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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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11 October, 2008

Arab houses torched by Israeli Jews
Middle East Online 10/11/2008
ACRE, Israel - Jewish protestors torched two houses belonging to Arab families in the northern Israeli town of Acre overnight after three days of violent clashes, Israeli public radio reported on Saturday. In another part of town police used tear gas and noise-making devices to disperse several hundred Jews who tried to attack an Arab family, it said, adding that no one was wounded in either incident. Israel’s police spokesman could not be reached to confirm the report, which came as the country was shut down for the weekly Jewish Sabbath. Over 700 police patrolled the coastal town of 50,000 people on Saturday, a police commander told public radio, after riots erupted three days ago on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Israeli police said the clashes broke out when an Arab driver was assaulted by group of Jewish youths, accusing him of disrupting the sanctity of. . .

Settlers and Army continuously harass Kufr Qadum farmers during the olive harvest
International Womens’ Peace Service 10/11/2008
Olive Harvest Report No. 1/2008 - Date of incident: 6. -11. October 2008 - Place: Kufr Qadum, Qalqiliya District - Witness/es: Farmers and Municipality members from Kufr Qadum, IWPS volunteers - Farmers of Kufr Qadum have been facing constant harassment from both, the Israeli Army and Israeli settlers from Qedumim and its outposts, since they started harvesting olives this week. Municipality members report that farmers have been driven of their land and prevented from harvesting their olives by the army in different areas around the village, as far as three kilometers from the illegal Settlement of Qedumim. In addition there have been numerous attacks by extremist settlers in the area around Beit Im Eiman (referred to by the settlers as Shvut Ami), where Hill Top Youth keep trying to establish an outpost. On Saturday, the 11.

2 Palestinians killed in smuggling tunnel blast under Gaza-Egypt border
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 10/12/2008
Two Palestinians have been killed in an explosion in a smuggling tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border, police and hospital officials said Saturday. Police said Saturday that two others are still missing. Officials say the blast went off Friday when a gas canister blew up. Dozens of tunnels run under the border. They are one of the main conduits for goods because Gaza’s borders have been virtually closed since the takeover of the territory by Hamas in 2007. Friday’s deaths bring to 47 the number of Palestinians killed in tunnels this year. Concern over worker safety is growing and Hamas has made tunnel operators sign a pledge to compensate the families of those killed. Also, Egypt has stepped up efforts in recent months to close tunnels. #newsletterLink a {text-decoration: none; cursor: pointer;} #newsletterLink. . .

Report: Sick Palestinans suffer neglect, abuse in Israeli jails
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Two Palestinian prisoners’ rights groups on Saturday produced evidence of maltreatment, abuse and medical neglect at Israeli prisons in a petition filed with Israel’s highest court. An attorney representing the Palestinian Prisoners Association filed a petition with Israel’s High Court of Justice on behalf of Alaa Badawi, a prisoner serving a 25-year-sentence at Nafha Prison. The petition alleges that Israeli prison guards failed to provide the inmate with medically necessary treatment. Badawi suffers from a stomach disease that, without medication, causes him to lose weight rapidly. As a result of the guards’ alleged refusal to give him anything other than diarrhea medication, Badawi currently weighs just 34 kg. The petition filed with the Israeli High Court compiles numerous violations at the prison, but focuses on the neglect of Badawi’s long medical file.

Israeli jeep ’intentionally’ rams Palestinian car off cliff
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Eyewitnesses told Ma’an that an Israeli military vehicle "intentionally" slammed into a car being driven by a Palestinian on Saturday near Nablus, seriously injuring the driver. The Israeli jeep involved was reportedly a military jeep driven by a soldier on a bypass road northwest of the West Bank city of Nablus. Witness Ala Al-A’mud told Ma’an in a telephone interview that the jeep’s driver "intentionally pushed a Palestinian’s car" off the road and over the cliff of an adjacent ravine, where it finally crashed. 30-year-old Awni Abu Shushah was "seriously injured" in the apparently intentional crash. Shushah is the manager at one of the nearby stone factories, according to a worker at the facility. Rescue workers moved Shushah to a local hospital in Nablus, where he remained in serious condition, according to medical officials.

PA forces accused of torturing Minister of Waqf during political detention
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Gaza – Ma’an - The undersecretary of Waqf (religious trust sites) Anwar Mara’ba has been assaulted and tortured during his time in prison in Ramallah. Mara’ba, who is a prominent Hamas member and ran for office in 2006, was arrested on 10 July, as part of an ongoing series of “political arrests. ” Hundreds of Hamas and Fatah supporters from the West Bank and Gaza Strip respectively, have been arrested based primarily on their political affiliations. Many of those arrested have been local party leaders and prominent supporters. For Mar’aba, said a statement from the Employees Union in the de facto government in the Gaza Strip, his more than 60 days in Palestinian Authority (PA) prisons have seen him be severely maltreated. Mr Mara’beh has begun a hunger strike in protest of his ill-treatment. The Union released their statement on Saturday saying they were preparing. . .

Two Palestinian farmers injured as Yitzhar settlers attack olive harvest near Huwwara, Nablus
Olive Harvest 2008, International Solidarity Movement 10/11/2008
Nablus Region - Photos - Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians farmers near Huwwara on Saturday 11th October. More than 25 settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Yizhar descended upon Palestinian farmers while the farmers were undertaking their annual olive harvest. The settlers were armed with machine guns, and one fired a single shot in the air before they began to hurl rocks at the Palestinian farmers, injuring two. One of the injured, Mustafa Najah from Burin, was hit in the head and taken to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. He is thought to have sustained eye injuries. The attack continued for ten minutes before Israeli soldiers arrived on the scene. The soldiers, however, instead of removing the settlers from the land, started to fire into the air, insisting that the Palestinian farmers cease their harvesting and leave the lands.

Army aids settlers in attack on farmers harvesting olives
Fadi Yacoub, Palestine News Network 10/11/2008
PNN -- Israeli settlers from the Yitzhar Settlement in southern Nablus opened fire on Palestinian farmers Saturday. The Israeli army claimed that this was not the day for its "protection" of Burin Village farmers against settler attack during the olive harvest. PNN’s Nablus correspondent confirmed that instead of stopping settlers, the soldiers joined them in the assault Palestinians. Using stones and bullets, the settlers hit residents as they were picking olives in their fields. Instead of stopping them, "the occupying forces helped the settlers assault citizens and farmers," PNN’s Nablus correspondent reports. "It is ongoing until now with no serious injuries. " Palestinians entered their olive fields for harvest today "without coordination and permission," a military spokesperson said, which is something that the occupying authorities claim they must have.

Israeli settlers attack family harvesting olives in West Bank
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar in the northern West Bank attacked a Palestinian family collecting olives on Saturday morning, a government official told Ma’an. Mayor Burin Ali Eid of the village of Burin, near Nablus, said a fight broke out when settlers “chopped down five olive trees” owned by the family. Two of the family members suffered head wounds, he said, when the settlers attacked the An-Najjar family in the area of Abu Hallouf, which is between Burin and Huwwara. The mayor identified the two injured as 24-year-old Mustafa An-Najjar and his 27-year-old brother, Muhammad. Local Palestinian sources said that settlers cut down 15 olive trees in other Nablus-area attacks on farmers. Commenting on the assault, an Israeli army spokesperson claimed the Palestinians who were attacked did not have permits to be in the area, despite that they owned the land.

12 injured in olive harvest clashes
Tovah Lazaroff And Yaakov Lappin, Jerusalem Post 10/11/2008
Two border policemen and 10 olive harvesters, some Israeli and some Palestinian, were injured Friday morning during clashes between the two groups in the area of the Palestinian village of Nil’in. Border Police said approximately 100 Palestinians and left-wing activists had entered a closed military zone. "We encountered massive rock-throwing by the demonstrators. One officer was injured in his back and evacuated to the hospital. A second officer was lightly hurt in his hand and treated on the spot," the Border Police spokesman said. Border police used various means to disperse the crowd, including rubber-coated bullets and smoke grenades. "The demonstrators used violence and we responded," the spokesman added. But Jonathan Pollak of the Israeli group Anarchists Against the Wall said that the group of olive harvesters had no idea that the area was a closed military zone until the border policemen arrived.

Settlers destroy part of protest tent outside Al-Kurd family home, East Jerusalem
International Solidarity Movement 10/11/2008
Jerusalem Region - Photos - 10th October 2008 - Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, Occupied East Jerusalem - At 11. 30 am on the 10th October, the settler family occupying part of the Al-Kurd family home in East Jerusalem destroyed part of the protest tent established by the Al-Kurd family in defiance of their eviction order. This move from the settlers was despite an agreement between the Al-Kurd family the settler family and the Israeli police that the settler family could build a temporary structure on the outside of the Al-Kurd home so as to pray in the aftermath of the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur, so long as the structure did not interfere with the front of the property. On the morning of the 10th October, five settler men came out and began to remove part of the Al-Kurd protest tent. As the Palestinian family refused, suggesting to the settlers that this was not what had been. . .

Jewish settlers attack Palestinian olive harvesters in Nablus district
Palestinian Information Center 10/11/2008
RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- Jewish settlers from the Yetzhar settlement in the northern West Bank attacked Palestinians harvesting their olive groves in the village of Bourin to the south of Nablus, according to witnesses. Eyewitnesses said that the armed Jewish settlers and IOF troops opened fire at the Palestinian olive harvesters, but no casualties were reported. The sources added that the Jewish settlers raided Palestinian olive groves in the village of Hawwara near Nablus, terrorised Palestinian olive harvesters and cut down olive trees prompting the Palestinians responded by throwing stones at the attackers to protect themselves, a number of villagers were injured in the attack.  A Palestinian villager from Hawwara looks at an olive tree that was damaged by Jewish settlersOn. . .

