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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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31 July 2008

Second Palestinian teenager shot by Israeli army within hours
Toni O''Loughlin in Jerusalem and Jonathan Steele, The Guardian 7/31/2008
· 18-year-old boy brain dead after being shot in head - Israel’s army shot an 18-year-old Palestinian in the head in the West Bank town of Ni’ilin, just hours after the village buried a 10-year-old who had also been shot in the head by a soldier. Eyewitnesses said the 18-year-old, Ahmed Yousef Amirah, was shot at close range when a military jeep drove past and an officer fired three rubber bullets at him from within the vehicle. It is the third incident this month in which Israel’s military appears to have deliberately targeted a resident of Ni’ilin, where protests against Israel’s West Bank barrier and violent clashes occur almost daily. Amirah was shot around 7. 30pm, around four hours after 10-year-old Ahmed Moussa was buried in the village cemetery next to his parent’s house. Fighting erupted soon after the funeral when teenage boys used sling shots to fire stones at border police who had blocked one of two entrances to Ni’ilin during the burial.

Israeli settlers hid themselves in the bushes and waited to attack the children
Palestine News Network 7/31/2008
At-Tuwani - Israeli settler attacks in the southern West Bank are on an alarming rise. On Wednesday settlers attacked 14 Palestinian children between the ages six and 12. This is the fourth Israeli settler attack on Palestinian children in a single week. Yesterday’s kids were on their way home from summer camp. They all live in the villages of Tuba and Magher Al Abeed. Five settlers hid themselves along the route of the children and waited. When these young kids approached the settlers began yelling, swearing, and throwing rocks at them. One settler jumped over the settlement fence and chased the children on a path leading to the village of Tuba. The Israeli soldiers assigned to protect the children (Jeep 611019) abandoned the children approximately 500 meters earlier, thereby failing to complete the escort of the children as ordered by the Israeli Knesset.

Baby dies in Gaza after being denied treatment abroad
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – A 3-month-old baby, Ahmad Eid Abu Omar, died in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, after being prevented from traveling abroad for treatment, the Popular Committee Against the Blockade claimed on Thursday. The committee says that this loss brings the death toll caused by the prevention of treatment abroad by the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip to 221. Abu Omar is said to have died from heart failure. The blockade, which has prevented the import of medical supplies and stopped many Gazans from receiving medical treatment outside the Gaza Strip, is now in its fourteenth month. [end]

Siege breaking ship to set sail
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – A boat manned by solidarity activists will set sail from Europe on Friday on its way to Gaza in an attempt to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, Jamal Al-Khudari, Chairman of the People’s committee against the blockade and member ofthe Palestinian Legislative Council confirmed on Wednesday. The boat, carrying 60 activists including a holocaust survivor and a survivor of the Palestinian Nakba (1948 Catastrophe), will leave from an undisclosed port and head to Cyprus and the surrounding islands to collect donations and messages of solidarity with the Palestinian people arriving there on 4 or 5 August. From there it will sail to the Gaza Strip, hoping to arrive there by the 7 August. The waters off the Gaza Strip are patrolled by Israeli naval vessels, and Israel enforces a "Fishing Limit" that is 6 nautical miles (11.

Resistance committees: May need to return to violence
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Resistance groups should consider a return to violence if Israel continues to violate the terms of the truce between Gaza and Israel, Mohammad Al-Baba, a leader of popular resistance committees, a breakaway Fatah faction, said on Thursday. "The truce," he said, "was supposed to ease the suffering by ending the blockade, opening crossings and halting Israeli aggression. "Most resistance groups, he said, agree that this has not been achieved yet. The truce is now in its sixth week and Al-Baba argued that the blockade should have been totally ended by now. In the event that it continues, he said resistance fighters should be ready to "respond and be open to all options. " He also called for the Egyptian mediators of the truce to intervene in order to ensure the full implementation of the truce’s terms so that there would be no need for recourse to violence.

’No shortcuts’ or partial agreements in Mideast peace deal - Palestinian negotiator
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 8/1/2008
WASHINGTON: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians agreed in talks Wednesday to strive for a Middle East peace deal without any "shortcuts," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said. "We will not opt for an option of partial agreements, shortcuts or anything short of a full agreement on all issues," Erekat told reporters after he and chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qorei held talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. There have been reports that Rice, who is to travel to the Middle East next month, is anxious to get the two sides to agree on a document of understanding on some key issues, such as borders for a Palestinian state and the right of return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. Such a document was in the cards ahead of the UN General Assembly session in September, some reports suggested, amid growing pessimism about a breakthrough before President George W.

Fatah rounds up dozens of Hamas activists in Occupied West Bank
Daily Star 8/1/2008
Palestinian security forces arrested 15 Hamas activists, including four university lecturers, in the Occupied West Bank, witnesses said on Thursday, while the Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip released an alleged supporter of Fatah who is working as a cameraman for a German television station. Palestinian security officials declined to comment on the latest arrests, which took place in the city of Nablus. But relatives of those detained confirmed the arrests, which were also reported online by a number of pro-Hamas Web sites. Witnesses said four lecturers at Al-Najah University in the city were among those detained by forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction. Tensions between the factions spiked after a series of deadly bombings last week in the Gaza Strip, which Hamas seized from rival Fatah forces a year ago.

Abbas orders release of all detained after Gaza bombings
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Amman- Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered Thursday night the immediate release of all those arrested in response to the Gaza bombing on 25 July. Abbas urged all parties and factions to comply with these orders and to consider the legal and humanitarian cases behind such mass arrests. He said that as he meets with Arab leaders in an attempt to end the state division and create the atmosphere needed for dialogue, it is important to show that all parties are willing to help generate that climate. Security sources have reported that they will act in accordance with the president’s orders and will eventually release all those arrested after the incident in Gaza that saw five Al-Qassam activists killed as well as one little girl.

Abbas orders release of 200 Hamas prisoners in West Bank
Associated Press, Jerusalem Post 7/31/2008
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered release of all the Hamas prisoners his security forces have rounded up in the past few days. His office said the order came late Thursday from Tunis, Tunisia, where Abbas was holding talks. Abbas’s Fatah security forces arrested about 200 Hamas members in the last week. That was a response to a roundup of Fatah members in the Gaza Strip after a blast there killed five Hamas militants. Abbas has called for an end to the internal conflict. Release of the Hamas detainees was seen as a step in that direction.

Hamas waiting for details of Egyptian brokered dialogue before RSVP
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas affirmed Thursday that it received an invitation from Egypt to resume Palestinian internal dialogue. Representatives said that they would reply to the invitation once the parameters of the planned talks are made clear. Hams spokesperson Dr Ismaiel Radwan said that members will decide on their position once the delegation currently in Cairo for talks on prisoner releases returns to the Gaza Strip. He said that the party feels that it will be impossible to kick-start internal dialogue without creating the proper atmosphere for talks. Part of this, he indicated, would be promises to stop terrorist activities like car bombing, and the targeted arrests of civilians and political leaders. In order to think about starting dialogue, Radwan demanded that the Palestinian Authority to stop sweeping arrest campaigns in the West Bank.

Palestine student society and striking workers picket Starbucks
LSE Students Union Palestine Society, Electronic Intifada 7/31/2008
Students and striking local government workers united to picket a London School of Economics (LSE) event in Starbucks on Kingsway, Holborn last week, in opposition to their support for the state of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. The LSE Annual Fund and Alumni Relations departments had teamed up with Starbucks to offer an "afternoon of free coffee and cake tasting for Postgraduates," in a clear attempt by the global coffee chain to undermine the role of the LSE Students’ Union as the primary supplier of refreshments on LSE’s campus. Students have previously expressed outrage at LSE Director Howard Davies’ active support of organizations complicit with Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Davies, a member of the National Council of the Academic Study Group of the Friends of Israel Education Foundation, has previously refused the School’s endorsement of informal links established between LSE academics and Birzeit University in Palestine.

Palestinian teen catches Israeli abuse on camera
Diaa Hadid - NAALIN, West Bank, Middle East Online 7/31/2008
A Palestinian teen tracks Israeli troops with a video camera to document abuse of demonstrators. A community organizer tours West Bank villages with a PowerPoint presentation teaching the art of creative protest. These are just two examples of the increasingly savvy methods Palestinians are using to fight Israel’s West Bank separation barrier — a campaign whose danger was driven home this week by the death of a 10-year-old Palestinian boy. Six years after Israel began building the barrier, Palestinian villagers march almost daily in an attempt to halt construction work that threatens to swallow up thousands more acres of West Bank land. Many protests turn into confrontations between youths hurling rocks and Israeli troops responding with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and at times live fire. The aim is to slow construction, draw media attention and ensure that Israeli. . .

Israeli settlers invade Osh Ghrab Public Park in Beit Sahour
International Middle East Media Center, Palestine Monitor 7/30/2008
Around 70 Israeli settlers invaded Osh Ghrab park in Beit Sahour Wednesday evening and forced international and local volunteers to stop the painting work that they were doing in the site. Around 20 Palestinian and International volunteers were painting the place, which is an abandoned military base, when the settlers car came with four people in. As soon as they saw the painting work, they left. One hour later, the group of settlers came with their backbags, and said that this is an Israeli area that Palestinians are not allowed to be in. They warned that everybody should leave in one minute. The paintings the volunteers made included peace signs, love signs and a sign for a mock Falafel Kiosk, mock bookstore and a mock burger restaurant.

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian houses and cars in Hebron city
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/31/2008
A group of Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian residents and vandalized 15 cars in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday morning. Locals reported that a group of 20 Israeli settlers attacked Hebron city from the nearby Kiryat Are’ settlement. The settlers violently attacked Palestinian cars passing by the road between Wad Al Nasara village and the Israeli settlement. Israeli settlers attacked and damaged 15 cars, hitting them with iron bars and stones and shot gunfire at random. Moreover settlers attacked civilian houses in the village, settlers broke doors and windows in an attempt to break in. Eye witnesses reported that a number of Israeli troops were in the area but they did not intervene and watched while the settlers attacked the Palestinians.

Hamas frees German TV’s cameraman
Associated Press, YNetNews 7/31/2008
Palestinian cameraman working for German broadcaster accused of Fatah ties; released following five days of Hamas-inflicted captivity - A Palestinian cameraman for German broadcaster ARD said he has been freed by the violent Islamic Hamas movement after being held without contact with his family or lawyers for five days in the Gaza Strip. Sawah Abu Seif, 42, told Thehe was released in the early hours of Thursday but refused to say whether he had been abused by his captors. "I’m fine, I’m excellent and I’m at home," he said. Masked Hamas gunmen took Abu Seif from his Gaza home during a mass weekend roundup of alleged activists of the rival Fatah movement. Hamas blamed Fatah for an explosion earlier in Gaza City that killed five Hamas members and a six-year old girl. ARD’s regional bureau chief, Richard C.

