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For those interested in keeping up with events in Palestine/Israel, there is no better digest than VTJP.

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29 November, 200

Likud MK calls for using Palestinian prisoners as human shields against Qassam rockets
Yanir Yagna, Haaretz Correspondant, Ha’aretz 11/30/2008
Following a barrage of mortar shells and Qassam rockets that wounded 8 Israel Defense Forces soldiers near the border with the Gaza Strip on Friday, a Likud MK proposed using Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners as human shields to deter future rocket attacks. MK Gilad Erdan suggested Israel build an open-air, unprotected detention facility in the Western Negev, where the majority of rockets and mortars from Gaza land, and fill it with militants currently held in Israeli jails. Also on Saturday, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said that Israel is "very close to a large-scale operation in the Gaza Strip. " "We have to find the right time, but these actions give us no choice and therefore, a large-scale operation is closer than ever," Vilnai said. "The truce is important for us, and also for them, because we control the border crossings and the other side is worried about the strength of the IDF. "

11 hurt in Hebron clashes
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 11/29/2008
Violent Saturday in Hebron: Palestinians, settlers hurl stones at each other near disputed home in West Bank city; Jewish teens, two Border Guard officers among injured. No arrests made in connection with clashes - Tensions growing near disputed house in Hebron:Eleven people were wounded Saturday during clashes between settlers and Palestinians hurling stones at each other near the disputed Hebron house slated for evacuation. The wounded include two lightly injured Border Guard officers. No arrests were made in connection with the violent incidents. Police in Hebron received reports of stone throwing in the area from the IDF Saturday afternoon. Army, police, and Border Guard forces arrived at the scene in order to quell the clashes between Palestinians and Jews. Seven Palestinians were hurt as a result of stone throwing. Two of them were evacuated from the scene by the Red Crescent.

Political play snares Gaza pilgrims
Al Jazeera 11/30/2008
Thousands of Palestinian pilgrims seeking to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj have been blocked from leaving the Gaza Strip in the latest twist of the territory’s internal political divisions. Security forces for Hamas, the Palestinian faction in control of Gaza, reportedly turned pilgrims back from the Rafah border crossing into Egypt on Saturday. A number of pilgrims told Al Jazeera they had been beaten by Hamas security forces for trying to cross. While Egypt has mostly kept its border closed to the besieged strip since Hamas took control of the territory more than a year ago, Egyptian officials insisted that the border post had been opened for three days to allow pilgrims through. Hajj, the annual pilgrimage obligatory once in a lifetime for all Muslims with the means to afford it, is set to begin next week. The fate of Gaza’s pilgrims has been in question for weeks amid continued political jockeying between Hamas and rival Palestinian faction Fatah.

Israeli desecration of Islamic cemetery in East Jerusalem
Maisa Abu Ghazaleh - Palestine News Network, International Middle East Media Center News 11/29/2008
Jewish extremists continue their attacks on Arab property in Jerusalem, but this time not on the living. The target is an historic Islamic cemetery as the Israelis are already desecrating Maman Allah (Mamilla) for a "Museum of Tolerance. "Mohammed Dajani told PNN today that his family tomb was destroyed in East Jerusalem’s Jabal Seyun, Mount Zion. "Extremists belonging to a Jewish school removed some of the graves and headstones, while the administration demolished the wall which protected the cemetery for hundreds of years. "The Chairman of the Committee for the Care of Islamic Graves, Mustafa Abu Zahra, said that the occupation authorities demolished the cemetery fence. The Israeli administration is sponsoring projects in the area affecting the cemetery that is one dunam with approximately 200 graves. Abu Zahra said that the cemetery dates back to Salah Addin.

Israel prepares for demolishing whole neighborhood in Jerusalem
Palestinian Information Center 11/29/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Islamic-Christian front for the defense of Jerusalem warned that a group of Zionist settlement enterprises especially the Israeli municipality had earmarked more than $300,000,000 for the demolition of a whole neighborhood in the Silwan town called Al-Bustan located southeastern of Jerusalem’s old city. Dr. Hasan Khater, the secretary-general of the front, explained that the Israeli municipality of occupied Jerusalem and other settlement enterprises, namely, the east Jerusalem development company, the authority of archeology, the authority of nature and the Elad foundation allocated the money to destroy all houses, buildings and Arab remains in the neighborhood in order to judaize it. Dr. Khater also said that the IOA will displace more than 1,500 Palestinian natives from the neighborhood in order to build a Jewish neighborhood in its place, pointing. . .

Bush to PM: Why give away Golan for free?
Aluf Benn, Ha’aretz 11/30/2008
WASHINGTON - U. S. President George Bush believes that Israel is offering Syria the Golan Heights without getting anything in exchange, according to sources briefed on his White House meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week. After Olmert updated Bush on Israel’s indirect talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad, the U. S. president demanded, "Why do you want to give Assad the Golan for nothing? " the sources said. "It’s not for nothing," Olmert insisted. "It’s in exchange for a change in the region’s strategic alignment. "Bush persisted: "Why should you believe him? " And to that, Olmert did not reply. The Bush administration has long had reservations about Israel’s talks with Syria and refuses to play any active role in them. Infuriated by Syria’s involvement in anti-American terror in Iraq, as well as its undermining of Lebanon’s fragile democracy, Bush preferred. . .

Israeli forces invade Jayyous in attempt to prevent protest against the Apartheid Wall
International Solidarity Movement 11/29/2008
Qalqilya Region - Photos - Hundreds of Jayyous residents were prevented from protesting at the Wall on Friday 28th November when Israeli military forces invaded the village. More than 200 Palestinian, Israeli and international activists were prevented from leaving the village to demonstrate against the new path of the Apartheid Wall, when Israeli army and police forces invaded the village, blocking roads and implementing a "Closed Military Zone". Approximately 40 Israeli army forces blocked the road from the village to the Wall, menacingly brandishing rifles and batons. The villagers, who will lose almost 6000 dounums of land from the new route of the wall, were undiminished in their determination to protest against the Wall, chanting "LA! LA! Li’l Jidar!" (NO! NO! To the Wall!). The protest then turned into an impromptu street party, with villagers dancing defiantly in the streets.

Settlers forced to evacuate Homesh settlement
Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, Stop The Wall 11/29/2008
Settlers attempting to repopulate Homesh settlement have recently been forced to abandon their efforts, in the face of mounting protests against their presence. On Saturday afternoon, the settlers were seen packing their belongings and leaving the settlement, signalling an apparent victory for the Palestinian villagers in the area who rejected the return of Jewish settlers to Homesh. Over the past several weeks, hundreds of protestors from the villages of Burqa, Bizzariya, Silat ad-Dhahr, Sabastiya and Beit Imrin, all located in the Homesh area north of Nablus, mobilized and marched towards the settlement to demonstrate against the resettlement and the closures, confiscations, and expansions that would inevitably ensue. Each time, the demonstrators were met with repression by Occupation forces, who fired upon them with tear gas and rubber bullets.

IDF troops exchange fire with Palestinian gunmen in southern Gaza Strip Staff, Jerusalem Post 11/30/2008
IDF troops on Saturday night were exchanged gunfire with Palestinian gunmen in the southern Gaza Strip. There were no reports of wounded among the soldiers. According to initial reports, two Palestinians approached the security fence south of Kissufim and opened fire at a group of paratroopers, who returned fire, forcing the attackers to flee. [end]

Vilnai: Israel nearing wide-scale Gaza op
Ilana Curiel, YNetNews 11/29/2008
Following mortar attack on IDF base which left eight soldiers injured, deputy defense minister says ’their provocations don’t leave us with much choice’. Likud MK Erdan suggests moving Palestinian prisoners to unfortified detention facility in Gaza vicinity - Israel is nearing a wide-scale operation in the Gaza Strip, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said Saturday, several hours after eight Israel Defense Forces soldiers were injured in a mortar shell attack on the Nahal Oz base in southern Israel. "There’s no doubt we’re getting closer to a wide-scale operation in Gaza, but it will be different from what took place in the past," Vilnai said during an event in the southern city of Beersheba. The truce is important to us and to them, as we control the crossings and the other side is afraid of the IDF’s strength. But we must find the right time for an operation. Their provocations are not leaving us with much choice. "

Gaza mortar shells injure eight soldiers, one loses leg
Amos Harel, Ha’aretz 11/30/2008
Eight Israel Defense Forces soldiers were wounded Friday evening, two seriously, after mortar shells fired by Gaza Strip militants hit a military base near Kibbutz Nahal Oz in the western Negev. The soldiers were evacuated to the Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva and the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. Doctors had to amputate the leg of one of the soldiers, who was brought to the hospital in a serious condition. "Unfortunately, we had no choice but to amputate his leg, in hopes that we managed to save the other leg," a doctor told Army Radio yesterday. "He is currently on a ventilator and unconscious. "The incident began when a cell of four Palestinian militants approached the strip’s perimeter fence, apparently in order to plant explosive devices. An IDF force opened fire on the militants, wounding three of them.

