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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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2 August 2008

9 killed as Hamas raids Fatah stronghold in Gaza
Ali Waked and AP, YNetNews 8/2/2008
Islamist group’ security forces raid stronghold of Fatah-allied Hilles clan in Gaza City. In retaliation, masked Fatah gunmen in West Bank briefly seized Hamas-linked university professor in West Bank. Earlier five Palestinians killed in smuggling tunnel’s collapse under Gaza-Egypt border -Hamas security forces asserted control in a Gaza stronghold of political rival Fatah on Saturday, following a day of battles with mortars and machine guns, ending with the surrender of the Fatah-linked Hilles clan. Nine Hamas gunmen and Hilles clan members were killed and at least 88 others were injured during the clashes. Among those injured were 12 children and a woman. Sources in Gaza said following the clashes that Hamas gunmen fired mortars at Palestinians who were trying to escape to the Gaza-Israel border fence, near Kibbutz Nahal Oz.

IDF: Soldiers rescued Fatah men under fire
Hanan Greenberg, YNetNews 8/3/2008
Gaza brigade commander says forces waited till dark to complete rescue of fleeing Fatah members following surrender to Hamas; operation authorized by Barak at Abbas’ request -IDF forces rescued dozens of Fatah members who were fleeing Gaza City under heavy machine gun, sniper and mortar fire, Northern Gaza Brigade Commander Colonel Ron Ashrov told Ynet Saturday night. At around 5 pm, following thesurrender of the Fatah-affiliated Hilles clan to Hamas security forces in Gaza City, dozens of fleeing clan members began making their way toward the Gaza-Israel border, where they were rescued by IDF forces and taken into Israel. A total of 188 Palestinians were allowed entry into the country following the fierce clashes with Hamas, which left nine people dead and more than 80 wounded.

Settlers attack a wedding in Hebron; throw a youth from the rooftop
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 8/3/0200
Israeli settlers attacked a wedding party in Hebron on Saturday evening and wounded two Palestinians, according to the Maan News Agency. One of the wounded residents is a youth who was thrown off of the rooftop of his home by the settlers. The youth suffered a broken back and is currently in serious condition. The agency added that dozens of settlers attacked the wedding party, which was being held at the home of Abdul-Karim Al Ja’bary, close to the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba’, and hurled stones at the residents. The boy who was thrown from the rooftop by the settlers was identified as 15-year old Hamza Abu Hitta. The Israeli military, which arrived on the scene later, has a mandate to ’protect’ the settlers from the Palestinians, despite the fact that it is nearly always the Israeli settlers, who live illegally on Palestinian land in the Hebron area, who are the aggressors.

225 medical victims due to Israeli siege on Gaza Strip: 5 in 24 hours
PNN, Palestine News Network 8/2/2008
Gaza - A spokesman for the People’s Committee against the Israeli siege on Gaza announced the death of five more Palestinian medical patients in the Gaza Strip. This brings the total to 225 due to this siege as ill Palestinians seek to leave the Strip for outside medical attention. Five died within 24 hours. Abdu Ahmed Abu Eid was only a baby, three months old, living in the central Strip’s Deir Al Belah. He died awaiting Israeli permission to leave via the Erez Crossing in the north’s Beit Hanoun for treatment for a heart condition. A woman named Khadija, also from Deir Al Baleh died awaiting permission to leave for treatment for liver cancer. Israeli forces denied her four times before she finally died. Several humanitarian institutions attempted to intervene, but to no avail. The elderly man, Jamal Mahmoud Kreema died of brain swelling after not being allowed to exit for medical treatment.

The Israeli army attacks a non violent protest in Yatta village
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 8/2/0200
Israeli troops attacked on Saturday a nonviolent protest against the wall in Yatta village near the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday midday, local sources reported. The sources added that a group of Palestinian and international peace activists were demonstrating against wall and carried signs condemning the ongoing Israeli attacks, and closure in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Soldiers fired teargas and sound bombs at the protesters; a number of protesters were treated locally after inhaling gas fired by the soldiers. "The Wall is built on part of the village’s land, our lands are the main sources of income for us," said Mohammad one of the demonstrators. "The international court of justice ruled that the wall is illegal, the world must act to remove this wall since it is stealing our land, water and making our life hard," he added.

Five deaths reported in Gaza tunnel collapse, nearly 15 wounded
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 8/2/0200
Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip reported that five Palestinians were killed and at least 15 others were wounded when a tunnel on the Gaza- Egypt border, near Rafah, collapsed on them on Friday at night. Eyewitnesses reported that several Palestinians were digging the tunnel but it suddenly collapsed on them trapping twenty under the rubble. Dr. Moawiya Hassanen, head of the Emergency Unit at the Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed the report. He added that the accident was probably caused by a gas explosion. Dr. Hassanen added that most of the casualties suffocated after the tunnel collapsed on them. The Israeli government claims that the tunnels on the borders are meant for smuggling weapons and ammunition into the Gaza Strip, but the Palestinians say that these tunnels are a response to the Israeli siege on the impoverished Gaza Strip.

Released prisoner reports: Israel reducing food and medical services in jails
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli prison services have deliberately reduced food and medical services for detained Palestinians said freed 21-year-old Abd Ar-Rahman Shaheen on Saturday. Shaheen reported that prison officials also deliberately provoke mothers and siblings when they come to visit by conducting humiliating inspections and forcing visitors to wait long hours under the sun. He also said that visitors are refused entry to the prisons under trivial pretexts. Shaheen spent two years in Israeli custody, charged with resisting the occupation. He was released a few days ago from Megeddo prison, a military institution near Hafia. [end]

Fatah condemns Hamas assaults in Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – West Bank Fatah members condemned the actions of the de facto Hamas-led government in Gaza’s police on Saturday. They condemned Hamas actions against Fatah affiliates in Gaza and called on Arab and Islamic nations as well as the international community to help stop these assaults. In a statement, Fatah called on all Palestinian factions to stop what they called the "ongoing massacre and collective punishment policy," of the de facto Hamas government in Gaza. The statement also called on Fatah affiliates to rally protesting Hamas’ human rights violations. Fatah also called on Hamas to "resume national unity efforts in order to preserve Palestinian blood. "Such political "adventures," they said, "will bring only shame and affliction to its perpetrators. " The statement explained that the number of Fatah-affiliated political detainees has in the Gaza Strip now exceeds 1,200, and 152 organizations have been stormed.

Fatah affiliates abduct Hamas leader, threaten execution and release him 2 hours later
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Gunmen who claimed to be affiliated with Fatah abducted Hamas leader Dr Muhammad Ghazal, member of the party’s politburo, in Nablus on Saturday and released him to the Nablus governor two hours later. Shortly after Ghazal was abducted, gunmen told Ma’an’s reporter via telephone, "Fatah will give Hamas in the Gaza Strip four hours to stop its assault against the Shuja’iyya neighborhood and against Fatah affiliates in the Gaza Strip. " Otherwise, said the gunman, "we will execute him immediately. " Ma’an’s reporter was permitted to speak with Dr Ghazal, who said that he was in good health. He continued, saying that he does not agree with any of the recent actions taken by any faction and in fact left the political scene years ago. Then the call was stopped. Dr Ghazal’s wife told Ma’an’s reporter, "A number of gunmen traveling in a Volkswagen. . .

