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News Archive - October 2006

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Rescue personnel evacuating the wounded from the scene of the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv on Monday, 3/17/2006. (Nir Kafri/Ha'aretz)
Palestinians: Three people killed as IDF enters Beit Hanun
Ha’aretz 11/1/2006
Two Palestinians were killed and 20 others wounded Wednesday as Israel Defense Forces troops entered northern Gaza, Palestinian security sources said. IDF infantry troops and armored vehicles entered the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanun before dawn. A heavy exchange of fire with Palestinian gunmen ensued. Army Radio reported the exchanges of fire are ongoing. According to the security sources, a Palestinian policeman was killed in an IAF strike during the course of the operation. A second air strike killed a 23-year-old gunman, doctors said. A Hamas gunman, who also served as a cabinet member’s bodyguard, died from his injuries after one of the clashes, doctors told Reuters. According to the IDF, the IAF carried out two strikes during the course of the operation. more..

Israeli army announces plan to expand its attacks in the Gaza Strip
International Middle East Media Center 11/1/2006
Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, will convene with the Israeli political-security cabinet on Wednesday to decide the possibility of expanding the military offensive in the Gaza Strip. Yet, the operations would not be expanded before Olmert returns from his planned visit to the United States in two weeks. Olmert’s visit will be arranged by the American envoys David Walsh and Daniel Abrams, who will arrive in the country on Wednesday. Olmert intends to discuss the army’s policy in Gaza, which he claims is retaliation for several dozen homemade shells fired into the Israeli desert over the past several months (which have caused no injuries), and arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip. Palestinians counter that these are mere excuses by Israel for an ongoing military operation in Gaza that has resulted in over 250 Palestinians killed since June. more..

Peretz balks at plan to expand Gaza operation
Ha’aretz 11/1/2006
The security cabinet will discuss today the situation in the Gaza Strip and plans for expanding Israel Defense Force offensive operations there. Defense Minister Amir Peretz has expressed reservations regarding the hawkish stance taken by the army’s leadership on operations in the Gaza Strip, and is concerned that any escalation will result in a total loss of control over the situation there. The IDF proposals that will be discussed by the cabinet include expanded operations along the Philadelphi Route in Rafah, along the Gaza-Sinai border and against the extensive network of tunnels dug by the Palestinians to smuggle in weapons and other equipment. At this point it is known that the IDF has recommended a permanent takeover of the Philadelphi Route. more..

Army invades Tubas, Jenin, and the village of Tammoun, takes three prisoners
International Middle East Media Center 10/31/2006
The Israeli army invaded the cities of Tubas, Jenin and the nearby village of Tammoun, in the northern part of the West Bank and took three residents prisoner on Tuesday morning. The Israeli army invaded Tubass city in the northern West Bank, during the early morning hours and installed several checkpoints in and around the city. Soldiers stopped and searched civilian cars and checked residents’ ID cards, eyewitnesses reported. In the meantime, Nabeh Bani Odah from Tubas was taken prisoner while crossing the Israeli military checkpoint between Tubass and the nearby Tulkarem city. Bani Odah works as a security officer in the Palestinian Authority security forces in Tubass.... soldiers stationed at a military checkpoint at the Tulkarem Tubas road took prisoner Abdullah Abdul-Walli, 30. more..

Two resistance fighters and one civilian killed, three residents injured in Khan Younis
International Middle East Media Center 10/31/2006
Two Palestinian resistance fighters from Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, and one civilian were killed and seven residents were injured during an army operation in Khuza’a village, east of Khan Younis city, south of Gaza strip, on Tuesday morning. Medical sources in the city of Khan Younis reported that Mohamed Al Najar was killed after being hit in the chest with several bullets, while Shadi Al Najar died after being hit in the head. Security sources said the two were shot by Israeli snipers stationed on the roofs of residents’ homes roofs. The third was identified as Zaki Al Najar. The invasion started when at least 20 armored vehicles and tanks stormed Khaza’a village, near the Gaza Israeli border. Helicopters opened fire at residents’ homes and farmlands, providing aerial coverage for the ground forces, eyewitnesses reported. more..

Army critically wounds Palestinian in Khuza’a village in the Gaza Strip
International Middle East Media Center 10/31/2006
Palestinian medical sources reported on Tuesday that Mihiar Al Najar, 19, was critically wounded after being shot by the Israeli troops invading the village of Khuza’a, east of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip. Al Najar sustained injures in the chest and abdomen. He was moved to Al Najar Hospital in Khan Younis, the medical sources added. The Israeli military offensive that started on Tuesday morning has already claimed the life of three Palestinians and injured four. Local residents say the operation is still going. [end]

Army takes prisoner one resident from Hebron and increases its soldiers in the city
International Middle East Media Center 10/31/2006
Israeli soldiers attacked and ransacked Palestinian shops in the old city of the West Bank city of Hebron and took prisoner one resident prisoner on Tuesday morning. Ali Al Karaki was taken prisoner after troops attacked and searched his shop in the old city of of Hebron. Soldiers said they took him because they found fire works and crackers in his shop. In the meantime, the Israeli army increased its soldiers in the old city and surrounded neighborhoods where illegal settlers live by installing road blocks and temporary military checkpoints. [end]

Israeli armoured vehicles mass near Gaza-witnesses
ReliefWeb 10/31/2006
GAZA, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Dozens of Israeli armoured vehicles massed at the border with Gaza on Tuesday and a military spokesman ordered Palestinians to evacuate an area close to the frontier with Egypt, witnesses said. The Israeli army had no immediate comment on the reported deployment, which came hours after Israeli troops killed three Palestinian militants in a raid on the Gaza town of Khan Younis. Israeli forces have carried out numerous raids in the Gaza Strip since the June 25 capture of a soldier in a cross-border raid, some in response to rocket attacks by militants on southern Israeli towns. More than 270 Palestinians have been killed in the offensive, about half of them civilians. Witnesses said Israeli armoured vehicles had deployed close to the border with the southern Gaza town of Rafah. more..

Israeli navy fires at Palestinian fishing boats; boats burst into flames
Ma’an News 10/31/2006
Khan Younis - Israeli navy boats chased two Palestinian fishing boats from the shores near Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip on Monday and shot at them, causing severe damage. An eyewitness reported that the Israeli boats fired heavy machine gun fire at the two boats, which belonged to the Mekdad family, and they burst into flames. Eyewitnesses added that they have not been able to determine the fate of the fishermen who were aboard the two boats. [end]

Troops abduct three fishermen in Gaza
International Middle East Media Center 10/30/2006
Monday evening, Israeli troops took prisoner three fishermen while they were fishing in an area that extends between Dir Al Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, and Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Palestinian security sources reported that Israeli Navy boats fired rounds of live ammunition at several fishing boats, and searched them before abducting three and taking them to an unknown destination. The three were identified as Ziad, his brother Abdullah Miqdad, and Wadee’ Shalhoob. [end]

IDF concerned Hamas could establish anti-tank division
Ha’aretz 10/31/2006
Hamas could feasibly establish a military division of some 10,000 soldiers with an operational force similar to Hezbollah’s if it continues to strengthen at its current pace, Israel Defense Forces GOC Southern Command Yoav Glant said Tuesday. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will convene his political-security cabinet on Wednesday to discuss the IDF’s policy in the Gaza Strip and work out responses to ongoing incidents of Palestinian Qassam fire and arms smuggling. Sources said no decisions would be made on expanding the IDF’s current operation until Olmert’s return from the United States in two weeks. Glant told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Hamas could bolster its forces to include anti-tank divisions and commandos, and could gain access to advanced weapons systems as well as night-vision apparatus. more..

Galant: Hamas modeling itself on Hizbullah
Jerusalem Post 10/31/2006
Hamas is on its way to establishing a military division of some 10,000 soldiers with a strategic model based on Hizbullah, OC Southern Command Yoav Galant said Tuesday." Hamas is establishing an organized division with a capability against tanks and with missiles that could reach threatening distances," Galant told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Galant went on to say that Hamas was organizing itself into a "professional" army, with battalions, divisions and perhaps even more in preparation to battle IDF forces. In addition to the antitank and missile systems, Hamas might also gain access to advanced weapons systems as well as night-vision apparatuses, said Galant. more..

Palestinians: One person killed, several hurt in two IAF Gaza strikes
Ha’aretz 11/1/2006
A Palestinian policeman was killed and at least 17 others wounded before dawn Wednesday as IDF troops entered northern Gaza, Palestinian security sources said. According to the security sources, the policeman was killed in an IAF strike during the course of the operation. A second IAF strike also wounded six gunmen, Palestinian witnesses said. An IDF spokeswoman confirmed the ground operation in Beit Hanun. According to the IDF, the IAF carried out two strikes during the course of the operation. One strike targeted an armed gunman who was approaching the IDF toops in the area, while the second targeted a group of armed militants who were placing an explosive device near the troops. more..

Tel Aviv court charges a Palestinian resident of killing a collaborator
International Middle East Media Center 10/31/2006
The Tel Aviv Central Court charged on Tuesday a Palestinian resident of killing a collaborator with Israel at a Mall in Tel Aviv, nine months ago. The Israeli police claim that Yasser Salama killed Jamal Abu Zohdi at a Mall in Tel Aviv. Slama, and others who were with him, believe that Abu Zuhdi was behind the arrest of several Palestinian residents in the occupied territories, Israeli sources reported. Abu Zohdi was hit on his head and thrown down from a high distance. The Israeli Radio reported that the prosecution demanded the court of keeping Salama in custody until the end of all legal proceedings against him. [end]

Army takes prisoner two brothers in Hebron
International Middle East Media Center 10/31/2006
The Israeli forces took two brothers prisoners on Tuesday afternoon after attacking residents’ houses and ransacking them in the West Bank city of Hebron. The two were known as Firass Al Ja’bari, 14, and his brother Arafah, 11. Their fater reported that both were taken to unknown locations. [end]

Israeli air strike destroys house of Fatah activist
Ma’an News 10/31/2006
Khan Younis - Israeli war planes shelled a house belonging to a Fatah activist in the Bani Suheila neighbourhood of east Khan Younis on Monday night. Our reporter said that the planes attacked the house of Mohammad Abu Hayah after informing the family to evacuate the house. No casualties were reported but the house was destroyed. Abu Hayah is a member of the Al Aqsa Brigades, the main military wing of Fatah. [end]

Executive Force arrest a Fatah member in central Gaza Strip for shooting at the PM’s convoy
Ma’an News 10/31/2006
Gaza - The Palestinian Executive Force, which is under the command of the Hamas-led interior ministry, arrested a Fatah member in the central Gaza Strip last night, accusing him of settling alight a jeep belonging to the Executive Force and of shooting at Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s convoy. The Executive Force arrested Mohamed Aldarbashi, a Fatah member, in Nuseirat refugee camp near the city of Deir Al Balah. Islam Shahwan, an Executive Force spokesman, said, "the force arrested Aldarbashi because he is accused of burning one of the jeeps of the Executive Force and of shooting at the Executive Force that accompanied the convoy of the prime minister while passing in the central governorate. He will be handed over to the ministry of interior to resume investigations and the legal procedures against him. [end]

Al-Quds Brigades survive a bombardment of Beit Hanoun, launch ’RPG’ at an Israeli bulldozer
Ma’an News Agency 10/31/2006
Gaza - A group from the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, have survived after Israeli helicopters launched a missile at them near the town of Beit Hanoun in the north of the Gaza Strip. Sources told Ma’an that the group were on the way to launching projectiles at Israeli targets in response to the artillery bombardment of Beit Hanoun. The Brigades said that none of their members was injured and they fled. The Al-Quds Brigades also claimed responsibility for launching a rocket-propelled-grenade at an Israeli bulldozer east of the city of Khan Younis on Tuesday morning, and for firing two homemade projectiles into the western Negev. more..

Israeli forces invade Jenin and other West Bank cities, arrest at least 14, including a toyshop owner
Ma’an News Agency 10/31/2006
West Bank - The Israeli army invaded a number of cities across the West Bank on Tuesday morning in a series of arrest raids. According to Israeli sources, the Israeli army arrested 14 Palestinians in the West Bank cities of Nablus, Ramallah, Jenin and Qalqiliya. The Israeli army said that the seized people were members of the Fatah and Hamas movements. The sources did not reveal the names of the arrested persons. The sources said that six Hamas members were arrested in Ramallah and four in Jenin. In Nablus, two of the three arrested men were from Fatah. The sources added that the Israeli troops arrested a citizen in Qalqiliya who had a weapon in his possession. Palestinian security sources reported that the Israeli forces invaded the city of Jenin and the refugee camp in the city in the north of the West Bank on Tuesday morning. more..

Army takes a fourth prisoner from Hebron
International Middle East Media Center 10/30/2006
The Israeli army has taken a fourth resident prisoner from the city of Hebron south of the West Bank on Monday afternoon. Izat Al Natsha, 22, was taken prisoner after troops searched and ransacked his familys’ house in Hebron city, his mother stated. On Monday morning troops attacked residents houses in the city of Hebron and the nearby Dora village and took three residents prisoners. [end]

West Bank under lockdown
ReliefWeb/IRIN 10/30/2006
WEST BANK, 28 October (IRIN) - The number of roadblocks and checkpoints in the West Bank has risen by 40 per cent since the start of 2006, with 528 permanent and temporary checkpoints and physical roadblocks disrupting all aspects of Palestinian life, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Jerusalem. In addition to stifling Palestinians’ ability to work, these obstacles are causing increasing desperation among the population." My city is nothing more than a big prison," said Tamer Mohammed, a 26-year-old Nablus Municipality employee. Like every male between the ages of 16 and 35 carrying a Nablus identification card, Tamer is not allowed to travel south of Nablus, a city of 191,000 inhabitants in the north of the West Bank, to the central and southern areas of the West Bank. more..

Military official: Gaza operation to be expanded soon
YNet News 10/31/2006
Army chief, defense minister okay plans for several operations in different areas in Strip. IDF official explains: ’We can’t ignore what’s happening in Gaza, we have to act at least until we see internal change there’ -- Pressure rises: Less than a week after leaving the Khan Younis area following an operation to apprehend wanted suspects and locate tunnels used for the smuggling of weapons, the IDF is planning another, broader operation in the Gaza Strip, to be launched in the coming days. "We can’t hold on to areas in the Strip for an extended period of time, but we must act all the more forcefully against the terror infrastructures," army officials told Ynet, adding that "an expansion of the operation in Gaza is expected soon." more..

UN investigates Israel’s ’uranium weapons’
The Independent 10/30/2006
The United Nations Environment Programme is investigating allegations, first published in The Independent, that Israel may have used uranium-based weapons during this summer’s war in Lebanon. Twenty UN experts, working with Lebanese environmentalists, have spent two weeks assessing various samples. They are planning to report their findings in December. Butros al-Harb, Unep’s Middle East director, told a Lebanese radio interviewer at the weekend: "If uranium was used, we will find out and we will announce it. We cannot confirm anything now, but we will wait for results." Yesterday Israel issued its most explicit denial yet. Major Avital Leibovitz, a spokeswoman for the Israel Defence Forces, said: "We deny using any weapons containing uranium." One official suggested that if the environmentalists had indeed found traces of uranium, they would have to look for a different explanation. more..

Israeli air force shells a Palestinian house in Khan Younis
International Middle East Media Center 10/31/2006
Israeli air force shelled late on Monday at night a Palestinian house that belongs to a member of the Executive Force that belongs to the Ministry of Interior in Bani Soheila area, east of Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The Ramattan news agency reported that the house, that belongs to Mohammad Abu Hayya, was completely destroyed as a result of the shelling, no injuries were reported. The agency added that the family received a phone call from the Israeli army informing them the the air force intends to shell their house, and demanding them to leave it. Less than ten minutes after the call, the air force missile several missiles at the house. The family did not have time to evacuate their furniture and belongings. [end]

One resident killed in Khan Younis shelling
International Middle East Media Center 10/30/2006
Dr. Muawiya Hasanen, head of the Emergency Unit at the Palestinian Ministry of Health, reported on Monday evening that one resident was killed, two were injured, after the Israeli army fired artillery shells at Beit Hanoun town, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. Dr. Hasanen stated that Mazin Abu Odeh, 21, was killed after a shell hit his house; his body was severely mutilated. Two other residents suffered serious wounds. Abu Odeh is a civilian and not a member of resistance factions, Dr. Hasanen added. One of the injured residents is a the cousin of Odeh. An Israeli military spokeswoman denied the report and said that the army did not operate in the area. She claimed that “the explosion was not caused by Israeli soldiers. [end]

IDF denies using uranium-based warheads during war in Lebanon
Ha’aretz 10/31/2006
Israel did not use uranium-based warheads during the Lebanon war, the army spokesperson’s office said Saturday. The announcement was made in response to a report published Saturday on the website of the British newspaper The Independent. The newspaper reported that studies carried out by a European Union-affiliated organization suggest the Israel Air Force used experimental missiles employing uranium against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Saturday that "all the arms and ammunition that we use are legal and conform to international laws." Boutros al-Harb, director of the United Nations Environment Program for Asia and the Middle East said Saturday that his organization is unable to confirm or deny the report. -- See also: Chris Bellamy: An enigma that only the Israelis can fully explain more..

Beit Hanoun: Palestinian killed, 3 injured
YNet News 10/30/2006
Palestinians report IDF tank hit homes of several Palestinians in Gaza Strip town, killing 20-year-old Mazen Abu Udah and injuring three other people. IDF says its forces were not involved in incident -- One person was killed and another three were injured when a shell hit the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, Palestinian reported Monday evening. According to the report, the shell was fired by Israel Defense Forces soldiers, but IDF officials claimed that the army was not involved in the incident. According to the Palestinians, an IDF tank fired at least one shell at the Palestinians’ houses in Beit Hanoun, killing 20-year-old Mazen Abu Udah and injuring another three people, two of whom sustained critical wounds. Eyewitnesses and doctors at the hospital reported that Abu Udah’s body arrived completely scorched... more..

Soldiers abduct eleven residents in Jericho invasion
International Middle East Media Center 10/30/2006
Palestinian security sources reported on Monday evening that under-cover forces, of the Israeli army, and army units invaded the West Bank city of Jericho and abducted eleven residents, including one who is charged of killing an Israeli taxi driver. The Ramattan News Agency reported that several army vehicles and a troop carrier invaded the city after the infiltration of the under-cover forces. The under-cover forces used a big local licensed camion. One of the abducted residents was identified as Ala’ Al Damanhoury. Israeli security sources said that Al Damanhoury killed an Israeli Taxi driver several years ago. He was taken prisoner from a Coffee Shop he own in the center of Jericho. On Sunday night and Monday at dawn, Israeli soldiers took 37 residents prisoner from several West Bank cities and villages. [end]

Troops abduct three fishermen in Gaza
International Middle East Media Center 10/30/2006
Monday evening, Israeli troops took prisoner three fishermen while they were fishing in an area that extends between Dir Al Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, and Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Palestinian security sources reported that Israeli Navy boats fired rounds of live ammunition at several fishing boats, and searched them before abducting three and taking them to an unknown destination. The three were identified as Ziad, his brother Abdullah Miqdad, and Wadee’ Shalhoob. [end]

Army takes a fourth prisoner from Hebron
International Middle East Media Center 10/30/2006
The Israeli army has taken a fourth resident prisoner from the city of Hebron south of the West Bank on Monday afternoon. Izat Al Natsha, 22, was taken prisoner after troops searched and ransacked his familys’ house in Hebron city, his mother stated. On Monday morning troops attacked residents houses in the city of Hebron and the nearby Dora village and took three residents prisoners. [end]

Army takes one resident prisoner from Jenin
International Middle East Media Center 10/30/2006
The Israeli soldiers at the Salem Israeli military court attacked with batons Aymen Qandil, 34, from Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin, and took him prisoner while attending a hearing session for hi brother on Monday morning. Qandil who works as a security officer at the Palestinian authority forces in Jenin, attended teh court session with his mother. His brother Mohamed said his mom fainted after seeing here son being attack by the soldiers. Mohamed added that four of his brothers, including Qandil , are currently impriosoned by Israel, and one was killed during an invasion to Jenin earlier this year. [end]

Army takes prisoner three residents in Hebron
International Middle East Media Center 10/30/2006
The Israeli army attacked and ransacked residents’ houses in Hebron city, in the southern part of the West Bank, and the nearby village of Doura, took three resident prisoner, on Monday morning. Tamer Al Shrawounah, 17, were taken prisoner by the army and was moved to an unknown destination after troops searched and ransacked his familys’ house located in Doura village near Hebron. Also, troops stormed residents’ houses in the northern side of Hebron city, and took Amjad Al Bakri, 33, to an unknown location. His family reported that troops searched and ransacked the belongings of their house before taking their son to unknown location. Also, Ghalib Al Sihli, 20, from Doura village was taken prisoner during an interview with the Israeli Internal Security Services (Shabak) at Kfar Atzion military camp. more..

IOF Arrests 7 Citizens, Including Policeman in WB
WAFA - Palestine News Agency 10/30/2006
NABLUS, October 30, 2006 (WAFA) - Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested on Monday seven citizens, including policeman and two brothers, in the West Bank (WB) cities of Jenin, Nablus, Hebron and Bethlehem, security sources said. In Jenin, Israeli soldiers assaulted and arrested a policeman from Jenin Refugee Camp as he was heading with his mother to the Israeli Salem court to hear his arrested brother trial. In Nablus,witnesses told WAFA that IOF besieged a number of houses in Balata Refugee Camp, east of Nablus, launched a search campaign and arrested two brothers of al-Maseemi family. In Hebron, Israeli soldiers launched a search campaign in Doura and Bani Na’eem towns and arrested three citizens, Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) said. more..

Army takes one resident prisoner from Al Obaidiyya village near Bethlehem
International Middle East Media Center 10/30/2006
The Israeli army invaded Al Obaidiyya village, east of Bethlehem city, in the southern part of the West Bank and took one resident prisoner, on Monday morning. Local sources reported that an Israeli force invaded the village and searched several houses before taking Atta Shanaita, 19, to an unknown location. Also, troops handed military orders to three residents informing them that they should go for interviews with the Israeli Internal Security Srvices in Kfar Atzion military base. The three were identified as Abed and Mahmoud Rabai’a, and Ayid Rabai’a. [end]

Army attacks shepherds in Tammoun
International Middle East Media Center 10/30/2006
Israeli troops attacked and chased Palestinian shepherds in Al Baq’a valley in Tammoun village, near the West Bank city of Tubas on Monday morning. Soldiers detained some of the shepherds since early dawn hours, chased and attacked several others after claiming that this area (Al Bak’a valley), which close to the illegal settlement of Biki’ot, is a closed military zone. The Israeli army and settlers are attacking and forcing shepherds and farmers out of that area on regular basis in order to annex the land. [end]

Army attacks Palestinian workers near Hebron
International Middle East Media Center 10/30/2006
Israeli troops chased and attacked Palestinian workers, south of Al Thahria town, near the West Bank city of Hebron on Monday morning. Several army Hummer jeeps chased and attacked scores of Palestinian workers who were trying to cross into Israeli through the fileds south of Al Thahriyya, seeking jobs. Palestinian workers were forced to use those fields to cross into Israeli since the Israeli authorities stopped giving the Palestinian workers the need permits to work in Israel since the begging of the Intifada late Septmeber 2000. [end]

Two brothers taken prison in Nablus’ Balat refugee camp
International Middle East Media Center 10/30/2006
Mo’ath Al Massimi, 21 and his brother Mahmoud, 24, were taken prisoner during an Israeli military invasion to Balata refugee camp in the West Bank city of Nablus, on Monday morning. Eyewitnesses reported that five military vehicles srtomed the camp surrounded several houses and took Hassan Dweikat, and Mohammad Zakaria to unknown destination. Troops searched and ransacked the houses before taking the two to unknown locations. In the meantime, another force invaded the city of Nablus and searched a number of houses. During the invasion, a group of Palestinian resistance fighters from the Al Aqsa brigades, the armed wing of Fateh, targeted an Israeli army vehicle with a homemade road side bomb in the city, army reported no injures. [end]

Army helicopters open fire at residents’ houses north of the Gaza Strip
International Middle East Media Center 10/30/2006
The Israeli army helicopters opened fire at the residents’ houses and farmlands in Biet Lahia town and Sheikh Zayid village, in the norther part of the Gaza strip on Monday morning. The targeted areas, as reported by local sources, were greenhouses and residential homes, damage was reported ; several resident, including children, suffered anxiety attacks. [end]

Olmert boasts of killing 300 Palestinian fighters in Gaza;
Ma’an News 10/30/2006
Bethlehem - The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, has boasted before the Knesset foreign and security committee that his army has now killed over 300 Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip over the last three months. He added that the Israeli army will intensify their operations against the Palestinian factions; however, it will not stay in Gaza much longer. The Palestinian director of ambulances and emergencies, Dr Mu’awiyah Abu Hassanein has refuted the claims. Dr Abu Hasanein stated that the Israeli allegations are false, since the Israeli army was targeting civilians, rather than fighters giving the following as proof:Of the Palestinian deaths in Gaza over the last three months: ** 137 under the age of 16 ** 29 were women ** 12 were old men above the age of 60 ** 42 were killed inside their homes... more..

Tira woman indicted for abetting in Ra’anana cafe attack attempt
Ha’aretz 10/31/2006
An Israeli Arab was indicted yesterday on charges of assisting terrorists in the attempted bombing of a Ra’anana restaurant. The defendant, Warud Qasem, a 20-year-old Tira resident, was arrested on October 4 and the attack was thwarted, the security services said yesterday at the Tel Aviv District Court, where she was arraigned. Qasem was charged with joining the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Fatah’s military wing, three months ago, and helping it plan a bombing in Ra’anana’s Spagettim restaurant. The prosecution said Qasem maintained contacts with militants of the Brigades in Nablus and Tul Karm and agreed to their request that she smuggle an explosive device into Israel. At the time the defendant worked in a Ra’anana supermarket, and the group had planned for her cousin, a Palestinian illegally residing in Israel, to place the device... more..

Saraya Al Quds claims responsibility for morning attack on southern Israel’s Ashkelon
Palestine News Network 10/30/2006
Saraya Al Quds Brigades, the armed resistance wing of Islamic Jihad, has accepted responsibility for today’s launch of a locally manufactured missile at the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon. Pledging to continue the offensive, Islamic Jihad officials announced, "We have successfully penetrated the Israeli security buffer zone in the northern Gaza Strip." Ashkelon officials have responded to the attack by sounding sirens in the city and announcing warnings on local television and radio stations. A spokesman for Islamic Jihad stated, "This attack is a natural response to the continuing Israeli occupation crimes against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and throughout the West Bank. An example of these occupation crimes is the torture methods being used by Israeli prison authorities against Palestinian detainees." more..

Israeli forces arrest 4 Palestinians from the Nablus area during morning invasions
Palestine News Network 10/30/2006
Israeli forces arrested brothers 24 year old Mahmoud and 21 year old Mo’ath Masimi from Balata Refugee Camp east of Nablus at dawn Monday morning. The arrests occured after Israeli troops stormed the Masimi house and conducted an investigation lasting longer than an hour. When finished, the troops set fire to the house, but luckily it was only partly damaged. According to eyewitnesses, the Israeli forces came through the northern entrance of the camp and surrounded the home. The witnesses reported that armored vehicles were stationed at the entrance and that Israeli forces turned several buildings into temporary control points. Later on Monday morning, Israeli forces continued their invasion in the Nablus area, raiding the homes of residents Hassan Dweikat and Mohamed Zakaria. more..

Over 300 "injured" by Qassams in 2 years
YNet News 10/30/2006
A large part of those who were evacuated to the hospital suffered from shock -- Data from Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon indicate that during 2005, 87 people were rushed to hospital compared to 202 in 2006 so far. Emergency room istill not protected -- New details gathered from Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon indicate that since January 2005, about 300 people were hurt by Qassam rocket attacks in the city of Sderot and the communities of the western Negev. Surprisingly, the hospital which absorbs most of the wounded from Qassam attacks is not adequately protected from them. The numbers indicate that during the first nine and a half months of 2006, 202 people were hurt by Qassams, more than double of the 87 from last year. more..

Gaza Under Siege
Rafah Today 10/29/2006
PHOTO ESSAY: After death, a Palestinian woman lamenting the murder of her son / Funerals of Palestinians killed the first day of Eid in the north of Gaza / Gaza children looking at the damage in gaza city caused by an Israeli helicopter / Palestinian children gathering around a car burned in Burij camp, in the middle of Gaza Strip / The funeral of a Palestinian man / Palestinian children in Gaza celeberating Eid despite attacks, incursions and sorrow -- All Arab and Islamic nations are celebrating Eid Al Adha (feast after the Holy Ramadan month of fasting) – all except in Palestine. Here, the Palestinian children expect to receive the first day of Eid with joy, happiness, fun and gifts from adults, but sadly, instead, this Eid began with an Israeli attacking the north of Gaza killing 9 Palestinians. It was almost as if the Israeli soldiers planned to give the Palestinians hell for their holiday. more..

Police arrest five Israeli Arab terror suspects in Umm al-Fahm
Ha’aretz 10/29/2006
Police arrested on Sunday five Israeli Arabs in the northern city of Umm al-Fahm suspected of planning to carry out a terrorist attack in Israel. Earlier, the Wadi Ara region was placed on high alert after police received information that a suspected terror cell had infiltrated the Israeli Arab area which borders with the West Bank. Security forces blocked the main road between Barkai and Megiddo junctions, causing a heavy traffic jam behind the closed portion. The road was later opened, but all four entrances to the town of Umm al-Fahm remained closed. Police checked all vehicles leaving the town, including ambulances. Also Sunday, a Palestinian man was shot and killed Sunday as he was trying to steal equipment from the Gaza airport near Rafah. more..

Three Palestinians killed in West Bank
AlJazeera 10/27/2006
Three Palestinians have been killed during Israeli army raids in the northern West Bank. Medics and relatives said that Saadi Subuh, 23, and Mustafa Abu Zalat, 17, were shot and killed in the refugee camp of Al Faraa on Friday. The circumstances of shooting were not clear, but Abu Zalat’s uncle said his nephew may have been throwing stones at Israeli army jeeps at the time. In the village of Yamoun, Ahmed Abul Hassan, 28, was shot and killed while he stood on the roof of his home. Incursion Relatives said he had gone up to watch the army raid and was hit by a bullet to the head. Two of Abul Hassan’s brothers were wounded, the family said. The Israeli army said soldiers fired at two gunmen in Yamoun and hit them. On Thursday, three Palestinians were killed in the southern Gaza strip during an Israeli incursion into the small town of Abassan. more..

Farmers attacked while picking olives near Har Homa settlement
International Middle East Media Center 10/27/2006
The Palestine News Network reported that Israeli soldiers stationed near Har Homa settlement (Abu Ghneim) fired at several residents of Beit Sahour town, near Bethlehem, while trying to pick their olives in Jabal Al Deek, near the settlement. Soldiers fired rounds of live ammunition, gas bombs and rubber-coated bullets, no injuries were reported. Several farmers said that they had to leave their orchards several times as a result of the Israeli attacks. The farmers added that soldiers and guards of the Har Homa settlement repeatedly fired at them in an attempt to bar them from picking their olives. The farmers were also attacked three days ago while trying to pick their olives in the mountain. After totally annexing Jabal Abu Gheim.... and the construction of Harm Homa settlement, Israel is currently attempting to annex Jabal Al Deek (400 Dunams of olive trees). more..

The Occupation Report October 27, 2006
By Jerrold Cohen, Ph.D, reprinted by VTJP 10/27/2006
Chronicling the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - Jerrold Cohen, Ph. D. , Editor -- Gaza Strip: An Israeli F-16 warplane flattened the two-story home of Shadi-Al-Areeni in the Jabaliya Refugee Camp at dawn. Al-Areeni is a member of the Qassam Brigades (Hamas). The Israeli command called him to evacuate his house a quarter hour before the raid, which made it impossible for him or his family members to salvage anything of the house belongings. (8) At the same time, Israeli helicopters fired heavily at residents’ houses in the al-Shujaya neighborhood east of Gaza City, "causing a considerable amount of damage, and panic, medical sources reported." (11) West Bank: Israeli troops raided the village of Yamoun (about 5 kilometers east by northeast of Jenin) before dawn, and stormed residents houses. more..

Israel draws up an assassination hit-list of Hamas ministers
Ma’an News 10/27/2006
Bethlehem - If Hamas resumes attacks deep inside Israel, the Israeli army is preparing to assassinate several Hamas leaders, particularly Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, the official Israeli radio reported on Thursday. Well-informed Israeli sources told the national radio that "the Israeli government will implement this [assassination operations] after several intelligence reports by the Israeli ’Shabak’ [Shin Bet – the Israeli domestic intelligence service] show that some Palestinian resistance factions, including Hamas and its military wing, will resume operations in the heart of Israel." According to the radio, the Israeli government has already told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of its murderous intentions. more..

Israeli forces invade Qalqiliya Friday; seize one man
Ma’an News 10/27/2006
Qalqiliya - The Israeli forces invaded the West Bank city of Qalqiliya on Friday and took one resident, Ali Yusuf Kashmar, prisoner. According to eyewitnesses, about seven Israeli military jeeps broke into the city while shooting tear gas. They then patrolled many neighbourhoods of the city and seized Mr Kashmar. [end]

Following injury of an Israeli settler in a shooting near Hebron, Israeli forces arrest three Palestinians
Ma’an News 10/27/2006
Bethlehem - The Israeli police arrested three Palestinians from the Hebron area on Thursday who they suspect of being responsible for the shooting of an Israeli settler near Tarqumiya, a village northwest of Hebron, on Thursday afternoon. Israeli sources reported on Thursday that an Israeli settler was injured when he was shot at unknown men who approached his car as he was driving through the West Bank, north of Hebron. The settler was slightly injured and taken to the Hadassah Ein Karam hospital in Jerusalem. There are a number of illegal Israeli settlements in the area of Tarqumiya, including Adora and Telem. The nearby settler-only road (35), on which it is forbidden for any Palestinian vehicle to drive, connects Israel with the notoriously fundamentalist Kiryat Arba settlement in the West Bank city of Hebron. [end]

Israeli troops target one family in Hebron: five members detained
Ma’an News 10/27/2006
Hebron - The Israeli forces seized five members from the same family in Hebron on Thursday and confiscated a family car. Our correspondent in Hebron reported from Palestinian security sources that the Israeli forces invaded the district of Ar-Rama and broke into the home of Sami Al-Ja’abari. The soldiers then detained his three sons, Fahmi, Mashour, and Hatem Al-Ja’abari and in addition, Judeh Al-Ja’abari and his brother Rami. The Israeli soldiers also confiscated a car belonging to the family. [end]

Al-Aqsa and Al-Quds Brigades fight back the Israeli forces out of Kafr Dan near Jenin
Ma’an News 10/27/2006
Jenin - Armed groups, affiliated to both Fatah and Islamic Jihad, have claimed that they prevented the Israeli army from entering the village of Kafr Dan , west the city of Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank, on Thursday. A member of the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the main military wing of Fatah, told our correspondent in Jenin that a number of Israeli vehicles tried to break into the village of Kafr Dan but fighters from the Al-Aqsa Brigades and the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, confronted them, and threw explosive devices at them, which forced them to withdraw from the village, without being able to make any arrests or break into any of the residents’ houses. [end]

Commander: We met stiff "terrorist" resistance
YNet News 10/26/2006
IDF says Gaza operation in which two Palestinians were killed was aimed at reducing Qassam rocket-launching capabilities, prevent digging of weapons smuggling tunnels; ‘we faced stiff resistance from terrorists, but we knew how to act,’ battalion commander says -- Two Palestinians were killed in the past 24 hours during the IDF’s operation in the south Gaza town of Khan Younis, which concluded Thursday evening. A total of six "terrorists" were hit during the activity, and a third Palestinian was killed during a separate IDF operation in north Gaza. Reserves Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Omri Bar-David told Ynet, “We carried out the mission under incessant fire; it was clear that the "terrorists" were motivated, but we knew we had to act with determination to achieve our goals. ” more..

PA officials fear ‘bloody Saturday’
YNet News 10/28/2006
Sources in Palestinian Authority warn that Saturday morning might see renewed outbreak of violence in Gaza, West Bank, after striking clerks decide to boost their protests -- Palestinian officials assessed that Saturday morning may harbinger a renewal of violent confrontations between Fatah and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank. Sources in the PA expressed fear that Saturday might prove particularly bloody. The violent confrontations between the Palestinian factions have not subsided since they erupted earlier in October, although recently they significantly cooled. With that, a renewed eruption of violence is expected in light of the intention of Palestinian security officials and PA clerks, who are on strike demanding their withheld salaries, to boost their protests against the financial crisis. more..

Israeli troops kill three Palestinians in northern West Bank
Ma’an News 10/27/2006
Jenin - Israeli forces killed three Palestinian men and injured four others in incursions into the town of Al Yamun, west of Jenin, and Al Fara’a refugee camp near Tubas in the northeast of the West Bank, at dawn on Friday. Sources say that clashes erupted in Al Yamun when the Israeli forces invaded this town in the far north of the occupied West Bank and randomly opened fire on the local men. Medical sources informed our correspondent in Jenin that Ahmad Hassan Abu Hassan, 28, who only married a month and a half ago, was killed instantly by an Israeli bullet. The Al-Aqsa Brigades, the military wing of Fatah, said that Abu Hassan was one of their leaders. Two of his brothers - Muhammed, 35, and Ra’if, 20 - were also injured by Israeli bullets while on the roof of their home in Al Yamun. more..