Soldier loses leg in mortar attack
Ilana Curiel, YNetNews 11/29/2008
Doctors manage to save one of legs of Sergeant Noam Nakash, who was seriously wounded by mortar shells fired at Nahal Oz military base. ’He always informed me about mortars landing in the area but told me I had nothing to worry about,’ his mother tells Ynet - Sergeant Noam Nakash, 21, of Beersheba, who serves as a company sergeant major at the communications branch at the Nahal Oz base, lost his right leg Friday night in a mortar shell attack on the southern Israel base. He was evacuated to the Barzilai Medical Center in Beersheba, where he underwent surgery for seven hours. His condition was defined as serious but stable. Under Fire8 soldiers injured in mortar attack / Palestinians fire barrage of mortar shells on IDF base near Kibbutz Nahal Oz in southern Israel. Two mortars land within base, hitting officers’ and female soldiers’ quarters.

Palestinian Journalists’ Union condemns Al-Quds arrest
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The Ramallah-based Palestinian Journalists’ Union on Saturday condemned the arrest of an Al-Quds newspaper writer by Palestinian Authority (PA) intelligence services in the West Bank. Na’el Nakhleh, who is a writer for Jerusalem’s Al-Quds newspaper, was arrested in Al-Bireh, a town near the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday. The union said that such arrests by the PA are attempts to "silence media and oppose their freedom," according to a statement on Saturday. The group added that journalists’ arrests have increased in recent days as nine were seized in the West Bank and three in the Gaza Strip. The union called on all sides to "stop these arrests against journalists and allow them to express their opinions freely. "

Gaza journalist tortured by de facto police while reporting on Rafah pilgrims
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – A Palestinian journalist with Saut Al-Quds (voice of Jerusalem) Radio Station accused members of the de facto government security in Gaza of torturing him as he attempted to cover the story of Gazan pilgrims waiting at Rafah crossing. Ala Salamah said he was harshly beaten and forced to eat food full of sand. The journalist was fasting in the days leading up to Eid Al-Adha, and the police forced him to eat and break his fast. Al-Quds Radio denounced the acts in a statement that described them as sinful deeds that were not “an attack on the Radio station itself but rather an attack on free speech. ”The station demanded the de facto ministry of interior “seriously and urgently investigate this crime and punish those responsible. ”

Hamas: Attack on army base does not spell lull’s end
Ali Waked, YNetNews 11/29/2008
Gaza group says Friday’s rocket fire on IDF base was response to Israeli violations of ceasefire agreement -Despite Friday’s rocket attack on the IDF base in Nahal Oz, which left eight soldiers wounded, sources within Hamas signaled Saturday that the group is still interested in continuing its ceasefire with Israel. Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan said that the shooting on Nahal Oz was "a natural reaction to the enemy’s crimes, to the blockade (on Gaza) and the closing of the Gaza crossings. " The act, he stressed, "was not meant to violate thetruce. We are simply responding to the enemy’s violations. "Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades added that the Palestinian organizations will convene in the next few days to discuss the future of the ceasefire, which is scheduled to elapse on December 19.

Qassam rocket lands south of Ashkelon
Ilana Curiel, YNetNews 11/29/2008
No injuries in latest rocket attack; Islamic Jihad claims responsibility for strike - A rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists from the Gaza Strip Saturday afternoon landed south of Ashkelon. The Islamic Jihad’s al-Quds Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack, which followed a rocket fired at the same area earlier. Gideon Sharabi, the regional security chief, told Ynet that the Red Color alert was activated in the area and that a loud blast followed soon after. "No injuries or damages were caused," he said. "The rocket hit an open area"¦our efforts to pinpoint the landing site are continuing. " Earlier Saturday, authorities discovered that a mortar shell landed in the greenhouses of a Gaza-region community. The shell was apparently fired during the offensive targeting a nearby military base overnight.

Vilna’i: Large-scale Gaza op looming
Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post 11/29/2008
Israel is quickly approaching a large-scale operation in the Gaza Strip, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i said Saturday, in response to a mortar attack the previous night on an IDF base that wounded eight soldiers. Two soldiers- one of whom lost a leg -were in serious condition after a mortar shell fired from Gaza hit inside the base near Kibbutz Nahal Oz. Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees claimed responsibility for the attack. On Saturday afternoon, a Kassam rocket struck a field south of Ashkelon. Sgt. Noam Nakash of Beersheba, a member of the base’s C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence) team, was seriously wounded in the mortar attack. Doctors initially feared they would have to remove both of Nakash’s legs but in the end they only amputated the right one.

Al-Qassam launches ten projectiles toward Israeli military post
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas’s militant wing claimed responsibility for firing three mortar shells toward an Israeli military post near Gaza City on Friday night, according to a statement received by Ma’an on Saturday morning. The Al-Qassam Brigades is the militant wing of the Hamas movement, which separately launched seven more projectiles from Beit Hanoun, near a memorial statue east of Gaza City. Israel announced that homemade projectiles fired from Gaza landed in Sha’ar Hanegev on Saturday, as well. No casualties were immediately reported. [end]

Israeli police officer filmed assaulting Palestinians in Jerusalem
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an - An Israeli human rights organization filmed a police officer "head-butt" two Palestinians in Jerusalem early in November, according to a news release sent to Ma’an on Friday. In the Bustan area of East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood, Israeli human-rights group B’Tselem videotaped a helmeted Israeli police officer head-butt two Palestinians, a man and a woman, the group said. The alleged assault occurred in the midst of a Jerusalem Municipality-ordered house demolition on 5 November 2008. The researcher from B’tselem who filmed the incident submitted the videotape to Israel’s Department for the Investigation of Police within the Ministry of Justice, which subsequently opened an investigation. The Bustan section of the Silwan neighborhood is home to some 90 buildings that house nearly 1,000 Palestinians.

Bil’in: Using the camera as a tool of resistance
Abdullah Abu Rahma, International Middle East Media Center News 11/29/2008
Imad Mohammed Yassin Burnat, 36 years old, from the village of Bil’in and a young father of four children, joined the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in from the moment they started to destroy the Israeli bulldozers on Bil’in’s land. He was the first person injured by the Israeli army in Bin’in’s resistance. He was chosen from among his colleagues to be the videographer of the Popular Committee in order to monitor and document the violence, brutality, and repression of the occupation soldiers. In the first year of the Wall in Bil’in, the Israeli army tried to use various methods to discourage the demonstrators from continuing their resistance. This included nightly raids of the village, where soldiers surrounded the homes of activists, fired stun grenades and forced the youth out of their homes and handcuffed them.

Israel to free Hamas ’bargaining chips’ arrested over Shalit
Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, Ha’aretz 11/30/2008
Israel will soon be freeing all the "bargaining chips" it arrested in 2006 in order to trade them for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit: Dozens of Hamas parliamentarians, along with several Hamas ministers, will have to be released within the next year, even if no deal for Shalit is struck, because they will have finished serving their two- to three-year sentences. "Everyone understands that the arrests of these men will not have helped Shalit much," a security official involved in the affair said. On June 29, 2006, four days after Shalit was kidnapped, Israel arrested dozens of Hamas members throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including eight ministers in the Hamas government and some 20 Hamas parliamentarians. Others were arrested in the following weeks.

Indirect prisoner-swap talks resume under Egyptian mediation
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 11/29/2008
Palestinian sources reported on Saturday that a Hamas delegate will be heading to Cairo soon in order to resume the Egyptian mediated indirect prisoner-swap talks between Hamas and Israel. Israel recently proposed the release of 220 detainees from a list of 450 detainees presented by Hamas. The list of detainees suggested by Hamas includes detainees who are sentenced to very high terms and leaders of resistance groups. Hamas officials said that the Israeli offer is insufficient while Israel rejected the list presented by Hamas and decided to increase pressures on the Gaza Strip by carrying invasions and intensifying the siege. Meanwhile, Israeli sources reported that Israel’s outgoing, scandal burdened, Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, will practice "exceptional efforts" in order to achieve a prisoner-swap deal with Hamas before the general elections in Israel.

Israeli cabinet to approve the release of 250 Palestinian prisoners
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli cabinet ministers are expected to approve the release of 250 Palestinian prisoners during its weekly Sunday meeting. The prisoner release will come in advance of the Muslim Edi Al-Adha, a celebration commemorating the willingness of Abraham to obey god and sacrifice his eldest son. This year the holiday falls on 8 December. According to Israeli radio those slated for release are Fatah-affiliates. The list of prisoners was prepared by Israeli public security and the Ministry of Justice, and will be published pending approval by the cabinet ministers on Sunday. [end]

Israeli MK suggests Palestinian prisoners be used as human shields to prevent projectile attacks
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners in Israel should be used as human shields to protect Israeli targets around Gaza, according to the suggestion of an Israeli Knesset member published in the Hebrew daily newspaper Maariv in Saturday. Member of the Knesset (MK) with the center-right Likud party Gilad Arden was quoted in the paper responding to the reports of eight injured Israeli soldiers after several projectiles were launched from the Gaza Strip. Ma’an has not received any statements from Palestinian factions claiming responsibility for the attacks. According to the Israeli news source Yedioth Ahronoth, however, the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) claimed responsibility for the mortar fire, as well as the Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, which is affiliated with Hamas. Arden told the paper that the Israeli government should transfer Palestinian prisoners. . .

