View Full Version : Israel/Palestine roundup

11-27-2005, 03:17 PM
British Foreign Office 'unrelentingly pro-Palestinian' says Israel
The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1651249,00.html)

Israel has reacted angrily to a confidential Foreign Office document accusing it of illegally expanding Jewish settlements and routing the West Bank barrier to prevent east Jerusalem from becoming the Palestinian capital. Officials described the document, drafted for an EU foreign ministers meeting earlier this week, as "anti-Israeli" and said it was further evidence the Foreign Office is "unrelentingly pro-Palestinian". Britain makes more formal protests to Israel over its actions in the occupied territories than any other country.

The document warns Israeli actions are jeopardising peace and risk radicalising Palestinians. It recommends several measures to resist the Israeli tactic, including politically symbolic actions such as moving meetings with Palestinian officials from Ramallah to east Jerusalem. {snip}

Prime minister plans to draw 'the final shape of Israel'
Daily Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/11/27/wmid27.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/11/27/ixnewstop.html)

Sixty years after the state of Israel was created, Ariel Sharon is effectively drawing its final borders, say his advisers, diplomats, friends … and the cartographers.

They believe that Mr Sharon, who as a general played a leading role in the expansion of Israel's borders in successive wars since 1948, is now - as a politician - determined to set the country's hitherto elastic frontiers in stone.

What is more, judging by his track record and the way public opinion is shifting, there is a real chance that he may succeed.

In 2002, he ordered the construction of the controversial separation barrier - an 18ft high combination of concrete wall and chain fence that snakes through the West Bank. Over the summer his government successfully oversaw the withdrawal of the thousands of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip. {snip}

Israeli settlers destroy Palestinian olive trees
Reuters (http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L2733560.htm)

Jewish settlers cut down and uprooted hundreds of olive trees on Palestinian farms near the West Bank city of Nablus on Sunday, residents and Israeli police said.

Settlers from the most radical enclaves in the occupied West Bank have often attacked farms since the start of a Palestinian uprising in 2000, in which settlers have often been targeted by militants. Settlers say that the land, which Palestinians want for a state, is theirs by biblical birthright.

Residents of Salem said dozens of settlers from Elon Moreh chopped down hundreds of the town's olive trees, the main source of income for 5,000 residents. {snip}

Size of Sharon's new Knesset faction nears that of Labor
Haaretz (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/650447.html)

MK Michael Nudelman (Yisrael Beiteinu) on Sunday became the 17th legislator to announce he is joining Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's new party, Kadima, bringing its total faction number to three short of Labor's 20 seats.

The Likud, which had 40 seats before Sharon's departure last week, remains the largest party in the Knesset, but now only has 26 Knesset seats. Labor is second, and Shinui, which was the third largest party, has 14 seats in the Knesset.

Since its creation last week, Kadima has attracted 14 MKs from Likud, as well as MK David Tal of One Nation and MK Haim Ramon from Labor. {snip}

Gaza joy as 'gate of hope' open
The Australian (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,17383327%255E2703,00.html)

Amid joyful and raucous scenes, almost 1600 Palestinians crossed from Gaza into Egypt on Saturday after Israel agreed to hand back the keys to the gates it had strictly controlled for 38 years.

Several thousand more Gaza residents queued yesterday to take advantage of the now Palestinian-controlled crossing at the southern border town of Rafah, in the wake of the landmark agreement. Thousands more are expected to follow this week as the crossing builds towards an around-the-clock operation. {snip}

11-27-2005, 03:21 PM
Weekly Summary of Israeli War Crimes (http://www.radio4all.net/index.php?op=program-info&program_id=15231&nav=&) (6min audio - Palestinian Centre for Human Rights)

11-27-2005, 03:44 PM
Damn them.

Hey Partrige you from Europe right? I like that poll where Europeans named Israel one of the world's greatest threats. America was up there too for good reason.

11-27-2005, 04:10 PM
Yeah I remember that poll - and the outcries of 'anti-semitism' and 'anti-americanism' that followed it. Of course, Iran and North Korea polled the same (53%) as the USA - no-one was complaining of a European 'anti-Iraian' bias.

But see, if you asked me do I think Israel is a threat to world peace, I'd have toa nswer yes - not because I think its going to nuke somewhere or whatever (though it may bomb Iran at the US's behest if needs be) - its because its continued brutal treatment of the Palestinians (and the US support for it) is one of the root causes of hatred towards the West in the world today (at least among Muslims). And of course, unblinking US support for Israel doesn't help the US cause much either.

And well, I prefer to think of myself as a Citizen of the World, but technically I'm located on the periphery of Europe, and for better or for worse I'm an EU citizen.

11-27-2005, 04:39 PM
Israel is one of the greatest threat to world peace because it's sturring up radical Islamic fundementalism. (like you said) America because of the Iraq war obviously, and sturring up trouble with other nations (thanks to Bush).

11-27-2005, 05:06 PM
And now for some anaylses:

Podcast: Debating the Gaza "Disengagement" at North Park University
Electronic Intifada (http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4317.shtml)

Listen to a podcast of EI co-founder Ali Abunimah and Tel Aviv University Professor of Philosophy Ilai Alon discussing the Gaza "disengagement" and what it means for the prospects for Palestinian-Israeli peace.

Peretz or Bust?
Jeff Halper - Counterpunch (http://counterpunch.org/halper11252005.html)

The up-coming election in late March is presented as a three way one pitting the left (Peretz) against the center (Sharon) and the right (Netanyahu). But it is actually a two-way race. Peretz, who can truly be called a candidate of the left in both his progressive social views and his commitment to a just peace with Palestinians, is pitted unevenly against an array of three right-wing forces: Netanyahu's Likud which rejects any Palestinian state whatsoever; Sharon's new "center" party which appears to favor a two-state solution but which in fact is heading for unilateral apartheid; and a Labour Party more or less in step with Sharon. {snip}

The Great Gaza Border Deal
Ramzy Baroud - Counterpunch (http://counterpunch.org/baroud11232005.html)

There is little historic precedent to conclude that Israel will respect the arrangement. Since the Israeli army has the "green light" to strike Gaza at any time of its choosing (as it has repeatedly since the disengagement) and to freely assassinate any Palestinian "terror suspect", it is difficult to convince ordinary Palestinians that they are truly free, even if the man checking their worthless travel documents at the Rafah border looks and sounds Palestinian. {snip}

Vanunu speaks about his November 18th arrest
Edited by Zachary Wales - Electronic Intifada (http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4315.shtml)

Mordechai Vanunu, often dubbed the "Israeli nuclear whistle-blower," was arrested on Friday 18th November for traveling to the East Jerusalem suburb al-Ram. Vanunu, 51, was released on the following day and returned to his de facto house arrest at St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem, where he has sought refuge since being released from his 18-year detention and torture under Israeli authorities. {snip}

Turbulent politics as Sharon divorces Likud
The Socialist (http://www.socialistworld.net/eng/2005/11/25israel.html) (UK)

The Israeli government is collapsing in turmoil, forcing forward the date of the next general election by eight months. The political drama began when trade union federation leader, Amir Peretz, unexpectedly ousted Shimon Peres as leader of the Labour Party, by a vote of the party rank and file.

Peretz then quickly moved to withdraw the Labour Party from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's coalition government, which left Sharon without a majority. Then came a second bombshell; Sharon decided to abandon the right-wing Likud party that he helped create in 1973, to set up a new party as a vehicle for fighting the coming election and then trying to form another government. {snip}

Peretz victory changes political mood
Socialist World (http://www.socialistworld.net/eng/2005/11/21israel.html)

Just over a week ago, according to many, the unthinkable happened: Amir Peretz, head of the Israeli trade union federation, the Histadruth, a rank outsider in the beginning of the election campaign, won the vote for leader of the Labour Party using radical rhetoric calling for example, a big increase in the minimum wage and an end to poverty in Israel. {snip}

Secret British document accuses Israel
The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,16518,1650425,00.html)

A confidential Foreign Office document accuses Israel of rushing to annex the Arab area of Jerusalem, using illegal Jewish settlement construction and the vast West Bank barrier, in a move to prevent it becoming a Palestinian capital. {snip}

The border of the state of Ramallah
Amira Hass - Haaretz (http://www.zmag.org/content/print_article.cfm?itemID=9192&sectionID=107)
In contrast to the "big bangs," or the election of MK Amir Peretz as Labor Party chairman and the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon from the Likud, the establishment of the southern border of the state of Ramallah is happening with nary a whimper.

Like the disengagement from the Gaza Strip, it is a unilateral Israeli move. Unlike the disengagement from Gaza, it is totally unilateral: There are no negotiations, and there is no involvement by the World Bank and quartet envoy James Wolfensohn to determine the transit arrangements. {snip}

11-28-2005, 06:35 AM
Barghouti wins Fatah primary poll
BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4474914.stm)

Jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti has emerged as one of the most popular candidates ahead of parliamentary elections in January. Barghouti came top in a primary poll for the ruling Fatah movement in the West Bank district of Ramallah.

He is serving five life terms in an Israeli jail for the killing of four Israelis and a Greek monk.

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said there was no chance of Barghouti getting an early release.

Barghouti, 46, won 34,000 out of 40,000 votes - affirming his status as one of Fatah's most popular politicians, say correspondents.

New guard

From his prison cell where he has been since his sentencing in 2004, Barghouti has continued to play an important role as a political figure.

Palestinian analysts say his victory is also a victory of the Fatah young guard, which has been pushing for a stronger say within the movement.

"The old guard has failed politically and administratively, and in running their organization in a democratic way," said Palestinian analyst Hani al-Masri.

But Mr Shalom vowed Barghouti would not be released.

"Marwan Barghouti has blood on his hands," he said. "Marwan Barghouti will sit in jail until the end of his days."

About 463,000 people have registered to vote in the selection process - the first time Fatah candidates have been selected by ballot.

Fatah primaries were held in many of the West Bank's largest districts on Friday and more will follow, including in the Gaza Strip, in the coming days.

There are 463 candidates in the West Bank and 311 in Gaza vying for a place on the final list to be presented to the electorate on 25 January.

11-28-2005, 07:52 AM
Activists sabotage Gaza vote
Al Jazeera (http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/7AD16032-DA1C-42E1-BE39-87BC5D142C21.htm)

Armed men have stormed into several polling stations in the Gaza Strip where President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party was holding primary elections.

