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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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1 September 2008

Israeli military probe acquits soldiers who shot and critically wounded a mentally-ill Palestinian
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/2/2008
The Israeli Army acquitted soldiers who shot and critically wounded a 40-year-old mentally-ill Palestinian man, and issued a press statement claiming that the soldiers acted according to protocol. Anwar Srour, 40, was shot by four rubber-coated metal bullets at short range. Medial sources in Ramallah reported that one of the bullets hit his eye. The Israeli army said that soldiers invaded Ni’lin village, near Ramallah, in order to kidnap the brother of Awad who as active in nonviolent struggle against the Israeli Annexation Wall. The friends of Anwar said that he did not threaten the soldiers in any way. His neighbor, Abu Mohammad, said that Awad stood on the doorway of the house and shouted "leave my brother alone". The soldiers then fired rubber-coated bullets at him. Abu Mohammad added that he rushed to the home of Awad but the soldiers shouted at him and kept saying "Army,. . .

Two injured in Israeli attacks on Palestinian fishermen in Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 9/1/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Two Gazan fishermen were injured when Israeli naval vessels fired on Palestinian fishing boats on Monday. Palestinian medical sources told Ma’an that 32-year-old Husam Sultan was hit in the head with shrapnel. His wounds were described as serious. Ninteen-year-old Muhammad Sultan was lacerated by shrapnel in various places on his body. The Israeli navy opened fire at the fishermen off the Gaza shore near the former site of the Israeli settlement Dugeit, west of the Palestinian town of Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip. This Israeli attack is an apparent violation of the ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip which went into effect on 19June. The violation came on the first day of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan. Another Israeli naval assault was reported earlier in the day in the day by international human rights activists accompanying Palestinian fishermen.

Free Gaza Movement: Israeli naval vessels firing on unarmed fishing boats and Human Rights Workers
International Solidarity Movement 9/1/2008
International Actions - Gaza Region - (OFF THE COAST OF GAZA) 1 September 2008 - Israeli Naval vessels are currently firing on unamrmed Palestinian fishing boats and international human rights workers off the coast of the Gaza Strip. The fishing boats are several miles off the coast of Gaza City, in Palestinian territorial waters. As of 11am (4am EST) no one had been injured, but live ammunition is still being fired in the direction of the civilian boats. The unarmed boats went to sea at dawn this morning, in an attempt to fish in their own water. Six international human rights workers from five different countries accompanied the fishermen in the hopes that their presence would deter the Israeli military from firing on the fishermen. In the past the Israeli military has shot and killed unarmed Palestinian fishermen for trying to fish in their own waters.

Nightly invasions in Ni’lin: Israeli army stormed a house, shooting one resident and arresting another
Palestine Monitor, Palestine Monitor 9/1/2008
At 3 o’clock on Sunday night, the Israeli army stormed the village of Ni’lin in the North West of Ramallah. Incidents and crimes have been happening on a weekly basis in Ni’lin for months, where the people have been carrying out non-violent struggles to defend their land against the building of a new section of the apartheid Wall. In Ni’lin, the Israeli soldiers have been using violent methods in order to break the non-violent resistance of the villagers. High velocity and rubber bullets have been used -with soldiers shooting at close range on the demonstrators- along with poisonous teargas and sound bombs. Previous aggressions during the month of July already led to the death of one teenager and one child, and hundreds of injured. On Sunday night, the first night of Ramadan, Israeli soldiers entered the town, targeting the Srour’s family house, intending to arrest Aqal Abu Srour, 34 year-old.

Cars allowed into Rachel’s Tomb area for first time in years
Nadav Shragai, Ha’aretz 9/2/2008
Israeli security authorities opened the Rachel’s Tomb compound to private car traffic Monday, in response to pressure from rightist MKs and groups, after years in which only bulletproof buses were allowed into the area surrounding the shrine, located on the outskirts of the West Bank town of Bethlehem. However, despite widespread requests, for the time being, entering the compound on foot remains prohibited for the time being. The arrangement is to be in effect on a trial basis for a month, at which time it may be extended. The decision was made jointly by the police and the Border Police,following a directive by Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, and after lobbying by a number of groups acting together to press for the new arrangement. Among them were right-wing Nation Union-National Religious Party MK Uri Ariel and ultra-Orthodox. . .

Israeli winery moves from settlement to Kibutz in northern Israel, cites ’negative image’
George Rishmawi, International Middle East Media Center News 9/1/2008
The Israeli wine company Barkan, moved its factory from the Barkan settlement in the northern West Bank into a Kibutz Hulda in northern Israel, the Gush Shalom movement in Israel reported. The moving process started four years ago, and the Gush Shalom has been monitoring it, as the Barkan winery was on its boycott list for the past ten years. Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc) supports distributed leaflets and stickers at supermarkets as well as other places asking the public to boycott this winery, because it is based in a settlement, which is a breach of international law, since the settlements violate international law. The company directors’ report to their stockholders stated: "In the past, the location of the company’s winery at the Barkan area caused a negative image and made difficult the exporting of the Barkan brands. " -- See also: Israeli winery leaves premises in illegal West Bank settlement

Israeli court: PA to compensate terror victims by millions
Jerusalem Post 9/1/2008
Jerusalem District Court Judge Aharon Farkash ruled on Monday that it was possible to implement a 2004 US court ruling, according to which the Palestinian Authority must pay compensations of more than $116 million to terror victims’ families. In July 2004, a US court ruled that the Palestinian Authority was to pay some $116 million to the relatives of Yaron and Efrat Unger who were killed in a 1996 terror attack. But when the family asked authorities to enforce the court ruling in Israel, the Palestinian Authority objected, saying that paying the high compensations would lead to its financial collapse. The Jerusalem District Court rejected the appeal made by the Palestinian Authority not to enforce the American ruling because the implementation would destroy it financially. The Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority said that payment. . .

No joy for besieged Gazans during Ramadan
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 9/2/2008
GAZA CITY: As most of the rest of the Islamic world welcomes Ramadan with festive treats and family get-togethers, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip wearily brace for another holiday under a crippling Israeli blockade. Israel has sealed off the impoverished territory from all but a trickle of humanitarian aid since the Islamist Hamas movement seized power in June 2007, and it is during the holidays that weary residents say they feel the sanctions the most. "Honestly, I don’t even feel like we welcome Ramadan, because year after year things go from bad to worse, with life becoming harder and more expensive," says Dina, a university student shopping in a Gaza City market. The Muslim holy month during which the faithful fast from sunup to sundown is normally a festive time of lavish nightly feasts, holiday treats, and family reunions - all of which have become harder for most Gazans to afford.

East Jerusalem tries to preserve Ramadan traditions while entering the month in further isolation
Rasim Abdul Wahid, Palestine News Network 9/1/2008
Jerusalem - While the Arab and Islamic worlds begin celebrating the start of the holy month of Ramadan, the city of Jerusalem faces further isolation due to the actions of Israeli authorities. Israeli forces have tightened the closure of main and subsidiary outlets, and the Wall has expanded from Qalandiya Checkpoint in the north to Beit Hanina. Most worshippers on the other side of the Wall are again prevented from entering Jerusalem and going to Al Aqsa Mosque to perform prayers and religious rites during the holy month. According to numerous observers, politicians and legal entities, the actions of the occupation authorities in Jerusalem are catastrophic. At the same time the Israelis have closed the Al Aqsa Foundation for the Reconstruction of Islamic Sanctities, which was active in mobilizing the largest possible number of Palestinians within the Israeli boundaries.

Jenin enters Ramadan in a slump: residents call for end to Israeli siege and closures
Ali Samoudi, Palestine News Network 9/1/2008
Jenin -- Ramadan is one of those holidays that the commercial sector waits for to make up for slumping sales. The revenue during the month can make or break an entire year, but it has been years now that the Palestinian economy has faced serious trouble. In the northern West Bank’s Jenin, one of the hardest hit areas, it is not clear that that the day is different than any other, save for the merchants who have put out traditional Ramadan items. The traffic in the streets is sparse. Grocery store owner Khalil Abdullah said that the catastrophic conditions year round do not stop for Ramadan. But this year he hopes that everything will improve as public sector employees are beginning to be paid with more regularity. Abu Ali Awais also owns a store and said that despite great disappointment the month is full of goodness and blessings.

IOA bans entry of Palestinians less than 45 years old into Aqsa Mosque
Palestinian Information Center 9/1/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- A spokesman for the Israeli occupation forces has said that all Palestinians under 45 years old living in the West Bank would be barred from entering the Aqsa Mosque during Friday congregations in the holy month of Ramadan. The Hebrew radio quoted the spokesman as saying that the decision was ordered by Israeli war minister Ehud Barak. It said that the decision also applies to women who are under 30 years old. Anyone exceeding that age should obtain a special permit from the Israeli military authorities, the broadcast added. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been denied passage to occupied Jerusalem to pray in the holy Aqsa Mosque for many years. [end]

The holy month of Ramadan starts in Palestine
George Rishmawi, International Middle East Media Center News 9/1/2008
The Mufti of Jerusalem has declared that the Holy Month of Ramadan started in Palestine, on September 1, 2008, as the religious courts confirmed seeing the crescent moon of Ramadan. The sighting and an agreement are required to officially declare the beginning of the month. On Saturday night Chief Justice Sheikh Taysir Al Tamimi set all of the Religious courts in Palestine ready to monitor the crescent moon. The Palestinian Authority has also announced the change of clock to fall to daylight saving (GMT +2) which will ensure one hour less of the fasting time. This month is of a very religious importance for Moslems. They increase their social activities and exchange family visits, and do a lot of charitable work. On the other hand, in Ramadan Israel beefs up its military and police presence Jerusalem and makes it harder for worshippers to reach teh Aqsa mosque for prayers.

Palestinian chief Islamic judge urges unity in Ramadan message
Ma’an News Agency 9/1/2008
Jerusalem – Ma’an – Chief Islamic Judge Sheikh Taysir At-Tamimi urged Palestinians to avoid infighting and to pray in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem during the holy month of Ramadan. In his Ramadan message the Sheikh also urged merchants to lower their prices, and asked Palestinians to help the families of prisoners. Muslims throughout the world began a month of dawn-to-dusk fasting on Monday. At-Tamimi issued the following statement:The Sheikh congratulated all Muslims worldwide, sending them best wishes for Ramadan, asking God to the bless people and remove all their sins during their fasting. In this month he urges all Palestinians to do the following:1- Stay united and avoid violence. 2- Pray in the Al-Aqsa mosque. To be pious it would be great if people could visit Saudi Arabia and its holy mosque in order to pray for Jerusalem and to end Palestinian suffering.