De facto Hamas police release Palestinian photojournalist for German TV
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies - Sawwah Abu Seif a Palestinian photojournalist for German TV (ARD) has been released from Hamas custody after being detained on 25 July. The 42-year-old Abu Seif is reported to have been released Thursday morning. The Associated Press has quoted the man as saying "I’m fine, I’m excellent and I’m at home. " Earlier this week ARD closed their Gaza offices in protest over the arrest, saying that "We are sorry to have to make this decision," the station said in a statement, adding that they had decided to "stop operating in the Gaza Strip until Sawwah Abu Seif is released. " Abu Seif was arrested during a wave of arrests of Fatah supported following the bombing of a car belonging to a senior Hamas member that killed five activists and a five-year-old girl.

Hamas releases abducted German TV cameraman
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 7/31/2008
A Palestinian cameraman for German broadcaster ARD says he has been freed by the violent Islamic Hamas movement after being held without contact with his family or lawyers for five days in Gaza. Sawah Abu Seif, 42, toldhe was released in the early hours of Thursday but refused to say whether he had been abused by his captors. "I’m fine, I’m excellent and I’m at home, he said. "Masked Hamas gunmen took Abu Seif from his Gaza home during a mass weekend roundup of alleged activists of the rival Fatah movement. Hamas blamed Fatah for an explosion earlier in Gaza City that killed five Hamas members and a 6-year-old girl. ARD shut down its Gaza Strip office Wednesday to protest the arrest, and ARD bureau chief Richard C. Schneier told the Associated Press that Abu Seif was not active in Fatah.

Ship sets sail to Gaza as Arab conference endorses solidarity day with Gaza
Palestinian Information Center 7/31/2008
BEIRUT, (PIC)-- A grouping of Arab popular committees has declared that Friday 8/8/2008 would be dubbed "The Arab and international day to open the Rafah crossing and break the Gaza siege". The general coordinator of popular committees in Lebanon, Ma’en Bashur, briefed Hamas’s deputy political bureau chairman Dr. Mousa Abu Mazrouk in Cairo on the initiative. Bashur said that Palestinian national unity must be restored on the basis of national concord document, and added that an Arab, international campaign would be soon launched to demand the release of 12,000 Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israeli occupation jails. He pointed out that efforts were underway to prepare for the Arab, international conference on the Palestinian right of return that is scheduled to be held in Damascus in mid November and would be attended by thousands from Arab and foreign countries to highlight RoR.

Two detained PLC members now in Israeli prison hospitals
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Hebron – Ma’an – Member of the Hamas bloc for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Basem Az-Z’areer denounced on Thursday the Israeli interrogators’ attack on imprisoned PLC members en route to Ofer, the Israeli military court. Az-Z’areer charged that integrators intentionally drove well beyond the speed limit, and would suddenly stop, causing injuries among several of the PLC members. After the drive, said Az-Z’areer, PLC members Mohammad Abu Tir and Nayef Ar- Rujub were moved to Ramleh prison hospital. Secretary General of the PLC Dr Mahmoud Ar-Ramahi, Mohamad At-Tal, Khaleel Ar-Rab’i and A’zam Salhab were injured. Az-Za’reer described what happened as "against all laws and morals of countries and governments," he wondered about the role of the human rights organizations in preventing these sorts of injustices.

Ahrar: Four Palestinian women and their husbands imprisoned in Israeli jails
Palestinian Information Center 7/31/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Ahrar center for prisoner studies reported Wednesday that four Palestinian women and their husbands are incarcerated in Israeli jails and banned from seeing each other or their children, and appealed to social institutions to highlight the suffering of these families and to support them. In a press statement received by the PIC, the center said that the four female detainees are not allowed to communicate with their detained husbands even on the phone and are not granted visitations. The statement underlined that the hardest distress the Palestinian families can experience is the detention of both parents and leaving their children without a breadwinner. Fuad Al-Khafsh, head of the center, stated that the IOF troops recently kidnapped the municipal member Kholoud Al Masry and her husband Ammar.

Israeli discrimination harming its Arab women citizens
Middle East Online 7/31/2008
NAZARETH - Israel’s Arab women face high levels of harassment at home and in the workplace, but - thanks partly to some very public scandals - the number of women reporting crimes against them is on the rise. The scandals have "encouraged many women to reveal abuse and [they] know that it can be stopped," the Women Against Violence (WAV) organisation, an Arab non-governmental organisation (NGO) in northern Israel, said. Israel was rocked in the past two years when the former president, Moshe Katsav, and former Minister of Justice Haim Ramon, were accused of sexually harassing young women who worked in their offices. Katsav has since been forced to resign and may yet face rape charges. Israeli Arabs, who constitute about 20 percent of Israel’s population, were also scandalised when a government official at an unemployment centre in Kfar Kana, an Arab village near Nazareth, was. . .

Bil’in Supreme Court Hearing on 3rd August
International Solidarity Movement 7/31/2008
Bil’in Village - On Sunday 3rd August Israel’s Supreme Court will decide if the State of Israel is in contempt of court regarding the withdrawal of the Apartheid Wall from the village of Bil’in. Bil’in is a small village close to Jerusalem near the illegal Israeli settlement of Mod’in Illit. The Apartheid Wall skirts around this illegal settlement and cuts off much of Bil’in’s agricultural land. The wall, which is a quadruple fence and military road in this area, left plenty of space for the settlement to expand; the planned "Mod’in Illit B" building project. On September 4, 2007, the Supreme Court ordered the Israeli authorities to redraw the path of the wall because the current route was deemed "highly prejudicial" to the villagers of Bil’in. The judgement set out four conditions for a new route for the wall, which must:-Leave the land for the planned expansion of the settlement on the Palestinian side of the wall.

Weekly Report: On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory -24 - 29 July 2008
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 7/30/2008
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)IOF killed 2 Palestinians, including a child, in the West Bank. 17 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, and 2 international journalists were wounded by the IOF gunfire in the West Bank. IOF conducted 33 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. IOF arrested 41 Palestinian civilians. IOF shelled and destroyed a house in Hebron. IOF have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT and have isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world. IOF imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians to and from Nablus. A Palestinian woman gave birth at an IOF military checkpoint in Hebron. IOF troops positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank arrested at least 4 Palestinian civilians.

Soldiers Seldom Punished for Attacks on Palestinians: Report
Agence France Presse, MIFTAH 7/31/2008
Only six percent of probes into offences allegedly committed by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank yield indictments, an Israeli rights group said on Wednesday. The report came as the armed forces vowed to investigate the death of a 12-year-old boy Palestinian allegedly shot by Israeli troops during a protest on Tuesday against Israel’s separation barrier in the West Bank. Of a total of 1,246 investigations by the military police into suspected offences against Palestinians or Palestinian property between 2000 and 2007, only 76 ended in indictments, the Yesh Din human rights group said. A total of 132 people were charged, of whom 110 were found guilty of various offences, four were acquitted, eight indictments were annulled and the trials of 10 others are still under way, the report said.

11 arrested in Israeli raids across West Bank
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an - Israeli forces detained 11 Palestinians in raids across the West Bank early on Thursday morning. Israeli sources said that eight "wanted fighters" have been arrested in and around Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus, Jenin and Ramallah, confirming that detainees were transferred to interrogation centers for questioning. Included in those arrested was Rami Ismael Dahoud, a 22 year-old from Jenin, after sources say Israeli forces broke into his house, throwing sound bombs and firing freely causing Dahoud’s father to collapse and be rushed to hospital. Also Thursday morning Israeli forces detained 14-year-old Khalil Mohamed Musleh ’Awad and his 20-year-old brother Mahmoud Mohamed Musleh ’Awad from Beit Ummar, after breaking into their home. The two are accused of resisting Israeli forces. The older of the two boys, Mahmoud, a youth club football player, was shot in the right foot one week ago by Israeli forces.

The Israeli army kidnaps 16 civilians from West Bank cities
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/31/2008
The Israeli army kidnaps 16 civilians on Thursday dawn from the West Bank cities of Jenin , Hebron and Salfit Local sources reported that a number of Israeli vehicles invaded Jenin and started shooting sound bombs and gunfire at random. Israeli troops walked the city;s streets and searched several homes including the residence of Rami Dawahde, 23, kidnapping him and taking him to unknown destination. His family reported that Israeli troops left damages at the house and they caused panic among kids in the family as they shot gunfire and sound bombs. Moreover the father of the kidnapped civilian suffered from a nervous breakdown due to what he saw and was transferred to a local hospital. In Hebron city, Israeli troops kidnapped 13 civilians while searching and ransacking houses in the city, troops closed the city entrance and hindered the movement of civil cars.

Israeli Army arrests three in Tubas
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Jenin – Ma’an – The Israeli army arrested three Palestinians in the Tubas region in the North of the West Bank on Thursday, said Mahmoud Sawaftah, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society in the region. Sawaftah condemned the arrests and said, "these ongoing arrests and invasions into Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps are to weaken all talks over political resolutions and truce. They are aimed at increasing the tension in the region and weakening the Palestinian Authority (PA) since most of these invasions are into areas under the control of the PA. "He called on the International community to pressure on the Israeli government to halt such actions. Those arrested have been named as Ahmad Mustafa Naji Bsharat and A’rafat Mustafa Naji Bsharat from Tamun and Hasan Musa Hamad from Al-Far’aa refugee camp.

Israeli forces abduct Islamic Jihad leader
Ali Samoudi, Palestine News Network 7/31/2008
Jenin -- Israeli forces abducted a leader of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Jenin on Wednesday. "Special Israeli forces disguised in civilian uniforms and driving a white Subaruabducted Samir Jalal Al Qash from the town of Burqin in western Jenin at 9 p. m. Wednesday," another Islamic Jihad member reports. Al Qash had been wanted by Israeli forces for 2 months on the charges of belonging to the Islamic Jihad Movement. Israeli forces previously made two attempts to arrest the man, but he managed to escape both times. An Israeli military campaign has been launched in several northern West Bank towns to find leaders of the Al Quds Brigades. Israeli forces stormed the house of an Al Quds Brigades leader at dawn on Wednesday in the West Bank, destroying the contents of his home.

Young man injured in clashes with Israeli forces east of Tulkarem
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Tulkarem – Ma’an - 21 year-old Mahmoud Rashid Abdul Jabbar Foqaha was shot in the leg by the Israeli forces during clashes in the town of ’Anabta east of Tulkarem northern of the West Bank on Thursday morning. The young man was taken to Dr. Thabet Thabet Hospital in Tulkarem for treatment where medical sources described his condition as stable. Palestinian security sources told our correspondent in Tulkarem that the Israeli army stormed the town at dawn on Thursday and stationed themselves near a gas station in the centre of the town where they were met with resistance from local youths. Israeli forces proceeded to search houses in the area but no one was arrested, the forces withdrew a few hours after they entered the town.