Al-Barghouthi: Gaza situation requires wisdom, stop use of weapons
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – "The use of arms in resolving differences both madness and destructive and threatens the future of all the Palestinians," said Mustafa Al-Barghouthi Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative on Saturday. In a statement received by Ma’an, Al-Barghouthi called on the de facto Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip to stop the violence in the Al-Shuja’iyya neighborhood in Gaza. He said that police should stop shooting and allow wounded to be transferred to hospital. Al-Barghouthi said that he had received appeals from the injured to that effect, and urged police to allow them to seek aid. Dialogue is the way to stop this conflict, he said, also urging media to stop all biased campaigns and police to stop political arrests in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. All political detainees should be released, he added.

Plot thickens as Fatah family flees Gaza through Israel to Ramallah after day of Hamas/Fatah clashes
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Gaza – Ma’an –After secret talks between Egypt, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel, members of the Hillis family have fled Gaza and are en route to Ramallah via Israel, according to Israeli media sources. In a press conference given at 10pm Saturday, Sa’id Siyam minister of the interior for the de facto government in the Gaza Strip accused members of the Hillis family of participating in the car bombing on 25 July that killed five Al-Qassam fighters (affiliated with Hamas) and one young girl. Sources said that Hamas accused Abu-Ramzi Hillis in particular, and also said that the directive for the bombing came from Ramallah. Israeli media said Ahmad Hillis, the top Fatah leader and head of the Hillis family, was not injured by Israeli fire near Nahal Oz crossing as Al-Jazeera reported earlier.

Hamas police dead and injured as internal fight continues
PNN, Palestine News Network 8/2/2008
Gaza City - Palestinian medical sources reported the killing of two policemen, with the third now confirmed dead, and the wounding of more than 20 from the Hamas government since dawn Saturday. The fighting between the Hamas government and the Palestinian Authority’s Fateh cadres is on again in the Strip. This comes in the wake of Friday’s bombings of Hamas members, which also took the life of a child. Since that incident numerous calls have come out to stop the mutual arrests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip between PA forces and the Hamas government and to stop the bloodshed. The leftist parties are calling for dialogue, as are most citizens. Hamas police launched a campaign early this morning in eastern Gaza City’s Al Shajayieh neighborhood to find who was conducted the bombings. They say that they will protect themselves no matter what the price.

150 Fateh supporters flee Gaza into Israel
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 8/3/0200
Israeli security sources reported on Saturday that at least 150 Palestinians, members and supporters of Fateh movement, fled the Gaza Strip into Israel after clashing with Palestinian security forces run by Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip. Among the Palestinians who fled into Israel, Ahmad Hallas, a prominent Fateh leader in the Gaza Strip. The sources added that nine of the Palestinians were wounded by the Hamas security forces and were moved to Barzilai hospital in Ashkelon and Soroka hospital in Be’er Shiva. An Israeli security official stated that the Fateh supporters were allowed into Israel through the Eretz and the Nahal Oz crossings after intensive talks between the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, the Israeli Defense Ministry and Egyptian officials. The official added that Israel will arrest any person who is listed as wanted.

VIDEO - IDF allows fleeing Fatah members into Israel
Ali Waked, YNetNews 8/2/2008
(VIDEO) 180 Fatah members enter country through Nahal Oz terminal after Hamas asserts control in Gaza City stronghold of clan linked to Abbas’ faction following fierce clashes; sources in Strip say former Tanzim leader Ahmad Hilles among those allowed entry. Wounded evacuated to Israeli hospitals - VIDEO - More than 180 Fatah members who fled Gaza City following Hamas’ raid on a stronghold of the Hilles clan were allowed to enterIsrael through the Nahal Oz terminal after laying down their arms and undergoing an initial interrogation; 22 of those who have entered Israel were injured during the clashes. Hamas Raid6 killed as Hamas raids Fatah stronghold in Gaza /and AP Islamist group’ security forces raid stronghold of Fatah-allied Hilles clan in Gaza City. In retaliation, masked Fatah gunmen in West Bank briefly seized Hamas-linked university professor in West Bank.

PA forces impose security measures against Hizb Ut-Tahrir rallies, arrest party members
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Governorates – Ma’an – The Palestinian Authority (PA) security services imposed strict security procedures on Saturday in the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Tulkarem to prevent rallies called by the Hizb Ut-Tahrir movement marking the anniversary of the demise of the Ottoman empire, which they consider the successor to the Islamic caliphate. Palestinian security forces erected checkpoints at the entrances to both cities to check citizens’ ID cards, in an attempt to prevent Hizb Ut-Tahrir members from reaching the planned events. Meanwhile, a Hizb Ut-Tahrir spokesperson told Ma’an that 77 party members are still being detained by PA security services, including 41 in Tulkarem, 17 in Jenin, nine in Ramallah, and ten in Bethlehem. He affirmed that the Hizb Ut-Tahrir movement will hold conferences in Ramallah and Tulkarem on Saturday evening despite the PA security measures and attempts to prevent the events.

Israeli forces shoot and kill Palestinian as he attempted to flee the internal Gaza fight
PNN, Palestine News Network 8/3/2008
Gaza City - Ahmed Halles feared for his life. He was among the residents of eastern Gaza City’s Al Shajayieh neighborhood. Much of that area is made up of the same family. The Hamas police specifically called for 21 of them to come in for questioning regarding last Friday’s bombings that killed five Hamas members and a child. The Halles family is known to be members of the Fateh party. Ahmed Halles went to the Israeli forces, who despite efforts to give a contrary view of the situation, do in fact still occupy the Gaza Strip. As he approached the Israelis, the occupiers, they opened fire and killed him. There are now at least six members of the Halles family dead. Eighteen from the Helles family are seriously injured. Three Hamas policemen died Saturday morning. Eighty-eight Palestinians are injured, including children.

Three international activists due in court after being arrested in South Hebron Hills
International Solidarity Movement 8/2/2008
Hebron Region - Three international activists were arrested on Thursday, August 1st at 6pm while accompanying Palestinian farmers in the South Hebron Hills. They are currently being held in Kiriyat Arba Police Station, Hebron, where they are being charged with entering a Closed Military Zone - CMZ -, despite the fact that settlers were attacking Palestinian farmers at the time and the restricted area applies only to Israeli citizens. The three activists, from Japan, Sweden and Britain, were asked by Rabbi’s for Human Rights to accompany a group of Palestinian farmers to graze their livestock and take pictures of the area. The land in question was the subject of a recent High Court decision that declared the area restricted for Israelis in an attempt to prevent settlers attacks on Palestinian farmers. This ruling, however, also means that Israeli Human Rights Groups are unable to accompany farmers grazing their livestock on the land.

Israeli forces storm house of Al-Manar TV reporter, arest Ramattan news man
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Israeli forces stormed the home of Al-Manar TV correspondent Dib Horany in the West Bank early on Saturday morning. Sources said that Israeli forces ransacked the home and arrested Anis Jamil Saqqouri who works in the Ramattan news agency in Ramallah. [end]

Troops invade West Bank cities, kidnap 2 civilians
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 8/2/0200
Israeli soldiers invaded Ni’lin village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah and the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Saturday dawn, and kidnapped two civilians. Local sources reported that the army invaded Ni’lin village and kidnapped 2 civilians. Eye witnesses reported that the army kidnapped Fuad Shaker and Ibrahim Amir, members of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Nil’in village. Moreover, troops invaded Raba village, south of Jenin, and installed a roadblock at the entrance of the village hindering the movement of the civilians. [end]

Israeli settlers attack Hebron city
Rula Shahwan, International Middle East Media Center News 8/2/0200
Local sources reported that a at least 20 settlers attacked the Wad Al Nasara and Wad Al Husen villages near the southern West bank city of Hebron on Saturday midday for the third day in a row. The settlers attacked several houses in the city with stones and guns, and wounded three civilians. Moreover, settlers attacked Palestinian civilians passing in the city’s roads. and tried to seize a peace of land in order to establish an illegal outpost there. [end]

