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

VTJP Archives | Newslinks Archives  

12 September 2008

Israeli forces open fire on nonviolent Palestinian demonstration, six shot
PNN, Palestine News Network 9/12/2008
Bil’in -- The nonviolent Palestinian resistance remains strong in western Ramallah’s Bil’in Village where residents demonstrated after Friday prayers. Foreign and Israeli supporters joined the Palestinians in holding banners denouncing Israeli confiscation of Palestinian land for settlements. The People’s Committee against the Wall and Settlements condemned the latest Israeli decision to confiscate hundreds more dunams from Jayyous for the benefit of settlements, all of which contravene international law. Directly after noon prayers today, the second Friday of Ramadan, demonstrators gathered in the center of town and began the protest against the Wall, road closures, arrests and settlements. As they arrived to the area taken for the Wall and tried to cross through the gate to reach their land, Israeli forces fired gas and concussion grenades, injuring dozens.

Israeli soldier gets 14 days for role in stillborn at checkpoint
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 9/13/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: An Israeli soldier was sentenced to 14 days in prison for his role in an incident in which a Palestinian delivered a stillborn baby after being forced to wait at a checkpoint inside the Occupied West Bank, the Israeli Army said Friday. "The incident is one that could have been prevented," the Israeli military said, adding that the squad commander who was in charge of the checkpoint at the time was removed from his position and sentenced to 14 days in jail. Nahil Abu Raja was heading from her village to hospital in Nablus with her relatives earlier this month when she was held up at an Israeli checkpoint outside the Occupied West Bank city while she was in labor. "The soldiers at the checkpoint did not allow the vehicle to enter Nablus via the checkpoint as they did not possess a vehicular entrance permit," the army said in a statement.

Palestinian woman killed by a stray bullet in Nablus
IMEMC News, International Middle East Media Center News 9/12/2008
The Palestinian police in Nablus, in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, reported that a 48-year old Palestinian woman was shot and killed on Thursday by a stray bullet in Qabalan town, near Nablus. The woman was moved to a local clinic but died of her wounds and her body was moved to Rafidia governmental hospital in Nablus. The police said that it is probing the incident and that several gunshot were heard in the town before the woman was killed. [end]

Hamas protests prevention of Egyptian convoy from reaching Gaza, Al Khudari says message was heard
Hiba Lama, Palestine News Network 9/12/2008
PNN - While two boats were able to break through the siege on the Gaza Strip last month, Egyptian authorities prevented a convoy from entering through Egypt. Their police stopped the solidarity and aid convoy at the entrance to the city of Ismailia and ordered that all neighboring roads be closed. By hindering their movement the Egyptian authorities raised the ire of at the least 350 parliamentarians and political activists who protested outside Ismailia. The convoys were organized by a coalition of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement, the Nasserites, the Revolutionary Socialists, the Labor Party and representatives of political parties, judges, writers, and artists. They were supposed to pass to Sinai via the Suez Canal. Medicine, clothes and baby milk were on their way to the Gaza Strip with people from Algeria, Yemen, South Africa and Egypt.

Al-Ma’asara village protest against the wall and Israeli products
IMEMC Staff, International Middle East Media Center News 9/12/2008
Trrops attempt to hit IMEMC photographer with the Jeep - Under the slogan "Boycott Israeli Products," the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in al-Ma’asara village near Bethlehem organized a protest on Friday, in which a number of the villagers, internationals, and Israelis participated. Protestors carried Palestinian flags, and signs calling for boycotting Israeli products. The protestors also declared the village, "Israeli-products free. During the activity, protestors spilled Israeli products onto the street and destroyed them. Israeli troops seized two protestors identified as Dr. Mohammad Odeh and Mazen al-Azza of the Palestinian Medical Relief Services. The two were identified as Mazen al-Azza and Dr. Mohammad Odeh, of the Palestinian Medical Relief Services. Eyewitnesses also reported that troops harassed al-Azza and Dr.

Streets are for praying during Ramadan under occupation
PNN, Palestine News Network 9/12/2008
Jerusalem -- The Israeli police in West Jerusalem declared today that they would impose additional restrictions on Palestinian Muslims attempting to pray in East Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque on this second Friday of Ramadan. Checkpoints that cut the city off from former residents and those of the West Bank are flanked today by thousands of people who cannot pass. Instead they took to the roads and fields for prayer. This has become as common a sight during the holy month as are dates on breakfast tables. Israeli forces are prohibiting the movement into Jerusalem of West Bank Palestinian men who are under 45 years old. Married men between 45 and 50 must have permits to enter. Men over 50 can move without permits. For women of the West Bank, they must be married with permits if they are between 35 and 40 years old.

Israeli MK wants Athan in Jerusalem silenced
Palestinian Information Center 9/12/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Israeli Knesset member Esterina Tartman has called on the Israeli environment minister to ban the Athan (Muslims calling for prayer) in the mosques of Jerusalem, alleging that the Athan was "disturbing Jews in the area". In an interview with the Hebrew radio on Wednesday, Tartman, who belongs to the right-wing party "Israel Baituna" of Aviggdor Lieberman, revealed that she personally lives in the Israeli settlement of Jeva’at Zieve, near the Palestinian suburb of Jeeb in the eastern part of the occupied city of Jerusalem, and that she wakes up every day at 4:00 a. m. on the sound of the Athan and [reading of] Koran (Muslims holy book), alleging that the sounds were "noisy". She also alleged that she wasn’t the only one complaining of the Athan "noise", but, she added, hundreds of Jews settlers in the area were also sharing her discomfort of the Athan.

Youth throw bottles and stones, Soldiers open fire
PNN, Palestine News Network 9/12/2008
Ramallah -- Only a few Palestinians were arrested Friday morning in the West Bank during pre-dawn raids. Israeli forces hit Ramallah and Jenin, claiming three people were ’wanted. ’ Israeli forces arrested another man near the Israeli settlement of Kedumim. He was unarmed and Palestinian sources believe he worked in the settlement. Israeli radio broadcast news this morning that young people threw incendiary bottles and stones at the army in Tulkaram’s Anabta Village. Israeli forces were overtaking the area and opening fire when youth from Anabta made Molotov cocktails and began throwing them at the military vehicles and soldiers. Israeli forces shot a youth who is now in a Tulkarem hospital.

