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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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7 October, 2008

Palestinian man shot by Israeli forces following failed raid in Nablus camp
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli special forces shot and wounded a Palestinian man during a failed arrest raid in Al-Far’a Refugee Camp, in the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday. According to local sources, undercover Israeli troops invaded the camp in search of a “wanted” Palestinian fighter affiliated to Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, the Al-Quds Brigades. The troops, who were riding in a Palestinian dairy truck, shot 32-year-old Umar Subeh in the stomach and “harshly” assaulted his 22-year-old disabled brother Yousif during clashes that followed the aborted raid. The undercover forces surrounded house of 28-year-old Al-Quds Brigades member Samer Al-Ghoul, but was unable to capture him. Failing to apprehend Al-Ghoul, a large number of uniformed Israeli soldiers invaded the camp to support the special forces, provoking clashes with stone-throwing Palestinians.

ISRAEL-OPT: Palestinian farmers separated from their olive groves
IRIN - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 10/7/2008
NI’LIN, WEST BANK, 7 October 2008 (IRIN) - As the olive harvest gets under way in the West Bank, residents of the Palestinian town of Ni’lin say much of their land, where their trees are, is off limits because of Israel’s Barrier. According to estimates by residents, some 5,000 olive trees sit on 270 hectares between the path of the Barrier and the border of the West Bank with Israel, known as the Green Line. "People depend on this land, especially because they have already lost so much," said Hindi Misleh, an activist in the village. The village, Misleh said, lost over 4,000 hectares of land to Israel in the 1948 war and then another 800 to Israeli settlements which started to pop up around Ni’lin in the 1980s. "Every year the settlers took more land," he said. PermitsIn the past Ni’lin residents did not have a problem accessing the land they still maintained control over.

Israel ’impedes’ firefighters, rescue workers as land burns
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Tulkarem – Ma’an – Israeli soldiers allowed vast areas of agricultural land to burn near the village of Qaffin in northern Tulkarem, the city’s mayor told Ma’an on Tuesday. A 30-year-old pregnant woman reportedly sustained burns, while a 57-year-old man nearly suffocated before he was evacuated to an Israeli hospital. Both were eventually transferred to Thabit Thabit Hospital in Tulkarem. Medical officials identified the two as Ibtisam Harisha and Adil Khasib. The mayor of Tulkarem blamed Israeli forces for the two injured Palestinians, as well as the charred land, accusing soldiers of intentionally delaying firefighters for hours. “150,000 square meters were on fire and Israeli forces impeded the entry of firefighters for two hours,” Mayor Aai’d Harasha told Ma’an. The destroyed land is located behind the Israeli separation wall, which the mayor blamed for more than 1,500,000 square meters burned in separate fires.

The Hurndall Case: Killing with Impunity
Amnesty International UK, Palestine Chronicle 10/7/2008
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: TUESDAY 7 OCTOBER 2008 HURNDALL CASE: ISRAELI MILITARY FORCES STILL KILL CIVILIANS WITH ’NEAR-TOTAL IMPUNITY’ - Ahead of a new television drama based on the controversial killing in 2004 in Gaza of British national Tom Hurndall ("The Shooting Of Thomas Hurndall", Channel Four Television, Monday 13 October), Amnesty International has renewed its call for justice for Mr Hurndall’s family. The human rights organisation has described a situation where Israeli military forces kill civilians in Gaza with "near-total impunity" - and while Mr Hurndall’s death has led to the conviction of one Israeli soldier on manslaughter charges, Amnesty insists that this was almost solely due to the determination of his family rather than the Israeli military authorities’ own efforts to see justice done. Director Kate Allen said: "The shocking truth is that Israeli soldiers kill civilians in Gaza with near-total impunity, week in week out. . . "

8 years after October riots - more discrimination
Sharon Roffe-Ofir, YNetNews 10/7/2008
Association for Civil Rights issues report on anniversary of October 200 riots, asserts Israeli security forces still discriminate against Arab citizens -Eight years have lapsed since the October 2000 riots, in which 13 Israeli Arab protesters were killed by police forces trying to quell the riot. But despite the extensive public debate following the incident, Israeli security troops are still discriminately violent against Arab citizens, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel said on Tuesday in a report entitled - ’October, a Good Time for Self-Scrutiny. ’ According to the report, 34 Arab citizens have been killed by police since October 2000. The most recent case the report cites occurred just three months ago, when a man from the southern Bedouin village of Rahat died after being beaten by police officers.

Assault on northern West Bank leaves several people wounded
PNN, Palestine News Network 10/7/2008
Jenin -- Israeli special forces invaded the northern West Bank’s Far’a Refugee Camp Tuesday and shot Omar Hosni in the stomach with two live bullets. Beginning before noon today the undercover Israelis entered the Jenin camp in a civilian car, as reported by a PNN special correspondent. While aiming for a member of Saraya Al Quds who the Israeli forces had ostensibly come to arrest, they missed their targeted man and hit a girl instead. Several people are reported injured. During the raid targeting the armed resistance wing of Islamic Jihad, Israeli forces tore through several homes in Far’a Refugee Camp, including that of citizen Omar Hosni. The soldiers shot him with two live bullets in the stomach and the man is now in Nablus City’s Rafidiya Hospital receiving treatment. Eyewitnesses report that Israeli soldiers injured Ali Sobh and also severely beat his special needs younger brother.

19 Palestinians taken by Israeli forces during overnight raids
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli forces seized 19 Palestinians during overnight raids in the West Bank cities of Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Hebron and Bethlehem, the Israeli military said on Tuesday morning. Bethlehem - Five were taken from Bethlehem. Palestinian security sources identified the detainees as: 18-year-old Mohammad Zawahrah, 20-year-old Mohammad Sajadi, 18-year-old Adham Al-Eiwi and 18-year-old Mohannad Al-Humouz, all from Ad-Duheisha Refugee Camp andthe neighboring town of Ad-Doha. In the village of Al-Khadr, 21-year-old Nidal Sbeih was arrested. Security sources also said that Israeli forces assaulted Ashraf Az-Zghari and Ahmad Sajadi while holding them briefly in custody. Sajadi was then transferred to the Beit Jala public hospital for treatment. Hebron -In the city of Hebron, in the southern West Bank, Israeli forces seized three people, including a policeman and a university student.

Shin Bet bars Jews in Physicians for Human Rights from entering Gaza
Judy Siegel-itzkovich, Jerusalem Post 10/7/2008
A six-member delegation of doctors and other professionals from the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel voluntary organization will spend two days in Gaza, starting Wednesday, to perform operations and examinations and to consult with patients. Only Arab personnel were given permission by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) to enter the Gaza Strip, and Jewish members of the group were barred, the organization said. The group includes a senior surgeon, orthopedist and oncologist, as well as psychologist and social worker. PHR-Israel said that in addition to surgery, examinations and consultations at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and the European Hospital in Khan Yunis, they would lecture to doctors there. This is the organization’s sixth and largest delegation to Gaza this year. It claims to be the only Israeli organization going into Gaza since June 2007, when Hamas seized power there.

PCHR Calls for Disclosure of Circumstances of Palestinian Death in Custody in Jericho
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 10/7/2008
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) calls on the calls Attorney-General of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to disclose the circumstances of the death of Shadi Mohammed Mohammed Shaheen, from al-Bireh town on the West Bank, who died on 29 September, 2008, whilst in police custody in Jericho. PCHR also demands a full investigation into the death, with the results publicly published. Twenty seven year old Shaheen was originally detained by Palestinian military court order. On 8 March this year he received a summons from the General Intelligence Service (GIS) in Ramallah, and was interrogated regarding charges of committing ‘Crimes that endanger the safety of internal homeland security’.

Azzam Al-Ahmad: Unity agreement first, talks second
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – The speaker of the Fatah bloc of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Azzam Al-Ahmad, says that Hamas must agree to end the current political crisis before any dialogue between the rivals can begin. While Azzam’s pronunciation may appear to put the cart before the rhetorical horse, he said at a press conference in Ramallah on Tuesday that this demand is somehow natural. “Those who consider ending disagreement a precondition are following in the steps of [right-wing Israeli leader] Ariel Sharon,” he said. He claimed this demand was shared by “all Palestinian factions. ”Azzams remarks were made on the same day that Hamas leaders are heading to Egypt for a round of preliminary talks before a summit of Palestinian factions next month. Also, on Monday, Hamas lawmakers warned Fatah that they will not recognize the current Palestinian president, Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, beyond the end of his term on 9 January.

Hamdan: Hamas delegation to Cairo to carry a vision to end the internal discord
Palestinian Information Center 10/7/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Osama Hamdan, the head of Hamas political bureau, stated that the Hamas delegation to Cairo will be carrying a clearly defined vision to end the inter-Palestinian political discord, explaining that the goal of this vision based mainly on rebuilding the Palestinian political system.   Hamdan underlined that this vision is integrated and does not contain any preconditions for dialog, adding that it will give every Palestinian keen on his cause the opportunity to serve it in the optimal way. The Hamas leader opined that the rebuilding of the political system is the key to address all detailed issues The Hamas leader also castigated those who market the idea of sending Arab troops to the Gaza Strip, highlighting that these troops are welcome if their objective is to liberate Jerusalem, West Bank, Jaffa and Haifa; otherwise, they will be treated similarly as the IOF troops.

Gaza leftist to PNN: failure in Cairo is not an option
PNN, Palestine News Network 10/7/2008
Gaza -- The comprehensive national dialogue in Cairo is viewed by many as the last chance for internal reconciliation and the only way to save the crumbling national project. The time is nearing althoug an exact date has not yet been agreed upon. Member of the Central Committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Jamil Majdalawi said that the crux of the dispute in the Palestinian arena is political and not legal. The leftist called on all parties to go to Cairo with open hearts and minds in order to put an end to the conflict, stressing that it is not permitted to return from Cairo without agreement because that would mean a threat to the entire national project. Yesterday’s meeting of the Legislative Council in Gaza, and the statements issued by the Head of the Legal Committee, focused on the legality or illegality of extending President Abbas’ term.

Fatah’s spokesperson: Hamas’ views over presidency are baseless
International Middle East Media Center News 10/7/2008
Fatah’s spokesman in the West Bank, Fahmi aL-Za’areer, stated on Tuesday that Hamas’ views on the term in office of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas are baseless from a constitutional and legal perspectives. In a statement received by media outlets, Al-Za’areer said that Palestinian basic law stipulates that the Palestinian president’s term is terminated with the termination of the Palestinian legislative council, adding that Hamas’s parliamentary bloc’s position is useless. He confirmed that despite Hamas’ view that Abbas’s term in office will end officially by January 8,2009, the president will continue to assume his responsibilities as stated in Palestinian law. He also expressed his party’s readiness for holding general elections immediately, in a bid to end Palestinian political turmoil currently underway.

Unions extend Gaza strikes through next Tuesday, threaten more
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Gaza-based unions will strike until 14 October if de facto government officials do not accept their demands, the secretary general of one of the unions warned on Tuesday. Palestinian teachers’ union Secretary General Jamil Shihadah insisted in a press conference held Tuesday in Ramallah that if de facto security forces did not arrest those who fired at strikers, the strike would continue. During the conference held at Watan Media Center, Shihadan demanded that officials reopen the union’s headquarters in Gaza and reinstate fired workers. A leader of a public workers’ union, Bassam Zakarnah, claimed that 65% of health sector workers and 85% of education sector workers were committed to the strike, despite “all the arbitrary practices” that Hamas’ executive forces practiced against them.