Ramallah authority sacks 500 teachers for not abiding by strike
Palestinian Information Center 9/1/2008
RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- Fatah-affiliated media websites on Sunday published the names of almost 500 new teachers who have been dismissed from their posts by the Ramallah authority for not abiding by the strike call in Gaza. The report said that two earlier lists each included the names of 720 teachers who refused to abide by the politicized call for strike in the Gaza Strip, bringing the number of sacked teachers to almost 2000. Palestinian well informed sources told PIC that publishing the names of those teachers was part of a scheme, which was earlier disclosed by the PIC that the Ramallah authority was planning to cut the salaries of all civil servants in the Strip. The sources noted that more lists would be published with names of thousands of employees whose salaries would be cut off. They pointed out that a big number of those employees were abiding by the strike, which reveals. . .

De facto Gaza government to prevent striking medical workers from working in private sector
Ma’an News Agency 9/1/2008
Gaza – Ma’an Report – The medical workers’ union’s call for a strike in the Gaza Strip has been acknowledged by hundreds of doctors and nurses in Gaza’s health sector, despite the call from several factions and civil institutions to return to their posts. After ordering the workers back to clinics and hospitals based on their presence being an essential service for Palestinians, the Ministry of health for the de facto Hamas led government has decided to punish strikers by preventing them from working in the private sector. Since most doctors work in both the public and private sectors in order to supplement their incomes, being unable to continue this second job means financial peril for the striking staff of the medical sector. Despite the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah’s decision to continue paying the salaries of striking public sector medical workers, the public. . .

PA employees loyal to Fatah to be paid on Thursday
Ma’an News Agency 9/1/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian civil servants and military salaries for August will be paid on Thursday, but only those seen to be loyal to the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA), a source in the PA in Ramallah said on Monday. PA employees will also receive 1,500 shekels of back-payment for missed salaries. The PA source, from a committee dealing with the payment of salaries said that employees who are judged not to be “committed to legitimacy” would not be paid. The statement was referring to the employees in the Gaza Strip who work for the Hamas-run de facto government there. Although it was dismissed by the president over a year ago, the Hamas government maintains political control in Gaza, while the PA transfers the salaries. Speaking at a press conference in Ramallah in Monday, the interior minister in the PA, Riyad Al-Maliki said that “all” government employees would be paid "without conditions.

De facto government in Gaza introduces price monitoring
Ma’an News Agency 9/1/2008
Gaza - Ma’an - The Hamas-run de facto government in the Gaza Strip has announced that it will monitor the cost of basic goods, on account of the recent spike in food and fuel prices. Several factors have combined to necessitate price monitoring, the de facto government said on TuesdayIn addition to an overall rise in food prices, limited amounts of food are reaching Gaza due to Israel’s restrictions on imports. What food does reach Gaza spoils quickly due to long waiting times at Israeli checkpoints and a recent wave of hot weather. The government in Gaza said it would prosecute merchants who overcharge consumers. [end]

Free Gaza Movement: Human Rights Workers to accompany Gaza fishermen on Monday
International Solidarity Movement 9/1/2008
International Actions - Gaza Region - GAZA CITY (1 September 2008) - Human Rights Observers from the Free Gaza Movement and the International Solidarity Movement launch campaign to monitor Israeli naval aggression against Gazan fishermen. According to a recent article in The Guardian, "Under the Oslo accords, which in 1993 were supposed to herald the coming of an independent Palestinian state, Gazan fishermen were to be allowed 20 nautical miles out to sea, where they could catch sardine as they migrated from the Nile delta up towards Turkey during the spring. But Israeli naval ships in recent years have imposed their own, much-reduced limits, sometimes fewer than 6 miles out. " Israel enforces these arbitrary limits with lethal violence. Many fishermen have either been killed or injured as a result. Just 3 days ago 4 such fishermen were attacked and "arrested" by Israeli gunboats.

Israeli naval vessels shoot and wound two fishermen in Gaza
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/1/2008
The Israeli naval vessels shot and wounded today two Palestinian fishermen, while on board fishing on the northern Gaza coast of Sudaniya. Medical sources reported that Hussam Assultan, 32, was hit in head and that his injury was described as critical, while Mohammad Ani Assultan, 19, was hit with shrapnel onto his body. The said shooting on Gaza coast comes amidst a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian factions, Cairo brokered on June19, 2008. Recently, many of such factions have warned of possible collapse of the ceasefire due to what they say ’Israeli breaches’. Gaza’s coast, according to Oslo accords of 1993, can be used by Palestinians within 12 nautical miles, yet Israel has grossly tightened restrictions on movement of Palestinian boats since June2007, as the Islamic Hamas party took over the coastal region.

Palestinian fishermen continue to work despite Israeli threat
Free Gaza, Palestine News Network 9/1/2008
Gaza City - Human rights observers from the Movement and the International Solidarity Movement launched their campaign to monitor Israeli naval aggression against Gazan fishermen on Monday. At 11 am Israeli Naval vessels began firing live ammunition at unamrmed Palestinian fishing boats and international human rights workers off the coast of the Gaza Strip. The fishing boats are several miles off the coast of Gaza City, in Palestinian territorial waters. The fishing boats went to sea at dawn this morning, in an attempt to fish in their own water. Later in the day Israeli forces again opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats, injuring two. Six international human rights workers from five different countries accompanied the fishermen in the hopes that their presence would deter the Israeli military from firing on the fishermen.

Female detainee released from administrative detention
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/1/2008
Researcher and specialist in detainees’ affairs, Abdul-Nasser Farawna, stated on Monday that the Israeli Authorities released detainee Nora Al Hashlamoon, 37, after nearly two years imprisonment under administrative detention orders without filing any charges against her. Al Hashlamoon, from the southern West Bank City of Hebron, was kidnapped on September 14, 2006 and was imprisoned under administrative detention orders which were renewed for nine consecutive times. She is a mother of six children and her husband Mohammad is still imprisoned under administrative detention orders since September 2006. Farwana stated that Al Hashlamoon was repeatedly asked to choose between remaining under administrative detention or be deported o Jordan along with her children for three years. She refused to be deported and carried repeated hunger strikes.

Palestinian woman released from Israeli custody after 27 day hunger strike
Ma’an News Agency 9/1/2008
Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli forces evening released 37-year-old Noura Al-Hashlamoun from Israeli custody after serving 26 months in prison. Hashlamoun was detained on 19 June 2006 and was under administrative detention without trials or charges. She went on hunger strike for 27 days as a protest for her illegal detention, and ended the strike only after prison authorities announced her release. In early 2008 the Israeli Supreme court issued a deportation order for Hashlamoun, who was ordered sent to Jordan along with her husband and six children, aged three to 14. Hashlamoun’s husband Muhammad has been detained since September 2006 accused of affiliation with Islamic Jihad.

Al Akhras to PNN: new organization to aid Palestinians upon release from Israeli prison
Palestine News Network 9/1/2008
Bethlehem -- When Palestinians are released from Israeli prisons their cases often get dropped by local services specializing in prisoner rights. There are approximately 11,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, taking all of the time and more than prisoner rights groups have. Iman Al Akhras is the director of new Bethlehem organization established to deal with follow-up after release. She told PNN on Monday that Bethlehem is teeming with Palestinians released from Israeli prisons and it is crucial that they receive aid. The Freed Prisoner Assembly does not have a formal office, but is instead working out of the offices of other institutions dealing with prisoner rights. She said today, "We aim to assist all organizations and associations dealing with prisoners. Our objective in establishing this new organization is to assist prisoners in all material respects.

Free Gaza Boat’s members condemn being denied access through the Rafah terminal
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/1/2008
Members of the Free Gaza Boat, who opted to leave Gaza through the Rafah crossing terminal, in solidarity with the Palestinian people, condemned on Monday the Egyptian authorities denial of their access through the terminal. British journalist Lauran Bauth, who was among the five internationals, wanting to enter, said such a decision is political-driven, as the five hold legal documents and valid international passports. Bouth added that the denial came after the Israeli authorities blocked their entry back through the Israel-controlled checkpoint of Eritz in northern Gaza, calling on Egypt to allow them in. Kenth Okaivi, a British journalist, demanded his government to intervene to the Egyptian authorities for allowing them in the Egyptian territories en-route to their destinations. Okaivi believed that the Egyptian authorities have brought shame onto Egypt by preventing passage of these internationals.

Egypt closes Gaza border crossing
Middle East Online 9/1/2008
EL-ARISH - Egypt on Monday closed the border crossing between Sinai and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip after a brief opening allowed thousands in and out of the besieged territory, a security official said. "The border crossing has been closed and there is no agreement between Hamas and Egypt over a new date to open the crossing," the official said. The crossing was opened for the first time in weeks on Saturday. In that time, "Egypt has allowed 4,545 Palestinians and Egyptians to cross, including 3,437 who came into Egypt and 1,108 Palestinians who headed to Gaza," the official said. The people allowed to cross included hundreds of Palestinians requiring treatment in Egyptian hospitals, as well as Egyptian nationals and Palestinians holding Egyptian passports, officials said. The Rafah crossing in southern Gaza is the territory’s only one that is not under the control of. . .

A Girl and a Child Wounded as an RBJ Projectile Hit Their Home in Jabalya
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 9/1/2008
Security Chaos and Proliferation of Weapons - Misuse of Weapons by Armed Groups and Security Personnel -Field Update - On Friday, 29 August 2008, 2 sisters, including a child, were wounded when an RBJ projectile fired from a nearby training site of a Palestinian resistance group hit their home in the northern Gaza Strip town of Jabalya. This incident is part of the state of security chaos prevailing in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 08:10 on Friday, 29 August 2008, an RBJ projectile fired by gunmen who were training in the east of Jabalya town hit a house belonging to Hassan Salah Junaid, 45. The projectile exploded inside the house and wounded 2 of the owner’s daughters: . . .