As the members of Fatah burned tyres in the streets on Monday, they complained that names of many eligible voters were missing from election lists.

No injuries were reported.

The primaries in Gaza, from which Israel withdrew in September and which is widely seen as a testing ground for Palestinian statehood, were held days after voters in the occupied West Bank cast aside veteran Fatah politicians in favour of newcomers and fighters.

Despite the violence in the central Gaza Strip, the primaries to pick Fatah candidates for parliamentary elections due in January continued in Gaza City and the southern town of Khan Yunus.

Voting postponed

Voting in Rafah, along the Egyptian border, was postponed until Wednesday. The reason for the delay was not immediately clear.

The Palestinian Authority has been struggling to control the Gaza Strip since Israeli forces withdrew after 38 years of occupation.

A strong primary showing by young Fatah leaders demanding a say in decision-making could help Abbas to meet a challenge by the powerful Hamas fighter group, taking part in national elections for the first time, analysts said.

But some commentators also say weakening the Fatah old guard that thrived under the late Yasser Arafat risked touching off political infighting that might further fracture the ruling party.

11-30-2005, 03:29 PM
Peres quits Labour to back Sharon
BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4485568.stm)

Veteran Israeli politician Shimon Peres has quit the Labour Party and announced his support for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for March's general election. Mr Peres lost the Labour leadership to trade union leader Amir Peretz in a contest earlier this month. The 82-year-old former prime minister stood for his party's leadership on and off for the last three decades. Mr Peres said he would stop party activity and would focus on the "supreme effort of making peace". {snip}

11-30-2005, 04:36 PM
Sharon's New Party: The Other Meaning of Israel's Political Earthquake
By RAMZY BAROUD - Counterpunch (http://counterpunch.org/baroud11302005.html)

Most of what has been written or said to depict Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's departure from the Likud party is parable to an "earthquake," or the "eruption of a volcano," and has, without a doubt, turned the Israeli political map "topsy-turvy," to borrow Ha'aretz Gideon Samet's phrase.

Like an earthquake it was unforeseeable -- except to the prudent few, mostly in Israeli political circles who predicted a dead end in Sharon's dealings with the Likud, the same political party he helped create 30 years ago.

But acknowledging the significance of the undeniably consequential event is one thing. Succumbing to a flawed analysis that it is a real opportunity to resuscitate the so-called peace process -- is entirely a different matter.

Similar to his unilateral move to "disengage" from the Gaza Strip earlier this year, the rightwing prime minister once again managed to control media discourse surrounding his Nov. 21 decision to jump the Likud ship in favor of a new center-based "liberal movement" -- a political party tentatively known as National Responsibility. {snip}


Video - Noam Chomsky vs Alan Dershowitz (http://iopforum.harvard.edu:8080/ramgen/fr112905israel.rm) - Havard Univeristy, 29-11-05.

(Real Player - 48mbs)

12-01-2005, 04:03 PM
Sharon: Israel to keep Jordan Valley under any deal
Reuters (http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L01548311.htm)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said on Thursday Israel intended to keep control of the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank, signalling its insistence on retaining settlements there under any future peace deal. Speaking to reporters in Tel Aviv, Sharon called the Jordan Valley, where Israel has built a string of small settlements, part of the Jewish state's "security zone".

Palestinians say a continued Israeli presence there would deny them a viable state. Sharon has made clear following a Gaza withdrawal in September that Israel plans to keep large West Bank settlement blocs, but has said that some isolated enclaves would have to be removed under any future peace agreement.

12-02-2005, 12:34 PM
Exiled militants return to Gaza
BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4491946.stm)

Several Palestinian militants who either fled or were expelled by Israel have returned to Gaza via the recently re-opened Rafah border crossing. The entry of as many as 15 members of Hamas, including one of its founders, has angered Israel.

Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz has warned his government will close two crossings it controls if militants continue to enter via Rafah.

The crossings into Israel are vital for trade between Gaza and the West Bank. {snip}


Israel missile test 'successful'
BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4492212.stm)

Israel has carried out a successful test of its Arrow missile defence system, military officials have said. An Arrow missile intercepted and destroyed a target similar to Iran's long-range Shahab-3 missile.

The test was launched from an air force base in the centre of Israel and stuck a target over the Mediterranean.

Israel considers Iran its greatest threat and has been working to counter the Shahab missiles, which Tehran says can reach Israeli territory.

The Israeli military began developing the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system after coming under attack by Iraqi Scud missiles during the first Gulf War.

The Shahab-3 is believed to have a range of 2,000 km (1,250m). {snip}

Support the 450 workers of Tadiran Kesher Factory
Socialist World (http://www.socialistworld.net/eng/2005/11/30israel.html)
The 450 workers of Tadiran Kesher in Israel are on strike since 11 November. They are demanding the continuation of the collective contract, which they won after a militant struggle in the 1990’s, after the transfer of ownership of the factory to the company Elbit, that bought it and is notorious for it’s policy against workers’ orgnisations.

The profits of Tadrian, which produces most of the Israeli army’s communication equipment, have grown by 22% in the last quarter. However, the management still evades its obligations regarding workers’ pension rights, refuses to increase wages, and also threatens to sack 150 workers in order to break the union, that is known for its militancy, and has so far refused all the managment’s attempts to buy it off.

The workers, experienced in strikes, have occupied the factory and are prevnting the transer of goods in and out. They are running an active strike, accompanied by demonstations and daily protests in front of other workplaces owned by the owners of Elbit.

International support is necessary for the continued resistance of the workers despite management’s pressure and for the continuation of the strike.

As the management has cut electricty to the factory, messages of support will be passed throughh Maavak Sozialisti, the Israeli affilate of the CWI, and we will pass them onto the workers.


EU report says Israel consolidating grip on east Jerusalem
Selves & Others (http://www.selvesandothers.org/article12503.html)

In the past few days it has been reported widely in the press that the European Union ’delayed publication’ of a critical report on Israel’s actions in East Jerusalem which, according to its authors, the Heads of the EU Missions in Ramallah and Jerusalem, "are reducing the possibility of reaching a final status agreement on Jerusalem, and demonstrate a clear Israeli intention to turn the annexation of East Jerusalem into a concrete fact." This is being done because of an EU decision to upgrade its ties with Israel, including its economic ties, despite continued Israeli violations of the Association Agreements under which goods from the Israeli settlements cannot enjoy special tariffs extending to Israel itself. {snip}


UN seeks $215 million in aid for humanitarian aid in Palestine
Electronic Intifada (http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4328.shtml)

For the fourth consecutive year humanitarian agencies are appealing to donors for funding for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The unfortunate need for yet another appeal stems from a largely unchanged humanitarian situation. Poverty rates have increased in 2005 compared to 2004, largely because the quality of work is lower and households' coping mechanisms are increasingly fragile.

The West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBGS) remain strangulated by an inability to freely cross borders to potential markets and move within the West Bank. The Israeli Government has stated that these measures are necessary to prevent militant attacks on Israeli citizens. Unless these restrictions are eased the prospect of indigenous Palestinian economic growth is dim. As the World Bank has noted on many occasions, increased donor spending within a policy environment of restricted access will have limited impact on alleviating Palestinian poverty. {snip}


Palestinian committees OK’d at U.N.
JTA (http://www.jta.org/page_view_breaking_story.asp?intid=254&ref=JTA)

On Wednesday, a senior American adviser at the U.N. General Assembly called for the elimination of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division of Palestinian Rights within the Secretariat, which, along with the Special Information Program on the Question of Palestine, had their mandates approved in Thursday’s vote. Israel, its supporters and Jewish leaders have also called for the committees to be abolished. {snip}

12-02-2005, 12:39 PM
Statement about kidnapped CPT members by Palestinian political parties
Electronic Intifada (http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4326.shtml)

[Partridge: Makes you wonder who actually kindnapped (http://kurtnimmo.com/?p=144) these people]

Following the abduction of four members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq, Palestinian political factions gathered in Hebron to issue a statement in Arabic about their experiences of seeing the CPT working in Palestine, and their personal knowledge of the three kidnapped members and their important work on behalf of the Palestinian people. Original Arabic version provided by CPT Hebron. English translation by the Electronic Intifada, posted for informational purposes.
In the name of God, the Compassionate and Merciful

"O ye who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest ye harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what ye have done."-The Holy Qur'an, 49:6

The Islamic and National forces in the governorate of Hebron/Palestine express their deep regret for the kidnapping of four members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Iraq.

The Islamic and National forces in the governorate of Hebron/Palestine have had long experience confronting Israeli crimes and violations with the CPT since 1995, and wish to confirm that the members of this group have had and still have a major role in confronting Israeli crimes and violations, and in the protection of the property and the lives of the Palestinian citizens.

More than once they placed themselves in front of the occupation's tanks, and they confronted Israeli occupation bulldozers with their bodies defending Palestinians' homes against destruction. They accompanied our children when they were threatened and attacked by Israeli settlers on their way to and from their schools. Because of what they were doing, the CPT members were subjected to arrest, beating and pursuit by the Israeli soldiers and settlers in more than one location in Palestine. Many of them were denied entry to Palestine, or deported by the occupation authorities because of their activities in confronting the occupation.

We appeal to our brothers in the resistance and all those with alert consciences in Iraq, with whom we consider ourselves to be in the same trench confronting American aggression and occupation, to instantly and quickly release the four kidnapped persons (two Canadians, one Briton and one American) from CPT, in appreciation for their role in standing beside and supporting our Palestinian people and all the Arab and Islamic peoples.

Freedom for the Iraqi and Palestinian people.
Shame and disgrace on the Zionist and American occupation.

The Islamic and National Forces in the Governorate of Hebron:
Islamic Resistance Movement/Hamas
Palestine People's Party
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Democratic Union of Palestine/FIDA
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Palestinian Liberation Front
Palestinian Popular Struggle Front

Hebron, 29 November 2005


Palestinian Solidarity Activists Amongst Four Peace Activist Hostages in Iraq
Electronic Intifada (http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4325.shtml)

Three of the four Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) hostages in Iraq of whom a video was released today have been in Palestine working as Palestinian Solidarity activists.

Tom Fox (54) worked with CPT Hebron and participated in demonstrations against the apartheid Wall in Jayyous.