Ni’lin: An Olive Harvest with Tears and Blood
Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, Stop The Wall 10/10/2008
On Friday 10th of October, residents of Nilin started harvesting their olives trees that are located on confiscated lands and had to face the usual violence of the Occupation. In the early hours of the morning, international activists arrived to the center of the village to help families pick their olives. However, many of them as well as medical teams were not allowed to enter the village as dozens of Occupation forces blocked the entrance to the village and declared Nillin a closed military zone. The activists and first aid workers did still succeed in entering the village taking another, longer way to reach the village. At 9 am, hundreds of Nilin’s residents and activists were ready to begin their march towards the confiscated land. Once the people came closer to the path of the wall the Israeli military jeeps launched sound bombs and tear gas grenades causing several cases of tear gas suffocation.

Akko: Jewish residents call for boycott on Arab businesses
Ahiya Raved, YNetNews 10/11/2008
Yom Kippur riots take financial toll as SMS circulating among Jewish residents calls for boycott on Arab business-owners; Jewish shop owners also to pay price as State will not assist with damage to shops because riots do not fall under ’enemy activity’ -A group of Jewish residents of Akko have called on fellow Jews to boycott all Arab merchants, tradesmen, and business-owners in the city, in retaliation for the Yom Kippur riots. As soon as the holy day was over text messages began to circulate among the Jewish residents of the city stating: "Dear Jew, after the terrible Kippur pogrom in Akko, we shall all unite in a financial and general boycott against Arab merchants and businesses-owners. "Recipients were asked to continue circulating the message. During protests that took place in Akko posters with the slogan "A Jew shall not buy from an Arab" were. . .

Israel reports continued fighting in Acre; Two homes set on fire
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an/Agencies - Israeli police have reported quelling a handful of clashes between Arab and Jewish residents of the coastal Israeli city of Acre on Saturday. Reports say the homes of two Palestinian famillies in the city were set on fire during the escalating tension. Fighting began on Thursday when a Palestinian drove through an area of Acre observing the 25-hour Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) fast. The man was injured by stone throwers and the incident sparked a riot when more youths from both sides arrived on the scene. Fighting continued on Friday, though Israeli radio said police were able to restore calm to the city. On Saturday, several reports of small skirmishes were published by Israeli media sources.

Dichter vows to punish inciters of violence
Jerusalem Post 10/11/2008
Public Security Minister Avi Dichter on Friday vowed to put the "perpetrators and inciters" of the Acre violence "behind lock and key. " Following a meeting with Acre Mayor Shimon Lancry, Dichter said police had no prior intelligence of the violence and that the riots did not appear to have been planned. He stressed that restoring calm to the city was not only the job of police, but also of community leaders. "We are planning ahead for the scenario of, God forbid, violence spreading to other places. I call on leaders, both in the Jewish community and Arab community, to act sensibly," he said. Prior to the meeting, Dichter was greeted with shouts of "No one is protecting us," from an angry crowd. MK Uri Ariel (NU-NRP) accused MK Abbas Zakour (United Arab List) of inciting the Arab rioters during the clashes.

Cairo talks not successful yet, Hamas leader warns
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas leader Ismail Radwan stated Saturday it “is not yet time to talk about Hamas approving an extension of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s term. ”According to Radwan, "talking about a Palestinian-Egyptian road map is not preferable because it has negative feedback in Palestinian memory; especially that Palestinian agreement is being discussed rather than disagreement. " The cryptic statements voiced unspecified concern over recent reports revealing that the Hamas delegation may be willing to make concessions and extend Abbas’s term past 9 January, as well as with regards to the makeup of a restructured Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The initial sources maintained that Hamas could agree on the concessions. Egyptian sources reported earlier this week that chief mediator and Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman had reached an agreement with Hamas on a five-point road map ending the current rivalry.

Hamas calls on Palestinian masses to support Akka
Palestinian Information Center 10/11/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas has called on the Palestinian masses in Gaza Strip to participate in the rally that it would organize Saturday night in solidarity with Palestinian citizens in Akka city. According to a statement issued by the Movement information bureau and a copy of which was obtained by the PIC, the rally was meant to show solidarity with the Palestinian people in Akka city, and to prove that the Palestinian people are one people wherever they are. The coastal city of Akka was occupied by the Israelis in 1948, and since then, the successive Israeli governments tried to "Israelize" its inhabitants and to change their Arab and Muslim identity. Events on the ground prove that they failed in achieving this mission as the Akkans were determined to preserve their Palestinian and Muslim identities.

Hamas spokesperson slams PA for ’betting on failure’ at Cairo talks
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Gaza - Ma’an - A Hamas spokesperson said on Saturday that while the movement views the talks in Cairo "positively," the Palestinian Authority (PA) is "betting on failure. " Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member and Hamas spokesman Salah Al-Bardaweel slammed the Palestinian government in Ramallah, denouncing a recent statement the PA sent to Ma’an. "Hamas’s patience will not last for long if the (PA)’s ’security coordination’ continues," referring to allegations that the Abbas government has been rounding up Hamas affiliates in the West Bank in preparation for a possible coup attempt. "And they accuse us of oppression!" he said, contrasting Hamas’s supposed cooperation in the talks while the PA, according to Al-Bardaweel, is "betting on failure. " The most recent events just evidence the "total political and moral collapse of the Palestinian Authority," he said.

Fateh working out details of Cairo meeting with Hamas
PNN, Palestine News Network 10/11/2008
Egypt -- After the Hamas party announced this week that it would sit down with Fateh later this month, President Abbas began "studying the possibility," according to Nabil Amr. Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar, said that an agreement was struck to hold a conference between the two parties on 25 October in Cairo in order to end the internal rift. A transitional government may be arranged during the conference which Abbas expects the Egyptians to play a major role in, as the Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt, Nabil Amr, is suggesting. Egyptian efforts have been intrinsic in bringing the conflicted parties to this point. The Presidential term is slated to end in January 2009, with the Legislative term not over until 2010. The latest conflict has been whether Abbas can stay in power for an extra year in order to hold simultaneous elections, or if the Legislative term could be cut short.

Hamas: PA security detain 17 affiliates in the West Bank
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an - Hamas said that the Palestinian Authority (PA) security services detained 17 party affiliates in the West Bank on Friday. According to a Saturday Hamas statement those detained were Ahmad Al-Qutub, secretary general of the Islamic Unions in Nablus, and from the Nayroukh family in the southern West Bank Muhammad, Ashraf, Ubeid, Hani, Muhammad, Anas, Malik and Sheikh Fuad. Sheikh Fuad’s wife and daughter were detained for hours for interrogation after Israeli soldiers broke into the family home. Also detained were Mu’min Kafafi, Eyhab Qawasmi and As’ad Abu Salih. In Qalqiliya, PA security seized Firas ‘Uda, who was recently released from PA custody. In Jenin, Nadir Abu Zeina, Muhammad Ya’aqba and Hamza Shawahna were detained.

Hamas: ''Fateh forces arrested 17 members and supporters''
IMEMC News, International Middle East Media Center News 10/11/2008
Hamas media sources reported on Saturday that Palestinian security forces, loyal to Fateh movement headed by president Mahmoud Abbas, continued their arrest campaign against members and supporters of Hamas and arrested 17 in several West Bank areas. In Nablus district, in the northern part of the West Bank, the security forces arrested Ahmad Al Qotob, secretary-general of the Islamic Unions in the City. In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, the security forces arrested Mohannad, Ashraf, Obeido, Hani, Mohammad, Malik and Sheikh Fuad Al Neiroukh after breaking into his home and detaining his wife and daughter for several hours. The security forces also arrested Mo’min Kafani, and Ehab Al Qawasmi. Al Qawasmi is the brother of two Qassam Brigades fighters who were killed by the Israeli army. In Qaqilia district, in the northern part of the West Bank, the security forces. . .

Hillis family returns to Gaza after fleeing in August
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Fatah leader Ahmad Hillis revealed that at least 20 of his relatives have returned to the Gaza Strip, from which they fled during the 2 August street battle between de facto government police forces and the Hillis clan. Speaking from Jericho the prominent leader said that by the end of the month all 80 of his family members will have returned to the area. “There has not been any mediation or negotiation from home or abroad regarding our return to Gaza,” Hillis said during an interview with Ma’an. He added that would not be opposed to any negotiations, but that regardless his family would re-enter the area. The Hillis’ homes, lives and livelihoods are in Gaza, said Ahmad, saying that he too will return to Gaza shortly “because I have nothing to do in the West Bank. ”“I have no rival with Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip,” he said “I respect them all.

Egypt’s Carrot, Stick for Hamas
Mahmoud Ali, MIFTAH 10/11/2008
Egypt has presented Hamas with a package proposal to solve the long-running Palestinian inter-factional crisis, threatening sanctions for whichever faction foiling the initiative. " The Egyptian paper calls for the resignation of the Gaza-based government of Ismail Haniyeh and the Salam Fayyad cabinet in the West Bank," a well-placed Egyptian source told IslamOnline. net. " It also calls for forming a government of independents or technocrats or a national unity government acceptable to Fatah, Hamas and other factions," he added. " The mission of the new government will be ending the months-long siege on Gaza Strip, preparing for legislative and presidential elections, restructuring security agencies and reforming the Palestine Liberation Organization. " The Egyptian paper, seen by IOL, was presented to a high-level Hamas delegation during a meeting with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.