Israeli leaders call for war in Gaza, Likud MK calls for using detainees as human shields
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 11/30/2008
Several Israeli right wing leaders called for a full invasion into the Gaza Strip especially after eight soldiers were wounded by Palestinian homemade shells. A Likud member of Knesset called for establishing an open air prison in the Negev area in order to imprison Hamas and Islamic Jihad members in it as use them as human shields against Qassam shells. The eight Israeli soldiers were wounded after Palestinian fighters struck the Nahal Oz military base with several homemade shells. Two of the soldiers are in serious conditions. Palestinian armed groups said that the shelling comes in retaliation to the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip and the ongoing siege which led to the death of hundreds of patients. Likud member of Knesset, Gilad Ardan, said that Israel must establish an open air, unprotected detention camp in the western Negev in order to use the Palestinian. . .

Blockaded Gazans not totally forgotten
Middle East Online 11/29/2008
GAZA – A tattooed Italian trucker, middle-aged twin sisters from San Jose, Calif. , a polite Scottish couple and a solemn-faced Greek hailed a cab in Gaza City, drawing stares from passers-by unused to visitors. The party was off to southern Gaza to plant wheat with Palestinian farmers in a dangerous area near an Israeli-patrolled border. They were among some 80 foreign volunteers who have sailed across the Mediterranean to Gaza in three trips since August, defying a closure of the territory imposed by Israel. The blockade-runners from the Free Gaza Movement are a motley bunch. They have included physicians, lawmakers and Yvonne Ridley, a British woman who was kidnapped by the Taliban and afterward converted to Islam. One high-profile volunteer was Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of Tony Blair, the former British prime minister who is now the international community’s Mideast peace envoy.

Al Marwa, the first of several Arab ship to break the Gaza Siege
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 11/30/2008
Palestinian Legislator, head of the Popular committee Against the Siege, Jamal El Khodary, stated on Sunday that the Lybian ship "Al Marwa" will reach the Gaza port on Monday, and added that this ship is one of several Arab ship which will challenge the Israeli siege and deliver humanitarian supplies to the residents of the Gaza Strip. On Saturday, El Khodary phoned the Lybian Health Minister, Dr. Mohammad Rashed, and thanked him, the Lybian resident and the Lybian people for their efforts to break the Israeli siege. The independent legislator added that this ship is the first Arab ship challenging the siege but will be followed by additional ship that would sail in solidarity with the Palestinian people. He added that the the Popular Committee Against the Siege will continue the preparations for the arrival of A Marwa on Monday in order to deliver the aid and medicine to the residents of the coastal region.

Madi: The Israeli siege on Gaza unprecedented
Palestinian Information Center 11/29/2008
DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Dr. Arafat Madi, the head of the European campaign to lift the siege, stated that the unjust Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip is unprecedented, strongly denouncing the western complicity in the blockade as expressed a week ago by EU official Javier Solana. During the Arab international right of return forum held in Damascus, Dr. Madi also criticized some Arab countries for participating in the siege as if the people of Gaza are not Arab or Muslims. The head of the European campaign underlined that the reports conveyed by media outlets did not reflect the scary image of the Israeli siege on Gaza, describing what is happening in Gaza as genocide in every sense of the word. He also pointed out that the Gaza people no longer blame the Arab leaders because they gave up confidence in them long time ago, but they put the blame on the active forces in the Arab and Islamic. . .

EU development commissioner calls blockade collective punishment
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel expressed his “increasing concern for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza,” in a Saturday press release. "I am extremely concerned by the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza caused by the continued closure of the Gaza crossings,” Michel stated. His statement stressed the point that since 4 November only the Karem Shalom crossing has been open, and even then only for a total of four days. Michel noted that only a limited amount of food and supplies were allowed into Gaza on 17, 24, 26 and 27 November. Though he stressed his earlier condemnation of Palestinian projectile attacks, he said called the continued closure of Gaza crossings “a form of collective punishment against Palestinian civilians, which is a violation of International Humanitarian Law.

Libyan health minister: Our hospitals open for all Palestinian patients
Palestinian Information Center 11/29/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Dr. Mohamed Rashid, the Libyan minister of health, on Saturday highlighted the solidarity of his government and people with the besieged Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, stressing that Libya’s hospitals are open for all Palestinian patients at any time. During a phone call with MP Jamal Al-Khudari, the head of the popular committee against the siege in Gaza, Dr. Rashid hailed the steadfastness and fortitude of the Gaza people, stating that Libya is always with the Palestinian people against the blockade, aggression and the Israeli occupation. Official Libyan sources had reported on Tuesday that a Libyan ship left the Zuwara port, west of the Lybian capital, and is currently heading to the Gaza Strip carrying humanitarian aid. The ship, which is the first Arab ship to challenge the Israeli siege, is expected to reach Gaza in five days.

Gaza blockade approaches 4 week mark (23 - 29 Nov)
The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and, ReliefWeb 11/29/2008
November 29 marked the 25th day of the Israeli imposed closure on the Gaza Strip. Throughout the week, Israeli allowed a few deliveries of food and fuel supplies into Gaza, but not enough to make a dent in the humanitarian crisis ravaging the area. On November 25, Gaza’s sole power plant was closed due to a breakdown of its electricity-generating units because of the all too frequent shutdowns. The plant has been forced to close down several times in the last 3 weeks as Israel refuses to allow regular shipments of industrial fuel. Currently, only certain sections of the plant are working, while the equipment and spare parts necessary to repair the damage have not been allowed through. On November 26, in the first such action by an Arab government, a ship has set sail from Libya to Gaza in order to deliver 3,000 tons of humanitarian aid.

Siege continues, Israeli raid in the South
Missionary International Service News Agency - MISNA, ReliefWeb 11/28/2008
One man died and two others were wounded badly after yet another raid by the Israeli army into Gaza, which has been isolated from the world for the past 23 days. Israeli tanks targeted the homes of Palestinian activists in Qarara near Khan Younis, killing one and wounding two others, all believed to be members of the Hamas armed wing of the Ezzedin al-Qassam brigades. The raid represents a serious violation of the ceasefire between Israel and Gaza, which has endured (more or less) for the past few months. Meanwhile, despite international appeals the siege of Gaza continues unabated, even as a woman died last night because she was deprived of the medicines needed to cure herself from a serious illness. The 34 year old woman, mother of five, said the Palestinian press has raised the number of deaths caused by the siege to 261.

Six Palestinians wounded in IOF shooting at peaceful marches
Palestinian Information Center 11/29/2008
QALQILIA, (PIC)-- Two Palestinian villagers were wounded in the Jayus town, northwest of Qalqilia, afternoon Friday when Israeli occupation forces shot at them during a peaceful demonstration to protest the construction of the separation wall on their lands. Eyewitnesses reported that the IOF soldiers fired live bullets at the demonstrators, who included foreign activists, and injured the two. The participants marched in the town’s streets chanting anti wall and anti settlement slogans before reaching the southern gate of the village, which was declared a closed military zone by the IOF, leading to the confrontation with the soldiers. Four other Palestinians were wounded in a similar peaceful march in Na’lin village, west of Ramallah, also afternoon Friday. Hundreds of villagers accompanied by foreign sympathizers marched to their lands, threatened with confiscation to build. . .

Palestinian Health Action Committees worker detained by Israeli forces near Jerusalem
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Bethlehem- Ma’an – Israeli soldiers arrested the accountant for the Health Action Committees in Palestine at the Jaba checkpoint on Saturday north of Jerusalem. The HAC are a non-profit group with funding from several organizations in Europe and North America, and are loosely affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) a leftist party in Palestine. The accountant, Khaleel Abu Ghattas, was carrying identification which indicated he worked with the HAC and was en route to the main office of the organization in the West Bank city of Al-Bireh near Ramallah. [end]

9-Year-old boy wounded in nonviolent protest near Bethlehem
IMEMC Staff, International Middle East Media Center News 11/28/2008
9-year-old, Hareth Bregieyh from Al-Ma’asara, South of Bethlehem, has been injured after he was brutally beaten by Israeli soldiers this Friday afternoon, during a nonviolent protest. The boy suffered cuts and bruises in his arm after troops pushed at the barbed wire. The villagers protested against the Wall, which is being built on the land of the village. The demonstrators raised the Palestinian flag and banners that condemn the Israeli operation and the wall. Banners were also raised to mark the anniversary of the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People, which is to denounced the Israeli continue escalations against the Palestinian people during the last 6 decades. The soldiers used barbed wires to stop the demonstrators to get close to the construction sight. During this the child was hurt, while all the Palestinian and the Internationals activist were demonstrating. . .

