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

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7 December, 2008

Gaza power plant shuts down due to severe fuel shortage
Xinhua News Agency, ReliefWeb 12/7/2008
GAZA, Dec 07, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network)- The sole power plant in the Gaza Strip had shut down again on Sunday after running out of the limited amount of industrial fuels that was allowed last week for one day only, a Palestinian officials said. "The limited amounts of diesel to re-operate Gaza power plant, which Israel allowed last week for one day only, has ran out and the power plant has completely stopped," said Kan’an Obaid, deputy director of Palestinian Energy Authority. "All Gaza City and parts of central Gaza Strip won’t have electricity after the power plant has shut down," Obaid said, adding "those areas would be in complete blackout by Sunday night until new amounts of diesel are allowed. " Israel sealed off the Gaza Strip on Nov. 5 after the surge of a new wave of violence, withholding European-funded diesel from reaching the power plant which produces 25 percent of the territory’s electricity.

UN agency warns of food shortage in Gaza due to Israeli blockade
Xinhua News Agency, ReliefWeb 12/7/2008
GAZA, Dec 07, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network)- A UN agency in Gaza warned on Sunday that food aid would run out within the coming couple of days due to the ongoing Israeli tight blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip for a month. Adnan Abu Hasna, spokesman of the United Nations for Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza told reporters that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is mounting and food aids would run out within two days. "UNRWA has urged an international interference to Israel to reopen Gaza crossings to allow food aids and products," Abu Hasna said, adding that "there are 750,000 people of Gaza population who depend on the UN aid. " He said that although Israel has shortly opened Gaza commercial crossings and allowed some trucks loaded with food, "the amount was not enough amid the ongoing closure of the crossings.

Witnesses: Israeli police, soldiers ''deeply involved'' in settler attacks following Hebron house evacuation
Ma’an News Agency 12/7/2008
Hebron - Ma’an - “They were deeply involved. It was obvious. ” This is how Jamal Abu Sa’ifan described the role in the Israeli police and military forces during the settler riots in the aftermath of the evacuation of settlers from the “House of Contention” last Thursday. Abu Sa’ifan filmed the now-famous footage of an Israeli settler shooting two of his relatives during the riots. His account of Thursday’s violence suggests that not only did Israeli forces fail to prevent the settlers’ violent and apparently ethnically-motivated attack on the local population, but in fact facilitated these attacks. By Sunday, even the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, had labeled what took place on Thursday a “pogrom” against Palestinians. On the day that Hebron was set on fire by settlers, however, Olmert released a statement praising his military for a “quick and efficient evacuation".

Israel pulls 20 Palestinians from list of 250 prisoners set for release
Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
The ministerial committee overseeing the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails approved on Sunday the release of 230 prisoners as a gesture of goodwill toward the Palestinian Authority ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. Last week, the cabinet approved a list of 250 prisoners, during its weekly meeting. Some 20 names were removed from the original list following objections by several ministers, who were opposed to releasing prisoners into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. The list of prisoners includes mainly members of the Fatah faction, led by moderate Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and none are classified as having "blood on their hands" or having been directly involved in the murder of Israelis. After the list was approved, Shas Chairman Eli Yishai said "the prisoner release builds on a trend of destructive one-sidedness that is detached from reality.

Israel blocks ’siege-busting’ ship
Al Jazeera 12/7/2008
Elias Karram, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Jaffa, said special forces had been deployed in the port - Special security forces have been deployed in and around Jaffa’s streets and port in order to stop a ship carrying medical and food supplies reaching Gaza. Elias Karram, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Jaffa, said on Sunday that the ship had been prevented from docking at the small city port where it was due to pick up supplies before sailing on to the Gaza Strip. Maritime police boarded the boat before it could anchor and collect supplies. Israeli forces on Sunday morning also seized a truck carrying the humanitarian supplies that were to be transferred onto the ship, Karram said. Blockade - The "siege-busting" shipment to blockaded Gaza was arranged by the Authority to Break the Siege, an alliance that includes all Palestinian political parties inside the Green Line - Israeli-Arab politicians and activists living within Israel.

Civil rights group claim Israeli occupation is ''reminiscent of apartheid''
Ben Lynfield in Jerusalem, The Independent 12/7/2008
Israel’s leading civil rights organisation yesterday broke a taboo by describing Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank as being "reminiscent of apartheid" in South Africa. Alleging an intensification of human rights abuses against Palestinians, the respected Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) made the comparison in an annual report that described the existence of separate legal, planning and transportation systems for Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank. "Israel has built a modern arterial road system in the West Bank intended in fact only for use by Israeli traffic, whereas the Palestinians are forced to travel for the most part on twisting and dangerous roads," the report said. While Israel facilitates the expansion of Jewish settlements, it restricts the growth of Palestinian towns, the report added.

Gaza resident killed by Israeli tank shell
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 12/6/2008
Palestinian medical sources in Gaza reported on Saturday evening that one resident was killed after the Israeli army fired a tank shell into an area east of Gaza City. The Israeli army denied any responsibility for the shelling and claimed that the Palestinian resident died while planting an explosive charge. The slain resident was identified as Raed Yousef, 21. Medical sources reported that Yousef’s body was severely mutilated. The Salah Ed Deen Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committee, stated that Yousef was one of its members. Furthermore, Israeli sources reported on Friday that resistance fighters in Gaza fired four Qassam shells and ten mortars at adjacent Israeli areas; no damages or injuries were reported. The sources added that one shell struck the industrial zone in Ashkelon causing no damages or injuries.

IAF strikes Kassam squad in Gaza
Yaakov Katz And Staff, Jerusalem Post 12/6/2008
The Israeli Air Force on Sunday afternoon attacked a squad of Palestinian terrorists who were preparing to fire a Kassam rocket towards Israel from the northern Gaza Strip. The IAF reported a hit, but the Palestinians said there were no casualties. In the wake of the ongoing rocket and mortar shell fire on the western Negev, Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided Saturday night to keep the border crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip closed on Sunday. Palestinians fired three Kassam rockets at the western Negev on Sunday afternoon. No wounded or damage were reported. One rocket landed at the entrance to Sderot, while the other two landed in the Sha’ar Hanegev and Eshkol regions. Since Sunday morning, some eight Kassam rockets and five mortar shells were fired at the western Negev. RELATEDWorld Bank warns: Gaza. . .

Gaza man electrocuted in Rafah tunnel
Ma’an News Agency 12/6/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian 20-year-old Nidal As’ad Abu Jami was electrocuted on Saturday morning inside a tunnel under the border between Egypt and Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, local medical sources said. According to Muawiyah Abu Hassanein, the director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Palestinian Health Ministry, the young man arrived dead at Abu Yousif An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah shortly following the accident. In late November, a tunnel in the Gaza Strip collapsed, trapping Palestinian workers underground. De facto civil defense personnel and medics pulled three people from the debris of the tunnel collapse. Palestinians were working inside the tunnel when it suddenly collapsed, trapping several under the debris in the As-Salam neighborhood of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

3 Qassams hit western Negev
Shmulik Hadad, YNetNews 12/7/2008
One rocket lands near school at entrance to Sderot causing panic, two others land in open areas. No injuries or damage reported - Three Qassam rockets were fired at Israel from the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday afternoon. One rocket exploded at the entrance to Sderot, not far from a school, and caused a panic at the scene. Another rocket landed within the Eshkol Regional Council and a third fell in Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. No injuries or damage was caused. Limor, a 10th-grader in the Sderot school near where the rocket landed, told Ynet, "In the middle of the lesson we heard a Color Red and then we heard a very loud explosion. "We realized that a rocket had fallen right next to us. There was a big panic in the class. We have a student whose house got hit by a rocket not long ago, she really get hysterical.

Israeli forces detain wife of Islamic Jihad leader for second time in Jenin
Ma’an News Agency 12/7/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The wife of prominent Islamic Jihad leader Bassam As-Sa’di was detained for a second time on Saturday; taken out of her family home in Jenin by Israeli forces. The 49-year-old Nawal As-Sadi was previously detained at the Huwwara checkpoint south of Nabulus, and kept in prison for 18 days. Bassam As-Sa’di is currently serving a five-year sentence in an Israeli prison. Two of Nawal’s sons were killed by Israeli forces during the second Intifadah. [end]

Israeli military detains a number of residents including a freed prisoner
IMEMC Staff&Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 12/7/2008
On Sunday, Israeli military detained a number of Palestinian residents, including a female prisoner that was set free, from different areas of the West Bank, Palestinian media sources and witnesses said. [end]

Israel eases travel restrictions at key West Bank checkpoint
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 12/7/2008
Palestinians packed into cars to leave the West Bank city of Nablus on Saturday after Israel eased restrictions on residents leaving the town in vehicles for the first time in six years. Luay Saadi, head of Palestinian-Israeli security coordination in Nablus, said Saturday that he was told by his Israeli counterparts that Palestinian men and women over age 50 can now leave the town in their cars, without prior permission from Israel’s army. An Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman could not confirm the new policy. Most Nablus residents cross an Israeli checkpoint on foot to leave town or obtain a permit from Israel’s military to exit in a vehicle. But in an unusual turn of events on Saturday, IDF soldiers allowed all Palestinians in vehicles - not just those driven by people over 50 - to leave the city, prompting a rush of residents to enjoy the sudden easing up of restrictions.

Barak presents gestures to PA ahead of Muslim holiday
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 12/7/2008
After government approves Palestinian prisoner release, Defense Minister Barak informs PA Prime Minister Fayyad of series of gestures ahead of Eid al-Adha holiday, presents figures showing economic improvement in West Bank - Israel presents gestures ahead of Muslim holiday: After approving the release of about 230 Palestinian prisoners,Defense Minister Ehud Barak informed Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad of a series of Israeli gestures ahead of the Eid al-Adha holiday. In their meeting Sunday, Barak told Fayyad that Israel will allow first-degree relatives - men above 40 and women of all ages - from Judea and Samaria into the Green Line. In addition, Arab Israelis will be allowed to enter Area A in the West Bank, and men aged 45 and above will be given permits to head to Temple Mount. Barak added that in addition to gestures pertaining to West Bank roadblocks,. . .

Israel pardons 45 more wanted al-Aqsa men
Ali Waked, YNetNews 12/7/2008
Gesture made in framework of last year’s amnesty deal with Palestinian Authority -Israel granted full pardon on Sunday to another group of 45 men belonging to the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, an offshoot of President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, Palestinian sources told Ynet. The full pardon allows the men complete freedom of movement in the territories and beyond. The gesture, made in the framework of last year’s amnesty agreement between Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority, was finalized following a meeting of Israeli and Palestinian officials. In October 2007, Ynet revealed that Israel and the Palestinian Authority had reached an agreement that saw wanted al-Aqsa members begin a three-month probation period, with those not involved in terrorist activities during this period being granted amnesty.

PA bars Al-Jazeera journalists from Mukata
Jerusalem Post 12/7/2008
The Palestinian Authority has decided to ban a number of journalists from entering the presidential Mukata compound in Ramallah. The decision is aimed at punishing the journalists because of their criticism of the PA leadership or for reporting about the activities of Hamas leaders. Al-Jazeera reporters and TV crews are among those who now appear on the PA’s blacklist. They have been denied access to the Mukata for the past two weeks. Other journalists working for Arab and Western media outlets have also been told that they are no longer welcome to visit the compound. The Foreign Press Association protested "in the strongest possible terms" the ban on Al-Jazeera journalists and urged the authorities in Ramallah to immediately end this restriction. "There can be no legitimate excuse for this unacceptable curtailment of press access to the office and. . .

Journalist’s Syndicate: release imprisoned media workers and ensure free speech
Ma’an News Agency 12/6/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian journalists and media workers must be released from West Bank prisons by the Palestinian Authority security apparatus, said a statement from the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate on Saturday. The Syndicate said some journalists had been in prison for more than three months, and hoped they would be released before the start of Eid Al-Adha. The statement also called for free access for journalists to locations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as a guarantee that news publications from both areas would be made available and not censored. [end]

Gaza to celebrate the feast by candlelight
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 12/7/2008
The Gaza power plant will totally shut down on Sunday as it has run out of industrial fuel needed to run the power generators. The residents of the Gaza Strip will have to remain without power and welcome the Al Adha Muslim feast by candle light, if there are any candles left. The Gaza Power Company said that the plant could not run anymore as it has run out of fuel due to the ongoing Israeli siege on Gaza. Israel recently allowed a limited amount of fuel into Gaza, but within a few days it had completely dried up. If the situation continues as it has, the Gaza Strip will remain without electricity. On Thursday, Israel allowed 400. 000 liters of gas into the Gaza Strip, but the amount allowed in was barely enough to last for a few days. The Gaza power company called on human rights groups to intervene, and to ensure that the required amounts of fuel were allowed into the Gaza Strip.

IDF probes soldier’s alleged attack on Haaretz photographer in Hebron
Fadi Eyadat and Amos Harel, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
An Israel Defense Forces spokesman said late Saturday that the IDF is investigating an alleged attack on a Haaretz photojournalist on assignment in Hebron that occurred earlier in the day. An IDF soldier on Saturday allegedly punched photographer Tess Scheflan and then struck her with his rifle butt. Scheflan suffered light head injuries. An ambulance took her to hospital. The incident occurred when Scheflan and other journalists took a photograph of three IDF soldiers arresting a Palestinian. A soldier who saw them ran toward the group of journalists and demanded they hand over their cameras. After they refused, he tried to forcibly take the camera from another photographer. Scheflan photographed this, and the soldier then allegedly punched her in the face and hit her with the butt of his rifle while she was on the ground.

UNRWA in Gaza: Food reserve will run out in two or three days
Ma’an News Agency 12/7/2008
Gaza – Ma’an –UNRWA food aid reserves in the Gaza Strip will run out in two or three days if Israel continues to close commercial terminals, the UN aid agency announced Sunday. UNRWA spokesman in Gaza Adnan Abu Hasana told the press that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza was increasing. He called on the international community to demand Israel allow the shipment of food aid to Gaza. He noted that over 750,000 people in the area rely almost entirely on the aid. “The 16 truckloads Israel allowed [into the Gaza Strip] last Thursday were not enough in light of the brewing humanitarian crisis,” he explained. He explained that the situation in the Strip was becoming dire for more and more citizens, since some neighborhoods now have no electricity at all. Others, he added have power for a few hours a day. People have become hopeless after the banks failed to pay civil servants salaries, he said.