Harmeet Sooden (32) a Canadian citizen who had been living in New Zealand, came to Palestine to join the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in December 2004 and stayed until January 2005. He worked in solidarity with local Palestinian people, mostly in Nablus and Jenin. While in Jenin, he worked with a group of ISM activists who planted Olive trees on the 'Swithart' farm outside Jenin, He was committed to come to Palestine for three months to join the ISM again at the beginning of December 2005 as a long term activist for the liberation of Palestine from Israeli occupation, but first decided to join a two week CPT delegation to Iraq. {snip}

12-02-2005, 01:03 PM
Zionist Attack Dogs Bay For Galloway's Blood

This article is from a website called Totally Jewish - which I think is pretty much stating its bias right there. Anyway:

Galloway Under Fire After TV Slur
Totally Jewish (http://www.totallyjewish.com/news/national/?content_id=2144)

Anti-Israel politician George Galloway came under fire yet again this week after he told an Arab television interviewer that Zionists control the media.

The Bethnal Green and Bow MP’s latest comments came after he was introduced as “a former member of the British Houses of Parliament” during a live interview with Qatari Al-Jazeera television.

He responded: “I am still a member of parliament and was re-elected five times. On the last occasion I was re-elected despite all the efforts made by the British government, the Zionist movement and the newspapers and news media which are controlled by Zionism.”

[Partridge: Note the important distiniction - he says 'news media which are controlled by Zionists' - not 'the Zionists control ALL the media'. A huge difference. That's like Blair saying he was re-elected 'despite the news papers that are controlled by the Tories', he is not saying all news media is controlled by Tories. Of course, the Zionist Movement is always willing to conjure up phantoms of anti-semitism where none exist.]

Mark Gardner, Director of Communications at the Community Security Trust, said: “This is despicable language for a Member of Parliament to use. Suggestions of Jewish media control can only give encouragement to anti-semites of every type.”

[Is this guy seriously arguing that Jewish people don't own some media outlets? If so, then I fear he's serioulsy deluded and not a competent commentator on this issue. And "anti-semites of every type" - I'd think there's only one kind of anti-semite, and thats the kind that hates Jews]

During the interview, which was broadcast on 17 November, Galloway accused Israel, Britain and the United States of targeting Syria because of the “good things” it had done, such as supporting “Palestinian resistance” and refusing to make peace with Israel.

He also described Senator Norm Coleman, the leader of the US Congressional investigation into Galloway’s alleged oil deals with Saddam Hussein’s regime, of being “the strongest supporter of Israel in Washington”.

He added: “Almost all politicians in Washington blindly support Israel. Senator Norman Coleman, the senator who was accusing me is the closest friend of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.”

[Partridge: Almost all politicans do support Israel uncritically. They are PROUD of this fact and mention it whenever the oppurtunity arises. As for Norm Coleman, I don't know about his personal realtions with the AIPAC, I do know that in the 2003-2004 fiscal year he recieved $8000 from AIPAC, and his career total of AIPAC donations - as of 2004 - is $34,980 (source (http://www.wrmea.com/archives/July_Aug_2004/0407027.html))]

Ben Novick, Director of Media Relations at BICOM (Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre), dismissed Galloway’s allegations about zionist control of the media, adding: “We hope that Al-Jazeera’s premonition of Galloway as a former MP will soon become a reality.”

[Partridge: Oh I just bet they do!]

Galloway has a long history of controversial comments about Israel and zionism. In September he told an American radio station that “Israel and dirty tricks have a long history”.

[Partirdge: Controversial? Really now, theres nothing controversial about that - unless you ignore every serious book ever written by historians.]

At the time, he told TJ: “I believe that Zionism has exploited the Jewish people as much as the Palestinian people and has turned the people of Einstein and Epstein into one apparently represented by Sharon and Netanyahu.”

Galloway himself was unavailable for comment yesterday, but a Respect Party spokesman said the interview with al-Jazeera was in-line with his stated views.

Galloway ousted Labour's Jewish MP Oona King in May's general election.

[Partridge: Half-Jewish - and what are they trying to imply? That one cannot run against a Jewish person in an election? (Isn't that reverse-racism?) I suppose that's anti-semitic too! (Well it was certainly called that during the campaign anyway!)]

12-02-2005, 01:16 PM
Does anyone actually read this thread I wonder?

12-02-2005, 02:11 PM
Israelis arrest Aljazeera journalist
Al-Jazeera (http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/19987BA9-C20C-4494-B8A9-630EBFD2F66F.htm)

A journalist working for Aljazeera.net has been arrested by Israeli forces from the occupied West Bank. Awad Rajub, 29, was whisked away from his home in Dura, near the West Bank city of Hebron, on Tuesday.

An Israeli army spokesman said Rajub was still in detention. Sources told Aljazeera that Rajub, a Palestinian, was beaten up in the presence of his wife by the Israeli soldiers. His computer and mobile phone were also confiscated.

Rajub was later taken to an undisclosed location. Walid al-Amari, Aljazeera's bureau chief for Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories, said: "The army simply said that he had been arrested for security reasons, and we do not know any more than that."

Israeli public radio said Rajub was arrested after the army received information about him from the domestic Israeli security service, Shin Beth.

12-02-2005, 02:32 PM
Sharon 'sees wall as Israel's new border'
The Independent (http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article330677.ece)

A senior ally of Ariel Sharon has given the most explicit indication yet that the Israeli Prime Minister envisages the 425-mile separation barrier as the border between Israel and a future Palestinian state.

Government spokesmen frequently claim that the barrier was built solely for security reasons and could be removed or rerouted.

But the Justice Minister, Tzipi Livni, who is helping prepare the programme of Mr Sharon's new Kadima party, told a legal conference in Caesarea: "One does not have to be a genius to see that the fence will have implications for the future border. This is not the reason it was built, but it could have political implications."

The Palestinian leadership said this was evidence that the barrier, which puts 8 per cent of the West Bank, including the major settlement blocs, on the Israeli side, was an effort to pre-empt free negotiations on any final peace deal.

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said: "This is a very dangerous development and undermines the chances of permanent status negotiations. This proves Israel wants to dictate and not negotiate."

But leaders of Likud, the main hard-right party badly weakened by the desertion of Mr Sharon, are likely to attack the remarks as implying that the Prime Minister is ready to concede up to 90 per cent of the West Bank, including the settlements east of the barrier, unilaterally or in negotiations with the Palestinians.

A member of Israel's Supreme Court, Mishael Cheshin was said by the daily Haaretz to have cited the security arguments used by government lawyers facing challenges to the barrier route and told Ms Livni at the conference: "That is not what you have contended in court."

The high court decided two parts of the barrier should be brought closer to Israel's pre-1967 borders than it had planned. Other sections - especially that which threatens to encircle Jerusalem and cut the occupied Arab east of the city from the West Bank - still present massive stumbling blocks to negotiated settlement with the Palestinians. Haim Ramon, another prominent member of Mr Sharon's new party who deserted from Labour, has already said the section around Jerusalem was built for political rather than merely security reasons.

He said the route "also makes Jerusalem more Jewish", adding: "The safer and more Jewish Jerusalem will be, it can serve as a true capital of the state of Israel."

The Palestinians have made it repeatedly clear that east Jerusalem, seized by Israeli in the 1967 war, must the capital of any future Palestinian state.

12-03-2005, 01:24 PM
Palestinians fire two Qassams into western Negev
Haaretz (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/653104.html)

[Partridge: Interesting headline. Not 'IDF kills Palestinain fisherman and retarded teenager; Jihad fire Qassam rockets in probable retaliation'.]

Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip fired two Qassam rockets Saturday which landed in an open field in the western Negev. No injuries were reported.

An Israeli Navy vessel sank a Palestinian ship off the coast of the southern Gaza Strip before dawn on Saturday after an exchange of gunfire. One Palestinian was killed in the incident, medics reported.

According to a military source, the boat had entered prohibited waters from the direction of Egypt and ignored an order to stop. When the Israeli forces fired warning shots into the air, Palestinians on the boat fired on the navy ship. The navy said its vessel was then also fired on from the shore.

The navy returned fire, killing 22-year-old Ziad Dardawel, Palestinian medics said. No Israeli soldiers were hurt.

The medics said the Palestinian killed in the incident had been on a fishing trip. Palestinian security sources maintained that the boat had been in an authorized fishing area, and that the navy fired on the boat and on another boat without provocation.

Israel's navy has largely blockaded Gaza's coast during much of a five-year-old Palestinian uprising, forcing Palestinian boats to stay close to shore.

Israel says it is a security measure to prevent weapons smuggling by sea and attacks on Israelis. Palestinians say it is collective punishment that has crippled Gaza's fishing industry.

Most of the restrictions have remained in place since Israel's Gaza pullout in September.

A similar altercation occured three weeks ago. In that incident, a 17-year-old Palestinian was killed.

IDF kills Palestinian near Gaza border
In an unrelated incident, Israel Defense Forces soldiers shot dead a Palestinian near the Gaza border on Friday after he and two others tried to cross illegally into Israel, Palestinian medics said.

An IDF spokeswoman said troops at an army post near the frontier spotted the three men climbing the border fence and opened fire at them. All three were hit and the army called for ambulances to take them back to Gaza, she said.

Palestinian medics said two men were wounded and one was found dead under an olive tree with a bullet hole in his head. Palestinian security officials said Sayid Abu Libdeh, 15, was killed and the two other
people with him were wounded.

They said the three were mentally retarded and were trying to enter Israel in search of work. No weapons were found among them.

Similar violent incidents have occurred in recent months despite a ceasefire Israeli and Palestinian leaders declared in February. The army spokeswoman said troops had detained three Palestinians who infiltrated the Gaza border earlier in the day.

12-03-2005, 01:29 PM
U.S. church leaders criticized for meeting with Hezbollah
AP (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/653105.html)

The top Presbyterian church official in Chicago has angered Jewish leaders in this city who say a meeting he and other Presbyterians had with Hezbollah last month was "unconscionable."

The Rev. Bob Reynolds, head of the Chicago Presbytery, said the meeting in southern Lebanon took place in early November and was part of a tour of the Middle East.

"The goal of my trip was educational," Reynolds said. "I think one way people can learn from one another is to learn the way people talk about themselves and describe their own reality. In some small measure that did happen on this visit."

