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Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
www.vtjp.org/
For those interested in keeping up with events in Palestine/Israel, there is no better digest than VTJP.

VTJP Archives | Newslinks Archives  
3 August 2008

VTJP News & Articles will return August 8, 2008.

Hamas arrests Fatah members sent back to Gaza
Sakher Abu El Oun, Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 8/4/2008
GAZA CITY: Israel on Sunday began sending Fatah members who had fled deadly clashes in the Gaza Strip back to the territory, where they were immediately detained by Hamas-run security forces, officials said. The return of around 180 Gazans who fled to Israel on Saturday was at the request of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads the Fatah party, Israeli security officials said. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Hamas had received "dozens" of returnees and had detained them for questioning. "Those who are accused of breaking the law will be investigated and if found to be guilty they will be brought to justice. Those proven innocent will be released," Abu Zuhri told AFP. By Sunday afternoon, 32 people had been sent back, and the remainder of those who fled were expected to be returned later in the day, officials said.

Eleven killed in Gaza police arrest operation
Report, PCHR, Electronic Intifada 8/3/2008
On Saturday, 2 August 2008, al-Shoja’eya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City witnessed bloody clashes between security services of the Ministry of Interior and gunmen from the Helles clan. Eleven Palestinians, including two police officers and eight members of the Helles clan, were killed, and 103 others, including 17 children and six women, were wounded. The clashes erupted as the Helles clan rejected demands by the government in Gaza to extradite a number of suspects of assaults against the rule of law, including the explosion that occurred at Gaza beach on 25 July 2008, which killed a child and five members of the Izzeddine al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas), according to sources of the Ministry of Interior. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 5:00am on Saturday, 2 August 2008, security services launched a wide-scale operation in al-Shojaeya

Water being denied Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails
Ma’an News Agency 8/3/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an - Stories of inhuman treatment emerge from Meggido, Shata and Nafha prisons. A lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoners’ Association, who for safety resons will remain unidendified, visited three Israeli prisons and reveald water is being witheld from prisoners within the institutions. Prisoners told the lawyer that the administration uses water supply as a way of torturing them. They said that the water is cut off for ten hours at a time. Guards, they say, claim that the action is due to a water shortage in Israel. Last friday, the prisoners reported that the water was turned on for two hours only, during which each prisoner was alowed to wash for prayers for two minutes.

Report reveals violations against Palestinian children in Israeli jails
Palestinian Information Center 8/3/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Ahrar center of prisoner studies stated Sunday that a report issued by a legal committee in Israel last week revealed that the IOF troops and Israeli jailers exercise violence and arbitrary measures against Palestinian children either during kidnapping or in jails. The report unveiled that the jailers in the Ofek juvenile prison located in the Sharon area tie up Palestinian children, force them to sleep on the floor for long hours and beat them with batons in addition to many violations of their rights. Fouad Al-Khafsh, the director of the Ahrar center, recalled that the center had issued a report about the exposure of imprisoned Palestinian minors to sexual blackmail and harassment, as well as different kinds of extortions and maltreatment. Khafsh said that the humiliating practices against children starts from the moment of kidnapping them from. . .

Officer suspected of shooting Naalin boy dead placed under house arrest
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 8/3/2008
Border Guard officer who allegedly shot Ahmed Moussa in head during ant-fence rally in West Bank village placed under house arrest, suspended from all operational activities pending investigation -A Border Guard officer suspected of killing of an 11-year-old Palestinian boy during an anti-fence rally held in Naalin last week has been placed under house arrest and suspended from all operational activities until the conclusion of the investigation against him, Ynet learned on Sunday. Police said the suspect was arrested last week following an investigation launched by Brigadier-General Shlomi Even-Paz, who heads the Border Guard Command in Judea and Samaria. The officer was interrogated and then placed under five-day house arrest over the weekend, police said. According to Naalin’s Anti-Fence Committee, Ahmed Moussa was shot by a Border Guard officer. . .

Ni’lin and people across the West Bank fulfill pledge to Ahmad Mousa: protests continue unabated
Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, Stop The Wall 8/2/2008
On Friday, new faces appeared in Ni’lin to join a demonstration of more than a thousand against the Apartheid Wall. Occupation soldiers shrank from confronting the people, instead vacating the area. Demonstrators then proceeded to tear down two kilometers of fence that had been erected on their land. Above:Occupation forces protect the bulldozers that destroy the villagers lands in Ni’lin. People of all ages marched to the threatened lands to hold Friday prayers. Immediately after the prayer, soldiers started as usual to target the people with teargas and rubber bullets. However, they withdrew quickly and when they realized the anger and determination of the people. The murder of Ahmad Musa has only strengthened the resolve of the villagers, who have vowed to continue fighting. Following the evacuation of the Occupation soldiers, the people of Ni’lin razed the temporary fences that have been set up on their land.

Settler teen suspected of injuring Palestinian girl, her mother
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 8/4/2008
16-year-old Yitzhar resident suspected of throwing stone at passing Palestinian vehicle to be brought before judge -Judea and Samaria police arrested Sunday night a 16-year-old resident of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar who is suspected of throwing a stone at a Palestinian vehicle on Friday, injuring a woman and her daughter. Police said additional suspects have also been detained. The Palestinian woman and her 7-year-old daughter were evacuated to a Nablus hospital, and later transferred to Israel. Police said they plan on bringing the main suspect before a Kfar Saba District Court judge on Monday. Reports of clashes between settlers and Palestinians have increased as of late. Residents of the Burin village in the northern West Bank claimed to have been attacked several times by settlers from nearby Bracha.

Shadi Hillis in Israeli hospital: I will not return to Gaza for fear of death
Ma’an News Agency 8/3/2008
Gaza/Bethlehem – Ma’an – Twenty Seven-year-old Shadi Hillis is currently in Barzilai hospital in Ashkelon after being injured by de facto government forces in the Shuja’iyyah neighborhood of Gaza City during a bloody battle on Saturday. Shadi, after being injured, fled into Israel along with almost 200 others looking to escape injury or arrest by Hamas police. In a phone call with Ma’an Shadi confirmed that Ahmad Hillis, a leader in the Fatah movement living in Gaza, was hit with two Israeli bullets while heading to the borders. Al-Jazeera news had reported this on Saturday night, and Israeli media denied the claim. According to Shadi, Ahmad is being treated in Soroka Hospital in Beersheva and is in stable condition. Shadi himself was shot by de facto police forces in his left leg. Israeli hospital staff operated on his leg early Sunday morning.

Rights group: Don’t send fleeing Palestinians back to Gaza
Aviad Glickman, YNetNews 8/3/2008
Israeli civil rights group petitions High Court to prevent State from sending Hilles-more clan members back to Hamas-controlled Strip, saying act ’ breach of Israeli law and human morality’ - The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) filed a petition with the High Court of Justice Sunday demanding that it prevent the State from sending dozens of Palestinians who fled Gaza following Hamas back to the Strip. On Saturday 188 Palestinians were allowed entry into Israel after Hamas took over a stronghold of the Fatah-affiliated Hilles clan in Gaza City’s Sajaiyeh neighborhood. At least 11 people were killed and dozens more were injured during the infighting. Thirty-two of the Palestinians who had requested political asylum in Israel have already been sent back to Gaza, while the rest are expected to return within the next 24 hours.

Hamas holds Abbas responsible for the kidnapping of Dr. Ghazal
Palestinian Information Center 8/3/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement on Saturday warned of any harm done to Dr. Mohammed Ghazal, a member of its political leadership in the West Bank, after being kidnapped by a group of "Fatah gangsters". Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, told the PIC that PA chief Mahmoud Abbas would be personally held responsible for the life of Dr. Ghazal. Hamas and the Palestinian government (in Gaza) would not surrender to blackmail, he said, explaining that the arrests in Gaza were made to capture suspects in the Gaza beach explosion that killed six people including a little girl. He stressed that the campaign would continue until the culprits are rounded up. Abu Zuhri told PIC in another statement that allegations of Salam Fayyad, the head of the illegitimate Ramallah government, about releasing all political detainees were not true.

Al-Aqsa brigades: Abu Mahar Hillis did not surrender to Israeli forces
Ma’an News Agency 8/3/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Abu Mahar Hillis did not surrender to Israel, but was transferred to Israeli hospitals after all efforts to give him aid had failed. Speaking at a press conference Sunday evening in Gaza city Abu Khaled, a leader of the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the main military wing of Fatah, said that contrary to reports that said Abu Mahar Hillis surrendered to Israeli forces, he was was in fact shot in his legs. Urgent aid was ordered to stop the bleeding, he explained, and family called Islamic Jihad and PLC deputies asking them to send an ambulance to treat Abu Mahar. When Abu Mahar fainted due to loss of blood, however, he was transferred to Israeli hospitals for adequate treatment.

