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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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9 September 2008

Continued settler attacks in the village of Asira al Qibliya as residents prepare for olive harvest
International Solidarity Movement 9/9/2008
Nablus Region - more information about the Olive Harvest Campaign 2008 - A Palestinian family home near the settlement of Yizhar has been under constant attacks from its inhabitants. On Friday 5 September settlers came down the mountain, a mere kilometre from the village, to the families’ home and threw stones and painted stars of David on the walls. This has not been the first occasion. The home has been under constant attack from settlers over the past four years, coming down the mountain, harassing and intimidating the family who have small children and two other Palestinian homes in close proximity. On one occasion settlers fired guns into the air and ground forcing the family on each occasion to lock themselves in their home. When the Israeli army have been contacted about the attacks they have not taken any further action against the perpetrators and the attacks have continued.

Losing Jerusalem one student at a time
PNN, Palestine News Network 9/9/2008
Jerusalem - Hatem Abdel Qader, Advisor to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on the issue of Jerusalem, is blaming the Israeli government for the deteriorating educational system in East Jerusalem. He refers to the Israeli policy as a "blackout. " Abdel Qader told the official news agency WAFA, "About 10,000 children will not attend school this year because of a failure to provide enough schools to accommodate everyone. "As the occupier, the Israeli government has a legal responsibility to fulfill basic needs. Palestinians are not allowed to build their own schools in East Jerusalem. Any building must be permitted or it is demolished. The Israeli administration does not issue those permits to Palestinians. Abdel Qader said, "International law and the Fourth Geneva Convention obliges the Israeli occupation authorities, as an occupying military presence in Jerusalem, to provide educational. . .

Soldiers kidnap five civilians in the West Bank
Marina Ayyoub, International Middle East Media Center News 9/9/2008
Israeli troops invaded the West Bank cities of Bethlehem, Nablus and Jenin kidnapping five civilians on Tuesday dawn, local sources reported. Soldiers invaded Duhaisha refugee camp located south of Bethlehem and launched a wide scale house-to-house search campaign and kidnapped Adel Hammash, 17, taking him to an unknown destination. In Nablus district, in the northern part of the West Bank, soldiers invaded the nearby village Kufor Qalil and randomly searched and ransacked several houses before kidnapping Salem Mansur, 20. Soldiers also invaded the northern West Bank city of Jenin and the Jenin refugee camp, and fired rounds of live ammunition and sound bombs before breaking into and searching a number of houses. Troops kidnapped three residents from the area and took him to an unknown destination.

Haniya looking for direct assistance to Gaza
PNN, Palestine News Network 9/9/2008
Gaza -- Prime Minister Ismail Haniya is calling on the Gulf States, and in particularly Saudi Arabia, to donate funds directly to the Gaza Strip. Alluding to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, the Hamas government leader said it was crucial that funds make it to the one and a half million Palestinians in Gaza. In his appeal Haniya requested that a percentage of overall Palestinian aid be funneled directly to the Gaza Strip or that an alternative method for direct assistance be found. While addressing the Change and Reform block in the Legislative Council building in Gaza City on Monday, Prime Minister Haniya said that there are thousands of public sector employees whose wages have been slashed by players linked to the Ramallah government. Haniya referred to the education and health sector strikes in Gaza as political, coinciding with talk of distinguishing the Strip as "rebel territory.

Arab League angered by the ongoing Palestinian divisions, threatens ''˜sanctions’
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/9/2008
The Arab League expressed during its Cairo meeting its anger over the ongoing divisions and tensions between Fateh and Hamas and threatened to impose sanctions if the Palestinian parties do achieve reconciliation. Arab Foreign Ministers who held the meeting which was attended by the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, discussed the Egyptian efforts which aim at achieving reconciliation between the Palestinian factions, especially between Fateh and Hamas. Amro Mousa, Arab League Secretary-general, said that the league will not accept to deal with reconciliation which takes years to be achieved similar to the peace process with Israel, and added that this issue should be resolved as soon as possible. Mousa also said that the Arab League is awaiting the results of the reconciliation efforts practiced by Egypt under the support on the League and added that the Israeli measures to. . .

Israeli forces demolish vegetable stand near Qalandia checkpoint
Ma’an News Agency 9/9/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Israeli military forces on Tuesday destroyed a vegetable stand near the Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. The Israeli troops demolished the stand on the grounds that it did not have a government license. The owner, Iyad Muhammad said, “The main reason behind the demolition was the failure of Israeli authorities to get me to work as a collaborator with Israeli intelligence. ”[end]

Arab MK slams Israel’s decision to demolish kindergarten in the Negev
IMEMC News, International Middle East Media Center News 9/8/2008
Arab Member of Knesset ,Talab Sane’, who is member of the United Arab List, slammed the decision of the Israeli Interior Ministry to demolish a kindergarten in Rakhma, an Arab village in the Negev; and considered this decision as "a criminal and racist act. "  Al Sane’ added that the Ministry is baring the residents from building a kindergarten for their children and thus leaving more than 50 children in the village without a kindergarten. He also slammed the actions or Yehoda Bachar, Head of a Department for Housing the Bedouins, for failing to act on his promise to resolve this problem and recognize the village. The Arab MK also said that it is illogical that the Ministry demolishes a kindergarten built by the residents to provide their children with basic education. The village Council and the Parents Committee decided to hold a strike on Tuesday in protest to the Interior Ministry’s decision to demolish the kindergarten.

Rise in Jewish settler violence against Palestinians
Middle East Online 9/9/2008
HEBRON, West Bank - Violence by settlers perpetrated against Palestinians has been on the rise in recent weeks in Hebron and the surrounding areas, residents and international observers said. "These areas are hot spots for violence and are priority areas for us," said Matteo Benatti, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross’s (ICRC’s) delegation in the city. He was referring to H2, the part of Hebron under Israeli control, and the rural southern part of the district. "Day and night, night and day, it makes no difference, the settlers always abuse us," said Jamal, a Palestinian refugee in his mid-40s. Given the city’s violent history and perpetual troubles, the settlement in the middle of a Palestinian urban area, not surprisingly, attracts radical figures, some from France and the USA who migrated to Israel, who seem attracted to the friction.

Dozens suffer from Gas inhalation in Nil’in village
Marina Ayyoub, International Middle East Media Center News 9/9/2008
Local sources reported on Tuesday that Israeli soldiers invaded Nil’in village located west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday morning and fired rounds of live ammunition and gas bombs. The sources sated that clashes erupted between the invading forces and the villagers near the illegal Annexation Wall. Also, troops fired rounds of live ammunition at the residents, and fired a number of CS gas canisters at the school yard of a local school for girls; dozens of students suffer from gas inhalation and received the needed treatment. [end]

Administrative detention extended for Hamas leaders from Tulkarem
Ma’an News Agency 9/9/2008
Tulkarem – Ma’an – The Israeli prison service has extended the administrative detention of several of Hamas leaders and activists from the Tulkarem area of the northern West Bank. Hamas sources told Ma’an that Sheikh Abdullah Yaseen, the Hamas spokesperson in Tulkarem, and another member named Samih Qarut were remanded for six more months, following siz months of detention without trial. Local Hamas leader Muhammad Abu Al-Kheir was designated for a further five months, his fifth consecutive administrative detention order. Israel detained 15 Hamas leaders in Tulkarem on 8 May 2007. [end]

Israeli forces seize two Palestinians near Nablus, Bethlehem
Ma’an News Agency 9/9/2008
Bethlehem/Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli forces seized two West Bank Palestinians early Tuesday morning, according to Palestinian Authority (PA) security sources. Israeli forces raided homes in the Duheisha Refugee Camp south of Bethlehem before arresting 17-year-old Adil Kamal Hammash, a high school student. Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that soldiers also ransacked the northern West Bank village of Kafr Qalil in an apparently unrelated raid. 20-year-old Salim Mansour was taken from his home during the early-morning raid. Israeli officials said that soldiers discovered two handguns, as well as what they suspected to be a home-made explosive device in the operation at Duheisha Refugee Camp. Israeli sappers later detonated the device.