Arab MK to Dichter: Protect Arab drivers from stone throwing on Yom Kippur
Nadav Shragai and Yoav Stern, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
Ra’am-Ta’al MK Abbas Zkoor asked Public Security Minister Avi Dichter on Tuesday to order the deployment of police around Jewish towns during Yom Kippur, in order to prevent incidents of Jews hurling stones at cars driven by Arabs during the Jewish Day of Atonement. He also asked Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar to condemn the practice which "surely contravenes the basic principles of the Jewish religion and the Halakha. "Zkoor said that for some years young Jews congregate outside towns and cities on Yom Kippur and "hunt down" Arab drivers passing by. He said they hurl stones indiscriminately, endangering the lives of the passengers. "Despite numerous complaints filed in police stations, officers were not sent to disperse the racist gatherings? It is tantamount to condoning such behavior," Zkoor said.

Muslims banned from praying in mosque until after Jewish holiday
PNN, Palestine News Network 10/7/2008
Hebron - Palestinian sources report the Israeli army closed Ibrahimi Mosque in the southern West Bank’s Hebron to enable settlers to perform religious rites marking a Jewish holiday. Israeli authorities have banned Palestinians from entering the mosque in central occupied Hebron until the end of the Jewish Yom Kippur. Without permission of Israeli forces it is virtually impossible to reach the mosque as it is blocked by barbed wire, turnstiles and heavily armed soldiers. The same sources pointed out that the Israeli move came under recommendation of the Shamgar Commission which was formed after an American Jew massacred Muslims mid-prayer in February 1994. The Commission recommended dividing the mosque and opening it to settlers for Jewish holidays. Palestinian sources said that the closure of the Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslims will be extended to next Thursday.

Israeli official to be prosecuted abroad for torture
Amin Abu Wardeh, Palestine News Network 10/7/2008
Nablus - The Dutch judicial authorities failed to arrest Ami Ayalon, who is now Minister without Portfolio in the Israeli government, while on a visit to the Netherlands from 16 to May 20, 2008. He is being prosecuted for torture in 1999-2000 when he was Director of the Israeli General Security Service, Shin Bet. Ayalon’s term as GSS Director lasted from 18 February 1996 through 14 May 2000. The torture charge stems from periods in which he was "investigating persons suspected of committing crimes against the security of Israel. " The request for his arrest was submitted to the Dutch authorities by one of the victims, Khalid Al Shami. Lawyers for Al Shami in Gaza City, from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, have prepared the case file. The man resorted to seeking justice abroad after the Israeli authorities refused to take action, in part because torture is allowed in Israel.

Dutch lawyers seek arrest of Minister Ayalon for ’war crimes’
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
Lawyers for a Palestinian who claims he was tortured in an Israeli jail are seeking a Dutch arrest warrant for former Shin Bet head Ami Ayalon, a human rights activist said Tuesday. The lawyers are appealing Dutch prosecutors’ decision not to investigate Ayalon when he visited the Netherlands last May. Ayalon is a minister without portfolio and the former head of its Shin Bet security service, which is responsible for intelligence activities in the Palestinian territories. The case is the latest example of Palestinians appealing to outside courts under a principle known as universal jurisdiction, which says some crimes are so serious they can be prosecuted anywhere, not just in the country where they were committed. Khalid al-Shami alleges he was permanently seriously injured after being tortured while jailed in Israel for 50 days early in 2000.

Report: Minister Ayalon evaded arrest in Holland
Itamar Eichner, YNetNews 10/7/2008
Yedioth Ahronoth says Dutch authorities denied request filed by attorney representing Palestinian who claimed to have been tortured by Shin Bet to arrest former chief of Israeli security service -Discreet talks between Israel and Holland prevented the arrest of Minister Ami Ayalon (Labor) by Dutch authorities, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Tuesday. According to the report, In May, when Ayalon attended a conference in Holland marking Israel’s 60th anniversary, a local attorney representinga Palestinian who claimed to have been tortured by the Shin Bet between 1999-2000, during Ayalon’s tenure as head of the Israel security agency, turned to Holland’s attorney-general and demanded that the Israeli minister be detained. Word of the attorney’s request reached officials in Jerusalem, who immediately contacted Dutch authorities to make certain Ayalon would not be arrested.

Holland says Israeli Minister Ami Ayalon persona non grata
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli Minister Ami Ayalon has been declared a persona non grata in the Netherlands, after having a case filed against him in the Dutch courts accusing him of torturing Palestinian Khalid Al-Shami during his time as head of Israel’s Shin Bet. It was revealed on Tuesday that “secret negotiations” had taken place during Ayalon’s visit to the Netherlands in May 2008. Just prior to his arrival in the country, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) alongside the Amsterdam law office of Böhler Franken Koppe Wijngaarden approached the courts asking for an arrest warrant for Ayalon. According to PCHR Director Raji Sourani the evidence presented to the Dutch attorney-general was sound and satisfied all legal requirements. The group initially received a positive response from Dutch court officials but no arrest warrant was ever issued.

Palestinian workers exploited at West Bank settlement factories
Adri Nieuwhof - The Electronic Intifada, International Middle East Media Center News 10/7/2008
In August, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, the international watchdog organization, asked three Israeli companies to respond to a report by an Israeli non-governmental organization that protested the treatment of Palestinian workers at West Bank settlement industrial parks. Kav LaOved, which is concerned with the rights of migrant and Palestinian workers employed in Israel and Israel’s illegal settlements, reported on the rising number of claims by Palestinian workers employed in West Bank settlements following an October 2007 Israeli high court ruling that the country’s labor laws applied in the settlements. Amongst the companies whose labor practices were criticized in the Kav LaOved report was Royalnight, a textile manufacturer owned by Royalife. In 2003, Royalife established a factory in the Barkan Industrial Park located near the Ariel settlement in the northern West Bank.

Gaza merchants: Israel holding our stock
Aviad Glickman, YNetNews 10/7/2008
Palestinian merchants petition High Court claiming Haifa, Ashdod ports have been holding their commodities since Hamas takeover in 2007 due to orders from Defense Ministry, which is employing ’collective punishment’ tactic -Seventy merchants employed by Palestinian companies in Gaza petitioned the High Court of Justice on Tuesday in a plea against Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the Israeli government, demanding to receive merchandise belonging to them, which they say has been held in Israel since the Hamas takeover in 2007 The merchandise is located in warehouses in Israel, and the State is refusing to allow their transport into the Strip, the petition claims. Palestinian businessmen have been importing goods such as electronic equipment and food into the Haifa and Ashdod ports and trading them in Gaza.

Amnesty International UK: Hurnall case - Israeli military forces still kill civilians with ‘near-total impunity’
International Solidarity Movement 10/7/2008
Ahead of a new television drama based on the controversial killing in 2004 in Gaza of British national Tom Hurndall (’The Shooting Of Thomas Hurndall’, Channel Four Television, Monday 13 October), Amnesty International has renewed its call for justice for Mr Hurndall’s family. The human rights organisation has described a situation where Israeli military forces kill civilians in Gaza with ‘near-total impunity’ - and while Mr Hurndall’s death has led to the conviction of one Israeli soldier on manslaughter charges, Amnesty insists that this was almost solely due to the determination of his family rather than the Israeli military authorities’ own efforts to see justice done. Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said: ‘The shocking truth is that. . .

Farmers from Salim village discover theft and damage to their olive groves
Olive Harvest 2008, International Solidarity Movement 10/6/2008
Nablus Region - Photos - On Monday 6 October approximately 15 families went to their lands near Elon More settlement only to discover many of the trees have yielded little harvest and the olives had been stolen by settlers. The village had been given 3 days from the Israeli District Co-ordination Office (DCO) where protection for farmers would be provided in the area around the settlement which is a designated ‘Area C’ despite the land belonging to the village. The gate which marks the area was due to be opened at 7am, but farmers were not permitted to pass until 7:45. International activists accompanying farmers to the fields were barred from passing and were informed by the army that the area was a "closed military zone for internationals". The area had been deemed a closed military zone the previous night up until 31 December.

Agha: The IOA executes ''agricultural holocaust'' against olive trees
Palestinian Information Center 10/7/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Palestinian agriculture minister Dr. Mohammed Ramadan Al-Agha has accused Tuesday the Israeli occupation authorities of carrying out an agricultural holocaust in Palestine with the aim to destroy the olive season for this year. He cited the persistent aggressions of the Israeli occupation soldiers and settlers against the Palestinian farmers, especially in the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley and the occupied city of Jerusalem among other cities. In a press conference he held in Gaza on the matter, Agha accused the Israeli occupation soldiers of assisting the settlers in blocking Palestinian farmers and denying them access to cultivate their farms. He said that such Israeli practices would inflict big losses on olive producers this year that will also add to the losses inflicted on the farmers as a result of burning the olive trees and confiscating their lands at the hands of the IOF troops and the armed Israeli settlers.

Gisha protests IBA condition for ad
Jerusalem Post 10/7/2008
The Israel Broadcasting Authority has come up with a novel way to let the government’s critics pay to advertise its position on controversial policy matters. The case in point is a commercial ad that Gisha, the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, wanted to broadcast on Israel Radio, protesting the government’s policy of barring Palestinian students from Gaza from crossing through Israel to study abroad. Gisha wanted to broadcast three versions of the ad, one narrated by former Meretz leader Yossi Sarid, one by actress and author Alona Kimchi and one by writer and poet Yehonatan Geffen. The script for Kimchi’s ad is as follows: "Hello, this is Alona Kimchi. Higher education is a formative experience in developing identity and enlightened values, an experience that we all have the right to. "However, the government of Israel is preventing hundreds of Palestinians from leaving Gaza to study abroad.

’NGOs exploit int’l law to bash Israel’
Shelly Paz, Jerusalem Post 10/7/2008
Non-governmental organizations exploit the international justice system to further their campaign against Israel and officials who operate on the state’s behalf, a new study claims. NGO Monitor, an Israeli organization established to promote accountability and to advance discussion on NGOs’ human rights reports and activities in the framework of the Arab-Israeli conflict, held a press conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday to present their third study, "Lawfare. " The Lawfare research examines at least 10 cases of lawsuits against Israeli officials filed at international courts between 2001 and 2008 - nine of which, the research reveals, were dismissed by the international court judges. The 10th case, filed at the International Court of Law in Spain by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) against National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, is still pending.

MK Zkoor: Protect Arab-Israelis on Yom Kippur
Sharon Roffe-Ophir, YNetNews 10/7/2008
Legislator demands increased Traffic Police presence at major intersections to prevent ’racist and violent’ Jews from stoning Arab vehicles; ’we respect those who fast on Yom Kippur, but we want to avert a disaster,’ he says -Knesset Member Abas Zkoor (United Arab List - Ta’al) sent a letter to Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter asking him to increase Traffic Police presence at major intersections in the Negev and Galilee regions onYom Kippur for fear that Arab-Israeli vehicles will be stoned by Jews. We respect those who fast on Yom Kippur, but we want to avert a disaster," the Arab legislator told Ynet on Tuesday. Save for security or medical vehicles, there is virtually no traffic in Jewish towns on Yom Kippur, but Arabs, who make up 60% of the Galilee’s population, are fearful that past incidents in which their vehicles were stoned during the holiday will repeat themselves.

Deputy FM protests gov’t delays in funding of Druze sector
Yoav Stern, Ha’aretz 10/7/2008
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s deputy Magli Wahabi on Tuesday sent a letter to outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in which he criticized Olmert’s intention to hold a government meeting to determine whether to make sharp cuts in government allotments to the Druze sector. Wahabi stated in the letter that the Finance Ministry intends to delay the transfer of funds earmarked to the Druze sector until fiscal year 2011. Government allotments for 2008 have still not been sent, and the Finance Ministry has reportedly sought to delay their payment until after 2010. Wahabi has opposed the delay, saying in his letter that in light of the current global financial crisis, it would be irresponsible to cause further losses among the weakest sectors of the population. Related articles:President gets first-ever Druze military aide Druze. . .