3 children 1 adult injured in Ni’lin protest
Ma’an News Agency 9/1/2008
Ni’lin – Ma’an – Three children and one adult were injured withlive bullets as they participated in a non-violent demonstration against the illegal construction of the Israeli separation wall on village lands. Ni’lin is a village located west of the city of Ramallah, whose lands have been cut off residents by the construction of the wall that separates Israel from the West Bank. The people of Ni’lin and the Popular Committee Against the Wall have organized weekly and ongoing demonstrations in protest. Each week locals, Israeli and international activists walk towards the confiscated lands on the far side of the Israeli construction site for the wall, in order to tend to crops from which some earn their livelihoods. On Sunday, dozens of foreign supporters and activists participated and marched alongside Palestinians as they headed toward three different construction areas along the planned route of the Israeli separation wall.

Sources: Hamas’ inflexibility, tensions with Egypt stall Shalit talks
Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, Ha’aretz 9/2/2008
Israeli and Palestinian sources seem to agree on one thing: The negotiations for the release of Gilad Shalit are stuck. Israeli security sources involved in the negotiations over the abducted Israel Defense Forces solder said no significant progress was achieved in recent weeks’ talks. The ministerial meeting Sunday to reevaluate the criteria for releasing Palestinian prisoners was meant to send Hamas a message that Israel is willing to show a certain degree of flexibility, the sources said. However, Hamas has taken an even tougher stance, the sources said. Palestinian sources also say that negotiations are going nowhere. Hamas is not willing to resume contacts and negotiate through the Egyptian interlocutors. Hamas reportedly has refused an Egyptian demand that intense negotiations be held in Cairo, with a semi-permanent presence of Israeli and Hamas negotiators.

Egypt-Israel gas deal taken to court
Associated Press, Jerusalem Post 9/1/2008
An Egyptian court is reviewing a petition by a group of lawyers to halt Egypt’s natural gas exports to Israel, one of the attorneys said Monday. Lawyer Ibrahim Yousri said the petitioners want to stop the deal because it involves below market gas prices of only US$1. 5 per British thermal unit, a measure of energy. The market price is almost nine times higher and Yousri said Egypt has been losing about US$9 million a day over it. "If this not theft what else could it be," Yousri told The Associated Press. "Egyptians are in a dire need of every penny, so why does the government squander these resources? " According to Yousri, Judge Ahmed el-Shazli on Monday asked the petitioners to present documents supporting their case and adjourned the hearings till October 17. Egypt began pumping gas to Israel in February, following an energy deal under which Cairo-based East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) is to sell 1.

Qassam: We will never discuss any list of names suggested by Israel
Palestinian Information Center 9/1/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, stated the Movement would never discuss any list of names suggested by Israel in exchange for its captive soldier, highlighting that the Israeli government has to accept the list already prepared by the Movement.  In a statement to the Saudi Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Abu Obeida, the spokesman for the Brigades, said that the list of names tabled by Hamas includes more than one thousand prisoners especially Palestinian leaders, long-serving prisoners, and all children and women. This was in response to a planned meeting of an Israeli ministerial panel, headed by vice premier Haim Ramon, set to soften the existing criteria for the release of Palestinian prisoners through composing a new list of prisoners. The Israeli list will include 450 names including 70 from Hamas’ list who have already been approved for release.

Israeli-Syrian peace talks postponed Staff And Ap, Jerusalem Post 9/1/2008
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is scheduled to visit Damascus on Wednesday, a trip Israel had an indirect role in making possible because of its indirect talks with Syria, at a time when - ironically - the Israel-Syria track seems frozen. Turkish sources said Monday that there was no new date scheduled for the fifth round of indirect talks in Turkey between Syrian and Israeli negotiating teams, a round that was originally scheduled for last week, then postponed until this week, and now tentatively set for next week. Turkish sources told The Jerusalem Post last week that it was likely that the talks would be postponed until after Sarkozy’s two-day trip to Damascus. The Syrians have expressed interest in US and French co-sponsorship of the talks, something which Sarkozy would like to see. In a speech to French ambassadors last week, Sarkozy said it was. . .

Palestine Today 090108
George Rishmawi Audio Dept, International Middle East Media Center News 9/1/2008
Click on Link to download or play MP3 file || 4 m 0s || 3. 66 MB ||Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center www. imemc. org for Monday September 1, 2008. As the first day of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan starts, Israeli soldiers are ordered not to eat or smoke on checkpoints, meanwhile, Israeli gunboats open fire at Palestinian fishermen, these stories and more coming up, stay tuned. The News Cast As the Month of Ramadan starts in Palestine today during which Moslems fast during the daylight and eat after the sunset, Palestinian media sources quoted Israeli reports that the Israeli soldiers, manning the checkpoints in the West Bank have been ordered not to eat or smoke in front of Palestinians passing by the checkpoints. This is the first time soldiers are asked to maintain such behavior during Ramadan.

15-year-old arrested at Huwwara checkpoint
Ma’an News Agency 9/1/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian boy at the Huwwara checkpoint south of the West Bank city of Nablus on Monday afternoon after he reportedly attempted to stab an Israeli soldier. Fifteen-year-old Ahmad ‘Aref Mohammed Saleh Hamayel was arrested. Local sources in the village of Beita, Hamayel’s home, denied reports that he had been carrying a knife. According to sources in the village, Hamayel left for school on Monday morning and never returned. Hamayel is in the 10th grade. The boy’s relatives appealed to the Palestinian Authority and humanitarian organizations to intervene with the Israeli side in order to release their son. [end]

PA: Israeli forces seized 56 Palestinians, injured 10 last week
Ma’an News Agency 9/1/2008
Ramallah - Ma’an - Israeli forces detained 56 Palestinians last week and injured ten, the Palestinian minister of interior, Riyad Al-Maliki said. Al-Maliki made the announcement at a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday. Israeli forces invade West Bank cities nightly to arrest Palestinians. [end]

DFLP leader Nayif Hawatmah heading to Cairo reconciliation talks
Ma’an News Agency 9/1/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The secretary-general of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), Nayif Hawatmah on Monday led a DFLP delegation to the Palestinian reconcilliation talks in Cairo. “Disagreement can’t be treated without comprehensive national dialogue based on the Cairo declaration of March 2005 andthe Palestinian National Agreement Document which all factions signed on 27 June 2006 as well as president Abbas’ recent initiative,” Hawatmah said. He said that a national unity government should be established using those docuements as a basis. Hawatmah also suggested the formation of a transitional Palestinian government of independent Palestinian figures. This government would be in charge of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem,unite official organizations and prepare for legislative and presidential elections and elections the for the pre-Oslo Palestinian National Council.

Arab league’s chief says the idea to bring in Arab forces to Gaza is debatable
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/1/2008
Arab league’s chief, Amr Mousa, said yesterday that the notion to bring Arab forces is debatable, awaiting results of underway intra-Palestinian dialogue over national unity. Mousa’s remarks were reported by the Israeli radio-Arabic program-, in which he was quoted as saying " the notion to bring in Arab forces to Gaza, which has been presented by foreign minister of Egypt, should not be interpreted as an official Egyptian proposal". Such a notion or any other proposals can be discussed, depending on the results of Palestinian national dialogue, as the Arab league has been practicing a genuine role as to achieving conciliation among the Palestinian parties. In response to the suggestion, the ruling Hamas party in Gaza refused totally bringing in any Arab troops to the Gaza Strip, calling on Egypt ’not to intervene directly in the Palestinian affairs’.

Mousa: spilling blood on an internal level is unacceptable
Palestine News Network 9/1/2008
Cairo - Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Mousa, said from Cairo yesterday that the continued Palestinian divide has crossed several red lines and cannot continue. "The spilling of Palestinian blood on an internal level is unacceptable. "Mousa explained that the issue will be seriously discussed among foreign ministers at the next Arab League council meeting slated for the eighth of this month. While speaking with the press on Sunday he said that the matter was in the hands of Palestinian parties, but wondered aloud, "Why is this conflict ongoing when there is yet no state? " The proposal to send Arab forces to Gaza, which still all Palestinian parties, except Fateh, reject, is again being proposed. Mousa said, "There are many ideas about what to do. When it was proposed by the Egyptian Foreign Minister it was in the form of a question.

Dhamir denounces Abbas for not sending passports to Gaza
Palestinian Information Center 9/1/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Dhamir foundation for human rights on Monday denounced the PA chief Mahmoud Abbas and his Ramallah authority for not sending new passports to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The foundation in a statement said that it had followed up with concern the delay in sending those passports for almost two months. It noted that the step was contrary to Abbas’s own decision a week ago to resume sending those passports to Gaza. The foundation said that the absence of those passports lost the opportunity before many citizens to travel abroad during the two days opening of Rafah terminal on Saturday and Sunday. It quoted Kamel Abu Madi, the head of the administrative and financial sector in the PA interior ministry in Gaza, as saying that requests for new passports or renewal of old ones had reached 1,700.

ANALYSIS / Olmert racing against clock for deal with Palestinians
Aluf Benn, Ha’aretz 9/2/2008
On the eve of his expected resignation, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is making a final effort to conclude a’shelf agreement’ with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Olmert has no time for detailed negotiations, nor does he consider them necessary. He therefore presented Abbas with a proposal for an agreement on the fundamental principles of a Palestinian state. Now, the ball is in Abbas’s court. Olmert is fighting on two fronts: against Abbas, who is hesitant to accept the proposal, and against Ministers Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak, who warn against a hasty, last-minute agreement. But the premier has nothing to lose. If, as expected, he fails, he can say he tried until the end, and is leaving a reasonable outline for an agreement to his successor. But if he somehow succeeds, and Abbas accepts the proposal, his critics. . .

Israel favours peace deal without Jerusalem
Middle East Online 9/1/2008
JERUSALEM - Israel wants to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians by the end of the year but postpone a final agreement on the future status of Jerusalem, a senior government official said on Sunday. "Both sides are interested in reaching a full agreement by the end of 2008 and believe it is possible," the official said after the latest meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. "But since the question of Jerusalem is not solvable within this timeframe they will have to agree to postpone an accord on this issue and agree on a mechanism and a timetable for Jerusalem. " There has been mounting pressure to show progress in slow-moving US-backed peace talks as Olmert prepares to step down to battle a graft scandal following a September 17 party leadership election.

