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Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
For those interested in keeping up with events in Palestine/Israel, there is no better digest than VTJP.

VTJP Archives | VTJP 2009
9 January, 2008

UN: Israel shelled Gaza house full of civilians
Middle East Online 1/9/2009
JERUSALEM - The United Nations on Friday cited witnesses saying Israeli forces moved about 110 Palestinians into a house, told them to stay inside, and later shelled it repeatedly, killing about 30 people. The Israeli army said it had no knowledge of such an incident but was investigating. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said an interview with the BBC that the Israeli bombing "appears to have all the elements of war crimes. " Pillay told the Geneva-based rights council that all parties to the conflict had a duty to care for the wounded and avoid targeting health workers, hospitals and ambulances. Violations of international humanitarian law may amount to war crimes for which individuals should be held accountable, she said. The 47-member council is debating a resolution condemning Israel for its actions in Gaza.

Testimony: Israeli troops open fire on those fleeing shelling
Testimony, B'Tselem, Electronic Intifada 1/9/2009
Yusef Abd al-Karim Barakeh Abu Hajaj is resident of Johr al-Dik. The following testimony was given to B’Tselem’s Atef Abu al-Rub by telephone on 6 January 2009: We live in an agricultural area in the center of the Gaza Strip, where there are not many houses. On Sunday [4 January] morning, 15 of us from the family were at home. The Israeli army was positioned 300 meters west of our house. The previous night, the army began to shell the area. Our house wasn’t hit directly. We thought that, because we don’t live in a crowded area, and no military post or governmental institution was next to us, we weren’t in danger. Around 7:00am, an Israeli tank fired at our house. We decided to leave, and went to our neighbor, Hussein al-Aydi. A little while later, we heard that the army told people to leave the houses in the area, and we decided to go to another place.

Israel Ignores U.N. Security Council Resolution
Haider Rizvi, Inter Press Service 1/10/2009
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 9(IPS) - International aid organisations, including the U. N. humanitarian agency in Palestine, are calling for the immediate implementation of the Security Council resolution passed late Thursday demanding a ceasefire in Gaza. "The Council must ensure that the words in the resolution must quickly translate into meaningful change," said Nicole Widdersheim of Oxfam International, the London-based charity that runs humanitarian operations in the occupied Palestinian territories. Thursday night, the Security Council passed a resolution calling for unimpeded provision throughout Gaza of food, fuel and medical treatment, as well as intensified international arrangements to prevent arms and ammunition smuggling. Fourteen of the Council's 15 members voted in favour of the resolution, with only the United States, a staunch ally of Israel, abstaining.

More than 260 children killed
Toni O'Loughlin in Jerusalem, The Guardian 1/10/2009
Up to one third of the people killed in Gaza are children who have nowhere to run for shelter, according to UN reports. As Israel’s soldiers and tanks have moved from farmland at Gaza’s edge into the broken-down refugee camps and towns of the territory, the child death toll has more than quadrupled. From 60 child deaths in the first eight days of aerial bombardment, the number of children who have been killed now stands at 265. Eight children were killed yesterday as the overall death toll climbed to 800 in an area that is sealed off from the world by Israel’s 18-month blockade, and is just 38 miles long and 8 miles wide. "There is no safe space in the Gaza Strip, no safe haven, no bomb shelters and the borders are closed and the civilians have no place to flee," the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a weekly report.

Settlers invade Qaryut village near Nablus, shoot 15-year-old boy
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Nablus - Ma’an - A 15-year-old Palestinian boy was shot by Israeli settlers in near the village of Qaryut south of Nablus city Friday at noon. The village is bordered by the illegal Israeli settlements of Eli to the west and Shilo to the south. Approximately ten settlers from the Shilo settlement invaded the Palestinian village, said Head of the rural council Abd Al-Nasser Al-Badawy in a telephone call to Ma’an. While in the village one of the settlers shot Yousif Musa near his home, about 100 meters into the village municipal boundaries. After firing on the boy the group fled the area. Musa was transferred to the governmental hospital in Ramallah. Head of municipal and rural affairs Ghassan Daghlas condemned the attack, which he said was part of a trend, calling the act “barbaric. ”

