008
JERUSALEM - A Palestinian bulldozer driver was shot dead in central Jerusalem on Tuesday after injuring at least 16 people in an attack mimicking one earlier in the month, Israeli police and rescue services said. Jerusalem police chief Aharon Franco said "the terrorist was neutralised very quickly" and police were working to reopen the street to traffic. On July 2, a Palestinian in Jerusalem killed three people and wounded 30 others when he rammed a bulldozer into a bus and cars on a busy street before being shot dead. Franco said Tuesday’s assailant attacked a bus, failing to overturn it, but smashing its windows. "The bulldozer then rammed five cars and damaged them. A civilian tried to stop him when a border guard arrived and neutralised him. " In the July 2 incident, the attacker succeeded in flipping a bus, decapitating the driver in the process.

Twenty-four Israelis injured in a bulldozer attack in Jerusalem
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/22/2008
Israeli sources reported on Tuesday that twenty-four Israelis were wounded after being attacked by a bulldozer driven by a Palestinian from the Old city of Jerusalem. The attacker was shot dead by Israeli policemen at the scene. The attack was considered a copycat to previous attack carried out on July 2, in which a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem carried out a bulldozer attack on Jaffa Road in Jerusalem and killed three Israelis. The attacker is not known to be a member of any Palestinian armed group. The Tuesday attack was carried out by a 22-year old resident of East Jerusalem. The police claimed that there are two other suspects involved in the attack and that they fled to the Arab section of Jerusalem. An Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that the attack took place on the corner of Keren Hayesdod and King David streets.

Driver killed after second Jerusalem ’bulldozer rampage’
Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
[Ma’anImages] Jerusalem – Ma’an – A bulldozer driver was shot dead after he plowed through several cars in West Jerusalem on Tuesday afternoon, wounding 19 Israelis in an incident similar to an attack earlier in July. Witnesses said the construction vehicle struck a bus, then overturned one car and crushed four others at the corner of Keren Hayesdod and King David streets, behind the King Solomon hotel. The driver was then shot and killed. The driver of the bulldozer was identified as 22-year-old Ghassan Abu Teir, from Umm Tuba, in East Jerusalem. Witnesses said the left window of the cab of the bulldozer was hit by at least eight bullets. Israeli medical sources report that 19 people were injured. Only one person was seriously injured. The rest were mildly to moderately injured, some treated for shock.

Attacks in Israel
Matthew Weaver and Haroon Siddique, The Guardian 7/22/2008
Today’s incident marks the fifth serious attack on Israel this year following a lull in violence in 2007. February 4 - A woman is killed and 11 people injured in the town of Dimona, in the first suicide bombing inside Israel in more than a year. Responsibility for the attack is claimed by hardliners within the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a group linked to the Fatah movement of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. March 5 Eight students are killed when a gunman opens fire at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, one of Jerusalem’s largest seminaries. It is the worst incident inside Israel since April 2006. May 14 At least 14 people are injured when a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip hits a busy shopping mall in central Ashkelon.

Palestinian arrested for planning to stab Israeli soldier
Ma’an News Agency 7/22/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an - The Israeli army said on Tuesday that they detained a 27-year-old Palestinian man for plotting to stab an Israeli soldier near Jerusalem. They stated that they detained him on Monday at Ar-Ram checkpoint to the north of Jerusalem. After searching him they say they found a knife. The man has apparently admitted that he was carrying it with the intention of stabbing an Israeli soldier. [end]

VIDEO - 16 injured in Jerusalem digger attack
The Guardian 7/22/2008
A Palestinian in a mechanical digger causes havoc in central Jerusalem, injuring up to 16 people before being shot dead in a near-identical repeat of an attack three weeks ago. [end]

Tel Aviv rally in honor of Gilad Shalit draws hundreds
Yuval Azoulay and Jack Khoury, Ha’aretz 7/23/2008
Hundreds of people gathered at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square Tuesday evening at a rally in honor of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit. Shalit was kidnapped by Palestinian militants in June 2006 and has been held captive in the Gaza Strip for over two years. Shalit’s company was discharged on Tuesday after formally completing their three years of mandatory service. Their first steps as reservists were to walk the nine kilometers that separate the Bakum base in Tel Hashomer from the Defense Minister’s Bureau in the Kirya military compound in the heart of Tel Aviv. Shalit’s comrades met with Ehud Barak and asked him - as someone who once served as a commanding officer - to work toward achieving their friend’s release. They said that the meeting was pleasant, and that Barak told them efforts are underway to secure Shalit’s freedom.

