Israeli raids kill eight Palestinians
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,
Israeli forces invade northern West Bank town as sunset meal
ends, kill one and injure 14
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.
Outspoken rightwinger to join Israeli coalition
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...
Coup in the works? Some Hamas sources say yes
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...
PMO: Olmert, Abbas agree to continue talks on meeting
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]
Israel admits it used phosphorus weapons
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
Mofaz, in U.S., warns of dangers of Iran helping Palestinians
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.
Israel defies France on Lebanon flights
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".
Settlements growing on Palestinian-owned land, despite vow to
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.
Army invades Al Farahen
and Abassan ares south of Gaza
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
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
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
Leaves Deadly Legacy
Inter Press Service
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
Report: The impact of the economic strangulation on human
rights in the OPT
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...
Army shells eastern areas
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....
Abbas slams the Israeli
attack in Gaza, describes it as massacre
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...
Two Qassam rockets hit Sderot; several people treated for
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.
IDF troops kill Palestinian in West Bank arrest operation
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...
Settlers make olive picking a risky business
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
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.
PA police block Gaza roads to protest unpaid wages by Hamas
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
Resident killed, four
residents prisoner taken prisoner, seventeen injured near Tubas
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
officer killed in Gaza
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...
Haniyeh "implores patience" in face of growing hardship
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.
Avoiding degrading checkpoint proves fatal
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.
Palestinian Leader’s Convoy Attacked by Fatah Gunmen
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
Hizbullah rejects Egyptian minister’s accusation as ’not
worthy of a response’
The Daily Star
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.
UNIFIL sees imminent Israeli pullout from Ghajar
The Daily Star
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.
Russia closes book on claim that Hizbullah used its missiles
Zawya/The Daily Star
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
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.
Report: German agent working on Israel-Hezbollah prisoner swap
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...
Suspicions raised as negotiations for political prisoner
release remain shrouded in secrecy
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.
Solidarity delegation denied entry while attempting to join
farmers for olive harvest
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.
Fatah, Hamas rivalry forgotten when IDF attacks
By Avi Issacharoff,
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.
Unknown gunmen kill a
resistance fighter in Jericho
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
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
Two injured in Jenin
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
Al ’Ubeidiya hit in major arrest campaign; Israeli forces
take 20 Palestinians to unknown locations
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.
Palestinian sources: IDF kills 50-year-old man in southern
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.
Army takes three
prisoners from Hebron
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
Gaza Doctors Say Patients Suffering Mystery Injuries
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
Defense Minister: IAF flights over Lebanon will continue
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.
Air force strike destroyed 59 Iranian-made missile launchers
on second day of conflict
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.
Rightists protest evacuation orders near home of GOC Central
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.
Record sales in Gaza: After months of going without, this
will be an Eid to celebrate
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. ”
Despite blockade, Eid Al Fitr business is up as Palestinians
utilize the last of the savings
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.
New study indicates Wall destroying northwestern West Bank
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...
Appeal from Palestinian Labor Union as poverty rate reaches
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..."
Olmert seeks to okay Lieberman post by Thurs.
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.
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..."
Arab leader slams PM for talks with ’fascist’ Lieberman
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.
Full text of the Lieberman coalition deal
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)...
IDF’s outgoing northern chief warns against failures in
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.
Prime Minister Haniya wishes President Abbas "Eid Mubarak"
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
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.
Weary Israel loses faith in its leaders
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.
Only four Arabs appointed to manage gov’t companies in 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.
Bil’in Cameraman release delayed
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.
"Hate Does Not Come Easy" – Home Demolition in East Jerusalem
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?..."
No disruption in Red Cross services after car burning
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.
Support Palestinian Non-violent resistance - Help release
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.
Thirty Days in the Nablus Region
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.
Twenty-eight Palestinians killed this week in OPT
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 and mobile phone users in Jordan Valley harvest clampdown
Stop The Wall
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.
Palestinians celebrate Islamic holiday of Eid
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. ”
Danish firm to release computer game based on
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.
