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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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28 September 2008

Rights org: Israeli settlers slay Palestinian shepherd
Report, PCHR, Electronic Intifada 9/28/2008
On Saturday, 27 September 2008, a Palestinian teenager from Aqra village southeast of Nablus City was shot dead by Israeli settlers. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) utterly condemns this heinous crime, and reiterates that the neglect of complaints submitted by Palestinian civilians against Israeli settlers, plus the protection provided by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) to the settlers, have encouraged the settlers to continue launching attacks against unarmed Palestinian civilians. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, which includes eye-witness statements, during the afternoon of 27 September, Yahia Ateya Fahmi Bani Maneya, age 18, from Aqraba village southeast of Nablus city, went to graze his sheep on land east of his village. When the teenager had not returned home by 18:00, dozens of locals gathered and went in search of him. -- See also: PCHR: Palestinian Shepherd Killed by Settlers in Nablus

Israeli military joins settlers in attack on Salfit area village
PNN, Palestine News Network 9/28/2008
Ramallah -- Israeli settlers attacked homes and cars in Salfit’s Kafr Deik Village Saturday and into this morning. A field reporter from the Al Haq legal and human rights organization noted that the assault was carried out under the protection of the Israeli military. As reported by Al Haq, settler presence in the village continued throughout last night. Instead of removing the settlers, Israeli soldiers imposed curfew on the village from the early morning hours. The sound of sporadic gunfire echoed through the neighboring areas. The Israeli military also shot gas shells to disperse people who came outside to defend their homes. Flares illuminated the sky throughout the night. Israeli soldiers banned all movement and the scrambled mobile phone signals in the village making it difficult to ascertain the number of injured, reported Al Haq.

Israel supplied with long-range radar, but US to get missile warning first
Ian Black, The Guardian 9/29/2008
American personnel in charge of desert airbase - The US has supplied Israel with a powerful long-range radar system that would provide an extra early warning in case of an Iranian missile attack, it was confirmed yesterday. Israeli officials said the equipment was flown in last week along with 120 American staff and has been set up at an air force base in the southern Negev desert. It is believed to be the first time American personnel have been stationed in Israel since the 1991 Gulf war, when Patriot anti-missile batteries were deployed - to little effect - against Iraq’s Scud missiles. In spite of the close strategic relationship between the two countries, Israel has traditionally preferred to staff its own defences and not depend on foreigners. Ephraim Kam, an analyst at Tel Aviv University’s institute for national security studies, called the radar system an "important addition"

30 political prisoners released by de facto government in Gaza for Eid Al-Fitr
Ma’an News Agency 9/28/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The de facto government’s interior ministry announced the release of 30 prisoners affiliated with Fatah from Gaza detention centers on Sunday afternoon. Ihab Al-Ghussein, spokesperson of the ministry said, “this step comes out of concern, and hope for the success of the scheduled talks to take place in Cairo. ” He added that other Fatah-affiliates will also be released soon, including Gaza City Governor Mohammad Al-Qudwah, Hazem Abu Shanab, Munther Al-Bardawil, Mohammad Adel Al-Masri and Anwar Ghuneim. Spokesperson of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Ahmad Bahar called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and de-facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to release all political detainees in Gaza and West Bank before Eid Al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan celebration which will start when the crescent moon disappears Tuesday or Wednesday.

Peace Now appeals against an illegal Israeli settlement in Jerusalem
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/28/2008
The Israeli Peace Now movement appealed on Sunday to the Israeli high court of justice against an illegal Israeli settlement outpost in the Gush Hatzion area to the south of Jerusalem. Israeli media sources reported that Peace Now argued that the illegal outpost of Dairech Ha’uvet’ was constructed by Israeli settlers since the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising (Intifada) in 2000 during times of Israeli closure of the Palestinian territories. Israeli radio, Arabic program, reported that the so-called Israeli civil administration has regarded the construction of such an outpost as inconsistent to the law and that the civil administration preserves the right to take necessary measures to evacuate it. According to international law and United Nations conventions pertaining to the occupied Palestinian territories all major or minor Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian lands are illegal.

PM: Evil wind of extremism threatens Israeli democracy Staff, Jerusalem Post 9/28/2008
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned Sunday that Israeli democracy has been threatened by right-wing extremists, who lightly wounded left-wing academic Ze’ev Sternhell last week by setting a pipe bomb outside the door of his Jerusalem apartment. Olmert compares attempt to hurt Prof. Sternhell to Rabin assassination - "An evil wind of extremism, of hatred, of malice, of violence, of lawlessness is blowing through certain sections of the Israeli public and threatens Israeli democracy," Olmert said at the weekly cabinet meeting. This action has undermined "the ability of those entrusted by the State of Israel to make decisions and the ability to freely express one’s views without fear of being attacked by wild, violent law-breakers, who disregard all frameworks of proper, democratic life," he said Although the police have said they fear a new Jewish underground was responsible. . .

Settlers burn 45 dunums of land in Far’ata
Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, Stop The Wall 9/28/2008
A group of settlers set fire to land belonging to residents of the village Far’ata, located east of Nablus, with flames consuming 45 dunums of village agricultural land. On 19 September, a fire was started in the northeast part of village land, meters from the Zohar Gilad settlement. Farmers had prepared crops of barely and wheat in the area, but had avoided entering it on account of the assaults they face at the hands of settlers. These attacks have happened regularly since the settlement went up on the outskirts of the village. For the past five years, settlers have attacked farmers and residents. In addition to physical assault, settlers often destroy or steal agricultural machinery. Burnings are also frequent, occurring primarily during the harvest season.

Israel’s ‘lenient’ Ramadan checkpoint policy in action
International Solidarity Movement 9/28/2008
Nablus Region - Harassment of Palestinians at Asira al Shamalia checkpoint, Nablus - On Saturday 27 September International activists witnessed a number of Israeli soldiers and jeeps checking Palestinian vehicles at Asira al Shamalia checkpoint, creating large tailbacks at 17:30 in the run up to Ifta (the breaking of the day long fast during the Holy month of Ramadan). Checkpoint Asira al Shamalia is the access point from Nablus city to the surrounding villages in the north and is normally an open checkpoint with a watch tower for the army to observe. Many Palestinians working in Nablus use this road to return to their villages in the North. The Israeli army has stated in public that they "are implementing a more lenient policy at checkpoints as part of the military’s effort to ease restrictions on the Palestinian population during the month of Ramadan". International activists passed through the checkpoint at 3pm and vehicles were passing through. . .

Israeli military invades Nablus city
Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/28/2008
A large Israeli military force invaded the West Bank city of Nablus early on Sunday morning, Palestinian security sources reported. Witnesses said that Israeli army vehicles drove across the city for many hours and that the Israeli soldiers conducted house-to-house searches. There were no causalities or arrests reported. Israeli military actions throughout West Bank cities, towns, villages and refugee camps happen on a daily basis. The West Bank has remained under Israeli military occupation since June 4, 1967. [end]

Israeli forces storm Kafr Qaddum and beat youths
Ma’an News Agency 9/28/2008
Qalqilia – Ma’an – Israeli forces beat and harassed several youth after they stormed the northern West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum east of Qalqiliya on Saturday evening. A ten soldier Israeli patrol accosted a group of ten Palestinian youth and asked for their ID cards. While the men were waiting for their cards to be checked, other soldiers began harassing them and beat several of the young men. Eyewitnesses said those beaten were Hassan Shteiwi, Muhammad Shteiwi and Hilmi Shteiwi. [end]

Israeli army imposes curfew as settlers raid the village of Kafr ad Dik
International Womens’ Peace Service 9/28/2008
September 27th – September 28th 2008 - Place: Kafr ad Dik, Salfit - Witness/es: Residents of Kafr ad Dik and IWPS volunteers - At approximately 4:00 in the morning on September 27th, the Israeli army entered the Salfit village of Kafr ad Dik and imposed a curfew. According to residents of the village, soldiers forcibly entered a number of homes, but after a few hours left the village. It is unclear whether or not they lifted the curfew. According to media reports, these events were preceded by an incident west of Kafr ad Dik near the settlement of Ale Zahav, where Palestinian gunmen reportedly opened fire on a settler driving his car. At approximately 9:30 that evening, around 100 settlers from the nearby settlements Ale Zahav and Pedu’el entered Kafr ad Dik on foot. According to eye witnesses, some of the settlers were accompanied by dogs and some were also armed. Residents of Kafr ad Dik state that five Israeli army jeeps returned to their village at approximately the same time as the settlers entered.

Gazan fiserman’s boat sunk by Israeli fire in local waters
Ma’an News Agency 9/28/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Shots were fired by the Israeli military on Gazan fishermen of the Rafah shore on Sunday afternoon, sinking the fishing boat and endangering the lives of those aboard. According to the de facto ministry of agriculture the sinking vessel and its operators were rescued by nearby boats. Omar Al-Habeel, the owner of the boat, said it was cracked down the side, but rescued from sinking. Israeli forces continued to fire shells at fishermen in the area, and shots were also reported in the northern Gaza Sea, according to Hasan Azzam, director of fisheries in the de facto government agriculture ministry. Local Gazan fishermen, who depend on their boats for their livelihood, were horrified. Azzam condemned the actions, saying they highlighted the cruelty and continuation of occupation despite the “unilateral withdrawal” in 2005.

Bomb detonated under police vehicle in Rafah
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/28/2008
Unknown assailants detonated an explosive device underneath a Palestinian police vehicle on Sunday morning in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah. Palestinian security sources said that the blast occurred in the Tal-Alsultan neighborhood to the west of Rafah city and that no causalities were reported. The bombed van was completely destroyed. In the past three months, many incidents of internal unrest ripped through the Gaza Strip despite a state of calm in the region following an Egyptian-brokered truce deal in June of this year. [end]

QB: military maneuvers part of preparation for possible showdown with IOF troops
Palestinian Information Center 9/27/2008
KHAN YOUNIS, (PIC)-- Abu Ahmad, the spokesman of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, explained on Saturday that the military maneuvers of his group and the rest of the Palestinian resistance factions were part of the preparation for the new stage after the calm. Abu Ahmad’s confirmation were uttered during expanded military maneuvers held by fighters of the Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad, south of Gaza Strip, which was attended by high-ranking political and military officials of the Movement. Anti-armor projectiles, mortar shells, and live bullets were used during the military exercises, according to sources in the Islamic Jihad. The spokesman added that the fighters were trained how to capture Israeli soldiers, and how to attack IOF troops’ posts, and how to deal with the elite units of the Israeli occupation army in a proper way to avoid losses during engagement.

IDF to seal off West Bank ahead of Rosh Hashana
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 9/29/2008
Security establishment receives 10 specific terror warnings ahead of holiday; police declare highest alert level -Israel Police has declared that it will be functioning at the highest alert level throughout Rosh Hashana - the Jewish New Year - while Defense Minister Ehud Barak has ordered the IDF to impose a full closure on the West Bank after the security establishment received10 specific warnings and dozens of general warnings regarding possible attempts by terror groups to carry out attacks over the holiday. The most concrete threat, according to the security establishment, is a kidnapping attempt by Palestinian organizations in Gaza and the West Bank. The closure is expected to be lifted Wednesday night following a security assessment. During the holiday Palestinians will be permitted to pass through IDF checkpoints only in humanitarian cases and medical emergencies.