Conciliation Government Just Beyond Reach [October 5 – October 11]
MIFTAH, MIFTAH 10/11/2008
The jury is still out regarding the Cairo talks over whether Hamas and Fateh can come to an agreement on national conciliation or not. Apparently, Hamas has denied earlier reports from Egyptian sources and from Fateh veteran Nabil Shaath that the movement had given its approval to the plan, which said the Islamic movement had agreed to extend President Abbas’ term in office. On October 11, Hamas leader Ismail Radwan said it was "too early" to talk about such developments, saying the movement would accept an extension to his term if they reached a consensus over the formation of a national conciliation government. The Cairo talks, which began on October 6, got off to a rocky start, with Hamas saying its participation in the dialogue was contingent on four "no’s", including a rejection of a technocrat government or any amendments on the security forces in Gaza without similar amendments to the West Bank government under Abbas.

Palestinian teachers’ unions announce two-day strike plans
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Two Palestinian teachers’ unions said Saturday that their West Bank members would strike on Wednesday and Thursday. Both the General Union of Palestinian Teachers and the Union of Teachers at Government Schools said they would stay home from their schools and the education ministry’s offices for two days this week. Secretary General Jamil Shahada of the government teachers’ union said the groups would go on strike because newly appointed teachers were hired without official contracts registered by the education ministry. Shahada claims that the circumstances of their employment allow them to be dismissed “without any legal protection of their rights. ”The union official appealed to other concerned officials to “finish these contracts,” warning that “the coming days will witness more escalation” if they refused.

Palestinian cabinet secretary rejects worker proposal
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – A Palestinian cabinet member on Saturday rejected a new worker’s system for national employees, sending it back to the governance ministry for revisions, according to a statement. According to procedure, the cabinet submitted the document to a national group of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) to hold meetings with those involved. The results will be presented to the cabinet to be discussed and subsequently approved if parties agree. Secretary General Sa’di al-Kurnuz affirmed in a statement to Ma’an that the draft of the workers’ system "is still to be studied by the national group," which will hear testimony from workers’ unions. "This is not related to the law," he said, but to "improve the relationship" between his ministry and the Palestinian Authority (PA), in general.

Israeli army occupies two homes in Beit Ummar, beat international peace activists
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Hebron – Ma’an – Clashes erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinian residents of Beit Ummar on Friday. International peace activists joined Palestinians in their attempt to stop Israeli soldiers from taking over two homes. Seven were injured including an international activist, and two Beit Ummar homes were turned into Israeli military posts. According to local sources the homes taken over are owned by Mershid Mohammad Mershid and Waheeb Bader Husein. The owners were handed military orders telling them they had to hand over the property. Protesting the action were dozens of international peace activists, who promptly organized a sit-in in front of the two occupied homes. The activists demanded that soldiers evacuate the buildings and return them to the families that were now homeless. Responding to the protest Israeli soldiers attacked the activists with batons and rifle butts, fired dozens of tear gas canisters.

Nonviolent resistance and residents attacked in Hebron: young men used as human shields
PNN, Palestine News Network 10/11/2008
Hebron - At 4 am yesterday morning more than 50 Israeli soldiers entered Beit Ommar and took over two homes inside the village belonging to the Hussein and Mersheed families. Soldiers built sniper posts, filled one home’s windows with sandbags, and raised Israeli flags over both homes inside the village. The attack went on through Friday night with the entire area declared a "closed military zone. "At least seven people were hospitalized, dozens injured, and 10 arrested. Bekah Wolf reports from the scene: They then erected a roadblock on the main road and have intermittently prevented foot and car traffic down the main road cutting off more than 30,000 people from Beit Ommar and surrounding villages from accessing the highway to Bethlehem or Hebron. The home seizure notices stipulated a one-day takeover, but Israeli soldiers built permanent structures, including a roadblock, barbed wire fences around nearby homes and sniper post.

Israeli soldiers detain Palestinian man, child during horse search
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli forces imposed a curfew on Kaftr Qaleel, a village south of Nablus, on Saturday for several hours in response to a horse allegedly stolen from the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Yeztsahar. Local sources told Ma’an that the Israeli army, "backed by dozens of military jeeps and accompanied by Israeli settlers" invaded the village of Kafr Qaleel, imposing a tight siege on the village as forces searched for the horse. Sources added that after two hours of searching, soldiers discovered the lost animal in a deserted house in a central area of the village. It was moved back to the settlement by bus. Sources also said that soldiers seized 30-year-old Fa’ed Najeh Abu-As-Su’ud and his nine-year-old nephew during the invasion. Both denied involvement.

Palestinian farmers, settlers clash near West Bank settlement of Yitzhar
Reuters, Ha’aretz 10/12/2008
Palestinian farmers said they were attacked by Israeli settlers while trying to pick olives near a West Bank settlement on Saturday. The Israeli military said the settlers and Palestinian villagers clashed near the settlement of Yitzhar. The army said soldiers separated the two sides and briefly fired in the air. Ali Eid, mayor of the nearby village of Burin near Yitzhar, says the two sides fought with sticks and stones. He says two farmers and one settler were lightly hurt. In recent years, there has been growing friction between farmers and settlers during the olive harvest. Palestinians complain that they frequently come under attack from militant settlers. The army says it has put together a plan to keep the peace during the harvest. Yigal Amitai, a spokesman for the Yitzhar settlement, said settlers and soldiers caught. . .

Settlers in process of overtaking Sheikh Jarrah
PNN, Palestine News Network 10/11/2008
Jerusalem -- Israeli settlers who overtook a family home are now building a structure in front of the entrance to another home in East Jerusalem. On Friday the settlers assaulted residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The attack began during preparations for morning prayers at Al Aqsa Mosque when settlers raided a solidarity tent and began cutting its ropes leaving residents bruised. Residents who erected the tent said that Israeli police had previously informed them that settlers intended to build a structure in front of the home. Jerusalem official Adnan Al Husseini said that if the Israelis were interested in any kind of coexistence they could have built their structure behind the home, not directly blocking the front. The settlers had overtaken a neighboring house with the result described as "a psychologically unnerving attack on our persons and nerves.

Report: Israeli settlers plan land takeover in Beit Sahour
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 10/11/2008
According to the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, ARIJ, several Israeli religious groups have put out a call for a takeover of Palestinian land in Beit Sahour, in honor of the Jewish holiday ’Sukkot’ on Thursday October 16th. The site in question is known as Ush Ghurab to the Palestinian population, while the Israelis call the spot Shdema. The two groups Women in Green (Women For Israel’s Tomorrow ) and the Committee for a Jewish Shdema made the call for a land takeover in honor of Sukkot. Sukkot is the holiday in which Jewish people make small shelters of sticks in remembrance of their legend that the Jewish people spent 40 years wandering in the desert in ancient times. Beit Sahour is a town next to Bethlehem, in the southern West Bank, which became famous in the late 1980s for its nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation.

IDF foils alleged settlement breach
Tovah Lazaroff And Yaakov Lappin, Jerusalem Post 10/11/2008
The IDF stopped three Palestinians on Saturday afternoon who were suspected of trying to infiltrate the Har Bracha settlement in Samaria. According to the military, the three came very close to the settlement’s security fence when they were stopped by the army. The three Palestinians managed to escape, but the IDF captured two of them, who are now being held for interrogation. Earlier in the day, a spokesman for the nearby settlement of Yitzhar, Yigal Amitai, said that the settlement’s security forces alerted the IDF after spotting Palestinians olive harvesters near their settlement around 10 a. m. The sight surprised them, said Amitai, since they had not been told that Palestinians would be harvesting in that area. They contacted the army which said that no harvesting activity had been coordinated by them.

Students digging southern Gaza tunnels
PNN, Palestine News Network 10/11/2008
Gaza - Early in the morning Rafah residents awake to the sound of digging. Tunnels between Gaza and Egypt along the 14 kilometer border have been under heavy construction since the siege began two years ago. The Israeli explosions that kept the ground in perpetual motion in 2003 have been replaced by a very public display of tunneling. Former member of the late President Arafat’s Force 17, Abu Khalid, is in charge of the digging process for three such tunnels that Hamas controls. The party warns against transporting drugs and weapons. Abu Khalid told the Agence Franc Presse, "Because of the blockade of Gaza and the closure of the border this type of activity is very prosperous here. We work 24 hours a day with a team of 12 per tunnel alternating day and night shifts. " No longer a clandestine enterprise, the scene is very different in Rafah than it was during the early. . .

Medical negligence in Israeli prisons leads thousands to suffer
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Medical negligence in Israeli prisons left 2000 sick and at least 160 dealing with severe diseases without the aid of proper treatment according to the Center for the Study of Detainees. Director of the Detainees Centre Ra’fat Hamduna, who himself served 15 years in Israeli jails, organized several visits to the jails by medical professionals. The nurses and physicians were to provide basic treatment of the prisoners and organize further appointments and medications or surgeries for those in need. Hamduna said that medical workers found many prisoners in very poor health, especially as the weather turns cold this fall. He said medical neglect is certainly one of the major causes of death for Palestinians serving in Israeli prisons. In a report released on Saturday Hamduna asserted the importance of the health of the prisoners, saying that it is a crime to have the sons and daughters of Palestine suffer so badly in prison.

Palestinian captives determined to reject orange uniform
Palestinian Information Center 10/11/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The PA ministry of prisoners and ex-prisoners’ affairs has confirmed that the Palestinian captives in Israeli jails were determined not to accept the orange uniform that the IPA wants to impose on them, and that they vowed to take unprecedented steps in this regard. In a statement he issued and a copy of which was obtained by the PIC, Reyadh Al-Ashkar, the information officer in the ministry, pointed out that the Palestinian detainees reject the orange uniform due to the bad psychological effect that would inflict on them because the orange uniform was known to be the uniform for those sentenced to the death penalty on the one hand, and because it would replicate the bad picture of the captives in the infamous US concentration camp of Guantanamu on the other hand. He quoted the supreme committee of the captives as saying in a statement it issued and a copy of which was. . .

