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Occupied Palestine and Israel: News and Articles

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Israeli fire rakes Gaza beach killing 14 people
The Daily Star 6/10/2006
Single strike wipes out entire family -- Seven members of a Palestinianfamily, including three children, were killed on a day out at the seaside in the Gaza Strip Friday when they came under fire from Israeli gunboats and artillery. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the "bloody massacres. " The deaths on the beachfront in the Sudaniyya area of the narrow coastal territory raised the death toll from Israeli strikes to 14 in less than 24 hours with the other seven killed in air raids, according to medical sources. Around 35 other people were wounded in the firing off the coast of Gaza... Medical sources said that all those killed at the beach were members of the Ghali family from Gaza. ... The victims had been bathing on the coast on the traditional Muslim day of rest on one of the hottest days of the year.

Hamas Military Wing Calls Off Israel Truce
The Guardian 6/10/2006
BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip (AP) - Hamas militants called off a truce with Israel on Friday after a barrage of Israeli artillery shells tore into Palestinians at a beachside picnic in the Gaza Strip, killing seven civilians. The declaration raised the prospect of a new wave of bloodshed. Hamas militants suspended a campaign of deadly suicide attacks on Israelis with a February 2005 cease-fire, and have largely stuck to the truce. The Islamic group now leads the Palestinian government. ``The earthquake in the Zionist towns will start again and the aggressors will have no choice but to prepare their coffins or their luggage,'' the Hamas militants said in a leaflet. ``The resistance groups... will choose the proper place and time for the tough, strong and unique response. "

'Dad died in my arms'
YNet News 6/10/2006
Wiham Ralia lost his father, a stepmother, 3 sisters and a brother in IDF artillery strike on Gaza beach; In interview with Ynet he and his sister speak of their ordeal from a Gaza hospital -- Story of family eradicated in strike on Gaza beach: Wiham Ralia, 20, and his two sisters, Latifa, 11, and Hadil, 8, stayed alive after the rest of their family vanished in Friday's shelling strike on a Gaza beach. "Soon after the explosions cries were heard and there was a terrible smell of death. My father died in my arms," Ralia said. Photos of his sister Hadil weeping by her father's body touched of condemnation worldwide. "When the shells landed, everyone cried and ran away," Hadil told Ynet.... Baby trams, tables, and ripped umbrellas stained with blood, were evidence of the horror that took place on the beach.

Massive air strike of northern Gaza: at least two killed and fifty injured
Ma'an News 6/9/2006
Gaza-Ma'an-Eyewitnesses have confirmed that dozens of Palestinian citizens have been killed or injured when Israeli war jets attacked the beach of Gaza on Friday afternoon. Palestinian medical sources in Kamal Adwan and Awdah hospitals in northern Gaza said that at least two Palestinians had been killed and approximately 50 injured. The injured were being treated at the above hospitals. Earlier, eyewitnesses told Ma'an that at least three Palestinian citizens belonging to one family had been killed and four members of the Al Quds Brigades, the military wing affiliated to Islamic Jihad, were injured in an air raid that targeted the car they were travelling in near the entrance to Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

Dozens of Israeli settlers wreak havoc on streets of Bethlehem District
Palestine News Network 6/9/2006
Israeli settlers from Gosh Atzion Settlement to the southwest of Bethlehem tore through the streets of Bethlehem area villages Friday. The settlers were protesting their inability to use more of Palestinian lands for their own streets, as per Israeli forces. To the south and east of Bethlehem were hit hardest by these settlers, which under international law, are all illegally present in occupied Palestinian lands, however with the full blessing, financial and military compensation of the Israeli government. All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The settlers are complaining that the route to Jerusalem, which is the slated capital of the future Palestinian state and is off-limits to most Palestinians, now takes them 20 minutes on the eastern rural street.

Hamas to Abbas: Cancel referendum
AlJazeera 6/9/2006
The Hamas-led Palestinian government has made a last-minute appeal to the Palestinian president to abandon a proposed referendum on statehood that would implicitly recognise Israel. Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian prime minister, on Friday asked Mahmoud Abbas to back down for the sake of Palestinian unity after Israel's killing overnight of Jamal Abu Samhadana, a leader of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) group who was also appointed by Hamas to serve as a senior security chief. The Palestinian president will hold a referendum on July 31 on the statehood proposal, officials say. Abbas signed a decree on Friday to hold the controversial referendum, sources in his office said. The plan favours a two-state solution to end the conflict with Israel.

PM Haniyeh's letter to Abbas: a referendum is illegal and will just further divide the Palestinians
Ma'an News 6/9/2006
Gaza-Ma'an-Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh has sent a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in which he warns of the consequences of declaring a referendum and of its results on the Palestinian political reality. In his letter Haniyeh said that the referendum has no constitutional or legal basis and cannot be carried out on such crucial and fateful issues. He added that it would have been better if the Palestinians were asked for their opinion after the Oslo Accords as that was a very important agreement and formed an important step in Palestinian life. In his letter Haniyeh said that the current reality is full of expectations, hopes and pains and "we were chosen to carry this responsibility together and to steer the 'boat' together; that demands us to be patient and to cooperate in this mission".

48 residents of Jenin forced to spend night in Bethlehem after being refused passage through Za'atarah
Ma'an News 6/9/2006
Bethlehem-Ma'an-Bethlehem governor Salah Tamari hosted 48 Palestinian citizens from the Jenin area after Israeli forces stationed at the Za'atarah barrier near Nablus forced them to turn back on Thursday evening. The governor condemned the Israeli act that meant the Palestinians were forced to travel to Bethlehem although they were citizens of Jenin. The citizens, that included men, women and children, were forced by the soldiers to stay in the bus they had come in from Beit Shemesh in Israel and drive to Bethlehem. The group had been working in a farm in the Israeli town of Beit Shemesh. An Israeli military jeep accompanied the bus all the way to Bethlehem to ensure they did reach Bethlehem rather than returning to Jenin where they live.

Death on the beach: seven Palestinians killed as Israeli shells hit family picnic
The Guardian 6/10/2006
A barrage of Israeli artillery shells rained down on a busy Gaza beach yesterday, killing seven Palestinians, three of them children. The attack put further strain on the 16-month truce between Israel and the governing Hamas movement. Witnesses described several explosions that also injured dozens of other people who lay on the beach, screaming and pleading for help. Some ran into the sea for fear of more shells hitting the sands at Beit Lahia, in the north of the Gaza strip. Among the dead were three children, aged one, three, and 10. Their sister was swimming and survived. The beach was packed with picnicking families enjoying the Muslim day of rest, and the explosions landed among them, scattering body parts along the dunes.

7 Palestinian civilians killed when IDF shell hits Gaza beach
Ha'aretz 6/10/2006
Seven Palestinians at a family picnic were killed Friday when an errant Israel Defense Forces artillery shell apparently slammed into a beach in the northern Gaza Strip. Some 40 others were wounded. A woman and two young children, aged six months and 18 months, as well as a young teenager were among the dead, medical officials said. All of the dead were believed to be related. The IDF apologized for the incident, saying it "regretted the strike on innocents. "In the wake of the shelling, the military wing of the ruling Palestinian Hamas party said that it would renew suicide bombings in Israel, ending the truce that the group declared last year. "The earthquake in the Zionist towns will start again and the aggressors will have no choice but to prepare their coffins or their luggage," Hamas militants declared in a leaflet.