IDF to impose closure on West Bank and Gaza over Rosh Hashanah
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
The Israel Defense Forces says it’s imposing a closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip to coincide with Rosh Hashanah. The military says the closure was going into effect early Monday and would be lifted late Wednesday, depending on security considerations. It means Palestinians are banned from entering Israel until the closure is lifted. The statement said exceptions would be made for those in need of humanitarian and medical aid, as well as several categories of workers and officials. Such closures during Jewish holidays are routine measures, explained as necessary to prevent Palestinian attacks. [end]

Closure and intimidation of charities leaves little recourse for Jenin’s legion of unemployed
Ali Samoudi, Palestine News Network 9/28/2008
Jenin - Fahmi Abu Yousef is in a state of grief. Eid al-Fitr is just a few days away and the Jenin man cannot find work. He wants to buy holiday clothes for his children who have already lived harsh days during the month of Ramadan. Abu Yousef lost his job weeks ago. "We should all be feeling joy as the holiday approaches, but I’m sad because I won’t be able to purchase the minimum for my children. "Abu Yousef continues, "There is no work. What I can scrape together is not always enough to buy bread. I just want to put a smile on the faces of my children. " In the shadow of the holy month of Ramadan and on the eve of Eid al-Fitr the magnitude of the suffering experienced by large numbers of Palestinian families in the governorate of Jenin is revealed. Jenin is facing record unemployment, poverty rates and recession.

PCBS surveys Palestinian industrialists on economic outlook
Ma’an News Agency 9/28/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics released a report on the economic outlook of owners and managers of Palestinian industrial companies. The report is the 42nd in a series set to measure several factors within the Palestinian economy. Overall industrialists felt that production did not improve between July and August 2008, with only 18. 4% for Gaza Strip and 23. 8% for the West Bank citing improvement. A small number, 12. 4%, reported improved access to raw materials. Despite minor increases in production, a large number of owners reported a drop in sales; 40% attributed the drop to Israeli closures, and 37% to a decrease in purchasing power among Palestinians. Expectations grew more hopeful from the short, to medium term. Few gains or increased employment were expected during the next month.

Settlers deny involvement in shooting death of West Bank shepherd
Avi Issacharoff and News Agencies, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
Settlers in the Jordan Valley on Sunday rejected the claim that a Palestinian shepherd found dead late Saturday night was murdered by Jews. Dubi Tal, head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, told Haaretz that all of the settlements in the valley are cooperating with the police and army investigations into the incident. Tal also said Palestinian declarations that local settlers murdered the shepherd were intended to de-legitimize Jewish settlement in the Jordan Valley. The body of the 19-year-old Palestinian shepherd was found with gunshot wounds late Saturday near a West Bank village south of Nablus. Palestinians have blamed the attack on local settlers. Israeli police spokesman Danny Poleg says the youth’s body was found with gunshot wounds and taken to an Israeli forensics center for an autopsy.

Israeli settlers slay Palestinian shepard in Nablus city
Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/28/2008
A number of Israeli Jewish settlers shot a Palestinian shepard yesterday night in the Aqraba village located on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Nablus, Palestinian security sources reported. Sources said that the settlers, believed to be from the Etamar settlement, opened gunfire on Yehya Atta Bani Monia, 18, while sheparding on Saturday evening. Witnesses who found the corpse of the slain Palestinian said that at least 20 bullets riddled his body. Over the past few weeks, several Israeli settler attacks were reported in Nablus city; as many Palestinian-owned properties were reportedly damaged. Israeli settlers are based in ilegally occupied Palestinian lands in the West Bank. All United Nations Nations conventions as well as international humanitarian laws regard the settlements as illegal, however, Israel continues to support and perpetuate such settlement activities.

Rising tide of settler violence threatens to overwhelm Israeli government
Ma’an News Agency 9/28/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – For the third time since August Israeli politicians are worrying about the increase in violence directed towards Palestinians by angry Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank. Coming at the same time as increased pressure from foreign countries for Israel to stop settlement expansion, and even consider the evacuation of West Bank settlements, the calls for legal or military measures to regain control over “rampaging” settlers have grown louder. The most recent attacks have shocked Israeli politicians even more than earlier incidents. On Sunday Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak suggested taking a “tougher stance” on settler violence in response to individuals taking the law into their own hands. Barak was particularly concerned about the increased aggression that settlers were exhibiting towards Israeli soldiers charged with their protection.

Settlers kill Palestinian boy in northern West Bank
Amin Abu Wardeh, Palestine News Network 9/28/2008
Nablus -- Israeli settlers shot 18 year old Yahya Atta Riahin at least 20 times at close range. The teenager was tending his flock of sheep between Aqarba and Awarta villages in the Nablus Governorate yesterday. Speaking from the Aqraba Village Council, Ghassan Douglas said that the settlers were believed to be from the colony of Itamar near the town. "They emptied more than 20 live bullets into the body of the boy. " Itamar Settlement was built on the territory of several Palestinian villages, including Beit Fourik, in southeastern Nablus. Witnesses say that two settlers in a car chased the boy before opening fire on him at close range with automatic weapons. As night fell yesterday the Riahin family went to look for their son and discovered his corpse. Jewish settlers are responsible for numerous attacks on Palestinian shepherds and farmers in the Nablus region.

Jewish settlers ’kill Palestinian’
Al Jazeera 9/28/2008
A Palestinian shepherd has been shot dead by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian security and government officials. The young man, identified as Yehia Apa Riham, was among a group of shepherds grazing their flocks south of Nablus and near the Itamar settlement when they were attacked by the settlers, security officials said. Ghassan Daglas, a Palestinian local government official, said two teenagers had reported seeing a white car belonging to some Israeli settlers pursue the shepherd late on Saturday and then hearing shots. Israel police confirmed that the youth’s body had been found with bullet wounds and taken to an Israeli forensics centre for an autopsy. "At approximately midnight, the body of a 17-year-old Bedouin was found by a family member," Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, said.

Defense Minister: Violent settlers must be punished
Yuval Azoulay, Ha’aretz 9/28/2008
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday urged cabinet ministers to adopt a tougher stance on punishing West Bank settlers over violent acts against Palestinians. Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Barak cited the unruly behavior of settlers who he said tended to take the law into their own hands, causing damage to Palestinian property. The defense minister also stressed that settler attacks on Israel Police officers and Israel Defense Forces soldiers stationed near settlements presented a danger to Israeli public service. He said that of late, IDF officers have arrested a number of settler youth charged with disturbing peace. Although the incidents have been recorded, Barak said, the offenders have rarely been brought to court or tried for their actions.

VIDEO - Security agencies fear recent incidents point to rise in rightist violence
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
Haaretz. com/Channel 10 daily feature for September 28, 2008. After security forces evacuated the illegal outpost of Yad Yair earlier this month, West Bank settlers responded by torching fields belonging to Palestinian villagers and puncturing tires of Israel Defense Forces vehicles. Right-wing elements in Israeli society appear to be increasingly turning against the rule of the law, determined to take their ultranationalist cause into their own hands, employing violence against anyone they perceive as enemies, be they soldiers or civilians, Israelis or Palestinians. Intelligence and security sources fear that violence will escalate into something much more dramatic than scorched fields and punctured tires.

IDF soldier attacked with acid may regain sight, say doctors
Yuval Azoulay, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
An Israel Defense Forces soldier wounded last week when a Palestinian woman threw acid at his face is likely to regain sight despite initial concerns that he would be permanently blinded, doctors said Sunday. The medical condition of Golani soldier Stanislaw Davidoff has significantly improved, said the doctors. He has already begun in the last few days to see again out of his left eye and doctors now believe his right eye can also be saved. The Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva sain in a statement that his right eye had been seriously damaged in the attack, but said his condition could improve following extensive rehabilitation. Davidoff underwent surgery last week on the right eye. The results of the operation will be evaluated in the coming days. Doctors initially believed Davidoff would lose a large percentage of the. . .

Palestinian shepherd found dead near W. Bank settlement
Jonathan Lis Avi Issacharoff Nadav Shragai and Amos Harel, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
The police opened an investigation yesterday into the murder of an 18-year-old Palestinian shepherd whose bullet-riddled body was found last night outside a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. Yihya Atta Bani Minya had been missing from his hometown of Akrabeh since Saturday afternoon. He was found dead near Gitit, in the Jordan Valley. Minya’s family claimed that he was killed by settlers, but police said they had no leads on the murder. "It’s still too early to say who shot him," a police officer said. "We are awaiting the autopsy results and gathering information. " If necessary, he added, the police will seek assistance from the Shin Bet security service department that specializes in Jewish extremists. Jordan Valley settlers rejected the claim that Minya was killed by one of their number, and Dubi Tal, head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, said the settlers were cooperating with the investigation.

Jerusalem building plan will affect Arab neighborhood
Orit Bar-Gil, Globes Online 9/28/2008
Bimkom: Givat Hamatos plan will shut in Beit Zafafa. The Jerusalem Regional Planning and Building Commission is due to shortly decide on objections to the development plan submitted by the Israel Land Administration (ILA) for Givat Hamatos in southern Jerusalem. This is one of four plans for one of the last large land reserves in the city, located between the Arab neighborhood of Beit Zafafa and Hebron Road. The plan calls for the construction of 4,000 housing units. The four plans have been stuck in the building commissions for 18 years, in part because of the multiple ownership of the land. The land now up for a decision is zoned for 2,500 apartments and public institutions. Residents of Beit Zafafa consider part of the land as reserves for the neighborhood’s future development. Bimkom Planners for Planning Rightscommunity planning department director architect Efrat. . .

Sheikh Salah: ending the occupation will end threats facing Jerusalem
Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/28/2008
Chairman of the Israeli-Arab Islamic movement inside the Green Line (Israel), Sheikh Raed Salah, said on Sunday that ending the Israeli occupation in Jersusalem will solve ’dangers’ facing the holy city. In a statement sent to media outlets, Sheikh Salah maintained that the continued Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories would perpetuate and increase the dangers that the holy city of Jerusalem is currently facing. The Islamic leader referred to Israeli excavations underway beneath the Al-Aqsa mosque of Jerusalem, which is the third holiest place for Muslims worldwide. He accused Israeli authorities of following what he termed ’malicious means’ to evacuate the city of Palestinians, turning it into an exclusively Jewish city. He considered such Israeli moves as a part of Israel’s genocide against the indigenous Palestinian residents of the occupied east Jerusalem.