Sources: PA security torture deputy minister of religious affairs in its jails
Palestinian Information Center 10/11/2008
RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- Informed Palestinian sources reported that the Fatah-affiliated preventive security apparatus in Ramallah kidnapped sheikh Anwar Mara’ba, the deputy minister of religious affairs, adding that preventive security chief Ziad Hab Al-Reeh interrogated and tortured the sheikh brutally in the Beyoutna prison. The sources also underlined that everybody in the prison could clearly hear screams of pain coming from the Mara’ba’s cell, adding that he fainted more than once at noon Friday as a result of the excruciating torture inflicted on him. In a statement received by the PIC, the family of Mara’ba held Hab Al-Reeh and the PA leadership in Ramallah fully responsible for the life of the sheikh. In a related development, the same sources said that the preventive security elements in the Beyoutna prison used a baton charge against the Palestinian prisoners and some of them opened fire indiscriminately at them.

Abbas lands in Damascus for talks; Fayyad in Washington
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Damascus on Saturday to meet with the Syria’s deputy minister of foreign affairs for talks on discussions underway in Cairo. Deputy Minister Faisel Meqdad welcomed the president at the airport Saturday evening before the two headed to a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Abbas’s spokesperson told the press that the Palestinian president "did not appoint anyone to hold secret or public dialogues with the Hamas movement. " "President Abbas did not appoint anyone to give any statements on the dialogue" taking place in Egypt. He clarified that the official delegation at the meetings are "the only ones designated to talk" about it. In the United States, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad arrived in Washington, DC Friday to deliver the keynote address at the third annual gala organized by the American Task Force on Palestine.

Abbas arrives in Syria for talks with Asad
IMEMC News & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 10/11/2008
Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, arrived on Saturday in Syria for talks with the Syrian President, Bashar Asad, and several Syrian officials. Abbas was quoted as saying that he will hold talks with the Syrian President and Syrian officials on the peace process in the Middle East and the ongoing efforts to end the internal Palestinian unrest. . Abbas will be meeting with Asad on Sunday and is expected to brief him on the outcome of recent meetings between Hamas and Fateh in Egypt.

Palestinian Prime Minister begins official visit to the US
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad began an official visit to the United States on Friday. During the visit, Fayyad is scheduled to take part in the Palestinian Business and Investment Forum to be held in Washington DC. The conference will investigate investment opportunities in the Palestinian territories, and look for ways to ensure market stability. The conference will be held under the auspices of US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. [end]

6th Jerusalem conference to be held tomorrow in Qatar
Palestinian Information Center 10/11/2008
DOHA, (PIC)-- Under the auspices of Al-Quds international institution, the sixth conference of Jerusalem will kick off on Sunday in the Qatari capital Doha, in the presence of the institution’s board members, members of the global network of the institutions working for Jerusalem and a number of notables. Dr. Akram Al-Adlouni, the secretary-general of Al-Quds institution, told a press conference on Thursday that the institution is keen on launching practical initiatives aimed to support Jerusalem and adopt fundamental issues such as the reactivation of the Qatari initiative to build Al-Quds tower and endow its proceeds in favor of service projects in Jerusalem. Dr. Adlouni revealed that the institution intends to open a branch in Qatar to coordinate permanently with official and popular circles for the service of Jerusalem.

Jordan Islamists protest imports of fruit grown on ’land taken by Zionists’
Reuters, Ha’aretz 10/12/2008
Hundreds of Jordanian Islamist and left-wing activists on Saturday staged a sit-in at the country’s wholesale food market to protest against exotic Israeli fruits and vegetables being sold. The protesters, holding anti-Israeli banners, urged merchants to suspend imports from Israel of a variety of exotic fruits from mangoes, pineapple, avocado, to kiwi along with carrots and tomatoes sold in groceries and supermarket. The organizers of the protest, the powerful Professional Associations who represent over 170,000 doctors, nurses and engineers, have been long-time bastions of dissent and opposition to the kingdom’s pro-Western policies. They led popular opposition towards normalization with Israel after the treaty in 1994 that ended a 46-year state of war. "We are protesting because these fruits are planted in our Arab land. . .

Jordan opposition protest Israeli fruit imports
Reuters, YNetNews 10/11/2008
Jordanian Islamist, leftist activists demonstrate against import of Israeli produce. Anti-normalization advocate says, "˜We are protesting because these fruits are planted in our Arab land that was taken by Zionist settlers by force’ - Hundreds of Jordanian Islamist and leftist activists on Saturday staged a sit-in at the country’s wholesale food market to protest against exotic Israeli fruits and vegetables being sold. The protesters, holding anti-Israeli banners, urged merchants to suspend imports from Israel of a variety of exotic fruits from mangoes, pineapple, avocado, to kiwi along with carrots and tomatoes sold in groceries and supermarkets. The protest organizers, powerful professional associations who represent over 170,000 doctors, nurses, engineers and others, have been long-time bastions of dissent and opposition to the kingdom’s pro-Western policies.

Islamic Action Front in Jordan to boycott Euro-Mediterranean conference
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Jordanian Islamic Action Front Party announced their intention to boycott the Euro-Mediterranean conference scheduled to start Saturday in Jordan. The group objects to Israeli participation in the meeting, and has withdrawn its delegation. According to sources in the Islamic Action Party, Israel’s representation in the conference constitutes “normalization,” which would indicate that the party does not object to Israeli actions in Palestine and the Middle East. The three-day conference will be held on the eastern beach of the Dead Sea and will discuss the peace process in the Middle East and the question of Palestine. [end]

Report: Shalit talks renewed in Egypt
Roee Nahmias, YNetNews 10/11/2008
Asharq Al-Awsat quotes Hamas sources saying Egypt is proposing to strike accord ending Hamas-Fatah conflict while coordinating prisoner swap with Israel, though ’Hamas has not changed stance or conditions despite Egyptian pressure’ -Negotiations on a deal to release kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit have been renewed through the mediation of Egypt but have had no breakthroughs as of yet, the London based Asharq Al-Awsat reported Saturday. Hamas has denied linking Shalit’s case to the recent dialogue with Fatah, which is attempting to bridge the growing rift between the two factions. However Palestinian sources reported that Egypt is attempting to seal a deal that will bring the Hamas-Fatah conflict to an end as well as a prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel. Official Hamas sources told the paper that "Hamas has not changed its stance or its conditions, despite Egyptian pressure.

Negotiations begin again to exchange political prisoners for captured soldier
PNN, Palestine News Network 10/11/2008
Ramallah -- Negotiations to exchange the captured Israeli soldier for a short list of Palestinian political prisoners resumed with no result. The French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner is on his way to Cairo to discuss the issue. Al Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Obeida told the Al Sharq al Awsat newspaper that no Israeli proposal has been agreed to. He said that Hamas maintains its condition to exchange the soldier for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, the ill, women and children. Israeli security sources say that there is more going on than is made public. According to sources the heavy military attack that Israeli forces have planned on the Gaza Strip is being held off because of soldier Gilad Shalit whose release they reportedly believe would be compromised. A breakthrough on the stalled exchange is essential according to the Egyptian diplomats who are working to broker a deal.

Asharq Al-Awsat: Schalit negotiations renewed
Jerusalem Post 10/11/2008
Negotiations for the release of captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit have been renewed with the mediation of Egypt, London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported Saturday. The paper added, however, that no significant progress had been made in the talks. According to the report, Egypt is attempting to reach a broad deal that would tie between the release of Schalit and a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah. The Jerusalem Post could not independently confirm the report. However, Hamas told the paper that the two issues were unconnected. A spokesman for the organization’s military wing, Abu Obeida, said the group’s demands remain the same, and include the release of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, as well as female prisoners, sick prisoners and those who have yet to turn 18. RELATEDHamas and Fatah to hold. . .

Shalit negotiations resumed with Egyptian mediation
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Negotiations over the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit resumed with Egyptian mediation on Saturday. According to the London-based Arabic newspaper Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat’s Saturday edition, no progress has yet been made. Egypt, which is also in the middle of brokering unity talks with fighting Palestinian factions in Cairo, is working towards securing the release of Shalit as part of the unity negotiations. Hamas, however, denies completely that there is any connection between Palestinian reconciliation dialogue and the Shalit issue. French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner’s visit to Cairo, said the newspaper report, was basically to discuss the Shalit case.

’06 dispute blocked chance to prevent Shalit kidnapping
Amos Harel, Ha’aretz 10/12/2008
A dispute within the Israel Defense Forces’ General Staff over the timing of the arrest of two Hamas operatives delayed the procurement of intelligence that could have prevented the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, defense sources told Haaretz. Just a few hours after the kidnapping occurred, on June 25, 2006, one of the operatives gave the Shin Bet security service detailed information about the plot. Some IDF officers thus believe that had the arrest not been postponed for 24 hours, this information would have been obtained in time to foil the abduction. A few weeks before the kidnapping, the Shin Bet gave the IDF a general warning about a major attack planned by Hamas and other terrorist organizations along the Gaza-Israel border. Then, slightly more than 24 hours before the abduction, new information came in.

The Shalit kidnapping / Olmert leaving, but Gilad not home
Amos Harel, Ha’aretz 10/12/2008
The approaching end of Ehud Olmert’s term as prime minister has coincided with a wave of media reports about Gilad Shalit’s abduction and the ongoing negotiations over his release. Why now? Because it seems as though Olmert, despite his recent efforts to find a compromise that would salvage the negotiations, is likely to end his term with Shalit still in captivity. Thus this is an appropriate time for an interim assessment. The gloomy picture includes a lot of bad blood, both personal and organizational. Everyone involved in the affair, from the kidnapping itself to the negotiations, has failed; thus they all have an interest in trying to shift some of the blame to others. This is not just a matter of the strain between Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak; it includes tension between the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service and within the IDF itself.