US congress votes to back Israel
Al Jazeera 1/9/2009
The US House of Representatives has voted to endorse a resolution backing Israel in its offensive in Gaza, in which at least 780 Palestinians have been killed. The body passed Friday’s resolution "recognising Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza" by 390 votes to five. Twenty-two members of the House voted "present", which means that they voted neither in favour or against the resolution. The measure also noted that the humanitarian situation in Gaza "is becoming more acute" but did not rebuke Israel. Dennis Kucinich, a Democratic congressman for Ohio who voted against the bill said before the vote: "I’m hopeful that we do not support the inhumanity that has been repeatedly expressed by the Israeli army. ""We must take a new direction in the Middle East, and that new direction must be mindful of the inhumane conditions in Gaza".

Israel accused of using phosphorus shells in Gaza
Middle East Online 1/9/2009
LONDON - Israel is using white phosphorus shells in its offensive on the Gaza Strip, the Times newspaper reported on Thursday, citing photographic evidence despite Israeli denials. The daily said it had identified stockpiles of white phosphorus (WP) shells from photographs taken of Israel artillery units on the border with Gaza this week. The report said Palestinian citizens had suffered burns caused by the weapons. "The use of WP against civilians is prohibited under international law," the newspaper noted. It said it had identified pale blue shells marked with the designation M825A1 as a US-made WP munition. Phosphorus ignites on contact with oxygen and, according to the Times, is being used by the Israeli military to create smokescreens to allow its ground forces to operate. Medics in Gaza told the newspaper they had been struggling to treat patients with unusual burns, which they suspected had been caused by white phosphorus.

Jawwara building, with more than 20 press offices inside, hit by Israeli missiles
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Gaza - Ma’an - Israeli airstrikes hit the Jawwara building in Gaza City on Friday afternoon. The building was home to more than 20 local, national and international press offices. No injuries were reported, but the already limited information coming out of Gaza, given Israel’s decision to bar international journalists from the area, will be further compromised. [end]

PA TV cameraman killed by Israeli shelling
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Gaza – Ma’an – A journalist working for the Palestinian Authority’s official television station was killed the Israeli onslaught in Gaza, Palestinian medical officials announced on Friday. Palestine TV cameraman Ihab Al-Wahidi was killed along with his mother and his wife and mother when Israeli tanks shelled his house in the Tal Al-Hawa neighborhood south of Gaza City on Thursday night. His wife, Rukaya Abu Al-l-Naja, is of Moroccan origin. Others were injured when two shells struck Al-Wahidi’s apartment. [end]

UN human rights chief accuses Israel of war crimes
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem, The Guardian 1/10/2009
The United Nations’ most senior human rights official said last night that the Israeli military may have committed war crimes in Gaza. The warning came as Israeli troops pressed on with the deadly offensive in defiance of a UN security council resolution calling for a ceasefire. Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, has called for "credible, independent and transparent" investigations into possible violations of humanitarian law, and singled out an incident this week in Zeitoun, south-east of Gaza City, where up to 30 Palestinians in one house were killed by Israeli shelling. Pillay, a former international criminal court judge from South Africa, told the BBC the incident "appears to have all the elements of war crimes". The accusation came as Israel kept up its two-week-old air and ground offensive in Gaza and dismissed as "unworkable" the UN security council resolution which had called for "an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire".

Massacre of a family seeking sanctuary
Donald Macintyre and Said Ghazali in Jerusalem and Fares Akram, The Independent 1/10/2009
Bitterly cold, famished, and thirsty they may have been. But the dozens of men, women, children and elderly of the extended Samouni family, sheltering in the unfinished warehouse-like building owned by one of their relatives, at least felt relatively secure. Some explain that Israeli troops had explicitly told them to remain in the building -- in several cases after actually escorting them there. They were relieved to wake to find the neighbourhood quiet for the first time since the ground offensive had began 36 hours earlier. So much so, according to one of them, that some time after 6am, four of the men decided to set out and bring an uncle and his family to their refuge. It was then, survivors say, that the greatest of all the horrors visited on the Zeitoun district of eastern Gaza City occurred. A shell hit the little group, killing 27-year-old Muhammad instantly, and injuring the other three still lingering at the door.