Sheikh Salah: end of occupation only means of ending danger to Aqsa
Palestinian Information Center 9/28/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Islamic movement inside the green line, said on Sunday that the only way circumvent dangers to the Aqsa Mosque is to end the occupation of the holy city. Salah said that the continued Israeli occupation of the city poses dangers to the holy city and its mosques, especially the Aqsa Mosque, which is in more danger than ever as a result of continued Israeli excavations, demolitions and Judaization. He accused the occupation authorities of using devious ways to empty the holy city from its indigenous Palestinian population in an attempt to make it a purely Jewish city, pointing out the Israeli occupation policies of demolishing Palestinian homes and banning them from building new ones, land confiscation and forcing Palestinian Jerusalemites to leave the city.

300,000 worshipers attend Friday prayers at Aqsa despite Israeli restrictions
Palestinian Information Center 9/27/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Despite Israeli occupation restrictions at roadblocks around the holy city and the Aqsa Mosque, 300,000 Muslim worshippers managed to attend the Friday prayer at the Aqsa. Thousands of West Bank Palestinians were denied entry into Jerusalem to attend the prayers at the Aqsa forcing them to perform their prayers in the open at the respective roadblocks. Three young men and a girl were arrested at Qalandia roadblock as they tried to cross into Jerusalem. During Ramadan, Palestinians from various districts try to attend Friday prayers at the Aqsa Mosque, specially the last Friday in Ramadan. Worshipers filled the two main mosque buildings, that of the Aqsa and of the Dome of the Rock as well as the Marwani Mosque underground as well as all the plazas outside the mosque. Thousands of Israeli occupation policemen were deployed in the occupied city and. . .

Jerusalem is already divided, says former Shas leader Deri
Avirama Golan, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
Former Shas leader Aryeh Deri, who asked a court this week to allow him to run for Jerusalem mayor, says conditions on the ground suggest that the capital is already divided. "The pledge not to divide Jerusalem is empty talk," the former interior minister told Haaretz in a recent interview. "Jerusalem is divided. Anyone who comes from outside sees it immediately. The eastern side has no infrastructure and is severely run down. It is no accident that the residents don’t want to take part in the municipal elections. Deri, who previously said he would accept a ruling by the Jerusalem District Court banning him from running for mayor, now says he may appeal against such a verdict. Deri served 10 months in prison in 2001 and 2002 for accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust offenses that were deemed as involving moral turpitude.

State asks court to deny Deri’s petition to run for mayor
Ynet, YNetNews 9/28/2008
State Prosecutor’s Office tells Jerusalem District Court it would not be expunging moral turpitude clause from former Shas head’s criminal record, thus rendering him ineligible for municipal race. Deri unlikely to appeal ruling backing State - The State Prosecutor’s Office asked the Jerusalem District Court on Sunday to deny Aryeh Deri’s petition asking he be declared eligible to run for mayor of Jerusalem in the upcoming municipal elections. Deri, who announced his mayorship bid in early September, was convicted of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in 1999. His sentence included a moral turpitude clause, which according to the Israeli Criminal Code, prevents him from running for public office for seven years. Deri’s petition sought a court order expunging the clause form his record. Jerusalem RaceLupolianski back in mayoral race? / Ronen Medzini Jerusalem. . .

Court to rule Thurs. on Deri petition
Jerusalem Post 9/28/2008
The Jerusalem District Court will decide on Thursday whether or not to accept a petition filed by Aryeh Deri demanding that he be allowed to run in the Jerusalem mayoral elections on November 11, Judge Moshe Sobel said at the end of a hearing on Sunday. Earlier in the day, Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz called on the court to turn down the arguments raised by Deri’s lawyer, Zvi Agmon, in defense of the petition. "They should be rejected," the state’s representative, attorney Einav Golomb, told the court in a written response to Deri’s petition. Before the hearing began, Deri told reporters, "the basic right to elect and be elected overcomes all other considerations. " Deri added that he would accept whatever decision the judge made "with love," but he believed there was a chance the court would accept his petition.

High Court to IDF: Reconsider bound Palestinian shooting charges
Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
The High Court of Justice on Sunday instructed the Military Advocate General to reconsider his decision in the case of the shooting of a bound Palestinian man in the West Bank village of Na’alin. The soldier and his commander were formally charged with "improper conduct" at a military hearing earlier this month, but a number of human rights organizations petitioned the High Court claiming the charge was not severe enough. Avihai Mandelblit, the army’s top prosecutor, has said that the charge against the commanding officer, Lt. Colonel Omri Burberg, and Staff Sergeant L. is sufficient. Mandelblit has also said that the High Court should not interfere with the military court decision, and that the charges filed against the two are the most fitting for the circumstances of the case.

Court orders JAG to reconsider charges against Naalin commander
Aviad Glickman, YNetNews 9/28/2008
In light of appeals made by rights groups demanding that regiment commander involved in Naalin shooting incident be charged with offense more serious than conduct unbecoming, court gives IDF 40 days to reexamine case -The High Court of Justice has ordered Judge Advocate General (JAG) Brigadier-General Avi Mandelblit to reconsider his decision to charge Lieutenant-Colonel Omri Burberg solely with conduct unbecoming. The order followed petitions filed by human rights groups demanding more serious charges be brought against him. The court ordered the JAG to pay more attention to the comments made during the court hearing against the Naalin regiment commander, and to submit his final decision within 40 days. Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan asked the court to reexamine the order, asking whether the JAG’s decision was rare or unbelievable enough in order to justify the delay in the proceedings.

Court to IDF: Reexamine Ni’lin charges
Jerusalem Post 9/28/2008
The High Court of Justice on Sunday gave the state 40 days to reconsider the Military Advocate General’s decision to indict on the lightest possible criminal charge a battalion commander and a non-commissioned officer accused of shooting a bound and blindfolded Palestinian at point-blank range. The incident occurred on July 7, during a protest against the construction of the separation barrier on land belonging to the Palestinian village of Ni’lin, near Modi’in Illit. The soldier identified as First-Sgt. L. , fired a rubber coated steel bullet towards the toe of Palestinian protester Ashraf Abu Rahme, saying he thought his commander, Lt. -Col. Omri Borberg, had ordered him to do so. Borberg maintained he had not given such an order and had not had any intention of shooting Abu Rahme. After a military police investigation, Military Advocate-General Brig.

Israeli court extends detention of DFLP Secretary General Ahmad Sa’adat
Ma’an News Agency 9/28/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli court extended the detention of Secretary General for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Ahmad Sa’adat during a Sunday hearing. He is now due for release on 25 October. The Ad-Damir foundation for prisoners’ and human rights, which has been following up the Sa’adat case, said that it received a document from Israel saying that the man’s term had been extended. Sa’adat has refused to recognize Israeli courts during all hearings, and says all legal action taken against him is in fact illegal, since no indictment papers, warrants charges were brought prior to his arrest. Sa’adatexplained that all he was guilty of was performing his duty towards his people and their cause.

Rabbi: Those who hurt Prof. Sternhell lack Jewish morals
Kobi Nahshoni, YNetNews 9/28/2008
Tzohar rabbis issue statement of condemnation following attack on Israel Prize laureate, calling it ’a severe attack on the Torah, Jewish law and Israeli democracy’ - Rabbinical condemnation. - The Tzohar rabbis’ organization released a statement Friday, expressing its "deep shock" over the attack against Israel Prize Laureate Prof. Ze’ev Sternhell, who was lightly injured by a pipe bomb detonated at his front door in Jerusalem. "We view this violent act as a severe attack on the Torah, Jewish law, Israeli democracy and the sensitive fabric of life in the Jewish society," the statement said. Tzohar President Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, one of Religious Zionism’s most prominent leaders, added that "those assailants do not represent even a smidgen of the Judea and Samaria settlers and the Greater Israel people, and they lack basic Jewish morals.

Melchior leads Sternhell solidarity visit
Matthew Wagner, Jerusalem Post 9/28/2008
A group of dovish rabbis and academics visited Prof. Ze’ev Sternhell Sunday at his home to denounce an apparently ideologically motivated pipe bomb attack against the left-wing professor. The contingent of moderates, all affiliated with the religious Meimad Party, was headed by MK Rabbi Michael Melchior (Labor-Meimad). "This despicable, criminal act is not only a crime against liberalism, democracy and freedom of expression," said Melchior. "It is also a desecration of God’s name since the immoral people who perpetrated it said they were acting in the name of Judaism. " Various religious Zionist groups have taken turns staging public condemnations of the attack, purportedly perpetrated by extreme right-wing religious fanatics. Last week Tzohar Rabbis, an association of modern Orthodox, religious Zionist spiritual leaders, issued a statement against the attack.

Sternhell: Coexistence should be norm
Ronen Medzini, YNetNews 9/28/2008
Rabbis, professors visit Ze’ev Sternhell, who was injured by a pipe bomb that exploded outside his house last week. MK Melchior: Incident a product of demonizing, constitutes desecration of God -A number of rabbis, religious officials and professors visited Professor Ze’ev Sternhell on Sunday, in order to express their regret and concern over the pipe bomb that exploded outside his home last week, lightly injuring him. MK Michael Melchior (Labor-Meimad) said during his visit that he feels the incident constitutes "a desecration of God. " Melchior brought Sternhell a basket of sweets, remarking, "These horrible things begin with demonizing words aimed towards people whose opinions differ. This demonizing leads to terrible things, as we’ve seen. "We would like to express our deepest regret and identification at this desecration of God which spoils not only our democratic side, but our Jewish side as well.

’Jewish underground may be emerging’
Abe Selig And Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post 9/28/2008
A new Jewish underground could have been responsible for Thursday morning’s attack on left-wing professor Ze’ev Sternhell, security forces said on Sunday. Sternhell, a political scientist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem known for his vocal criticisms of the settler movement and IDF actions in the West Bank, was lightly wounded around 1 a. m. on Thursday morning when a small pipe bomb exploded outside his Jerusalem apartment. A security official told The Jerusalem Post, "The investigation is continuing and we are looking into a wide range of possibilities. The main fear is that there is a new underground cell that is planning additional attacks. " Flyers found near Sternhell’s apartment offering an NIS 1 million reward to anyone who killed those associated with the left-wing group Peace Now are one of several clues that have led security officials to speculate that this attack was planned by Jewish right-wing extremists.

Olmert: ’Jewish underground’ behind attack on leftist prof.
Reuters, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
A new ultranationalist underground is apparently active in Israel and responsible for a bombing that wounded an outspoken critic of Jewish settlement in the West Bank, outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Sunday. "The security agencies have been ordered to deal with this case, investigate it and act with the utmost speed to bring to justice what appears to be another underground," Olmert told his cabinet in broadcast remarks. Professor Zeev Sternhell, a political scientist at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University and a leading opponent of settlement building in the Palestinian territories, was lightly wounded on Thursday when a pipe bomb exploded outside his home. Police found posters in his Jerusalem neighborhood offering a NIS 1. 1 million reward for the killing of a member of Israel’s left-wing Peace Now movement.