500 Palestinian police officers to deploy in Hebron next week
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Hebron – Ma’an – Israel has reportedly granted the Palestinian Authority (PA) permission to deploy 500 new police officers in Hebron, an Israeli newspaper published on Tuesday. Hebrew newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth published an interview with a Palestinian official who said the deployment would begin next week. The new arrivals will be half police and half presidential guard officers, he said. Hebron Governor Hussein Al-A’raj said that the city needs “more than that number” because it is so densely populated. “We are trying to impose security and order,” he said. Hebron has experienced a number of security operations as the result of operations seizing fugitives and escapees over the past few months. The security chaos in Hebron has been accompanied by increasing levels of violence between clashing families.

Settlers to Barak: Don’t give PA security control of Hebron
Nadav Shragai, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
Settler leaders on Tuesday urged Defense Minister Ehud Barak not to transfer the security control of the West Bank town of Hebron to the Palestinian Authority. The leaders, from Hebron and the nearby settlements of Kiryat Arba and Gush Etzion, made this plea in a letter they sent in the wake of recent reports about the potential transfer of security control over the town. In the letter, rabbis expressed shock and outrage about the proposal, which they say would transfer control to what they call "the Fatah and Tanzim terrorists known as the Palestinian Authority. "They added, "Similar steps in the past have always lead to terrible bloodshed. "The letter detailed a number of terror attacks in which Jews were murdered by Palestinians in the area, including the killing of 10-month-old Shalhevet Pas and 12 Israel Defense Forces Soldiers.

Mayor, attorney general brief Tony Blair on Jenin progress
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Jenin – Ma’an – Middle East Quartet Envoy Tony Blair expressed interest in improving the security situation in the northern West Bank city of Jenin during a visit and press conference there on Tuesday. Blair said he hoped the city would one day be “a model for development, as well as political and economic stability. ”Speaking at the city’s municipal building, Blair was joined by Jenin Governor Qaddura Mousa and Palestinian Minister of Justice Ali Khashan, who was accompanied by Ahmad Al-Mughanni, the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s attorney general who chairs the Ali Muhanna lawyers’ union. Blair reportedly visited Jenin in order to check up on a number of donor projects underway in the city, as well as to discuss legal and judicial issues with leaders there. The former British prime minister said he had noticed a “great change over the past three months,” which he. . .

EU envoy: PM’s remarks on pullback to be point of reference
Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post 10/7/2008
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s comments about Israel needing to make a nearly complete withdrawal to the pre-1967-lines will certainly be a reference point in the future, although Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni have insisted they are not binding, EU envoy Marc Otte told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. Otte’s comments came after a press briefing in which he termed Olmert’s comments, made in a pre-Rosh Hashana interview, "courageous," and said he was not surprised by them. "Everyone who has been engaged in the negotiations is bound to come to that sort of conclusion," Otte said, adding that - as Olmert did in the interview - it is not easy for anyone to say that the positions he held before were wrong. "I am encouraged that the Israeli leadership is willing to face the challenges," Otte said.

Blair hails policing progress in Jenin
Donald Macintyre in Jenin, The Independent 10/8/2008
Unlike some of her classmates Asil Zakarna was precise about the name, if not the job, of the important visitor whose hand she shook after he arrived in the middle of the fifth grade Arabic lesson at Khaula Bint Al Azwar school yesterday. "He is Tony Blair", the 10-year-old said. "My teacher told me. I think he is the security commander. "Asil’s description was understandable, given the extent to which security is a preoccupation in this northern West Bank city. For Jenin, scene in 2002 of one of the bloodiest Israeli incursions launched against armed militants during the intifada, is now gaining a reputation as a model of improved performance by the Palestinian Authority’s partly Western-trained police and security forces. Mr Blair, the international community’s Middle East envoy, was visiting Asil’s school because it is in the process of being upgraded by international donors through. . .

EU reps meet in Nablus to discuss November investment conference
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Representatives from 27 European countries convened on Tuesday at An-Najah National University in the northern West Bank city of Nablus to discuss their countries’ roles in promoting the upcoming Palestine Investment Conference scheduled for November. French Consul General Alain Rémy said in a press conference following the discussions that the meeting, which included representatives from Jerusalem and Ramallah, “was the first of its kind. ”The governor of Nablus Jamal Muheisin attended the meeting as well as president of An-Najah University Rami Hamdallah and Dr Samir Hleila, who will coordinate the investment conference. Consul General Rémy said that France, which is currently the rotating president of the European Union (EU) and a major donor to the Palestinian Authority (PA), would continue to fund projects in Nablus and other areas in Palestine.

Qurei: no peace deal without Jerusalem; Israeli policies undermine two-state solution
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmad Qurei reiterated on Tuesday that the Palestinian leadership will not under any conditions sign a peace agreement with Israel that does not settle the question of Jerusalem. Qurei said in a statement sent to Ma’an, “The negotiations are hard and tiring and they look at … substantive issues such as refugees, borders and Jerusalem, which we refuse to divide or fragment. ” ’Two state model threatened’The head negotiator said that while the negotiations are going on, Israel’s policies are undermining the possibility of a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He said that Israel’s strategy of isolating Jerusalem from the larger West bank, constructing the separation wall, and building settlements all threaten the idea of a Palestinian state.

Israel, Russia to upgrade strategic ties
Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post 10/7/2008
Israel and Russia will upgrade their strategic dialogue and use that forum to share intelligence assessments and discuss Russian arms sales to the region, a senior source in the Prime Minister’s Office said Tuesday, following Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s meeting in the Kremlin with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. Olmert raised the issue of arms sales, including the proposed sale of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria and Iran, with the Russian president, the source said, adding that the Israeli team left the meeting feeling that "[the Russians] understand more clearly now our concerns. " The source would not say, however, whether Moscow committed not to sell the weapons system, which could severely curtail the IAF’s freedom in the skies.

Medvedev to visit Israel
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 10/7/2008
Russian president accepts PM Olmert’s invitation to visit Jerusalem, says ’Russian influence in regional issues very important to Israel’ - MOSCOW - During a meeting with outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the Kremlin on Tuesday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accepted an invitation to visit Jerusalem and said his country would "continue to play an important role in the (Middle East). " Olmert responded that "Russia is a world power and, as such, its influence in regional issues is very important - also toIsrael. The two leaders were also expected to discuss the Iranian nuclear program and the transfer of Russian arms to Syria, Iran and terror groups such as Hizbullah. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also participated in the meeting. Medvedev told Olmert that the relations between the two countries were "very important,". . .

Olmert wins no firm pledge from Russia on arms sales to Iran, Syria
Yossi Melman and News Agencies, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert apparently failed on Tuesday to win a firm pledge that Moscow would halt the sale of advanced weapons to Iran and Syria. Wrapping up a two-day visit, Olmert said only that he had succeeded in getting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to understand his fears that Russian-made missiles and other technology could fall into the hands of anti-Israel militants in the Middle East. "My feeling is the Russian government understands well the Israeli position and is aware the possible influence such supplying could have on stability in the region," Olmert told reporters traveling with him. But he gave no direct response to the question of whether Russia had agreed not to sell the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Tehran, which Israel sees as a threat to its existence, saying: "We discussed issues of weapons sales and the possibility of weapons sales.

Olmert, Medvedev discuss weapon sales
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 10/7/2008
Prime minister concludes visit to Russia, says sides will set up forum to ’upgrade strategic dialogue’ on potential Russian arms sales to Iran, Syria; adds ’Medvedev opposes nuclear Iran, expressed sharp criticism of Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric toward Israel’ -In his final days in office, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been seeking to improve ties with Moscow, and emerged from his visit to the Russian capital with an aura of satisfaction. He concluded the official visit after a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Olmert said the sides had agreed to set up a forum that would "upgrade their strategic dialogue," and that the discussions would touch on Israel’s concerns about potential Russian arms sales to Israel’s enemies in Iran and Syria. Olmert’s Visit to MoscowMedvedev to visit Israel / Russian president accepts PM Olmert’s invitation to. . .

Israel’s Olmert in Russia for talks
Middle East Online 10/7/2008
MOSCOW - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was in Moscow on Tuesday for talks expected to touch on the Middle East peace process, the Iran nuclear crisis and possible Russian weapons sales to Syria. Olmert, who stepped down on September 21 but remains at the helm of a transitional government, was due to hold talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at 1000 GMT, the Kremlin said. The Kremlin said talks would focus on bilateral trade and the Middle East peace process. Media reports suggested talks would also center on Iran and Syria. Both Israel -- the only nuclear armed state in the Middle East -- and its staunch ally the United States accuse Iran of trying to develop atomic weapons, charges Tehran denies. Israeli officials have also expressed concern at reports that Russia was willing to sell weapons to Syria.

Russia’s Jerusalem land claim worries Israelis
Associated Press, YNetNews 10/7/2008
Olmert’s cabinet agrees to hand over small tract known as Sergei’s Courtyard to Russian control. Legal Forum for the Land of Israel says deal ’breach of Israeli sovereignty’ and may set precedent for other land claims -The Russians are coming to downtown Jerusalem, reclaiming ownership of a landmark with the approval of the Israeli government, just as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visits Moscow to try to iron out serious policy differences that have sprung up between the two countries. After years of contacts, Olmert’s cabinet agreed Sunday to hand over the small tract known as Sergei’s Courtyard. The area, which once accommodated Russian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land, now houses offices of Israel’s Agriculture Ministry and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. The property includes a lush garden and the massive buildings around it - a. . .

Pentagon denies report US plane landed in Iran
Reuters, YNetNews 10/7/2008
FARS news agency says American warplane unintentionally violated Iranian territory and was forced to land in Islamic Republic. US: All aircraft in region accounted for -An Iranian news agency said on Tuesday that a US Military aircraft had unintentionally violated Iranian airspace and been forced to land in Iran, but later allowed to leave. The semi-official Fars News Agency did not say when the incident happened or give a source for the report, which comes at a time of tension between Tehran and Washington over Iran’s disputed nuclear program. The news agency said five senior US Military officials had been interrogated at an Iranian airport and released a day later after it became clear the plane had not entered Iranian airspace intentionally. "After it became clear that they unintentionally entered Iran’s air space and their destination was Afghanistan, they were allowed to leave Iran for Afghanistan," Fars said.

Israeli security sources: prisoner swap deal out of the question
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 10/7/2008
Israeli security sources warned Tuesday of the limited possibility of a prisoner swap deal in exchange for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gil’ad Shalit in Gaza. According to the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, the sources said that time is running out, with little hope of achieving any progress regarding a potential swap deal and that this would hamper negotiations over the case. The sources confirmed that Hamas might increase demands in return for releasing Shailt which would explode the situation near the Gaza-Egypt border lines. The sources also believed that Egypt, a principal mediator, might reduce its influence and that a Shalit guardsman might harm Shalit, ending the case once and for all. Several rounds of Egyptian mediation efforts have so far failed to bring in any progress to a prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel.

Barak at IDF memorial: We’ll do everything for Gilad
Hanan Greenberg, YNetNews 10/7/2008
Defense minister addresses bereaved families at evening honoring fallen paratroopers, speaks of painful absence of founder of Unit 101 - Ariel Sharon. ’We are committed to making sure the State of Israel is worthy of the sacrifice made by the fallen’ - Speaking at a memorial event honoring the fallen soldiers of the Paratrooper Corps on Tuesday evening, Defense Minister Ehud Barak paid tribute to one of the corps’ most influential commanders. " Again we find ourselves missing the man who founded the 101st and the 202nd Brigade - as it was then called, and for whom the spirit of the paratroopers was such an integral part of his path - former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. " Barak spoke of the moral decree inherited from the fallen soldiers. "We come back here again and again and again, out of a deep sense of wanting to return to the source of our values, to the foundations. . .