Barak to Shalit’s friends: We must do everything to bring him back
Sharon Navot, YNetNews 7/22/2008
Defense Minister Barak meets captive soldier’s comrades who Tuesday completed IDF service term - Helping a friend:Some of Gilad Shalit’s IDF comrades arrived at the Tel HaShomer IDF base Tuesday to hand back their military equipment and officially complete their military service. Immediately following their release, Shalit’s friends made their way to the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv and met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak. At the start of the meeting, Barak told the seven young men that "as a commander in the army in the past and present, I see a moral duty"¦to do everything that can be done so we can bring Shalit back home. " Shalit’s friends march to Defense Ministry (Photo: Ofer Amram)Following the meeting, Shalit’s friends were scheduled to head to the rally in support of Gilad at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square.

Gilad Shalit’s comrade: Our friend has been left behind
Moran Zelikovich, YNetNews 7/22/2008
Hundreds of people, including IDF comrades, take part in Gilad Shalit protest rally in Tel Aviv - Hundreds of people arrived at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square Tuesday evening in order to take part in a protest rally on behalf of abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. The protest was organized by Shalit’s army comrades, who completed their three-year military service earlier in the day. Gilad’s father, Noam Shalit, thanked his son’s friend and noted that instead of going to the beach or flying abroad, they chose to march from an IDF base near Tel Aviv to Rabin Square. "We are standing here and thinking about how Gilad would act, what he would do, what he would say and think"¦after finishing the army, but we can’t find an answer," Noam Shalit said. "We haven’t spoken to him for two years and sadly we are disconnected from him.

Obama in Israel / Just a sideshow
Aluf Benn, Ha’aretz 7/23/2008
Not since Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral has Israel hosted as many senior officials from abroad as it has this year. There was U. S. President George W. Bush (twice), German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. And yet, the visit by presumptive U. S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama, who landed here for a lightning stay last night, has aroused more interest than any of them. Even more than Carla Bruni. Four months ago, presumptive Republican candidate Senator John McCain visited Israel, and created a precedent. It was the first time a U. S. presidential candidate came to the Middle East in the midst of the campaign. But the 2008 race for the White House is different. It brings together two generations, two social groups, and two approaches for dealing with the world’s problems.

’Political solution’ needed in Iraq says Obama
PA, The Independent 7/22/2008
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said today a "political solution" was needed for Iraq so US troops could concentrate on the war in Afghanistan. Mr Obama, who has visited US troops, military commanders and political leaders in both Afghanistan and Iraq this week, said the situation in Afghanistan was both "perilous and urgent". He added that al Qaida and the Taliban there were "plotting new attacks against the United States". "We must act now to reverse a deteriorating situation," he said. "We should not wait any longer. " The 46-year-old Illinois senator, who would be America’s first black president if elected in November, was speaking in Amman, Jordan, at his first press conference on his highly-publicised trip abroad. He said he was "extremely impressed" by the "extraordinary" dedication, devotion and skill shown by the troops.

Barack Obama in Jordan for talks with King Abdullah
Elana Schor, The Guardian 7/22/2008
Barack Obama in Jordan for talks with King Abdullahguardian. co. ukBarack Obama headed to Jordan today to tackle the next diplomatic challenge on his foreign tour: balancing support for a future Palestinian state with a strong defence of Israel. Obama is expected to visit King Abdullah in Amman for talks and a formal dinner before moving on to Israel for two days. On arriving in Jordan, he commented on the Iraqi prime minister’s recent approval of his goal to withdraw most US troops within 16 months after taking office. "I welcome the growing consensus in the United States and Iraq for a timeline," Obama said, emphasising that he did not support a "precipitous" military pullout, the prospect of which has raised alarms in Iraq and the US. If Abdullah opts to test Obama’s fortitude on the Middle East during their meeting, the Democratic. . .