Leftist prof Sternhell: Supporting occupation is anti-Zionist
Akiva Eldar, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
Professor Zeev Sternhell’s house on Jerusalem’s Agnon Street is easily located by the iron gate with the broken glass. Sternhell says the bombing could have ended with him having to have both legs amputated. Fortunately, last Thursday night he and his wife Ziva had returned from abroad and their suitcases, left in the narrow hallway, separated him and the pipe bomb that had been attached to the door. The living room is filled with flowers and the telephone doesn’t stop ringing. The news is quoting ministers’ statements from the cabinet meeting. Sternhell, while still in the hospital, drew a direct line between the state’s surrender to the extreme right rampaging in the territories and the terrorist or organization that tried to kill him. "What are those ministers talking about," he asks, when Vice Premier Haim Ramon blasts. . .

Teen suspected of threatening leftists says he was framed
Haaretz Staff, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
A teenage boy suspected of threatening prominent left-wing activists filed a police complaint on Sunday arguing he was the victim of a scam devised by a right-wing extremist. A 17-year-old boy accused of posting threats against leftists on right-wing Web sites, under the name Aharon, said yesterday a right-wing extremist had posted several messages under his name. He said that person told the media he was to blame. "We, the members of the Hayamin Ha’amiti ("Real Right") organization, are going to go on a campaign of vengeance against a senior left-wing political figure," read one message posted under the name of Aharon on the day a pipe bomb wounded leading left-wing intellectual Professor Zeev Sternhell. A member of the extremist right-wing group Hazit Yehudit ("Jewish Front") said the Ramat Gan man said to be the person who really is behind the. . .

Ehud Olmert warns of ’evil wind’ of extremism in Israel
Toni O''Loughlin in Jerusalem, The Guardian 9/29/2008
A resurgent ultranationalist religious underground movement is threatening Israel’s democracy, the nation’s outgoing prime minister, Ehud Olmert, warned yesterday. Olmert lashed out at the extreme right for the first time in his two-and-a-half-year premiership after a prominent Israeli critic of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian West Bank was violently attacked last week. "A bad wind of extremism, hate, evil, violence and contempt for state authorities is blowing through certain sectors of the Israeli public and threatening Israeli democracy," said Olmert in his opening remarks to the weekly cabinet meeting. Olmert said the police and the Shin Bet, Israel’s security service, were searching for members of the movement. Olmert compared the attack on Prof Zeev Sternhell, a political scientist at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, to the 1995 assassination of the then prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, by a Jewish ultranationalist, and to a hand grenade attack that killed a Peace Now activist in 1983.

Mizrahi Jew claims discrimination at TA club
Yael Levy, YNetNews 9/28/2008
Lawyer Haim Hanya is suing popular Tel Aviv hangout, asserts he was kept out ’because of the color of (his) skin’ -Haim Hanya (28) of Givatayim is suing a popular Tel Aviv nightclub, claiming he was kept out by the bouncer of the ’Uptown’ this past July because he is of Mitzrahi (Middle Eastern Jewish) descent. He is now filing a 50,000 NIS (approximately $14,500) lawsuit against the club. This event occurred seven weeks after Meital Halessatzi, also Mizrahi, was kept out of her friend’s bachelorette party at the same club. She, too, claimed that the reason was the color of her skin. In Hanya’s suit, he writes that he came to the club with his girlfriend Bat-El and another couple. The bouncer allowed only the two females to enter the club, while he and his male friend were forced to wait outside.

Olmert: Attack on Prof. Sternhell a threat to democracy
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 9/28/2008
Prime minister opens cabinet meeting with stark condemnation of pipe bomb detonated on leftist scholar’s front door, says radicalism, malice pose threat to Israel - "An evil streak of radicalism, malice, hatred and disregard of State law is threatening Israeli democracy," said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the of the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday. Olmert went on to condemn the attack on left-wing Professor Ze’ev Sternhell, who was wounded after unknown persons detonated a pipe bomb at his front door on Thursday. "One cannot help but see the resemblance between the murder of Emil Greenzweig (a Peace Now activist who was killed in 1983 during a political march in Jerusalem), the assassination of former Prime Minister

Prayer demonstration against illegal waste dump in Deir Sharaf
International Solidarity Movement 9/28/2008
Nablus Region - Photos - On Friday 24 September, the last Friday of Ramadan, over 100 villagers from Qusin, Deir Sharaf and international activists gathered to take part in a symbolic prayer on occupied land north of Nablus city. In 2002 Israel confiscated the land from the Abu Shusha family, owner of the quarry in the area where the waste dump is proposed. After rubbish from local settlements around Nablus where deposited on the land villagers successfully demonstrated to have the dumping cease. In early September 2008 the Israeli military returned to the land, which is situated below illegal settlements and an Israeli industrial zone, to begin landscaping the area for a larger waste project. Village municipalities were informed that this would include not only waste from local settlements, but industrial waste and rubbish from as far away as Tel Aviv.

Comments of exiled Gazan Fatah leader inflame Hamas, ''prove dialogue a sham''
Ma’an News Agency 9/28/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Exiled Fatah leader from the Gaza Strip Ahmad Hillis’ comments to the Al-Arabiyah satellite channel this week stating “Fatah will rule over Gaza once again by elections or by arms,” have inflamed members of the de facto government. Responding to the comments Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said on Sunday that they evidence Fatah’s plans to rule over Gaza by using force, and that Fatah intentions at the conciliation talks are not earnest. Conciliation talks should not be Fatah’s way of guaranteeing their rule over Gaza, said Abu Zuhri, adding that the recent calls for ‘early elections’ by Fatah members have now become suspect. After having several interviews with Israeli security following his flight from the Gaza strip in the wake of the Hillis-de facto forces clashes on 2 August, Abu Zuhri commented that his comments were “expected,” by Hamas.

Hamas: Ahmad’s statement confirms Fatah not serious about dialogue
Palestinian Information Center 9/28/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Hamas said, on Sunday, that the US veto on Palestinian reconciliation talks is still in place and that Fatah is not serious about dialogue as it is still subservient to US diktats. Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, said in a written statement, that statements made by prominent Fatah leader, Azzam al-Ahmad to the London based al-Hayat newspaper in which he confirmed that it is the US veto which prevents the holding of inter-Palestinian dialogue confirms Fatah’s responsibility for this failure because of its subservience to the US veto. Abu Zuhri added that Hamas was ready for serious reconciliation talks anytime without any US conditions, adding that Ahmad’s statement that Hamas’s rejection of dialogue encourages the US veto is an excuse to justify Fatah’s stand on the dialogue. He said that Ahmad’s statements newly confirm that Fatah has no intention to start the inter-Palestinian. . .

Hamas’s spokesman: Fatah’s statements reveal ’ bad intentions’
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/28/2008
Spokesman of the ruling Hamas party in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, considered the latest statements by leaders of the rival Fatah party as an indication of Fatah’s ’bad intentions’ regarding national dialogue. "Such remarks show Fatah’s outright acknowledgment of their plan to take Gaza back by military force. They also reflect Fatah’s perspective towards the upcoming elections. Therefore, Hamas casts doubts over proposed early elections," Abu Zuhri explained. Abu Zuhri’s comments came after media reports stated that Fatah’s secretary in Gaza Ahmad Helles discussed possible repossesion of Gaza through ballots or through ammunition boxes. Helles escaped fighting between Hamas-led police forces and members of his own Fatah-allied clan in late July. Hamas is therefore convinced that Fatah is not serious about dialogue.

Hamas: PA security seizes 9 loyalists
Ma’an News Agency 9/28/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian Authority (PA) security services arrested 9 Hamas affiliates in the West Bank on Friday, Hamas said in a statement issued Sunday. Those detained were named as:Nablus district:Muhammad Qanazi, who was released from Israeli prison one week agoAbu Luay Sarkaji, brother of Al-Qassam Brigades activist Yousif Sarkaji,Jenin district:Jihad Nawahda, released from Israeli prison three days agoRashad Suwwan from the village of ImmatinBilal As-Sadda from Jet (detained ten days ago)Hebron district:Firas Itbeish, from Al-Hadab and recently freed from Israeli prisonMahmoud Abu Turki, from Al-Hadab and recently freed from Israeli prisonAshraf Shahin from Al-Hadab

PLC calls for releasing all political prisoners on the occasion of Eid
Palestinian Information Center 9/28/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The acting president of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) called on President Mahmoud Abbas, and Prime Minister Ismail Haneyya to release all political prisoners on the advent of Eid. In a press release published on Sunday the PLC Presidency said "This initiative is a call to close a painful page of the history of our people and a brave step to create an atmosphere of hope for the success of the Palestinian internal dialogue. "The PLC presidency, further, expressed support for the Palestinian internal dialogue due to take place in Cairo next month. [end]

Acting PLC speaker urges Hamas and PA to release political prisoners
Ma’an News Agency 9/28/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Acting speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Ahmad Bahar called on both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to secure the immediate release of all political prisoners in West Bank and Gaza Strip prisons. “This is a call to close a painful chapter in the history of our people. It will be a brave step towards spreading an atmosphere of optimism for Palestinian national dialogue and getting that dialogue to succeed,” Bahar said in a statement. He emphasized that the PLC would support Cairo reconciliation dialogue which is necessary to restore unity. [end]

24 members of Al Aqsa released into effective house-arrest
PNN, Palestine News Network 9/28/2008
Nablus -- Israeli forces released 24 Palestinian political prisoners from its jails yesterday. All are members of Al Aqsa Brigades, a Fateh-affiliated armed resistance group. The men were released into the custody of the Palestinian security services in the West Bank. Two are permitted, undermandate of the occupying army, to move freely within the West Bank. Fourteen cannot move out of the Oslo-era designated Areas A, which are under Palestinian Authority control. Without being able to pass outside of Area A, the released men are essentially confined toa single city and some of its surrounding villages. The West Bank is divided by settlements and Israeli roads in such a way that in order to move throughout the West Bank it is virtually impossible to not pass through Area C, which is ostensibly under Israeli security and civil control.

Hamas government releases a number of Fatah prisoners in Gaza
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 9/28/2008
The Hamas-led government released on Sunday a number of Fatah member and seniors from, who have been jailed by the Hamas-led police forces over the past several weeks, the govetnment’s spokesman, Taher Alnunu, revealed. " The government has set a number of Fatah detainees freed, ahead of the Muslim holiday of Alfit Eid as well as the upcoming Cairo-based Palestinian national dialogue ", Alnunu explained. He also pointed out that members of his cabinet have recently held discussions with Arab members of the Israeli parliament ’Keneset’ and some Palestinian lawmakers of other parliamentary blocs of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLO), over closing the profile of political prisoners. The government spokesman looked forward to observing a similar move by the West Bank-based Fatah-allied government as to the release of Hamas detainees over there, revealing that his ruling. . .

Former Deputy PM asks Abbas to release Palestinian political prisoners on the eve of Eid Al-Fitr
Ma’an News Agency 9/28/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Former Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Addin Ash-Sha’ir wrote a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday asking him to release all Palestinian detainees jailed in Palestinian Authority (PA) prisons on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr. Ash-Sha’ir said the political prisoners had the right to spend the holiday at home with their families as all other citizens not guilty of any crime do. "Do these [political] detentions match human rights treaties, and are they carried out to protect the homeland and citizens’ interests? ” Ash-Sha’ir asked Abbas. While keeping law and order is a vital, he said, "it should not be carried out in a way that violates basic human rights, otherwise, citizens will need protection from their own leadership. ”The former deputy prime minister said the hundreds now in prison on either the West Bank or Gaza since. . .