Thousands rally in Rabin Square to ask Shalit for forgiveness
News Agencies, Ha’aretz 10/7/2008
The family of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit will hold a rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Monday evening, to ask for his forgiveness ahead of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Thousands of supporters gathered at the event, which began at 8 P. M. . Shalit was captured by Gaza militants in a cross-border raid in June, 2006. Shalit’s father, Noam, addressed the crowd, along with Shlomo Goldwasser, whose son Eldad was abducted and killed by Hezbollah in July2006, and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Mezger. A host of artists were also perform songs dedicated to Shalit. Rallies calling for Shalit’s release are held at Rabin Square on a near weekly basis ,to ensure that the issue remains on the public agenda. Meanwhile, the exiled leader of Hamas earlier Monday said talks with Israel over. . .

Paris campaign calls for Shalit’s freedom
Ahiya Raved, YNetNews 10/7/2008
French PR firm launches bid to rope public interest in fate of kidnapped soldier; 16th Arrondissement first to respond in campaign advocates hope will sweep Europe -A public relations firm in France has launched a new campaign promoting public interest in the case of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, with the hope of putting pressure on President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government to act on the issue. The campaign’s first step was to post a giant sign before the municipality building of Paris’ 16th Arrondissement. Giant poster unveiled in 16th Arrondissement (Photo: AP)The campaign was conceived two weeks ago, at which time Noam Shalit, Gilad’s father, was visiting the French capital. The PR agency, Euro RSCG, applied to the heads of Paris’ various municipalities, and the first to respond was the 16th Arrondissement.

Bid to halt Egypt-Israel gas deal
Al Jazeera 10/7/2008
A lawyer in Egypt has demanded that the government halt its gas exports to Israel, Al Jazeera reports. Ibrahim Yossri, 65, arrived at the court on Tuesday to call on the Egyptian government to stop exporting natural gas to its Middle East neighbour. Yossri, who used to work as director of international treaties in the Egyptian foreign ministry, said the deal was illegal and costing the Egyptian taxpayer $9 million a day. "There are visible signs of public discontent and dissatisfaction over their government’s relations with Israel," he said. A $2-3bn agreement to supply natural gas to Israel was signed by Binyamin Ben Eliezer, the Israeli infrastructure minister, and Sameh Fahmi, the Egyptian oil minister, in June 2005.

Egypt to Host ME Summit in November
Mohammed Mar’i, MIFTAH 10/7/2008
Israel, the Palestinians and the Middle East Quartet will meet in November to review progress in US-backed peace talks launched nearly a year ago, according to a senior Israeli official. The official told the Israeli daily Haaretz that the Israeli and Palestine Authority participants would brief the Quartet over progress made in the ongoing peace talks. The meeting would be held in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on Nov. 27, the one-year anniversary of the Annapolis conference that relaunched the negotiations. The Quartet representatives, including its Middle East envoy, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, will participate as well as officials from Jordan and Egypt. The gathering is said to be the result of a compromise worked out between the US, Israel and the Palestinians. In recent months US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been urging both sides to draft a document detailing the points of agreement.

Israeli security warning of tragic end for Shalit issue
Palestinian Information Center 10/7/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- High-level security sources warned that the passage of time might threaten the chances of releasing Israeli captive soldier Gilad Shalit safely and make the situation more complicated. The Israeli Haaretz newspaper quoted these sources as saying that there is a series of developments which may hamper the negotiations in this regard and thus lead to a tragic end. The sources emphasized that several contingencies must be taken into account such as the rise of Palestinian demands in exchange for releasing Shalit or the explosion of the situation on Gaza borders. The Egyptian-sponsored talks between Hamas and Fatah which started today may include an Egyptian proposal on the Palestinian prisoner swap deal with Israel.

Israeli forces seize three Palestinians near Nablus
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli forces apprehended three Palestinians from the northern West Bank village of Asira Al-Qibliya near Nablus, local Palestinians say. Palestinians in the village told Ma’an that more than ten military vehicles stormed the area, inspected several homes and then seized 38-year-old Yahya Salih and his son, 16-year-old Abdullah, as well as 23-year-old Ammar Salih. [end]

Jailed Palestinian undergoes third surgical operation in Israeil prison
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – A Palestinian sentenced to life imprisonment in an Israeli jail underwent his third major operation since his sentencing 16 years ago. Relatives of prisoner Rizaq Salah, who is from the town of Al-Khadr near Bethlehem, said doctors performed a cholecystectomy on the man as treatment for severe stomach pain. Doctors performed an appendectomy on the prisoner in 1995, which was shortly after they extracted liquids from his knee. Bethlehem-based Prisoners’ Society demanded in a statement received by Ma’an that Israel release Palestinians suffering from serious illness. The society estimated that around 1,000 Palestinians need urgent operations or are disabled as the result of being shot by Israeli soldiers during apprehension.

Palestinian captives determined not to wear orange uniform
Palestinian Information Center 10/7/2008
NABLUS, (PIC)-- Palestinian captives in the Israeli Hadarim prison asserted Tuesday that they won’t wear the orange uniform, which the Israeli prison authority tries to impose on them, urging Palestinian masses to support them in this regard. Lawyer Buthaina Dakmak of the Mandela foundation that caters from Palestinian captives in Israeli jails met Palestinian MP Ahmad Sa’adat, the secretary-general of the PFLP, and Tawfeek Abu Na’im, one of Hamas’s political leaders in the Hadarim jail, adding that both Palestinian leaders highlighted the importance of the Palestinian popular support in this regard. She also quoted the two leaders as asserting that four of the Palestinian detainees were sent by the IPA to the isolation cells for rejecting to wear the orange uniform. She said that the four prisoners were denied their simplest human rights and that they were completely isolated.

Israeli forces arrest 5 Bethlehem youth for political affiliation
Najib Farag, Palestine News Network 10/7/2008
Bethlehem -- During Tuesday’s early morning hours some 50 Israeli soldiers descended onto Bethlehem’s Deheisha Refugee Camp. The military operation lasted until sunrise as part of an ongoing larger campaign against area leftist youth. Palestinian security sources and eyewitness confirm that Israeli soldiers, including several wearing black masks, invaded the camp from several outlets. Soldiers brought with them military dogs as they raided dozens of homes, conducting searches described by residents as invasive and aimed to provoke. Israeli soldiers broke windows and destroyed furniture before arresting four youth between the ages of 17 and 20. They were taken blindfolded with hands bound to unknown locations. Witnesses said soldiers and intelligence service officers appeared to be bringing a young man who was arrested a week ago to an empty house which was then searched.

Israeli military detains several West Bank residents
Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 10/7/2008
The Israeli military detained several Palestinian residents from a number of West Bank areas on Tuesday, including Jenin and Bethlehem, Palestinian sources reported. An Israeli contingent broke into the city of Jenin early today and cordoned off the Marah Sa’d neighborhood, detaining two residents after ransacking houses and vandalizing furniture inside, witnesses said. Witnesses added that the Israeli soldiers fired gas canisters into a crowd of people, injuring two sisters n their twenties. The sisters were evacuated to a nearby hospital for suffocation from gas inhalation. In the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the Israeli troops detained five residents from Dehaisha refugee camp and the town of Alkhader, Palestinian security sources reported. The sources said that a large military force stormed the refugee camp and broke into several houses detaining five residents were detained.

Israeli Prisons Continue to Swell Amidst Talks of a Possible Exchange
Palestine Monitor, Palestine Monitor 10/7/2008
The Israeli detention of Palestinians continued late Monday night and Tuesday morning throughout several cities in the West Bank despite the fact that no attacks have emanated from there in over a year, and despite the ongoing peace talks in which prisoner(s) held by both sides remain a key issue. Their assault on the city of Jenin left several wounded, including two sisters in their twenties, and the detainment of two people for unknown charges. This, only days after an operation in Jenin in which the IDF entered into the "˜Martyrs Cemetery’ reportedly digging up graves. Tuesday also saw the arrest of five West Bank residents of Bethlehem’s Dehaisha refugee camp and an unspecified number of others were evacuated to hospitals for the beatings received at the hands of the IDF. In total, the early morning raids resulted in the arrest and detainment of 19 Palestinians according to the Israeli military.

PLC committee warns of Israeli escalations against Jerusalem and Aqsa
Palestinian Information Center 10/7/2008
RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- The parliamentary committee of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque warned Monday of the continued Israeli violations in occupied Jerusalem which escalated during last September, calling on Arab and Islamic countries to swiftly and effectively move to save the holy city and Mosque. MP Ahmed Abu Halabia, the head of the committee, told a press conference held in the Ramattan headquarters that the Israeli infringements varied between home demolition, assaults on Jerusalemite citizens and banning mosques in Jerusalem from calling for prayers. In light of this, MP Abu Halabia called on PA chief Mahmoud Abbas to stop all frivolous negotiations with the Israeli occupation and not to resume them under any justification. He also called on the Arab League and the organization of Islamic conference to activate their roles and assume their religious and historical responsibilities towards Jerusalem and its holy places.

Palestine Today 100708
IMEMC News - Audio Dept, International Middle East Media Center News 10/7/2008
Click on Link to download or play MP3 file || 3 m 0s || 2. 75 MB || Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center www. imemc. org for Tuesday October 07, 2008 As national unity talks are about to start in Cairo today, the Fatah Party of President Abbas refused to accept Hamas’ declaration on the legality of Abbas’ presidency after January 08, 2009, these stories and more are coming up, stay tuned. On Tuesday, the spokesman of the Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Fahmi al-Zareer, refused the Hamas parliamentary bloc’s consideration of Abbas as just an ordinary citizen after January 08, 2009, when Abbas’s term in office is supposed to end. Al-Zareer also stated that Abbas will continue to assume his responsibilities in accordance with the Palestinian law and constitution, ’which contravene with Hamas’s views’.

PLO on Israeli violations during Al Aqsa Intifada
Palestine News Network 10/7/2008
Palestine Liberation Organization Department of Arab and International Relations - Overview of Israeli Violations: 30 September 2000 -- 30 September 2008 1- Willful Killings, Wounds & Palestinian Patients:During the past 8 years, 5526 Palestinian citizens were killed by the IOF troops, 1010 children, 340 female, 664 school students, and 11 journalists, were among the victims. 32,000 Palestinian citizens were wounded by the IOF troops, 7500 were disabled and 3600 of whom were left with permanent disabilities; another 33,000 Palestinians suffered from tear gas inhalation. 247 Palestinian patients that were denied permissions to cross the Gaza borders for further treatment abroad have passed away. 2- Houses Demolition:8300 Palestinian houses were demolished by the IOF; different sorts of weapons were used during the demolitions.

Settler Leader Charged with Assaulting Police Officers
Raanan Ben-Zur, MIFTAH 10/7/2008
Daniela Weiss, the former head of the northern West Bank settlement of Kedumim, was charged Friday with assaulting a police officer, obstruction of justice and obstructing police actions. The charges, filed with the Kfar Saba Magistrate’s Court, also named a second defendant, Kedumim resident Shoshana Shilo. The two were indicted for a clash they had with police officers on Thursday. According to the indictment, three policemen dispatched to a Palestinian olive grove which was set on fire near Kedumim, spotted three suspects fleeing the scene in a vehicle. The officers began pursuing the car, which was eventually found in one of Kedumim’s streets. The officers began searching the vehicle and lifting fingerprints, at which point Weiss, 63, arrive at the scene, and despite the officers’ request to stay away, began placing her hands all over the car, potentially contaminating evidence.