IOA establishes synagogue at the Maghareba gate
Palestinian Information Center 8/2/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation authority is planning to establish a Jewish synagogue for women at Bab el-Maghareba gate of the holy Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem, Hebrew press reports said. The Hebrew daily Ma’ariv said that the planning and construction committee of the Israeli interior ministry had approved the establishment of the synagogue under the new Maghareba bridge. The old bridge had collapsed in 2004 due to the excavations made by the Israeli archeological department. [end]

Hebron: boy pushed from roof in second settler attack in two days
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli settlers pushed 15 year-old Palestinian Hamza Abu Hattah from the roof of his Hebron home on Saturday afternoon, breaking his back. The young man was transfered from Israeli police to Palestinian police and then to hospital where medical sources say he is in serious condition. Ma’an’s correspondent said that settlers attacked a wedding party in near the home of the young man and injured two locals. The Hattah home is in the southern West Bank town of Hebron, next to the illegal Israeli settlement of Kirya Arba. Five others were injured on Friday evening after Israeli settlers attacked a wedding party in the same area. Settlers occupying a house belonging to Ar-Rajabi family pelted the wedding party with stones and empty bottles, injuring Ramzi Al-Ja’bari, Fadi Al-Ja’bari and a woman from Al-Ja’bari family, according to Bassam Al-Jabir, an eyewitness who lives near the Israeli settlement Kiryat Arba.

Palestinian mother, daughter stoned by Jewish settlers
Middle East Online 8/2/2008
NABLUS, West Bank - A Palestinian mother and her little daughter were hurt when they were pelted with stones near a Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, a medical official said on Saturday. "Falestine Malla, 30, was seriously hurt, and her daughter Hadil was also injured when stones were thrown at their car near the Yitzar settlement Friday night," a spokesman for the Rafidiyeh hospital said. The Israeli army and police were not immediately able to comment on the incident near Yitzar, which is just south of Nablus. But Israeli public radio said police had opened an investigation. Print [end]

Ceasefire breached: 3 mortars land in western Negev
Hanan Greenberg, YNetNews 8/2/2008
Military forces, emergency unit from Kibbutz Nahal Oz dispatched to security fence area following Hamas-Fatah clashes -Three mortar shells fired by Hamas gunmen in Gaza late Saturday landed in the western Negev, causing no injuries or damage. The IDF was concerned that the concentration of Fatah members attempting to Hamas rocket attack in the area. Earlier Saturday, fire was opened at an IDF patrol operating in the area. The force fired back, and no injuries were reported amid the troops. Since Saturday afternoon, heavy military forces have been securing the area and overseeing the Palestinians’ entrance into [end]

Three mortar shells hit western Negev; no wounded reported Staff, Jerusalem Post 8/2/1908
Three mortar shells struck the western Negev late Saturday night, causing neither damage nor injury. The shelling come amid fears that Palestinian infighting in the Gaza Strip would spark renewed rocket attacks against Israel. [end]

New report: Israeli siege victims rose to 225 Palestinians
Palestinian Information Center 8/2/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The popular committee against the siege announced that the siege victims rose to 225 Palestinians after the death of five new patients during the last 24 hours, appealing to the Egyptian government to urgently open the Rafah border crossing before thousands of patients and stranded people. In a statement received by the PIC, the committee said that a three-month infant called Ahmed Abu Amra who suffered a heart disease died after the IOA rebuffed his family request for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals. Four other Palestinian patients suffering from different cancer diseases were also proclaimed dead as a result of the Israeli restrictions imposed on travel for treatment outside the Gaza Strip. In a new development, Palestinian medical sources reported that five Palestinian citizens died and 13 others were wounded in a tunnel collapse on the Palestinian-Egyptian borders.

PMRS calls on the freedom of movement to access health care in Gaza
Palestinian Medical Relief Society - PMRS, Palestine Monitor 8/2/2008
Ramallah, 02-08-08. During the past 24 hours, five patients in Gaza have died due to being denied access to leave Gaza for medical treatment. This brings the number of victims to 225 people since the beginning of the siege in Gaza in 2006. Amongst the five victims, a three-month old baby died after he was prevented to travel across the Beit Hanoun crossing. 4 other people died due to the lack of freedom of movement within the Gaza strip or from being prevented to travel abroad for medical treatment. The Palestinian Medical Relief Society calls on the Israeli occupation forces to end the siege on Gaza and facilitate the freedom of movement and access to medical care. Although a ceasefire was agreed upon on June the 19th, there has been no significant improvement in the humanitarian situation.

Free Gaza: Can unarmed seaborne civilians break the siege of Gaza?
International Solidarity Movement 8/2/2008
International Actions - At RIK / CBC Avenue 12, Nicosia - Monday, 4th August, 2008 at 10. 00 a. m-Inaugurating The Free Gaza Movement Sailing to Gaza - DESTINATION: GAZA PORT - In August, unarmed Palestinians, Israelis and internationals will sail directly to Gaza without going through Israeli territory or seeking permission from Israeli authorities. They include an 81-year-old Catholic nun, an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor, Palestinians from Gaza, 17 nationalities, four major religions and the international press (including Tony Blair’s journalist sister-in-law, Lauren Booth). On Monday, August 4, 2008, the Free Gaza Movement publicly introduces its international team that will take volunteers from Cyprus to Gaza in popular solidarity with Palestinian human rights.

Five patients die due to the siege in 24 hours
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 8/2/0200
Ramo Abdo, media spokesperson of the Popular Committee Against the Siege, reported on Friday that five patients died in the Gaza Strip in 24 hours, one of the patients is a three-month old infant who suffered from a heart disease. In a press release, Abdo stated that the patients died after being barred from leaving the Gaza Strip to receive medical treatment abroad as Israel continues its siege over Gaza, and the hospitals became unable to provide medical treatment, especially to patients with critical conditions. The infant was identified as Ahmad Abu Amra. Also, Khadeeja Al Assar, from Deir Al Balah in the central Gaza Strip, died of kidney cancer after being barred from leaving the Gaza Strip for medical treatment. An elderly patient, identified as Jamal Mahmoud Abu Qishta, from Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, died of brain tumor on Thursday evening.

Egypt: 9 from Africa arrested trying to infiltrate Israel via Sinai
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an - Egypt arrested 9 individuals trying to infiltrate into Israel from the Sinai on Saturday. Egyptian security sources said that the infiltrators were from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan. Those arrested said that they wanted to sneak into Israel to search for jobs[end]

Abu Marzouk: Cairo visit positive
Palestinian Information Center 8/2/2008
CAIRO, (PIC)-- Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk, the deputy political bureau chairman of Hamas, has described his visit to Egypt and his discussions with officials there as "positive" and targeted serving the Palestine cause. The Hamas leader said in a press statement before leaving Cairo on Thursday that Egypt always catered for the Palestinian question. He noted that all his meetings aimed at reuniting the Palestinian ranks, noting that Egypt had extended invitations to all Palestinian factions to attend a round of national dialogue in Cairo. Abu Marzouk noted that the Israeli occupation authority’s non-commitment to the calm agreement was tackled along with the importance of re-opening the Rafah crossing before Palestinians in accordance with previous understandings with Egypt and other parties. The Movement believes that the continued closure of the Rafah border terminal was causing. . .