Nablus prisoners start hunger strike over term lengths
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Thirteen Palestinian prisoners affiliated with the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of the Fatah movement, have begun a hunger strike in response to "foot dragging" on the part of the Israeli army in regard to their sentences, the governor of Nablus told Ma’an. The 13 prisoners were originally apprehended PA security forces and held at the Jneid Prison in the West Bank for their own protection, as they were wanted by Israel and targeted for arrest and even extra-judicial assassination. Several have been behind bars for more than one year. The prisoners who are on hunger strike were identified as: Sameh Al-Asmar, Mohammad Tayseer Melhim, Mohammad Mershed, Husni Al-Salaj, Mohammad Mansur, Haitham Te’mah, Sa’ed Sarisi, Kayed Al-Masri (a 15-year-old boy), Sabri Al-Kurdi, Tareq Suleiman, Mu’taz Teryaqi and Hassen A’rayshah.

PLC Speaker undergoes emergency surgery in Israeli prison
Palestine News Network - PNN, International Middle East Media Center News 11/29/2008
After months of appeals on behalf of his health, Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Dr. Aziz Dweik underwent emergency gallstone surgery yesterday. Imprisoned for 28 months, Dweik is considered one of thousands of Palestinian victims of Israeli torture and medical neglect. The official was arrested during the Israeli assault on elected Palestinians in 2006. He was taken for winning the Legislative Council elections on the Change and Reform ticket affiliated with the Hamas party. Yesterday’s emergency operation was conducted in the Israeli Ramle Prison Hospital after a lengthy period of procrastination on the part of the prison administration. Dweik’s relatively advanced age and weak health did not help the suffering, which his wife appealed to alleviate countless times. The Acting Speaker of the PLC, Dr.

Ailing Palestinian prisoner shunted between several prisons, aggravating health conditions
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Hebron - Ma’an – The family of 60-year-old Palestinian prisoner Ahmad Al-Qiq said the man, who suffers from health problems, was transferred between Israeli prisons between four and six times in the past weeksA few weeks ago Al-Qiq was transferred to the Negev prison, then again transferred to the Ramlah prison where his medical condition worsened. He may then have been transferred back down to the Negev prison and then a few days ago made the trip to Ofer Prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah. According to his family Al-Qiq was sentenced to four months in prison and despite the existence of several known health conditions, he has been transferred to several prisons during his sentence.

After ignoring his health condition for months, Dweik undergoes surgery
Palestinian Information Center 11/29/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The presidency of the PLC stated that speaker Aziz Dweik, 61, underwent on Friday a surgery in the Israeli Ramla prison hospital after the prison administration ignored his health condition and did not provide him with medical treatment for long months. Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the acting speaker of the PLC, strongly condemned the IOA for continuing to detain Dr. Dweik and maltreating him despite his old age and poor health condition. Dr. Bahar appealed to all Arab and Islamic parliaments, international associations and human rights organizations to intervene for the release of the PLC speaker from Israeli jails in order to receive appropriate medical care. In a new development, confirmed information received by the Hamas Movement said that a serious infectious disease started to spread among Palestinian prisoners in the PA Juneid prison in the West Bank.

Israel releases Salfit PLC staffer following 29-month detention
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Nablus/Salfit – Ma’an – Israeli authorities released a Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) chief of staff from the West Bank city of Salfit on Friday following a 29-month prison detention. The 40-year-old legislative aide, Ibrahim Abu Madi, was released at noon on Friday, according to Ma’an’s correspondent in Salfit. Abu Madi was originally detained during an arrest campaign carried out against deputies and other officials affiliated with the Hamas movement. Israeli authorities refused to comment on what criminal suspicious, if any, led to the arrest of the legislative official. [end]

Israel releases Tulkarem man after two-year detention
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Tulkarem – Ma’an – Israeli prison services released a Palestinian detainee on Friday evening, Muhammad Tanbouz of the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, after he completed a two-year sentence. The 20-year-old Tambouz was arrested from his home in the Iktaba neighborhood of Tulkarem on 1 February 2007. He was released on Friday evening from Rimon prison. Muhammad Tambouz is affiliated with the Fatah movement. [end]

Eden Springs in Scotland buckles under pressure
Stop The Wall 11/29/2008
As a result of an intensive boycott campaign, Israeli water cooler company Eden Springs has been forced to close its East of Scotland depot. According to an industry insider, in recent months the company has lost hundreds of contracts across Scotland, which is an anomaly in an industry that is generally expanding. Among Eden Springs’ major losses are contracts with East Lothian and West Lothian Councils, Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and Caledonian MacBrayne Ferrries, which is the sole link between the mainland and Scotland’s many islands. Stevenson College, the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations, as well as a number of Scottish trade union and student bodies have all voted to boycott Eden springs explicitly on the grounds of their violations of international and human rights law. Eden Springs operates in the occupied Golan Heights, removing water from the Salukia Spring and selling it around the world.

Al-Agha calls for unconditional talks and international pressure
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Gaza - Ma’an - Egypt must end the Palestinian division without any preconditions and must start immediately, said member of the Executive Committee of Palestinian Liberation Organization and head of national action committee Zakariyah Al –Agha. Speaking at a sit-in organized by the committee for national action on Saturdayin front of the UN building in Gaza City Al-Agha called on Palestinian organizations and civil society to step up and pressure their governments to step up to the discussion table. Marking the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinians Al-Agha called on international and human rights organizations to help pressure Israel to lift the siege on Gaza so Palestinian attention can go back to unity. After his speech Al-Agha handed he reprehensive of UN in Gaza a memorandum for UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon which detailed the harsh living conditions of the people in Gaza.

Egyptian police attack Gaza solidarity march
Stop The Wall 11/29/2008
On 26 November, Cairo University students organized a demonstration in protest of the ongoing siege of Gaza. The action was violently suppressed by Egyptian police. In downtown Cairo, Egyptian students held a mass march and demonstration, calling for an end to the siege on Gaza. According to press reports, a 600 strong state police force attacked the demonstration, clashing with 300 students. Police violently beat people with batons in an attempt to break up the protest. The Egyptian government is keen to crush protest against both its policies and that of the Occupation. Similar actions in solidarity with the Palestinians have been violently put down, solidarity activists beaten and arrested, and attempts by Egyptian opposition groups to send supplies to the beleaguered Strip have been aborted by the Mubarak regime.

Haneyya calls on Egypt and Saudi Arabia to ease travel of Gaza pilgrims
Palestinian Information Center 11/29/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Ismail Haneyya, the premier of the PA caretaker government, on Friday appealed to the Egyptian authorities and Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdelaziz to facilitate the travel of Gaza pilgrims in order to perform the Hajj this year. Haneyya told a press conference that his government did not object to the travel of pilgrims from Gaza who are registered by the PA in Ramallah despite its reservations in this regard. The premier welcomed every Arab resolution that would ease the suffering of Gaza people and strengthen the Palestinian steadfastness in the face of the Israeli occupation, but he pointed out that the Arab foreign ministers’ decisions did not break the siege or open the Rafah border crossing. The premier said that Israel flouted all understandings of the Egyptian-brokered truce through its closure of the crossings, adding that if Israel wanted to maintain the calm, it has to abide by its obligations.

West Bank Hajj pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Mecca – Ma’an – Hajj pilgrims from the West Bank have arrived safely in Mecca, according to Palestinian Minister of Waqf Jamal Bawatna on Friday. Bawatnah asserted that his ministry made "unprecedented arrangements" this year to guarantee the best facilities and services to Hajj pilgrims. He explained they were staying in five-star hotels close to the Haram in Mecca, as well as in special buildings where they can access the Ka’ba easily. He affirmed that the special arrangements for the pilgrimage were made in direct coordination with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. With regard to pilgrims from the Gaza Strip, Bawatna explained that the Strip was given its full portion of the allowed percentage of pilgrims and that the ministry did its best to facilitate the arrival of Gaza pilgrims "despite all impediments made by the de facto government in the Gaza Strip. "

Rafah still closed; Gazan pilgrims registered in West Bank will not leave with those registered in Strip
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Gaza/Bethlehem - Ma’an – The de facto police department in Gaza announced Saturday that Rafah crossing is still closed and no pilgrims have passed through to Egypt despite assurances from West Bank and Gaza governments. The department explained that visas for the pilgrims were not ready as of Saturday night, and added that many passports were not even in Gaza (they are processed off site). They appealed to Saudi Arabian authorities to help expediate the visa authorization process so pilgrims would be able to make the Hajj. The police department did not mention an earlier report that said Gazan pilgrims preparing for the Hajj who registered in the Ramallah office would not be permitted to leave Gaza with those who registered in the Gaza City offices. The report was the latest in a baffling back-and-forth between the de facto Gaza government and the caretaker Palestinian. . .

Hamas prevents Muslim pilgrims from leaving Gaza
Associated Press, Jerusalem Post 11/29/2008
Hamas police set up checkpoints across Gaza on Saturday to prevent pilgrims from leaving for a holy Muslim ritual in Saudi Arabia, beating some who tried to dodge barriers, witnesses said. Hamas, which rules Gaza, was upset that the pilgrims had coordinated their journey with Hamas’ rival, the Palestinian Authority. The authority, based in the West Bank, is run by Hamas’ bitter rival, the Fatah movement. The crackdown on the pilgrims highlights the depth of the bitterness between the two groups. Egypt criticized Hamas’s actions as unbecoming of an Islamic movement. The pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia is meant to be undertaken by Muslims at least once in a lifetime, and is considered a great event for believers. Hamas seized control of Gaza from Fatah-allied forces last year, and animosity between the rivals has growing in recent months.