UN levels war crimes warning at Israel
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem and Jo Adetunji, The Guardian 1/9/2009
Killing of 30 people in Gaza when army shelled house full of evacuees ’has all hallmarks of war crime’, says high commissioner for human rights The Israeli military may have committed war crimes in Gaza, the UN’s most senior human rights official said tonight, as Israeli troops pressed on with their increasingly deadly offensive in defiance of a UN security council resolution demanding a ceasefire. Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, singled out the killing this week of up to 30 Palestinians in Zeitoun, south-east of Gaza City, when Israel shelled a house where its troops had told about 110 civilians to take shelter. Pillay, a former international criminal court judge from South Africa, told the BBC the incident "appears to have all the elements of war crimes". She called for "credible, independent and transparent" investigations into possible violations of humanitarian law.

Gaza invasion: latest news
Matthew Weaver, The Guardian 1/9/2009
Israel has ignored a UN ceasefire resolution by continuing to bombard the Gaza Strip as security fears force out the Red Cross - 8:52am: The UN reports one of the "gravest incidents since the beginning ofoperations". It says last Saturday Israeli soldiers evacuated approximately 110 Palestinians (half of whom were children) to a bungalow in Zeitoun, warning them to stay indoors. Twenty-four hours later the house was shelled, killing at least 30. The Guardian reported that seven children were killed in an attack on a house in Zeitoun. - 9:27am: The UN security council resolution "stresses the urgency of and calls for an immediate, durable and fully respected cease-fire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. "It was approved by 14 votes to none. The US abstained. Explaining the US decision to abstain, Condoleezza Rice said Washington agreed with the text and goals of

UN: Israeli troops concentrated Gazans in one building before killing them
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The United Nations has collected witness testimony indicating that Israeli forces shelled a house in which Israeli troops had crowded 110 Palestinians a day earlier in the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City. In its weekly report on the protections of civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said:“From 3 to 7 January, the IDF prevented medical teams from entering the area to evacuate the wounded. In of the one gravest incidents since the beginning of operations, according to several testimonies, on 4 January Israeli foot-soldiers evacuated approximately 110 Palestinians into a single-residence house in Zaytoun (half of whom were children), warning them to stay indoors. “Twenty-four hours later, Israeli forces shelled the home repeatedly, killing approximately thirty.

UN: IDF shelled evacuated civilians
AFP, YNetNews 1/9/2009
Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says Israeli forces evacuated about 110 Palestinians into Gaza house which they then repeatedly shelled 24 hours later, killing about 30 people. IDF: UN claims unreasonable - The United Nations on Friday cited witnesses saying Israeli forces evacuated about 110 Palestinians into a house which they then repeatedly shelled 24 hours later, killing about 30 people. It said that "according to several testimonies, on 4 January Israeli foot soldiers evacuated approximately 110 Palestinians into a single-residence house in Zeitun (half of whom were children) warning them to stay indoors. Twenty-four hours later, Israeli forces shelled the home repeatedly, killing approximately 30. " Military officials said in reponse to the accusation that "from initial examinations in the IDF there is no knowledge. . .

Israel ’shelled Gaza civilians’
Al Jazeera 1/9/2009
The United Nations has said it has received reports that about 30 Palestinians were killed when Israeli forces shelled a house after they had moved about 110 civilians inside it. "According to several testimonies, on 4 January Israeli foot soldiers evacuated approximately 110 Palestinians into a single-residence house in Zeitun, warning them to stay indoors," the UN report said on Friday. "Twenty-four hours later, Israeli forces shelled the home repeatedly, killing approximately 30. " The incident took place on Monday in the Zeitun neighbourhood of Gaza City on Monday, the report said. The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) called it "one of the gravest incidents since the beginning of operations" by Israeli forces in Gaza on December 27.