Egypt presents a new plan to end internal Palestinian divisions
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/12/2008
Recent reports coming from Palestinian delegates who participated in bilateral talks in Egypt indicated some positive results which would bring an end to the internal divisions among the Palestinians and achieve comprehensive reconciliation. Egypt prepared a plan based on responses presented by several Palestinian factions that participated in internal dialogue in Egypt several weeks ago. Also, Egypt is interested in achieving an internal Palestinian dialogue which would be positive and comprehensive, and wants to give the Palestinian factions sufficient time to hold dialogue in order to avoid rushing into a deal which would not last. The London-based Al Hayat Arabic Newspaper reported on Friday that Egypt’s vision is considered "a new road map plan" which is focused on resolving the internal Palestinian conflict and placing the needed mechanism to achieve this goal.

Journalists’ forum anxious over Sabri’s health condition in Abbas’s jails
Palestinian Information Center 9/12/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Palestinian journalists’ forum has expressed on Thursday anxiety over the deteriorated health condition of journalist Mustafa Sabri who is being held in the PA jails in the West Bank despite a high court order for his release. The forum also quoted reports that the journalist was humiliated, insulted, and maltreated at the hands of the PA intelligence elements that, according to the reports, badly affected his health condition. "Journalist Mustafa Sabri had been languishing in the PA jails [in the West Bank] since 44 days without any charges, and he  underwent harsh and violent interrogation sessions at the hands of the PA intelligence department in Qalqilia city", a statement issued by the forum , and a copy of which was obtained by the PIC, confirmed. The forum also underlined that there was clear and binding order from the Palestinian high court in the West. . .

Ashqar: Abbas’s security forces are there to protect occupation and fight resist
Palestinian Information Center 9/12/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Rapporteur of the security and home affairs committee at the Palestinian Legislative Council, MP Ismail al-Ashqar, called on Abbas’s security forces in the West Bank to protect the Palestinian people and stop their security coordination with the IOF. Ashqar also said that the raid, on Wednesday, by IOF troops of al-Ain refugee camp and the assassination of a resistance fighter and the arrest and wounding of a number of others is "an affront to the tens of thousands of PA security men and whose salaries cost millions of dollars monthly. "IOF troops raided on Wednesday al-Ain refugee camp, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus and assassinated Walid Freitekh (25 years). A number of ex-resistance fighters who were supposedly pardoned by the IOF, some of them released recently from occupation jails, were also wounded or arrested by the IOF during the said raid.

Ni’lin commemorate two young men killed in the village
IMEMC Staff, International Middle East Media Center News 9/12/2008
A number of Palestinians and International human rights activists were wounded during the weekly nonviolent anti-wall protest in the West Bank village of Ni’lin near Ramallah. The protest was organized by the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in the village to commemorate the killing of two young Palestinians by Israeli army fire in the village two months ago. The protestors held their Friday prayers on land slated for confiscation for the construction of the wall. Ahed al-Khawaja, coordinator of the committee, said that Israeli settlers carrying Israeli flags and accompanied by Israeli soldiers attempted to disturb the prayers by making noise with their loudspeakers. Following the prayers, the worshippers lined up to march in protest against the construction of the wall on their land; however, troops showered them with a number of C.

Palestinian PM: Int’l community must press Israel to halt settlements
Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 9/13/2008
The international community’s support for the peace process is meaningless so long as there is no real pressure on Israel to halt settlement expansion in the West Bank, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told visiting European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Friday. During his meeting with Solana in Ramallah, Fayyad said Israel’s continued building in the settlements is a blatant violation of international law, according to Israel Radio. Solana also met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who updated him on the status of peace negotiations with Israel. The Palestinian leader reiterated his opposition to any partial agreement or interim deal with Israel, Israel Radio reported. Any future agreement must include resolutions to the core issues of the conflict, including the status of Jerusalem, the future borders,. . .

Six wounded in Bil’ins weekly protest
IMEMC News, International Middle East Media Center News 9/12/2008
Residents of Bil’in village near Ramallah, gathered today, chanting slogans and calling for national unity among the Palestinians, as part of their weekly nonviolent protest. Israeli troops placed razor wire on the main road in the village to prevent the protestors, who marched after Friday prayers, from reaching the construction site and the gate in the fence. In a press release, the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in condemned the recent Israeli decision to confiscate hundreds of acres in the villages of Jayyous and Falamiya near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia in order to expand Israeli settlements. When the protesters reached the gate, the army fired C. S. gas, concussion grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets at them. Dozens suffered from gas inhalation and six protesters were hit by rubber-coated bullets.

This Week in Palestine Week 37 2008
IMEMC News - Audio Dept, International Middle East Media Center News 9/12/2008
Click on Link to download or play MP3 file || 12 m 30s || 11. 4 MB || This Week in Palestine a service of the International Middle East Media Center www. imemc. org for September 6th through the 12th 2008. Lead: In This week, Report Palestinian factions fail to settle their differences while, Palestinian officials express uncertainty regarding reaching an agreement with Israel before by the end of this year, and the siege on Gaza remains in place. These stories and more are coming up,, stay tuned. Nonviolent Resistance Lede: Let us begin this week’s report with the nonviolent actions in the West Bank, where International and Israeli activists join Palestinians in Bethlehem and Ramallah in their nonviolent protests. Al-Ma’asara Under the slogan "Boycott Israeli Products," the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in al-Ma’asara village near. . .

Palestinian child crushed to death at the Iraqi-Syrian borders
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/12/2008
Maher Hijazi, in charge of the media department at a relief committee aiding Palestinian refugees who were forced out of Iraq, stated on Wednesday that a 10-year old child died during evening hours on Tuesday after he was crushed by a vehicle on the international road between Baghdad and Damascus. The child Mohammad Kamal Ibrahim, died at the Syrian border as the refugees attempted to move him to a Syrian hospital. The bones in his legs were totally crushed and his abdomen was smashed. It is worth mentioning that the family of the child was among the list of families of Palestinian refugees who were forced out of Iraq and were recently approved to move to Sweden. The family remained stranded on the Iraq-Syrian border for approximately 2 years and 3 months. In July 25, 2007, a child identified as Mohammad Mousa, 8, was killed in a similar accident on the Iraqi-Syrian borders.