Palestinian university professors work for release of political prisoners
Ma’an News Agency 9/28/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – A delegation representing Palestinian university professors headed by Dr Husam Udwan, visited political prisoners detained by the de facto government at Al-Mashta prison in Gaza City and met with all detainees on Sunday. Dr Udwan said the visit was part of professors’ ongoing efforts to end the state of rivalry and lay the grounds for serious and real national dialogue. He explained that the delegation freely toured the prison and watched firsthand the living conditions of the political prisoners. Foods and drinks were distributed to the detainees who also had chance to telephone their families using the delegation’s cell phones. “We made sure prisoners are well-treated,” said Dr Udwan. “We are closer than ever to seeing those political prisoners in Gaza released,” he added. As for political detainees in the West Bank, “we have been making great efforts. . .

Teachers’ Committee suggests new plan to end Gaza strikes
Ma’an News Agency 9/28/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Democratic Teachers’ Committees have suggestion of a new initiative to help end the Gaza teachers’ crisis that has seen thousands of educators strike during the first month of classes. The committee has proposed the creation of an independent committee to study recent teacher-transfers and promotions, which formed the basis of the initial call to strike at the beginning of September. The committees said in a statement released Sunday, “in the shadow of Israeli occupation and hard situations within which Palestinian people live, we all call for a serious and firm stand to be taken by education professionals to consider the harmful consequences caused by strike and its negative effect on students. ”The statement mentioned an earlier set of recommendations the committee issued on 23 August, which set out a path to mend tensions in the educational system before strike action was proposed.

ISRAEL-OPT: Gaza strikes losing steam
Naela Khalil/IRIN, IRIN - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 9/29/2008
RAMALLAH/GAZA, 28 September 2008 (IRIN) - Palestinian unions allied with the Fatah movement have extended the strikes in the Gaza Strip’s health and education sectors for another two weeks, prolonging the labour action that has been in effect for about a month, although the numbers taking part are falling. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 28 percent of doctors, nurses and administrators of hospitals were on strike, affecting some services in the various medical centres in the enclave, especially psychiatric care. Medical NGOs reported treating more patients, saying it was straining their resources. However, the true impact will be felt at the beginning of October, medical officials said, as many Muslim patients avoid elective procedures during Ramadan. The number of strike participants appears to be gradually decreasing.

’Fatah politicos consider uniting with Hamas, launching third intifada’
Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
In recent weeks, senior defense officials have been singing the praises of their Palestinian colleagues. After years of suspicion about the Palestinian Authority, Israeli officials are now convinced that the PA is resolved to deal with Hamas, which is threatening to take over the West Bank as it did the Gaza Strip. Palestinian officials admit to receiving assistance from Israel and the United States and have arrested hundreds of Hamas activists and closed down dozens of its charity organizations. But the picture is more complicated than that. While Fatah’s security professionals seek conflict with Hamas, the movement’s political faction wishes to reconcile with Hamas and redirect the anger at Israel. Eight years after the second intifada’s eruption, the controversy in the PA could lead to a renewed conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank.

Hamas challenges Abbas term extension
Jerusalem Post 9/29/2008
Hamas is planning to declare one of its top officials as interim president of the Palestinian Authority after Mahmoud Abbas’s term in office expires in January 2009, Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip said Sunday. The officials told The Jerusalem Post that Hamas would not recognize Abbas as president of the PA after that date. "We will remove his pictures from all the public institutions," said one official. "Until now, our policy has been not to challenge Abbas’s legitimacy as the elected leader of the Palestinian Authority. " But, the Hamas official warned, his movement was determined to see Abbas step down in January. "If he wants to seek another term in office, he should run in new elections. By announcing that he will stay in power for another year, Abbas is acting in violation of the Palestinian Basic Law.

Hamas delegation in Egypt agrees to formation of reconciliation government for Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 9/28/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an Special– High ranking Palestinian sources have told Ma’an that Hamas has shown great flexibility over the question of forming a national reconciliation government that would aim at ending the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and reconstructing security forces on a national and professional basis. The Hamas delegation is meeting with Egyptian officials in Cairo this week , and are the final factional delegation to meet for bilateral talks that pave the way for comprehensive unity negotiations in October. According to Ma’an’s sources, during their first meeting representatives discussed the main topics that they wished to be addressed, and agreed to continue discussing further details at the 8 October meeting with all factions in Cairo. The government, it has been revealed, is being set up to include technocrat figures and members from several factions.

Hamas: Illegitimate PLO’s central council couldn’t extend Abbas’s term
Palestinian Information Center 9/27/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement has asserted on Saturday that the central council of the PLO couldn’t legally extend the term of PA chief Mahmoud Abbas because the present set up of the council lacks legitimacy. "The PLO’s central council had lost legitimacy because it wasn’t elected and therefore it doesn’t represent the Palestinian people; hence, anything illegitimate couldn’t take decision on matters pertaining the Palestinian legitimacy, particularly extending the term of president Mahmoud Abbas and appointing a deputy for him", asserted Fawzi Barhoum, the spokesman of the Movement in Gaza Strip. Hamas’s clear stand was apparently prompted by media reports quoting Palestinian sources as affirming that the council plans an extraordinary session in Ramallah city purposely to extend the term of Abbas and to appoint a deputy for him.

Olmert said to offer Palestinians Jordan Valley land swap
Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has offered the Palestinians sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, in exchange for Israel retaining three main settlement blocs in the West Bank, Army Radio reported on Sunday. The deal would allow Israel to retain the West Bank settlements of Ariel, Ma’aleh Adumim, and the Gush Etzion bloc, according to the report. Olmert has recently carried out closed-door meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and the two have reportedly been close to an agreement over final borders but have not been able to see eye-to-eye on the issues of refugees and Jerusalem. Olmert has also offered Abbas a deal that would not be implemented until stability is reached in the region. Related articles:Olmert formally submits his resignation to Peres The decision will be made any moment now.

Quartet Statement issued from New York
Palestine News Network 9/28/2008
PNN - The Quartet released its Friday statement from the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York. The group consisting of representatives of the European Union, United States, Russia and the UN faced Arab League criticism for being ineffective, while the Hamas party echoed another long-standing accusation that the committee is dominated by the US. The Quartet Statement follows. Representatives of the Quartet - U. N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U. S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union Javier Solana, European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner - met today in New York to discuss the situation in the Middle East.

PRC: Release 1,400 prisoners or Shalit will spend many holidays in captivity
Ali Waked, YNetNews 9/28/2008
Spokesman for group holding IDF soldier says toughened stance result of Israel’s ’foot-dragging’ in prisoner exchange negotiations; adds ’ we have no problem releasing Shalit once prisoners are freed’ -A senior figure in one of the Palestinian organizations holding Gilad Shalit told Ynet on Sunday that the captors are considering reneging on the general outline agreed upon during the Egyptian-mediated negotiations and demand the simultaneous release of 1,400 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the IDF soldier. On Thursday the Israel will free in exchange for Shalit. The committee approved half of the names demanded by Hamas. According to the agreed upon outline, the Palestinian prisoners are to be released in three stages. The source said the toughened stance was the result of Israel’s ’foot-dragging’ and the fact that the Jerusalem was "not taking the negotiations seriously".

Abu Marzouq condemns Damascus explosions, says relations with Syria strong
Palestinian Information Center 9/28/2008
DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Hamas condemned the huge explosion that rocked Damascus on Saturday describing it as a criminal and terrorist act, rejecting, at the same time, any attempts to link it with the Palestinian presence in Syria which extended since 1948. Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouq, the deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, in a statement to Quds Press, condemned the terrorist attack and rejected the notion that any Palestinian faction could be responsible for such a heinous crime. He said that suggestions about the explosion being the result of an alleged change of the  Syrian leadership’s position towards Palestinian resistance movements are stupid and not worth an answer. He added that all Palestinian factions condemned the criminal attack and expressed his belief that the attack, which took place in a public place and resulted in the death of 17 people and the wounding of 14 others,. . .

Jibril accuses some Arab states of aiming at isolating Hamas
Palestinian Information Center 9/27/2008
DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- The secretary-general of the PFLP-GC Ahmad Jibril has accused Friday a number of Arab countries of conspiring to isolate Hamas and the rest of the honorable Palestinian resistance factions in the Palestinian arena. "We want the [national] dialogue, but they [Arab states and Fatah faction] want from the dialogue to isolate our brothers in Hamas and to marginalize the honorable forces in the Palestinian arena", asserted Jibril as he addressed thousands of participants in a rally organized by Palestinian factions in the Palestinian refugee camp of Al-Yarmouk, east of Damascus city, in celebration of the Quds (Jerusalem) international day. He pointed out that those calls have "mixed poison with the cream" as they aim at, he added, "Reinstating [PA chief] Mahmoud Abbas to lead the Palestinian people from a negotiating table to another in Herzelia, Natania, and occupied Jerusalem".

Miki Goldwasser on Shalit talks: Government impotent
Yaheli Moran Zelikovich, YNetNews 9/28/2008
Mother of deceased IDF captive says funds transferred by Israel to Gaza used by Hamas to purchase more weapons, proposes closing Gaza crossings until Shalit released -"Do you really think the funds Israel is transferring to the Hamas regime in Gaza are allocated to the civilians there? The money is used to purchase more and more weapons that are later aimed at us. Our government is impotent," Miki Goldwasser, the mother of deceased IDF captive Ehud Goldwasser said Sunday. Last week the parents of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit demanded that Israel stop funneling funds to Gaza and convene a cabinet meeting which would discuss their son’s abduction. Should their demand be turned down, they threatened, they would petition the High Court of Justice. The demand was made in a letter sent by the lawyers of Aviva and Noam Shalit to Prime Minister. . .

Labor said threatening elections if Kadima won’t meet demands
Mazal Mualem and Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
The Labor Party is threatening to push for elections if Kadima continues to fail to meet its demands in coalition talks, a source close to Labor chairman Ehud Barak said on Sunday. "The gaps are great, meanwhile none of our demands have been fully met. If the rules of the game in the cabinet do not change, we’ll go to elections," the source said. During almost a week of talks with prime minister-designate Tzipi Livni, Barak has said he wants to take charge of Israel’s negotiations with Syria if Labor joins the government. On the domestic front, he wants to exceed the budget, which Livni opposes. Although some of the tension between Livni and Barak has been defused, they have yet to create a basis for further talks, sources in Barak’s inner circle said. "There are a lot of disagreements, and if Tzipi Livni thought she would have. . .

Livni: Coalition must back State Budget
Amnon Meranda, YNetNews 9/28/2008
Kadima chairwoman tells party members she plans to form stable government able to stand firm until Knesset carries out its term, much of this depending on approval of next year’s budget, which will ’give government some breathing room’ -Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni said Sunday she plans to work towards creating a coalition that will support next year’s State Budget. During a party meeting in Petah Tikva Livni said, "The intention is to make sure that when we finish the process of constructing the coalition we know we have support for the budget in the Knesset. " She added that when the State Budget is approved "we know we really have a stable government in which everything is certain, in regards to the future, and this will give the government some breathing room. " Livni said she intended to create a coalition that would stand firm for the length of the current Knesset’s term.