Soldiers invade Hebron, 4 nearby villages, kidnap two civilians
Marina Ayyoub, International Middle East Media Center News 9/9/2008
Israeli troops invaded on Tuesday at dawn the West Bank city of Hebron and four nearby villages, kidnapped four civilians and handed four others military orders to head to an adjacent security center for interrogation. Soldiers invaded the villages of Beit Ola, Al Shiokh, Al Samoa’, and Al Karmel, and conducted military searches of homes after breaking into them. Also, troops kidnapped of Issa Al Halaika and took him to an unknown destination after breaking his home and searching it, damage was reported. Moreover, soldiers kidnapped Mau’ad Abu Karsh, 17, after searching his house they took him to an unknown destination. In Al Karmel village, troops handed a number of civilians military orders to head to an Israeli security center for interrogation.

Israeli forces seize three Palestinians in Jenin
Ma’an News Agency 9/9/2008
Jenin – Ma’an – Israeli forces on Tuesday morning raided the northern West bank city of Jenin and seized three Palestinians. Local sources said that Israeli troops ransacked several houses in the city and Jenin refugee camp, firing heavily into the air. The sources identified the arrestees as Husam Abu Ubeid, Muhannad Hussein and Tariq Uweis. [end]

Israeli ministerial committee approves prisoner list for Shalit swap
Ma’an News Agency 9/9/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – An Israeli ministerial committee has completed a list of 450 Palestinian prisoners who could be released in exchange for captive soldier Gilad Shalit. Meanwhile, Israel threatened through an Egyptian mediator to take “various active measures,” if the talks do not make progress, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. Last week senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar said that talks on the prisoner issue were frozen due to Israeli intransigence. According to Haaretz, this is the first time Israel has submitted its own list, rather than merely approving or rejecting names submitted by Hamas. Hamas and the other Palestinian groups involved in abducting Shalit two years ago have been demanding the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, out of a total to 10,000 held in Israeli jails. The ministerial committee approved the names on Sunday.

Israel sets a list of 450 detainees to be freed in a possible swap deal
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/9/2008
Israeli sources reported on Tuesday that a Special Ministerial Committee has finished preparing a list, which includes the names of Palestinian detainees who could be freed in a prisoner swap deal with Hamas in exchange for releasing the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. The list includes 450 names of detainees and was handed to the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert. So far, it is unclear whether Olmert would approve the list or nor but it will be handed to Egypt as an official Israeli proposal for Hamas. Hamas initially demanded the release of 1500 detainees, 450 in the first state, while the rest would be freed in subsequent rounds; but Israel repeatedly said that it will not free more than 450 detainees. On Sunday, a deliberations session was held at the office of Olmert and the names of 450 detainees were determined.

Some in the Israeli security want end of Gaza truce to pressure Hamas on Shalit
Palestinian Information Center 9/9/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Some in the Israeli security  have called on the Israeli occupation government to end the truce with Hamas Movement in Gaza Strip in the hope that such step could pressure Hamas to reopen negotiations on Gilad Shalit. The Hebrew Maariv newspaper said on Tusday that voices in the Israeli security apparatuses calling for an end to the three-month old truce in the Gaza Strip were mounting, adding that closed-door security meetings were recently held in the Israeli occupation government, and discussed the possibility of "blowing up" the clam. But the paper opined that a decision in this regard won’t, most likely, be taken, at least in the coming near stage. The paper also disclosed that a state of frustration and disappointment was prevailing on the Israeli security departments after Hamas halted all negotiations on prisoners’ swap deal, which the Israeli. . .

Israel uses restrictions on Palestinians to Judaize Occupied East Jerusalem
Mel Frykberg , Inter Press Service, Daily Star 9/10/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: The Israeli government is attempting to Judaize Palestinian East Jerusalem, and maintain a Jewish majority against the "demographic threat" of a higher Palestinian birth rate. To that end, the Israeli government is enforcing a number of policies aimed at establishing facts on the ground to limit the number of Palestinian residents in the city. To make any future division of Occupied Jerusalem almost impossible, the Israeli authorities are applying a combination of strategies including limiting family reunification permits, redrawing Occupied Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, enlarging illegal Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and establishing new ones. Under international law, the Green Line divides Jewish West Jerusalem from Palestinian East Jerusalem. However, Israel has illegally occupied East Jerusalem since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

UN: Palestinian GDP falls again, PA fiscal reforms ‘not sufficient’
Ma’an News Agency 9/9/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Palestinian economy remains “stagnated” according to a recent United Nations assessment that ultimately blames the ongoing Israeli occupation for preventing development in the West Bank and Gaza. Gross domestic product (GDP) in the West Bank and Gaza “continued its downward trend” despite the resumption of foreign humanitarian aid during the second half of 2007. The report faults Israel’s construction of the separation barrier among the most damaging to the “war-torn economy” in the occupied Palestinian territories. Israeli closure policy and the resulting “erosion of productive capacity” stifled growth in the West Bank, while the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip widened the economic gap between the two territories. The report also called recent Palestinian Authority (PA) reforms significant and necessary, but ”not sufficient” for sustained growth.

Policy space for Palestinian economic revival
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development - UNCTAD, ReliefWeb 9/8/2008
UNCTAD’s latest report argues that reviving the Palestinian war-torn economy requires empowering the Palestinian Authority with increased policy options and strengthened institutional capacities to formulate and implement economic policies. Lifting the Israeli closure policy and movement restrictions imposed on the occupied Palestinian territory, dismantling the Israeli separation barrier, intensifying donor support and institutional reform, while necessary, are not sufficient for achieving economic recovery and sustained growth. Palestinian policymakers must have the full range of economic policy instruments, a new UNCTAD report argues. UNCTAD’s projection of the Palestinian economy "baseline scenario" - which assumes a return to the pre-2000 relatively less-restrictive Israeli closure policy and continuation of the existing economic policy framework - predicts modest economic improvement by 2015.

Hamas: PA security seizes nine West Bank loyalists
Ma’an News Agency 9/9/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Hamas movement on Tuesday said that Palestinian Authority (PA) security services seized nine Hamas affiliates in the West Bank on Monday. The loyalists were in the northern West Bank districts of Nablus, Tulkarem, Qalqilia and Jenin, according to a Hamas statement. [end]

Chasm deepens between Gaza Strip and West Bank
Fadi Yacoub, Palestine News Network 9/9/2008
PNN -- A survey conducted by the Palestine News Network over the past week through Monday indicates that 55 percent of those polled see no options to the current internal stalemate. Fahmi Azarir, Spokesman for the Fateh Movement in the West Bank, told PNN that Fateh and the Palestinian leadership led by President Abbas will exert every effort to guarantee the success of the internal dialogue, but he remains pessimistic. Twenty six percent polled see that an independent state will come in spite of the crisis with part being the West Bank, the other the Gaza Strip. Regardless of what happens concerning a state, 14 percent of those surveyed say that the infighting between Fateh and Hamas will return. Azarir said, "With Hamas controlling the Gaza Strip there is not a great deal of hope for the success of this dialogue.

Abbas to dissolve the Legislative Council should national talks fail
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/9/2008
Palestinian sources reported on Tuesday that the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, intends to dissolve the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) should the anticipated Palestinian internal dialogue under Egyptian supervision and the support of the Arab League fail to achieve the expected results. The sources added that the decision of Abbas will be supported by the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) since the PLO is the sole representative of the Palestinian People. The Committee would extend the legitimacy of president Abbas for additional six months after his term as president ends in January of next year. Also, the sources stated that Abbas decision came after serious talks with senior Palestinian officials and senior advisors, and that he informed them that he intends to dissolve the Legislative Council.