PCHR: Civil chaos kills those off battlefield as well
Ma’an News Agency 8/3/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) confirmed that two civilians were killed last week in the An-Nuseirat refugee camp and the city of Khan Yunis. These deaths, says PCHR are the indirect result of the security chaos that has reigned in the Gaza Strip over the last weeks. On Thursday morning 31 July, said the report, an armed man shot 27-year-old Karam Muhammad Odeh Al-Masri. Al-Masri is a resident of Khan Yunis who was walking in Jamal Abd An-Nasser Street in central Khan Yunis at the time he was shot. He died almost instantly. The day before a young man was shot when his brother misused a weapon in An-Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. According to the PCHR investigation, the incident occurred just after eight in the evening on 30 July. The accident killed 18-year-old Mohammad Majed Al-Hawajri who arrived to Al-Aqsa brigades’ hospital in a serious condition and died a short time after.

Fighting between Hamas and Fatah leaves four dead
Ibrahim Barzak in Gaza City, The Independent 8/3/2008
Four people were killed and at least 40 injured yesterday in the worst day of internal fighting in Gaza for weeks. Amid loud explosions and gunfire in Gaza City, Hamas security forces took control of a Fatah stronghold and arrested dozens of people. The fighting raged for most of the day in the Shijaiyeh neighbourhood, which is home to 100,000 people. It began after Hamas fighters raided the family home of the Fatah-linked Hilles clan, looking for suspects in a car-bomb attack a week earlier that killed six people. Yesterday hundreds of Hamas soldiers were patrolling the streets and searching houses in one of the biggest operations since the group seized power in Gaza from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in 2007. Meanwhile, five Palestinians were killed and 18 wounded in a tunnel used for smuggling under the Gaza-Egypt border after Egyptian troops blew up the entrance late on Friday.

VIDEO - Hilles family: Hamas will pay for blood spilt
Ynet reporters, YNetNews 8/3/2008
(Video) Head of Fatah-affiliated clan who fled into Israel along with 180 of his men following day of battle in Gaza, tells Ynet, ’Hamas has removed itself from circles of national Palestinian organizations’ - VIDEO -Ahmed Hilles, head of the Fatah-affiliated clan, told Ynet on Sunday morning that Hamas started the recent infighting in Gaza "because it doesn’t want to see such a big and strong family like mine. " Video courtesy ofinfolive. tv The clan was involved Saturday in a deadly day of battle with Hamas’ security forces in the Gaza City neighborhood of Sajaiyeh. Some of the family members, however, appeared to be insecure and terrified of a possible return to the Strip. Early Sunday morning, the Israel Defense Forces beganreturning the dozens of Fatah members who escaped from Gaza on Saturday back to. . .

De facto ministy of health: Gaza battle has too many civillian casualties
Ma’an News Agency 8/3/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Innocent civilians were unnecessarily involved in the battles between de facto government police and the Hillis family, according to the ministry of health in the de-facto Hamas-led government in Gaza. In a statement, the ministry called those involved in the Saturday Gaza battles "uncontrolled" and said that excessive injuries were caused by the methods used by all parties. The ministry denied PA accusations that ambulances in the Gaza Strip only transferred police to hospital and excluded others. Their statement confirmed that ambulances transferred the wounded regardless of their affiliation. The ministry also called on media outlets to make sure that they publish accurate reports of the battles. The battle lasted until Saturday night, when nearly 200 fled the area via Israel. The clash left 9 dead and 107 injured, including 18 children and 4 women.

11 Palestinians, Including 8 Members of the Helles Clan and 2 Police Officers, Killed and 103, including 17 children and 6 Women, Wounded in Armed Clashes between the Police and the Clan in Gaza
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 8/3/2008
On Saturday, 2 August 2008, al-Shoja’eya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City witnessed bloody clashes between security services of the Ministry of Interior and gunmen from the Helles clan. Eleven Palestinians, including 2 police officers and 8 members of the Helles clan, were killed, and 103 others, including 17 children and 6 women, were wounded. The clashes erupted as the Helles clan rejected demands by the government in Gaza to extradite a number of suspects of assaults against the rule of law, including the explosion that occurred at Gaza beach on 25 July 2008, which killed a child and 5 members of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas), according to sources of the Ministry of Interior. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 05:00 on Saturday,. . .

Right institutions confirm that 11 people were killed and 107 others injured in Shuja’iyyah
Ma’an News Agency 8/3/2008
Gaza - Ma’an –The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)confirmed on Sunday that 11 people were killed and 107 injured during Saturday battles between de facto Hamas police and members of the Hillis family in Gaza City. The injured, according to the report, included 4 women and 18 children; a large number of private homes and property were also destroyed. Workers with the rights institution were prevented from reaching the area where the clashes took place, and from meeting with any eyewitneses or injured citizens. PCHR pressed the need to respect the role of national rights institutions and strengthen their presence since they help guarantee all civilians’ rights.

Mustafa Barghouthi Condemns The Use of Violence to Solve Palestinian Differences; ’Israel trying to break non-violent struggle with extreme violence’
Palestinian National Initiative, Palestine Monitor 8/3/2008
Ramallah, 03-08-08: Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP, the General Secretary of the , today held a press conference condemning the use of internal violence to solve Palestinian internal divisions. "We have to return to unity. Division is exactly what occupation wants", said Dr Barghouthi. "We must support the use of democracy and promote dialogue within the Palestinian society. ’’ He highlighted that "the current internal division is a direct consequence of Israel jeopardizing Palestinian democracy, by refusing to work with the Unity government and denying the legitimate outcome of the democratic practices. "In the context of extreme violence and killings perpetrated by the Israeli Army in Ni’lin village and around the West Bank during the last month, the Deputy stated that: "Israel is trying to provoke peaceful Palestinian demonstrators into using violence. "

Detainee with cancer reaches critical condition due to medical negligence
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 8/4/2008
One of the lawyers of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) met with Palestinian political detainee Jamal Darabia, 35, from Gaza, imprisoned in Eshil Israel prison, who is suffering from cancer but not receiving the needed medical treatment. The negligence of the Israeli prison authorities has allowed a severe deterioration in his health condition. Darabia was kidnapped by the army in 2005 and was sentenced to one life term. He is suffering from pain in his back after he underwent four surgeries. The surgeries did not achieve the desired outcomeand stitches have opened, while his flesh underneath is dissolving and bleeding profusely. His lawyer said that he could see the bones on Darabia’s back, adding that Darabia is not receiving the urgent attention he needs. The detainee said that he needs surgery in his back and that he knows that this surgery could lead to paralysis or slow death, as he was informed by prison physicians.

Christian human rights activist facing deportation
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 8/3/2008
The Israeli military arrested a human rights worker with the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, on Saturday, and is now threatening the young woman with deportation. According to the Christian Peacemaker Team, Israeli authorities detained Kristin Anderson, a U. S. citizen working with Christian Peacemaker Teams in the South Hebron Hills, during a non-violent action in At-Tuwani neighborhood in the city of Hebron. The group reported that Israeli soldiers took Anderson’s bag and passport, and police detained her when she stayed behind to retrieve them; they then took her to the Kiryat Arba’ police station. Kiryat Arba’ is an Israeli settlement constructed in violation of international law on stolen Palestinian land in Hebron. The Jewish immigrants who live there are infamous for their frequent and brutal attacks on the Palestinian indigenous population of Hebron.

Israeli Border Guard who killed 11-year old child placed under house arrest
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 8/4/2008
According to Israeli sources, an Israeli border guard accused of killing an 11-year old child at a non-violent protest in a Palestinian village last week has been suspended from his duties and placed under house arrest. While the border guard’s commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Omri, maintains that the guard acted independently, Omri recently failed a polygraph test and was put on a ten-day leave of absence. According to eyewitnesses, the shooting took place as the non-violent march in the village of Nil’in was dwindling down, and a group of young boys were sitting under an olive tree. An Israeli armored jeep belonging to the Border Guard drove up and one of the guards opened fire with an M-16 rifle, shooting Ahmed Moussa through the head. Brigadier-General Shlomi Even-Paz, who heads the Border Guard Command, launched an investigation into the incident following the release. . .

IOA extends detention of administrative detainee for sixth time
Palestinian Information Center 8/3/2008
SALFIT, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation authority has extended the administration detention without trial or charge of Ibrahim Madi, director of the PLC office in Salfit, for the sixth consecutive time. The IOA court in Negev jail renewed the detention of Madi for four renewable months without giving any reason. The family of the detainee denounced the court ruling, and asked for his immediate release since no charges were leveled against him. Madi had previously served 13 years in occupation jails and was kidnapped in June 2006 and held in administrative detention since then. In a similar incident, the court in Ofer prison near Ramallah turned down a lawyer’s appeal against the detention of the Palestinian student Ahmed Qa’ud, who hails from Kufr Al-Dik west of Salift. The military court extended the detention of the Najah University student for four months for the fourth time running without any charge being leveled against him.