Soldier who delayed a pregnant woman, causing her to lose her baby, only sentenced to 14 days
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/12/2008
Israeli sources reported on Thursday that an Israeli soldier was to sentenced to 14 days imprisonment for delaying a pregnant Palestinian woman at a military roadblock near Nablus, in the northern part of the West Bank, causing her to lose her infant. The sources added that the soldier was also relieved from his post as an Israeli Army company commander. The Israeli army said that as the woman and her husband were rushing to a local hospital in Nablus, they were stopped at a military roadblock and were barred from crossing although the woman was in labor. The woman, Nahil, from Kafr Kharsa village south of Nablus arrived with her husband at an Israeli roadblock while on their way to the hospital but the soldiers stopped them and claimed that they "did not have the proper papers to cross the roadblock". The couple remained stalled at the roadblock and approximately 50 minutes,. . .

Hamas: Mofaz’s call for the assassination of resistance leaders does not frighten
Palestinian Information Center 9/12/2008
Gaza, (PIC)-- Hamas has described the call for the assassination of resistance leaders made by Israeli transport minister Shaul Mofaz as "stupid" and does not worry the movement’s leaders in the least. Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in a special statement to PIC on Friday: "Mofaz’s call to assassinate leaders of the Resistance is a stupid one, does not worry us in Hamas and reflects the state of  confusion in occupation [politicians’] ranks between escalation and calm. " The spokesman stressed that his movement was ready to deal with any eventuality whether it is towards calm or escalation. Mofaz has called, in an interview published Friday in the Hebrew Maariv newspaper, for a resumption of assassination of Palestinian resistance leaders. Mofaz, who is one of four candidates running for the leadership elections of Kadima party,  said in a reply to a question. . .

News in Brief - Noam Shalit waiting for confimation
Ha’aretz 9/12/2008
Noam Shalit said yesterday that he has yet to receive confirmation that his son, Gilad, received the letter Noam sent him via French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The president gave the letter to the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamed bin Khalifa al Thani, when they met in Damascus; the emir was then supposed to send it on to Shalit’s captors for transmission to Shalit. Hamas abducted Shalit more than two years ago while he was guarding the border fence with the Gaza Strip as a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces. If Shalit receives the letter, it will be the first time his family has succeeded in establishing contact with him. (Jack Khoury) Aryeh Deri is considering asking the Jerusalem District Court for a declarative verdict that would enable him to run for mayor of Jerusalem despite having been convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude, Haaretz has learned.

Naser: No to international troops in Gaza, France not mediating Shalit’s release
Palestinian Information Center 9/12/2008
DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- A Hamas official denied on Friday that they have received any request for the deployment of foreign troops in the Gaza Strip to rebuild the PA institutions and stressed that Hamas is against the concept of deployment of Arab or foreign troops in the Gaza Strip. Muhammad Naser, member of the Hamas political bureau, said in a statement to Quds Press that the idea of sending foreign troops to Gaza is not different to the idea of sending Arab troops and that both ideas are rejected by his movement. Naser also denied reports that President President Nicolas Sarkozy, who passed a letter to captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit through the Emir of Qatar, had suggested the sending of troops to the Gaza Strip or the idea of mediation in a prisoner exchange deal.

PCHR weekly report: ''Army kills one Palestinian killed, wounds 11and kidnaps 29''
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 9/12/2008
The Palestinian Center For Human Rights (PCHR) published its weekly report on the Israeli violations in the Palestinians territories in the period between September 4 and September 10, 2008. During the reported period Israeli soldiers carried 55 invasions, killed one Palestinian, wounded 11 including five children and kidnapped 29 residents including seven children. Israeli Attacks in the West Bank:During the reported period, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian resident in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and wounded eleven other residents including two international peace activists. The army invaded Nablus on September 10; soldiers shot dead one civilian and kidnapped two others including one of the wounded residents. The slain resident was initially shot by two live rounds in his legs but the army left him bleeding for nearly an hour and he died of his wounds.

’Peace Team’ loses all its games, but wins fans
Nadav Shlezinger, Ha’aretz 9/12/2008
They may have finished 13th out of 16 countries, but the combined Israeli-Palestinian Peace Team was the biggest winner with the fans and the media at the Australian rules football International Cup, which finished last Friday. The Peace Team was no match for its opponents in the group stages, losing by 127 points to Great Britain, 133 to eventual champion Papua New Guinea, and 170 to the tiny south Pacific nation of Nauru - the equivalent of losing by seven to 10 goals in a game of soccer. However, the sentimental favorite salvaged some pride in the playoffs for the lower rankings with a 75-point win over Finland and a nine-point victory over China - the latter coached by Darryl Hoffman, an Australian Jew living in Beijing. Big contributions were made by both Israelis and Palestinians, with Asher Suissa, Fares Swaitti, Dror Haim and Moshe Lagisa the. . .

Drawing Gaza’s battle lines
Al Jazeera 9/12/2008
As violence continues between Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas, Artsworld meets a Gazan cartoonist trying to make a difference through her drawings. One of the most recognisable symbols of Palestinian society is Handala, a ragged ten-year-old Palestinian refugee who is always viewed from behind and always observing the world. Handala is a cartoon and his creator, Naji al Ali, was assassinated in London in 1987. Known for his political criticism of both Israel and Arab regimes al Ali’s body was riddled with bullets and his killer has yet to be found. Yet his legacy continues to inspire a new generation of Palestinian illustrators, not least Omayya Joha, arguably the most well-known female cartoonist in the Arab world. "Even though he has been dead for many years now, may his [Al Ali] soul rest in peace,. . .