The Israeli army invades West Bank city of Tubas
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/31/2008
Local sources reported that the Israeli army invaded al Far’a refugee camp and Kashda village south of the West Bank city of Tubas on Thursday morning. A number of Israeli military vehicles invaded Al far’a refugee camp and closed its main entrance banning residents from getting in or out the camp. Moreover in Kashda village, located western the refugee camp, Israeli troops searched and ransacked several farm lands leaving some damages. In addition to that Israeli troops centered in the middle of the village but no kidnappings were reported. [end]

The Israeli army shoots Palestinian in Tulkarem city invasion
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 7/31/2008
The Israeli army shot a Palestinian on Thursday dawn in A’nbta village southern of the West Bank city of Tulkarem. Local sources reported that an Israeli military force invaded the village at dawn, Israeli troops shot intensive gun fire shooting Mahmud Abed Al Jabar and then entered the center of the village. Israeli soldiers ransacked several houses in the village but no kidnappings were reported. [end]

Lebanese MAG worker wounded by a cluster bomb is southern Lebanon
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 8/1/0200
A Lebanese citizen working with the Mine Advisory Group (MAG) was moderately wounded on Thursday when a cluster bomb dropped by Israel during the 2006 war detonated near him as he was attempting to disarm landmines in a village in southern Lebanon. The UN worker was identified as Abbas Akout, 29. Most of his wounds were in his hands and feet as the bomb exploded next to him on Thursday morning in Zwatar village, in southern Lebanon. The Israeli army dropped millions of cluster bombs on Southern Lebanon during the July-August war in 2006. Nearly one million cluster bombs failed to explode and now are causing harm to civilians. The MAG center reported that 51 Lebanese military men and international workers were wounded by these bomblets, and more than 250 civilians casualties were reported since the war ended.

Barak tells Ban Resolution 1701 ’not working well’
Compiled by, Daily Star 8/1/2008
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak reiterated on Wednesday that Israel believes United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 is "not working well" because of continued arms smuggling to Hizbullah. "Following a meeting with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Barak said that he emphasized during his talks with the UN chief that the current sanctions against Iran and Resolution 1701 are "basically not working well enough" because Tehran is smuggling into Lebanon "a flow of munitions, rockets and other weapon systems. " Barak’s latest remarks follow a barage of criticism from the Israeli defense minister of the UN resolution, which put an end to the 34-day 2006 war with Israel. After a meeting with US Vice President Dick Cheney in Washington on Monday, Barak had accused Syria of arming Hizbullah and expressed his concern over the party’s increased military capacity.

Arab League: Israeli settlement activity multiplied 12 times since Annapolis
Palestinian Information Center 7/31/2008
CAIRO, (PIC)-- The Arab League on Wednesday said that the Israeli settlement drive in the occupied Palestinian lands has multiplied by 12 fold since the Annapolis peace conference in the USA last November that reached a number of understandings to revive the peace process including halting settlement activity. Ambassador Hisham Yousef, the bureau chief of the Arab League secretary general, said that the League had informed the Security Council member countries on the Arab countries’ draft resolution on Israeli settlement activity. He said that the League told the SC that in the event the resolution was not put to vote at the SC then it would call for a meeting for a SC meeting at the foreign ministerial level on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session. For his part, Ambassador Mohammed Subaih, the Arab League assistant secretary general for Palestine affairs, told reporters. . .

Youths contribute to advancement of Third Temple
Kobi Nahshoni, YNetNews 7/31/2008
Jerusalem’s Temple Institute takes biblical statement "˜build me a Temple and I shall dwell amongst you’ literally, enlisting hundreds of teens for this endeavor - Mourning over the destruction of Jerusalem is normal in the month of Av, but at the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faith Movement all focus is on the "big day"- the day in which the Third Temple will be built. As part of the preparations, hundreds of teenagers are expected to sign the "Temple Treaty" and to proclaim, "We commit to doing everything in our power to abide by this commandment and to devote at least half an hour a week toward this effort. "  In the youth conference conducted by the Temple Institute in the Old City of Jerusalem, scheduled for Thursday, participants will discuss possible plans of action to further the building of the Temple.

Hamas calls on its armed wing to retaliate to Zionist desecration of holy spots
Palestinian Information Center 7/31/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement called Wednesday on its armed wing the Qassam Brigades and the resistance factions in occupied Jerusalem and West Bank to defend the Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem and wage painful strikes against the Israeli occupation in retaliation to its desecration of Islamic holy shrines and its atrocities against the Palestinian people. In a statement received by the PIC on the anniversary of Al-Isra’a and Mi’raaj (the prophetic night journey to the Heaven and the Aqsa Mosque), Hamas renewed its vow to defend the holy Mosque and shrines and to sacrifice everything it has for the sake of liberating all Palestinian lands. Hamas warned that the Israeli occupation is still persistent in its blasphemous attempts to obliterate the Islamic and Christian landmarks in Jerusalem and to eliminate the Palestinian identity according to a carefully-prepared scheme represented. . .

Apartment Building Blown Up - Five Families Made Homeless
International Solidarity Movement 7/31/2008
Jerusalem Region - At approximately 4AM on Monday July 28th, Israeli soldiers and police raided a Palestinian owned apartment block in the district of Beit Hanine in East Jerusalem. After violently evicting the families and international human rights workers present inside, the building was blown up later the same day. According to international law, house demolition is regarded as collective punishment, which is a war crime. About 50 Palestinians from the neighbourhood and 18 international human rights workers had joined the five families living in the building in an attempt to prevent the demolition. The Palestinians chanted "Allah akbar!" in an attempt to simulate a much larger number of people in the building. The ruse failed as an estimated 150-200 armed and masked soldiers and police stormedin with police dogs, sound bombs and tear gas. They dragged women and children out of their homes, kicking and pushing while people tried to avoid the chaos the many soldiers caused in the narrow road that led to the building.

Syrian envoy: Olmert exit could affect peace talks
Reuters, YNetNews 7/31/2008
Israeli PM’s resignation may have impact on indirect peace talks, Syria’s UN ambassador says; source says new round of negotiations expected in mid-August -Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations said on Wednesday theresignation of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert could affect Syria’s indirect peace talks with its arch foe Israel. Asked if Olmert’s announcement could have an impact on the talks,which have been brokered by Turkey, Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari told : "It could do. I hope not. " Earlier on Wednesday a source close to the talks said in Istanbul that the two countries will hold a new round of indirect talks in Turkey in mid-August after failing to move on to face-to-face negotiations. In his dramatic public address Wednesday evening, Olmert said "I want to make it clear - I am proud to be a citizen of a country where the prime minister can be investigated like a regular citizen.

Assad heads for Tehran despite renewed talks with Israel
Dudi Cohen, YNetNews 7/31/2008
Syrian president to meet with President Ahmadinejad next weekend on for talks on Iran’s nuclear program, renewed peace talks with Israel - Syrian President Bashar Assad is expected to head east next weekend for a brief two-day visit in neighboring Iran - Iranian news agency FARS reported on Thursday. Assad is to meet with ally and counterpart, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the agenda will likely center on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and the recently resuscitated peace negotiations betweenDamascus and Jerusalem. Assad will land in Iran next Saturday to considerable stately fanfare. Ahmadinejad himself will head out to meet the Syrian president at the airport upon arrival. He will also meet with Iranian police top brass on various security matters pertaining to the two countries shared region.

Right: Olmert lacks mandate to negotiate peace
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 7/31/2008
Right-wing MKs slam prime minister’s announcement he will continue to pursue peace talks with Palestinians, Syria despite having pledged to step down after Kadima primary elections -Prime Minister Ehud Olmert may have effectively tendered his resignation on Wednesday evening, but in the same breath he also made clear his intention to continue pursuing peace negotiations with Syria and the Palestinian Authority up to his very last moments in office. But while Olmert’s decision to step down garnered praise from across the political spectrum, his diplomatic agenda drew the ire of many in the Knesset both from members of his coalition as well as prominent opposition members who say he can no longer claim a mandate. "The prime minister lacks the public or political legitimacy to continue with the negotiations," Communications Minister Ariel Atias of the Shas party told Ynet.

Abbas vows to pursue peace with any Olmert successor
Compiled by, Daily Star 8/1/2008
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday that he would carry on working with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who has announced that he would resign, and deal with any leader elected in his place as opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu called for early elections. "We will work with any premier elected in Israel and we will continue with Ehud Olmert until the arrival of his successor," Abbas told a news conference at the end of a visit to Tunisia. Abbas called Olmert’s shock resignation an "internal matter" and added that he did not want "to become immersed in Israel’s internal affairs. " Olmert, whose rule has been overshadowed by corruption allegations, announced Wednesday that he would step down as prime minister in September. Abbas also said he doubted there would be any Middle East deal this year.

Livni: We’ll continue to push for peace deal by year’s end
Yitzhak Benhorin, YNetNews 7/31/2008
In first public appearance after PM Olmert’s announcement e will step down after Kadima primaries, foreign minister says she has been striving to reach agreement with Palestinians this year and will continue to do so, calls on all parties to unit behind agenda of Israeli security and peace process - WASHINGTON -Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Thursday that she will continue to push for a peace deal with the Palestinians this year, despite the uncertainty of the domestic political situation. In her first public appearance since Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced e would step down after theKadima primaries, the party premiership candidate said she had been striving to reach an agreement with the Palestinians this year. "We continue to do so," she said. Ahead of Schedule? PM will resign before primaries if indicted, aides say / Attila Somfalvi . . .

MIDEAST: ’Israeli Ways Apartheid Like, In A Way’
Interview with Dennis Davis, High Court Judge in Cape Town, Inter Press Service 8/1/2008
JERUSALEM, Jul 31(IPS) - In Israel’s control of Palestinian movement, Dennis Davis sees a "stark" parallel with the old, apartheid South Africa of which he was an outspoken critic. But Davis, a Justice of the High Court in Cape Town and a prominent member of the South African Jewish community, strongly rejects those who "run from that into an immediate conclusion" that Israel is an apartheid state. Davis, who was also involved in drafting the constitution of post-apartheid South Africa, recently visited Israel and the Palestinian territories as part of a delegation of prominent South African civil rights activists. In its closing statement, the group said it had not come "to bring solutions, or to spend our time here debating solutions," but that it wanted "to learn, and to witness first-hand the suffering, pain, anger and human rights abuses. "

Jordanian intelligence talks with Hamas leadership after 10 years silence
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Jerusalem – Ma’an –Jordanian and Hamas leadership have begun dialogue after severing ties ten years ago according to Israeli TV Channel two’s Thursday night broadcast. Israeli political analyst Ehud Ye’ari said that he considered the news a surprise. The development, he said, "turns around" the current "rules of the game" where dialogue with Hamas was conducted solely with Egyptian intelligence. According to the Israeli TV sources Mohamad Ath-Thahabi, head of Jordanian intelligence, is having discussions with Mohamad Nasir and Mohamad Nazal two of the Hamas leaders who recently visited Amman. Israeli TV did not reveal details of the dialogue. They said, however, that neither Jordan nor Hamas had previously revealed information about the talks, and said that Israeli news sources were the first to publish or broadcast anything on the subject.