Source: Indonesia plans to buy Israeli unmanned aerial
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...."
Ahmadinejad warns Europe it will pay for backing Israel
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.
Nasrallah, Fadlallah warn against US efforts to instigate
strife among Muslims
The Daily Star
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."
Venezuela stops issuing tourist visas to Israelis
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.
Israeli pleads guilty to calling in bomb threat to U.S.
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.
Iran tests second batch of centrifuges
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...
Poll: 81% of U.S. Jews believe Arabs want to destroy Israel
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...
Time Magazine fingers AIPAC as supporting California Democrat
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
Exclusive: Feds Probe a Top Democrat''s Relationship with AIPAC
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.
Speaker returns to Beirut as tensions continue between
Hizbullah, March 14
The Daily Star
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.
French minister tours South, pledges help for recovery
The Daily Star
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."
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...
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
Losing our Compass
By Ali Jarbawi, Palestine Chronicle 10/20/2006
At the same time, the political situation in Israel is not much different, at least in terms of losing its compass regarding the Palestinian situation.
Not much substance is left in the term "Middle East peace process" even as the mantra of the urgent need to revive it is heard again and again. The mantra is futile; it collides with the realities among the players involved. Any "revival" of the peace process at this stage will remain at a purely superficial level. Nevertheless, the process must be revived, not in order to reach a conclusion but purely as a means to administer this difficult crisis for the time being.
No observer of the internal Palestinian situation expects the Palestinian side to come up with any initiative in the foreseeable future that can test the seriousness of Israel and the United States in terms of a substantial political settlement. For the time being, Palestinians are drowning in a bitter internal struggle between Fateh and Hamas. This struggle has reached a point where there is fighting in the streets. If these parties do not reach an understanding quickly, it can spiral into a fierce civil war. In such a situation, any talk of a political settlement will be nothing more than words.
One of the most significant reasons for this internal Palestinian crisis is in fact the failure of the political process, which dragged on for 15 years with no result. The failure of negotiations is also one of the main reasons why Hamas won the Legislative Council elections. It’s not that Palestinians don’t want a settlement. On the contrary, they wagered everything on a negotiated solution with Israel for an end to occupation, their own state and a resolution to the refugee issue. Their situation only worsened as it became clear neither Israel nor the US was offering this.
Right now, the Palestinian political arena has lost its compass. Those who support a negotiated settlement are incapable of achieving it and those opposing a political process are incapable of waging a resistance that can bring about an end to the occupation. The result is that an internal struggle has erupted between Fateh and Hamas. With no political horizon for either party promising an end to occupation, the struggle has become one over an authority created in the shadow of occupation.
Lieberman is a strategic threat
Editorial, Ha’aretz 10/24/2006
In a cynical move with few parallels in Israeli politics, the cabinet voted on Sunday in favor of Avigdor Lieberman’s proposal for amending the system of government. Most cabinet members oppose the proposal, so when they voted for it, they knew that they were being untrue to themselves.
Particularly egregious was Minister of Pensioner Affairs Rafi Eitan, who said that he voted in favor because he knew this terrible proposal has no chance of making it through the Knesset. The reason that most cabinet members voted for the bill was their desire to stay in power at any price.
Lieberman is entering the government with a big wink. He knows that the system of government will not be changed, but he also knows that he has managed to do something that, until Sunday, seemed impossible - to secure himself the most sensitive post in the country, minister in charge of strategic threats.
The choice of the most unrestrained and irresponsible man around for this job constitutes a strategic threat in its own right. Lieberman’s lack of restraint and his unbridled tongue, comparable only to those of Iran’s president, are liable to bring disaster down upon the entire region.
By Juliano Mer Khamis, Electronic Intifada 10/23/2006
This is an open letter to my colleague Elia Suleiman who has withdrawn his signature from a petition by Palestinian film-makers calling for a boycott of Israeli cultural events and of artists supported by Israeli government institutions. I myself am one of the signatories of this petition.