Abbas to Haaretz: Deal unlikely in ’08
Akiva Eldar and Avi Issacharoff, Ha’aretz 9/12/2008
RAMALLAH - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas doubts that any peace agreement can be reached by the end of 2008, as not one of the six key issues in a final-status arrangement has yet been resolved. Speaking to Haaretz on the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Accords, Abbas said that Washington plays a central role in the peace process. Senior American officials are anxious to reach an agreement by the end of the year and are convinced this is possible. However, the gaps between the parties remain wide. "We presented our ideas and demands regarding the six issues," Abbas stated, "but have not received any answer from the Israeli side. "Among other things, the Palestinians are demanding negotiations over disputed lands claimed by both sides, such as the Latrun region, as part of their demand for an Israeli withdrawal from the entire West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, subject to territorial swaps.

Olmert’s office denies Israel agreed to cede East Jerusalem to the Palestinians
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/12/2008
The office of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, was angered by the statements of the US Consul General, Jacob Walles, who said that Israel had agreed to withdraw from East Jerusalem in the current peace talks. Israeli officials in Jerusalem and US officials in Washington said that Jerusalem is not being negotiated. Walles said that Israel had agreed to withdrew from East Jerusalem and hand it to the Palestinians in the current peace talks. Israeli officials were angered by theses statements and said that they are astonished at the remarks of Walles especially since all parties decided not to make any publish statements on the issue. The statements of Walles came in an interview with the Al Ayyam Arabic daily newspaper. The interview was conducted as the US Secretary Of State, Condoleezza Rice, conducted her most recent visit to the Middle East.

Palin: U.S. shouldn’t ’second guess’ defensive military steps taken by Israel
Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 9/13/2008
Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin on Thursday said the United States shouldn’t "second guess" steps taken by Israel to secure itself, adding that a nuclear weapon in the hands of Iran is dangerous and the United States must "put the pressure" on the Islamic Republic. Palin statements came during an interview Thursday with Charlie Gibson of ABC, her first major interview given since she accepted the vice presidential nomination in late August. Palin did stumble when asked if she supported the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive attacks on states that threaten the United States, seeming at first unsure of what Charlie Gibson was referring to, then saying "I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation," before adding "there have been mistakes made.

Ahmadinejad: Iran will support Hamas until collapse of Israel
DPA, Ha’aretz 9/13/2008
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed Friday to keep supporting the Palestinian militant group Hamas until the "collapse of Israel. "The Iranian news agency Khabar quoted Ahmadinejad as telling Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh that Iran views the support of the Palestinian people as part of its religious and national duty and that Iran will stand behind the Palestinian nation "until the big victory feast which is the collapse of the Zionist regime. " In a phone conversation between the two leaders, the Iranian president said that the continued Hamas resistance against Israel and the group’s achievements would always be "a source of pride for all Muslims. "Iran does not acknowledge the sovereignty of Israel and vowed to support Hamas until what Ahmadinejad calls "deliverance from Zionists (Israel).

ADL: Religious groups’ plan to break bread with Ahmadinejad is a ’betrayal’
Shlomo Shamir and Natasha Mozgovaya, Ha’aretz 9/13/2008
Five American religious organizations said they plan to host a dinner to break the Ramadan fast with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his upcoming visit to the United States. The Mennonite Central Committee, the Quakers, the World Council of Churches, Religions for Peace and the American Friends Service Committee are sponsoring the meeting with President Ahmadinejad on September 25 in New York City. The dinner to break the Ramadan fast, called an Iftar, is being billed as ? an international dialogue between religious leaders and political figures? in a conversation "about the role of religions in tackling global challenges and building peaceful societies. "National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Abraham H. Foxman, issued a response to the announcement, calling the planned event "a perversion of the search for peace and an appalling betrayal of religious values.

US a step closer to Iran blockade
Kaveh L Afrasiabi, Asia Times 9/13/2008
The United States government has imposed new sanctions on Iran, this time targeting its shipping industry, by blacklisting the main shipping line and 18 subsidiaries, accusing the maritime carrier of being engaged in contraband nuclear material, a charge vehemently denied by Iran. While the economic impact of the measures against Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) will be minimal in light of the near absence of any connection between the shipping company and US businesses, this latest US initiative against Iran sends a strong signal about the US’s intention to escalate pressure on Iran, even unilaterally if need be. And, perhaps, it is a prelude for more serious and dangerous actions in the near future, above all a naval blockade of Iran to choke off its access to, among other things, imported fuel. The outgoing George W Bush administration is slowly but surely taking strident

Russia: Moscow-Tehran ties don’t harm Israel
Adar Primor, Ha’aretz 9/13/2008
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared on Friday that ties between Russia and Iran don’t pose a threat to Israel, and that Russian decisions in regard to Teheran’s leadership are not directed at Israel. Lavrov’s remarks came in response to a question posed by a Haaretz reporter, who asked whether Moscow plans to "play the Iran card" and torpedo Western efforts to impose sanctions on Tehran in efforts to prevent the Islamic Republic from developing nuclear weapons. The Russian foreign minister didn’t answer the question directly, but did say that Russia’s decisions on the issue of Iran are not meant to harm Israel. We have good historic ties with the Iranians. "We send them weapons, but only for defensive purposes ? no weapons that would cause regional instability.

Syria and Russia strengthen naval cooperation
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 9/13/2008
Russia announced Friday it was renovating a Syrian port for use by the Russian fleet in what signals an effort for a better foothold in the Mediterranean amid the rift with the United States over Georgia. Syria was Moscow’s strongest Mideast ally during the Cold War. The alliance largely waned after the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, though Russia has continued some weapons sales to Damascus. Syrian President Bashar Assad has increasingly reached out to Russia recently, including seeking weapons and offering broader military cooperation. Friday’s announcement was the first tangible sign of any new cooperation. The Itar-Tass news agency said Friday that a vessel from Russia’s Black Sea fleet had begun restoring facilities at Syria’s Mediterranean port of Tartus for use by the Russian military.