Arab media: Peace process suspended in light of Olmert’s announcement
Roee Nahmias, YNetNews 7/31/2008
PM’s dramatic announcement covered by leading Arab news outlets, who say it will likely affect Israeli-Palestinian talks - "Israel and the peace process are awaiting the post-Ehud Olmert era," the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat determined in its headline Thursday in the wake of the Israeli prime minister’s announcement that he would step down following the Kadima primaries in September. The announcement was covered by the leading newspapers in the Arab world, while Arab television stations have already begun to analyze public opinion polls in Israel and estimate who is likely to take over as Kadima chairperson following Olmert’s expected resignation. The leading candidates for the post are

Brigade commander rebuked for Naalin shooting
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 7/31/2008
Judea and Samaria Division Commander marks reprimand in Colonel Aviv Reshef’s personal record following incident in which rubber-coated bullet was fired towards bound Palestinian detainee. Regiment commander says in hearing he did not order soldier to shoot - Judea and Samaria Division Commander, Brigadier-General Noam Tibon, marked a reprimand against Binyamin Brigade commander, Colonel Aviv Reshef, in the latter’s personal record following the incident in the West Bank village of Naalin, in which a rubber-coated bullet was fired towards a bound Palestinian detainee. A hearing was held on Thursday for the regiment commander who ordered the soldier to shoot at the detainee. The officer’s attorneys said their client had not given any such order. The Military Prosecution will decide whether to indict him or not next week.

One dead in family clash in Khan Younis
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Gaza – Ma’an - Palestinian medical sources announced on Thursday the death of a young man in Khan Younis. The death is suspected to be the result of an ongoing family clashes in the city. Medical sources told Ma’an thatKaram Muhammad ’Odeh Al-Masri from Khan Younis was shot in the city and transferred to Hospital. [end]

Livni leads in Kadima race
Globes'' correspondent, Globes Online 7/31/2008
Ministers and MKs will announce their support to the candidates in the coming days. “IDF Radio" (Galei Zahal) reports that Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni has the support of most of Kadima following Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s announcement that he will not seek the premiership in the upcoming party primaries in September. Ministers and MKs will announce their support to the candidates in the coming days. Minister of Finance Ronnie Bar-On, Vice Premier Haim Ramon and MK Tzachi Hanegbi are the center of attention. MKs have already begun consulting to create a bloc of support for one of the candidates. Olmert promise in last night’s speech not to intervene in the primaries affected the candidacy of Minister of Transport Shaul Mofaz, who had counted on Olmert’s support. Mofaz nevertheless told “IDF Radio" this morning that he had a good chance of winning.

Netanyahu calls for new elections
Reuters, YNetNews 7/31/2008
’This government has reached an end and it doesn’t matter who heads Kadima,’ opposition leader says, adding ’national responsibility requires a return to the people’. Ramon: Chances of holding new vote high -Israel’s right-wing Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu called on Thursday for a new parliamentary election after Ehud Olmert pledged to resign following his party’s leadership contest in September. Dogged by corruption scandals, the Israeli prime minister’s decision to bow out of the centrist Kadima party’s leadership contest on Sept. 17 and then step down plunged the Middle East peace talks and Israeli politics into limbo. Recent opinion polls suggest Netanyahu’s Likud party, a critic of Olmert’s peace moves with the Palestinians and Syria, would win a snap election. "This government has reached an end and it doesn’t matter who heads Kadima.

Herzog: We prefer alternate coalition over fresh elections
Attila Somfalvi, YNetNews 7/31/2008
Labor minister says party will try to reach agreement with whoever replaces Olmert as Kadima head on political, economic, security-related issues to avoid general vote, but says disputes over 2009 budget may obstruct move -"We are maintaining our position that forming a new coalition is preferable (to holding new elections)," Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog said Thursday in the wake of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Kadima primaries. Speaking at a Pensioners’ Union conference in Tel Aviv, the Labor minister said "we prefer an alternative government. We won’t intervene in the Kadima primaries, but once they are concluded we will see whether we can reach an agreement with whoever is elected Kadima chairman on social, economic, diplomatic and security-related issues. " However, it is clear to me that in light of the difficulties pertaining to the. . .

Turmoil ahead as Israeli PM prepares to go
Middle East Online 7/31/2008
TEL AVIV - Israel was bracing Thursday for weeks of political turmoil after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s shock announcement that he would step down in September. Wednesday’s announcement opened the way for political jockeying inside Olmert’s centrist Kadima party, which is scheduled to hold a leadership vote on September 17, and renewed calls for snap general elections. "Everyone in this government is responsible for a string of failures. We must let the people decide through new elections," right-wing opposition leader and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu told public radio. Opinion polls indicate that the Likud leader is a favourite to replace the embattled Olmert, whose time in office since early 2006 has been dogged by a string of corruption allegations and dismal popularity ratings. "The End of Olmert’s Era," said the front page of the Maariv newspaper, while. . .

74% of Israelis approve Olmert’s decision to quit
Einav Ben-Yehuda, Globes Online 7/31/2008
The figure is 50% for Kadima voters. The majority of the Israeli public welcomes Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s resignation. A survey by Heker Rating Marketing Research Ltd. on behalf of "Globes" immediately after last night’s announcement found that 44% of respondents were very pleased by the announcement and 30% were pleased. Only 18% were displeased. The survey found that 32% of respondents who plan to vote for Kadima in the next elections were pleased by Olmert’s decision and 12% were very pleased. 21% of Kadima voters were very displeased by the decision and 23% were displeased. Among Likud voters, 54% were very pleased by Olmert’s decision and a further 14% were pleased, while 18% were displeased and 7% were very displeased. Labor Party voters were the most pleased by Olmert’s decision. 31% were very pleased by the decision and a further 38% were pleased, for 79% altogether.

PM will resign before primaries if indicted, aides say
Attila Somfalvi, YNetNews 7/31/2008
Olmert’s dramatic announcement Wednesday failed to note what he may do if indicted before election of successor within Kadima - now associates say he will resign, or suspend himself from office to keep political turmoil at bay -Less than a day after announcing he would not take part in the upcoming Kadima primary elections, and step down to make way for his successor, aides close toPrime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Thursday that should the Prosecution choose to indict him before the primaries, he would immediately tender his resignation. Olmert made no reference to the possibility of being indicted before a new chairman is elected to take his place at the helm of Kadima. The primaries scheduled for September 17th. However the resignation of a prime minister could potentially hurl the political system into utter chaos, forcing President Shimon Peres to task an ’outside’ MK with the job of forming a government.

PCHR Gravely Concerned over the Deterioration of the Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 7/30/2008
PCHR is gravely concerned over the continuous deterioration in the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory caused by Palestinian security services in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including attacks against civil society organizations, political arrests campaigns and attacks against journalists. PCHR calls upon the two Palestinian governments in Gaza and Ramallah to stop such human rights violations and to ensure respect for the Basic Law and international human rights standards. Security services of the government in Gaza have continued their attacks against civil institutions belonging to Fatah movement in the Gaza Strip. The latest of such attacks was on Tuesday, 29 July 2008, as security services ordered the closure of Rafah Service Club in Rafah for the second time in 2 days, and Sharek Youth Forum in Gaza City.

PA detain 13 Hamas members in Nablus
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Nablus - Ma’an - Palestinian security forces detained thirteen Hamas members in Nablus on Thursday, Palestinian sources told Ma’an. Those arrested include Mohammad Ghazal a prominent Hamas leader, Ra’ed Nu’eirat head of the political science department at An-Najah University, Sharif Masamih a physics professor in the university and Mazen Dweikat. These arrests come after a week of tit-for-tat arrests by both the de facto(Gaza) and the caretaker (West Bank) governments, after Hamas began arresting Fatah members in the aftermath of the Gaza bomb that killed six on 25 July for which they lay the blame at Fatah’s door. [end]

Representatives of Palestinian President and caretaker government fail to show at poverty conference
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – The representatives of the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and of the Caretaker government did not attend the opening session of the National conference on Palestinian poverty as was planned, causing anger amongst the delegates in Nablus on Thursday. Dr Rafeeq Al-Husieni, the Presidents representaive and the representative of the care taker government, Dr Mahmoud Al- Habash failed to show up to the conference to discuss the main causes of poverty in Palestine and the possible solutions, despite their assurances that they would attend the event held at An –Najah University in the Northern West Bank city of Nablus. Isam Ad-Dib’ee, the director of Al Mustaqbal, the organisers of the conference, strongly criticized all of those within the Palestinian community that had failed to support the conference.

Abbas states presidential and PLC elections to be held simultaneously
Palestinian Information Center 7/31/2008
CAIRO, (PIC)-- PA chief Mahmoud Abbas stated Wednesday that the presidential and legislative elections might be held simultaneously ignoring that there are still two years before the expiration of the current democratically-elected PLC and that his term of office will end next January.  In a press statement to the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, PA chief said that he is against the armed resistance and intifada and all for negotiations with the Israeli occupation which have been taking place for about 17 years. Regarding the inter-Palestinian dialog, PA chief explained that his dialog call was for implementing the Arab initiative and not for dialog, adding that Egypt will hold separate meetings with Palestinian factions to hear their positions in order to avoid repetition of any dispute like the one that occurred on the Sana’a declaration.

Hamas warns of the consequences of escalation against its cadres in WB
Palestinian Information Center 7/31/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement on Thursday warned of the repercussions of escalating the campaign of arrests in lines of its cadres and supporters in the West Bank at the hands of PA security apparatuses loyal to PA chief Mahmoud Abbas. Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in a press statement that the PA security elements last night rounded up 44 Palestinians from the Nablus city alone. He charged that the arrests focused on academicians and students and included one of the Hamas political leaders Dr. Mohammed Ghazal. The new wave of arrests is a "serious escalation" against Hamas, Abu Zuhri said, warning of the consequences of such practice that fell in line with security coordination with the Israeli occupation under the supervision of the American General Keith Dayton, which is carried out in a bid to liquidate Hamas in the West Bank.