Erekat denies that Abbas plans to disband the Palestinian Legislative Council
Ma’an News Agency 9/9/2008
Jericho – Ma’an – Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas does not plan to disband the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), the chief negotiator of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat said on Tuesday. Erekat, a close advisor to Abbas, was commenting on news reports that Abbas intended to dismantle the parliamentary body. “This is not true and has no legal bases. Abu Mazen [Abbas] himself asserted that during the sessions of the Arab League board and in his meeting with Arab foreign ministers. ”Erekat told Ma’an that president Abbas is concerned with restoring national unity and ending the rivalry between his Fatah movement and Hamas. In order for unity to be achieved, Erekat said, Hamas must “end its coup” in the Gaza Strip, allowing Abbas’ government to return to power there. Hamas won a majority of seats in the PLC in 2006.

Abu Zuhri: Reconciliation bids should be based on respecting election results
Palestinian Information Center 9/9/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement has stressed that any Arab reconciliation efforts should be based on respecting Palestinian legitimacies and the results of elections. Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in a press statement on Monday that Hamas confirms its insistence on dialog as a way out of the internal Palestinian crisis. The spokesman, who was commenting on the inauguration of the Arab foreign ministerial council in Cairo, said that Hamas responded favorably to all Arab mediation efforts and reiterated its readiness to cooperate with them or any other efforts. He called for a balanced Arab approach toward various Palestinian parties based on respecting legitimacies, election results and its consequences and the Palestinian basic law. Not inviting the Palestinian government in Gaza, which won majority of votes in the general elections and won confidence. . .

Saudi foreign minister urges Arab league to end Hamas-Fatah split
Ma’an News Agency 9/9/2008
Bethlehm – Ma’an - Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal on Monday called for Arab states to take a more active role in ending the violent conflict between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas. "It’s about time that the Arab countries take a solid and decisive stance against those who shed Palestinian blood and deepen the Palestinian division," Faisal said at the opening ceremony of the Arab League foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo, over which he presided. The situation in Palestine and violence in the Darfur region of Sudan are the main subjects of the meeting. "The Palestinians have to take full responsibility. They have inflicted damage upon the Palestinian cause through their internal struggle," the Saudi minister added in remarks reported by DPA. Also at the meeting Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit repeated an earlier suggestion that. . .

Hamas to receive an official invitation for dialogue in Cairo
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/9/2008
Local leader of the ruling Hamas party in Gaza, Khalil Alhaya, announced yesterday night that his party would receive am official invitation from Cairo to attend rounds of national dialogues, underway in the Egyptian capital. Alhaya confirmed to the Gaza-based Ramattan News Agency that the invitation will be sent by the end of this month and that Hamas is ready for such a dialogue depending on the basis of the Palestinian election results and whether it is supporting efforts to end the Palestinian division. Alhaya called on the Arab Foreign Ministers meeting in Cairo to take firm decisions as to lifting the Israeli blockade on Gaza, especially after these ministers had earlier described Gaza as ’traumatized. ’Meanwhile, Spokesman of Hamas in Gaza , Sami Abu Zuhri, emphasized on the need that any national dialogue should be based on the respect of all Palestinian legitimacies including. . .

Awad: The PA’s refusal to provide passports escalates Gaza people’s suffering
Palestinian Information Center 9/9/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Dr. Mohamed Awad, the secretary-general of the Palestinian cabinet in Gaza, stated Monday that the refusal of the PA unconstitutional government to provide the interior ministry in Gaza with passports increases the suffering of the Gaza people and the death toll in the ranks of patients, and deprives students from any chance to travel abroad. During his visit to the passport service headquarters, Dr. Awad held the PA government in Ramallah fully responsible for escalating the suffering of the Gaza people especially patients and students. The Palestinian official said that depriving Gaza people from getting passports means that the PA in Ramallah sentenced patients to death and destroyed the future of hundreds of university students who wish to pursue their studies in Arab and foreign countries. Awad called on the Ramallah government to refrain from manipulating the. . .

Palestinian Authority seizes Hamas leaflets from Mosques in Hebron
Ma’an News Agency 9/9/2008
Hebron – Ma’an – The Palestinian Military Intelligence service announced on Tuesday that it seized political leaflets and other materials belonging to the Hamas movement from six mosques in the West Bank city of Hebron. Hebron security commander Samih As-Seifi said in a press conference that the materials were worth hundreds of thousands of Israeli shekels. “The materials were seized after we collected information from Hamas affiliates in detention,” said As-Seifi. As-Seifi said that the security forces seized a large number of knives and flyers which he claimed contained incitement against the Palestinian Authority. Financial documents and invoices belonging to the Polytechnic University of Palestine were also confiscated. As-Seifi claimed that members of the Hamas-affiliate Executive Force security service were found to be present in the West Bank, where the organization is officially banned.

Hamas: Arrests foiled Fatah car bombing
Associated Press, Jerusalem Post 9/10/2008
Hamas security says its police have arrested two men from Fatah in a car filled with explosives. The Hamas statement says the police found batteries and a telephone detonating device in the car. Hamas says the Fatah men were planning to set off a powerful car bomb. The arrests were made late Tuesday near the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis. Hamas identified one of the men as a former officer in Palestinian Authroity President Mahmoud Abbas’s elite guard. There was no comment from Fatah. [end]

Arab League protective of Palestinian national dialogue, Israelis not serious about peace
PNN, Palestine News Network 9/9/2008
Cairo -- Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Mousa said today that any party impeding the Palestinian national dialogue will be met with a serious and practical response. Individual party consultations are ongoing in Cairo before the comprehensive dialogue begins. A source in the Hamas government reported that invitations arrived to both the Fateh and Hamas parties for individual talks in Cairo after Eid Al Fitr which comes at the end of the month of Ramadan. However, another call was issued on Tuesday to postpone the national dialogue until after the United States holds its presidential elections. The current US administration still exercises what Palestinian parties refer to as a "veto" regarding the make-up of the Palestinian government. Upon conclusion of the 130th session of the Arab League in Cairo, Mousa said that sanctions would be imposed on anyone who attempted to stop the dialogue.

Hamas: The government decided to release Fatah prisoners as a goodwill gesture
Palestinian Information Center 9/9/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement announced that the Palestinian government in Gaza issued Monday a decision to release a number of prisoners affiliated with Fatah as a goodwill gesture towards the joint national committee formed for the release of political prisoners from both sides. Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, underlined that the interior ministry in Gaza, at the behest of the government, would release more than ten elements affiliated with Fatah, adding that the decision was aimed to make the committee’s mission succeed. Dr. Abu Zuhri pointed out that the PA in Ramallah did not show any kind of cooperation with the committee so far. For its part, the interior ministry in Gaza announced Monday that it released 12 detainees affiliated with Fatah, affirming that this step was taken as a new goodwill gesture from the government and to help in the success of the joint committee’s mission.

Workers in Gaza continue strike against Hamas-run government
Ma’an News Agency 9/9/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Unions of teachers, health professionals and other civil servants in the Gaza Strip announced on Tuesday that they will extend their strikes for another week on Tuesday. Also on Tuesday, de facto minister of education Muhammad Asqoul affirmed that Tuesday would be the “last chance” for striking teachers to return to work. He pledgedthat the Hamas-led government would pay the salaries and pensions of workers whose paychecks had been stopped by the Fatah-led government in the West Bank. The Fatah-run Palestinian Authority threatened not to pay employees who did not comply with the strike. His comments came during a festival held by his ministry’s Information Committee in association with the Directorate of Education in northern Gaza Strip. He labeled the strike illegal and unjustifiable, coming as it did on the first day of the new school year.

PA to raise university workers’ salaries, ending strike
Ma’an News Agency 9/9/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – The Ramallah-based Palestinian Ministry of Education agreed to a raise the salaries of university employees in the West Bank and Gaza, thus ending a weeklong strike. The General Union of Palestinian university workers, the federation representing unions at nine institutions, struck an agreement with the Palestinian Council for Higher Education, the governing body of the universities, late on Monday, said Mousa Ajwah the spokesman of the union. The deal was reached during negotiations held at the ministry’s offices in Ramallah. The terms of the agreement are as follows:First: The Jordanian Dinar (the currency used to pay employees) will be fixed at 6 Israeli Shekels to one Dinar until entire salary system is reformed. Second: Salaries will rise by 10% as an initial measure.

