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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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8 October, 2008

Several residents wounded, one seriously, in an Israeli invasion of Nablus
IMEMC News, International Middle East Media Center News 10/8/2008
Dozens of Israeli under-cover troops backed by a number of military vehicles invaded morning the Al Far’a refugee camp on Tuesday morning, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and surrounded a number of homes while firing indiscriminately. Several residents were wounded; one seriously. The source stated that the army was targeting Sami Mohammad al-Ghoul, 29, member of the Al Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad. Troops surrounded his house in order to force him to surrender. During the invasion, Omar Sbeih, 36, was wounded by Israeli military gun fire while he was in his own shop near the surrounded house. He was moved to a hospital in Nablus suffering serious injuries. Medical sources reported that Sbeih lost a lot of blood before receiving medical help because soldiers barred the medics from entering the area.

Report: Israel violating international law by creating water crisis in Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 10/8/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Israel violated international law by creating a water crisis in the Gaza Strip, contributing to a deficit of 65 million cubic meters of water needed for basic purposes by Gaza’s 1. 5 million residents, a new study by the Palestinian Union of Agricultural Committees shows. In the year 2007, Gaza residents consumed 86 liters of water per person per day, short of the 100 liters recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the minimum quantity for basic consumption. By contrast Israelis consume 330 liters per person per day, according to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. The Palestinian study was released on Tuesday. Researcher Alaa Matar carried out the study, in connection with the project Right to Live, directed by Sa’d Addin Ziyada. According to the study, groundwater has become the main water resource in Gaza since Israel has built. . .

Israeli military prevents farmers from harvesting olives
International Middle East Media Center News 10/8/2008
The Israeli military prevented on Wednesday several Palestinian farmers in the West Bank villages of Masha and Azzawiya from reaching their farm lands. Hani Amer, one of the prevented farmers, told Wafa News Agency that the Israeli troops erected a fence-off wall around three dunums of his farm land of olive trees , pointing out that the farmers were about to harvest olives when the soldiers were deployed in the area. He added that tens of farmers have been recently prevented from reaching their farm lands, especially under the olives harvest season. Worthy to mention, the agriculture minister of the ruling Hamas party in Gaza , Mohamad Alagha, warned yesterday of what he described ’Israeli occupation attempts to devastate the olive harvest season’. Palestine is considered to be one of the olive-producing countries worldwide, where olives constitute a major source of income and principal food item for the population.

Settlers seizing East Jerusalem land: residents hold ownership documents
Maisa Abu Ghazaleh, Palestine News Network 10/8/2008
Jerusalem -- Israeli settlers are attempting to overtake Ras Shehadeh and the village of Isawiya in East Jerusalem, reports the Prime Minister’s Advisor for Jerusalem Affairs, Hatem Abdel Qader. Dozens of acres are under threat. Settlers have uprooted olive seedlings under the cover of darkness for two days in preparation for the seizure of land and the establishment of another settlement. Abdel Qader said, "The new settlement attack by the Ateret Cohanim assembly is aimed at imposing a new reality. "In 2007 Ateret Cohanim was contracted by the Israeli government to "restore" a 3,000 year old quarry running under the Old City. As reported by the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs and Ir Amim, "The settlers’ intentions are clear: to link the quarry with the Hasmonean Tunnel, creating a subterranean settler thoroughfare that will. . .

Director Denied Permit to Attend International Human Rights Meeting and Forum
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 10/6/2008
Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), the leading human rights organisation in the Gaza Strip, has again been denied a permit to leave Gaza by the Israeli authorities. Raji Sourani was invited to attend the European Social Forum in Sweden on September 17-21, and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Executive Committee Meeting in Geneva on 7-8 October. However, the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) denied his permit application to leave the Gaza Strip via Erez Crossing. Raji Sourani was also denied a permit to leave Gaza in order to travel to Brussels on 12 September, where he had been invited by the Swedish NGO Diakonia to give a keynote speech at a major conference of legal and international human rights law experts.

Israeli soldiers take over house overlooking Hebron settlement
Ma’an News Agency 10/8/2008
Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli soldiers in Hebron took over a house overlooking the Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron last week, the home’s owners said Wednesday. The house, owned by Al-Hajj Suleiman Ar-Ragaby, is located on the Jawhar Mount hill in Hebron. A family member told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers arrived at the home one day before the start of Eid Al-Fitr, remaining there for over a week and preventing the three families living in it from moving about their homes. Hamid Ar-Ragaby said that soldiers took over the father’s three-story house and abused relatives inside. ”Israeli soldiers detained my younger brother for no reason and attacked him. As a result, he was taken to a hospital for treatment when bruises covered his entire body,” Ar-Ragaby said.

Israeli forces sieze five teens in dawn raids near Tulkarem
Ma’an News Agency 10/8/2008
Tulkarem – Ma’an – Israeli forces seized five Palestinian teenagers at dawn on Wednesday in the towns of Qaffin and Anbata, near the city of Tulkarem in the northern West Bank. Witnesses and a Palestinian official said that the Israeli troops overran Qaffin and attacked locals and farmers on their lands and detained 14-year-old Qusay Ayed Khaled Harsha and 15-year-old Nabil Amad Jamil Khasib, taking them both to Salim military prison near Jenin. In Anbata, Israeli soldiers forced their way into houses and17-year-old detained Muhamad Issam Salim Nassar and 17-year-old Islam Abdel Karim Hussein Ali and 17-year-old Zeid Burhan Tawfiq Al-Hamdullah. It is not known where they are being held.

Israel imposes a comprehensive closure on the West Bank
International Middle East Media Center News 10/8/2008
The Israeli military imposes a comprehensive closure on the West Bank Wednesday due to what an Israeli military source said marks the day long Jewish holiday Yum Kipur. The closure will remain in effect until Friday morning, as the Israeli military and police have many measures for ensuring smooth Jewish prayers, especially in occupied East Jerusalem. It is also worth noting that all banks in Israel operate only partially today, the Tel-Aviv stock market stops working completely, and all radio stations in Israel halt their broadcast by the afternoon. The Israeli military has imposed closures on the West Bank areas since the breakout of the Palestinian uprising (Intifada) in September 2000.

Fateh forces and Israel arrest Hamas supporters in West Bank
IMEMC News, International Middle East Media Center News 10/8/2008
Hamas media sources reported on Tuesday that Palestinian security forces, loyal to the Fateh movement headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, arrested five supporters of Hamas in the West Bank, while the Israeli army arrested two Hamas supporters who were recently freed from a Palestinian prison. In the northern West Bank city of Nablus, Fateh security forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas arrested Aseed Abdul-Jalil from Salem village, only three days after he was released from an Israeli detention facility. In Qalqilia, also in northern part of the West Bank, forces arrested Anwar Mara’ba, a Director Assistant at the Ministry of Waqf of Religious Affairs. He was called in for questioning and was arrested at a local security center. In the northern West Bank city Jenin, security forces also arrested resident Anas Atatra after breaking into his home in Zabouba village.

P.A forces arrest 16 Hamas members and supporters in the West Bank
IMEMC News, International Middle East Media Center News 10/8/2008
Hamas media sources reported on Wednesday that Palestinian security forces, loyal to Fateh movement, arrested 16 Hamas members and supporters in several areas in the West Bank. Hamas also said that Israeli forces kidnapped several Hamas members were were recently released from a Palestinian prison while P. A fores arrested members who were freed from Israeli prisons. In Nablus, in the northern part of the West Bank, security forces arrested Jihad Salim Al Damouni, who was recently released from an Israeli detention facility. Al Damouni is the brother of Mojahid Al Damouni who was killed by the Israeli army. Also in Nablus, the security forces arrested Mojahid Jamal Salim, the son of Jamal Salim, one of the Al Aqsa Brigades members who was killed by the army. The security forces also arrested Abdulah Abu Aisha, and Daoud Rawajba, who were recently freed from an Israeli prison, and also arrested Mojahid Jabbour.

Palestinian PM’s advisor: failure of Cairo dialogue unaccepted
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 10/8/2008
Advisor of Palestinian Prime Minister of Hamas, Mr. Ahmad Yousef, said on Wednesday that failure of underway Cairo dialogue can not be accepted by the Palestinian people. Yousef maintained in a statement, emailed to press, that if Egyptian mediators will be able to reach a common ground among the rival Palestinian factions, mainly between Hamas and Fatah, ’we will thus overcome a major obstacle in the path of national unity’ Yousef also believed that the main criterions for a successful dialogue for the ruling Hamas party are five major ones; forming a national unity government, returning the situation back prior to June14, 2007, dealing with all division-related problems, holding presidential and parliamentary elections and reconstructing the Palestinian security services on professional and national basis. " such an internal fighting with all its political and security dimensions. . .

Israeli soldiers delay sick, pregnant woman at Gaza-Israel border
Ma’an News Agency 10/8/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli border police denied a pregnant woman from leaving the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, despite that she had previously obtained permission to receive medical treatment at the Al-Maqasid Hostpital in Jerusalem. 32-year-old Halah Yousif had been waiting at the Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip since noon on Wednesday after receiving a call confirming that her request for an entry permit had been accepted. But Israeli officials told her that the permission had expired and denied her passage at the crossing, even though she had applied two months prior to arriving. She also said that her permission was granted for unique circumstances related to her pregnancy. Yousif suffers from toxemia, a condition that could cause her neonate child to be born disabled. “I am worried about my baby’s life,” she told Ma’an, unable to understand why she was denied passage to Jerusalem.