Opposition factions meet de facto minister of the interior in Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Parties split from Fatah and the Popular front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) met Thursday with de facto minister of the interior for the Hamas-led government in Gaza Sa’id Siyam. The main topic of conversation for the group was the latest bombing on 25 July which killed five Al-Qassam Brigades members, the armed wing of Hamas, and a child on the Gaza beach. The An-Naser Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) which is an amalgam of factions affiliated with Hamas, Fatah split-offs and independent groups, said in a statement that "it has been confirmed that the crisis unit[which monitors Israeli violations of the truce in Gaza] will continue to function. "A spokesman added that all of the factions in the PRC the bombings in the Gaza Strip, and urge authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice as soon as possible.

Hamas: will take necessary steps to protect members in West Bank
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – According to a Hamas statement the Palestinian Authority (PA) arrest of one of its most prominent leaders Dr Mohmad Nazal is a dangerous escalation in tactics. The statement was released on Thursday and warned of consequences of this escalation. The statement was given by Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri, who said "the continued sweeps of arrests carried out by PA security forces against the leaders of the movement in the West Bank have reached on Wednesday night a total of 44. "He said that the arrests targeted the people of the city of Nablus, particularly academics and students. Abu Zuhri revealed that Dr Mohamad Ghazal, another prominent leader, was also arrested this past week. Abu Zuhri affirmed that Hamas will examine the PA actions closely, and says that it suspects coordination with Israeli forces, which have also ramped up arrests this week.

Khuraisha calls on Abbas to curb his security apparatuses in W. Bank
Palestinian Information Center 7/31/2008
RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- Hasan Khuraisha, the first deputy speaker of the PLC, called on PA chief Mahmoud Abbas to curb his security apparatuses and to stop the political arrests in the West Bank while deploring the criminal operation which claimed the lives of Palestinian citizens in the Gaza beach last Friday. Khuraisha called for forming an investigative committee adopting transparency and clarity to discover the party responsible for this crime and announce the results before the Palestinian people. The MP called on the PA chief to make his call for dialog unambiguous and serious, castigating the return of media campaigns in the same boring way used to be before. He strongly denounced the Arab League, Egypt and Yemen for their hesitation in calling for dialog between Hamas and Fatah, calling on these parties to exercise pressures on the Palestinian rivals to initiate dialog.

Abbas calls for investigation into Gaza bombing, unity talks to go ahead
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Tunis – Usama Abdellah/Ma’an - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his demands for the formation of an Investigative Committee formed by members of the civil society to investigate the 25 July bombing of a car in Gaza which killed 6, and affirms talks on prisoner swap going ahead. The president’s statements came during a press conference held in the Tunsia airport on Thursday. During his speech Abbas spoke of negotiations with Israel, saying "a Palestinian delegation is now in the United States holding bilateral talks with the American side and trilateral ones attended by the Israeli side aiming to push the Palestinian- Israeli negotiations forward. " He affirmed that there are six issues on the negotiating table at the moment, and each are of equal importance. Abbas said that he will meet soon in Cairo to begin unity talks, which will be based on the Arab initiative and that of Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Celebrating the Nakba and Making Money At It
Michelle J. Kinnucan, Palestine Chronicle 7/30/2008
How can you celebrate? On Thursday, August 21, 2008, one of the country’s wealthiest communities will celebrate the Nakba--the violent ethnic cleansing and colonization of Palestine in 1948--in a poor neighborhood in Detroit. And if all goes well, a large group of folks, representing metro Detroit’s large Black and Arab communities and other Palestinian solidarity activists, will be on hand to nonviolently send the message that triumphal celebrations of racism and genocide will not go unchallenged in Detroit. Detroit’s State Fair neighborhood is named after the entity that dominates its landscape--the state-owned Michigan State Fair and Exposition Center (MSFEC). Last year, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit (JFMD) finalized a contract with the State of Michigan for the use of the fairgrounds. The contract was memorialized in a letter, a copy of which was obtained through the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus found in Israeli cities
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an - Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus have been discovered in the Netanya and Taibeh cities in the north of Israel, the Israeli ministry of environment announced on Wednesday. The ministry called on residents of that area to ensure that there are no stagnant reserves of water around their houses and to report any news regarding this infected insect. They also advised people to protect themselves with mosquito nets and repellent. West Nile virus is normally only found in tropical climates and this announcement will add to fears that many illnesses may creep northward with the onset of climate change. The virus is serious but is rarely fatal, resulting in sever fever and vomiting.

Wataniya gets spectrum for Palestinian mobile network
Gad Peretz, Globes Online 7/31/2008
Israeli firms will apparently carry out infrastructure work. The Ministry of Communications has completed the allocation of wireless frequencies to the Palestinian Authority, which will allocate them for a second wireless network in its territory. Wataniya Telecom subsidiary Wataniya Palestine Mobile Telecommunications Company today announced that it had been notified by the Palestinian Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology that an agreement had been reached for spectrum to be allocated to the Palestinian Authority. Wataniya Palestine will establish a second mobile network alongside Palestine Cellular Communication Ltd. (Jawwal). The Palestinian Authority is allocating the frequencies to Wataniya because Israel is not prepared to allocate them to companies operating in the territories. Sources said that the network will not be set up in the Gaza Strip because Israel refuses to speak with the Hamas government.

Third of Jerusalem’s Jewish population plans move soon
Globes correspondent, Globes Online 7/31/2008
Less than half of the country’s population does not plan to move home. A survey by Heker Rating Marketing Research Ltd. on behalf of "Globes" has found that 15% of Israel’s Jewish population intends to move home next year, and a further 10% say they will be moving within the following two years. 15% of those polled are planning to move home within a year or less, 7% plan to move in the next two years, 3% will move within two to three years, and 14% have plans to move but do not intend to do so in the next three years. The firmest figure in the survey is the 15% of respondents who intend to move next year, since this would indicate that they have already have concrete plans to move. On the other hand, it is possible that the 10% who stated they would be moving within one to three years may be joined by others who still don’t know at present when they expect to be moving.

Jobseeker figures rise
Ran Rimon, Globes Online 7/31/2008
The number of jobseekers has risen for the first time in three years. There were 188,400 jobseekers in June, compared with 181,000 in May and 197,900 in June 2007, the Israel National Employment Service reports. The figures do not include seasonal factors such as holidays. Seasonally adjusted figures show that the number of jobseekers has risen for the first time in three years. Trend figures show that the unemployed persons rose by 0. 3% to 169,800 in June, from 169,200 in May. On the other hand, the number of help-wanted requests processed by the Employment Service totaled 23,100, compared with 22,400 in June 2007, and 9,400 people were placed in jobs, compared with 8,900 in the corresponding month last year.

Barak to UN chief: No options excluded on Iran atom program
Reuters, YNetNews 7/31/2008
Israeli defense minister tells Ban harsh economic penalties needed against Tehran, Hizbullah rearmament may undermine stability in Lebanon -Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Wednesday that tough sanctions should be used to preventIran from developing nuclear weapons and added that no options should be excluded. Speaking to reporters after a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Barak said he told Ban that harsh economic penalties were needed against Tehran. "We emphasized to the secretary-general our expectation that the world community will take coherent, consulted, coordinated action to put an end to the Iranian action in the area of military nuclear technologies," Barak said. He added he told Ban, "We believe that no options should be removed in this regard from the table.

POLITICS-US: Neocon Flap Highlights Jewish Divide
Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service 7/30/2008
WASHINGTON, Jul 30(IPS) - A mushrooming media controversy pitting neoconservatives against a prominent Jewish-American political commentator could mark a new stage in the growing battle over who speaks for the U. S. Jewish community on foreign policy issues, particularly regarding the Middle East. TIME columnist Joe Klein’s accusations that Jewish neoconservatives, who played a particularly visible role in the drive to war in Iraq and have since pushed for military confrontation in Iran, sacrificed "U. S. lives and money. . . to make the world safe for Israel" have spurred angry charges of anti-Semitism and personal attacks from critics at such neoconservative strongholds as the Weekly Standard, National Review, and Commentary. But the fierceness of the controversy surrounding Klein, generally considered a political centrist, highlights the growing antagonism between neo-conservative hardliners and prominent U.

The ’down side’ to an attack on Iran
Jim Lobe, Asia Times 8/1/1908
WASHINGTON - Amid rising speculation about the possibility of an Israeli or United States bombing attack on Iranian nuclear facilities earlier this month, a major study produced for the US Air Force by a top defense think-tank concluded that US military action against Iran was "likely to have negative effects for the United States". The study, by the Rand Project Air Force, a division of the California-based Rand Corporation, was released on July 9, the same day that Tehran test-fired medium- and long-range missiles in an apparent response to reports the previous week that Israel had carried out secret exercises designed to simulate a raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities the previous month. Amid all the fireworks, however, the report, which also called for a multi-faceted strategy designed to encourage democratic development in Iran, was ignored by the mainstream media.

MIDEAST: Arabs Despair of U.S. Even More
Analysis by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani, Inter Press Service
CAIRO, Jul 31(IPS) - For decades, the U. S. has jealously guarded its role of sole arbiter of the Arab-Israeli dispute. In light of recent shows of support for Israel by U. S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama, however, many Arabs fear that Zionist influence on the U. S. body politic -- across the political spectrum -- has made the notion of ’U. S. even-handedness’ a contradiction in terms. "When it comes to the Middle East conflict, the Arabs no longer see any difference between Republicans and Democrats," Ahmed Thabet, political science professor at Cairo University told IPS. "Both parties vie with one another in expressing total support for Israel. " In a speech before Israeli parliament in May, U. S. President George W. Bush went further than any of his predecessors in voicing praise for the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

A reminder for Iran on the revolution
Asia Times 8/1/1908
NEW YORK - In his new book on the covert history of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, award-winning journalist Roozbeh Mirebrahimi says that Western powers, including the United States, accelerated events by recognizing and supporting religious revolutionary forces, forcing the shah to leave the country and averting a coup by Iran’s army. In 1953, the United States had deposed the popular government of prime minister Mohammed Mosaddeq and his cabinet via a Central Intelligence Agency-backed coup. Anti-communist civilians and army officers supported the coup. 1979, had dramatically raised concerns among the leaders of the revolution that Washington would try to stage another coup to bring back the shah, who had fled to the United States. However, diplomats who were at the center of events say that an accommodation was reached between Western countries and Iran’s Islamic clergy.

Sadr urges Iraq not to sign US troop pact
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 8/1/2008
BAGHDAD: Iraq’s Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr urged Baghdad Thursday not to sign an accord being negotiated with Washington that will govern the presence of US troops from next year. The security deal was to have been sealed in principle by Thursday to take over from a UN mandate which expires this December, but Washington has said that date was unlikely to be met. "I call on the Iraqi government not to sign the accord with the US and I affirm that I am ready to support the government publicly and politically if it does not sign," Sadr said. The influential Shiite leader called on "men of faith and on the clergy to express legally their opinion against the signature of any agreement between the government and the occupier, even if it is a friendly accord or one concerning another subject. " Sadr, who strongly opposes the US troop presence, which he sees as an occupying force,. . .