Keep them talking
Bilal Y. Saab and Bruce O. Riedel, Ha’aretz 9/12/2008
The indirect negotiations between Syria and Israel that began last May have gone as far as they can. Their purpose - to break the ice between the two states after eight years of not talking, and to test one another’s resolve over certain issues - has been achieved. Now, Syrian President Bashar Assad wants to move forward, as evidenced in his proposal to Israel for direct peace talks, which he introduced last week at a four-way summit in Damascus involving Syria, Turkey, France and Qatar. But Assad knows there are still two big uncertainties surrounding the prospects of a historic peace deal with the Israelis: the position of the next U. S. administration and the results of a possible Israeli election. While Assad is grateful for the role Turkey has played so far in hosting four rounds of negotiations (a fifth is scheduled for September 18-19, according to. . .

Fadlallah accuses US of terrorizing nations, thwarting peace process
Daily Star 9/13/2008
BEIRUT: Senior Shiite Cleric Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah accused the United States of terrorizing nations, preventing the peace process and working on destabilizing the region. "The United States’ unconditional support for Israel should not be an excuse for its intrusion in Lebanese domestic issues and should be firmly confronted," he said. Fadlallah urged Lebanese leaders to refrain from serving foreign interests and unite in order to guarantee Lebanese people social and political security. "The state should launch a development plan that undertakes social, economic and political reforms," he added. Fadlallah added that the government must fight corruption and prevent the squandering of public money. Separately, Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir expressed his disappointment over the return of assassinations to Lebanon and hailed President Sleiman’s call for dialogue.

Druze leaders blame foreign powers for Aridi killing
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 9/13/2008
BEIRUT: The rival leaders of Lebanon’s Druze community, speaking at the funeral on Friday of a pro-Syrian politician, accused foreign powers of being behind his assassination. "This odious crime demonstrates that Lebanon is completely at the mercy of foreign secret services," said Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) leader Walid Jumblatt, of the country’s anti-Syrian parliamentary majority, at the funeral of Saleh Aridi. Aridi, of the Lebanese Democratic Party, was killed late Wednesday by a bomb placed under his car in Baysour, southeast of Beirut. He was the right-hand man of pro-Damascus partly leader Talal Arslan. Hundreds of people, including representatives of the rival Druze camps, gathered in Aridi’s hometown on Friday for the funeral ceremony. Jumblatt, known for his hard line toward the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, did not directly blame anyone for Aridi’s. . .

Bush to host Sleiman for talks on Middle East
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 9/13/2008
BEIRUT: US President George W. Bush will host Lebanese President Michel Sleiman September 25 for wide-ranging talks on the Middle East, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said in a statement Friday. "The president looks forward to discussing bilateral relations between the United States and Lebanon, US support for a sovereign and democratic Lebanon, and a range of regional issues," she said. It will be the first meeting between the two leaders since Sleiman was elected in May. The two leaders were expected to discuss the Middle East peace process as well as Syrian efforts to preserve its influence in its smaller neighbor, and Lebanese national unity talks scheduled for September 16. The announcement of the visit came two days after the car bomb assassination Saleh Aridi in what was widely seen as an attempt to derail the unity talks.

PM vows to resign as soon as new Kadima leader chosen
Mazal Mualem, Ha’aretz 9/12/2008
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Thursday that he would resign immediately after a new Kadima leader is elected and recommend that the president ask the new leader to form a government. Olmert is thus expected to resign next Thursday, the day after Kadima’s September 17 primary, if the result is settled in the first round. Speaking at a Kadima gathering to celebrate the upcoming Jewish New Year, Olmert also denied that Israel has begun negotiations over the future of Jerusalem. He was responding to statements made by the American consul general in Jerusalem, Jacob Walles, who was quoted by the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam Thursday as saying that Israel had agreed to discuss the future status of Jerusalem in its peace talks with the Palestinians. Walles also told Al-Ayyam that U.

Despite airport boos, Nefesh B’Nefesh defends inviting PM to meet new olim
Cnaan Liphshiz, Ha’aretz 9/12/2008
Nefesh B’Nefesh yesterday stood by its decision to bring outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to a welcoming reception earlier this week for new arrivals from the U. S. , a day after police announced they would recommend indicting him for suspected corruption. Dozens of guests and participants among the 235 new immigrants who had just arrived on a flight organized by the immigration-assistance organization and the Jewish Agency booed Olmert at the ceremony. People who attended the event held in Ben Gurion Airport told Anglo File Olmert had delivered a 10-minute speech to a crowd of several hundred comprising new immigrants and guests. The booing picked up when the prime minister said the Kadima party would remain in power, prompting security to tell several people to leave the building, according to several accounts.

Reports of child abuse nearly doubled in past decade
Shahar Ilan, Ha’aretz 9/12/2008
The number of victims of child abuse reported to the welfare services has nearly doubled over the past decade. This emerges from figures delivered to the Knesset Thursday by Yitzhak Kadman, Executive Director the National Council for the Child. Data collected from welfare bureaus show 41,000 reports of child abuse in 2007, compared to 21,000 in 1997. Some 3,000 more reports were registered in 1997 compared to the previous year, representing an eight percent increase. Kadman called upon the government to "formulate a special emergency plan on the basis of this document, and not to content itself with tongue wagging. " Sunday was what might be called "Rose Pizem Day" at the Knesset. Three committees held two discussions of the murder of children by their parents. There was a surprising development in the discussions when the national supervisor. . .

Who are the 100 most influential people in Israel?
Haaretz Staff, Ha’aretz 9/12/2008
MKs miss out as members of judicial system, businessmen, top the list. The list in full: 1. Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz ("Supermeni") 2. Micha Lindenstrauss, Yohanan Danino, Moshe Lador,Yoav Segalovitch 3. Dorit Beinisch 4. Stanley Fischer, Bank of Israel 5. Nochi Dankner, IDB 6. Sammy and Idan Ofer, Israel Corp 7. Yitzhak Tshuva, Delek Group 8. Lev Leviev, Africa Israel 9. Zadik Bino, Paz, Oil Refineries 10. Galia Maor, Bank Leumi 11. Eitan Raff, Bank Leumi 12. Roni Bar-On, Finance Ministry 13. Ofer Eini, Histadrut 14. Shari Arison, Arison Investments 15. Dudi Wiessman, Dor Alon 16. Arnon Mozes, Yedioth 17. Sheldon Adelson, Yisrael Hayom 18. Danny Dankner, Bank Hapoalim 19. Roy Vermos, Psagot 20. Ishay Davidi, FIMI 21. Rakefet Russak-Aminoach, Bank Leumi 22. Zion Keinan, Bank Hapoalim. . . -- See also: Full Article: Who are the 100 most influential people in Israel?