More US ears in Israel
Ardeshir Ommani, Asia Times 10/8/2008
At a cost of US$89 million to the American taxpayers, the US Senate, with no hesitation, passed a bill that was attached by Republican Senator Joe Kyle, to the federal defense budget to deploy another sophisticated long-range radar system to Israel. What was the rush that the US military amid the country’s financial and economic crisis had to speed up the deployment of a most powerful and therefore expensive system, called AN/TPY-2 forward-based X-band, a year earlier than it was scheduled previously? The X-band system, deployed to Israel on September 26, was originally scheduled for delivery in 2009 for joint training exercises, according to the US European Command mission (EUCOM). For reasons not explained by the US Senate Intelligence Committee, the ownership of Army/Navy Transportable Radar Surveillance remains with Washington and will be installed and operated permanently by 120 US military personnel drawn from US units stationed in Germany and across the rest of Europe.

Brown lauds Israel as ’symbol of hope’
Jonny Paul, Jpost Correspondent In London, Jerusalem Post 10/7/2008
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown paid tribute to the tenacity and achievements of the Jewish people and said that Israel is "a symbol of hope from which all the world can learn. " Speaking on Monday night to the annual fundraising dinner of the United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA), the largest Jewish charity in Europe, he spoke about the role hope has played in Jewish history and the work done by the charity, not just for the Jewish community but for Britain as a whole. Paying tribute to everyone involved in the charity, he said how his wife Sarah was "moved and inspired" by the work of one of UJIA’s Israel experience programs which she visited in Jerusalem recently. He was impressed, he said, with the charity’s partnership with Israel but in particular with communities of the Galilee, "where you are not simply sending charity but investing fully in the sustainability of that region.

Hamas blames Jews for global crisis
Haviv Rettig, Jerusalem Post 10/7/2008
A Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip stated on Tuesday that the banking crisis rocking US and world financial markets was caused by "bad administrative and financial management and a bad banking system put into place and controlled by the Jewish lobby," AFP reported. Fawzi Barhum, spokesman for the organization, blasted American leaders, and particularly President George W. Bush, for failing to acknowledge the role of "the Jewish lobby that put the US banking and financial sector into place. " The lobby "controls the US elections and defines the foreign policy of any new administration in a manner that allows it to retain control of the American government and economy. " The Jerusalem Post could not independently confirm the AFP report.

Hamas blames US ’Jewish Lobby’ for financial crisis
AFP, YNetNews 10/7/2008
Islamist group spokesman Fawzi Barhum says crisis due to ’bad banking system put into place and controlled by Jewish lobby’ -The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip on Tuesday blamed what it called a "Jewish lobby" in the US for the global financial crisis. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said in a statement that the crisis was due to "bad administrative and financial management and a bad banking system put into place and controlled by the Jewish lobby. " While pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into a rescue package, US President George W. Bush has remained silent about "the Jewish lobby that put the US banking and financial sector into place," he said. He said the lobby "controls the US elections and defines the foreign policy of any new administration in a manner that allows it to retain control of the American government and economy.

Hamas: ’Jewish Lobby’ in U.S. to blame for global financial crisis
News Agencies and Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
The Palestinian militant group Hamas on Tuesday accused a "Jewish Lobby" in the United States of fomenting the global financial crisis. The crisis was the result of "bad administrative and financial management and a bad banking system put into place and controlled by the Jewish lobby," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said in a statement. Barhum said that despite approving a bailout plan of $700 billion dollars, the U. S. government was ignoring the role of "the Jewish lobby that put the U. S. banking and financial sector into place. " This lobby, said Barhum, "controls the U. S. elections and defines the foreign policy of any new administration in a manner that allows it to retain control of the American government and economy. "The Anti-Defamation League reported last week a major upsurge in the number of anti-Semitic postings. . .

OPT: USAID concludes $45 million water project to benefit 550,000 in Hebron area
United States Agency for International Development - USAID, ReliefWeb 10/7/2008
Bani Naim, West Bank –The U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) held an inauguration ceremony on Tuesday for the Eastern Hebron Bulk Water Supply Project, which will significantly improve the quality and quantity of drinking water in the Southern West Bank. The Governor of Hebron Hussein Al Araj, the Chairman of Palestinian Water Authority Shaddad Attili and the Mayors of the benefiting communities attended the event, together with USAID Mission Director Howard Sumka, and a number of other American and Palestinian officials. During the event, USAID officially handed over the $45 million water project to the Palestinian Water Authority, which will oversee its operations. The project will increase the supply and distribution of potable water in the Hebron Governorate, benefiting 550,000 Palestinians, who have suffered from limited water resources.

PFLP refuses to take sides in factional bickering
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said on Tuesday that it would avoid taking sides in the ongoing tit-for-tat between factions in the Palestinian media. A PFLP spokesperson said that the “bickering” in the media on Tuesday served the interests of no Palestinian party or faction, and that groups should stop competing as rivals and instead look for common ground to restore unity. “To show responsibility, everybody should provide a positive atmosphere to the Cairo reconciliation dialogue instead of bickering through the media, PFLP politburo-member Jamil Majdalawi said on Tuesday. The back-and-forth between Hamas and Fatah is “closer to blackmail than political facts, and we see no positive atmosphere” in such behavior, Majdawi said. He insisted that the three parties “are not rivals; we are rather Palestinian factions that should look for a common ground.

Hamas delegation in Cairo for unity talks
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 10/8/2008
GAZA CITY: The Islamist Hamas movement sent a delegation to Egypt Tuesday for talks aimed at restoring Palestinian unity amid a dispute over the presidency that could sharpen internal divisions. The delegation headed by Moussa Abu Marzuk, the number two official in Hamas’ Damascus headquarters, also includes Mahmoud al-Zahar, Said Siyam and Khalil al-Hayya, all senior leaders of the movement in the Gaza Strip. "We will arrive in Cairo today, and tomorrow we will begin meetings with our Egyptian brothers," Zahar, who is widely considered the most influential leader in Gaza, told AFP before he crossed into Egypt with the Gaza delegation. The talks are expected to focus on repairing bitter Palestinian divisions left by Hamas’ seizure of Gaza in June 2007 that split the Palestinian territories into hostile rival camps.

Hamas leaders arrive in Cairo for unity talks on Tuesday night
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – A High-ranking Hamas delegation from the movement’s leaders in Palestine and in exile is scheduled to arrive in Cairo on Tuesday to hold bilateral talks with the Egyptians related to a planned reconciliation dialogue with Fatah. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the delegation would arrive in the evening. He named two major members of the delegation as Mousa Abu Marzouq, deputy chair of the movement’s politburo in exile, and Mahmoud Zahhar from the Gaza Strip. “The delegation aims at relating Hamas attitudes towards reconciliation dialogue and learning what the Egyptians have to say in that regard. The meeting will be held on Wednesday,” Abu Zuhri explained. “This meeting does not mean the beginning of dialogue, but it is rather a bilateral Hamas-Cairo meeting,” he added. “We believe direct dialogue between Hamas and Fatah under Arab sponsorship should. . .

Hamas headed to Cairo talks ’without preconditions;’ Shalit also on agenda
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas leaders are meeting with an Egyptian mediator on Tuesday in order to lay the groundwork for talks aimed at ending the internal Palestinian political crisis. Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar told Ma’an that his faction is going into the meeting with an open mind. “We will go to see what Egyptians have and we have no prior or limited answers, for our part we will find out what we have ‘there’, not through the media,” he said. Zahhar and other leaders will meet with Egyptian intelligence chief Umar Suleiman in Cairo, who is leading the mediation effort between Hamas, its rival Fatah, and the other Palestinian political factions. Over the last several weeks, Cairo has hosted a series of meetings with individual Palestinian factions. Egypt plans to invite all the factions to begin direct talks with one another at a summit in Cairo in early November.

Hamas: Al-Ahmed’s statements are full of lies and contradictions
Palestinian Information Center 10/7/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement said that the statements made by Azzam Al-Ahmed, the head of Fatah parliamentary bloc, on Tuesday about the Cairo talks and the political developments are full of slanders, misinformation and contradictions and reflect that the Fatah faction is not serious about the national dialog. In an exclusive press statement to the PIC, Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, underlined that Al-Ahmed tells false stories when he talks about an Egyptian plan tendered to Palestinian factions while Egypt denies that and alleges that the factions agreed on the arrival of Arab troops to the Gaza Strip while, in fact, the factions rejected the idea outright. Barhoum pointed out that Al-Ahmed contradicted himself when he said that those who break the law would be removed from office while the PA chief broke the law when he formed his unconstitutional government as jurists. . .

Al-Zahar to openly discuss issues during national unity talks
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 10/7/2008
Dr. Mahmoud aL-Zahar, a prominent Hamas leader in Gaza, denied yesterday that his party would vote "No" during the upcoming national unity talks in Cairo, stating that the party will openly discuss all issues. Al-Zahar’s remarks came in response to media reports that revealed that the Islamist ruling party in Gaza had set forth four main conditions for an Egyptian-mediated dialogue. This include the following demands: that security services reconstruction should be comprehensive, that there shall be no technocrat government beyond the 2006’s elections results, that there shall be no end to the the parliament’s legal term and that Gaza should not be dealt with seperately from the West Bank. Al-Zahar added on his way to Cairo that the abovementioned criterions are merely his own assessment of one of the party’s leaders and that, "Rather, we are going to listen.

Hamas: PA security forces detained five affiliates
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian Authority (PA) security services detained five Hamas loyalists in the West Bank on Monday, according to a statement from the movement. PA forces detained Usayd Abdul-Jalil in Salem, a village near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, while in Qalqilia, PA forces seized Anwar Mara’ba, an assistant undersecretary at the endowment ministry. The statement also noted that PA forces seized Anas Atara in Jenin, along with Um Mirshid, the director at a center for Quranic studies. Finally, PA forces reportedly apprehended Sheikh Aahid Assaf in Tukarem. Assaf is an Imam at a local mosque in the northern West Bank city, according to the statement.

Sleiman tells US envoy army needs advanced weaponry
Daily Star 10/8/2008
BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman said after meeting US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Hale on Tuesday that the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) needed to be equipped with advanced weaponry in order to confront terrorism and protect civil peace in Lebanon. Hale, who was accompanied by US Ambassador Michele Sison, visited the Presidential Palace and discussed with Sleiman ways to enhance political and military cooperation between Beirut and Washington. Hale briefed the president on the outcome of his recent talks with Lebanese officials. Lebanon and the US signed on Monday three military contracts worth $63 million in US grants to the LAF. The grants are aimed at providing the Lebanese army with secure communications, ammunition and infantry weapons. Beirut and Washington also set up a joint military commission in charge of organizing their bilateral military relationship.

Barak: Syrian border is calm
Hanan Greenberg, YNetNews 10/7/2008
Defense Minister travels to Golan on anniversary of Yom Kippur War, emphasizes that border is pastoral but it’s important to remain wary - Thirty-five years after the Yom Kippur War broke out "the border along the Golan Heights is the quietest in Israel," said Defense Minister Ehud Barak Tuesday during a visit with a regional division. "The hemorrhage is along the border with Lebanon but it’s still important to be wary of what’s happening" along the border with Syria, he said. "Thirty-five years ago, upon these very hills, Avigdor Kahalani sat along with a tank unit. They fought one of the hardest, most demanding battles in the history of Israel and, due to their courage, saved the nation," he said. Barak, speaking to soldiers in the Golan Heights (Photo: Ariel Harmoni) "Now these hills are pastoral, but in the north you can never now how quickly things. . .