Detained MPs ask for international monitoring of their incarceration conditions
Palestinian Information Center 8/3/2008
RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- Members of the Palestinian legislative council detained in Israeli occupation jails have called for international monitoring of their incarceration conditions after five of them were injured while being transported to court. The MPs issued a press release after the incident in which the driver of the prison van transporting them made several sudden stops by braking sharply causing the MPs, whose hands and feet were tied, to be thrown all about the van which has resulted in various injuries to the MPS. The statement noted that MPs Mohammed Abu Tir and Nayef Al-Rejoub were hospitalized in Ramle prison hospital after both were moderately injured in the incident. It added that three others were lightly injured and returned to prison after receiving first aid. The detained lawmakers charged that the international community’s silence was encouraging the Israeli occupation authority to commit more such crimes.

The Free Gaza Movement UK: Gaza Boat Press Conference Monday 4 August in London
Palestine News Network 8/3/2008
Around 60 Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals from 15 countries will sail to the Gaza Strip to deliver medical equipment on August 5th 2008. The delivery to Gaza Port of desperately needed medical supplies will be the first international cargo to reach Gaza directly since the crushing embargo on its civilians began. A Press conference will be taking at 11am to 12noon on the 4th August 2008 at the Arab British Chamber of Commerce - 43 Upper Grosvenor Street, London W1K 2NJ. Taking part are: - Hilary Smith, from the Boat to Gaza/Free Gaza campaign -- who will talk about the details of the boat trip to Gaza. - Mohammed Qeshta, student from Gaza now based in London, who will talk about the situation in Gaza. - Sarah Teather MP, LibDem MP for Brent recently returned from Gaza- Dr Karma Nabulsi, Oxford University and Patron of PSC, recently returned from Gaza There. . .

Israeli physicians perform surgeries in Gaza
Hagai Einav, YNetNews 8/4/2008
Equipped with special permits, doctors Kassis Shukri, Mustafa Yassin enter Strip to treat kids under life threat. "˜Medicine can bring both sides together,’ they say -Prior to the recent Hamas-Fatah infighting and amid the uncertainty looming over Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, two Israeli doctors and volunteers at the Physicians for Human Rights organization inIsrael, obtained special entry permits allowing them to cross into the Gaza Strip last week and perform some complex plastic and orthopedic surgeries on children from Gaza City and Khan Younis. Dr. Kassis Shukri, a plastic surgery specialist from Ziv Medical Center in Safed, and Dr. Mustafa Yassin, an orthopedist from the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, worked with the Palestinian medical team at the Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s main medical center, for two-and- a-half intensive days.

B’Tselem summons Palestinian girl to testify against Israeli police officer
Ma’an News Agency 8/3/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – The Israeli humanitarian organization B’Tselemsummoned a Palestinian girl on Sunday to give testimony against an Israeli police officer. Sixteen-year-old Salam Kan’an filmed an Israeli officer shooting 27-year-old Ashraf Abu Rahma from Nil’in west of Ramallah at short range with a rubber coated steel bullet while he was hand-cuffed and masked. The video was filmed on Monday 17 July. Israeli forces arrested the girl’s father three weeks later and sentenced him to 100 days in prison. Kan’anat was summoned to the Beit El court in the illegal Israeli settlement of the same name north of Ramallah. [end]

ISRAEL-OPT: Married but without rights
Tom Spender/IRIN, IRIN - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 8/3/2008
BEERSHEBA/JAFFA, 3 August 2008 (IRIN) - Some 15,000 Palestinians who married Israeli citizens in the past decade are illegal or temporary residents. Their lives and those of their families have become "unstable," according to non-governmental organisations. "Many families are being forced to live underground," said Orna Cohen, an attorney from Adalah, an Israeli rights group fighting the ban on "family unifications" (mixed marriages involving Palestinians or some other Arabs) in Israel. While most foreign nationals who marry Israelis can live in the Jewish State and eventually obtain citizenship, Palestinians and some other Arabs are unable to do so. What started out in 2002 as a temporary order - enacted at the height of regional violence - preventing Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip from marrying Israeli citizens and residents and moving to Israel, has now become law, which seems more permanent than provisional.

Israel frees prominent Hamas figure from prison
Reuters, YNetNews 8/4/2008
Former Hamas finance minister Omar Abdel Razek arrested by Israel after Gilad Shalit’s abduction is released. ’Judge believed he period served was enough,’ says Hamas minister al-Shaer -Israel freed a formerHamas minister from prison on Sunday, an official from the Islamist group said. The official said that Omar Abdel Razek, who was finance minister when Israel seized him in June 2006, had been freed by an Israeli judge. "The judge believed it was enough, the period that he served in prison," Nasser al-Shaer, a former Hamas minister, told of Razek’s release. " They have released him and he is on his way home". Israeli officials could not immediately confirm the release. Some 40 Hamas officials, including former lawmakers, remain in Israel custody. Razek was one of half a dozen Hamas lawmakers and ministers arrested around the same. . .

Palestinian official: Israel frees prominent jailed Hamas figure
Reuters, Ha’aretz 8/4/2008
Israel freed a former Hamas minister from prison on Sunday, an official from the Islamist group said. The official said that Omar Abdel Razek, who was finance minister when Israel seized him in June 2006, had been freed by an Israeli judge. "The judge believed it was enough, the period that he served in prison," Nasser al-Shaer, a former Hamas minister, told of Razek’s release. "They have released him and he is on his way home. " Israeli officials could not immediately confirm the release. Some 40 Hamas officials, including former lawmakers, remain in Israel custody. Razek was one of half a dozen Hamas lawmakers and ministers arrested around the same time on suspicion of membership of a terrorist organisation, which is how Israel categorizes Hamas, a group that rejects Israel’s existence.

New ministerial panel to mull release of Palestinian prisoners for Shalit
Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 8/3/2008
The government on Sunday formed a new ministerial panel to discuss the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for kidnapped Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit. Vice Premier Haim Ramon (Kadima) is to head the team, which will also include Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann (Kadima) and minister without portfolio Ami Ayalon (Labor). Shalit was kidnapped by Gaza militants in a cross-border raid in June 2006. He is currently held by the Palestinian Islamic group Hamas, which is negotiating with Israel for his release. The panel is expected to discuss a change in the criteria for the release of prisoners "with blood on their hands" - those convicted of or directly connected to the killing of Israelis - in an effort to approve a list of names of prisoners submitted by Hamas in talks for the abducted soldier’s release.

Panel on prisoner release criteria reformed
Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post 8/3/2008
The cabinet reconstituted a committee on Sunday that will look at the possibility of allowing more flexibility regarding which prisoners to release in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit, government sources said. Slideshow:The panel will be headed by Vice Premier Haim Ramon, and include Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann and Minister-without-Portfolio Ami Ayalon. The committee will take another look at the definition of prisoners with "blood on their hands" who are not to be released, according to the sources. The cabinet decided in 2002 that there would be no early releases of prisoners with "blood on their hands," a definition that included not only those who personally detonated the explosives or pulled the trigger in attacks in which people were murdered or wounded, but also those who dispatched or otherwise aided and abetted them.

Israel to free five Palestinians as part of Hizbullah prisoner swap
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 8/4/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel’s Cabinet approved Sunday the release of five Palestinian prisoners, a final step in a UN-brokered prisoner exchange with the Lebanese Hizbullah, a top Israeli government official said. The mostly symbolic action will see the release of five Palestinians convicted on minor charges and who were already due for release soon. None was implicated in deadly attacks on Israelis, the official told AFPThe release of an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners was part of an agreement concluded last month that saw Israel trade five Lebanese prisoners and the remains of some 200 Lebanese and Palestinian fighters for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers capture in 2006. One of the Lebanese prisoners freed was Samir Kontar, Israel’s longest-serving Arab prisoner, who was convicted of killing three civilians in a 1979 raid.

Cabinet okays release of 5 stone throwers
Attila Somfalvi, YNetNews 8/3/2008
Five Palestinians to be freed as part of the final stages of prisoner exchange deal signed between Israel, Hizbullah in July - The cabinet approved Sunday the release of five Palestinian prisoners, as part of the final stages of the prisoner exchange deal signed between I srael and Hizbullah in July. The five are serving various prison sentences for stoning Israeli targets and were slated for release within the next few months. 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 fromLebanon 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.

Clashes between Border Guard, Palestinians interrupt wedding
Ali Waked, YNetNews 8/3/2008
West Bank wedding comes to a halt after confrontation ensues between officers securing Jewish worshippers, Palestinian wedding-goers - Bashir Awad was elated last Thursday. After months of preparations, his son Munir’s wedding ceremony took place in his West Bank village of Awarta, near Nablus. As customary amongst the villagers, the wedding took place in a garden on the adjacent street. The 2,500-guest event was halted later when a Border Guard force securing Jewish worshippers arrived on the scene. At the wedding, traditional songs of praise for the groom were sounded from the speakers. Bashir wandered amongst the guests near the circle that enclosed his son and shook people’s hands. He thanked the celebrators for the honor they gave him and his family. The time was 11:30 pm and the wedding was at its final stages, but then two Border Guard jeeps arrived.