Olmert scolds Abbas for meeting Qintar, Abbas disavows
Palestinian Information Center 9/1/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Israeli premier Ehud Olmert on Sunday severely reprimanded PA chief Mahmoud Abbas for meeting with released dean of Arab captives Samir Al-Qintar during his last visit to Beirut, but the latter tried to disavow this meeting. Israeli media outlets reported that Olmert told Abbas during a bilateral meeting in occupied Jerusalem that he had not expected him to meet with someone who killed Israelis, but Abbas replied saying that the meeting was not planned and Qintar invited himself. Olmert, for his part, was not satisfied with this reply and told Abbas that he could, despite everything, have refused to meet with Qintar. Israeli newspapers said that Abbas during his Sunday meeting with Olmert requested that Israel release more Palestinian prisoners. The Israeli primer’s office commented on this request by saying that there is no intention at this stage. . .

Dutch intel: US to strike Iran in coming weeks Staff, Jerusalem Post 9/1/2008
The Dutch intelligence service, the AIVD, has called off an operation aimed at infiltrating and sabotaging Iran’s weapons industry due to an assessment that a US attack on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is imminent, according to a report in the country’sDe Telegraaf newspaper on Friday. The report claimed that the Dutch operation had been "extremely successful," and had been stopped because the US military was planning to hit targets that were "connected with the Dutch espionage action. " The impending air-strike on Iran was to be carried out by unmanned aircraft "within weeks," the report claimed, quoting "well placed" sources. The Jerusalem Post could not confirm the De Telegraaf report.

Report: Holland believes Iran to be attacked soon
YNetNews 9/1/2008
Dutch newspaper reports intelligence service recently suspended successful operation in Islamic republic following estimate that US army will decide to launch airstrike against Iranian targets in coming weeks - Holland’s military intelligence service (AIVD) recently suspended an intelligence operation aimed at infiltrating and sabotaging the Iranian weapon manufacturing industry following estimates that the United States plans to attack the Islamic republic in the coming weeks, according to a report by Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, quoted by media worldwide Monday. The report stated that the operation, deemed successful, was recently halted due to preparations for an American airstrike in Iran. The Dutch believe that the bombed targets will include the locations of their espionage operation. Nuclear ThreatWest fears Russia will supply anti-aircraft missiles. . .

Iran: We haven’t bought Russian anti-aircraft missile batteries
Reuters, Ha’aretz 9/2/2008
Iran denied on Monday it had bought Russia’s advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile system, after Israeli defense sources said the Islamic Republic could receive a delivery of theweapons by the end of the year. Western and Israeli experts have said that if Tehran acquired the S-300 missile batteries it would become much more difficult for Israel or the United States to carry out a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear facilites. The U. S. and Israel say Tehran wants to build atomic bombs despite Tehran’s claim its nuclear program has only civilian aims. They have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the dispute. Asked whether it had bought missiles from Russia, including the S-300 system, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said: "No such thing is correct.

Biden camp says report on Iran a lie
Jerusalem Post 9/1/2008
A spokesman for US Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Biden on Monday scathingly rejected an Army Radio report which claimed Biden told Jerusalem officials three years ago that he firmly opposed an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities and that Israel would likely have to come to terms with a nuclear Iran. "This is a lie peddled by partisan opponents of Senators Obama and Biden and we will not tolerate anyone questioning Senator Biden’s 35-year record of standing up for the security of Israel," Biden’s press secretary, David Wade, said in a statement. "Joe Biden’s first trip as a senator was to Israel. He has worked with every Israeli leader from Golda Meir to Prime Minister Olmert, and he takes a back seat to no one when it comes to protecting the relationship between Israel and the US," Wade added.

UN human rights chief tries to sway Israel, U.S. on anti-racism summit
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 9/2/2008
The UN’s new human rights chief said Monday she hopes to persuade the United States and Israel to drop their opposition to an upcoming global racism conference. "My instinct would be to get as many countries to participate as possible," Navi Pillay said on her first day as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The so-called Durban II meeting in Geneva next year will review progress in fighting racism since the global body’s first such conference seven years ago. The U. S. and Israel walked out midway through the 2001 World ConferenceAgainst Racism in Durban, South Africa, because of a draft resolution that singled out Israel for criticism and compared Zionism to racism. The resolution was never adopted. Israeli officials say their country will likely stay away from Durban II because of anti-Semitic excesses at and around the first meeting.

UN rights chief hopes to sway US, Israel on Durban
Associated Press, YNetNews 9/1/2008
Newly appointed human rights chief says she hopes to persuade Washington, Jerusalem to send delegations to upcoming global conference they perceive as anti-Semitic - The UN’s new human rights chief said Monday she hopes to persuade the United States and Israel to drop their opposition to an upcoming global racism conference. ’’My instinct would be to get as many countries to participate as possible,’’ Navi Pillay said on her first day as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The so-called ’Durban II’ meeting in Geneva next year will review progress in fighting racism since the global body’s first such conference seven years ago. The US and Israel walked out midway through the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, because of a draft resolution that singled out Israel for criticism and compared Zionism - the movement to establish and maintain a Jewish state - to racism.

Greece urged to educate youth on Shoah after teens filmed urinating on memorial
Jerusalem Post 9/1/2008
The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center urged the Greek government Monday to "strenuously" respond to the recent desecration of the Rhodes Holocaust Memorial by a group of local teenagers, who were shown on a YouTube video urinating on the site. The center demanded a Holocaust educational campaign for Greek youth. "Greek obligations to the European Union. . . require your government to promptly arrest the perpetrators of this obscenity, apologize for this offense to the Jewish people, reinforce security measures to defend community institutions and strenuously embark on a Holocaust educational campaign for Greek youth," the Center’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, wrote in a letter to the Greek Justice Minister Sotirios Hatzigakis. "An inadequate response to this outrage will be construed as an endorsement for anti-Semitism," the letter concluded.

Court upholds Bishara’s pension
Elie Leshem, Jerusalem Post 9/1/2008
The High Court of Justice on Monday ruled that former Balad chairman Azmi Bishara can continue to receive a pension from the state, despite the fact that he has fled the country under a cloud of suspicion that he spied for Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War. World Likud head Danny Danon, who filed the appeal against the benefits, lambasted the court’s decision. "It is a disgrace that the High Court of Justice has joined hands with the interior minister, taking no legal action against Bishara to revoke his citizenship and stop payments to him," Danon said in response to the decision. "The terror that is being directed at Israelis by leaders of the country’s Arab community has just been given a tailwind by the High Court of Justice," he added. The attorney representing the state, Yochi Gnesin, asked that the judges reject the plea, emphasizing a recent Knesset. . .

High Court: Ex-MK Bishara will continue to receive his pension
Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 9/1/2008
The High Court of Justice on Monday ruled that former MK Azmi Bishara (Balad) will continue to receive his pension benefits and will not be stripped of his citizenship. Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish and Judges Edna Arbel and Miriam Naor rejected the petition, which claimed that Bishara’s citizenship and pension should be revoked because he fled Israel while being investigated for security breaches. The representative for the state prosecutor, attorney Yochi Gensin, asked the court to reject the petition, noting that the Knesset recently passed legislation regarding MKs who commit security offenses. Gensin added that the petitioners may take their complaint to the interior minister if they wish to do so. The petition was filed the World Likud, whose chairman, Danny Danon, expressed harsh criticism after the court handed down its ruling.

High Court: Bishara eligible for Knesset pension
Aviad Glickman, YNetNews 9/1/2008
Court denies petition to revoke former Balad chairman’s citizenship pending completion of constitutional proceedings; Knesset House Committee to further deliberate on motions to revoke ex-MK’s pension rights - Former Balad chairman, ex-Knesset Member Azmi Bishara, will be able to keep getting his Knesset pension, the High Court of Justice ruled Monday. Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish and the honorable Edna Arbel and Miriam Naor, further decided to deny the petition filed by Danny Danon, head of World Likud, demanding Bishara’s Israeli citizenship be revoked; citing that since the constitutional proceedings in the matter have yet to be completed, the court was unable to weigh the matter.

Palestine Red Crescent Society: Appeal No. MAAPS001 Programme Update No 1
International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies - IFRC, ReliefWeb 8/30/2008
This report covers the period 01/01/2008 to 30/06/2008. In brief : Programmes purpose:The purpose of the programmes is to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable people in occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and the Palestinian refugees in the Diaspora. Programmes summary:Despite huge financial challenges and tighter closure of the oPt, effectively separating cities and villages from each other and making it almost impossible for Palestine Red Crescent (Palestine RC) staff and volunteers to travel between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the National Society has been able to continue carrying out its humanitarian mission for the most vulnerable people. This has been possible thanks to the strong commitment of its employees, volunteers and partners. While health and other social services provided in oPt by Palestinian Authority (PA) for longer periods have been crippled. . .

Palestinians to McCartney: Stay home
David Brinn, Jerusalem Post 9/1/2008
Not everyone is ready to let it be over Paul McCartney’s upcoming show in Tel Aviv. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) has called on the former Beatle to cancel the show, saying that "Palestinian dispossession and Israeli apartheid are no cause for celebration. " In a press release, the PACBI added that "since the creation of this state 60 years ago, [Israel] dispossessed and uprooted hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and lands, condemning them to a life of exile and destitution. " "Performing in Israel at this time is morally equivalent to performing in South Africa at the height of the apartheid era. . . We strongly urge you to uphold the values of freedom, equality and just peace for all by joining this growing boycott against Israeli apartheid. . . "

IDF: Troops’ conduct in Naalin appears justified
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 9/1/2008
Military inquiry into incident that left West Bank man critically injured reveals soldiers behaved according to protocol. The Israel Defense Forces, after conducting an investigation into a Monday incident in Naalin that left a 40-year-old Palestinian critically injured, concluded that troops had behaved according to protocol, the IDF said in a formal statement. The injured man, Awad Srur, who is believed to be mentally ill, was reportedly wounded by four rubber-coated steel bullets fired at him point blank. According to a hospital in Ramallah, one bullet hit his eye, which had to be removed. The soldiers who shot him had arrived at the West Bank village in order to arrest Srur’s brother, Aked, who has been active in the struggle against the separation fence being erected in the area. Srur’s friends and neighbors stressed that Awad could not have been threatening the soldiers.