Knesset breaks record for private member bills
Shahar Ilan, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
The number of private members’ bills submitted during the current Knesset has set an all-time high of 4,017 - an average of 138 bills per month. The load creates a heavy burden that Speaker Dalia Itzik calls "disrespect for legislation. "She says she will propose a limit on the number of bills each MK can present. MKs, for their part, say private members’ bills are their most useful tool for influencing the cabinet. The current Knesset submitted 27 percent more bills than the previous one, and 10 times more than the 10th Knesset, which sat from 1981 to 1984. The data - updated to September this year - appeared in a document sent to participants in talks between the Knesset and cabinet. Only 28 percent of private members’ bills received a preliminary reading in the current Knesset. In other words, the legislature considers around three out of four bills "declarative". . .

Mazuz: Gov’t’s jurisdiction limited now
Aviad Glickman, YNetNews 9/28/2008
Attorney General writes letter to outgoing PM Olmert and other ministers, emphasizes that following prime minister’s resignation, government must behave like interim government and not deal with big issues without consulting him -Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his ministers constitute an interim government now, pursuant to Olmert’s official resignation last week, emphasized Attorney General Menachem Mazuz. As such, they should refrain from legislating on non-routine issues without consulting him, he stated. In a letter to members of the Olmert government, Mazuz wrote that, from the moment Olmert submitted his letter of resignation to President Shimon Peres, the government itself is also considered to have given its resignation. According to Mazuz, the scope of the government’s jurisdiction has now decreased.

Cabinet rebukes police commissioner
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 9/28/2008
Ministers outraged by Dudi Cohen’s interview with weekend magazine; decide to take rare action, issue official reprimand. ’He should be fired,’ says Minister Ayalon - The government decided Sunday to officially reprimand Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen, following a weekend interview he gave Haaretz daily newspaper, in which he criticized several high-ranking ministers. Cohen’s interview was panned by the cabinet, with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert calling it "an embarrassment and Minister Ami Ayalon (Labor) to suggesting the government admonish the officer. An official reprimand of such a high ranking security official is considered an extremely rare move. Pattern Behavior? Police exceeded authority, says Judge Winograd / Roi Mandel Retired justice criticizes decision to recommend indictment against prime minister, says investigators were out of line.

Police Chief apologizes for remarks made in Haaretz interview
Barak Ravid and Jonathan Lis, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
Israel Police Chief Dudi Cohen on Sunday sent a letter of clarification to the cabinet secretary, apologizing for comments he made in an interview with Haaretz that some ministers found offensive. During the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, the government recommended that Public Security Minister Avi Dichter censure Cohen over the interview, which appeared in the Haaretz Friday Magazine and included harsh criticism of the government and Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann. A heated debate erupted during the meeting, in which several ministers verbally attacked Cohen and even demanded he resign. Kadima MKs earlier on Sunday blasted Dichter as well, with new Kadima head Tzipi Livni calling him a ’mud slinger. ’ The criticism came days after Haaretz published the interview with Cohen.

Bar Lev appeals to overturn dismissal
Abe Selig, Jerusalem Post 9/28/2008
Israel Police Southern District Commander Uri Bar-Lev submitted an appeal to the High Court of Justice in Jerusalem on Sunday in an attempt to prevent Police Chief Insp. -Gen. David Cohen from dismissing him. Bar-Lev asked the court to ensure that he kept his position and to hold a "mock" hearing with Public Security Minister Avi Dichter. He also called attention to the fact that his termination was the first time a chief of police had tried to dismiss an officer with the rank of commander. The appeal states that the termination of Bar-Lev "stems from one simple sin - he asked the force to give him any position appropriate to his rank in order to fulfill his chosen career. . . Instead of an illogical and far-fetched proposition to study abroad. " In August, Cohen decided to dismiss Bar-Lev over his refusal to take study leave, even though Bar-Lev already holds degrees in engineering and political science.

Hirchson accessory to serve no jail time
Vered Luvitch, YNetNews 9/28/2008
Ronit Garti, indicted for passing public funds to former finance minister, receives six months community service in exchange for testimony against Hirchson - In the first formal sentencing related to the trial of former finance minister Abraham Hirchson, Ronit Garti was sentenced to six months of community service. She will serve no time. Garti, 44, was accused of using her position as an accountant with the National Workers’ Organization (NWO) in order to relay funds, in the form of cash payments and checks, to Hirchson - then the organization’s chairman. The accused, who began serving as the NWO’s account manager in 2005, admitted to transferring some 25,000 NIS (approximately $7,000) to Hirchson in monthly installments. Hirchson TrialFormer Finance Minister Hirchson indicted for fraud/ Avi Cohen State Prosecution files charges against. . .

Messianic Jews promote Ethiopian aliya
Ruth Eglash, Jerusalem Post 9/28/2008
Run by the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA), Operation Tikva is contravening the Israeli government’s attempts over the last year to wind down official aliya operations in Ethiopia, and the project is being viewed in Jerusalem with alarm. -- Under Operation Tikva, through which thousands of people in Ethiopia are provided with clean water, money for food and educational services, they are also reminded often that they are Jews and that the people of Israel are waiting for them. What makes Operation Tikva different than other Jewish aid programs in Ethiopia, however, is that neither the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency for Israel, nor any other recognized aliya organization is involved in it. In fact, The Jerusalem Post has learned it is a program run by Messianic Jewish missionaries, and very few people in Israel even know about it.

Americans deploy anti-missile radar in Israel - radio
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 9/29/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: The United States has recently deployed an anti-missile radar in Israel that is mainly to warn of incoming Iranian weapons, Israeli state radio reported Sunday. The radar, said to have a range of more than 2,000 kilometers is located in the south of the country, the radio added, and is operated by a permanent 120-strong US Army staff. Questioned by AFP, an Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman said he did "not know about such a deployment. "A senior Pentagon official had said in late July that US Defense Secretary Robert Gates agreed to explore deploying a powerful radar in Israel. "The idea here is to help Israel create a layered missile defense capability to protect it from all sorts of threats in the region, near and far," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Besides the radar, Gates also agreed to explore sharing early warning launch. . .

US: IDF can’t man Negev radar system
Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post 9/28/2008
An IDF request to permit Israeli soldiers to control the new high-powered radar that the US has deployed in the Negev has been declined, senior defense officials told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. The X-Band radar’s arrival in Israel last Sunday was kept under tight wraps until it was revealed over the weekend by Defense News, an industry newsletter. The system, which came in a convoy of 12 transport planes and together with a 120-member crew, has been set up temporarily at the Nevatim air base in the Negev and will be moved to a permanent site in the next few months. The high-powered radar, known as FBX-T, will be hooked up to the US military’s Joint Tactical Ground Station and, assisted by satellites, will be capable of picking up a ballistic missile shortly after launch at which point it can estimate the time and location of its impact.

US ’deploys’ radar system in Israel
Al Jazeera 9/28/2008
The US has deployed an anti-missile radar in Israel that is mainly to warn of incoming Iranian ballistic missiles, Israeli state radio reports. The radar with a range of more than 2,000km is sited in the south of the country, the radio station said on Sunday. It is operated by a permanent 120-strong US army staff. The Associated Press news agency quoted officials as saying that the new radar was flown into Israel last week along with some 120 American crew members and has been set up at the Nevatim air base in the Negev desert. The system can pick up a ballistic missile shortly after launch. That will cut the response time of Israel’s Arrow system, designed to intercept incoming missiles. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the radar’s arrival has not been officially made public.

What do Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, Moshe Ivgy and Jesse Dylan have in common?
Nathan Burstein, Jerusalem Post 9/28/2008
In an attempt to combat what it calls a "smear campaign" against US presidential candidate Barack Obama, a new YouTube group called Israelis4Obama has released an on-line video describing the Democratic senator as "100% kosher," and calling it "hutzpa to question Obama’s commitment to Israel. " Former IDF chief of General Staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, Israeli film star Moshe Ivgy and Jesse Dylan, son of music legend Bob, are just some of the well-known Israeli and American figures involved in the video, which was shot in Israel in July and added to YouTube last week. Filmed over three days in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the video features both Israeli supporters of Obama and Americans who will vote for the candidate from Israel. "I was sitting [in the US] and felt that the Israel I know was never shown on the news," said Alma Har’el, the video’s Israeli director.

First-ever US presidential-style debate held in Jerusalem
Ynetnews, YNetNews 9/28/2008
Obama, McCain representatives spar over Jerusalem, Iranian threat and Sarah Palin during heated debate before hundreds of American citizens residing in Israel - In an historic first, the American Israeli Action Coalition (AIAC) organized and sponsored a US presidential style debate held at Jerusalem’s Heichal Shlomo Thursday evening. A full house of hundreds of American citizens residing in Israel listened enthusiastically as representatives of the Israel and its neighbors, the status of Jerusalem, granting a pardon to Jonathan Pollard, the current US economic crisis, energy policy, healthcare and why each of the candidates would make the best president and vice-president. The latter issue became so heated that Zell rose to his feet and challenged Schorer’s assertion that Governor Sarah Palin had authorized books to be banned from an Alaskan library.

Syria hunts for suspects in deadly car bombing
Lamia Radi, Daily Star 9/29/2008
Agence France Presse - DAMASCUS: Syria’s security forces were hunting Sunday for the culprits behind a car bombing that killed 17 people in an attack analysts said could have been aimed at splitting the country’s alliance with Iran or deterring it from becoming too friendly with the West. Saturday’s bombing near a Shiite shrine in Damascus, one of the deadliest attacks in the country in two decades, drew worldwide condemnation, including from the United States which has repeatedly accused Syria of fueling unrest in Iraq and Lebanon. A car packed with 200 kilograms of explosives blew up near a security checkpoint on a road to Damascus airport in what Interior Minister General Bassam Abdel-Majid called "a terrorist act. "All the casualties were civilians, Abdel-Majid told state television, adding: "A counter-terrorist unit is trying to track down the perpetrators.

Syria says ’terrorists’ coming from outside border
Associated Press, Jerusalem Post 9/28/2008
Syria on Sunday hinted at foreign involvement in a deadly weekend car bombing, with its state-run media saying the objective was to undermine Damascus’ efforts to emerge from years of international isolation. Saturday’s 440 pound car bomb near a Syrian security complex on the southern outskirts of the capital killed 17 people. It was the biggest - and deadliest - in the tightly controlled country since the 1980s when authorities fought an uprising by Muslim militants. It also underlined weaknesses in the Syrian regime’s tight grip and the conflicting pressures it is exposed to as it attempts to change course and adopt moderate policies on its neighbors Lebanon and Iraq. No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion, which also injured 14 people. Syrian officials have so far avoided accusing any group, saying only it was a "terrorist act.