The White House has labeled Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

"It is unconscionable that Presbyterian leaders would meet with Hezbollah, which our government designates as a foreign terrorist organization," Lonnie Nasatir, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement Thursday. "Hezbollah (Party of God) has a track record of terror that is unambiguous. It pioneered the use of suicide bombing in the Middle East." {snip}

12-04-2005, 10:20 AM
Israeli Aircraft Fire on Gaza Rocket Lab

Israeli aircraft fired missiles at an abandoned building and a rocket launching ground in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday in the first aerial attack on Gaza in more than a month, the military said.

Palestinian security officials said missiles also struck a charity belong to the Islamic Jihad militant group. A bystander was slightly wounded by flying shrapnel, they said.

The Israeli military said it targeted a building used for terror operations and open fields where homemade rockets had been launched in recent days. No one was injured, it said.

Palestinians said the building was an abandoned metal workshop. Israel targets workshops it suspects are used to produce producing weapons.

After a lull of several weeks, Palestinians began firing homemade rockets at southern Israel from Gaza again last week. Israel responded initially with artillery fire. The air strike Sunday was the first since Oct. 27, the military said.

Some Palestinian officials say the attacks on Israel, which have caused no injuries, have been renewed in an effort to show force ahead of Jan. 25 Palestinian parliamentary elections.

In other developments, the military announced it would let 6,000 more Palestinian laborers into Israel, for a total of 16,000 in the West Bank and 7,000 in Gaza. An additional 1,500 Palestinian merchants will also be let in, for a total of 12,500 in the West Bank and 2,000 in Gaza.

The entry of Palestinian laborers into Israel has been severely restricted over the past five years in response to violence, dealing a crushing blow to the Palestinian economy.

12-04-2005, 10:47 AM
Abbas invites Pope to Jerusalem
RTE (http://www.rte.ie/news/2005/1204/mideast.html?rss) (Ireland)
The Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, has invited the Pope to visit Jerusalem and places holy to Christians.

During their first meeting at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the offer, but no date has yet been set for the visit.

Jerusalem is a key sticking point in Israeli-Palestinian relations, with Palestinians hoping a future state would include the east of the city.

12-04-2005, 10:49 AM
[Partridge: Got this in my email this morning]

Pope Benedict – First New Citizen of Bethlehem

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI accepted a Bethlehem passport from the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, today (Saturday 3rd December). His Holiness becomes the first new citizen of Bethlehem following the launch of ‘Open Bethlehem’, an international campaign to save the city.

Bethlehem faces a state of emergency following the completion of an 8 metre high illegal cement wall at the entrance to the city that separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem and other Palestinian towns. With the Israeli wall and other closures, including militarised fences and illegal Jewish settlements, Bethlehem has been reduced to its urban core: a modern- day ghetto town.

In issuing a passport, Bethlehem is granting citizenship to those who “uphold the values of a just and open society (and) remain a true friend of Bethlehem, through its imprisonment”, according to the passport’s citation.

Leila Sansour- the chief executive of Open Bethlehem is currently in London. She says: “We are appealing to the Pope as well as all citizens of the world to help us uphold the message that was born in our city. Bethlehem- a name that resonates with millions of people around the world with a message of peace and hope for mankind is today an open- air prison. Over 400 entire Christian families have emigrated from the city in the last four years. We cannot allow the depopulation of Bethlehem and the erosion of a 2000 year-old heritage that anchors Christianity in the Middle East”.

The Palestinian delegation included the Palestinian Minister of Tourism Ziad Al Bandak, a native of Bethlehem, who stressed that new developments on the ground are damaging to an already fragile tourist industry as the critical Christmas season approaches.


Notes for editors:

* Open Bethlehem was launched by the Mayor of Bethlehem on 9 November, declaring Bethlehem an open city and announcing the issue of a Bethlehem passport.

* Open Bethlehem is a city initiative that aims to promote Bethlehem as a prime destination for tourists, bold initiatives and investment. The core of its message is that Bethlehem is a city of openness and diversity, with a centuries-old tradition of welcoming travellers, refugees and pilgrims from across the world.

12-04-2005, 01:11 PM
Peres can pick any job, Sharon says
Al Jazeera (http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/2D3D6213-0E8B-4761-9B71-897438120817.htm)

Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, has said his new Kadima party will give Shimon Peres an important role in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking if elected in March. "I am happy and proud that Shimon Peres has decided to join us, in Kadima," Sharon told a news conference on Sunday with Peres at his side.

"I asked Shimon Peres to pick any job he wants. Shimon can fulfil any post, I believe with great success." Peres, 82, left the Labour party, which voted him out as its leader last month, and threw his support behind Sharon on Wednesday, saying he was confident that the prime minister would seek peace with the Palestinians.

"Regardless of the job Shimon picks, it is crystal clear he will be a full and central partner in the diplomatic process," Sharon said, referring to peacemaking with the Palestinians. {snip}


Gaza and Israel firings continue
Al Jazeera (http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/3E16011F-6409-4291-8BF7-B023D6C3BBB9.htm)

Palestinian fighters have fired more rockets at Israel in a tit-for-tat exchange started by the killing of two Palestinian civilians in Gaza. The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of the ruling Fatah party, said it had fired two missiles early on Sunday morning in response to the killings.

Israel says its warplanes carried out airstrikes in response to rockets fired earlier. Witnesses said the occupation army carried out four raids on Gaza overnight, but there were no casualties. An Israeli army spokeswoman said the firing came in response to earlier rocket attacks from the coastal strip into Israel.

"These were reprisals after the Palestinians fired Qassam rockets," she told AFP. Israel Radio reported that Shaul Mofaz, the defence minister, had said Israel would respond immediately to any attack on its territory or citizens. {snip}

12-04-2005, 02:05 PM
Palestinian police shoot driver for not stopping for inspection
AP (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/653486.html)

RAMALLAH - Police in the West Bank town of Ramallah opened fire Sunday on a driver who refused to stop to show his documents, touching off an impromptu protest by dozens of outraged residents, witnesses said.

Doctors at the Ramallah hospital said the 23-year-old driver, Anas al-Agroudi, was shot in the chest and in serious condition.

West Bank police recently launched a campaign to confiscate illegal weapons and stolen cars, and have been carrying out snap inspections. This was the first incident of violence in Ramallah since the campaign began late last month.

Security officials said the car was stolen.

Protesters who took to the streets after the shooting burned tires and threw stones at police, who responded by firing in the air.

Some of the roughly 100 demonstrators were militiamen affiliated with the young guard of the ruling Fatah Party, which hopes to take control of the Palestinian parliament after Jan. 25 elections.

They taunted police and persuaded dozens of shopowners to shut down their businesses and join the demonstration.


3 Border policemen indicted over beating of Palestinians
Haaretz (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/653494.html)

The Police Investigation Department on Sunday indicted three Border Policemen over suspicions of assaulting and beating Palestinians under severe circumstances in two separate incidents.

According to the indictment, a Palestinian taxi carrying passengers arrived on January 25 at the "Container" roadblock near the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Dis. Border Policeman Moshe Zuaretz, 21, allegedly went up to the taxi and punched the driver's face, saying the driver had honked.

The driver then came out of the vehicle, when a second policeman, Ro'i Ragiano, 25, allegedly kicked him and punched him in the stomach. The driver sustained bruises to his face and body.

The two policemen then conducted a thorough search in the cab and threatened the taxi driver that if he crossed through the roadblock again they would "smash his face."

Beating of handcuffed Palestinian

Zuaretz was involved in a second violent incident two months later. According to the indictment, he and another Border Policeman, Nicolai Srokin, 19, assaulted a blindfolded, handcuffed Palestinian.

Muntazar Ramdan was brought shackled to a Border Police base. Srokin, who was guarding the entrance, was instructed to guard the arrested man. He and Zuaretz allegedly beat the Palestinian. According to the indictment, other policemen joined the two but Ramdan was unable to identify them.


Meretz convention votes against attempt to depose party leader Beilin
Haaretz (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/653381.html)

The Meretz-Yahad party convention rejected a proposal Sunday to cancel the reservation of the first slot on the party's Knesset list for party chairman Yossi Beilin. Only 96 of the convention's 500 members voted against reserving the spot for Beilin.

According to the party constitution, the top slot on the party Knesset list is reserved for Beilin, and therefore the party elections are for the second slot onwards.

Convention member Jonatahn Klinger's proposal to open Beilin's slot on the Knesset list to competition had been rejected by the convention presidency in the past for procedural reasons. {snip}


Netanyahu, Peretz trade barbs over economic policies
Haaretz (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/653415.html)

Likud primaries front-runner MK Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday blasted Labor Party Chairman Amir Peretz, saying he had launched hundreds of strikes during his years as head of the Histadrut labor federation for his own personal promotion.

"Amir Peretz carried out 606 strikes during the last decade for his personal promotion," Netanyahu said in his speech at the Israel Business Conference. "Israel used to be the world champion in strikes thanks to the world champion in strikes, who will be talking next."

Netanyahu also protested that every contester in the next general elections "is competing against another over who is more oriented toward social issues, and explaining how he will divide the budget while criticizing the policies that filled it." {snip}

12-05-2005, 03:19 PM
Five die in Israel suicide blast
BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4498862.stm)

A Palestinian suicide bomber has killed five people and injured dozens in the Israeli coastal town of Netanya.

The bomber attacked the Sharon shopping centre, the scene of previous bombings, at about 1130 (0930 GMT), injuring some 40 people, several of them seriously.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group claimed responsibility for the attack and released a video of the bomber.

Israeli security officials are due to meet later in the day to discuss possible responses to the attack.

Reports quoting military officials say they will recommend air strikes targeting militant leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz has also asked the legal authorities for permission to renewal the controversial policy of demolishing suicide bombers' homes.

Before Monday's bombing, Mr Mofaz had already ordered a resumption of so-called "targeted killings" of wanted Palestinian militants.

Heightened tensions in recent days have been marked by Israeli air strikes and Palestinian militant rocket attacks. {Snip}


Israel vows response to mall bombing
Al Jazeera (http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/08F5FC35-6273-4EB2-9F63-09E88C3BFEC1.htm)

Shaul Mofaz, the Israeli defence minister, has vowed a military response overnight in response to a Palestinian bombing that killed five people.

Mofaz, speaking on Israeli radio, also said he was seeking approval to resume a policy of demolishing the homes of bombers that Israel had suspended in February after the start of a truce with Palestinians.

The Israeli threat came as armed clashes broke out in the West Bank town of Jenin between Palestinian security forces and followers of the resistance group that carried out the bombing earlier on Monday in northern Israel.