World Bank: Israel’s blockade of Gaza could lead to bank collapse
Reuters, Ha’aretz 12/7/2008
The World Bank said on Saturday that Israel’s tightened blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip had created cash shortages that could lead to the collapse of banks in the impoverished Palestinian territory. Also sounding an alarm, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the spiralling Gazan crisis risked driving Palestinians in need of funds into the arms of those "with easier access to cash from other sources" brought in through tunnels under the border with Egypt. Tunnels are mostly built and run by traders who operate largely within a system regulated and overseen by Hamas. In turn, merchants say, the Islamist movement which is fighting Israel raises funds from the trade by levying fees. Banks across Gaza have been shut since Thursday because they don’t have enough money to operate.

Blackouts as Gaza Power plant runs out of fuel
Ma’an News Agency 12/7/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The Gaza Strip power plant ran out of fuel and ceased working completely on Sunday afternoon, plunging half of the Strip into darkness, a senior Palestinian energy official said. Kan’an Ubeid, the deputy chief of the Palestinian Energy Authority said that Gaza City as well as the north and central areas of the Gaza Strip are expectd to be without power. Israel allowed 400,000 liters of fuel last Thursday through the Nahal Oz terminal, an insufficient amount to fully operate the plant’s generators. The fuel transfusion was rationed and finally ran out on Sunday. Israel has closed the Gaza crossings for 32 consecutive days and only selectively allowed deliveries of humanitarian supplies to enter on 17, 24, 26 and 27 November and 4 December.

Gaza power plant to shut down afternoon Sunday
Palestinian Information Center 12/7/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The executive manager of the Gaza power plant, Walid Suleiman, has said that the plant would stop working by Sunday afternoon in the event the Israeli occupation authority continued to shut down all commercial crossings with the Strip. Suleiman said in a press statement published in the local media on Saturday that the fuel quantities allowed into the Strip could operate the plant for one day only, which meant that the plant would have to stop working until more fuel is allowed into the Strip. The IOA has been closing all commercial crossings with the Strip for five weeks halting all supplies to one and a half million Palestinians. [end]

Fayyad asks Barak to allow cash into Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 12/7/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an – Palestinian caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad met Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday afternoon, Israeli radio reported. Fayyad asked Barak to allow Israeli banks to transfer cash to Gaza, where a shortage of banknotes has forced banks to shut down. According to the report, the meeting also addressed the easing of Israeli access restrictions for the Muslim Eid Al-Adha holiday. [end]

Gaza electric company says totally dependent on Israel
Ma’an News Agency 12/6/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The ongoing electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip remains dependent on fuel supplies from Israel, says Jamal Badrasawi, director of public relations at Gaza’s sole electricity company. He told Ma’an, “Industrial diesel delivered by Israel on Thursday will suffice for a few days until a new shipment is delivered. ”Badrasawi explained that Thursday’s delivery was 400,000 litres of industrial diesel used to run the electricity-generating station in Gaza, asserting that it will last through the Eid Al-Adha holidays, but not much longer. The power plant, which runs on European-supplied industrial diesel, provides power for 40% of the Strip’s 1. 5 million inhabitants, particularly in the center and south of the coastal territory. Other areas receive electricity from Egypt and Israel. In the north, in towns such as Beit Lahiya and Jabalia, residents already face daily power cuts due to an intermittent Israeli supply.

No salaries before Eid: Gaza banks fold as treasuries run dry
Ma’an News Agency 12/6/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The 1,000 Israeli shekels promised to Gaza Strip government workers will not be paid out by some banks before the Islamic holiday of Eid Al-Adha, according to bank employees who were told not to go to work on Saturday. Several bankers told Ma’an that they received phone calls on Friday evening from bank managers telling them not to head to work on Saturday morning as there is no cash left in banks’ treasuries to distribute. The news also means civil servants’ salaries in the Gaza Strip can only be paid after Eid Al-Adha, which begins this week. Bank managers made a collective decision to shut down operations after they determined they would not be able to pay even half of the Gaza Strip’s workers the 1,000 shekels promised on Friday, which itself is only a fraction of monthly salaries.

UNRWA: Our stores will be empty within two days
Palestinian Information Center 12/7/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The UN Relief and Works Agency announced that its stores in the Gaza Strip would run out of stock within two days if the Israeli occupation authority refused to allow passage of relief material into the Strip. Adnan Abu Hasana, the UNRWA spokesman, told reporters in Gaza that the humanitarian crisis in the Strip was worsening. He called for an international pressure on Israel to allow entry of food supplies, adding that 750,000 people in Gaza depend on food assistance. The limited quantity of trucks allowed by Israel last Thursday was not enough, adding that 16 trucks of UNRWA humanitarian aid were allowed to enter the Strip on that day. The situation in the Strip is "unbearable", he said, noting that electricity has been completely cut off in certain areas while electric current reaches other areas for only a few hours.

UNRWA warehouses will completely run out of supplies in a number of days
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 12/7/2008
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) warned on Saturday that its warehouses in Gaza will be totally empty in two or three days if Israel does not open the crossings to allow the entry of humanitarian supplies. Adnan Abu Hasna, UNRWA spokesperson in Gaza, stated in a press conference that the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip was gradually getting worse, and demanded the international community to intervene and ensure the entry of food and medical supplies into the coastal region. Abu Hasna added that 750. 000 Palestinians in Gaza depend on humanitarian aid. He also said that the limited number of trucks carrying humanitarian aid allowed into the Gaza Strip on Thursday was not sufficient to fullfill the increasing needs of the impoverished region. "The situation in Gaza is very bad. There is no power in most of the Gaza Strip, while some areas have power for a couple of hours a day", Abu Hasna stated.

Tense Egypt-Hamas Relations Take a Turn for the Worse
Agence France Presse, MIFTAH 12/6/2008
CAIRO (AFP) - Already tense relations between Egypt and Hamas have soured after Cairo for the first time openly accused the Islamists of torpedoing Palestinian reconciliation talks. Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit was quoted as saying on Thursday that months of Egyptian-mediated talks between rivals Hamas and Fateh failed in November because of "Hamas’ lack of enthusiasm towards reconciliation". As the only Arab nation bordering the Gaza Strip, Egypt has been trying to reach a detente between Fateh and Hamas and prevent their conflict, which saw Hamas violently eject Fateh from Gaza in June 2007, spilling into Egypt. Cairo is worried about a repetition of the chaotic scenes last January when hundreds of thousands of Gazans broke through the Rafah border crossing and the Israeli lockdown on the territory, to spend a few days shopping in Egypt.

Hamas: Opening Rafah practical response to IOA obstruction of relief ships
Palestinian Information Center 12/7/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement on Saturday denounced the Israeli occupation authority’s obstruction of ships carrying relief material to the Gaza Strip especially the Libyan and Qatari ones. Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, the Hamas spokesman, said that the act reflects the IOA’s insistence on isolating Gaza from the outside world. He said in a press statement that Hamas believes the IOA land, air and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip calls on the Arab countries to adopt a speedy decision to open the Rafah border terminal once and for all. "This is the natural response to the siege crime," he underlined, adding that it was no longer acceptable that Arab ships go on sailing in the sea to reach Gaza while the Arab-controlled Rafah crossing remains closed.

Israeli journalist speaks to Palestinians in Ramallah after spending three weeks in Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 12/7/2008
Three weeks were not enough to describe the suffering of the Gazan people, she told a large crowd in Ramallah. The hardships are increasing every day and the blockade has caused environmental, educational and health problems, she said. - Ramallah – Ma’an –Israeli journalist Amira Hass spoke at a conference in Ramallah’s Baladna Cultural center on Saturday where she described her experiences in the Gaza Strip during the three weeks she spent reporting from the area. Hass reports for the Israeli daily paper Haaretz, and was based in Gaza for a number of years in the 1990s, after which she moved to Ramallah until forced to leave Palestinian areas by the Israeli government. Hass speaks fluent Arabic. On entering Gaza Hass said she was accompanied by Hamas-appointed security personnel at all hours, and was prevented from entering any of the Strip’s refugee camps.

Palestinians denounce honour killings, gender abuse
Ma’an News Agency 12/6/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an - Eight United Nations (UN) agencies co-sponsored the first Palestinian festival to combat violence against women, driving home the message that so-called honour killings "have nothing to do with honour. " "It is time for action, not words," UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Programme Manager in the occupied Palestinian territory Alia El Yassir told participants at the event in Ramallah on Friday. "UN agencies are working as one on this issue and supporting civil societies in their efforts to end violence against women. " The festival, with a similar event taking place in Gaza, was part of the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, an annual international campaign.

Three arrested in raid on Gaza-bound boat
Yaakov Lappin, Jerusalem Post 12/7/2008
A boat meant to ferry Arab MKs and pro-Palestinian activists into the Gaza Strip was raided by police on Sunday morning while docked at the Jaffa harbor. World Bank urges Israel to inject money into cash-strapped Gaza Strip ahead of Muslim festival- Three people were arrested and a truck carrying goods intended for Gaza was seized, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. The journey was organized by Israeli Arab political parties and private groups. The cargo was to include food and medicine, as well as toys and sweets for Id al-Adha, said Zahi Nujeidat, a spokesman for the Islamic Movement, one of the groups behind the trip. The attempt to reach Gaza contravened Clause 24 of the Disengagement Law, which forbids Israeli citizens from entering Gaza without permission, Rosenfeld said. He added that the ship’s owner had been warned over the weekend that the planned journey was a criminal offense.

Israel prevents local ship from heading to Gaza with medicine, toys
Palestinian Information Center 12/7/2008
NAZARETH, (PIC)-- Israel on Sunday prevented the sailing of a local ship loaded with medicine, relief material and children toys from Yaffa harbor to besieged Gaza Strip and confiscated the shipload. The shipload was collected by Palestinians in the 1948 areas for the people and children of Gaza on the occasion of the Eidul Adha or the Islamic feast of sacrifice. MP Jamal Al-Khudari, the head of the popular anti siege committee in Gaza, charged in a press release that the Israeli blockage of such humanitarian assistance was meant to tighten the siege on Gaza. The ships would continue to set sail to Gaza despite the Israeli measures, he underlined. Arab member of the Israeli parliament Ahmed Tibi told Khudari in a telephone contact that the Arab members of the parliament would try to reach the harbor with all possible means and would address a press conference there to explain the Israeli act.

Israeli Navy bars ship sent by Arab leaders and leftist activists from sailing to Gaza
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 12/7/2008
The Israeli navy barred on Sunday morning a ship which was supposed to sail from Jaffa port to the Gaza Strip carrying medical and humanitarian supplies. The ship was organized by Arab leaders and leftist activists in Israel, the Arabs48 news website reported. The ship, was dubbed "the Eid Ship", as the Muslims will be marking the Adha Eid (feast) on Monday. The Israeli navy took the ship to the Tel Aviv port, Arabs48 added. The Israeli police said that the ship carried medical equipment and medicine, and that three activists were detained. The ship had on board seven tons of humanitarian and medical aid, food and toys for children. The Israeli police also detained and interrogated three activists from northern Israel after they arrived in Jaffa with a truck filled with equipment to ship to Gaza. Arab members of the Knesset (MK), Jamal Zahalka and Wasel Taha, said that. . .

Toys, food and medicine seized from Israeli boat planning voyage to Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 12/7/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – A group of Israeli Knesset members (MKs) and peace activists preparing to sail aid to Gaza from the Jaffa port south of Tel Aviv were halted and the ship, along with three of the crew, were seized by Israeli police. According to Israeli media sources the ship, and its cargo of food, medicines and toys for the Eid celebration, has been transferred to a nearby Tel Aviv marina. Police reportedly arrested the activists and halted the ship in accordance with the Israeli law that prohibits citizens from entering Gaza without a permit. The law is designed to keep out the settlers removed from the area in 2005, and also prevent moderate or even curious Israelis from visiting the Gaza Strip. Organizer of the voyage Zahi Nujaidat, however, called the move illegal, saying that no Israeli authorities had warned the group that the voyage was prohibited.

PNI condemns Israel’s decision to block ''Eid Ship'' to Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 12/7/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – The Palestinian National Initiative (PNI) condemned Israel’s decision to block a ship sailing to Gaza from the Jaffa port on Sunday, calling the move a “stupid” decision. Israeli police seized the boat along with its cargo of toys, food, and medicine earlier on Sunday. Palestinian members of the Israeli Knesset had planned to sail the ship to Gaza in defiance of an Israeli blockade of the coastal territory. The vessel had been dubbed the "Eid Ship" after the Eid Al-Adha holiday, which began on Sunday evening. Mustafa Barghouthi, the secretary general of the PNI said, “These measures taken to prevent this ship in addition to preventing the Libyan ship a few days ago do confirm the Israeli policy of collective punishment against besieged Gazan people. ”He vowed that the struggle against the Israeli blockade would continue.

Ynet: Police seize boat ahead of Gaza sail
International Solidarity Movement 12/7/2008
Gaza Region - 1948 Palestine - Arab Knesset members, left-wing activists planning to sail south from Jaffa in bid to ‘break the blockade’, transfer humanitarian equipment to Strip stopped by Israel Police; vessel transferred to Tel Aviv marina. ‘This is a coward move; all we wanted was to deliver medicines,’ says MK Tibi - Police prevent Gaza sail: A boat scheduled to leave the Jaffa Port on Sunday morning with several Arab Knesset members and sail to the Gaza Strip was seized by the police early Sunday and transferred to the Tel Aviv marina, Ynet has learned. The police also seized a truck carrying equipment and medications and detained three suspects for questioning. Left-wing activists and several Arab MKs were planning to dock in the Strip a day before the Muslim Festival of Sacrifice. . . -- See also: Police seize boat ahead of Gaza sail

Olmert, Barak prevent Qatari ship from sailing to Gaza
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 12/7/2008
Doha authorities ask Foreign Minister Livni to allow vessel carrying humanitarian aid to dock in Ashdod Port. Prime minister, defense minister axe move - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have prevented a Qatari ship docking in Cyprus from sailing to the Gaza Strip, Ynet learned Sunday. The decision was reportedly made despite Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s promise to the Qatari authorities, that she would consider the matter; and despite the possibility of a diplomatic predicament between Israel and Qatar. "We have no intention of setting up a shipping line to Gaza," said a source in the Prime Minister’s Office. "Israel’s policy is to maintain the siege placed on. . . "

Gaza: Qatar ship’s voyage postponed, Libyan vessel moored in Europe, Free Gaza boat to depart soon
Ma’an News Agency 12/6/2008
Gaza - Ma’an – The aid ship from Qatar slated to depart from Cyprus Saturday morning and arrive in Gaza the following morning was postponed for logistical reasons stemming from Israeli pressure to prevent the ship’s arrival. Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council Jamal Al-Khudari said the delay did not indicate that the ship would be stymied. He explained that the boat is moored in an European port and is in contact with the appropriate officials to ensure the contents of the ship will be delivered to needy Gazans. Another vessel, he added, is set to launch from the fort of Jaffa, Israel on Sunday morning. The Jaffa ship will carry aid as well as members of the Israeli Knesset and Islamic leaders living in Israel. A third voyage, coordinated by the Free Gaza movement, which successfully landed three ships in the Strip since August, will leave Cyprus in December.