Al-Mujahedin Brigades: We will never give up any part of Palestine
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – A militant group affiliated with Fatah said on Saturday that it would never give up any part of Palestine, according to a statement received by Ma’an. The Al-Mujahedin Brigades apparently sent the statement, which read: "Palestine is our land and it belongs to Palestinians. "It also said that "Israel has no right to our property. " "The resolution to divide Palestine into two parts is totally rejected," the statement added, insisting that "resistance" is the only way to "take back Palestinians’ rights. " [end]

Abbas security apparatuses round up 19 Hamas supporters
Palestinian Information Center 11/29/2008
RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- PA security apparatuses loyal to PA chief Mahmoud Abbas have rounded up 19 Palestinian supporters of the Hamas Movement in the West Bank over the past 24 hours. Local sources said that the detained citizens included university students, ex-prisoners in occupation jails, teachers, Imams and others. They said that the arrests were made in Nablus, Bethlehem, Jenin, Qalqilia and Salfit districts. [end]

Hamas: PA seized 19 affiliates across West Bank
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces abducted 19 Hamas loyalists across the West Bank in recent days, according to a statement received by Ma’an on Saturday. Among the 19 allegedly abducted in the latest round of PA arrests are several students and a lecturer at An-Najah National University in Nablus, as well as an imam at a Nablus mosque and a teacher from Salfit. Bethlehem:Ghassan NagagrehYousef Muhammad NajajrehAhmad Abdel Hay ShakarnehJenin:Ghaleb AtatrehAbdel GhaniGhazi GhanayemNablus:Musa HamayelSheikh Juhad Bani MuniahAhmad Abdel Mo’tiAli QantaniAhmad QasousSheikh Muhammad QassemUsamah ShahinQalqilia:Walid AnanAbdel Halim Mara’behSa’id Wasef RadwanMunther Al-Sha’erIsam SwidanSalfit: Ahmad Abdel. . .

Settlers, Palestinians clash in Hebron
Ap And Staff, Jerusalem Post 11/29/2008
Palestinian and Jewish residents of Hebron were hurling rocks at each other in a flare-up of tensions in the West Bank city on Saturday. The IDF said that the fighting took place next to a house of disputed ownership where settlers are staying. Medics said four Palestinians were moderately wounded before Israeli security forces got the situation under control. Settlers said that five Jewish youths were injured in the violence. The disputed house, which settlers call Beit Hashalom, has been a source of controversy in recent weeks after the High Court of Justice ruled that security forces could evacuate it. Settlers moved into the structure in March of 2007, claiming that they bought it from Palestinian Faez Rajabi. He denied the sale. The ruling sparked a wave of protest by settlers and right-wing activists who have warned that they would strongly resist the move.

Three Palestinians injured in Hebron settler attacks
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Hebron – Ma’an – Three Palestinians were injured after being attacked by hundreds of settlers in the Wad Al-Hussein area adjacent to an illegal Israeli settlement in Hebron on Saturday, according to witnesses. One man, 60-year-old As’ad Al-Ja’bari, sustained injuries to the head, telling Ma’an that Palestinians "were attacked by hundreds of settlers who hurled stones on us and on our homes. " He added that Issa Amer, who works as a field researcher for Israeli human rights organization B’talem, was also injured in addition to a third resident. Several homes were also damaged, according to Al-Ja’bari. Local sources said that "Israeli soldiers joined the settlers in the attack by firing aimlessly," hoping to "intimidate the residents. "

Settlers injure ten Palestinians as they continue to riot in Hebron
International Solidarity Movement 11/29/2008
Hebron Region - Photos - At around 10am, 29th November, Palestinians living between the occupied Rajabi house and the settlement Kiryat Arba in Hebron were attacked by a group of up to 300 settlers and were again attacked at 2:30 pm. The settlers were throwing stones at Palestinians and their houses. The settler rampage continued for two hours. According to some eyewitnesses, settlers were also shooting handguns into the air to intimidate people living in the area. The Rajabi house (which the settlers call "The Peace House") is over-looking other Palestinian houses that neighbour the Kiryat Arba settlement. Since the occupation of the house in March 2007, settler attacks against Palestinian residents have greatly increased. According to eyewitnesses 10 Palestinian men and women, between the ages of 10 and 70 were injured, five of whom were taken to the hospital to be treated for their injuries.

Two Palestinians, two settlers injured in clashes in Hebron
Reuters, Ha’aretz 11/30/2008
face eviction. About 150 settlers, some armed, moved into the building, on the boundary line of Palestinian neighborhoods, in March 2007, saying they had bought it from its Palestinian owner. The man denies having sold the building. The Defense Ministry said it was negotiating with the settlers to leave the building voluntarily within a 30-day period allowed under Israeli law. Hebron, in the West Bank, has been a flashpoint of Israeli-Palestinian violence. Some 650 settlers live in fortified enclaves guarded by IDF troops in the heart of the city of 180,000 Palestinians. [end]

Two settlers, two Palestinian residents, wounded in Hebron clashes
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 11/30/2008
Israeli sources reported on Saturday that Israeli settlers and Palestinian residents clashed in the southern West Bank city of Hebron as the settlers refuse to evacuate a Palestinian building they illegally occupied in the city. Two Palestinians and two settlers were wounded. Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that the settlers and the Palestinian residents hurled stones at each other before the army intervened. One of the wounded Palestinians is a researcher with the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’Tselem). A spokesperson of the Israeli army said that the clashed took place near the building which was occupied by the settlers who are still defying the November 16 ruling of the Israeli High Court ordering them to evacuate the property. The setters occupied the Palestinian house and later on named it "the Peace House".

IDF soldiers: We tried to no avail to have base near Nahal Oz relocated
Amos Harel, Ha’aretz 11/30/2008
Israel Defense Forces soldiers and their commanding officers stationed at the military base near Kibbutz Nahal Oz for the past year and a half have been trying to get the base moved as a result of mortar fire. IDF troops serving at the base say they have approached their superiors from the Northern Command and requested that the military base be relocated to the area near Kibbutz Reim in the Eshkol Regional Council. The soldiers say that a second option they suggested was additional reinforcement of the military base against mortar and Qassam rocket fire. Each time, they say, their requests were met with answers such as "We are handling the situation," "Soon," and "The move is being planned. " In the meantime, the soldiers say, their worst fears have been realized, as eight IDF soldiers were wounded Friday evening, two seriously,. . .

Sheikh Salah: Israeli leaders murderers, criminals
Sharon Roffe-Ofir, YNetNews 11/29/2008
Leader of Islamic Movement’s northern Branch slams Israel for committing ’war crimes’ - Israeli leaders are "murderers and criminals" engaged in "war crimes," a top Arab-Israeli leader said Saturday in the wake of IDF operations in the Gaza Strip. "Thanks to just and fair courts around the world, we shall persecute them everywhere," Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch, said in a Nazareth speech. Thousands arrived to watch the speech, delivered in the framework of a protest against the Gaza siege. In his address, Salah slammed "Israel’s cowardly occupation," noting that "we heard in the Israeli media that the leadership of Israel’s occupation fears a military operation in Gaza. " "How shameful," Salah added. "Did your fear, you bunch of cowards, prompt you to introduce the siege on Gaza? An ongoing siege on our sturdy people in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian resistance shells Israeli military base, wounding 8 soldiers
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 11/29/2008
After an Israeli invasion on Friday wounded three Palestinians, the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip fired two homemade shells at an Israeli military base, wounding officers and soldiers in their barracks. According to Israeli sources, the shells hit a soldiers’ barracks and an officers’ quarters, wounding eight -- two of them critically. The head of an Israeli kibbutz near the base told the Israeli paper Ha’aretz, "I immediately called on all kibbutz members on the loudspeaker to enter the fortified areas. We then searched for the landings, but fortunately for us it did not happen at the kibbutz but at the base facing us. The army told us to remain near fortified rooms. " Palestinian resistance groups have long asserted their internationally-recognized right to resist military occupation. The Israeli military has occupied all Palestinian land (the West Bank and Gaza. . .

2 Qassam fighters, 10 IOF soldiers wounded in exchange of shelling
Palestinian Information Center 11/29/2008
KHAN YOUNIS, (PIC)-- Two members of the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas Movement, were wounded on Friday while confronting an Israeli occupation forces’ raid east of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip. Medical sources told the PIC reporter that the two were moderately injured in the clash in Farahin area east of Khan Younis. Local sources said that Qassam fighters fired five mortar shells at the advancing troops who shelled the area and inflicted the casualties. The sources said that the attack started when IOF tanks fired three shells at a group of resistance fighters in the area before an IOF special unit advanced into it. Fierce clashes erupted but the targeted group of fighters managed to escape unharmed. In retaliation to the IOF attack, the armed wing fired three mortar shells at the Israeli military base in Nahal Oz east of Gaza city on Friday night while. . .