PRC: Prepare for an attack inside Israel
YNet News 10/27/2006
Following IDF operation ’Footprints in the sand’ that left 2 gunmen dead, Public Resistance Committee promise revenge, in Gaza and ’in depth of Zionist territory’ -- IDF ’Footprints in the Sand’ in Khan Younis that left two gunmen dead is leading to frightening repercussions from Palestinian organizations. Spokesman for the Palestinian Resistance Committees Abu Abir warned of "tunnel bombings, rocket attacks, and suicide attacks in Gaza, West Bank and the depth of Zionist territory." In the last month, the IDF intensified operations in the Khan Younis area in order to locate wanted operatives and weapons smuggling tunnels. Many Palestinian operatives were killed, as well as a number of civilians. The various Palestinian organizations did not respond with significant retaliatory actions against Israel, citing Ramadan among other reasons. more..

Three Palestinians killed in renewed Israeli incursions
Ma’an News 10/26/2006
Gaza - Khan Younis - Three Palestinians were killed and another wounded on Thursday in a new Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip. Lami Hamdan Abu Lahiya, 22, a member of the Palestinian national security service, and another man, Ra’id Abu Ta’ima, were seriously injured during an Israeli incursion into the village of Khuza’a, east of Khan Younis, in the south of the Gaza Strip. Medical sources in Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis reported that Abu Lahiya arrived at the hospital in a seriously condition after being shot in the abdomen. The sources reported that the bullet came out of his back. He died shortly after arriving in the hospital. Nasser Hospital also said that Abu Ta’ima was shot by a live bullet in the neck, and remains in a critical condition. Ahmed Al-Barim, 18, was also killed in Khuza’a by Israeli helicopter fire on Thursday afternoon. more..

Jewish settlers assault, wound six Palestinian farmers
Palestinian Information Center 10/26/2006
Nablus - Armed Jewish settlers on Wednesday assaulted Palestinian farmers trying to harvest their olive crops in a number of Nablus district villages wounding three of them while one of the settlers was injured in the scuffle. Locals said that the settlers tried to prevent the farmers from collecting their harvest and a quarrel ensued leading to the injuries. In a similar attack, armed settlers fired at Palestinian farmers while reaping their harvest in a Bethlehem village wounding three of them. Local sources charged the IOF troops with protecting the settlers while firing at the unaware farmers. IOF troops on Wednesday rounded up 15 Palestinians in various West Bank areas mostly members in the Islamic Jihad Movement. more..

Report: "Several soldiers killed after requested to take photos faking capture of Lebanese town"
International Middle East Media Center 10/26/2006
Israeli reports revealed that after the army failed to capture Bint Jbeil town, in southern Lebanon, army leaders requested several soldiers to take pictures showing the Israeli flag on top of a house in the town; several soldiers were killed by Hezbollah fighters while attempting to carry out the order. An Israeli officer testified in front of the Knesset Committee of Security and Foreign Affairs and said that several soldiers who fought in Lebanon were killed while attempting to take pictures showing the army’s victory. Investigators into War events listened to the testimony of 30 soldiers from different ranks last Sunday, one of them, Eyal Bloom, testified the following events; “.... The aim was to provide proofs that we occupied the town after sever[e] battles with Hezbollah fighters..." more..

Abu Khosa’s bodyguard one of the Kidnappers
Palestinian Information Center 10/26/2006
Gaza - The bodyguard of Tawfik Abu Khosa, the Fatah spokesman in the Gaza Strip, is one of the kidnappers of the AP photographer who was released one day after his abduction at the hands of armed men in front of his residence in Gaza city on Tuesday, well informed Palestinian sources revealed. They identified the kidnappers as Salman Abu Amra, Abu Khosa’s bodyguard, and Sa’eed Abu Amra, the bodyguard of Mohammed Joda one of the senior officials in the PA chief’s office in Gaza and Mohammed Filfil, affiliated with the PA police force, which is under the direct command of the PA chief. A source close to the PA government expressed surprise at the news, questioning whether those elements were acting on their own. more..

Assassination on the streets of Khan Younis
Ma’an News 10/26/2006
Khan Younis - Armed men have assassinated Alaa Aldali, 32. He was an activist during the first Intifada in 1993, and was working within the Eagles of Fatah groups. It is believed that armed members of a family whose son was killed during the first Intifada, on charges of collaboration with the occupation, were behind the assassination carried out in the center of Khan-Younis city on Thursday afternoon. Palestinian medical sources at Nasser Hospital stated that Aldali arrived at the hospital with a bullet that had entered his head from behind, leading to his immediate death. Tensions in the city increased dramatically in the aftermath of the shooting, where dozens of armed members of both the Eagles of Fatah and the Ahmed Abu Rish Brigades, another Fatah-affiliated militant group, gathered in the streets. [end]

Palestinian killed in the Gaza Strip, three on Wednesday
International Middle East Media Center 10/26/2006
Palestinian medical sources reported on Wednesday evening that one resident was killed by Israeli military fire in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Earlier on Wednesday, two residents were killed in two separate attacks in the Gaza strip. A medical source in Khan Younis reported that resident Ahmad Kamal Al Breem, 18, was shot and killed in Abasan area, east of Khan Younis. He was killed after the Israeli army fired at a group of residents in the town. Two Palestinians were killed when an Israeli army force invaded Khan Younis area in the Gaza Strip on Thursday morning, Palestinian sources reported. Rami Abu Lihia, 27, an officer in the Palestinian national security forces was wounded by Israeli troops’ gunfire in Abassan area east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. more..

Israeli soldier injured by resistance fighters in Khan Younis
International Middle East Media Center 10/26/2006
An Israeli soldier was moderately injured during an invasion into Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza, on Thursday morning. Israeli army sources reported that, the solider was injured during clashes with Palestinian resistance fighters as Israeli troops surrounded a house in Khan Yunis, East of the Kissufim crossing. The soldiers was moved to Soroka hospital in Be’er Sheva. Three Palestinian civilians have been killed and two have been injured by the Israeli army since Thursday morning, across several areas of the Gaza Strip. [end]

Israeli hurt in W. Bank shooting; Three Palestinians killed in Gaza
Ha’aretz 10/26/2006
One Israeli was moderately injured Thursday afternoon in a West Bank shooting attack north of Hebron. Meanwhile, three Palestinians, including two militants, were killed and an IDF officer wounded in three separate incidents Thursday in the Gaza Strip. The Kiryat Arba resident was attacked in his vehicle when he was forced to stop by three Palestinians with a herd of sheep blocking the road. The three Palestinians approached his car, one of whom drew a gun and aimed at the man’s head. The man grabbed at the gun and was shot in the hand. He fled the scene and was treated by a Magen David Adom Emergency Medical Services team at a nearby intersection. The man was taken to Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, for treatment. more..

Abu Dis invaded by Israeli military; five DFLP members arrested
Ma’an News 10/26/2006
Bethlehem – At dawn on Thursday, Israeli forces arrested five activists of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine from the town of Abu Dis, an eastern suburb of Jerusalem. The media office of the DFLP in Jerusalem issued a statement declaring that Israeli forces, supported by a special unit of border guards, intelligence officers and police dogs, forcibly entered Abu Dis at dawn, arresting five DFLP activists: Daoud Muhammed Muhsin, 26; Ramzi Adel Ahmed Salah, 22; Hamza Muhammed Ibrahim Salah, 19; Mohammaed Mahmoud Salah, 22; and Omar Ibrahim Salah, 22; all from Abu Dis. [end]

The Occupation Report October 25, 2006
By Jerrold Cohen, Ph.D., Editor, Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel 10/25/2006
Chronicling the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - Jerrold Cohen, Ph. D. , Editor -- Gaza Strip: Israeli police and the Shin Bet allowed publication of a story about a smuggling attempt at the Karni Crossing. Explosives were found hidden in a cage after smugglers managed to get them through the crossing, which is heavily guarded. There were 6 kilograms of TNT, headed for Tulkarm. The story was released for publication on Wednesday. (17) West Bank: Israeli troops launched a wide-scale arrest campaign in Bethlehem, particularly in Obaidiya and Beit Fajjar towns, east and west of Bethlehem, respectively. Israeli sources said that the campaign targeted 10 alleged Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists. (6) WAFA says the number arrested was 11, including three brothers and elders. This campaign took place before dawn. more..

Military factions in Gaza target Israeli military vehicles
Ma’an News 10/26/2006
Gaza - Various military factions in the Gaza Strip fired projectiles and mortars at Israeli targets on Thursday. The Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, claimed responsibility for firing a homemade ’Yassin’ projectile at an Israeli armed personnel carrier in the Faraheen area east of Khan Younis on Thursday afternoon. The Brigades told Ma’an in a phone call that their fighters hit the vehicle directly. They assured that they will continue their resistance to the aggressive Israeli operations against unarmed Palestinian civilians. Meanwhile, the An Nasser Salah Addin Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), claimed responsibly for bombarding the Sufa crossing south of Khan Younis with two ’Nasser-2’ missiles. more..

Military factions detonate a roadside bomb next to an Israeli patrol in Rafah
Ma’an News 10/26/2006
Gaza - The National Resistance Brigades, the military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the main military wing of Fatah, have announced their joint responsibility for detonating an explosive device next to an Israeli military patrol near the iron fence located east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. The two military groups said that the explosion occurred around midnight on Wednesday and the Israeli forces responded by firing bullets and flares. The two military groups said that this operation came in response to the Israeli crimes and they assured that they would continue their resistance. They also called all the Palestinian public and factions to stand together to confront the Israeli occupation. [end]

Israeli sources: Armed Palestinians shoot at a settler driving near Hebron, injuring him slightly
Ma’an News 10/26/2006
Bethlehem - According to Israeli sources, a group of unknown Palestinian men shot at an Israeli settler on a road in the West Bank, north of the city of Hebron. The sources added that preliminary investigations show that a number of armed Palestinians closed the road and forced the settler to slow down. They then shot at him at close range before fleeing the scene. The settler was slightly wounded in his hand and he was taken to the Hadassah Ein Karam hospital for treatment. The settler told this story to the Israeli first aid crew that rushed to the scene. He told them that armed men disguised as shepherds approached him and one shot him at close range. [end]

One resident injured in Dier Al Balah town, central Gaza strip
International Middle East Media Center 10/26/2006
The Israeli army shot and injured one resident near the border of the Gaza Strip, adjacent to Dier Al Balah town, on Thursday afternoon. Asharaf Fatoh, 37, was injured in his left leg while working in a poultry farm near the border of the strip; he was moved to Al Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Gaza, medical sources reported. [end]

Army helicopter opens fire at residents’ houses, killing one
International Middle East Media Center 10/26/2006
An Israeli army helicopter opened fire at residents’ houses in Khaza’a town, East of Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza strip on Thursday afternoon, killing one resident. Medical sources from a hospital in Khan Younis said Ahmad Al Bareem, 18, was shot and killed in Khaza’a when helicopters opened fire at residents’ houses. With Al Bareem’s death, the death toll in the Gaza Strip today reaches three as a result of army attacks. [end]

Army takes prisoner five residents from Abu Deis town near Jerusalem
International Middle East Media Center 10/26/2006
The Israeli forces took prisoner five residents from the town of Abu Deis near Jerusalem on Thursday morning. Troops and police officers stormed the town and searched and ransacked residents’ houses before taking the five to unknown locations. The five were known as: Dawod Mohsen, 26, Ramzi Salah, 22, Hamza Salah, 19, Mohamed Salah, 22 and Omer Salah. All are residents of the town. [end]

West Bank olive pickers clash with Israeli settlers
Ma’an News 10/25/2006
Bethlehem - Confrontations have broken out between Palestinian farmers and Israeli settlers from Gilad Farm in the north of the West Bank who were trying to prevent the Palestinians from picking their olives. Gilad Farm is small illegal Israeli settlement, close to the larger, but still illegal, settlement of Keddumim, west of the city of Nablus. According to the website of the Israeli newspaper ’Maariv’, one settler was slightly injured and was transferred to hospital. [end]

Shin Bet foils bid to smuggle 6kg of TNT from Gaza to West Bank
Ha’aretz 10/25/2006
The Shin Bet foiled an attempt early this week by Palestinian militants to smuggle six kilograms of military-grade explosives from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank. Details of the incident, which occurred on Sunday, werereleased for publication Wednesday. Shin Bet forces, working off intelligence communications, intercepted a cargo containing TNT-based explosives at the Karni crossing. The explosives were headed for the West Bank town of Tul Karm. Three Israeli Arab taxi drivers, who were allegedly expected to take the shipment to the West Bank, were detained for questioning and released, after the Shin Bet accepted their version of the events, according to which they were unaware of the nature of the goods in the shipment. A Palestinian resident of Tul Karm who is suspected of arranging to receive the explosives from the drivers was also arrested. more..

Halutz: Israel to decide about stepping up their military presence along the Philadelphi axis in Gaza
Ma’an News 10/25/2006
Bethlehem - Israeli chief of staff Dan Halutz has used the assumptions of the Israeli security forces as a pretext for intensifying the Israeli military presence along the Philidelphi route that stretches the length of the 14 km Gaza Strip-Egypt border. In a meeting of the Israeli governmental external and security committee on Tuesday, Halutz said that the Palestinian factions are currently able to dig hundreds of tunnels in the Rafah area to smuggle arms and explosives from Sinai in Egypt to the Gaza Strip. According to Halutz, a website belonging to the Arabs of ’48 announced that the Israeli army recently uncovered some 15 tunnels each measuring 1,500 m in length. He added that the smuggling of arms is continuing and said that Palestinian groups have smuggled sophisticated anti-tank missiles and a large quantity of light arms into the Gaza Strip. more..

Israeli army raids Qabatiya Wednesday at dawn
Ma’an News 10/25/2006
Jenin - The Israeli forces seized two Palestinian men from the village of Qabatiya south of Jenin in the northern West Bank in a dawn raid on Wednesday. Security sources reported that several military Israeli vehicles broke into Qabatiya amid intensive gunfire and then soldiers carried out an extensive house-to-house search operation. The army then took Jihad Nazzal and Majdi Alawneh away to an unknown location. The sources added that the Israeli forces also broke into city of Jenin and patrolled the streets. No arrests were reported in Jenin. [end]

Israeli army seizes 11 Palestinians in a dawn raid in the Bethlehem area
Ma’an News 10/25/2006
Bethlehem - The Israeli forces seized 11 Palestinians from the Bethlehem area in the south of the occupied West Bank in a dawn raid on Wednesday. Palestinian security sources reported that some fifteen Israeli military vehicles invaded the village of Beit Fajjar, south of Bethlehem, and broke into several houses. They seized six men from the village: Jaber Ibrahim Deriya, 45: Musa Ahmad Thawateh, 30: Ashraf Ahmad Taqatqa, 32: Jamal Khalil Thawabteh, 65: Muhammad Jum’a Thawabteh, 66: and Amin Abed Shamarkha, 56. The sources added that many Israeli soldiers also invaded the village of Al Ubeidiya from several directions and broke into a number of houses, damaging personal property in the process. They seized five citizens including three brothers... more..

Israeli forces raid West Bank village of Kafr ad-Dik
Ma’an News 10/25/2006
Nablus - Salfit - The Israeli forces broke into the village of Kafr ad-Dik, west of Salfit in the north west of the occupied West Bank, at dawn on Wednesday, leaving destroyed cars and personal property in their wake. During this incursion, the Israeli soldiers broke into many homes, claiming they were searching for "wanted" people. The soldiers destroyed a number of cars, including one belonging to the villager, Mohammad Qa’ud. Such incidents are increasing in frequency in the villages of Bruqin and Kafr ad-Dik, which are located very close to the separation wall and not far from the large illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel. These incidents have increased particularly following the injury of an Israeli settler on the nearby bypass road (which can only be used by Israelis) a week ago. more..

Army invades Kufer Al Diek village near Salfit
International Middle East Media Center 10/25/2006
The Israeli army invaded the village of Kufer Al Diek near the city of Salfit north of the West Bank on Wednesday morning. Troops searched residents’ houses and ransacked them claming that they are looking for Wanted People. During the search soldiers searched damaged cars that belongs to local residents, local sources reported, no arrests were made. [end]

Army invades Tubass city and takes one prisoner
International Middle East Media Center 10/25/2006
The Israeli army invaded the West Bank city of Tubass and took prisoner one resident on Wednesday morning. Ommar Fukha’e, 19, was taken to unknown location when troops searched and ransacked scores of residents’ houses in the city. Troops and army jeeps left the city but redeployed around it and installed military checkpoints on main roads leading to the city. [end]

IOF Arrests 12 Citizens in WB
WAFA - Palestine News Agency 10/25/2006
BETHLEHEM, October 25, 2006 (WAFA)-Israeli Occupation Forces(IOF) arrested Wednesday at pre-dawn twelve citizens in the West Bank (WB) cities of Bethlehem and Tubas, security sources said.. They told WAFA that Israeli soldiers stormed Beit Fujjar and Al-Ebeidiya towns , south and east Bethlehem and arrested eleven citizens, including three brothers and elders. They were led into an unknown location.. In Tubas, the IOF took position in the roads and entrances of the city, launched a search campaign and arrested a youth Omar Faqha 19, leading him into an unknown spot, witnesses told WAFA. [end]

Three Palestinians, settler hurt in brawl in southern West Bank
Ha’aretz 10/25/2006
Three Palestinians and a settler on Wednesday were lightly injured in an exchange of rock throwing near the southern West Bank outpost of Gilad Farm. The brawl broke out after the Palestinian farmers came to harvest olive trees in a grove near Gilad Farm, without requesting to be escorted by the Israel Defense Force. The procedure of providing the farmers with a military escort has been put in place after they suffered from violent harassment by the settlers living in the outpost. Police arrived at the scene and ended the fray. The Gilad Farm outpost was built in 2003 on a land settlers say is owned by lands dealer Moshe Zar, whose son, Gilad, was killed by Palestinians. The outpost comprises of ten constructions and a shed. more..

Islamic Jihad: We will continue to bomb all the places that were "stolen" from us in 1948
Ma’an News 10/25/2006
Al Quds Brigades members (MaanImages)The Al Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, have said that they will continue to bomb all the places that were "stolen" from the Palestinians in 1948. In a statement, they claimed to have fired a projectile at the Gevim junction south of the Israeli town of Sderot, close to the Gaza Strip at 19:50 on Tuesday evening. They said that this "heroic operation" came in response to the Israel massacre committed in the north of Gaza on the occasion on Eid al-Fitr. The Brigades said that sirens were heard in Sderot, which Islamic Jihad says is proof that the projectile hit the intended target. The group say they will continue to launch projectiles at "the enemy" until the "full liberation of Palestine", referring to all the land in Israel that was occupied in 1948. [end]

War’s legacy includes both deadly bomblets and welcome charity
The Daily Star 10/26/2006
SOUTH LEBANON: While the actual war on Lebanon may have ended on August 14, citizens in the South continue to fall victim to unexploded ordinance on a nearly daily basis. Meanwhile, a more pleasant conflict has emerged in the villages hardest hit by the month-long conflict this summer, that of which country is helping Lebanon the most." Be careful," remains the most common greeting heard in the South, where fears of Israeli air strikes have been replaced with fears of what was left behind when the Israelis withdrew. Despite a national campaign to raise awareness about the 1 million tiny "bomblets" dropped by Israel in the final days of fighting this summer, Southerners continue to fall victim to the indiscriminate devices. Mohammad Jawwad, 18, was killed last week after poking one such item with a stick while scavenging for scrap metal. more..

AP photographer released after day in captivity
Palestine News Network 10/25/2006
Palestinian Legislative Council member Nabil Shaath announced the release of the kidnapped Gaza photographer Tuesday evening. The photographer, Spaniard Emilio Morinati, was abducted from his Gaza City home early Tuesday morning by unidentified gunmen. Morinati works as a photographer for the Associated Press (AP). In a press conference with Spanish diplomats, Shaath told journalists, “There are only feelings of sorrow, regret, and anger over what happened this morning. We are thankful that there was a peaceful end to this ordeal. ”No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction and the reasons remain unknown. The spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Khaled Abu Hilal, stated that it is the government’s belief that the kidnappers were not affiliated with any political party. more..

Israeli raids kill eight Palestinians
AlJazeera 10/23/2006
Scores of Palestinians have died in violence in the past few weeks -- At least eight Palestinians have been killed in separate Israeli army incursions into the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, medical and security officials say. An Israeli army spokesman told the AFP news agency that the Gaza incursion was launched against Palestinian fighters who were firing Qassam rockets near the town of Bait Lahiya. Fourteen others were wounded in the shootout on the first day of the three-day Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Ramadan fasting month, Palestinian hospital officials said. The Israeli army said gunmen fired on its troops, who were in the area operating against Palestinian rocket-launchers. Ten Palestinians were hit in the ensuing gunbattle, it said. more..

Israeli forces invade northern West Bank town as sunset meal ends, kill one and injure 14
Palestine News Network 10/23/2006
Just after the sunset meal in southwestern Jenin, Israeli forces invaded Tamoun Village. Members of the armed resistance responded as Israeli forces rounded up residents into the center of town. The target of the invasion was said to be members of Islamic Jihad. Twenty military vehicles stormed the northern West Bank town on Sunday evening, injuring 14 Palestinians and killing 23 year old Mohammad Abdel Fatah Bani Odeh. Eyewitnesses said that the invasion began first with undercover Israel forces dressed in civilian clothing and driving a car with Palestinian license plates. The evening meal was just finishing. Director of Dr. Khalil Suleiman Memorial Hospital, Mohammad Abu Ghali, reported that Bani Odeh bled to death upon being shot. more..

Israel admits it used phosphorus weapons
The Guardian 10/23/2006
Minister says shells hit Hizbullah targets · MP shocked by deployment in war -- The Israeli government has admitted that it used controversial phosphorus weapons in its attacks against targets during its month long war in Lebanon this summer. The chemical can be used in shells, missiles and grenades and causes horrific burning when it comes into contact with human flesh. White phosphorus (WP) weapons are not forbidden by international law but some human rights groups believe they should be re-classified as chemical weapons and banned. The Israeli admission was made by the cabinet minister, Jacob Edery, who was questioned on the subject by Zahava Gal-On, a member of the Knesset. Mr Edery told Ms Gal-On: "The IDF [Israel Defence Force] holds phosphorus munitions in different forms..." -- See also: Ha'aretz: Israel admits using phosphorus bombs during war in Lebanon more..

Israel defies France on Lebanon flights
AlJazeera 10/23/2006
Israeli warplanes have carried out low-level flights over Lebanon, a day after Israel rejected a call by France’s defence minister to halt violations of the country’s airspace. The planes overflew much of southern Lebanon and the capital Beirut on Monday morning, Lebanese residents said. Neither Hezbollah nor the Lebanese army fired anti-aircraft rounds at them as they have done in previous years. At the UN’s New York headquarters on Friday, Michele Alliot-Marie, the French defence minister, called Israel’s violations of Lebanese airspace "extremely dangerous" and said they should stop immediately. She said an Israeli aircraft may mistakenly be seen by UN troops as having hostile intent, possibly causiing a "very serious incident". more..

Settlements growing on Palestinian-owned land, despite vow to U.S.
Ha’aretz 10/24/2006
A secret, two year investigation by the defense establishment shows that there has been rampant illegal construction in dozens of settlements and in many cases involving privately owned Palestinian properties. The information in the study was presented to two defense ministers, Amir Peretz and his predecessor Shaul Mofaz, but was not released in public and a number of people participating in the investigations were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements. According to security sources familiar with the study, the material is "political and diplomatic dynamite." In conversations with Haaretz, the sources maintained that the report is not being made public in order to avoid a crisis with the U.S. government.... [Israel’s] commitments included illegal settlement building, improvements in the conditions of Palestinian civilians, and a closer oversight over the conduct of soldiers at IDF roadblocks. more..

Army invades Al Farahen and Abassan ares south of Gaza
International Middle East Media Center 10/23/2006
Israeli army tanks and bulldozers invaded Al Faraheen and Abassan Al Kubra areas east of Khan Younis int he southern Gaza Strip Monday at noon. Local residents reported that two army bulldozers supported by several tanks went 100 meters in the area and started to bulldoze and destroy farm lands, no injuries reported. [end]

Eight residents taken prisoner in Hebron
International Middle East Media Center 10/23/2006
Israeli soldiers took eight residents prisoners in Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank. Israeli army spokesperson told the Israeli Radio that six of the eight residents, taken prisoner overnight, are members if the Islamic Jihad. [end]

Lebanese security: 12-year-old killed by cluster bomb in south
Ha’aretz 10/23/2006
A cluster bomb exploded Sunday, killing a 12-year-old boy and wounding his younger brother in a southern Lebanese village, Lebanese security officials said. Rami Ali Hussein Shibly and his brother, Khodr, 9, where picking olives in their family’s grove in Halta when the cluster bomb exploded, said the security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media. The United Nations and human rights groups have accused Israel of firing as many as 4 million cluster bombs into Lebanon during its 34-day war with the militant group Hezbollah that ended in a UN-brokered cease-fire on August 14. UN demining experts say up to 1 million of the cluster bombs failed to explode immediately and continue to threaten civilians, especially children who can mistake the ordnance for batteries or other small objects. more..

Israel/Lebanon Conflict Leaves Deadly Legacy
Inter Press Service 10/23/2006
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 18 (IPS) - The Israeli war against Lebanon was over soon after the United Nations brokered a ceasefire agreement last August. But while that may be true for outsiders, is not for the Lebanese. At least three to four people are getting killed or maimed every day as a result of cluster bombs used by the Israeli Air Force during the war, according to a new study released here Wednesday. Entitled "Foreseeable Harm: The use and impact of cluster munitions in Lebanon: 2006," the study points out that among those killed and wounded were numerous children under the age of 16. In the final 72 hours before the ceasefire, which officially took effect Aug. 14, the Israeli military fired 1,800 cluster rockets on southern Lebanon, containing 1. 2 million submunitions, many of which remain unexploded. -- See also: Foreseeable Harm: The use and impact of cluster munitions in Lebanon: 2006 (PDF format) more..

Army shells eastern areas of Jabalia
International Middle East Media Center 10/23/2006
Israeli tanks shelled on Monday evening residential and farm lands to the east of Jabalia town in the northern part of the Gaza strip; several civilians suffered anxiety atacks as a result of the shelling. Israeli tanks shelled on Monday evening residential and farm lands to the east of Jabalia town in the northern part of the Gaza strip; several civilians suffered anxiety atacks as a result of the shelling. The shelling caused damage to several houses disrupting the residents’ celebration of the Muslim feast of Eid Al Fiter, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. On Monday, eight residents were killed in Beit Hanoun town, in the Gaza strip, and Tammoun village in the West Bank. Palestinian medical sources reported on Monday afternoon that seven Palestinians were killed and at least thirty were injured.... more..

Abbas slams the Israeli attack in Gaza, describes it as massacre
International Middle East Media Center 10/23/2006
Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, slammed Monday’s Israeli attack in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, and described it as massacres. The statements of Abbas came after the army killed eight residents in Beit Hanoun on Monday morning. “This is an ugly massacre”, Abbas, currently in Jordan, said and urged the International Community to prevent further escalation in the situation. “What happened today is an ugly crime against the Palestinian people trying to celebrate the first day of Al Fitir feast”, Abbas said, “This is an ugly crime that does not serve the peace process”. Eight residents were killed in the attack, among them seven family members; at least thirty residents were injured. The Israeli army claimed that all of the casualties were armed members of the Popular Resistance Committees... more..

Two Qassam rockets hit Sderot; several people treated for shock
Ha’aretz 10/23/2006
Three Qassam rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel on Monday evening, following a day of fighting in the Gaza Strip that left seven Palestinians dead. Several people were treated for shock after two rockets hit Sderot, damaging three cars. A third rocket hit an open area between Sderot and Kibbutz Or Haner. At least seven Palestinians, including three civilians, were killed and 35others injured in a clash between armed militants and Israel Defense Forces soldiers in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday. Four of the dead men were armed and one was a senior member of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC). The PRC, an umbrella of Palestinian militant groups in Gaza, said the target of the IDF operation appeared to be Ata Shindari, who led the group’s rocket-launching branch. more..

IDF troops kill Palestinian in West Bank arrest operation
Ha’aretz 10/23/2006
Ministers call for resumed control of Philadelphi route -- Israel Defense Forces troops operating in the West Bank on Sunday killed a Palestinian man during an arrest raid near Jenin. Mohammed Uda, 23, was killed by IDF gunfire as troops searched the village of Tamun to arrest Islamic Jihad activist Bashar Bani Uda. Also Sunday, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired at least two Qassam rockets at the western Negev, which caused damage to farmland, but no injuries. Defense Minister Amir Peretz said earlier Sunday that the IDF would act against all Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip whenever a rocket were fired from the area.... Cabinet ministers Rafi Eitan (Pensioner’s Party) and Eli Yishai (Shas) called on Sunday for a military operation to retake control of Gaza’s southern border... more..

Settlers make olive picking a risky business
Palestine News Network 10/23/2006
Farmers near the West Bank town of Nablus are facing many difficulties during this year’s olive harvest. Israelis from nearby settlements have been threatening and assaulting the Palestinian farmers, in addition to destroying the olive crop. Resident Munawar Abu Zaher told PNN that while he was in his field harvesting olives before Eid, an Israeli settler approached him, threatened to kill him and then assaulted him with a tree branch. He added that the settlers have destroyed around 50 olive trees in the area, each over 60 years old. Area farmers noted that the attacks do occur as frequently throughout the year, but rather center on the olive harvesting season, when Palestinian farmers are particularly vulnerable. [end]

A settler terrorizes the farmers of Huwwara town near Nablus
International Middle East Media Center 10/23/2006
An Israeli settler from the illegal settlement of Yetzhar, near the West Bank city of Nablus continues to terrorize Palestinian farmers from Huwwara town near Nablus, farmers reported on Monday. The settler wears an army uniform and carries a gun. He has attacked and threatened to kill local farmers who were trying to harvest their olive crops before the start of ’Eid el Fitr, the Islamic feast that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. The farmers said that this settler hides in olive orchards that belong to the farmers located near the Yetzhar settlement. He attacks, shoots at and threatens to kill the farmers whenever he has the chance. The farmers expressed fears that this may be part of a plan to expand the settlement, which was illegally built on their lands. more..

PA police block Gaza roads to protest unpaid wages by Hamas gov’t
Ha’aretz 10/22/2006
GAZA CITY - Palestinian security forces blocked main Gaza Strip intersections on Sunday, burning tires and snarling traffic to protest the Hamas government’s inability to pay their salaries. Black smoke from burning tires billowed over Gaza as drivers searched for alternate routes around the coastal area. Fatah security forces, some dressed in camouflage, forcibly shut down Gaza shops, shooting up lighting, facades and displays of shops that refused to abide by the strike. Fatah vowed to escalate the unrest before and after the three-day Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr, which begins Monday. The unrest by forces loyal to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party raised tensions throughout Gaza. A Fatah activist was killed earlier Sunday in a gunbattle between Fatah security branches and the rival Hamas militia. more..

Resident killed, four residents prisoner taken prisoner, seventeen injured near Tubas
International Middle East Media Center 10/22/2006
Israeli soldiers invaded Tammoun village, near the West Bank city of Tubas, shot and killed one resident, took four residents, including three brothers prisoner, and injured at least seventeen residents during clashes that erupted in the town, Palestinian medical sources reported. The sources stated that resident Mohammad Abdul-Fattah Bani Odeh, 22, was shot and killed by a round of live ammunition in his head, the Palestinian News Agency , WAFA, reported. Bani Odeh, member of the Al Aqsa brigades, the armed wing of Fateh, was first transferred to a clinic in the town, and was moved later on to a hospital in Jenin where he died of his wounds. The Ramattan news agency reported that soldiers exchanged fire with resistance fighters of the Al Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, after invading the town... more..

Palestinian Security officer killed in Gaza
International Middle East Media Center 10/22/2006
Mohammad Shihada, 28 was killed in central Gaza Strip Sunday morning, Palestine News Network and medical sources reported. Shihada, who is a member of the preventive security forces in the Gaza Strip, was shot by unknown gunmen in a drive by shooting in the main road of Al-Breij refugee camp, eyewitnesses said, however he was pronounced dead shortly after he was evacuated to a nearby Hospital. Medical sources said that Shihada received a bullet to his chest from a short distance. Following the incident, some gunmen arrived near the house of Shihada, who is also a leader in Fatah, and set fire in two cars that belong to operatives from Hamas. They also opened fire at the house of one of Hamas leaders in the area. On Saturday two members of this force, formed by the Ministry of Interior, were wounded in armed clashes... more..

Palestinian Leader’s Convoy Attacked by Fatah Gunmen
Palestine Chronicle/The Independent 10/21/2006
In yesterday’s incident, the Fatah-affiliated gunmen fired at Mr Haniyeh’s convoy as it drove through the Nusseirat refugee camp in central Gaza. -- The convoy of Ismail Haniyeh, the Palestinian Prime Minister, came under fire yesterday as tensions burst into the open again on the streets of Gaza between Hamas and its Fatah rivals. While no one was injured in the gunfire, one of the cars in the convoy burst into flames after the occupants had fled. Hamas officials insisted that the attack had not been an assassination attempt but was launched at Hamas paramilitaries by relatives of a Fatah member killed by members of a Hamas militia. Nevertheless the incident - the first in which Mr Haniyeh has been personally exposed to danger from armed supporters of his political opponents - threatened to undermine Egyptian-brokered efforts... more..

Fatah, Hamas rivalry forgotten when IDF attacks
By Avi Issacharoff, Ha’aretz 10/24/2006
BEIT HANUN, Gaza Strip - Immediately following the reports that the Israel Defense Forces had killed seven Palestinians in battles in Beit Hanun yesterday, representatives of the various Palestinian factions went on the air at local radio stations. Speaking in dramatic tones, they vowed that there would be no more warfare among Palestinians and that the guns would be pointed at the Zionist enemy. One Fatah operative urged Hamas operatives in a live broadcast, "In view of the massacre on Eid el Fitr, stop firing the missiles at your brethren from Fatah. Let us all unite against the occupation." And so, just 24 hours after Hamas members (evidently) killed four Fatah activists in the territories, and the sabre rattling by both organizations on every corner in the Gaza Strip, it seemed for a moment that the IDF operation was uniting the rival Palestinian camps. more..

Unknown gunmen kill a resistance fighter in Jericho
International Middle East Media Center 10/23/2006
Unknown gunmen killed Mukafeh Doghless, 25, an Al-Aqsa Brigades fighter, the armed wing of Fatah, in the West Bank city of Jericho late Sunday night. Security sources in Jericho reported that two unknown gunmen riding a motorcycle opened fire at Doghless and killed him; the gunmen then rushed away. Palestinian police and security forces rushed to the scene and launched a wide scale search campaign. [end]

Unknown gunmen kills a resident of Tulkarem city
International Middle East Media Center 10/23/2006
A group of unknown gunmen shot and killed Ala Mubarak in the West Bank city of Tulkarem late Sunday night. Mubarak was an officer in the Palestinian security forces in Tulkarem. Eyewitnesses said that the gunmen opened fire at Mubarak and fled the scene. Police and security forces rushed to the scene while scores of local youth took to the streets and closed some main roads in the city in protest of the attack. [end]

Two injured in Jenin refugee camp
International Middle East Media Center 10/23/2006
Palestinian medical sources reported on Sunday at dawn that two residents were injured by Israeli military fire in Jenin refugee camp, in the West Bank city of Jenin. The sources identified the two as Roshdy Jamal and Mohammad Al Damj. The two were injured as the soldiers attempted to abduct or assassinate resistance fighters, local sources reported. [end]

Al ’Ubeidiya hit in major arrest campaign; Israeli forces take 20 Palestinians to unknown locations
Palestine News Network 10/21/2006
Israeli forces invaded eastern Bethlehem’s Al ’Ubeidiya Village Saturday. The raid was widespread in the village. It was an attempt to arrest as many Palestinians in the town as possible, reported residents. Eight groups of military vehicles incurred into the small town and dozens of soldiers broke into homes conducting invasive searches. Village residents were not sleeping, despite the early hour of the morning. The month of Ramadan is nearly over, and in its last days most people participate in the pre-dawn meal and prayer services. Among the 20 Palestinians blindfolded and taken to unknown locations were seven youths. Their hands were bound behind their backs with the traditional plastic bands that Israeli forces use on Palestinians. The Shanaith family was hard hit, losing all of their sons. more..

Palestinian sources: IDF kills 50-year-old man in southern Gaza
Ha’aretz 10/21/2006
Israel Defense Forces troops killed a 50-year-old Palestinian man early Saturday during an operation in the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian security officials said. The man was killed shortly after the IDF troops moved into Gaza through the Sufa cargo crossing to search fields and homes, the officials said. The officials said the man was a civilian who had just left his home on the way to morning prayers. The IDF confirmed it was operating the area, but said it had killed a gunman during an exchange of fire with Palestinian militants. Palestinian security officials and witnesses said a separate IDF force of around 20 tanks entered northern Gaza, blocking the entrance to the town of Beit Hanoun and exchanging fire with gunmen there. There were no reports of casualties. more..