El Khodary: ''The Intifada of ships did not stop despite Israeli obstructions''
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 12/6/2008
Palestinian legislator and head of the Popular Committee Against the Siege (PCAS), Jamal El Khodary, stated on Saturday that the "Intifada of ships" will not stop despite ongoing Israeli aggression and attempts to bar the ships from reaching the Gaza Shore. The statements of El Khodary came during a press conference organized by the the Palestinian International Campaign Against the Siege (PCAS) and the Free Gaza Movement. El Khodary thanked Libya, Qatar and the Arab members of the Israeli Knesset for their efforts to break the unjust Israeli siege, and called for official and practical measures by the Arab League and the Arab countries to break the siege. El Khodary added that the Qatari ship that was supposed to arrive today will not be reaching Gaza due to Israeli obstructions and scrambling of its communications.

Police stop Gaza-bound ship sailing from Jaffa
Yuval Goren, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
A ship that had been slated to sail from Jaffa to the Gaza Strip was halted before ever leaving port yesterday, after the Tel Aviv Police warned the ship’s owner that he could be charged with a crime if the ship set sail. Police also arrested three residents of northern Israel on suspicion of involvement in planning the voyage. The ship was to have carried a cargo of medicines and other supplies, along with several Arab Knesset members. The stated purpose of the voyage was to break the blockade of Gaza. Police had received various tips about the planned voyage, and eventually decided to thwart it by warning the owner, a Tel Aviv resident, that if the ship set sail, he could be charged with violating a law enacted to enable implementation of the disengagement from Gaza in 2005. That law forbids Israelis to enter the Strip without a special permit from the Israeli authorities.

Thousands march in Paris against Gaza siege
Palestinian Information Center 12/7/2008
PARIS, (PIC)-- Thousands hits the streets of the French capital on Saturday evening to protest the Israeli siege on Gaza and to demand its immediate end. MP Jamal Al-Khudari, the head of the Popular Committee Against the Siege, addressed the rally from Gaza hailing such solidarity activities that boost the Palestinian people’s steadfastness and patience. He appealed for continuation of such events along with others such as sit-ins and sending ships to Gaza in addition to pressuring governments to intervene and lift the siege. The lawmaker described the Israeli siege on Gaza as an "unethical and an inhuman war crime", and expressed conviction that one day the siege would end and the Palestinian people would be victorious. In another development, Hamas’s parliamentary bloc thanked Dr. Ali Larijani, the chairman of the Iranian Shura council for his strong condemnation of the siege on Gaza.

Human rights report: West Bank situation ’reminiscent of apartheid regime in South Africa’
DPA, Ha’aretz 12/7/2008
Basic human rights, such as health, a life of dignity, education, housing, equality, freedom from racism, freedom of expression, privacy and democracy are increasingly being violated in Israel, a human rights watchdog group warned Sunday. In its annual report, the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)pointed to "extremely worrisome trends at the center of which are violations of the most elementary human rights. " The report also noted that the situation in the occupied West Bank, between Israeli settlers and the local Palestinian population, was "reminiscent, in many and increasing ways, of the apartheid regime in South Africa. "The ACRI noted that since the foundation of Israel, the country’s Arab citizens have been discriminated against though legislation and allocation of resources.

Israeli rights group compares government’s treatment of Palestinians to apartheid
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 12/8/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel’s discrimination between Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank is increasingly reminiscent of white South Africa’s apartheid system, a human-rights group said Sunday. Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territory "have created a situation of institutionalized discrimination and segregation," the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said in a new report. "The discrimination in services, budgets and access to natural resources between the two groups in the same territory constitutes a stark violation of the principle of equality, which [is reminiscent] in many and increasing ways [of] the apartheid regime that was applied in South Africa," it added. The group’s report, published ahead of Wednesday’s 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, notes that the 2.

Anarchists Against the Wall awarded German human rights prize
DPA, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
A group that demonstrates every week against the fence separating Israel from the West Bank was handed a German human rights prize Sunday in Berlin. The Bil’in Village Committee, made up of Palestinians, and Anarchists Against the Wall, an Israeli organization, were jointly awarded the Carl von Ossietzy Medal. Representatives of the two groups gather from Palestine and Israel every Friday to protest against the wall and demand that Palestinians and Israelis be allowed to live side-by-side in peace. The award is given annually by the Berlin-based International League of Human Rights and named after German Nobel Peace Prize winner Carl von Ossietzky (1889-1938), who died in a Nazi concentration camp.

ACRI: Basic human rights violated in Israel
Jerusalem Post 12/7/2008
Basic human rights proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are being increasingly violated in Israel, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said in its annual report published on Sunday. "The report points to extremely worrisome trends at the center of which are violations of the most elementary human rights - regarding health, a life of dignity, education, housing, equality, freedom from racism, freedom of expression, privacy and democracy," the authors wrote. Furthermore, there was the impact of the ongoing occupation of the territories on Palestinian human rights and the threat it posed to Israeli democracy, they added. The report coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Declaration’s adoption by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948.

Tulkarem man receives permit to visit wife, newborn son after issuing appeal through Ma’an
Ma’an News Agency 12/7/2008
Tulkarem – Ma’an – Sa’ed Khaled Badran, a resident of northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, allowing him to visit his newborn son, Khaled, and his wife at the Al-Maqassed hospital in Jerusalem. The permit will allow Badran to enter Jerusalem between 5am until 7pm every day until 13 December. In November, Ma’an published a story Badran’s plight. His wife gave birth prematurely to their son. Badran had appealed to Hussein Ash-Sheikh, the chief of Civil Affairs in the Palestinian Authority, seeking a permit. Palestinian residents of the West Bank are barred from entering Jerusalem, their capital, without special permits issued by Israel. [end]

Green groups accuse JNF of planting in Negev to prevent Bedouin construction and grazing
Zafrir Rinat, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
The Jewish National Fund is planting increasing numbers of trees in the northern Negev. The organization says it is doing essential work to prevent desertification and to assist in the rehabilitation of the ecosystem, and even presented the work proudly at a workshop on desertification held in Israel last week for experts from around the world. However, environmental protection specialists contend that the forestation causes serious and irreparable damage to nature and the landscape. Critics suggest that one goal of the planting, rather than being environmental, is actually to prevent illegal Bedouin construction or grazing. In recent months, preparation for planting and the planting itself has been going on east of the Bedouin town of Hura. Heavy mechanical equipment belonging to the JNF has uprooted existing vegetation to make way for the new planting.

IDF soldier who hit Haaretz photographer set to face charges
Amos Harel, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
The Israel Defense Forces will hold a disciplinary hearing for the soldier who allegedly assaulted a photographer Saturday in Hebron. An army investigation into the incident found the soldier violated orders in striking Tess Scheflan, who was on assignment for Haaretz. The soldier allegedly punched her in the face and hit her with his rifle butt while she was on the ground. During the army’s investigation, which was conducted by brigade commander Col. Udi Ben Moha, the soldier admitted he hit Scheflan in the face, but claimed this was only after she had slapped him, a charge Scheflan vehemently denies. Ben Moha said in response that even if the photographer had struck the soldier first, he had no justification for treating her violently. Following the investigation, Brig.

IDF soldier suspected of assaulting Haaretz photographer says she struck him first
Amos Harel, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
An Israel Defense Forces soldier suspected of assaulting a Haaretz photographer filed a complaint against her on Sunday with the Hebron police for allegedly striking him first. The photographer, Tess Scheflan, vehemently rejects the soldier’s claim, and says she intends to counter-sue. Scheflan suffered light head injuries on Saturday and was taken by an ambulance to hospital after the soldier allegedly punched her in the face and hit her with the butt of his rifle while she was on the ground. The soldier’s commanders urged him to lodge an official complaint with the Hebron district police, after claiming the initial investigation into the incident revealed conflicting versions of the events as recounted by the photographer and the soldiers at the scene.

Soldier files assault complaint against Haaretz photographer
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 12/7/2008
IDF Spokesperson’s Office says soldier conducted himself inappropriately even if it was the photographer who initiated scuffle near evicted Hebron house -An IDF soldier filed a complaint with the Hebron Police Sunday against Haaretz photographer Tess Scheflan, who he claimed assaulted him over the weekend while she was covering the events in the city. Scheflan claimed the soldier beat her, leaving her lightly wounded, and she was taken to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. Police have launched an investigation into the incident. According to the IDF, the soldier claimed that he struck the photographer only after she had attacked him first. Scheflan gave Ynet her version of the events: "One of the Palestinian families in Hebron asked us to visit their home, which apart from one room had been taken over completely by the IDF.

Shin Bet vetoed Arab Israeli’s job as mosque imam
Toni O''Loughlin in Jerusalem, The Guardian 12/8/2008
Israel’s secret police blocked a Muslim Arab citizen from being appointed to a publicly funded job, in its latest attempt to assert authority over public political debate in Israel, a case in Tel Aviv’s labour court has revealed. The case emerged when the state rejected Sheikh Ahmed Abu Awaja’s application to serve as the imam at a mosque in Jaffa, a neighbourhood south of Tel Aviv. He appealed to Tel Aviv’s labour court after he was told that he did not get the job even though he was the only candidate to meet the requirements. The court is due to deliver its decision today. During the case the district prosecutor said that Abu Awaja had been rejected because the General Security Service, commonly known as the Shin Bet, believed he would "jeopardise peace and security in Jaffa, especially in view of the sensitivity of the delicate relationship between the city’s Jewish and Muslim populations".

Shin Bet admits intervening in Muslim cleric appointments to public office
Akiva Eldar, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
The Shin Bet security service has confirmed for the first time that it regularly intervenes in the appointment of Muslim clergymen to public office, Haaretz has learned. The issue surfaced after the state recently declined to appoint Sheikh Ahmed Abu Awaja to serve as Imam at Jaffa’s Jabalya mosque, even though Abu Awaja was the only certified candidate to fit the threshold requirements. When he appealed to the Tel Aviv Labor Court against the decision not to hire him, the district prosecutor’s office told the court that "according to the assessments of the Shin Bet, the claimant’s appointment to serve as an imam on behalf of the Ministry of Interior may jeopardize security and peace in Jaffa, especially in view of the sensitivity of the delicate relationship between the city’s Jewish and Muslim populations.

Legal analysis / Judicial decision needed
Ze''ev Segal, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
Ahmed Abu Awaja’s appeal concerning his rejection from serving as imam at Jabalya mosque in Jaffa invokes questions of constitutional significance, whose scope exceeds the claimant’s case. The Tel Aviv Labor Court will have to decide on whether it is legitimate for the Shin Bet to determine whether Abu Awaja is hired or not. If it rules that it is legitimate, it will have to determine the prominence that should be attributed to the Shin Bet’s opinion, as it has been a key element in the decision to nix his application to the tender system established to select publicly-salaried imams. In its defense, the state says that it had to disqualify Abu Awaja because he posed "a risk to the security of the state and to the security of the inhabitants of Jaffa. "This, according to the Shin Bet position handed to the Ministry of Interior according to the law on the Shin Bet security service from 2002.

17-year-old who beat Arabs sent to jail
Aviad Glickman, YNetNews 12/7/2008
Youth convicted of assaulting Arab minors with sticks, clubs and knives at Jerusalem mall on eve of Holocaust Day, sentenced to one year in prison. Attack followed messages on Web calling on Jews to hurt Arabs - A 17-year-old youth was sentenced to one year in prison on Sunday after being convicted of assaulting Arabs with sticks, clubs and knives along with several other teenagers on the eve of Holocaust Day. "I can’t imagine that throughout his life the accused never heard of the Jews’ Holocaust and was never exposed to the horrors in the pursuit of people for belonging to a different race," the Jerusalem Youth District Court wrote in her ruling. According to the indictment, several young people of the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood in the capital conspired to hurt Arabs on the eve of the past Holocaust Day.

Skin condition spreading in Israeli prison; sufferers refused access to treatment
Ma’an News Agency 12/6/2008
Nablus – Salfit – Ma’an – An alarming number of Palestinian prisoners of Israel have been infected by a skin disease, caused by the unsanitary conditions inside the prison facilities, said a lawyer for the Prisoners’ Society on Saturday. The lawyer noted that Israeli prison medical staff have refused to treat the condition, which is adding to the intolerable living situation in the prison. According to one prisoner, Tamer Samer Badran, dozens of prisoners have developed a rash from what they believe to be chemicals used in the shower water. He explained that he asked to be seen by a doctor but was refused. Badran has been in the prison since 17 December 2007, and was arrested for being affiliated with the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah. He is still in Al-Julma prison in the northern West Bank.

Price-Tag campaign wreaks havoc throughout West Bank
On Thursday 4th December, extremist Israeli settlers began a multiple-day, International Solidarity Movement 12/7/2008
Photos - On Thursday 4th December, extremist Israeli settlers began a multiple-day rampage throughout the West Bank in response to the eviction of a single settler-occupied house in Hebron. Beginning at 3pm, thousands of settlers blocked roads throughout the West Bank, stoning cars, attacking houses, burning olive groves and desecrating mosques. The main roads into and out of Nablus were blocked by settlers, as were Huwwara, Beit Iba and Beit Furiq checkpoints, leaving many Palestinians stranded for hours. Settlers also blocked roads and attacked Palestinians in the villages of Huwwara, Burin, Al-Funduq, Turmasayya, and the old city of Jerusalem. The main road from Nablus to Qalqilia was blocked on Thursday night, only partly opening on Friday, with the section from Nablus to al Funduq closed by Israeli soldiers throughout Friday.

Nablus demonstrates against settler attacks
International Solidarity Movement 12/7/2008
Nablus Region - Photos - At 12pm on Friday 5th December, approximately 100 residents of Nablus came out to protest against the settler rampage that saw Palestinians attacked in their cars and homes throughout the West Bank, following the eviction of one settler-occupied house in Hebron. Organised by the Nablus municipality, a coalition of political parties and a variety of Nablus-based associations, the demonstration took over the city centre, calling for Palestinians to take a stand against the onslaught of settler attacks. Speakers from various parties called for unity amongst Palestinians, from the West Bank to Gaza; from the camps to the villages, in the face of the inaction of the Israeli authorities to quell the rampage. As one speaker from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said "Now settlers and soldiers declare their true face about their feelings for Palestinian people".