Hamas ends truce after Israeli attack
AlJazeera 6/10/2006
Hamas has observed a 16-month-old truce with Israel -- Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has shelved a 16-month-old truce with Tel Aviv after Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip killed 10 people, including women and children on a family beach outing. "The Israeli massacres represent a direct opening battle and that means the earthquake in the Zionist cities will resume and the herds of occupiers have no choice but to prepare the coffins or the departing luggage," Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said on Friday. Israeli air strikes and artillery fire killed 10 Palestinians on Friday, the highest Palestinian toll in a single day since late 2004, Palestinian officials said.... Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, confirmed the group would renew its attacks.

Ghalia family lost six members in shelling, in 2005 they lost four
Ha'aretz 6/10/2006
The hardest hit in the Israel Defense Forces artillery strike on a Gaza beach Friday was the Ghalia family, which lost six members, among them the father, one of his two wives, an infant boy and an 18-month-old girl. Less than two years ago, four members of the family were killed when IDF shell hit the family farm in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahia. The military had been targeting the area in response to Palestinian mortar fire. Ali Ghalia, a Palestinian farmer, had taken his two wives and nine children on a trip to the beach, and the family was enjoying a picnic when the IDF artillery shell hit them. "This was his first day at the beach this summer. He was taking his kids to play. It's destiny," said Nasreen Ghalia, a sister-in-law of the father.

In pictures: Gaza violence
BBC 6/9/2006
Five photigraphs - Palestinians display a bloodstained sheet on the beach -- Several Palestinian civilians, including three children, died from shellfire as they were picnicking on a northern Gaza beach on Friday.

Settlers in Hebron fire at Palestinian car and attack civilians
Ma'an News 6/9/2006
Hebron - Settlers in Hebron fired on Thursday evening at a Palestinian 'Mercedes' vehicle in Karm Sour Street moderately injuring the car's driver, Omar Hinihin. Palestinian security sources reported that settlers also attacked the civilian Samir Shabanah in front of his house in the Old City of Hebron and beat him up before taking him to the Municipality in the Old City. [end]

Temporary checkpoint set up north of Salfit
Ma'an News 6/9/2006
Salfit-Ma'an-Israeli forces erected a temporary checkpoint at the entrance to Jama'een, a town north of Salfit on Friday. Eyewitnesses said that the Palestinian citizens were obliged to use other roads because of subsequent delays. They also condemned the Israeli measures, particularly the erection of the checkpoints which prevent them from going easily to their work and jobs. [end]

Three Palestinians arrested on charges of affiliation to Islamic Jihad and Fatah
Ma'an News 6/9/2006
Bethlehem -- Israeli forces arrested early on Friday morning three "wanted" Palestinians. Israeli sources reported that the Israeli forces arrested one citizen from Jenin on charges of affiliation to the Islamic Jihad Movement, while in the city of Nablus, the Israeli forces arrested another Palestinian youth for his affiliation to the Fatah Movement. The sources added that the Israeli forces arrested a third citizen from a village south of the city of Hebron, claiming that he was affiliated to the Islamic Jihad Movement. [end]

Youth arrested in Nablus on charges of affiliation with Al Aqsa
Ma'an News 6/9/2006
Nablus-Ma'an-Israeli forces arrested Aboud Bastami, 22, in Nablus city in the north of the West Bank on Friday afternoon. The Ma'an reporter said that many Israeli military cars and vehicles raided the Maskh area of Nablus on Friday and broke into Bastami's house, searched it and then arrested Aboud Bastami claiming that he is an Al Aqsa Brigades' member. The Al Aqsa Brigades are the military wing affiliated to Fatah. Israeli sources said that there was an exchange of fire between Palestinian fighters and Israeli forces when Bastami was arrested. No injuries in either side reported. [end]

Two Palestinian projectiles land in Sderot; no injuries
Ma'an News 6/9/2006
Bethlehem -- Israeli sources reported early on Friday morning that two Palestinian homemade projectiles had landed in the Israeli town of Sderot after being launched from the northern Gaza Strip. The sources added that one of the homemade projectiles slightly damaged an Israeli residential building while the second homemade projectile fell in an open area. No injuries were reported. The sources reported that the Israeli forces were expecting Palestinian homemade projectiles to be launched intensively from the Gaza Strip on Friday after the leader of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), Jamal Abu Samhadana, was assassinated when Israeli jets fired three missiles at a site belonging to the PRC on Thursday. [end]

Israeli forces assassinate Abu Jamal Smahdanh in Rafah last night, funerals, demonstrations and prayers resonate throughout Palestine
Palestine News Network 6/9/2006
Israeli forces killed Abu Jamal Smahdanh last night in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah. Thousands walked in his funeral and that of three colleagues today. Some 3,000 Palestinians demonstrated in the northern West Bank city of Nablus against Thursday night’s Israeli assassination of Smahdanh. This is no small escalation on the part of the Israelis to kill such a man. He was not only a high ranking member of the armed resistance, his right under international law, but also an elected member of government. He was the General Controller of the Ministry of the Interior. The General Staff of the Israeli Army declared a state of maximum alert throughout Palestine in anticipation of retaliatory reactions in the wake of the assassination of Smahdanh and three of his colleagues.

Palestinians vow revenge for militant leader's killing
The Daily Star 6/10/2006
RAFAH, Gaza Strip: Thousands of Palestinians vowed Friday to avenge the death in an Israeli air strike of a militant leader who served as an adviser to the government. Jamal Abu Samhadana, head of the Popular Resistance Committees, was killed along with three other militants just before midnight in a raid on a training camp near the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, near the Egyptian border. He was one of the most wanted of all Palestinian militants, and Israel said he had been responsible for the dozens of deaths, including the 2003 bombing of a diplomatic convoy in Gaza that left three Americans dead. He was also a close ally of the government and was originally tapped to oversee a new paramilitary force.

Extra military barriers set up around Salfit
Ma'an News 6/9/2006
Salfit -- Israeli forces tightened their military measures in the Salfit governorate on Thursday by setting up several military barriers. The Israeli forces set up one temporary military barrier at the entrance to Az-Zawiyah, a town west of the city of Salfit, and another at the entrance to Qarawat Bani Hassan, a town on the way to Az-Zawiyah, and prevented the passage of Palestinian citizens. The Israeli forces also tightened their measures at the Za'atara barrier, east of Salfit, and at the Deir Ballout barrier in the west of the city, where citizens were forced to wait for several hours. [end]

One resident arrested from Nablus
International Middle East Media Center 6/9/2006
The Israeli army invaded the West Bank city of Nablus and arrested one resident, Friday morning. Several army vehicles and troops invaded the city, shot live rounds and sound bombs at the residents' houses and arrested Abod Al Bastami, 22, after searching his house. Some of the house property and family belongings were damaged, local source. [end]