Resident seriously wounded near Nablus
IMEMC News, International Middle East Media Center News 10/11/2008
The Maan News Agency reported that one resident was seriously wounded on Saturday evening after an Israeli military jeep deliberately slammed into his vehicle on a bypass road, northwest of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Soldiers apparently left the scene without even calling for help. The agency stated that resident Awni Abu Shousha, 30, was seriously wounded when the army jeep slammed into his vehicle causing it to collapse in Jeet Valley. Resident Ala’ Al Amoudi, who works at a concrete factory owned by Abu Shousha family, said that Ala’ spoke to him using a walkie-talkie device and asked him for help. Awni was then moved to the Arab Specialized Hospital and his wounds were described as moderate to severe.

Professional syndicates: Attack on Akka is practical translation of Annapolis
Palestinian Information Center 10/11/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The federation of the Palestinian professional syndicates have hailed Saturday the steadfastness of the Palestinian people on their land in occupied Palestine, urging the Palestinian people to unite in confronting the atrocities of the Israeli occupation government. The federation also denounced the Israeli crimes and human rights violations against the Palestinian citizens in the 1948-occupied Palestinian city of Akka, revealing that Palestinians in the city were beaten and wounded, and their homes were attacked and smashed at the hands of the Israeli extremist groups with full support from the Israeli occupation police. "The federation was anxiously observing the escalation of Israeli attacks on Akka city, and the wounding of tens of Palestinian citizens at the hands of Jewish extremists that. . .

Israeli settlers resume racist assaults on Palestinians of Akka
Palestinian Information Center 10/11/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The riots against Palestinian natives in Akka city was triggered again Friday evening by extremist Israeli settlers, where the attacks were concentrated in the Mansheya neighborhood, east of the city. Palestinian sources in Akka reported that the settlers went on marches chanting racist slurs against Arabs like "death to Arabs" and attacked a number of Palestinian houses in the city with the Israeli policemen standing idly.  Palestinian citizen in the neighborhood said that they had been assaulted all along by Israeli settlers, highlighting the attacks target the Palestinian presence in the neighborhood, in which Jews have become a majority through settlement. Israelis fear that the Akka events might erupt into a form of a popular uprising like the one that took place in 2000 during the outbreak of the Aqsa Intifada.

Acre riots
Jerusalem Post 10/11/2008
While most Israeli Jews spent Yom Kippur in prayer, contemplation or communing with their bicycles, a troublesome minority exploited the Day of Atonement to sin against public order. In Kiryat Motzkin, Haifa, Beersheba, Holon, Rehovot and Jerusalem, loutish Jewish youths - overwhelmingly not haredi - stoned MDA ambulances in displays of juvenile delinquency that have become all too common in recent years. Violence of a different order broke out in the northern town of Acre, where the population of 50,000 is about one-third Arab. Here, at about 11:30 p. m. , Jewish youths hanging out on Yom Kippur took umbrage when Tawfik Jamal, an Arab resident of Acre’s Old City, drove his car along Avraham Ben Shoshan Street in the Jewish part of town. Some of the youths claimed they feared he was about to carry out a vehicular terrorist attack - similar to those recently committed in Jerusalem.

Akko Riots lead to 2 cases of arson
Ahiya Raved, YNetNews 10/11/2008
Relative calm restored in Akko after night of rioting that led to 12 arrests, three civilian injuries, and massive property damage resulting from fires set in two apartments owned by Arabs -A tentative calm has been restored to Akko after the late-night riots that surged through the city Friday, a third night of violence ending with 12 arrests, two cases of apartment arson, and three civilian injuries. At around 3 am firefighters and police were alerted to two different apartments owned by Arabs, which had been ignited by rioters. The fires were extinguished and no injuries sustained, though severe property damage had been caused. An investigation into the origins of the fires has been launched. The evening’s rioting recommenced at 9 pm, when Arabs began to throw stones at dozens of Jewish youths who formed a crowd in one of the city’s eastern neighborhoods.

Akko Arabs denounce Yom Kippur drive
Sharon Roffe-Ofir, YNetNews 10/11/2008
Leaders of Arab community in riot-raged city spread flier criticizing motorist who drove through Jewish neighborhood on Yom Kippur; representatives from both sides to meet later in the evening - The Arab community in Akko has announced it will distribute a flier condemning the use of a vehicle by an Arab resident on Yom Kippur. Three days after the tentative coexistence between the city’s Jewish and Arab residents deteriorated into violent riots, leaders from the Arab sector say it does not matter if Tawfiq Jamal’s decision to drive that night was justified or not, but he should have made an effort to find an alternative way home. Representatives from both sides are expected to meet later this evening to discuss the situation. MK Abas Zkoor (United Arab List - Ta’al), himself a resident of Akko, spoke with Ynet prior to the meeting: "We’ll talk candidly about our pain.

Israeli town hit by Jewish-Arab clashes
Middle East Online 10/11/2008
ACRE, Israel - Police clashed with Jewish protesters in Acre on Friday on the third day of violence between Arabs and Jews as Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni travelled to the northern Israeli city to appeal for calm. Police fired a water cannon at a crowd of about 200 people as some demonstrators hurled bottles and stones at security forces. Chanting "death to Arabs," the protesters were headed from a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood to the house of an Arab when police intervened. The incident occured hours after Livni, who is trying to form a new government and replace outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, issued in Acre what she said was "a message of reconciliation and cooperation to calm tempers within the population. " Police deployed an additional 500 officers to help the 200-strong local force after violence broke out on Wednesday night as Jews observed Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement.

Police official meets with Akko’s Arab leadership
Ahiya Raved, YNetNews 10/11/2008
Northern District Police Chief Shimon Koren holds Saturday meeting with Arab contingents, awaiting Shabbat’s end to conduct meeting with Jewish counterparts. Police will act determinedly against obstructers of law, he says, "˜whether they are Arab or Jewish’ - A tense calm pervaded the streets of Akko on Saturday evening, a welcome change from the riots that paralyzed the city for three consecutive nights. In the hopes of maintaining the newfound calm, Northern District Police Chief Shimon Koren met Saturday afternoon with Akko’s Arab leadership to discuss the situation and the police’s response to the riots. The police said a similar meeting would be held with the city’s Jewish representatives later in the evening, after Shabbat. Present at the meeting were MK Abbas Zkoor (United Arab List-Ta’al), radio presenter Zoher Bahalul and additional prominent figures from the Arab community.

Akko sees fourth night of riots
Al Jazeera 10/12/2008
Jewish and Arab rioters have clashed for a fourth straight night in the northern Israeli city of Akko. Police fired water cannons to disperse crowds and arrested 32 people from both sides on Saturday, and three Arab homes were torched and damaged, Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman said. Israeli media said that three people were hurt in the clashes on Saturday night, despite a reinforced police guard that barricaded a section of the city after nightfall to contain stone-throwing protesters. Rosenfeld said that more than 700 officers remained on patrol in the coastal city to try and contain the violence. Businesses closedMany shops and restaurants in the old town, a popular tourist destination, were either closed or bereft of any business on Saturday.

’Acre could be just the beginning,’ fear mixed-city mayors
Yoav Stern, Ha’aretz 10/12/2008
Jews and Arabs in mixed cities on Saturday warned that riots similar to the ones that erupted in Acre over Yom Kippur could take place in cities like Lod, Ramle and Jaffa, each of which has a combination of underprivileged Jewish and Arab communities. Community activists in Lod said over the weekend that they feared clashes between the Jewish and Arab communities. "I don’t know if it will happen in a day, two days or two months but it’s certainly a possibility," said Bothaina Debit, a community activist in Lod. That city’s Arab community, she said, is suffering from socio-economic distress that it will have trouble sustaining for much longer. "It happened in Acre, but I thought it would happen in Lod because there are masses of Arab residents who have nothing to lose, and the poor Jews are also stuck here.

Akko riots resume, mayor demands firmer police hand
Ahiya Raved, YNetNews 10/12/2008
Violence threatens to paralyze city’s streets for fourth consecutive night since Yom Kippur, Mayor Lankry rejects gesture of condemnation from Arab leaders, demands police take action to end ongoing public disturbance - The series of violent riots that erupted on Yom Kippur evening in Akko resumed on Saturday evening for the fourth consecutive day. As night fell the clashes between the city’s Jewish and Arab residents erupted once more, with both sides hurling rocks towards the others’ homes and businesses. Three people were lightly wounded. Police have thus far arrested 10 rioters. An Arab house was set on fire, and an initial investigation into the arson indicates it was set ablaze by Jewish rioters wielding a Molotov cocktail. Firefighters were alerted to the scene and are currently battling the flames.

’Not a time for celebrations,’ says Acre mayor, as theater festival is cancelled
Tzipi Shochat, Ha’aretz 10/12/2008
The city of Acre announced over the weekend its intention to cancel the Fringe Theater Festival that was scheduled to take place there over the Sukkot holiday. The decision came following unrest in the mixed Jewish-Arab city during the Yom Kippur holiday that saw 30 people arrested, and some 40 stores and 100 cars damaged. The riots erupted around midnight Wednesday, hours after the start of the holiday (when traffic comes to a standstill in Jewish areas) when an Arab resident drove his car through a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, allegedly playing loud music, in what Jewish residents called a deliberate provocation. "This is not a time for celebrations," Acre mayor Shimon Lankri said over the weekend. It remains unclear when the festival will be held, if at all. Playwrights and actors expressed their disappointment at the cancellation.