Israeli forces arrest Palestinian near Jenin
Ma’an News Agency 8/3/2008
Jenin – Ma’an – Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian from the northern West Bank village of Zabuba, west of Jenin on Sunday and inspectedagricultural fields near the village. Palestinian security sources and eyewitnesses stated that Israeli troops ransacked the home of Ubada Zaghal and inspected it before apprehending Zaghal. [end]

PCBS: 39 times more settlers in Palestine then in 1972
Ma’an News Agency 8/3/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an - The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) released a report on the number of illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian areas for the year 2007 on Sunday. The number of occupation sites in the West Bank totaled 440. Of this, 144 were settlements, 96 were outposts inside settlement boundaries, 109 were outposts outside settlement boundaries, 43 were occupation Sites classified as Other, and 48 were military bases. Most settlements, 26, were in the Jerusalem Governorate, 16 of which have been annexed by Israel. The amount of land in Palestinian areas in the West Bank that are inaccessible to Palestinians on account of the occupation sites is 38. 3. The area of built-up land on different occupation sites reached 2. 35 million square meters. The available data indicate that the number of settlers in the West Bank in 2007 reached to 483,453.

Palestinian factions in Gaza stage a protest against media blackout
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 8/3/2008
Representatives of various Palestinian factions in Gaza, excluding the ruling Hamas party, staged a protest on Sunday in Gaza city, against what they call ’ a media blackout’, the Hamas government has been practicing towards local media outlets. The demonstration came following the Hamas interior ministry closure of the People’s Voice Radio Station in Gaza, which is linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Zoelfaqqar Swairjo, head of the radio station, expressed astonishment in a press conference during the protest of the Hamas decision, calling for an immediate halt of all such practices against media outlets. From his part, the PFLP’s representative, Jamil Mezher, condemned the action , saying it’s a repression of freedoms and a media blackout. Khaled aLBatch, representative of the Islamic Jihad group in Gaza, urged the rival Hamas and Fatah parties. . .

Poverty and unemployment force Palestinian women out to work
Ma’an News Agency 8/3/2008
Jenin – Ma’an Report – Women are facing a variety of challenges in today’s Palestine. Increasing numbers are graduating from University and many are contributing to family income, and in some cases are the primary earners in a home. Women hoping to enter the workforce, however, are faced with many of the same difficulties as Palestinian men: being overqualified for jobs, having to relocate, or being unable to find work when they need it. Manal Atiq, for example, graduated with an accounting degree and says that she searched for job vacancies and found nothing that was suitable for her. She said that she went to several institutions and research centers hoping that they could help, but faced rejections every time. Atiq finally found work in areas that had nothing to do with her academic degree. Dalal Atiq, unrelated to Manal, graduated in 1986.

2 Palestinians killed in clan clash near Ramallah
Ma’an News Agency 8/3/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Family clashes erupted near Ramallah killing two Palestinians and wounding three others. The clash broke out in the town of Jaba, in the central West Bank and injuries range from moderate to serious. Spokesperson of Palestinian police Adnan Dmeiri told Ma’an that police forces headed to the town hours before the fight to confiscate illegal machinery. The town is located in "Area C" according to the Oslo Accords’ division, and is not under Palestinian Authority (PA) control vis a vis "security. "In order to confiscate the equipment, then, PA police were disguised in civilian clothes. "Two hours after police completed their mission," Dmeiri said, the police "received information about dead and injured people in Ramallah Hospital. We went to check up, but we couldn’t interrogate the injured because of their bad conditions. "

Human rights organization on Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights this week
PCHR, Palestine News Network 8/3/2008
Gaza City - The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights issued its report for the period of 24 through 29 July 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.

Palestinians held for 3 hours while soldiers check their ID cards
International Womens’ Peace Service 7/29/2008
Date of incident: July 29th 2008 - Time of incident: Between 11am and 2pm - Place: Near the entrance to Haris - Witness/es: Villagers, IWPS volunteers - Description of Incident: On 29th July at approximately 11am Israeli soldiers stopped a car travelling from Qalqiliya to Ramallah at a flying checkpoint near the entrance to Haris. The four passengers and the driver were all asked for their IDs. The soldiers returned the driver’s ID to him but kept the other IDs and made the men move into the area of land beneath the Israeli watch tower near the entrance to Haris. When IWPS volunteers arrived at the scene, the men and their driver had been waiting for approximately half an hour. When asked, the soldiers present said that they were waiting for their commander to check the IDs as three of the men were from Gaza and they should not be in the West Bank.

J-Post: High Court to hear Bil’in petition
Dan Izenberg, International Solidarity Movement 8/3/2008
Bil’in Village - The High Court of Justice is due on Sunday to hear a petition filed recently by residents of the Palestinian village of Bil’in charging that the government and the army are in contempt of court for failing to reroute the barrier separating the village from Modi’in Illit in keeping with a High Court ruling from September 2007. Several days after the contempt of court petition was submitted to the court, the state submitted a proposal for the new barrier route. But in another brief filed immediately afterward, the petitioners, represented by attorney Michael Sfard, charged that the state’s proposal completely disregarded the guidelines of the High Court ruling regarding the route of the new barrier. "The route proposed by the state is a brazen one that deliberately and grossly violates the ruling and doesn’t try to fulfill even one of the guidelines that the court set down,” Sfard said.

A conversation with Sarab Aburabia-Queder
David B. Green, Ha’aretz 8/3/2008
Sarab Aburabia-Queder is part of a small and select group of Bedouin women in Israel who have defied the conservative norms of their society and pursued a higher education. In her case, she went all the way to a doctorate -- with the subject of her research being women like herself, who have broken out of the strict confines that generally define the lives of Bedouin women. Aburabia-Queder, 31, recently published her first book, "Mudrot ve’ahuvot" ("Excluded and Loved: Educated Bedouin Women’s Life Stories, ) Magnes Press, 148 pages, NIS 69), which is based on interviews with 17 women from the Negev who were the first to leave their villages to study at the post-secondary level. If Israel’s Arab citizens are a minority who lead an arguably second-class existence, the roughly 160,000 Bedouin of the Negev could be described as. . .

Netanyahu: Kadima is selling Jerusalem to our enemies
Mazal Mualem, Ha’aretz 8/4/2008
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday accused rival faction Kadima of planning to make sweeping concessions over Jerusalem to the Palestinians. "For the first time in the history of our nation, we come upon a development that we are unfamiliar with and that we cannot remember whereby the ruling party in our midst will come and offer up Jerusalem even to the worst of our enemies," Netanyahu said during an appearance at a Jerusalem conference commemorating 70 years since the founding of the Rabbi Kook Institute. Also in attendance at the event was Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who uncharacteristically showered praise on the Likud chairman. Yosef referred to Netanyahu as "my dear, beloved friend" who "does a great deal for the Torah. "Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) on Sunday vowed to form a coalition government before local authority elections on November 11.

Netanyahu: Kadima offering Jerusalem to our worst enemies
Neta Sela, YNetNews 8/3/2008
Opposition leader tells Jerusalem conference negotiations on capital ’political failure, jeopardize our security’. PM aide: Bibi inciting against us just as he did against Rabin -"For the first time in the history of the Jewish nation, a situation has arisen in which the ruling party (Kadima) is willing to offerJerusalem’s most precious parts to the worst of our enemies," Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday. Speaking at a conference of Mossad Harav Kook in Jerusalem, the Likud chairman said, "this is not only a political failure, but it also jeopardizes our security. It is a fundamental moral failure in the national, Jewish and religious sense. "Mossad Harav Kook, named for Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, is the flagship-publishing house of the national-religious movement.

Gov’t okays first round of bill to collect every citizen’s photo and fingerprint
Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 8/4/2008
The government on Sunday morning approved the first reading of a bill that would create a central database containing every Israeli citizen’s fingerprints and photograph. The Interior Ministry formulated the "ID, travel document and biometric information data base" law, after it had been given the task of creating a database that would contain the pictures and fingerprints. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the law would implement an "unprecedented revolution" in order to combat counterfeiting and improve the service provided to citizens by governmental bodies. He made the comments at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting. Nevertheless, the law is only at an early legislative stage and still needs to pass a preliminary reading in the Knesset plenum. Olmert added: "What will be done is an integration of biometric elements to. . .

Biometric database to be formed in Israel
Attila Somfalvi, YNetNews 8/3/2008
Government approves bill calling for creation of database of all Israeli citizens. Data to include fingerprints, computerized facial features embedded on IDs, passports - The government approved Sunday a motion calling for the establishment of a biometric database by the Ministry of Interior and the Public Security Ministry. The motion, dubbed the "identification card, travel papers and biometrics database bill," will now be referred back to the various Knesset committees, which would ready it for its Knesset votes. The new bill called for embedding biometric data, such as fingerprints and computerized tags of facial features, in Israeli IDs and passports; as well as for the establishment of a database which would include biometric data on all Israeli citizens. The data would be used by the Ministry of Interior in its future plans to create "smart",. . .