OPEC announces US $3 million for Palestinian Solidarity Day
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an -While delivering a statement Friday on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the director-general of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) announced a US $3 million grant to United Nations (UN) operations in Palestine, according to a statement. Director-general Suleiman Al-Herbish announced a US $3 million grant to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East (UNRWA). Al-Herbish said the OFID grant would help provide essential food supplies and medicines to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, where newly-enforced, strict closures are preventing the population from accessing essential goods. Al-Herbish recounted OFID’s commitment to easing the hardships suffered by the Palestinian people, which date back almost three decades when the institution issued its first grant to the territory.

International Campaign to advocate and support the Palestinian issue
Majed Badra, International Middle East Media Center News 11/29/2008
Palestinian cartoonist announce the launch of "International Campaign to advocate and support the Palestinian issue" on the occasion of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People Palestinian cartoonist, Majed Khalil Badra announced the launch of the International Campaign to support the Palestinian issue, which is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People which falls on November 29 of each year, and endorsed by the UN General Assembly. Badra stressed thatartists, politicians and nationalist forces and progressive support of the Palestinian people and their legitimate national rights and the cause of a just and lasting peace from all over the world will participate in the campaign, and demands the application of UN resolutions on the Palestinian issue, chiefly 181/242/338/194 decisions, and assume its responsibilities towards Our people and end. . .

Lebanon ’worst place’ for Palestinian refugees
Daily Star 11/29/2008
BEIRUT: Lebanon may not host the largest population of Palestinian refugees but it "is the most difficult place to be a Palestinian refugee. "That is the opinion of Zara Sejberg, Child Protection project manager at Save the Children Sweden, at least. Speaking ahead of the UN-designated "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People" on Saturday. Sejberg, who works to promote the rights of Lebanese children and Palestinian refugee children and who has travelled widely throughout the Middle East, told The Daily Star that over 409,700 Palestinians living in squalid, overcrowded camps in Lebanon suffered from a "complete lack of integration," inadequate services, harmful stereotypes, and discriminatory laws. Over 3000 Palestinians in Lebanon do not even have formal documentation, meaning they are not recognized by either the Lebanese state or UNRWA.

Children of Southern village of Burghliyeh help create new playground
Daily Star 11/29/2008
BURGHLIYEH: "We used to have to play in the street, or the field where people kept their cows," said 10-year-old Mohammad as he surveyed a swarm of children clambering over newly constructed play equipment in Burghliyeh, a Southern Lebanese village scene to the opening of a children’s park on Thursday. While the facility, whose construction was supported by the non-governmental organizations American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) and the Association for Rural Development with funding from the US Agency for International Development, is not completely rare in Lebanon, how - and by whom - the playground came into being is more so. The unique nature of the park in Burghliyeh lies in that those responsible for developing and making the park a reality are the same ones kicking soccer balls on its field and swinging on its monkey bars.

Obama seeks Lebanon stability
Daily Star 11/29/2008
BEIRUT: United States President-elect Barack Obama expressed hope that Lebanon would be a stability factor and not an explosive one, adding that Washington will not compromise with Damascus at the expense of Lebanon. The daily An-Nahar on Friday, quoting a Lebanese official who visited Obama advisers recently, said the newly elected president is "aware that fundamental problems suffered by Lebanon primarily originate from Syria and Iran. They are also linked to the Arab-Israeli conflict. "Obama’s advisers said Lebanon, unlike the period of the 1975-90 Civil War, does not face a "real problem" that necessitates foreign protection. They pointed to three problems Lebanon was facing, including Hizbullah’s arms, the implicit wish of the Syrian regime to maintain its hegemony over Lebanon, and the incomplete implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

Giving to Likud at the office
Zvi Zrahiya, Ha’aretz 11/30/2008
The top three fund-raisers among Knesset members ahead of their respective party primaries are all from the Likud. The word in the Knesset is that businessmen are good at picking a winning horse - and that’s where they’re putting their money, with the hope that having friends in high places can help them after the elections. In pole position in the fund-raising stakes is MK Limor Livnat, who has brought in NIS 252,600 from donors. Not far behind is MK Gideon Saar, with NIS 238,122. In third place is MK Gilad Erdan, who has managed to raise NIS 221,197 so far. Erdan began raising money for his primary bid back in May 2007. Other Likud MKs who could give the top three a run for their money are Yuli Edelstein (NIS 127,004), Yuval Steinitz (NIS 111,378) and Moshe Kahlon (NIS 91,925).

Bar-On: ’We won’t table irrational plan’ Olmert: ’So I will’
Motti Bassok, Ha’aretz 11/30/2008
"If the joint team that you appointed, with representatives from the treasury, the Bank of Israel and the socioeconomic council in the Prime Minister’s Office submits an irrational plan for a safety net, the treasury will not submit it to the cabinet," Finance Minister Roni Bar-On told Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Thursday during their meeting with Knesset whips to discuss the treasury’s economic rescue plan. In response, Olmert said: "So I will submit [a plan]. "At the meeting the treasury presented a three-pronged plan, calling for investment in national infrastructure, financial aid and a "safety net" for provident fund savings. Much of the meeting focused on the last element, though only the first two parts of the plan will be put to a Knesset Finance Committee vote today.

Abbas wants ''peace on all fronts''
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The “peace option” is still a reasonable and viable strategic choice for the Palestinian people, affirmed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a Saturday evening speech. Speaking at the funding development conference in Doha, Qatar Abbas affirmed that the Palestinian leadership would not spare any effort to show the world that it will be “peace on all fronts” for Palestine. Abbas also promised to work to combat extremism and violence, and demanded those involved in the Arab Peace Initiative redouble their efforts to push for a just and comprehensive peace in Palestine. Any peace, he affirmed, must be based on Israel’s withdrawal to the 1967 borders and include the return of East Jerusalem as a capital for the Palestinian state. Turning his attention to Gaza Abbas called the situation in Gaza an “unprecedented human tragedy due to the blockade which. . .

Holy Land Custos visits Bethlehem, Nativity Church
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an - Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, custos to the Holy Land, on Saturday visited the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem. Pizzaballa was officially hosted in the city of the Nativity, where he is scheduled to provide over a mass on Sunday on the occasion of Saint Catherine’s Day in Bethlehem. The custos was received in the main square of the Nativity Church by Bethlehem Governor Salah Ta’mary, as well as the city’s minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Khuloud D’eibis, the mayor of Bethlehem, Victor Batarsa and mayor of Beit Sahour, Hani Al-Hayik. A number of Christian clerics and onlookers attended, as well. The custos thanked Palestinian officials and citizens for the warm reception, telling them that he hopes "peace will dominate in the region and the suffering of the Palestinian people will come to an end.

U.S.-funded youth center aims to lure Palestinian teens from extremism
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 11/30/2008
A U. S. -funded youth center that has opened in the West Bank village of Beita is meant to show America at its can-do best: It will teach English and computer courses, hoping to provide an antidote to political extremism along the way. But if organizers hope the locals will also learn to love America a little - that’s a much harder sell. Many Palestinians believe the U. S. routinely sides with Israel and thus is directly responsible for their hardships under Israeli occupation, such as the ubiquitous army roadblocks that disrupt movement in the West Bank. Beita, a village of 10,000 residents - about 1,500 of them unemployed - is no exception. Ayman Yamak, an 18-year-old accounting student from Beita, said he’s eager to take courses at the center, but that won’t change his negative view of the U.

Erekat verbally attacks Moallem, disturbs meeting of Arab foreign ministers
Palestinian Information Center 11/27/2008
CAIRO, (PIC)-- PA official Saeb Erekat traded verbal altercations with Syrian foreign minister Walid Al-Moallem during the meeting of the Arab foreign ministers held Wednesday in Cairo after the latter made statements in favor of the Hamas Movement and the Gaza Strip. Informed media sources said that the verbal argument, which was strongly resented by Syrian officials, started when Erekat provocatively responded to Moallem’s statements the thing which ruined the atmosphere of the meeting. The sources explained that Erekat was unreasonably provoked when the Syrian foreign minister wished that the other Palestinian rival had attended the meeting and called for sending humanitarian aid convoys to the besieged Gaza people. The Syrian minister also underlined in his speech that the call for early elections would deepen the internal Palestinian rift.

Screwing the Iranians
Yossi Melman, Ha’aretz 11/30/2008
Mossad chief Meir Dagan promised to block Iran’s nuclear program, shortly after taking the job more than six years ago. He promised to do so in a letter he sent to Mossad department and unit heads, and to the heads of Military Intelligence and the Shin Bet security services. Veteran and senior Mossad officials tried to prevent him from doing so. Talk about interference, postponement, interruption, they said - don’t promise. Those same senior officials first attributed Dagan’s ambition and pretensions to his inexperience, but later came to understand that the promise was a product of overconfidence. Since Dagan joined the Mossad, he has behaved like a bull in a china shop. He has closed departments, made structural changes, alienated veterans, insulted senior officials and made promises he didn’t keep - including his promise to block Iran’s nuclear program, which continues advancing at a steady pace.