Detained Palestinian professor: We must break the internal stalemate
PNN, Palestine News Network 8/2/2008
Bethlehem -- Academic and political commentator Professor Abdul Sattar Qassem was arrested and briefly detained by Palestinian Authority earlier this week. Following his release, he spoke with the PNN about the current situation in Palestine and the circumstances of his arrest. A member of the Jenin police unofficially commented to PNN on Sunday that he was aware that this arrest was particularly disturbing for people. Qassem said "Current events in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are disturbing and the Palestinian Authority must work to change it. A group of intellectuals must be brought together to develop a program to break this internal stalemate. "Qassem, professor of political science at An Najah University, told the PNN that he did not know why he had been arrested and that he was not questioned during his detention.

IFJ Condemns Torture of Journalists by Political Rivals in Palestine
Palestine News Network 8/2/2008
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is condemning the recent attacks on Palestinian journalists by both governments of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority which are locked in a political power struggle. The recent reports of torturing journalists in the Gaza Strip and West Bank is the culmination of an intimidation campaign against journalists and media which started during the violent confrontation between Hamas and PA security forces in June 2007 says the IFJ. At least eight journalists had been arrested in recent days, some of them, according to multiple reports, suffering torture while in detention before being released without charge. "Both Hamas and the Palestinian authority are responsible for these outrageous assaults," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "In the process these Palestinian governments are fundamentally damaging the Palestinian cause.

New Palestinian military group calls on Hamas and Fatah to stop political arrests
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – A newly founded independent Palestinian military group known as the Nusour Palestine ("Eagles of Palestine") brigades on Saturday called on both the Hamas and Fatah movements to immediately release all detainees seized after last week’s explosions on the Gaza City beach. The brigades also urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and de facto Prime Minister Isma’il Haniyeh to end the political arrests undertaken by their respective security forces. "Whoever perpetrated these explosions was a collaborator with the Israeli intelligence forces," the new brigades said in a press statement. The military group demanded the formation of an impartial investigation committee to uncover the perpetrators of the Gaza beach explosions, which killed 5 Hamas members and a young girl on 25 July, and bring them to justice according to Palestinian law.

Hizb Ut-Tahrir rallies quashed in Tulkarem and Ramallah, go ahead in Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Gaza/Tulkarem/Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces dispersed a Hizb Ut-Tahrir march in Tulkarem and arrested 20 members on Saturday. Ma’an’s correspondent said that 50 members of Hizb Ut-Tahrir marched from the Tulkarem mosque where security forces arrested 20 members and beat numerous others. Among those arrested was Ma’an correspondent Sami As-Sa’i, who was released after a short detainment. Photographer Mu’ayed Al-Ashqar was beaten and his camera confiscated. In Ramallah eyewitnesses said that large forces of PA security services rushed to the center of the city where they blocked the marchers, and arrested some of the participants. The marches had been planed for 28 Rajab according to Islamic calendar, which was on 31 July this year, but were postponed after calls from several factions calling for calm.

Hamas refutes alleged release of all political detainees in W. Bank
Palestinian Information Center 8/2/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement categorically denied Saturday the allegations that the PA security apparatuses had released all political prisoners in occupied West Bank, noting that out of more than 200 detainees in PA jails, only four were released. In an exclusive statement to the PIC, Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, stated that the continued detention of citizens affiliated with the Movement makes the release of four detainees useless and a mere media stunt, adding that the Movement will not consider such a step (as a positive gesture) unless the PA releases all detainees. Ironically, more West Bank citizens were arrested after PA chief Mahmoud Abbas alleged that he ordered the release of all prisoners in his jails, where his security apparatuses kidnapped Friday Sheikh Riyadh Walweel, a prominent Hamas leader, and Dr.

Hamas announces release of 10 Fatah prisoners, Fatah denies claim
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The decision to release ten Fatah-affiliated leaders in Gaza, including Ibrahim Abu An-Naja is in response to the request of Egyptian and local mediators, said the Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri on Saturday. Abu Zuhri called for the reciprocal release the political detainees in the West Bank. He said that yesterday’s release of four (though Ma’an reported that seven were released) was a drop in the ocean of the 200 detainees. He added that there must be pressure exerted on the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah to stop the political arrests and to release those detained. Fatah has said, however, that the de facto government has not in fact released any of the ten detainees. They claim that Ibrahim Abu An-Naja has not yet been released.

PPSF demands Hamas put end to arrests
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Nablus – Ma’an - The Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF) in Bethlehem demanded on Saturday that Hamas cease its campaign of arrests in Gaza. The statement was made during a meeting of the group in Bethlehem on Saturday where they discussed the situation in Bethlehem and the Front’s role in the area. PPSF said that Hamas policies will destroy any chance for national dialogue. They asserted that the campaign of arrests and the closure of institutions, associations and offices was Palestinian unity. The group welcomed the decision of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to call for the release of all those detained after the Gaza beach bombing on 25 July immediately.

Indictments expected in Ni’lin shooting
Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post 8/2/1908
Lt. -Col. Omri Burbag, the battalion commander who has been suspended for allegedly ordering his soldier to shoot a handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinian, will likely be indicted by the judge advocate-general, who is scheduled to rule on his case this week, military sources predicted over the weekend. Brig. -Gen. Avihai Mandelblit will hold a hearing for the soldier at the beginning of the week, following which he will decide whether to press charges against the battalion commander and the soldier. Burbarg, commander of Armored Battalion 71, told Military Police investigators that he had told the soldier to shoot, but claimed that the order was "a joke. "The soldier, in response, has said that "there is no such thing as a joke. He is my battalion commander and I carried out his orders. " Another soldier present during the incident confirmed that Burbarg, who was suspended last week for 10 days, had given the order to fire.

Ni’lin lays Ahmad Mousa to rest
Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, Stop The Wall 8/1/2008
As the martyrs’ body was taken out of the morgue on the first floor of the Ramallah Public Hospital, the eyes of his family and friends were full of tears and expressions of sadness, anger, and hate. They had come to take the martyr to be buried in the town he died protecting, his hometown of Ni’lin. Before his townspeople took to his body to Ni’lin, they placed him in an ambulance (there are few hearses in the West Bank) and demonstrated around Ramallah, chanting national slogans against the Occupation and its Apartheid Wall, promising Ahmad that they would continue the struggle. Afterwards, the demonstrators filled up dozens of cars, pickup trucks, and busses and followed the ambulance that carried Ahmad’s body and his split, bandaged head to Ni’lin. As the funeral reached the entrance of Ni’lin, dozens of Occupation soldiers with their military bullet-proof jeeps were already there, waiting on the main road.

PPSF condemn Israeli attack on protesters south of Hebron
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – The Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF) condemned the Israeli attack on the peaceful protest march against the wall near the village of At-Tuwani near Hebron on Saturday. The village is next to the illegal settlement Ma’on, and has been the site of several confrontations with settlers in the last months. PPSF also denounced in its statement the Israeli attacks on its members and the demonstrators, including member of its political bureau Rizk An-Namourah who headed the peaceful march. According to the statement, Israeli forces tried to arrest An-Namourah. PPSF said that they will escalate their struggles against the illegal settlements and the separation wall if they are not stopped.

Palestinian prisoner enters his 30th year in Israeli jails
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Akram Mansuur from Qalqilia marked his thirtieth anniversary of detainment in Israeli prisons on Saturday 2 August according to the Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies and Human Rights. The group released a statement Saturday reporting the anniversary. The report says that Mansuur was arrested when he was 16-years-old, on 2 August 1979. He has been in Israeli custody ever since. Fu’ad Al-Khafash, director of Ahrar center says Mansuur comes fourth in the list of Palestinians serving longest jail terms. Today he joins the growing list of Palestinian prisoners who have served more than 30 years in Israeli prisons: Sa’id Al-Ataba, Na’il Barghouthi and Fakhri Barghouthi. Al-Khafash appealed to humanitarian organizations and the captors of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit to include long-term prisoners in any prisoners swap deal that is being negotiated.