Settlers protest travel ban for Israeli cars on West Bank road
Ha'aretz 6/9/2006
Some 100 settlers from the Hebron area were making their way on foot to Jerusalem on Friday morning to protest the closure of a West Bank road to Israeli traffic. Police recently barred traffic from entering the road leading to Jerusalem from the West Bank settlements of Tekoa and Nokdim. Settlers are furious at the fact that the road's closure forces them to take a long detour in order to reach Jerusalem. Protesters marched on foot, escorted by 45 vehicles. Some of the demonstrators managed to reach Jerusalem despite the opposition of security forces. Police declared the protest "an illegal gathering," and military forces were trying to prevent additional settlers from joining the march. [end]

Protest: Let Sderot residents live
YNet News 6/9/2006
New forum initiates hunger strike opposite Defense Minister Amir Peretz's house, placing 'town for sale' signs on balconies, demand to apply evacuation-compensation law on Sderot residents who want to leave Qassam range -- The ongoing rocket fire and life in constant fear have caused many of the residents of Sderot, who have despaired of the Israel Defense Forces' operations and "politicians' disregard," to launch a civil struggle to improve their quality of life. Residents of the southern town on Thursday announced their decision to establish a new forum called "Let Sderot residents live," which will struggle to stop the firing of Qassams at the town. The residents also demanded that the State apply the evacuation-compensation law on Sderot residents wishing to leave the town.

Mysterious gunmen kill Palestinian in Khan Younis
Ma'an News 6/9/2006
Khan Younis- Ma'an-Unknown armed men killed Palestinian citizen Abdurrahman Hassan An-Naqlah, 43, and injured Ibrahim Ramadan Hijazi, 32, in the legs in Khan Younis early on Friday. The Ma'an reporter said that anonymous armed men in a Mitsubishi Jeep shot at the two men on Friday morning. The two men were transported to hospital where An-Naqlah later died. Hijazi was described as slightly injured. No side has claimed responsibility for the incident and the reasons for the shooting were not yet clear. [end]

Olmert: Palestinian referendum plan is 'meaningless'
Ha'aretz 6/10/2006
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dismissed as meaningless Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' expected call for a referendum on establishing a Palestinian state, Britain's Independent newspaper reported Friday. Olmert travels to Europe Sunday for a visit aimed at drumming up international support for his highly contentious plan to withdraw from parts of the West Bank and unilaterally draw Israel's borders with the Palestinians. He meets British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London on Monday and then flies to Paris for talks with President Jacques Chirac and others. Olmert, sworn in last month, said the plan Abbas wants to put to a vote cannot be a basis for negotiation, the newspaper said.

Al-Qaeda rejects Abbas' referendum
YNet News 6/9/2006
Al-Qaeda's number 2 al-Zawahri call on Palestinians to reject Abbas's referendum on two-state solution -- Al-Jazeera satellite channel broadcast Friday excerpts of a video tape by deputy leader of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahri, that criticized a possible referendum over a proposal calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. "I call on Muslims to reject any referendum on Palestine, because Palestine is part of the Islamic world and not subject to any compromise. " "I call upon Muslims everywhere to support the brothers in Palestine," He said mentioning armed Islamist militants, prisoners and their families. But he did not mention the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas by name as he did in an earlier tape when he criticized it for participating in elections.

State Department expresses regret over Gaza bloodshed
Ha'aretz 6/10/2006
The State Department on Friday night called for Israelis and Palestinians to show mutual restraint and avoid actions that could increase tensions following the shelling of civilian Palestinians along a beach on theGaza Strip. The U.S. expressed regret for the killing and wounding of the Palestinians in Gaza and noted that the Israeli government had also issued a statement of regret and had launched an investigation, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement. "We call on the Palestinian Authority to prevent all acts of terrorism, including the firing of missiles and rockets from Gaza," McCormack said. The U.S. has been in contact with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the government of Israel and will continue to monitor the situation closely, McCormack said.

Ambassador: Terror increased sympathy for Israel
YNet News 6/9/2006
Israel's ambassador to EU explains that Muhammad cartoons affair, London and Madrid bombings have raised awareness among Europeans to possibility of 'Muslim intifada' -- BRUSSELS – Israel's Ambassador to the European Union Oded Eran said in a Ynet interview Thursday that "in European countries there is greater awareness nowadays to remarks voiced during sermons in the mosques in their territories and they are following this issue much closely than in the past. " "If we look at the way Europe dealt with the issue two years ago, we can definitely see a change in its approach. On the cartoon issue, European countries have told the Muslims 'no more. ' They insisted on the freedom of speech principle and conveyed it in legislation," Eran said.

Abbas cancels his visit to Indonesia
Ma'an News 6/9/2006
Indonesia -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cancelled on Friday morning his visit to Indonesia because of the internal situation of the Palestinian people. The Indonesian Foreign Minister said that Abbas had cancelled his visit scheduled for 23 June 2006. Abbas was scheduled to meet with the Indonesian president, Susilo Yudhoyono, in order to discuss the Middle East peace process. [end]

Haniya calls for international law and UN resolutions in interview with Israeli daily
Palestine News Network 6/9/2006
In an interview published in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya, reportedly gave conditions for a long-term ‘truce,’ with the Israelis. The Hamas member said that his party's solution is to establish a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state on 1967 borders with its capital Jerusalem and the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees to whatever lands were taken from them. Each of Haniya's points is exactly in keeping with international law and long-standing United Nations resolutions. And although none of these basic requests fall outside of common knowledge, international law, or common sense if one wants to see any semblance of 'peace,' one does not expect that the Israelis will change their tune after all these years of occupation and abide international law. [end]

Meshaal backs continued dialogue on subject of Prisoners' Document
Ma'an News 6/9/2006
Ma'an-The president of Hamas' political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, said during his meeting with the Syrian foreign minister, Walid Al Muallim, that he backed the continuation of inter-Palestinian dialogue on the basis of the Prisoners' Document. Al Muallim confirmed Syria's wish for all possible efforts to be taken for the sake of strengthening Palestinian national unity and lifting the blockade imposed on the Palestinian people. He also reiterated Syria's continued support for the Palestinians' democratic choice. [end]

Sit-in in Amman protesting Olmert's visit to Jordan
Ma'an News 6/9/2006
Amman -- Dozens of Jordanian citizens arranged a sit-in in a square in front of the Jordanian Professional Syndicates' headquarters in Amman on Thursday afternoon in order to express their rejection to the visit of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, to Amman. In a common statement, the National Assembly of the Jordanian Professional Syndicates and the High Coordination Committee of the Jordanian opposition parties said: "We consider the visit of Olmert to Amman a provocation to the Jordanians' feelings who reject relations with Israel and consider such moves a waste of the interests of Jordan and the Arab and Islamic nation".

Showdown Over Divestment Resolution Set for Upcoming Presbyterian Parley
Forward 6/9/2006
A group of Presbyterian activists is ramping up efforts to reverse their church's policy advocating divestment from Israel, setting the stage for a showdown over the issue at next week's General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). When the more than 500 national delegates convene June 15-22 in Birmingham, Ala. , for the 217th General Assembly, they will be presented with a trove of proposals — known as "overtures" — calling on the church to rescind its current divestment policy. That policy, enacted two years ago at the last General Assembly, called on the church to begin "phased selective divestment in multinational corporations in Israel. "A firestorm of debate has raged within the church's 173 presbyteries.... since the divestment measure first passed in July 2004.