Despite education funding cuts, more money for religious high schools
Zvi Zrahiya, Ha’aretz 8/3/2008
The NIS 121 million increase, which was determined two weeks ago, comprises NIS 64 million in new funds and NIS 57 million from schedules budget cuts approved by the cabinet for the 2008 budget that will now be canceled. Only after the agreement was reached did the Finance Committee approve a NIS 100 million transfer for increased teaching hours, a request that had been held up by the committee since the start of the year. The National Service program, mostly for religious girls who choose this route instead of army service, has 3,160 women who mostly serve as teachers aides or teach "Heritage" coursework in schools. The National Service program, mostly for religious girls who choose this route instead of army service, has 3,160 women who mostly serve as teachers aides or teach "Heritage" coursework in schools.

Women want their voices heard
Kobi Nahshoni, YNetNews 8/3/2008
Following female MKs’ exclusion from choir which sang national anthem in Knesset during British PM’s visit, women’s organizations to protest by singing at next plenum session - The Knesset just started its hiatus last Wednesday and it looks like this break is going to be very interesting. Ynet has learned that women’s organizations are intending on organizing a unique "musical demonstration" in light of the exclusion of female Knesset members from the choir singing "Hatikva" (Israel’s national anthem) during British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’svisit two weeks ago. According to the plan, a group of women will arrive at the Knesset at the first hiatus meeting, sneak through to the visitors’ balcony at the plenary and break out in "powerful song. " The organizers have suggested that the protesters equip themselves with small musical instruments. . .

Arabs despair of unwavering Zionist influence over US politics
Daily Star 8/4/2008
CAIRO: For decades, the US has jealously guarded its role of sole arbiter of the Arab-Israeli dispute. In light of recent shows of support for Israel by US presidential hopeful Barack Obama, however, many Arabs fear that Zionist influence on the US body politic - across the political spectrum - has made the notion of "US 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," Ahmad 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, US President George W. Bush went further than any of his predecessors in voicing praise for the self-proclaimed Jewish state. Referring to Israelis as a "chosen people," Bush pledged Washington’s unwavering support. . .

Local activists urge boycott of Israel
Khalil AlHajal, The Arab American News 8/1/2008
ANN ARBOR — A small group of tenacious Ann Arbor activists have been staging weekly local demonstrations against what they call apartheid in Israel, imploring institutions like the People’s Food Co-op to boycott the Jewish state. Two protestors even made appearances at recent Dearborn School Board meetings, in an effort to encourage Arab Americans to more actively and openly assert themselves on both domestic and international human rights issues. Activist Blaine Coleman said the group was inspired to appear at the meetings when hundreds of Arab Americans organized and appeared at a May meeting in defense of a high school principal who was facing accusations — which were later withdrawn — of assaulting a student." It’s been proven that hundreds of Dearborn students and parents will mobilize themselves to defend their rights," Coleman said.

Israel, European Union sign ’open skies’ flights understanding
Zohar Blumenkrantz, Ha’aretz 8/3/2008
Israel and the European Union have signed a memorandum of understanding regarding an "open skies" agreement, removing most limitations on flights between EU countries and Israel. At present, Israel is a signatory to agreements with the individual countries, which set the number of flights and the destinations. According to Transportation Ministry Director General Gideon Sitterman, who headed the talks on the memorandum, the agreement contains elements that protect Israeli airlines, to which the EU has agreed. Talks will continue in November in Brussels, and it is hoped an agreement will be reached in 2009. [end]

Defiant Iran spurns deal over uranium plant
Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor, The Independent 8/3/2008
Iran’s President has issued a defiant warning to his country’s "enemies" as Tehran ignored a deadline from world powers hoping to curb Iranian nuclear ambitions. Iran’s refusal to give a clear answer by yesterday to the offer of technological and political incentives in return for suspending uranium enrichment rekindled tensions with the West and led to fresh warnings from Israel that military strikes remain an option. But Tehran yesterday accused the West of double standards in the wake of the US’s nuclear deal with India. In a statement on Iranian television on Friday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused "enemies" of wanting to "force the Iranian nation to retreat". "Whenever the enemies have failed against this nation they have tried to make excuses, but the Iranian nation will stand against them with its power," he said.

Livni urges new sanctions on Iran
AFP, YNetNews 8/3/2008
Foreign minister tells CNN ’time is of the essence’ in challenging Iran’s nuclear drive, says ’when the international community shows hesitation, this is being perceived as weakness’. Adds: Syria must stop supporting terror activity in the region -Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, a contender to become prime minister, urged the international community on Sunday to act quickly on new sanctions againstIran, saying that Tehran views any hesitation as weakness. Speaking on CNN, Livni said that "time is of the essence" in challenging Iran’s nuclear drive after Tehran let pass a US deadline this weekend to respond to an international package of incentives to freeze its uranium enrichment operations or face new sanctions. "It is clear that Iran doesn’t pay attention to talks, and this is a clear message to the international community to continue with real and effective sanctions," Livni said.

Iranian woman to be executed for alleged ties with Israel
Dudi Cohen, YNetNews 8/3/2008
Local media report one woman, three men to receive death sentences for involvement in Shiraz mosque blast, ’connections with Zionist regime’ - An Iranian woman accused of involvement in the blast at a Shiraz mosque a few months ago will be executed, a local news agency reported, saying she received a life sentence for a connection she had withIsraeli intelligence organizations. Aside from this woman, whose name was not released, three other Shiraz residents arrested in this case will be executed. According to the report in Iran, 25 people were arrested for alleged involvement in a blast that took place at a Shiraz mosque on April 12, while a religious ceremony was being conducted by a local sermonizer. The explosion took 14 lives, and dozens of other worshippers were injured. A month after the incident, the Iranian president blamed Israel, the United States and Britain for involvement in the blast.

Iran accuses Bahai believers of links to Israel
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 8/4/2008
TEHRAN: Seven detained Bahai believers have confessed to setting up an illegal organization in Iran that took orders from Israel and others to undermine the Islamic system, an Iranian newspaper reported on Sunday. The Resalat report appeared to refer to a group of Bahais, most of whom were detained in May, but it did not spell this out. Judiciary officials had no immediate comment. Bahais regard their faith’s 19th-century founder as the latest in a line of prophets including Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Jesus and Mohammad. Iran’s Shiite religious establishment considers the faith a heretical offshoot of Islam. "Seven Bahai individuals have set up an illegal organization with connections to a number of countries including Israel and they have received orders from them to undertake measures against the Islamic system," Resalat reported.

Assad says any country has right to nukes
Dudi Cohen, YNetNews 8/3/2008
Syrian president ends his visit to Tehran in joint press conference with counterpart Ahmadinejad. ’Only way to solve the crisis is through dialogue,’ he notes. Iranian leader says his country serious about nuclear talks - Syrian President Bashar Assad ended his two-day visit to Tehran on Sunday with a strong show of support for the Iranian nuclear plan, saying his country believes any state has the right to energy and nuclear research for peaceful purposes. Assad noted that he did not make the visit as the international community’s messenger on the nuclear issue. "Syria’s stance is based on the international treaties and agreements. Each country which is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and has signed the (Nuclear Non-Proliferation) Treaty has the right to nuclear energy and the right to conduct research in this field for peaceful purposes,". . .

Ahmadinejad assures Assad Iran is taking nuclear talks seriously
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 8/4/2008
TEHRAN: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday told visiting Syrian President and staunch regional ally Bashar Assad that Tehran was serious about finding a practical solution to the nuclear crisis. "We are serious in talks and we want the talks to be based on the law so it will bear practical results. We hope that other sides are serious too," Ahmadinejad told Assad in remarks broadcast live on state-run television. On Saturday evening Ahmadinejad was quoted as telling his Syrian counterpart that Tehran "will not give up an inch on its nuclear rights. "His comments coincide with this weekend’s US deadline for Iran to respond to an international package of incentives for it to freeze its drive to enrich uranium amid warnings of new sanctions if it does not. After meeting Iran’s nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili on July 19 in Geneva, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana asked for. . .

Civil servants’ salaries to be paid in time
Ma’an News Agency 8/3/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – The Palestinian caretaker government will pay civil servants’ salaries for July before Thursday 7 August. The announcement was made after a liaison with an official source in the treasury, says Mu’in Ansawi, secretary of the union of Palestinian civil servants. The union demanded that the government adhere to its 1 September deadline as the final date to pay all back-owed sallaries for civil servants. They also stressed that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad should live up to his promise to pay all civil servants 500NIS in recognition of the hardship they endured during the period where salary payments were cut.

Palestinian police officers attend course on conflict resolution in D.C
Ma’an News Agency 8/3/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – A number of Palestinian police and other security officers attended a six-day course on conflict resolution at the American University in Washington D. C. According to the information office of the Palestinian police, the course held seminars on concepts like human rights during times of conflict and emergency, analysis of danger management, communication and control. At the end of the course, a committee of university professors was formed to evaluate the training session and its content. Evaluators ranked the course as excellent and applauded participants’ engagement with the material. Participants received two certificates for their participation, one from the American University and another from the US State Department. The information department named participants as Castro Salama, director of Palestinian police guards service;. . .