Elia defines his act as a protest against what he considers as a total boycott of Israeli artists, regardless of their views or political activities; a boycott that does not distinguish between one Israeli and another "all of which is tainted by chauvinism and other heresies that stem from the dark side of nationalism".
This is indeed the case. When I signed the petition, as an Israeli citizen I wanted to be sure that I would not be boycotting myself. As the petition clearly asserts, the boycott is not directed against Israelis as such, but against "those cultural and artistic institutions that to date have refused to take a stand against the Occupation, the root cause for this colonial conflict" (from the petition). However, this clear statement has not prevented Daniel Daniel, Osnat Trabelsi, Peter van Huystee and myself, creators of the film "Arna’s Children", from being boycotted in certain parts of the world simply because we are Israelis.
I do not intend to "prove my innocence" or present my political history. Nor do I believe I should introduce you to my family, least of all to my mother, Arna Mer Khamis, who spent her life fighting against the Occupation, or, as she used to put it, struggling against the Zionist colonization of Palestine.
Gone in 60 seconds
By Amira Hass, Ha’aretz 10/22/2006
Sitting in the parking lot of the apartment house in Nablus’ Rafidia neighborhood was a big clean white 2006 Mazda, without a scratch on it. With a yellow license plate - meaning the car was from Israel. Whose car is it? What is it doing here? In Nablus these are reasonable questions to ask. The entry of Israelis into the city, under siege these past six years, is prohibited. And anyway, only a few hundred cars are legally permitted to be here.
By a process of elimination, the visitor soon reaches the conclusion that it is a stolen car. A conversation with two car thieves in Nablus two days earlier, and an intensive study tour with a taxi driver named Yakoub on the subject of the origin of cars in the city, made it easy to categorize the Mazda. Two small posters taped to the front and back windshields of the car also helped: one was of a shaheed [martyr] of the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the other of Yasser Arafat. This is not a car that is about to attempt passage through the Israel Defense Forces checkpoints that besiege Nablus. Nor could it be the car of a member of the city’s Samaritan community: they are the only Israelis whose entry into Nablus in their vehicles (which have Israeli license plates) is permitted.
A few hundred Samaritans hold both Israeli citizenship and Palestinian identity cards. They live in a separate neighborhood, up on Mount Gerizim. A checkpoint with four soldiers oversees all traffic in and out. Entry and exit is permitted only to Samaritans, to a handful of other Palestinians living in the same neighborhood, and to workers employed there.
Twilight Zone / Loss upon loss
By Gideon Levy, Ha’aretz 10/22/2006
We drank tea with the head of the household. That was in May. Mohammed Abu-Ouda showed us the ruins of his house, which had been damaged by Israel Defense Forces fire. Boom after boom, shell after shell; the guns roared and the walls of the house trembled. Little Meisa walked barefoot among the ruins, stepping on shattered glass, refusing to let go of the bundle of clothes she was holding. Five years old, her gray face expressed shock. Abed, her cousin, was wounded in the shelling when he went up to the roof of the house to fill a container with water. Mohammed, short and bearded, accompanied us silently on a tour of his ruined house, whose roof had collapsed onto the balcony below.
This week we returned to that house, at the edge of the town of Beit Hanun in the Gaza Strip, opposite the orchards that the IDF uprooted and the row of Washingtonia palms that has survived. Mohammed is no longer there, nor is his son Ismail or his daughter Hanan. The three of them were killed by IDF fire. The house that was shelled a few months ago turned into a house of triple bereavement in September.
Mohammed was 53 years old; Ismail was 27 and Hanan was 15. Their only crime, according to the evidence, was that they emerged from their house in the middle of the night, frightened by the thunder of the shell or missile that landed on their house. And then the soldiers standing in the street fired at them, killing them one after the other.
Creative Resistance: The Nassar Family’s ’Tent of Nations’
By Ben White, Palestine Chronicle 10/20/2006
During the course of the past summer, the land hosted camps that brought together Muslim and Christian Palestinians from Bethlehem and the refugee camps for games, activities, and - not least - Shakespeare.