Demonstration against Homesh settlement: ''These settlers have completely changed our landscape''
International Solidarity Movement 12/6/2008
Nablus Region - Photos - A group of 50 Palestinians from the village of Burqa in the North of Nablus, joined by solidarity activists and members of the press, held their weekly demonstration demanding the return of Palestinian land from the evacuated illegal Homesh settlement on Friday. The demonstrators marched to farmland surrounding the settlement at 11:00 am Friday morning to replant olive trees on their forcibly neglected land. Over 5000 dunams of land in and surrounding the settlement are inaccessible to the Palestinian populations of the surrounding villages and the demonstrators on Friday were both physically and symbolically reclaiming this important and fertile farmland. The Homesh settlement was abandoned in 2005 following the terms of the "disengagement" plan, though settlers have attempted to repopulate the land multiple times since and none of the land has been returned to its rightful Palestinian owners.

Twelve people injured as Israeli forces attack Ni’lin prayer demonstration
International Solidarity Movement 12/6/2008
Reports - Ramallah Region - Photos - Palestinian residents of Ni’lin gathered, together with Israeli and international activists,at 11. 30am for the weekly demonstration held by the medical clinic close to the land due to be confiscated by Israel. Twelve people were injured during the demonstration. Before the prayer ceremony was carried out the Israeli army moved jeeps and many soldiers close to the cite of the clinic. Once the prayer ceremony was over, heavy tear-gas kept the demonstrators from entering the fields. Protesters were kept from going further than approximately 30 meters from the village. The army was very aggressive and shot a lot of teargas and rubber-coated steel-bullets aiming directly at the non-violent protesters. They also fired at the houses closest to the fields, smashing peoples windows and scaring young children inside.

Israel threatens ’no restraint’ if Hamas keeps retaliating
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 12/8/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel threatened tougher action against rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on Sunday as the territory’s sole power plant again shut down in the face of a crippling blockade. Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he has told security chiefs to draw up contingency plans for military action against militant groups in Gaza, although there have been no deaths as a result of the rocket and mortar fire of the past week - and Israel initiated the latest flare-up with a deadly invasion of the enclave in early November. "The State of Israel does not intend to show restraint over this, nor will it countenance such a situation," his office quoted him as telling the weekly cabinet meeting. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said the government should respond "militarily, economically and politically. " "The truce has not been respected by the other side," she claimed, referring. . .

ANALYSIS / Israeli deterrence against Hamas is weakening
Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
Three numbers are at the heart of Israel’s decision-making process over the Gaza Strip: 20, 40 and 70. Twenty-plus kilometers is the maximum range of Hamas’ rockets in the Strip (which can hit Sderot, Ashkelon, Netivot and Kiryat Gat); 40 kilometers is the range they will be able to reach in the coming months, if missile production is not halted (Ofakim, Kiryat Malachi, Ashdod, Be’er Sheva and Yavneh will be at risk of attack); 70 kilometers is the range the Palestinians are striving to reach. At that point, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Dan Region would be within range of Palestinian rockets. Most Israeli decision makers assume the Gaza Strip will erupt sooner or later. The debate concerns whether the dozens of rockets that have been fired at the Negev in the last few weeks justifies immediate offensive action by the Israel Defense Forces.

Barak: Gaza crossings stay closed Sunday
Ma’an News Agency 12/7/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Gaza Strip crossings will remain closed on Sunday, according to the decision of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The Israeli army has kept Gaza’s borders sealed since 4 November, and selectively allowed a trickle of humanitarian supplies into the area on 17, 24, 26 and 27 November and 4 December. According to Israeli media sources Barak is keeping crossings closed because of the continued firing of homemade projectiles from the Gaza Strip at Israeli targets. Several human rights organizations and international government officials have expressed grave concern over Israel’s decision to lock-down Gaza. European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel, echoing cries against the actions from Palestinians, called the act one of illegal collective punishment.

Livni calls for reassessment of ’calm’
Jerusalem Post 12/7/2008
Foreign Minister and Kadima chair Tzipi Livni attacked Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday, implying that he is not aware of the reality in the Gaza Strip. FM Livni bluntly tells DM Barak ’there is no cease-fire in Gaza’ - Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Livni called for more dialogue between herself, Barak, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on whether to continue the faltering truce with Hamas. According to Livni, "the cease-fire agreement will end shortly in any case, and is not being honored by the Palestinian side. At the moment, we need renewed thought on whether we will act. " "There is no cease-fire in Gaza," she went on, "anyone who calls this ’calm’ doesn’t know what’s happening there. Whoever is responsible for security needs to act. "

Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Brigades in Gaza: We have not talked to Hamas
Ma’an News Agency 12/7/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Fatah’s military wing the Al-Aqsa Brigades said they have never met with Hamas delegates about the issue of the ceasefire agreement with Israel. Responding to a 2 December report from Hamas that is has met with all Gaza factions on the issue, the Al-Aqsa Brigades announced their commitment to abide by decisions made by Fatah officials in Ramallah. The Brigades stated they would “stick to the decision of our political leadership regarding the ceasefire” even though their position is that it “does not serve Palestinian people’s interests. ”Any member of the Brigades that decided to speak with Hamas officials, the statement continued, did so of their own accord and represented their personal opinion, not that of Fatah.

’Ashamed’ Olmert condemns ’pogrom’ against Palestinians
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 12/8/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel’s acting Premier Ehud Olmert on Sunday slammed what he called "pogroms" carried out by Jewish settlers against Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank city of Hebron. "As a Jew, I was ashamed at the scenes of Jews opening fire at innocent Arabs in Hebron. There is no other definition than the term ’pogrom’ to describe what I have seen," he said at the weekly Cabinet meeting. "We are the sons of a nation who know what is meant by a pogrom, and I am using the word only after deep reflection," the prime minister said, quoted by public radio. Olmert said he has instructed Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the relevant authorities "to do everything possible and to act with all their force to halt this phenomenon wherever the control of the state of Israel is exercised. " On Thursday, Zionist extremists shot and wounded three Palestinians in Hebron, hurled rocks. . .

Following settler attacks, Hebron residents feel anger and fear
Brenda Gazzar, Jerusalem Post 12/8/2008
Hebron resident Faez Rajabi was feeling a mix of emotions on Sunday. On the one hand, he was pleased that the disputed four-story apartment building in Hebron that he built for himself and his family was no longer inhabited by settlers. On the other, he lamented the turmoil that erupted during Thursday’s eviction of the settlers from the home, as mostly young extremist settlers attacked policemen, set homes and cars on fire, shot at residents and broke windows and satellite dishes. "I am happy that they left my house, but angry that they attacked people," including women and children, Rajabi said from his late father’s house, where he lives with some of his family members. Rajabi said he had built the house - which the settlers said he had sold to them through an agent - for his family, which includes three wives and 25 children.

Hebron settler who shot at Palestinians remanded
Jonathan Lis, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court yesterday extended the remand of Zeev Braude by four days. Braude, a resident of Kiryat Arba, was filmed shooting at Palestinians after the evacuation of the so-called "House of Contention" in Hebron last week. An activist from the B’Tselem human rights organization filmed Braude shooting at Palestinians at short range, hitting one. In the video, the injured man is seen falling to the ground. He then gets up and begins throwing stones at Braude. Braude turned himself in to the police over the weekend, saying he had come to complain the Palestinians shown in the film had tried to lynch him. However, the judge rejected Braude’s side of the story yesterday, and stated that the video shows him clearly taking aim at the Palestinian and instigating the confrontation.

Settler who shot Palestinians in Hebron remanded 4 more days
Jonathan Lis, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
The Jerusalem Magistrates Court on Sunday extended by four days the remand of Zeev Braude, the settler who was filmed shooting at Palestinians following the evacuation of a disputed house in the West Bank city of Hebron last week. An activist with the B’Tselem human rights group caught Braude on film shooting at Palestinians at short range, hitting one. In the video, the injured man is seen falling to the ground. He then gets up and begins throwing stones at Braude. Braude turned himself in to the police last week, saying he had come to complain the Palestinians shown in the film had tried to lynch him. However, the Jerusalem judge on Sunday rejected Braude’s line of defense, and stated that the video shows him clearly taking aim at the Palestinian and instigating the confrontation.

Hebron shooting: Lawyer claims suspect fired in defense
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 12/7/2008
Jerusalem court remands for additional four days a Kiryat Arba resident suspected of shooting two Palestinians after eviction of disputed Hebron house, but says Palestinians also at fault. Police representative: Brauda’s aim was to cause an entire population to rise up against us -The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Sunday remanded Ze’ev Brauda, the Kiryat Arba resident suspected of shooting two Palestinians after the eviction of the disputed house in West Bank city of Hebron, for an additional four days. The court accepted the police’s position that the act constituted a provocation. "There is no doubt that the events the suspect was allegedly involved in are very severe and are indicative of the tension between the Jewish and Arab residents of the Kiryat Arba and Hebron area," judge Malka Aviv said in her ruling.

’Palestinians also to blame in Hebron’
Jerusalem Post 12/7/2008
Judge Malka Aviv of the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Sunday ordered a Kiryat Arba resident who shot two Palestinians last week remanded for four days, but released another Kiryat Arba man whom police also wanted to keep in jail. Aviv accepted the police allegation that Zeev Braude had deliberately provoked Palestinians by deviating from the path he was walking on toward the disputed Beit Hashalom structure on Worshipers Way and heading toward a Palestinian house. Videotape of Thursday’s incident taken by Palestinians shows Braude hitting and pushing the Palestinian. Afterward, Braude was attacked by several more Palestinians and opened fire on them. According to Issa Amro, a 28-year-old eyewitness and the Hebron coordinator of B’Tselem’s video camera distribution project "Shooting Back," two settlers began arguing with Palestinians about their right to the land and the Palestinians told them to leave.

VIDEO - PM: Hebron violence a pogrom
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 12/7/2008
(Video) Olmert opens cabinet meeting with attack on settlers’ actions in West Bank city following evacuation of disputed house: ’As a Jew, I’m ashamed of the sights of Jews firing at Arabs in Hebron. ’ Cabinet approves NIS 695 milion increase to southern communities’ fortification budget - VIDEO - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert opened Sunday’s cabinet meeting with an attack on Jewish settlers in Hebron, calling their violence over the weekend "a pogrom". "As a Jew, I’m ashamed of the sights of Jews firing at Arabs in Hebron. I have no other definition for what we saw but a pogrom. We are the sons of a nation which knows what a pogrom is, and I’m saying this after much thought. I have no other way to put it," he said.

Settlers Go on the Rampage Across the West Bank [November 30 - December 6]
MIFTAH, MIFTAH 12/6/2008
The alarming violence instigated by Israeli settlers throughout the West Bank has been on everybody’s minds this week. In November, Israel’s High Court of Justice ordered settlers to leave the Palestinian-owned Ar-Rajabi house in Hebron, also known now as the ‘house of contention’, which has been occupied since 2007. After the decision was given, settler groups descended upon Hebron in anger, ready to retaliate. On December 1, five Palestinians were injured after being attacked by settlers in northeast Hebron. That same day, the settlers set dogs upon Palestinian residents, injuring a further four near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. The next day, several more Palestinians were beaten with clubs when settlers attacked Palestinian houses in the evening. An Israeli captain who tried to intervene in the attack was also badly injured.

IWPS: Settlers burn olive groves in Immatin
International Solidarity Movement 12/6/2008
Qalqilya Region - At about 2 p. m. on Friday, December 5, 2008, farmers in Immatin, a village in Qalqiliya, noticed a fire had broken out in olive groves several kilometres south of the village. The farmers estimate that the fire spread over an area of 100-150 dunums (1 dunum = 1,000 square meters) before Palestinian firefighters were able to arrive and put it out. An estimated 150 to 200 trees, manly olive but also a fewalmond and fig trees,were affected by the fire. While the almond and fig trees were destroyed, most of the olive trees are likely to survive. Farmers checking the damage to their groves surmised that the fire was likely to have been started in two places. As there was widespread settler violence against Palestinians in the area as well as open calls for a week of "retaliations" after the eviction of extremist settlers from an occupied house in Hebron yesterday, farmers from Immatin believe the fire was set by settlers.

Settlers vandalize home and other property in Ramallah village, burn olive trees
International Womens’ Peace Service 12/7/2008
Date of incident: December 5th, 2008 - Time: Midnight - Place: Turmus’ayya, Ramallah district - Witness/es: Homeowner, family members, village residents - Description of Incidents: At about midnight on Friday, December 5, 2008, settlers -- presumably from the neighbouring settlement of Shilo -- attacked a family home in Turmus’ayya, a village in Ramallah governorate, breaking windows and damaging a door before screams from the homeowner frightened them away. Eight people were at home in two adjacent houses: five adults and three children (a six-month-old baby, and two girls, aged 16 and 17 years). Four settlers came from the settler road about 100m above the house that is bypassing the village. Two of them stayed at a distance while the two other threw about 14 rocks at the sunroom of the house and pulled at the curtains inside tearing them apart. The family members feared they were attempting to break into the house and possibly set fire to it.

Sneh to Barak: Jail Daniella Weiss
Tovah Lazaroff And Shelly Paz, Jerusalem Post 12/8/2008
Former Labor MK Efraim Sneh on Sunday laid the blame for a portion of the unrest in Hebron last week on the head of right-wing activists, particularly former Kedumim mayor Daniella Weiss. In a letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, he demanded that Weiss be placed in jail. Weiss was arrested in the aftermath of last Thursday’s evacuation of the disputed four-story Hebron building known as Beit Hashalom. She was later released, although she was banned from reentering Judea. "It is unprecedented that a person who heads armed phalanges that operate against the State of Israel and its soldiers should be free to walk and spread their toxic doctrine in front of the TV cameras, as if there were no law in Israel and no judges in Jerusalem," Sneh wrote to Barak. Sneh - who is running for the Knesset under the banner of a new political party, Strong Israel, and plans. . .

Security source: Settler violence could cause imbroglio with Muslim world
Amos Harel, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
Recent confrontations between hard-line West Bank settlers and Palestinians, surrounding the evacuation of Hebron’s so-called House of Contention, are likely to entangle Israel in a religious confrontation with Muslim communities the world over, a senior security source told Haaretz this weekend. The violence included the desecration of Muslim cemeteries in Hebron and anti-Muslim graffiti on mosque walls in the city, as well as around Qalqilya and Ramallah. Civil Administration officers in the area quickly washed off the graffiti, before pictures of it could be obtained by the Qatari news station Al Jazeera. Such a broadcast would have reached homes throughout the Arab and Muslim world, and could have sparked a major conflagration, the source said, recalling the wave of demonstrations in 2005 and 2006, following a Danish newspaper’s publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

House torched in the Old City of Hebron
International Solidarity Movement 12/6/2008
A Palestinian family of the Old City of Hebron had the top floor of their home torched by a mob of settlers early Saturday morning. In addition to the fire the violent settlers also attacked the lower floors of the home, completely ransacking and ruining the Al-’Uweiwifamily’s kitchen. During the attack Nidal Al-’Uweiwi, his wife and his nine children were all forced to barricade themselves inside a small room of the house so as to not be attacked by the settlers. Though a fire truck was able to reach the scene some time after the flames began, this was only after the family had been rescued from the home by Palestinian Authority police officers. Two of the officers and all of the family were taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke annihilation. This attack comes with the long string of settler violence that has occurred in and around Hebron since the eviction of settlers from the illegally occupied Rajabi house on Thursday.