Army takes three prisoners from Hebron
International Middle East Media Center 10/21/2006
The Israeli army took three residents prisoners from the West Bank city of Hebron after attacking residents’ houses on Saturday morning. In the search campaign Israeli soldiers in Hebron targeted residents’ houses in the city center and the old city; resulting in three residents being taken to unknown locations. Amongst them was Mustafa Shaouir, 48, a lecturer in Hebron university and a Hamas member; he was released from Israeli detention centers last month after serving 19 months in Israeli jails. [end]

Gaza Doctors Say Patients Suffering Mystery Injuries
Palestine Chronicle/Mail & Guardian, South Africa 10/19/2006
Doctors said that, unlike traditional combat injuries, there was no large shrapnel found in the bodies and there appeared to be a "dusting" on damaged internal organs. October 18, 2006 - GAZA CITY - Doctors in Gaza have reported previously unseen injuries from Israeli weapons that cause severe burning and leave deep internal wounds, often resulting in amputations or death. The injuries were first seen in July, when Israel launched operations in Gaza following the capture of an Israeli soldier. Doctors said that, unlike traditional combat injuries, there was no large shrapnel found in the bodies and there appeared to be a "dusting" on damaged internal organs." Bodies arrived severely fragmented, melted and disfigured," said Jumaa Saqa’a, a doctor at the Shifa hospital, in Gaza City. -- See also: Israel accused of using ’Dime’ bombs and Injuries Point to New Israeli Weapons more..

Air force strike destroyed 59 Iranian-made missile launchers on second day of conflict
Ha’aretz 10/24/2006
The Israel Air Force destroyed 59 intermediate and long-range missile launchers in the Hezbollah arsenal during the second day of the war in Lebanon, during a raid that lasted 34 minutes, according to research recently published by David Makovsky and Jeffrey White of the Washington Institute of Near East Policy. The success of the raid was the greatest Israel Defense Forces achievement during the war, and according to Israeli assessments, it prevented Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, from being able to carry out his threats and strike central Israel with missiles. The air attack of 13 July struck the Zelzal and Fajr missiles in the Hezbollah arsenal, both made in Iran. The range of the Zelzal can endanger the Tel Aviv area from Lebanon. more..

Rightists protest evacuation orders near home of GOC Central Command
Ha’aretz 10/23/2006
Dozens of right-wing extremists on Sunday demonstrated outside the home of GOC Central Command Yair Naveh, who issued 19 restraining orders to settlers forcing them to evacuate their homes in illegal West Bank outposts set to be dismantled. The demonstrators, who plan to hold a long and continuous protest, handed out fliers exclaiming, "how would you feel if police knocked on your door, and gave you a restraining order from your own home?" and "dear citizen, do you know of the orders that were handed to your neighbors?" The majority of these settlers reside or study in the settlements of Yitzhar and Braha. Eighteen of the settlers that were handed restraining orders said they were planning a larger demonstration next week. more..

To top of page Diplomacy..
PA President Mahmoud Abbas (Ma'an News)
Nasrallah: ’Serious’ negotiations underway on fate of IDF soldiers
Ha’aretz 11/1/2006
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Tuesday indirect negotiations between his group and Israel over a prisoner exchange involving captured Israel Defense Forces soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser have begun through a UN-appointed mediator." I would like to assure all those interested in this file that there are serious negotiations that are continuing," Nasrallah told Hezbollah’s television station in an interview." The delegate appointed by the UN secretary-general is conducting this mission and is meeting a Hezbollah delegation and also on the other side Israelis concerned with this file." It was the first word that indirect talks were under way to secure the release of the prisoners. There was no immediate comment from Israel. more..

Olmert to discuss Iran with Bush
Jerusalem Post 11/1/2006
Iran will top the agenda when Prime Minister Ehud Olmert meets with US President George W. Bush in Washington later this month, according to the Prime Minister’s Office. The focus on Iran’s quest for nuclear capabilities is an indication of how much progress the Islamic republic has made despite pleas - but no concrete actions - from the international community to stop its nuclear program. The United Nations Security Council is currently discussing the possibility of imposing sanctions. Olmert has labeled Iran as Israel’s biggest strategic threat and warned that the Jewish state "can never abide" a nuclear Iran.... There is also talk of the possibility of a new diplomatic initiative coming out of the Foreign Ministry, which could also figure into the Washington visit. more..

Shalit’s captors fear Israeli deception on the prisoners’ deal
Ma’an News 10/31/2006
Nablus - The prisoners’ deal is still not finalised. The reason, according to sources close to Hamas, is that the captors are concerned about last-minute Israeli deception. The sources told Ma’an that the Palestinians trust the Egyptian side but they have no trust in the Israelis. The Palestinian side is insisting that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is involved in the deal but, so far, the Israelis are refusing this idea. Ma’an has learned that the talks between the Israeli and Palestinian side, through Egyptian mediation, has succeeded in clarifying the form of the deal and assigning dozens of names of Palestinian prisoners to be released. The sources say that especially prisoners who have spent long periods inside Israeli jails will be included. more..

Military faction warns Israel: If you re-occupy Gaza, we will turn the surrounding "Israeli settlements into hell"
Ma’an News 10/31/2006
Gaza - The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), has warned the Israeli occupation against reoccupying the Gaza Strip. In a statement issued following the threats made by a number of Israeli officials, the Brigades said that they will turn "the Israeli settlements surrounding the Strip into hell". The Brigades called on all the factions to create a joint operation room and to establish a united front to confront the Israeli forces. The Brigades also urged the international community to live up to their responsibilities. The statement called on the human rights societies and organizations to provide protection to the Palestinian people and to "stop the Israeli aggression". [end]

EU to Israel: Mock raids could encourage cease-fire violations
Ha’aretz 10/31/2006
The European Union on Tuesday called on Israel to respect Lebanon’s borders, with several diplomats warning its mock air raids over Beirut could encourage Syria and others to violate the UN resolution that ended the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah." We want to see the full implementation" of the resolution, EU spokeswoman Emma Udwin said. "We think that is also very much in Israel’s interest." The Lebanese army issued a statement Tuesday saying its gunners fired anti-aircraft artillery at Israel Air Force warplanes as they flew over south Lebanon. The IAF jets flew at a low altitude over Beirut, its suburbs and large areas of south Lebanon on Tuesday, witnesses and Lebanese security sources said. more..

Senior UN envoy for Lebanon ’particularly disturbed’ by Israeli over-flights of Beirut
Electronic Intifada/UN News 10/31/2006
A senior United Nations envoy today expressed serious concern at continuing Israeli over-flights of Lebanon, especially intensive mock air raids over Beirut this morning, calling them a breach of the Security Council resolution 1701, which ended this summer’s conflict with Hizbollah." The United Nations commends the efforts of all sides in implementing resolution 1701 over the 10 weeks since its adoption," a UN spokesperson in New York, quoting Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Personal Representative for Lebanon Geir Pedersen said. "It renews its call on Israel to cease its violations of Lebanese sovereignty and calls on all parties to respect and implement resolution 1701." The statement came just a day after Mr. Annan’s latest report to the Council on Lebanon, in which he noted that Israeli over-flights have continued... more..

Israel may "follow Lebanese example" and flout UN 1701
Jerusalem Post 10/31/2006
Israel warned on Tuesday that it might rethink its adherence to the cease-fire resolution that ended Lebanon war this summer, following a United Nations report that Syria was smuggling arms to Hizbullah in Lebanon. It’s the first time since the war that the UN had made such a clear statement with regard to the failure to disarm Hizbullah. The report flies in the face of the commitment Syrian President Bashar Assad made to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that Damascus would comply with the arms embargo against Hizbullah and would support UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which calls for it to be disarmed." If Lebanon cannot implement its side of the resolution, obviously Israel would be entitled to rethink the implementation of our commitments," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. more..

Head of international monitoring group in Hebron: Israel is preventing us from doing our work
Ma’an News 10/31/2006
Hebron - The Israeli military authorities in Hebron are obstructing the work of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), the head of TIPH told Ma’an. Arne Huuse said that the obstructions by the Israeli authorities are contrary to the agreement signed between the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) at the outset of TIPH’s mandate in 1994. Speaking to our correspondent in Hebron, Huuse said, "the Israeli side is obstructing our work through the new and many obstacles they are doing, such as the closure of many streets and preventing us from entering some areas of the city except after prior coordination. We reject this act, which limits our movement, and we will pressurize the Israelis to remove these obstacles in order to be able to do the best service for the city’s residents." more..

Peretz: Saudi peace plan could serve as basis for negotiations
Ha’aretz 10/31/2006
In his address to an academic conference at Tel Aviv University on Tuesady, Defense Minister Amir Peretz lauded the dormant Saudi peace initiative as a "basis for negotiations." Although Peretz emphasized he was not endorsing the plan, but referring to its potential, he was the most senior Israeli official to bring it up for consideration." We could see the Saudi initiative as the basis for negotiation," he said, adding, "this does not mean that were are adopting the Saudi initiative, but it can serve as a basis," Peretz said. The 2002 Saudi plan called for a comprehensive peace between Israel and the Arab world. However, Israel balked at its call for a full withdrawal from all territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, including the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Peretz also said he intends to make negotiations with Syria a part of the daily public agenda. more..

Egypt stepping up pressure on Hamas to recognize Israel
Ha’aretz 10/31/2006
Egypt has stepped up pressure on Hamas to recognize Israel and swap a captured Israel Defense Forces soldier for Palestinian prisoners - moves Egypt believes could help resolve a deepening political crisis in the West Bank and Gaza, officials said Tuesday. A delegation of Hamas leaders was in Cairo on Tuesday, where they met with Egyptian leaders who pushed them to form a new Palestinian Cabinet that recognizes Israel, officials close to the negotiations said. But a top Hamas leader reiterated that his group would not recognize Israel, and also cast doubt on Israel’s readiness to free Palestinians in exchange for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, abducted by Hamas-linked militants on June 25...." There is nothing new. It was not what was expected, nor what is required," said one official. more..

Hamas officials meet with Egyptian minister Tuesday to discuss the prisoners’ exchange
Ma’an News 10/31/2006
Hamas officials are expected to be meeting with the Egyptian minister of intelligence, Amro Suleiman, on Tuesday in Cairo, a Hamas official in Damascus told the London-based newspaper ’Al Hayat’. The official said that the Hamas delegation will discuss with Suleiman the issue of the Israeli soldier who was captured in Gaza last June. According to ’Al Hayat’, Hamas informed the Egyptians that "Khalid Mash’al will not visit Cairo unless there is a real breakthrough". The source said that the Egyptians asked Hamas to send an envoy to the Egyptian capital to discuss the issue and to update the Hamas movement about the latest developments in this regard. [end]

Ayalon: "Bush’s letter more important that Belfour declaration"
International Middle East Media Center 11/1/2006
The outgoing Israeli ambassador to the United States, Dani Ayalon, said that that the letter of the US President George W. Bush, dated on April 14, 2004, to the then-Prime minister Ariel Sharon is more important than the Belfour declaration since its voids the Palestinian Right of Return and recognizing West Bank settlement blocs. The statements of Ayalon came during an interview with Israeli reporters on Tuesday. Ayalon stated that the letters is “historic of the highest importance”, and compared it to Belfour declaration on 1917.... Ayalon stated that this letter “defined the outline of Israel”. He rejected the possibility that any pressure will be placed on Israel, under the Bush administration, in order to accept what he described as a “forced agreement”. more..

On 89th anniversary of the Balfour declaration, Fatah states: "They have failed to uproot us"
Ma’an News 10/31/2006
Bethlehem - The popular committee of Fatah has called on all Fatah members to support the Palestinians who own land close to the Israeli settlements and to organize voluntary work days to help collect the olives during the olive season. In a statement about the olive season, the upcoming anniversary of the Balfour declaration and the second anniversary of the death of Arafat, the committee said: "These days carry many memories. At the same time, the Israeli occupation is enforcing the settlements and the construction of the wall, in addition to the land confiscation..." The statement called for the Palestinians to confront the Israeli plans and to act in a united way. The statement also said that 2nd November will be the 89th anniversary of the Balfour declaration that enabled the Zionists to begin building their own state on Palestinian lands. more..

Israel curtails term of Australia envoy after ’yellow race’ remark
Ha’aretz 10/31/2006
Foreign Ministry sources said Tuesday that Israel’s ambassador to Australia will have his term cut short in the wake of an interview to Haaretz, in which he called Australia and Israel white sisters amid "the yellow race." Naftali Tamir was on his way back to Canberra on Tuesday following a two-week review process in Jerusalem where he denied having made the comments attributed to him, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said. But ministry sources say that an internal tender for his post - which includes non-resident accreditation to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea - will be issued shortly. They add that several senior diplomats have already shown an interest the post.... Under normal circumstances, Tamir... would have been expected to remain in post for four years, but his return date is now likely to be sometime in 2007. more..

ANALYSIS: Diplomatic reactions to Lieberman in coalition muted
Ha’aretz 10/31/2006
Aside from critical editorials in The New York Times and Guardian, Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman’s joining of the coalition aroused interest in the international community but did not spark diplomatic protests or angry reactions. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for example, raised the subject in a telephone call on Sunday with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who responded with an explanation of the current political situation in Israel. The main issue raised by foreign statesmen and diplomats was how would the broadening of the coalition affect the chances of a peace process, with the U.S. administration wondering if Lieberman’s inclusion in the government would have an influence on its capacity to demonstrate flexibility and promote political initiatives. more..

Arab MKs launch global anti-Lieberman campaign
Jerusalem Post 10/31/2006
Talkbacks for this article: 22In the wake of Israel Beitenu’s addition to the government Monday, the Knesset’s Arab parties have launched an international public relations battle against the new government. Calling Israel Beitenu the "embodiment of all that is racist and fascist," a spokesman for the Balad Party said that the Arab MKs were turning to the rest of the world to help them protest the new coalition." The international community should pressure the Israeli government, perhaps with a boycott, in order to stop this dangerous party," said MK Ahmed Tibi, Chairman of the Balad Party. The 11 MKs from the Balad, Rahat-Ta’al, and Hadash Parties said that they would join forces to write to parliaments throughout the world. Their letters will mostly focus on Israel Beitenu’s leader, Avigdor Lieberman, the newly appointed Minister of Strategic Affairs. more..

European parliamentary delegation: The Palestinians must have independence
Ma’an News 10/31/2006
Gaza - A delegation from the European parliament has ended a visit to the Palestinian territories after carrying out several meetings with political and economic figures, and representatives of civil society. The delegation included 12 members of the European parliament from across the political spectrum. The group was headed by Luisa Morgantini, the head of the Development Committee in the European Parliament. Morgantini affirmed in a press conference held in Gaza City yesterday evening that the Israeli occupation on the Gaza Strip had turned it into a big prison. She said that the Israeli occupation had destroyed the lives of Palestinians and tightened the siege against them. In the process, the Israeli forces had killed large numbers of Palestinians and destroyed their homes and their economy. more..

Israel, Germany to expand military ties after naval incidents
Ha’aretz 10/31/2006
Germany and Israel are expanding military communications after Israel Air Force jets buzzed German naval vessels serving with United Nations peacekeepers off Lebanon’s coast, officials said Tuesday. Germany’s Defense Ministry says IAF warplanes fired shots during one of the three flyovers in recent days. Israel’s ambassador to Germany, Shimon Stein, has denied that any shots were fired. Spokesmen for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Defense Ministry said expanded military communications had been agreed between Israel and Germany to prevent any further such incidents. Germany has sent naval ships to serve with the expanded United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) following last summer’s conflict between Israel and Hezbollah militants. more..

Palestinian government spokesman to the world: Help end the Israeli foolishness!
Ma’an News 10/31/2006
Gaza - Ma’an -The Palestinian government considers the recent Israeli threats to expand its aggressions on the Gaza Strip as particularly dangerous, especially after the threats made by the Israeli minister of defense. Government spokesman Ghazi Hamad said that such threats are part of a series of intensifying aggressions on the Strip. He said that the Israeli army appears to have "the green light to commit massacres, assassinations and house demolitions". The spokesman added, "The aggressions against the Strip have not ceased; they take different shapes and measures. Israeli intends to sink the Strip with blood through targeting civilians." more..

U.K. minister: Iranians ’hell- bent’ on getting nuclear weapons
Ha’aretz 11/1/2006
LONDON - Iran is "hell-bent" on trying to build a nuclear bomb and should try to resolve its domestic problems rather than threaten Israel, a British Foreign Office minister said Tuesday. Kim Howells, speaking at Question Time in parliament, also attacked the election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in June, which he said was "cooked-up." The list of candidates for the election had been "personally picked by a kind of fascist theocracy," said Howells, who is responsible for the Middle East region in the Foreign Office. He was responding to a question by a member of parliament regarding Ahmadinejad’s call for Israel to be "wiped off the map." -- See also: Ahmadinejad: Lost in translation more..

Israel joins UEFA’s fight against racism in soccer games
Jerusalem Post 11/1/2006
In a move aimed at bolstering Israel’s international image and ability to fight anti-Semitism, Israel will be joining European efforts to combat racism and violence at soccer games. Sponsored by Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE), a branch of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the action will target acts of racism and violence through a week-long publicity campaign at various soccer matches." By doing this, we are showing that we are fighting racism here," said Itzik Shanan, director of communications at the New Israel Fund (NIF), the organization that lobbied for Israel’s inclusion in the event. "This will give us more weight to condemn others that behave in an anti-Semitic manner." Arieh O’Sullivan, director of communications at the Anti-Defamation League Israel office, agreed with this sentiment. more..

Georgian president compares his country to Israel
Ha’aretz 11/1/2006
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili compared current Russian policies toward Georgians to 18th-century czarist edicts against Jews during an official visit Tuesday, marking marked a further strengthening of ties between Israel and the former Soviet republic. Russian policies singling out Georgians for discrimination and deportation were reminiscent of czarist policies dispossessing Jews, Saakashvili charged, and were one of the reasons that "Georgians and Jews understand each other on a visceral level." Saakashvili, whose country is embroiled in a feud with Russia over Russia’s support for secessionists in two Georgian regions, is to meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other officials during his three-day visit. more..

U.S. arming and training PA guard against Hamas
Ha’aretz 10/31/2006
The Bush administration has undertaken efforts to arm and train the Presidential Guard of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in order to prepare it for a potential violent confrontation with Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip. According to information received in Jerusalem, the American security coordinator in the territories, General Keith Dayton, appeared before representatives of the Quartet in London last week and presented them with a program for bolstering the Palestinian presidential guard. The program calls for Egyptian, British and perhaps even Jordanian instructors to train the force loyal to Abbas. However, Palestinian sources say that the training of a "Special Presidential Guard" started already a month ago, under the guidance of an American military instructor. more..

PM Haniya: Resolution to issue of captive Israeli soldier near
Palestine News Network 10/30/2006
In a press conference today in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian PM Ismail Haniya announced that the government is close to resolving the issue of the captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The Hamas-led government has been working with Egyptian officials to secure the release of Shalit, who has been held captive for more than six months. Haniya announced that meetings with Egyptian officials also addressed the issues of promoting dialogue among Palestinian factions, ending street violence, and overturning the Israeli economic blockade. In his statement before the opening of this year’s Legislative Council session, Haniya stated, "We are continuing out efforts to find a way out of the current crisis and form a government of national unity agreed to by all Palestinian factions." more..

Newly sworn-in Lieberman already set to visit US
Jerusalem Post 10/29/2006
The Knesset approved Israel Beiteinu’s addition to the government late Monday night, enabling the swearing-in of Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman as deputy prime minister in charge of strategic affairs, with a primary focus on the Iranian nuclear threat. The vote was 61 in favor, 38 against and 21 abstentions. Lieberman is already set for his first trip abroad as a minister. He will travel to the United States on December 8 to take part in the prestigious Saban Forum at the Saban Center For Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. Lieberman will speak about the future of the Middle East on a panel with Labor MK Ami Ayalon that will be chaired by former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger. Lieberman’s event is scheduled between addresses by former president Bill Clinton and his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton. more..

Hamas delegates, minus Meshal, land in Cairo for talks on Shalit
Ha’aretz 10/31/2006
CAIRO - A delegation of Hamas arrived in Cairo late Monday for talks with Egyptian officials about a possible prisoner swap in exchange for the release of a abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, a senior Hamas leader said. Imad al-Alami, Hamas’ representative in Syria, and lawmaker Mushir al-Masri, the spokesman for Hamas in the Gaza Strip, were heading the delegation that landed in Cairo, an Egyptian airport official said. The delegates were due to meet with Egyptian chief of intelligence Omar Suleiman to talk about the soldier and the formation of a Palestinian national unity government, said Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy leader of Hamas’ political bureau in Syria. Abu Marzouk said Hamas’ political leader, Khaled Meshal, who lives in exile in Syria, would not be attending the talks. more..

Hamas for Prisoner Swap Talks in Cairo
Palestine Chronicle 10/30/2006
One of three Palestinian groups holding the Israeli soldier in the Gaza Strip said on Saturday it expected a solution to the crisis within days. -- CAIRO - Senior Hamas members, excluding the movement’s exiled political leader Khalid Mishaal, will visit Cairo in the next few days to discuss a prisoner exchange deal with Israel brokered by Egypt. Izzat al-Rishq, a member of the group’s politburo, said on Sunday that Hamas wanted the deal to include the release of 1,000 named Palestinian prisoners in exchange for an Israeli soldier captured in a raid near Gaza in June involving the Hamas’ military wing. Al-Rishq said: "This visit is intended to maintain contacts with the brothers in Egypt, who are doing their best to mediate a deal and talk with the Israeli side. The elderly, women and children must be set free also." more..

European Parliament delegation meets with officials in Ramallah, discusses release of MP Barghouti
Palestine News Network 10/30/2006
A delegation from the European Parliament met with Palestinian officials in Ramallah Sunday to discuss the campaign for the release of captive MP Marwan Barghouti. The delegation, which was headed by Luisa Morgantini, consisted of representatives from France, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Great Britain, Austria, and Ireland. The representatives met with Attorney Fadwa Barghouti and Fateh leader Mohamed Al Hourani. Al Hourani welcomed the guest delegation and emphasized the importance of their visit to Palestine, specifically in demonstrating their solidarity with the Palestinian people. He explained the current political situation and effort to lift the economic blockade imposed by Israel and the U.S. Palestinian prisoner specialist Sa’ad Nimr continued the meeting by outlining the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. more..

Prisoners’ swap deal would be more than humanitarian process
ReliefWeb 10/30/2006
RAMALLAH, Oct 30, 2006 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- A senior Palestinian official said on Monday the prospective exchange of Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli soldier would be more than a humanitarian process. Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs in the Hamas-led government, Wasfi Qabha, added the swap will include solution to the issue of Palestinian tax revenues withheld by Israel since Hamas swept into power last March. Palestinian militant groups captured Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit in a cross-border raid last June, sparking Israeli retaliatory offensive that killed more than 300 Palestinians in Gaza Strip. Qabha pointed out that a truce with Israel and improving security and economical conditions were being discussed in the same context. more..

Israel mulls Abbas request for PLO’s Badr Brigade to enter Gaza
Ha’aretz 10/29/2006
Israeli officials on Saturday were deliberating over Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ request to grant Jordan-based Palestine Liberation Organization troops entry into the Gaza Strip. Abbas made his request two weeks ago, in hopes of bolstering his loyalist forces, as rival Palestinian factions bolstered their ranks in anticipation of a feared civil war. Israel has objected in the past to letting members of the Jordan-based Badr Brigade enter Palestinian areas. But with clashes intensifying between Abbas’ Fatah Party and forces loyal to the Palestinians’ militant Hamas government, Israeli officials said they would consider allowing them in. The Badr Brigades are composed of several thousand Palestinians, mostly long-time PLO activists. more..

Bolton: ’Syria, Iran violating UN arms embargo’
Jerusalem Post 10/31/2006
US Ambassador John Bolton expressed concern that Syria and Iran are trying to destabilize Lebanon’s democratically elected government by violating a UN arms embargo. Bolton stressed on Monday that Syria’s obligations to respect a UN arms embargo authorized by the Security Council resolution that ended the 34-day Israeli-Hizbullah conflict in August "are particularly important as it is the one country other than Israel that borders Lebanon." He called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to abide by the commitment he made to Secretary-General Kofi Annan to support the resolution and the arms embargo. In a speech to the UN Security Council, Bolton welcomed the Lebanese government’s extension of its authority throughout the south of the country... more..

PM has final word on Iran
Jerusalem Post 10/31/2006
The appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as minister in charge of strategic threats on Monday is meant to ease Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s task as he deals with the growing nuclear threat from Iran. Final decisions regarding Israel’s policy with respect to Iran remain in the hands of Olmert and his security cabinet of which Lieberman will now be a member. Lieberman’s new role is to coordinate security, intelligence and diplomatic initiatives with respect to Iran or any other strategic threat and to report to on the issue to Olmert, according to Olmert’s spokeswoman, Miri Eisin. In announcing the appointment on Monday, Olmert was careful tonote that Lieberman was not replacing any existing authority but rather was there to augment the ongoing efforts of existing bodies with respect to strategic threats such as Iran. more..

Peretz: Report of Egyptian deployment untrue
Jerusalem Post 10/30/2006
Defense Minister Amir Peretz denied in Sunday’s cabinet meeting reports that several thousand Egyptian state security guards had deployed along the Philadelphi Route." Beyond the 750 border guards in the area, no troops have been added," Peretz said. Late Saturday, security officials announced that as many as 5,000 Egyptian guards had taken up posts near the Egypt-Gaza border after reports of a possible Israeli "smart bomb" attack on suspected smuggling tunnels. While the reports had indicated the deploying forces were Egyptian army soldiers, officials stressed Sunday that was not the case, and the forces consisted of state security police, a paramilitary-like force often used in Egypt to maintain order. more..

Egyptian official: Troop level back to normal at Gaza border
Ha’aretz 10/30/2006
An Egyptian security source said Monday that Cairo had lowered the security alert at its border with the Gaza Strip, two days after officials said the area along the Philadelphi Route had been fortified in case of a possible Israel Defense Forces operation against tunnels used for arms smuggling." The number of officers has been reduced after the Israeli threat has lessened," an source in the Egyptian border police said. "The border area was calm and no abnormal movement has been seen." An Egyptian source said Saturday that Egypt had stationed 5,000 additional security police along the Gaza border, to join the 750 troops already deployed. But Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak denied Monday reports from his own government that extra forces had been deployed. more..

PM ’sorry’ for German boat incident
Jerusalem Post 10/30/2006
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert apologized on Sunday to German Chancellor Angela Merkel for an incident that occurred last week between an Israeli fighter jet and a German naval boat that was patrolling the waters outside Lebanon. In the conversation Olmert accepted an invitation by Merkel to visit Germany in the next few weeks. In addition German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung will travel to Israel later this week. Jung is also slated to visit Beirut.... Peretz vehemently denied reports that the Israeli jets had fired on the German vessel in his talk with Jung. However, on Friday the German Defense Ministry said that Israeli jets did in fact fire warning shots over one of its ships as it assisted the German-led UNIFIL maritime force in international waters 90 kilometers off the Lebanese coast. more..

’United States rededicating itself to Middle East peace process’
ReliefWeb/United States Department of State 10/30/2006
27 Oct 2006 - State Department official says Hamas not responding to calls to renounce terror -- Washington -- The United States is renewing its efforts to restart a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, seeking to do "practical work on the ground," according to the top State Department diplomat on the Middle East." Now that the ’Eid [al-Fitr] holiday is finishing up,... we’re going to re-devote ourselves to making this progress," C. David Welch, assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs, told reporters at the State Department October 27. Asked about the possibility of an international conference to discuss Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, Welch said the United States is happy to have discussions and meetings, but "what definitely counts is what goes on, on the ground." more..

UN to map disputed Shaba farms area on Israel-Lebanon border
Ha’aretz 10/30/2006
The United Nations will appoint a cartographer to map the precise location and area of the Shaba Farms, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni reported to the cabinet on Sunday. The status of the territory on the slopes of Mount Hermon is disputed by Lebanon, Syria and Israel and its boundaries have never been precisely defined. Livni said the cartographer would start working in mid-November from UN headquarters in New York, and not conduct surveying at the site itself at this stage. The move was decided on following the periodical report of UN envoy Terje Larsen about the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559. Israel took over the area in 1967 and sees it as part of the Golan Heights. The UN accepted this position following the IDF’s pullout from Lebanon in May 2000 but Hezbollah and Lebanon claim that this is Lebanese territory still under Israeli occupation. more..

Israel refuses to admit Russian diplomat in spy row
Ma’an News 10/30/2006
Bethlehem - The Hebrew daily newspaper, Ma’ariv, has stated on Monday that Israel will not let the Russian diplomat Alexander Girkov enter their territory. Girkov holds the position of first secretary to the Russian embassy in Tel Aviv, but has been denied entry to Israel as the general intelligence service (Shabak) have accused the man of being a Russian intelligence agent who intends to recruit spies inside Israel, through his diplomatic immunity. [end]

Livni cancels Qatar visit due to Hamas plan to attend summit
Ha’aretz 10/29/2006
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has decided not to attend an international conference in Qatar Sunday due to the expected participation of a Hamas delegation in the event. Livni was invited to represent Israel at the UN-sponsored sixth International Conference on New or Restored Democracies in Doha. She had hoped to take advantage of her first visit to a Gulf state to strengthen Israel’s ties with moderate Arab states. It was to be the most high-profile visit by an Israeli official to the Gulf state in 10 years. Livni had learned previously that delegations from both the Palestinian parliament and from Hamas had been invited to the conference. After the Israeli representation in Qatar was informed that Hamas officials had accepted the invitation, Livni made the decision Saturday not to attend, three days after announcing her plans to travel to the Gulf state. more..

Iranian FM tells Hamas’ Meshal Palestinians must work for unity
Ha’aretz 10/29/2006
Iran’s foreign minister told Hamas’ political leaderSunday that the Palestinian people must solve their problems through national unity and reconciliation, the official Iranian news agency reported. Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucheh Mottaki made his remarks during a meeting with Hamas political chief Khaled Meshal at the Iranian embassy in Damascus. During the meeting, Meshal, who lives in exile in Syria and is backed by Iran, said, "Resistance is the only way for the Palestinian people to regain their rights," according to the IRNA report. The tensions between the militant Hamas and the moderate Fatah party have escalated in recent months in the Palestinian territories, sparking armed street clashes in which scores have been killed or wounded. more..

UN lays out function of office for Palestinians to claim damages from Israeli barrier
ReliefWeb/United Nations News 10/27/2006
The United Nations has established the institutional framework for a registry of damages incurred by Palestinians to their homes, business and agricultural holdings as result of Israel’s construction of a barrier in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a report released today. The purpose of the “Register of Damage” is to document damages for possible future international adjudication, not to settle claims, he said in the report to the UN General Assembly. “It would be important to understand that the office of the Register of Damage would not be a compensation commission or a claims-resolution facility, nor would it be a judicial or quasi-judicial body,” the report said. -- See also: UN Secretary-General’s Report: Illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory more..

Israeli officials meet with Hamas officials in Qatar, ’Maariv’ reports
Ma’an News 10/27/2006
Translation - For the first time since the abduction of Gilad Shalit, Israel is carrying out indirect communication with Hamas in order to secure his release. According to the Friday edition of the Israeli newspaper ’Maariv’, foreign sources say that secret communications are taking place, with the mediation of Qatar, between Ofer Dekel [the former deputy head of Israel’s Shin Bet security service] and the head of the political office of Hamas, Khalid Mash’al. Last Saturday, Khalid Mash’al arrived in Doha, Qatar. He is considered a decision-maker on the subject of Gilad Shalit, according to the newspaper. According to the foreign sources, indirect discussions took place between Mash’al and Dekel with Qatari coordination. According to reports, there is progress on the Shalit case based on a deal for a prisoners’ exchange... more..

Report: Hamas bends on Shalit deal
Jerusalem Post 10/27/2006
Hamas is awaiting Israel’s response to the latest deal proposed by the organization for captured IDF soldier Cpl Gilad Shalit’s release, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported on Friday. Reportedly, the Hamas leadership has withdrawn its demand that concurrent with Shalit’s release, Palestinian security prisoners would be immediately released by Israel. Instead, Hamas is said to be willing to free Shalit, and wait two months for Israel to release some 1000 prisoners. Al-Hayat claimed that Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Mashaal was expected to hear Israel’s response to the proposal when he travels from Damascus to Cairo next week to meet with head of Egyptian intelligence Omar Suleiman. Moussa Abu Marzouk, a top Hamas official, denied the report. more..

Shalit’s release: Hamas awaiting Israel’s response
YNet News 10/27/2006
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to meet with Egypt’s intelligence chief in coming days, receive Israel’s answer regarding prisoner swap proposal -- Hamas is waiting for Israel’s response to the group’s offer to accept the principle of a prisoner exchange deal and to ease demands regarding the proximity between the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit and the consequent freeing of Palestinian prisoners. According to London-based Arabic language newspaper al-Hayat, quoting a Hamas official, the organization’s politburo head Khaled Mashaal will receive Israel’s answer to the proposal during a meeting with Egypt’s Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman in Cairo in the coming days. Although a date for the meeting has not been scheduled yet, sources say it may even take place on Saturday. more..

Mediterranean leaders to push for relaunch of peace process
Ha’aretz 10/28/2006
ALICANTE, Spain - Top diplomats from 11 countries bordering the Mediterranean will produce a new batch of proposals for reviving the Middle East peace process at a two-day meeting in Spain beginning Friday, a leading Spanish diplomat said. The annual informal gathering of the so-called Foromed group comes after Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, a leading European voice on the Middle East, said Tuesday he felt the road map peace plan no longer provided the answers to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He urged the European Union to take the lead in pushing for a fresh approach. Israeli and Palestinian officials said Moratinos was overly pessimistic and expressed their continuing faith in the road map. more..

EU chief Solana visits Nablus, meets billionaire Al-Masri and refugees
Ma’an News 10/27/2006
Nablus - The European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana visited the city of Nablus in the north of the occupied West Bank on Friday and met with a number of local representatives, including the Palestinian businessman and billionaire, Munib Al-Masri. He visited Askar refugee camp east of the city where he met representatives from the camp and officials from the UN’s refugee agency, UNRWA, in the camp’s girls’ school. He also met with the well-known Palestinian businessman, Munib Al-Masri, who delivered an extended explanation about the difficult situation that the Palestinian people are living through. Solana, who is also the EU official for the Middle East peace process, said that his visit is aimed at getting acquainted with the Palestinian situation at first-hand. more..

Al Hayat interview with Mish’al on Hamas’s position
From Occupied Palestine/BBC Worldwide Monitoring 10/13/2006
[Includes text of interview] Leader Mish’al explains Hamas’s ’selective’ approach to Quartet conditions -- Head of Hamas’s Political Bureau Khalid Mish’al has explained the movement’s refusal to recognize Israel by saying that, if it were to recognize "the Zionist entity", Hamas would be recognizing "the legitimacy of the occupation". However, he pointed out that Israel "exists in reality" and that what concerns him and the movement is the Palestinian state which is yet to be established and Palestinian rights which have yet to be granted. Speaking about the legitimacy of the "resistance", Mish’al pointed out that no-one had yet offered the Palestinians their rights "through peaceful means", adding that, had the international community "offered us a way to achieve our rights without resistance", the Palestinians would have chosen that path as "resistance is a means and not an end". more..

Solana: Time to end occupation
YNet News 10/27/2006
EU foreign policy chief says following meeting with Abbas in Ramallah, ‘Palestinian people have suffered and suffered a lot, and it is time that the occupation that started in 1967 is over’; Abbas: Efforts in Shalit kidnapping affair continuing -- The European Union Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana said following a meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah Thursday that “the Palestinian people have suffered and suffered a lot, and it is time that the occupation that started in 1967 is over. ” "That is the objective of the Road Map," he said, referring to an internationally drafted plan which seeks to create a Palestinian state living in peace alongside a secure Israel, but has been largely dormant since its inception in 2003. more..

Israeli FM to travel to Qatar Sunday to discuss democracy
Ma’an News 10/27/2006
Jerusalem - Israeli radio has reported that the Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, will travel to Qatar on Sunday to participate in an international conference about "the developed democracies in the world". The radio added that Livni decided to participate in this conference after the Qatari authorities clarified that no representative from Hamas would participate. The radio noted that Livni will meet with the Qatari foreign minister, Hamad Bin Jasem Al Thani. more..

Israel snubs EU delegation due to far-Right MP
YNet News 10/27/2006
Foreign Ministry says will not welcome delegation of EU parliamentarians due to inclusion of Marine Le Pen of France. FM spokesperson: Le Pen member of racist party that denies Holocaust -- Israel said on Friday it would not welcome a delegation of European Union parliamentarians planning to visit the country this week if it included a far-right French member. The Foreign Ministry said Israel objected to the inclusion of Marine Le Pen, daughter of far-right French leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, in the delegation. A spokesman for the European Parliament said the delegation had postponed the trip. "The delegation contained a senior member (Marine Le Pen) of a political party which, unfortunately, is both racist and a Holocaust denier," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said. more..

Israel denies German ship clash
BBC 10/27/2006
Israel has denied that shots were fired during an incident in which Israeli fighter jets were alleged to have buzzed a German naval vessel. Israel confirmed that an incident took place but denied reports that the Israeli jets fired two shots. The two countries’ defence ministers have reportedly discussed the incident. Germany sent navy but not ground forces to join the Lebanese peacekeeping mission because it wanted to avoid any chance of a clash with Israeli forces. Sensitivities remain over Germany’s Nazi past. Helicopter alertThe German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel revealed that an incident took place on Tuesday this week, quoting a German junior defence minister as saying two Israeli F-16 fighters had flown low over the German ship, firing twice. more..