Hamas: PA and Israel shared the killing of 10 Qassam fighters last month
Palestinian Information Center 8/3/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement reported Sunday that the PA militia and the IOF troops killed during last July 10 Qassam fighters and kidnapped 556 Palestinian citizens within the context of security coordination between the two sides, pointing out that the PA security elements in the West Bank killed and kidnapped nearly as many as Israel did during this month. In a report received by the PIC, Hamas explained that the IOF troops killed last month five Palestinian fighters affiliated with its armed wing the Qassam Brigades and kidnapped 28 Palestinian citizens from different West Bank cities. Complementing the role of the Israeli occupation, elements affiliated with the Fatah mutiny trend and PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas also killed five Qassam fighters in the same month, when they detonated a car in the Gaza beach leading to the death of the fighters in addition to a little girl and the injury of many others.

Hamas urges escapees from Gaza to return
Palestinian Information Center 8/3/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement called Sunday on the group who fled to Israel to return to the Gaza Strip, reassuring everyone that the Palestinian police will release all suspects not involved in destabilizing the state of security in the Strip. "Gaza is their homeland and they should not have left it," Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement received by the PIC. The statement pointed out that the Israeli occupation sent back dozens of those who escaped from Gaza, adding that the policemen will receive and treat them well. It underlined that the security crackdown was not against the Hilles clan who has a deep-rooted history in Palestine, but targeted law-breakers who used the clan as a cover up for committing crimes. In a new development, informed Palestinian security sources reported that the Palestinian police received the fugitives who returned to Gaza after Israel refused to allow them access.

VIDEO - Hamas arrests returning Fatah members
Ali Waked, YNetNews 8/3/2008
(Video) Security sources tell Ynet 32 Palestinians who escaped from Strip sent back to Gaza on Saturday night, following agreement reached between Defense Minister Barak, Palestinian President Abbas. Hamas sources say group detained by organization’s police officers, promise not to hurt them - VIDEO - The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday morning began returning the dozens of Fatah members who escaped from Gaza on Saturday back to the Strip, despite an earlier agreement betweenIsrael and the Palestinian Authority that the men would be transferred to the West Bank. Video courtesy ofinfolive. tv Hamas sources told Ynet that some of the group members were arrested upon their return, but their number and identity was unclear. Infighting9 killed as Hamas raids Fatah stronghold in Gaza /and AP Islamist group’ security. . .

Hamas arrests returned Fatah loyalists
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 8/3/2008
The Hamas-led police forces arrested on Sunday morning 34 Fatah loyalists, who fled to nearby Israeli areas along with scores of others during clashes in eastern Gaza City on Saturday night. Sami Abu Zhuhri, spokesman of Hamas in Gaza was quoted as saying that those detained today were placed in custody and that if any of whom prove unsuspected, he would be released. The 34 Gazans, many of them from the Hellis family, the largest city clan, were returned back by Israel to Gaza, through the Eritz checkpint, where Hamas forces received them with vans, Israeli media sources reported. The sources said that the return of this group came after the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, withdrew a request to Israel yesterday night to allow more than 150 people in Israel, in a bid to transfer them to the West Bank. On Saturday, about 188 Fatah supporters including senior Fatah leader,. . .

Siyam: The security campaign ended successfully
Palestinian Information Center 8/3/2008
GAZA- Sa’eed Siyam, the interior minister in the PA caretaker government, announced Saturday evening that the security crackdown waged by the Palestinian police to arrest a number of criminals and suspects in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood successfully ended after taking control over their dens.  In a press conference, Siyam underlined that the Palestinian security men seized factories for manufacturing explosives and a number of stores of light and heavy arms, pointing out that some confiscated explosives are similar to those used in the Gaza beach bombing.   The minister added that the police arrested a number of suspects and criminals taking refuge with the Hilles clan, where some of them confessed to committing a number of crimes. He explained the reason for carrying out the crackdown including that the criminals managed more than once to commit murders and assaults on a number. . .

Hamas: The escape of a group of Hilles clan to Israel proves their involvement
Palestinian Information Center 8/3/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement stated that the escape of some wanted members of the Hilles clan and others to Israeli-controlled border areas confirms their involvement in the Gaza beach massacre and their complicity with the Israeli occupation.  In an exclusive statement to the PIC, Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, underlined that the criminals used during the crackdown different kinds of weapons including heavy machine guns, mortars and projectiles which proved that they are mercenaries used as tools to destabilize the state of security in Gaza. Dr. Abu Zuhri categorically denied the reports saying that Fatah-affiliated clan leader Ahmed Hilles was wounded during the clashes which took place in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood. The spokesman rebutted what was said by Fatah leader Hussein Al-Sheikh who tried to acquit the IOF troops of shooting the fugitives saying that his. . .

Israeli media: Hundreds of Fatah men flee to Israel from Gaza
Palestinian Information Center 8/3/2008
From Joseph Nakhla in the Gaza Strip GAZA, (PIC)-- The Israeli media has spoken of dozens of Fatah members and leaders fleeing Gaza Strip to Israel after Hamas forces reportedly closed in on their hideouts in the Shujaiya neighborhood on Saturday. Al-Shujaiya is an eastern suburb of Gaza City and has a population of more than 80,000. The Israeli state-run TV channel said as many as 150 Fatah members and loyalists fled to Israel through the Erez and Nahal Oz border crossings Saturday afternoon. Some of the fugitives reportedly were wounded, mostly lightly to moderately, during a 24-hour showdown with police forces seeking to apprehend suspected murders of six people at a Gaza beach eight days ago. The wounded were transferred to Israeli hospitals in Bir al Saba, 50 kilometers north east if Gaza. The perpetrators of Gaza beach bombing were believed to be hiding in the. . .

Qassam: Kidnappers of Dr. Ghazal will pay dearly if anything happens to him
Palestinian Information Center 8/3/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, warned the Fatah-affiliated kidnappers of Dr. Mohamed Ghazal, a member of the Hamas political bureau, that they and their instigators will pay dearly if any harm came to him. These warning came after Fatah affiliated gunmen kidnapped at noon Saturday Dr. Ghazal in Nablus and threatened to kill him. In a press statement to the Bayan information center, Abu Obeida, the spokesman for the Brigades stated if anything happens to Dr. Ghazal, Al-Qassam Brigades will not stay passive and will retaliate strongly. Abu Obeida also called on the interior ministry in Gaza to hunt the criminals who are hiding in their hotbeds in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood and not to end the operation before cleaning the area from them. For its part, the Hamas Movement warned of the serious implications of the abduction of Dr.

Qassem warns emigrants against fighting Israel in their host countries
Daily Star 8/4/2008
BEIRUT: Hizbullah’s number two Sheikh Naim Qassem said Saturday Lebanese immigrants who support Hizbullah in its struggle against Israel, "should respect the laws and policies of their host countries and know that the fight against Israel should take place in Lebanon and not anywhere else. ""Our brother emigrants should be aware that they are not supposed to be fighting Israel in their host countries, especially that these countries are not occupied by Israel," Qassem told a delegation of Lebanese emigrants at the al-Shahed Hall in Beirut’s southern suburbs. "It is your right to respect the resistance and to preserve the sovereignty and independence of your country; we truly appreciate that," he said. "However," he added, "resistance is done in Lebanon and against Israel. " Tackling recent developments on the Lebanese political scene, Hizbullah’s second in command said that. . .

Syrian general found shot dead in mysterious killing - reports
Daily Star 8/4/2008
BEIRUT: Arab media reported on Sunday that a brigadier general thought to have been the Syrian regime’s liaison with Lebanon’s Hizbullah movement has been assassinated. The reports came almost six months after the killing in a Damascus car bombing of top Hizbullah military commander Imad Mughniyeh, which the Shiite group blamed on Israel. The Saudi-owned pan-Arab daily on Sunday quoted "informed sources" in London as saying a senior Syrian officer had been found dead. "The circumstances of the incident are not clear," Al-Hayatsaid in its report, adding that the sources suggested the slain officer had been "in charge of sensitive files and closely linked to the Syrian top brass. "Al-Bawaba, an Arab news Web site, identified the officer as Mohammad Suleiman and said he was "Syria’s liaison officer with Lebanon’s Hizbullah.

Report: Iran accuses arrested Bahais of Israel links
Reuters, YNetNews 8/3/2008
Iranian newspaper reports seven detained Bahai believers confess to setting up illegal organization that took orders from Jewish state, others to undermine Islamic system -Seven detained Bahai believers have confessed to setting up an illegal organization in Iran that took orders fromIsrael and others to undermine the Islamic system, an Iranian newspaper reported on Sunday. The report in Resalat daily comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and Israel over Tehran’s disputed nuclear plans. Israel accuses Iran of seeking atomic bombs and has not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails. Iran denies the charge. The Resalat report appeared to refer to a group of Bahais, most of whom were detained in May, but it did not spell this out. Judiciary officials had no immediate comment.