Settler stone throwers cause Palestinian car to skid off road; two injured
Ma’an News Agency 12/6/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Two Palestinians were injured Saturday evening when their car skidded off the road after being showered with stones by settlers. The work colleagues were on their way to Nablus, heading home after working for the day in Ramallah. Palestinian medical sources identified the two as 23-year-old Atef Ibrahim Muhammad Rashid and 29-year-old Samah Husam Baslat. The man and woman were moved to hospital in Nablus, where their conditions are described as moderate. Israeli authorities closed the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus on Saturday after dozens of Israeli settlers demonstrated against the forcible eviction of a group of settlers from a Palestinian home in Hebron on Thursday. Travel in and out of the northern West Bank was severely restricted, until Israeli forces opened the Awarta checkpoint, west of the city, to allow citizens to head home for the approaching Eid Al-Adha holiday.

Settlers block road south of Nablus; Israeli forces periodically close Huwwara
Ma’an News Agency 12/6/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – A secondary road between Nablus and the Israeli settlement Yitzhar was blocked on Saturday by dozens of Israeli settlers who broke the windows of Palestinian cars. The incident took place near Madama, a village on the route of the road. Head of the village council said Saturday’s attack was the third day in a row where settlers vandalized cars and prevented passage on the bypass roadThe main road into Nablus has been intermittently shut by Israeli forces, who close the Huwwara checkpoint, which controls the entry and exit of traffic into the area. Soldiers report fear of settler attacks against Palestinian citizens as the rational for restricting Palestinian movement around the West Bank. On Thursday, Israeli forces forcibly removed 250 right-wing settlers from a Palestinian house in the West Bank city of Hebron, weeks after the Israeli High Court ordered their eviction.

Israeli settlers set home ablaze in Hebron Old City
Ma’an News Agency 12/6/2008
Hebron – Ma’an – A mob of Israeli settlers set ablaze a Palestinian home in the Old City of Hebron on Saturday after climbing to the roof and damaging the home’s interior, according to the family who owns the home. Nidal Al-’Uweiwi, the house’s owner, said that on Saturday several settlers stormed the house from the roof, setting fire to the living room and "completely destroying" the kitchen, all while the 11-member family hid themselves in a separate room. Al-‘Uwewi told Ma’an that he called Palestinian Authority (PA) police, who arrived on the scene. Firefighters later arrived to extinguish the fire. Two police officers were hurt as they suffered smoke inhalation while trying to rescue the family. The officers were transferred to a nearby hospital by ambulances sent from the Palestinian Red Crescent.

Imprisoned PLC members urge PA to shoulder Hebron responsibilities
Ma’an News Agency 12/6/2008
Nablus/Salfit - Ma’an – The detained members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) with the change and reform bloc sent a statement of solidarity with the residents of Hebron on Saturday. In the statement, sent from the Israeli Megiddo prison, they called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to shoulder their responsibility to protect citizens and ensure their safety against such attacks. "These attacks are not new,” the statement read, “but the settlers’ fierceness is increasing and more responsible and serious protection for the people of Hebron is required. ”The members wished good health and a speedy recovery to those injured, and urged the PA to provide sufficient support to the people.

Abu Zuhri: UNSC resolution on Al-Khalil hollow
Palestinian Information Center 12/7/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, has criticized the UN Security Council’s "verbal" condemnation of the Jewish settlers’ attacks on Palestinians in Al-Khalil city, describing it as "hollow". Abu Zuhri in a press release on Saturday said that his Movement believes the UNSC resolution on the Jewish settlers’ crimes in Al-Khalil is empty of any meaning, since it is only a verbal decision that does not condemn the Israeli occupation authority and only denounces what it called the settlers’ "violence". The resolution did not include any practical measure to oblige the IOA to evacuate settlers and stop their crimes, he explained. The spokesman said that Hamas affirms the role of resistance in confronting those aggressions, and reiterated calls on the PA leadership in Ramallah to release detained resistance fighters and to hand them their weapons in order to confront those attacks.

Israel: 231 Palestinian Prisoners to be released Sunday
Ma’an News Agency 12/7/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Despite early claims the release would be cancelled the Israeli cabinet approved the Sunday release of 231 Palestinian prisoners in advance of the Muslim holiday Eid Al-Adha. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had initially promised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas 250 prisoners but at the last minute removed the names of 20 Gazan prisoners from the list. The move is meant as a “goodwill” gesture to Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA), who have been involved in fruitless peace negotiations with Israel’s outgoing leader since the November 2007 Annapolis conference in the United States. According to Israeli media sources the 19 names removed from the list were the result of objections from several ministers who were “opposed to releasing prisoners into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Israel offers to ease West Bank restrictions over upcoming holidays
Haaertz Service, Ha’aretz 12/7/2008
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday offered to ease restriction for West Bank Palestinians over the coming Muslim holiday, during talks with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Jerusalem. Among the easing of restrictions, Barak told Fayyad that men over the age of 40 and married women of all ages would be allowed to enter Israel to visit their immediate families. He also said that Arabs with Israeli citizenship would be allowed to enter Area A of the West Bank, a zone typically off limits to all Israelis. Barak promised to grant exit visas to Palestinian men over the age of 45 who wished to pray at the Temple Mount over the course of the holidays. Restrictions on West Bank movement would also be eased, with hours extended at checkpoints to allow longer periods of travel on main roads.

Palestinian citizens of Israel allowed into Qalqilia in private cars
Ma’an News Agency 12/7/2008
Qalqilia – Ma’an – Israeli forces allowed Palestinian citizens of Israel to enter the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia in their private cars on Sunday for the second time this year. The checkpoint locally known referred to as the “DCO” will be open to Palestinians from beyond the green line until Thursday for the Eid Al-Adha holiday. The checkpoint was last open during Eid Al-Fitr, the feast at the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Ordinarily, Qalqilia, a city completely surrounded by Israel’s separation wall, is closed to such travelers. Last week Israeli authorities decided to allow Palestinians living in Israel to access Nablus, a major population center of the West Bank, without permits.

Is an Israeli-Palestinian Confederation Feasible?
Rachelle Kliger, MIFTAH 12/6/2008
JERUSALEM -- With time running out on the U. S. George W. Bush administration and without a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute having been reached, as was hoped, the idea of a Palestinian-Israeli confederation is gradually replacing that of a two-state solution. The notion has been floating around for several years now, in various forms. Josef Avesar, an Israeli-born attorney now based in California, is the founder of the Israeli Palestinian Confederation committee (IPC). With the failure of successive governments on both sides to reach a final-status agreement, the organization has outlined a plan to create an Israeli-Palestinian confederation, which would complement existing governments on both sides, but not marginalize them. Avesar envisions a confederation where Israelis and Palestinians would each retain independent sovereign governments with the same authority they had in the past, while a third government will be made up of Israelis and Palestinians together.

Latin American and Caribbean meeting in support of Israeli-Palestinian peace to be held in Santiago, Chile, 11 – 12 Dec 2008
United Nations General Assembly, ReliefWeb 12/5/2008
United Nations Public Forum in Support Of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Will Follow on 13 December - SANTIAGO, CHILE, 5 December -- The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, with the agreement of the Government of Chile, will convene the United Nations Latin American and Caribbean Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace on 11 and 12 December at the Headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago. The Meeting will be followed by the United Nations Public Forum in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace on 13 December. The holding of the two events is mandated by the. The objective of the Meetings, at this time of reinvigorated efforts at advancing the Israeli-Palestinian political process, is. . .

Barak presents list of holiday gestures
Herb Keinon And Jpost Staff, Jerusalem Post 12/7/2008
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday presented Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayad with a list of goodwill gestures Israel is making to the Palestinians ahead of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, or the "Feast of the Sacrifice. " Committee approves release of 230 Palestinian prisoners "without blood on their hands" for Eid al-Adha - During a meeting in Jerusalem, Barak updated Fayad on Israel’s decision to ease restrictions in the West Bank ahead of the holiday. Based on the decision, Israel will allow Palestinian men over the age of 40 and all married women, regardless of their age, to enter Israel to visit family. Israeli-Arabs will also be allowed to enter parts of Area A, usually off-limits to Israeli citizens. Palestinian men over 45 will also be allowed to travel to Jerusalem for prayer services on the Temple Mount.

VIDEO - School of hard knocks
Al Jazeera 12/6/2008
Universal education was one of the central pillars of the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights 60 years ago. In a special programme, beginning in Gaza, Al Jazeera finds out how such rights are difficult to uphold in conflict zones. There are many things that dstract a child from his or her school exams but an exploding jeep and loud gunfire are rarely top of the list. But that is exactly what forced 10-year-old Wala Mohammed Smairi and her classmates to hurriedly abandon work on one of their end of year tests. "Fighting broke out so we threw the exam papers down and hid under the desks,"she says. "We were crying and shouting and the teachers told us to hide. Watch online"We were stuck in the classroom they couldn’t evacuate us because the bullets were whizzing past the school. "Such violent traumas are sadly not isolated incidents for pupils at Al Maari school. . .

Lessons in Conflict
Al Jazeera 12/6/2008
The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the right to education. "- In pictures- "Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. "But in areas like Gaza, Afghanistan and Iraq those rights are difficult to uphold. Surrounded by conflict and violence on a daily basis the ability of children to continue to study, pass exams and secure a future is severely hampered. War takes away lives, dignity and opportunities. Roughly half the 77 million children in the world who do not attend school are estimated to live in countries affected by war. Sixty years on from the establishment of the UN decalration of human rights Al Jazeera visited three. . .

Palestinian journalist and writer Ayid Amr dead at 49
Ma’an News Agency 12/6/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Renowned Palestinian journalist, writer and poet Ayid Amr died of an apparent heart attack. He was 49. The Union of Palestinian Writers and Poets and the Palestinian Ministry of Education sent condolences to the Amr family applauding the deceased as "one of the pillars of Palestinian journalism," who greatly influenced the Question of Palestine. Amr recently published The Wolf, a book of short stories that look at the image of the wolf in historical, religious and mythological contexts. He also conducted several studies about Palestinian heritage, culture and literature, as well as participated in several conferences at local, Arab and international venues. Amr was known for documenting oral Palestinian history, literature and historic battles. His last position was Educational Editor at Palestinian daily newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah.

Israelis and Palestinians collaborate on nanotech
Gali Weinreb, Globes Online 12/7/2008
Jerusalem universities are establishing a nanotechnology laboratory and have found a new method for diagnosing bilharzia. Two new projects have brought together scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Al-Quds University. Researchers from the two universities have succeeded in developing a method for checking the level of risk in bilharzia, which has been adopted by the World Health Organization and will soon be applied in Nigeria. At the same time, in the field of nanotechnology in which the two universities have been collaborating for a long time, an Israeli-Palestinian-Hungarian joint project has been established, sponsored and funded by the Hungarian Embassy in Israel. The nanotechnology connection was made by Prof. Mukhlas Swani, during his postdoctoral studies at the Hebrew University, with Prof.

Coming Soon: The Palestine Monitor 2009 Factbook
Palestine Monitor, Palestine Monitor 12/6/2008
Hello Friends and Supporters. The Palestine Monitor is proud to announce the impending release of the 2009 Factbook: A Reference Guide for Negotiators, Researchers and Civil Society Leaders Concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The Factbook is being released in hardcopy, and in sections online, to coincide with the one year anniversary of the Annapolis Peace Process launched in November of 2007. The topics discussed within are the economy, the plight of Palestinian children, refugees, prisoners and torture, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, Settlements, Checkpoints and Movement Restrictions, the Wall, Water and Non Violence. Each section has been thoroughly researched and referenced to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available from only the most credible sources. Downloadable versions are available in pdf and include illustrations by our staff.

Gaza fighters say they clashed with invading Israeli forces
Ma’an News Agency 12/7/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian fighters said they threw a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli military vehicle in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, sparking an exchange of fire with the Israeli forces. In a statement, the An-Nasser Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, and the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah, said the Israeli force had invaded the east of Al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Meanwhile the An-Nasser Brigades claimed responsibility for launching two homemade projectiles at Ein Hashlosha kibbutz, east of the city of Khan Younis, and for launching a mortar shell at a military installation in the area. The group also said that two of their members were injured by Israeli shelling in the area of Al-Farahin, east of Khan Younis. Earlier, a group calling themselves the Hizbullah Brigades of Palestine claimed to have launched. . .

Ashkelon rally: State abandoned our children
Shmulik Hadad, YNetNews 12/7/2008
Residents protest against continued rocket attacks from Gaza; Parents’ Association calls for boycott of general elections, says ’enough with this ongoing catastrophe’ -Despite cabinet’s decision to approve the allotment of NIS 695 million (about $174 million) for the fortification of Gaza vicinity communities, some 150 residents of Ashkelon protested Sunday against the continued rocket attacks emanating from north Gaza. Demonstrators waved signs reading "We don’t want to die" and "children of the south are abandoned". The city’s Parents’ Association called for a boycott of the upcoming general elections (February 10) in protest of what it called the government’s disregard for the region’s plight. "We want to tell the government: Enough with this ongoing catastrophe; enough with the anxieties and our children’s nightmares," the association said in a statement.

IOF shelling kills Palestinian fighter, wounds two others
Palestinian Information Center 12/7/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- A Palestinian member of the Salahuddin Brigades, the armed wing of the popular resistance committees, was killed on Saturday while on a resistance mission at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces. The armed wing said in a communiqué that Raed Yousef, 21, was on a special mission east of Gaza city when an IOF tank spotted him and fired a projectile near the separation fence between Gaza and the 1948 occupied land killing him instantly. Meanwhile, medical sources told PIC reporter on Saturday night that two Palestinian resistance fighters were wounded, one of them critically, when an IOF warplane fired a missile at them in Jabalia, northern Gaza. The raid followed an earlier one that targeted another group of resistance fighters in Beit Hanun in northern Gaza. The group members escaped the raid unharmed.