Hamas: differences in Palestinian national strategy must be resolved
Ma’an News Agency 10/8/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – For one Hamas spokesperson, the planned dialogue between Hamas, Fatah, and other competing Palestinian political factions will have to address the fundamental differences in national strategy. Hammad Ar-Raqab, the Hamas spokesperson for Hamas in Khan Yunis governorate in the Gaza Strrip said, “The reasons for the current split in the Palestinian arena and it consequences need to be reviewed. This, he said, boils down to the conflict between Fatah’s strategy of negotiation and Hamas’ strategy of armed struggle: “resistance and opposition approaches along with the methodology of negotiations and coordination [are] contradicting programs. ”Any resolution of the Hamas-Fatah split, he said, will require “adherence to law, considering national interest over parties’ special interests and confirming that the Palestinian people’s project is a freedom project.

Cairo hosts Hamas men to discuss Fatah feud
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 10/9/2008
CAIRO: Senior Hamas officials met Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss an Egyptian proposal for a Palestinian unity government, Egypt’s official Middle East News Agency reported. Suleiman’s talks with the Islamist Hamas came after a string of meetings with a dozen Palestinian factions, including the Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas, over the past two months to form a national unity government. The Egyptian proposal includes a transitional government made up of ministers acceptable to all factions and a restructuring of Palestinian security forces with Arab oversight. The proposal also provides for new parliamentary and presidential elections, after Hamas has said it will not recognize the Palestinian Authority president after his mandate ends in January. The head of Fatah’s parliamentary bloc said on Tuesday that his movement supported. . .

Hamas gives nod to Egyptian proposal for Palestinian reconciliation
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
Hamas officials in Cairo signaled their willingness on Wednesday to discuss conflicting Palestinian agendas for new elections, following a meeting with Egypt’s intelligence head meant to promote reconciliation among feuding Palestinian factions. The high level Hamas delegation, including members from Syria and Gaza, met with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman to discuss Egyptian proposals to resolve the split between them and Fatah, especially over the issue of the timing of new elections. "We in Hamas accept that elections are on the table for discussion," said Khalil al-Haya, Gaza-based Hamas member, who still made it clear that Hamas opposes Fatah’s call for simultaneous presidential and legislative elections. Fatah and Hamas have been at odds since the latter’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007.

Israel bars Hamas delegates in W. Bank from going to Cairo
Palestinian Information Center 10/8/2008
CAIRO, (PIC)-- MP Khaled Tafesh, a member of the Hamas parliamentary bloc, reported Tuesday that the IOA prevented the Hamas delegation in the West Bank from traveling to Cairo to participate in the talks with Egyptian leadership which are aimed to end the inter-Palestinian discord. "We went in the early morning hours towards the Karama crossing on the Jordanian borders, but the IOA detained us for four continuous hours and then one of the soldiers came holding a decision banning us from travel permanently," MP Tafesh explained. The lawmaker underlined that Egypt handed a list of the West Bank delegation members to the Israeli side days ago to facilitate their travel through the crossing.   The lawmaker said that Israel through this ban decision proved its attempt to keep the state of division in the Palestinian arena because it is the sole beneficiary of all that.

Mizhir: ''We cannot afford returning from Egypt without an agreement''
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 10/8/2008
Member of the Central Committee of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Jamil Mizhir, stated on Tuesday that the core of the internal Palestinian conflict is political in nature and demanded that all Palestinian factions participate in the upcoming Palestinian talks in Cairo with "an open heart and mind," stating that the Palestinians cannot afford to return from Cairo without an agreement as this could threaten the national struggle. Mizhir commented on the session of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in Gaza and the statements of the Head PLC Legal Committee concerning Abbas’ term in office and illegality of extending his term. Mizhir stated that these very issues increased the internal rift between Fateh and Hamas and the conflict in general. He maintained that the core of the conflict was political in nature, and that the political solution. . .

Hamas: ’good intentions’ needed to resolve political crisis
Ma’an News Agency 10/8/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said on Wednesday that the issues facing Palestinian factions ahead of a planned reconciliation dialogue are “difficult and complicated,” and will require “wisdom and good intentions,” to resolve. A delegation of senior Hamas leaders is in Cairo on Wednesday for meetings with an Egyptian mediator charged with bringing Hamas together with its rival, Fatah, in hopes of restoring national unity. Barhoum told Ma’an that the Hamas delegation will “review all the issues” related to the dialogue. Barhoum added that Hamas has not been told the date of a planned summit meeting at which direct talks among the factions is intended to begin. Separately, the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir reported on Wednesday that Cairo will give the Palestinian rivals until 15 November to reach an agreement, at which time Arab states will intervene to resolve the political crisis.

Hamas, Fateh, and Egypt likely to hold a meeting before the end of October
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 10/8/2008
Initial reports from Egypt revealed that a trilateral meeting between the rival Hamas and Fateh movements along with Egyptian officials will most likely to take place before the end of this month. An Egyptian source that Hamas and Egyptian officials held a meeting on Wednesday, and that the meeting was described as positives. The source added that Egypt agreed with Fateh and Hamas on holding a trilateral meeting which will most likely take place on October 25. Furthermore, a Palestinian source told the Palestine News that Wednesday’s talks which included the Egyptian Intelligence Chief, Omar Suleiman, and Hamas’ Political Bureau deputy chief, Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouq, were very positive and could indicate an anticipated end to the Hamas-Fateh rift. The source added that based on the results of these talks, the Egyptian leadership decided to hold a trilateral meeting with Fateh and Hamas on October 25.

Hamas: PA security seized 16 members across West Bank
Ma’an News Agency 10/8/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Hamas said that Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces detained sixteen Hamas members across the West Bank on Wednesday. Hamas said in a statement that security forces in the Nablus governorate detained Jihad Salim Ad-Damouni, Mujahed Jamal Salim, Abdullah Abu Eishah, Da’oud Rawajbah and Mujahed Jabbour. In Bethlehem governorate they detained Bassam Abu Dayyah, Qassem Al-Balboul, Abdullah Sbeih, Ja’far Asi and Ahmad Nassim from Al-Khadr village. According to Hamas the men had all been released from prison last week, before the Eid Al-Fitr feast at the end of Ramadan. In Jenin governorate the PAdetained Abd Ar-Ra’ouf Khamaysah, Ala’ Hamdan, Khaled Ghanem, Mohammad Abu Zeid, Walid Radwan and Mithqal Yassin from Deir Abu Da’if village.

PLO deputy visits Jordan Valley, meets Jericho governor for talks on projects
Ma’an News Agency 10/8/2008
Jericho – Ma’an – The chief negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) met with Jericho’s governor on Wednesday to discuss ongoing projects in the area. PLO Deputy Dr. Saeb Erekat met with Jericho and the Jordan Valley Governor Kamel Hamid on Wednesday for talks centering on water, electricity, education, health and agriculture in the valley. Erekat stressed that “there is a need to provide all possible support” to the projects, which are being constructed just a few hundred meters from the Jordan River. [end]

East Jerusalem resident indicted over plan to murder Jews
Aviad Glickman, YNetNews 10/8/2008
Khader Jaabis of Jabel Mukaber neighborhood charged with conspiracy after attempting to buy a gun, bragging about future attack. Acts said to be inspired by friend who ran over soldiers in capital’s Tzahal Square -The Jerusalem District Prosecution on Wednesday filed conspiracy charges against Khader Jaabis, 18, a friend of the terrorist who ran over soldiers in the capital’s Tzahal Square about two weeks ago, injuring 17 people. Jaabis, a resident of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, is believed to have been a close friend of Kasem Mugrabi, who carried out the Jerusalem attack. According to the indictment, filed with the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, Jaabis decided to stage a killing spree of his own shortly after Mugrabi carried out the attack, during which he was killed.

E. J’lem Arab accused of plotting attack Staff, Jerusalem Post 10/8/2008
An east Jerusalem Arab was indicted on Wednesday in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court for connection with acts of terror. Hadad Ja’abis, 28, of Jebl Mukaber, was a friend of Kassem Mughrabi, who was killed when he rammed his BMW into a group of soldiers and civilians at Jerusalem’s Kikar Tzahal two weeks ago. The 28-year-old was accused of attempting to purchase a hand gun in order to carry out a terror attack in the city, allegedly in either the suburb of Neve Ya’akov, or at the Haas Promenade in Armon Hanatziv, also in Jerusalem. According to the charge sheet, Ja’abis went to console mourners at the Mughrabi house, and was asked to acquire a weapon "to murder Jews. "He apparently made the decision to plan an attack shortly after his friend perpetrated the Kikar Tzahal attack. The court ordered Ja’abris to house arrest on Tuesday, and he was remanded again on Wednesday until proceedings continue next week.

Israeli Government Sued over Settlement
Mohammed Mar’i, MIFTAH 10/8/2008
For the first time in the history of illegal takeovers of privately owned Palestinian land, the Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din on behalf of five Palestinian landowners demanded compensation from Israel for assistance it provided to builders of the illegal settlement outpost Migron in the West Bank as well as its failure to evacuate it. Yesh Din’s attorney Michael Sfard has filed a 1. 5 million Israeli shekel ($427,000) lawsuit with the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on behalf of five Palestinians from the West Bank villages of Burqa and Dair Dibwan, who claim their land was confiscated for the sake of erecting Migron, northeast of Ramallah. The sum demanded as compensation is based on calculations of loss of potential income from the lands during the years when the outpost occupied it, and since Israel’s violation of its obligation as an occupying power to protect Palestinian civilians and their property began.