Abbas discusses peace process with Peres
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 7/23/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres on Tuesday at Peres’s official residence in Occupied Jerusalem to review developments in the peace process between the two sides. In a first for Abbas, the largely ceremonial Israeli president greeted him with a red carpet and Palestinian flags flying. In the past, Abbas has been received either at the offices of the Israeli Cabinet or the official residence of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. After the meeting, Peres told journalists: "We discussed the peace efforts. We hope to reach a true peace based on mutual understanding, culture and economic development; a peace that will permit both peoples to coexist peacefully in two states. "But Palestinian MP Ziad Abu Ziad played down the significance of the 20-minute encounter.

Abbas warns: PA forces to be pulled out of West Bank if IDF raids persist
Haaretz Service and Reuters, Ha’aretz 7/23/2008
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned on Tuesday that he would withdraw his forces from West Bank cities unless the Israel Defense Forces halted their frequent raids into these areas. Such a step would be a serious setback to U. S. -backed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and perhaps even signal that Abbas is giving up on efforts to achieve a deal. Parallel to negotiations with Israel, Abbas has been trying to exert more control in the West Bank and to rein in militants. At the same time, the international community is training Abbas’ forces, with hopes they will one day take over from Israel in maintaining order throughout the territory. In recent months, Abbas has deployed forces in two of the unruliest towns, Nablus and Jenin, and residents once harassed by vigilante gunmen say they feel more secure.

Abbas to order forces to pull out if Israel continues attacks on the West Bank
Rami Almeghari, International Middle East Media Center News 7/22/2008
In a meeting with several Fatah lawmakers in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, hinted Tuesday at possible pull out of Palestinian Authority’s police forces from the various West Bank areas unless Israel halts actions against the West Bank. Sources close to the meeting said that the Palestinian President would bring the issue to a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, expected later on Tuesday. Over the past two weeks, the Israeli army has been carrying out sporadic attacks on West Bank cities, particularly Nablus city, which falls under the Palestinian Authority’s jurisdiction. Abbas considers such Israeli attacks as a ’threat to his standing in the West Bank’, as peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis are underway. On Monday, the Israeli army conducted arrests of Palestinian businessmen and lawmaker, Mona Mansour of Hamas, in the West Bank city of Nablus.

Gillerman bids UN farewell: Israel will prevail
Yitzhak Benhorin, YNetNews 7/22/2008
Israeli Ambassador Gillerman bids United Nations farewell in emotional speech; Israel contributes to mankind everyday, he says, adds that he is most frightened by Muslim world’s ’eerie silence’ in face of terrorism - WASHINGTON- Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, delivered his farewell speech to the Security council Tuesday, expressing his appreciation to international representatives but assuring them that "Israel will prevail" regardless of their decisions. Gillerman prepared a written speech ahead of his appearance, but told those present that he decided to "speak from his heart" instead. Gillerman SpeaksGillerman: Hamas may obtain WMDs / ’Real fear is that Iran will provide terror organizations like Hamas, Hizbullah with weapons of mass destruction,’ outgoing Israeli ambassador to UN says, adding ’ Israel should. . .

Olmert lawyers describe Talansky testimony as ’a joke’
Ron Bousso, Daily Star 7/23/2008
Agence France Presse OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Lawyers for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert renewed efforts on Tuesday to discredit an elderly Jewish-American millionaire whose testimony in a graft probe threatens to unseat the premier. Morris Talansky, who testified in May to having given Olmert about $150,000 before he became premier in 2006, has faced a blistering cross-examination since last Thursday. Olmert’s lawyers have punched several holes in his story, exposing contradictions, accusing him of lying and frequently leaving him confused, nervous and frustrated. On Talansky’s fifth and final day in court lawyers questioned him about his political views and reasons for supporting Olmert as mayor of Occupied Jerusalem in the 1990s, exposing more apparent contradictions. "You went to some Jews or donors abroad and you presented to them that one should vote for Olmert in. . .