IDF attacks rocket-launching cell in Gaza
Ali Waked, YNetNews 12/7/2008
Army’s spokesperson’s unit says cell was preparing to fire Qassam toward western Negev region when it was struck; Palestinians say no injuries -The IDF attacked a Qassam rocket-launching cell in northern Gaza Sunday evening. The army’s spokesperson’s unit said the cell had been preparing to fire a Qassam toward Israel’s western Negev region when it was attacked. Forces identified a hit, but the Palestinians said there were no reports on injuries. Dozens of rockets and mortars have been fired toward south Israel since Friday. The latest barrage on Sunday saw three Qassams land in the Negev. One rocket exploded at the entrance to Sderot, not far from a school, and caused a panic at the scene. Another rocket landed within the Eshkol Regional Council and a third fell in Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council.

Two PRC fighters injured in Khan Younis
Ma’an News Agency 12/7/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Two Palestinian fighters were injured by an Israeli artillery shell in the Al-Faraheen neighborhood of Khan Younis Sunday morning. According to the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) Israeli forces fired on the fighters from close range from near the Kissufim military base east of Khan Younis. The injured activists have not yet been identified. On Saturday Israeli tanks, warplanes and helicopters breached the Gaza borders on Saturday in pursuit of resistance activists preparing to launch projectiles at Israeli targets. One fighter was killed and another seriously injured in three separate incidents. Throughout Saturday five homemade projectiles were launched from the Gaza strip towards Israeli targets.

PFLP military wing fires two projectiles at Ashkelon
Ma’an News Agency 12/7/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades claimed the launch of two homemade projectiles at the Israeli city of Ashkelon on Sunday morning. The Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said the projectiles were in response to Israeli massacres in the Gaza Strip and settler assaults against Palestinian citizens in Hebron in the southern West Bank. [end]

Obama: I’ll talk to Iran but won’t tolerate threats to Israel Staff, Jerusalem Post 12/7/2008
US president-elect Barack Obama on Sunday presented part of his strategy regarding Iran, saying that he would be willing to conduct direct talks with the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program but would not tolerate continued threats to Israel of support of Islamic terrorism. "We are willing to talk to them directly and give them a clear choice and ultimately let them make a determination in terms of whether they want to do this the hard way or the easy way," Obama told NBC’s Meet the Press. "We need to ratchet up tough but direct diplomacy with Iran, making very clear to them that their development of nuclear weapons would be unacceptable, that their funding of terrorist organizations, their threats against Israel are contrary to everything we believe in," he added. Obama said that his administration would pursue a carrot/stick policy in order to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

No more US ’blank checks’ for Israel - Indyk
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 12/8/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel can no longer expect "blank checks" from Washington once President-elect Barack Obama’s administration takes over in January, a former US ambassador to the Jewish state said on Sunday. "The era of the blank check is over," said Martin Indyk, director of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution who is considered close to incoming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "The Obama administration intends to be engaged, using diplomacy to try to bring about a safer and more peaceful place, that is different from the years of the [George W. ] Bush administration," he said on public radio. "President Obama surely will want to work with Israel on this agenda. But there are obligations on both sides [Israel and the Arabs]. Both sides will have to respect these obligations. "Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert held a "long conversation" with Clinton earlier. . .

Hillary Clinton to Olmert: I will work toward Middle East peace
Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 12/7/2008
Incoming U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Prime Minister Ehud Olmert by telephone Saturday evening that she will work "to bring peace and stability to the Middle East. " Sources close to Olmert said the two spoke at length and that he was left with the impression that Clinton will be very involved in the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians. "The prime minister views (Senator) Clinton as a true friend of Israel. She promised that she would continue to act to bring peace and stability to the Middle East," the advisor said in a statement. Clinton also spoke to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak over the weekend. Livni expressed confidence that she and Clinton would cooperate in order to create a better reality for the Middle East and for the world.

US counterinsurgency expert: Israel can raise awareness of threat of premature Iraq pullout
Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post 12/6/2008
Israel could play a larger role in raising awareness of the threats that lie in a potential premature US withdrawal from Iraq, one of the authors of the American military’s counterinsurgency field manual said last week. Speaking to The Jerusalem Post ahead of his first visit to Israel on Sunday, Lt. -Col. (ret. ) John Nagl said that Israel could be helpful in explaining its perspective on the potential threats that will accompany a US withdrawal from Iraq. Last year, the IDF designated Iraq as a threat that could develop over the next decade following a US withdrawal. Israel is concerned that, following a withdrawal, Iran will try to solidify its control over Iraq, a move that could lead to Sunni-Shi’ite fighting and possible regional instability. "A precipitated American withdrawal could be a catastrophe for the people of Iraq, the region and the US," Nagl said in a phone interview from his home in Washington DC.

Birthright guarantees funding through March
Haviv Rettig, Jerusalem Post 12/7/2008
Birthright israel informed trip operators over the weekend it had the funds to finance all birthright trips planned through the end of March. The move came a day after a report in The Jerusalem Post that the organization was approving new trips later and more carefully than in previous years due to fears that the worldwide financial crunch would affect its donations. "There won’t be a single cancellation [due to insufficient funds] in the winter trips," birthright CEO Gidi Mark told the Post hours after the announcement was made to operators. The relatively late confirmation - the week before, birthright had informed operators it had yet to confirm funding for the February and March trips -is appropriate considering the circumstances, insisted Mark. "This year, we’re confirming new trips more carefully [than in the past], because we don’t want to have to cancel any.

Obama says will pursue carrot-stick Iran policy
Reuters, YNetNews 12/7/2008
US president-elect says prepared to offer Islamic Republic economic incentives to stop nuclear program, warns sanctions could be toughened if it refuses; adds threats against Israel ’contrary to everything we believe in’ - US President-elect Barack Obama said on Sunday he was prepared to offer Iran economic incentives to stop its nuclear program, but he also warned that sanctions could be toughened if it refused. " We are willing to talk to them directly and give them a clear choice and ultimately let them make a determination in terms of whether they want to do this the hard way or the easy way," Obama told NBC’s "Meet the Press" program. Dealing with Iran’s uranium enrichment program, which some Western countries say is being used to develop a nuclear bomb, will be one of the first foreign policy tests for Obama after he takes office on January 20.

Carter to publish new peace book
JTA, Jerusalem Post 12/7/2008
Jimmy Carter has written a new book about Middle East peace. The former president told his Carter Center, based in Atlanta, that his new book, "We Can Bring Peace to the Holy Land," would be published after President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration in January. Carter otherwise would not discuss the book. On Wednesday, Carter spoke of Israel’s "persecution of the Palestinians" during a panel discussion that concluded a two-day seminar at the Carter Center on international human rights. The ex-president’s last book, "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid," sparked controversy for likening Israeli settlement policies to apartheid and for accusing pro-Israel groups of muzzling debate in the United States. During his tenure as president, Carter brokered the 1978 Israel-Egypt peace deal.

Canada defends Saudi policy of shunning tourists who visited Israel
Jerusalem Post 12/6/2008
The Canadian government has come to the defense of Saudi Arabia, telling The Jerusalem Post that the desert kingdom’s policy of barring entry to Canadian citizens whose passports bear an Israeli visa or border stamp is "accepted practice. " According to the Web site of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, "Canadians have been denied entry into Saudi Arabia because their passports bore: a) an Israeli visa; b) an Israeli border stamp; or c) an Egyptian or Jordanian border stamp issued by an office bordering Israel (such a stamp would indicate the traveller entered from Israel). " Contacted via e-mail by the Post, Department spokesman Lisa Monette was asked how the Canadian government views the Saudi policy. Monette refused to criticize or condemn the practice, instead asserting that, "it is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. "

Pakistani security expert acusses ''Western, Hindu Zionists'' of carrying out terror attacks in Mumbai
Justin Theriault, International Middle East Media Center News 12/6/2008
In a television interview, Pakistani security expert, Zaid Hamid, accused "Western and Hindu Zionists" of planning the November 26th terrorist attacks in Mumbai, The Middle East Media Research Institute reports. In an interview with Pakistan’s News One television channel, Pakistani Security Expert, Zaid Hamid, accused "Western and Hindu Zionists" of planning the 11/26 Mumbai attacks. "He also stated that if "the Indians attack Pakistan, the war will be fought within India, not on Pakistani soil. "The interview was on television 24 hours after the Mumbai terrorist attacks began. Zaid Hamid is a former mujahid who fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan during the 1980s. He is the founder and contributor to the Pakistani think tank BrassTacks. In the interview, Zaid Hamid states that "’the Indians have themselves always wanted to orchestrate a 9/11, to create the same drama [9/11] in which they could include Americans and Israelis.

Israel, Morocco quietly discussing Livni visit
Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
Israel and Morocco are quietly discussing having Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni visit the North African kingdom in the coming weeks, senior Jerusalem sources said. This would be the first visit to Morocco by an Israeli foreign minister since Silvan Shalom went in 2003. The sources said Foreign Ministry director general Aharon Abramovitz visited Morocco a few weeks ago and brought up the idea with senior officials from the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The two countries have been working to advance such a visit. Morocco seemed poised to invite Livni to participate in a conference there, but in the end she was not invited. Now the talks are back on, the government sources said: Abramovitz visited two weeks ago ostensibly to take part in a conference on European-Mediterranean relations, but his focus was actually setting a date for Livni’s visit, before the Knesset elections in February.

Leading British paper: Blair should resign envoy post
Ma’an News Agency 12/6/2008
Bethlehem - Ma’an/Agencies - Former British Prime Minister and current Middle East Peace Envoy Tony Blair should resign, according to an opinion piece in the Times of London published on Friday. "Mr Blair is associated with a series of disastrous policy decisions. He will forever be remembered as the junior partner in the US-led invasion of Iraq," the newspaper wrote in an article that challenged Blair’s suitability for the job. "Blair backed the Israeli offensive against Hezbollah, even after it was clear that the campaign was misdirected, that innocent Lebanese were caught up in the attack, that huge damage was being done to the country’s infrastructure and that one of the few democratically elected Western-leaning governments in the Arab world was being undermined. "Partly as a result of his support for the war, Mr Blair resigned last year and dedicated his work to finding peace in the region, a laudable ambition.

Top Likudniks urge rank and file to ignore Netanyahu’s list
Mazal Mualem, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
When Likud members cast their votes in today’s primary, they should ignore chairman Benjamin Netanyahu’s list of recommended candidates, several senior Likud officials urged yesterday. The list has infuriated many senior party members, who warned that Netanyahu risks a backlash: Should the candidates he is opposing nevertheless make it onto the party’s Knesset slate, they are liable to retaliate by working against him in the Knesset. "In a democratic process, it is not good for the movement’s leader to be recommending this or that person," commented MK Reuven Rivlin. Netanyahu’s recommendations are aimed primarily at keeping Moshe Feiglin and his supporters off the slate, as Netanyahu fears that Feiglin’s radical views could drive centrist voters away. But he also apparently fears that supporters of his main rival in the party, Silvan Shalom, might dominate the slate, thereby. . .

Barak, Livni clash over Qatari aid, Qassam defense
Barak Ravid and Yanir Yagna, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
The pre-election political rivalry between Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak ratcheted up a notch yesterday, after the Kadima leader accused her Labor counterpart of harming the security of residents in the south and Barak rejected a Livni-brokered deal that would have allowed a Qatari ship to unload humanitarian aid for Gazans at the Ashdod port. Meanwhile, as Palestinians repeatedly fired on the Negev yesterday, the cabinet approved Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s proposal to allocate NIS 600 million for the protection of communities located within 4. 5 kilometers of the security fence surrounding the Gaza Strip. Local leaders called for rapid implementation of the plan, and dozens of Ashkelon residents rallied to protest the lack of protection at municipal schools. "I know that this is an intense political season, and I’m aware of the suffering of the. . .

Tensions grow between Netanyahu, far-rightist Feiglin as Likud primary looms
Mazal Mualem, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
The battle between Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and party strongman Moshe Feiglin is expected to reach fever pitch today, only one day ahead of the primary election for the faction’s Knesset list. Netanyahu has come out strongly against the candidacy of the radical rightwing activist because of the power he wields within the party, and fears that his association with Likud may damage the new centrist image its leader is trying to present to the public. According to some estimates, Feiglin is supported by at least 7,000 well-organized party members and has a good chance of being elected a spot on the list somewhere between the 10th and 20th place. Feiglin’s camp is known as the Jewish Leadership faction with the slogan: "We need a Feiglin in the Knesset. "Many other Likud candidates have sought the support of Feiglin and his supporters,. . .

As Labor fades, new leftist movement steps into the breach
Ofri Ilani, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
Leftist activists including a large of number of artists and celebrities gathered in Tel Aviv on Friday for the founding conference of a new left-wing movement whose aim is to become a significant factor in Israeli politics. The as-ye-unnamed new movement will be spearheaded by the existing left-wing Meretz party, and is said to incorporate other movements. Gatherers said the need for such a party was particularly important because of their disappointment in Labor, which has historically been the most important left-of-center party and whose current standing in the polls is at an all-time low. "The Labor party is no longer the leviathan is used to be," Prof. Avner Ben Zaken, one of the new movement’s leaders, said. "That leviathan is dead but its corpse still occupies a very important place in politics.

Decision day for pension safety net
Lilach Weissman and Stella Korin Lieber, Globes Online 12/7/2008
Olmert pledges that there will be a decision made tomorrow regarding a safety net for pension funds. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the cabinet today that there will be a decision made tomorrow on the safety net for pension funds. After hearing Minister of Finance Ronnie Bar-On set out the government’s economic stimulus plan, Olmert said. "What still remains, is to decide about the pension savings. " Olmert stressed the decision will be taken, as previously committed, by tomorrow, in a forum comprising the Minister of Finance, Governor of the Bank of Israel, and the Prime Minister. "Any decision must be taken without being influenced by political matters and according to the economic situation. So far we have behaved with commendable restraint and the required speed," Olmert added.

Bar-On: Blocking stimulus plans endangers economy
Moti Bassok, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
Finance Minister Roni Bar-On will present a survey of the economic situation to the cabinet at its regular weekly meeting Sunday. The survey will focus on the Israeli economy in light of the world economic crisis, and its effects here. Monday, a group of senior officials from the treasury, Bank of Israel and the Prime Minister’s Office will present its plan on the safety net for pension savings. Bar-On’s presentation to the cabinet will focus on the treasury’s economic stimulus plan, which has two main parts: massive investments in infrastructure and a financial plan to increase the availability of liquidity to provide more credit. He will tell the cabinet that the chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, Prof. Avishay Braverman (Labor), made a serious mistake last week when he refused to hold a vote on the treasury’s economic. . .

Labor’s long demise
Gideon Levy, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
Don’t blame Ehud Barak, he’s just the victim. Don’t blame Eitan Cabel, he is the one who registers the death certificate for the corpse that is the Labor Party, which has been wallowing in the streets for years, twitching and gurgling. For all intents and purposes the party concluded its historic role the day after the Six-Day War. Since then, we have gone downhill, the party and us, deteriorating deeper and deeper. Only artificial attempts to resuscitate it by joining almost any government allowed it to live barely, if one can call it living when talking about a party of the left. Now it is in vogue to blame Barak, but the original sin has long been committed. Now, infuriatingly overdue, comes the punishment. Labor died when Golda Meir, Yigal Alon, Shimon Peres and Yisrael Galili turned into the major contractors of the settlement. . .