PA Appeals To World Bank For Urgent Help To Offset Financial Crisis
Khaled Abu Toameh, MIFTAH 8/2/2008
Send Article Printer Friendly Read & Post Comment User Comments: 0 Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad has asked the World Bank for emergency funding so that he can pay salaries to PA employees, said PA officials in Ramallah on Wednesday. The request underscores the severity of the financial crisis in the PA. Earlier this week, PA officials had told The Jerusalem Post that their government was on the "verge of bankruptcy" because most donor countries, particularly the Arabs, had failed to live up to promises of funding for the Palestinians. The officials said that because of the financial crisis, the PA would not be able to pay July salaries to more than 150,000 employees. According to the officials, Fayad appealed to the World Bank’s trust fund to help the PA obtain a short-term bank loan. Noting that the PA was suffering from a $2 billion deficit in its budget, the officials said the World Bank still hadn’t replied to Fayad’s request.

India urges end to ’cycle of violence’ in Middle East
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an - Concerned over the Middle East situation, India urged the region to stop "the cycle of violence," saying that the Palestinian issuecannot be resolved by force. "We continue to urge an end to the cycle of violence, the ongoing blockade of Gaza, the expansion of settlements and the construction of the separation wall," Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said at the ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Committee on Palestine Wednesday. Underlining New Delhi’s commitment to the Palestine cause, the Minister said "in keeping with India’s support to the Middle East peace process in all its tracks, we have consistently supported the Palestinian people in realizing their legitimate aspirations for a sovereign, independent and viable stateexisting side-by-side in peace with the state of Israel.

5 Palestinians to be released as part of Israel-Hizbullah prisoner swap
Ynet, YNetNews 8/2/2008
Two weeks after bodies of Regev, Goldasser returned from Lebanon, cabinet set to authorize final stage of prisoner swap -Cabinet is expected to authorize Sunday the release of five Palestinians in the framework of the recent prisoner exchange deal with Hizbullah. The release of the Palestinians would mark the conclusion of the deal, in which the bodies of IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were returned from Lebanon about two weeks ago in exchange for Samir Kuntar, four Hizbullah gunmen and the remains of 199 slain Lebanese gunmen. Regev and Goldwasser were captured by Hizbullah gunmen during a cross-border raid on July 12, 2006. The incident triggered the Second Lebanon War. Prior to the swap it was agreed that the number of Palestinian prisoners included in the deal would be determined solely by the Israeli government, and it. . .

Israel set to free 5 Palestinians in final stage of prisoner swap with Hezbollah
Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 8/3/2008
The cabinet was set to approve the release of five Palestinian prisoners on Sunday as part of the final stage of a prisoner swap with the Lebanese militia Hezbollah. Last month, Israel released five Lebanese prisoners, included notorious terrorist Samir Kuntar, in exchange for the bodies of Israel Defense Forces reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, who were abducted by Hezbollah in a cross-border raid in July 2006. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was expected to present the cabinet with a document authorizing the ministerial panel charged with prisoner affairs to select the five Palestinians it wishes to release within the framework of the deal. A source in Jerusalem said that all the five will be security prisoners that are not included in the category of prisoners with "blood on their hands," a category generally used to. . .

Israel to release 5 Palestinians under Hizbullah prisoner swap deal
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an - The Israeli cabinet will announce Sunday the release of five Palestinians as part of the Hizbullah prisoner swap. The initial swap occured on 16 July, and saw the release of five Lebanese fighters including Samir Quntar and 190 bodies of slain fighters (including a number of Palestinians), in exchange for two Israeli soldiers captured in 2006. When the exchange took place, Israel’s fears that their soldiers had died when captured were confirmed. The swap agreement had indicated that Israel might release additional prisoners twenty days after the successful return of the two Israeli soldiers. It was unclear up until now whether or not this element of the deal would be followed through. Israeli sources said that the Knesset would announce the release during its weekly meeting on Sunday.

ANALYSIS / Gaza infighting could topple Israel-Hamas truce
Avi Issacharoff, and The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 8/3/2008
Some of the Fatah loyalists who fled from the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority following Hamas’ takeover in June 2007 described Saturday’s events in the Shijaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City - four Hamas dead and 80 others injured - as "poetic justice. "Ahmed Khiles, a senior Fatah strongman in the Gaza Strip, who was quick to blame another Fatah strongman, Mohammed Dahlan and his men, for Hamas’ violence in the Strip Saturday became the main target of the Islamist group. There is no particular reason for this turn of events, except that Khiles who had allied his clan with Hamas and was allowed to keep their arms is no longer perceived by Hamas as being useful. The blast on the Gaza beach last week, which claimed the lives of members of Hamas and for which there is still no certainty that Fatah was responsible, gave the Islamic group an. . .

De facto government closes PFLP-affiliated radio station in Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Gaza – Ma’an –The Sawt Ash-Sha’b (Popular Voice) radio station in Gaza run by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was ordered closed on Saturday by the de facto Gaza government’s interior ministry. The ministry said the decision came after the radio station transmitted "lies and rumours arousing disorder" which they said were contrary to the professionalism and objectivity expected of the media. The radio station’s board of directors condemned the closure which they say was conducted by force and without any warning. They said de facto government police stormed offices of the station and forced employees to stop transmission at gunpoint without a court warrant. "They just broke in, shut off transmission and confiscated office keys," added a statement released by the board of directors. The radio station accused the de facto government of "muzzling mouths and stifling freedoms.

Hamas will execute ''collaborators and traitors'' shortly
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – "Collaborators and traitors" will be executed shortly a Hamas representative said on Friday evening. The individuals have been sentenced in local courts and will face the death penalty for their crimes. Musheer Al-Masri, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) affiliated to Hamas made the comments during a memorial celebration in Gaza City, where he added "the era of amnesty and kindheartedness towards criminals and murderers is over, everyone who wants to split this homeland will receive fitting justice. " Not mentioned in the speech, however, was whether Hamas will await the mandatory approval of the decision by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Palestinian law necessitates the president’s approval before exacting any death penalty. Commenting on the campaign of arrests by Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces in the. . .

PFLP: ''Hamas and Fateh crossed all red lines in Gaza and the West Bank''
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 8/2/0200
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) slammed Hamas and Fateh for their ongoing arrests campaigns against each other in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. On Thursday at night, Hamas arrested several members and leaders of Fateh movement in the Gaza Strip and Fateh arrested leaders and members of Hamas in the West Bank. A senior official at the PFLP stated that these arrests campaigns prove that the authority of Hamas in Gaza and the authority of Fateh in the West Bank have crossed all red lines and are ongoing with their violations against public freedoms and against national relations. An official statement issued by the PFLP stated that only slamming these violations and the illegal measures became useless and called for national protests against these violations. The Font added that these practices only serve the interests of the occupation and harm the Palestinian national struggle.

Injuries reported in renewed clashes in Gaza
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 8/2/0200
Palestinian security forces, loyal to Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, attacked several places said to be hideouts in Gaza for residents involved in last week’s blasts in Gaza in which five Hamas members and one child were killed. The forces attacked buildings that belong to Hallas family in Al Shujaeyya neighborhood, east of Gaza city; at least thirteen residents were wounded. The Associated Press reported that gunmen exchanged fire with the security forces, and that sounds of explosions were heard. Reporter of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera,Wa’el Al Dahdouh , said that at least thirteen residents were moved to the Al Shifa hospital in Gaza, one of them is an a serious condition. Al Dahdouh added that the number of injuries might increase as the clashes are still ongoing while the police are surrounding the area where the family is located.