Israeli security sees Marwan Barghouthi as weaker than his public image
Ma’an News Agency 9/9/2008
Jerusalem – Ma’an – The Israeli security services believe jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi is politically weaker than he is imagined to be by Europe, Israeli media reported on Tuesday. Israeli radio reported that the security services have written a report arguing that Barghouthi, if released, would fail to unite rival Palestinian parties, and would be bogged down with political fighting within the Fatah movement. Barghouth is often mentioned as a possible successor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Last week the European Parliament joined the Palestinian leadership in calling for his release. The security services also suggested that Barghouthi would follow Abbas in seeking compromise withIsrael. The Israeli report also asserts that rival leaders within Fatah would prefer to keep the charismatic Barghouthi behind bars despite the popular clamor for his release.

IDF: If released, Barghouti unlikely to unite Palestinians
Yaakov Katz And Talia Dekel, Jerusalem Post 9/9/2008
Jailed Fatah-Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti is unlikely to succeed in uniting the split Palestinian factions if he is released in a prisoner swap for kidnapped St. -Sgt. Gilad Schalit, according to a recent Defense Ministry report. The document was prepared by a team of IDF officers who are experts on the Palestinian Authority and was submitted recently to Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Barghouti, who was sentenced to five life sentences for the murders of four Israelis and a Greek monk and 40 years imprisonment for an attempted murder, in 2004, would not have a dramatic impact on the PA if released, according to the officers. Hamas has put his name on a list of 450 security prisoners the group demands be released in exchange for Schalit. Several Israeli politicians, such as National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, favor his release, saying Barghouti. . .

Long-term Palestinian political prisoners on the rise
PNN, Palestine News Network 9/9/2008
Gaza -- The number of years behind Israeli bars for dozens of Palestinian political prisoners has surpassed 15. Na’el Barghouti is the longest standing after being imprisoned on 4 April 1978. There are 340 Arabs who have been held in Israeli prisons since before the Oslo Accords, the agreement which directed Israel to release political prisoners. Abdel Nasser Farawana is a researcher and the Director of Palestine behind Bars. He said on Tuesday that a large number of Palestinians have joined the ranks of those imprisoned since before Oslo. Two hundred and ninety Palestinians have been in Israeli prison for more than 15 years. Eighty-one are still imprisoned after 20 years. Eight Palestinians join the ranks this month. Four of them are from the West Bank: Ashraf Ghazi Al Wadi from Tulkarem detained since 11 September 1993, Mohammad Mousa Tkatgah from Bethlehem detained. . .

President of PCBS announces 2007 West Bank Census final results
Palestine News Network 9/9/2008
The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics findings for 2007 are reported in contrast to 1997. Ramallah / PCBS - Key changesin size, structure, growth rate, and type of housing of Palestinian households in the West Bank between the 1997 Census and the 2007 CensusDr. Luay Shabaneh, President of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics and National Director of Census announced on Monday, September 1, 2008 the final results of the Census in the West Bank. According to Dr. Shabaneh, the final results indicate that the total population count of the West Bank in the Second Census (2007) was 2,350,583 people, including 1,193,244 males and 1,157,339 females compared to the final results of the first Census of 1997, which showed that the West Bank population totaled 1,873,476 people (951,693 males and 921,783 females).

Now a free man, longest-serving prisoner Sa’id Al-Atabah to be married
Ma’an News Agency 9/9/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Sa’id Al-Atabah, the longest-ever serving Palestinian prisoner who was recently freed by Israel, announced on Tuesday that he will marry a Palestinian woman who served four years in Israeli prisoners. Al-Atabah told Ma’an that his bride to be is Maha Awwad, from the West Bank city of Nablus, a fine arts student at An-Najah National University. According to Al-Atabah, he knew Awwad through a voice message she sent him on a local radio station while he was in custody at Hasharon prison. He returned a message on the same station. With regards to the woman’s political affiliation, Al-Atabah said she was affiliated to Fatah, but for him, the most important thing was that she was affiliated to the Palestinian national movement as a whole. Al-Atabah was released in August along with about 200 other Palestinian prisoners in a unilateral Israeli gesture to the Palestinian Authority.

East Jerusalem gets two new schools
Abe Selig, Jerusalem Post 9/9/2008
Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski and Education Minister Yuli Tamir are scheduled to visit the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Umm Lison on Wednesday to inaugurate two new schools recently built there. While the step is certainly aimed at countering criticism the Education Ministry and Jerusalem Municipality have faced in regards to the area’s education system, activists who campaign on behalf of east Jerusalem’s residents say that construction of the two schools is only a drop in the bucket when it comes to solving the much larger issues facing the education system there. "It’s a positive step," said Haim Ehrlich, thecoordinator of policy development for Ir Amim, a group that promotes Israeli-Palestinian coexistence in Jerusalem. "But it doesn’t begin to touch on the most serious problems in east Jerusalem - most importantly the severe lack of classrooms.

Palestine Today 090908
IMEMC News - audio Dept, International Middle East Media Center News 9/9/2008
Click on Link to download or play MP3 file || 3 m 0s || 2. 75 MB || Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center www. imemc. org for Tuesday, September 09, 2008. As Palestinian factions representatives are meeting in Cairo with Egyptian officials for the sake of national unity between the Palestinians, Israel media sources reported that Israeli has been preparing a list of prisoners, who would be released within a prisoners swap deal. These stories and more are coming up, stay tuned. The News Cast: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, speaking to a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, asserted that the Palestinian leadership won’t accept any partial agreements with Israel, the way stated by Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert. Abbas also briefed the ministers on the latest talks on national unity between the Palestinian factions and Egyptian officials.

Haneyya urges Arab states to allocate percentage of their aid to Gaza
Palestinian Information Center 9/9/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Ismail Haneyya, the premier of the PA caretaker government, called Monday on the Arab countries especially Saudi Arabia, which provides financial assistance to the PA, to make it a condition that the Gaza Strip should obtain a proportion of aid or to send it directly to the Strip through official channels. During a PLC session held to listen to the ministers of health and education about the strikes’ repercussions, premier Haneyya underlined that it is unbecoming to hand the financial aid to a group of PA officials who take pleasure in tormenting the Palestinian people, pointing out that the PA in Ramallah cut the salaries of thousands of civil servants for nothing except commitment to their jobs. The premier stressed that the government managed to address the strike in the education sector during the first three days through appointing 5,000 new teachers in place of the striking ones.

President Abbas refuses any partial agreements with Israel
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/9/2008
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas refused any partial agreements with Israel at the end of underway negotiations with Israel. Abbas was speaking in a press briefing following a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo yesterday. " If we ensure reaching a comprehensive, not partial or transitional agreement with Israel, we will continue dealing with Olmert, the same way we are dealing with the American administration", Abbas was referring to Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert. Asked whether he still relies on PM Olmert with respect to a breakthrough, President Abbas made clear " Olmert is still the prime minister, with whom we deal in terms of negotiations, mainly our legitimate rights which we seek to attain". The president told reporters that he briefed the Arab ministers on the progress of peace talks with Israel as well as the Palestinian leadership’s insistence. . .

Khudari calls for saving the sole medicine factory in Gaza
Palestinian Information Center 9/9/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- MP Jamal Al-Khudari, the head of the popular anti siege committee, has called for saving the sole medicine factory in Gaza before it comes to a complete standstill, noting that it was currently operating at merely 5% of its capacity. Khudari voiced his appeal during a tour of the factory along with members of his committee and the media. They were acquainted with the losses, workers who are out of job and the machines which are out of order due to the Israeli siege that blocked entry of necessary raw material and spare parts. The MP pointed out that allowing entry of the factory’s needs for one day would be enough to operate it for three months. He added that this would be better than waiting for medicine to be allowed access by occupation and its continued blockage measures.