Witnesses and security sources said the clashes had broken out on the margins of a demonstration called to "celebrate" the bomb attack outside a shopping mall in Netanya.

As they gathered outside the local headquarters of the security services, the demonstrators, who also included members of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, began chanting slogans denouncing the Palestinian Authority.

Exchanges of fire then broke out, the witnesses said, although there were no immediate reports of casualties. {Snip}


From Haaretz

Five killed in suicide bombing outside Netanya mall (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/653907.html)

IDF readies for wide-scale retaliatory operations (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/654009.html)
Military sources: Operation could last up to a month; Mofaz seeks to renew demolition of terrorists' homes.

Islamic Jihad claims Netanya attack; 50 hurt, four seriously (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/653907.html)
Names of four of the victims released; Deputy Public Security Min.: We had no warning of attacks

Analysis: Closure on Gaza breaches PM's promise to Rice (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/653956.html)
Mofaz's advice to shut down Gaza border crossings places Sharon in a difficult position with the U.S. 20:18

Analysis: PA security forces are unable to combat militant groups (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/653992.html)
Many wonder if the PA can make good on its promise to fight militants even after PLC elections in weeks.


Ezra: Crack down on Israeli accomplices
Jersalem Post

Calling Israelis who assist Palestinians in entering Israel "despicable villains," Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra lashed out at the phenomenon and called for more severe punishments for such accomplices.

Ezra spoke hours after a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a mall in Netanya, killing five people. The bomber was identified as an Islamic Jihad activist from a small village near Tulkarm. Police are searching for a car with Israeli license plates that allegedly transported the bomber from the West Bank to Netanya.

"There is a serious problem that cars with yellow license plates transport Palestinian and as a result assist terrorists in crossing into Israel," Ezra said. "These accomplices are despicable villains and this phenomenon needs to be completely uprooted."

Ezra said that the police have launched operations in the past against Israeli accomplices but "the wheels of justice move slowly and the system does not issue harsh enough punishments."

Claiming that the West Bank security fence was fully erected in the Sharon area and effective in stopping Palestinians from entering Israel, Ezra said Monday that the police and the IDF needed to increase supervision over the border crossings.

"The Palestinian Authority is clearly not doing enough," Ezra said. "Whatever they won't do however, we will do. If they don't take action against terrorists then we will reevaluate our steps and will increase supervision at crossings between Israel and the West Bank even at the expense of a heavy [humanitarian] price."

Ezra added that the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) did not have intelligence warnings regarding this specific attack in Netanya but, he said: "There is no doubt that the Shin Bet and the police will act fast and will put their hands on the people responsible. We will continue fighting against these terrorists who plot attacks against the State of Israel."


From The Guardian

[/url][url="http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1658107,00.html"]Five killed in Israeli shopping centre blast (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?c=JPArticle&cid=1132475688069&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull)
At least five people were killed in a suicide bombing at a shopping centre in the Israeli city of Netanya today.

Ex-US diplomat blames Israel for Pakistani dictator's death (http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1657700,00.html)
A retired US ambassador has reignited the debate about one of south Asia's greatest whodunits, the death in 1988 of Pakistan's president General Zia ul-Haq, by saying that Israel was responsible.


[i]Partridge says: Since the last suicide bombing on Oct 26 2005 (which killed 5 Israelis), in total 27 Palestinians have been killed and, before today, 1 Israeli.

Just so you know...

12-07-2005, 02:17 PM
No peace with Sharon
Gerald Kaufman - The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1660460,00.html)

The Gaza withdrawal has been a veil for continued persecution and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians

I know the attractive Israeli seaside resort of Netanya well, having stayed several times at my niece's flat there. Not long ago I heard on BBC radio a series of interviews with residents of Netanya, which has in the past suffered a number of terrorist attacks. They rejoiced at how much easier the situation had become following the building of the Israeli separation wall, designed specifically to protect places like Netanya, located at the narrow neck of Israel's pre-1967 border. Two days ago five people were killed in a suicide bombing in Netanya.

All terrorist attacks are unjustifiable atrocities. Five Israelis are the latest victims. Over the past months, 15 Palestinians, two of them children, have been killed by Israeli troops. Their deaths attracted no headlines, but they are dead just the same.

I recently returned from leading the first British parliamentary delegation to the Palestinian Authority. What we saw is never seen by ordinary, decent Israelis, like the citizens of Netanya - who, since they dare not venture into the occupied territories, have no idea of the persecution of Palestinians being carried out in their name.

Last there two years ago, I was appalled at how an already unacceptable situation has deteriorated since. There are now more than 600 fixed checkpoints in the tiny Palestinian area, which, with so-called flying checkpoints, make free movement almost impossible. In Bethlehem, which used to be crammed with tourists, we saw just two groups in Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity. The Old City of Nablus, which I knew for a quarter of a century as a hub of commercial activity, is also desolate. Heavily-armed Israeli troops man walls, gates and huts, all preventing Palestinians from moving about.

When our delegation, with Nablus Palestinians as our guides, tried to walk down one street our way was barred by Israeli soldiers pointing threatening weapons. When I explained our mission, a soldier said: "You can pass, but the Arabs cannot." Naturally, we refused to proceed. Meanwhile, we saw busloads of illegal Jewish settlers sailing through this restricted area at will.

One of the motivations of this policy is to make the lives of the Palestinians so intolerable that they get out. The success of this ethnic cleansing is shown in Ramallah, which in the two years since I was last there (meeting Yasser Arafat in the bunker where he was incarcerated) has become bloated as Palestinians from other areas of the West Bank huddle together there.

After Monday's bombing, Shaul Mofaz, defence minister and would-be successor to Ariel Sharon as Likud leader, put targeted killings of Palestinian "extremists" and blowing-up of suicide bombers' homes back on the Israeli agenda, though even he cannot be too stupid to understand that such reprisals will be used by Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organisations as a pretext for the murder of more Israeli civilians.

It is such posturing that leads Sharon to claim that he is now at the centre of Israeli politics. Sharon's champions argue that Israeli troops' withdrawal from Gaza demonstrates his peacemaking motivation. Shimon Peres, now a pathetically vain frontman for Sharon, claims that Sharon's alleged wish for peace is the reason for his jumping ship from the Labour party.

Yet, as Brent Scowcroft, the first President Bush's national security adviser, has explained to Condoleezza Rice: "For Sharon this is not the first move, this is the last move. He's getting out of Gaza because he can't sustain 8,000 settlers with half his army protecting them. Then, when he's out, he will have an Israel that he can control and a Palestinian state atomised enough that it can't be a problem."

It is good for Labour to be free of the albatross of Peres, following the welcome election of Amir Peretz - a tough, no-nonsense Sephardi whom I first met nearly 20 years ago in the slummy southern development town of Sderot, where he was a populist mayor. Peretz is no peacenik, but he does want a negotiated two-state solution.

Instead of lauding Sharon as he expands illegal West Bank settlements and imprisons East Jerusalem in a ring of concrete and armour, the British government should be giving full support to Peretz. He may not be perfect but, if at this bleak hour there is any hope for Israelis and Palestinians alike, he is it.

· Gerald Kaufman is the Labour MP for Manchester Gorton

12-07-2005, 02:28 PM
Israel air strike kills militant
BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4507756.stm)

A Palestinian militant has been killed and 10 people injured in a missile strike by Israeli forces on a car in Rafah, southern Gaza, officials say. The dead man has been named as Mahmoud Arkan, a member of the armed group Popular Resistance Committees.

Israel vowed to crack down on militant groups after a suicide bombing killed five people on Monday in Netanya.

It also carried out missile strikes in Gaza City on Sunday, said to be in response to Palestinian rocket attacks.

Both Palestinian witnesses and Israeli military sources confirmed the target of Wednesday's missile strike was Mahmoud Arkan.

The 29-year-old is believed to have been responsible for a number of sniper and missile attacks against Israelis.

The identities of those injured in the strike have not been released.

The Popular Resistance Committees is a coalition of militant groups which has been blamed for rocket attacks against Israel in the past.

A spokesman for the movement said it would avenge the killing.

Israeli military officials said this week that targeted killing of Palestinian militants and renewed air strikes in Gaza and the West Bank were options being considered.

Israeli defence officials are also seeking to lift a legal ban on knocking down the homes of suicide bombers.

12-07-2005, 08:08 PM
Dershowitz versus Chomsky: A Review of the Harvard Debate
By John Ryan - Counterpunch (http://www.counterpunch.org/ryan12072005.html)

I have just watched the Chomsky-Dershowitz debate. I'm not entirely sure how debates are judged or graded, but unless one is blinded by Zionist/pro-Israel bias, there's no question that Chomsky scored a decisive victory--on a number of counts.

The topic was Israel and Palestine After Disengagement: Where Do We Go From Here? Chomsky consistently stayed on topic, whereas Dershowitz hardly referred to it, except at the end when directed to it by a question. What's the debate penalty for ignoring the topic?

In his opening address, Dershowitz only dealt with the issue obliquely, and devoted most of his time to berating the Palestinians, Chomsky, and professors who criticize Israel, and challenged Chomsky to form an alliance with him to work for peace in the area-- a seemingly worthy proposal but totally off topic. Chomsky began by saying that the only thing Dershowitz said that he couldn't take issue with was that the two of them had once been in some summer camp together. Chomsky then proceeded to provide background to the crisis and pointed out that the current Israel-USA policy and any proposal emanating from it would lead to only further disaster. The Palestinians are not prepared to accept a non-contiguous Bantustan "state" which is what is being offered. Instead he clearly stated that it was the Geneva Accord that provided a basis for meaningful future negotiations. Dershowitz, on the other hand, only at the end, when pressed on this matter, said that the new Sharon-Peres party would "offer" the Palestinians a "proposal"--which the Palestinians should not refuse! This was his answer to "where do we go from here." So much for substance by Dershowitz. Debate score?

Looking back at the "debate," Dershowitz's approach was characterized by a consistent tirade of comments aimed at character assassination, rather than salient arguments relevant to the topic. At almost every instance when he spoke, Dershowitz peppered his address with ad hominem attacks on Chomsky--from the very beginning to the very end. Chomsky conducted himself with the dignity and decorum that such an occasion demanded. He kept to the topic, never raised his voice, never interrupted Dershowitz, and only at one time did he speak over the moderator's voice who tried to cut off a much needed response to Dershowitz. What's the debating penalty to Dershowitz for his abysmal ad hominem performance?