Egypt discovers new tunnel at Gaza border, destroys enterance
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Egypt said that the security services discovered a new tunnel on the border between Egypt and Gaza in the northern Sinai on Saturday morning. A security source told Reuters the tunnel was south of Rafah and that they found large quantities of cigarettes and fuel inside. The smuggled items were confiscated and the tunnel was destroyed to prevent its continued use to smuggle more goods from Egypt. Egyptian security forces searched the area for more tunnels. The discovery came during a routine search that began Friday night. [end]

Deal signed allowing direct phone calls from Palestine to Lebanon for first time
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad received the first direct phone call between Lebanon and Palestine on Saturday afternoon. An agreement was signed between Palestinian Telecommunication Minister Kamal Hassouna and his Lebanese counterpart, allowing direct phone calls between the two countries for the first time. Previously Palestinians were able to contact individuals or companies in Lebanon only through indirect calls, usually routed through other Middle Eastern countries. Inaugurating the line on Saturday Fayyad received a phone call from Abbas Zaki, representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Lebanon, from the capital of Beirut to his office in Ramallah. Zaki updated Fayyad on recent efforts to rebuild the Nahr Al-Barid refugee camp demolished in 2007 by Israeli aircraft seeking "wanted" Palestinian refugees.

Palestinian infiltrates IDF base, escapes unharmed
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 8/2/2008
Apparent thief flees base with large amount of office supplies after soldier fires in the air - A Palestinian infiltrated an IDF base in the Jordan Valley Saturday morning and apparently stole a large amount of office supplies. The man fled the base after a soldier who spotted him fired shots into the air. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said the Palestinian was unarmed and that the infiltration was criminally-motivated. The soldier who spotted the thief ordered him to stop and then fired in the air, at which point the suspect fled the scene. IDF forces are scouring the area in search of the man. The army has launched an investigation into the incident.

Cocaine and forged dollars seized, 4 arrested near East Jerusalem
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Forged American dollars, 1,775 shekels and167. 8 grams of cocaine seized by Palestinian Authority (PA) police near East Jerusalem. Four dealers have been arrested and one fled the scene. The PA drug unit in East Jerusalem reported on Saturday that detectives uncovered a drug ring. They arrested dealers who were in possession of quantities of cocaine worth an estimated 35 thousand NIS (~10,000 USD). The arrests were made in the Shu’fat refugee camp and the town of Anata, both suburbs of East Jerusalem. East Jerusalem police released a statement applauding local residents for the role they played in capturing the dealers. According to the statement, police received a tip about the drug activity from a resident of Shu’fat. The tip resulted in the arrest of a dealer possessing 47. 8 grams of cocaine, who told police about a group of distributors in nearby Anata who were captured shortly after.

Lebanon manifesto backs Hezbollah rights, sources
Middle East Online 8/2/2008
BEIRUT - A manifesto that will allow Lebanon’s new national unity government to take office was finally thrashed out on Friday after three weeks of negotiations, Information Minister Tareq Mitri said. "We reached a consensus after a long discussion," Mitri told reporters after the ministers involved in drafting the text reached agreement on the government policy after holding 14 separate sessions. "The committee has completed its task," Mitri said, adding that the policy statement will be submitted to the government before it goes to parliament for ratification. Lebanon’s new national unity government agreed a policy statement on Friday which political sources said recognised Hezbollah’s right to use all possible means to liberate Israeli-occupied land. "The ministerial statement is drafted and forwarded to the cabinet with the agreement of all its members," Information Minister Tareq Mitri said after the meeting.

Hariri tribunal set to begin work in early 2009 - report
The Daily Star, Daily Star 8/2/2008
BEIRUT: The International Tribunal that will try the suspected assassins of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is set to begin its work by the beginning of next year, a source at the United Nations told As-Safir on Thursday. The source, who the daily said is close to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, said the UN chief "has pledged clearly that progress will continue toward establishing the tribunal," regardless of the latest political developments in Lebanon with respect to the election of a new president and the formation of a new government. The same source indicated that the Security Council had agreed last month to extend the mandate of chief UN investigator Daniel Bellemare until the end of this year, but the source raised doubts that the Council would agree to extend Bellemare’s mandate again. "This means that at the end of the year, the investigator will assume his new position. . .

The challenges in making a film of return, and having it seen
Daily Star 8/2/2008
BEIRUT: It’s often not easy doing something for the first time. Consider Annemarie Jacir’s latest film "Salt of the Sea," which has the distinction of being Palestine’s first feature by a female director. It had its world premier in May at the Cannes Film Festival, where it screened in the prestigious Un Certain Regard category. Having your first film selected for Cannes is an honor, but "Salt of the Sea" was meant to have its world premier in Palestine, not France, and specifically in Ramallah’s Al-Amari refugee camp, where much of it was shot. That screening didn’t happen because Jacir was herself ferrying her work back to Palestine, but Israeli authorities (who control access to Palestine) wouldn’t allow her to cross the border. A one-time resident of Ramallah, Jacir has been repeatedly denied access to Palestine because she is regarded as a security risk.

Basement mixes a night of partying with social activism
Special to The Daily Star, Daily Star 8/2/2008
BEIRUT: Only in Beirut does Friday night clubbing come packaged with social activism. The plight of children in war was the theme at Beirut’s famous nightspot the Basement on Friday night. "Kids Projecting War," an audio-visual performance by Elyse Tabet, a local graphic designer and, Monique Hourany, a Beirut-based DJ and filmmaker, sought to remind partygoers of the tenuousness of life in Lebanon and the destructiveness of war on the lives of children. "I just wanted to show through visuals how bipolar this place is," said Tabet. "I also wanted to show how kids grow up with the lingering ghosts of war even when they have not witnessed it themselves. " The performance consisted of Tabet’s own art work and submissions from other local artists projected on a large screen overlaid with the sounds of tin drums, ambient electro and punk mixed by Hourany.

Oil prices rise after Mofaz speech on Iranian nuclear weapons program
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Oil prices rose on Saturday following remarks by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz on Friday that "Iran will have the option to reach uranium production at military levels as soon as 2010. " Mofaz is also Israeli Minister of Transportation, and met US diplomat Nicholas Burns on Thursday in his capacity as head of Israel’s "strategic dialogue" with the US. A former Israeli Defence Minister, Mofaz is considered a leading candidate to succeed current Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as head of the Kadima party, which is due to hold internal elections in September. In a speech at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on Friday, Mofaz asserted that Iran was on its way to possessing nuclear weapons, and that this represents an existential threat to the state of Israel. While maintaining that he supported diplomatic measures against Iran including. . .

Oil prices jump after US gives Iran deadline
Middle East Online 8/2/2008
NEW YORK - Oil prices jumped higher Friday after Washington set the weekend as a deadline for key crude producer Iran to reply to an offer of incentives for a freeze in its nuclear drive. "We expect a response this weekend," Gonzalo Gallegos, a State Department spokesman, said without specifying Saturday or Sunday. In reaction, New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for September delivery, leapt as high as 128. 60 dollars per barrel, before retreating to close at 125. 10 dollars, marking a gain of 1. 02 dollars from Thursday’s finish. In London, Brent North Sea crude for September delivery soared as high as 127. 94 on Friday. It subsequently settled up 20 cents at 124. 18 dollars. Prior to the news, prices had fallen in earlier trade as weak US economic growth data reignited concerns about slowing demand in the world’s biggest energy consuming nation, traders said.