Annan: Lebanon must respect Israel's hold of Shebaa Farms
Ha'aretz 6/10/2006
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has sent a letter to Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora saying that Beirut should honor Israeli presence in the disputed border area called the Shebaa Farms as long as a border demarcation agreement between Lebanon and Syria has not been signed. The letter was sent on Tuesday and was published by the Lebanese press on Friday. In the letter Annan told Siniora that "notwithstanding any [diplomatic] steps that might be taken regarding the Sheba'a farmlands, I would expected that - the Lebanese authorities will continue to accept and respect the Blue Line in its entirety. "The Blue Line demarcates the de-facto border between Lebanon and Israel.

Peretz, Halutz vow thorough probe
YNet News 6/9/2006
Defense Minister orders thorough investigation into shelling of Gaza beach that killed 12 civilians -- The Israel Defense Forces launched an investigation on Friday to determine the circumstances which led to the death of 12 innocent Palestinians by artillery shells that exploded on a northern Gaza beach in the afternoon. Chief of Staff Lit. -Gen. Dan Halutz ordered a halt to artillery fire into the Gaza Strip until the conclusion of the probe, after consultations with Defense Minister Amir Peretz. Peretz said the reluctance of terror cells to continue firing Qassam rockets into Israel led to the latest escalation, but expressed his deepest regrets for the incident... "... Israel has no intention of fighting the Palestinian people but of fighting terror and it will continue to do just that," Peretz said.

Morocco's King Mohammed proposes mediation to Palestinians
Ha'aretz 6/9/2006
RABAT - Morocco's King Mohammed on Friday voiced concern about chaos in the Palestinian territories and offered his mediation towards ending the conflict. Morocco played a role in the 1990s in brokering secret peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis. In a telephone call to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Mohammed reiterated Morocco's support for an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, the state news agency MAP added. MAP quoted Mohammed as "expressing his concern about the situation in the Palestinian territories and informing Abbas about his determination to pursue his mediation. "

US Consul-General launches "Food for Work" programme in Beit Fajar
Ma'an News 6/9/2006
Bethlehem-Ma'an-The US Consul-General to Jerusalem, Jacob Walles, visited Beit Fajar, south of Bethlehem, on Thursday in order to confirm America's continued nutritional support for the Palestinian people. The Ma'an correspondent reported that the Consul visited Beit Fajar's community centre where he met with some of the participants of a workshop that forms part of a US-led programme entitled "Food for Work". The workshops offer training on issues such as nutrition, hygiene and healthcare and the participants receive food in exchange for taking part. [end]

Bush Overture To Iran Splits Israel, Neocons
Forward 6/9/2006
Olmert Asks Groups To Keep Low Profile -- WASHINGTON — The Bush administration's offer to open direct talks with Iran and reward Tehran if it stops enriching uranium is exposing a policy rift between neoconservatives on one hand, and the Israeli government and Jewish organizations on the other. Neoconservative analysts are blasting the administration, saying that holding talks with the Islamic regime would serve only to embolden it and undermine the anti-fundamentalist opposition in Iran. They argue that America's ultimate goal should be to change Tehran's theocratic regime. "The administration can't have it both ways. They can't embrace the regime and still talk about liberty for the Iranian people," said Iran analyst Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute...

Aide: Abbas to call referendum despite bloodshed in Gaza
Ha'aretz 6/10/2006
Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was on Saturday set to order a referendum on a statehood proposal that implicitly recognises Israel despite bloodshed that prompted Hamas rivals to vow renewed attacks on Israelis, officials said. Officials of Abbas's Fatah movement said he was determined to go ahead despite what he called "a bloody massacre" in Gaza and the Hamas decision to abandon the truce. "Any more delay will only lead to increased Israeli-Palestinian and Palestinian-Palestinian bloodshed," said one Fatah official. Abbas is expected to call for the vote to be held by July 31... Egypt: 'Unacceptable' strike on Gaza civilians contravenes international law..

PLC member Qaraqi' backs the Prisoners' Document as first Palestinian-led initiative since 2002
Ma'an News 6/9/2006
PLC member Issa Qaraqi' has said that the prisoners' document is the first Palestinian initiative since 2002 when the Saudi monarch spearheaded the Arab Initiative in Beirut. Israel rejected this initiative. In a statement issued on Friday, Qaraqi' said that, in the current situation where the political horizon is blocked, the negotiations broken off and Israeli is trying to implement its unilateral plans, the prisoners' initiative has ended the political freezing and formed a response to the Israeli allegations that there is no Palestinian partner. The PLC member also said that the document is trying to find common ground with the Hamas position and calls for a commitment to Arab and international law in accordance with the fourth Geneva Convention.

Abbas's political gambit
Christian Science Monitor 6/9/2006
A two-state solution is implicit in a referendum that the Palestinian leader is likely to promote Saturday. -- JERUSALEM – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected Saturday to issue a decree that would set in motion a referendum on a document penned by prominent Palestinian prisoners on statehood that implicitly recognizes Israel. The Islamist Hamas Party rejects the proposal to take the question to the streets. Hamas insists that January's election, which swept it to power, speaks for itself. The call to hold a referendum on the prisoner manifesto is a bold gambit by Mr. Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, who has been running low on options since the election of Hamas, which refuses to deal with Israel or forgo militancy against it.

Fatah Youth condemn imprisonment of their Jerusalemite staff
Ma'an News 6/9/2006
Jerusalem-Ma'an- The Fatah Youth Organization in the city of Jerusalem has condemned the recent decision of the Israeli Central Court to imprison a number of the organisation's staff, including the head of the organization in the city, Yasir Qara'ain, who was arrested a year ago on charges of working with Palestinian security apparatuses. In a statement, the organization confirmed that this decision has political motives and does not take into consideration the legal side to the Palestinian-Israeli agreements and the peace treaty between the two sides that arranged for the work of the Palestinian security apparatuses and recognized them. The organisation also stressed the legitimacy of the Palestinian security apparatuses as being executive apparatuses that guarantee Palestinian society's stability and security.

The People of Bil’in Honour Journalists
International Solidarity Movement 6/9/2006
At 13:00 today the people of Bil’in started their weekly march to protest the apartheid wall which is being built on their land. The march started with around 100 Palestinians and 40 internationals and Israeli activists who attended in solidarity with the locals to support their resistance. The people started the march as usual singing and chanting different Palestinian songs and slogans. The theme of the protest was centred around a memorial box bearing the names of all the journalists who were killed by the Israeli occupation forces during the second intifada. This was erected at the gate in Bil’in as a memorial to remember those journalists. Once the march arrived to the usual confrontation point, border police and army were already waiting for the march to prevent people from getting to their lands.

Khaleej Times: ‘You will be killed for this’
International Solidarity Movement/Khaleej Times 6/9/2006
The little girl clung to my hand, her backpack falling down one arm as she tried to climb the steep stairs on her way to school. She was dressed in a checked uniform with a grey hijab pushed to the back of her head, her shiny black hair peaking out the front. She was scared. At the bottom of the steps were two Israeli police vans, a jeep and several soldiers standing around watching. On a good day when we escort the children, we are met with just swear words as the settler children march down to their school across the road from the Palestinian girl’s school. Their parents walk them to school with Uzis strapped across their chests, a civilian terrorist squad whose presence has made many of the original owners, the Palestinians, leave.

