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Occupied Palestine and Israel: News and Articles

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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.

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.

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...

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...

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]

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

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.

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".

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.

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.

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)

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...

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....

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...

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.

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...

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.

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.

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...

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...

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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...

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
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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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. ”

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.

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...

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..."

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.

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
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.

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)...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

"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?..."

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

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. ”

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.

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...."

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.

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."

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.

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.

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...

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...

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

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 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.

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."

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 Kull...


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.

Boycotting Myself?
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
Ha’aretz 10/19/2006
      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.

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