Israeli troops shoot Palestinian man with learning difficulties
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem, The Guardian 9/1/2008
A Palestinian man with learning difficulties was in a critical condition in hospital in Ramallah last night after he was shot three times by Israeli troops firing rubber-coated bullets. Awwad Sroor, 41, was shot late on Sunday night at his home in the village of Nilin, in the occupied West Bank, when Israeli troops arrived to arrest his brother, who was suspected of throwing a tear gas canister at soldiers during a recent protest in the village against construction of a new stretch of Israel’s West Bank barrier. Sroor was hit once in the chest and twice in the head and was blinded in the right eye. His son Mohammad, 20, said he told the soldiers that his father was mentally disabled and asked them not to shoot. "My father was shouting at them in order to stop them. I told the soldiers that my father was mentally challenged, and that they should not pay attention to him," the son told Reuters

’Lenient’ sentences for troops who assaulted Palestinian
Hanan Greenberg, YNetNews 9/1/2008
Soldiers convicted of beating taxi dispatcher in Hebron sentenced to active prison terms of less than six months after military court partially rejects victim’s contradictory testimony - The Jaffa Military Court sentenced three soldiers from the Kfir Brigade to active prison terms ranging between 67 days and five and a half months after finding them guilty of assaulting a Palestinian man in the city of Hebron. Though the prosecution put forward a grave indictment against the troops, the court only convicted them on a small number of the charges brought against them. Two of the soldiers are expected to finish serving their sentences in the coming days, as they had been in detention for the duration of the court proceedings - more than four and a half months. The third soldier, who was sentenced to 67 days jail time, will not return to prison, as he has already served out his sentence.

Al-Barghouthi: Barak should resign after second close-range shooting in Ni’lin
Ma’an News Agency 9/1/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Ayed Sadeq Abu Srour was shot in the head and chest at close range as Israeli soldiers detained the 40-year-old’s brother on Monday morning in the village of Ni’lin. Ayed lost one of his eyes and is in hospital, he is the father of four children. Secretary General of Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Al-Barghouthi said Israeli forces blew-up the entranceway of Srour’s home, and threw gas and sound bombs into the resulting hole before raiding the house and detaining Aqel Abu Srour. Aqel was pushed to the ground and handcuffed, while Ayed –his brother- was shot at close range. "Israeli practices," Said Al-Barghouthi, "aim at breaking the popular struggle in Ni’lin," and seek to make an example of the efforts of the village residents. He condemned the "brutal" and "ugly" methods chosen to put down peaceful resistance, and affirmed that this will. . .

B’Tselem urges Israeli AG to prosecute ''trigger happy'' troops using rubber-coated bullets
Ma’an News Agency 9/1/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli forces have adopted a practice of “reckless firing” of rubber-coated steel bullets killing two Palestinians and injuring many more since the beginning of the year, the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem said on Monday. B’Tselem is urging the Israeli attorney general, Menachem Mazuz, to prosecute soldiers and police officers who violate military firing regulations in order to stop “trigger-happy” troops. Early on Monday morning, Awwad Sadeq Sror, a mentally disabled father of four from the West Bank village of Ni’lin, was severely injured when a soldier fired a cylinder containing three rubber-coated steel bullets at him at close range. B’Tselem’s initial investigation indicates that two bullets penetrated his skull and a third struck him in the chest. A wave of similar cases, B’Tselem says,” raises the grave suspicion that soldiers and. . .

Resident of Ni’lin in critical condition after being shot in the head from close range by Israeli army
International Solidarity Movement 9/1/2008
Ramallah Region - Photos - At approximately 3am this morning, the Israeli army shot a 40 year old resident of Ni’lin four times from close range while invading his house. He is now in a serious condition in Ramallah hospital. Ayed Awad Srur, 40, was shot four times with rubber-coated steel bullets from extremely close range as Israeli soldiers entered his house looking to arrest his brother Akil Srur. One bullet was shot through his eye, another at his head causing large internal hemorrhaging. 2 other bullets were fired into his chest. At 3am the Israeli army invaded the village of Ni’lin and entered the house of Ayed Awad Srur in order to reach the second floor of the building where his brother lives. Awad, who suffers from a speech disability, shouted at the soldiers repeatedly before being shot four times from point blank range.

Palestinian seriously wounded in Ni’lin
Jerusalem Post 9/1/2008
Ayed Sroor, 40, was critically wounded by the IDF early Monday morning when soldiers entered his family’s home to arrest his brother in the Palestinian village of Ni’lin, outside of Modi’in Illit. Ni’lin has been the site of numerous anti-fence demonstrations in the last few months, many of which have turned violent. The IDF said Ayed’s brother, Aqal Sadeq Sroor, was suspected of throwing a smoke grenade at security forces during one of those demonstration and the IDF had come to his home to arrest him. Once inside the home, the army said that Ayed went wild and was promptly put in a room to calm him down. As soldiers left the home with Aqal Sadeq, his brother Ayed came out of the room swearing, according to the IDF. He shouted "Allah Huakhbar" ("God is great") and tried to grab a gun from one of the soldiers.

Ynet: Left-wing groups call for IDF probe into Naalin shooting
Ali Waked, International Solidarity Movement 9/1/2008
Press clippings - Ramallah Region - Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti says Defense Minister Barak, soldiers responsible for critical injury of mentally ill Palestinian in West Bank village should be tried by International Criminal Court in Hague. Rights groups urge attorney general, judge advocate general to launch investigation into incidentLeft-wing organizations have called for a military investigation into the critical injury of a mentally ill Palestinian by rubber-coated steel bullets fired at him in the West Bank village of Naalin on Monday. The organizations appealed to Judge Advocate General Avihai Mandelblit and Attorney General Menachem Mazuz and urged them to probe the matter. Many neighbors flocked Monday to the Srur family home following the injury of one of its sons, Ayed Awad. -- See also: Left-wing groups call for IDF probe into Naalin shooting

Mentally ill Palestinian critically injured by IDF
Ali Waked, YNetNews 9/1/2008
Violent clashes in West Bank village of Naalin continue to claim victims: Palestinians report mentally ill resident wounded by four rubber-coated steel bullets fired at his head by Israeli soldiers during his brother’s arrest. IDF says man tried to snatch weapon from one of troops, who fired one bullet in self defense - Another tragedy in Naalin. Palestinian sources reported Monday morning that a 40-year-old Naalin resident was critically injured by Israel Defense Forces soldiers who arrived at the West Bank village in order to arrest his brother, who has active in the struggle against the separation fence being erected in the area. The injured man, Awad Srur, who is believed to be mentally ill, was reportedly wounded by four rubber-coated steel bullets fired at him point blank.

IDF: Soldiers who fired at mentally ill man in Na’alin acted appropriately
Avi Issacharoff and Yuval Azoulay, Ha’aretz 9/1/2008
An Israel Defense Forces source on Monday evening said that the soldiers who fired rubber bullets at a mentally ill man in the West Bank village of Na’alin acted appropriately. The IDF source’s announcement came after a Central Command investigation of the incident that occurred earlier on Monday. The wounded Palestinian man, Awad Srur, 40, was hospitalized in Ramallah. Srur lost an eye as a result of the shooting. IDF soldiers were attempting to arrest Srur’s brother during a demonstration in Na’alin. Srur was seriously wounded when he tried to snatch a soldier’s gun during the clash with troops. His family denies he was involved in an altercation with IDF troops. According to a military source, a Palestinian threw a tear gas grenade at troops during the rally.

Resident of Ni’lin shot during early morning raid
Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, Stop The Wall 9/1/2008
Occupation forces raided Ni’lin late last night to arrest a local man. Following a scuffle, soldiers shot the man’s brother in the head with a rubber bullet. A group of soldiers entered the southern part of Ni’lin at around 3:00am. Soldiers arrived on foot and arrested “Ayd Sroor at his home. During the arrest, they were confronted by his brother ‘Akl. ‘Akl tried to prevent the soldiers from abducting his brother, and they responded by firing on him with rubber bullets. He was hit in several places, including the head, causing him serious injury. He remains in Ramallah hospital in unknown condition. [end]

Officials: Israel foiled two Hezbollah kidnap attempts abroad
Barak Ravid , and The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 9/2/2008
Israeli officials say security services have foiled two attempts by the Lebanese militia Hezbollah to kidnap Israeli businessmen. Details are sketchy, and Israel’s military censor banned publication of some of them. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because no official statement had been made. Channel 2 TV said Hezbollah has cells in West Africa and South America. The officials said the kidnap plots were stopped at advanced stages. On Aug. 20 Israel put out an unusual travel advisory, warning that Hezbollah was planning to kidnap Israelis abroad. Last month, new intelligence on Hezbollah’s intentions to abduct Israelis abroad prompted the government’s counterterrorism unit to issue a warning to travelers, who were advised to take special precautions.

’Hizbullah has a right to rearm itself’ Staff And Ap, Jerusalem Post 9/1/2008
Lebanese parliament speaker Nabi Berri expressed his support for the continued armament of Hizbullah, the London-based Arab daily A-Sharq Alawsat newspaper reported Monday. "Every resistance movement in the world works to receive help, and every nation needs allies to liberate its land," Berri reportedly said at a rally in Nabatiya on Sunday. Weapon transfers to Hizbullah were banned by the UN in Security Council Resolution 1701, which led to the end of the Second Lebanon War in August 2006. However, in early August the Lebanese cabinet released a policy statement giving Hizbullah the right of ’resistance’ to ’liberate Lebanese territories. ’ "This creates a new reality," one Israeli diplomatic official said of the statement. "With the smuggling of arms into Lebanon from Syria, Iran’s involvement, and the fact that Hizbullah is now a part of the Lebanese. . .

2 Hizbullah kidnapping attempts foiled
Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post 9/1/2008
Two attempts by Hizbullah to kidnap Israeli businessmen abroad in retaliation for the February assassination of Imad Mughniyeh were recently foiled by Israeli security services, government officials revealed on Monday. Officials refused to divulge additional information but said that the two cases underlined the gravity of the threat Israelis are currently facing overseas. The plots, officials said, were thwarted at advanced stages. Mughniyeh, Hizbullah’s chief operations officer, was assassinated in Damascus in a meticulously-planned car bombing. Hizbullah has repeatedly declared that it planned to avenge his death and strike at Israel, which it blames for the assassination. On Friday, deputy Hizbullah chief Sheikh Naim Kassem said the group would retaliate and that the attack would come as a surprise for Israel.