Olmert’s party alters charter to hold primary
Middle East Online 7/22/2008
JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s centrist Kadima party has voted to change its charter to pave the way for a September primary that could replace him, the party said on Tuesday. The decision won by a narrow vote Monday night, with just 91 of the 180 members of the party’s central committee supporting the motion. The exact date of the September primary has not yet been fixed, but candidates were expected to formally announce their decision to run in the middle of August. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is the frontrunner to replace Olmert, who has been dogged by six corruption investigations since he took power in 2006 and faces mounting calls to step down. Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit, and Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz are also expected to compete, and Olmert himself has not ruled out running despite his soaring unpopularity in recent polls.

MK Rivlin: Don’t revoke Bishara’s pension funds
Amnon Meranda, YNetNews 7/22/2008
Right-wing party representative surprisingly opposes revoking former Balad chairman’s Knesset allowance, saying such an act would harm country’s democratic foundations - Former Balad Chairman Azmi Bishara received unexpected support in the Knesset on Tuesday, as Knesset Member Reuven Rivlin (Likud) referred to the opinion letter presented by the Knesset’s legal advisor, Nurit Elstien, on the revocation of Bishara’s monthly pension fund. Speaking at the Knesset’s House Committee, Rivlin said, "If we revoke his rights due to suspicions, this will harm the foundations of democracy in the deeper sense of the word. The legal adviser was right regarding the importance of democracy. " On Monday, Ynet revealed that Attorney Elstein sharply criticized the bill requesting to revoke the monthly pension funds paid to Bishara, who was interrogated a few time for allegedly assisting Hizbullah.

Livni calls for national unity government
Attila Somfalvi, YNetNews 7/22/2008
Foreign minister says national unity government the right move in face of current situation - A call for unity:Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who is competing for Kadima’s leadership, called Tuesday evening for the establishment of a national unity government. "The situation we’re facing is not simple and a national unity government is the most appropriate move," she said. "Anyone who’s interested is invited to join. " Livni, who delivered her speech at a meeting in the town of Hadera, also addressed the Jerusalem bulldozer attack that took place earlier in the day. "In Israel we have a license to work, not a license to kill," she said. Turning her attention to the fact the terrorist who carried out the attack came from east Jerusalem, the foreign minister said: "These terror attacks are severe, even if in this incident it ended less terribly than it did the last time.

Friedmann: Leaks from PM’s investigation gone out of control
Yonat Atlas, YNetNews 7/22/2008
Enraged by leaks to press, Olmert’s attorneys demand another rep from justice ministry’s police investigation unit on case. "˜Leaks are outrageous,’ says lawyer, asking attorney general to launch immediate criminal probe against "˜informers’ -Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann referred Tuesday to the leaks from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s investigation, saying that "it appears things have gone out of control. " Friedmann spoke at the Agricultural Center of the Ramat Negev Regional Council. He also addressed the indictment planned to be filed against former PresidentMoshe Katsav, saying that "any procedure which has begun must be completed within reasonable time. " While Friedmann gave his speech, the Jerusalem District Court held the cross-examination of key witness Morris Talansky.


Why in a stated Democracy are political and social groups, academics and thinkers, squelched?
Amin Abu Wardeh, Palestine News Network 7/22/2008
      Nablus -- The Israeli Association for Civil Rights is condemning illegal actions performed by Shin Bet, an internal Israeli security organization that uses abduction and torture of Palestinians in its investigations.
     The group, which is non-partisan and aims to protect civil and human rights, sent a letter to the Israeli Attorney General in the wake of increasing unlawful investigation of political activists, groups, and journalists. The investigations are illegal as a result of the ambiguous nature of the term "conspiracy" in Israeli law.
     The ACRI had previously demanded that Israelis desist from conducting illegal and oppressive interrogations. The investigations do no more than instill fear in those involved and deter them from exercising their political, legal, and democratic rights. Another letter, sent in early June, called for the Attorney General’s intervention based on work and investigations done by Physicians for Human Rights.