Rice: Hizbullah must choose between terror and politics
Jerusalem Post 10/28/2006
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stepped up international pressure on Hizbullah to disarm, saying in a television interview aired Friday that the guerrilla group must surrender its weapons if it wants to remain part of Lebanon’s political process. Meanwhile, the European Union’s foreign policy chief holds talks Saturday with top Lebanese political leaders in an effort to bolster support for Prime Minister Fuad Saniora’s embattled government. Rice urged Hizbullah to lay down its arms according to the cease-fire that ended its 34-day war with Israel last summer, and choose between being a militant group and a legitimate political organization. Hizbullah is under heavy international pressure to surrender its weapons... more..

Report: Hamas demanding simultaneous swap of Shalit, prisoners
Ha’aretz 10/28/2006
A senior Hamas official in Damascus is demanding that Israel release Palestinian prisoners at the same time that Hamas frees captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, as part of a proposed prisoner exchange, Arabic-language newspaper Al Hayat reported Friday. According to the report, Hamas is awaiting an Israeli response to the proposal. The paper quoted the senior Hamas source as saying that the group expects Israel to be flexible on the timing of Shalit’s release and that of the Palestinian prisoners. Fatah officials had previously said that an Egyptian prisoner swap proposal calls for an initial release of Palestinian prisoners along with Shalit. The Fatah officials said a small group of prisoners would be freed in the first phase and a larger group would be freed two months later, including Palestinian prisoners considered to be political leaders. more..

Olmert Compares Iran With Nazi Germany
The Guardian 10/27/2006
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Friday compared Iran’s nuclear ambitions and threats against Israel with the policies of Nazi Germany and criticized world leaders who maintain relations with Iran’s president. Olmert’s speech during a ceremony at Israel’s national Holocaust memorial came after a new report that Iran has doubled its capability to enrich uranium - a process that can produce material for nuclear power reactors or weapons. Israel has identified Iran as the greatest threat to the Jewish state. Israel’s concerns have heightened since the election of Iran’s hard-line president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who frequently calls for the destruction of Israel and has questioned whether the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews took place. more..

Security Council, recalling resolution 1325, seeks to strengthen role of women in peacekeeping, post-conflict
ReliefWeb 10/27/2006
Oct 26 2006 - Presidential Statement, After All-Day Meeting, Notes Some Progress; Many Delegates Assert Gender Equality Remains Elusive, Violence Still Major Problem -- Recognizing that the protection and empowerment of women, their networks and initiatives were essential in the consolidation of peace, the promotion of women’s equal participation and their improved human security, the Security Council today acknowledged the vital roles and contributions by women in building peace.... MEIRAV EILON SHAHAR ( Israel) said that there was no doubt that the advancement of women would translate into progress for all. For that reason, she had encouraged the identification of women candidates for senior level positions within the United Nations system, with particular attention to Special Representatives. more..

Democrats Say Iraq War Hurt Israel, Hampered Effort to Confront Iran
Forward 10/27/2006
Democrats in Congress are arguing that the Bush administration’s handling of the war in Iraq harmed Israel and is tying America’s hands in dealing with Iran’s nuclear threat. They put forth the argument in an October 27 online town hall meeting dealing with issues relating to Israel. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stressed in the online discussion that “the war in Iraq has made both America and Israel less safe. ” Rep. Alcee Hastings, the Florida Democrat who is a candidate to chair the House Intelligence Committee if the Democrats win Congress, argued that “Republican foreign policy strategy in Iraq has encouraged terrorist acts against Israel, and has made other nations less likely to cooperate with U.S. policies in the region. ” more..

Russia has separate peacekeeping mission in Lebanon
YNet News 10/27/2006
UN peacekeepers deployed in Lebanon are unlikely to be able to disarm Hizbullah, as required under UN Security Council Resolution 1701, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov has said, a news agency has reported. "Under the UN mandate, one of the main functions of the peacekeepers is to disarm Hizbullah," Ivanov was quoted as saying by the state-run news agency RIA-Novosti on Friday. "I strongly doubt that the UN will fulfil this task." Ivanov said that concern over this aspect of the peacekeepers’ mission was one of the reasons Moscow decided to send a peacekeeping contingent to Lebanon under an accord reached separately with the Lebanese government, instead of under the UN mandate, RIA-Novosti reported. more..

New mission director for the West Bank and Gaza
ReliefWeb/USAID 10/26/2006
WASHINGTON, D. C. - Today, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Acting Deputy Administrator James Kunder administered the oath of office to Dr. Howard Sumka to assume the position of USAID Mission Director for the West Bank and Gaza. For the past 13 years, USAID has funded programs that help over 3. 8 million people in the West Bank and Gaza and in the current Middle East environment, managing programs will continue to be an important challenge. USAID will work with partners and NGOs to provide food, clean water, health care, and education programs, as well as administer democracy and private sector activities. This will be the third USAID mission Dr. Sumka has headed, having been the Mission Director for both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania. more..

Solana: Reopen crossings to Gaza
Jerusalem Post 10/26/2006
Defense Minister Amir Peretz told European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Thursday that the IAF’s reconnaissance flights over Lebanon will continue until the two IDF reservists kidnapped by Hizbullah in July are freed." The flights over Lebanon will continue until the soldiers have been returned and the supervision of the border is arranged," said Peretz. The two men spoke in Tel Aviv a day after reports that two IAF fighter jets allegedly targeted a German warship patrolling off the Lebanese coast as part of the UN-peacekeeping force. The Defense Ministry said the planes had not attacked the ship. Solana is making a six-day visit to Israel, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt in an attempt to breathe new life into the peace process. more..

Critical meeting on Shalit deal in Cairo on Saturday
Ha’aretz 10/27/2006
Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas’s political bureau, is slated to meet with senior Egyptian officials in Cairo on Saturday to discuss a deal for the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces corporal Gilad Shalit. Sources involved in the talks described the meeting as "critical," adding that if Meshal really does come from Damascus to attend the session, he will probably accept the proposed deal. However, it is still unclear whether Meshal will actually come, and both Israeli and Hamas sources said that they were pessimistic about the chances of a deal actually materializing at the end of the Cairo meeting. More than a week ago, Egyptian Information Minister Omar Suleiman presented Meshal and his aides in Damascus with a new initiative that includes Shalit’s release, the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel and a deal on... a national unity government for the PA. more..

President Mahmoud Abbas to meet with EU foreign chief Javier Solana Thursday in Ramallah
Ma’an News 10/26/2006
Ramallah - President Mahmoud Abbas meets today, Thursday, in Ramallah with the European Union High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, in a move by the European Union aimed at re-activating peace talks in the Middle East. According to the US-backed, Arabic-language ’Radio Sawa’, Solana will talk to President Abbas about developments in regards to forming a new Palestinian government of national unity. Yesterday, Solana held talks in Israel with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. However, in what appears to be recognition that the talks failed, Solana said, "I think we are at a dead end. We have not yet been able to overcome the events of the summer." Solana also met with protest following his meeting with Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the far-right Israeli party "Israel Beituna".... more..

UNIFIL: Administrative snags delaying IDF pullout from Ghajar
Ha’aretz 10/26/2006
The deputy commander of UN peacekeepers in Lebanon said Thursday that administrative issues were delaying the IDF withdrawal from Ghajar." The meeting was productive and the main focus was to finalize arrangements for Ghajar after the IDF withdrawal," Brigadier General L. P. Nehra said in after meeting senior Lebanese and Israel Defense Forces officers on the border. Israel completed its withdrawal from southern Lebanon at the start of October, but IDF troops remain in the divided border village." Minor administrative issues with relation to Ghajar residents are still pending, but UNIFIL hopes they will be solved at the next meeting early next week," the statement said. Some 10,000 Lebanese soldiers have deployed across south Lebanon. UNIFIL, in place since 1978, has boosted its numbers from around 2,000 before the war to some 7,500 since. [end]

Israeli deputy PM Peres clashes with top EU diplomat Solana
Ma’an News 10/26/2006
Jerusalem – Israel will not reopen crossings bordering the Gaza Strip as long as projectiles continue to be launched into Israel and the smuggling of arms through tunnels [from Egypt] continues. In a statement, Shimon Peres, currently the deputy Prime Minister of Israel, claimed that Hamas is responsible for the Palestinian situation in the Gaza Strip. His statement came in response to the words of the EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, during their meeting on Thursday afternoon. Solana had stated that Israel is guilty of imposing collective punishment on the Palestinians of Gaza through the regular and prolonged closure of crossing points. more..

Lieberman urges discretion on Iran
Jerusalem Post 10/26/2006
Israel Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman urged taking a surprisingly soft stance on the nuclear threat from Iran in an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. Lieberman said he would no longer speak about Iran with the press after the cabinet and Knesset, as is expected, approved his appointment on Monday as deputy prime minister and minister-without-portfolio in the Prime Minister’s Office in charge of strategizing for the Iranian threat. He said the Iran issue must be handled discretely and not in the media." We have to wait and see what the European Union, United States, Russia and China do about Iran," Lieberman said. "We don’t need to be on the front line on this issue. We just have to sit and wait." Lieberman’s answer.... sounded much different from his call just five years ago to bomb Teheran. more..

Peretz: IAF to continue Lebanon overflights until troops freed
Ha’aretz 10/26/2006
Solana: Israel must uproot West Bank outposts, push road map -- Defense Minister Amir Peretz told the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, on Thursday that IAF overflights will continue in Lebanon as long as the UN cease-fire resolution has not been fully implemented. Peretz told the visiting Solana during their meeting in Tel Aviv that the implementation of UN Resolution 1701 must include the release of captured soldiers Udi Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. Peretz also emphasized the importance of full international monitoring along the Syria-Lebanon border in order to prevent arms smuggling to Hezbollah, as called for in the resolution... Israel must evacuate all illegal West Bank outposts and do its part to advance the internationally-backed road map for peace, [Solana] told Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Thursday. more..

’US withdrawal from Iraq would be disastrous for Israel’
Jerusalem Post 10/25/2006
As talk of an American withdrawal from Iraq heats up, some local experts say the removal of a strong US military presence there could be disastrous for Israel." If Iraq spirals into civil war, it will be seen as a real setback for the US and their policy of military intervention," said Cameron Brown, deputy director of global research in international affairs at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. "This would probably create a renewed Vietnam syndrome, meaning the US would become trigger-shy. And what if the US becomes trigger-shy? No one else except the US has the military might to set back Iran’s nuclear program. Maybe Israel, but it’s not certain. If the US gets trigger-shy, then we’re in trouble." Dr. Mark Heller, director of research at the Institute for National Security Studies, agreed with this sentiment. more..

American evangelical group arrives in Ashdod on solidarity mission
Ha’aretz 10/26/2006
After a stormy 35-day journey at sea, a group of American evangelicals traveling on a creaky World War II-era cargo ship landed in Ashdod on a solidarity mission only to run aground in red tape, with long delays in unloading their cargo of clothes, toys and medical supplies. Still, the 42-member crew was unfazed Thursday, keeping a positive, enthusiastic attitude in a colorful demonstration of the growing alliance between fundamentalist Christians and the Jewish state." The Bible says, ’Who blesses Israel will be blessed,"’ said Don Tipton, the group’s leader. "We believe that." The "Spirit of Grace" steamed into the Israeli port of Ashdod in early October from Louisiana, flying an American flag and a huge banner reading "Jehovah" in Hebrew letters. more..

Angolan defense officials fired over arms deals with Israel
Ha’aretz 10/27/2006
The president of Angola has fired senior defense officials in his country as a result of what Angolan sources say was their attempt to promote an arms deal involving Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and Soltam. News of the deal was first published in Haaretz in April. No official explanation for the dismissal of the senior Angolan officials has been released. The Haaretz report received a great deal of attention in the Angolan media, and as a result, a number of probes were initiated into whether the deal, which was valued at $1 billion, was worth pursuing. However, Angolan officials and other experts concluded that the country had no need for these weapons, and that the funds would be better used in developing civilian infrastructure. more..

Spanish troops rotate into peacekeeping force
Jerusalem Post 10/27/2006
Some 418 Spanish soldiers arrived in Beirut on Thursday to join a UN peacekeeping force monitoring the cease-fire between Israel and Hizbullah in south Lebanon. Lt. Col. Jose Puig, spokesman for Spanish troops in Lebanon, said the soldiers arrived on two commercial flights chartered by the Spanish army. One plane carrying about 165 soldiers landed at Beirut airport at 4 p. m. (1300 GMT), and another arrived at 11 p. m. (2000 GMT) with 253 more troops, Spanish military officials said. All 418 soldiers would replace 500 who deployed in south Lebanon in September, as part of the UN peacekeeping force known as UNIFIL, said Major Pedro Herrero, another spokesman for Spanish troops in Lebanon. He said the departing troops were expected to leave in shifts later this month and in early November. more..

World’s wealthiest Jew to donate $25 million to Yad Vashem
Ha’aretz 10/26/2006
Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, is set to receive the largest private donation in its history from an American billionaire who is considered the wealthiest Jew in the world. Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, will give $25 million to Yad Vashem in a ceremony on Friday that will be attended by Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Education Minister Yuli Tamir. The money will enable Yad Vashem to expand its international activities in the area of Holocaust education, will fund the uploading to the Internet of its main databases, and will help to pay for maintaining the New Holocaust History Museum. Adelson, 73, was born to a poor immigrant family in Boston and earned his fortune developing huge hotel, convention and gambling properties in Las Vegas and, recently, in China. more..

Israeli F-16s tangle with German warship off Lebanese coast
The Daily Star 10/26/2006
BEIRUT: Two Israeli warplanes and a German Navy vessel clashed off the Lebanese coast, the Defense Ministry in Berlin said on Wednesday. Details on the incident were not available by the time The Daily Star went to press. The incident is the first reported clash between the Israeli Army and the international peacekeeping force in Lebanon. German daily Der Tagesspiegel quoted a junior Defense Minister on Wednesday as telling a parliamentary committee that two Israeli F-16 fighter-bombers flew at a low altitude over the German ship and fired two shots. It wasn’t clear from the report what type of ammunition was used or where the shots were aimed. The jets also released infra-red countermeasures to ward off any missile attack, the newspaper said. more..

Syria concerned by IDF military exercises in Golan Heights
Ha’aretz 10/25/2006
Syria is concerned with military exercises that the Israel Defense Forces has been conducting in the Golan Heights, according to the Qatari newspaper Al-Watan. Syrian sources told Al-Watan that the exercises are increasing the tensions in the area, and that Syria is closely following the IDF presence. Syrian Defense Minister Hassan Turkmani ordered the Syrian army to heighten its alert "in order to curb an attack on Syria." The article mentions Chief of Staff Dan Halutz’s recent tour of the area, an indicator that Syria is closely following what takes place in the Golan Heights. According to the IDF, Halutz’s surprise visit to the area on Monday was meant to assess the operational fitness of the troops. The Syrian sources also referred to the addition of MK Avigdor Lieberman’s party Yisrael Beiteinu to the coalition... more..

Study: Israelis and U.S. Jews no longer seen as one nation
Ha’aretz 10/25/2006
Two recent studies challenge the customary perception that Jews living in Israel and the United States, which make up 80 percent of the world’s Jewry  belong to the same nation. One study indicates that Israel occupies a marginal place in the younger generation’s Jewish identity. The other finds that Israeli pupils’ knowledge of American Jewry is negligible. Both studies were conducted by the American Jewish Committee (AJC). The study on Israeli pupils was conducted by the Levinsky College of Education among 150 history and civics teachers. Only 13 percent of them said that the subject of U.S. Jewry had been studied at their school "at least once." More than 60 percent said the subject had not been studied at all and 25 percent could not answer the question. more..

French urge Israelis to halt violations
The Daily Star 10/26/2006
BEIRUT: French officials criticized Israel again on Wednesday for its continuous violations of Lebanese airspace, as retired French Admiral Jean-Marie van Huffel arrived in Lebanon to discuss an offer of military assistance. Van Huffel met with the head of the Lebanese Army, General Michel Suleiman, for talks on the "means of cooperation between the two armies, the Lebanese and French," the National News Agency said. Officials at the French Embassy had no further comment on the retired admiral’s visit, which follows weeks of repeated criticisms by French officials of Israeli violations. UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Alain Pellegrini voiced serious concern on Tuesday over the increasing number of airspace violations over South Lebanon, where nine such Israeli sorties occurred over a 24-hour period. more..

IDF: No shots fired in IAF incident with German ship
Ha’aretz 10/25/2006
An Israel Defense Forces spokesman on Wednesday confirmed that Israel Air Force jets had been involved in an incident with a German vessel and helicopter, but denied reports that the jets had fired shots over the ship. The Germany daily Der Tagesspiegel earlier on Wednesday quoted a junior German defense minister as telling a parliamentary committee that two Israeli F-16 fighters flew low over the German ship and fired two shots. The jets also activated infra-red countermeasures to ward off any rocket attack, the paper quoted him as saying, in an advance release from Thursday’s edition. The IDF spokesman denied that the air force had attacked a ship or opened fire in the vicinity, but said that IAF jets had been launched early Tuesday when a helicopter took off from a German aircraft carrier... more..

Foreign Ministry tackles Israel’s image abroad
Jerusalem Post 10/25/2006
More than half of Americans believe that a terrorist attack happens in Israel once a week, according to data compiled by the Foreign Ministry that was released on Wednesday as part of a new marketing drive. One of the researchers for the ministry, Boaz Mourad of the US group Insight, showed video segments in which Americans spoke of Israel as a place they wanted to get away from quickly because they felt it was dangerous, bleak and inhospitable. He compared it to feelings people had for Italy as a warm place with good food. One woman said she didn’t think Israel was a democracy yet, but that she heard they were working on it. In introducing the new marketing initiative known as "nation branding", Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said, "It’s time to bridge the gap between the real Israel and its international image..." more..

Solana: PM, Lieberman at odds on Iran
Jerusalem Post 10/25/2006
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his incoming minister without portfolio Avigdor Lieberman, who will be responsible for strategizing on the Iranian nuclear threat, are at odds about how to handle Iran, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana told The Jerusalem Post following a meeting with Lieberman at the Knesset. Solana arrived in Israel on Wednesday as the first stop in a six-nation Middle East tour that will include meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders as well as visits to Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. He hopes to jump-start talks between Palestinians and Israelis while he is the region and to breathe new life into the peace process. But talks on Iran are also part of his agenda. Solana said that from his many past conversations with Olmert about Iran, "it will be difficult for Lieberman to be compatible with Olmert’s ideas on the matter." more..

Report: Syria ups military alert level
Jerusalem Post 10/25/2006
The Syrian Defense Minister raised his army’s alert level following IDF training exercises on the Golan Heights the past two days, Qatari newspaper Al-Watan reported on Wednesday. According to the report, Syrian army chief Hasan Turkmani upped the alert level in order to defend against possible Israeli aggression. Similar alerts were issued during the war against Hizbullah this summer. A Syrian military source told Al-Watan that the move was prompted by IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. -Gen. Dan Halutz’s surprise visit to the area and "unusual mobilizations" of Israeli troops in the Golan Heights on Monday. The report also stated that the Syrians were concerned about the addition of the right-wing Israel Beiteinu party to the government coalition. more..

Israeli Army Chief: Militants Building ’Underground City’ in Gaza
An Nahar 10/25/2006
Palestinian militants are constructing an "underground city" in the Gaza Strip to store weapons and attack Israeli forces in the future, army chief of staff Dan Halutz was quoted as saying Tuesday." The Palestinians are continuing digging an underground city in the Gaza Strip," said Halutz, who appeared before the parliament’s foreign affairs and defense committee." They are constructing tunnels in the urban parts in order to confront our forces," a member of the committee quoted Halutz as saying. The Israeli army has in recent weeks intensified its ground operation in the battered Palestinian territory, launched following the abduction of a serviceman by militants in a cross-border raid near Gaza on June 25. more..

UNIFIL’s Success Linked to Hizbullah Actions
An Nahar 10/25/2006
U. N. Undersecretary for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guehenno has linked the success of the U. N. mission in Lebanon to Hizbullah actions." It depends whether Hizbullah is able to rebuild itself and humiliate the mission," said Guehenno during a speech on Tuesday at the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D. C. SAIS, a leading graduate school of international affairs, has been a division of the Johns Hopkins University since 1950. Guehenno, also a French diplomat, said the success of the "robust posture" of the U. N. mission in south Lebanon ultimately will hinge on the disarmament of Hizbullah, which must take place through a political process, as well as the reconstruction of Lebanon.... Since the ceasefire, Hizbullah fighters have kept out of uniform, with their weapons out of sight. more..

Mashal conducts a brief visit to Qatar
International Middle East Media Center 10/25/2006
Khaled Mashal, political bureau chief of the Hamas party, conducted a brief visit to Qatar and held a meeting with the prince of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, on the developments in the Palestinians territories including the rising tension between Hamas and Fateh. Qatar is attempting to mediate between the two factions in order to achieve an agreement and reduce the tension. Senior sources at the Hamas party reported that a meeting between senior leaders of Hamas and Fateh in the Syrian capital, Damascus, is currently being prepared. The sources added that the meeting will be under Syrian-Qatari, and Spanish supervision. According to the sources, the meeting would discuss the formation of a National Unity Government based on the national interests. more..

Foreign Ministry confirms Livni’s visit to Qatar
Jerusalem Post 10/24/2006
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will attend a UN conference Sunday in Doha, Qatar, her adviser said Wednesday. The trip it will be the highest-ranking visit by an Israeli official to the Gulf State since Shimon Peres opened up the Israeli trade office in Doha when he was prime minister in 1996. The visit would come as Israeli leaders are speaking increasingly of heightened cooperation with moderate Arab regimes in the region as a brake on Shi’ite extremism. Representatives of some 192 countries are expected to attend the conference, called the Sixth International Conference on New or Restored Democracies, from October 29 to November 1 in Doha.... The invitation to Livni came from the UN, according to Israeli officials, and not from the Qataris. more..

Palestine Observer to UN: Lack of Response by International Community towards Israeli Deadly Actions is Highly Disheartening
WAFA - Palestine News Agency 10/25/2006
NEW YORK, October 25, 2006 (WAFA)- Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, said Wednesday the most unfortunate and highly disheartening is the lack of response by the international community towards Israeli deadly actions against the Palestinian people. In three identical letters to the UN Secretary General, the President of the UN Security Council and the President of the UN General Assembly, Dr. Mansour said: over the preceding week, the Israeli occupying forces have carried out a number of military assaults in the [OPT]...." It is irrefutable that such repeated Israeli assaults on Palestinian life, property, and rights have regrettably become a commonplace," he said. "However, what is most unfortunate and highly disheartening is the lack of response by the international community..." more..

President will Receive Solana Tomorrow in Ramallah
WAFA - Palestine News Agency 10/25/2006
AMMAN, October 25, 2006 (WAFA)- President Mahmoud Abbas will receive tomorrow in the Presidential HQ in Ramallah the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Mr. Javier Solana. In a statement released by EU, it was said that the meeting comes in the framework of his visit to the Middle East that will concentrateon efforts towards an early resumption of the dialogue between the two parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Solana also will visit Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. more..

Putin: Katsav case tied to war failure
Jerusalem Post 10/25/2006
President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday avoided commenting on remarks he was widely reported to have made about rape allegations against the Israeli president, but he suggested the president’s accusers were seeking to punish him and others for their handling of the Lebanon war. During his annual televised question-and-answer session Wednesday, Putin was asked about his Kremlin exchange with Olmert and about sexual harassment. "Violence... against women, men and especially against children is always a criminal offense, a grave crime," Putin said. "It is of course absolutely inadmissible to use one’s authority in order to coerce a woman into, I beg your pardon, sexual relations." more..

PMO: Olmert, Abbas agree to continue talks on meeting
Ha’aretz 10/22/2006
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday and agreed that their officials would continue talks to prepare for a meeting between them, Olmert’s office said. The United States has urged both sides to renew peace talks, stalled since 2003 due to violence. Recent efforts to arrange the long-awaited summit have been deadlocked. Israel demands the release of Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, held captive by militants in Gaza since a cross-border raid in June. Abbas, who has been working to try to secure his freedom, wants Israel to first promise to free hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. During their phone call, the Israeli leader gave Abbas his good wishes to mark the end of Ramadan, Olmert’s office said in a statement. [end]

Mofaz, in U.S., warns of dangers of Iran helping Palestinians
Ha’aretz 10/23/2006
Shaul Mofaz warned on Monday that Iran’s promised assistance to Palestinian security forces elevates dangers facing Israel and other Middle East countries. Mofaz, a deputy prime minister who is also transportation minister, met with United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns. Mofaz told reporters afterward that if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejadisis able to develop nuclear weapons Israel and other nations will face increased dangers." It will be a different world," Mofaz said outside the State Department. Reports last week by Hamas that Palestinian Interior Minister Said Siyam was promised vehicles and other help from Iran during a visit to Tehran reflect an increasing danger to Israel, Mofaz said. "It is a danger for the future of Israel," he said. more..

Hizbullah rejects Egyptian minister’s accusation as ’not worthy of a response’
The Daily Star 10/23/2006
BEIRUT: Hizbullah refused to comment Sunday on Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abou al-Gheit’s remarks that the resistance group may have initiated the July-August war with Israel to escape the looming issue of disarmament. A Hizbullah official, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Daily Star on Sunday that "Abou al-Gheit and his comments are not worthy of a response or a comment." A spokesperson from Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s office told The Daily Star that the premier had no comment on the issue, as he had yet to view Abou al-Gheit’s remarks. The source added that Siniora would be traveling to Saudi Arabia within 24 hours. more..

UNIFIL sees imminent Israeli pullout from Ghajar
The Daily Star 10/23/2006
Interview -- NAQOURA: "The issue of Ghajar has been settled," confirmed UNIFIL’s spokesperson Alexander Ivanko, with an Israeli withdrawal from the already divided town expected within days. As the Lebanese side "sticks to Resolution 1701," according to Ivanko, and Israel "continues to violate it with its flights" over Lebanon, "the situation remains stable." In an interview with The Daily Star, Ivanko said the latest reports of land violations by Israel, including the construction of drainage pipes near Kfar Kila to divert rainwater into Lebanon and the pumping of water from the Wazzani River, were untrue." We checked these claims three or four times about the Wazzani, and there is no water pumping by Israel as it had been widely reported," the spokesman said. more..

Russia closes book on claim that Hizbullah used its missiles
Zawya/The Daily Star 10/23/2006
Moscow believes it has settled its differences with Israel over concerns that Hizbullah fighters used Russian missiles during the recent war with the Jewish state, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Friday, hinting that the group favored US- and Israeli-made weapons. Israel’s claims that Hizbullah fighters used Russian missiles during the war this summer have clouded improving relations between Israel and Russia, and were discussed by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during his visit to Moscow this week. "In my view, this subject in general is closed," Ivanov said in televised comments. He said that he could not reveal details, but that "exhaustive answers were given" to Israel, the Interfax news agency reported. He also suggested that Russia believes Hizbullah fighters used more US- and Israeli-made weapons than Russian ones... more..

Shalit’s father: Palestinians in prison because of Mashaal
YNet News 10/23/2006
Kidnapped soldier’s father Noam calls on Israeli government to make efforts to release Palestinian prisoners, warns Palestinians Mashaal’s stubbornness obstructing release of prisoners -- Noam Shalit, father of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, told Ynet Monday evening, “If it weren’t for Khaled Mashaal’s stubbornness, a lot of Palestinian prisoners could have already been released and celebrating Id al-Fitr with their families. ” Shalit gave an interview to one of the Palestinian radio networks earlier Monday evening, in which he wished the Muslims in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority a happy holiday, adding that the situation in Gaza could be a lot calmer if Mashaal, Hamas’ politburo chief, was not so stubborn. more..

Report: German agent working on Israel-Hezbollah prisoner swap
Ha’aretz 10/23/2006
A German intelligence agent has spent the last several weeks on a United Nations mission trying to negotiate an exchange of prisoners between Israel and Hezbollah, German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan handed a German intelligence analyst from the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) the assignment after a meeting in early September, the magazine said. The German government declined comment on the report. The BND analyst had worked on two previous exchanges of prisoners and is respected by both sides, Der Spiegel said. It added, however, the chances of success were still unclear because of the hardened positions on both sides. The UN has so far only said it had appointed a "facilitator" to work towards the release of two Israeli soldiers... more..

Defense Minister: IAF flights over Lebanon will continue
Ha’aretz 10/22/2006
Defense Minister Amir Peretz said at a cabinet meeting on Sunday that Israel Air Force flights over Lebanon would continue because the smuggling of weapons into the hands of Hezbollah guerrillas has not stopped. Peretz made this statement despite warnings issued by French Defense Minister Michel Alliot-Marie last week, that French troops serving in the United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon could mistake IAF activity for hostility and shoot the aircrafts in self-defense. The commander of the UN peacekeeping force termed IAF overflights a clear violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended Israel’s month-long war with Hezbollah this summer. At the cabinet meeting, Peretz accused the Lebanese government of failing to honor its obligations under the resolution to keep Syrian and Iranian weapons from reaching Hezbollah. more..

Ahmadinejad warns Europe it will pay for backing Israel
The Guardian 10/21/2006
Iran’s president threatens storm of retaliation · UN efforts to block nuclear programme ’illegitimate’ -- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran added a threatening edge to his verbal onslaught on Israel yesterday by warning European governments to withdraw their support or face getting "hurt" in a storm of retaliation. He also called Britain and America "enemies of Iran" whose attempts to block the country’s nuclear programme at the UN security council were "illegitimate". Mr Ahmadinejad was speaking in Tehran at the annual Qods [Jerusalem] day rally, staged by Iran’s Islamic regime to propagate its ideological opposition to Israel. He repeated predictions that Israel would soon disappear but, in a fresh warning, said European countries could pay a much higher price than the US for their backing. more..

Nasrallah, Fadlallah warn against US efforts to instigate strife among Muslims
The Daily Star 10/21/2006
BEIRUT: Hizbullah’s leader and Lebanon’s senior Shiite cleric have stressed the importance of "paying attention to the smallest developments amid the United States’ continued interference in Lebanon’s affairs." A statement issued after a two-hour meeting between Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah Friday, said there are attempts to sow strife among Muslims in more than one region of the Islamic world." The two clerics urged Muslims to be aware of the dangers of such strife, conveying their "respect" to all efforts aimed at preserving "Islamic unity." The two leaders discussed the latest developments in Lebanon and the region following the resistance’s "victory over the latest Israeli offensive." more..

Venezuela stops issuing tourist visas to Israelis
Ha’aretz 10/24/2006
JERUSALEM - Venezuela has ceased issuing tourist visas to Israelis, its embassy in Israel said Monday, accenting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s harsh criticism of Israel. However, a Venezuelan official said the halt was technical in nature. Chavez recalled his envoy to Israel to protest what he called the "genocide" Israel was committing in Lebanon during Israel’s 34-day war with Hezbollah guerrillas. Israel, in response, called its ambassador to Venezuela to Israel for consultations. He has since returned. But Venezuela’s charge d’affaires has yet to return to Israel. Reached on Monday by phone from Venezuela, Hector Quintero said no tourist visas had been issued since his departure, two and half months ago. more..

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Al-Masri: We must have a national government, be it technocratic or political
Ma’an News 10/31/2006
Ramallah - The well-known Palestinian businessman, Munib Al-Masri, has expressed his support for the formation of a government of professionals – as long as all factions agree upon the formation – if a national unity government cannot be achieved. In a press conference held at the Ramattan news agency in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday, Masri said this government should be formed of 7 to 10 ministers of competent, skilled figures. Masri believes that such a government should stay in power for one year and its work should be limited to economy, law, the enhancement of sovereignty, and ending the disorder and lawlessness within the occupied Palestinian territories. He said that the political file should be dealt with by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). -- See also: Technocrat tipped for title more..

PLO executive member: A decision regarding a new government will be reached before 15 November
Ma’an News 10/31/2006
Bethlehem - The Hamas movement has still not given its response to the idea to form a Palestinian national unity government that would be comprised of professionals, and agreed upon by all the Palestinian factions, and with the lifting of the current international economic and political siege on the Palestinians as top priority. This is what Hanna Amira, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee said in a press statement on Tuesday. Amira added that the ongoing dialogue is concentrating on how to lift the crippling international blockade as "there will be no meaning for a government which cannot lift the siege". He added that the PLO Executive Committee will meet on Thursday to discuss this subject and to study all the options. more..

Fatah politician: Maybe an earthquake is the solution to our problems
Ma’an News 10/31/2006
Bethlehem - Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Issa Qaraqi’ has written an ironic article in which he wishes that the area will be hit by a strong earthquake that might bring an end to the Palestinians’ sufferings as a result of the occupation. Qaraqi’ is a Fatah member, who was elected to the PLC in the last elections to represent the Bethlehem area. He said his article does not represent a state of pessimism but "this is the reality which is more honest than the political news or the politicians or the media people". Qaraqi’ writes: "I don’t exaggerate when I say that I am afraid of the newspaper or the daylight, as the night is hiding the pain, and sleeping covers them even if it is temporary and for a short time. Everyone speaks about disasters, and coming disasters … and all the headlines of the papers are sad…" more..

Katsav released from hospital after undergoing cardiac tests
Ha’aretz 11/1/2006
President Moshe Katsav was taken to a Jerusalem hospital Tuesday for medical tests after complaining of chest pains but later sent home after no illness was found. Health Minister Yaacov Ben Izri was informed of the testing by a senior ministry official. Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, apparently under directions from senior Katsav aides, declined to comment on the testing, which took place at the hospital’s Heart Institute. Hospital spokeswoman Yael Bossem-Levy referred numerous Haaretz inquiries regarding Katsav’s health to the President’s Residence. Katsav instructed his aides to avoid calls from journalists regarding his health.... The President’s Residence later commented that the "president’s condition is good." more..

Will Barak be Labor’s new minister?
Jerusalem Post 11/1/2006
Labor chairman Amir Peretz does not intend to recommend a candidate to replace outgoing Science, Culture and Sport Minister Ophir Paz-Pines until at least next week, sources close to Peretz said Tuesday. Paz-Pines’s resignation will take effect at 5 p. m. on Wednesday, creating a vacancy in the cabinet. Labor Party officials spent Tuesday speculating about whom Peretz would choose, but Peretz’s associates said he would take his time with the decision." Peretz is in no hurry to appoint a minister," a Peretz associate said. "He knows that there is no better way to keep prospective ministerial candidates obedient than to wait with a decision on who will get the job." more..

Number of female senior officers in IDF down 40 percent
Ha’aretz 11/1/2006
The number of female senior officers in the Israel Defense Forces has decreased by 40 percent in the past two years, the Knesset women’s lobby said yesterday. Only 15 women held a rank of colonel or higher in 2006, compared to 24 in 2005. The Knesset’s Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women met yesterday with IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz in the wake of his decision to merge the two highest IDF posts held by women - Chief of General Staff’s Advisor on Women’s Affairs and Head Personnel Manager. Following uproar over his decision to merge the posts, Halutz announced he would again separate the two posts, but estimated that it could take approximately a year for the change to go into effect. more..

NSC wants to unify all home front emergency services under security ministry
Ha’aretz 11/1/2006
"The key to success is the Home Front Command (HFC)" -- The National Security Council has recommended establishment of a "national emergency authority" that will apparently operate as part of the Public Security Ministry and will serve as the umbrella organization for all emergency services in Israel. If the plan is approved, the minister will receive significant powers at times of emergency to operate units such as the Home Front Command, the fire fighters and the "Melah" emergency crews. Magen David Adom and the local government services, however, would remain in their current form but will be synchronized, during crises, with the new authority. Officials involved in the plan believe it has a good chance of being implemented. "The fighting in the North [last summer] proved that there is need for a guiding hand..." more..

State Comptroller begins to probe Halutz over Lebanon war
Ha’aretz 10/31/2006
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss on Tuesday began investigating Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and the IDF General Staff over their conduct during the recent war in Lebanon. In the coming days, Lindenstrauss will also call in for questioning Defense Minister Amir Peretz, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter and Interior Minister Roni Bar-On, among others. The state comptroller also intends to investigate Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Lindenstrauss and the State Control Committee questioned Halutz as part of the report he is consolidating on political and military conduct during the war. The comptroller has informed the Knesset that he intends to complete the report by April 2007. The investigations will continue through the end of the year. more..

Halutz slammed for promoting Lebanon war generals
Jerusalem Post 10/31/2006
Sources close to Defense Minister Amir Peretz on Tuesday criticized IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. -Gen. Dan Halutz’s decision not to demote the senior commanders along the northern border." Some of the appointments are not compatible with the conclusions of investigations by senior commanders in the reserves," the sources said, according to Army Radio. Meretz head Yossi Beilin also called on Peretz not to approve the appointments until after the investigations into the war have been completed. Meretz faction head Zehava Gal-On said Halutz’s decision was the last nail in the coffin of the war and that the lesson was that no one who was involved in the decision-making process is taking responsibility, Israel Radio reported. -- See also: Despite failures: Division commanders won’t be dismissed more..