Tel Aviv catches the global cold
Yuval Maoz, Ha’aretz 9/12/2008
TASE hits 18-month low on American and international financial woes The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange followed global markets downward yesterday, descending to March 2007 levels. The nationalization of the American mortgage bank giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the plunge in Lehman Brothers’ stock and a decline in petroleum and commodity prices all combined to send leading stocks in Tel Aviv south for the week. Trading in Tel Aviv began on a downward note in the wake of losses in Asian markets, and continued to fall against the backdrop of declines on the London, Frankfurt and Paris exchanges. The TA-25 dropped by a steep 2. 5%, ending at 944 points, for a 4% decline on the week. The TA-25 fell 2. 6%, to 860 points, losing 4. 4% for the week. "If, in the past, we saw certain branches of the economy - such as real estate - performing significantly below market levels, now we. . .

Father, infant son hurt in second suspected Netanya mob hit this week
Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 9/12/2008
Police sources voiced concern on Friday over a wave of underworld revenge attacks after an assassination attempt in Netanya left a man and his infant son wounded. The shooting came four days after assailants on a motor scooter fired into a Netanya cafe on Monday, critically wounding reputed mob boss Charlie Abutbul and leaving three bystanders with moderate wounds in a suspected attempt on Abutbul’s life. On Friday morning, two assailants on motorcycles drove up to the car driven by Yotam Cohen, 28, in Netanya and fired into the vehicle. Police suspect Cohen is a member of a well known crime organization, headed by Rico Shirazi. Cohen sustained light wounds, as did his three-month-old son, who was also in the vehicle. The two were taken to Meir hospital in Kfar Sava for treatment.

Israeli firm wins contract to explore under Alaskan volcano
News Agencies, Ha’aretz 9/12/2008
Israeli Geothermal developer Ormat Technologies Thursday won the rights to explore geothermal energy under a volcano located near Alaska’s biggest city, according to a Reuters report. The company bid $3. 5 million dollars to acquire the rights to 15 of the 16 tracts offered for lease on Mount Spurr, an active volcano 75 miles west of Anchorage. Amy MacKenzie, an Anchorage attorney representing Ormat, said the company hopes to develop a power plant at the site. Ormat hopes to begin exploration at the site next summer, she said. MacKenzie said Ormat initially contacted Alaska officials two years ago to express the company’s interest in Mount Spurr exploration. [end]

Jews attacking Jews
Antony Lerman, Ha’aretz 9/13/2008
When I first started professionally monitoring and studying anti-Semitism almost 30 years ago, there was, broadly speaking, a shared understanding of what it was. True, historians differed over a precise definition - quite understandably, given that the term was coined only in the 1870s, and was then used to describe varieties of Jew-hatred going back 2,000 years. There was also a degree of political manipulation of the phenomenon, with both the right and the left blaming each other for causing it. . . . The equation "anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism" has thus become the new orthodoxy, and has even earned the seal of approval of the European Union. Its racism and anti-Semitism monitoring center (the Federal Rights Agency) produced a "working definition" of anti-Semitism, with examples of five ways in which anti-Israel or anti-Zionist rhetoric is anti-Semitic.

Suicide bomber kills at least 25 people in central Iraq
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 9/13/2008
SAMARRA, Iraq: A suicide bomber slammed his explosives-filled truck into the police station in the central Iraqi town of Dujail on Friday, killing at least 25 people, police and security officials said. The attack occurred at around 6:00 p. m. in the Shiite town located in the Sunni Salaheddin province, north of Baghdad, just minutes before people were getting ready to break their fast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. An Interior Ministry official in Baghdad said around 40 people were also wounded, while a police officer from Salaheddin said 21 people were hurt. A Defense Ministry official in Baghdad also confirmed the attack. Dujail, 40 kilometers north of Baghdad, was the site of an assassination attempt on executed President Saddam Hussein in 1982. Saddam was executed in December 2006 after an Iraqi court found him guilty of ordering the killing of more than 140 Shiites suspected of planning his assassination attempt in 1982 in Dujail.

Western media ’sexed up’ Georgia conflict
Catherine Makino, Inter Press Service, Daily Star 9/13/2008
TOKYO: As the "fog of war" clears over the Caucasus and the UN prepares to set up peace missions in Abhkazia and South Ossetia, what stands out is the apparently partisan role played by Western media in last month’s five-day armed conflict. "I am surprised at how powerful the propaganda machine of the so-called West is. This is awesome! Amazing!" Russian Premier Vladimir Putin was quoted by the Interfax agency as saying Thursday while addressing Russia experts gathered in Sochi for a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club. Earlier, Russia’s ambassador in Tokyo, Mikhail Bely, told IPS he was ’’flabbergasted’’ by what he saw on the CNN and BBC TV channels on August 9. ’’The screen reports were transmitting pictures of cluster bombs being used and indiscriminate shelling. The anchors described it as Russia’s shelling of Georgia.


Articles


Harvesting with hope in Gaza
Report, PCHR, Electronic Intifada 9/11/2008
      On a hot afternoon during the month of Ramadan, there are few better places to be than resting beneath the shade of an orchard of guava trees, with the scent of fresh ripening fruit wafting around you. Farmer Sa’id al-Agha sits quietly, his eyes resting on his fruit trees. "My father and my grandfather both grew up here, farming guavas, and I’ve lived here all my life" he says. "This land is in my blood."
     Sa’id al-Agha farms 30 dunams of guava plantations in Mawasi, in the southwestern Gaza Strip, where the loamy soil also encourages date palms and citrus trees to thrive (a dunam is the equivalent of 1,000 square meters). His Mawasi farm is a tranquil haven in Gaza, which has one of the highest population densities in the world. There are some 120 guava farms dotted around Mawasi, and between them the farmers and their families cultivate more than 2,500 dunams of guavas. August and September are the height of the Gaza guava season, and we can hear workers calling to each other as they harvest the fruit by hand.