Who Wants a Solution?

Ali Jarbawi, MIFTAH 7/21/2008
      Why is it that all Arab initiatives to bring about dialogue between Fateh and Hamas have failed to produce the intended result? Why is it that even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ own initiative failed to yield what was expected of it? Is it because behind all the sweet public announcements by Hamas and Fateh about their "readiness to talk" lies a fundamental lack of interest? Or is it because Arab intervention has not been as serious as it should be if it is to replicate the Arab-sponsored Doha mediation between the Lebanese political factions? Is it actually because of an Israeli-American veto on any rapprochement between Fateh and Hamas that would lead once again to the inclusion of the latter in the Palestinian Authority without it unequivocally accepting the conditions laid down by the Quartet?
     It would seem that a combination of these three explanations contributes to continued stagnation on the Palestinian scene. Beginning from the end, there is indeed an Israeli-American veto that plays a significant role in influencing the PA and many Arab capitals. It is rather obvious that Israel wants to impose a settlement on the Palestinians. For Israel the real issue is not the Gaza Strip, but East Jerusalem and the West Bank of which it wants to annex a good portion. In line with its policy of "divide and conquer", Israel’s interest is best served by a deepening of the internal Palestinian rift. It believes that Abbas (Abu Mazen) is weak, and his party, Fateh, is in a state of disarray. This means Israel can continue negotiating with Abu Mazen while creating facts on the ground through its settlement policy. Israel does not actually care if Hamas is content ruling Gaza; rather it might prefer it as long as a truce holds and rockets are not fired at Israeli towns. Israel might even be entertaining the idea that Hamas is more amenable than Abu Mazen and Fateh to accept a future "interim solution" with a "temporary Palestinian state". The US administration will go along with whatever Israel decides it wants.

Duplicity without borders

Hossein Askari, Asia Times 7/23/2008
      British Prime Minister Gordon Brown speaks to the Israeli parliament, talking of peace and vowing to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. United States President George W Bush promises to protect US allies in the Middle East from external aggression. French President Nicholas Sarkozy assures Israel of his country’s unflinching support and protection to live in peace.
     Western leaders pledge their opposition to nuclear proliferation and promise to protect all countries from attack; they declare a goal of peace and stability in the Middle East, and promise to work tirelessly for a more democratic Middle East that embraces the rule of law. This is what they say.
     These same leaders sell billions of dollars in sophisticated and deadly weaponry to their client states in the Middle East. They sell weapons of mass destruction to those whom they support to use against adversaries. They, and their regional allies, even threaten the use of tactical nuclear weapons against perceived enemies. They invade countries without legal basis. They trample the Geneva Convention. They support covert operations. They threaten regime change against those who don’t follow their line. They support all manner of tyrants to promote their short-term interests, robbing millions of their freedom. This is what they do.

Boycott group: Israeli-British academic project politically motivated

Press release, PACBI, Electronic Intifada 7/22/2008
      The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel deplores the unabashed pro-Israel bias of UK officialdom displayed during Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s visit to occupied Jerusalem. Brown’s pro-forma criticism of Israeli colonizing activities notwithstanding, the visit became an occasion to underline the UK government’s prejudice in favor of Israeli policies of apartheid, dispossession and colonial expansionism. Instead of pressuring Israel to fulfill its obligations under international law, Brown bent over backwards to reward Israel in an arena in which it prides itself, that of academic and scientific research, despite ample evidence indicating the Israeli academy’s complicity in the state’s occupation and apartheid policies.
     Media reports have made it abundantly clear that the 20 July Israeli-British announcement of the establishment of the Britain-Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership (BIRAX) is politically motivated. The project, described by The Independent (UK) as "a major new academic exchange program, which will help to undermine attempts to boycott Israeli universities," is meant specifically to undercut UK, Palestinian and international academics’ calls for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. It lends political and material support to the Israeli effort to maintain a veneer of respectability in the world academic community, a community increasingly unwilling to do business as usual with the Israeli academy. Not only have Israeli universities built organic partnerships with the state’s military-security establishment responsible for maintaining the occupation and other forms of Israeli oppression, they have also failed for decades, as have all Israeli academic unions and professional associations, to take a public stand against the most profound Israeli military violations of the Palestinian right to education.