Hamas: Results of Arab FMs meeting lack practical resolutions
Palestinian Information Center 9/9/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement has expressed regret over the outcome of the Arab foreign ministers’ conference in Cairo on Monday, stressing that no practical resolutions were adopted regarding the Palestinian question. Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, told the PIC on Tuesday that no definite resolution was taken regarding the "oppressive siege on Gaza and the systematic destruction and judaization of Jerusalem and the holy Aqsa Mosque". He said that the ministers should have adopted a practical decision to break the siege on Gaza or at least to implement their former resolution in this regard. Barhoum pointed out that the siege is continuing to reap more Palestinian lives in the Strip without any real and practical Arab decision to save their lives and end their siege. The spokesman said that the absence of Arab official pressure cards on Israeli occupation encouraged. . .

Darwish to Peres: PA has ’no more to give’
Greer Fay Cashman, Jerusalem Post 9/9/2008
Israelis and Palestinians have never been closer to making strategic decisions than they are today, and at the end of the day, each side wants to win a little more than the other, Sheikh Abdallah Nimr Darwish, founder of the Islamic Movement, told President Shimon Peres on Tuesday. "But the Palestinians have nothing left to offer Israel," he added. Darwish spoke at the traditional Iftar meal for leaders of Israel’s Arab communities hosted by President Shimon Peres during Ramadan. "The Palestinians can’t give up any more," said Darwish, without elaborating on what they have already ceded. There was agreement on both sides, he said, that Israel would return to the 1967 borders, with possible exchanges of territory. Turning to Peres, Darwish entreated the president to pressure the government into realizing that the Palestinians have. . .

UNRWA: Situation in Gaza tragic, international silence shameful
Palestinian Information Center 9/9/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- UNRWA called on Monday for opening all Gaza Strip crossings and ending the siege on its inhabitants for more than 15 months, warning of the worsening conditions as a result of that siege. John Ging, the director of UNRWA operations in the Strip, said in a statement while distributing food aid in Shati refugee camp west of Gaza city, with UAE Red Crescent support, that the condition in Gaza was difficult and tragic. He said that the Palestinian ordinary citizen was paying the price for political conflict. Ging repeated what Archbishop Desmond Tutu had said on visiting Gaza mainly that the situation was very difficult and remaining silent towards it would be shameful for the international community. He said that the tragedy in Gaza was manmade, hoping that a solution would be soon found so that people capable of work would not be forced to stand in queues waiting for assistance.

Bahar calls for activating Arab League’s decision considering Gaza disaster area
Palestinian Information Center 9/9/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the acting speaker of the PLC, called Monday on the Arab leaders to implement the Arab League’s decision which called for breaking the Israeli siege and considering the Gaza Strip a disaster area, announcing at the same time the cancellation of all edicts issued by PA chief Mahmoud Abbas a year ago and not referred to the PLC. During the opening of  third regular session, Dr. Bahar underlined that the siege gets worse everyday claiming the lives of more victims and affecting all walks of life in the Strip. The acting speaker hailed the international efforts made to break the siege especially the efforts made by European activists. He also welcomed the Egyptian popular campaign to break the siege which will be heading from Cairo to the Rafah border crossings on the 10th of Ramadan.

Livni: Without security, no agreement
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 9/9/2008
Foreign minister gives interview to al-Arabiya, says considering demands for Israel’s security will make peace agreement stable -Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, during a Tuesday night interview to the Al-Arabiya news agency, emphasized the importance of Israeli security in any political agreement between Palestinians and Israelis. "Any deal (with the Palestinians) needs to create increased security for Israel and certainly not harm it. If an agreement does not protect Israeli security, there will not be an agreement," she said. "It’s hard to for me to picture a situation in which the Palestinians would have to give up the idea of a state of their own in order to meet Israeli security demands," she asserted. On the contrary, she said, "acquiescence to Israel’s security demands is what will make an agreement stable. "

Kadima presses Olmert to leave PMO
Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post 9/8/2008
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced on July 30 that he would resign the day after the Kadima primary, but Kadima leadership candidates and their loyalists said Monday that Olmert must go a step further and leave the Prime Minister’s Office. Post Editor-In-Chief David Horovitz: Police recommendations can be entirely meaningless By law, if Olmert resigned, he would remain prime minister of a caretaker government until a new government was formed, which might not happen until after a general election in spring 2009. The candidates and their associates said Olmert must go much sooner, even if the Kadima primary’s victor is unable to form a government. "If a new government is not formed, the prime minister should give a chance to whoever won the Kadima primary to replace him, especially if there is an indictment from the attorney-general," Kadima leadership candidate Meir Sheetrit told The Jerusalem Post.

Livni to party: I’ll strike deal with PA
Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post 9/9/2008
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will work to sign a final-status agreement with the Palestinian Authority if she wins next Wednesday’s Kadima primary, she writes in a letter to some 70,000 Kadima members. Livni has faced criticism from political opponents for not revealing her opinions on diplomatic issues. But she insists in closed conversations that she has made clear she favors two states for two peoples with borders based on security, demographics and the need to maintain control over Jewish holy sites. "I promise to act with responsibility and good judgment to reach a permanent agreement via dialogue with the pragmatic Palestinians while struggling determinedly against the Palestinian extremists in order to allow the State of Israel to continue to be Jewish and democratic with a Jewish majority living securely within final borders," she wrote in the letter.

Court convicts Israel Land Authority exec of accepting bribe
Noam Sharvit, Globes Online 9/9/2008
Judge Dan Mor: It’s no wonder that the public is losing all confidence in public administration and officials. The Tel Aviv Magistrates Court today handed down the first verdict in the David Appel case. Former Israel Land Administration (ILA) official Oded Tal was convicted of breach of trust and three counts of accepting bribes from Appel, former Polar Investments chairman Avigdor Kelner, and contractor Sami Maslavi. Judge Dan Mor said, "This is the epitome of public corruption. The accused, a senior public official, exploited his position to obtain large personal benefits. His duty was to stand guard to protect the public’s rights to the most valuable public resource, the land. Out of personal motives, the accused knowingly put himself in a position where he closed his eyes to enable a private developer to improve his position in a contract between him and the state.

’Arabs still angry over aftermath of October 2000 riots’
Sharon Roffe-Ophir, YNetNews 9/9/2008
Director of Konrad Adenauer Program for Jewish-Arab Cooperation says ’Israeli-Arabs’ national-political struggle is being waged from outside the country’s borders, indicating lack of trust in Israeli system. Minister Herzog: Government working to reduce gap between Arab, Jewish sectors - "Five years have past since the Or Commission Israeli police killed 13 Arab citizens was published, and the fury continues to fester," said Dr Eli Rekhess, director of the Konrad Adenauer Program for Jewish-Arab Cooperation. During an annual conference marking the report’s publication, which was held Tuesday at Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center, Rekhess claimed that "the Israeli-Arabs’ national-political struggle is being waged from outside the country’s borders. This indicates a lack of trust on their part in the Israeli system and a search for salvation in foreign lands.

Knesset okays new tax cuts for Olim
Ruth Eglash, Jerusalem Post 9/9/2008
New immigrants and returning Israelis will no longer have to declare all their earnings and assets abroad to the Income Tax Authority, after the Knesset on Tuesday approved legislation repealing a 2003 tax regulation. The move could have far reaching implications on increasing aliya from Western countries and enticing former citizens to return to Israel. "This could be the most significant development for Western immigrants since the Six Day War," said Danny Oberman, executive vice president of Israel operations for private aliya organization Nefesh B’Nefesh, which was recently appointed Israel’s official address for encouraging immigration from North America. "It is a major change in policy by the Israeli Income Tax Authority and sends a clear sign that Israel is really trying to encourage aliya," Oberman said.