’Some were decapitated. My cousin and his son died in front of me’
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem and Hazem Balousha, The Guardian 1/10/2009
In the houses at the edge of Zeitoun, a rundown neighbourhood on the outskirts of Gaza City, dozens of Palestinian families woke to discover that Israel’s invasion had brought troops and tanks to their doorstep. In the darkness the military had set up a position in the rubble of a former Jewish settlement. The soldiers ordered out residents from higher buildings and those closest to the former Netzarim settlement. The soldiers then took up positions on the upper floors. In one case around 110 Palestinians were moved into a single-residence house. Half were children; all were told to stay indoors. Yesterday the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs described what happened next: "Twenty-four hours later, Israeli forces shelled the home repeatedly, killing approximately 30. " Many more bodies may still be hidden in the rubble of that building. The killings at Zeitoun happened on Monday but it was only yesterday that the full horror became clear.

Trapped by Israeli troops for six days in one room 33 Gazans seek Red Cross intervention
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Gaza – Ma’an – A family trapped by Israeli forces in for six days one room of their home in the Al-Mughrqa area, south of Gaza City, phoned Ma’an on Friday seeking urgent rescue. The Al-Wahidi family is appealing to the Red Cross, human rights organizations, or any relevant organization, to intervene and rescue them. Salem Yousef Al-Wahidi, the owner of the family house, says 33 members of the family have been trapped in the house without food or drink since Sunday, when Israeli tanks moved into the area. Al-Wahidi said Israeli soldiers forced them into one room. The soldiers are still occupying the roof of the building and the surrounding area. The army has refused to allow food, including milk for the small children among them.

Gaza paramedics say they need rescuing
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Gaza – Ma’an – In a split second Red Crescent Medic Hasan Al-A’tal became one of the injured being rushed to hospital. Hasan had rushed to the Zimu Square during the Israeli-declared three-hour ceasefire Wednesday so aid could be delivered to the hardest-hit areas of Gaza. His team had been sent out to pull bodies from the rubble shortly after the ceasefire was said to be in effect. The medic is now in the Al-Quds hospital in Tel Al-Hawa south of Gaza City. “I rushed to Zemu Square north of Gaza along with another volunteer with the Red Crescent,” recalled Hasan. “We stepped out of the ambulance because the roads were such that the ambulance could not pass. ” When Hasan and his partner reached the scene, along with a stretcher and medical supplies they began pulling the dead and injured from the bombed building.

Despite risk, Gazans leaving homes to find food
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Gaza –Ma’an – Though moving in the streets at the wrong time makes anyone a target for Israeli fire, men and women venture out of their homes in search for food. Abd Al-Qader Abu Houli travelled from Dir Al-Balah in central Gaza to Khan Younis in the south, searching for bread. The 15 kilometers of road come under frequent fire, and have been targeted by airstrikes repeatedly. Asked why he risked the journey, Abu Houli said it was the only option left as his children remain in the home with nothing to eat. He explained that the flour had run out a few days before and there was nothing left in the house. For the father, it was more logical to risk death on the road than watch his children go hungry at home.

Tens of thousands flee Rafah
IRIN, Electronic Intifada 1/9/2009
TEL AVIV (IRIN) - Independent confirmation of the situation in Gaza, particularly in Rafah on the border with Egypt, is difficult as Israel’s ban on journalists entering the Strip remains in place. Telephone lines are overloaded and affected by power cuts. Rafah residents told IRIN by phone that tens of thousands had fled heavy Israeli bombardments, with some seeking refuge at United Nations institutions or at homes of friends and relatives in areas further from the border but still in the south. IRIN was told of the case of one woman from Rafah who said she and her children had to sleep on the street as she could not find any refuge and simply ran as far away from the border with Egypt as possible, as Israel was conducting air strikes in the area. Max Gaylord, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territories, said earlier in the week that Palestinians had nowhere to seek refuge from the fighting.