Riots resume in Acre after lull
Jack Khoury, Ha’aretz 10/12/2008
A fourth straight day of rioting in Acre ended yesterday with Jews torching an empty Arab house, three Jews lightly wounded by Arab stone-throwers, and three other Jews arrested for throwing stones at policemen and Arabs. Since Wednesday, police have arrested some 30 rioters, both Jewish and Arab. Some of them were subsequently released because they are minors. The day began without incident, and many Acre residents hoped that the violence was finally at an end. But a few hours after sundown, it erupted anew, with the city’s eastern neighborhood once again the focal point. Hundreds of Jewish rioters clashed with policemen, and Jewish and Arab mobs threw stones at each other. This followed a series of violent incidents on Friday that included the torching of three other houses. "Everyone thinks that only Jews are being hurt in the eastern neighborhood, and nobody’s paying. . .

Eyewitness: ’This is our city’
Yaakov Lappin, Jerusalem Post 10/12/2008
It’s Friday afternoon in eastern Acre, and outraged crowds are beginning to gather in the Jewish neighborhoods that make up this part of the city. Two nights of rioting have rocked Acre since an Arab resident of the Old City drove into this neighborhood on Yom Kippur, in what the police describe as an intentional provocation. Responding to false rumors that the driver had been badly wounded, around 500 Arabs - some armed with axes according to eyewitnesses - then marched into the eastern neighborhoods, chanting "Death to the Jews" as the mob smashed hundreds of cars and stores. Today, a segment of the city’s Jewish population will try to take their revenge. "This is our city. What happened on Yom Kippur was a pogrom. We had to hide in our own homes and turn off the lights as the mob passed," said Datya Bracha Malka, a middle-aged resident of the city, en route to a demonstration held to protest Yom Kippur’s events.

Livni, Barak push forward with coalition talks
Attila Somfalvi, YNetNews 10/12/2008
Kadima chairwoman to meet with Labor counterpart in late-night session as both strive to bridge remaining gaps in negotiations towards bringing Labor into government under Livni - Burning the midnight oil - Kadima chairwoman, Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni, is scheduled to meet later Saturday night with her Labor counterpart, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, as the two try to bridge the divisions that have emerged in the coalition negotiations between their parties. No exact time has been given, but the meeting is expected to extend into the early morning hours. It is also unclear if Livni and Barak will be joined by their respective negotiation teams, which have so far led the talks. Earlier in the day Histadrut Labor Federation chairman, Ofer Eini discussed the socio-economic issues still on the agenda with former cabinet secretary Yisrael Maimon.

Olmert to meet families of Arabs killed in October 2000 riots
Sharon Roffe-Ofir, YNetNews 10/11/2008
Prime minister scheduled to sit down with Higher Arab Monitoring Committee to discuss repercussions of clashes with police. Hadash Chairman MK Barakeh: Olmert trying to clear his conscience - A delegation from the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee including relatives of the 13 Israeli-Arabs killed in the October 2000 riots are scheduled to meet on Sunday with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the first such summit since the incidents. The representatives are also expected to breach the topic of the current Jewish-Arab riots in Akko, which on Saturday resumed for the fourth consecutive night since Yom Kippur. Joining the bereaved relatives will be Arab MKs and Sheikh Kamal Hatib, deputy head of the Islamic Movement’s northern faction. The meeting will be held at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.

Politics: Mofaz’s soul-searching
Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post 10/10/2008
Yom Kippur is over. The cantors have stopped wailing. The Mahzorim have been put back on the upper shelves to accumulate a year of dust. And the markets selling the four species of Succot are already bustling. But for at least one man, the soul-searching and the self-flagellation associated with the High Holidays have continued. For Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, Yom Kippur began early this year, shortly after 5 a. m. on September 18, when he realized that he would not be declared the winner of the Kadima leadership contest, regardless of whether he had actually won. Since then, he has spent most of his time at his home in Kohav Yair, engaged in deep introspection about his political past, present and especially about his future. This week, he returned to his job at the Transportation Ministry, and even toured the Haifa port to show that he was taking his work seriously.

Hajj pilgrims return to Gaza through Rafah crossing
Ma’an News Agency 10/11/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Dozens of Gazan pilgrims crossed the Rafah border from Egypt, returning from Hajj trips to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, a de facto spokesperson told Ma’an on Saturday. 110 made the trip back through Egypt, where 70 others entered on their way to Mecca last week, the Hamas spokesperson said. In the past, groups of Palestinians have been delayed returning to Gaza at the crossing. But spokesman Eyhab Al-Ghussein said he was unsure if the 3,500 newly registered pilgrims would be able to leave the Gaza Strip in time for Hajj, calling on Egyptian officials to open the crossing soon. [end]

Report: IDF to withdraw from Ghajar
Roee Nahmias, YNetNews 10/11/2008
Lebanese paper reports UNIFIL received unofficial announcement from IDF stating it would transfer northern part of border-divided village to UN by end of month, followed by southern part as soon as Livni assembles new government -United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Headquarters received an unofficial message from the IDF regarding Israel’s intention to withdraw from the northern part of the village of Ghajar and transfer the territory to the UN, a Lebanese daily reported Saturday. Foreign diplomats in Beirut told a-Safir that UNIFIL has completed a deployment plan for the northern part of the border-divided village, and is currently awaiting a date for its deployment in the southern part. According to the paper, the IDF informed UNIFIL that it would withdraw from the southern part of the village soon after the new government, presided over by Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni, is assembled.

Lebanon accepts Syrian troop move explanation
Middle East Online 10/11/2008
BEIRUT - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman has accepted that Syrian troop movements near the border between the two countries are aimed at tackling smuggling, according to a statement received on Saturday. Sleiman contacted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad about the deployment and was told the moves are a continuation of "steps by the Syrian authorities to counter every kind of smuggling," the presidential statement said. The statement was issued in the wake of a cabinet meeting on Friday night which lasted more than five hours. Prime Minister Fuad Siniora had during the meeting emphasised "the need for security and military coordination" between the two countries on the issue of smuggling, the official news National News Agency said. In September, the Lebanese army revealed the deployment of 10,000 Syrian special forces in the Abbudiya region along the border between Lebanon and Syria.

Gov’t may boost banks with cash
TheMarker Staff and News Agencies, Ha’aretz 10/12/2008
Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer and Finance Minister Roni Bar-On discussed on Friday directly injecting capital into Israel’s banks in order to reduce the effects of the credit crisis. The pair decided to watch economic developments in Israel and around the world over the next few days before deciding. The treasury has reiterated its stand that it will not levy new taxes, though it will also not cut spending next year. The central bank and treasury are also developing a plan over fears that the public will flee provident funds and other long-term investments. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange will open trading this morning after being closed since last Monday - having taken five days off due to the Yom Kippur holiday and the weekend - and traders are expected to react to a 18% drop in the Dow Jones over those same five days by pushing the TASE down, too.

Big losses expected on TASE after Wall Street drops 18%
Rotem Sella and Tal Levy, TheMarker Correspondents and Reuters, Ha’aretz 10/12/2008
There has never been a day like this in the history of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. It will open trading this morning after being closed since last Monday - having taken five days off due to the Yom Kippur holiday and the weekend - and traders are expected to react to a 18% drop in the Dow Jones over those same five days by pushing the TASE down, too. Last week was the worst week on Wall Street in the 112 years the Dow Jones index has existed, and world markets also fell about 20%. Altogether, global stock markets lost about $4 trillion in value last week, and have wiped out $25 trillion since the start of 2008. Many traders in Tel Aviv, as well as government officials, it seems, felt the Tel Aviv markets should remain closed today, as this week is another short trading week - there is no trading tomorrow or Tuesday because of the Sukkot holiday.

Crisis squeezes NY property market
Allison Hoffman, Jpost Correspondent In New York, Jerusalem Post 10/12/2008
Property developers and financiers - including Israeli companies that have invested heavily in everything from trophy office buildings to Brooklyn residential renovations - are being whiplashed by the spreading credit crisis, which has brought New York’s real estate market to a screeching halt. Some are rushing to draw down credit lines before they are withdrawn, while others, following the example of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, are chasing down rapidly disappearing capital to shore up their balance sheets. Longtime players in the market said they expect a protracted shakeout as the nosedive on Wall Street and the paralyzed global economy erase demand for every kind of real estate, from luxury condominiums to sparkling new office towers - at a time when Israelis own more of both than ever before.

How many Israelis will lose their jobs in crisis?
Ido Solomon and Haim Bior, Ha’aretz 10/12/2008
How many Israelis are expected to lose their jobs in 2009? It depends on whom you ask. The International Monetary Fund published a report recently predicting only about 4,000 such job losses, and a rise in unemployment from 6% to 6. 2% next year. However, the Histadrut labor federation and the Chambers of Commerce are talking about much bigger numbers, even up to 60,000 new jobless. Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini expects 10,000 public employees to lose their jobs at the beginning of 2009, and about an equal number in industry and services, due to the global economic crisis. The Manufacturers Association is talking about 30,000-40,000 more unemployed. And it was the Israel Chambers of Commerce, also a party with an interest in making the figures look worse, came up with the 60,000 number.

For U.S. Jewish groups, crisis means less in donations, more needy
Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz U.S. Correspondent, Ha’aretz 10/12/2008
As the U. S. economic crisis mounts, American Jewish organizations face both a growing need for their services at home and declining contributions. The result is likely to be a sharp drop in donations to overseas projects, including in Israel. The New York Jewish Federation has already announced that in order to service the ballooning needs of its own community, it will dip into its reserves - a last resort for emergencies. The last time it utilized its reserves was to help residents of northern Israel during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. "This is a completely new situation for us," said Susie Gelman, chairwoman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. "My 88-year-old father remembers what happened during the 1930s, but I’ve never in my life experienced such a crisis.