Sheikh Salah: Israeli policemen drink alcohol inside the Aqsa Mosque
Palestinian Information Center 10/8/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Sheikh Ra’ed Salah, the head of the Islamic Movement in the 1948 occupied lands, said Tuesday that Israeli policemen drink alcohol and commit adultery inside the Aqsa Mosque without respecting the sanctity of the place. In a press statement, sheikh Salah warned that the IOA intends to establish the largest synagogue in the world extending into the Aqsa Mosque yards and intends to turn Al-Buraq and Al-Marwani mosques, and Islamic cemeteries into synagogues. The Palestinian leader also underlined that the IOA thwarts any project aimed to renovate and refurbish the Aqsa Mosque, calling for establishing an international Islamic fund to save occupied Jerusalem, its mosques, houses, lands and sanctities. The Palestinian leader pointed out that a cave-in happened recently in the Aqsa Mosque and resulted in a large crater near the Qaitbay fountain, only 50 meters away from the Dome of Rock.

IDF finalizes new PA troop deployment in Hebron
Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post 10/7/2008
Brig. -Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the head of the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria, will meet next week with his Palestinian counterpart to discuss a request to move up the planned deployment of a company of PA soldiers in Hebron. The move, first reported in The Jerusalem Post three weeks ago, has drawn the ire of settlers from Gush Etzion and the South Hebron Hills, who held an emergency meeting Tuesday morning to discuss the "irresponsible and dangerous" move. South Hebron Hills Regional Council head Tzvika Bar-Hai told the Post that Palestinians from Hebron had long been involved in terrorist attacks throughout Israel and that this new plan would only further endanger Israeli lives. "The writing is on the wall," he said. On Tuesday morning, Bar-Hai hastily called a meeting of local leaders, activists and rabbis in his office so that they could organize to combat the plan.

Settlements in South Hebron Hills to be blocked during Yom Kippur
Akiva Eldar, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
The authorities are implementing a closure on settlements in the South Hebron Hills east of the separation fence for Yom Kippur, citing a lack of manpower to keep the road open. At the beginning of the week, the residents of the settlements of Teneh Omarim and Shama’a found out that road 60, the main artery connecting Hebron-area settlements with central Israel, will be completely blocked except for emergency vehicles. So far, limitations on traffic have been in effect during Jewish holidays only for the Palestinian population. The Meitar crossing in the South Hebron Hills will be minimally staffed and will therefore be closed except for emergencies, meaning that the settlers there will be cut off from the rest of the West Bank and Israel during the holiday. According to Shlomo Dror, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry and. . .

MKs: Police can’t fight settler violence
Yaakov Lappin, Jerusalem Post 10/7/2008
Only five police cars are in service in the whole of Judea and Samaria, the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee claimed on Tuesday. Committee chairman Ophir Paz-Pines pleaded with police commissioner Insp. -Gen. Dudi Cohen to increase funding to what he described as a beleaguered force struggling to cope with a rising tide of settler violence. Police said the figure was inaccurate, adding that at least 18 police vehicles serve the district during every shift. In a letter sent by Paz-Pines to Cohen, a copy of which was also sent to Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, Pines-Paz lamented the lack of resources available to the force, citing a small budget and shortage in manpower, as well as a "lack of means for carrying out law enforcement duties in Judea and Samaria. "As an example, we learned that only five police cars operate in Judea and Samaria," Pines-Paz added.

Alqassam brigades of Hamas warns of an Israeli invasion of Gaza
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 10/8/2008
The Alqassam brigades, the military wing of the ruling Hamas party in Gaza, warned on Wednesday of an imminent Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip, given notable Israeli military exercises to the east of the Strip. In a statement emailed to press, spokesman of the brigades, called Abu Obaida, said that underway Israeli military exercises on the Israeli side of Gaza-Israel border lines indicate Israel’s ’aggressive/criminal intentions’. Abu Obaida responded to an Israeli military spokesman’s remarks that such trainings are conducted for defense purposes, as ’ ironical’, saying that the upcoming days would likely reveal the real purposes for such exercises. He also preserved what he called the Palestinian resistance’s right to defend any Israeli attack on the coastal region , despite a ceasefire deal, brokered four months ago by Egypt.

Hamas military wing: Israeli forces have aggressive plans for Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 10/8/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas’s military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, said on Tuesday that Israeli forces have plans for an aggressive assault on the Gaza Strip. A spokesperson for the group claimed that increased surveillance of Israeli troops holding drills near the border, sky and sea indicates the army is planning a major assault. Brigades Spokesman Abu Ubayda said: “To say these drills are for defensive purposes is ridiculous—since when has the occupation taken defensive steps? ”“These drills, in fact, reveal what they prepare for the coming days. They enhance the Palestinian resistance’s right to train and prepare for the coming stage, despite the ceasefire,” he said. Ubayda added that the Brigades would inflict a heavy toll on Israeli soldiers if they attempted to cross into Gaza, and insisted that the armed movement would never cease its activities until Palestinians live free from occupation.

Israel denies entry of medical staff to Gaza
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 10/8/2008
Israel denied entry to a medical staff into the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, holding the staff at the Eritz checkpoint in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical sources reported. Head of the public relations department at the Gaza-European hospital in southern Gaza, Auda Kaware’, confirmed to media outlets that Israeli occupation troops, manning the Eritz checkpoint, prevented the entry of 9 Israel-Arab physicians as well as denying entry of medical assistance. The said delegation was supposed to conduct urgent surgeries under the Israeli siege, which has so far caused the death of 250 patients, Kawere’ explained. He added that the delegation consists of bone, tumor and general surgery surgeons and that they brought with them some transplant organs and medical stuff, worth about $22,000 U. S dollars. The Gaza-European hospital has already prepared a list of 330 patients. . .

Medical delegation denied entry to Gaza
Meital Yasur-Beit Or, YNetNews 10/8/2008
Physicians for Human Rights team forced to turn back after IDF refuses to let them cross into Strip citing security considerations. ’We have no intention of violating Yom Kippur, we only want to care for the sick,’ says delegation’s leader - A Physicians for Human Rights delegation, made up of Israeli Arab doctors who were planning to enter the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, was denied entry due to security considerations. The delegation, which included surgeons, orthopedists, an oncologist, a psychologist and a social worker, was scheduled to enter Gaza carrying advanced medical equipment, in order to care for Palestinians hospitalized in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis and Gaza’s Shifa Hospital. BenevolenceIranian boy to undergo surgery in Israel/ Nurit Felter Interior Ministry, Shin Bet grant unusual plea by Tehran family to have son suffering form brain cancer treated in Jewish state.

Khudari deplores Israel for barring doctors from entering Gaza
Palestinian Information Center 10/8/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- MP Jamal Al-Khudari, the head of the popular committee against the siege, strongly denounced Wednesday the IOA for barring a medical delegation from the 1948 occupied lands from entering the Gaza Strip, saying that Israel wants to prevent any efforts to help the Gaza people. In a press release received by the PIC, MP Khudari stated that the delegation is from the organization of physicians for human rights and was intending to perform surgeries and provide medical consultations for patients. The lawmaker pointed out to the deterioration of the health situation and the deaths of about 250 patients as a result of the Israeli siege on the Strip, the latest victims were two young men in the prime of life who died during the past two days. Nine doctors were expected to arrive in Gaza on Wednesday to perform surgeries for about 380 patients, but the IOA prevented them from entering through the Beit Hanoun crossing, north of Gaza.

Israeli doctors barred from Gaza Strip
Ma’an News Agency 10/8/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Israel barred a team of its own doctors from entering the besieged Gaza Strip on Wednesday, blocking a mission that sought to provide medicine and treatment to the Strip’s residents. Most of the nine doctors are Palestinian citizens of Israel. The planned visit to Gaza was organized by the Tel Aviv-based group Physicians for Human Rights. Israeli authorities had approved the team for entry a few days ago. Udah Kawari, a spokesperson of the European Hospital in Gaza asserted that the Israeli military has kept the physicians at the Erez crossing since 10am today. Kawari said that patients who were to be treated by the visiting doctors organized a demonstration at the hospital to protest of Israel’s decision to bar the team. According the Kawari, the team included specialists in several fields of medicine, and they brought with them 22 million US dollars worth of surgical equipment in addition to prosthetic knee joints.

Delegation of Israeli doctors to Gaza denied entry
Fadi Eyadat, Ha’aretz 10/9/2008
A task force of Israeli doctors was banned on Wednesday from entering the Gaza Strip, although their entry has been approved by Israel Defense Forces a few days ago. The members of the organization Physicians for Human Rights were supposed to offer, over a three-day sojourn, medical services that are unavailable in the besieged territory. "We were they only hope for 400 Palestinian patients who were supposed to receive treatment, and were fasting since yesterday because of the operation they were supposed to undergo today," said the oncologist Dr. Abed A’baria, on his way home from the Erez Crossing. "The army told us that we were denied entry for security reasons," he said. Along with the doctors, a $50,000-worth of medical equipment was also turned away.