Right from the beginning it was obvious that Dershowitz did not intend to engage in honest debate. Instead, his aim was to smear, vilify, misrepresent and discredit Chomsky, and at intervals, in an almost childish manner, invited the audience to visit "Planet Chomsky." There were countless examples of this. It's hard to believe that Dershowitz would not have read some of Chomsky's major works on the Israel-Palestine issue. But if he did read them, it means that he purposefully proceeded to misrepresent Chomsky's views--views which Chomsky denied were his and challenged Dershowitz to cite such references. For example, how could Dershowitz claim that Chomsky never supported a two-state solution, which Chomsky has done over a 30-year period. Yet that's what Dershowitz asserted in his opening remarks, which Chomsky immediately refuted. Then when Chomsky referred to his own writings, Dershowitz blustered that none of this work was available, or that it was "selected passages," or in Esperanto or in some Czech edition immature, scandalous behaviour and outright lies. Indeed, it's "selected passages" or quotations, with references, that often provide the required documentation. On several occasions, in putting forth a position or as a challenge to Chomsky's argument, Dershowitz would say in a pretentious tone, " President Clinton told me directly and personally . . ." In rebuttal, with devastating effectiveness, Chomsky responded, "You can believe what the research shows or you can believe what Mr. Dershowitz says someone told him."

Dershowitz can't claim he didn't read the Geneva Accord or that it was in Esperanto, yet he asserted that the Accord's major flaw was its insistence on the Right of Return. This shows either inexcusable ignorance or it was a deliberate lie. When Chomsky challenged this, the moderator cut him off so he couldn't explain what the Accord actually says. As provided in Resolution 242, an alternative to the refugees actually returning to their original homes is the right of appropriate compensation. The Accord states that some refugees may return (up to about 50,000) but this would have to be with Israel's agreement. As for the remainder, the Accord specifically spells out the provisions for compensation. For Dershowitz to deny this shows that to try to score a "debating point" he was fully prepared to lie, knowing that most people would not be aware of the Accord's specific provisions.

When Chomsky stated that the American media did not report Clinton's delivery of a huge number of helicopters to Israel to counter the Intafada, Dershowitz ridiculed the idea of media bias and said that it occurred only in Chomsky's imagination. Dershowitz ignored Chomsky's challenge to provide such documentation. Chomsky then went on to say that a media search showed that it was widely reported in Europe, but that the search showed zero results in the USA.

Dershowitz kept harping on the wonderful "generous" deal offered by Barak at Camp David--never once addressed the fact that what was offered was a nonviable "state" consisting of three non-contiguous Bantustans--and disingenuously tried to divert attention by waving a map showing the provision for a rail/road connection to Gaza. In confronting Chomsky's position that Israel terminated discussions at Taba after one week, Dershowitz said it was done because Arafat had rejected the Camp David proposal. Utter nonsense. Taba was simply a continuation of the Camp David negotiations, and when it appeared that some real progress was being made, Israel terminated the discussions. In later years, it was the continuation of these discussions that led to the Geneva Accord. Despite being an acclaimed academic at Harvard, and being obsessed with Israel, Dershowitz appears to be clueless on many crucial issues.

One of the reasons for Dershowtiz's hatred of Chomsky is the fact that back in 1973, Chomsky exposed and proved that Dershowitz lied in an attempt to discredit an Israeli civil libertarian. In the years that followed, Dershowitz has conducted a personal jihad against Chomsky. And recently, Chomsky, Finkelstein, and Alexander Cockburn exposed Dershowitz's shoddy scholarship in his book The Case for Israel. So the animosity between them is long standing.

In the above cited reference, Chomsky states that Dershowitz "knows that he can't respond to what I say. He doesn't have the knowledge or the competence to deal with the issues. Therefore, the idea is to try to shut it up by throwing as much slime as you can."

The scene at the end of the debate was nauseating. Dershowitz trots up to Chomsky to shake hands "look how magnanimous I am let's be friends!" After his scurrilous attacks on Chomsky, he indeed owed him an apology, but I'm sure he didn't offer one. One wonders what Chomsky said to him. It could be that Dershowitz realized he had crossed the line in civility, and he then wanted to somehow ingratiate himself with Chomsky, at least for public appearances.

John Ryan, Ph. D., is a retired professor of geography and senior scholar at the University of Winnipeg, Canada. He can be reached at: jryan13@mts.net

12-08-2005, 02:31 PM
Israeli airstrike kills two Palestinians, Israeli soldier killed in stabbing

An Israeli airstrike in the northern Gaza Strip killed two Palestinian militants Thursday and a Palestinian stabbing attack killed an Israeli in the West Bank in a new spasm of violence following a suicide bombing in Israel earlier this week.

Israel had promised tough retaliation for Monday's bombing that killed five people outside a shopping mall in the coastal town of Netanya, including increased arrest raids, airstrikes in Gaza and a renewal of targeted killings of Palestinian militant leaders.

On Thursday, an Israeli aircraft launched missiles at a group of militants from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades near the northern Gaza town of Jebaliya, Palestinian witnesses and health officials said.

The strike killed Iyad Nasser, 27, and Iyad Qaddas, 21, hospital officials said. Six others were wounded, including an 11-year-old girl, hospital officials said.

The army said the strike targeted a building where a senior Al Aqsa militant responsible for attacks on Israel was staying.

An angry crowd gathered at the hospital, demanding revenge.

"This crime will not pass easily and the blood of our fighters will not be spilled in vain," said a spokesman for Al Aqsa who goes by the nickname Abu Mohammed.

Palestinian officials condemned the attack and said Israel would bear responsibility for its consequences.

"This Israeli action is going to sabotage the efforts made by the Palestinian Authority to maintain calm and to revive the peace process," Interior Ministry spokesman Tawfik Abu Khoussa said.

Another airstrike Wednesday killed a militant from the small Popular Resistance Committees.

In other violence, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli in the neck, killing him in an attack near the Qalandiya checkpoint outside the West Bank city of Ramallah, emergency workers said.

The surge in violence comes amid election campaigns for both Israel and the Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was expected to take a hard line against any Palestinian attacks to reassure Israeli voters of his security credentials following his secession from the hawkish Likud Party to form a new centrist party. {snip}

12-08-2005, 02:37 PM
Haaretz.com runs ad discouraging Jewish abortions as "only solution" to Arab population growth
Electronic Intifada (http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4333.shtml)

In an incredible example of how acceptable even the most extreme manifestations of anti-Arab racism have become in Israel, the website of the leading English/Hebrew daily, Ha'aretz today ran a front page advertisement that warned:

"If the Arab population in Israel will reach 40% the Jewish State will be nullified. For the only solution press here."

The link went to a webpage of an Israeli organization, EFRAT (www.efrat.org.il/en/ (http://www.efrat.org.il/en/)) and treated visitors to a video clip in Hebrew, with English subtitles (http://www.efrat.org.il/files/efrat_files/internethomeen.wmv) [Windows Media format].

EFRAT is a group that campaigns against abortion and offers material and emotional support to pregnant mothers before and after their babies are born. The central message of the video is split between the two functions.

While EFRAT are free to hold any political position they wish on the abortion issue and should be commended for offering people a genuine supportive alternative to meet the needs of vulnerable sectors of Israeli society, one wonders at any organization that advertises a humanitarian service in a way that blatantly is designed to appeal to the darkest racist elements of the society it purports to serve.

Despite repeated non-race-specific references to "women" as EFRAT's clientele on its Our Goal (http://www.efrat.org.il/en/page_sub.asp?topic2_id=445&topic_id=298) page, another page on EFRAT's website, "How EFRAT began" (http://www.efrat.org.il/en/page_sub.asp?topic2_id=446&topic_id=298), admits that the real purpose of EFRAT is not so egalitarian:
When Mr. Herschel Feigenbaum arrived in Israel after surviving the holocaust, he understood that our children are our future. In memory of the over one and a half million Jewish children who perished, Mr. Feigenbaum founded EFRAT, to increase the Jewish birthrate in Israel.
http://electronicintifada.net/artman/uploads/haaretz-adoption-483.jpg The ad in context on the Haaretz.com homepage.

The message of the advert on Haaretz.com, shown in its context on the homepage screenshot above, could unambiguously be paraphrased as follows:

Are you a pregnant Jewish women thinking of having an abortion?

The Arabs are breeding faster than we are and the Jewish State will be destroyed when they reach two-fifths of the population.

The only solution is to not have your abortion and take advantage of our services.

So there we have it.

EFRAT, an organization committed only "to increase the Jewish birthrate in Israel" has no problem using the historical Jewish bogeyman of annihilation, fueled by naked racism, to frighten pregnant women into choosing not to have an abortion.

Lest one think that EFRAT is a marginal organization, its website claims to have "saved 17,000 children" since 1977, boasts 2,900 trained volunteers, and its website offers video testimonials from "VIPs" that include Mr. Moshe Katsav, President of the State of Israel [View: Page (http://www.efrat.org.il/en/page_sub.asp?topic2_id=460&topic_id=312) | Video (http://www.efrat.org.il/files/efrat_files/nasi%20en.wmv)], and Rabbi Israel Meir Lau [View: Page (http://www.efrat.org.il/en/page_sub.asp?topic2_id=462&topic_id=312) | Video (http://www.efrat.org.il/files/efrat_files/lauo%20en.wmv)], who served as Israel’s Chief Rabbi between 1993-2003, was appointed Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Jaffa in 2005, and received the Israel Prize the same year.

While Rabbi Israel Meir Lau's comments focus on praising EFRAT for offering an alternative to abortion, Moshe Katsav praises Efrat "for fulfilling a national duty of great importance. There was never a period in all the years of Jewish history that such a duty was as essential as it is in this generation." While it is not clear exactly what Katsav is referring to in the short clip, his invocation of history suggests he is hitting the same message as EFRAT's advertisement, one of survival of the Jewish people in Israel, in a time of demographic change.

And Ha'aretz, one of the most influential newspapers in a country where one-fifth of the population are Arabs, presumably with many Arab readers, did not think twice about accepting money for an advertisement that portrays Arabs as a force of destruction in Israel, solely on the basis of their birthrate.

Is there really anything left to say?

Nigel Parry is a co-founder of the Electronic Intifada.