French officer takes command of UNIFIL’s naval wing
Daily Star 9/2/2008
BEIRUT: Command of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon’s (UNIFIL) naval contingent, the Maritime Task Force (MTF), was passed from Italy to France Monday in a ceremony on board the outgoing flagship, the Scirocco, in coastal waters off Beirut. In a symbolic handover, the UN flag was passed from the Italian MTF commander to his French successor, signaling the end of Italy’s six-month tenure at the head of the naval mission. Speaking on the flight deck of the Italian frigate, the new commander of the MTF, Rear Admiral Alain Hinden, paid tribute to his predecessor, Rear Admiral Ruggiero di Biase, and emphasized the importance of the task force’s work. He warned that without a defined naval presence patrolling the waters off Lebanon "numerous illegal activities" could develop that would harm Lebanese interests.

Israel ’ready to withdraw’ from northern Ghajar
Daily Star 9/2/2008
BEIRUT: Israel has informed the United States that it is prepared to withdraw from the northern side of Ghajar village, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Monday. Describing Israel’s remarks as "a change in its policy for the past year and a half of not wanting to discuss the issue," the paper quoted an unidentified "government source in [Occupied] Jerusalem [who] said the decision was made after the Lebanese government delivered written assurances that UNIFIL [the UN Interim Force in Lebanon] would be given security and civilian control over the northern part of the village, which is in Lebanese territory. " "The Americans have been asking us for a long time to move ahead on the Lebanon issue and after receiving the letter, it was decided to show a more-positive stance," Haaretz reported the source as saying, adding that Israel delivered an official letter to UNIFIL commander General. . .

Tabourian hopes Egyptian supplies will slash power rationing this month
Daily Star 9/2/2008
BEIRUT: Lebanon is expected to start receiving Egyptian electricity in two weeks and this additional power will drastically reduce rationing, Energy and Water Minister Alan Tabourian said on Monday. "If we get the Egyptian electricity according to schedule then I can say that power rationing will start dropping as of September 14," Tabourian told reporters at a press conference. During Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s official visit to Cairo last month, Egypt promised to supply Lebanon with between 150 MW and 450 MW of electricity. Egypt is part of a regional power grid that connects seven countries. Tabourian said Egypt has a 600 MW surplus which it can easily sell to other countries. "Egypt is able to supply up to 600 MW of electricity to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. But we have indications that Jordan may have some problems [transmitting] this electricity to Lebanon.

Sleiman brings crucial agenda for talks in Qatar
Daily Star 9/2/2008
BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman began a two-day visit to Qatar on Monday to discuss economic cooperation and the May deal reached in Doha to end the protracted political crisis in Lebanon. Sleiman was greeted by Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and top aides, according to the official Qatari News Agency. Sleiman and other members of his delegation will discuss with their Qatari hosts the implementation of the Doha Accord, which was struck on May 21 between Lebanon’s rival political factions, as well as economic cooperation. "The bilateral talks will start on 9 p. m. on Monday, after which dinner will be served," a Baabda Palace statement said earlier in the day. The delegation includes Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh, Economy Minister Mohammad Safadi, and other officials. The Doha agreement paved the way for the election of Sleiman on May 25 and a new national unity government that was set up in July.

Hamas popularity among Palestinians declining, poll finds
DPA, Ha’aretz 9/2/2008
The popularity of the Islamic Hamas movement is steadily declining among Palestinians, while that of its rival - the secular Fatah movement - remains unchanged, a new public opinion poll published Monday revealed. According to the poll, if parliamentary elections were held today, Fatah would receive 43 percent of the vote, compared to 29 percent for Hamas, and the movement’s leader, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, would receive the support of 53 percent of the voters, compared to 39 percent for Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. The survey, conducted by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, said that while the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel was expected to lead to an improvement in Hamas’ standing, the fact that Gaza crossings with Egypt and Israel remained closed for most of the time and the. . .

’Gazan phone squad champions Obama’
Felice Friedson, the Media Line News Agency, Jerusalem Post 8/31/2008
"Hello, I’m calling from Gaza. I want some of your time. We are supporting Barack Obama. . . " Gaza squad champions ObamaGroup phones random numbers in US, urging vote for Obama (The Media Line). For the past seven months, a group of 24 students and young professionals have gathered in the Gaza Strip nightly to phone random telephone numbers in the United States, urging the voices at the other end to "vote for Barack Obama. " Although only American citizens can actually cast a ballot in the election, this Gaza-based effort is a forceful demonstration of how Internet technology opens the door for anyone, anywhere to take an active role in US politics. Even if they have never even been to the USA. Far from utilizing a state-ofthe art call-center of the sort that have become a mainstay of American political marketing, the Gaza callers are amateur volunteers who meet. . .

Israel watches bitter parting of unlikely allies
Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem, The Independent 9/1/2008
While they hardly justified the "Romeo and Juliet" tag awarded them by parts of the Israeli press, Tali Fahima and Zachariya Zubeidi were certainly unusual friends and comrades. He was a leading Palestinian militant who had long been high on Israel’s most wanted list; she was an Israeli former supporter of the right wing Likud party. They met after Ms Fahima became concerned about discrimination against Palestinians while she was working in a Tel Aviv law office at the height of the intifada in 2002 and was doing humanitarian work in the armed Fatah leader’s West Bank home city of Jenin. But they have recently - and spectacularly - fallen out with the now left-wing Israeli activist accusing the Palestinian nationalist of being a "prostitute" for Israel’s domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet and of "manipulation" in pursuit of an Israeli pardon.

State Controller requests details on Barak’s wife
Hadas Magen, Globes Online 9/1/2008
Sources close to the investigation describe the situation as "kosher, but it stinks. " The Office of the State Controller has asked for clarifications and additional material from Labor Party chairman and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak as part of the investigation into the business dealings of his wife Nili Priell, amid concerns that she exploited her husband’s connections to recruit clients for her consultancy firm. Sources close to the State Controller’s investigation describe the situation as "kosher, but it stinks. "The investigation was launched after a complaint was filed by Ometz Center for Civic Education in the wake of a report by Channel 10 about Priell’s company, Taurus Israel Financial Ventures (2008) Ltd. The report claimed that Taurus helps foreign businessmen establish direct ties with Israeli politicians, businessmen, and social leaders.

State strikes first plea bargain in Hirchson fraud case
Vered Luvitch, YNetNews 9/1/2008
Prosecution agrees to plead out former workers’ organization accountant Ronit Garti in exchange for testimony in former finance minister’s trial. Garti to admit to falsifying corporate documents, face suspended sentence, six months of community service - The Tel Aviv District Court was asked Monday to sanction the first plea bargain in the fraud case pending against former Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson. According to the plea, Ronit Garti - a former accountant with the National Workers’ Organization (NWO), who was indicted for falsifying corporate documents - would plead guilty to all charges and testify in Hirchson’s upcoming trial, in exchange for a suspended sentence and six-months community service. CorruptionFormer Finance Minister Hirchson indicted for fraud/ Avi Cohen State Prosecution files charges against former finance minister on theft, breach of trust, falsification of corporate records.

Olmert hopes kids starting school year ’grow up in a happier Israel’
Jack Khoury and Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 9/1/2008
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Nazareth students on their first day back at school Monday that he hoped they would grow up in a happier Israel. "I hope that the children will grow up in a state with less problems, more happiness and more hope," Olmert said. The prime minister also said that the start of the school year was a moment of great excitement for him. "None of us forgets his first day in first grade. For me, this was over 50 years ago and I still remember this. " The schoolchildren greeted Olmert by performing a song. At his next stop in the Galilee town, however, the prime minister received a less sympathetic welcome as a group of some 20 protestors called him an "unwanted personality. " #newsletterLink a {text-decoration: none; cursor: pointer;} #newsletterLink img {border:0px;} #newsletterLink{width:470; margin-bottom:20px;} .

VIDEO / On 1st day of new school year, one-third of schools lack security guards
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 9/1/2008
Roughly 1. 5 million Israeli children will go back to school on Monday, as the start of the academic year is expected to go ahead with few disruptions. But on the eve of back to school day, it emerged that a lack of security guards will leave the gates of one-third of Israeli schools unprotected. T he difficulty in procuring security stems from low wages schools pay guards, who can easily receive more money at other establishments. [end]

Nigeria gunmen release Israeli hostage after 6 days
Yossi Melman, Ha’aretz 9/2/2008
The Israeli executive kidnapped in Nigeria was released on Monday after six days in captivity, but it is still unclear if Ehud Avni was released after ransom was paid to his kidnappers. Nigerian security sources say they believe negotiations for Avni’s release involved a ransom demand, which was probably paid. The sources told Haaretz that the owners of the company Avni worked for paid ransom through local intermediaries. The sources believe the payment was agreed to be made in two parts - one before the release and the other after. According to their estimates, the ransom paid was much lower than the $12 million the kidnappers originally demanded and does not exceed several hundred thousand dollars. In an email to Haaretz, Jumo Gubomo, spokesman for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, said that "of course ransom was paid," but he declined to give details.

Abducted Israeli freed
Globes correspondent, Globes Online 9/1/2008
Ehud Avni’s Nigerian captors said they realized they had got the wrong man. Galei Zahal (IDF Army) radio reports that Ehud Avni, the Israeli kidnapped in Nigeria a week ago, was released this morning without ransom. His captors had originally demanded $12 million. The negotiations with Avni’s captors were jointly handled by his employer Gilmor Engineering Ltd. , the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Nigerian government. The kidnappers said they realized they had got the wrong man. Avni’s family had asked that his name be withheld for fear that his life could be at risk. Galei Zahal reports that Avni has already spoken with his family which is "overjoyed at the news", and that he will return home as soon as possible.

Giving, across the divide
Seth Freedman, The Guardian 9/1/2008
The Jerusalem interest-free microfinance fund has been set up to benefit both poor Muslims and Jews in the holy city - Despite the deep rift between many sections of the worldwide Muslim and Jewish communities, the two religions share a great deal, in terms of their joint heritage and approach to making the world a better place. The arena of altruism is a good example of the common ground between adherents of both faiths, with Jew and Muslim alike required to apportion significant amounts of their incomes to charitable causes. Jews are bound todonate 10% of their earnings to help those less fortunate than themselves, whilst Muslims are compelled to give under a similar framework (zakat ). With this in mind, a group of British Jews and Muslims have formed a joint venture, the Jerusalem interest-free microfinance fund (JIMF ), with the intention of freeing both Jewish and Arab residents of the holy city from the shackles of poverty.