UNRWA falls short in southern West Bank
Najib Farrag, Palestine News Network 10/8/2008
Bethlehem - The People’s Committee for Services in northern Bethlehem’s Aida Refugee Camp is threatening to take action against the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. The complaint is that the UNRWA continues to ignore demands of camp residents who suffer from what they describe as a "bureaucratic approach to the management of the Agency in the southern West Bank. "This came in an urgent memo to the southern director, Amjad Abu Laban, with copies sent to the office of President Mahmoud Abbas and Bethlehem Governor Salah Tamari. Several other pressing issues were included. "Expired and corrupted food was distributed in Aida Refugee Camp. Among the items is rice full of mold and moisture. "The UNRWA periodically provides a ration of oil, rice, flour and powdered milk to refugees.

Concern for fate of education from those for and against the strike
PNN exclusive, Palestine News Network 10/8/2008
Najib Farrag -- Bethlehem’s Deheisha Refugee Camp was the scene of more upheaval today as students went on strike. The camp has already suffered a month of an Israeli arrest campaign targeting leftist youth. Joined by northern Hebron’s Al Aroub Refugee Camp, students from the United Nations Relief Works Agency schools began protesting early Wednesday. The Parents Council in both schools agreed with the decision that took 1,300 children out of their classrooms in Deheisha and 800 in Al Aroub. Parents Council member in Bethlehem’s Deheisha Refugee Camp, Jamal Farrag, has sons in the boys’ school. He told PNN today, "The decision to strike came after the UNRWA refused to comply with our just demands. Their response was less than desirable. " Farrag described a number of erroneous and ill-considered decisions made by the administration of the relief agency in the southern West Bank.

Report: Palestinian girls seized in June still held without charges
Ma’an News Agency 10/8/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – A human rights organization appealed to the public on Wednesday to take action against Israel’s administrative detention of two Palestinian schoolgirls being held in a women’s prison since June. The Addameer Foundation said Israeli officials again requested an administrative detention order for Salwa Salah and Sara Siureh, two 16-year-old girls seized from their homes on 5 June. Their first administrative detention was ordered on 12 June. From the date of their arrest until 21 July, neither of the girls was allowed contact with their families. Salah was originally sentenced to four months, while Siureh received a five-month detention. A military court confirmed the orders on 18 June, though an appeals hearing reduced Siureh’s sentence from five months to four. Originally due for release on 4 October, officials issued the second order on 5 October, one day after they were legally free to go.

After 16 years in Israeli prison Firas Jarar sat down with PNN’s Jenin correspondent Ali Samoudi
Ali Samoudi, Palestine News Network 10/8/2008
Jenin -- Sitting in his Jenin home Firas Ahmed Mohammad Jirar recalls the vividly harsh memories of 16 years in Israeli prison. Jirar says he cannot forget being moved from one prison and detention center to another despite being newly released. "I am so happy to see my family, but it will be incomplete as long as there are prisoners in the jails. He continued, "The suffering is during the current period is seriously escalating. We must deliver the message of the prisoners and keep them at the top of the priorities. "Despite the warmth that greeted Jirar as he returned to his family and the people he has not seen since he was 19 years old, he cannot stop talking about the situation of the Palestinians in Israeli jails, the daily suffering. "The meaning of freedom is lost when so many of our people are languishing in prisons where they are living in the cruelest of situations.

UNRWA Commissioner General appeals for Arab funds for Nahr el Bared refugees
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in, ReliefWeb 10/8/2008
Vienna, 8 October 2008 - The Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has made an urgent appeal for Arab funds for emergency assistance to some thirty thousand Palestine refugees whose homes were destroyed by fighting last year at the Nahr el Bared camp in Northern Lebanon. Karen AbuZayd called on "Arab donors to help UNRWA respond adequately to the humanitarian needs of these refugees who have endured more than their fair share of misery and displacement. " Last month, the UN’s Palestine Refugee Agency appealed for $43 million for temporary services such as emergency food rations and shelter, but so far only the United States has come forward with a firm pledge of $4. 3 million, while a few European donors have indicated a willingness to pledge. No donations have been forthcoming from Arab donors.

Absent: Gaza’s best and brightest banned from universities abroad
Ma’an News Agency 10/8/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Zuheir Abu Sha’ban is just one of thousands of Palestinian students with the academic credentials to succeed in higher education. The student graduated with a degree in electronic engineering in 2007, which enabled him to work as a teacher’s assistant for a year at Gaza’s Islamic University. But Zuheir aspired to continue his coursework at a master’s program in the United States, receiving a Fulbright scholarship for his demonstrated academic success. “I had dreamed of getting a scholarship to do my MA,” he told Ma’an. The only obstacle for Zuheir was getting to America to begin his studies. According to him, Israeli officials gave the US “fake information” about the young man and two others. Barred from traveling through the Erez crossing point, Zuheir feared his scholarship would be revoked.

IDF forces African migrants back to Egypt
Jerusalem Post 10/7/2008
The state informed the High Court of Justice on Tuesday that all of the recent cases in which soldiers have forced African migrants back to Egypt after they crossed into Israel occurred in the Mount Harif area, in the southern part of the border. The state was responding to petitioners protesting the state’s policy of "coordinated return," who said soldiers questioned migrants immediately after they crossed the border to determine whether any of them might qualify as political refugees with the right to asylum. Anyone who does not appear to them to qualify is immediately returned to Egypt by force. The petitioners include The Refugees Rights Clinic, Hotline for Migrant Workers, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, The Israel Religious Action Center and Assaf-The Organization to Help Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

As the Palestinians start the olive pucking season, settlers increase their attacks
IMEMC News, International Middle East Media Center News 10/9/2008
As several Palestinian villages stated the olive piking season, extreme Israeli settlers increased their attacks against them and against several Palestinian villages. Nablus district, in the northern part of the West Bank, was the main target by the settlers especially in areas close to the settlements of Alon Moreh, Itamar and Yitzhar. In an unprecedented statement, Ghadi Shamney, the Israeli general in charge of the West Bank Israeli army brigades, said that the settlers have significantly increased their attacks against the Palestinian residents and even attacked Israeli soldiers. Shamney added that in the past, the attacks were carried out by dozens of settlers but now hundreds of settlers are carrying these attacks. He also said that this is a very serious issue and claimed that most of the settlers in the West Bank are not violent.

IOF troops kidnap eight Palestinians, prevent farmers from harvesting olives
Palestinian Information Center 10/8/2008
RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- The IOF troops kidnapped eight Palestinians from villages near the northern West Bank town of Tulkarem and stopped farmers from reaching their land to harvest their olive crop. Local sources in the village of Qaffin, to the north of Tulkarem,  said that IOF troops kidnapped Qusai Ayed Hirsha (14 years) and Nabil Khasib (15) from their fields in Qaffin while they were helping their families harvest the olive crop. In the village of Anabta, to the east of Tulkarem, the IOF troops kidnapped three youths from their homes on Wednesday at dawn; Muhammad Isam Nassar (17), Islam Abdel-Karim Ali (17) and Zaid Burhan Hamdallah (17). The IOF troops also raided the homes of Zeyad Saadah and Izz Toum, but could not find them. The IOF troops had earlier kidnapped Ersleen Sawalha from Dhennaba east of Tulakarem and who works as an accountant with a charity there.

Occupation confiscates 180 dunums for trash dump on Dir Shar and Qusin lands
Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, Stop The Wall 10/8/2008
The Occupation has confiscated 180 dunums of agricultural land from the villages of Deir Sharaf and Qusin, located northwest of Nablus, for use as a trash dump. This comes as the official sanctioning of a practice that has been ongoing since 2002 and has caused extensive damage to the agriculture and health of the villagers. This September, the Occupation high court issued a decision to confiscate and transform 180 dunums of land from Deir Sharaf and Qusin into a trash dump. Even before the court issued their decision, bulldozers had already started to enlarge and level the targeted land. The presence of a garbage dump in this area is not new, and since 2002 the nearby settlement of Qedumim as well as Occupation industrial zones have used the site as dumping ground. Following the 2002 and the siege on Nablus, Occupation forces took over a number of areas in the district.

Two Islamic Jihad men seized by Israeli forces in Qabatiya
Ma’an News Agency 10/8/2008
Jenin – Ma’an – Israeli forces on Wednesday seized two activists affiliated to Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, in the northern West Bank town of Qabatiya, south of Jenin. Islamic Jihad sources said that a massive Israeli force raided the town overnight firing gunshots and sound bombs into the air. They carried out house to house searches before arresting Hani Kamil and Maysarah Kamil, both aged 23. Israeli forces, according to the sources, have been pursuing the two since months. An Israeli military spokesperson confirmed the news. [end]

Israel closes West Bank during Yom Kippur
Ma’an News Agency 10/8/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israel sealed the West Bank on Tuesday night for the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur, which begins at sunset on Wednesday. The closure means that even Palestinians who have a permit to enter Jerusalem or Israel will not be allowed to do so. Ordinarily, mot residents of the occupied territories are barred from Jerusalem without hard-to-obtain permits. Israeli officials said the closure would be lifted on Friday morning. Until then, extra police and military forces will be deployed, especially in Jerusalem near the vicinity of the Wailing Wall. The holiest day of the year for Jews, Yom Kippur is a day of atonement, marked with a fast. [end]

Israeli military detains two Jenin residents
International Middle East Media Center News 10/8/2008
The Israeli military detained on Wednesday morning two residents from the West Bank city of Jenin, after breaking into the city earlier today, Palestinian security sources and witnesses reported. A large Israeli army contingent stormed earlier today the city under a barrage of heavy gunfire and sound grenades shooting, as the soldiers ransacked houses, rounding up two residents. Palestinian security sources identified the detainees as Maysara Abu Zaid, 22 and Hani Kmail, 26. Israel’s military in the West Bank conduct almost daily arrest campaigns, as Israel continues to hold more than 11. 500 Palestinians including women and juveniles inside many detention facilities of its own.