Feiglin endorses ’Land of Israel loyalists’
Amnon Meranda, YNetNews 12/7/2008
Likud hardliner backs several candidates, including Benny Begin, ahead of Monday’s primaries - Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu probably won’t like it, yet hardliner Moshe Feiglin is taking off the gloves and urging his supporters to back several candidates in Monday’s primaries. The endorsement list, acquired by Ynet, includes Benny Begin as well as Knesset Members Reuven Rivlin, Gideon Sa’ar, Gilad Erdan, and Moshe Kahlon, among others. The list will be published Monday on Feiglin’s website and will also be issued via a recorded message. Feiglin’s associates stressed that the endorsed names do not indicate "deals" with the candidates, but rather, ideological support. One associate said that "some of the candidates who enjoy our support don’t even know this yet. " "The list grants preference to people who are loyal to the Land of Israel and to Likud values," said another associate.

Average wage fell 1.2% in third quarter
Haim Bior, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
The gross average wage dropped 1. 2% in the third quarter, to NIS 8,120 a month, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced yesterday. It seems the economic slowdown is being felt in almost all sectors. However, the big drop came in the financial sector, where salaries fell 8. 2% over the three-month period, as compared to the previous quarter. In energy and electricity wages actually rose 0. 3%, and in construction, they rose 0. 2%. There are 2. 8 million salaried workers in Israel. There was a 1. 7% increase in the number of people working in food and lodging in the quarter. Another area still growing is sales and customer service, whose demand for employees is growing. [end]

46% of Israeli firms cancel raises
Sharon Baider, Globes Online 12/7/2008
Companies are cutting back on employee benefits as the economy slows down. 46% of industrial companies have cancelled employee pay hikes planned for 2009, and 40% of companies have cancelled bonuses, according to a new survey by the Manufacturers Association of Israelof 50 companies. The firms surveyed ranged from small to large, and included all manufacturing sectors. Manufacturers Association head of labor and human resources Avi Barak said, "The survey of dozens of factory personnel and human resources managers also showed that 48% of factories have suspended hiring for 2009. " 69% of the factories have reduced overtime and 22% have cancelled shift work. 32% of factories are restricting fuel use by company vehicles, 18% have replaced company cars with cheaper models, and 8% have reduced the number of cars in an effort to cut costs.

Four out of five firms will need more money in 2009
Ran Rimon, Globes Online 12/7/2008
Available business sector credit totals NIS 741 billion. Nearly 60% of trade and services companies need to increase their credit structures, and the average increase needed is 30%, according to a survey by the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce. 81% of trade and services companies will need to increase their credit structuring in 2009. The survey covered 80 trade and services companies, including retailers, wholesalers food, communications, and logistics companies. 68% of the respondents were small and mid-sized businesses and the rest were large companies. Among the companies that said that they will need more credit in 2009, 36% said it was needed to expand their business, 33% said it was needed for working capital, and 31% said it was because of an expected slowdown in activity.

Merrill sees Israel GDP growth cut by 75% in 2009
Globes'' correspondent, Globes Online 12/7/2008
The investment bank said exports to the US account for almost 17% of Israeli GDP. Merrill Lynch, in a report on emerging EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Asia) economies, says that Israel’s GDP growth in 2008 will reach over 4%, but will slow to only a quarter of that rate in 2009. The investment bank attributes its estimated 2008 growth of 4. 1% to strong export performance and domestic demand. However, as exports to the US account for almost 17% of Israeli GDP, the investment bank sees the growth rates slowing to 1% in 2009. Merrill expects that the budget deficit will widen to 2. 9% of GDP. [end]

Experts urge change in haredi school system to battle poverty
Tamar Trabelsi-Hadad, YNetNews 12/7/2008
Economists, educators say if ultra-Orthodox education system fails to introduce math, English studies, its graduates will be doomed to life of unemployment, poverty - Regardless of the current global financial crisis, economists and educators warn that the cycle of poverty in Israel is expected to expand even further, due to the Education Ministry’s failure to enforce core curriculum on ultra-Orthodox schools. Several years ago, the High Court has instructed the ministry to include in the curriculums of all sectors several basic classes - math, English, science, citizenship education, history and bible studies - as a precondition for government funding. However, prior to the opening of the current school year, the haredi parties managed to persuade the Education Ministry to support legislation that allows haredi schools not to teach those subjects while continuing to receive funding from the State.

Universities ganging up to prevent Weizmann Institute workers organizing
Ruth Sinai, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
In an unprecedented move, Tel Aviv University’s administration demanded that a university legal clinic stop representing workers seeking to unionize at the Weizmann Institute. The clinic therefore decided to transfer the case to an outside lawyer, so as not to harm the workers’ efforts. The affair began when workers at the Davidson Institute, which is part of Weizmann, decided to join the Koach La’Ovdim union. The university refused to recognize the union, prompting demonstrations by the workers, at which some were beaten by university guards. One of the demonstrators suffered a broken knee. Following this incident, the Davidson Institute’s chairman, Prof. Haim Harari, wrote to Tel Aviv’s rector, Prof. Dan Leviatan, to protest the legal clinic’s involvement. Prof. Israel Bar-Joseph, Weizmann’s vice president, said that this was a personal appeal by Harari; the university itself "didn’t ask for anything and didn’t write anything.

Report: Air pollution levels are twice the legal limit
Zafrir Rinat, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
Air pollution in Israel poses a serious threat to the health of the Israeli public, even though in recent years the power stations have started using cleaner natural gas and local gas stations have begun to provide cleaner fuels than in the past. This finding emerges from the report on air quality in Israel in 2007, published by the Environmental Protection Ministry. According to the report, all the ministry’s measuring stations last year registered an exceptional rise in the concentration of tiny pollutant particles that cause heart and lung diseases and are the source of hundreds of deaths each year. The deviations that were measured ranged between 120-187 percent from the legal limit. Even graver were the measurements near main traffic arteries, which exceed the legal limit by 200 percent. Especially high concentrations of ozone were registered in both Haifa and Carmiel, but also in Afula, Modi’in and Carmei Yosef.

Reputed mobster Nissim Alperon nabbed in raid
Yuval Goren, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
Reputed mobster Nissim Alperson was arrested Sunday along with an additional 19 suspects during a police raid in the Ramat Gan financial district. Dozens of undercover detectives swarmed a restaurant where Alperon was dining and during a subsequent search of a scooter belonging to an associate of Alperon, found a pistol. The detectives were accompanied by officers from the Israel Police Special Patrol Unit. The suspects were taken in for questioning and will face remand hearings in the morning. Police are probing whether or not the weapon was to be used to carry out a crime at a later time. Nissim’s brother crime kingpin Ya’akov Alperon was killed in mid-November when his private vehicle passed over a bomb at the corner of Pinkas Street and Namir Road in north Tel Aviv.

Poll: Netanyahu most likely to advance peace
Ynet, YNetNews 12/7/2008
War and Peace Index shows 31% of Kadima voters believe Netanyahu can promote peace while safeguarding Israel’s interests. Most Israelis support establishment of Palestinian state - Which government will succeed in advancing the peace process while safeguarding Israel’s interests in the context of negotiations with the different Arab actors? According to the War and Peace Index published on , 35% of the public said a Netanyahu-led government was best fit for the job. A government headed by Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni got the vote of 25% of the public, while only 6% opted for a Barak-headed government as the one that would best succeed in fulfilling this task. Among the rest, 15% said all the possibilities were "the same" in their eyes and 20% responded that they did not know or had no clear position on the matter.

Pilgrims throng Arafat on Hajj
Al Jazeera 12/7/2008
Millions of Muslim pilgrims have descended on the plain of Arafat in Saudi Arabia on the second day of Hajj. Leaving the tent city of Mina early on Sunday, the pilgrims gathered for a day of reflection and prayer at the foot of Mount Arafat, where the Prophet Muhammad gave his farewell sermon. "Here I am in answer to Thy call, Lord, here I am. There is no other God but Thee. Praise be unto Thee," the pilgrims prayed. Organisers have so far reported no major problems. In past years, hundreds of people have been killed in stampedes and fires. More than 100,000 security guards have been deployed this year to discourage crime and help control the crowds. ’Major event’ - Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and it is mandatory for all able-bodied Muslims with the financial means to undertake it once in their lifetimes.

Guantanamo torture censorship challenged
Middle East Online 12/6/2008
WASHINGTON - US rights group the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said Friday it has filed a legal action to end US censorship of testimony by prisoners at Guantanamo Bay about torture at the hands of US officials. In the motion filed with the judge overseeing the prosecution of five defendants charged in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, the ACLU is seeking to bar the practise of suppressing testimony about torture and demanding the release of transcripts of past proceedings in which the audio was turned off. "Currently, the government cuts off the audio feed whenever a detainee testifies about CIA abuse so that observers cannot hear descriptions of brutal interrogations," the ACLU said in a statement. "The point of this motion is to say that the experiences of the defendants cannot be classified," said Ben Wizner, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project.

Blackwater guards told to surrender
Al Jazeera 12/8/2008
A group of five private security guards who allegedly killed 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad have been ordered to surrender themselves to the FBI within 24 hours. The order was given on Sunday and lawyers for the men, who were working for the private contractor Blackwater in Iraq, said they would hand themselves in on Monday. The details over the group’s identities and charges against them had been kept secret for more than a year, but were released on Sunday. The men are all decorated war veterans who were contracted to protect US diplomats in Iraq. They are accused of firing on 17 Iraqi civilians in Nisoor Square, in September 2007. Their identites are Evan Liberty and Donald Ball, both 26-year-old former marines,Dustin Heard, a 27-year-old ex-marine, Nick Slatten, 25, an ex-army sergeant, and Paul Slough, a 29-year-old army veteran.

2 Qassams land in Negev; no injuries
Shmulik Hadad, YNetNews 12/8/2008
Salah al-Din Brigades claim responsibility for rocket fire. Eshkol Council head: Government must bring back sense of security to region -Palestinians in north Gaza fired two Qassams toward Israel’s western Negev region Sunday evening, but there were no reports of injuries or damage. One of the rockets landed near a kibbutz located within the Eshkol Regional Council limits, while the other landed near a kibbutz in the Sdot Negev Regional Council. The Salah al-Din Brigades, the military arm of the Popular Resistance Committees, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire. Eshkol Regional Council Head Haim Yalin, who lives in close proximity to the landing site of one of the rockets, told Ynet "we heard a very loud blast; the houses shook. Unfortunately, these attacks have been going on all day long.

VIDEO - Mobster Alperon’s brother: We won’t attack those who killed Ya’akov
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
Haaretz. com/Channel 10 daily feature for December 7, 2008. The assassination of crime kingpin Ya’akov Alperon in a Tel Aviv car bombing last month was widely believed to have rocked Israel’s underworld. There is a sweeping gag order over the investigation into the killing. But police sources have said that rival mob boss Amir Mulner is a central suspect, an assertion that has been lent weight by the support of Alperon’s brother, Zalman. Despite Zalman Alperon’s harsh words for his brother’s killers, he has pledged that his family is not seeking revenge for the daylight assassination. [end]

Finance Minister: Measures are root canal for the crisis
Globes'' correspondent, Globes Online 12/7/2008
Bar-On: We’re a government that is ending its term. It’s not the time to change the world. Minister of Finance Ronnie Bar-On today briefed the cabinet on the economic situation and his economic stimulus plan. "We’ve submitted for approval a number of dramatic measures to boost the economy, solve the market failure in credit, and strengthen bondholders. These measures are root canal treatment of the crisis challenges that will first and foremost protect savers. These measures must be allowed to act, and act fast," he said. As for the Ministry of Finance’s separate plan for intervening in the capital market, Bar-On said, "We prepared a plan to provide NIS 5 billion for the establishment of joint investment funds with financial institutions, which will deal with non-bank credit and its repayment. This measure is accompanied by radical credit mechanisms to help bondholders reach debt. . .

Likud set to elect Knesset roster
Amnon Meranda, YNetNews 12/8/2008
Nearly 100,000 registered Likud members have opportunity to select party’s Knesset list ahead of upcoming elections; Netanyahu-Feiglin battle to draw most attention. Voter turnout rate expected to top 50% - Likud set to elect Knesset list: With the party’s prospects to win the next elections looking good, Likud’s 99,000 registered members will given the opportunity to elect its Knesset roster Monday. Polling stations will open at 10 am at 90 locations nationwide and remain open until 11 pm. The voter turnout rate is estimated be somewhere in the 50-60% range. Likud voters will be casting their ballots through a computerized system, in the hopes of averting the computer fiasco in the Labor primaries last week. Three main battles will be at the center of attention during the primaries: A battle for Likud’s image, pitting Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu against hardliner Moshe Feiglin.

A matter of political life and death
Yossi Verter, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
When the Likud’s computers spit out the party’s slate for the 18th Knesset tonight, it will leave in its wake a long list of people who are bitter and hungry for revenge. All of them will have a single target: party chairman Benjamin Netanyahu. The man of whom Ariel Sharon once said, "I don’t know whom to help - your right hand or your left hand," has been digging deep with both hands into every corner of the Likud’s list in recent days. Instead of confining himself to general statements, or to support for a mere two or three specific candidates, Netanyahu is up to his neck in the swamp of political deals, and is clashing openly with sitting MKs and other candidates. Some of the former are so angry with him for neglecting them in favor of candidates who are newcomers to the party that they are working night and day to help Moshe Feiglin’s candidates, whom Netanyahu wants to keep off the list.

Who’s been leaking data from the voter rolls?
Shahar Ilan, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
Israelis will be able to call the Interior Ministry or send a text message starting today to confirm they appear on the voter rolls, the ministry announced yesterday. The statement sparked concerns that voter details - names, national identification numbers, addresses, telephone numbers and dates of birth - could find their way into the hands of private investigators, businessmen and hackers posting the information to the Internet, as has happened in the past. Civil rights groups view the leaking of such information as a symbol of further privacy-violating data leaks, similar to those they fear from a planned biometric database. In a Haaretz investigation, reporter Aviva Lori has discovered that many private investigators have access to the Population Registry, of which the voter rolls are a part. One of the investigators told her it was easy to pick up compact discs storing the. . .