Missing Palestinian returns to Gaza after 46-year absence
Ma’an News Agency 11/29/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – A Palestinian was reunited with his family in Gaza City on Saturday after 46 years, decades since the now 72-year-old father disappeared in Iraq. "It’s me, Ala, father,"his 28-year-old daughter told Ahmad Obeid soon after he was smuggled back into the Gaza Strip through one of the tunnels linking the area with Egypt. Shortly after Ahmad Obeid traveled to Iraq in 1958 to work and attend law school, he returned to Gaza to be married. But in 1962, he moved back to Iraq. While there, Obeid was sentenced to a prison term at the height of the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, at a time when hostility toward Palestinians in the country was rampant, according to a relative. His family was told nothing as Obeid endured 23 years in an Iraqi prison. Then in 2003, following the US-led invasion of the country, the missing son was finally released.

Man moderately wounded in stabbing at Elad yeshiva
Yuval Goren, Ha’aretz 11/29/2008
A resident of Elad was moderately wounded after he was stabbed in the waist in one of the city’s Yeshivas. The victim was taken to Beilinson Hospital in moderate condition. Police found the suspected attacker, who had apparently been injured after the stabbing, with wounds all over his body. The suspect was taken to questioning and will also be brought to Petah Tikva court for extension of his remand. The first incident took place around 10 PM. The Yarkon based crew who received the call found the victim with cuts in his neck and shoulders. The victim was hospitalized in Petah Tikva’s Beilinson Hospital in serious condition. When leaving the city the MDA paramedics faces a mob of youths who attempted to stop the ambulance in order to get a glance of the victim inside the vehicle.

60-hour Mumbai siege ends in bloodbath; all Chabad hostages killed
Anshel Pfeffer and Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 11/30/2008
MUMBAI, India - A 60-hour rampage of terror across India’s financial capital ended yesterday when commandos killed the last three gunmen holed up in a luxury hotel. At least 195 people died, including at least five Israelis. After the final siege ended, adoring crowds surrounded six buses near the hotel carrying weary, unshaven commandos, shaking their hands and giving them flowers. The commandos said they had not slept since the ordeal began. Officials said they believe only 10 well-prepared gunmen were behind the attacks that brought this city of 18 million to its knees for three days. "Nine were killed and one was captured," Maharshta state Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh told reporters. "We are interrogating him. "A previously unknown Muslim group - whose name, Deccan Mujahideen, suggests origins inside India - claimed responsibility for the attack.

6 bodies from Mumbai Chabad House identified
Globes correspondent, Globes Online 11/29/2008
Two more bodies remain unidentified. The last terrorists at the Taj Mahal Hotel have been killed. Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that eight bodies were recovered from the Chabad House in Mumbai after Indian troops took control of the building and cleared it of terrorists this morning. At Mumbai’s JJ Hospital, the work of identifying the bodies continues. This afternoon, one of them was identified by her family as that of 60 year-old Yocheved Orpaz. Another was identified as that of a Mexican citizen. This means that, according to information supplied by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, six of the eight bodies have been identified. Yesterday, the bodies of Chabad emissary in Mumbai Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, both Israeli-born, were identified. Their two year-old son Moshe was rescued from the terrorists by a cook who worked at the center and who escaped from it at an early stage of the attack.

Top Iraqi cleric fears ’instability’ from US pact
Middle East Online 11/29/2008
BAGHDAD - Iraq’s supreme Shiite religious authority Ali Husseini al-Sistani on Saturday expressed concern about a military pact approved by lawmakers that would allow US troops to remain another three years. An aide to the reclusive cleric -- who rarely appears in public, preferring to communicate through close associates -- said Sistani feared the controversial agreement would sow "instability" in the war-torn country. "The guide expressed his concern about the agreement for several reasons. First, there was no national consensus on it, and that it will cause instability in the country," the aide said on condition of anonymity. The wide-ranging agreement contains a roadmap for US combat forces to withdraw from all Iraqi cities and towns by the end of June 2009 and to pull out of the country completely by the end of 2011.

Rocket attack in Baghdad’s Green Zone kills three
Press Association, The Independent 11/29/2008
A rocket struck near a UN compound in the heavily fortified Green Zone today, killing three foreigners and wounding 15 other people, according to UN and military officials. The victims were working for a catering company that provides services for the United Nations but their nationalities were not being released pending notification of relatives, a UN official said. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity for providing the information ahead of a formal announcement, earlier said three foreigners were killed but later corrected the number to two. The UN presence in Iraq has been limited since the organisation’s Baghdad headquarters was bombed on August 19, 2003, killing 22 people, including top UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello. Tech Sergeant Chris Stagner, a US military spokesman, said explosives ordnance teams had determined Iranian-made rockets. . .

Baghdad attack targets UN office
Al Jazeera 11/29/2008
At least two foreign contractors have been killed and 15 others wounded after a rocket fell near a UN compound in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, according to a UN official. In a separate incident on Saturday, three people died and 13 others were injured when a car bomb went off in central Baghdad. The car bomb exploded in al Tayaran Square, which is much used as a meeting point for Iraqi workers. Serious condition A UN official said several of the injured in the rocket attack on the organisation’s compound are in serious condition and that the death toll might rise. Their nationalities of the victims have not been released. The incident took place in the heavily guarded Green Zone in the centre of Baghdad where the Iraqi parliament and a number of government buildings and foreign embassies are located.

Iraq War vets testify before US Congress
Middle East Online 11/29/2008
PACIFICA – War veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan came to Capitol Hill this month to testify before Congress and give an eyewitness account about the horrors of war, Democracy Now! reported Friday. Like the ‘Winter Soldier’ hearings in March, when more than 200 service members gathered for four days in Silver Spring, Maryland to give their eyewitness accounts of the injustices occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan, Winter Soldier on the Hill was designed to drive home the human cost of war and occupation, this time to the very people in charge of doing something about it. Then name ‘Winter Soldier’ comes from a similar event in 1971, when hundreds of Vietnam vets gathered in Detroit. In a packed public hearing this month, the soldiers testified before a panel of lawmakers from the Congressional Progressive Caucus.


Gaza: Show No Mercy, Dispense No Justice
Stuart Littlewood - London, Palestine Chronicle 11/28/2008
      ’We can only guess at the horrific conditions the siege has created.’
     Who could have believed that by Christmas 2008 the West would still be unable to summon up courage to discipline Israel for crimes against the Palestinians?
     The cruel siege of Gaza has been going on for at least 30 months. "It started March 2006 -- I was there," says a friend’ in other words, as soon as Hamas was inconveniently elected to power. In early April the EU turned off financial aid and the economic blockade had begun.
     Gaza was already suffering severe hardship when I visited a year ago. I wrote afterwards:
     I noted the deserted beaches and disused fishing boats’ Israel has banned fishing off the Gaza coast, ruined the livelihood of 3000 fishermen and deprived local people of a proper diet. Boats defying the ban are fired on.
     The Gaza Strip is sealed off from the outside world with an Israeli fence guarded by watchtowers, snipers, tanks, armoured bulldozers and drones. Israel pretended to withdraw two years ago but still controls Gaza’s airspace, coastal waters and airwaves.

Gaza’s Death Throes, and No One’s Listening

Sonja Karkar, Palestine Chronicle 11/28/2008
      ’What is truly astonishing is the world’s silence in the face of all this.’
     What kind of government in the 21st century can deny another people basic human rights -- that is, the right to food, water, shelter, security and dignity?
     What kind of government imposes draconian sanctions on another people for democratically electing a government not to its liking?
     What kind of government seals a heavily populated territory of 1.5 million people so that no person can enter or leave without permission, fishermen cannot fish in their own waters, and world food aid cannot be delivered to the starving population?
     What kind of government shuts off fuel, water and electricity and then rains down on the people, bombs and artillery fire?
     The answer is: no government of integrity.
     And yet, government after government in Israel continues to demand recognition and accolades as a first world democracy superior to all others, despite Israel’s flouting of international law, its human rights abuses and the criminality and corruption of Israeli leaders. Worse still, the world has acquiesced and has welcomed every Israeli administration into its fold as a favored guest.

Olive harvest suffers under the blockade

Mohammed Ali Abu Najela, Oxfam, ReliefWeb 11/27/2008
      Oxfam’’s Mohammed Ali Abu Najela reports on the impact of Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip on the territory’s olive oil industry.
     The agricultural sector in Gaza has been severely affected by the ongoing conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. Since the outbreak of the Palestinian Intifada in 2000, 112,000 olive trees have been destroyed in the Gaza Strip by the conflict and Israeli military incursions. Also, one third of agricultural land - thousands of dunums (1 dunum=.25 acre) along the border with Israel - has been inaccessible to Palestinian farmers since Israeli settlements were dismantled in 2005. Israel then carved out a security zone that included valuable Gazan farming land. Farmers have been killed and injured trying to access and cultivate these lands.
     When Hamas seized control of Gaza in June 2007 the Israeli government imposed a blockade on the occupied territory, which has remained in place for nearly 18 months. The agricultural sector and food security situation has deteriorated during that time. Many Gazan farmers are now unemployed and have succumbed to poverty, unable to export their crops and facing drastically decreased market trade. The availability of raw materials needed for farming fell sharply and the limited materials that are available have become very expensive.