’Racist’ bill delayed in Knesset
Jerusalem Post 10/30/2006
A new bill to revoke membership of anti-Israeli legislators from the Knesset was delayed Monday, due to the intervention of Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik. The bill, sponsored by Israel Beitenu MK Esterina Tartman, was scheduled for a vote in the Knesset House Committee Monday - the same day that the Knesset voted in favor of adding Tartman’s party to the coalition. Itzik asked Tartman to delay her request to next week, causing many to wonder if it was the first instance of moderation for the Israel Beitenu Party." It is very unclear why it was delayed, but it seems clear that Itzik didn’t want the bill making headlines on the same day as the new coalition," said a Balad Spokesman. "She knew that the bill represented the racist and fascist nature of the new government, but by delaying it she has not hidden the truth..." more..

Abbas requests Jordanian PLO forces
Jerusalem Post 10/29/2006
The Defense Ministry is weighing a request by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to beef up his loyalist forces with Palestine Liberation Organization troops stationed in Jordan. The move, which would strengthen Abbas in his power struggle with Hamas, is the latest sign that rival Palestinian factions are girding up for a possible civil war. Abbas, a moderate who heads both the PLO and the Fatah Party, has asked Israel’s permission to let an unspecified number of troops from the Jordan-based Badr Brigade enter PA areas, Palestinian officials said. As a PLO force, they would bolster Abbas in his showdown with the militantly anti-Israel Hamas, which runs the PA but does not belong to the PLO. In the past, Israel has refused to let Badr troops enter PA areas. more..

Haniyya: "Efforts are ongoing to end the current crisis, and form a unity government"
International Middle East Media Center 10/30/2006
Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyya, said on Monday during the thirty-first session of the ministers council in Gaza that there are continuous efforts to end the current internal crisis, and form a national unity government in accordance with the Detainees’ Document. Haniyya added that all parties agreed to intensify the internal meetings between them in order to determine the nature of the coming government which will concentrate on serving the Palestinian people and break the siege imposed on them. He welcomed the Egyptian role and efforts in serving the people and their cause, and in encouraging national dialogue between all factions. Also, Haniyya said that efforts to release the captured Israeli soldier since six month in exchange of Palestinian detainees, imprisoned by Israel, are in the final stages. more..

Hamas denies rumors that PM Haniya will step down
Palestine News Network 10/31/2006
Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Palestinian government, announced in a press conference today that Prime Minister Haniya has no intention to step down, despite reports from local and international newspapers to the contrary. Hamad labeled the reports, which suggested an agreement between Fateh and Hamas to replace Haniya with a more independent figurehead, as nothing more than "mere speculation." Hamad continued, "At this moment, there has been no decision on this matter. Several parties have submitted proposals, but we have yet to reach a definitive decision." He added, "A number of parties have raised the issue of the independence of the Prime Minister. We feel that there should be prominent Hamas leader in the government..." more..

Lieberman sworn in as minister
YNet News 10/30/2006
Israel Our Home party becomes part of Olmert’s coalition as 61 Knesset members vote in favor of Avigdor Lieberman’s addition to government; 38 vote against, others fail to show up for voting -- The Knesset on Monday evening approved the appointment of Israel Our Home Chairman Avigdor Lieberman as a minister. The proposal, which was earlier approved by the government , passed with a majority of 61 in favor and 38 who voted against. Several Knesset members from the Labor Party, Kadima and the Likud were absent from the voting. After the Knesset’s approval, Lieberman was sworn in and joined the government table. Two MKs from the Pensioners Party, Moshe Sharoni and Itshac Galantee, were the only two coalition members who voted against the motion. more..

Paz-Pines resigns as cabinet minister
Jerusalem Post 10/30/2006
Labor Party ministers slammed Science, Culture and Sport Minister Ophir Paz-Pines for announcing on Monday that he intended to resign from the cabinet and run for the party chairmanship in the primary race set for May 2007. They said Paz-Pines made a big mistake that would result in him languishing in the opposition for years while Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government continued to survive. They also said he chose the wrong issue over which to leave the government. "His decision to resign over Avigdor Lieberman’s addition to the cabinet looks too political and too dovish," a minister said. "It would have been smarter for him to leave over an issue like forming a state commission of inquiry to investigate the war in Lebanon. That could have been a consensus issue, not a petty one." more..

J’lem DA: Netanyahu acted illegally in ’Amedi moving affair’
Ha’aretz 10/31/2006
MK Benjamin Netanyahu acted illegally, was negligent toward the state, misrepresented the facts, and tried to get the public purse to cover tens, and even hundreds, of thousands of shekels of private expenses, according to the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office. The Jerusalem district attorney has warned Netanyahu that if the court upholds contractor Avner Amedi’s claim that the state owes him NIS 350,000, the state will sue the former prime minister for that amount minus NIS 50,000. The latter figure was approved for services provided to Netanyahu’s family when he served as premier from 1996 to 1999. Amedi is demanding the state pay him NIS 270,000 (in July 1998 terms) plus interest and linkage differentials for services provided to Netanyahu and his wife during his term in office. more..

Despite failures: Division commanders won’t be dismissed
YNet News 10/30/2006
General Staff decides to allow four commanders of divisions that took part in Lebanon war to remain in their positions or be appointed to other roles in army; decision represents vote of confidence on army chief’s part -- The four commanders of the military divisions that took part in the recent war in Lebanon will not be dismissed from their positions, despite the findings of inquiries conducted after the ceasefire went into force that revealed failures in their conduct. Some of the generals will continue to serve in their roles, while others will be appointed to administrative posts after completing serving their term in office.... It appears that the officers whose names became linked to a series of deficiencies during the war can be satisfied with the decision not to reprimand them too heavily, and to allow them the possibility to continue moving up in the ranks. more..

Katsav: High Court cannot suspend me
Jerusalem Post 10/30/2006
Talkbacks for this article: 3"The High Court of Justice does not have the authority to demand of the President of the State to respond to the petition nor order him to resign or suspend himself," President Moshe Katsav wrote Monday in response to a petition calling on the High Court to order him to do one or the other. The petition was submitted by attorney Yossi Fuchs in the wake of the investigation into allegations that he had committed rape and other sexual crimes against several women who worked for him during different periods of time. In his response, prepared by Yona Sheindorf, the legal advisor of the President, Katsav quoted Article 13 of the Basic Law: President, which states that "the President of the State shall not be amenable to any court or tribunal, and shall be immune from any legal act..." more..

PM appears before Knesset committee on second Lebanon war
Ha’aretz 10/30/2006
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday appeared before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to give his testimony on the events of the second Lebanon war. On Sunday, the committee concluded taking testimonies by Israel Defense Forces officers and soldiers, who described serious shortcomings in the functioning of the army during the war. Colonels, majors and captains told the committee that in the first three weeks of the war the IDF fielded ground forces close to the border, where Hezbollah was thickly deployed, instead of using them to counter the short-range rockets hitting northern border communities. Officers and soldiers said ambiguous orders resulted in forces’ moving toward targets in daylight along Hezbollah-controlled routes, resulting in unnecessary casualties. more..

Hamas, Fatah reach militia deal after accusations of ’coup’ plot
Ha’aretz 10/28/2006
Rival Palestinian factions agreed early on Saturday to work together to ease tension growing since the governing Hamas group accused some loyalists of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas of plotting a "coup attempt". The Islamist group made the accusation in a statement on Friday, saying the Abbas loyalists planned to storm some public buildings on Saturday. It did not accuse Abbas himself. While Hamas provided no evidence of a plot and officials from Abbas’s Fatah dismissed it as lies, the accusation underlined their increasingly bitter and violent power struggle. The rivals agreed at a meeting in Gaza to keep all their gunmen off the streets on Saturday and allow only the police to patrol.... After the meeting, senior Hamas leader Fathi Hammad said, "fears that some may try to carry out a coup attempt have vanished." more..

The Palestinian political and economic crisis is almost over, Dr. Barghouthi assures
Ma’an News 10/27/2006
Bethlehem - Dr. Mustafa Al-Barghouthi is optimistic that the political and economic crisis that the Palestinian people have been enduring for over 8 months is soon going to be over. In conversation with Ma’an, Dr. Barghouthi, who is the head of the ’Palestinian National Initiative’ political party and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), said that he believed a solution will be reached in the coming days. He said that, thanks to the efforts which have been taken in order to form a national unity government and end the siege, a "fruitful" solution will be announced in the coming days. Barghouthi added that there is currently a positive and optimistic atmosphere to solve the crisis. He did not reveal any details about the formation of a coming government, nor the proposed person to head the government. more..

Abbas: I’ll dissolve Hamas gov’t if Fatah excluded
Ha’aretz 10/28/2006
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas told the European Union’s top diplomat that he would dissolve the Hamas-led government within two weeks if the Islamic militant group doesn’t agree to form a governing coalition with his Fatah party, Palestinian officials said Friday. Abbas told EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana that he would replace the current government with a Cabinet of apolitical professionals, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk with the press. Abbas has promoted the idea of such a Cabinet before, but had pledged not to force it on a reluctant Hamas. His new stand suggests a willingness to take a stronger line against Hamas in an attempt to ease crippling Western sanctions designed to force Hamas to moderate its militantly anti-Israel ideology. more..

Haniyeh and Abbas to announce their agreement within days
Ma’an News 10/27/2006
Bethlehem - There is hope for an improvement in the political crisis between the Palestinian presidency and the government, a high-ranking political source has told Ma’an. The source, who refused to disclose his name, said that President Abbas and Prime Minister Haniyeh put the final touches to a new agreement during a telephone conversation and an official announcement regarding this agreement will be issued in the coming days. According to the source, the new agreement will outline the establishment of a ’national accord government’ comprising of all political parties. The source also said that a meeting will be held for the final signing of the new agreement soon. The source denied that the visit of Hamas’ political chief, Khalid Mash’al, to Cairo has any relation to this agreement. more..

Awad: "The coming days will see the formation of a national unity government"
International Middle East Media Center 10/27/2006
Secretary general of the Palestinian Ministers Council, Dr. Mohammad Awad, said on Friday that the coming will see the “dawn of a new National Unity Government based on the Unity Document”. Awad added that extensive talks between all factions are taking place in order to form the government and end the current crises. Also, Dr. Awad stated that all parties agree on the choice of the Unity Government, and that negotiations with Israel will be run by the Palestinian Liberation Organization after reforming it. Dr. Awad added that he does not believe the President Mahmoud Abbas will carry any procedures against the government that already gave away lots of its rights for the benefit of the Palestinian people. “A technocrat government is the easiest solution, but it is not the most suitable one”, Dr. Awad said... more..

Labor MKs move to block Lieberman
Jerusalem Post 10/27/2006
Science, Culture and Sport Minister Ophir Paz-Pines and MK Danny Yatom (Labor) have formulated a decision against the addition of Israel Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman to the government. The recommendation, also signed by MKs Avishay Braverman, Shelley Yachimovich, Nadia Hilu and Ghaleb Majadle, was presented to Labor Secretary-General Eitan Cabel on Friday evening, and will be voted on at Sunday’s Labor meeting. The six MKs reiterated that Labor had made a promise to refuse to take part in a coalition with Lieberman. The proposal also calls on the Central Committee to ask Labor members to oppose the addition of Israel Beiteinu to the government." Labor, lead by Amir Peretz, promised the public that the party would not take part in a coalition with Avigdor Lieberman," the proposal read. more..

Peretz calls Treasury’s claim that budget cannot support poor ’criminal’
Ha’aretz 10/27/2006
Labor Party Chairman and Defense Minister Amir Peretz on Friday criticized Finance Ministry officials on their claim that the country’s poor cannot be aided due to the need to increase the defense budget, calling the claim "criminal." In a meeting with Pensioners’ Party Chairman, Minister Rafi Eitan, Peretz said, "There is no connection between tanks and senior citizens, and the need for security cannot be tied to strengthening society." Peretz said he was unhappy that the government rejected his party’s proposal to postpone the implementation of the second phase of tax reform. According to him, the implementation of the reform, which increases funds to workers with high salaries, could have been postponed in order to allow child and Elderly pensions to be increased. more..

AG to review Omri Sharon’s alleged threats against accountant general
Ha’aretz 10/27/2006
The State Comptroller’s Office has handed Attorney General Menachem Mazuz a synopsis of a report regarding former MK Omri Sharon and alleged threats he directed against Accountant General Yaron Zelekha. Over a year ago, Zelekha and the former director of the Prime Minister’s Office, Ilan Cohen, clashed over a credit deal for local authorities, through Dexia, a Belgian-French bank. Zelekha opposed extending the deal with Dexia because he considered it irregular and believed it lacked economic sense. Zelekha asked the Justice Ministry to investigate whether Cohen’s handling of the deal stemmed from a conflict of interest originating in his dealings in the financial markets before he was appointed to the PMO. more..

Is Mahmoud Abbas planning a coup?
Jerusalem Post 10/26/2006
Hamas has instructed its followers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to be on high alert following unconfirmed reports that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party are planning a coup against the Hamas government on Saturday. Sources close to Hamas told The Jerusalem Post that the Islamic movement was taking these reports seriously and that hundreds of Hamas militiamen would be deployed in strategic areas in the Gaza Strip to foil any attempt to overthrow the Hamas government. Hamas’s "Executive Force" in the Gaza Strip has also been placed on high alert and security around top Hamas officials has been beefed up, the sources revealed. According to the sources, Hamas leaders have expressed fear that Fatah gunmen and PA policemen loyal to Abbas would try to occupy a number of PA ministries.... more..

Al Aqsa Brigades leader calls for all militant groups to focus on the occupation, not each other
Ma’an News 10/26/2006
Bethlehem - A leader in the Fatah-affiliated Al Aqsa Brigades in the West Bank, Ahmed Balboul, has stated that the various factional armed wings have a single fixed duty, and that is "resistance to occupation and colonization". In a telephone interview with Ma’an, Balboul called on all the armed wings to focus their attention on resisting the occupation. He also stressed that maintaining domestic security and protecting national institutions is the duty of the national security apparatus only. [end]

Fatah Thwarts Hamas Attempts to Build Up Security Force
International Middle East Media Center 10/26/2006
In a clear effort to further weaken Hamas, Fatah factions have kept a close watch on Hamas’ attempts to expand its security force inside the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Hamas’ “Special Security Service” has found two determined enemies in Fatah gangs and in the Israeli army. Both entities have so far combated the security force with methods that have defined their behavior for years. By branding it a terrorist organization and treating it like one, Israel has made its existence challenging. "We’re dealing with them as we would any terrorist organization," said a senior General Staff officer. "We’ve already arrested several Hamas members who joined the [security] services, and we’ll arrest any such person we hear about." On the other hand, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah, simply attacks the group... more..

Comptroller: Criminal probe for Olmert
Jerusalem Post 10/26/2006
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss is expected to recommend early next week that Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz place Prime Minister Ehud Olmert under criminal investigation for his alleged involvement in the illicit sale of Bank Leumi shares, Channel 10 reported Thursday evening. Earlier this week, the State Comptroller’s office published allegations that Olmert committed bribery offenses in the course of a sale of a majority share in the bank.... The prime minister is also under investigation for political appointments he allegedly made in the Authority for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses during his term as minister of industry and commerce, as well as for the alleged purchase of real estate in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv at prices below the market value. more..

Labor leaders prepare for battle
Jerusalem Post 10/26/2006
The Labor Party’s leadership race is set to shift into high gear on Thursday when the party’s house committee will hold its first meeting on setting a date for the primary that will pit incumbent Amir Peretz against several challengers. The leadership contenders are expected to battle over whether the primary should be held in May, as mandated by party bylaws requiring a leadership race every time a Labor candidate for prime minister loses a general election. The house committee chairman, Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon, wants to change the bylaws and delay the race. A delay in the race would be beneficial to Simhon’s political ally, former prime minister Ehud Barak, and to Peretz. The Labor leader said last month that he wanted the election on time in May, but officials close to him have been working since then to delay the race. more..

Meretz woos disgruntled Laborites
Jerusalem Post 10/26/2006
The Meretz Party has begun wooing disgruntled Labor members following the publication of a letter in which five Labor MKs advocate leaving the coalition rather than sit with Israel Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman." All Labor Knesset members who are not willing to sell their soul in exchange for power, must leave the party that, at this very moment, is ending its historic role," said Meretz Chairman Yossi Beilin. Beilin has announced that in the coming days he hopes to meet with the five MKs who signed the letter, in addition to others who have expressed dissatisfaction with their party leader, Defense Minister Amir Peretz...." There is a general feeling of discontent in the party," said Hilu. "Especially among the Arab constituents who have been long-time Labor supporters." more..

Haim Ramon’s attorneys suspect police eavesdropped on PMO
Ha’aretz 10/26/2006
Former justice minister Haim Ramon’s defense attorneys suspect police may have used wiretaps in the Prime Minister’s Office in connection with the allegations Ramon forcibly kissed a female soldier. The wiretapping suspicions are based on a document contained in the investigative material submitted to Ramon’s attorneys. SoSources at the Justice Ministry refused to comment on the document directly but said that, "to remove all doubt, there was no wiretapping in the Prime Minister’s Office of Justice Minister Haim Ramon." The document, written by the Police Fraud Investigation Unit head Brigadier General Miri Golan, raises the possibility that the head of the Police Investigation and Intelligence Department, Major General Yohanan Danino, decided to use wiretaps without her permission, as part of the investigation against Ramon. more..

Pensioners threaten to vote against Lieberman joining gov’t
Ha’aretz 10/26/2006
The Pensioners’ Party threatened Thursday to vote against the addition of Yisrael Beiteinu to the coalition, unless promises made to the party regarding the 2007 state budget are implemented. In a statement issued Thursday, the party threatened to vote against the new coalition in both the cabinet and Knesset votes. The coalition crises broke out following a meeting between Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson and Pensioners’ Party Chairman Rafi Eitan, Health Minister Yaacov Ben Izri and Pensioners’ faction whip Moshe Sharoni. During the course of the meeting, it became clear that the cutbacks to pensioners’ stipends would not be canceled in the 2007 state budget, despite the fact that the cancellation is included in the coalition agreement between the Pensioners’ Party and Kadima. more..

PM Olmert likely to back 2007 increase in defense budget
Ha’aretz 10/27/2006
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appears inclined to support increasing the 2007 defense budget, based on his statements at a meeting on Thursday. The Defense Ministry has demanded another NIS 3 billion, and at Thursday’s meeting, Olmert told Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and senior officials from both ministries that "the resources available to the defense establishment and its needs must be reviewed" over the coming weeks. Olmert announced that a committee will be appointed to review the defense budget’s scope and composition. The committee will include members of the National Security Council and of the economic forum headed by Professor Manuel Trachtenberg. more..

Arab MKs call for an international boycott of the Israeli government that includes Lieberman
Ma’an News 10/26/2006
Jerusalem - Arab members of the Israeli Knesset (the Israeli parliament) are urging the international community to boycott Ehud Olmert’s government after it agreed to allow the far-right party ’Beituna’ (’Our Home’) , headed by Avigdor Lieberman, to join the coalition government. MK Ahmad At-Tibi said that the joining of Lieberman demonstrates that the Israeli government is legitimising the fascist racism present in Israeli society. Meanwhile, MK Azmi Bishara said in a press statement that Israel cannot assume it is the only democracy in the Middle East and accept at the same time the joining of an extremist like Lieberman. Avigdor Lieberman is demanding that the Palestinian community within Israeli are transferred to the future Palestinian state once it is established. [end]

Government spokesman: Hamas will not accept a national government that excludes Hamas
Ma’an News 10/26/2006
Bethlehem - Palestinian government spokesman Dr. Ghazi Hamad has denied that Hamas would accept the establishment of a national government comprised of skilled figures that would not include Hamas. In an interview with Ma’an, he added, "The only choice that has been agreed upon in consensus is a national unity government which brings together personalities and skills from Fatah and Hamas, in addition to independent personalities. Apart from this suggestion, which has received national consensus, there is no intention to form a government excluding Hamas". Hamad noted that there are many forms and initiatives that have been submitted and all are under discussion. more..

Dr Barghouthi meets with Palestinian Prime Minister
Ma’an News 10/26/2006
Bethlehem - The head of the Palestinian National Initiative, Dr Barghouthi, has met with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, as part of the framework of efforts to form a national unity government. In an interview with Ma’an, Barghouthi described the meeting as "positive", although he was unable to provide further information about a potential date for an agreement to form a new government. Barghouthi has previously met with the head of Hamas’ political bureau, Khalid Mash’al in Damascus and Palestinian President Abbas. [end]

Haneyya: National document only way out of political deadlock
Palestinian Information Center 10/26/2006
Beit Hanun - PA premier Ismail Haneyya has affirmed that the national document was the only means feasible to form the national unity government as it was approved by all factions. Haneyya, who was speaking during a tour of the northern Gaza Strip city of Beit Hanun on Wednesday, said that all efforts should focus on formation of the unity government based on that national document. The premier called on the homes of the seven martyrs who were killed at the hands of the IOF troops on the first day of Eidul Fitr. Haneyya further met with the commander of the northern PA police force, Majed Al-Kafarna, who briefed the premier on his force’s efforts in dealing with security issues. [end]

Sources: Peretz doesn’t intend to uproot W. Bank outposts
Ha’aretz 10/25/2006
Defense Minister Amir Peretz does not intend to evacuate unauthorized West Bank settlement outposts in the near future, military sources said Wednesday. The sources said also that there have not even been serious discussions regarding the imminent evacuation of the outposts. According to the sources, Peretz does intend to demolish initially a mere 86 illegal West Bank structures, 47 of which were built by settlers and 29 of which were built by Palestinians. This plan calls for the demolition of 20 structures in Tel Tawani, near the Maon Farm outpost in the South Hebron Hills, a small number of additional structures in the Yitzhar settlement near Nablus, as well as in Psagot, Efrat, and Kiryat Arba. Sources in the Defense Minister’s Office denied the report, and said in response that Peretz’s plan includes the evacuation of entire outposts... more..

Hamas expected to agree to a one-year national unity government then early presidential and parliamentary elections
Ma’an News 10/25/2006
Jerusalem - The head of Hamas’ political bureau, Khalid Mash’al, is expected to arrive in Egypt in the coming days in order to meet with various Egyptian leaders and officials, Palestinian sources in Cairo have reported. The sources clarified that Mash’al’s meeting with Egyptian officials will be based on two fundamental issues: the release of the Israeli soldier who is imprisoned in Gaza and efforts to bring Fatah and Hamas closer together. According to the same sources, there are indications that Hamas leaders are going to agree to forming a unity government for a specific time. The sources say that this government will have a one-year mandate which will be followed by early presidential and legislative elections. An Iranian news agency reported that the Hamas movement is afraid that the Palestinian president Abbas will call early presidential and legislative elections... more..

Olmert’s next step: Adding UTJ to the coalition
Jerusalem Post 10/25/2006
After paying such a low price to add Lieberman and keep Labor, Olmert now feels flexible to agree to the cost of adding UTJ. -- Prime Minister Ehud Olmert intends to make a serious effort over the next week to add United Torah Judaism and expand the coalition to 84 MKs, following his success in convincing Labor chairman Amir Peretz to support the addition of Israel Beiteinu, sources close to Olmert said on Wednesday. To obtain Peretz’s approval for adding Israel Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman to the cabinet, Olmert agreed to Peretz’s demands to appoint Labor faction chairman Ephraim Sneh deputy defense minister and Peretz chairman of a ministerial committee on Arabs." Peretz sold himself cheap," a source close to Olmert said, adding that the prime minister was not surprised by Peretz’s behavior. more..

A mere 5 Laborites openly reject Lieberman as gov’t partner
Ha’aretz 10/25/2006
As Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz met Wednesday afternoon to finalize the terms which would keep the Labor Party in the government, a mere five of the Labor Party’s 19 legislators signed a letter calling on the faction to oppose the inclusion of Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu into the government coalition. Only MKs Avishai Braverman, Danny Yatom, Nadia Hilou, Shelly Yachimovich and Raleb Majedele signed the letter, despite expectations that senior Labor officials would have joined in the party’s declaration of opposition. [The letter said:] "Sitting together with Lieberman [in government] would legitimize a perception backing the expulsion of Arabs and would legitimize Lieberman as a leader; it would harbor a Netanyahu-style economic policy and a diplomatic deadlock that could lead to a military escalation.." more..

Police and civil defense to receive an Eid gift of $50 each, interior ministry reveals
Ma’an News 10/25/2006
Gaza - The Palestinian interior minister, who is also the head of the Palestinian national security, has decided that all members of the civil defense and the police will receive a special ’Eid’ gift of 50 US dollars. Said Siyam returned to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday after a foreign tour to Egypt, Syria and Iran. He succeeded in crossing the Rafah border crossing from Egypt after it was opened for several hours and in spite of threats from Israel to prevent him returning, or even death threats. Khalid Abu Hilal, an interior ministry spokesman, clarified that the payment of these Eid windfalls will take place at the beginning of next week. He said that there are more than 20,000 employees in the civil defense and the police, and therefore the ministry will distribute approximately one million dollars. [end]

PA: Hamas smuggled millions in cash into Gaza to pay police
Jerusalem Post 10/25/2006
Hamas managed this week to bring into the Gaza Strip millions of dollars in cash that will be used to pay salaries to thousands of Palestinian policemen, senior Palestinian Authority officials revealed on Wednesday. The officials told The Jerusalem Post that Interior Minister Said Siam of Hamas, who returned to the Gaza Strip via the Rafah border crossing on Tuesday, brought with him "suitcases stashed with lots of cash." One official estimated that the suitcases contained at least three to five million dollars, while another put the figure at about $10m. Siam, who is formally in charge of the PA security forces, visited Egypt, Iran and Syria, where he managed to raise millions of dollars in donations, the officials added, citing "well-informed Arab intelligence sources." more..

Executive Forces recruiters target Bethlehem area young people
Palestine News Network 10/25/2006
According to Palestinian security sources, activists have begun recruiting young Palestinians in Bethlehem and the surrounding villages for service in the Executive Forces. The group, although not endowed to Hamas, is a government entity and therefore falls under the leadership of Hamas. The recruiters have been able to attract a great deal of young people, many of whom are former Fateh activists who have become disgruntled with the recent decisions of the movement. The recruiting brings worry to many Bethlehem area residents. In light of the recent lack of national dialogue, many fear another outbreak of hostility. Just a few months ago, Fateh activists opened fire on Hamas elements after accusing them of trying to form a Bethlehem force. [end] -- See also: Hamas denies they have begun a recruitment drive for their ’Executive Force’ in the West Bank more..

Hamas denies they have begun a recruitment drive for their ’Executive Force’ in the West Bank
Ma’an News 10/25/2006
Bethlehem - A well-informed source in Hamas has denied the reports and rumours that Hamas are building up their ’Executive Force’ in some areas within the occupied West Bank. The source told Ma’an that "what is happening is nothing more than the formation of small units for the protection of senior political figures and ministers who fear they may be exposed by unknown parties". The source added that "the composition of an executive force is not done in secret but is announced publicly through the Ministry of the Interior … it is not confidential if it exists and it is not hidden from the media." Rumours spread during the days of Eid al-Fitr that forms were being distributed in some villages in the Bethlehem governorate and elsewhere for people who were interested in joining the ’Executive Force’... -- See also: Executive Forces recruiters target Bethlehem area young people more..

Labor Arab MKs vow to ’settle score’ over Lieberman partnership
Ha’aretz 10/26/2006
Arab members of the Labor Party are livid about the party’s expected decision to remain in the government despite the entry of Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party. Despite vocal threats to quit the party, however, many are in no hurry to turn in their membership cards, prefering instead to remain and settle their score with party chairman Amir Peretz in the next leadership primary, which is expected to take place next year." We’ll know how to settle accounts with them, and therefore, I’m in favorofof strengthening the Labor Party’s Arab constituency," said Milham Milham of Arara, an advisor to Interior Minister Ophir Pines-Paz." How would Peretz and [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert respond if the government of France, for instance, had brought in a man who calls for expelling Jews from France? " Milham added. more..

Peretz hopes new coalition will last up to one year
Ha’aretz 10/26/2006
If, as expected, Labor’s central committee approves on Sunday staying in a coalition with Yisrael Beiteinu, the cabinet will ratify Avigdor Lieberman’s inclusion in the government the following day. However, senior Labor officials who are opposed to the partnership appear determined to sabotage the move. Labor leader and Defense Minister Amir Peretz yesterday convened his party’s ministers in Tel Aviv and briefed them on the agreement he had struck with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The prime minister and Peretz met at noon yesterday and completed the negotiations that led Peretz to support Lieberman’s joining the government, despite his declarations to the contrary. Peretz believes the coalition in its new format could perhaps last a year; but only if there’s a political process to end the regional stalemate... more..

Arab leaders: Knesset ready to recognize Kafr Kasim massacre
Jerusalem Post 10/25/2006
Knesset faction heads are willing to consider voting in favor of a bill that seeks to strengthen official recognition of the Kafr Kasim massacre that took place exactly 50 years from this coming Sunday, Israeli Arab leaders told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday. The bill, presented to the Knesset plenum on Wednesday by Hadash head MK Muhammad Barakei, calls on the government to "recognize its responsibility for the massacre, bring its study into the educational system and participate in funding projects to remember those killed," Barakei told the Post shortly after presenting the bill." I’ve been working on this for six years," Barakei said, adding that "there is reason to believe that this year it will move forward," since Knesset faction heads have promised him "they would seriously consider [supporting the bill." more..

Israel and Hamas / IDF likely to be swept up in W. Bank struggle
Ha’aretz 10/25/2006
The conflict between Israel and Hamas is likely to escalate soon in light of the Israel Defense Forces’ decision to try to thwart the establishment of a Hamas security service in the West Bank. In Gaza, Hamas’ "Special Security Service" has become one of the organization’s main power bases in its struggle against Fatah. Members of this force are well-equipped and very disciplined, and they have won almost all their street battles with Fatah gunmen. Though the service’s more than 5,000 members appear on the Palestinian Authority payroll, in practice, they answer solely to Yusuf a-Zahar, a member of Hamas’ military wing and brother of PA Foreign Minister Mahmoud a-Zahar. Alongside its official task of keeping order in Gaza’s streets, the force has another, no less important, mission - intimidating Fatah. more..

Dichter slams High Court for overturning decision
Ha’aretz 10/26/2006
Public Security Minister Avi Dichter on Wednesday lambasted the High Court of Justice’s decision to overturn his appointment of a senior aide. He added that if such intervention in internal ministry affairs continues, it may be necessary to limit the court’s powers by law. Dichter had appointed police Brigadier General Bentzi Sau as the head of his operational staff, even though the Or Commission  a state commission of inquiry that investigated the deaths of 13 Arabs, apparently from police fire, in the October 2000 riots  had ruled that Sau should be denied promotion for seven years. In the past, this post has entailed promotion to major general, but Dichter says he had decided to reduce the rank attached to the post even before selecting Sau, and therefore, it in fact entailed no promotion. more..

Technocrat tipped for title
Ma’an News 10/25/2006
Bethlehem – Munib Masri, the Palestinian billionaire tipped to be President Abbas’ choice for the next Prime Minister, has stated that he will not head a government, but will assist in forming any new government of professionals. Following a meeting with Javier Solana, the European Union High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Masri stated that "the meeting went very well, but was not concerning my leadership of a new government." [end]

Peres hints he’ll only run in open vote
Jerusalem Post 10/25/2006
Vice Premier Shimon Peres spoke about his expected run for the presidency in a meeting with the Meretz faction on Wednesday and hinted he would not run unless the vote would be held openly and not by secret ballot. Peres told the faction that he did not want to see a repeat of the 2000 presidential election when at least four Labor MKs voted against him. A bill that would end the practice of electing the president by secret ballot is expected to reach the ministerial committee on legislation next week. The bill was sponsored by MKs Yoel Hasson (Kadima) and Yoram Marciano (Labor), who is a former Peres adviser. Peres’s rivals alleged on Wednesday that the idea to change the system for electing the president was born two weeks ago at a birthday party for Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik that Peres attended. more..

Knesset MP Baraka: Recognition of party will prohibit regional calm
Palestine News Network 10/25/2006
Arab MP in the Israeli Knesset Mohammed Baraka is protesting the recent action of the Knesset to recognize the political party Yisrael Beitenu. The party, led by Avigdor Lieberman, is far right-wing and frequently accused of making racial slanders towards the Arab population. Baraka told PNN, “This party recognition confirms that PM Olmert has no intention to reform Israeli leadership and bring calm and negotiations to the region. ” He added, “Israel has attacked the formation of similar parties in European parliaments, yet Israeli leaders support, encourage, and nurture fascism in the Knesset. ”The MP continued, “Israel’s warmongering policy, as reaffirmed by Yisrael Beitenu, constitutes a threat to the safety of this region. ” more..

Shas, Pensioners’ parties: Fake messages sent to journalists
Ha’aretz 10/25/2006
Both Shas and the Pensioners’ Party filed official complaints Wednesday with the chief Knesset security officer, claiming false beeper messages were sent to reporters in their name. The beeper messages, which were sent by sources claiming to be by the parties’ representatives, read that the parties have decided to support MK Reuven Rivlin’s candidacy for president. Shas’ spokesman, Roi Lachmanovitch, said the message that was sent in his name was "fabricated and false." Lachmanovitch maintains that Shas Chairman Eli Yishai has not decided which presidential candidate Shas will support. The Pensioners’ Party spokeswoman, Hagit Harel, also said she did not send any statement regarding her party’s support for a specific candidate for president. [end]

Outspoken rightwinger to join Israeli coalition
The Guardian 10/24/2006
Lieberman appointment echoes public shift to right · Labour leader appears resigned to PM’s decision -- The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, yesterday finally turned his back on the centrist agenda which brought him to power earlier this year by bringing into his coalition government one of the country’s most outspoken rightwing politicians. The return to government of Avigdor Lieberman, who has called for Israel’s borders to be redrawn to exclude its Arab citizens, signals a more hawkish policy. He will be made a deputy prime minister with responsibility for "strategic threats", particularly Iran. His sudden rise to power mirrors a shift to the right among the Israeli public in the wake of the Lebanon war.... Lieberman [has called] for the trial and execution of Arab Israeli MPs who met leaders of Hamas or Hizbullah or who refused to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day... more..

Coup in the works? Some Hamas sources say yes
Palestine News Network 10/22/2006
Some sources in the Hamas movement said Sunday that they obtained information that a coup is in the works. The sources indicated that their information came from Fateh members in the West Bank. Orders were allegedly issued to Fateh leaders and members of the security forces to implement plans to overthrow the current Palestinian government, which is run by the democratically elected Hamas party. An interim government will be formed, according to the Hamas sources who wish to remain unidentified. The new government to come out of the coup will be one with the blessing of America – Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and the European Union. Sources in the Hamas affiliated Palestinian Center for Information said today that the information was leaked by sympathetic members of the Fateh party... more..

Haniyeh "implores patience" in face of growing hardship
Ha’aretz 10/23/2006
GAZA CITY - Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh implored Palestinians facing increasing poverty and hardship to be patient, in an impassioned speech on Monday marking the start of the Eid al-Fitr holiday." I know there are many homes living in pain, and some people shed tears last night because they had no money to give in charity, and could not find food for their children’s mouths," Haniyeh told a somber crowd. As he spoke, his audience began to chant in praise of God." If any other people had faced the siege, hardship and destruction you faced, they would have raised the white flag," Haniyeh said. More than 40,000 Palestinians crowded into Gaza City’s Yarmouk sports stadium to hear Haniyeh speak at the start of the three days of feasting that mark the end of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month. more..

Olmert seeks to okay Lieberman post by Thurs.
Ha’aretz 10/24/2006
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert plans to convene the cabinet on Wednesday to approve MK Avigdor Lieberman’s appointment as minister for strategic threats, after the two finalized a deal on the entry of Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party into the coalition on Monday. Immediately after the cabinet vote, Olmert plans to bring the appointment and the coalition agreement to the Knesset for approval. By moving speedily, he hopes to prevent an outbreak of infighting in the Labor Party that could pressure Labor’s Central Committee into ordering the party to quit the coalition. The committee is due to convene early next week to decide on the issue, and the party’s MKs are split... Should the Knesset vote on the Yisrael Beiteinu deal this week, about half of the Labor faction is expected to vote against. more..

Arab-Israelis: Lieberman may lead country to catastrophe
YNet News 10/24/2006
Several prominent Israeli-Arabs speak out against Israel Our Home Chairman Avigdor Lieberman, who joined Olmert’s coalition and known for racially charged policy proposals. Israeli-Arab leaders: Lieberman’s appointment reveals racist truth about Israel and is not beneficial for Jewish citizens either -- Several prominent members of the Arab-Israeli community, which constitutes one-fifth of the country’s population, have expressed their concern after Israel Our Home Chairman Avigdor Lieberman signed an agreement Monday to join the coalition. “There is a positive aspect to Lieberman joining the government: The racist truth has been revealed,” actor Amar Halihal told Ynet. Actor Juliano Mar said, “I believe Israel is on the road toward fascism. Lieberman represents this fatal process of a country that is losing its way..." more..

Arab leader slams PM for talks with ’fascist’ Lieberman
Ha’aretz 10/24/2006
The chairman of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, Shawki Khatib, yesterday dubbed Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu a "fascist party" and called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to stop coalition talks with Lieberman. Speaking at a press conference to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Kafr Kassem massacre, Khatib said: "The existence of political figures calling for transfer [of Arabs from Israel] must turn on a red light for Israeli society." Kafr Kana remembered: The anniversary marks an incident that took place on the first day of the Sinai War, October 29, 1956. Three Border Policemen, who were ordered to shoot any person who violated the curfew imposed on the village of Kafr Kassem, killed 47 residents who had returned by foot from work, unaware of the curfew. more..