Dollar, euro jump 2.6% against shekel on Friday
Yuval Maoz, Ha’aretz 10/12/2008
Foreign currency trading was very tense and pressured on Friday, and the dollar jumped by 2. 6%, to a representative rate of NIS 3. 595. The greenback had reached gains of 4. 2% earlier in the morning. For the shortened holiday week, the dollar gained 3. 75% against the shekel. The euro also gained 2. 6% against the shekel on Friday, reaching a representative rate of NIS 4. 893. For the week, the euro rose 1. 88% against the shekel. The gains actually represent two days’ worth of increases, as there was no official forex trading on Thursday, due to the Yom Kippur holiday. Around the world, the dollar actually rose against the euro on Friday by 0. 5%, to $1. 353. "The banks are hysterical, because local [traders] are closing positions," said the manager of the trading room at one of the banks on Friday.

Fake report about Lehman Brothers moving $400 billion to Israel gets broad circulation
Anshel Pfeffer, Ha’aretz 10/12/2008
A new anti-Semitic conspiracy theory has been spreading online over the last few days, claiming that on the eve of Lehman Brothers’ collapse last month, the firm transferred $400 billion to Israel. The theory, which comes in the form of a news report, has already been distributed on dozens of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli sites. It alleges that senior Jewish officials at the Lehman Brothers investment bank passed their clients’ money on to three Israeli banks, with the intention of then escaping to Israel to enjoy the take without fear of extradition. Since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which was founded in the United States by Jewish immigrants from Germany in 1850, Web forums and comment pages have been flooded with anti-Semitic comments accusing Jews of causing the global economic crisis and branding them the greatest beneficiaries of the disaster.

Haniyeh: American Empire is collapsing
Associated Press, YNetNews 10/11/2008
Enemies of US exalt in financial crisis wracking Western nations, despite toll it has taken on region. Muslim clerics, al-Qaeda leaders: ’Allah is punishing America’ - America’s opponents in the Middle East are gloating at the financial meltdown in the United States, describing it as the divinely inspired collapse of an overstretched empire. Hardline clerics across the region as well as representatives of US opponents like Hamas and al-Qaeda have described the plummeting stocks and frozen credit markets in the United States as a kind of retribution for American misdeeds. "We are witnessing the collapse of the American Empire," Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister in the Gaza Strip, told worshippers during Friday prayers. "What’s going on in America is a result of the violation of the rights of people in Palestine, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Muslims around the world.

Think Again: Ignore the grandchildren
Jerusalem Post 10/11/2008
The Obama campaign is encouraging Jewish kids to fly Florida to visit their grandparents over Columbus Day weekend. The Web site for the initiative features comedienne Sarah Silverman instructing Jewish youth in Lysistrata tactics: Threaten to withhold future visits unless granny agrees to vote for Barack Obama. Here’s another suggestion: Tell them that if they don’t vote for Obama, "the goodest person we’ve ever had as a presidential choice," it can only be because they are racists. My guess is that bubbie and zaidie will not be too impressed by such bullying; nor should they be. The grandchildren will seek to prove that Obama is good for Israel, but their identification with Israel bears no relationship to that of their grandparents. For them the Holocaust is the stuff of history books, not a living memory.

The ’Terrorist’ Nuns
IslamOnline – Cairo, Palestine Chronicle 10/10/2008
Joining protests against US President George W. Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, two American nuns finally found themselves on the country’s terrorist watch list. "This term terrorist is a really serious accusation," Sister Ardeth Platte told The Washington Times on Friday, October 10. Ardeth and Sister Carol Gilbert received letters from the Maryland State Police that they are placed on the terrorist watch list. "There is no way that we ever want to be identified as terrorists," said Ardeth, a nun for 54 years. "We are nonviolent. We are faith-based. "The two nuns are known for anti-war activities. In 2002, they were jailed after breaking into an unmanned missile site in northeastern Colorado in protest over the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. "We’re Dominicans; our mission is ’veritas,’ which is truth," said Sister Carol. The Bush administration calls its watch list one of the most effective tools in its "war against terrorism. "

Baghdad’s mentally ill remain neglected despite promises
Middle East Online 10/11/2008
BAGHDAD - Baghdad’s mentally ill people remain sadly neglected despite many promises of help by US representatives. "They originally said they would help us, but they do no more than to search for rebels," said Sarsan Raghad, a doctor at Al-Rashad, Iraq’s only psychiatric hospital. "They even arrested our director for two months, saying that a mentally disabled suicide bomber was treated here. It was wrong, and he was released," Raghad said. The Al-Rashad hospital sits on a huge dusty plain in northeast Baghdad, between two of the war-torn city’s chaotic urban slums that in early 2008 saw fierce street battles between Shiite militias and US forces. US forces have repeatedly promised help, but have merely raided the hospital amid suspicion that Shiite rebels are hiding here, Raghad said. In the wake of the 2003 US-led invasion, the hospital was looted to such an extent. . .

Christians flee northern Iraq city
Al Jazeera 10/11/2008
Attacks in the Iraqi city of Mosul have forced nearly 1,000 Christians, including 500 families, from their homes in just the past week, the governor of the northern Ninawa province says. Duraid Mohammed Kashmoula on Saturday said most have taken shelter over the past 24 hours in schools, churches, monasteries and the homes of relatives in the northern and eastern fringes of Ninawa. The flight came as Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako said Iraq’s Christians were facing a campaign of "liquidation" and called on the US military to do more to protect them. A wave of attacks religiously targeted killings have left at least 11 Christians dead since September 28. Major displacementIn a telephone interview with The Associated Press news agency, Kashmoula described the last seven days as a period of "major displacement".

Turkish jets bomb Kurdish rebels targets in Iraq
Middle East Online 10/11/2008
ANKARA - Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish rebel targets in neighbouring Iraq overnight, the latest in a series of raids after a bloody rebel attack on a Turkish border outpost last week, the army said Saturday. A statement said 31 Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions in the Harkurk area along the border were successfully hit in the strike, and were then targeted with artillery fire. The jets returned safely to their bases, it added, without giving other details. It was the sixth Turkish air raid in northern Iraq since October 3 when PKK rebels crossing from their bases in the region attacked a Turkish border outpost, backed by heavy weapons fire from the other side of the border. Seventeen soldiers and at least 23 militants were killed, according to army figures. The daytime assault was followed on Wednesday by a machine-gun attack on a police bus in Diyarbakir,. . .

EU FMs to offer special status to Morocco
Middle East Online 10/11/2008
BRUSSELS - European Union foreign ministers will on Monday offer an "advanced status" to Morocco, which has for years been seeking deeper relations with the bloc, sources in Brussels said Friday. Such a status, though it would have no extra legal weight, would place Morocco a notch above the members of the EU’s ""neighbourhood policy" such as Egypt, Israel, Georgia and Ukraine. In its last report on the neighbourhood policy, the European Commission judged that four countries merited stronger links with the 27-nation bloc; Ukraine and Israel, which have begun talks on enhanced agreements, and Morocco and Moldova, which is set to also receive a promise Monday of deeper ties. Morocco has long sought such a boost in its European relations since entering an association agreement, similar to the "neighbourhood policy" system, back to 1996.

Austrian far-right leader dies in crash
News agencies, YNetNews 10/11/2008
Joerg Haider, leader of far-right party that gained significant popularity in Sept. 28 elections, dies behind wheel of his car at age 58 -Austrian politician Joerg Haider, whose far-right rhetoric at times cast a negative light on the Alpine republic, has died in a car accident at age 58, the national news agency APA reported. APA quoted police saying the accident happened early Saturday morning in the south of the country when his car veered off the road near the city of Klagenfurt. He suffered severe injuries to his face and chest. It was not immediately clear if he died at the scene or in a hospital. Haider was governor of Carinthia and leader of the far-right Alliance for the Future of Austria at the time of his death. He is survived by a wife and two daughters. Haider, born in 1950 and active in politics since his teenage years, became a full-time politician in 1977 for the right-wing Freedom Party.

Mideast Muslims: U.S. financial crisis is divine punishment
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 10/12/2008
America’s opponents in the Middle East are gloating at the financial meltdown in the United States, describing it as the divinely inspired collapse of an overstretched empire. Hardline clerics across the region as well as representatives of U. S. opponents like Hamas and al-Qaida have described the plummeting stocks and frozen credit markets in the United States as a kind of retribution for American misdeeds. We are witnessing the collapse of the American Empire," Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister in the Gaza Strip, told worshippers during Friday prayers. "What’s going on in America is a result of the violation of the rights of people in Palestine, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Muslims around the world. "Haniyeh’s comments followed those made by other regional leaders who have long had an antagonistic relationship with the U.


Daniella Weiss: ’The Arabs are a filter through which we find our way to land’
Donald Macintyre in Kedumim, West Bank, The Independent 10/12/2008
      She is a 63-year-old grandmother who uses "revolutionary" and "extremist" as terms of praise. She is a religious former mayor who regards many forms of illegality short of murder as permissible in the cause she passionately espouses. And her image as the idol to many hundreds of militant young supporters in their teens and early twenties will only be enhanced when she appears in an Israeli court this morning on charges of assaulting and hindering police.
     Daniella Weiss’s activism is right-wing, in defence of a Greater Israel, including the West Bank, and she openly strives for the annexation of that territory. She is one of the most formidable individual forces in a struggle to ensure that the Israeli government does not withdraw a single Jewish West Bank settlement- -- unilaterally or by agreement with the Palestinians.
     It’s a struggle which she herself describes as an "ongoing rebellion" against a West Bank withdrawal plan, which she is convinced the Israeli government is determined to implement, a rebellion "against any attempt to make any change of the map of Israel between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean."