IRAQ: Police Bombings Raise New Fears
Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail, Inter Press Service 7/31/2008
FALLUJAH, Jul 31(IPS) - A tense security situation in this volatile city has worsened after some policemen found bombs planted on the roofs of their houses. Astonishing attacks have been launched against police leaders during the past weeks in Fallujah, 69 km west of Baghdad, after reports of the U. S. and Iraqi government’s plans to raid active and sleeping militant cells in the city. "There were attacks that targeted senior officers, and we thank god they failed and our colleagues are safe," Major Abdul Aziz of the Fallujah Police told IPS. "Investigations are still ongoing to see who was behind the attacks, and it is too early to point out motives, although they appeared to be of al-Qaeda style. " "On Monday morning, Jul. 21, we were startled by an explosion in the house of Colonel Issa al-Issawi, who is known as the leader of the campaign against militants in Fallujah. . .

Prodigal son
Avi Issacharoff, Ha’aretz 7/31/2008
CALIFORNIA - A moment before beginning his dinner, Masab, son of West Bank Hamas leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef, glances at the friend who has accompanied him to the restaurant where we met. They whisper a few words and then say grace, thanking God and Jesus for putting food on their plates. It takes a few seconds to digest this sight: The son of a Hamas MP who is also the most popular figure in that extremist Islamic organization in the West Bank, a young man who assisted his father for years in his political activities, has become a rank-and-file Christian. A few seconds later, he is savoring his meal, explaining that he hasn’t been eating much recently because of financial problems. During the past week he has been living with the friend, a Christian, of course, whom he met at church.

Family denies son of Hamas leader has converted to Christianity
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
[MaanImages]Bethlehem – Ma’an – Reports that Massab Yousif, son of Sheikh Hassan Yousif a high profile Hamas leader, has converted to Christianity and rejected Palestinian resistance, have been denied by his family. The initial report was printed on Thursday in Ha’aretz, a leading Israeli paper, which said that their correspondent had interviewed Massab. The Ha’aretz interview quotes Massab as saying that "the nation, the religion, the organization," of his youth were what made him convert. The article claims that Massab does not want to be part of a society that he apparently described as, "sanctifying death and the suicide terrorists. " Suhaib, Mussab’s brother, has strongly denied these claims. He said that while his brother is indeed in United States, he has not converted to Christianity and is adhering to Islam.

Hasan Yosef’s family denies Ha’aretz report about son’s conversion to Christiani
Palestinian Information Center 7/31/2008
Ramallah, (PIC)-- The family of imprisoned  Hamas leader Hasan Yosef has vehemently denied a Ha’aretz report alleging that their son, Musa’b, converted to Christianity in the United States where he works. "I would like to tell you that this report is a lie from A to Z," said Musa’ab’s mother in a telephone interview from her home in Ramallah. She said she had spoken to her son earlier Thursday who scoffed at the report. "He told me that everything mentioned in the report was unfounded. " She added that the report was probably a piece of disinformation concocted by the Israeli domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Beth, to unsettle her husband, who is languishing in Israel jails and dungeons. The Ha’aretz’s  report quoted Musa’ab as referring to the Palestinian struggle for justice and freedom from the Nazi-like Israeli occupation as "terror.

New biography of Gibran published
Middle East Online 7/31/2008
LONDON – A translation of the biography of the famous Lebanese writer Gibran Khalil Gibran was recently published in London. The book, Kahlil Gibran: A Biography, was originally written in French by Alexandre Najjar, and translated into English by Rae Azkoul. With simplicity akin to that of Gibran’s own writing, Alexandre Najjar retraces Gibran’s life, from humble beginnings in Lebanon to his artistic training in Paris and meteoric rise to fame in the US, his adopted home. Najjar examines Gibran’s letters, his publisher’s archives and unpublished documents, revealing the extent of his influence and the message of peace and hope in all of his work. Author of the international bestseller The Prophet, Gibran Khalil Gibran and his work remain influential to this day. President John F. Kennedy famously quoted from this book: ’Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country’.

200 to be married in Khan Younis Mass wedding
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Gaza - Ma’an - A mass wedding, that will see 200 brides and grooms married, will take place in Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening. The event is organised by the Islamic charity association. Ahmed Abu E’layan the Chairman of the Committee supervising the ceremony said, "were eager to carry out this wedding ceremony successfully, it is a great event in Khan Younis. " The celebration will be held at the city’s Tennis Club where scouts will play music for the festival after the prayer at the Grand Mosque in Khan Younis. The organizers called on all Palestinian people living in the Gaza Strip to participate in this huge wedding which is the first of its kind in Khan Younis.

17-year-old shot by Israeli forces dies in hospital
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an – Israeli radio reported that Yousef Ahmad Amira, who was shot on Wednesday by Israeli forces in Ni’lin, died on Thursday. The 17-year-old went into a coma on Wednesday evening with life threatening injuries after being shot twice in the head by Israeli soldiers in Ni’lin, a village West of Ramallah, medical sources told Ma’an on Wednesday. Eyewitnesses said Amira was shot twice with rubber coated steel bullets from close range by Israeli forces during a curfew imposed on the town on Tuesday after ten-year-old, Ahmad Husam Yousif Musa, was shot and killed in the village during a previous demonstration. Aiman Nafe’, Mayor of Ni’lin said that six other young men were shot but their injuries are not thought to be life threatening. Sources in the village say that running battles broke out between Israeli soldiers and local men at around 5:30pm after villagers built barricades blocking the main street into the village.

Mustafa Barghouthi calls on the International Community to break the silence on the daily Israeli crimes
Palestinian National Initiative, Palestine Monitor 7/31/2008
Ramallah, 31-07-08: Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP, the General Secretary of the , strongly condemns the crime perpetrated yesterday by the Israeli occupation forces in the town of Ni’lin where soldiers shot at close range with heavy metallic bullets covered by rubber on the 19 year-old man Yusuf Ahmed Amira. He was hit by two bullets in his head, which penetrated the brain and caused severe irreversible brain damage, and he is now in the hospital in a clinical death. The so called rubber bullets can be lethal if shot from close range, which has frequently been the case in Ni’lin and other places where Palestinians engage in peaceful non-violent resistance. On at least 6 other occasions the Israeli army used high velocity bullets, which resulted in the death of a 10 year old child on Tuesday 29 July. The shooting happened while the man was peacefully demonstrating against the confiscation of Ni’lin land by the apartheid Wall.

In town known for nonviolent resistance Israeli forces kill two kids this week
PNN, Palestine News Network 7/31/2008
Nal’in - The name of the young boy who Israeli forces shot in the forehead and killed in western Ramallah’s Nal’in Village on Tuesday was named Ahmed Moussa. The village is a bastion of nonviolent resistance and as such has faced heavy Israeli attack for the past two months as Wall construction and land confiscation continue. Salah Al Khawaja told on Thursday that it feels as if the first Intifada has returned. During the young boy’s funeral last night, Israeli forces injured six Palestinians; another is clinically dead and now in a Jerusalem hospital. He is 17 year old Yousef AhmedAmira. Salah Al Khawaja, the Campaign Coordinator of the People against the Wall, told that the 17 year old is life-support. In an interview with on Thursday Al Khawaja said, "Everybody here is in a state of alert and there is great anger over what is happening from the Israeli onslaught against Palestinian citizens.

17 year old Nil’in boy pronounced clinically dead according to medical sources
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 7/31/2008
17 year old Yousif Amira, who was shot in the nearby Nil’in village on Wednesday evening, has been pronounced clinically dead, Palestinian medical sources in the central West Bank city of Ramallah told IMEMC on Thursday morning. The village of Nil’in located near Ramallah is the scene of almost daily nonviolent actions against the Israeli wall being built on the villagers lands. Amira was among the villagers who took part in the funeral of Ahmad Mousa, the 11 years old Palestinian boy that was killed by the Israeli army gunfire on Tuesday night. Witnesses said that Israeli soldiers stormed the village and took positions there, and as soon as the funeral was finished on Wednesday afternoon local youth clashed with the Israeli soldiers. Three were injured, among them Amira. Younis, the cousin of Amira, told IMEMC during a phone interview that Amira was going to visit him. . .

Palestinians say youth shot in Naalin uninvolved in riot
Ali Waked, YNetNews 7/31/2008
Neighbor of 18-year-old critically wounded in Palestinian village on Wednesday says he was shot by Border Police officers at close range while standing in his front yard, far from rioting - Scant hours after scores attended the funeral of 11-year old Ahmed Moussa in the West Bank village of Naalin, an 18-year-old Palestinian youth was critically wounded there after protestors opposing the construction of the separation fence there resumed their demonstrations. The IDF said it was looking in to the claim, however local residents told Ynet on Thursday that the youth, Yusuf Ahmed Younis - who was declared brain dead by his Ramallah doctors - was not taking part in the increasingly violent riots. According to the residents, Border Police officers pulled up by the youth’s home and shot him at close range while the latter was standing in his yard.

Palestinian teen in clinical death after IOF troops shoot him in the head
Palestinian Information Center 7/31/2008
RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- A Palestinian youth was declared in a state of clinical death in Ramallah government hospital after he was shot in the head by an Israeli border guard in Na’lin village west of Ramallah on Wednesday afternoon. Local sources said that Yousef Omaira was taking part in the funeral procession of 9-year-old Ahmed Omaira, who was killed by Israeli sniper fire during anti wall protests in the village a couple of days ago. Eyewitnesses said that the soldiers fired at the demonstration that followed the funeral procession at a short distance hitting Yousef with two bullets in the head. Na’lin villagers have been holding regular protest marches against the Israeli occupation authority’s confiscation of 3,000 dunums of village lands to build the separation wall. Foreign sympathizes and Israeli peace activists participated in those marches.

On the day of Ahmed’s funeral, Israeli army leave 17 year old brain-dead
International Solidarity Movement 7/31/2008
Ramallah Region - Photos - On the 30th July, the villagers of Ni’lin said goodbye to of ten year old Ahmed, taking his body from Ramallah to his funeral in Ni’lin. - Later that afternoon about 200 villagers gathered near the checkpoint in Ni’lin and many of them confronted the seven jeeps, with about 50 soldiers, who had taken position there. Seventeen people were injured, three of them in the head by rubber bullets. Late in the evening one of them, Yousef Ahmad Youkis Amira, was declared brain dead. Ahmed Hosam Mousa, who was killed in Ni’lin the 29th of July, was taken out of the hospital in Ramallah at about 10 am Wednesday the 30th of July. His ambulance came to Ni’lin together with a long procession of cars around midday. About 40 cars joined in the caravan and thousands of people had gathered in Ni’lin to meet them.