Full text of the Lieberman coalition deal
Ha’aretz 10/24/2006
A) Minister Avigdor Lieberman will be appointed deputy prime minister and minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, where he will be responsible on behalf of the prime minister for formulating Israeli policy vis-a-vis the strategic threat facing the country, in coordination with all the intelligence and security organizations that deal with the issue; Lieberman’s position will not derogate from the authority of any other serving minister in his/her ministry. B) By means of the National Security Council, Minister Lieberman will prepare and consolidate an orderly decision-making process with regard to the strategic threat facing Israel. The process that is formulated will be presented to the political-security cabinet for its approval. C) Minister Lieberman will be party to every discussion and forum that deals with the issue outlined in clause (a)... more..

IDF’s outgoing northern chief warns against failures in norms, values
Ha’aretz 10/23/2006
The outgoing Northern Command chief warned Monday against what he described as the Israel Defense Forces’ recent failures. Udi Adam, who formally handed over his post Monday to Major General Gadi Eisenkot, said the failures he identifies were not on the battlefield." These are failures in upholding norms and values such as loyalty, camaraderie, solidarity and hierarchy. There needs to be a deep self-examination," Adam said during the ceremony, attended by IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, leaders of northern communities, bereaved families and UNIFIL commander Alain Pellegrin. Adam said that, upon becoming GOC Northern Command, he was aware of the weight of the responsibility he faced and of the "ticking clock" on the northern front. He said the deceptive calm was liable to be violated. more..

Prime Minister Haniya wishes President Abbas "Eid Mubarak"
Palestine News Network 10/23/2006
Palestinian PM Ismail Haniya telephoned President Abbas this morning to wish him “Eid Mubarak. ” The leader also wished for the quick recovery of President Abbas’ son, who was recently admitted into a hospital in Amman. Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamad sent warm greetings to all journalists and media officials celebrating the Islamic holiday. He stated, “I am pleased to present my congratulations, asking Allah for it to be a day of joy and happiness for all. ”He continued, “I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for all of the journalists that strive to defend the Palestinian cause and to defend freedom of speech and opinion." [end]

AG still undecided on court’s authority over president
Ha’aretz 10/24/2006
Attorney General Menachem Mazuz will hold talks over the coming days to decide whether the High Court of Justice has the authority to instruct the president to respond on legal issues pertaining to him and his office. A decision on this issue will influence whether the attorney general will accede to the order of Justice David Cheshin and respond to a petition filed by attorney Josef Fuchs against President Moshe Katsav last week. In his petition, Fuchs is demanding that Katsav resign or temporarily step down in view of the police recommendations that serious charges be filed against him for rape and sexual assault. To date, Mazuz has avoided making any public statements on the case of President Katsav; however, Cheshin’s decision several days ago created a legal conundrum. more..

Weary Israel loses faith in its leaders
The Observer 10/22/2006
The rape allegations against the President are just the latest in a long line of political scandals -- On a smooth, trimmed lawn, Israel’s tuneful police band entertained the thousands of visitors who trooped though the President’s residence in Jerusalem during a recent open day. But few of the onlookers missed the irony that President Moshe Katsav could face a less festive visit by the police if the country’s attorney-general decides to indict him on charges of rape, sexual harassment, illegal wiretapping and fraud. For his supporters who came to shake the President’s hand, it was a political witch hunt.... Katsav is the most recent and most senior figure to have been caught up in a swath of scandals that have cut through Israeli public life. more..

To top of page Human Rights..
Israeli soldiers stop the crew of a Palestinian ambulance. Click for more information about the treatment of Palestinian ambulance crews by the Israeli army - International Middle East Media Center photo
Two Spaniards Kidnapped by Gunmen in a Week in the Gaza Strip
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 10/31/2006
PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 15:10 on Monday, 30 October 2006, four gunmen in a yellow car intercepted another car carrying two internationals and their Palestinian assistant. The internationals were Robert Vila, a 30-year old Spaniard, and Celine Gagne, a 26-year old Frenchwoman. Both work for the Cooperation Assembly for Peace. The incident took place near Abu Holi junction on Salah El-Deen Road north of Khan Yunis. The gunmen forced the occupants of the intercepted vehicle to get out of it. Then, they forced Vila into their vehicle and sped towards Khan Yunis, leaving the Gagne and Palestinian behind. At approximately 22:50 in the evening of the same day, the kidnappers released Vila after contacts with the Preventive Security Apparatus and a Palestinian faction. more..

Troops detain Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs, two of his aides
International Middle East Media Center 10/31/2006
The Ramattan news Agency reported that Israeli soldiers detained on Tuesday afternoon the Palestinian Minister of Detainees, Wasfi Qabha, and two of his aides at the Betunia checkpoint, west of Ramallah in the northern part of the West Bank. Qabha was detained as he joined several residents who gathered peacefully awaiting the release of a two-year old child, named Aisha Al Holadly, held with her mother at the Ofer Israeli detention facility. Etaf Oleyyan, the mother of Aisha is under administrative detention orders, her husband Waleed Al Hodaly is a freed detainees. Waleed, the minister and several other residents were also gathering near Ofer awaiting an the Israeli response to an appeal filed the Etaf against renewing her administrative detention order for the third time, and demanding to be freed with her infant. more..

Israeli court issues home demolition orders without presence of affected families
Electronic Intifada/Adalah 10/31/2006
Beer el-Sabe Magistrate Court Orders Freeze of Six Ex Parte Home Demolition Orders in the Unrecognized Arab Bedouin Village of Umm al-Hieran in the Naqab -- The ease with which the state obtains ex parte orders for home demolitions from the Beer el-Sabe Magistrate Court, without the presence of the affected families, is a dangerous phenomenon. The state is exploiting legal procedures in order to compel residents of the unrecognized Arab Bedouin villages in the Naqab to evacuate their homes and villages and to relocate to government-planned towns. Several days before the Eid el-Fitr holiday, Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel living in the unrecognized village of Umm al-Hieran in the Naqab (Negev) learned that the police were preparing to demolish six homes in the village... more..

At-Tuwani and Masafer Yatta / 1–24 October 2006
Operation Dove 10/31/2006
Wednesday 18 October: An army patrol occupied and damaged houses and cars in Ma’in and Al Karmil villages, soldiers beat a woman / Thursday 19 October: Israeli settler entered At Tuwani on horseback and drew a pistol / Tuesday 24 October: Settlers from Avigail plowed in Umm Faggarah. Soldiers anf police confiscated ID, detained several villagers and eventually arrested three Palestinian. / Tuesday 3 October 2006: Susiya- Villagers reported to the team that the police arrested a man in Susiya because the police are suspicious that he stole something. No details on what he stole or who he stole it from. / Thursday 5 October 2006: 3:30 pm A humvee drove through the village, but did not stop. / Friday 6 October 2006: 2:30 pm Seven military vehicles drove through the village (did not stop)... more..

Parents of Bedouin students protest over road safety
Ha’aretz 10/31/2006
Some 1,750 students in two schools in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Al-Atrash did not go to school Tuesday, to protest poor safety measures for children traveling to school. The parents’ association went on strike indefinitely following an accident Monday near the Negev community in which nine-year-old Salman al-Atrash was killed while riding a school bus. The parents are suing the state to pave a road to the school, attended by pupils from several unrecognized villages in the south. The route to the school in Al-Atrash follows a narrow dirt road, which parents say is dangerous. MK Taleb a-Sana (United Arab List) said that since the beginning of the school year in September, three children have been killed while traveling to or from school in the Negev. more..

Planes known to carry CIA terror suspects landed in Tel Aviv
Ha’aretz 10/31/2006
The Israel Airports Authority has confirmed that planes known to have been used by the CIA to transport suspects to detention and interrogation facilities stopped at Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. According to the British civil liberties organization Statewatch, at least four flights through Tel Aviv occurred between 2003 and 2004. The data compiled by the organization draws on, among other sources, information from a European parliament committee as well as various European states. On May 7, 2003, an American GulfStream jet took off from Beirut in Lebanon to Larnaka in Cyprus. From there, it flew to "Tel Aviv" (meaning Ben-Gurion Airport on the outskirts of the city). Two days later, the plane returned to Larnaka, from where it departed for Morocco. more..

Rafah Crossing opened on Tuesday for one day
Ma’an News 10/31/2006
Rafah - Rafah Crossing will be opened Tuesday for one day only from 8 am till 5pm, Palestinian security sources told Ma’an. The sources said that more than 2,500 pilgrims are expected to cross from the Egyptian side to the Gaza Strip. The sources added that the crossing’s opening hours may be extended slightly to enable all of them to return to their homes. [end]

Tales of the prophets: harvesting in the shadow of the settlements
International Solidarity Movement 10/31/2006
“He turned his walking-stick into a giant snake that swallowed up all the others’ tiny snakes. And so the Pharoah knew that Moses was a prophet and not just a simple magician. ” Rada, 29 years old, is telling us stories while we kneel along the edges of the tarpaulins picking up stray olives from the ground. Her voice is soft and soothing, almost like song, even though her English is taken directly from North American sit-coms. She especially likes Seinfeld and Friends. Rada’s family are spread out along a mountain ridge some 300 metres from the Israeli settlement of Itamar, just west of Rujeeb village outside of Nablus city. The village is effectively an expansion of Balata refugee camp, built by families wishing to escape the insecurity and cramped environment of their former home. more..

Settler gang injures five farmers in olive harvest raid
Stop The Wall 10/26/2006
As the olive season begins, so too do settler attacks on Palestinians attempting to harvest their produce. In Farta village, east Qalqiliya, a gang of fifty settlers, mainly from the nearby settlement of Jilad, attacked farmers, first firing bullets into the air to intimidate them and then physically attacking them. When farmers refused to stop harvesting their olives, the settlers attacked with clubs, stones and sharp tools, resulting in hand-to-hand fighting with the farmers. Five farmers were injured. One, Basel Ibrahim Salah had to be taken to hospital in a critical condition after being hit in the head with a sharp object. Later in the day, Occupation forces arrived, forcing farmers to leave the land and return to the village. Three farmers, Ahhmad Abdula Hassan, Bahjat Salman and Hamoud Bashir Dawoud, were arrested, accused of attacking the settlers. more..

Families in Bruqin village are subjected to a series of settler attacks
International Womens’ Peace Service 10/29/2006
Human Rights Report No. 273 - Date of incident: October 19-22, 2006 - Place: Bruqin, Salfit district -- Between Thursday, October 19 and Sunday, October 22, 2006, four houses belonging to an extended family in the village of Bruqin were attacked four times by settlers. Residents of the attacked houses and other villagers from Bruqin gave the following account of the incidents: At around 8 p. m. on Thursday, October 19, about 30 settlers, accompanied by Israeli soldiers, descended from the settler road above the village and started throwing stones at the four houses nearest to the road, breaking several windows. When the owner of the first house opened the door to investigate, they dragged him out of the house and beat him on the head and all over his body. Settlers then entered the house, smashing things inside and frightening the family. more..

UN agency concludes operation to feed 810,000 mostly displaced people
Electronic Intifada/UN News 10/31/2006
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today wrapped up a successful three-month operation in Lebanon to feed over 810,000 people displaced or otherwise affected by this summer’s fighting between Israel and Hizbollah, providing nearly 13,000 tons of food throughout the country." The Lebanese government will take care of the few remaining pockets that may need some assistance to secure their basic food needs, but for WFP our mission is complete," the agency’s emergency coordinator for Lebanon, Zlatan Milisic, said." It was amazing to see how we cobbled it all together," he added, noting that in a country where it had no office for many years WFP mounted an operation run by 150 national and international staff within a couple of weeks. "It is sad to leave but we should not stay one day longer than needed." more..

Photostory: Climbing the Hill to Jerusalem and Bethlehem
By Dr. Bill Dienst, Electronic Intifada 10/31/2006
Writing from East Jerusalem, occupied West Bank -- Central Tel Aviv along the beach seems like such a relaxed and cosmopolitan place. From here one can ignore the cataclysmic events taking place to the north in Lebanon, to the south in Gaza, to the east in the West Bank and even further to the east in Iraq. I feel tempted to just go swimming here in the Mediterranean Sea, let my feet nourish the sand, and just relax on this beach to work on my tan. It would be easy to remain oblivious here in Tel Aviv to all the turmoil surrounding us here, but I must move on. My Israeli friend Nir gives me instructions on how to take the bus up the hill from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. I board the bus, which is filled to capacity, and plop myself on the floor in the back, surrounded by young IOF soldiers. The trip takes less then an hour. more..

Norwegian Social Forum: BDS at the core of Palestine solidarity
Stop The Wall 10/29/2006
The Norwegian Social Forum was held between the 19th to the 22nd of October in Oslo under the title of “The Globalization Conference”. Around 1750 people attended over 60 meetings and seminars. The Norwegian Association of NGO’s for Palestine, along with members of the Palestine Community and the Tear Down the Wall campaign arranged several meetings on Palestine, taking in the issues of prisoners, the Apartheid Wall, creative forms of resistance and the boycott of Israel. One of the biggest successes was a meeting called “The Middle East is burning - roads to justice and peace” focusing on Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon. Around 400 people attended to hear speeches by Gaza-journalist Leila al Haddad, Dr. Daoud Abdallah from Al-Awda UK and other speakers. more..

28 local groups out in the streets on National Boycott Day in the UK
Stop The Wall/PSC UK 10/29/2006
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has called on all its branches to participate in a day of action in support of its BIG Campaign to boycott Israeli produce. The campaign was launched in 2002 by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, plus scores of other organisations and hundreds of notable individuals. It is hoped it will achieve similar results to the boycott of South African goods which helped bring about the end of apartheid. Wide support has come from within Israel and Palestine with calls for the campaign to embrace all aspects of British relations with Israel, including an academic, sporting and cultural boycott. It will remain in place until the occupation of Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank is ended and until Israel stops its human rights violations and complies with U. N. resolutions. more..

Spanish aid worker freed unharmed in Gaza
YNet News 10/30/2006
In latest incident in wave of kidnappings of foreigners, gunmen abduct Roberto Vila near town of Khan Younis; man released 12 later -- A Spanish aid worker was freed unahrmed by his captors in Gaza on Monday, hours after he was taken from his car near the southern town of Khan Younis, a Palestinian internal security official said. The kidnapped man, Roberto Villa Sexto, 32, of the Spanish charity Cooperative Assembly for Peace, had been working in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank for two years, the organisation’s spokeswoman said in Madrid. The man was forced into a yellow Skoda at the edge of the town of Khan Younis. Celine Gagne, a fellow worker, said she and Vila were on their way out of Khan Younis after visiting a project for handicapped children when three or four men carrying Kalashnikov rifles stopped them. more..

Gaza’s medical lifeline cut by border closures
Electronic Intifada/IRIN 10/30/2006
CAIRO - Hopes that the single border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt would reopen and bring relief to hundreds of Gazan medical patients have been dashed after reports of an imminent Israeli attack on the border were met by the deployment of thousands of Egyptian troops to the area. Maariv, an Israeli daily newspaper, reported on 27 October that the Israeli government had discovered tunnels allegedly used by Palestinian militants to smuggle weapons from Egypt to the Gaza Strip. It said the Israeli government planned to attack the border region with precision-guided rockets. In response, Egyptian authorities said they deployed at least 3,000 extra security forces to the border with Gaza on 28 October to protect what they said were up to 20,000 Egyptian civilians under threat if Israel carried out its strikes. more..

A divided house, and divided lives, in Jerusalem
ReliefWeb 10/30/2006
JERUSALEM, Oct 30 (Reuters) - If they look out of their windows, Fawzia al-Kurd and Bryna Segal share the same view from the same house across the rooftops of East Jerusalem. But that’s where their shared vision ends. Kurd, a 54-year-old Palestinian, raised her five children in the house, which sits half-way up a hill in Sheikh Jarrah, one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Arab East Jerusalem. Segal, a 25-year-old Jewish settler born in Israel to parents from New York, moved in nearly four months ago. The large home, built of cream-coloured Jerusalem stone, has been in Kurd’s family since 1952, when she says her father-in-law was granted permission by the Jordanian authorities, which then controlled East Jerusalem, to build it. more..

IOF, Jewish Colonisers Ban Farmers, Internationals from Harvesting Olive
WAFA - Palestine News Agency 10/30/2006
HEBRON, October 30, 2006 (WAFA) - Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) and Jewish colonisers banned Monday scores of farmers and pacifists from harvesting Olives in the West Bank (WB) city of Hebron. The coordinator of the activities of (France-Palestine Solidarity) Association, Raed Abu Yousif, told WAFA that groups of Jewish colonisers gathered and banned the farmers and international activists from reaching the arable lands of Sa’eer and al-Shioukh towns, northeast Hebron, that closed to" Asfer " Jewish colony to collect Olive fruit. Sources of the national campaign of Olives harvesting which started yesterday added that IOF supported the Jewish colonisers. Abu Yousif added that they will continue their efforts to help the Palestinian farmers to reach their arable lands inspite of the Israeli obstacles. [end]

Child detainees facing unbearable conditions in Israeli prisons
International Middle East Media Center 10/29/2006
Palestinian child detainees held by Israel are facing harsh and unbearable conditions. They are subjected to living conditions that lack the basic rights guaranteed by the International Law and the law regarding the rights of children. Ahmad Amran Al Sinnawi, 17, was freed on July 7, 2006, he was taken prison on March 7, 2005 after the army claimed that he is a member of Fateh movement, and charged him of attacking soldiers. He said that the soldiers harass the under age detainees, and threaten them of rape during interrogation. The under-age detainees are also threatened of being barred from their visitation rights. Al Sinnawi added that he was forced to undress and was kept outside, under the rain and cold weather, before he was attacked, severely beaten and chained... more..

Family: State ignores kidnapping of Israeli-Arab
YNet News 10/30/2006
Riad al-Luah, Israeli citizen, abducted in Gaza last week during family visit in Strip. Relatives outraged that State does nothing to promote his release -- Muwafak Mansur, a resident of the Arab town of Tira, lashed out at the Israeli government Monday for failing to deal with the kidnapping of his father-in-law Riad al-Luah, who was kidnapped in Gaza four days ago. No news has been received from al-Luah since his abduction, and some of his relatives are still in the Strip, making efforts to press local authorities to resolve the matter. "Where are all the organizations? Where is the government? Where is the Knesset? An Israeli citizen has been kidnapped and no one does anything about it," Mansur charged. more..

Two Brothers Arrested in Balata Refugee Camp
International Solidarity Movement/Ma’an News Agency 10/30/2006
About five o’clock this morning, Israeli Special Forces invaded Balata refugee camp east of Nablus. It was an unusually quiet military incursion and a large number of Balata inhabitants did not even notice the Israeli army presence until a few children started throwing stones at jeeps stationed in key corners of the camp to cut off streets and alleyways. An Apache helicopter hovered overhead during the entire operation and other reinforcements in the form of Merkava tanks stood by outside the camp perimeter in case of widespread resistance. Israeli forces followed 20-year old Mo’az Maseemi to his home and waited until he had closed the door behind him. When they knocked on the door, Mo’az asked who it was, to which one of the Israeli soldiers answered “Me!” in Arabic. more..

Israeli authorities reject visitation rights for the family of a Qalqilia prisoner
Palestine News Network 10/29/2006
Israeli forces have prevented the family of a Qalqilia prisoner from visiting their loved one, on the pretext that there was no blood relation. The prisoner’s father, Mohamed Sameh Afaneh, told PNN, "The Israeli authorities told us that the prisoner, my son, had no relationship with myself, his mother, and his wife. As a result, they rejected our request of visitation permits." Afaneh noted, "We tried to go to the Palestinian Ministry of the Interior to prove to the Israeli authorities our relationship, but we were unsuccessful because of the strike at government institutions." Civil service workers across the West Bank and Gaza have been striking over the nonpayment of salaries, leading to widespread inactivity across the government sector. more..

Olive Harvest in Tel Rumeida under Threat from Settlers
International Solidarity Movement 10/29/2006
Our Palestinian neighbour, H, lives only 2 metres away from the Tel Rumeida settlement. On Wednesday night he came over to explain to the internationals living in Tel Rumeida the situation as they had offered to help him with an olive harvest. H has experienced continual harassment from the settlers who want to force him out and occupy his house and land. They have put razor wire across a path so that he cannot access a safer way to his home and have built their own steps down onto this land so that they can work it themselves. One of the main people responsible for this is a woman who recently moved to the Tel Rumeida settlement after having been evicted from the settlements in Gaza. Under Israeli law, if a Palestinian does not work his land for 3 years it is forfeited to the state... more..

Photostory: Each Friday in Bil’in
By Dr. Bill Dienst, Electronic Intifada 10/29/2006
Coffee with Nir in Tel Aviv, Tuesday 24 October 2006 -- Today in Tel Aviv I am meeting with Nir Shalev for the first time in person. We’ve been e-mailing each other for three years now, but have never met. Because of various time constraints, I haven’t been able get to where he’s at during my last two trips to Palestine and Israel in spite of my best intentions. That’s why our meeting is first on my agenda this time. Nir meets me downstairs at my hotel, and we go for coffee on Ben Yehuda Street. He explains his upbringing. His mother was born in Israel/Palestine of eastern European ancestry. His father was born in Poland, and immigrated to Palestine just before World War II when he was young boy, just in time to escape the Nazis. more..

Media Distortion of Palestinian Non-Violent Protest
International Solidarity Movement 10/30/2006
Every Friday for the past year and a half villagers from Bil’in, a small West Bank village near Ramallah, march with supporters toward the triple-layer fence separating them from their olive trees. They are always blocked by Israeli soldiers and border police, who typically escalate from tear gas and concussion grenades to water cannons, rubber bullets, live ammunition, and a variety of apparently experimental weapons. This weekly interaction gets a lot of important attention in the alternative press, but is mostly ignored by Western mainstream media. Israeli media generally provide brief reports that mostly mirror the official view. Last Friday, though, I was able to see for myself how inaccurate those reports actually are... more..

Olive Harvest Faces Obstacles from Israeli Army
International Solidarity Movement 10/28/2006
Harvest Continues in Salim Despite Occupation - Three Nablus Region Reports from the 25th and 27th of October -- Wednesday 25th October: With Eid celebrations complete, the annual olive harvest continued today in villages across the West bank. In the village of Salim near to Nablus city, volunteers with the International Solidarity Movement were invited by local Palestinians to help with the harvesting of their olives in the groves close to the Israeli settlement of Elon Moreh. On the approach to the olive groves, villagers were stopped by soldiers of the Israeli occupation forces. They were controlling the gate through which Palestinians must go to cross the settler-only roads, which stand between their village and their land agricultural land. After requiring the villagers to show their IDs, the Palestinian villagers continued their journey on to the olive groves. more..

Israeli hospital reports 87 injuries caused by Palestinian homemade projectiles in 2005, 2006
Ma’an News 10/30/2006
Bethlehem - The Israeli hospital of Barzilay has on Monday published a report which stated that 87 Israelis have been admitted to hospitals as a result of injuries caused by Palestinian homemade projectiles during the year 2005 and so far during the current year, 2006. The report did not distinguish how many "shock" injuries were incurred, which are widely believed to be used as a means to obtain both personal compensation and special funds to fortify the hospital in the city of Ashkelon against further Palestinian projectiles. It has also been noted that some 280 Palestinians were killed during the IDF’s Operation: Summer Rains bombardment of the Gaza Strip. A further 800 were injured during this summer’s campaign. [end]

Bosses can now pay disabled people less than minimum wage
Ha’aretz 10/31/2006
Employers are now allowed by law to pay workers with disabilities half or even one-third of the minimum wage, based on their work ability. The new regulations, which will go into effect on Wednesday, were intended to encourage the employment of disabled people, but leaders of disabled groups are objecting to the changes." It’s saying we’re worth less than other people," says the disabled organization’s campaign spokesman, Yoav Krime. "There are also people without disabilities whose productivity is low yet nobody suggests reducing their minimum wage." Approved by the Knesset four years ago, the regulations stipulate that a disabled person may ask the Industry, Trade and Employment Ministry for a permit to earn less than the legal minimum pay of NIS 19. 28 per hour. more..

Destruction and displacement hamper vaccination campaign
Electronic Intifada/IRIN 10/30/2006
BINT JBEIL - The destruction in villages and displacement of residents in southern Lebanon from the recent war posed problems for medical volunteers on the first day of a national emergency polio immunisation campaign for children on Monday." Usually, we would know exactly where to go to immunise the children," said nurse Nawal Saab, a member of one of the teams carrying out door-to-door immunisations in Bint Jbeil, 110 km south of Beirut. "This year, because so many houses have been destroyed and so many families have had to move in with relatives, outreach has been rendered more complicated." According to the United Nations, 1,200 of 1,500 homes in Bint Jbeil were destroyed during the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah in July and August. more..

Join the 4th National & International Week Against The Apartheid Wall!
Stop The Wall 10/29/2006
9th - 16th of November 2006: Join the 4th National & International Week Against The Apartheid Wall! -- “We Shall StayGeneration after Generation Defiant and Steadfast until Liberation” -- As the ghetto walls close around our people, the voice of the Palestinian and Arab resistance continues to echo within the Bantustans and beyond. -- Let us know about your action at: global@stopthewall. org! -- Make Resistance to The Apartheid Wall go Global! -- 5 years after the Occupation started its destruction of our lands for the Wall, 2 years after the International Court of Justice called for the dismantling if the Wall, All over the world mobilization is gearing up for the fourth time for action during Week against the Apartheid Wall (November 9-16) to unite with Palestinian communities in struggle against the land grab and expulsion in mass protests. more..

Peaceful Bil’in Protestors Attacked by IOF
International Solidarity Movement 10/27/2006
Twelve-year old Ibrahim Ghazi Beit-Ilo was hit in the neck by shrapnel from a live bullet following a peaceful protest march against the Apartheid Wall in Bil’in today. He underwent surgery at the Ramallah goverment hospital and the shrapnel was successfully removed. Another 16 people were injured by shrapnel from exploding tear gas and sound bomb cannisters or were beaten with military truncheons. Two Israeli protestors were arrested. The, 600 protestors, comprising Palestinians, Israelis and internationals, Palestinian flags flying, marched behind political and religious leaders. Palestinian Legislative Council members Kayes Abu-Leila and Mohib Awad, Israeli MKs Mohammed Barakeh and Dov Hanin, Taysir Tamimi a Muslim religious leader and village leaders marched at the head of the protest from the Bil’in mosque to the massive razor wire fortifications... more..

PA security officials: Israeli Arab man kidnapped in Gaza Strip
Ha’aretz 10/28/2006
An Israeli Arab man was kidnapped on Friday and his wife was shot near the main passenger crossing from the Gaza Strip to Israel, Palestinian security officials said. The man, Riyadh al-Louh, and his wife, Khatima al-Louh, were returning from a family visit in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya when unidentified gunmen opened fire at them. Khatima al-Louh was shot in the foot and slightly injured, and Riyadh al-Louh was abducted, officials said. The kidnapping appeared to have been related to a family dispute, Palestinain security officials said, but declined to provide further details. [end]

Settler Colonists Beat Palestinian Family - One Palestinian Arrested
International Solidarity Movement 10/27/2006
Palestinian farmers were today harvesting olives on their land between the quarry at Huwarra checkpoint and Berakhya settlement. A Palestinian house stands uninhabited in the middle of this area, casting a desolate shadow over the settler bus stop on the road below. The man who used to live there is longing for the day when he can move back to his home but remains pessimistic. The entire land has remained untouched for over 6 years, as Israeli colonists always threaten any Palestinians who dare to even approach it. Today, however, a family of farmers from Burin decided to brave the Berakhya settlers and set off early this morning to harvest their olive trees. At twelve o’clock, six Israeli colonist men trespassed onto the land and, wielding a knife, proceeded to threaten the Ghazzal family, shouting at them to leave the land immediately. more..

Settlers annex and destroy more land in Susiya
International Solidarity Movement 10/27/2006
On October 21, soldiers and settlers from Susiya settlement came with army- issued bulldozers and proceeded to destroy 150 Dunums (1 Dunum=1/4 acre) of olive groves belonging to the Palestinians. The groves belong to the families of Ashmasti, Abu Sopea and Asha Bin who live in Susiya bedouin camp. The families had planned to harvest these olives at the end of Ramadan, when they would be finished fasting and have more energy to work. Because of the economic crisis throughout Palestine, and the particularly difficult situation for small farming communities in this area which is the beginning of the Negev desert, the demolition of this land will have unbelievably devastating consequences for the people of Susiya, and their ability to survive through the winter, when they will have little or no income. more..

Two Roadblocks Removed in One Day
International Solidarity Movement 10/27/2006
October 23, 2006, members of the Palestine Solidarity Project joined with Israeli peace groups Ta’ayush and Anarchists Againt The Wall to challenge the validity of the illegally created road blocks that have been forced upon many Palestinian villages, severely limiting their freedom of movement and access to essentials such as schools, hospitals, and economic centers. They began their work in the village of Al-Jab’a where they had tried several times to remove a roadblock blocking the path from Surif to Al-Jab’a. As they waited for more demonstrators to join them, an Israeli military hummer pulled up and was parked in front of the roadblock. Fearing an early confrontation here might influence the success of their other planned actions, the activists proceeded to move onto the village of Zif. more..

Israeli army injures 16 protesters demanding to be able to harvest their olives in Bil’in
International Middle East Media Center 10/27/2006
Hundreds of Palestinian residents of Bil’in village, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, and dozens of Israeli and international peace activists held their weekly protest in Bil’in Friday, pleading with the assembled Israeli military force to allow them to harvest their olives. Israeli soldiers used excessive violence against the protesters and injured 16. After Friday prayers, hundreds of residents and activists marched towards the construction site of the Wall on Bil’in village land, carrying ladders and harvest materials in an attempt pick their olive trees isolated behind the Wall. The Israeli army was already deployed in the area from the early morning hours, and barred the residents from reaching their orchards. Some of the ladders carried by the protesters had Palestinian flags on top of them. -- See also: Ha'aretz: Two activists, Border Policemen hurt in Bil'in anti-fence protest more..

Israeli army gives a family only 15 minutes’ warning before flattening their house in northern Gaza
Ma’an News 10/27/2006
Gaza - Israeli warplanes bombarded a home in Jabalia refugee camp in the north of the Gaza Strip at dawn on Friday. The house belonged to a Hamas member and the Israeli army claimed that it was being used as an ammunition store. Palestinian security sources reported that Israeli warplanes bombarded the three-storey house belonging to Shadi Al-’Uraini with a missile which leveled the house to the ground, and demolished part of the surrounding houses. According to Israeli media sources, the army informed the residents of the house of their intention to bombard it only fifteen minutes beforehand. This did not give the family long enough to save their most basic possessions. [end]

Palestinian village inside Israel goes on strike
International Middle East Media Center 10/27/2006
The municipality of the Palestinian village of Al Karmel in southern Israel has started to organize a strike for the coming Monday in protest of the Israel’s government continued confiscation of land belonging to the village. The strike was also organized by the association of defending the land in the village and the committees of parents. The decision to strike came shortly after the Israeli district committee for construction made the decision to confiscate 7,000 dunums (1 dunum = 1000 meters) of land that belongs to Al Karmel residents to build a national park. [end]

Prisoners in Negev detention centre mistreated on a daily basis
International Middle East Media Center 10/27/2006
Palestinian prisoners, who have recently been released from the Israeli detention Centre in the Prisoners in Negev detention centre mistreated on a daily basis. The Negev detention centre, which is known as Ansar 3, has recently been placed under the supervision of the Israeli Army, taking away the authority the Central Jail Administration. Under the new management attacks and searches of the prisoners’ belongings have been taking place on a daily basis, particularly in the early hours of the morning. Three prisoners told of harsh and rough treatment by new management, and no recognition of previous agreements the prisoners had with the jail administration; Prisoners who are within hours of being freed are finding that their period of detention is being extended. more..

Injured and sick detainees appeal for medical treatment
International Middle East Media Center 10/27/2006
Dozens of Palestinian detainees imprisoned in several Israeli prisons and detention centers appealed humanitarian organizations to interfere and practice pressure on the Israeli Prison Authorities in order to provide them with the needed medical care and treatment. The family of detainee Rami Yousef Khanfar, 30, from Sielet Al Thaher village, south of Jenin in the northern part of the West Bank, said that their son was taken prisoner on November 30, 2005, after he was shot and injured by the army. Rami is currently in Galboa’ detention facility suffering continuous pain in his pelvis, but the prison administration refused to transfer him to any hospital. During his arrest, Rami was shot and injured by a round of live ammunition in his left foot. Since the day of his arrest, Rami has been barred from his visitation rights. more..

UN Secretary-General’s Report: Illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory
ReliefWeb/United Nations General Assembly 10/27/2006
17 Oct 2006 - Summary: In paragraph 4 of the resolution ES-10/15 of 2 August 2004 adopted at the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, I have been requested to establish a register of damage caused to all natural or legal persons concerned in connection with paragraphs 152 and 153 of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 9 July 2004 on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. The present report describes the institutional framework required for the implementation of the decisions contained in paragraph 4 of the above-mentioned resolution. I. Introduction... -- See also: UN lays out function of office for Palestinians to claim damages from Israeli barrier more..

Gaza – Latest report on ICRC activities in the field
ReliefWeb/ICRC 10/27/2006
The Gaza Strip remained tense over the past week. Inter-Palestinian clashes in the northern Strip and Israeli military operations in the north and south continued to affect the Palestinian population, while rockets launched into Israel injured four civilians. The lack of cash income for civil servants and farmers continues to seriously affect Gaza’s economy. Passage into and out of Gaza remains at times impossible for both people and goods despite recent easing at certain border crossings. Access to the sea remains a problem during this first part of the sardine season, which is a major source of income for Gaza fishermen. ICRC and Red Cross / Red Crescent activities: The ICRC helped transfer a ventilator into the Gaza Strip for Shifa hospital. more..

Checkpoint robbery! Israeli policeman ’confiscates’ a Jerusalemite’s bank card and steals 1,000 NIS from his account
Ma’an News 10/27/2006
Bethlehem - An Israeli border guard named Nidal Harb confiscated a bank card belonging to a Jerusalemite Palestinian and his password and then withdrew nearly 1,000 NIS (~ US $ 233) from his account. An Israeli newspaper, ’Kol Hazman’, reported that a special investigations unit submitted a list of accusations this week against the above-mentioned policeman. It is said that Harb, while manning a checkpoint in East Jerusalem in 2005 and carrying out a regular inspection of local residents’ ID cards, noticed that one Jerusalemite citizen had his VISA card and password stored with his ID card. Harb confiscated the unfortunate Jerusalemite’s VISA card and password without the Jerusalemite becoming immediately aware of it. The policeman returned the ID card but not the bank card. more..

Tragic death of a 13-year-old girl on second day of Eid Al-Fitr
Ma’an News 10/27/2006
Hebron - Ma’an -The police prosecutor in Hebron, Ala’a Tamimi, disclosed on Thursday that a child from Hebron in the south of the occupied West Bank had been killed on the second day of Eid Al-Fitr when a loaded, unlicensed gun went off by mistake. Tamimi told our correspondent in Hebron that A. A. , aged 13, was killed by her brother-in-law D. F. , 32, on the second day of Eid Al-Fitr while he was inspecting his rifle. The rifle was loaded and, by accident, a bullet fired and killed her instantly. Tamimi added that after the child’s body was brought to the local hospital it was checked by a forensic team who said that the cause of death was a gunshot at short-range. Tamimi assured that the brother-in-law has been arrested by the Palestinian preventative security forces. more..

Palestinian arrested in Akko for calling Olmert a Nazi
Ma’an News 10/27/2006
Bethlehem - The Israeli police arrested a Palestinian citizen of Israel in the northern coastal city of Akko (Acre) on Thursday because of comments he made comparing the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, to Hitler. Salameh Jlam, 40, was arrested for distributing a pamphlet in which he attacks the Israeli government and describes Ehud Olmert as a Nazi and the Hitler of the current era. A police spokesman said that, following preliminary questions, the arrested man was sent for psychiatric investigation because it was believed that he is suffering from a mental deficiency. The police added that he was once previously under psychiatric care for several months. [end]

Anglican Parish takes grassroots divestment action
Stop The Wall 10/25/2006
The Anglican Parish of Virginia Water, Guildford, UK, has set a principled example to Anglican church by announcing on 16th of October that the board has unanimously decided to divest its £140,000 stake in the Anglican investment fund. The parish, acting in response to the refusal of the church’s Central Board of Finance to divest from Caterpillar, has decided to find a more ethically more acceptable investment fund. There has been a divestment campaign running in the Church of England, and earlier this year the Synod, the Anglican Church’s highest decision making body, voted that the Church’s Central Board of Finance should divest from Caterpillar. The decision came in response to calls from its sister church of Jerusalem and the Middle East that the Church should not invest money in companies like Caterpillar... -- See also: Church in the UK disinvests from the Church of England’s finance board over its shares in Caterpillar more..

Barred from Contact: Violation of the Right to Visit Palestinians Held in Israeli Prisons
B’tselem 10/26/2006
September 2006, Information Sheet -- Israel holds in prison more than 9,000 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The vast majority are held in prisons situated inside Israel ’s sovereign territory, and not in the Occupied Territories. Holding these prisoners and detainees in Israel flagrantly breaches international humanitarian law, which prohibits the transfer of civilians, including detainees and prisoners, from the occupied territory to the territory of the occupying state. Israel ’s disregard for this prohibition is one of the main reasons that the prisoners and their families are unable to exercise their right to visits in a reasonable manner. This report sheds light on the many difficulties and the suffering faced by the prisoners’ families, residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in their efforts to visit their relatives imprisoned in Israel. Full Report (MS Word document) more..