PSC: Ask Gordon Brown why he fails to condemn the occupation and ignores the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) on its 60th anniversary

Palestine Solidarity Campaign, International Solidarity Movement 7/22/2008
      Prime Minister Brown’s speech to the Knesset was a declaration of support for the Zionist project of dispossession and subjugation and a betrayal of the Palestinian people’s legitimate hopes for recognition of their human and national rights. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is dismayed that he failed to mention the ethnic cleansing wreaked on the Palestinians, when 13,000 Palestinians were killed and 750,000 Palestinians forced from their homes, it what is known as the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) to create the state of Israel.
     Mr. Brown spent two thirds of his address to the Knesset laying out his emotional, historical and political commitment to Israel referring to two thousand year old alleged rights while ignoring the ongoing crimes of the state of Israel; the illegal Wall; the land grabs; the killing and injuring; the 11 thousand political prisoners. While mentioning terrorist attacks against Israelis, he failed to mention the daily terror inflicted on Palestinians by the military and settlers - in recent weeks three incidents of brutality against Palestinian civilians would have been ignored by Israel, if they have not been captured on video and broadcast round the world. While praising the Israeli state for its commitment to the education of its citizens, he failed to condemn it for suppressing the Palestinian right to education.

Revealing a Massacre, or Stating the Obvious

Ramzy Baroud, Middle East Online 7/22/2008
      For some folks interested in genealogy, tracing one’s roots is a stimulating activity. It’s immensely interesting and meaningful to learn where one’s life started. DNA testing has made it possible to trace one’s roots back many generations and there are even free web sites that can help users trace their family history based on a few simple clues.
     Recent findings in my own personal history have been interesting indeed. The present task of tracing my family roots was inspired by a book project with Pluto Press, narrating the story of my father, as once a fighter from Gaza who died recently under tragic circumstances in the same refugee camp to which he was expelled, along with his family sixty years ago.
     Just weeks into my research, I found myself stumbling into the details of a massacre, one that is conveniently overshadowed by the dust of the battle, the rigidity of academic research and the lack of media access of those who have survived.

Huffington Post: Susan Sarandon’s double standards

Omid Memarian, Huffington Post, International Solidarity Movement 7/20/2008
      Susan Sarandon has expressed surprising unwillingness to denounce her support for the Israeli Billionaire, Lev Leviev, who is has been criticized by a variety of NGOs for his involvement in building settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
     In 2004, the ICJ declared both current Israeli settlements and the wall Israel is building inside the West Bank to facilitate future settlements inside the West Bank to be illegal under international law.
     UNICEF has recently rejected all offers of partnerships and financial support from him. Lev Leviev had previously sponsored UNICEF fundraising events in France, and his support of UNICEF is featured in several places on his company’s website.
     But it seems that Susan Sarandon, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, has decided not to follow UNICEF’s lead and cut all ties with Leviev. As recently as Nov. 13th, 2007, Sarandon appeared as a guest at Leviev’s New York jewelry store gala.

How I’ve come to know Gilad Shalit

Simon Black, Palestine Think Tank 7/22/2008
      Media humanize Israeli soldier, but what of Palestinians?
     I know Gilad Shalit. Not personally, but I could tell you what he looks like, his age, where he went to school, his hometown, his father’s name, what his father looks like, and how he weeps for his son.
     I know that this is not the first time that the Shalit family has felt the emotional impact of armed conflict. I know that during the Arab-Israeli war, Gilad’s uncle, Yoel, was killed.
     I know that Gilad’s brother is named after Yoel. I know that his brother attends university in Haifa and is worried about him. I know that Gilad is being held by Palestinians after his army outpost was raided and Gilad was captured.
     I know that Gilad is the first Israeli soldier captured by Palestinians since 1994. I know Gilad’s friends describe him as a peaceful and quiet young man.
     .... What I do not know is the names and faces of the hundreds of Palestinian children held in Israeli jails.