Child killed in Nil’in was shot by live rounds
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 7/31/2008
An autopsy on the body of an 11 year-old child who was killed on Tuesday by Israeli gunfire in the village of Ni’lin, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, revealed that the child was shot by a live round. The Palestinian News Agency, WAFA, reported that Ramallah governor, Sa’id Abu Ali, said on Wednesday that the autopsy revealed that the live round which hit the boy was fired from an M16 assault file. The boy was shot by the soldiers who attacked a peaceful protest against the Israeli Annexation Wall in the village. At least ten Palestinians were wounded during the protest. Three of the wounded are said to be in stable condition. The army claimed that two soldiers were mildly wounded. Soldiers also kidnapped Mohammad Abdul-Qader of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements.

Palestinian teenager brain dead after being shot by Israeli army in Ni’lin
International Solidarity Movement 7/30/2008
Ramallah Region - A Palestinian teenager, Yousef Ahmad Younis Amira, was shot in the head with rubber coated steel bullets by Israeli forces in the Palestinian village of Nil’in. - Photos - According to ISM volunteers staying in the village, fighting broke out between an estimated 200 boys and young men and Israeli forces at about 5:30pm. The villagers had earlier built five barricades of rubble and stones blocking the main road into Nil’in. An Israeli excavator attempted to clear a path through the barricades but was driven back by a hail of stones. About 50 Israeli soldiers then attacked using sound bombs, rubber coated steel bullets and tear gas. At around 7:30pm, Yousef Ahmad Younis Amira, 17, was shot in the head by a rubber coated steel bullet. He was taken to Ramallah Hospital where an ECG scan showed no signs of brain activity.

Palestine Today 073108
Ghassan Bannoura - Audio Dept, International Middle East Media Center News 7/31/2008
Click on Link to download or play MP3 file|| 3 m 0s || 2. 75 MB || Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www. imemc. org, for Thursday July 31st, 2008. The Israeli army invades West Bank cities kidnapping 16 civilians, while Israeli troops shoot a civilian in Tulkarem, these stories and more coming up, stay tuned. The News cast On Thursday morning, Palestinian medical sources in the central West Bank city of Ramallah told IMEMC that 17 year old Yousif Amira, who was shot in the nearby Nil’in village on Wednesday evening, had been pronounced clinically dead. Amira was among the villagers who took part in the funeral of Ahmad Mousa, the 11 year old Palestinian boy who was killed by Israeli army gunfire on Tuesday night. Witnesses said that Israeli soldiers stormed the village and took up positions there.

Lebanon saw nearly 50 percent rise in Arab investment in 2007
The Daily Star, Daily Star 8/1/2008
BEIRUT: The Arab Investment & Export Credit Guarantee Corporation estimated that Arab investments in Lebanon reached $3. 343 billion in 2007, up 47. 5 percent from $2. 267 billion in 2006, and an 87. 8 percent rise from $1. 780 billion in 2005. "Lebanon’s share of aggregate inter-Arab investments in 2007 reached a record high since 1995, at 23. 8 percent, compared to a share of 13. 7 percent in 2006, 4. 8 percent in 2005, and 17. 6 percent in 2004," it said. The report added that Lebanon was the second-largest recipient of Arab capital in nominal terms among eight Arab countries covered in the report, after coming in fourth place in 2006 and third place in 2005. In 2007, Lebanon regained its 2004 position, after falling from its spot as the largest recipient of Arab capital in 2003. According to the report, Lebanon received the second-highest amount of inter-Arab investments in 2007,. . .

Erekat: No ’shortcuts’ in Mideast peace deal
Middle East Online 7/31/2008
WASHINGTON - The United States, Israel and the Palestinians agreed in talks Wednesday to strive for a Middle East peace deal without any "shortcuts," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said. The parties also regarded Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s announced resignation Wednesday as an internal matter that would not dampen negotiations for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, officials said. "We will not opt for an option of partial agreements, shortcuts or anything short of a full agreement on all issues," Erekat told reporters after he and chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qorei held talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. There have been reports that Rice, who is to travel to the Middle East next month, is reportedly anxious to get the two sides to agree on a document of understanding on some key issues, such as borders. . .

Obama aids American in West Bank custody battle
Associated Press, YNetNews 7/31/2008
Democratic presidential hopeful devotes efforts to help US woman from native Illinois who says her Palestinian husband is holding their four young daughters hostage in Palestinian Authority - An American woman fighting to get back four daughters living in the West Bank with their Palestinian father has gotten unusually high-powered help - from Barack Obama. The US presidential hopeful raised the case of the Chicago-area woman in his meeting with Palestinian leaders last week, and won a promise from the prime minister to look into the matter. And that’s how the private battle between Yasser and Colleen Bargouthi, which spans continents and cultures, took a public turn. In separate interviews, the two offered conflicting explanations of what brought the family to Bargouthi’s home village of Kobar in June 2007.

Erakat stands firm in trilateral peace talk
PNN, Palestine News Network 7/31/2008
Washington -- Palestinian Liberation Organization Negotiator Sa’eb Erakat announced Wednesday that the Palestinian people will reject any ’peace agreement’ that does not call for Israel’s withdrawal to the 1967 Green Line and an independent Palestinian state in East Jerusalem. Erakat met with former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Queira, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Advisor to the US President for National Security Stephen Hadley and Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni in Washington Wednesday afternoon. The meeting was characterized by "depth and seriousness," according to Erekat. "We have clarified things: We should either agree on everything or not agree on anything," he said. "Jerusalem, borders, settlements, refugees, security, and family reunification are all wrapped into one issue that cannot be fragmented.

PRC: Tenth week of calm to be decisive
Palestinian Information Center 7/31/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The popular resistance committees’ political bureau member Mohammed Al-Baba has warned that the tenth week of the calm would be decisive in the event the Israeli occupation authority did not open all crossings and end the siege of Gaza Strip. Baba, in a press release on Thursday, said that the PRC in coordination with other resistance forces have reached the conclusion after weeks of monitoring that the calm agreement did not bring about what was expected of it. He said that an agreement was reached among those forces to wait until the tenth week of the calm to see if Israel completely lifted the siege and ended all forms of aggression or else "resistance will be ready for all options". The PRC leader asked the Egyptian intermediary to step in and follow up the Israeli delay in living up to its commitments.

Al-Quds Brigades: Israeli army violates truce in Gaza and West Bank
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The military media department of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, issued a statement on Israeli violations of the truce in both Gaza and the West Bank on Thursday. The Brigades said that Israel has violated the truce five times in the sixth week. "The Israeli army has continued its foot dragging over fulfilling the requirements of the truce," the statement said. Gazans have not, it continued, "been given full access to basic human needs. "The statement also accused Israel of letting in hugely limited supplies of food and goods, and said that most fruits arrive and have expired. According to the statement the Israeli violations were as follows:1-Thursday 24 July, Israeli jet fighters and drones hovered over the area for several hours in the morning.

High alert in north Jerusalem lifted
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 7/31/2008
Forces boosted Thursday evening in northern part of capital after defense establishment receives warnings on plan to carry out terror attack in area - Security forces were put on high alert in the northern part of Jerusalem on Thursday evening, after the defense establishment received warnings on terrorists’ plans to carry out a terror attack in the area. The alert was lifted two hours later. A number of terror attacks have taken place in the capital in the past few weeks. Last week, an east Jerusalem resident driving a bulldozer was shot and killed after injuring 18 people on King David Street. In the middle of July, two Border Guard officers were shot by a terrorist near the Lions Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City. One of the officers was critically injured anddied of his wounds several days later.

Report: France to proceed with arms-smuggling case against Gaydamak
Reuters, YNetNews 7/31/2008
Contrary to previous reports, Russian-Israeli business mogul and his French partner to go on trial October 6 for alleged illegal weapons smuggling to Angola -France’s attorney general has decided to proceed with the case against Russian-Israeli business mogulArcadi Gaydamak and French arms dealer Pierre Falcone, according to reports published Thursday. The two are accused of illegal arms smuggling after allegedly selling weapons to the Angolan president between the years 1993-2000, during the civil war in the African country. Their trial is expected to begin on October 6. . Reports regarding the continuation of the legal proceedings came contrary to previous reports in which the French defense minister ordered to close the file against the two. In March 2007 France filed a grave indictment against 42 people suspected of involvement in the sale of arms. . .

Nimrodis nearing Maariv sale to Blavatnik
Guy Leshem, Ha’aretz 7/31/2008
The Nimrodi family, controlling shareholders of the Ma’ariv group, has reached a ’no shop’ agreement with businessman Leonard Blavatnik in order to continue negotiations over the sale of the daily newspaper. The agreement, which will remain in force for 30 days, gives Blavatnik exclusive rights to negotiate, and Nimrodi will be barred from negotiating with any other party, including the US businessman Sheldon Adelson. This is said to be the first time in the series of discussions over the sale of Ma’ariv that such an agreement, a benchmark for progress in negotiations, has been signed. Last month marked a dramatic turn in negotiations over the sale of the newspaper, when Blavatnik, the Jewish American businessman born in the former USSR, and founder and controlling shareholder of Access Industries, signaled his interest in buying the paper from the Nimrodi family,. . .

Livni Wants to be PM ’to Restore Public Confidence’: Interview
Agence France Presse, MIFTAH 7/31/2008
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni confirmed publicly for the first time on Tuesday she wanted to become prime minister, saying the public needed leaders who respect the law. " I want to be prime minister. . . in order to carry out changes and corrections because (the public) no longer has confidence in politicians and this confidence should be restored," Livni told Channel 10 private television. " The public wants to know that their leaders give priority to the interests of the country and respect the law," she added. Livni’s comments come as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert fights for his political life, and opinion polls show she has emerged as front-runner in the leadership race for her centrist Kadima party. Olmert is facing six corruption investigations amid mounting calls to resign, not only from local media and the political opposition but from the ranks of his own fragile coalition.

Flights of fancy
Toni O''Loughlin in Jerusalem, The Guardian 7/31/2008
The corruption scandals that have finally engulfed Ehud Olmert’s premiership erupted on May 9 as Israel was celebrating its 60th birthday. The allegations first involved suspicions that Olmert had been receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from US millionaire financier and political donor Morris Moshe Talansky, and possibly other foreigners. But as investigations continued, allegations widened to include claims that Olmert defrauded charities and other non-government organisations, including the Holocaust Museum and an institution for people with mental disabilities, by submitting expense claims for which he had already been reimbursed. Olmert has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, but as this is the fifth time Olmert has been investigated for corruption since replacing Ariel Sharon as prime minister in 2006, he has been under intense pressure to resign.