Israelis seal off West Bank for holiest day on Jewish calendar
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 10/9/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel has closed off the Occupied West Bank ahead of Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, which began at sunset on Wednesday, an Israeli military spokesman said. The closure became effective before dawn and will continue until 8 a. m. (0600 GMT) on Friday, the spokesman said. The Occupied West Bank is routinely closed before Jewish holidays for fear of attacks by Palestinian militants. Since the start of the second intifada in September 2000, the Occupied West Bank has been partially blocked off, with Israel authorizing small numbers of Palestinians to travel to the Jewish state every day. Police on Wednesday also stepped up security across Israel. "We have carried out a maximum deployment of our forces across the whole of the territory," said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

’Israel has Agreed to Allow PA Troops into Hebron’
Ali Waked, MIFTAH 10/8/2008
Israel is backing a bid by the Palestinian Authority to reassert control over Hebron, a senior Palestinian defense official told Ynet on Monday evening. According to the official Israel has authorized the request made by the PA to deploy security forces in the West Bank city as part of the effort to push back Hamas, which is poised to seize control there. At present time Israel has yet to confirm such an agreement. According to the source the deployment will be carried out as soon as next week, around October 15th. The Palestinian force will be comprised of more than 1,000 armed men. Israel has so far authorized the deployment of 250 members of the Presidential Guard and an identical number of police officers. The PA is hoping to add another 500 troops from the national force. The unique force will be tasked with battling Hamas’ extensive political efforts, which have been picking up

Two cases of West Nile Virus diagnosed in West Bank
Ma’an News Agency 10/8/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Two cases of West Nile Virus were diagnosed in the West Bank city of Qalqilia, two days after the virus was discovered in Israel, the undersecretary of the Palestinian Ministry of Health, Anan Al-Masri told Ma’an on Wednesday. Al-Masri however said that the virus is not expected to spread in the Palestinian territories. “The two infections found in Qalqilia may have spread from Israeli areas since they are in the same vicinity,” he said. He confirmed that Palestinian territories are otherwise completely free of West Nile. He said his ministry is carrying out periodic preventive measures in the areas around the Israeli separation wall in cooperation with Palestinian municipalities. Al-Masri added that this virus is not “dangerous for humans. ” He said the symptoms of West Nile are similar to flu, and can be treated with rest and drinking fluids.

Palestine Today 100808
IMEMC News - Audio Dept, International Middle East Media Center News 10/8/2008
Click on Link to download or play MP3 file || 3 m 30s || 3. 20 MB || Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www. imemc. org for Wednesday October 8, 2008. As Palestinian national dialogue is underway in Cairo, a Hamas leader in Gaza warned of failure of such dialogue. Meanwhile, Israeli authority prevented access of Israeli and Arab doctors into Gaza. Theses stories and more are coming up, stay tuned. Ahmad Yousef, advisor to Palestinian Prim Minister of the deposed Hamas government, Ismael Haniyeh, warned on Wednesday of failure of the underway intra-Palestinian dialogue in Cairo. Yousef stressed the need for reaching a national consensus among the Palestinian political faction and mainly the rival Hamas and Fatah parties, so that the Palestinian national interests "are not scattered.

PA security kidnap 160 citizens and IOF troops kill five others during last month
Palestinian Information Center 10/7/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement reported that in the context of the PA-Israeli security coordination in the West Bank, the PA security apparatuses kidnapped during last September 160 Palestinian citizens affiliated with Movement while the IOF troops killed five others.  According to a report issued by Hamas and received by the PIC revealing the violations committed during the last month by the PA and Israel against Palestinian citizens, the IOF troops kidnapped and killed a number of Palestinians during 150 incursions in the West Bank and one incursion in the Gaza Strip, east of Khan Younis. The report also noted that the Israeli siege has claimed the lives of 250 Palestinian patients since it was imposed on Gaza. In a new development, the PA security apparatuses have kidnapped Tuesday five Palestinian citizens in different West Bank areas after storming their houses and work. . .

Arab lawyer detained after refusing to remove pants during airport check
Ruth Sinai and Roni Singer-Heruti, Ha’aretz 10/9/2008
An Israeli Arab lawyer for the workers rights group Kav La’Oved was handcuffed and briefly detained by police this week when he refused to take his pants off during an airport security check. It was the second time in two months that local airport officials had asked Khalid Dukhi to remove his pants as part of a pre-flight security check. Dukhi was flying from Tel Aviv to Eilat on Monday to provide legal assistance to Sudanese refugees working in hotels in the southern city when security officials at the Sde Dov airport asked him to remove his pants after a hand-held metal detector beeped when it was waved over them. When he said he would rather leave the airport, the officials called the police, who informed Dukhi he was under arrest, handcuffed him, and removed his pants to complete the search.

Bedouins slam farmer’s bid for Beersheba City Council
Ilana Curiel, YNetNews 10/8/2008
Southern city’s municipal race jolted as local branch of eco party lists Shai Dromi, accused of 2006 killing of Bedouin burglar, as candidate in upcoming elections. ’List tainted with blood,’ says local Bedouin official - In the eye of the storm, again:Negev farmer Shai Dromi announced recently he would be joining the Green Party’s roster in the upcoming Beersheba municipal elections. Dromi gained notoriety of sorts in December of 2006, when he shot and killed a Bedouin burglar who broke into his farm. Though arrested promptly after the incident, Dromi did not stand trial for murder, as the State opted to file charges of manslaughter, illegal possession of a firearm and aggravated assault against him, instead.

Ethiopian immigrants return to absorption center
Yael Branovsky, YNetNews 10/8/2008
Agreement reached with Jewish Agency prompts dozens of Falash Mura members protesting absorption conditions outside Prime Minister’s Office to head back to Kibbutz Beit Alfa - Going home for Yom Kippur fast. Two days after settling outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem in protest of the harsh conditions in their absorption center and their difficult economic situation, dozens of Ethiopian immigrants agreed Wednesday to adhere to the Jewish Agency and Immigrant Absorption Ministry’s call, and return to the Beit Alfa absorption center. The protestors were driven back to the northernIsrael kibbutz on six buses. The immigrants, members of the Falash Mura communities, slept outside the PM’s Office without blankets or mattresses to lie on. They presented a grave situation: Shameful poverty and obstacles in their attempts to overcome it.

Leviev boycott moves forward with action in the UK and NYC
Stop The Wall 10/8/2008
Palestine solidarity organization Adalah-NY was recently involved in two actions against Lev Leviev, the Israeli diamond magnate and construction mogul. The first action called on the British government to reverse its plan to rent its new embassy in Tel Aviv from Leviev’s company, Africa-Israel, as dealings with Leviev serve to condone the Occupation’s settlement construction on stolen Palestinian land. Adalah-NY’s call was part of a letter-writing campaign to the British Foreign Office, which Adalah-NY spearheaded, as part of large alliance of Palestinian and international civil society, including Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, War on Want, the West Bank villages of Bil’in and Jayyous, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, Jews Against the Occupation.

Palestinians in Europe conference to be held in Italy next year
Palestinian Information Center 10/8/2008
MILAN, (PIC)-- The secretariat of the Palestinians in Europe conference announced that the seventh annual conference will be held in Italy in the spring of next year. This announcement was made during an event organized in Milan city by the Palestinian assembly in Italy and focused on the ways to improve the Palestinian activities in the Italian arena and the preparations for the next conference. The event was attended by prominent pro-Palestine European figures, representatives of organizations and unions, and Palestinian and Arab notables. Adel Abdullah, the secretary-general of the Palestinians in Europe conference, underlined that the next conference will be more important than the previous ones because Italy has a balanced and fair role in dealing with the Palestinian cause.

BDS Newsletter #7 - October 2008
Stop The Wall 10/7/2008
The British-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) used the month of September as their Boycott Israeli Goods (BIG) Month of Action, as PSC supporters from over twenty towns created eye-catching and impact-achieving demonstrations. In order to support the demonstrations, the PSC also held meetings and film-screenings as a means of spreading their message about the BDS campaign. The highlight of the month came on 28 September, when activists occupied and shut down the UK freight warehouse and HQ of Carmel-Agrexco. Agrexco is one of the largest settlement agro-businesses and a key exporter of settlement produce to Europe. Both gates to the Carmel-Agrexco depot in Hayes, Middlesex were blocked for twelve hours, as four protestors locked themselves inside a cage blocking one gate while another was D-locked to the other gate.

Africa Israel isn’t finance company, won’t repurchase bonds, says Leviev
Michael Rochvarger and Sharon Shpurer, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
Lev Leviev flew into Tel Aviv from London to meet with institutional investors in Africa Israel Investments, hoping to allay deep concerns in the market that the company may default on debt tobondholders. The concerns have sent the company’s stock and bond prices plummeting all year. But although he radiated optimism over the company’s outlook, investors hoping for definitive answers were disappointed. "It’s my responsibility to repay the debt, but for now I’m not buying bonds because financial stability and the completion of projects throughout the world are more important," Leviev told them. "Africa Israel is not a financier, and doesn’t deal in buying bonds. ""Falling stock prices don’t worry me," Leviev emphasized. "Just as they fall 15% one day, they could go up 15% tomorrow. If I want to make money, I can withdraw dividends.