Aid Groups Dispute Israeli Claims in Gaza Attacks
Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service 1/10/2009
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 9(IPS) - As the Israelis try to justify the massive loss of civilian life in Gaza, their arguments and counter-charges continue to be shot down either by the United Nations or by international human rights organisations. Did the Israelis misidentify a school run by the U. N. Relief Works Agency (UNWRA), where 43 Palestinians seeking shelter were killed in an early morning air strike? Or were there Hamas gunmen shooting from the school drawing Israeli fire? Neither assertion is accurate, says John Ging, UNRWA’s director of operations in Gaza. All U. N. schools in Gaza are clearly marked, and they fly the Organisation’s distinctly discernible blue-and-white flags. Moreover, he told reporters, Israel has been provided with Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates of all of UNRWA’s installations in Gaza.

Media personnel and infrastructure latest targets of Israeli fire
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Gaza - Ma’an - Israeli air and artillery strikes continued in northern Gaza into the late evening, further targeting the homes and workplaces of several media outlets. At eleven thirty Israeli tank fire destroyed the home of Palestinian journalist Ala Mortijar, killing him and injuring several others. Earlier in the day an Israeli airstrike took out a building complex in Gaza city that housed the media and production studios of more than 20 media organizations including several international news agencies. Shortly before midnight Director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Palestinian Health Ministry Muawiyah Hassanain said that the death toll over two weeks of the Israeli offensive in Gaza was 801 with more than 3,500 injured.

Iranian state TV station says IDF strike targeted its Gaza offices
Reuters, Ha’aretz 1/9/2009
An Iranian state television station said two people were wounded by an Israel Air Force rocket strike on the building housing its office in Gaza on Friday. "Israeli rocket strikes Gaza media building, wounding two," Press TV said in a breaking news headline, after initially porting there were no casualties in the incident. "Israeli forces have targeted Press TV and al-Alam television stations in the Gaza Strip," the English-language satellite station said. Al-Alam is Iran’s Arab-language television station. An israel Defense Forces spokesperson said the building had not been targeted, though it may have sustained "collateral damage. "Equipment including satellite transmission devices installed on the roof was damaged, Press TV said on its Web site. It did not identify the wounded or say if other media outlets were based in the same building.

Iranian TV network: Two wounded in an IDF attack on our Gaza offices Staff, Jerusalem Post 1/9/2009
Press TV, an Iranian television channel broadcasting in English, said two of its employees were wounded after the IDF bombed its offices in Gaza City on Friday evening, Israel Radio reported. The channel said Israel was aware the building served a television station, and claimed it had received assurances that the offices would not be attacked. According to the report, the al-Alam television channel, broadcasting in Arabic, also has offices in the building. [end]

IFJ condemns death of journalist, who succumbed to wounds from Israeli attack
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Salfit-Ma’an- The International Federation of Journalists condemned the murder of Palestinian reporter Basel Farraj, who was wounded in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza on 27 December and died of his wounds on Thursday. Farraj worked as a reporter for the Algerian TV Channel (ANTV) as well as for the Palestinian Broadcast Cooperation (PBC). The secretary general of the IFJ Eden White expressed his strong condemnation for the act. ““We strongly support our fellows in Palestine and condemn the Israeli attacks on reporters and the media organizations,” he said. Israel mocks itself by ignoring Supreme Court decisions and at the same time calls itself a democratic country, he continued. “It also shows disrespect to the United Nations by denying its duties stated in the resolution # 1783 that orders the protection of journalists in conflict areas. ”

MK Tibi demands release of Palestinian journalist Khader Shahin
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Jerusalem - Ma’an -Member of the Israeli Knesset Ahmad Tibi demanded IsraeliAttorney General Menachem Mazuz release Palestinian journalist Khader Shahin immediately after he was arrested for violating media protocols “during a state of war. ”An Israeli journalist accused Shahin of violating the law by broadcasting information on the whereabouts of Israeli troops and military strategy half an hour before the war on Gaza began. Shahin, not long after the broadcast ended, came back on air with the Al-Alam (The World) channel to say he had received word that an order for his arrest was given. He surrendered himself to the police, who charged him with spreading state secretes and spying for Iran. In his letter to the Attorney General Tibi explained that the imprisonment of the Palestinian reporter and the disregarding of the Israeli reporter who committed same violation shows the clear partiality of the law.