Not One Cent For Gaza

Yvonne Ridley, Information Clearing House 9/9/2008
      It seems the Palestinian leader is overseeing the brutal siege of his own people in Gaza without a care or thought for them.
     JUST when you think the Zionist leaders have peaked in arrogance and the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has peaked in ignorance, a new scheme comes along that is almost beyond belief, prompting me to wonder if they are all taking crack cocaine.
     Apparently Defence Minister Ehud Barak and the Pharonic Mubarak opened serious discussions about the deployment of an Arab force in the Gaza Strip consisting largely of Egyptian and some Saudi troops.
     Apparently the two said they would eventually like to expand the deployment of Arab and international forces to the West Bank as well, with those troops consisting largely of Jordanian forces, according to the Israeli plan.
     The reason for this nonsense? Well I believe it is because Hamas, the democratically elected government (certainly in Gaza) is doing such a good job of maintaining law and order and are growing in popularity with ordinary Palestinians that their continued rise is viewed as a huge threat ... not just to the Zionist interlopers but to the rest of the leadership in the Arab world.

Narratives under siege: This land is in my blood

PCHR, Palestine News Network 9/12/2008
      Gaza - Guava farmer Sa’id Al-Agha is harvesting with his friend Mohammed Al-Ziq. If Gaza farmers could export their produce out of the Strip, the Gazan farming industry would flourish.
     On a hot afternoon during the month of Ramadan, there are few better places to be than resting beneath the shade of an orchard of guava trees, with the scent of fresh ripening fruit wafting around you. Farmer Sa’id Al-Agha sits quietly, his eyes resting on his fruit trees.
     ’My father and my grandfather both grew up here, farming guavas, and I’ve lived here all my life’ he says. ’This land is in my blood.’
     Sa’id Al-Agha farms thirty donumms of guava plantations in Mawasi, in the south western Gaza Strip, where the loamy soil also encourages date palms and citrus trees to thrive (a donumm is equivalent to 1,000 square metres). His Mawasi farm is a tranquil haven in Gaza, which has one of the highest population densities in the world. There are some 120 guava farms dotted around Mawasi, and between them the farmers and their families cultivate more than 2,500 donumms of guavas. August and September are the height of the Gaza guava season, and we can hear workers calling to each other as they harvest the fruit by hand.

Breaking the Siege of Gaza: Of Pirates, Provocateurs, and Peaceful Pests

Ed Gaffney, International Middle East Media Center News 9/12/2008
      On August 22, two small boats left the port of Larnaca in Cyprus bound for Gaza, with 44 peace activists from around the world on board. The captains and crew were seasoned sailors. Few of the activists had sea legs prior to this voyage.
     The names of the two boats that carried the activists to Gaza identify the movement’s purposes. The SS Free Gaza expresses the central purpose of the action: “to break the siege that Israel has imposed on the civilian population of Gaza…, to express our solidarity with the suffering people of Gaza, and to create a free and regular channel between Gaza and the outside world.” The SS Liberty honors the memory of 34 American sailors killed and over 170 sailors severely injured on the USS Liberty, which came under attack by Israeli fighter planes and torpedo boats in the Mediterranean on June 8, 1967.
     None on board the SS Free Gaza or SS Liberty could be certain that the State of Israel would regard their action as a benign humanitarian gesture. Indeed, if history is prologue, the voyagers had cause to wonder whether their own safety was in jeopardy.

A blockade of young minds

Abdalaziz Okasha, The Guardian 9/11/2008
      My dream is to become a bone specialist. But the Israeli government won’t let me leave to pursue my studies abroad.
     This was supposed to be my first year of medical school. Instead, I am stuck here in Gaza in my father’s house inside the Jabalia refugee camp, with few options and no way out. After I finished high school last year, I decided to become a doctor. Gaza cries out for bone specialists, but the training I need is available only abroad.
     When I won a place at a medical college in Germany, my parents were proud. I was excited to follow my older brother, who is already studying there. In February, the German authorities granted me an entrance visa. I wasted no time in asking the Israeli authorities for permission to travel to Europe. But I was told that only patients in need of emergency medical evacuation would be allowed out - not students.

Talk but no more

Ramzy Baroud, Al-Ahram Weekly 9/11/2008
      The Syrian-Israeli peace talks gambit is just that, for now.
     Few would argue that the indirect Israel-Syria talks through Turkish mediation, which were first announced 21 May, were a sign of political maturity and readiness for peace. In fact, while the discussions seemed concerned with the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and Israel’s desire for security at its northern borders, the true objective behind the sudden engagement of Syria is largely concerned with Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas.
     A precarious report published in The Jerusalem Post -- citing a news report in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai on 2 September -- claimed that the Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has left Syria and moved to Sudan. "Palestinian sources told the paper that Meshaal had come to an understanding with Damascus whereby the Hamas chief would agree to leave the state," according to the report. It suggested that the indirect negotiations between Syria and Israel "may have played a part in the decision". Hamas soon denied the report.

Everyone will divide Jerusalem

Haaretz Editorial, Ha’aretz 9/12/2008
      Every time an election looms, be it for the Knesset, local government, or a party primary, the "who will divide Jerusalem" issue miraculously returns to raise the emotional temperature.
     Ehud Olmert was the first to contribute the threat to divide Jerusalem to populist politics, when he charged more than a decade ago that "Peres will divide Jerusalem." Then he tried to persuade everyone that Ehud Barak would not divide the city, and finally, as Kadima’s leader, he agreed to discuss the city’s partition in talks with the Palestinians.
     Yesterday, the U.S. consul general in Jerusalem, Jacob Walles, introduced the issue of Jerusalem into Kadima’s primary campaign when he told the newspaper Al-Ayyam that Israel had agreed to discuss dividing the city. Since Olmert and Tzipi Livni are the ones presently conducting the talks, the immediate beneficiary of the renewed threat to divide the city was Shaul Mofaz, who left the Likud but remained there ideologically.