Deri: Allow me to run for Jerusalem mayorship
Matthew Wagner, Jerusalem Post 9/9/2008
Charismatic haredi politician Aryeh Deri has requested that the National Election Committee overlook his criminal record and approve his candidacy for mayor of Jerusalem. Deri’s decision to run for mayor of the nation’s capital is the result of a long chain of consultations with rabbinic leaders, politicians and lawyers. "I’ve deliberated [on] the move, received advice from Torah sages, spoken with my rabbis [and] with my lawyers and [have] reached the point where I needed to make a decision," Deri told Army Radio. "The decision is that I will be a contender and will embark on removing the legal obstacles. Obviously, the first step is to request permission from the judge. If the judge grants me permission, I will run," added Deri.

Israelis warned of Hizbullah threat
Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post 9/9/2008
Dozens of Israeli businessmen in countries around the world have been warned of possible Hizbullah plans to kidnap them in retaliation to the assassination earlier this year of arch-terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, defense officials said Tuesday. The Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida reported Tuesday that Israeli security services had issued warnings to former IDF officers and defense officials working overseas to return to Israel immediately. The report claimed that the businessmen warned were working in countries, some Muslim, with which Israel does not maintain diplomatic relations. In addition, senior defense officials said Tuesday that Israel was concerned that current as well as former military officers or security officials would be prime targets for a Hizbullah retaliatory attack. "There are many former officials working overseas, selling weaponry and training militaries," one official said.

Nasrallah says Mideast not stable, not calm
Middle East Online 9/9/2008
TEHRAN - Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said the current situation in the Middle East as "not stable and not calm", but he added that Hezbollah’s "military situation is in best shape. " Nasrallah said any Israeli attack on Lebanon depended on the Iranian nuclear issue and the Israel-Syria talks, in an interview with Iran’s state-run television on Monday. "I can not say when Israel is going to attack Lebanon, if it is going to be soon or not. It depends on the region’s events and circumstances," said Nasrallah, whose Lebanese Shiite group is backed by Damascus and Tehran. "On the one hand it depends on Iran’s nuclear case, and on the other hand it depends on the indirect talks between Syria and Israel," he added. He was referring to the Iranian nuclear drive which some suspects is a weapons programme under the guise of a civilian one.

Nasrallah: Future war depends on regional and international developments
Ma’an News Agency 9/9/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Middle East stability depends on a variety of future regional and international developments, Hezbollah’s secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah said Monday evening on Iranian TV. He speculated that events in Gaza, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the outcome of ongoing negotiations between Israel and Syria could all spark future wars. Nasrallah also insisted that Israel’s seizure of land and water resources prevents regional stability and tranquility. [end]

No Egyptian gas for Lebanon until at least January - minister
Daily Star 9/10/2008
BEIRUT: Energy and Water Minister Alan Tabourian said on Monday that promised Egyptian natural gas supplies to Lebanon had been delayed to January 2009. Speaking to reporters after returning from an official visit to Cairo, Tabourian added that Egyptian gas to Lebanon has been slashed by half for no apparent reason. Egypt was supposed to send the natural gas in July or August of this year in order to operate the generating station at Beddawi. Beddawi is one of the two plants in Lebanon designed to run on gas. But these two stations, which were built in 1996 at a cost of $600 million, have operated on fuel oil instead of gas for the past 10 years. "The Lebanese team which traveled to Egypt was surprised to find out that the natural gas shipment has been delayed to January 2009 instead of this month," the minister said.

Human Rights Council hears presentation by Special Representative of Secretary-General for children and armed conflict
United Nations Human Rights Council, ReliefWeb 9/9/2008
Human Rights Council- Concludes General Debate Welcoming New High Commissioner for Human Rights - The Human Rights Council this morning heard a presentation from the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict after concluding its general debate with the new High Commissioner for Human Rights. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict, said the changing nature of warfare, with less protection for civilian lives, represented the main challenge the world faced for children and armed conflict, cases in point being Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and countries facing terrorism. It was the duty of the Council to make clear that rules of engagement had to be respected and full protection accorded to civilians, particularly children.

UN holds conference on ’terrorism’
Al Jazeera 9/10/2008
The United Nations has held its first conference on how to better support those affected by attacks by armed groups around the world. Ingrid Betancourt, the French-Colombian politician held for more than six years by Colombian rebels, attended the meeting in New York and called for the UN to publicise the cases of those held hostage by armed groups. "Too many totalitarian states hide the reality of victims of terrorism in their country in order not to be accountable for them to the world," she said at Tuesday’s conference. The one-day conference was addressed by survivors and relatives of those affected by attacks in countries including Russia, Kenya, Jordan, Indonesia, Tanzania, India and Britain. "It is indispensable to provide an international status to the victims of terrorism," said Betancourt, focusing mainly on those held hostage.

US mulls selling $7 billion defense system to UAE
Jerusalem Post 9/9/2008
The US is considering selling an anti-missile system to the United Arab Emirates, which could be used to defend the UAE against any future aggression from Iran. Lockheed Martin’s advanced missile system, known as Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), is estimated to be worth up to $7 billion. THAAD is designed to defend against short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, and complements the Patriot missile-defense system, which aims lower. The Pentagon is set to notify US Congress of the sale and Congress will then have 30 days to review the matter, sources close to the issue told news outlets on Monday. [end]

Syria: US opposed to indirect Jerusalem-Damascus talks
Roee Nahmias, YNetNews 9/9/2008
FM Moallem tells Al-Jazeera ’we gathered from the Israelis themselves that the American administration is against the renewal of indirect talks’, adding that Syria agree to allow Turkish, French, Russian reps at negotiations -Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said Tuesday that his country has received messages according to which Washington is against indirect talks between Damascus and Jerusalem. Moallem said in an interview with Al-Jazeera that his country agreed that French representatives be allowed at the talks, along with representatives from Turkey and Russia. He added that "we gathered from the Israelis themselves that the American administration is against the renewal of indirect talks. " If this is in fact the case, how will the US sponsor direct talks? "Moallem’s comments came in response to a recent report published in. . .

Israel ’could kidnap Ahmadinejad’
AP, The Independent 9/9/2008
An Israeli cabinet minister has suggested Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could be kidnapped by Israel over threats he has made against the country. Former spy Rafi Eitan was involved in the operation to kidnap Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann and bring him to trial. Ahmadinejad is feared and reviled in Israel because of his repeated calls to wipe the Jewish state off the map. His aggressive pursuit of nuclear technology has only fueled Israel’s fears. "A man like Ahmadinejad who threatens genocide has to be brought for trial in The Hague," seat of the international war crimes tribunal, Eitan said today. "And all options are open in terms of how he should be brought. " Asked if kidnapping was acceptable, Eitan replied, "Yes. Any way to bring him for trial in The Hague is a possibility.

Israeli fanatic proposes kidnapping Ahmadinejad
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 9/10/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: A former top agent of Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad suggested Tuesday that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad be snatched and dragged before the International Court of Justice. "We must snatch the Iranian president who uses the same discourse as Hitler on the need to exterminate the people of Israel, in order to take him to the International Court in the Hague," said Pensioners Minister Rafi Eitan, a member of Israel’s security Cabinet. In a 2005 speech, Ahmadinejad quoted the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as saying "the regime occupying Al-Quds [Occupied Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history. "The quote was erroneously translated as "Israel must be wiped off the map," in Western media and extensively repeated, even though Farsi experts have continuously denied the accuracy of the translation.