Amid the olive trees and rocks, in the stone amphitheaters and shaded groves, young residents of Bethlehem’s refugee camps working alongside European volunteers presented “Romeo and Juliet,” Shakespeare’s immortal drama of the warring Capulet and Montague families. Families and friends followed the cast around, enjoying the fruits of the children’s summer camp project. As the play came to a close, “Juliet” lay motionless on the sarcophagus; on the hillside behind her could be seen the red roofs of the Neve Daniel settlement.
In this small corner of Palestine, on land that is under direct threat of confiscation, the Tent of Nations project was doing what it does best: “connecting people to their land,” in the words of co-founder Daoud Nassar. Indeed, both project and play embody the decades-long conflict in all its injustice, frustration, and hope.
The Nassars’ land, on which the Tent of Nations is based, has been in the family’s possession since 1916, a time span that encompasses Ottoman rule, the British Mandate, Jordanian administration and Israeli occupation. The story of this family land, neighboring the village of Nahalin in the Bethlehem district, is intertwined with the tumultuous history of Palestine.
The most recent chapter began in 1991, when the Israeli military initiated proceedings to confiscate the Nassars’ land. Unlike so many unfortunate Palestinian landowners, however, the Nassar family still had its ownership documents from all the regimes that had come and gone in the region.
But while the court battle stagnated, and with the second intifada underway, Jewish settlers from the illegal Neve Daniel colony often took matters into their own hands, coming down into the valley with machine guns, vandalizing the infrastructure, and threatening to seize the property themselves. Nevertheless, it is in the courts that the land’s fate ultimately looks set to be decided.
Italian TV: Israel used new weapon prototype in Gaza Strip
An investigative report to be aired on Italian television today raises the possibility that Israel has used an experimental weapon in the Gaza Strip in recent months, causing especially serious physical injuries, such as amputated limbs and severe burns. The weapon is similar to one developed by the U.S. military called DIME, which causes a powerful and lethal blast, but only within a relatively small radius.
The Italian report is based on the eyewitness accounts of medical doctors in the Strip, as well as tests carried out in an Italian laboratory. The investigative team is the same one that exposed, several months ago, the use by U.S. forces in Iraq of phosphorous bombs, against Iraqi rebels in Faluja.
Israel Air Force Maj.-Gen (res.) Yitzhak Ben-Israel, formerly head of the IDF’s weapons-development program, told the Italian reporters that "one of the ideas [behind the weapon] is to allow those targeted to be hit without causing damage to bystanders or other persons."
The investigation, by Rai24news, follows reports by Gaza-based doctors of inexplicably serious injuries. The doctors reported an exceptionally large number of wounded who lost legs, of completely burned bodies and injuries unaccompanied by metal shrapnel. Some of the doctors also claimed that they removed particles from wounds that could not be seen in an x-ray machine.
According to those who testified, the wounded were hit by munitions launched from drones, most of them in July.
Dr. Habas al-Wahid, head of the emergency room at the Shuhada al-Aqsa hospital, in Deir el-Balah, told the reporters that the legs of the injured were sliced from their bodies "as if a saw was used to cut through the bone." There were signs of heat and burns near the point of the amputation, but no signs that the dismemberment was caused by metal fragments.
Dr. Juma Saka, of Shifa Hospital, in Gaza City, said the doctors found small entry wounds on the bodies of the wounded and the dead. According to Saka, a powder was found on the victims’ bodies and in their internal organs.
"The powder was like microscopic shrapnel, and these are what likely caused the injuries," Saka said.
The Italian investigative team raised the possibility that the IDF is making use of a weapon similar in character to DIME - Dense Inert Metal Explosive - developed for the U.S. military. According to the official website of a U.S. air force laboratory, it is a "focused lethality" weapon, which aims to accurately destroy the target while causing minimum damage to the surrounding.