Moscow makes no promises on arms sales to Syria, Iran
Yossi Melman, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
MOSCOW-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said yesterday he received assurances that Russia would not allow Israel’s security to be threatened, but offered no indication he won the concrete promises he sought on Russian arms sales or sanctions on Iran. After meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Olmert also said Israel was not prepared to tolerate a situation in which Iran possesses nuclear weapons, but will not take the lead in preventing it from gaining nuclear capability. Olmert did not receive a clear commitment that Russia would refrain from supplying Syria with S-300 anti-aircraft missiles or sell advanced weapons to Iran. However, he said he succeeded in getting Medvedev to understand his fears that Russian-made missiles and other technology could fall into the hands of anti-Israeli militants in the region.

Russian PM cancels meeting with Olmert; Putin refuses to ''even see him''
Ma’an News Agency 10/8/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an - Israeli sources described outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s visit to Russia yesterday as a “failure. ”Though Olmert met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Vladimir Putin refused to even meet with the Israeli leader, sources said. The leaders discussed the Iranian nuclear program and Russian arms transfers to states and groups that are hostile to Israel. But the Israeli prime minister failed to attain a firm pledge from Russia that it would halt weapons sales to Iran and Syria. Such an agreement was the Israeli leader’s main aim for the trip and the subsequent talks, Israeli press reported. [end]

Fatah applauds French envoy’s visit to Nablus
Ma’an News Agency 10/8/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – The Fatah movement on Wednesday applauded French Consul General in Jerusalem, Alain Rémy for his visit to the West Bank city of Nablus, a city that has been devistated by a ring of Israeli checkpoints. Fatah described the visit as a first step towards renewing international interest in Nablus. “The visit by the French consul general along with representatives of 27 European countries to Nablus to discuss European aid to the area and to promote the upcoming Palestine Investment Conference scheduled for November marks the beginning to restore the city’s status. The visit will also provide aid to the city and help get rid of Israeli military checkpoints,” the statement said. The statement added that there was no legal justification for the presence of those Israeli checkpoints, and so there should be international and regional efforts to remove the roadblocks.

MSF on statement by French Foreign Minister
Médecins Sans Frontières - MSF, ReliefWeb 10/8/2008
MSF wishes to emphasize that independence from all governments and interests (political, religious, economic and military) is central to its definition of humanitarian action. - During an October 5, 2008, press conference at the French consulate in Jerusalem, French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, made the following statement: "Officially, we have no contact with Hamas, but unofficially, international organizations working in the Gaza Strip - in particular, French NGOs - provide us information. " The French section of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is one of the NGOs working in the Palestinian Occupied Territories and, specifically, in the Gaza Strip. MSF has never transmitted political information - officially or unofficially - regarding Hamas or any other Palestinian political group to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Coalition talks stall, Labor says ’no basis for agreement’
Mazal Mualem, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
The coalition negotiations between the Labor Party and Tzipi Livni’s Kadima ran into trouble Tuesday after Labor called off a meeting between the two negotiating teams at the last minute. The two sides were supposed to draw up a draft of an agreement. The next meeting will only take place on Friday, after Yom Kippur. Labor chief Ehud Barak’s advisers felt the agreements proposed by Livni’s team were very different than what Barak and Livni had agreed on between themselves. One of Barak’s close advisers said that "in such a situation there is still no basis for an agreement, and it was a waste [of time] to meet. The documents we received were insulting. They were just pleasant statements, but we will not settle for general talk. This is not a fake crisis, it is completely real, and if Kadima does not take our demands seriously, then despite what they think - there will be elections.

Former bureau chief: Police toppled Olmert for nothing
Ynet, YNetNews 10/8/2008
Prime minister’s close associate Shula Zaken vows to stand by him through legal trouble, saying she’s ’heartbroken’ over his and her own ordeals - It breaks my heart to see what Ehud is going through, said Shula Zaken, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s former bureau chief, in a Yedioth Ahronoth interview published Wednesday. Zaken served as Olmert’s bureau chief for 30 years before being ordered by the court to take a leave of absence in 2007. She is currently under police investigation for her alleged involvement in the Tax Authority corruption scandal and her possible involvement in the Talansky Affair. Zaken, who has been forbidden to contact the prime minister or any of his associates, has reserved the right to remain silent during her numerousinterrogation sessions, and has pledged to stand by the man she has worked for from the age of 17.

Communicating with the Divine
Matthew Wagner And Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post 10/7/2008
Communications Minister Ariel Atias is Shas’s wunderkind. In the 2006 elections, just five years after leaving the Torah study hall to work in Shas spiritual mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s kosher supervision apparatus ("I was 30 years old and had to find a way to support my family"), Atias was parachuted into Shas’s Number 2 slot. Known as "the meteor," Atias leapfrogged numerous seasoned politicians on the Shas list - such as Nissim Ze’ev, 57 - who had been with the Sephardi haredi party since its very inception. It is not difficult to imagine the jealousy aroused among more senior Shas MKs when Atias, who was a 12-year-old student in an Ashkenazi haredi yeshiva when Shas was created in 1982, suddenly became Shas’s most powerful, most influential politician after party chairman Eli Yishai. In an interview with The Jerusalem Post before the holidays, Atias expressed Shas’s position. . .

Moshe Dayan told ’73 probe: I wasn’t fit for war-time decision making
Yuval Azoulay, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
Moshe Dayan, the defense minister during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, had been lionized just six years previously over Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War, during which he also served as defense minister. But when he testified before the Agranat Commission that investigated the Yom Kippur War, Dayan insisted that he lacked the necessary military qualifications to influence decisions before and during that war. "From 1957-67, I wasn’t in the army at all," argued the man who had been IDF chief of staff in the four preceding years. "I’m not a tank man, I’m not an artillery man, I’m not a paratrooper, and I don’t have a staff. . . I am not and was not a military man for 10 years, and I didn’t return to dealing with the army after that, but rather to political defense issues. " The argument worked: The commission absolved the entire government of responsibility,. . .

ANALYSIS / Yom Kippur War probe links Sinai 1973 to Lebanon 2006
Amos Harel, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
The 35 years that have passed since the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War have done nothing to reduce the spate of publications about it. This year, the defense establishment contributed its bit with Tuesday’s release (shockingly belated) of the testimony given by several senior officials to the Agranat Commission, which investigated the war. Some of this testimony provides new angles on, or fills in details about, old but still burning questions: Why was equipment not brought closer to the front? Why were the fortifications on the Suez Canal abandoned? And who was right - chief of staff David Elazar or defense minister Moshe Dayan? Armored division commander Ariel Sharon or GOC Southern Command Shmuel ("Gorodish") Gonen? These questions are not academic. An entire generation of Israelis formed its opinions on issues of peace and security based on the trauma of that war.

LAF officers to visit Pentagon for talks on aid - newspaper
Daily Star 10/9/2008
BEIRUT: A high-ranking Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) delegation is expected to head to the Pentagon next week to set a training, equipping and arming timetable, according to a report published by pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat on Wednesday. The delegation’s expected trip comes just days after US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Hale flew in to Beirut with pledges to provide Lebanon with its "security needs to enable it to protect its lands and people. " On Monday Lebanon and the US signed 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. "We discussed with [President Michel Sleiman] military cooperation between Lebanon and the. . .

’Israel backs withdrawing from Ghajar’
Yaakov Katz And Staff, Jerusalem Post 10/8/2008
The commander of UNIFIL troops in southern Lebanon has offered Israel and Lebanon a plan for IDF withdrawal from the border village of Ghajar, Israel Radio reported Wednesday morning. UNIFIL spokeswoman Yasmina Bouziane said that both countries had been presented with the plan, and that both responded positively to it. The Jerusalem Post could not confirm the report, though last month officials said no decisions had been made regarding withdrawal from the village. On Monday, Israeli defense officials said Israel was in advanced talks with the UN on the plan, in which the IDF would be replaced by UNIFIL troops, and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) would not be able to enter the village. Israel suspects LAF have been filled with Hizbullah supporters. Israel has occupied the northern section of the split town since the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

Syria confirms deployment of army along Lebanese border
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
A few tents and trucks dotting a green hill across the river are about all that is visible of a Syrian troop deployment on Lebanon’s northern border - a buildup that has raised concerns of a possible Syrian incursion. There was no sign Wednesday that the Syrian troops were preparing to cross the border. Syria says the deployment - first made public several weeks ago - is aimed at preventing smuggling from Lebanon. But the United States and some anti-Syrian politicians in Beirut have warned that Syria could attempt an incursion, a concern raised especially after a Sept. 27 car bombing in Damascus killed 17 people. In Washington, Deputy State Department spokesman Robert Wood on Monday said, "Any intervention by Syrian troops into Lebanon would be unacceptable.

Nasrallah: We have not abandoned plan to avenge Mughniyeh
Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 10/9/2008
Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah reiterated his promise on Wednesday to avenge the assassination of his deputy Imad Mughniyeh, for which he blames Israel. Mughniyeh, the Hezbollah operations chief, was killed in a Damascus car bombing in February. Israel has denied involvement in the incident. The editor of the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar Ibrahim al-Amin quoted Nasrallah as saying "We have not abandoned our commitment to avenge the assassination, nor have we abandoned the big surprise that awaits our enemies. "According to the report, Nasrallah made the remarks during a Hezbollah leadership meeting several days ago. Nasrallah’s remarks echoed the Lebanese militia’s threat, published by al-Amin on Monday, that a "big surprise" awaits Israel should it decide to engage in another conflict with the group.