Qaeda chief says Iran, US collaborating
Middle East Online 9/9/2008
DUBAI - Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri has launched a vitriolic attack on Iran, accusing it in a video message broadcast by Al-Jazeera on Monday of collaborating with Washington in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Qatar-based satellite television station said the video, more than an hour and a half long, was entitled "Seven Years of Crusades," and was made to mark the seventh anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the United States. Several others said to be Al-Qaeda leaders also featured in the video. "The leadership in Tehran is collaborating with the Americans in their occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan," Zawahiri said in the extract broadcast by the channel. "It recognises the subservient (to Washington) governments of these two countries, while at the same time pledging death and destruction to any state which dares touch Iranian soil," added the Egyptian deputy to Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Iran ex-nuke negotiator: Ahmadinejad harming Iran
Associated Press, YNetNews 9/9/2008
Hasan Rowhani says Iranian leader failed to privatize economy as required under the constitution and didn’t use opportunities at the international level to improve Iran’s standing. ’Careless, uncalculated and unstudied remarks and slogans have posed many costs on the nation and the country,’ he says - Iran’s former nuclear negotiator harshly rebuked Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying the hardline president’s policies have done more harm than good in his three years in office. Hasan Rowhani said the Iranian leader missed out on "golden" opportunities to develop the Persian state. His remarks were just the latest criticism among a growing tide Ahmadinejad faces at home ahead of the 2009 presidential elections. Speaking to a meeting Monday of the Moderation and Development Party, the former negotiator singled out Iran’s high inflation - a fact despite huge oil revenues.

’Iran is a friend of the Israeli people’ And Ap, Jerusalem Post 9/9/2008
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came under pressure from his government about pro-Israel comments made by one of his aides, The Financial Times reported Tuesday. According to the report, parliamentarians demanded that Ahmadinejad explain why Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, vice-president for tourism affairs, said that Iran was "a friend of the Israeli people. " In an apparent attempt to explain himself and reverse the effect of his words, Mashaei was quoted by The Financial Times as telling the politicians "I say ’death to Israel’ a thousand times. " Meanwhile, Teheran’s former nuclear negotiator Hasan Rowhani said that Ahmadinejad’s policies have done more harm than good in his three years in office, adding that the hard-line leader missed out on "golden" opportunities to develop the Persian state.

Website: Croatia has sold S300 to Iran
Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post 9/9/2008
Croatia has recently sold advanced S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran, a newspaper in Zagreb reported this week amid conflicting opinions in Israel over whether Teheran has obtained the advanced anti-aircraft system. According to the Web magazine Necenzurirano, Libyan Naval ships were also docking in the Croatian port city of Kraljevica to transfer the system to Iran. Israeli defense officials could not confirm the report but said that Croatia is known to have obtained a number of S-300 systems following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The system was reportedly dismantled several years ago although its exact fate was never publicized. The S-300, a Russian system, is one of the most advanced multi-target anti-aircraft missile systems in the world today and has a reported ability to track up to 100 targets simultaneously while engaging up to 12 at the same time.

OECD: Israeli students rank last in science, math
Abe Selig, Jerusalem Post 9/9/2008
Underlining the crisis in the Israeli school system, an international education survey on Tuesday ranked Israel near the bottom of 57 Westernized countries - citing underpaid teachers, oversized classes and abysmal performances by students in math and science. In response, the Education Ministry noted that the survey, though newly released, was based on statistics from 2006, and suggested that the latest curriculum reform package, "New Horizon," would lead to an improvement. The annual education report of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a grouping of Westernized countries that measures growth and modernization around the world, essentially gave Israeli education an F: It showed that Israeli teachers earn around half of the global wage average, reported that class sizes in Israel are among the largest in the world, and featured results. . .

Peres to Muslims: We are all one family
Ronen Medzini, YNetNews 9/10/2008
President tells leaders of Arab-Israeli community ’the God that you pray to in Arabic and the one we pray to in Hebrew does not command us to throw bombs’ -President Shimon Peres hosted Tuesday evening leaders of the Arab-Israeli community for a traditional dinner to break the Ramadan fast. "We are all descendents of our father Abraham and can coexist. " The God that you pray to in Arabic and the one we pray to in Hebrew does not command us to throw bombs but to pray," he said. "A world without Islam will be a more miserable one, as will a world without Judaism, Christianity or Buddhism. " Among the dignitaries who attended the dinner were the Jordanian and Turkish ambassadors to Israel, Islamist Movement founder Sheikh Abdullah Nimar Darwish and Shawki Hatib, chairman of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee.

Dahlan: Iran wants Hamas to help, but not win
Sami Moubayed, Asia Times 9/10/2008
DAMASCUS - Mahmud Dahlan, the ex-head of Preventive Security in Palestine and a former confidant to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has been appearing on the pages of the Saudi daily al-Hayat, speaking about his political role in the Palestinian territories since 1993. Dahlan is known to be a loud critic of both Hamas and Iran, and the feeling is reciprocated in both countries. Most recently, the two countries accused him of conspiracy in the "murder of Yasser Arafat". Reportedly, after taking Gaza, Hamas said it found a letter, dated July 13, 2003, from Dahlan to Shaul Mofaz, the ex-Israeli minister of defense, in which Dahlan wrote, "Let us slaughter him our way, not yours. " Arafat died in a Paris hospital on November 11, 2004, amid rumors he had been poisoned. One of the major obstacles to internal Palestinian peace, Dahlan now claims, is Hamas and its relationship with Iran.

Police chief: We’ll bring about real change in criminal landscape
Avi Cohen, YNetNews 9/9/2008
Dudi Cohen says police will be determined, level-headed in their job; adds recent incidents in which innocent bystanders have been hurt unacceptable -Speaking at a police benefit, Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen expressed hope that recent police activities will stem crime in Israel. While referring to recent criminal events and the investigation against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Cohen said that he is "sure that all the different districts and units will be determined and level-headed in their work, and will bring about a real change in the criminal landscape. ""Recently we have witnessed numerous events in which innocent bystanders have been hurt", said the commissioner at a benefit honoring the Tel Aviv Police Department. "These events are unacceptable. Theincident that took place in Netanya on Monday, the incident in Bat Yam, are being investigated. . .

Eldad to PM: Quit and get ready for jail
Shelly Paz, Jerusalem Post 9/9/2008
MK Arye Eldad (NU-NRP) on Tuesday called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to step down and prepare himself for life behind bars. "A man who is suspected of taking bribes shouldn’t lead Israel, because we can’t be sure of his motives. A leader must have clean hands; someone whose judgment is in doubt can’t make decisions on behalf of the citizens of Israel," Eldad said. He spoke to a special recess Knesset special called at the request of opposition parties to discuss the legitimacy of Olmert and his government continuing in power. Only 16 legislators were present, even though it had required the signatures of at least 25 to call the session. Attending were Israel Beiteinu’s 11 lawmakers; Likud MKs Binyamin Netanyahu, Gideon Sa’ar and Reuven Rivlin; Immigrant Absorption Minister Eli Aflalo (Kadima) and Religious Services Minister Yitzhak Cohen (Shas).

IDF officer nearly killed during exercise
Hanan Greenberg, YNetNews 9/9/2008
Lieutenant sustains minor injuries during live fire exercise. Preliminary investigation reveals: Shooter left designated area - An IDF officer, holding the rank of lieutenant, was injured on Monday during a live fire exercise at the Shizafon training base in south Israel. The officer was hit by shrapnel after a tank fired an errant shell in his direction; he was evacuated to a nearby hospital to receive treatment. From a preliminary investigation it appears that the tank had left the designated exercise area. All exercises were suspended immediately after the incident. An investigation led by Brigadier General Agai Yehezkel, the Armored Corps commanding officer, was launched Tuesday. At the same time the base’s commander conducted a safety seminar to all officers, in order to prevent another incident in the future.

Parliamentary committee set to limit police wiretapping
Amnon Meranda, YNetNews 9/9/2008
Committee tasked with probing existing wiretapping procedures to file recommendations within weeks, says amendments to existing procedures will make court-sanctions wiretapping orders herder to obtain -The recent investigation into the possible illegal wiretapping of Vice Premier Haim Ramon by the police may result in a drastic legislation change, which would make it harder for the police to obtain wiretapping permits for their investigations. MK Menahem Ben-Sasson (Kadima), who head the parliamentary committee tasked with investigating existing wiretapping authorization procedures, announced Tuesday that the committee will be filing its initial recommendations within a few weeks.