Kuntar victim’s family outraged by his return to terror
Yael Levy, YNetNews 10/7/2008
Notorious terrorist released in exchange for soldiers’ bodies filmed training with rocket launcher, family of policeman he killed lament realization of their worst fears: ’We feel sorry for the next family’ - Eliyahu Shahar’s family were perturbed, but not in any way surprised by the images displayed to the world this week of Samir Kuntar engaging in weapons training. Shahar was killed by a terror cell led by Kuntar into the northern coastal town of Nahariya in 1979. It was during that raid that Kuntar also murdered Danny Haran and his four-year-old daughter Einat. An appeal filed by the Shahar family to prevent Kuntar’s release was rejected by the High Court of Justice. He was repatriated to Lebanon along with several other terrorists and the bodies of hundreds of Lebanese fighters in return for the remains of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

VIDEO - Footage shows freed terrorist Kuntar training with Hezbollah
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
Recent video footage from Lebanon shows freed terrorist Samir Kuntar engaging in Hezbollah weapons training this past week. Samir was part of a cell that killed four Israelis in a particularly gruesome attack after infiltrating northern Israeli in 1979. He was released in July in a prisoner exchange deal with Hezbollah. The footage shows Kuntar attending a Hezbollah arms exhibition and training with members of the Lebanese guerilla group. [end]

Director of Palestinian center laments corruption of national icon
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The director of a Palestinian cultural center accused Israel on Tuesday of “stealing and distorting” traditional Palestinian cultural icons. Speaking during the country’s annual Palestinian Cultural Heritage Day, Maha As-Saqa “expressed astonishment” over what she called the “robbery of Palestinian heritage. ”Pointing to the Palestinian kuffiyah, a traditional men’s headdress, As-Saqa said the garment was a symbol of the Palestinian people, as well as revolutionaries all over the world, but that it was “being stolen by Israelis and distorted by others in a way that harms its status. ”The director visited Ma’an’s office in Bethlehem accompanied by several unusual kuffiyah styles. Among them was one headdress designed to resemble the Israeli flag, colored blue and white, with an embroidered Jewish Star of David, an Israeli symbol.

Palestinians now able to view Jerusalem by satellite
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israel’s Jerusalem Municipal Council signed an agreement with Google on Tuesday that will allow internet users to view the city on its Google Earth program, according to an Israeli newspaper. According to Hebrew newspaper Maariv, council members agreed that Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque will represent the city. They considered the recognizable icons similar to those of other famous cities, such as the Arc de Triomphe in Paris or Rome’s Coliseum, according to the paper. Israel previously blocked Google from displaying satellite images of Jerusalem and its Old City, citing security reasons. Both parts of the disputed capital city will now be visible to those with internet access. According to an official on the council that made the decision, “Jerusalem is significant to the whole world and this is an opportunity to show it off.

Daughter of de facto PM Haniyeh marries long-time prisoner and cousin
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Gaza - Ma’an – The 20-year-old daughter of de facto Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was married Monday to her 31-year-old cousin in a magnanimous ceremony attended by dozens of high-level Hamas officials. Khawla Haniyeh married Abd Al-Mo’ti Khaled Haniyeh, who was released from Israeli prison in August, after serving a 15 year sentence. The wedding that was described by one attendee as a “carnival;” lunch was served in the home of the groom’s family, rather than in the bride’s home. Haniyeh did, however, attend the event, along with huge crowds of civilian celebrators. Although it is traditional for the wedding luncheon to be held in the bride’s home with the father of the bride as host, Gazans at Monday’s wedding considered Haniyeh’s attendance to the groom’s home a sign of great love and appreciation for him.

Burial artifact inscribed ’Son of High Priest’ found near West Bank fence route
Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
Israeli archaeologists working along the proposed route of the West Bank fence north of Jerusalem have unearthed part of a sarcophagus cover with the inscription "son of the High Priest" and dating to the time of Jesus and the Second Temple, the Israel Antiquities Authority said. The 60 cm by 48 cm (2 feet by 19 inch) fragment of limestone bearing the Hebrew inscription "Ben Hacohen Hagadol" does not specify to which priest it refers. "However, it should probably be identified with one of the priests that officiated there between the years 30 and 70 C. E. ," the Authority said in a statement late on Monday Among the high priests who served during that period were Yosef Bar Kayafa, or Caiaphas, Theophilus (Yedidiya) Ben Hanan, Simon Ben Boethus, and Hanan Ben Hanan. Some of the Gospels link Caiaphas to the arrest and trial of Jesus, after which he was handed over to Roman authorities and crucified.

Mofaz blocks Shas-less coalition
Gil Hoffman And Staff, Jerusalem Post 10/7/2008
The possibility of Kadima forming a coalition without Shas was ruled out on Tuesday, thanks, in no small part, to the efforts of defeated Kadima primary candidate and Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz. The party had been considering building a narrow coalition including Labor, Meretz and the GIL Pensioners Party, with the outside support of Arab parties. Nevertheless, the option was taken off the table when Mofaz, together with his supporters Ze’ev Elkin, Ronit Tirosh, David Tal and Otniel Schneller declared their opposition to the move in a meeting Tuesday. Also Tuesday, Labor officially formed a coalition negotiating team. [end]

Livni vetoes cooperation with Gaydamak
Attila Somfalvi, YNetNews 10/7/2008
Kadima chairwoman refuses to allow cooperation with billionaire’s party in Jerusalem mayoral elections after deal with Barkat falls through; may consider backing ultra-Orthodox candidate Meir Porush - Kadima chairwoman balks on doing business with Gaydamak. Tzipi Livni on Monday vetoed any possibility of cooperation between her party and that of the billionaire businessman Arcadi Gaydamak’s party, Social Justice. During a nightly meeting with MKs Tzachi Hangebi and Yoel Hasson (Kadima), Livni stressed that Kadima and Social Justice would not work together to promote the parties’ interests in the local municipality elections on November 11, and that this was "a matter of principle" for her. The issue arose following the collapse of the coalition agreement Kadima had with Jerusalem mayoral candidate Nir Barkat.

Labor, Kadima launch official talks
Attila Somfalvi, YNetNews 10/7/2008
Motivated primarily by fear of seeing Likud return to power, formal coalition negotiations kick off between Labor and Kadima; Barak indicates willingness to compromise on budgetary demands en route to joining government under Tzipi Livni - Defense Minister Ehud Barak has been sending thinly-veiled hints for some time now that Labor is prepared to enter serious negotiations with Kadima as the latter tries to cobble together a stable coalition. On Tuesday the two parties confirmed they were indeed sitting down to official talks. Labor further revealed its top negotiators would be Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini, former MK Effie Oshaya and attorney Alon Gelhart. It was also made known that for several days now Eini has been in contact with Livni confidant Tzachi Hanegbi. Eini advocates the formation of a new government (in lieu of elections) as he greatly fears. . .

Ethiopian olim protest conditions at Beit Alfa absorption center
Ruth Eglash, Jerusalem Post 10/7/2008
Some 300 Ethiopian Israelis, including more than 100 young children, spent Monday night outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem protesting poor conditions at the Jewish Agency-run Beit Alfa Absorption Center where they live and to highlight a breakdown in financial aid that has left them without food for their youngsters. "We are literally dying of thirst and hunger," said Zavak Kasa Avka, a 37-year-old father of five who has been living at the center for exactly a year. "The absorption center is isolated and there is no place for us to find work. It’s been more than five months since we received any of our benefits from the National Insurance Institute and I don’t have any food for my children. " According to a spokesman for the Immigrant Absorption Ministry, the residents of Beit Alfa, which is housed on the kibbutz near Beit She’an, stopped receiving. . .

Falash Mura protest absorption failures
Yael Branovsky, YNetNews 10/7/2008
200 Ethiopian immigrants demonstrate outside Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. "˜If we were white a solution would have been found,’ shout enraged protesters - "Our Yom Kippur began yesterday," cried 200 Falash Mura on Tuesday morning as they staged a protest opposite the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. The demonstrators are rallying against what they call Israel’s "shameful" treatment of the new immigrants. Falash Mura are Ethiopians of Jewish descent who converted to Christianity under duress. Their immigration to Israel has been the source of controversy, as many claim that unlike members of Beta Israel - Ethiopians who largely adhered to Judaism - Israel should not be obligated to absorb them. However numerous rabbis have declared them to be unequivocally Jewish and the state has set quotas for their immigration.

Jerusalem: Arab candidate joins Gaydamak
Ronen Medzini, YNetNews 10/8/2008
Arab candidate withdraws from mayoral race, signs agreement with billionaire businessman to be his advisor on east Jerusalem in move devised to secure Arab vote -Zohir Hamdan, the mukhtar (head) of the village of Sur Baher in Jerusalem, has decided to withdraw from the capital’s mayoral race, and on Tuesday signed an agreement with billionaire businessman Arcadi Gaydamak, according to which he will serve as the latter’s advisor in east Jerusalem matters if Gaydamak is elected mayor. Gaydamak signed the deal in the hope that it will help him secure the Arab vote in the upcoming elections, as he currently lags in the polls behind lead candidates Nir Barkat and Meir Porush. He has also recently made an effort to appeal to ultra-Orthodox voters. Hamdan’s decision to join the billionaire’s roster was startling as he has denigrated Gaydamak in the past.

Bank of Israel makes surprise interest rate cut
Globes'' correspondent, Globes Online 10/7/2008
The 50 basis point interest rate cut by Governor of the Bank of Israel Prof. Stanley Fischer will take effect from October 12. In an unusual move, the Bank of Israel has cut the interest rate by 50 basis points to 3. 75%. The cut was in between the monthly interest rate decisions. The central bank announced that the decision was in response to sharp rise in uncertainty in global financial markets, and fears that it may reach Israel’s markets. The bank warned, "The chances of a slowdown in Israel’s rate of economic growth in the near future have risen. The current reduction in the interest rate will act to strengthen the economy’s ability to meet the challenges confronting it. " The Bank of Israel also listed several other considerations that led to its decisions, including expected lower inflation as a result of falling commodity prices due to a global economic slowdown.

Bank of Israel cuts 2009 growth forecast
Adrian Filut, Globes Online 10/7/2008
It now predicts 2. 5-2. 9% growth, down from 3. 2%. The Bank of Israel is cutting its 2009 growth forecast to 2. 5-2. 9% from 3. 2%. Governor of the Bank of Israel Prof. Stanley Fischer will likely present the revised figure next week when he attends the IMF/World Bank Annual Meeting in Washington. The revised Bank of Israel growth forecast is in line with capital market predictions. The Ministry of Finance’s 3. 5% growth forecast now stands in sharp contrast, by as much as one percentage point, to other projections. Senior ministry officials have said that they are aware that the ministry’s growth forecast is significantly higher than the forecasts of other agencies, but that they have no plans to change it.

Food giant Tnuva fined NIS 55m for adding silicone to milk
Ofra Edelman, Ha’aretz 10/7/2008
Tnuva will compensate customers to the tune of NIS 55 million for adding silicone to its ultra-high-temperature milk between January 1994 and September 1995, the Tel Aviv District Court ruled Tuesday. In a class-action suit, the court found that Tnuva added 10 times more silicone than the maximum allowed, and "it was not a mistake, but a planned deception bordering on fraud and a serious breach of trust toward consumers and regulatory authorities," Judge Amiram Benyamini ruled. "Tnuva knew very well it was acting against the law and standards, and tried to hide its methods of operation. "The court did not spare the Health Ministry either. After the exposure of the affair, the ministry published ads to calm the public, saying there was no danger involved in drinking the milk.