Unwelcome Visitors in the Night
International Solidarity Movement 6/9/2006
Tonight at about 10pm seven Israeli soldiers came to our apartment and knocked on the door. They wanted to come in, and I told them no, they couldn’t. They asked why, I told them that we do not allow guns in our home and that if they wanted to come in, they’d have to leave their guns outside. One of them said something smelled bad outside. Usually it’s the plumbing here… it’s not quite as good as Israelis are used to. I suggested to him that maybe he farted? This caused the soldiers to laugh, and the soldier denied it. They asked me again to let them in, and, again, I told them no. Then I closed the window on the door. They banged on it for maybe about five more minutes and then left. About an hour later I got a call from someone saying they ransacked a neighbors house.

Bil'in residents, peace activists protest against the Wall call for solidarity with journalist subje
International Middle East Media Center 6/9/2006
Hundreds of Palestinian residents, Israel and International peace activists protested on Friday against Israel's annexation Wall in the West Bank village of Bil'in, near Ramallah, and expressed their support and solidarity with local and international journalists subjected to the continuous Israeli violations and attacks. Abdullah Abu Rahma, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, informed the IMEMC that the protest started by a speech welcoming the journalists and talking about the dangers and violations they are subjected to. Mohammad Abu Rahma, member of the Popular Committee Against the Wal, member of Bil'in village council, spoke about the reporters, the dangers and violations they are subjected to during their coverage...

The state of insecurity intensifies, resulting in the killing of three Palestinians, injuring of two and kidnapping of two
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights 6/8/2006
Three Palestinians were killed, two injured and two kidnapped in separate incidents, an indication of the ongoing state of insecurity which threatens the life of citizens and the internal safety within Palestinian society. According to Al Mezan field investigations, at 6am on June 8th armed persons in a brown Mercedes kidnapped Jihad Abu Neqira and Ahmad Abu Neqira in front of Al Najjar Hospital in Rafah; they were taken to unknown location. On June 7th at approximately 7 pm, Jawdat Doghmosh, 32, was murdered by an armed person in Al Karama Towers in north Gaza, at around 11pm armed clashes erupted...

Al Mezan condemns IOF offensive that killed three Palestinians and injured six
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights 6/8/2006
The IOF shelled a security post east of Shija’aya neighborhood in Gaza City on Wednesday, killing three Palestinians and injuring six, among them a child. The IOF resumed sporadic shelling of different areas in northern Gaza in an attempt to force citizens from their houses. According to Al Mezan’s fieldworkers, on June 7th at approximately 8. 30pm, Israeli military tanks fired an artillery missile at a security post located in Shija’aya neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, killing Khader Qassem, 20, and Riyad Abu Selaa, 24, and Anwar Abu Selaa, 32 and injuring Hassan Quzaat, 30, Marwan Al Dahoudi, 38, Saad Marshoud, 50, Diana Farahat, 5, Ahmad Munir, 22, Munadil Marshoud, 17... at around 12. 05 pm, Israeli military helicopters fired two missiles at a playground.. in Al Sabrah neighborhood in Gaza City; no causalities.. reported.

ISM Freedom Summer Campaign Approaches - Slander Campaign Against ISM Stepped-Up
International Solidarity Movement 6/8/2006
Freedom Summer 2006 is nearly here. Palestinians are continuing to employ a greater variety of creative, non-violent resistance to the occupation and you’re invited to participate. Boosted by international support, including the recent advances in the boycott, sanctions and divestment campaign, Palestinian non-violent resistance is growing and needs your support! The International Solidarity Movement’s (ISM) annual Freedom Summer Campaign is a vital effort that has brought thousands of international citizens to occupied Palestine. Now it is time once again to lend your support to Palestinian non-violent resistance and join the ISM Freedom Summer Campaign set for July and August!

Weekly Report: On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,01 - 07 June 2006
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 6/9/2006
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Escalate Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) --*5 Palestinians were killed by IOF in the Gaza Strip. *Two of the victims were extra-judicially executed by IOF. *29 Palestinian civilians, including 9 children and a woman, were wounded by IOF gunfire. *IOF have continued to shell Palestinian areas in the northern Gaza Strip, wounding a number of civilians and damaging civilian property. *IOF conducted 42 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, particularly Nablus, and one incursion into the Gaza Strip. *55 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were arrested by IOF. *A house was transformed by IOF into a military site. *IOF raided a hospital in Nablus and arrested a patient from the intensive care unit...

Haaretz: “Sweden Labels Golan Wines: Made in Occupied Syrian Land”
International Solidarity Movement/Haaretz 6/9/2006
Sweden has started to note that wines produced in the Golan Heights originate in “Israel, occupied Syrian land,” the Golan Heights Winery has informed the Israeli Embassy in Sweden. Winery sources told Haaretz that the step is unprecedented and worrisome. The embassy is investigating claims that the warning is being issued for several wines on the Web site of the Swedish government’s chain of shops that sell wine. The chain is the only Swedish body permitted to market alcoholic beverages. Swedish Jews have protested the step, claiming that the new way of listing the wines from the Golan Heights is a political move by a government body. -- See also: Sweden: 'Israeli wine made in occupied territory'

UPDATED: Israel Tunes Out: Denies entrance to piano tuner from California
International Solidarity Movement 6/9/2006
Paul Larudee: “This is something small I can do to make life under occupation just a little more bearable for people, so I do it. ” -- Today an Israeli administrative court issued an injunction preventing the deportation of Paul Larudee, a 60-year-old piano tuner from El Cerrito, until a final decision on his case. A hearing date will be set for the near future. So we will have our day in court, and Paul will be left in relative peace (no deportation attempts) until then. At least this way the state of Israel will have to explain why they are denying Larudee access to the West Bank. Paul Larudee, PhD, is one of those gifted people who can make a piano sing, and he was on his way to the occupied West Bank to tune pianos and to support Palestinian non-violent resistance to the Israeli Occupation. -- See also: Israel Tunes Out: Denies entrance to piano tuner from California

Lands burnt in Jordan Valley by Occupation Military Camps
Stop The Wall 6/6/2006
Military camps erected in the Jordan Valley were responsible for the burning of almost 20 dunums of land on Tuesday the 6th of June. Crops were burnt from light flares used by Occupation Forces to search for a missing Soldier, later seen shooting indiscriminately in Al Aqaba before turning the gun on himself in the village mosque. Villagers were placed under curfew and fire crews barred from saving the crops. The Occupation Soldier was discovered missing from the military camp stationed on the lands of Al Aqaba. Occupation Forces closed the whole area between Tobas, Tayaseer and Aqaba and set off a series of light flares. Thrown on to Palestinian fields, the flares set fire to fields in the east of Tobas in Ein Nun. The crops waiting to be harvested were destroyed, with firemen arriving at the scene barred entry to the area.