Report: Top Syrian officer killed in Damascus explosion
Roee Nahmias, YNetNews 9/28/2008
London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper says senior military officer is among 17 fatalities of car bomb which rocked Syrian capital. Attack believed to be meant for city’s intelligence services building - A high-ranking Syrian military officer was killed in the car bomb explosion which struck Damascus on Saturday, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat reported Sunday. Seventeen people were killed Saturday morning when a car bomb exploded in the Syrian capital. The blast, which Syria’s interior minister dubbed a "terror attack", occurred at an intersection leading to the Sit Zeinab shrine, popular with Shiite pilgrims from Iran and Lebanon. According to the al-Sharq al-Awsat report, the car bomb was meant to hit a Syrian intelligence services building, located near Damascus’ international airport, where Syria’s "Palestinian directorate" is believed to be located.

Syria hints ’terrorists’ came from abroad
Associated Press, YNetNews 9/28/2008
State-owned media hints car bomb that killed 17 civilians on Saturday was rigged by foreign agents, perhaps ’parties angered by Syria’s victorious return to international arena after the desperate attempts to isolate, besiege and punish it’ -Syria on Sunday hinted at foreign involvement in a deadly weekend car bombing, with its state-run media saying the objective was to undermine Damascus’ efforts to emerge from years of international isolation. Saturday’s 200 kilogram car bomb near a Syrian security complex on the southern outskirts of the capital killed 17 people. It was the biggest - and deadliest - attack to occur in the country since the 1980s when authorities fought an uprising by Muslim militants. No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion, which also injured 14 people.

’Top Syrian officer among bomb victims’
The Media Line News Agency, Jerusalem Post 9/28/2008
A mysterious explosion near Damascus on Saturday claimed the lives of at least 17 people, including a brigadier-general, further destabilizing the Syrian regime. A car bomb carrying 200 kilograms of explosives exploded near the Palestine branch of Syrian Military Intelligence, the London-based daily Asharq Alawsat reported. The identity of the high-ranking military officer, who was reportedly killed as a result of the explosion, had not yet been revealed. The Palestine branch of Syrian Military Intelligence is headed by Gen. Suleiman Dayoub, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s brother-in-law, Gen. Asif Shawkat, who heads Military Intelligence and is considered one of the strongest men in the Syrian regime. RELATEDSyria says ’terrorists’ coming from outside borderVideo: Sunnis may be behind Syria. . .

Arab newspapers see Israel behind deadly bombing in Syria
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 9/29/2008
AMMAN: Israel’s Mossad spy agency was behind a deadly car bomb attack in Damascus on Saturday which killed 17 people, according to a columnist in the semi-official Jordanian daily Ad-Dustour. "It’s a US-backed Israeli conspiracy to destabilize the Syrian regime and create enough chaos to produce an opposition that would develop and grow under the sponsorship of Israel and the United States," Hashem al-Khaledi wrote in an editorial published on Sunday. "They seek to topple the regime of President Bashar Assad, who is seen by the United States and Israel as an obstacle facing their schemes in the region. "Without making specific allegations, Syrian official daily Ath-Thawra said on Sunday that recent acts of "terrorism" in the country had been planned abroad, and that their perpetrators crossed the border to carry them out.

Palestinian man infiltrates Israel by swimming from Gaza
Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
A Palestinian man infiltrated Israel by swimming from the Gaza Strip some two weeks ago, the Israel Defense Forces revealed Sunday, and proceeded to break into several homes in the Israeli town of Netiv Ha’asara. The man was caught trying to steal food and supplies. He was transferred to security services for interrogation. The story was exposed after Netiv Ha’asara residents distributed a letter last week that mentioned details of the security breach. "The incident is a huge embarrassment for the security establishment," said local residents on Sunday. The event occurred two weeks ago, when the Palestinian infiltrated the town at around 3 A. M. He succeeded in wandering for four hours between several homes before being caught by security personnel. During his interrogation, the Palestinian claimed he was a Tul Karm resident who was trying to reach Gaza.

Helen Mirren to play Mossad spy in Hollywood remake of Israeli film
Nirit Anderman, Ha’aretz 9/28/2008
Oscar-winning British actress Helen Mirren has signed on to star as a former Mossad agent in a Hollywood remake of the Israeli film Ha-Hov (The Debt). In the original movie, directed by Assaf Bernstein based on a screenplay he co-wrote with Ido Rosenblum, the role was played by Israeli actress Gila Almagor. The Hollywood version will be directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love), who has said, "Helen Mirren is the perfect choice for the central role - a national celebrity and retired Mossad agent, a formidable and dignified woman grappling with years of emotional disappointment, suddenly confronted by a powerful and unexpected choice. "Miramax Films bought the rights to an English-language version a year and a half ago, and filming is expected to start next year in Israel, England and Germany.

IDF concerned about Hizbullah infiltration over holiday season
Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post 9/29/2008
The infiltration of a border community or an attack on an IDF outpost are some of the scenarios the Northern Command is preparing for as intelligence assessments point to the possibility that Hizbullah may take advantage of the holiday season to avenge the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh. While the IDF is concerned that Hizbullah will try to kidnap soldiers - as it has done in the past - current fears are that terrorists will cross into Israel, infiltrate a border community like Shlomi and barricade themselves inside a home with civilians. The defense establishment is concerned that Hizbullah will use the holiday season, as well as the switchover in government - from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Kadima Party head Tzipi Livni - to launch an attack. Intelligence assessments have raised the possibility that Hizbullah believes that with Olmert heading a transition. . .

Syrian troops ’dig trenches inside Lebanese territory’
Daily Star 9/29/2008
BEIRUT: Syrian troops were allegedly digging long trenches between the regions of Rachaya and Haqel Ashty in the Kfarkouq area near the northern Lebanese border, according to Al-Mustaqbal newspaper on Sunday. According to the newspaper, Syrian troops have remained in this area despite the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon in April 2005. Syrian troops, according to the report, are dug in about 500 meters inside Lebanese territory. Political sources told the newspaper that Syria was trying to occupy Lebanese territory in the border region prior to the completion of the demarcation process. The sources said this issue was related to the Syrian military activity near the northern Syrian-Lebanese border. Last week, thousands of Syrian troops amassed along the Lebanese border in what Damascus sad was an effort to combat smuggling.

Rice acknowledges meeting Moallem to discuss peace talks
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 9/29/2008
NEW YORK: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confirmed on Saturday that she met her Syrian counterpart, Walid Moallem, to discuss Middle East peace efforts despite renewed criticism from Washington over Syria’s policies. Moallem told the Dubai-based satellite channel Al-Arabiyya that the meeting in New York on Friday was "positive and marked the start of an upcoming dialogue. "He said the US secretary of state had "voiced optimism about regional developments," particularly the resolution of the longstanding deadlock between pro- and anti-Damascus factions in Syria’s smaller neighbor Lebanon. Syrian and US diplomats said the talks touched on Iraq, Lebanon and Middle East peace negotiations. Rice said she held a brief meeting with Moallem at the iftar evening meal breaking the daily Ramadan fast. "I did on the margins of the iftar last night have an opportunity to speak with my. . .

MPs overhaul Lebanese election law, but not everyone is satisfied
Daily Star 9/29/2008
BEIRUT: Senior government figures said over the weekend they were "disappointed" that proposed reforms to electoral laws were blocked by Parliament on Saturday, and pledged to continue pushing for "radical" change after next year’s parliamentary elections. During a marathon sitting on Saturday, MPs adopted just 57 of 118 changes suggested in a proposed replacement to the current election law. They rejected key reforms that would have allowed many more Lebanese to vote in elections, including lowering the voting age. They also blocked plans for a women’s quota to be introduced to Parliament. Lebanon’s current electoral law was created in 1960, and is widely considered to be out of date. A replacement law based on a draft produced by the Butros Commission in 2006 was never adopted but leaders agreed to introduce reforms suggested by the panel.

Gloomy prognosis for welfare recipients on Rosh Hashanah
Yael Branovsky, YNetNews 9/28/2008
Welfare Ministry reports that, in first eight months of 2008, they have dealt with almost as many case files as in whole of 2007 - On the eve of Rosh Hashanah in 2008, some million Israelis are registered in Israel’s welfare system, 24% of those for reasons of extreme poverty. Half of the applicants at the welfare ministry are of working age. Jerusalem has the largest number of welfare recipients in the country, with some 118,000 applications for aid. In the first eight months of 2008, the Welfare Ministry treated 1,246. 978 citizens. In comparison, only 1,270,896 applied for welfare in the whole of 2007. The welfare ministry explains the phenomenon as due to increased incidences of violence, the deterioration of the community structure, an increase of poverty, decreased faith in the establishment and decreased capabilities for local authorities to provide social services.

Bank of Israel chief: Israeli banks unlikely to collapse
Meirav Arlosoroff, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
The Bank of Israel is worried about the global financial crisis and its effect on the Israeli economy while its governor expressed confidence in the Israeli banking system. Therefore, Stanley Fischer is considering reducing the central bank’s key lending rate. Fischer and his senior staff are evidently worried that a global economic slowdown, combined with a strong shekel, could together bring about a slowdown in the Israeli economy. However, such an occurrence would also probably bring down inflation, giving the central bank more room to maneuver. The Bank of Israel is now forecasting economic growth of slightly less than 3% in 2009. That is still quite respectable, but less than originally estimated, and central bank officials believe this reduction, along with the global slowdown, will be enough to lower inflation in 2009.

Israeli banks count Washington Mutual losses
Erez Wollberg and Eran Peer, Globes Online 9/28/2008
Leumi said that it was too early to tell; Hapoalim cut its exposure over the past two months. Bank Leumi(TASE: LUMI) reported today that it has $50 million in exposure to failed US bank Washington Mutual. Bank Leumi that it held $27 million of fixed income securities issued by Washington Mutual, and $23 million in bonds and credit derivatives specifically credit default swaps issued by the parent company, Washington Mutual Inc. Bank Leumi said that it was too early to tell the exact financial loss it will record on the holdings. Sources inform "Globes" thatBank Hapoalim’s (LSE:BKHD ; TASE:POLI ) exposure to Washington Mutual totals $25 million, and that it had significantly reduced its exposure to the bank over the past two months. Washington Mutual collapsed and was seized by the US government at the end of last week, and JP Morgan Chase bought its banking assets for $1.

Menorah Mivtachim reveals Lehman Bros exposure
Ron Stein and Tamar Koblenz, Globes Online 9/28/2008
The Israel firm acquired structured securities of the US investment bank but still expects them to be repaid. "Globes" has been informed that Menorah Mivtachim Holdings Ltd. (TASE: MORA) has an exposure of about NIS 20-25 million to Lehman Bros. The structured securities were apparently linked to the Tel Aviv 25 Index. Menorah Mivtachim tried to redeem the securities in the days before the collapse of the investment bank due to the mounting fears concerning its circumstances. However, because the redemption order was only received a short while before investment bank requested Chapter 11 protection from the US courts, the money for the instrument has not yet been received. Sources at Menorah Mivtachim believe that there will be a full recovery (in other words the debt is repayable) for the security issued by Lehman Bros.