Israel Moves to Judaize East Jerusalem
Mel Frykberg, Electronic Intifada 9/9/2008
      EAST JERUSALEM (IPS) - The Israeli government is attempting to Judaize Palestinian East Jerusalem, and maintain a Jewish majority against the demographic threat of a higher Palestinian birth rate.
     To that end, the Israeli government is enforcing a number of policies aimed at establishing facts on the ground in order to limit the number of Palestinian residents in the city.
     To make any future division of Jerusalem almost impossible, the Israeli authorities are applying a combination of strategies including limiting family reunification permits, redrawing Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, enlarging Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and establishing new illegal ones.
     Under international law the Green Line divides Jewish West Jerusalem from Palestinian East Jerusalem. However, Israel has illegally occupied East Jerusalem since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
     Last month Israel published tenders for the construction of 1,761 illegal housing units for Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem alone, according to the Israeli rights group, Peace Now.

Next Stop, Ramallah

Akiva Eldar, MIFTAH 9/9/2008
      The West Bank not only provides housing solutions for Jerusalemites who cannot afford to buy a house with a garden in one of the city’s veteran neighborhoods. It also cuts their travel time from the coastal plain. First, Route 443 was paved for them, part of which (approximately 10 kilometers) runs through public and private Palestinian lands. Now it turns out that the route of the new rail line between the capital and Tel Aviv also crosses over the Green Line. The sections involved include only a few hundred meters in the area east of Latrun and a small area near Mevasseret Zion. But even the laws of the jungle that apply in the territories do not allow for the appropriation of lands for public uses unless the entire public - regardless of religion, race or nationality - will benefit from the fruits of the appropriation. Otherwise, the High Court of Justice is likely to do to the route of the rail line what it has already done several times to the route of the separation fence. In fact, the first ruling against the route of the fence affected the Beit Furiq section, not far from the route of the rail line.

Sameera Surour: Loss and struggle in Ni’lin

Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, Stop The Wall 9/9/2008
      40-year-old Sameera Surour was sitting on a wooden chair across from the intensive care unit on the first floor of the Ramallah Public Hospital, waiting in silence for word on her husband’s condition. I had not previously met Sameera, but I distinguished her from the other women sitting on those wooden chairs.
     I approached her and asked if she was the wife of Awwad Surour. She bowed her head, trying hard to keep herself from crying, although the tears were about to pour from her eyes. After an introduction, Sameera told me what happened to her husband, the family breadwinner, during a raid on their home during the dark night of September 1st, 2008.
     At about 3:00 am, the residents of the Surour house woke to a continuous banging and pounding on the door of their residence. Awwad sped to answer the door and to stop the pounding which scared the children as well as his elderly mother, who is ill and lives alone on the ground floor of the building.

Shimon Peres: murderer, liar and hypocrite

Khalid Amayreh in Ramallah, Palestinian Information Center 9/7/2008
      Once again, we are affronted by another despicable statement by Shimon Peres, the deceitful elderly Israeli president who has spent a lifetime serving the evil Zionist enterprise.
     In a statement in Rome on Friday, 5 September, Peres called for barring  Hamas from taking part in any future elections in occupied Palestine until the group terminated all forms of resistance to the Nazi-like Israeli occupation.
     Peres utterly ignored the lingering reign of  murder and  terror inflicted for too long on the helpless and virtually unprotected Palestinians by a morally callous state that  thinks that the events which took place in Europe more than six decades ago justify the genocidal ethnic cleansing being meted out to Zionism’s victims.
     Peres, who apparently would have us believe that Israel is the oasis  of justice and freedom in the Middle East,  also accused the Palestinian Islamic movement of "intolerance" and of indulging in "religious and military terror" which he said was incompatible with democratic values.

Gaza’s tunnel economy stumbles

Philip Rizk in Gaza City, Al Jazeera 9/9/2008
      Fayez Shweikh, one of Gaza’s up-and-coming businessmen, shakes his head as he considers his mixed fortunes.
     In the past year, he had significantly increased his household income by investing in a black-market, "tunnel" economy, which relied on smuggled goods siphoned through underground passages between Egypt and Gaza.
     Israel has always maintained that the tunnels were used to smuggle arms and explosives, but Shweikh says food, gasoline, and household treats -- chocolate, in particular - formed the basis of his trade.
     "I purchase goods from the chocolate company directly in Egypt; from such companies as Galaxy, from Ferrero or the Kinder Company. I buy, I transfer money and they send me the goods, by way of normal businessmen … tunnel businessmen.
     "But since the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel took hold several weeks ago, a trickle of Israeli goods have been entering Gaza."

In praise of prisoner releases

Yossi Alpher, Jerusalem Post 9/9/2008
      The recent release of 198 Palestinian prisoners, many of them convicted of serious terrorist offenses - including two who were directly involved in the murder of Israelis prior to the Oslo Accords of 1993 - was a smart and courageous move by the otherwise highly problematic Olmert government.
     If it introduces some logic into criteria for future prisoner release, it could have a positive strategic effect beyond its immediate confidence-building impact on Israeli-Palestinian relations. Israeli military and civilian courts tend to sentence Arab terrorists and their accomplices to periods of incarceration that often far exceed the sentences meted out to Israelis for similar ’civilian’ offenses. A succession of governments has long been caught up in a terrorist-prisoner syndrome that combines draconian sentences as strong deterrent punishment with a refusal to use prisoner releases as confidence building gestures toward the Palestinian public and government.

A new Palestinian strategy or the same failed one?

Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada 9/9/2008
      Is the Palestinian national movement about to abandon the two-state solution and demand instead a single democratic or bi-national state throughout Palestine-Israel?
     That is the intriguing possibility raised by a new paper published by an ad hoc group called the Palestine Strategy Study Group (PSSG). The New York Times saw the report as another sign that, "Even among the most moderate Palestinians, the credo of a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is beginning to erode" (Isabel Kershner, "Support for 2-State Plan Erodes," The New York Times, 3 September 2008).
     The PSSG paper does indeed provide further evidence of the rapid crumbling of the dogma that the two-state solution is just and achievable and moreover that it has no plausible alternatives. And yet it is far less than a full embrace of the one-state solution. Rather, it would appear that among PSSG participants there are quite different and even contradictory goals. This is hardly surprising because as one participant, Sam Bahour wrote, the group included "Palestinians from all walks of life -- men and women, on the political right and left, secular and religious, politicians, academics, civil society and business actors, from occupied Palestine, inside Israel, and in the Diaspora." This group could never meet in one room due to Israel’s travel restrictions on Palestinians. The PSSG workshops were funded by the European Union and convened by the Oxford Research Group, a British non-governmental organization.

Where time stands still

Dina Elmuti writing from Deir Yassin, Electronic Intifada 9/9/2008
      Ten kilometers outside of Jerusalem sits a forgotten town. Ten kilometers outside the Old City awaits a hidden piece of land I grew up hearing tales of. Ten kilometers outside -- far enough so the fragrant smell of dates, spices, harissa, the ubiquitous sweet dripping in syrup, and the aromatic smell of cinnamon from the baklava fresh out of the oven, is no longer discernible -- sits Givat Shaul.
     Givat Shaul, they called it, a name whose very sight now elicits a feeling that forever carries with it an expiration date, much like that of a carton of old milk. Givat Shaul, a blatant reminder of the theft, the incursion, the loss of innocence six decades ago. Givat Shaul, a shameless aide memoire of history in its every sinister sense of the word, of pillaging, of inoperable wounds that time could never erase. Givat Shaul, in all its gray desolateness, epitomizes the added insult to injury endured for what seems like an eternity now.
     Strategically covered in identical homes, lacking a single ounce of character, resembling those of your childhood Monopoly game but with nowhere near the innocence, it sits on edge somehow knowing its presence would never be permanent, that in time things would be vastly different. Time would only tell.