New Flashpoint: Our Struggle for Our Existence in the Jordan Valley
Stop The Wall 6/8/2006
The presentation is based on dozens of slides showing the reality of Palestinian life and struggle in the Jordan Valley. Covering all the basic facts pertaining to the area, the presentation highlights the central goals of Zionism and its relation to Israeli Apartheid and Occupation. -- To Download in English, Press Here. [7 MB]

'MySpace' Teen Persuaded to Leave Jordan
The Guardian 6/9/2006
DETROIT (AP) - A 16-year-old honor student from Michigan tricked her parents into getting her a passport and then flew off to the Mideast to be with a West Bank man she met on MySpace. com, authorities say. U.S. officials in Jordan persuaded her to turn around and go home before she reached the West Bank. She was on her way home Friday. Katherine R. Lester is a straight-A student and student council member, her father said. ``She's a good girl. Never had a problem with her,'' Terry Lester said.... Katherine apparently contacted the man from Jericho about three months ago, Jashinske said. Jericho, a city of 17,000, is a relatively calm area of the volatile West Bank.

UNRWA director warns of deteriorating conditions in the Gaza Strip
Ma'an News 6/9/2006
Gaza -- Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, John Ging, has warned of a deterioration in the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, especially while the world is busy with the political and security situation in the territories. Ging's statement came after a week of field visits in many areas of the Gaza Strip in which he personally assessed the situation on the ground. This international official added that the general and public societies may collapse if a quick solution cannot be found, especially in regard to the financial situation as a result of the siege imposed on the Palestinian territories. Ging called for the Quartet to implement the mechanism it assigned almost a month ago in regard to how to send aid to the Palestinian territories. [end]

Zim orders 8 ships for USD 1 billion
YNet News 6/8/2006
Zim continues its buying spree, aimed at doubling its business. After purchasing 12 ships from the Ofer Brothers Group and leasing 12 more, Zim signs a huge deal with Hyundai shipyard to purchase 8 container mega ships -- The board of directors of the Israeli Zim Shipping Services company approved on Wednesday a huge deal to purchase 8 mega container ships from the Korean Hyundai shipyard. The new generation ships, which are the newest trend, are said to dominate the shipping line market in the near future. According to the contract, Zim will buy four ships capable of carrying 8,200 containers and four ships capable of carrying 10,000 containers. The deal is worth USD 1 billion, and Hyundai will provide the ships in the second half of 2009.

Curfew follows al-Zarqawi killing
AlJazeera 6/9/2006
The Iraqi authorities have placed Baghdad under a partial curfew in the wake of the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. The curfew bans all vehicles from moving along the streets of Baghdad and nearby Baquba - where al-Zarqawi was killed - between 11am (0700 GMT) and 5pm, coinciding with Friday prayers. An Iraqi defence ministry official said: "The curfew is a measure to keep people in doors as there could be more bombings like the ones last night, following al-Zarqawi's death. "Three bombs killed 26 people in predominantly Shia areas of Baghdad on Thursday. In other developments, a senior US military spokesman has disclosed that a mortally wounded al-Zarqawi, still alive after a US air strike on his hideout, mumbled briefly and attempted to "turn away off the stretcher" he had been placed on by Iraqi police.

Oil prices rise as Iran accelerates uranium enrichment
The Daily Star 6/10/2006
(AFP) -- SINGAPORE: Oil prices were higher in Asian trade Friday on reports that Iran has accelerated uranium enrichment, dampening hopes of a resolution to Tehran's controversial nuclear program, dealers said. At 10:20 a. m. (0220 GMT), New York's main contract, light sweet crude for July delivery, was up $0. 20 to $70. 55 a barrel from its close of $70. 35 in the United States on Thursday. Brent North Sea crude for July delivery was at $69. 22, up $0. 17. The UN atomic agency said Iran accelerated enrichment on the same day EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana visited Tehran to present a package of benefits to be discussed if Iran would suspend uranium enrichment.

Bush: Iran has 'weeks not months' to weigh incentives
The Daily Star 6/10/2006
French President Jacques Chirac and British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Friday said that the international community "cannot accept" Iran's nuclear program, saying it could lead to the development of nuclear arms. On another front, US President George W. Bush said on Friday Iran "has weeks, not months" to respond to an offer of incentives to suspend its nuclear enrichment program. Bush's comments represent the first clear deadline for Iran to give an answer. In Paris, Chirac and Blair said both countries in agreement in their aim to bring about a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the crisis. Failure by Tehran to suspend the program is threatening the long-term stability of the Middle East region, they added. "We call upon the Iranian authorities to cooperate fully with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and to suspend their activities connected with enrichment, including research and development.

Berri seeks Arab mediation to bury hatchet with Syria
The Daily Star 6/10/2006
BEIRUT: Speaker Nabih Berri pleaded from Cairo on Friday for an Arab initiative that will restore Lebanese-Syrian relations and help Beirut implement its national dialogue decisions. "With all my heart, I plead Egypt, the biggest Arab state, to create an Arab initiative to help Lebanon implement the dialogue's decision and restore its ties with Syria," Berri said upon his arrival in Cairo. Berri's visit comes a day before Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz is expected to deliver his report to UN chief Kofi Annan on the UN probe into the murder of former Premier Rafik Hariri.

Nasrallah paved way for calm dialogue session
The Daily Star 6/10/2006
A source within the March 14 Forces said that while the national dialogue has become a means of easing tension among political forces, the people should not have high expectations about the outcome of the talks. The source said any solution to the country's problems cannot be reached now, particularly since the international community's attention is focused on Iran's nuclear program, Iraq and Palestine. Meanwhile, regional and Arab support is desperately needed to resolve the presidential crisis and the issue of Hizbullah's arms, but the concerned Arab states have said any initiative will only be possible after a solidification of the region's security. Accordingly, Lebanese officials must work to ease internal tensions until regional developments are such that international pressures are relieved.

Survey shows Muslim women want right to vote
The Daily Star 6/10/2006
NEW YORK: Muslim women do not mind the veil but want to vote as they wish, according to a survey released this week, in which respondents did not feel oppression in Muslim countries. Lebanon had the highest proportion of women who feel they should be allowed to make their own decisions on voting, at 97 percent, followed by Egypt and Morocco, each at 95 percent. Lowest was Pakistan, with 68 percent, according to The New York Times reporting on a Gallup poll. None of the 8,000 women surveyed even mentioned the use of the headscarf or the full-length burqa in open-ended questions, the Times said. Despite the suffragist leanings, Muslim women set aside their own issues and said their countries had greater problems, such as violent extremism, corruption and lack of unity among Muslim countries.

U.S. House votes to cut $420,000 aid package to Saudi Arabia
Ha'aretz 6/10/2006
The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday took a symbolic jab at Saudi Arabia, cutting its aid package over accusations that the kingdom fuels religious extremism and violence, as it passed a $21. 3 billion foreign aid bill. The bill for next fiscal year, which is $600 million above the current level but $2. 4 billion less than President George W. Bush sought, cleared the House easily on a 373-34 vote. The Senate has not yet taken up its version of the bill. Decrying Saudi Arabia for teaching intolerance and financing terrorism, lawmakers voted 312-97 to cut the $420,000 the oil-rich kingdom receives to participate in U.S. -backed military and counter-terrorism training. "I hope my colleagues send a strong signal symbolically that enough is enough," said Rep. Joseph Crowley, a New York Democrat.