High Court approves fence extension
Jerusalem Post 10/26/2006
The High Court of Justice rejected the petition of Palestinian villagers on Thursday and approved the construction of a sector of the security fence around the settlements of Emanuel, Ma’aleh Shomron and Karnei Shomron. The length of the fence in the area is to be six kilometers, and will built on over 100 acres of private Palestinian land that has been expropriated for the project. According the court ruling, the decision took into consideration the effect the fence would have on the Palestinians residents. Former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak wrote that the Jewish neighborhoods were "a target for serious terror attacks in recent years," adding that on numerous occasions residents of Emanuel had been forced to endure shooting attacks against busses which had claimed the lives of 19 people and wounded dozens. more..

Israel closes Rafah terminal two days after opening it
Palestinian Information Center 10/26/2006
Rafah - The Israeli occupation authorities on Thursday closed the Rafah terminal linking the Gaza Strip with Egypt only two days after opening it during which thousands of stranded Palestinians on both sides of the border raced against time to cross. A PA security source said that the crossing was opened after coordination among the Israeli, Egyptian and European parties that supervise its operation in cooperation with the PA crossings authority. The sources said that the crossing would open next week for one day in the usual working hours of 0800 am to 0500 pm local time. Ziyad Al-Abed, one of the Palestinian officials at the terminal, said that 4,800 Palestinians crossed in both directions over the past couple of days. In Abassan east of Khan Younis to the south of the Strip, IOF troops kidnapped a Palestinian citizen... more..

Settlers attack Palestinian olive harvesters, soldiers stand by
B’tselem 10/26/2006
Today (Thursday, October 26), Hashem Abu-Akel from the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron went to harvest his olive trees. Usually settlers prevent him from reaching these trees, so Abu-Akel coordinated his arrival in advance with Israeli security forces. Some 20 minutes before Abu-Akel was to begin work, the soldiers had yet to arrive. B’Tselem called the Israeli DCO in Hebron to warn them that Abu-Akel had no escort. The Deputy Head of the DCO promised that representatives of the Israeli Civil Administration would come to the grove. At 1:30 in the afternoon, Abu-Akel went to his grove, accompanied by international volunteers and by B’Tselem’s fieldworker. Settlers had put up barbed wire blocking access to the grove. Abu-Akel discovered that some of the olives had already been taken by settlers. more..

Prominent Acre rabbi calls on city’s Jews to boycott Arab sector
Ha’aretz 10/26/2006
A prominent Acre rabbi on Sunday called on the city’s Jewish residents to boycott the arab sector in the wake of violence that erupted between yeshiva students and Arab youths over the Simhat Torah holiday. Rabbi Yossi Stern, of the Ruach Tzfonit Yeshiva, made the statement during a conference attended by a number of imporant rabbis, including Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who deemed it "forbidden to sell or rent homes to Arabs." Ruach Tzfonit is part of the hesder program, which combines military service with Torah study. The yeshiva students claim that Arab youths provoked them while they were celebrating the holiday, prompting a security guard to fire into the air in response. The Arabs involved in the incident, however, maintained that it was the yeshiva students that taunted them. more..

Court gives nod to Israeli barrier deep in West Bank
ReliefWeb 10/26/2006
JERUSALEM, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Israel’s Supreme Court on Thursday rejected Palestinian petitions against the route of an Israeli barrier that cuts deep into the occupied West Bank to take in a Jewish settlement bloc. In its ruling, the court cited security considerations and said the three settlements at the centre of the case -- Emanuel, Maale Shomron and Karnei Shomron -- had been "targets of harsh terror attacks over recent years". Residents of nearby Palestinian villages argued in their petitions the 6-km (3. 5 mile)-long stretch of steel-and-concrete construction would cut them off from their fields. The court said they could appeal again if arrangements for farmers to reach their crops through passages controlled by the Israeli military proved unsatisfactory. more..

Middle East crisis - update 25 Oct 2006
ReliefWeb/Islamic Relief 10/25/2006
Islamic Relief’s emergency response phase in Lebanon is almost over and the focus is now turning to helping people recover from the war. Homes and infrastructure need to be rebuilt, and the affected population needs help to prepare for the oncoming winter and to recover their livelihoods. Cluster bombsCluster bombs and other unexploded ordinance (UXO) are scattered throughout southern Lebanon. Mine disposal teams are working in the area but it will take up to 18 months to clear the whole country. UN officials have seen around 100,000 unexploded cluster bomblets in 359 separate sites in Lebanon. Since the ceasefire, 13 Lebanese civilians have been killed and 53 injured by unexploded ordnance (UXO). Six Lebanese soldiers have also been killed by UXOs while clearing homes and fields. more..

Israel Prisoner Treatment Condemned
Palestine Chronicle 10/26/2006
B’Tselem said in a report released Thursday most of the 9,000 Palestinians being held by Israel were illegally imprisoned inside the Jewish state. -- JERUSALEM - An Israeli human rights group has accused the government of violating international law by moving Palestinian prisoners out of the occupied territories. B’Tselem, a body that monitors human rights in the West Bank and Gaza, said in a report released on Thursday that most of the 9,000 Palestinians being held by Israel were illegally imprisoned inside the Jewish state." The vast majority of Palestinian prisoners are held in prisons inside Israel, and not in the occupied West Bank,in contravention of international humanitarian Law," said B’Tselem’s communications director, Sarit Michaeli. more..

Hamas and Hizbollah must treat abducted soldiers in accordance with international humanitarian law
B’tselem 10/26/2006
B’Tselem has called on Hamas to respect the basic rights of Gilad Shalit, and called on the Hizbollah to respect the rights of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. The Geneva Conventions clearly delineate the obligations of all parties to a conflict, including both Hamas and Hizbollah. Until their release, the three Israeli soldiers must at all times be treated humanely. They must be protected from all violence, receive any necessary medical treatment, adequate food, and be able to practice their religion freely. They must also be allowed to send and receive letters from their families, and the ICRC must be able to visit them. [end]

Mass demo planned in Bil’in tomorrow Friday
Ma’an News 10/26/2006
Palestinian and Israeli peace groups have called for an extra-large demonstration in the West Bank village of Bil’in on Friday. Bil’in has become the focal point of demonstrations against Israel’s illegal construction of the separation wall inside the occupied Palestinian territories. Every Friday for the last 20 months, Palestinian, Israeli, and international peace activists have gathered in this village to express their opposition to Israel’s illegal policy in a non-violent manner. However, often these non-violent protests are met with violent reactions from the Israeli border police. The Israeli forces appear to often use Bil’in as a testing ground for new, experimental weapons. Recent examples include bullets that give the recipient an electric shock upon impact, water cannons that spray the demonstrators with blue paint, and hihg-pitched wailing sirens. -- See also: Back to Bilin - Mass Demo, Friday, October 27th more..

Palestine food distribution - Phase 3 update
ReliefWeb/Life for Relief and Development 10/26/2006
13 Oct 2006 - LIFE’s four month long family sponsorship program has recently completed its third phase of development. 1000 Food baskets have been delivered to 1000 Palestinian families in the cities of Hebron, Salfit, and Old Nablus. We are now entering our fourth and final phase of this distribution plan which will include the ambitious goal of 1000 packages’ distribution to families of the West Bank and another 2000 packages to be delivered in the Gaza Strip, another 500 will go to areas heavily populated by the "Arabs of ’48". With the support of organizations.... distribution of the packages to families of 5 people or more, affected by "The Wall" surrounding Hebron, or marginalized communities of the Salfit area, along with the now destitute Old Nablus and others, will be conducted in the shortest possible time frame. more..

West Bank farmers prevented from harvesting their olives
Ma’an News 10/25/2006
Nablus - Salfit - The Israeli authorities prevented Palestinian farmers from Salfit from accessing their fields – which are located behind the Wall – on Tuesday. When the residents and farmers of this West Bank agricultural region arrived at the gates that give access to their land and olive groves, which are now situated behind Israel’s illegal separation wall, they found the iron gates firmly closed. The residents of Salfit condemned Israel’s military practices being used against them and demanded that the gates be opened and the wall be torn down. The closure of these iron gates causes great loss to the farmers. At this time of harvesting, if they are not allowed through, they will miss the opportunity to collect their olives, which cover thousands of dunums of land and are the source of their livelihood. [end]

Bil’in Cameraman Finally to be Released Tomorrow
International Solidarity Movement 10/25/2006
A judge at Ofer military court ordered Bil’in cameraman Emad Bornat to be released tomorrow after almost 3 weeks in detention. Emad was seized in the village after a demonstration against the annexation wall on October 6th as he was filming Israeli forces. Whilst in the border police van Emad sustained serious head injuries requiring hospital treatment. A military judge ordered an inquiry into his injuries, casting doubt on the explanation of the border police that communications equipment fell on him. Whilst in detention at Ofer military prison the Israeli military refused Emad medical treatment in defiance of the instructions of the court. Today a judge ordered the head of the military police to give account to the President of the Appelate Court as to why Emad didn’t receive the required treatment. more..

Eid in Tel Rumeida
International Solidarity Movement 10/25/2006
Today was the second day of Eid, the three-day holiday after Ramadan. During these three days, families visit each other, something made very hard by the soldiers stationed in Tel Rumeida. Internationals walking up the hill saw a group of Palestinian residents at the top of the hill and learned that soldiers had yelled at a young Palestinian child who walked by with a toy gun. The boy ran away and was very scared. The soldiers then detained a man who was walking by and said they were going to hold him until the child was brought back. Some residents went and brought the toy gun back and gave it to the soldiers, showing that it was a toy gun. They explained that the boy was scared and would not be coming back. The soldiers refused this and said they would hold the man until the boy came back. more..

An Israeli court allows Palestinian law maker to receive medical care
International Middle East Media Center 10/25/2006
An Israeli court near the Jail in Israel has decided to allow Dr. Aziz Duwaik, the head of the Palestinian legislative council, to get medical attention on Wednesday. Dr. Duwaik must have tests done before surgery to remove kidney stones, his lawyer Sadi Younis stated, adding that the medical care in the Majido detention center where Dr. Duwaik was detained is very bad. Dr. Duwaik was taken prisoner by the Israeli army four months ago during an invasion to the West Bank city of Rammallah as part of a campaign that targeted 22 Palestinian law makers mostly from Hamas. [end]

Israeli Prison Authorities renews administrative detention order of a female detainee
International Middle East Media Center 10/25/2006
For the third consecutive time, the Israeli Prison Authorities renewed the Administrative Detention order against detainee, Efat Oleyyan, 42, for additional six months without pressing any charges against her or sending her to court. The Palestinian Prisoner Society reported that the military judge at the Ofer Military Court approved a decision by the Israeli Internal Security Services, (Shabak) to extend the remand of Oleyyan without sending her to court. The Shabak, as in hundreds of cases with Palestinian detainees, claims obtaining a secret file against each detainee. The “secret file” allows the Israeli authorities to extend the remand of any administrative detainee without trial. Even lawyers of the detainees who are under administrative detention orders, cannot know the charges pressed against their clients, if any. more..

Justice Min. to probe charges PID didn’t investigate Oct. 2000 deaths
Ha’aretz 10/25/2006
The State Prosecutor’s Office will look into the findings of an Israeli Arab rights group, which published a report roughly two weeks ago slamming the state’s investigation into the deaths of 13 Israeli Arabs during the October 2000 riots. Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, charged in the report that the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigation Department (PID) ignored the Or Commission’s recommendations by failing to investigate the deaths of five of the 13 Arabs killed in the riots. It added that even in the cases the PID did investigate, it did not do enough to find the guilty parties. The Justice Ministry informed Adalah that it would treat the report as an official appeal of the decision to close the cases against police officers accused of wrongdoing in the incident. more..

Hebrew University discriminates against Arab citizen visitors
Electronic Intifada/Alternative Information Center 10/25/2006
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem demands that Palestinian citizens of Israel who wish to visit its campuses present a character reference from the police as a condition for entrance. An email to this effect was received today by the Alternative Information Center (AIC), which was planning to host a publications stand at Hebrew University next week for the opening of the 2006-2007 academic year. "We sent a list of AIC staff members who would be running the stand in order to arrange for their entry permits into campus," said Yasser Akawi, Director of the AIC. "When they realized from the names that Palestinian citizens of Israel were involved, they replied with an email stating that "every participant planning to come to the university who is a minority member must bring an (official) character reference." more..

Palestinians in Iraq appeal to President Abbas to save them from being killed
Ma’an News 10/25/2006
Baghdad - Palestinians in Baghdad have appealed to the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to rescue them from execution. In a letter sent to President Abbas on the second day of Eid al-Fitr, they added: "We, the Palestinian refugees in Iraq, are living a very bad life and we are being persecuted in various ways and suffering at the hands of the militias. The Iraqi government is unable to protect us. …. Even our Palestinian government is unable to get us out of a civil war. So, are we the ones who are cursed until the Day of Judgement? "They continued in their statement: "Everyday they take people from amongst us and kill them. I hope for a quick solution and that we will be able to leave this tyrannical country." [end]

"I will only leave this house in a coffin"
Electronic Intifada/IRIN 10/25/2006
Report -- BAGHDAD - Palestinians living in Iraq have increasingly come under threat since the US-led occupation of the country began in 2003, according to a recent report by the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR. The report said that Palestinians, who are predominantly Sunni Muslims, have become targets of Shi’ite death squads because of resentment towards them for their perceived support of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein’s government, which was also Sunni and which sympathised with their cause. This targeting has forced thousands of Palestinians to flee their homes, UNHCR says. In the popular Palestinian neighbourhood of al-Baladiya in the capital, Baghdad, the Palestinian population has dropped from 8,000 before 2003 to fewer than 4,000 now. IRIN spoke to two Palestinian residents there. more..

Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign to Organise Week for Action
WAFA - Palestine News Agency 10/25/2006
RAMALLAH, October 25, 2006 (WAFA)-The Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign has announced to organise, in Palestine and all over the world , a week in solidarity with Palestinian communities in struggle against the land grab and expulsion by Israeli authorities.. In a press release, the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign said that a week of solidarity against the construction of the Apartheid Wall will start during next November 9-16, in an attempt to resist the expulsion and destruction of dozens of Palestinian villages isolated by the Wall and the Jewish-only colonies.." Protests and festivals will mark the Week against the Apartheid Wall and students in several West Bank universities are planning for boycott initiatives to join the Week against the Apartheid Wall", it said. more..

Israeli policy splits Palestinian families
Jordan Times 10/24/2006
RAMALLAH — Last May Adel Samarra’s wife of 31 years left the West Bank to go to Jordan to renew her Israeli visa for the 126th time. On the 125 previous occasions the process had gone off without a hitch for the US passport holder, but five months ago Samarra’s wife was suddenly denied entry as she tried to return to her husband, children and grandchildren. Like thousands of other Palestinians, Samarra was left stranded by Israel’s recent decision to close a loophole that allowed thousands of foreign passport holders to remain in the Palestinian territories by renewing tourist visas every three months. The new policy, which Israeli officials say is merely enforcement of an already existing law, has divided scores of Palestinian families and threatens to split up many more. more..

Report: The impact of the economic strangulation on human rights in the OPT
Electronic Intifada/International Federation for Human Rights 10/23/2006
Report -- Failing the Palestinian State, punishing its people: The impact of the economic strangulation on human rights within the Occupied Palestinian Territory -- Introduction: The current report is the outcome of an extensive research over the period from June to October 2006. A mission of the International Federation for Human Rights visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) between 25 June and 2 July 2006. The mission was in close coordination with Medecins du Monde (Doctors of the World), which in parallel conducted an evaluation of the evolution of the health situation in the Gaza Strip on the basis of a large inquiry among the medical and health care personnel of hospitals and clinics. The mission was set up in order to examine the situation of economic and social rights in Gaza and the West Bank... more..

Avoiding degrading checkpoint proves fatal
Palestine News Network 10/22/2006
Military roadblocks are not just sources of humiliation for the Palestinians to travel between West Bank towns and villages on a daily basis. They are also the causes of injury and death. In trying to avoid the long lines, verbal abuse, possible arrest, and general degradation that come in addition to being late for work or school, Palestinians often take dangerous routes. In the latest bus accident, 33 people were injured and one woman killed when the bus rolled. Her husband said they were newly married. Another passenger on the Qalqilia – Ramallah route was injured in the head and hand while the bus was bypassing a checkpoint. The Qalqilia resident lost consciousness and awoke in a Jerusalem hospital.... Another passenger is lying comatose in the hospital after having undergone surgery. more..

Suspicions raised as negotiations for political prisoner release remain shrouded in secrecy
Palestine News Network 10/22/2006
Families of Palestinian political prisoners voiced their suspicions Sunday that their sons will ever be exchanged for the captured Israeli soldier. The Israeli government has changed the terms, and even denied at times that negotiations are in the works, as Egypt has worked overtime in trying to arrange an exchange of the Israeli soldier captured while invading the southern Gaza Strip in late June, for some of the 10,000 political prisoners currently in Israeli jails. In a Ramallah press conference Sunday, relatives called on President Abbas and Prime Minister Haniya to disclose the details of the ongoing talks with the Israelis, being held with Egyptian mediation. Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmed Sa’adat’s wife Abla said results in the past have not been fruitful. more..

Solidarity delegation denied entry while attempting to join farmers for olive harvest
Palestine News Network 10/20/2006
Olive harvest season is just underway and the situation for Palestinian farmers is difficult. Israeli forces prevented a delegation of foreign supporters from reaching the northern West Bank’s Jenin District. Today’s intention was for the foreign group, including members from France and Sweden, to join the farmers near the Wall in Jenin to harvest their olive crop. Israeli forces at Jenin’s Hamra Checkpoint detained the foreign supporters for several hours and refused to allow them entry into the Palestinian city. Under the pretext of security, the northern West Bank city became closed to foreigners. Farmers in the northern West Bank faced major harassment as they attempted to harvest alone and Israeli soldiers prevented them from reaching their lands. To harvest olives, or at least to try, is one of the latest forms of Palestinian nonviolent resistance. more..

Only four Arabs appointed to manage gov’t companies in 2006
Ha’aretz 10/23/2006
This is the lowest number of new Arab directors since 2000, indicating that the government is far from implementing its decision to make the share of Arab directors in government equal to the share of Israeli Arabs in the population. The Sikkuy Association for the Advancement of Equal Opportunity is threatening to petition to the High Court of Justice on the matter. Sikkuy data indicates that less than 10 percent of all government directors are Arab. Of the 550 directors in all government companies, there are currently only 54 Arab directors. Sikkuy says that by the end of the year, dozens of presiding directors are due to retire from their posts, and suggests that some of the Jewish directors be replaced by Arabs. more..

Bil’in Cameraman release delayed
International Solidarity Movement 10/22/2006
Bil’in cameraman Emad Bornat will be spending Eid, the Muslim feast that marks the end of Ramadan (the holy month of fasting) separated from his wife and four children. The military prosecution has appealed his release which means that Emad remains in detention despite a military judge’s decision to release him on October 19th. The judge had agreed to release Emad on 15,000 NIS ($3,500) bail to house arrest in a neighbouring village to Bil’in. The judge, however, also gave the Israeli military until today to appeal the decision. Emad was seized after a demonstration on October 6th and has been charged with throwing stones and assaulting a police officer, although he was filming at the time. Whilst in the border police van Emad sustained severe head injuries needing hospital treatment and stitches. more..

"Hate Does Not Come Easy" – Home Demolition in East Jerusalem
International Solidarity Movement 10/22/2006
“I tell my children it’s my fault that our house was demolished. I say that because daddy didn’t have a building permit, I broke the law and so they had to tear it down. I would rather they believe this than that they be angry about the truth. I want them to grow up without being full of hate so that they can concentrate on school and on building a future for themselves. ”The 15-year old house of Hani Totah, proud father of six children and one Arabian thoroughbred mare, was demolished upon orders by Israeli police in November 2005. A year later, he now sits in his brother’s living-room explaining why he feels compelled to lie to his own children. “I want a good life for my children. But how can we have peace when the Israelis want their own house, but won’t let me have one?..." more..

No disruption in Red Cross services after car burning
Palestine News Network 10/21/2006
Red Cross officials in Qalqilia have announced that their work in the northwestern West Bank district will be carried out as planned despite the recent burning of a Red Cross vehicle. Palestinian sources estimate that the amount of Red Cross aid in Qalqilia alone totals over one million euros. A Red Cross official told PNN Saturday, “After the car incident, we contacted our counterparts in offices in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Geneva. The decision was made to continue the much needed aid. ”Red Cross projects in the Qalqilia District include constructing a water reservoir, implementing a new health program, and rehabilitating agricultural land near Beit Amin Village. It was feared by many that by burning the vehicle, unknown persons had scared off the Red Cross and other international relief organizations. more..

Support Palestinian Non-violent resistance - Help release Bil’in youth.
International Solidarity Movement 10/21/2006
Leith Yassin (19), a university student, and Mohammed Barakat (17), still in high-school, were arrested two months ago for cutting the annexation barrier that separates their village from more than 50% of its farmland. Both of the boys’ family lands have been lost behind the barrier, their olive trees uprooted and their land earmarked for the expansion of the Israeli settlement of Modi’in Illit. In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled that the barrier built by Israel on occupied Palestinian land is illegal under international law and should be dismantled. While Palestinian land continues to be annexed and Palestinian freedom of movement and worship continues to be denied, the international community is unfortunately doing nothing to act in response to the ICJ ruling. more..

Thirty Days in the Nablus Region
International Solidarity Movement 10/21/2006
The Nablus region, with its three refugee camps, many villages, Old City and sprawling city center has been a scene of consistent Israeli violence. Such violence has accelerated since the beginning of the Palestinian Intifada in September 2000. Nablus has become synonymous with nightly invasions, targeted assassinations, home demolitions and other acts of violence by the occupation forces. This report combines the reporting of eight Palestinian and Israeli news sources to document the violence perpetuated by the Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) in the Nablus region. The various news sources were used to generate an accurate and complete report, and the factual differences in reporting were taken into account and investigated. Sometimes it was not possible to locate arrestees names, or places of birth, though this information was recorded whenever available. more..

Twenty-eight Palestinians killed this week in OPT
Electronic Intifada/Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 10/21/2006
Report: Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Escalate Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) -- 28 Palestinians, 17 of whom, including two children and a woman, are civilians, were killed by IOF. -- Each of the two children was killed together with the father of each. -- Six of the victims were extra-judicially executed by IOF in three separate attacks. -- Forty-five Palestinians, including 14 children and four women, were wounded. -- IOF have continued to launch air strikes on houses and civilian facilities in the Gaza Strip; five houses were destroyed and a number of others were severely damaged. -- IOF conducted 30 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and six others into the Gaza Strip. -- IOF arrested 48 Palestinian civilians, including seven children... more..

Occupation harasses children and mobile phone users in Jordan Valley harvest clampdown
Stop The Wall 10/16/2006
New restrictions have come into force at the Tayaser checkpoint in the Jordan Valley, making movement even more difficult for Palestinians, and increasing the pressure on farmers who are already suffering hardship. Under the new restrictions, children over the age of one are not allowed to pass the Tayaser checkpoint without documentation to prove that they are from the Jordan Valley area. This new restriction will hit families particularly hard. In many married couples, husband and wife come from different areas of the Jordan Valley, or from the west in Tubas or Jenin. Occupation forces at Tayaser are also checking the mobile phones of everyone wishing to pass, going through address books, call logs and text messages. The highly intrusive searches mean further delays, with scores of Palestinians kept waiting in long lines. more..

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Palestinian Brain Drain
By Rima Merriman, Electronic Intifada 10/31/2006

The Undersecretary of the Palestinian Authority Foreign Office Ahmad Soboh called for an immediate stop to the brain drain from the occupied Palestinian territories during a press conference held in in Ramallah on October 31 and organized by Shaml: The Palestinian Diaspora and Refugee Centre. Present at the briefing was Asa’ad Abdul Rahman, Director of Shaml Administrative Council and a member of the Executive Council of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Abdul Rahman is also the Executive Chairman of Palestine International Institute in Jordan. The press conference was held in order to alert the world to the alarming out-migration trend in the occupied Palestinian territories, which is coupled with Israeli-imposed obstacles that deny and/or complicate residency requests by Palestinian expatriate nationals who wish to work, invest and live in the oPt. more..
US $ 1,400 seized in forged notes in Ramallah, two people arrested
Ma’an News 10/31/2006

Ramallah - The Palestinian police have arrested two people on charges of forgery of foreign currency, the media spokesman for the Palestinian police, General Adnan Domairy, has reported. Gen Domairy said that the police in the West Bank city of Ramallah arrested two people who have been dealing in forged US dollars. He added that one of the arrested was a female. Gen Domairy said that the source of the forged dollars is an Israeli person who sent the forged money to the Palestinians in the occupied territories and they in their turn dealt it. Gen Domairy added that 1,400 US dollars were seized on the arrested people and they are currently being questioned. [end]
Na’im: "Health sector in Gaza on the verge of collapse"
International Middle East Media Center 10/30/2006

Palestinian Minster of Health, Dr. Bassim Na’im, warned on Monday that the health sector in Gaza is on the verge of collapse as a result of the Israeli and international siege imposed on the Palestinian people since the election of Hamas earlier this year. The statements of Dr Na’im came during a meeting with parliamentarians from the European Union in Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. “The current situation and the international siege imposed on the people and the health sector have greatly increased the suffering of the people”, Dr. Na’im stated, “The health sector lacks basic tools and equipment, and this siege is directly harming civilians”. Also, Dr. Na’im added that the Israeli Authorities are barring patients from travelling abroad or into Israel for medical treatment, which has caused a further deterioration of their conditions. more..
13 percent rise in high-tech financing in Q3 2006
YNet News 10/30/2006

IVC survey indicates 87 Israeli high-tech companies raised USD 381 million in third quarter of 2006. In comparison to previous quarter, it is a 6 percent drop. Life sciences sector reaches first place with USD 115 million, 30 percent of activity -- A report by the IVC Research Center indicates that in the third quarter of 2006, 87 Israeli high-tech companies raised USD 381 million from venture investors – both local and foreign. The quarterly amount was down 6 percent from the USD 404 million raised in the previous quarter, but was 13 percent above the USD 336 million raised in the third quarter of 2005. According to the report, the average company financing round was USD 4. 37 million in third quarter, compared with USD 3. 7 million in the previous quarter and USD 3. 73 million in the third quarter of 2005. more..
Motorola plans second R&D center in Israel
YNet News 10/30/2006

American corporation’s CEO visits Israel, decides to set up another factory in country -- Motorola plans to open another research and development center in Israel, the company’s Chairman and CEO Ed Zander said during a visit in Israel. The decision has not been approved by Motorola’s executive board yet, and Zander stressed that nothing has been finalized. Nevertheless, during a reception held in Zander’s honor last Saturday, Vice Premier Shimon Peres lauded the CEO for the company’s decision to set up an additional R&D center in the country. Zander, an American Jew from Chicago, arrived in Israel with Richard N. Nottenburg, Motorola’s executive vice president and chief strategy officer in charge of the firm’s investments in high-tech companies across the world. more..
Kuwait to Transfer Amount of $30 M to PNA
WAFA - Palestine News Agency 10/30/2006

RAMALLAH, October 30, 2006 (WAFA) -Spokesman of Presidency, Nabil Abu Rdaina, announced Monday that the Kuwaiti government officially informed the Presidency that it will transfer an amount of $30 million as a support to the Palestinian people. Abu Rdaina expressed President Mahmoud Abbas’s gratitude to Kuwait and its people for their aid aimed at easing suffering of the Palestinian people emerged due to the siege and suspension of international aid. [end]
Aid convoy dispatched to Palestinian territories
ReliefWeb/Government of Jordan 10/29/2006

AMMAN, October 29 (Petra) — The Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organization dispatched an eight-truck convoy of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian territories on Saturday. The trucks carried 75 tonnes of canned meat donated by Bahrain. HRH Prince Rashid, chairman of the organization’s board of trustees, supervised the dispatch of the assistance. Yesterday’s shipment was the 218th sent to the Palestinian territories from Jordan since the beginning of Al Aqsa Intifada in October 2000, bringing the total assistance since that date to over JD43 million. [end]
PCBS: 1,833 Thousand Dunum Cultivated in Palestinian Territory
WAFA - Palestine News Agency 10/30/2006

RAMALLAH, October 30, 2006 (WAFA) - Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) reported that that the agricultural area in the Palestinian Territory amounted to 1,833 thousand dunum, compared with 1,824 thousand Dunum in 20032004. In a statistical report, issued Monday, about agricultural statistics in the Palestinian Territory 20042005, PCBS revealed that the area cultivated with field crops fruit trees, vegetables, and cut flowers in the Palestinian Territory amounted to 1,833 thousand dunum and US$ 408 Million the value added of the agricultural sector. It added that Fruit trees constituted 62. 6% from the total cultivated area of the Palestinian Territory, while field of crops and vegetables comprised 27. 6% and 9. 8% of the cultivated Palestinian areas respectively... more..
Committee: Air pollution causing higher illness rates in Haifa
Ha’aretz 10/30/2006

A committee comprised of environmental and medical scientists has found that a much higher percentage of people fall ill annually in the Haifa Bay area, despite the fact that the level of pollution in the region falls within globally accepted levels. The committee, headed by former Environmental Protection Ministry chief scientist Professor Yoram Avnimelech, is set to present its air quality findings taken from local monitoring stations in the coming days. The panel was appointed some three months ago by Environmental Protection Minister Gideon Ezra. The panel ruled that in light of its findings, there is a pressing need to undertake actions to reduce the level of pollution in and around Haifa. The panel’s major conclusion is that the level of air pollution in Haifa falls within the strict, conventional global air pollution standards... more..
McDonalds to open 24 new branches by 2009
YNet News 10/29/2006

Israeli CEO: War lost us over 10 million NIS; 2006 turnover to total 400 million NIS (USD 93,283,500) -- After launching 10 new branches in 2006 McDonalds plans on expanding its business in Israel even more, with 12 new branches planned for 2007 and 12 more in 2008. At least two of these branches will only serve kosher food. According to McDonald’s Israel CEO Omri Padan, the chain is growing at 8-9 percent per year. McDonald’s currently operates 125 restaurants in Israel and plans to operate 150 by the end of 2008. Padan reports that the expected turnover for McDonald’s Israel in 2006 stands at over 400 million NIS (USD 93,283,500). In 2005 the turnover stood at only 380 million NIS (USD 88,619,400). more..
US agrees to buy poultry from Israel
YNet News 10/30/2006

Poultry export to US expected to resume in light of changes, improvements in Israeli slaughterhouse standards, facility hygiene -- Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon and the US government agreed to advance the inspection of slaughterhouses in Israel in preparation for the coming renewed export of poultry to the US. For the past year, the US has refused to accept poultry from Israel due to unfit slaughter procedures that did not meet the American administration’s criteria. This led to Israeli poultry farmers losing millions of dollars. Simhon: We have changed the standards, expanded the supervision in the slaughterhouses, improved the enforcement system of veterinarian services in the slaughterhouses, and I have now agreed to advance the inspection by the authorized American officials. ” more..
West Bank rain welcomed by olive farmers
Ma’an News 10/27/2006

Qalqiliya - Welcome rain continued to fall in the northern West Bank on Thursday following storms on Wednesday. Following the rain, local farmers in the Qalqiliya governorate were optimistic about the current olive harvest, hoping that the price of olive oil would rise in response. They said that they hoped that the price of one kilogram of olive oil would be between US $3. 5 and $ 4. 5 this year. For most Palestinians farmers, the olive harvest is their primary source of income for the year and the price of olive oil has a significant impact on their livelihood for the whole year. [end]
Striking teachers should be dealt with separately from other striking workers, says Professor Salman
Ma’an News 10/27/2006

Qalqiliia - Almost half of the semester of the academic year has now been lost. This equates to some 300 million study hours. It seems that is has been lost without any care from either the organizers of the strike or the government. Is that what has resulted from the Palestinian brilliance, which was always proud of being so particularly distinguished? Is this what we have reached since we exercised democracy and "proved" that we are a "civilized" people? A question for those on strike: did you go on strike after you thought through the reasons and their consequences, or did you walk into it like cattle? Does the continuation of the strike achieve the payment of the salaries? And does it solve the Palestinian situation? more..
Government to discuss El Al’s ending of flights to Cairo
Globes 10/26/2006

El Al’s justification of the decision was that security costs were too high. -- Ministry of Transport director general Gideon Siterman will hold discussions with Raanan Dinur, the director general of the Prime Minister’s Office, concerning El Al Israel Airlines (TASE: ELAL)’s decision to halt flights to Cairo. He said that this is a unilateral decision, and that he considers the continued operation of the line to be of great importance. El Al’s justification of the decision was that security costs were too high, and did not allow the company to continue to operate the flights.... Transport Ministry sources said that Siterman expects El Al to reconsider its decision and restore the flights. more..
IBM considers investing in Israeli start-ups
YNet News 10/26/2006

Senior company executives to fly to Israel next month, tighten ties to Israeli high-tech industry -- A series of senior executives from IBM in the United States, including two vice presidents, are set to arrive in Israel at the beginning of next month in order to meet with venture capital fund managers. IBM’s elite is expected to reveal before the local venture capital fund community its strategy for investing in Israeli start-up companies, including probing of possible promising future software projects. IBM heads hope to present themselves in Israel and to take advantage of the knowledge and connections of the venture capital fund managers in the local market. more..
OECD requests report on Israel’s compliance with standards
Globes 10/25/2006

The OECD will decide whether to include Israel in 2007. -- The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has instructed the steering committee which is reviewing Israel’s inclusion in the organization to prepare a detailed report on Israel’s compliance with the organization’s standards. The OECD will decide whether to include Israel in 2007. All of Israel’s ministers of finance since Avraham Shochat in 1992 have sought Israel’s inclusion in the organization. The OECD status report will include capital and investment fluctuations, financial services, insurance, competition, trade restrictions and fiscal matters. [end]
Unemployment rate down 0.1% in August to 246,400
Globes 10/28/2006

Jobseeker numbers rose 0. 2% in September to 217,000. -- The unemployment rate fell by 0. 1% to 8. 7% of the civilian labor force in August 2006, despite the second Lebanon war, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported today. The number of unemployed fell by 2,832 persons to 246,400. Unemployment fell by 0. 2%, or 5,564 persons, from 8. 9%, or 252,000 persons in source figures, during the second quarter. The unemployment rate fell in June-August after rising by 0. 2% in January-May. However, the number of business sector employees fell by 0. 2%, or 4,000 persons, to 1. 8 million, in July, when the war broke out. The business sector added 13,000 net new jobs in January-July, an increase of 1. 4%, and 115,000 jobs since October 2004, including 52,000 since August 2005. more..
Nigeria, Israel to collaborate on technology
YNet News 10/26/2006

Collaboration with African country to mainly focus on wealth creation and economic development -- Nigeria is to collaborate with Israel to improve its technology, Nigerian official News Agency reported on Monday (23 Oct. 2006). According to a statement issued by Nigeria National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), the collaboration would mainly focus on wealth creation and economic development. The proposed areas of collaboration are training in data collection and the enhancement of technological services in Nigerian universities, the statement said. "Nigeria has a lot to learn from Israel in the area of technology, "NOTAP Director-General David Okongwu said, adding that the major focus of the present administration was technological advancement which would benefit the Nigerian people. more..
Gaza travel agents condemn closure of Rafah crossing
Ma’an News 10/26/2006

Gaza - The association of travel agents in the Gaza governorate has condemned the repeated closure of the Rafah land crossing, the sole exit point for Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. The spokesman of the association, Mohamed Walid al-Halabi, expressed his condemnation of the policy which opens the crossing for a day or two, and then indefinitely closes it again. He states that the policy causes grave damage to the (already hard hit) tourism sector, which is estimated at being worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Al-Halabi called those responsible to maintain this vital sector and called for setting the crossings aside from the political conflict, and to protect them from being closed. [end]
Transportation Min.: Canceling Cairo flight may cause El Al to lose official status
Ha’aretz 10/26/2006

Transportation Ministry Director General Gideon Siterman sent a letter to El Al senior officials on Thursday, cautioning the company that the government may revoke its status as Israel’s official airline. Siterman sent the letter following the airline’s decision to discontinue flights between Ben Gurion International Airport and Cairo. Haaretz has learned that the letter, sent to El Al CEO Haim Romano, warned of "significant repercussions" for the cancellation of flights to the Egyptian capital. Siterman also called on El Al’s leadership to reconsider the decision. Siterman plans to hold an emergency meeting on the matter with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and officials from the Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs, saying he sees great importance in continuing the flight route. more..
Campaign to clean the streets during Eid al-Fitr
Ma’an News 10/25/2006

Ramallah - A two-day cleaning campaign took place over Eid al-Fitr in At-Tireh, in the area of Ramallah. The campaign was organized by the local ’An-Nahda’ association. A lawyer from At-Tireh, Mamoun Abdul-Hay, told Ma’an that it is the local people’s duty to clean their streets because the municipality did nothing prior to Eid Al-Fitr. The cleaning took longer than they expected which prevented the cleaners from reaching further streets. Abdul-Hay said that he hoped that the cleaners contributed to improving the cleanliness of the streets at the time of the feast, and he said that the cleaners wished to express their greetings to all the Palestinians at this time of celebration. A similar cleaning campaign took place in the West Bank city of Qalqiliya. more..
East Europeans top brain drain from Israel
Jerusalem Post 10/26/2006

Six years ago, Stan Kovitch was so excited to immigrate to Israel that he spent the months before his flight listening to the only Israeli music he owned - Dana International. Now, the 24-year-old is making plans to return to his home city of Kiev in the Ukraine." I thought Israel would make all my dreams come true, but it turns out that the life I always wanted is back home," says Kovitch in his heavy-accented Hebrew. The accent, he adds, is part of the problem. "I will never be a full Israeli, people will always think I am ’Russian’ and discriminate against me." Cases like Kovitch were the topic of discussion at the Knesset’s Committee on Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Wednesday morning, when the committee heard reports of the increasing emigration from Israel. more..
Record sales in Gaza: After months of going without, this will be an Eid to celebrate
Palestine News Network 10/22/2006

In a strange paradox, suddenly the markets in Gaza City are booming after months of depressed sales. The economy is experiencing a major surge, even though the blockade rages on and people have not been paid in months. Stores are so crowed that young men are trying on pants in the streets while preparing the new outfits to be worn for Eid Al Fitr. Most of the streets have been closed to cars in order to make room for pedestrian traffic that has transformed the city into a shopping mall. Stores selling the traditional Eid Al Fitr goods: clothes, shoes, toys, sweets and nuts; are all reporting record sales. The wife of a police officer, among the sectors most hard hit by the blockade, said, “It’s true there is no money. But I was saving for this time. I’m going to buy my children their new Eid clothes. ” more..
Despite blockade, Eid Al Fitr business is up as Palestinians utilize the last of the savings
Palestine News Network 10/22/2006

The lines at ATMs in Nablus were long Sunday, giving renewed hope to merchants. This Eid Al Fitr, despite ongoing strikes and the lack of salaries as the economic blockade continues, may not produce the lowest sales in recent history after all. Tens of thousands of shoppers filled the northern West Bank city’s markets. Although there is not much money this year, there is no curfew imposed either and no tanks holding court in the center of town. This is the end of the savings for most after months of the economic blockade, but Eid Al Fitr was the day that thousands saved for. Merchants lowered their prices drastically in order to attract shoppers that although were out, did not have much to spend. A shop owner shouted out jokes through an amplifier while a fruit seller said sales are way up over recent weeks. more..
New study indicates Wall destroying northwestern West Bank economy
Palestine News Network 10/21/2006

The results of an extensive economic study on the negative affects of a portion of the Wall are in. Prepared by the Palestinian Modern Economic Policy Research Institute [Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute? ] in collaboration with an Italian organization, the study outlines the devastating consequences of the Wall on the socio-economic and psychological life in the Qalqilia and Tulkarem districts. Farmers’ income was reduced by 95 percent. Fifty percent of residents were forced to move. A statement to the press accompanying the release of the study indicates that the field survey took an equal sampling of farmers, agricultural materials dealers, and non-affiliated individuals. The Israeli government overtook the water supply in its choice of Wall route placement and established four cantons in which at least 121,000 people live... more..
Appeal from Palestinian Labor Union as poverty rate reaches 65 percent
Palestine News Network 10/20/2006

On the Day of World Poverty, the Palestinian General Labor Union appealed to international workers for aid. The Secretariat of the Union discussed the serious effects of the economic blockade, illustrated by the substantial rise in the poverty rate. For the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem, combined, the number of Palestinians living below the rate of poverty has reached 65 percent. There is serious risk of a humanitarian disaster the Union Secretary General wrote in a press statement Friday. “The direction we are moving in now is spreading the phenomenon of poverty. This is a terrible catastrophe threatening the entire community with dire consequences. The Secretary General appealed to international and humanitarian institutions to move immediately and quickly to “rescue Palestinian workers..." more..
Source: Indonesia plans to buy Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles
Ha’aretz 10/22/2006

Indonesia is planning to purchase Searcher Mark-II unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Israel, according to Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI) Commander, Marshal Djoko Suyanto. Israeli sources refused to comment on these reports. The Indonesian Defense Minister, Juwono Sudarsono, said that the procurement of UAVs from another country, like Israel, was a realistic decision because similar locally-built equipment with the same technology was needed by the Indonesian defense forces. Sudarsono explained that Indonesia had tried to develop a UAV prototype last year, but its coverage and range were limited. "We still need time and huge amounts of money to develop these aircraft both for military and commercial purposes...." more..