12-12-2005, 02:28 PM
Palestinian militant killed in botched West Bank grenade attack
Haaretz (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/656333.html)

A Palestinian militant was killed on Sunday when a grenade he tried to throw at Israel Defense Forces troops exploded prematurely in the Balata refugee camp near the West Bank city of Nablus, witnesses and the IDF said.

They said 18-year-old Ayad Hashash, member of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed wing of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction, attempted to attack soldiers scouring Balata refugee camp in Nablus for militants.

Later on Sunday afternoon, soldiers in Nablus shot and wounded a Palestinian who tried to throw a concrete block at them. Another Palestinian sustained burns also in the Nablus area when he tried to throw a firebomb at IDF troops.

Earlier, it was reported that IDF troops fired at a Palestinian who was throwing an explosive device and at other Palestinians who were firing at the soldiers.

The exchanges of fire lasted three hours before the IDF left Balata.

Near Jenin early on Sunday evening, Palestinians opened fire and threw a grenade at IDF soldiers. There were no reported casualties.

A total of 17 Palestinians were arrested in the West Bank overnight, Palestinians and the IDF said.

Israel has arrested dozens of militants in the West Bank since a Palestinian suicide bomber from the area killed five Israelis last week in the coastal city of Netanya.

Air strike takes life
Palestinian hospital officials reported that Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades militant Khader Rayana, 27, died Satuday of wounds incurred in an Israel Air Force missile strike in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday after the suicide bombing in Netanya last Monday.

Two other militants died immediately after missiles struck a house near the northern Gaza town of Jabalya, where members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades were hiding.

12-12-2005, 03:00 PM
Violence and Racism: Murder in Jerusalem
By NEVE GORDON and YIGAL BRONNER - Counterpunch (http://counterpunch.org/gordon12102005.html)

A short article posted on the Web site of Israel's most popular newspaper, Yedioth Ahronot, described the killing of a Jerusalem resident. According to the article, the man, a young father of two, was shot down by police after he tried to run over one of the officers. Following the killing, his enraged friends and neighbors filled the streets, burning tires and torching a parked car.

The readers' reaction to the news item was immediate. Within hours there were 150 responses on the Web page, almost all of which reiterated a similar viewpoint: "Come on police, take care of them" (signed Zionist); "Hit them without delay" (an Israeli with high blood pressure); "No mercy" (a Sabra); "Bomb the rioters with a few missiles, it's not France here"; and finally, "Arabs beware, Israel is not Europe."

The readers' reactions were not surprising considering that the dead man's name was Samir Ribhi Dari and not, for example, Joseph Cohen. The actual killing did not even warrant a response, since incidents like this have become routine. It was only the spontaneous protest that drew the readers' attention. Angry Arabs in the streets? We must respond rapidly and with force, "bomb them with a few missiles."

The readers, however, were right about one crucial point: Israel is neither France nor Europe, since in Israel police violence toward Arabs tends to be much more lethal. Indeed, both Samir's killing and the readers' responses reflect some of the most disturbing and dangerous aspects of contemporary Israeli culture. Most prominent among these is the deep-seated racism that encourages violence.

This racism is inextricably linked to Israel's repetition compulsion, which transforms the victim into the aggressor. A Palestinian is killed and immediately he is described as violent; the police beat a Palestinian and he, not they, is portrayed as brutal; Israel occupies and represses the Palestinian people, but they are to blame. Thus, it is no surprise that after Samir Dari was shot in the back from just a few yards away the police instantly claimed that he was trying to run them over. It is almost as if lying has become an involuntary reflex for the authorities.

But in order for the culture of deceit to be effective it needs the assistance of the culture of dissimulation and suppression. If the past is any indication of the future, then the policeman who shot Samir Dari can rest easy. The internal affairs department did not indict a single policeman following the killings of 13 Arab citizens in October 2000, nor did it indict any of the policemen who gave false evidence regarding their illegal behavior during protests against the separation barrier.

The cultures of deceit and suppression fan the flames of violence. The clear message -- that Jews are eternal victims, and therefore they cannot be found guilty regardless of the brutal means they employ -- renders Palestinian life cheap and encourages a trigger-happy attitude. We have accordingly reached a stage where we can predict that the Israeli security forces will continue killing Palestinians. The only unknown variable is the identity of the next victim. We could not have known, for example, that the policeman would shoot our friend Samir.

Samir liked the nights. His days would begin in the early afternoon, and in the evening he would sit in his car, driving clients, talking on his cell phone and instructing the other drivers employed by his taxi company. He was a patient man, and in the four years that we worked with him -- often under extremely stressful conditions -- we found him to be a bit shy, but always resourceful. And most important, he was forever willing to offer help to those in need.

We would like to believe that the person who shot Samir will be brought to a fair trial. We would like to believe that Samir's death will begin undermining the patterns of deceit, suppression and racism that have served as the propelling force of the culture of violence. We would like to believe that Samir's children will be the last ones orphaned by the Israeli security forces. But no. We cannot deceive ourselves.

Neve Gordon teaches human rights at Ben-Gurion University in Israel and is the editor of From the Margins of Globalization: Critical Perspectives on Human Rights. He Can be reached at nevegordon@gmail.com.

Yigal Bronner teaches in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Until this year, he taught in Tel Aviv University's Department of East Asian Studies.


Wall, What Wall? - My Bethlehem Experience
By ALISON WEIR - Counterpunch (http://counterpunch.org/weir12122005.html)Last night at something called "The Bethlehem Experience (http://www.gotobethlehem.com/images.shtml)", a local church's reenactment of Bethlehem 2000 years ago, I handed out "Bethlehem Christmas cards" designed by Quakers in Michigan. These wonderful cards have a photo of the Israeli wall imprisoning Bethlehem on one side and information on the situation in Bethlehem on the other, including the website openbethlehem.org (http://www.openbethlehem.org/). The wall photo shows a painting on the wall (http://www.banksy.co.uk/outdoors/05.5.html) of a small girl holding balloons that are carrying her aloft and over the towering concrete wall to freedom. There were only three others with me (plus one young girl), and we tried to act as respectfully and mildly as possible, endeavoring not to interfere with the event, the commemoration of a birth that holds deep meaning for us. The idea was simple: we would approach people in their cars as they joined the line inching toward the church's drive-through experience, wish them a Merry Christmas, explain that we were not part of the official event (while commenting that it was a wonderful event), and tell them that we were there to provide information about Bethlehem today, during which we would hand them one of our cards.

We felt this was a valuable addition to what otherwise would have been a breathtakingly hypocritical and exploitative event: a pageant in which American Christians would dress up as people in a far-off land, while ignoring the pleas of those people today for help against their oppression, oppression being funded by their costumed imitators. Having personally visited Bethlehem and having seen the wall with which Israel is imprisoning and devastating the people through the use of our tax money, I felt morally obligated to be there.

Most people took our cards with the good will with which they were being proffered and began to read them immediately. When we mentioned that we were there to tell about what was happening to people in Bethlehem today they would look surprised and ask, "What's happening?" When two people mentioned that they had visited Bethlehem and we asked if they had seen the wall, they responded: "What wall?" It turned out that they had visited many years before and, like most Americans, had no idea that Israel was building a wall around Bethlehem.

Sadly, the church's pastor was furious at our efforts, and sent an assistant to try to prevent us from handing out our Christmas cards. Somewhat frantic, this woman began running up to cars, telling people to ignore us, that we were "solicitors," and compared us to the poor people of Tijuana who apparently ask to clean people's windshields in return for small sums of money.

While most people seemed to maintain their civility, her actions caused a few people, most of whom identified themselves as members of the church, to be somewhat rude to us. Sadly, several times I would then respond in disgust, a lapse I'm unhappy about. For example, one woman said that we were being "inappropriate." I asked her the verse in the New Testament that speaks about being "appropriate," and told her that I thought the message brought 2,000 years ago was about helping the poor and oppressed and caring about others.

Another member of the church, the official greeter (interestingly, dressed as a Roman Centurion), periodically came over to me when I was standing alone, towering over me, and would call me extremely obscene names and make crude sexual comments. I learned later that he did this with the other woman as well. I was sorry to discover this morning that some of this was done within earshot of the young girl who had been to Bethlehem some months ago and was at this event with her father.

A couple in one car that I approached to give a card turned out to be Israeli. While the woman was wonderfully open and spoke of wanting peace, her husband shouted at her to "shut up," said he had been in the Israeli Army, and stated that he wished he could go back and "shoot more people."

If I had been more alert I should have suggested that he help me put on a reenactment of Bethlehem today to accompany the church's reenactment of Bethlehem 2,000 years ago.

The church is holding this event again tonight. We had originally planned to go both nights. At this point I'm undecided about whether to return, and I doubt anyone else will want to come. I still have cards left over, however, and Bethlehem is still under siege. I'll probably go.

Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew (http://www.ifamericansknew.org/). She can be reached at: alisonweir@yahoo.com

12-13-2005, 01:05 PM
Palestinian shot dead in West Bank
BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4524050.stm)

A Palestinian was killed and at least 20 were wounded in clashes during an Israeli operation in the West Bank city of Nablus, medical sources said. Two Israeli soldiers were also injured by a bomb during the raid.

There have been several raids in the West Bank since an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber killed five Israelis in Netanya earlier this month. Israeli forces entered the city at dawn and were attacked by youths throwing stones and, later, by gunmen.

A 22-year old Palestinian, Hussam Sakir, was shot in the head while throwing stones near the Balata refugee camp on the outskirts of the city, medical sources said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman told the AFP news agency that Israeli troops had fired live rounds, but not at protesters. "There have been numerous incidents of Palestinian gunmen shooting at the forces. In some cases the forces returned fire," she said. "In addition there have been numerous incidents of Palestinians throwing rocks, but the forces have not returned fire in those instances."

12-13-2005, 01:09 PM
Gaza gunmen fire on PA security compound, storm election HQ
Reuters (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/657361.html)

Palestinian gunmen from Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah party stormed election offices and battled police in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday in a flare-up of violence that could disrupt next month's parliamentary ballot.

The violence prompted the Central Elections Committee to close all its offices in the West Bank and Gaza. Employees would not return to work until the Interior Ministry provided them with security, the Palestinian official news agency reported.

About 100 Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades gunmen fired in the air as they burst into election headquarters in Gaza City shortly before rival Hamas militants were expected to register their candidate lists for the vote, election officials said.