Gaza: A Human Tragedy under Siege

Hany Ramadan – Cairo, Palestine Chronicle 11/27/2008
      ’Gaza’s tragedy is one of the most appalling in modern history.’
     The Gaza Strip has been living under an Israeli 16-month-old despicable siege, which is now reaching its most harshly shocking pinnacle. In addition to blocking the flow of food, medical supplies, and basic needs, Israel has recently barred the fuel supplies from reaching the impoverished strip.
     As a result, wide blackouts have reigned over the besieged city of about 1.6 million civilians. The majority of Gazans are now using candles to light up their homes and streets.
     Several law experts and human rights activists agree that Gaza is now the world’s largest "open-air prison" where civilians are denied their basic human rights.
     "Israel is atrociously controlling the lives of 1,700,000 civilians in Gaza, which is now the world’s largest open-air prison," Raji Sourani, law expert and director of the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), told
     Lack of fuel supplies in Gaza is toughly affecting its hospitals andbringing about death to hospitalized patients of critical health conditions.

Holding Gaza hostage

Dina Ezzat reports from Cairo, Saleh Al-Naami from Gaza, Al-Ahram Weekly 11/27/2008
      Gaza’s humanitarian crisis escalates as the world watches in silence.
     HOPE UNDER SIEGE: A Palestinian child flashes the victory sign during a demonstration calling on Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah crossingAs Al-Ahram Weekly went to press Wednesday Arab foreign ministers were convening for an extraordinary meeting against the backdrop of an explosive humanitarian crisis in Gaza where 1.5 million Palestinians are suffering the effects of Israel’s 22-day long blockade.
     Gaza’s population has been systematically deprived of electricity, medicine, medical supplies, fuel and food. Over the past week Arab TV news channels have been transmitting live footage of the human tragedy, including scenes of critically ill Palestinians awaiting treatment in Gaza’s hospitals pleading with the Arabs, and not Israel, for "mercy". One elderly woman suffering from heart disease and diabetes asked Al-Jazeera on Monday: "We are Muslims, why are the Arabs leaving us to die? Why isn’t Egypt opening the [Rafah] borders?&quot.

Free Gaza Movement’s Story

Joe Fallisi, International Middle East Media Center News 11/27/2008
      Interview with Greta Berlin & Mary Hughes-Thompson
     Dear Greta, dear Mary, you’re two of the founders and deeply involved organizers of Free Gaza. In my opinion, it is one of the few new world realities in the fight for human rights. It truly was and is able to make something concrete, new, positive and useful change - as well as a radical change. A change that otherwise very probably wouldn’t even happen. The initiative comes from civil society and has nothing to do with the old politics. How, where and when did it start, and what did you personally do and are continuing to do within this movement?
     Greta Berlin (*) : The Free Gaza Movement was organized two years ago by five people on two continents. Paul, Mary and I were working from California, and Eliza and Bella were working in parallel in the UK. We found each other and thought sailing a boat to Gaza would be a great idea. The original idea came from Michael Shaik in Australia who thought we should sail a boat from the US to Gaza.

Bread is Missing in Gaza

Ola Attallah – Gaza City, Palestine Chronicle 11/26/2008
      ’Bread has become something of a rarity in the impoverished Gaza Strip.’
     Abu-Samir Nafei is desperate. The father of seven toured Gaza City for hours trying to buy bread for his hungry children back home.
     "I sought every single bakery around, and in each time the answer is the same: ’sorry no bread’," he told "It was like searching for a hidden treasure."
     Bread has become something of a rarity in the impoverished Gaza Strip, home to 1.6 million, under Israel’s stifling blockade of fuel, power and food supplies.
     The majority of Gaza bakeries have shut down, and even those still powered are hit by severe shortages of wheat.
     "About 30 of a total 47 bakeries in Gaza have closed," said Abdul-Nasser Al Ajrami, head of the Association of Bakeries in the Gaza Strip.
     "They started grinding secondary wheat, originally used for birds and animals, to meet the demands of the hungry population," he added.
     "Ever since I have heard about this, I stopped even trying to search for bread," said Salma, a civil servant.

Slow-Motion Genocide in Occupied Palestine

Stephen Lendman – Chicago, Palestine Chronicle 11/26/2008
      ’Gazans are grievously harmed, impoverished, slaughtered and now starved.’
     Imagine life under these conditions:
     Living in limbo under a foreign occupier. Having no self-determination, no right of return, and no power over your daily life. Being in constant fear, economically strangled, and collectively punished.
     Having your free movement denied by enclosed population centers, closed borders, regular curfews, roadblocks, checkpoints, electric fences, and separation walls. Having your homes regularly demolished and land systematically stolen to build settlements for encroachers in violation of international law prohibiting an occupier from settling its population on conquered land.
     Having your right to essential services denied - to emergency health care, education, employment, and enough food and clean water. Being forced into extreme poverty, having your crops destroyed, and being victimized by punitive taxes. Having no right for redress in the occupier’s courts under laws only protecting the occupier.

UN Aid Chief to EI: Gaza People ’Stripped of their Dignity’

Rami Almeghari, MIFTAH 11/29/2008
      The Electronic Intifada’s correspondent in Gaza, Rami Almeghari, sat down with UNRWA Chief of Operations in the Gaza Strip, John Ging, to discuss how the siege, and the latest closures are affecting UNRWA and the civilian population in Gaza. UNRWA is the UN agency responsible for providing aid to millions of Palestinian refugees. On 4 November, Israel sent tanks into the Gaza Strip and carried out attacks which killed six Palestinians, breaking a ceasefire that had generally held since June. Palestinian militias retaliated by firing rockets at Israel. Since then Israel has tightened its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
     The Electronic Intifada: Mr. Ging, How do you describe the situation in the Gaza Strip under strict Israeli closure for more than two weeks now?
     John Ging: The situation is very desperate at the humanitarian level, I mean people have been stripped of their dignity here, it is a struggle to survive for every body. 750,000 of the people here in Gaza are children of the one and half million population.

Gaza Blockade Approaches 4 Week Mark [November 23 – November 29]

MIFTAH, MIFTAH 11/29/2008
      November 29 marked the 25th day of the Israeli imposed closure on the Gaza Strip. Throughout the week, Israeli allowed a few deliveries of food and fuel supplies into Gaza, but not enough to make a dent in the humanitarian crisis ravaging the area. On November 25, Gaza’s sole power plant was closed due to a breakdown of its electricity-generating units because of the all too frequent shutdowns. The plant has been forced to close down several times in the last 3 weeks as Israel refuses to allow regular shipments of industrial fuel. Currently, only certain sections of the plant are working, while the equipment and spare parts necessary to repair the damage have not been allowed through.
     On November 26, in the first such action by an Arab government, a ship has set sail from Libya to Gaza in order to deliver 3,000 tons of humanitarian aid. If successful, it will be the fourth such vessel to reach Gaza in defiance of the Israeli military blockade of the coastal territory. On the same day, another Arab government, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), accused Israel of refusing to deliver donated aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip, calling the siege "the main cause behind the unprecedented deterioration in the humanitarian economic and social situation in Palestine." On November 25, the EU announced it was giving a 5 million Euro donation to help Palestinian refugee families in Gaza, but it is unclear whether that aid will reach them.

’Everything is from the tunnels’

Amira Hass, Ha’aretz 11/30/2008
      At 9 A.M., the children noticed that the numbers on the electric clock were flashing. "The electricity is back," they cried, but 8-year-old Sereen said dismissively: "It came back a long time ago. Didn’t you notice?" She points to the colored pencils and says: "They are from the tunnels. Everything is from the tunnels. The notebooks, too. And the pencil case. Dad, isn’t it true that they bring everything from the tunnels?"
     Her father, Mustafa, confirms: "Almost everything, that’s right."
     Sereen: "The potato chips, too. Are you sure you don’t want any? The potato chips used to be half a shekel. Since they’ve been bringing things in from the tunnels, it costs a shekel. And the big bag used to be NIS 5. Now it’s NIS 10. Everything comes from the tunnels, because the Jews" - she stops talking, probably recalling a previous conversation about the differences between Jews, Israelis and the army, and corrects herself - "because the Israelis are closing in on us on all sides. None of our neighbors have water now [the pumps operate on electricity], we’re the only ones, because we have a large water tank.

Deaths and no dinner

Saleh Al-Naami, Al-Ahram Weekly 11/27/2008
      Electricity cuts in Gaza continue to kill and distort normal life.
     Fadiya Al-Zaher, 55, was supposed to return last Thursday to her house following routine kidney dialysis at Shuhada Al-Aqsa Hospital in the centre of the Gaza Strip. She used to go three times a week. Her son Amin, was with her when the power supply to the hospital was cut off and the backup generators, short of fuel, failed to kick in.
     Amin was running up and down the corridor leading to her room, not knowing what to do. His sister, Tahani, suggested that they take their mother to another hospital in Gaza. Amin phoned the hospital and was told that it wasn’t ready to take in more patients. Then a nurse came and told Amin that his mother had gone into a coma. An hour later, she was pronounced dead.
     Fadiya’s story illustrates the fate awaiting hundreds of people diagnosed with chronic illnesses in Gaza.