Israeli chemical company could reap profits from Hurricane Gustav
Yuval Moaz, and The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 9/2/2008
Hurricane Gustav hit land on Monday night, punishing the Louisiana coastline southwest of New Orleans and slamming into heavy industry and potash production sites, which is where the local angle for Israel comes in. Israel Chemicals, a maker of fertilizers and specialty chemicals, has benefited financially from the economic ramifications of the powerful storm. Sellside analyst Uri Waisbrod at Tel Aviv-based Prisma surmises that because of the expected shortage, Gustav could boost phosphate-based fertilizer prices, which would increase ICL’s revenues. Mosaic and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan have plants there, and inventory levels in the phosphate sector are very low. Any disruption could impact price, Waisbrod points out. Hurricane Gustav slammed into the heart of Louisiana’s fishing andoil industry with 110 mph winds Monday. . .

Port dispute nears crisis
Yael Gross-Englander, Globes Online 9/1/2008
Shipping companies will divert cargos to other ports rather than in Israel. The situation at Israel’s seaports is nearing crisis. Shipping companies have announced that they will divert cargos to other ports rather than in Israel, after the cabinet did not discuss the situation at yesterday’s meeting and intense negotiations between the Manufacturers Association of Israel, the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel), and the ports’ workers committees broke down. The ports dispute is hurting exporters. 6,000 containers with goods worth $200 million are now delayed at the ports. Some manufacturers may shut down production lines within days, either because they cannot import raw materials or cannot export goods to market. Hydraulic steel pipe maker Schieffer-Magam Industries Ltd. is one of these companies.

Israel Railways and executives to be indicted
Noam Sharvit, Globes Online 9/1/2008
Eight people died and 263 were injured in two accidents in 2005. The Southern District Prosecutor will soon indict Israel Railways and several of its executives for their responsibility in the train accidents at Revadim and Ahuzam in June 2005. Eight people were killed and 200 were injured when a train hit a truck at the Revadim crossing, and the train driver and 63 passengers were injured when a train hit a truck at the Ahuzam crossing. The executives to be indicted include the VP of infrastructures and his deputy, who is responsible for engineering, and VP of operations. The charges will likely include negligent homicide and negligent harm. Israel Police recommended indicting Israel Railways and its executives in October 2005.

VIDEO - Israeli ’Impact Games’ founder promotes peace through video games
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 9/1/2008
Haaretz. com/Channel 10 daily feature for September 1, 2008. Glorified violence, weapons and car chases are three elements you won’t find in the products created by Impact Games, a company that creates video games that aim for a bit more social awareness. Asi Buark, a former Israel Defense Forces intelligence official, founded Impact Games with Eric Brown, a fellow Carnegie Mellon University graduate, in an attempt to promote social and global change through interactive media. The company produces games that have players strategizing to solve current events and global crises. One game, called Darfur is Dying, puts players in the shoes of a refugee from the battered Sudanese region fighting for survival.

48% of Jerusalem students attend haredi schools
Tzipi Malkov, YNetNews 9/1/2008
Jerusalem city hall says nearly half of all students in capital are ultra-Orthodox - The trend of growing numbers of ultra-Orthodox students in Jerusalem continues, with 48% of all students in the capital this year set to attend the haredi school system, according to a Jerusalem city hall press release. The press release, which was sent to the media by the municipality’s spokesperson’s office, made headlines at haredi newspaper. Overall, 87,020 students will begin their studies at Orthodox institutions this year, in addition to roughly 13,000 who also attend haredi schools, albeit ones unrecognized by the state. Meanwhile, 56,550 students will be studying at Jewish non-Orthodox schools, and another 41,140 students will attend Arab schools. Some thousands of other Arab students study at unofficial schools.

Yemeni charity transfers 3.3 million dollars to Palestine in eight months
Palestinian Information Center 9/1/2008
SANA’A, (PIC)-- Dr. Mohamed Al-Adeel, the head of the Yemeni-based Aqsa charitable society, stated Sunday that the total funds which have been transferred to Palestine by the charity since the beginning of this year amounted to $3,299, 635 earmarked for orphans, refugee camps and other relief projects related to education and health. On the 17th anniversary of establishing the society, Dr. Adeel told a press conference that the funds raised in Yemen are deposited in the society’s bank accounts and then channeled into Arab banks which have branches in Palestine, adding that these banks, in turn, transfer the funds to the accounts of the beneficiaries within Palestine. The society head pointed that the targeted Palestinian orphans get their monthly financial aid directly from these banks through special bills. He underlined that the charity sponsors 1,214 orphans and 308 poor families in Palestine.

Elbit Systems wins $25m UAV order in Americas
Sharon Baider, Globes Online 9/1/2008
The order includes Skylark mini-UAVs. Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq:ESLT ; TASE:ESLT ) has won a $25 million contract to supply Hermes 450 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and Skylark I mini-UAVs to a country in the Americas. Delivery will be made within a year. The Hermes 450 UAV is the base platform of the IDF’s operational UAV fleet and for the British Army’s Watchkeeper program. The Hermes is used by armies worldwide, including in war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan. The Hermes 450 has accumulated over 100,000 operational flight hours to date. The Skylark is a mini/man-pack UAV that is derived from the Hermes family of UAVs. The Skylark is used by the IDF and other armies, in operational service in the war on terror, with over 10,000 successful operational sorties and a world record in high altitude flights, exceeding 15,000 feet.

Haifa beaches shut down twice this week
Assaf Shmueli, YNetNews 9/1/2008
Two beaches closed due to contamination. Israel’s Environmental Association warns ’mayors who don’t prevent pollution must pay with their jobs’ - Bathers seeking to escape the sweltering heat at Haifa’s beaches were sorely disappointed this week as the municipality closed two stretches of surf due to contamination. On Sunday, the Bat Galim beach and Hof Hasheket (The Quiet Beach) were closed by order of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Health for the second time in less than a week. In June the beaches were closed for the same reasons. The closure imposed on Sunday was due to the system being damaged when a handful of rags where thrown into the sewer, clogging the system and causing a flood. Maintenance crews from the Haifa municipality were alerted to the scene and fixed the damage.

Israel allows private cars into Rachel’s Tomb compound in Bethlehem
Ma’an News Agency 9/1/2008
Bethlehem- Ma’an – Israeli authorities opened the Rachel’s Tomb compound near Bethlehem to private cars for the first time in years on Monday. Until Monday, the tourist destinationwas accessible only by armored bus from the Israeli side of the separation wall. The Israeli barrier snakes into the middle of a Bethlehem neighborhood in order to isolate it on the western side of the wall. The decision was reportedly made under pressure by right-wing members of the Israeli Knesset, including Nation Union-National Religious Party MK Uri Ariel and ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism MK Meir Porush, former rightist MK Hanan Porat. Entering the compound on foot is still prohibited.

PA compensation to terror victims enforceable, court says
Aviad Glickman, YNetNews 9/1/2008
Jerusalem court rules Palestinian Authority must pay 116 million dollars in damages to family of terror victims Yaron and Efrat Ungar, as per 2004 US Supreme Court ruling. -It is possible to enforce in Israel a US court ruling ordering the Palestinian Authority to compensate terror victims, said Judge Aharon Farkash of the Jerusalem District Court, on Monday. The district rejected a PA petition to forego paying over $100 million dollars to the family of two American terror victims, Yaron and Efrat Ungar, as was decreed in a 2004 US Supreme Court ruling. The PA claimed that Israeli enforcement of the American ruling could cause the organization to collapse. Four years after Yaron and Efrat Ungar were murdered in 1996 by Palestinian terrorists who assaulted their vehicle, the couple’s family took a law suit against the Palestinian Authority to the US Supreme Court.

Troop immunity dispute bogs down Iraq security deal
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 9/2/2008
BAGHDAD: Iraq and the United States are still far apart on the issue of immunity for American troops, according to a draft security agreement between the two countries published by an Iraqi paper on Monday. The 27-point deal will decide the future of US forces in Iraq but immunity for troops and who has jurisdiction over them is the main stumbling block between Washington and Baghdad. According to the Arabic-language text published by Al-Iraq newspaper, Iraq has proposed that "the United States have jurisdiction over its civilians and soldiers inside their bases and in areas used by them exclusively. " The Iraqi proposal also provides for US jurisdiction over its citizens both civilian and military when they are on assignment "unless they commit grave and deliberate mistakes. "The main stumbling block, according to Al-Iraq, is that the US demands "to have jurisdiction everywhere. . .

US transfers security of Anbar Province to Iraqi forces
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 9/2/2008
RAMADI, Iraq: Iraqi forces on Monday took control of mostly Sunni Anbar Province, once the most explosive battlefield in Iraq, from the US military, symbolizing the growing security gains in the war-torn country. The transfer ceremony at the governorate building in the provincial capital of Ramadi marked the handover of the 11th of Iraq’s 18 provinces. Anbar, once a flashpoint of anti-American insurgency and later an Al-Qaeda in Iraq stronghold, is the first Sunni province to be returned to Baghdad’s Shiite-led government. "I would like to announce that the [Anbar] transfer from the US to Iraqi forces is done," said Muwaffaq al-Rubaie, Iraq’s national security adviser, at the handover ceremony. US President George W. Bush said the transfer of Anbar was a defeat for Al-Qaeda in Iraq. "Today, Anbar is no longer lost to Al-Qaeda - it is Al-Qaeda that lost Anbar," he added.

Israeli-Georgians protest ’Putin the murderer’
Shmulik Hadad, YNetNews 9/1/2008
Hundreds rally in Israeli port town to stage protest against Russian human rights violations in their former homeland, call for EU sanctions on Moscow - Some 200 Israelis of Georgian descent rallied in the port town of Ashdod on Monday afternoon in a show of solidarity with Tbilisi as the power struggle in South Ossetia continues. "We came here to deliver a message to the people of Israel and to the world - that Russian bullying and dictatorship will not be tolerated" protest organizer Irkili Yakovshvilli told Ynet. The demonstration was held in conjunction with numerous others in various locations around the world, including the Georgian capital. Meanwhile in Brussels, the European Union convened a special session to debate the ongoing crisis. The protesters called on the EU to impose political and financial sanctions on Moscow, and demand Russia’s immediate and complete withdrawal from Georgian territory.