Report: Hezbollah says Ron Arad died in 1988
Reuters, Ha’aretz 10/9/2008
An Israel Air Force airman captured in Lebanon in 1986 escaped two years later but probably died while trying to reach Israel on foot, the Hezbollah guerrilla group said in a report published by Maariv, an Israeli daily, on Wednesday. Hezbollah gave Israel the secret reporton Ron Arad’s fate as part of a UN-mediated prisoner swap in July. That deal went ahead though Israel, which officially assumes Arad to be alive, dismissed the Hezbollah report as "absolutely unsatisfactory". Arad was seized by Shi’ite militiamen after bailing out of his crippled warplane over Lebanon. Maariv quoted the Hezbollah report as saying that Arad was first held in Beirut and then moved to the eastern village of Nabi Cheit. "The Israeli pilot escaped from his holding cell on the night between May 4-5, 1988 and headed south, toward what. . .

Two American journalists vacationing in Lebanon missing since Oct. 1
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 10/9/2008
Two American journalists vacationing in Lebanon are missing, the U. S. Embassy said Wednesday, appealing for information on their possible whereabouts. The two, Holli Chmela, 27, and Taylor Luck, 23, have been working for the Jordan Times and had been expected back in Amman on Saturday, the Amman-based paper’s chief editor told. The U. S. Embassy said in a statement that the two have not been heard from since Oct. 1, when they reportedly left Beirut en route to the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli. Chmela and Luck arrived in Lebanon on Sept. 29 from the Jordanian capital on vacation and told a friend on Oct. 1 that they were traveling from Beirut to Tripoli through the coastal town of Byblos that day, the embassy statement said. They then planned to cross by land into Syria before returning to Jordan on Saturday, the embassy said.

LEBANON: In an Uneasy Togetherness with Syria
Analysis by Mona Alami, Inter Press Service 10/9/2008
BEIRUT, Oct 8(IPS) - Small countries right next to one another, Syria and Lebanon seem light years apart. The two countries have shared a rocky relationship for decades, characterised mainly by Syrian dominance. Once again this relationship appears to be put to test as reports of Syrian deployment on Lebanon’s borders abound. Both were together under French mandate for more than 20 years, and achieved independence in 1943. Since then, Syria has considered its neighbour an artificial creation -- an accident of history born of the whims of colonial countries. Syrian troops entered Lebanon as peacekeepers in 1976, in the midst of the 15-year civil war. They stayed on after the war ended in 1990, with the signing of the Taef Agreement which divided power equally between Muslims and Christians. Syria ended up in effect occupying the country for some 30 years until 2005.

Obama threatens dire consequences if Iran doesn’t change its ways
Haaretz Service and News Agencies, Ha’aretz 10/9/2008
U. S. Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama told an audience at the second U. S. presidential debate on Tuesday that he would deliver a tough and direct message to Iran that if they did not change their behavior there would be dire consequences. Obama’s opponent, Republican John McCain, reiterated that he would never allow a second Holocaust to take place, referring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s threats to "wipe Israel off the map. "The Republican candidate also repeated his criticism of Obama’s willingness to hold direct negotiations with the Islamic republic, without preconditions. The debate, which was town-hall style, included questions from an audience of 80 selected voters, identified as undecided. The candidates were also asked questions sent via the Internet, and selected by moderator Tom Brokaw, during. . .

McCain, Obama would toughen sanctions on Iran
News agencies, YNetNews 10/8/2008
US Democrat, Republican presidential candidates clash repeatedly over causes, cures for worst economic crisis in 80 years, Iraq war in their critical second debate, but both agree Tehran should not be allowed to build atomic bomb - Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain clashed repeatedly over the causes and cures for the worst economic crisis in 80 years and the Iraq war Tuesday night in their critical second presidential debate. Both candidates shied away from the rancor and character attacks of the days leading up to the face-off. They both said they would work if elected to toughen sanctions on [end]

Rate cut lifts real estate stocks 20%
Tal Levy, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
Banks, blue chips jump but ICL falls Tel Aviv stocks were spurred north yesterday by the Bank of Israel’s surprise interest rate cut, a good three weeks before its next scheduled monetary announcement. Tel Aviv’s investors awoke yesterday hoping that the uptick on Wall Street and on European markets would lift Israeli shares, at least a little. But nobody could have predicted the dramatic events of late afternoon yesterday, when Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer suddenly slashed lending rates by half a percent to 3. 75%. The rate cut is good for the banks, borrowers and the battered real estate sector. Investors responded by sending finance-sector stocks and the Real Estate-15 index soaring almost 20% on heavy turnover. Total turnover was rather heavier than usual, at NIS 2. 4 billion. At the end of the day the TA-25 index gained 3.

BoI suddenly slashes interest rate as recession looms large
Tal Levy, Yuval Maoz and Moti Bassok, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
The Bank of Israel yesterday utterly shocked the markets with a half-percent interest rate cut, 20 days ahead of the scheduled monthly monetary announcement. Impelled to swift action by the escalating global panic, which has affected the relatively resilient Israeli marketplace too, Governor Stanley Fischer cut lending rates by 0. 5% to 3. 75%, effective October 12. The surprise move spurred a rally on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, where the Real Estate-15 index soared by nearly 20%. (See Page 11. ) A central bank spokesman said that the move was designed to address the spiraling uncertainty in global financial markets. Analysts had been wondering whether the central bank would lower lending rates for November: Inflation remains high, they pointed out. The Bank of Israel’s sole mandate is to keep prices steady. But under the circumstances, say bank sources, supporting growth and stability. . .

You can’t say no to peace
Noam Ben Zeev, Ha’aretz 10/8/2008
Musicians from 70 leading orchestras and 40 countries, including someIsraelis from local orchestras and even one Palestinian, will gather here to perform for a symbolic fee, under the heading "A message of peace to Israel and the Middle East. "By playing "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" by Berliner Felix Mendelssohn and works by Viennese composer Gustav Mahler and contemporary British composer Roxanna Panufnik, they will reflect the "unique strength of music as an ambassador of peace," according to the man who founded the orchestra in 1993, legendary conductor Georg Solti. What is there about classical music that causes it to serve repeatedly as a symbol of peace and brotherhood? According to the cliche, since music is an abstract art and lacks all elements of representation such as visuals or ideas (and in the opinion of composer Igor Stravinsky even emotions), it is capable of bridging cultural differences.

Iraq pronounces itself ready to take over security in Baghdad
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 10/9/2008
BAGHDAD: Iraq’s government said on Wednesday it was ready to take over security responsibilities from US security forces in Baghdad as both countries say they are nearing a deal on a contested military pact. Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Abdel-Karim Khalaf said Iraqi police are capable of handling security duties across the capital, a responsibility now held by US troops. "We have the ability to take over the internal security responsibility in Baghdad if American forces pull out of the city," he said in a statement. "The Interior Ministry is able to take responsibility for protecting Baghdad. "His remarks came a day after Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Washington and Baghdad are now "very close" to an agreement on the presence of American troops in the country beyond this year. Zebari was speaking at a news conference with visiting US Deputy Secretary of State. . .

Deadly attack on Iraqi courthouse
Al Jazeera 10/8/2008
A suicide bomber has killed eleven people outside a court in the Iraqi city of Baquba. More than 20 people were wounded in the attack in central Baquba, the capital of Diyala province, on Wednesday morning. The attacker was thought to be female, but a police official said it was too early to confirm as bombers use women’s clothing to avoid detection. The attack took place at about 11. 30am, police said. Ahmed Fuad, the director of Baquba’s main morgue, said those killed included three civilians, five Iraqi army soldiers and one policeman. Ibrahim Bajilan, the provincial council chief, said the attack was intended to be a double suicide bombing, but a man accompanying the first bomber failed to detonate his explosives vest and was arrested at the scene.

U.S.-based rights group accuses Jordan of torture in state prisons
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 10/9/2008
A New York-based human rights group accused Jordan’s security services Wednesday of carrying out widespread torture in the country’s jails. The Human Rights Watch report comes a year after the UN special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, said he found evidence of systematic abuse in at least two Jordanian detention facilities but did not believe torture was widespread in the country. "Torture in Jordan’s prison system is widespread, even two years after King Abdullah II called for reforms to stop it once and for all," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director for Human Rights Watch. Jordanian officials have repeatedly denied torture claims. State Minister for Information Nasser Judeh told reporters late Tuesday that Jordan has been working on finding an effective mechanism for submitting complaints and remarks on conditions at correctional facilities.

Arab bourses nosedive for fourth day running
Middle East Online 10/8/2008
KUWAIT CITY - Gulf stock markets tumbled for the fourth day running on Wednesday amid growing fears that policymakers may be powerless to stop the worst financial shock since the Great Depression. The plunge slashed many more billions from the combined value of regional markets to add to enormous losses chalked up in the past three days as concerns mounted about the impact of the global financial crisis on the oil-rich region. In all, the seven Arab stock markets in the Gulf had already shed about 150 billion dollars of their capitalisation this week, shrinking their combined value around 800 billion dollars. On the Dubai Financial Market, shares have lost more than a quarter of their value since the trading week began on Sunday as concerns mounted about the impact of the global financial crisis on the oil-rich region.