A Palestinian state first

Ezzedine Choukri Fishere, Al-Ahram Weekly 9/11/2008
      In 2001, Israelis and Palestinians turned away from negotiations. Their differences seemed insurmountable and the alternatives to talks seemed beguiling: many Israelis advocated "letting the IDF win", while many Palestinians hoped a deeper crisis would prompt the international community to intervene to rescue them. Following seven years in which the situation has grown worse in every respect imaginable, the parties find themselves again having virtually the same conversations about the same issues. And faced again with a fractured Israeli coalition and with contentious arguments about the future of Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees, voices on each side are calling upon the parties to quit -- to turn away from negotiations.
     By most accounts, Sisyphus’s cycle seems poised to continue. But it need not. It is our hope that the Israeli government will at last make a proposal worthy of serious consideration by the Palestinians. Even if it does not, however, the Palestinians cannot resign themselves merely to rejecting the offers placed before them. Instead, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) must muster the courage to articulate a bold vision of its own for a two-state solution, one that is both clear and capable of realisation. Moreover, it must use every available tool to ensure that the implementation of that vision begins now, not in some hypothetical future. For, if past is prologue, we fear that by that point Palestinians and Israelis will find themselves in a corner from which they cannot both emerge unscathed.

Patience frays

Dina Ezzat, Al-Ahram Weekly 9/11/2008
      The look on the face of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as he exited meetings with Arab foreign ministers at a late evening hour Monday, or earlier in the week after talks with President Hosni Mubarak, was one of despair. Abbas is all but saying that he cannot conclude a final status deal with the Israelis as he had hoped and that he cannot keep on fighting -- or as hard -- his immediate political adversary, Hamas. Abbas is saying this to all Arab, including Egyptian, interlocutors and is not getting much support from either.
     The statements that were made Monday morning by Arab League Secretary- General Amr Moussa and Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal, the current chair of the Arab Foreign Ministers Council, upon the inauguration of a ministerial meeting at the League’s Cairo headquarters, echoed the look on the face of Abbas. Direct negotiations with the Israelis, as launched at the Annapolis peace meeting last November, "are hitting definite failure", in the words of Moussa, while the internal Palestinian feud has "become more detrimental to the Palestinian cause than the Israeli occupation might be," according to Al-Faisal.

Overcoming our whirlwinds

Saliba Sarsar, Ha’aretz 9/12/2008
      Dan Bar-On had a story about how he learned to see things through Palestinian eyes. An Israeli Jew, born in Haifa to refugees who had left Nazi Germany in 1933, Dan was a psychology professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and he had long been interested in seeing his nation live in peace with its Palestinian neighbors. At a certain point back in the mid-1990s, however, he realized, as he told me in a formal interview I conducted with him last year, that "I could not live my life in this region without seeing Palestinians, without feeling their pain."
     Unable to tolerate such a situation, he began to watch the interactions of Jewish and Palestinian Israeli students as they participated in dialogue workshops under the auspices of BGU’s behavioral sciences department. Over a three-year period, Bar-On observed their encounters through a one-way mirror.
     Bar-On had already made a name for himself with his studies of the intergenerational after-effects of the Holocaust on the children and grandchildren of both survivors and Nazi perpetrators. Now, by watching the Jewish-Palestinian groups, he explained, he saw how it was easier to do Holocaust-related studies, "because I come from the victim side ... the good side." When it came to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, "I was much more involved [and] under the pressure that I belong to the side that occupies the Palestinians, who prevents them from having their own state, and it was difficult morally for me to be in that role." While he had no doubt that the Jews had a right to their national home, he realized that it was essential to find a way to also "accept the Palestinian need for such a right, and it was not an easy task for me to understand."

The right of no return

Hasan Abu Nimah, Electronic Intifada 9/12/2008
      The debate on the Palestinian refugee problem has been confused and badly mishandled. While Israel maintains a consistent position, the Palestinians and the Arabs are often contradictory, vague and inconsistent.
     For some unclear reason, the refugee problem has, with time, been limited to only one aspect: the right of return. This narrowed the scope of discussion to an extent that not only shifted emphasis but also played well into the hands of the Israeli hardliners who stubbornly deny all refugee rights as well as denying Israel’s responsibility in creating the refugee problem, first through the systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine and then by refusing to allow refugees to come back home. Yet the refugee problem entails more rights than the right of return and should be dealt with on that basis.
     The Arab Peace Initiative of March 2002 provides for the "achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194."

Where Is The Rage?

Hasan Afif El-Hasan, Palestine Chronicle 9/10/2008
      Where is the rage? Where is the Arab chivalry (nakhwa)? Where is the Islamic passion (Rahmah)? Where are the Arab human rights organizations? Where are Abu Mazin and the rest of the Palestinian leadership? The UN refugee agency says there are about 2,500 Palestinians mostly widows and orphans, victims of the violence in Iraq, languishing for the past two years under canvas tents in the Iraqi desert at the Syrian border. These refugee camps lack basic services or medical facilities and the temperature exceeds 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in summer and dips below zero degrees in winter. Syria and Jordan have accepted more than two million refugees from Iraq but they have denied entry for Palestinian refugees who have been trying to escape the attacks and persecution in Iraq. There is no room for these most vulnerable Palestinians in the Arab countries that stretch from the Atlantic Ocean in the west along the southern shores of the Mediterranean to the borders of Persia in the east, and the Arabian Peninsula. What would happen if these refugees were Jews or French or Japanese?
     Arabs have developed a theory that the only way Palestinian refugees can return to their homes is if they are kept poor, unemployed, illiterate and sick. It never occurred to Arab policy makers that it is the Palestinians, who escaped the poverty and misery traps and invested in their own personal economic and educational potential, keep the Palestinian issue alive and defend the causes of the Arabs who betrayed them. It never occurred to Arab policy makers that the Zionists have used all their human and material resources to shape the policies of the Western powers and triumph over all the Arabs combined.