Muslims ready themselves for Ramadan
Middle East Online 9/1/2008
KARACHI - Muslims across the world are preparing for the holy month of Ramadan, which will this year take place amid sharp hikes in food prices and in many countries an ever present fear of violence. The start of Ramadan, the ninth and holiest month in the Muslim calendar, is traditionally determined by the sighting of a new moon, which often divides Islamic nations over exactly when to begin the festival. For the month, followers are required to abstain from food, drink and sex from dawn to dusk. Activity peaks between "iftar", the breaking of the fast at sunset, and "suhur", the last meal of the day before sunrise. Daily life slows down with many businesses closing early in deference to a religious event which nevertheless could be marred by extremists. In Pakistan, thousands of police equipped with metal detectors will be deployed outside mosques in cities and large. . .

Israeli soldiers on checkpoints ordered not to eat or smoke during Ramadan
International Middle East Media Center News 9/1/2008
As the West Bank areas are full of Israeli checkpoints, which grossly hampers movement of the Palestinian population, the Israeli occupation authorities ordered soldiers, manning these checkpoints not to eat or smoke before Palestinian residents, while lining up during the fasting days of Ramadan. The decision, according to Maan News Agency, has been taken with surprise by the Palestinian residents in the West Bank, who suffer on daily basis at such checkpoints in the various villages, cities and refugee camps. Many residents voiced the hope that all such roadblocks are dismantled very soon instead and that they are relieved once and for all from the sight of the Israeli soldiers. According to Palestinian sources, there are at least 550 Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks in many parts of the occupied West Bank.

Expired and poisonous goods seized day before Ramadan
Ma’an News Agency 9/1/2008
Hebron – Ma’an – Palestinian customs and consumer protection agents seized huge amounts of inedible foods and poisonous cleaning materials across the West Bank on Sunday, the evening before the first day of fasting in the holy month of Ramadan. In Bethlehem, customs agent seized 6 tons of expired biscuits that were manufactured in Israeli settlements. In Ramallah, one ton of inedible dates and 300 kilograms of inedible meats were seized. In Hebron, the Ministry of Economics seized one ton of cheddar cheese that did not conform to Palestinian safety standards. In Nablus, consumer protection and customs agent seized 2000 liters of expired and poisonous cleaning materials as well as large amounts of juices manufactured in Israel that include high levels of toxic gases and bacteria.

Aid association distributes school bags to children in Bethlehem
Ma’an News Agency 9/1/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Tulkarem-based Association for Children’s aid distributed 100 book bags to poor children in Bethlehem on Monday. Niveen Abdel Hadi, the coordinator of the organization, said that the project aimed to help struggling Palestinian families at the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Abel Hadi said the group will also hand out glasses and other medical equipment to poor children in Tulkarem, in addition to other projects in the West Bank and Gaza to help Palestinians through economic hard times. [end]

Letter: Nathan’s wartime plea
Jerusalem Post 8/30/2008
Sir, - "Maverick peace pioneer Abie Nathan dead at 81" (August 28) neglected to mention Nathan’s legacy from the 1973 Yom Kippur War. On Yom Kippur, when we heard planes overhead and rumors of an impending war on two fronts, we came home from synagogue and listened to the only station that was broadcasting - Abie Natan’s "Voice of Peace. "Nathan’s message: "Soldiers must refuse orders, and must not fight. Instead, they should extend a peaceful hand to the attacking Egyptian and Syrian armies. " Throughout that day, Nathan played the Beatles’ song "Give peace a chance" and urged Israeli soldiers not to fight back, pleading, over and over, "Throw down your guns. Do not fight back. Hug the oncoming Egyptian and Syrian troops. "This was Nathan’s theme on that long Yom Kippur, and in the difficult days that followed.

Map: Zionist colonies in Palestine, 1920
Palestine Think Tank 8/25/2008


Growth in the Palestinian Land of Contradictions
Jonathan Cook, Palestine Monitor 9/1/2008
      Today’s West Bank is a land of shocking contrasts - of one set of rules and rights for Palestinians and another for Jewish settlers.
     Palestinian lives are under the absolute control of the Israeli army, which can either seal off communities with roadblocks or invade them at will. The Palestinian economy is being slowly strangled by the separation barrier. Few Palestinians are allowed any longer to seek work inside Israel, and their freedom to move around the West Bank is severely curtailed by hundreds of checkpoints and almost unattainable travel permits.
     If West Bank Palestinians are being hemmed into ghettoes, the 500,000 Jewish settlers living alongside them are in a much better position. Their settlements are connected to Israel by motorways that make their work and families inside Israel a simple, quick drive away. Israelis crisscross over the Green Line, the effective border, unaware of where Israel ends and the West Bank begins.
     The growth of the settlements, all of which are illegal under international law, was supposed to have been frozen under the terms of the 2003 Road Map, the US-sponsored plan to advance a Palestinian state. But a drive through the West Bank around East Jerusalem reveals a skyline of cranes, rapidly expanding these fortress colonies.

Israel’s Weapon of House Demolitions

Jill Shaw, MIFTAH 9/1/2008
      The four-story building in Beit Hanina, a Palestinian neighborhood a few miles north of East Jerusalem, was clearly home to wealth. As our carload of internationals pulled up the small street leading to Abu Majed Eisha’s house at around midnight on 27 July, I noticed several BMWs parked along the way. Upon exiting the car, we were greeted by a number of middle-aged Palestinian men in suits, asking us if we were there about the house demolition. From what I had learned during my brief time in the West Bank, Palestine, I knew already that this was not going to be an ordinary house demolition.
     And what exactly is an "ordinary" home demolition in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories? According to Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) founder, Jeff Halper, house demolitions are one of Israel’s main weapons in its occupation of Palestine. Sadly, this extraordinary and devastating phenomenon is not at all uncommon to Palestinians. ICAHD, an Israeli group whose primary mission is to resist Israel’s practice of home demolitions, states that 18,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since 1967. Additionally, another 22,000 East Jerusalem homes have demolition orders on them. This does not include the thousands of homes with demolition orders throughout the rest of the West Bank.

The deceptive logic of Peaceonomics

Sami Aburoza, Electronic Intifada 9/1/2008
      I am often struck by the stark contrast between the endless amounts of advice and wisdom proffered by the ubiquitous international actors and "experts" to help Palestinians ameliorate their condition and the lack of action, comment or consequence from these same quarters toward the naked brutality of Israel’s colonial policies. What’s even more disturbing -- despite the obvious asymmetry between both parties to the conflict -- is the international conflict practitioners’ mindset qualifying the actions of both sides as somehow equally wrong and right, with 50 percent right balancing and eventually canceling out 50 percent wrong, leaving us at zero, a simple equation, a matter of enlightened numeric logic.
     This "balanced" analytical approach -- eloquently pointed out by the late Palestinian thinker Edward Said as a harmful fallacy -- seems to be part of a larger trend reshaping the conflict resolution (or is it conflict management?) professional’s toolkit and lenses in the context of the Israel-Palestine zero-sum game. The international community’s (and by extension Palestinian elite’s) logic of this trend -- what I call peaceonomics -- is rather straightforward: the underlying political causes are too complex and messy to deal with and our input so far has not produced an improved reality, so let’s redesign the input, re-imagine reality and re-arrange the phases of the conflict resolution process.

Jeff Halper in Gaza: ''We are the oppressors''

Rami Almeghari, Electronic Intifada 9/1/2008
      In an interview with The Electronic Intifada, Jeff Halper, the Israeli-American director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, discussed the ongoing Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip and the Free Gaza Movement (FGM). Halper was one of 46 members to take part in FGM’s action to challenge Israel 14-month siege on Gaza.
     Halper discussed all of this with EI correspondent Rami Almeghari in the occupied Gaza Strip, just hours before he reentered Israel through the Erez crossing, where he was detained and placed in custody by the Israeli army.
     The Electronic Intifada: Now that you are in Gaza, would you please comment on the Israeli siege and the international embargo on the Gaza Strip?
     Jeff Halper: The international community, through the UN, imposed economic sanctions on Gaza, which is an illegal act in international law, showing the poverty and the failure of the international system. That’s why if you [want] justice, if you have to end the siege, end the occupation, end sanctions, the people have to do it, because the governments will not do it and the UN won’t do it because it is controlled by governments.

Palestinian water strategies subject to Israeli veto

IRIN, Electronic Intifada 9/1/2008
      RAMALLAH/STOCKHOLM (IRIN) - The Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) continues to suffer from drought, but the head of the Palestinian Water Authority told IRIN there was a limit to what he could do to help.
     "Crisis management is the only strategy that I am able to apply," Shaddad Attili, the head of the Water Authority, told IRIN while attending World Water Week in Stockholm (13-23 August).
     He said he did not have the power to plan properly for his constituents, the 3.5 million Palestinians in the OPT, as the Oslo Accords left too much control in Israeli hands.
     "We have to go to the Israelis to get permission to do projects, like drilling, building reservoirs or laying pipes," Attili said this week after attending a round of negotiations with his Israeli counterparts as part of the 2007 Annapolis peace process.
     "It is a very complex procedure," he said, noting that projects have been delayed for over a decade.
     Even in the autonomous parts of the OPT, the Palestinians must still bring project proposals before the Joint Water Committee, where Israel can veto plans.

Ramattan Reporter Reaches Gaza on Board the Liberty

Sami Abu Salem, MIFTAH 9/1/2008
      Tears filled the eyes of Ramattan News Agency’s Head of African Operations Hayyan Jubeh when he caught his first glimpse of the skyline on the Gaza coast along the horizon of the Mediterranean Sea after a 37-hour voyage launched from Cyprus.
     Jubeh, a 48-year-old Palestinian filmmaker from Jerusalem, is one of 44 international peace activists on board the ships. Spanning 17 countries, they arrived at dusk on Saturday on two boats (The Liberty and The Free Gaza) in a voyage organized by the California-based Free Gaza Movement, to break the Israeli siege on Gaza.
     "It is an indescribable feeling, finally we did it, we broke the siege and arrived to Gaza," Jubeh said while tears showered his face reddened from the sun.
     Jubeh and other activists lived through critical moments on their voyage to the Gaza Strip, passing several hours aboard the ships without any connection to the world.
     He says that an atmosphere of despair filled the boats for a moment when they hesitated, not knowing whether to continue with their adventure or to retreat, especially after they went under attack by electronic piracy.