Pressures build on Saudi media
BBC 6/9/2006
The media in Saudi Arabia has begun to broach topics such as religious extremism, women's rights and unemployment that were once strictly off limits. The changes have provided new insight into what has long been one of the most closed and conservative societies in the world. In speeches broadcast on Saudi television, King Abdullah has repeated what is now the dominant message of his reign - Saudi Arabia must stamp out the threat of home-grown Islamic extremism. It is a complete switch after decades of denial that Saudi Arabia had any such problem. It was the involvement of Saudi citizens in 9/11 that forced the reversal. The Saudi media changed, too - as for the first time it began to examine issues that had once been hidden.

Cyprus vetoes Turkey's talks to gain EU entry
The Guardian 6/10/2006
Foreign ministers fail to agree common approach · Muslim country's reforms and economy in difficulty -- Talks between Turkey and the EU over the largely Muslim country's entry to the world's biggest trading bloc headed for collapse at the first hurdle last night after Cyprus torpedoed a deal to kick-start the stalled negotiations. After signing up for a late-night compromise on Thursday, designed to allow formal accession talks with Turkey's foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, to go ahead on Monday, the republic of Cyprus unpicked the agreement on the least contentious issue of science and research - the first of 35 negotiating "chapters". ... crisis talks among EU ambassadors got under way before ending in deadlock.

London chemical bomb suspects freed
AlJazeera 6/10/2006
Some 250 officers were involved in last Thursday's raid -- British police say they have freed without charge two brothers who were arrested in an anti-terrorist raid in east London last week, in which one of them was shot. Mohammed Abdul Kahar, 23, who is recovering from a gun-shot wound, and Abul Koyair, 20, were released on Friday after being held for questioning at a high security prison since police swooped on their house at dawn a week ago. The house in the ethnically mixed area of Forest Gate in east London that police suspected of being used for making a chemical bomb was raided by more than 250 officers.

Fall of Mogadishu leaves US policy in ruins
The Guardian 6/10/2006
It was a rout. After months of fighting that left hundreds dead Mogadishu fell suddenly this week: pick-up trucks with mounted machine-guns and young warriors scrambled to leave the city. The victors broadcast a triumphant announcement that the warlords had been ousted. In their place a relatively disciplined militia promised order and security after 15 years of mayhem. At a victory rally a militia leader, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, made another promise: to create an Islamic state. Mogadishu is now largely ruled by the Islamic Courts Union, a powerful movement that advocates a strict version of sharia law, including public executions, and has alleged ties to al-Qaida terrorists. The Horn of Africa, say some analysts, has just acquired its own Taliban.

Banks move into Islamic finance
BBC 6/9/2006
Egypt's Hosni Mubarak addresses the meeting in Sharm al-SheikhThe dramatic growth of Islamic banking and finance appeared to have been confirmed during the recent World Economic Forum in Sharm al-Sheikh in Egypt. One of Germany's biggest banks, Deutsche Bank, announced a joint venture with Ithmaar Bank of Bahrain and Abraaj Capital of Dubai to launch a $2bn (£1bn) Sharia-compliant financial fund. The banks say the fund is designed to boost education initiatives and investment in media and energy companies, and infrastructure in the Middle East. More and more conventional international banks, such as Citibank, HSBC and UBS, are converting some of their services to interest-free Islamic finance models.


The Issue Is Not Whether Hamas Recognises Israel
By Henry Siegman, MIFTAH 6/9/2006
      Israel and Palestine: What hope there may still be for avoiding a complete meltdown in the Palestinian occupied territories, not to speak of the hope of ever achieving a two-state solution, lies not with the initiative by Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority president, to put the two-state formula to a popular referendum but with the ruling Hamas movement’s refusal to play by Israel’s old rules. Those rules have in effect eliminated the prospect of viable Palestinian statehood and were intended to achieve that end.
     Hamas is determined that Palestinian recognition of Israel will not come about without Israel’s recognition of Palestinian national rights, and that only an end to the occupation and Israel’s acceptance of the principle that no changes in the pre-1967 borders can occur without Palestinian agreement (a principle enshrined in the road map that Israel pretends to have accepted) will constitute such recognition.
     The most widely respected Israeli security expert, Efraim Halevy, believes Israeli and American efforts to overthrow the Hamas regime are misguided. A hawk who headed Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, under five prime ministers and served as Ariel Sharon’s national security adviser, Mr Halevy is convinced these efforts damage Israel’s vital interests.
     His view shocked members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations when Mr Halevy addressed them recently in New York. He has held it for some time. In September 2003, he said Israel should signal to Hamas that if it “enter[s] the fabric of the Palestinian establishment, we will not view that as a negative development. I think that in the end there will be no way around Hamas being a partner in the Palestinian government”. At that time, when Hamas had the support of only a fifth of the Palestinian population, Mr Halevy said: “Anyone who thinks it is possible to ignore such a central element of Palestinian society is simply mistaken.” How much more so today, when Hamas enjoys majority support.

The dreaded blowback from a Palestinian civil war
By Abdel Monem Said Aly, The Daily Star 6/10/2006
      At the height of the second intifada, in October 2002, I was one of those who called publicly upon the Palestinian National Authority to dissolve itself. At the time, it seemed to me that the PNA's legitimacy was being undermined by two opposing forces: on the one hand, Hamas and the other radical movements, Islamic and non-Islamic; on the other, Israel.
     The first made it impossible for the PNA to fulfill its obligations under Palestinian-Israeli agreements for preventing the use of force against Israel, whether through terrorism or resistance. The second, by building settlements and reoccupying Palestinian territories, made it impossible for the PNA to be the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. It was one of those ironies of history in which two arch enemies work in unison to achieve the same strategic goal: ending the possibility of a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli question.
     My appeal at the time was meant to affirm that the Oslo process had in practice come to an end. Israel, the international community and the different Palestinian forces, including Hamas, would once again face the same strategic choices they had encountered before the Oslo process was launched.
     Yet the PNA, having failed in substance, nevertheless remained resilient in form. Whether under the leadership of Yasser Arafat or Mahmoud Abbas, the PNA lost its powers to manage both Palestinian lives and the Palestinian cause. The Israeli propensity for unilateral steps, including building the separation wall and the success of Hamas in the Palestinian parliamentary elections, opened the door for a fundamental realignment in the Palestinian situation: the PNA, built upon the legitimacy of the Oslo process, is now led by a force that is in total opposition to this process. In fact, as Hamas became the leader of the Palestinian people, not only did the Oslo process come into question and not only was the two-state solution put to a test, but the entire peaceful approach to the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict may have reached its end.