New tourism minister seeks more Russian tourists
Dalia Tal, Globes Online 8/3/2008
The Tourism Ministry plans to double its Russian tourism budget to NIS 12 million. "To mark the abolishing of the visa requirement for Russian tourists, the Ministry of Tourism will double its marketing budget in Russia from NIS 6 million in 2008 to NIS 12 million in 2009," said new Minister of Tourism Ruhama Avraham Balila. She made the comment during a ceremony marking the abolishment of the visa requirement. Avraham Balila said that 200,000 Russian tourists currently visit Israel each year, of whom 60,000 are day tourists. The goal is to double the number of Russian tourists to 400,000 a year. Former Minister of Tourism Yitzhak Aharonovitch and ministry director general Shaul Zemah initiated the abolishment of the visa requirement. Russian Association of Travel Agencies said that only 3% of Russians traveled abroad for their holidays in 2007, and that the number was expected to grow.

Weather forecast: Sunday
Ma’an News Agency 8/3/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Palestinian meteorological department expects Sunday’s weather to be partly cloudy to clear with a slight drop in temperatures, bringing them down to their seasonal average. Winds will be westerly to northwesterly and mild. The sea will be tranquil. On Monday, the weather will remain partly cloudy to clear without noticeable changes in temperatures. Expected temperatures:Jerusalem: 19 to 29 / Ramallah: 18 to 28 / Nablus: 21 to 31 / Qalqilia: 20 to 30 / Jenin: 24 to 33 / Salfit: 19 to 29 / Tubas: 23 to 32 / Gaza: 26 to 31 / Hebron: 18 to 28 / Khan Younis: 26 to 31 / Jericho: 24 to 39 / Rafah: 24 to 32

Cabinet authorizes biometrics database of every citizen
Lilach Weissman, Globes Online 8/3/2008
Every person will be required to provide two fingerprints and a facial scan. The cabinet has approved a bill which, if it becomes law, will establish a national biometric database containing fingerprints and biometric information on Israeli citizens. Under the bill, which was proposed by Minister of the Interior Meir Sheetrit, every person will be required to have their photograph taken and provide two fingerprints and a facial scan to the Ministry of Interior, which will use the information to produce passports and ID cards with fingerprint impressions on them. The bill provides that a person who refuses to provide the Ministry of the Interior with the required biometric data will be liable to one year in prison and will be disqualified from applying for a ID card or passport. The Ministry of the Interior says the bill is designed to reduce the incidences of forgery of Israeli ID cards and passports.

Mofaz: As Kadima head I’ll form unity government by November
Attila Somfalvi, YNetNews 8/3/2008
Transportation minister tells municipal elections rally ’Israel does not need general elections when it is facing existential challenges’ -"After I’m elected Kadima chairman I intend to establish a unity government by the beginning of November," Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz said Sunday. Speaking at a municipal election rally in Kiryat Ono, Mofaz said "Israel does not need general elections at a time when it is facing existential challenges. " Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, the leading candidate to win the September 17 Kadima primaries, was greeted warmly when she entered the convention hall. "Kadima believes in an ethical leadership; leadership that delivers," she said. "Each and every one of us came here to say that we believein what Kadima was meant to be, and now we are making the change that will allow us to fix what went wrong.

Treasury looks to push 2009 budget cuts
Diana Bahur-Nir, Globes Online 8/3/2008
The government will review cuts in the current 2008 budget, and will also be asked to cut the 2009 budget in formation. Minister of Finance Ronnie Bar-On will today submit to the cabinet for approval a 6% across-the-board cut of NIS 750 million in the 2008 budget. The cut is intended to finance the reform in education, hiring of more police, and compensation to Holocaust survivors. "Globes" has obtained a copy of a Ministry of Finance document entitled "Internal changes in the budget framework set for 2008", which states that, in addition to this NIS 750 million budget cut, the ministry will ask the cabinet to make a NIS 400 million cut in the 2009 budget, now being prepared. For 2009, the Ministry of Finance proposes cutting NIS 170 million from the budget for local authorities, NIS 163 million from education, and NIS 42 million from higher education.

Bardawil: Ahram position does not serve Egyptian mediation
Palestinian Information Center 8/3/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement on Sunday refused the semi-Egyptian ’Ahram’ daily’s report on the Gaza incidents in which the paper described Hamas’s security control of the Gaza Strip as a "coup". MP Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil, in a statement to Quds Press, said that the description reflected a "flagrant bias in favor of one party against the other". He hoped that the stand was only a reflection of the paper’s view and not of the Egyptian leadership or else it would not serve Cairo’s mediation in the inter-Palestinian differences. Bardawil retorted to the paper’s description by saying that what happened in Gaza on June 14 last year was meant to prevent a coup against legitimacy, which was being hatched by Fatah elements loyal to Mohammed Dahlan with American backing. The lawmaker said that things should be put in their right track regarding calls for returning the conditions to what they were before June 14 incidents.


Articles


Ten rules for the US in the Middle East
Rami G. Khouri, Daily Star 8/2/2008
      Discussions of US policy in the Middle East mostly focus on Iraq and Iran these days. Yet Americans who follow their country’s Middle East policy ask about their posture throughout the region. The question comes up regularly in discussions on the Middle East in Washington and in other parts of the United States: What should the US do differently in the Middle East? I’ve discussed this often with colleagues and friends in recent months, generating my list of 10 principles and policies that I believe should define American policies in the Middle East:
     First, politically engage all legitimate actors. The American tendency to boycott or try and destroy major players in the region, like Hizbullah and Hamas, is childish and counter-productive. All those whom the US has held at arms’ length have tended to become stronger in the region, partly by garnering public support for defying and resisting the US.
     Legitimacy should be the main criterion for engaging major players in the region, and legitimacy should be defined as emanating from two sources: validation from the people in the Middle East (especially through elections), and adherence to international norms and standards. Where a locally legitimate and powerful player comes up short on one of these (such as Hamas’ occasional terror bombs in Israel), the response should be to bring them into a process that leads to their stopping such deeds and achieving their legitimate goals peacefully, as the United States, the United Kingdom and others did with the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland so deftly.

Islamobamaphobia Enters the Political Lexicon

Rannie Amiri, Palestine Chronicle 8/1/2008
      ’When it comes to Islamophobia, Barack Obama has been both its victim, and its villain.’
     After verifying that a Google search yielded no results, I decided to take the liberty myself and inject the term Islamobamaphobia into the language and discourse of the 2008 United States presidential campaign.
     Before proposing a definition though, it is first important to understand its origin and derivation from the more familiar word, ’Islamophobia’.
     Islamophobia was actually coined well before Sept. 11, 2001, and is simply defined as the fear of, or aversion to, Islam and/or Muslims. A formal analysis of it was undertaken in 1996 by the Runnymede Trust, a United Kingdom think tank promoting multiculturalism and diversity. Authored by the Commission of British Muslims and Islamophobia on their behalf, Islamophobia: A Challenge For Us All was published in 1997 (1).
     The report laid out eight features characteristic of Islamophobia. Included among them is the perception that Muslims are the "separate and other -- not having any aims or values in common with other cultures" and, exhibiting a "hostility towards Islam used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society."

Join the club

Ramzy Baroud, Al-Ahram Weekly 7/31/2008
      The "candidate of change" will bring more of the same.
     True, Obama has promised some degree of withdrawal from Iraq and a level of communication with Iran. But even these promises are ambiguous and can be easily modified to fit political interests and lobby pressures at any time. Any military redeployment in Iraq would, now we are told, be matched with greater military build up in Afghanistan, a sign that the militant mentality that motivated the war hawks in the Bush administration is yet to change; the valuable lesson that bombs don’t bring peace, yet to be heeded.
     Even talking to Iran is an indistinct promise. To begin with, various officials in the Bush administration have already been talking to Iran -- in less touted meetings, but they have engaged Tehran nonetheless -- in matters most pertinent to US, not Israeli, interests (i.e. the Iraq war). Moreover, in what was widely seen as "a shift of policy", senior US diplomat William Burns joined envoys from China, Russia, France, Britain, Germany and the EU in their talks with Tehran in Geneva 19 July. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad praised US participation and the "respect" the US envoy had shown during the meeting.

Death Penalty, a punishment for Palestinians, is not sufficient in Israel

George Rishmawi, International Middle East Media Center News 8/3/2008
      The immediate punishment that comes to Israeli officials and security forces for Palestinians who attack Israelis is to raze their homes.This has become a norm in Israel since a very long time.
     Hundreds if not thousands of Palestinian homes were demolished as an additional punishment for families of Palestinians who carry out attacks against Israeli civilians or military.
     Razing the homes in some cases is not enough.Sometimes the brothers are taken prisoner and the parents are detained.
     When identified, the case in most attacks, the attacker would be executed on the spot.Therefore, the punishment is inflicted on the family of this person, which indicates that death penalty is not enough; the family must suffer as well.
     This indicates that the Israeli government and officials have retaliation mentality rather than bringing justice.