Olmert’s travel planner quizzed in corruption affairs
Tomer Zarchin and Jonathan Lis, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s travel planner was questioned by police last week in what appears to be the final interrogation before the state prosecution decides whether to indict her over her involvement in two corruption investigations Olmert is facing. Rachael Risby-Raz - Olmert’s travel planner when he served as Jerusalem mayor and industry and trade minister, and now the Diaspora affairs adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office - is suspected of playing a role in the Rishon Tours and Talansky affairs. Attorney General Menachem Mazuz recently announced he has decided to indict Olmert and his former chief of staff, Shula Zaken, subject to a hearing. Both are accused of fraud and breach of trust, among other offenses. The Rishon Tours investigation began in June, over allegations Olmert had accepted money illegally while he was a mayor and minister.

’Cheating MK’ demands retrial
Aviad Glickman, YNetNews 12/7/2008
Former Knesset Member Yehiel Hazan wants Supreme Court to review double-voting case - Former Knesset Member Yehiel Hazan, convicted in a double-voting scandal during his term as MK, is demanding a retrial. Hazan’s motion follows a Yedioth Ahronoth exposé that showed current Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On voting in place of MK Inbal Gavrieli. Hazan petitioned the Supreme Court Sunday, demanding a retrial. His attorney, Asher Chen, claimed that the former MK approached police officials and Attorney General Menachem Mazuz and asked them to look into the affair. However, Hazan says the matter has not yet been looked into. At the time, Hazan was sentenced to four months of community service following his conviction in the affair, where he was said to vote in place of another Knesset member. However, the former MK says that the new revelations would have changed the ruling in his case had they been presented to the court.

Parents of soldiers at Tel Arad base: Don’t let our sons become cancer victims
Dana Weiler, Ha’aretz 12/7/2008
A group of 50 parents of soldiers serving in the Israel Defense Forces protested Sunday in Tel Aviv following recent reports on the high cancer rate found among Nahal Brigade soldiers. The group gathered across from the IDF compound on Sunday, demanding that the Tel Arad training base in which their sons and daughters serve be vacated. "In light of what we already know, and until we get the full picture, the boys must be removed from the base immediately instead of becoming victims," said Orly Maron, whose son serves in Tel Arad. The parents fumed particularly over the fact that they had been withheld information regarding the high cancer rate in Nahal compared with other brigades - information that was revealed by Channel 2 only last week. "The data exists since 2002 and no one bothered to mention this to the soldiers," another parent said.

Infrastructure Min.: Demanding Olmert’s resignation was a mistake
Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 12/7/2008
The Labor Party made a mistake when it called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign after he had already announced that he was planning to step down if an indictment was filed against him in any of the multiple corruption investigations against him, Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) said Saturday. Speaking at an event in Ramat Gan, Eliezer said "the Labor Party made two pivotal mistakes recently. The first one was staying in the government after the publication of the Winograd report, for which I too am to blame," referring to the report compiled by the Winograd commission on the failures of the government and the military during the 2006 Second Lebanon War. "The second mistake was the demand that Olmert resign, even though he had already announced that he would step down if an indictment was filed against him.

Parents demand IDF evacuate south base
Daniel Edelson, YNetNews 12/7/2008
Families of soldier serving in southern base of Tel Arad want military to evacuate sons pending probe of spiked cancer morbidity on base. Fight, they say, is not against the army, but for soldiers -Dozens of parents to Israel Defense Forces soldiers stationed in the Tel Arad Base in southern Israel staged a rally in front to the IDF’s Kirya Base in Tel Aviv on Sunday, demanding Tel Arad be evacuated immediately. The parents cited a report, suggesting that the rate of cancer cases diagnosed in soldiers who serve on the base, which is a Nahal training facility, is 2. 5 times higher than that of soldiers serving in the Infantry Corps as a whole, as the reason for their protest. "This isn’t a demonstration against the IDF, it’s a rally for the soldiers," Sigalit Kessler, whose two sons serve on the base, told Ynet.

New York-born Likud contender promises to promote aliya and fight a two-state solution
Shelly Paz, Jerusalem Post 12/6/2008
New-York born Shmuel Sackett, who was convicted of sedition for blocking roads during demonstrations against the Oslo Accords, hopes to run for Knesset with the Likud, and is contending for one of the slots reserved for immigrants in the party’s primary Monday. Sackett, 47, a supporter of far-right Likud Knesset hopeful Moshe Feiglin, has been publishing his cell phone number in ads inThe Jerusalem Post and other media outlets, promising to make himself personally available to residents if he is elected. He said that if he makes it into the Knesset, he will work to bring all Jews waiting to make aliya to Israel. He also rejects the idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, saying this is the state of the Jewish people only. "I am for settling any place we can in the State of Israel and building more settlements and more homes," he said.


Memo for Obama
Uri Avnery – Israel, Palestine Chronicle 12/5/2008
      ’Your personal intervention, at the critical moment, could do wonders.’
     For the President-Elect, Mr. Barack Obama.
     The following humble suggestions are based on my 70 years of experience as an underground fighter, special forces soldier in the 1948 war, editor-in-chief of a newsmagazine, member of the Knesset and founding member of a peace movement:
     (1) As far as Israeli-Arab peace is concerned, you should act from Day One.
     (2) Israeli elections are due to take place in February 2009. You can have an indirect but important and constructive impact on the outcome, by announcing your unequivocal determination to achieve Israeli-Palestinian, Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-all-Arab peace in 2009.
     (3) Unfortunately, all your predecessors since 1967 have played a double game. While paying lip service to peace, and sometimes going through the motions of making some effort for peace, they have in practice supported our governments in moving in the very opposite direction. In particular, they have given tacit approval to the building and enlargement of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories, each of which is a land mine on the road to peace.

More violent than ever: Review of a Palestinian week, filled by settlers’ attacks

Palestine Monitor, Palestine Monitor 12/6/2008
      Ongoing violent attacks perpetrated by extremist Jewish settlers against Palestinians civilians and property has reached an unprecedented level in the West Bank. The escalation of hatred and racist aggression targeting Palestinian civilians all across the West Bank, including women and children has led to this retrospective review of the events of last week.
     Hebron: The violence reached its climax this week after the evacuation of the Rajbi’s family house (AKA the "˜House of Contention’) in Khalil in the southern West Bank. Khalil, or Hebron, is a Palestinian city where approximately 600-800 Jewish settlers live downtown - with several thousand more in surrounding settlements.
     Five Palestinian houses were occupied by hundreds of Jewish settlers who then set the homes on fire. Settlers burnt and destroyed seven cars, along with trucks belonging to the Hebronite fire brigade. Nine of them have been entirely destroyed.

The Daily Pogroms Committed by Jewish Terrorists in Hebron

Sami Jamil Jadallah, Palestine Think Tank 12/7/2008
      Hitler campaign against the Jews started on 1st of April, 1933 when Hitler’s Strum Abteilung (SA) picketed Jewish shops. Hitler wanted to make life hell for the Jews so they are forced to immigrate and leave their country of Germany. The forced exiles of German Jews from Germany went on for years culminating in the mass murder of over 6 million Jews in concentration camps all over Germany and Poland.
     This campaign of terror against the Jews was relentless and on the night of 9-10 of November ,1938 over 7,500 Jewish owned shops were destroyed and over 400 synagogues were burned. This night became known as Crystal Night signaling the official start of the Holocaust.
     What is happening now in Hebron/Al-Khalil by Jewish settler terrorists is no different from the Crystal Night carried out by Hitler’s Strum Abteilung. In fact and since the Hebron Agreement or Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron/Al-Khalil negotiated during the period of January 15-17, 1997 and signed by non others than Benjamin Netanyahu and Yasser Arafat under the supervision of Warren Christopher and Dennis Ross, for the Palestinians in Hebron/Al-Khalil every night is a Crystal Night....

Rights watchdog: After U.S., Israel is least egalitarian country in West

Tomer Zarchin, Ha’aretz 12/8/2008
      The past year has seen a dramatic rise in the number of violent attacks perpetrated by Jewish settlers against Palestinians in the territories. Yet, only 8 percent of the police investigations of settler violence result in indictments. This finding is contained in a new report, published yesterday by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), to mark the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The report states that in most instances of innocent civilian bystanders being killed in the territories, no investigation is opened. Also, only a small number of the cases that are investigated result in an indictment.
     ACRI reports that in most of Israel’s mixed towns, including Ramle, Lod, Acre, Haifa and Jaffa, Arab citizens suffer from discrimination. The infrastructure in the Arab neighborhoods is neglected, public buildings and parks are lacking, there is a poor education system and health and welfare services are insufficient. The past decade has seen an increase in the gaps in life expectancy between Jews and Arabs and also between the center and the periphery. As such, the infant mortality rate in the periphery is double that in the country’s center. Moreover, there are fewer hospital beds and doctors as well as less medical equipment per capita in the periphery, as compared to the center.

The Adventures of Andy in Disappeared Palestine

Hatim Kanaaneh - Galilee, Palestine Chronicle 12/5/2008
      This sounds like a lovely title for a children’s book or even a fairytale. Indeed the tale told here is fantastic and hard for the sane mature to believe, fit only for the imagination of a child. It is about the surreal happenings in few days in the life of Andy, a real person who showed up at the Acre train station one evening with an assortment of video-recording equipment.
     Andy hails from America. He belongs to the rare breed of self-assigned truth and justice seekers who dedicate themselves to the task of saving the human race at this late hour of its incessant march, lemmings like, to its demise. He has no plausible connection to Palestine or the Palestinians except that he, like Jimmy Carter, finds them awfully wronged and their suffering worthy of recognition. He wants to set the record straight. Together with another fighter for Palestine, Dr. Ahlam (Arabic for ’dreams’) Muhtaseb, he sets out to document the wrongs done the Palestinians in 1948 through visits to their destroyed former homes and the recording of interviews with members of separated families in Galilee and the refugee camps in Lebanon.

Open Letter to the British Foreign Secretary

Stuart Littlewood - London, Palestine Chronicle 12/5/2008
      Miliband, once head of Tony Blair’s policy unit is now foreign secretary.
     To Mr David Miliband, You seem like a clever man -- Kennedy scholar, something big in Social Justice, then head of Tony Blair’s policy unit, now foreign secretary. Tell us, why do so many western politicians have so much trouble coming to terms with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which their countries are obliged to observe?
     Is it because they haven’t bothered to read it? Or do they simply not care? Either way, they neglect their duty.
     Understanding the Declaration is really no sweat. A glance at the Preamble is enough to grasp the fundamentals:
     • Recognition of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
     • Violence against tyranny and oppression is what happens if these rights are not protected by the rule of law.
     • Member States (and that includes Britain) have pledged themselves to promote universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Jerusalem’s Status: To Be Determined

Nadia W. Awad – The West Bank, Palestine Chronicle 12/5/2008
      Last week, approximately 100 American Orthodox Jews gathered in Jerusalem’s Talpiot district in conjunction with a national convention for the Orthodox Union, an American Jewish group. The choice of location was significant to them, as it was the site designated by the US for the building of a future embassy in Jerusalem. The main objective of the rally was to call for the US government to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the ’undivided capital of Israel’. The title of the convention was also telling: Keep It One, Keep It Ours.
     Despite the significant fact that there are no embassies, only consulates, in Jerusalem, most people around the world are ignorant of one detail: Jerusalem has never been officially recognized as the capital of Israel. On the contrary, most countries consider its status as yet to be determined, with Israel’s control of east Jerusalem considered a very illegal military occupation. As such, recognizing the de facto control of Israel over Jerusalem does not equate to recognizing its sovereignty over the city.

Freedom Fighters

David Keyes, MIFTAH 12/6/2008
      The word "Freedom" is scribbled on the light-blue door of Jameel Aldweek’s classroom in the New Kufar Aqab Girls School on the outskirts of Ramallah. It is a welcome reprieve from the swastika and "All Jews are pussies" emblazoned on the security barrier as I entered the West Bank. Aldweek, director of the Al-Razee Association and co-teacher of a new pilot project in two Palestinian schools, begins by asking the dozen sixth-grade girls in attendance, "What does democracy mean to you?" "Liberty and responsibility," one student immediately shoots back. "What is the link, then, between liberty and responsibility?" he retorts. The girls enthusiastically give examples of conflicting interests in their homes. One girl answers that often she wants to watch one television channel but her brother wants to watch another. Cooperation and dialogue are the keys to solving problems, Aldweek says. "It is forbidden to impose on the freedoms of others."
     Aldweek stands relaxed and confident at the front of the classroom, gently encouraging the girls to participate. A soft smile graces his lips, and his eyes light up when they share an observation or experience in support of democratic ideals. His graying hair is matched by an equally peppered kempt mustache. Aldweek speaks to me in hushed tones about his goal of infusing Palestinian youth with tolerance and respect for differing races, religions, and genders. With ten schools in Jerusalem, he calculates, he could affect 400 families--and within a decade, he hopes for nothing less than a transformation of Palestinian culture.

The Historical Meaning of the Palestinian Flag

Matthew Taylor, The Daily Californian, Palestine Think Tank 12/7/2008
      Political Zionism-the quest to establish and hold a Jewish-majority state within historic Palestine-has largely been predicated on the belief that Palestinians should not have the right to live on their ancestral lands. In 1948, Israel's founders carried this philosophy to its logical conclusion and used military force to drive more than 700,000 Palestinians out of their homes in a carefully planned campaign of ethnic cleansing. In 1967, Israel conquered and occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and then proceeded to build hundreds of colonies in violation of international law while abusing the human rights of the indigenous Palestinian population.
     In December 1987, Palestinians organized a grassroots uprising in an effort to liberate themselves from Israel’s occupation. Palestinians refused to pay taxes, they boycotted all Israeli goods and they planted backyard gardens. And they displayed the Palestinian national flag, which was illegal under the terms of the occupation.
     Then-Israeli defense minister Yitzhak Rabin ordered his soldiers to break the bones of Palestinians who participated in this uprising or who displayed their flag. Israeli soldiers injured, jailed and killed thousands of Palestinians for their crimes of struggling for human rights and self-determination.

The Settlers: The Newest Ally to Palestinian Nationalism?

Palestine Monitor, Palestine Monitor 12/6/2008
      Ironically today, there are no greater allies to the Palestinian cause of independence than that of the seemingly rabid settler movement and their heightened willingness to use violence and intimidation.
     For years the international press has cast the conflict in an unfair light by overemphasizing the violence of Palestinians while under-reporting that of either the Israeli military or settler movement. Throughout the world it has been Palestinians who have been perceived as the irrational and violent actors in the unfolding tragedy. Israel has been characterized as the righteous victim who must live in fear of their "˜crazy ideological neighbors’.
     Creating such an impression in spite of the overwhelming asymmetry of the conflict is no small feat, and one which Palestinians have long fought to overcome. Now it seems the settlement movement, and it renewed sense of urgency, are working along side Palestinian peace activists to change this perspective to a more accurate picture.