Leviev seeks to calm investors
Avi Shauli, Globes Online 10/7/2008
The Africa-Israel controlling shareholder will meet institutional investors. Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. (TASE:AFIL ; Pink Sheets:AFIVY. PK ) chairman and controlling shareholder Lev Leviev will be back in Israel, from his home in London to meet with worried shareholders. Leviev will be meeting with institutional investors in a bid to change the negative sentiment affecting its securities of late. The market crisis has affected most companies, but Africa-Israel has been exceptionally hard hit, after benefitting from strong support from investors in recent years. The company’s share has fallen 81. 3% so far this year to a price reflecting a market cap of under NIS 3. 5 billion. Just a year and a half ago it had a market cap on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) of NIS 28. 5 billion. The share saw 54% shaved off its price in September alone, a further example of the hysteria that has gripped its investors.

’Universities can’t open academic year’
Elie Leshem, Jerusalem Post 10/7/2008
"Dear students, regrettably, in the conditions that have arisen in the wake of negotiations with the Finance Ministry, we cannot open the academic year. "Thus reads an urgent plea signed by the presidents of Israel’s seven universities and circulated Tuesday to students, entreating them to "join the struggle" for the future of higher education. The presidents proceed to rail against the government, saddling the state with responsibility for the move and lamenting that "Over the past eight years the higher education system has suffered from budget cuts that do not allow it to function properly. " "The government’s promises to tackle the problems in a thorough manner that will ensure the long-term survival of the system have not been lived up to," The announcement read. "Negotiations with the Finance Ministry did not facilitate an agreement that would allow the system to function properly.

Universities prepare to strike
Yaheli Moran Zelikovitch, YNetNews 10/7/2008
Thousands of students receive email from University Heads Committee announcing academic year will not commence as planned unless Finance Ministry adds millions to budget - ’government neglecting higher education, research,’ says letter -The Committee of University Heads in Israel launched a mass email on Tuesday to 150,000 students across the country, in which it states that "unfortunately under the current circumstances following negotiations with the Ministry of Finance, we cannot begin the academic year. " The university heads explained the decision by stating: "The promises made by the Israeli government - [end]

Water Authority cuts off farmers who’ve used up quota
Ehud Zion Waldoks, Jerusalem Post 10/7/2008
The Water Authority has stopped providing water to several farmers who have used up their allotted quota, they announced Tuesday. Several water associations near Metullah and elsewhere in the North were cut off, Water Authority Spokesman Uri Schor told The Jerusalem Post. The authority said they did not relish the decision but it was unfortunately necessary in light of the severe water crisis plaguing the country. [end]

Angola seeks to halt Gaydamak’s Paris arms trafficking trial
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 10/7/2008
Angola’s government pleaded Tuesday with a French judge to halt a major trial involving charges of arms trafficking and high-level bribes against Israeli-Russian billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak. Lawyers for another key defendant tried to scupper the proceedings, too - but the judge ordered the trial to resume Wednesday. Forty-two defendants went on trial this week, after seven years of international investigation, in a convoluted and sensitive case the French have dubbed Angolagate. The chief suspects, Gaydamak and French tycoon Pierre Falcone, are accused of trafficking Soviet-made arms to Angola’s government during a civil war in the 1990s. Both deny breaking the law. On Monday, Gaydamak submitted his official candidacy for theJerusalem mayoral race , just as the trial against him opened in Paris.

Treasury officials fume at secret plan talk
Adrian Filut, Globes Online 10/7/2008
A senior official said that headlines about secret plans created false panic and insulted the intelligence. Officials in the Ministry of Finance and Bank of Israel are incensed by the headlines in some of today’s newspapers claiming that they have formulated a secret national emergency plan yesterday for intervening in the market. A senior Treasury official has informed "Globes" that such headlines create false panic and are an insult to the intelligence. "Obviously if there were a collapse we would intervene and we have said this all along. But at the moment there is no such intention and there are no grandiose emergency plans as some newspapers have cited," the official in Jerusalem said, stressing that there was absolutely no intention of intervening in the market for the simple reason that there is no need to because there are no liquidity problems in Israel’s financial sector.

Syria plays hardball with the Saudis
Sami Moubayed, Asia Times 10/8/2008
DAMASCUS - In a further sign of just how low Syrian-Saudi Arabian relations have sunk, Syrian authorities have banned the distribution of al-Hayat, the Saudi-owned mass circulation Arab daily. The step came nearly two years after al-Sharq al-Awsat, another Saudi daily, was banned from Syria for running articles that were considered critical of the Syrian government during the Israeli war in Lebanon in 2006. Subsequently, the Syrians hailed Hezbollah in Lebanon as a resistance organization while the Saudis criticized it because of its links to Iran, claiming that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah was an "adventurer". President Bashar al-Assad snapped back in a speech that those who had conspired against Hezbollah in the Arab world (in clear reference to Saudi Arabia) were "half-men". The cold war between Damascus and Riyadh continued between 2006-2008, over a variety of issues related to influence in Lebanon, Iraq and to a lesser extent, Palestine.

Lebanon to sue Israel for marketing hummus as its own
Jenny Percival, The Guardian 10/7/2008
A new war has broken out between Lebanon and Israel - but this time it is over chickpeas and fava beans rather than guns and territory. A Lebanese official says Lebanon is preparing to file an international lawsuit against Israel for claiming ownership of traditional dishes it believes are originally Lebanese. The president of the Lebanese Industrialists’ Association, Fadi Abboud, accuses Israel of "stealing" Lebanon’s cuisine by marketing dishes such as hummus as its own. He says that while Lebanon is partly to blame because it has never registered its main food trademarks, Israel’s adoption of these dishes causes Lebanon to lose millions of dollars in trade. Reports in the Arabic media say Abboud is also concerned about Israel’s marketing of not just of hummus but falafel and tabbouleh.

Gulf Arab stocks continue to fall
Al Jazeera 10/7/2008
Gulf Arab stock exchanges have closed sharply down, as concerns over the global economic crisis continue. The losses on Tuesday were the third consecutive day of falls, with banking and real estate stocks precipitating the decline. Abu Dhabi’s benchmark ADI fell 4. 58 per cent to a 14-month low. UAE developers again were the primary losers, with Deyaar falling 8. 03 per cent and Sorouh Real Estate declining 8. 33 per cent. Saudi Arabia’s market dropped by seven per cent while Egypt suffered the largest percentage loss, by more than 16 per cent, to its lowest level in two years. In all, the seven Arab stock markets in the Gulf have shed about $150bn in value over the past three days to around $800 billion. Reassurances A number of finance officials attempted to reassure investors.

The roots of Egypt’s market crash
Alex Dziadosz, Al Jazeera 10/8/2008
When brokers at Egypt’s Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchange (CASE) returned from their weeklong holiday on Tuesday, they found themselves in a mess. By a coincidence of the shifting Islamic calendar, the end of Ramadan this year nearly overlapped with Egypt’s celebration of its victories during the 1973 war with Israel, giving traders seven days off. For the CASE, this seemed like lucky timing. The break gave skittish investors time to parse through the $700 billion bailout plan scuttled through US Congress last week before they had a chance to yank their cash out of Egypt. But despite the bailout, Middle Eastern markets dived on Tuesday amid sinking oil prices and chatter that the Gulf’s half-decade, superlative-laden property boom may be nearing its end.

Beirut stock market tumbles as Gulf investors pull out
Daily Star 10/8/2008
BEIRUT: Stocks of the Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE) tumbled for a second week in a row amid a sharp global financial crisis that had an adverse effect on most bourses in the Middle East. The BLOM Stock Index fell by 3. 41 percent on Tuesday with the value of traded shares reaching $11. 296 million, an increase of 84. 12 percent compared to Monday. Solidere A and B shares, which usually dominate trading on the BSE, fell by 8. 28 percent and 7. 17 percent respectively, a trend which has been going on for the past four weeks. Solidere shares recorded their highest levels following the Doha accord among Lebanese factions in May of this year. Stocks of the real-estate giant exceeded $38 in June before falling to $24 and $25 during Tuesday’s trading. Last week only 183,631 shares changed hands during the short week and the total trading value amounted to $5.

Twin bombs go off in Baghdad as Negroponte wraps up visit
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 10/8/2008
BAGHDAD: Bombs exploded outside the Iraqi capital’s tightly guarded Green Zone on Tuesday as US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte wrapped up a visit focusing on a controversial military pact. Two powerful explosions went off in quick succession at a time of heavy traffic. An Iraqi security official said a soldier and six civilians were wounded in the attack on the edge of the Green Zone. Inside the zone, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told reporters an agreement was "very close," but nothing was final. However, there were "new ideas and new language" on a mutually acceptable deal with the US, he said. "This needs some bold political decisions now," he added. The first blast targeted a parked Iraqi armored vehicle and a car bomb went off minutes later at a nearby parking lot opposite the Foreign Ministry building, which shares a boundary with the Green Zone.

Iraq and US hold security talks
Al Jazeera 10/8/2008
Two blasts occurred near Baghdad’s Green Zone outside Iraq’s foreign ministry, as John Negroponte, the US deputy secretary of state, was preparing to hold a news conference about his visit to Iraq. At least one person was killed and five others were wounded in the blasts on Tuesday, the police said. An Iraqi military officer said one soldier was wounded in the blasts that went off in quick succession. The Green Zone is a fortified compound of government and diplomatic offices, where journalists had gathered for a news conference by Negroponte and Hoshiyar Zebari, the Iraqi foreign minister. Twin blasts Tuesday’s first blast targeted a parked Iraqi armoured vehicle and a car bomb went off minutes later at a nearby parking lot opposite the foreign ministry on the edge of the Green Zone.

US military kill Iraq civilians during raid
Middle East Online 10/7/2008
BAGHDAD - Eleven people were killed, including three women and three children, as a suicide bomber struck and a gunbattle broke out during a US raid on a house in northern Mosul on Sunday, the US military said. American troops came under fire as they entered the house in the city of Mosul, 370 kilometres (230 miles) from Baghdad, looking for a wanted man, it said in a statement. It said a man detonated a suicide vest as the troops closed in on the suspects. Five men were killed along with three women and three children while another child was wounded in the blast, the US military said, without reporting any American casualties. "As coalition forces entered the building housing the terrorist, they began receiving small arms fire. Coalition forces returned fire once engaged. " "A terrorist detonated a suicide vest shortly thereafter in the house.

America expands aid for refugees displaced by US-backed armies
Ma’an News Agency 10/7/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The United States Department of State contributed US $1. 44 billion in its largest-ever aid package for refugees, conflict victims, stateless persons and vulnerable migrants around the world. The department contributed US $28 million to Palestinians in Lebanon for “reconstruction and emergency relief” for the Nahr Al-Bared Refugee Camp near Tripoli. Lebanese troops backed by American military and financial assistance destroyed the camp in 2007 and displaced over 30,000 Palestinians. A press release issued by the American foreign ministry indicated that the funds will be used to “rebuild homes” destroyed by the Washington-allied Lebanese military. Aid will also go to schools and health clinics serving those displaced during the fighting. The money funds international and non-governmental organizations working to “improve the lives” of displaced persons worldwide.

Ariel Sharon told 1973 probe: IDF top brass was clueless in Yom Kippur War
Yuval Azoulay, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
Former primer minister Ariel Sharon told a state inquiry that the army’s top brass was completely ignorant of the situation in the field during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in which commanded an Israel Defense Forces division. The comments were made public on Tuesday as the Defense Ministry authorized the declassification of protocols relating to the Agranat Committee’s deliberations. Addressing the committee on 29 July 1974, Sharon said that shortly after his arrival at the southern front, he told then GOC southern command Shmuel Gonen (Gorodish) that the IDF’s senior command "had no idea of what’s happening on the ground. "I advised all the commanders to go down to the front to get a clearer idea of what’s going on. The atmosphere in the war room was very gloomy because they were fully aware of the heavy losses we already incurred.