Iran: US creating nuclear precedence for Israel
Associated Press, YNetNews 8/2/2008
Top Iranian representative to IAEA says signing of nuclear deal between US, India a plan to ’create precedence, pave way for Israel to continue its clandestine weapon activities’ without putting facilities under UN monitoring - Iran’s top representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Saturday that the US had signed a nuclear agreement with India as part of a plan to allow Israel to "continue its clandestine weapon activities" and to create a nuclear precedence for the country. The comments were made by the Iranian official prior to an IAEA meeting that approved a deal between Washington and New Delhi, which would reverse more than three decades of US policy that has barred the sale of nuclear fuel and technology to India, a country that has not signed international nonproliferation accords and has tested nuclear weapons.

Assad in Tehran: Talks with Israel won’t affect relations with Iran
Dudi Cohen and agencies, YNetNews 8/2/2008
Syrian president meets Ahmadinejad, says Israel, US ’conspiring in Middle East’. Iranian president: We won’t retreat one iota from our nuclear rights -Syrian President Bashar Assad met his Iranian counterpartMahmoud Ahmadinejad Saturday shortly after arriving in Tehran for a two-day visit. Ahmadinejad’s office quoted Assad as saying during the meeting that "Israel and the US are conspiring in the region (Middle East) and we should be wary of this. "As for the recent prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hizbullah, the Syrian leader said it was "one of the achievements of the resistance forces and brought about the failure of the US and its allies in the region. " The Zionist regime is not strong and the states can obtain their rights through resistance and determination," he added.

Mofaz: Israeli efforts for Syria peace must continue
Ma’an News Agency 8/2/2008
Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israeli Minister of Transportation and a Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said on Friday that Israel’s efforts for peace with Syria must continue without preconditions after Olmert leaves office. "Our goals are to continue the talks with the Syrians without preconditions and what we really want is peace for peace," said Mofaz. "I am a father ofthree sons who serve in the army," he continued, "and Iwant peace. " "I will do my best to achieve peace with our neighbors and I know that the priority must be the Palestinians, but there are some problems and some obstacles," he concluded, referring mainly to the control of the Hamas movement in the Gaza strip since the 2007.

Iran vows no nuclear retreat
Reuters, YNetNews 8/2/2008
On day of informal deadline set by West over nuclear ambitions, Ahmadinejad says Iranian nation will ’not retreat one iota from its rights’ -Iran will not retreat "one iota" from its nuclear rights, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday, the day of an informal deadline set by Western officials in a row over Tehran’s atomic ambitions. Ahmadinejad made the remark in a statement posted on the presidential website after talks in Tehran with Syrian President Bashar Assad. "In whichever negotiation we take part. . . it is unequivocally with the view to the realization of Iran’s nuclear right, and the Iranian nation would not retreat one iota from its rights," Ahmadinejad’s statement said. It said Assad said that based on international agreements every country, including Iran, has the right to engage in uranium enrichment and possess nuclear power stations.

Filthy Iraqi drinking water raises cholera fears
Middle East Online 8/2/2008
BAGHDAD - Raw sewage is still flowing freely through giant pipes into the Tigris River, ending up in some of the capital’s drinking water. And those pipes are hardly the only source of contamination. Many residents only have to sniff the tap water to know something is not right. "I fear giving it to my children directly unless I boil it," said Enam Mohammed Ali, a 36-year-old mother of four in the New Baghdad district in the eastern part of the city. Two-thirds of the raw sewage produced in the capital flows untreated into rivers and waterways. In some Baghdad neighborhoods, notably New Baghdad and Baladiyat, the Tigris is so filthy with sewage and other pollutants that the local treatment facility can only do so much. To make matters worse, sewage then leaks into the potable water pipes. A cholera outbreak in northern Iraq last year killed 14 people.

Iraq seeks buying $9 billion of US arms
Middle East Online 8/2/2008
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon said Friday it has notified Congress of proposed military sales to Iraq valued at more than nine billion dollars, including helicopters, tanks and armored vehicles. The biggest proposed sale was for 392 Light Armored Vehicles, radios and anti-tank weapons at an estimated cost of three billion dollars, the Defense Security and Cooperation Agency said. Congress also was notified of a possible sale of 140 upgraded M1A1 Abrams tanks as well as armored Humvees, tracked logistics vehicles, armored ambulances, vehicles to carry shelters and command posts, and trucks to transport heavy equipment. It was valued at 2. 16 billion dollars. A separate 2. 4 billion dollar helicopter deal would provide the Iraqi government with 24 Bell Armed 407 helicopters or 24 Boeing AH-6 helicopters, along with engines, missiles, mortars, machineguns, and rocket launchers.

CBS: Qaeda’s no. 2 wounded or dead
AFP, YNetNews 8/2/2008
US television channel says it intercepted letter urgently requesting medical treatment for Ayman al-Zawahiri following US attack in Pakistan that killed group’s top weapons expert; report denied by top Taliban leader - US television channel CBS reported Saturday that al-Qaeda’s deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri may have been wounded or killed in a missile strike, but Pakistan’s military said it had no information on the media report. CBS said it had obtained an intercepted letter from a Pakistani Taliban commander urgently requesting a doctor to treat Zawahiri following the attack in a tribal area bordering Afghanistan last week. Al-Qaeda in Israel6 Israeli Arabs charged with operating al-Qaeda cell / Efrat Weiss (Video) Hebrew University students indicted of trying to build terror infrastructure in Jerusalem.


Gaza and Humanity
David Halpin, Middle East Online 8/2/2008
      David Halpin details the torturous effort of people of conscience who are determined to open a humanitarian link to the Palestinians of Gaza.
     27 July 2008: Exeter Airport – The 2330 hours flight to Larnaka is delayed by two hours. Estimated time of departure now 0140 hours on 28 July. These little discomforts in order that we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people whose “discomfort” started at the point of a gun and with stories of terrible savagery as at Deir Yassin in April 1948! Anything that an outsider suffers in his efforts for justice now is but a speck within the imprisonment, torture, suffocation and life-denial of the Palestinian. About 1 million have been imprisoned since 1948 and some for many years. Currently 11,000 are in prison and about a tenth are there under “administrative detention”, a convenient extension of the perfidious Albion’s Palestine Mandate law. About 37 of this human mass are legislators belonging to the Hamas party. A scrupulous election was no bar to stifling a democracy emerging under brutal occupation. In spite of generous offers to include the main opposition party Fatah in government, that attempt at plurality invited the annihilation of Hamas by the engine of destruction and its many subservient nations, led by the USA. Any adherents to Islam must be isolated and driven by goading to division and self-destruction. Thus was the medieval siege laid on Gaza in March 2006 against all morality and all major international laws.
     The Hague Rules and Nuremberg Principles were never enunciated and they do not exist; barbarism is the only rule. Hillary Clinton calls for the obliteration of Iran and wishes for a high speed version of Enola Gay.

Inspiring Community Activism

Khaled Islaih, This Week in Palestine, Palestine Think Tank 8/2/2008
      We live in challenging times. The world around us is changing very rapidly. The World Watch Institute - an independent research organisation known for its analysis on critical global issues - reported in its new 2008 state-of-the-world review, "the world is very different, physically and philosophically, from the one that Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and other early economists knew - different in ways that make key features of conventional economics dysfunctional for the twenty-first century. Humanity’s relationship to the natural, the understanding of the sources of wealth and the purpose of economics, the evolution of markets, governments, and individuals as economic actors - all these dimensions of economic activity have changed significantly over the last 200 years that they signal the close of one economic era and the need for a new economic beginning.
     Sustainable living in this changing global environment requires community involvement - building the power of a group to change the surrounding conditions by finding solutions for people’s problems. Powerful community organisations are expected to facilitate social inclusion and grassroots engagement by changing people’s behaviours, practices, beliefs, and attitudes. It also fosters a sense of community within individual members. Sense of community refers to the sense of belonging to a group. Group members receive this feeling when they are actively involved in their communities....