According to the site, the projectile comprises a carbon-fiber casing filled with tungsten powder and explosives. In the explosion, tungsten particles - a metal capable of conducting very high temperatures - spread over a radius of four meters and cause death.
Weapon in testing phase
According to the U.S.-based website Defense-Tech, "the result is an incredibly destructive blast in a small area" and "the destructive power of the mixture causes far more damage than pure explosive." It adds that "the impact of the micro-shrapnel seems to cause a similar but more powerful effect than a shockwave."
The weapon is supposed to still be in the testing phase and has not been used on the battlefield.
The Italian reporters sent samples of the particles found in wounds of injured in the Gaza Strip to a laboratory at the University of Parma. Dr. Carmela Vaccaio said that in analyzing the samples, she found "a very high concentration of carbon and the presence of unusual materials," such as copper, aluminum and tungsten. Dr. Vaccaio says these findings "could be in line with the hypothesis" that the weapon in question is DIME.
On the matter of DIME, Ben-Israel told the Italian reporters that "this is a technology that allows the striking of very small targets."
The report says that the weapon is not banned by international law, especially since it has not been officially tested.
It is believed that the weapon is highly carcinogenic and harmful to the environment.
The non-governmental organization Physicians for Human Rights has written to Defense Minister Amir Peretz requesting explanations for the aforementioned injuries to Palestinians. Amos Gilad, a senior adviser to the minister, is supposed to meet with the group on the matter in the near future.
How Israel Cluster Bombed Future of South Lebanon
By James Brooks, Palestine Chronicle 10/16/2006
The specifics of the available evidence support one “logical” objective for this attack: Israel used cluster munitions as substitutes for landmines.
On September 26, the UN announced that the number of unexploded cluster “bomblets” left in southern Lebanon by Israeli forces may be three times higher than previous estimates. A million or more antipersonnel weapons may be strewn across a region one-third the size of Rhode Island.(1)
Israel has yet to respond to repeated requests for information about the locations of its cluster bomb strikes in Lebanon. UN demining experts say this has made their job ‘far more difficult’.(2) Two hundred thousand people cannot return to their homes due to the severity of destruction and the massive quantities of unexploded ordnance and cluster bomblets covering their communities.(3) Since the beginning of the ceasefire less than two months ago, 20 people have been killed and 120 others have been injured by cluster bomblets and unexploded ordnance.(4)
UN humanitarian coordinator David Shearer wants to know why the IDF deployed 90 percent of its cluster bombs during the last 72 hours of the conflict, while the UN ceasefire resolution was being approved.(5) UN officials are reportedly “dumbfounded”.(6) What could explain Israel’s intention in such an act, when peace was at hand?
The IDF responds that the “use of cluster munitions is legal under international law,” and claims its military “uses such munitions in accordance with international standards.”(7) Yet reports from deminers, aid workers, and civilians in the region clearly state that cluster bomblets are being found on roofs, in gardens, streets, and yards, everywhere people live.(8) To say that Israel used cluster bombs indiscriminately in Lebanon would miss the point. Israel deployed cluster bombs heavily in civilian areas. A number of villages were hit with multiple cluster munitions attacks. Well over a million of these antipersonnel weapons were fired by highly accurate artillery batteries, frequently at targets that were civilian beyond a shadow of a doubt.(9)
The explosive and destructive powers of these bomblets range roughly from those of a hand grenade to those of an anti-tank landmine. One type is designed to hurl projectiles that penetrate up to seven inches of steel armor. In shape and size they are similar to toy balls, candy bars, and cans of soda.(10)
Foreseeable Harm: The use and impact of cluster munitions in Lebanon: 2006
Landmine Action October 2006
Israel’s use of cluster munitions in southern Lebanon during July and August 2006 caused civilian casualties during attacks and contaminated densely populated areas with a deadly legacy of unexploded duds that continue to kill and injure civilians on a daily basis and impede efforts to rebuild lives and livelihoods in the wake of conflict.