VIDEO - The Other Side of the Holy Land

Suzanne Klotz, YouTube - Nigel Parry 8/3/2008
      This documentary contains human rights violations witnessed by the author between 1990 and 1995 in Palestine. Paintings, narration, music.

Freedom Rider: Slow Death in Gaza

Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report 6/8/2008
      "The Europeans seem to be quite satisfied acting as America’s puppet states."
     How would the civilized world react if 1.6 million people were kept imprisoned, denied access to food, clean water, sanitation facilities and electricity? If those people were also prevented from fleeing their oppression, would Americans and Europeans speak out in protest?
     If those aforesaid people lived in Gaza, and were oppressed by Israel, then the civilized world would say and do absolutely nothing. Israel is the Untied States’ number one client state, and fear of American power has silenced everyone on earth who has the power to stop this atrocity.
     While Tibet and Darfur are the subjects of selective cause celebre condemnation, there are almost no voices raised publicly on behalf of Palestinians, who live in danger of indiscriminate shelling and gunfire, whose homes are destroyed by Israeli tanks, and who are literally denied an exit from their hellish existence. While they suffer, Israel continues to build settlements on what is rightfully Palestinian land.
     It is not surprising that Washington takes no action against Israel, but silence from the rest of the world community is the most shocking aspect of this continued violation of human rights. Former president Jimmy Carter and Nobel peace prize laureate Desmond Tutu are alone among world leaders who openly condemn the Israeli government and the complicit silence from other nations.

Claiming neutrality on Palestinian suffering unacceptable: doctor

Liam Lahey, The Guardian (Toronto) 5/23/2008
      A British physician is helping spearhead a boycott of the Israeli Medical Association for its role in the displacement of Palestinians in Israel.
     The presentation given by Dr. Asad Kahn, dubbed "First, Do No Harm: A Doctor’s Experience of Life Under Israeli Occupation", provided a peek into life under Israeli occupation. The presentation was held at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto on May 20. Khan is also associated with Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHRI).
     Armed with photographs taken while visiting the region, he had a sickening tale to tell. He likened current living conditions of Palestinians and the abuse they face from Jewish settlers in certain cities to the Warsaw Ghetto that Polish Jews were subjected to at the hands of their Nazi German oppressors during the Second World War.
     Poverty and violence are rife in occupied Palestine and Palestinian homes are regularly demolished by the Israeli army. In Gaza, a public health disaster is unfolding where 85 per cent of the people depend on food aid. Water and sanitation are in a shocking state of decline - Kahn stated the ongoing construction of the so-called security wall Israel is building around Palestinian towns is effectively cutting off fresh water to them. Moreover, 70 per cent of nine-month-old Palestinian children are anemic, and 13 to 15 per cent of Gaza’s children are stunted in growth.
     "I’m not an historian nor am I a politician," the soft-spoken respirologist explained. "But you can’t say ’we’re neutral’. Could you have said that about the Holocaust or in the situation of (South African) apartheid?"

Academic freedom for whom?

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel 7/26/2008
      This important petition (below) issued by Israeli academics provides further support for PACBI’s consistent denunciation of the Israeli academy for its complicity in the system of oppression against Palestinians and its silence about the long-standing violation of the basic freedoms--including the academic freedom--of Palestinians. The petition also vindicates PACBI in its campaign for the institutional boycott of the Israeli academy.
     As the background to the petition makes clear, the Israeli academy is not the bastion of dissent it is purported to be by those seeking to defend it and thus delegitimize the call for the academic boycott of Israel. The vast majority of the Israeli academic community are oblivious to the oppression of the Palestinian people--both inside Israel and in the occupied territory--and have never fought to oppose the practices and policies of their state. In fact, they duly serve in the reserve forces of the occupation army and as such are either perpetrators of or silent witnesses to the daily brutality of the occupation. They also do not hesitate to partner in their academic research with the security-military establishment that is the chief architect and executor of the occupation and other forms of oppression of the Palestinian people.

The Zionists Gave God a Bad Name

Iqbal Tamimi, Palestine Think Tank 7/28/2008
      Part one of a report: Some people do not know much about the suffering of Palestinians. Most Israelis suggested over and over again that they have the right to live in Palestine and kick its people out. The Jewish people came from all over the world without any connection to Palestine but a promise under their armpits.
     They claim that Palestine was given to the Jews 2000 years ago"¦ by God.
     They claim God promised that they could have Palestine regardless of where they came from, or whether or not they are practicing Judaism. They just inherit this promise because they are extra special people. Inheritance here has nothing to do with blood relationships, if you are from the Land of Oz and you claim to be a Jew, you have all the right to pack your stuff, including your dentures, and get on the first flight to Palestine, and have a go at any Palestinian you encounter. You can start by massacring the people, and then you can build your own home from their children’s bones.

Gaza students still waiting and losing hope

Electronic Intifada 7/28/2008
      These days Rami Abdo’s duties include gardening, teaching and caring for his 10-year-old nephew. Abdo, a 30-year-old student from Gaza City, is still waiting along with hundreds of others to attend universities abroad. Yet, their waiting has lasted for more than a year now as Israel has closed all of Gaza’s border crossings. "I wake up every morning with [the] hope that I will be able to travel to Britain, where I am supposed to pursue my Ph.D in finance. But hope is fading away everyday as Israel continues to delay and delay."
     Abdo, who is a representative of the stranded students and spokesman of the popular committee for breaking the Israeli siege, explained that most of the students have exhausted all efforts and coordination procedures through the Israeli authorities, the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and all other concerned parties. However, these efforts have all been in vain.
     "I have lost track. I am in a big state of confusion as to what I can plan, even in the short run. I am confused whether to stay in Gaza and continue what I am doing for the time being or [continue] working on attending classes in the UK," Abdo added while mending a water-tap to his house’s garden.

Engage: Message to the Next Administration

Ghassan Khatib, Palestine Chronicle 7/28/2008
      ’A new US administration must influence the behavior of the two sides.’
     There seem to be two schools of thoughts among Palestinian politicians and analysts regarding the coming elections in the United States. Some, including President Mahmoud Abbas and the head of the negotiating delegation, Ahmed Qurei, believe that this last year of President George W. Bush is a year of opportunity that must not be wasted. Others, including Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, are convinced that no progress can be expected in the Palestinian-Israeli political process before a new administration has settled in.
     However, all of the above agree that the coming elections in the US are crucial for a troubled Middle East in general and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in particular. This is especially true in light of the evident interaction between the different political trends and conflicts in the Middle East.
     The main cause of hope regarding the American elections for the people of the Middle East, especially Arabs, is the same as for Americans, namely change. It is difficult for Arabs to believe anything but that US Middle East policy in the past seven years has been the worst, most damaging ever. In parallel, this period coincided with the lowest level of credibility granted to any American administration.

Serious Consequences

Ghassan Khatib, MIFTAH 7/28/2008
      Although the recent deal between Hizballah and Israel allowed an exchange of prisoners and bodies, it’s not the first of its kind. There have been similar exchanges in the past between Israel and Hizballah as well as between Israel and Palestinian political organizations. This time, however, the swap has more significant and far-reaching consequences, because it took place in a different political context.
     Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular are divided over the most effective approach to deal with Israel in order to achieve the common objective of ending the occupation and other forms of Israeli aggression on Arab peoples and territories. One camp promotes the political and diplomatic approach while adopting positions and demands in line with international legality. This camp includes most Arab governments, notably Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as the Palestinian Authority under Fateh in Palestine.
     The other camp believes that the most effective approach is resistance and conflict in addition to adopting positions and demands that are based on the rights of the Palestinians and Arabs. That includes some Arab governments like Syria, as well as highly popular and credible non-state actors such as Hizballah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine. This approach seems to enjoy more public support than the first.

There is Another Way

Yossi Alpher, MIFTAH 7/28/2008
      Israel’s exchanges of live prisoners and the remains of the dead with its neighbors are not nearly as easy to judge at the ethical or political level as the media and the politicians on both sides of the border would have us believe. Unlike the view expressed by many, I happen to think that last week’s exchange with Hizballah was, in historic perspective, relatively "cheap" from Israel’s standpoint.
     Israel gave up only five live Lebanese and the remains of another 50 or so Lebanese and Palestinians in return for the remains of two IDF soldiers. The most notorious of the Lebanese, Samir Kuntar, had been in jail for some 30 years--an adequate deterrent against future Kuntars. Compared to previous deals, this one was economical. Israeli negotiator Ofer Dekel deserves praise for his efforts.
     Those efforts will now be directed at retrieving IDF soldier Gilad Shalit from Hamas, whose spokesmen are already citing the Hizballah deal, mysteriously, as justification for raising the price for Shalit. Yet the circumstances surrounding the Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange negotiations are radically different from those that prevailed on the northern front, to the extent that few analogies can be drawn: Gaza, after all, is the scene of intermittent fighting and siege while Israel’s Lebanon border is quiet; Israel’s dealings with Hamas affect and are affected by its dealings with the PLO in the West Bank; and a neighboring Arab country, Egypt, is involved in all current Israel-Hamas discussions.