Sun: Year ends with Tel Aviv 25 down 15.4%
Mishel Udi, Globes Online 9/28/2008
Real estate stocks were worst hit over the past year, while the biggest gains were in long-term index-linked bonds. The TASE will be closed until Thursday for the New Year holiday. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) fell today. The Tel Aviv 25 Index fell 1. 13% to 886. 84 points; the Tel Aviv 100 Index fell 1. 10% to 803. 81 points, while the Tel Tech Index was virtually unchanged at 201. 08 points. Turnover totaled NIS 1. 385 billion. 5768, the Jewish year now ending was not an exceptionally successful one for the TASE. Investors in real estate and technology stocks saw the value of their investments halved, with investors in conservative instruments, especially long-term index-linked bonds, the only ones to see some joy from their holdings. Paradoxically, the safest bonds were the ones that yielded the highest return.

Jiangxi Province in $200m R&D collaboration with Israel
Batya Feldman, Globes Online 9/28/2008
The province is responsible for 75% of the world’s production of photovoltaic cells and 60% of China’s output of flat screens. The government of China’s Jiangxi Province has signed a $200 million R&D collaboration agreement with Israel. This is the first agreement of its kind between a Chinese provincial government and Israel, and raises hopes for similar agreements with other provinces. Israeli consul general in Shanghai Jackie Eldan said the Israeli and Jiangxi governments would each budget up to $10 million a year over ten years for the joint R&D ventures. He added that the Jiangxi government has the money to begin now. "We must now find the financing in Israel," he added. Jiangxi Province in eastern China, upriver from Shanghai, has a population of nearly 50 million. The province is responsible for 75% of the world’s production of photovoltaic cells and 60% of China’s output of flat screens.

’New’ Iran resolution affirms old sanctions
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 9/29/2008
UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations Security Council on Saturday unanimously adopted a resolution again urging Iran to suspend its sensitive nuclear fuel work but offering no new sanctions and merely reaffirming existing ones. Resolution 1835 calls on Iran "to fully comply and without delay with its obligations [under relevant UN resolutions] and to meet the requirement of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] board of governors. "The resolution also reaffirmed the council’s "commitment to an early negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue," and welcomes the "dual-track approach" by Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, the six powers trying to curtail Iran’s nuclear program. US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad immediately welcomed the adoption of the resolution by all 15 council members.

IRAQ: Number of cholera cases nearly doubles
IRIN, IRIN - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 9/29/2008
BAGHDAD, 28 September 2008 () - More than 300 confirmed cholera cases have been registered in central and southern Iraq since an outbreak began on 20 August, with almost 50 percent of the cases occurring in the past week, the health ministry’s cholera unit has said. "The number of cholera cases has reached 327 in nine provinces: Babil 200 cases, Baghdad 61 cases, Basra 29 cases, Karbala 26 cases, Anbar four cases, Najaf three cases, Diwaniya two cases, Diyala one case and Maysan one case," said Ihsan Jaafar, director-general of the public health directorate and spokesman for the ministry’s cholera control unit. Jaafar toldthat no new cholera-related deaths had occurred to add to the already registered five fatalities: a 10-year-old girl and a 61-year-old man in Babil province; a three-year-old boy in Maysan; and an adult and child in Baghdad.

Deadly car bombs rock Baghdad
Al Jazeera 9/28/2008
At least 26 people have been killed and dozens wounded after two car bombs exploded in the west of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital. A dozen people died and 35 were hurt after a bomb on board a minibus blew up outside a mosque in the city’s Shurta area on Sunday. A second blast killed one person and wounded another in Hai al-Amil. Both the attacks took place minutes before the end of the day’s Ramadan fasting period. A third attack involving a car bomb and a roadside bomb in the central Karrada district killed 12 people and wounded 37, officials said, adding the dead included three policemen and three women. Earlier, one person was also killed and three wounded earlier on Sunday by a roadside bomb in the capital’s district of Mansur, security officials said.

Iraqi security forces to take over control of Babil Province
Emmanuel Duparcq, Daily Star 9/29/2008
Agence France Presse - HILLA, Iraq: Iraqi security forces will take control of the central Shiite province of Babil within a month, the provincial governor told AFP on Sunday, but warned that armed groups still roam the region. Salem al-Saleh Meslmawe said security control of Babil, south of Baghdad, would be transferred some time after mid-October, making it the 12th of Iraq’s 18 provinces to be handed over by the US-led forces. "We have discussed with the government and the coalition forces and there is an agreement to transfer security. This will be done within a month," Meslmawe said. "Security [in Babil] is very good and Iraqi security forces can control it. "The US military had a sprawling base in the historic town of Babylon, just north of Hilla. According to UNESCO, archaeological treasures there suffered serious damage when US forces established the base in 2003.

Sheikh under fire for ’fascism in the same of the Sunni majority’
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 9/29/2008
Mona Salem Agence France PresseCAIRO: Egyptian writers have expressed outrage after a controversial cleric accused Iran of neo-colonialism by seeking to spread Shiism in predominantly Sunni countries, sparking fears of sectarian strife. Speaking during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who hosts a religious program on the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite channel, last week accused Iranians of having "imperial dreams" of taking over the Sunni world. In comments carried by independent Egyptian daily Al-Masry al-Yom, Qaradawi said: "I don’t accept that any Arab or foreign country attack Iran, but I don’t accept that Iran attack any Arab country, especially seeing as some Iranians have imperial dreams, which is wrong and dangerous. " "What is happening is organized, an invasion. . . It is not a religious invasion but a political one.

3 Israelis, Lebanese citizen indicted over drug deal
Ahiya Raved, YNetNews 9/28/2008
Four suspects detained by police on northern border earlier this month while in possession of massive sums of money, 50 kg of heroin in largest drug deal on record in Israel -The Haifa District Prosecution filed an indictment Sunday charging three Israeli Bedouins and a citizen of southern Lebanon with the attempted smuggling of 50 kg of heroin to Israel through the northern border, in the largest drug deal ever recorded by the State. The four were caught red-handed by detectives near the border fence earlier this month, but the Lebanese citizen’s attorney is claiming that the indictment against his client constitutes his kidnapping from Lebanese soil. The heroin was confiscated and the suspects apprehended on September 6. The indictment charges a 45-year old man and his 21 and 23-year old nephews, of the Bedouin sector in the south, with possession. . .

Jewish studies program funded by Lev Leviev nixed from curriculum
Or Kashti, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
The Education Ministry has recently instructed Israel’s schools to remove a religious Jewish identity educational program, funded by billionaire Lev Leviev, from the curriculum. The program, called "Zman Masa," or "Journey Time," focuses on understanding Judaism and is designed to be taught at state-run elementary schools. The Education Ministry has found that the terms it had set for the program were not met. The Education Ministry’s terms were that the program must be taught by certified school teachers or student teachers from state colleges, not ultra-Orthodox teachers from outside the education system, and that the material must be pre-approved by the ministry. During the last school year, the Zman Masa program was operational in 66 elementary schools in Rishon Letzion, Petah Tikva and Beit Shemesh.

IDF soldier suspected of selling entry permits to Tel Aviv base
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
It emerged on Sunday that an Israel Defense Forces soldier has been caught unlawfully issuing permits granting enty to the army’s Kirya defense compound in Tel Aviv. The massive compound, which also houses the Defense Ministry, is considered the nerve center of the IDF. Entrance is limited to permit holders only. But the IDF recently discovered that a conscripted soldier working in the Kirya’s Permits Center was using his position to make some money on the sly. The soldier allegedly stole permits and sold them to officers, other soldiers and civilians. [end]


The settler and the shepherd: an unfair tale
Palestine Monitor, Palestine Monitor 9/28/2008
      This Saturday, Yahya Atta Riahin, an 18 year-old shepherd from the town of Aqraba, in the Northern district of Nablus, was executed by Israeli settlers while grazing his sheeps in the fields surrounding his village.
     That night, Yahya was suppose to get back from the fields, like any other Palestinian teenager during Ramadan, to share Iftar -the fast-breaking meal- with his family. As they didn’t see the boy coming back and started being anxious, knowing the risk of an - unfortunately common- settler attack in the Region, they alerted the neighbours and the entire village organised a search to find the missing boy.
     The body of the young shepherd was found with gunshot wounds late Saturday night, in the fields between the neighbouring settlement of Itamar and the villages of Aqraba and Awarta.
     According to eyewitnesses, the teenager has been attacked by a group of settlers from Itamar and Jettit, the illegal Israeli settlements that surround Al Aqbraba village. To the witnesses, the boy was pursued by a settler’s car before they heard gunshots but did not see him being shot. From a first forensic report, the settlers shot at him at least 20 times, from close range.

The ongoing terror inflicted on the residents of Asira al Qibliya, Nablus

International Solidarity Movement 9/28/2008
      Nablus Region - Following constant violence by the residents of the illegal Yitzhar settlement and the Israeli army, which culminated on Saturday 20 September with the murder of 14 year old Suhayb Salin, the terror inflicted on the village of Asira al Qibliya has not abated. For the last 4 nights villagers have reported that at least 2 army jeeps have entered the village releasing sounds bombs between midnight and the early hours of the morning each night before leaving.
     In the last month the residents of Yitzhar settlement have been inflicting a reign of terror on the local Palestinian population. Footage taken on a camera supplied by B’Teselm showed settlers and the army attacking residents of the village and vandalising their property. In a statement to the BBC the Israeli army said that they see "the wounding of civilian Palestinians as severe, and will continue to enforce law and order". Indeed the then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated the attack was "intolerable" and police would be investigating.
     International activists visited the village on Friday 26 September and no Israeli police or army officials had interviewed the villagers about the events that took place during the invasion by the Yitzhar settlers.

The Etzion illusion

Gershom Gorenberg, Ha’aretz 9/29/2008
      History - the history everyone thinks they know - misleads us. Take the story of Kfar Etzion, the first Israeli settlement in the West Bank, established 41 years ago this week.
     In the Israeli consciousness, Kfar Etzion has played a double role. On one hand, it has been the ultimate "consensus settlement." After all, the settlers returned to the site of a kibbutz that was overrun, along with the rest of the Etzion Bloc, on the eve of Israel’s independence. Even veteran opponents of settling in occupied territory shrug, smile and say "that’s different" when the Etzion Bloc is mentioned.
     On the other hand, Kfar Etzion is seen as the starting point of the religious, messianic settler movement. In the narrative accepted by both supporters and opponents of that movement, a group of young religious Jews imposed its will on Levi Eshkol’s hesitant government. And that was an omen of what was to come.
     But the accepted understanding of the return to Kfar Etzion is built on mistakes and deceptions. The Kfar Etzion settlers did not defeat Eshkol. Rather, they broke through an open doorway.
     ....The survivors of the Etzion Bloc and their children knew nothing of this. They saw his decision as a response to their pressure. But the memory of secular politicians being dragged along by settlers conceals the partnership that was actually created between them.