Turkish parliament extends mandate on Iraq strikes
Middle East Online 10/8/2008
ANKARA - Turkey’s parliament Wednesday extended the government’s mandate to order strikes against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq as an attack on a police bus in the country’s southeast killed five people. The assault came just days after rebels from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) killed 17 soldiers in a daytime attack on a military outpost near the border with Iraq. The motion, which gives the government another year-long authorisation for cross-border operations against PKK hideouts in northern Iraq, won backing from all parties in parliament, except the Democratic Society Party, the country’s main Kurdish political movement. Deputy parliament speaker Guldal Mumcu initially announced that 511 lawmakers had voted for the motion, but session minutes published later revised the number down to 497 as several deputies had cast multiple votes.

Carter, Tutu lead delegation to back Cyprus talks
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 10/9/2008
NICOSIA: Nobel peace laureates former US President Jimmy Carter and anti-apartheid campaigner Desmond Tutu arrived in Cyprus on Wednesday to back UN-brokered efforts to reunite the Mediterranean island. Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat launched peace talks on September 3, four years after the failure of a 2004 UN peace plan to bridge the gap between the two rival communities. Carter said the eyes of the world were on Cyprus and expected the two "courageous" leaders to "correct a misunderstanding" that has been a problem ever since he was in the White House. "I think it’s very important for all the people who live here to know that the rest of the world is pulling for you," said Carter. "We pray and hope that the talks will be successful. " The international community views the fresh talks process as the best chance for peace in decades. . .


Israel’s surprising best seller contradicts founding ideology
Jonathan Cook, Electronic Intifada 10/8/2008
      No one is more surprised than Shlomo Sand that his latest academic work has spent 19 weeks on Israel’s bestseller list -- and that success has come to the history professor despite his book challenging Israel’s biggest taboo.
     Sand argues that the idea of a Jewish nation -- whose need for a safe haven was originally used to justify the founding of the state of Israel -- is a myth invented little more than a century ago.
     An expert on European history at Tel Aviv University, Sand drew on extensive historical and archaeological research to support not only this claim but several more -- all equally controversial.
     In addition, he argues that the Jews were never exiled from the Holy Land, that most of today’s Jews have no historical connection to the land called Israel and that the only political solution to the country’s conflict with the Palestinians is to abolish the Jewish state.
     The success of When and How Was the Jewish People Invented? looks likely to be repeated around the world. A French edition, launched last month, is selling so fast that it has already had three print runs.

Interview: Neve Gordon’s New Book

Palestine Chronicle 10/7/2008
      ’I decided to focus on the structures and forms of control.’
     Israel’s Occupation by Neve Gordon, [Year: 2008; ISBN: 978-0-520-25531-9; Publisher: University of California Press
     Interviewed by Chris Spannos Chris Spannos: Where did your book Israel’s Occupation come from?
     Neve Gordon: The book has two distinct sources. First and foremost, it is a product of many years of activism in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. My understanding of the forms of control deployed in the Gaza Strip and West Bank began during the first Intifada, initially as a member of the Gaza Team for Human Rights and later as the director of Physicians for Human Rights, Israel. During the second Intifada, I became an active member of Ta’ayush (Arab-Jewish Partnership) and spent much time in the Occupied Territories resisting, together with Palestinians, Israel’s abusive policies. This kind of first-hand experience is invaluable and cannot be replaced by books and reports. The book is also the outcome of discussions and research carried out by a group of Israeli and Palestinian students and scholars that I was fortunate to join a few years ago. The aim of this group was to try and theorize Israel’s particular form of colonization.

Israel-Palestine’s Future is One Nation

Ghada Karmi - London, Palestine Chronicle 10/7/2008
      ’A unitary state is inevitable.’
     Imagine the scene: the United Nations General Assembly meets to discuss a resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
     Unlike previous resolutions, which have been based on a Jewish state in most of historic Palestine with Palestinians relegated to the remnants, this one calls for a new state, covering what is now Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, the present and former inhabitants of which are equal under the law. Such a resolution has, in fact, already been drafted and discussions have begun to place it on the agenda at the UN.
     The one-state solution is now part of mainstream discourse.
     Increasingly, Palestinians -- and some Israelis -- support it as the only alternative to a Palestinian state subordinate to Israel. One-state groups have sprung up and conferences and studies are under way.
     A UN resolution is the logical next step, underlining the issue’s global importance and exposing the inequity and dishonesty of the two-state solution, replacing it with something fairer and more durable. It would be encapsulated in the following clauses, part of the draft UN resolution for a one-state solution, which has been under discussion for six months.

Olmert’s Belated Wisdom

B. Michael, MIFTAH 10/7/2008
      Even though Prime Minister Olmert had been ridiculed on more than one occasion for his delayed grasp of reality, it is very difficult not to feel great anger in the wake of his Rosh Hashana interview with Yedioth Ahronoth.
     In fact, this interview is truly infuriating. A few moments before he departs the political stage, two and a half years after he officially assumed his post, and after 30 months where he did nothing to advance all the beautiful notions he discussed in the interview, suddenly he has been instilled with wisdom and courage. All of a sudden, he speaks up in order to warn us and issue predications, advice and consult, outline a path, and discover “new” ideas, which in fact have been known for ages.
     Had we been able to only accuse him of complete diplomatic blindness and a special talent for failing to grasp reality around him, this would be one thing. We may have been able to forgive that. However, the prime minister himself praises himself for saying “five years ago already,” (in an interview with Nahum Barnea,) that time is running out, and that we must understand this, and that if we fail to grasp this, heaven forbid.

Palestinian torture victim seeks justice in the Netherlands

Press release, PCHR, Electronic Intifada 10/7/2008
      Dutch prosecution authorities failed to arrest Ami Ayalon, currently Minister without Portfolio in the Israeli Government, while he was visiting the Netherlands from 16 to 20 May 2008. An application for his arrest was submitted to the Dutch authorities by Khalid al-Shami, who alleged that he was a victim of torture from 1999-2000, when Ami Ayalon was the director of the Shin Bet (the Israeli General Security Services - GSS), which investigates individuals suspected of committing crimes against Israel’s security. Ami Ayalon was the director of the GSS from 18 February 1996 to 14 May 2000.
     Al-Shami’s evidence file was collected by his lawyers in Gaza City from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) and he only sought justice abroad after the Israeli authorities failed to act on his allegations, in part because torture is routinely sanctioned in Israel.
     The Dutch authorities failed to arrest Ayalon, even though there was a prima facie case and they concluded he was not immune from prosecution -- that failure will now be the subject of a legal challenge in the Court of Appeal in The Hague, and an order will be sought requiring a criminal investigation supported by an extradition request or an international arrest warrant.

Where water leaves a bitter taste

Ramesh Jaura, Electronic Intifada 10/8/2008
      BARCELONA (IPS/Terraviva) - Palestinian villagers drink unsafe agricultural water rather than trusting water provided by an Israeli company, says Buthaina Mizyed, who has worked in Arraneh village near the conflict-laden West Bank city of Jenin.
     The reason the Palestinians avoid the water from a station in the nearby village of al-Jalameh is that it smells of chlorine. So deep is the mistrust of Israelis that they fear it might have been contaminated, and would damage their children’s health.
     "We assured them that water from the al-Jalameh station is being constantly tested and that its quality is definitely better than that of the water from the agricultural wells," says Mizyed. "But they would not believe us. They said the water could be contaminated in the time gaps between one quality test and another. They would ask us to guarantee water provided by the Israeli company was safe. But of course we could not guarantee."
     Mizyed related this at a daylong event on "the inequality of groundwater allocation: the Palestinian-Israeli case" organized at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday.

Investigation demanded after prisoner dies in PA custody

Report, PCHR, Electronic Intifada 10/8/2008
      The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) calls on the Attorney-General of the Palestinian Authority to disclose the circumstances of the death of Shadi Mohammed Mohammed Shaheen, from the town of al-Bireh in the West Bank, who died on 29 September 2008 while in police custody in the city of Jericho. PCHR also demands a full investigation into the death, with the results publicly published.
     Twenty-seven-year-old Shaheen was originally detained by a Palestinian military court order. On 8 March of this year he was summoned by the General Intelligence Service (GIS) in Ramallah, and was interrogated regarding charges of committing "crimes that endanger the safety of internal homeland security." Shaheen was detained by the GIS until 15 June 2008, when he was transferred to the Palestinian Police Rehabilitation and Discipline Center in Jericho, after an arrest warrant had been issued by the military prosecution.
     At approximately 3:00pm on Monday, 29 September, Shaheen’s brother, Ashraf, received a phone call from a police officer who informed him that Shaheen was seriously ill. Ashraf immediately went to see his brother, and he was informed that Shaheen had just died at Jericho Hospital. Shaheen’s family stated that he had been interrogated about firing at the house of former PA Minister of Information, Nabeel Amru.

Israel: wedded to war?

Ben White, The Guardian 10/7/2008
      For Israel, the aftermath of the 2006 Lebanon war was all about questions. What mistakes were made, and who made them? What could be done to restore the Israeli military’s "deterrence" after a widely perceived defeat? In general, what lessons could be learned from the confrontation with Hizbullah in order that next time, there would be no question of failure?
     Unfortunately, it seems that entirely the wrong kinds of conclusions are being reached, at least in the military hierarchy and among the policy shaping thinktanks. On Friday, Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper published comments made by Israeli general Gadi Eisenkot, head of the army’s northern command. Eisenkot took the opportunity to share the principles shaping plans for a future war.
     The general promised "disproportionate" force to destroy entire villages identified as sources of Hizbullah rocket fire, the reasoning being that they are "not civilian villages" but rather "military bases" – the kind of reasoning that can land you in a war crimes tribunal.