At the same time, gunmen raided election offices in the West Bank city of Nablus, and in Rafah and Khan Yunis in southern Gaza. There were heavy clashes with police in Khan Younis but no immediate reports of casualties.

The militants, worried they will not be fairly represented
on Fatah's ticket following complaints about the handling of the ruling party's primary elections, are demanding a delay in the Jan. 25 legislative poll. Abbas vowed to hold the vote on time. {snip}


Diplomats: Israel violating specific obligations made to Rice
Haaretz (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/657368.html)

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said Tuesday that Israel would not implement an agreement allowing bus convoys between Gaza and the West Bank until the Palestinian Authority cracked down on rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

"Israel has no intention of allowing passage to Palestinian convoys from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank... while the PA is not acting against Qassam rocket fire," Halutz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Halutz's comments raised the ire of those participating in a conference of donors to the Palestinian Authority slated to open Wednesday in London.

A Western diplomatic source said the suspension of the Gaza-West Bank bus convoys is a violation of Israel's agreement with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Diplomats at the London conference expressed hope Israel would understand the strategic ramifications of reneging on explicit obligations it had made to the U.S. administration at this critical time.

The U.S. and other Quartet nations over the weekend stepped up pressure on Israel to implement an agreement it signed with the PA last month to facilitate the border crossings even before the conference kicks off. {snip}

12-14-2005, 11:01 AM
Israel to Build More Homes in West Bank

Israel has approved construction of hundreds of new homes in West Bank settlements, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday, confirming what would be a violation of the U.S.-backed peace plan.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon scrambled to contain a political uproar following a Newsweek report quoting a Sharon aide as saying the prime minister would be willing to cede 90 percent of the West Bank and part of Jerusalem. Sharon's aides denied the report, but his hard-line opponents said it revealed the prime minister's true intentions.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz approved the new settlement homes in the past week, a defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

Mofaz made the decision shortly before leaving the hard-line Likud Party to join Sharon's new centrist party, Kadima. The Yediot Ahronot daily said Mofaz initially approved the housing to shore up support within Likud at a time when he was seeking party leadership. But he ended up joining Kadima after trailing badly in Likud polls.The U.S.-backed road map peace plan aims for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. In the interim, Israel is required to freeze construction in all Jewish settlements, including the largest ones that it says it wants to hold onto under a future peace deal.

However, Israel has not fulfilled this commitment, and construction has continued since the road map was approved in June 2003. The Palestinians also have failed to meet their obligation to dismantle armed militant groups.

Asked for comment, U.S. Embassy spokesman Stewart Tuttle reiterated Washington's position that Israel must "stop the settlement expansion in addition to removing illegal outposts."

Sharon left Likud, his political home for 30 years, last month to form Kadima, saying he would have more flexibility to negotiate a peace agreement on the basis of the road map.While this would mean ceding West Bank territory to the Palestinians, Sharon also has said he intends to retain large blocs of settlements - most of them near the boundary with Israel.

The Palestinians claim all of the West Bank along with the Gaza Strip, which Israel evacuated in September, as part of a future state.

In Gaza City, fighting erupted ahead of a midnight deadline for all Palestinian parties to announce their lists of candidates.

Gunmen exchanged fire outside the headquarters of the ruling Fatah Party, as tensions heightened within Fatah over candidate selection for Jan. 25 parliament elections.

Three people were wounded in the firefight, in which gunmen from rival Fatah groups ran up and down a Gaza City street, shooting wildly into the air. The incident began when a group of armed Fatah activists took over party headquarters in Gaza City, demanding government jobs. Bodyguards of a local Fatah leader arrived and drove the protesters out of the building.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Israel's new construction "undermines the vision of a two-state solution."

"This is a clear-cut violation of the road map ... and I really hope that President Bush will personally take note of that," he said.

Nearly all of the new housing approved by Mofaz lies within the blocs that Sharon wants to retain, though they also include dozens of homes in smaller communities of Bracha and Nokdim deep in the West Bank.

The other houses include 200 homes in Maaleh Adumim, Israel's largest settlement, and 40 trailers in Ariel, another large settlement deep in the West Bank, ministry officials said. In addition, Mofaz agreed to advance construction plans in Givat Zeev and Beitar Illit, two large settlements near Jerusalem, the ministry said.

Sharon's new party is expected to win elections in March, with Likud trailing far behind in opinion polls. Critics in the Likud say Sharon is planning major concessions to the Palestinians.

12-14-2005, 12:30 PM
Israeli Missile Strike Kills Four in Gaza

The Israeli military fired a missile Wednesday at a car in northern Gaza it said was packed with militants about to carry out an attack. Four Palestinians were killed and four were wounded, Palestinian hospital officials said.

Witnesses said an Israeli drone was overhead at the time of the attack outside Karni, Gaza's main cargo passage.

The Israeli military said it targeted members of the Popular Resistance Committees on their way to carry out an attack against Israel. The vehicle was loaded with explosives, the military said.

The military would not say where it believed the car was headed. The Karni passage in northern Gaza has been the site of militant attacks in the past.

The military did not elaborate.

Dozens gathered in an angry crowd outside the hospital morgue and emergency room, chanting, "God is Great!" and "Destroy Israel!"

12-21-2005, 11:34 AM
Palestinian elections threatened
BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4548282.stm)

January's Palestinian parliamentary elections have been plunged into crisis after Israel decided to prevent Palestinians in Jerusalem from voting. Israeli prime minister's spokesman Raanan Gissin told the BBC it was concerned that the Palestinian militant group Hamas might gain power. [Democracy, baby!]

The Palestinian Authority condemned the decision and said it would cancel the poll if voting in Jerusalem is barred.

This election will be only the second since the PA was established in 1995.

Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Shaath said that if there was no voting in Jerusalem, "there will be no elections at all". "For us, Jerusalem is more important than any other thing," he added. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the 25 January election would be sabotaged if Palestinians resident in East Jerusalem were prevented from voting.

"If these elections don't take place, it will be a catastrophe for the Palestinians," he said. "I know what the Israelis have on their minds. They don't want a partner. They want unilateralism." Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri has told reporters that his group wants the election held as scheduled.

Mr Gissin told the BBC that the Israeli government had changed its stance since last January's presidential election, when voting had been permitted. Under special voting arrangements for East Jerusalem - which Israel has annexed and sees as its exclusive domain, while international law decrees it to be occupied territory - Palestinians have previously been allowed to vote in Israeli post offices.

Mr Gissin said these had been exceptions, and stressed the government would not help what he called a terrorist organisation, Hamas, come to power. In October, Israel pulled back from a policy of opposing the participation of Hamas in January's elections.

Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said it was not in Israel's interest to oppose Hamas' participation. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had said earlier that his government would hinder voting in the West Bank if Hamas candidates stood in the election. {snip}

12-22-2005, 12:14 PM
Palestinians shot dead in Nablus
BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4551454.stm)

Three Palestinians have been shot and killed by Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Nablus, Palestinian medical sources say. The men were shot dead as they tried to flee a building that had been sealed off by Israeli troops, witnesses said.

Meanwhile five Israeli soldiers were slightly wounded by a Qassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip at their base in southern Israel, the army said.

A Palestinian man was killed when the army responded by firing shells.

Palestinian medical officials said Ibrahim Naana, 21, had been killed by shrapnel after a shell landed east of the Jabaliya refugee camp.

The Israeli Army said that it had fired at rocket-launching sites, and that it had thought the area was empty.

Two other rockets were fired into Israel on Thursday, but no damage or casualties were reported.

The attacks came amid increasing tension along the border of the Gaza Strip, from which Israel withdrew in September.

Israeli forces have retaliated against Palestinian rocket attacks with artillery fire and air strikes on suspected militants.

On Sunday, Israel said it shot dead a militant trying to plant mines near the Erez Crossing.

West Bank raid

In Nablus, soldiers had entered the four-storey building in the city searching for wanted militants, the Israeli army said.

When the three tried to flee they were shot, officials said. The operation at the building was continuing.

Local people said one of the dead men was Bashar Khanani, the leader of the Nablus branch of the small militant group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The Israeli army said overnight raids across the West Bank had resulted in the arrest of 14 suspected militants.

Israel has stepped up military activity against militant groups since a suicide bombing killed five people at a shopping centre in Netanya on 5 December.

01-02-2006, 02:39 PM
Israel death toll lowest in years
BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4574720.stm)

Forty-five Israelis were killed in Palestinian militant attacks in 2005, the Israeli internal security agency Shin Bet has reported. [Partridge: Meanwhile, in the same timeframe, 306 Palestians have been killed by the IDF - source (http://www.palestinercs.org/crisistables/table_of_figures.htm)]

This is 60% fewer than the number killed in 2004, and the lowest since the start of the intifada in 2000. The main reason for the decline, Shin Bet said, was the informal truce observed by some Palestinian groups.

However, Israel says Palestinian groups have smuggled a number of anti-aircraft missiles into Gaza. These were smuggled in the aftermath of Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra said. For a few days in September the border with Egypt was open and not under the control of Israel or the Palestinian Authority. Mr Ezra also said that more than 3,000 anti-tank missiles have entered Gaza. [Partridge: Translation - Palestinians are not allowed to have the means to defend themselves from Israeli tank incursions and air strikes]

Israel withdrew its settlers and army from Gaza, which it had occupied since 1967, in the summer of 2005. Mr Ezra said that Israel must ensure that Palestinian militants do not transfer the weapons to the West Bank, where they would be closer to Israeli cities.

Israel's Shin Bet security agency believes that the Palestinians also brought thousands of rifles and several tons of explosive material into Gaza, Israel Radio said. Mr Ezra stressed, however, that Israel's prime security concern was preventing suicide bombings inside Israel.

Truce ends

Of the 45 Israelis killed in 2005, 37 were civilians. A further 406 Israelis were injured in attacks, down from 589 in 2004. Militant Palestinian groups launched approximately 2,990 anti-Israeli attacks in 2005, including 377 attacks using Qassam rockets, Shin Bet said. [Partridge: In the same time frame 993 Palestinians have been injured - source (http://www.palestinercs.org/crisistables/table_of_figures.htm). Come on BBC, some balance please!]

Shin Bet says Israeli security forces arrested 160 Palestinian militants trying to carry out suicide attacks. In all, five suicide attackers got through Israeli security measures in 2005.

Palestinian militant groups formally ended their truce on Sunday.