PM’s chief of staff resigns
Ynet, YNetNews 7/31/2008
Yoram Turbowicz, Olmert’s right hand in recent years, to stay on in voluntary capacity as prime minister’s special advisor - Ehud Olmert’s chief of staff, Yoram Turbowicz, submitted his resignation Thursday evening, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement. Olmert asked Turbowicz, one of his representatives in Israel’sindirect talks with Syria in Turkey, to continue to deal with diplomatic and other issues. He will stay on in a voluntary capacity as the prime minister’s special advisor until the latter leaves office. Turbowicz has been considered the prime minister’s right hand in recent years. Following the 2006 Knesset elections, he was appointed head of Kadima’s coalition negotiations team, and was named chief of staff after the government wad formed. On Wednesday, Olmertannounced that he would not take part in the upcoming Kadima primary elections, and will step down to make way for his successor.

Olmert’s resignation stirs up American, British and Israeli press
Ma’an News Agency 7/31/2008
Jerusalem – Ma’an – "What is the fate of peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority? "Is a question that plagued the British and American press on Thursday, after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced that he will not run for the primaries of the leadership of the ruling Kadima party that will be held in September. Olmer’s decision garnered wide interest in the English press. Some sources praised the step and expressed a great deal of concern over the fate of the peace process and the impact of Olmert’s decision on the Palestinian and especially the Syrian negotiations. American coverage of the decision was characterized by a touch of concern over the peace process and the affect of the transfer of power on Israelis. The New York Times said in its main article that Olmert’s speech "injected new uncertainty into Israeli politics and the Middle East peace effort,". . .

Lies I told about Lebanon
Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, Ha’aretz 7/31/2008
"I can’t go on like this. There is also a country here. I feel responsible for what happens here. "This, according to Ben Caspit’s report in the mass-circulation daily Maariv yesterday, is how Ehud Olmert explained on Wednesday to Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik his decision to resign as prime minister after his Kadima party holds its election for chairman. What could, and should, have been said, publicly, on the morning of August 14, 2006, when the cease-fire in Lebanon came into effect, was said only two years later in the corridor behind the Knesset plenum hall, to Dalia Itzik. And on an "out of control day" in the Knesset, in which members of the coalition behaved irresponsibly and gave initial approval to a series of laws that overshoot the state budget. Like statements uttered throughout his time in office, Olmert’s prime-time resignation speech on Wednesday. . .

Olmert bows to pressure and announces resignation
Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem, The Independent 7/31/2008
Ehud Olmert finally bowed to the steadily mounting pressure arising from corruption and fraud allegations against him last night by announcing his resignation after his party chooses a new leader in just over six weeks. In a dramatic televised address just two days ahead of his fourth successive formal interview with police over the latest allegations, the Israeli Prime Minister declared that he would not run in the Kadima party leadership contest fixed for 17 September and would leave office as soon as a new leader was chosen. Insisting that he had taken the decision in the interests of the country, he complained in his prime-time address that he had not been granted as Prime Minister "the right to be innocent until proved guilty". He added: "I will step aside properly in an honourable and responsible way, and afterwards I will prove my innocence.


Israel ‘Chokes’ Jordan Valley
Omar Karmi, MIFTAH 7/31/2008
      Jasser Said Daragmeh is an obstacle. The ramshackle hut that houses the 34-year-old farmer, his wife and six children on land his family has been cultivating for generations, lies in the middle of a cluster of small Jewish settlements on surrounding hilltops in the northern Jordan Valley.
     As he prepares to fight a demolition order issued by the Israeli army, Mr Daragmeh can only shake his head at the news that one of those nearby settlements, Maskiyot, not a kilometre up the road, is about to be granted permission to build housing for another 20 families, who had left settlements in the Gaza Strip.
     “They are choking us,” said Mr Daragmeh. “Every year my land is getting smaller. I used to play in the hills as a boy, but my children are not allowed to go near them now.”
     Last week, an Israeli ministerial committee approved plans for the construction of 20 new houses in Maskiyot, sparking an argument between the Israeli government and Israeli human rights organisations. Peace Now, an Israeli group, said the construction, if approved by Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, as seems likely, would signal the construction of the first new settlement in more than a decade.

My crime was to tell the truth

Mohammad Bakri, Electronic Intifada 7/31/2008
      I did not do it because I was a hero, but only because I was compelled. This is how I made my three documentaries. I say compelled because I am an actor, not a director. Nevertheless I loved my three films as a father loves his children.
     I was compelled because in these films I was merely a person defending his forbidden narrative (his unofficial narrative) because for 60 years Israel has been telling its narratives that deny and contradict my own. My first film, in 1998, was about 50 years since the Nakba. The second in 2002 titled Jenin, Jenin, was about the people of Jenin refugee camp in which they told what happened to them during the Israeli invasion in April 2002. The latest, titled Since you left, is about what happened to me and to us Palestinians since the passing of my friend and teacher, the late Palestinian author and intellectual Emile Habiby. In it I visit his grave in his beloved city of Haifa and speak to him friend to friend about all that happened since he died.

Transcript: Israeli military kills 10-year-old in Nilin

Transcript, Flashpoints, Electronic Intifada 7/30/2008
      The following is a transcript of Flashpoints, hosted by Nora Barrows-Friedman, broadcast on 30 July 2008::
     A member of the Israeli occupation military’s border police shot and killed a 10-year-old Palestinian boy yesterday evening in the West Bank village of Nilin. Ahmed Mousa was shot in the head by live ammunition, according to eyewitnesses, as he turned and left an area that was being targeted with rubber-coated steel bullets by the Israeli military during a demonstration against the annexation wall built on the village land. Several soldiers were ordered to remove themselves from the demonstration by commanding officers, according to a report by the Palestine Solidarity Project, for their violent and "undisciplined" behavior.
     Flashpoints spoke with two activists about what happened in Nilin yesterday as the ethnic cleansing project continues unabated in occupied Palestine. Bekah Wolf, speaking to us from Beit Ommar near Hebron, is with the Palestine Solidarity Project based in the West Bank, and Yonatan Pollack is with Anarchists Against the Wall. Yonatan spoke to Flashpoints from a demonstration outside Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s home in Tel Aviv. Last night he was at the hospital with Ahmed Mousa after the demonstration.

Israel’s Lopsided Legal System

Joharah Baker, MIFTAH 7/31/2008
      Israel’s policy of demolishing Palestinian homes is nothing new. Since the inception of the occupation in 1967, thousands of Israeli military orders have been handed to Palestinians informing them of the imminent destruction of their houses. The reasons – or excuses – for this destructive policy are many: involvement in resistance against the Israeli occupation [known as "terror" to Israel], illegal construction, or for "urban planning" [i.e., when the decades-old home and surrounding land is in the way of a new Jewish settlement in the West Bank or east Jerusalem].
     So, Israeli government plans to demolish the homes of Palestinians living in Jerusalem because they were involved in attacks against Israelis, hardly raises eyebrows. Not because this punitive measure is not cruel or inhumane but because Israel has never been known for its overly humane treatment of the Palestinians under its occupation.
     Still, Israel continues to take the world for a fool – at least the Palestinians – when it feigns legality when debating the issue of demolishing Palestinian homes in Jerusalem. This week, Israeli government officials say they are close to overcoming the legal hurdles necessary to get approval to demolish the home of ’Ala Abu Dheim, the east Jerusalem resident who gunned down eight yeshiva students last March. The orders to demolish the homes of the two men who ploughed through Israeli traffic with their bulldozers earlier this month is still pending.

Neither an officer nor a gentleman

Gideon Levy, Haaretz, Palestine Monitor 7/31/2008
      Brigadier General Moshe "Chico" Tamir is a devoted and loving father who let his 14-year-old son drive a military all-terrain vehicle. Being the law-abiding organization that it is, the Israel Defense Forces probed the incident, calling it "serious." As a result, Tamir’s promotion may be put on hold and he may be indicted. Certainly, a brigade commander who tried to cover up his son’s accident by lying deserves to be punished. But the commander of the Gaza Brigade deserves much more for acts considerably more serious - acts that the world defines as war crimes and for which no one has been held accountable.
     I would like Tamir, the dedicated father, to meet a girl the same age as his beloved son whose world fell apart when she was 14 years old. I saw her in mourning in November 2006, in the courtyard of her destroyed house in Beit Hanun. Islam Athamneh lost eight family members: Her mother, grandmother, grandfather, aunts, uncles and cousins. They fled their house when it was struck by a shell and were killed by another onslaught. The legs of Abdullah, her three-year-old brother, were blown off. Islam, whose father had died years earlier, became an orphan.

Obama Sweeps UN Resolutions Under the Carpet

Stuart Littlewood, Middle East Online 7/31/2008
      Who is this new kid called Obama, who was unknown outside the US five minutes ago but now barges into the Holy Land announcing that it’s OK for Israel to grab the hallowed City of Jerusalem and turn it into the permanent headquarters of the Zionist regime?
     Jerusalem "will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided," he told AIPAC.
     Realising his gaffe he moderated the tone slightly by telling CNN: "Well, obviously, it’s going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations... And I think that it is smart for us to work through a system in which everybody has access to the extraordinary religious sites in Old Jerusalem, but that Israel has a legitimate claim on that city."
     A legitimate claim? How does he figure that? The Old City belongs to Palestinian East Jerusalem.
     The trouble with Obama and many other Americans is that they know diddly-squat. Worse, this one has ’adviser’ Dennis Ross whispering in his ear. Ross was the architect of the failed US-inspired Middle East peace process. Ross co-founded the AIPAC-sponsored Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He was also part of Paul Wolfowitz’s Policy Planning team at the US State Department, which included people like Scooter Libby. So it was obvious to everyone where he was coming from.

Making Nuclear Extermination Respectable

James Petras, Palestine Chronicle 7/30/2008
      ’Morris is a frequent lecturer and consultant to the Israeli political and military establishment.’
     On July 18, 2008 the New York Times published an article by Israeli-Jewish historian, Professor Benny Morris, advocating an Israeli nuclear-genocidal attack on Iran with the likelihood of killing 70 million Iranians — 12 times the number of Jewish victims in the Nazi holocaust:
     Iran’s leaders would do well to rethink their gamble and suspend their nuclear program. Barring this, the best they could hope for is that Israel’s conventional air assault will destroy their nuclear facilities. To be sure, this would mean thousands of Iranian casualties and international humiliation. But the alternative is an Iran turned into a nuclear wasteland.
     Morris is a frequent lecturer and consultant to the Israeli political and military establishment and has unique access to Israeli strategic military planners. Morris’ advocacy and public support of the massive, brutal expulsion of all Palestinians is on public record. Yet his genocidal views have not precluded his receiving numerous academic awards. His writings and views are published in Israel’s leading newspapers and journals. Morris’ views are not the idle ranting of a marginal psychopath, as witnessed by the recent publication of his latest op-ed article in the New York Times.