Sharon in ’73: No senior brass in field
Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post 10/7/2008
Thirty-five years after the Yom Kippur War, testimonies from the Agranat War Committee were released for publication on Tuesday, revealing tension and confusion within the top IDF ranks. In his testimony, former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who was a division commander in the Southern Command during the war, slammed the top IDF brass and told the war panel: "What caused the most damage during the war was the absence of senior officers from the field. " He gave as an example a push into Egypt made by two divisions on October 8, 1973. "The commander of the Southern Command [Maj. -Gen. Shmuel Gonen] should have been there and if not him, then at least his deputy. Someone needed to coordinate between the forces. " Sharon said that when his division was called up for duty already on October 7, he called Gonen and said that in his opinion,. . .


The Dance of the Cranes in Jerusalem
Mats Svensson, Palestine Chronicle 10/7/2008
      ’During our absence, holiday, some houses have been demolished.’
     Woke up early. Had had a strange dream. Got up and looked out the window. Foggy, could hardly see the house on the other side of the street. Far away, within myself, I heard the shrill, strong, desolate sounds, the sounds of calling cranes. Together with my brother I had gone to Hornborgarsjön in the middle of Sweden. Early spring morning, had arrived during the night. Had slept a few hours in the car, in the dream we were in the car, Renault 4L, in a hiding spot in the forest. Unclear dream, but then it begins to grow light, the fog remains across the plain and when it lifts we see black silhouettes in the distance. With the lake in the background we see thousands of cranes, munching on potatoes. We put up our tube binoculars, point the long lenses and see how the cranes begin to dance. In the dream I hear their high calls, that’s when I wake up.
     Last night I was at a reception, cocktail party or why not call it a diplomatic get-together. Diplomats meeting after the summer, diplomats, like the migratory birds, the cranes, returning to their permanent playgrounds. Repetition, everything is repeated, as if nothing has happened in the meantime.

Image Makers

Larry Derfner, MIFTAH 10/7/2008
      The settlers from Yitzhar had left their mark on the "Suleiman" house: Stars of David spray-painted in black on the walls. They’d come down the hill into the Suleimans’ village, Asira al-Kibliyeh, on Saturday morning, September 13, after a Palestinian burned down an empty Yitzhar bungalow, stabbed a nine-year-old boy and fled into the village. (The young victim, Tuvia Shtatman, suffered two superficial wounds, one of which required stitches, and spent a day in the hospital.)
     After the stabbing and arson, scores of Yitzhar settlers - who had been at synagogue during the Palestinian’s attack - effectively commandeered Asira al-Kibliyeh, throwing rocks and firing guns. They wounded several Palestinians, pushed a parked car down the hill and smashed windows and balcony furniture. The IDF soldiers on the scene appeared to be mainly standing around, occasionally steering a marauder away.
     That night, Israelis watched scenes from the melee on television. It was caught on video camera by a member of the Suleiman family standing at a window inside their house. The camera was provided by B’Tselem, the Jerusalem-based human rights organization, as part of its high-profile "Shooting Back" project of Palestinian "video activism" in the West Bank.

Nilin village resists Israel’s land confiscation

Report, Electronic Intifada 10/7/2008
      NILIN, WEST BANK (IRIN) - As the olive harvest gets under way in the West Bank, residents of the Palestinian town of Nilin say much of their land, where their trees are, is off limits because of Israel’s wall.
     According to estimates by residents, some 5,000 olive trees sit on 270 hectares between the path of the wall and the border of the West Bank with Israel, known as the Green Line.
     "People depend on this land, especially because they have already lost so much," said Hindi Misleh, an activist in the village.
     The village, Misleh said, lost over 4,000 hectares of land to Israel in the 1948 war and then another 800 to Israeli settlements which started to pop up around Nilin in the 1980s.
     "Every year the settlers took more land," he said.
     Permits In the past Nilin residents did not have a problem accessing the land they still maintained control over. However, this year, residents said they are being told Israeli-issued permits will be required.
     "Last year, we had access without permits, and now they say we need permits, but they won’t give them to us," said Bahjat, a resident whose family has some 20 hectares on the "wrong" side of the wall.

Palestine, Israel Fairy Tale

Uri Avnery, Palestine Chronicle 10/7/2008
      ’Peace is not made between governments but between peoples.’
     It has happened.
     In a solemn ceremony, on a stage bedecked with Israeli and Palestinian flags, the peace treaty between Israel and Palestine has been signed.
     Negotiations did not take long. The essential elements of the treaty had been known for a long time. The document held no real surprises.
     Israel agreed to recognize the State of Palestine. The border between the two states was based on the so-called Green Line (the pre-1967 line), but both parties agreed on a limited exchange of territory. About 5% of the West Bank, including several "settlement blocs", were joined to Israel, in exchange for an equivalent area alongside the Gaza Strip. Both sides expressed the wish to keep the border open for the movement of people and goods.
     In Jerusalem, the Arab neighborhoods, including al-Haram al-Sharif (the Temple Mount) became part of Palestine, while Jewish neighborhoods and the Western Wall stayed in Israel. The two halves of Jerusalem remained physically united under a joint municipal authority, with equal representation.

Guardian Held Hostage

Mary Rizzo, Palestine Chronicle 10/7/2008
      ’The Star of David has been transformed into a Jewish nationalist symbol.’
     In what can only be described as a shocking glimpse into Zionist lobbying at the heart of British media, the Guardian last week dismissed an Iranian contributor after a group of pro-war, Islamophobic Neocons accused her of anti-Semitism.
     Soraya Terani, an Iranian mother who lives and works in London at a children’s charity, was commissioned to write 2 pieces to Comment Is Free (CIF) chronicling the routine horrors endured by Arab women whose lives have been ravaged by the US and Israeli invasion. But then, due to mounting pressure from Zionist "watchdogs" and blogs her pieces were dropped. Seemingly, Terani also posted comments on an open blog forum which, according to editor Matt Seaton, betrayed all the hallmarks of ’anti-Semetic racist discourse’. However, on reading both her editorial contributions and comments one is struck by Terani’s sharp, eloquent political criticism that is totally devoid of any racial, ethnic or religious reference whatsoever.

Dehumanising Metaphors in ’War on Terror’

Iqbal Jassat, Palestine Chronicle 10/7/2008
      In the light of fresh debates centered on Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, particularly within the United States whose armed forces are deeply entrenched in the military conquest of the region under the guise of the ’war on terror’, many fraudulent theories are advanced to justify hostilities against largely unarmed and defenseless populations.
     The same can be said about the Horn of Africa and the US-sponsored war of aggression against Somalia.
     One of the concepts used to perpetrate these military adventures is that of ’failed states’. The argument used is that the all-knowing West has to ’remake the world’ in order to pave the way for democracy to flourish.
     Millions of people have been displaced as a consequence of these military adventures while the American presidential candidates bicker over their potential moves in this game of chess, which is what the terrible results of the Bush administration’s war games have seemingly reduced these tragedies to.


Gideon Levy, MIFTAH 10/6/2008
      Take a quick look at the photo before you. We took it last fall by chance. In the course of another interminable wait at the Hawara checkpoint, on our way to another story in Nablus, we saw this man being arrested. Bingo, the game of the checkpoint soldiers. We didn’t know his name, why he was arrested or when he’d be released, if ever. But we noticed his proud bearing - solitary, upright. His eyes were already covered by the IDF-issue flannel, the type meant for cleaning guns, and his wrists were about to be bound with plastic handcuffs. We seemed more upset by his sudden arrest than he was. After 41 years, the Palestinians are used to it, that on any ordinary day, on the way to or from work, everything might be abruptly turned upside down.
     This was a routine year, another year of the occupation of which no end is in sight. From Rosh Hashana 5768 to Rosh Hashana 5769 our forces killed 584 Palestinians, 95 of them minors. Many fewer than in 2002, when 989 were killed; many more than in 2005, with 190 killed. Eighteen Israelis were also killed in the past year, many more than in the previous year, when just five were killed, and much less than in 2002, when 184 Israelis were killed. All in all, an average year for bloodshed.

Economic Roadmap Leading to Nowhere

Nadia W. Awad, MIFTAH 10/7/2008
      Episode three of the Palestinian National Economic Development Conference took place in Jericho this Sunday October 5, hosted by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The conference did not receive much local or international coverage, despite the fact that about 400 men and women attended the event, representing ministries, institutions in the public and private sector, businesses and investors. The aim of the conference was to discuss ways to increase partnership between the public and private sectors of the Palestinian economy, as well as to enhance investment in the private sector.
     Since the beginning of the second Intifada in 2000, the Palestinian economy has descended into a severe downward cycle. Israel imposed curfews and closures on Palestinian towns and villages, rendering the movement of goods and people very difficult if not impossible. As instability and violence in the West Bank and Gaza increased, private sector growth came to a standstill and subsequently began to shrink, forcing a rapidly growing labor force to look to the public sector for employment. The public sector, i.e. the Palestinian government, began directing funds towards the hiring of employees, as well as increasing government subsidies, which at the time was necessary to prevent an economic catastrophe from occurring. As such, many families came to rely on the Palestinian government for their livelihood.Consequently, there was little money remaining to invest in much needed public infrastructure and development projects. In fact, most such projects ceased. This situation continued unabated, and today there is very little private sector investment, very little investment in infrastructure, negative economic growth rates, high unemployment figures, and a people who are heavily reliant on the government for survival (an average of 5.3 people were dependent on a government employee in 2007). The Palestinian government is now almost completely reliant on donor funding to survive, using those funds to pay salaries and cover daily operating costs.

Huffing and puffing to silence criticism of Israel

Carel Moiseiwitsch and Gordon Murray, Electronic Intifada 10/7/2008
      In June 2007, the Palestine Media Collective produced a newspaper parody of The Vancouver Sun that satirized the anti-Palestinian bias of CanWest, the largest media conglomerate in Canada.One example was an article entitled "Study Shows Truth Biased Against Israel" by Cyn Sorsheep. Six months later, CanWest launched a lawsuit against those who "conspired" to produce and distribute the parody. The original writ named Mordecai Briemberg, Horizon Publications (the printer), and six Jane and John Does.
     CanWest Mediaworks Publications is the parent company of the Global television network, ten large market and national daily newspapers, 25 community newspapers, and 20 specialty television channels. Canwest bought Canada’s largest newspaper chain from Conrad Black in 2000 and in 2007 purchased Alliance Atlantis, one of Canada’s largest specialty television operators.
     We stated publicly that the two of us were solely responsible for producing the newspaper parody, and CanWest has added our names to the lawsuit. We maintain that the parody was the exercise of the "fundamental freedom" under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms "of thought, belief, opinion, and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication." Although we have confirmed that Mordecai Briemberg was not involved in producing the parody, Canwest has refused to drop its suit against him.

A reckoning in Gaza

Simon Block, The Guardian 10/8/2008
      My first encounter with Tom Hurndall came on April 11 2003, via a BBC headline: "Israeli troops wound Briton." Weeks earlier in Gaza, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) had killed peace activist Rachel Corrie, and before that, UN project manager Iain Hook. I tracked the story until the news agenda rolled on, and Tom Hurndall became yet another name on the list of casualties from what was then described as the most dangerous place on earth.
     I attended Tom’s public memorial service a year later, having discovered the student photographer had been more than "wounded". During a Palestinian demonstration against IDF violence, three children had come under fire from an Israeli position. Tom ran forward to move the children to safety and was shot in the head. I was curious to know what had compelled this young Englishman to step into mortal danger. The eulogies inched me closer to understanding Tom, but raised a second question: what could possibly have been gained by shooting him.