A little Bosnia in the making

Gideon Levy, Ha’aretz 10/12/2008
      A young woman - kerchief on her head, baby in her arms - stood behind the barred windows of her apartment yesterday and shouted: "Get all the Arabs out of here... We don’t want them here... They’ve made our lives a misery."
     The balcony blinds of the adjacent apartment are shattered. Its former residents, the family of Mahmoud Samary, are gone, having temporarily fled the hail of stones on their home. The young woman yelled: "They should get out. The Arabs are taking all our girls."
     It was Saturday afternoon at number 18, Burla Street in Acre - part of a crowded, shamefully neglected housing project where three Arab families and 29 Jewish families inhabit a single building. At the entrance to the building, a group of policemen stood around idly. The street was lined with cars with shattered windows.
     It was not only Bosnia that Acre called to mind yesterday; the city was also reminiscent of Nablus - checkpoints at every corner, hundreds of policemen under every parched tree. A city that could have been a tourist attraction was instead the most miserable in Israel. My colleague Jack Khoury, an Israeli Arab, said as we entered the neighborhood: "I don’t believe I’m traveling here in such fear and tension.

They shot our son but they can’t kill his spirit

Kate Kellaway, The Observer, The Guardian 10/12/2008
      This story begins with an ending. On 11 April 2003, Thomas Hurndall, a 21-year-old photojournalist, was shot in the head in Gaza by a sniper from the Israeli army. Tom was a brilliant, intrepid young man, driven by an energetic morality, a wish to make a difference in the world. The shooting left him with unsurvivable brain damage, but he clung to life - against the odds - in a coma, for nine months.
     While he lay dying in Tel Aviv and later in the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north London, his parents, Anthony and Jocelyn Hurndall, took on a heroic struggle against the Israeli army. They were determined to seek truth and accountability at all costs. They had no idea how hard this was going to be.
     The Israeli army appeared to view Tom’s death with indifference; there were no plans to investigate the shooting, interview witnesses or go to Gaza. Nor, at first, were they willing to meet the Hurndalls. Their claim was that their soldier had fired at an armed terrorist. Tom, dressed in an orange jacket (a known sign for peace workers), was unarmed. What’s more he was shot while rescuing Palestinian children.

Sawt el-Amal (the Laborer’s Voice) No Bread and No Roses, Arab Women Textile Workers in the Galilee

Mary Rizzo, Palestine Think Tank 10/11/2008
      In the past decade, more than30,000 textile workers lost their jobs in the Israeli textile industry, and mostof them are Arab women. In the first half of 2008, another 850 employees weremade redundant as a result of the continued outsourcing of textile manufacturingto cheap-labour countries and the falling shekel-dollar exchange rate. As oftoday, the Israeli textile industry still employs approximately 16,000 workers,and World Day for Decent Work is an appropriate day for their stories to betold…
     The textile industry has been themain source of employment for Palestinian Arab women inside Israel ever since the rapid industrialisationduring British-Mandate times (1920-1947) and the dispossession of thePalestinian people from their land by the establishment of the state ofIsrael in 1948.
     The nature of the textile and garment industries as a highly labour-intensive trade traditionally occupied by women has always abetted exploitation and inequality: for instance, a census conducted in Palestine in 1937 - at the height of the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939 - indicated that on average, the salary of a Jewish worker was 145% higher than that of his Arab colleague; in tobacco factories, it was up to 233% higher, and in textile factories employing women it was 433% higher. At the same time, historic labour struggles in the textile and garment sectors have shaped both the international labour and women’s movements.... -- See also: Sawt el-Amal

In a Void: International Aid and Palestine

Alexander Costy – Jerusalem, Palestine Chronicle 10/10/2008
      ’Working in a political void has had troubling effects on the ground.’
     Aid workers are supposed to be the good guys in international relations. Their work is steeped in ethics. They try to do what’s good for people, or at the very least, to do no harm. Yet international assistance can produce contradictions that make even the most seasoned aid professionals cringe.
     As far back as the 1940s, Marshall funds meant to support civilian reconstruction in Yugoslavia were used to violently suppress opponents of the emerging Tito regime. In the 1990s, international aid enabled warring factions in Angola to divert their domestic oil and mineral revenues toward military operations, while up to 2 million civilians languished in a state of chronic hunger, insecurity and displacement. Aid professionals usually blame such twisted outcomes on the "politics" beyond their control.
     In the Occupied Palestinian Territories, well over $12 billion in international assistance has been spent over the past 15 years. Yet, for most Palestinians the economy is worsening and public institutions are more fractured than ever. Statehood seems more elusive today than at any time in the past. In this context, there is a standing argument that the primary function of international aid has been to subsidise Israel’s occupation. Here too, well-meaning aid experts can be forgiven for wringing their hands, resorting to ready arguments about neutrality and urgent needs, and for regarding, once again, "politics" with grave suspicion.

The One-state Solution

Sari Nusseibeh - Jerusalem, Palestine Chronicle 10/10/2008
      ’Israelis described their West Bank settlements as organic extensions of the Israeli community.’
     In a recent report, peace now (an Israeli NGO) revealed that since President George W. Bush convened the Annapolis peace talks last October, the number of construction tenders issued in East Jerusalem has increased by a factor of 38 compared to the previous year. Since 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza, and especially since the Madrid peace negotiations of 1993, Israel has built almost 13 new neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, which is now home to more than a quarter million Israelis—almost the same number as Palestinians allowed to reside within the city. If you recall that most plans for a two-state solution envisage East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state (alongside the Israeli capital in West Jerusalem), it’s easy to understand why many Palestinians are losing faith in this project.
     There is another reason the two-state solution is losing support: Washington’s attitude. On a recent trip to Ramallah, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, when reminded that Palestinians have already shown willingness to concede 78 percent of what they consider their rightful territory to Israel, reportedly shot back, "Forget the 78 percent. What is being negotiated now is the remaining 22 percent." The message was clear: Palestinians must be ready to give up more land.

Another Israeli West Bank Land Grab Scheme

Stephen Lendman – Chicago, Palestine Chronicle 10/10/2008
      ’Israel now controls over 40% of the West Bank for settlements..’
     Since 1967, Israel has systematically and relentlessly sought control of the entire "Holy Land" by seizing Gaza, the West Bank and all of Jerusalem. The entire area remains occupied and, according to Israeli professor and activist Jeff Halper, the aggressive "Nishul" agenda continues. It entraps and commits genocide against 1.5 million Gazans under siege in the world’s largest open-air prison. It also displaces Israeli Arabs inside Israel and West Bank Palestinians for expanding Jewish settlements.
     It depoliticizes the process to normalize it. Casts it as part of the "war on terrorism" and "class of civilizations." What Edward Said called the colonized and the colonizers. "The familiar (Europe, West, us, and of course Israel) and the strange (the Orient, East, them)." Halper refers to "adherents to ’evil’ religions, ideologies or cultures." Needing to be dealt with. Not people with real grievances, needs and rights. Israel’s solution: "warehousing a surplus (unwanted) population" in prisons, open-air ones, and by isolating and oppressing it relentlessly until all fight is beaten out of it. Others give up and leave.

High Time to Move Beyond Clichés

Ramzy Baroud, Palestine Chronicle 10/10/2008
      ’I’m so encouraged to know that we both love Israel.’
     One should rightly assume that the weight of the US financial crisis, the full impact of which is just beginning to unravel, and the widening military debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan, would compel new thinking amongst leading US politicians. And then again, maybe not.
     Aside from tactical and rhetorical differences, presidential candidates and their vice-president-hopefuls are yet to strictly champion and act upon a truly different leadership strategy: Barack Obama’s current foreign policy visions are more or less those of President Bush in his second term. Republican candidate John McCain, however, advocates a less solid and increasingly confusing set of principles: he strives to distance himself from a discredited, unpopular president, position himself as a man of experience and resolve, yet pander to the religious right and defend a hawkish strategy that is no less destructive than that championed by the neoconservative-designed Bush Doctrine, which led to two major wars and a near-complete loss of US credibility and leadership abroad.

Celebrating criminality

Khaled Amayreh, Al-Ahram Weekly 10/9/2008
      In Israel, the murder of Palestinians and their mutilation is openly applauded at the highest levels. Is anyone in the West watching? asks The tension in the audience was apparent last Saturday as it waited for Emanuel Rozin, presenter of the popular Israeli television Channel Two, to announce the channel’s "man of the [Hebrew] year". To heighten the audience’s suspense, Rozin listed the personality’s achievements before announcing his name. Saleh Al-Naami looks into the man’s cv.
     "He’s the man who has only done good deeds... He’s the person who is famed for cutting off Palestinians’ heads with a Japanese knife... He’s the man who was born with a knife between his teeth... He’s the head of Mossad, Meir Dagan!" The hall thundered with applause when Rozin announced Dagan as man of the year.
     Rozin made sure to mention some of Dagan’s "secret" achievements, especially the assassination of Hizbullah operations commander Imad Mughniyah, and providing the intelligence information that allowed the Israeli air force to bomb a research station in northeast Syria, among others. After announcing Dagan man of the year, the station broadcast a profile of him that addressed his achievements during his military service and as the head of Mossad.

A Hard-Liner’s Call for Peace

Uri Dromi, Middle East Online 10/11/2008
      In a farewell interview he gave to the Yediot Aharonot newspaper on the eve of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dropped a bombshell. "What I’m telling you now," he said to his interviewers, "no Israeli leader ever said before me: We have to pull out from almost all the territories [in the West Bank], including in East Jerusalem, including in the Golan Heights."
     But for those of us who have been advocating these actions for years, his words were not really a bombshell; they simply reveal a coming to grips with reality. In order for Israel to survive as a Jewish and democratic state, the government should not rule millions of Palestinians. It is in Israel’s best interests that a viable Palestinian state emerge, a state whose citizens, though forced to give up their dreams of returning to their homes in Jaffa and Haifa, will nevertheless feel that, given the historical circumstances, this was a deal they could live with.
     But what was remarkable about this cold, realistic assessment is that it came from the mouth of Ehud Olmert himself.