Constitutional chauvinism
By Azem Bishara, Ha'aretz 6/10/2006
      A family is an entire world. But instead of making every effort to guard the right to a family life, the High Court of Justice decision regarding the petitions against the Citizenship Law confirmed the invasion, rending and destruction of this personal world by the state. This is a generalization, since in Israel of 2006 the right to a family life is recognized as a constitutional right, which is entitled to protection from invasive harm on the part of the state. But that is not the case when it comes to Israel's Arab citizens who have chosen to marry partners from among their people who live under Israeli occupation. At least not according to the opinion of the majority in the High Court, which was written by the outgoing deputy president of the Supreme Court, Mishael Cheshin.
     Cheshin's opinion states that it is legitimate to prevent the reunification of Arab families, for demographic considerations of maintaining the Jewish majority. That is why its implications go beyond the issue of preventing family unification for security reasons. The security argument raised by the state in the High Court deliberations was not supported by the statistics, in addition to the fact that it is clear to most of the public that this is not the real reason.
     The citizens of the state do not have a constitutional right to dictate to the state who can be brought into it as partners, and to change the status quo that prevails in the society, wrote Cheshin. It is hard to believe he failed to see that the unification of Jews with their partners is guaranteed by the Law of Return. That is why Cheshin's words should be read as follows: Arab citizens have no right to a family life in their homeland, if this means granting legal status to their partners in Israel. The reason is that this changes the numerical ratio between Arabs and Jews, thus changing the status quo in Israel.

Whose plan is this?
By Mohamed Hakki, Al-Ahram Weekly 6/8/2006
      With more evidence emerging of US war crimes in Iraq, even hawkish critics are asking whose agenda America is following abroad
     If you listen to the Bush version of reality, columnist Bob Herbert wrote in The Washington Post last month, the president is all- powerful. In that version, he continued, we are fighting a war against terrorism, which is a war that will never end. And as long as we are at war (forever) there is no limit to the war-fighting powers the president can claim as commander-in-chief. One result is that crimes can be committed and vast cover up operations conducted without the knowledge of the American people. Ten days ago one such crime surfaced as Congressman John Murthe accused the US marines of over two dozen Iraqi civilians in Haditha. A military investigation, he said, would substantiate the allegation.
     Soon thereafter, details of the crime began to appear on the front pages of the leading dailies. The New York Times said that 24 Iraqi civilians were "killed during a sustained sweep of a small group of marines that lasted for five hours ... " The victims included women and children killed in two houses, as well as five men standing near a taxi at a checkpoint. Next, The Los Angeles Times said that photographs taken by a marine intelligence team has convinced investigators that the 24 unarmed Iraqis were killed "execution style," after a roadside bomb killed an American in November. The pictures showed wounds to the upper bodies of the victims, including several women and six children. Some were shot in the head and some in the back, congressional and Defence Department officials admitted. One government official said the pictures showed infantry marines from Camp Pendelton "suffered a breakdown in morality and leadership, with tragic results".
     Of the dead Iraqis, 19 were killed in three to four houses US marines stormed. Five others were killed near a vehicle. Time magazine, in a report published in March, quoted witnesses, including a nine-year-old girl, Eman Waleed, who said she saw marines kill her grandparents, her mother and father and other adults in the house died shielding her and her eight-year-old brother, Abdul-Rahman. The marines involved initially reported that they had become embroiled in a firefight with "insurgents". "There wasn't a gunfight, there were no pockmarked walls," a congressional aide said. "The wounds indicated execution- style [shootings]," said a Defence Department official.

Afghanistan: Drug Addiction Lucrative for Neolib Banksters, CIA
By Kurt Nimmo, Centre for Research on Globalization - Middle East 5/21/2006
      Another Day in the Empire
     "An American counternarcotics official was killed and two other Americans wounded in a suicide bombing in western Afghanistan today, while heavy fighting between Taliban insurgents and Afghan police continued in two southern provinces, officials said," reports the New York Times. "We confirm that a U.S. citizen contractor for the State Department Bureau of International Narcotic and Law Enforcement, working for the police training program in Herat was killed in a vehicle-borne I.E.D. attack," Chris Harris, an American Embassy spokesman, told the newspaper. After this mention, the Times moves on to detail the increasing violence between Afghan puppet police and "militants," that is to say Afghans fighting against the occupation of their country, an entirely natural occurrence.
     Of course, the Times does not bother to mention that the Afghan opium trade--in fact much of the opium trade in the so-called "Golden Crescent" (Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan)--was cultivated and nurtured by the United States government and the CIA, leading to countless cases of miserable heroin addiction in America and Europe. Reading the Times, we get the impression the Taliban--at one time sponsored by the CIA and Pakistan's intelligence services, so long as they were kicking Russian hindquarter--are responsible for the opium trade all on their lonesome. As usual, the Times twists the story through omission.
     "ClA-supported Mujahedeen rebels ... engaged heavily in drug trafficking while fighting against the Soviet-supported government," writes historian William Blum. "The Agency's principal client was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one of the leading druglords and a leading heroin refiner. CIA-supplied trucks and mules, which had carried arms into Afghanistan, were used to transport opium to laboratories along the Afghan/Pakistan border. The output provided up to one half of the heroin used annually in the United States and three-quarters of that used in Western Europe. U.S. officials admitted in 1990 that they had failed to investigate or take action against the drug operation because of a desire not to offend their Pakistani and Afghan allies," and also because selling heroin and spreading misery is highly profitable. In fact, the Soviets attempted to impose an opium ban on the country and this resulted in a revolt by tribal groups eventually exploited by the CIA and Pakistan.

New Chapter in Indonesia-Palestine Ties?
By Anak Agung Banyu Perwita, Palestine Chronicle 6/8/2006
      The changes of Indonesia's policy toward Palestine were pushed by the simultaneous development of its international and domestic environments.
     The one day visit of Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmud Al-Azhar to Jakarta last week has opened a new chapter of bilateral relations between Indonesia and Palestine. Indonesia has once again shown its commitment by giving financial assistance to support the state of Palestine.
     Indonesia originally began to change its policy toward Palestine in the late 1980s. The first indicator of change was signaled by President Soeharto, who, in November 1987, commemorated the International Day of the Struggle of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization). Soeharto further noted that real peace in the Middle East could be achieved only if the Palestinians had their independence, the freedom to establish their own state and the unconditional withdrawal of Israel from all occupied territories.
     When Yasser Arafat proclaimed the establishment of the Palestinian state on November 15, 1988, in Algiers, Indonesia's response was immediate. The next day, in an official statement declaring Indonesia's recognition of the Palestinian State, the Foreign Ministry said it was a clear indication of the long held support by Indonesia for the struggle of Palestine and also fitted with the preamble of the 1945 Constitution, which was aimed at abolishing colonialism and creating a world order based on independence, peace and social justice.

EDITORIAL: Palestinian Freedom Fighter Killed
Editorial, MIFTAH 6/9/2006
      Israeli military forces assassinated, late yesterday evening, the Secretary General of the Palestinian Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), Jamal Abu Samhadana, 43, in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younes, fueling an already volatile situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, and threatening to provoke violent response by the PRC, a coalition of the military wings of the various Palestinian political factions, which Abu Samhadana had established and led since the outbreak of the current Intifada in September 2000.
     Abu Samhadana had been also appointed by the Hamas-led Palestinian government last April as a senior Interior Ministry security official, a move which was met with condemnation from both Israel and the US, in addition to serious criticism by the Palestinian Presidency, most notably PLO Chairman and PA President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), who viewed the appointment as a challenge to his own mandate and an obstacle to the prospects of resuming negotiations with Israel.
     Israel’s assassination and extrajudicial killing of senior Palestinian political figures and activists has become standard policy since September 2000, and was repeatedly condemned by the international community as an illegal practice by the state of Israel, particularly in cases where innocent and unarmed civilian bystanders have been killed or injured in the attacks.

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