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Still from ‘West Bank Story’ (Middle East Online)
Poll: Haredim Israel’s most hated group
Jerusalem Post 10/31/2006
[No mention of Arabs in this article. - Ed. ] A significant 37 percent of Israelis consider the haredim the most hated group in Israel, according to a new study conducted ahead of the memorial day for the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by the Gesher organization. Some 15% said the same of new immigrants from countries of the former Soviet Union, while about 13% said that settlers in the West Bank and the former Gaza Strip settlements were the most hated. The respondents were asked to say who they believed to be hated, not whom they personally hated. The numbers therefore reflect not only the opinions of Israelis who dislike certain groups, but also those of Israelis who feel disliked. more..
Travelling around Gaza made even harder by recent rain, and destroyed bridges
Ma’an News 10/31/2006
Gaza - The recent heavy rain across the occupied Palestinian territories has made traveling around even harder, particularly in the Gaza Strip where the main bridges were destroyed in an Israeli strike at the end of June and remain un-repaired. It is particularly difficult to travel between the southern and northern governorates of the Gaza Strip. During the Israeli military campaign ironically named ’Operation Summer Rains’, the Israeli forces bombed a number of vital facilities in the Gaza Strip, including the roads and bridges that connect various communities in the Strip. These bridges were the main route from the north to south of the Gaza Strip, and, following their destruction, Gazans were forced to find alternative routes, often across the valley floor. However, during recent days, the valley has received a lot of rain and the river has flooded. more..
Muslims, ultra-Orthodox unite in opposition to planned Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem
Ha’aretz 11/1/2006
The police announced yesterday that it planned to deploy unprecedented security measures to ensure that the WorldPride Gay Parade in Jerusalem, scheduled for 10 November, will pass without incident. A total of 8,000 police officers, including all 2,000 Border Police assigned to the West Bank, will be deployed in the operation, in part because of concerns that there will be incidents throughout the country protesting the parade. The police has collected a long list of threats, involving ultra-Orthodox and extreme right wing demonstrators, who may be planning to attack those taking part in the parade. Among the possible threats are plans to throw eggs and razor blades at the marchers from rooftops; plans to flood the roads by blocking the sewage grills; and there are fears that there will be serious attempts to block major intersections throughout the country. more..
Refusenik Omri Evron: "Why I can’t become a soldier in the IDF"
Electronic Intifada 10/28/2006
Omri Evron, a 19-year-old from Tel-Aviv, is weeks away from earning his B. A. in ethical philosophy from the Tel-Aviv University (TAU). He started studying for this degree when he was still a high-school student. Omri is known around the campus of TAU as a leading social activist. Last month, for example, he started a petition of university and high-school students from around the country, protesting the exploitation of maintenance and cleaning workers in educational institutions. At least once a week, Omri visits the Palestinian village of Bili’in, showing his support for the local Palestinian farmers who are campaigning against the Israeli separation wall that separates them from about 50 percent of their lands. In Bili’in, just like in Tel-Aviv, Omri has earned the reputation of a respected human rights activist. more..
Poll: 30 percent of Israelis support pardon for Yigal Amir
YNet News 10/27/2006
On eve of 11th anniversary of Rabin’s murder – about third of Israeli public believes that his killer should be pardoned. Figures jump to over 50 percent among right-wingers and religious public. Yuval Rabin: ’Only if there’s another political assassination people will start wondering what mistakes were made regarding my father’s murderer’ -- One in every three Israelis supports a future pardoning of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s murderer Yigal Amir – says a survey conducted by the Dahaf institute for Yedioth Ahronoth. The poll was published Friday morning in the newspaper’s weekend edition. According to the poll data – five percent of the Israeli public supports pardoning the killer already at this point in time, while 25 percent believes that he should be pardoned in 25 years from now. -- See also: Rabin’s grandson: Support for Amir horrifying more..
Rabin’s grandson: Support for Amir horrifying
YNet News 10/28/2006
Grandson of assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shocked by results of poll indicating 1 in 3 Israelis think murderer Yigal Amir should be pardoned: ‘I find this hard to believe’. Justice Minister: Amir should rot in jail til end of his days -- ‘Simply horrifying’: The grandson of assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was shocked Friday by the results of a Yedioth Ahronoth poll which discovered that one in three Israelis thinks Rabin’s murderer should be pardoned. Yonatan Ben-Artzi, the former PM’s grandson, said it was difficult for him to believe that such a high percent supported amnesty for Yigal Amir, Rabin’s convicted killer. “I don’t know how this poll was carried out, and I’d like to learn the data,” Ben-Artzi told Ynet. “I live in this country, I hear how people talk, and therefore I find it hard to believe. ” -- See also: Poll: 30 percent of Israelis support pardon for Yigal Amir more..
While Fighting Intensifies in Gaza, Israelis Remain Disconnected
Forward 10/27/2006
Israel’s ongoing military operations in Gaza passed the four-month mark this week, a milestone that went almost unnoticed by the general public despite the growing intensity of the fighting and the signs of an imminent escalation. Recent days have seen some of the most intense action since the incursion began June 25, including a raid on a terror cell in northern Gaza that left seven Palestinian gunmen dead and a week-long reoccupation of the so-called Philadelphi Corridor along the Gaza-Egypt border, where more than 100 weapons-smuggling tunnels were uncovered. Top military commanders, including army Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, are calling publicly for stepping up military pressure. Up till now, however, the actions have prompted little public discussion or reaction, either supportive or critical, of the military operations. more..
Palestinian university students take part in a 13-day study tour in the USA
Ma’an News 10/27/2006
Eight Palestinian university students have completed a 13-day study tour to the University of Michigan-Dearborn (UMD) in USA that ends a two-year collaborative project with Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, “Connecting Jerusalem and Dearborn: Developing Arab American and American Studies Curriculum in the U.S. and the Arab World." Eight Palestinian and eight American students of American and Arab-American studies interacted with senior scholars, mentors, community leaders and grassroots activists, artists, poets, writers, and students in the San Francisco Bay area and the Detroit metropolitan region over the 13 days. At the start of the tour, the students attended a lecture and book-signing by the renowned Palestinian academic, Professor Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Chair in Arab Studies and Director of the Middle East Institute at New York’s Columbia University. more..
Palestinian battles to study in Israel
BBC 10/27/2006
Sawsan Salameh is adamant that she will achieve her dream of getting a PhD -- Sawsan Salameh should have spent this week in the laboratories at Hebrew university starting to work on her PhD in theoretical chemistry. But instead the 29-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank has carried on working as a science teacher at a local high school. Despite being given a full scholarship by the Hebrew University to pursue her studies, Ms Salameh has fallen foul of new Israeli army regulations preventing Palestinian students from entering Israel on security grounds. "It’s been my dream since I was 16 to get a doctorate," says Ms Salameh sitting in her family’s apartment in Anata. From the end of her road you can see the university in the distance but a dusty Israeli checkpoint stands between Ms Salameh and further study. more..
Haredi settlement donates medical supplies to Palestinians
YNet News 10/26/2006
Residents of Modeiin Elite donate NIS 30,000 in medical equipment to neighboring Palestinian village. Residents of both celebrate in ceremony in Modeiin Elite -- Is there a chance for Israeli-Palestinian coexistence in the West Bank? Thursday, residents of the Modeiin Elite settlement donated NIS 30,000 worth of medical equipment to an ambulance from the neighboring Palestinian village of Naleen. The ambulance itself was purchased by village residents, but they didn’t have enough money for equipment inside the ambulance. Resident Husseini Nafar said that they originally appealed to Palestinian Authority sources, who told them to "find another donor". Their next appeal was made to head of Modeiin Elite’s security Shuky Guterman, who remains in constant contact with village residents. more..
Northerners: Qassams all of Israel’s problem
YNet News 10/26/2006
Residents of central, north Israel march... ‘we won’t allow government to present Qassam threat as problem of south Israel alone,’ they say -- Residents of central and northern Israel held a rally in the western Negev city of Sderot Thursday during which they marched toward Defense Minister Amir Peretz’s home, where they delivered a letter calling for his resignation. “We ask that you resign from the government due to your responsibility for the war in the north and its outcome,” the letter read. “You promised to annihilate Hizbullah and return the kidnapped sons home. We the residents of the north waited patiently for the leadership to perform its duties…therefore we would be thankful if you would set an example and resign immediately, for the sake of the nation and country. ” more..
Majority of Ma’an readers support the translation of news from the Hebrew press
Ma’an News 10/27/2006
Bethlehem - The majority of Ma’an News Agency’s readers believe that Ma’an should translate news from the Hebrew press, according to the most recent poll. Readers of the Arabic-language page were asked to what extent they support of translation of news from Hebrew news sources. 73. 92 percent of participants supported the translation of all subjects in the Hebrew press while 20. 1% supported the translation of some of the Hebrew news. 4. 52% opposed the translation of the Hebrew press. more..
Local institutions boycott Greek Orthodox plans to build a new school in Beit Jala
Ma’an News 10/26/2006
Bethlehem - A number of institutions in Beit Jala, west of Bethlehem, boycotted a celebration organised by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate to place the cornerstone of a new Greek Orthodox school in Beit Jala. Various local institutions refused to turn up to the ceremony on Wednesday in protest against not having been consulted in advance by the Patriarchate in Jerusalem in regards to the building of a new school in their town. [end]
Palestinian farmer killed by lightning
Ma’an News 10/26/2006
Tulkarem - A Palestinian farmer and his father were struck by a lethal bolt of lightning when returning from their olive groves in the northwest of the occupied West Bank on Wednesday evening. Mohammed Nader Rajab, 38, was killed instantly and his father was moderately injured when lightning struck them in the village of Kafr Al-Labad, east of the city of Tulkarem late on Wednesday evening. Our reporter said that Rajab and his father were returning from picking olives when they were struck by the deadly lightning bolt. Rajab’s father was transferred to hospital for medical treatment. [end]
Despondent Palestinians face future with unease
Jordan Times 10/24/2006
GAZA — Fear of an escalating power struggle between Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas added to the gloom on Monday for Palestinians marking a Muslim holiday that would normally be a festival of joy. The two sides are pointed towards a possible showdown after the Eid Al Fitr holiday, which falls at the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan and is one of the two biggest celebrations in the Muslim calendar. Meanwhile, Israeli leaders are considering whether to expand an offensive in the Gaza Strip aimed at recovering a captured soldier and stopping cross-border rocket fire. Eid Al Fitr holiday began on Monday and ends on Wednesday. “We are afraid that things are headed for the worse,” said Samir Ali, 31, a Gaza City taxi driver. “The situation has been worsened by the internal fighting..." more..
Palestinians flock to Jericho during Eid al-Fitr
Ma’an News 10/25/2006
Jericho - The markets and gardens of Jericho were crowded with visitors from across the occupied Palestinian territories on Wednesday, for the third consecutive day of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr. Palestinians of all ages used to flock to the West Bank city of Jericho, located 250m below sea level and close to the Dead Sea, during the cooler months due to its perennial pleasant climate and the high number of restaurants and places for children to play. Over the three-day holiday, the streets were crowded with cars and pedestrians, reminding the locals of the Jericho of yesteryear when the streets were always full. [end]
Palestinians celebrate Islamic holiday of Eid
Palestine News Network 10/23/2006
Palestinian PM Ismail Haniya led the Eid prayer service early this morning at Al Yarmuk stadium in Gaza City. Thousands of Palestinians filled the stadium and the surrounding fields to worship on this holiday which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. When the service finished, worshipped exchanged greetings and wished each other “Eid Mubarak”. Several residents set up children’s rides in the streets of Gaza City to celebrate the holiday. Father of three, Ibrahim Bedwan, told PNN, “We are celebrating Eid in spite of all the hardships we are facing. We want are children to be happy. ” Bedwan’s children seemed happy indeed, wearing new clothes and showing off new toys. A Palestinian youth named Younis told PNN, “It is nice to receive calls and text messages from friends sending their greetings on Eid. ” more..
Danish firm to release computer game based on Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Ha’aretz 10/22/2006
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has played out on the world stage for decades. Next year the conflict is also scheduled to play out on computer screens in people’s homes." Global Conflicts: Palestine" is part of a trend of politically inspired video games that are part entertainment, part political science lesson." The vision is to reach a new target group which is not easily reached by traditional sources," said Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen, CEO of Serious Games Interactive, the Danish company that came up with the concept." The purpose is to give them something more a than the occasional sound bite." The plot puts the player in the shoes of a young journalist who navigates the streets of a city that resembles Jerusalem, seeking out Palestinian and Israeli sources for an assignment, Egenfeldt-Nielsen said. more..
Israeli pleads guilty to calling in bomb threat to U.S. airport
Ha’aretz 10/24/2006
An Israeli-American man pleaded guilty to calling in a bomb threat to the Long Beach Airport after he arrived too late to board his flight, authorities said. Yechezkel Wells, 21, of Miami Beach, California, entered his plea in U.S. District Court to a felony count of conveying false information of a threat targeting an airplane. Wells, who remains free on bond, is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 29. He faces probation to five years in prison. Wells, a college student with dual citizenship in the U.S. and Israel, was arrested Aug. 26 shortly after he made an emergency call from a pay phone and said there was a bomb on a JetBlue flight from Long Beach, California, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In his plea agreement, Wells acknowledged he made the call to try to keep the plane from leaving. more..

To top of page International..

Fears over huge growth in Iraq’s unregulated private armies
The Guardian 10/31/2006

Mercenaries ’outnumber UK soldiers three to one’ · Security companies are unaccounable, say critics -- A huge increase in the number of unregulated private military and security companies operating in Iraq and Afghanistan is driving concern about the lack of regulation and constraints on their activities. There are three British private security guards to every British soldier in Iraq, the charity War on Want said yesterday. At least 181 private military and security companies are operating in the country, employing almost 21,000 British private security guards, nearly half of the total number - an estimated 48,000. Foreign contracts by British private security firms are now worth about £1bn a year, according to the companies. more..
Iran: US-led Persian Gulf exercise ’adventurous’
Jerusalem Post 10/29/2006

Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday criticized the United States military presence in the region and slammed a US-led military exercise due to begin in the Persian Gulf, urging nations in the area to set up their own regional security arrangement. Ships from the US and five other countries are due to interdict a British vessel in the Persian Gulf on Monday in a mock interception of dangerous weapons technology. For the first time, an Arab nation, Bahrain, will participate in an exercise under the three-year-old proliferation security initiative." We do not consider this exercise appropriate," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told reporters in Teheran. Iran has a long coastline on the Gulf, and neighbors Iraq and Afghanistan. The Iranian spokesman criticized the US military presence along many of the country’s borders. -- See also: US naval war games off the Iranian coastline: A provocation which could lead to War? and Navies of 6 states to exercise in Persian Gulf against nuclear shipments more..
Saudi envoy slams US role in Mideast
Jerusalem Post 10/31/2006

The US standing in the Middle East is at an all-time low and can be helped only by pressing Israel to relinquish all occupied Arab land and Jerusalem to the Palestinians, says Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States." We want you to remain friends with Israel," Saudi Ambassador Turki al-Faisal said during a question and answer session. "But that friendship should be used to push Israel" to relinquish the land the Arabs lost in the 1967 Six-Day War and provide the Palestinians with a state they have been denied for more than a half-century, the prince said." The United States is the only one that can deliver," the ambassador said. "The basic interest of the United States is for peace to reign in our part of the world." more..
Lahoud objects to int’l court on Hariri murder
Jerusalem Post 10/31/2006

Lebanon’s pro-Syrian president objected on Monday to the draft document setting up an international court to try suspects in the assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri, and declared no agreement can pass without his approval. President Emile Lahoud, whose security chiefs are under arrest in connection with the 2005 assassination, said in a statement he had multiple objections to the draft. Under the constitution, Lahoud said, the president in agreement with the prime minister must approve any deal before it goes to Cabinet for approval. "It ends there" if the president disapproves, he said. A UN investigation into Hariri’s killing has implicated top Syrian and Lebanese security officials, a charge Syria denies. more..
Blair accused of trying to ’privatise’ war in Iraq
The Independent 10/30/2006

The Government has been accused of reneging on pledges to control private security companies operating in Iraq because it wants to "privatise the war" as part of its exit strategy. The Government has not only failed to bring in legislation promised four years ago, but has actively encouraged security firms in Iraq by giving them multimillion -pound contracts to take over duties which could have been performed by British forces, says the report published today by the charity War on Want. Humanitarian groups, MPs and international lawyers have called for tighter controls on "mercenaries". In Britain both the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence are believed to favour such a move. But, with the clamour for withdrawal from Iraq, Downing Street is said to view the private firms as a favoured option in expediting the pullout. more..
A peek behind the walls of ’Fortress US’
By David Phinney, Asia Times 10/26/2006

Work on the most expensive and heavily fortified embassy in the world - the massive new US Embassy in Baghdad - is being carried out in secret. Two men who once worked on the project provide a disconcerting glimpse behind the construction barriers, where deceit and ill-treatment of labor appear unchecked. -- WASHINGTON - Things began looking sketchier than ever to John Owen as he boarded a nondescript white jet on his way back to Iraq in March 2005 after some downtime in Kuwait City. Employed by First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting, the lead builder for the new US$592 million US Embassy in Baghdad, Owen remembers being surrounded at the airport by about 50 company laborers freshly hired from the Philippines and India. more..
War Crimes Report Shows US Violations of International Law
Information Clearing House 10/10/2006

Demands Prosecution of US Military and Civilian Leaders -- The violence of the Iraq War, the chaos that has come to Iraq, can be traced directly to the illegality of the invasion and occupation of that country and the illegality of the tactics and weapons being used to maintain the occupation. U.S. War Crimes in Iraq and Mechanisms for Accountability documents these violations and calls on us all to demand investigation and prosecution of violations of international law by military and civilian leaders. The report was prepared by Consumers for Peace. org with the advice of Karen Parker, noted lawyer in human rights and humanitarian law.... Dahr Jamail, noted independent journalist who spent more than eight months reporting from occupied Iraq..." I cannot endorse strongly enough this report prepared by Karen Parker regarding U.S. war crimes in Iraq." Click here to read the report in full [pdf] more..
Iran steps up enrichment work
AlJazeera 10/27/2006

Iranian scientists have begun feeding gas into a second cascade of centrifuges to enrich uranium, defying UN threats of sanctions, the Iranian news agency ISNA says. The news prompted strong reactions from the US and France on Friday, two of the powers pushing for sanctions amid fears that Iran’s real aim is to make nuclear weapons. Iran confirmed on Wednesday that it had installed new equipment to step up uranium enrichment, and would imminently start pumping gas into it. An Iranian official told the news agency: "The second cascade was set up two weeks ago and this week gas was injected in them. We have the product of the second cascade." .... Jacques Chirac, the French president, said the time may have come for sanctions. more..
US navy to patrol Saudi oil terminal
AlJazeera 10/28/2006

The navies of the United States and Britain have increased their patrols around Saudi Arabia’s coastal oil installations citing intelligence that suggests an imminent Al-Qaeda attack. Coalition officials said on Friday that they were responding to intelligence that suggested that Al-Qaeda units might target the kingdom’s Ras Tanura terminal, the world’s biggest offshore oil export facility, and Bahrain’s Bapco refinery." Acting on information received, Coalition naval forces, operating in support of Saudi and Bahraini forces have deployed units to counter a possible maritime threat to the oil facilities at Ras Tanura," a spokesman for Britain’s royal navy units based in Dubai said in a statement on Friday. Saudi Arabia’s own security forces and navy are also guarding the strategic oil facilities. more..
Navies of 6 states to exercise in Persian Gulf against nuclear shipments
Ha’aretz 10/28/2006

Ships from the United States and five other countries will interdict a British vessel in the Persian Gulf on Monday in a mock interception of dangerous weapons technology, an exercise the U.S. expects nearby Iran to notice. For the first time, an Arab nation, Bahrain, will participate in an exercise under the three-year-old proliferation security initiative. That U.S. program is aimed at getting countries to cooperate in halting shipments of materials that can be used for advanced weapons. France, Italy, Britain and Australia also will participate in Monday’s exercise, the 25th held under the initiative and the first held in the Persian Gulf. The practice interception comes as the United States is seeking support for UN sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program. -- See also: US naval war games off the Iranian coastline: A provocation which could lead to War? more..
Bush Under Growing Pressure to Engage Syria
By Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service 10/27/2006

WASHINGTON, Oct 27 (IPS) - While U.S. President George W. Bush appeared this week to reject suggestions that Washington directly engage the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, pressure both here and in the region for Washington to work out some accommodation with Damascus is rising. While never officially named to the "Axis of Evil", Syria has received the same "silent treatment" as Washington has given its two surviving members, Iran and North Korea, since the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005. But Syria’s geo-strategic relevance, particularly in the wake of last summer’s war between Israel and Hezbollah and growing popular sentiment here for withdrawing the more than 140,000 U.S. troops bogged down in Iraq, are making it increasingly difficult to reject appeals for a new tack. more..
U.N. Security Council Edicts Challenged
Inter Press Service 10/26/2006

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 26 (IPS) - The United Nations Security Council, the only body empowered to declare war and peace and also impose punitive economic and military sanctions, is being increasingly challenged by defiant member states. Despite a slew of recent Security Council resolutions, Sudan is refusing to permit a proposed 20,000-strong U. N. peacekeeping force into Darfur; Eritrea has rejected a call to withdraw from a buffer zone with neighbouring Ethiopia; North Korea has threatened to continue its nuclear weapons programme despite sanctions; and Iran is defiant about enriching uranium even in the face of a possible economic and military embargo next month. Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also failed to get an assurance from South Korea that it would abandon funding its ongoing industrial zone and tourist resort in North Korea... more..
Bush gives go-ahead for Mexico fence
AlJazeera 10/27/2006

George Bush, the US president, has signed into law a bill authorising the construction of a fence along a third of the US-Mexico border. At a White House bill-signing ceremony on Thursday Bush said that the law allowing the construction of the 1,100km-long fence would make the frontier more secure. He called the bill "an important step toward immigration reform"." Unfortunately, the United States has not been in complete control of its borders for decades, and therefore illegal immigration has been on the rise," Bush said." We have a responsibility to address these challenges. We have a responsibility to enforce our laws. We have a responsibility to secure our borders. We take this responsibility seriously." Bush gave the final go-ahead to the bill 12 days before US mid-term elections. more..
Afghan officials: Dozens of civilians killed in NATO op.
Jerusalem Post 10/26/2006

Dozens of civilians were killed during NATO operations in a volatile southern area of Afghanistan this week that also left many Taliban fighters dead, officials and villagers said Thursday. But a preliminary NATO review found only 12 noncombatants had died. However, if the civilian death toll given by local leaders and residents from Tuesday’s fighting is confirmed, it would be the highest from an operation involving Western forces since the US-led invasion in 2001. As many as 70 militants were killed in heavy fighting in Panjwayi, a district in the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar province, according to Maj. Luke Knittig, spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. But death toll estimates varied widely. Afghan officials estimated up to 60 Taliban fighters and 85 civilians were killed. more..
US naval war games off the Iranian coastline: A provocation which could lead to War?
By Michel Chossudovsky, Centre for Research on Globalization - Middle East 10/24/2006

There is a massive concentration of US naval power in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. Two US naval strike groups are deployed: USS Enterprise, and USS Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group. The naval strike groups have been assigned to fighting the "global war on terrorism." War Games: Concurrent with ths concentration of US Naval power, the US is also involved in military exercises in the Persian Gulf, which consists in "interdicting ships in the Gulf carrying weapons of mass destruction and missiles". The exercise is taking place as the United States and other major powers are considering sanctions including possible interdiction of ships on North Korea, following a reported nuclear test, and on Iran, which has defied a U. N. Security Council mandate to stop enriching uranium. -- See also: more..
Bush issues warning to Iran, Syria
The Daily Star 10/26/2006

US President George W. Bush on Wednesday urged Iran and Syria to support the governments of Iraq and Lebanon and warned against creating instability in those democracies. His comments came a day after US civilian and military leaders in Iraq linked Iran and Syria with Al-Qaeda as forces trying to tear the country apart and prevent the United States from establishing a stable democracy." Iran and Syria understand full well that the world expects them to help Iraq. And we’ve made that very clear to them," Bush said at a news conference focused on the Iraq war. The US also expects Iran and Syria to support the Lebanese government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Bush said." Our message to Syria is consistent: Do not undermine the Siniora government in Lebanon," Bush said. more..
Russian FM: Syria is Cooperating with U.N. Hariri Probe, Doesn’t Deserve Sanctions
An Nahar 10/24/2006

Syria has done nothing to deserve international sanctions as it has cooperated with the U. N. probe into ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s assassination, Russia’s foreign minister said in an interview published Tuesday. "Frankly, I do not see what Syria could have done to deserve facing sanctions," Sergei Lavrov told the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. "We believe that Syria is actively cooperating with the U. N. investigation in the assassination of Lebanon’s former PM Rafik Hariri. International investigators visit Syria frequently, meet Syrian officials and present their reports to the U. N. Security Council," he said. "I have not heard any accusation of default against Syria," in this regard, he told the London-based Arabic daily. U.S.... was hoping to convince its allies to back new sanctions against Syria.... more..
Saniora: New International Tribunal Draft ’Blessed’ by Lebanese Legal Experts
An Nahar 10/24/2006

Prime Minister Fouad Saniora asserted Tuesday that the new draft of the international tribunal to look into the assassination of ex-premier Rafik Hariri was "blessed" by Lebanese legal experts. Saniora, in an interview published Tuesday by Asharq al Awsat newspaper, also confirmed media reports that article three of the governing principles of the tribunal, which deals with ’Crimes against Humanity,’ has been nullified. He said the draft, in its new form, would soon be handed over to the cabinet for approval. An-Nahar daily said Monday that article three has been abolished in response to a request by China and Russia. As-Safir has quoted U. N. representative to south Lebanon Gere Pederson as saying that the draft on the formation of the international tribunal was expected to be finalized by the Security Council on Monday... more..
Fears resurface after bomb blast near residences of Saudi, UAE envoys
The Daily Star 10/26/2006

BEIRUT: A bomb exploded on a Beirut street early Wednesday close to the residences of the Saudi and UAE ambassadors. The explosion did not cause any casualties but started a small fire, security forces said. The bomb was apparently thrown from a speeding car on the seafront boulevard in the Ramlet al-Baida area shortly after midnight Tuesday night, landing in an open area and setting fire to a bush and several trees, police said. Security forces cordoned off the area and put out the fire. A senior police officer said the bomb was thrown next to the residences of the Saudi and Emirati ambassadors, and that of Adi Hariri, one of the sons of the assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The officer did not know whether Hariri and the ambassadors were at home. more..
Berri Invites National Dialogue Leaders for Consultation Session Oct. 30
An Nahar 10/25/2006

Speaker Nabih Berri invited Wednesday rival political leaders for a consultation session to be held October 30 aimed at resolving demands for the formation of a national unity government. He said Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has the right to be represented by any delegate he chooses for "security considerations." "I call on all national dialogue sides to come back to the roundtable in parliament to consult around the table, and not go down the streets," Berri told a news conference at his Ein el-Tineh mansion. He said the first session of "a maximum" 15-day consultation period will commence in parliament on Monday, October 30 for discussions on "the national unity government and a new electoral law." more..
Iran tests second batch of centrifuges
AlJazeera 10/24/2006

Even as the US and its Western allies are struggling to finalise UN sanctions against Iran for its defiant nuclear stand, Tehran has launched a second batch of centrifuges at its pilot nuclear fuel. Tehran fired up the new cascade of 164 interconnected centrifuges, which can enrich uranium for either power plant or nuclear bomb fuel, earlier this month to go with an initial network of 164, diplomats said on Monday. But Iran appeared to be only testing the second cascade, without feeding "UF6" uranium gas into it, as it has generally done with the first cascade, which first yielded a tiny amount of home-grown enriched uranium in April. A senior diplomat familiar with UN nuclear inspections in Iran, said Tehran remained a long way from "industrial scale" capacity that would signal its emergence as a nuclear power... more..
Poll: 81% of U.S. Jews believe Arabs want to destroy Israel
Ha’aretz 10/23/2006

WASHINGTON - Eighty-one percent of American Jews believe that the real goal of the Arabs is the destruction of Israel and not the return of occupied land, according to the annual survey of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) on various issues. While 54 percent said they supported the establishment of a Palestinian state, only 38 percent said Israel and the Arabs could solve the conflict peacefully. Another 56 percent said they believed the conflict could not be resolved. According to the survey, a slim majority of American Jews do not believe that the United States should act militarily to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Fifty-four percent opposed such action and 38 percent supported it. However, 57 percent said Israel would be justified in taking military action against Iran, while 35 percent were opposed... more..
Time Magazine fingers AIPAC as supporting California Democrat
Ha’aretz 10/22/2006

A Time Magazine report indicates that the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Justice Department are investigating suspicions that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) worked to ensure that Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman be reappointed as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. The report, published Friday on Time’s Internet news site, says that California Congresswoman Harman and AIPAC arranged for wealthy supporters to lobby House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Harman’s behalf. Attempting to influence the outcome of the election of Congressional representatives to committees is a federal offense. Time... reported that the FBI is also investigating whether... Harman agreed to help try to persuade the Administration to go lighter on... two former AIPAC officials, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman. -- See also: TIME Exclusive: Feds Probe a Top Democrat's Relationship with AIPAC more..
The Exodus: 1.6m Iraqis have fled their country since the war
By Patrick Cockburn, The Independent 10/23/2006

Iraq is in flight. Everywhere inside and outside the country, Iraqis who once lived in their own houses cower for safety six or seven to a room in hovels. Many go after they have been threatened. Often they leave after receiving an envelope with a bullet inside and a scrawled note telling them to get out immediately. Others flee after a relative has been killed, believing they will be next. Out of the population of 26 million, 1. 6 million Iraqis have fled the country and a further 1. 5 million are displaced within Iraq, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. In Jordan alone there are 500,000 Iraqi refugees and a further 450,000 in Syria. In Syria alone they are arriving at the rate of 40,000 a month. It is one of the largest long-term population movements in the Middle East since Israel expelled Palestinians in the 1940s. more..
Speaker returns to Beirut as tensions continue between Hizbullah, March 14
The Daily Star 10/24/2006

BEIRUT: Political bickering between Hizbullah and the March 14 Forces continued over the weekend, with attention focused a new initiative by Speaker Nabih Berri expected to be announced on Wednesday. A statement issued by the National News Agency Sunday said Berri is to hold a news conference Wednesday at 11 a. m. at his residence in Ain al-Tineh. The speaker, who returned to Beirut Saturday, is expected to reveal his long-awaited "gift" he had promised to offer to the Lebanese following Eid al-Fitr. Many politicians said Berri would launch a new version of the national dialogue that would start with a meeting between Hizbullah’s secretary general, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, and the head of Parliament’s largest bloc, MP Saad Hariri. more..
French minister tours South, pledges help for recovery
The Daily Star 10/23/2006

BEIRUT: French Minister-Delegate for Regional Development Christian Estrosi emphasized his country’s commitment to support the Lebanese in restoring stability and rebuilding the country on Sunday. Estrosi, who is on an official visit to Lebanon, toured Southern towns on Sunday in order to inspect the damage caused during the war with Israel in July and August. He was accompanied by a diplomatic delegation that included French Ambassador Bernard Emie. The minister stopped at the Antonine College in Nabatieh to offer a grant worth 50,000 euros ($63,000 ) to the school, which was badly damaged during the summer war. In remarks during the ceremony, he stressed the "strong ties between France and Lebanon," adding that his country was "very concerned by the crises facing the Lebanese people." more..
A Consensus Develops: Leave the Course
By Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service 10/20/2006

WASHINGTON, Oct 20 (IPS) - While Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s continued tenure in office has been the subject of a surge of speculation over the past week, it may be George W. Bush’s continued reign -- at least over Iraq policy -¬ that appears most endangered at the moment. While no one is talking about a classic "coup d’etat" against the U.S. president, as is being rumoured about the increasingly hapless and seemingly helpless Maliki in Baghdad, Bush’s mantra about "staying the course" in Iraq is now seen as so delusory as to require some form of serious adult intervention." Plan B" -- that is, anything but "staying the course" -- has been on the lips of virtually every foreign policy analyst who considers him or herself worthy of the name this past week... more..
Public Wants "New Approach" on Foreign Policy
By Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service 10/20/2006

WASHINGTON, Oct 20 (IPS) - More than 70 percent of the U.S. public, including nearly half of self-identified Republicans, say they prefer candidates for Congress in the Nov. 7 mid-term elections who will pursue a "new approach" to U.S. foreign policy, according to a new survey released here Friday by the Programme on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA). The survey, which echoes many of the key findings of two other recent major polls of U.S. foreign policy attitudes, found that voters are increasingly disillusioned with critical aspects of policy preferences of the administration of President George W. Bush, particularly his reliance on military power, penchant for unilateral action, and disdain for international opinion." Voters are calling for a sea change in U.S. foreign policy," said PIPA’s director, Steven Kull... more..

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