A Vote For Military Force Against Iran?

Ira Glunts – Madison, NY, Palestine Chronicle 8/1/2008
      ’Olmert proposed (to Pelosi) that a naval blockade be imposed on Iran.’
     Ordinarily, the American Israel Policy Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has an influence on U.S. foreign policy which goes unchallenged. In the case of the current House resolution, H. Con. Res. 362, despite the intense pressure exerted by AIPAC, some members of the United States House of Representatives who initially were about to rubber stamp this reckless non-binding resolution promoted by the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, are having a change of heart. After receiving many thousands of messages which pointed out that the resolution could be interpreted as Congressional authorization for military action against Iran, some legislators began expressing their own reservations.
     On May 19, 2008, a 12-member House delegation led by House Speaker Pelosi met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. At that lunch meeting, Olmert proposed that a naval blockade be imposed on Iran in order to stop its uranium enrichment program. Present at this meeting were: Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman, and AIPAC loyalists Reps. Nita Lowey and Gary Ackerman. Three days after this meeting, Mr. Ackerman introduced the resolution H. Con. Res. 362 in the House.

The Murder of Ahmed, Age 10

Kim Bullimore – The West Bank, Palestine Chronicle 8/1/2008
      On Tuesday, July 29, Ahmed Ussam Yusef Mousa, aged 10, was shot dead with a single shot to the head by Israeli occupation forces.Ahmed was murdered, just before 6pm, when he and a group of youth from Ni’lin village attempted to dismantle a section of barbwire fencing erected on the village’s land by the Israeli occupation forces.
     Ahmed is now the twelfth person and seventh child to be killed by the Israeli occupation forces in demonstrations against the apartheid fence [1].He is one of more than 840 Palestinian children killed by the Israeli Zionist state since the beginning of the Al Aqsa Intifada in September 2000 [2].
     My IWPS team mate and myself received the news of Ahmed’s death last night as we arrived in Ramallah. Within fifteen minutes we were at the hospital.As we arrived Ahmed’s little body was being brought into the hospital.My teammate and myself were "lucky" in that we did not see Ahmed but two of our friends and activists from the ISM, who were at the hospital, did. Both experienced activists, they spoke quietly and with disbelief of how tiny Ahmed was.

PA torments Palestinians on Israel’s behalf

Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank, Palestinian Information Center 7/31/2008
      In recent days, the American-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) carried out a shameful crackdown against non-conformist Palestinian intellectuals, journalists as well as civic and religious leaders all over the West Bank.
     PA security agencies have also violently suppressed peaceful rallies by the pan-Islamic Liberation party commemorating the downfall of the Ottoman Caliphate. Eyewitnesses said undisciplined policemen beat participants using plastic truncheons.
     In Beit Jala, PA men beat four camera men who were filming police cars. And in Hebron, a Reuter cameraman, Yosri al Jamal, was assaulted and his camera broken.
     The latest acts of violence took place under the watchful eyes of the Israeli occupation army without whose consent the PA can hardly function.
     In Nablus and neighboring towns and villages,  US-trained security personnel  raided private homes, municipal buildings and public institutions,  elected mayors, public figures, college professors, student leaders and prominent religious figures.

Media war and war on media

Fadi Abu Sa''ada, Palestine News Network 7/31/2008
      Our PNN Arabic Director wrote the following, a similar version of which appeared on
     Since Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007, and one year after Hamas’ victory over the Fateh party in early parliamentary elections, the battle for the hearts and minds of Palestinians has been waged in the media. For over two years now, there has been a well-documented media war between the two rival political factions. A new media battle was ignited on the night of 25 July after three explosions, all targeting members of Hamas, killing six Palestinians, including a child, and wounding more than twenty.
     On 26 July the front pages of several newspapers and websites affiliated with the two movements pulled no punches in ascribing blame for what happened.
     Given that five of the dead where known to be from Hamas' armed resistance wing, the Al Qassam Brigades, the first salvos came from Hamas, which soundly accused Fateh of being the masterminds behind the bombings.

Palestine, Palestinians and International Law

Stephen Lendman – Chicago, Palestine Chronicle 8/1/2008
      ’Justice won’t come easily, but it’s up to people of conscience to fight for it.’
     Francis Boyle is a distinguished University of Illinois law professor, activist, and internationally recognized expert on international law and human rights. He also lectures widely, writes extensively, and authored many books, including the subject of this review: "Palestine Palestinians and International Law." In addition, he’s represented, advised and/or testified pro bono in numerous cases involving anti-war protesters and activists, the death penalty, human rights, war crimes and genocide, nuclear policy and bio-warfare, Canada’s Blackfoot Nation, the Nation of Hawaii, and the US Lakota Nation.
     Boyle is currently a leading proponent of an effort to impeach George Bush, Dick Cheney and other administration figures for their crimes of war, against humanity and other grievous violations of domestic and international law. Earlier in 1987 he was the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) legal advisor in the drafting of its 1988 Declaration of Independence. Then from 1991 - 1993, he served in the same capacity for the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations in the run-up to the Oslo process.
     Palestine Palestinians and International Law reviews his work during that period, prior 1980s and earlier events that led to it, and what followed in its aftermath. Like all Boyle’s work, it’s rich in international law and makes a powerful, easy to follow case for Palestinian self-determination. Relevant events and the law are reviewed.

Gaza on the precipice of disaster…again

      Tensions between Hamas and Fateh reached dangerous levels this week following the July 25 seaside car bombing, which killed five Hamas activists and one little girl. While Hamas officials squarely put the blame on Fateh for the bombing, Fateh has vehemently denied involvement in the incident. Nevertheless, this has not stopped the enmity between the two rival parties from rising to toxic levels, causing even more damage.
     Hours after the bombing, police forces belonging to the deposed Hamas government began making blanket arrests throughout the Strip, picking up scores of Fateh members or supporters. They also closed down approximately 150 institutions, clubs and offices affiliated with Fateh, ransacking many of them and confiscating equipment, computers and documents in the process.
     In response, police and security forces belonging to the Fateh-run West Bank government began making similar arrests of Hamas activists.
     Tensions and accusations ran so high, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on July 31 while visiting Tunisia for all political prisoners arrested after July 25 to be released from both sides. He also said the leadership encouraged a restart of conciliation talks between Palestinian parties and demanded that an independent investigation be opened into the bombing.

Museum in Gaza to Display Area’s Rich Cultural History

Ethan Bronner – Gaza, Palestine Chronicle 8/1/2008
      It may sound like the escapist indulgence of a well-fed man fleeing the misery around him. But when Jawdat Khoudary opens the first ever museum of archaeology in Gaza this month, it will be an act of Palestinian patriotism, showing how this increasingly poor and isolated coastal strip ruled by the Islamists of Hamas was once a thriving multicultural crossroad.
     The exhibit is housed in a stunning hall made up partly of the saved stones of old houses, discarded wood ties of a former railroad and bronze lamps and marble columns uncovered by Gazan fishermen and construction workers.
     And while the display might be pretty standard stuff almost anywhere else -- arrowheads, Roman anchors, Bronze Age vases and Byzantine columns -- life is currently so gray in Gaza that the museum, with its glimpses of a rich outward-looking history, seems somehow dazzling.
     "The idea is to show our deep roots from many cultures in Gaza," Khoudary said as he sat in the lush, antiquities-filled garden of his Gaza City home a few miles from the museum. "It’s important that people realise we had a good civilization in the past. Israel has legitimacy from its history. We do too."