During the conflict humanitarian organisations appealed to Israel not to use cluster munitions and appealed to the international community to put pressure on Israel to stop using them. Such appeals went unheeded. For forty years – from Laos to Lebanon – cluster munitions have caused unnecessary suffering both at the time of attacks and for years afterwards. Lebanon was already contaminated with unexploded duds from previous Israeli incursions in 1978 and 1983. Key user states such as Israel, the U.K., the U.S. and Russia claim that cluster munitions are legal. If that is the case then the consistent pattern of civilian harm caused by these weapons, of which the casualty toll in Lebanon is only the most recent example, make it clear that international law is inadequate. A new law is urgently needed.
Two months after the ceasefire of 14 August 2006, the contamination caused by cluster munitions was still exacting a daily toll in south Lebanon. Over this period an average of between 3 and 4 civilians had been killed or injured by unexploded submunitions every day – some 35% of these casualties were children. Civilian casualties will continue to rise as more and more people return to sift through the cluster munition infested rubble.
Livelihoods have been destroyed, and desperately needed relief and rehabilitation has been impeded. Throughout southern Lebanon large areas of agricultural land are contaminated by failed but still potentially lethal ‘submunitions’. In many affected areas farmers have not been able to safely harvest what was left of this summer’s tobacco, wheat and fruit; late yielding crops such as olives will remain too dangerous to harvest by November and winter crops will be lost because farmers will be unable to plough their contaminated land to plant their grains and vegetables. Water and power supplies have been blocked and schools, roads, houses and gardens were still littered with unexploded submunitions when the field research for this report was undertaken one month after the ceasefire.
In only one month, the UN identified 519 individual cluster munition strike areas in south Lebanon. Hundreds more strikes were identified by Lebanese Armed Forces. The majority of these strikes were targeted in and around towns and villages. For returning populations already devastated by war each of the strike sites now functions much like a minefield. Two weeks after the ceasefire, as appreciation of the extent of this contamination started to develop, the UN Under- Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Jan Egeland, described the use of cluster munitions by Israel as “shocking” and “to me completely immoral,” estimating that 100,000 unexploded submunitions remained....
Gaza, the Cursed
By Joharah Baker, Palestine Chronicle 10/17/2006
If Israel chooses to invade Gaza by land and air – which seems increasingly likely - this may be the Gaza Strip’s biggest test of endurance yet.
What is so formidable about the conflict in the Gaza Strip is the sheer tenacity and sustainability of both the Israeli resolve to destroy and its Palestinian residents to endure. This is a place where 1.5 million people are packed in an area of 360 square meters, or more roughly, just larger than twice the size of Washington DC. Completely severed from the West Bank and Israel, Gaza has bore the brunt of Israel’s continued military assaults on the Palestinians over the past six years regardless of its August 2005 dismantlement of Jewish settlements there and Israel’s “withdrawal” from its territories.
Besides the fact that an alarming two-thirds of Gazan families live below the poverty line with an approximate 45 percent of the population unemployed and living in overcrowded refugee camps, over the past six years of the Aqsa Intifada, the Strip has been continuously targeted by Israel’s military establishment, resulting in the deaths of over 2,300 Gazans, more than half of the total number of Palestinians killed since the uprising began.
Hence, the recent events in the Gaza Strip can only been seen as a continuation of Israel’s overall policy of killing, bombing and destroying the land, infrastructure and people of Gaza.
Four days ago, Israel began yet a new operation, dubbed “Operation Rain Man” in the Strip, ostensibly to crush the Palestinian movements responsible for launching homemade rockets from Gaza into Israel in addition to securing the safe release of Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit who was captured by Palestinian groups last June 25.
Since Thursday, Israel has managed to kill 23 Palestinians in both air and land operations. Several of those killed were members of military groups, including Hamas’ Izzedin Al Qassam Brigades. A number of innocent civilians also lost their lives in the operation including a 15-year-old bystander. Several dozen others were wounded in the raids.