Ban on foreign journalists skews coverage of conflict
Chris McGreal in Jerusalem, The Guardian 1/10/2009
Throughout the two-week bombardment of the Gaza Strip most journalists have been kept out by the Israeli government on the pretext of security. And the Israelis are pleased with the results. Foreign journalists have been forced to report without getting to the detail of what is going on. That meant, at least in the early days of the bombardment, that reporters who would have been in Gaza were instead reporting from Israeli towns and cities under fire from Hamas, and Israeli officials found it easier to get themselves in front of a television camera. An Israeli official told me they were delighted at a BBC TV correspondent broadcasting from Ashkelon in a flak jacket, reinforcing the impression that the Israeli city is a war zone when there is more chance of being hit by a car than a rocket. The notable exception is al-Jazeera TV, which has a bureau in Gaza City and has been broadcasting live from there.

Thirteenth Day of Continuous IOF Attacks Across the Gaza Strip
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 1/9/2009
38 Palestinians killed during the reporting period, including 11 children and six women. - The total number of victims now stands at 712, including 169 children, 46 women, six medical personnel and one Palestinian journalist. - As the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) continue their indiscriminate attacks in the Gaza Strip for the thirteenth consecutive day, the number of Palestinian civilian deaths continues to rise amidst massive destruction of buildings and property. Investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) indicate that more than 90% of the Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip in the last three days have been unarmed civilians, including a large number of children. Israel continues to show no mercy in its military campaign, intent on destroying entire areas populated by civilians.

Danish minister calls attacks on emergency aid workers 'unacceptable'
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Bethlehem - Ma’an - The Danish Minister of Development called Israel’s attacks on aid and medical workers “unacceptable. ”Reacting to the Israeli attack on an UNRWA truck and the subsequent decision of UNRWA to cease the delivery of emergency aid to Gaza until further notice, MinisterUlla Tørnæs released a statement Friday “Strongly condemning” the incident. “The humanitarian situation in Gaza is critical,” Tørnæs said “and it is vital that emergency aid to the population of Gaza can get through and be distributed. Israel must do everything in its power to ensure that the emergency aid deliverances can be recommenced. ”The Israeli Ambassador to Denmark has been called to meet with the Danish Foreign Ministry Sunday.

Threat of epidemics in Gaza
IRIN, Electronic Intifada 1/9/2009
RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IRIN) - The total halt to vaccinations in Gaza since the Israeli offensive began on 27 December could result in epidemics, a risk increased by Gaza’s high population density and dire living conditions, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on 8 January. Some 1. 5 million Palestinians live in the 365-square kilometer coastal Strip. "If vaccinations are stopped for one or two weeks this is enough to cause a widespread outbreak of avoidable diseases -- such as measles, hepatitis and polio -- amongst children and the larger population," WHO health officer Mahmoud Daher told IRIN by telephone from Gaza. "Efforts have been made for 15 years here to stop these diseases. One or two weeks of an interruption of vaccination programs can create a risk," warned Daher. Health sector non-governmental organizations in the region are also raising warning flags.

UN to resume suspended humanitarian aid in Gaza
Amos Harel , and The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 1/9/2009
UN officials said Friday they will resume their suspended humanitarian aid operations in Gaza as soon as possible, based on assurances from the Defense Ministry that aid workers be better protected. A spokesperson for the Defense Ministry’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories office said that Israel and the UN have come to a new agreement regarding the UN’s relief work in Gaza. UN spokeswoman Michele Montas said the Israeli military told senior UN officials at a high-level meeting at Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv that they deeply regretted the incidents that led the UN to suspend aid deliveries in the Gaza Strip on Thursday. The UN halted movement of staff and deliveries to the Gaza Strip on Thursday after gunfire from an Israeli tank killed one aid truck driver and injured two others, Montas said.

Hamas criticises UNRWA suspension of services
Palestinian Information Center 1/9/2009
GAZA, (PIC)-- Hamas has criticised the UNRWA decision to suspend its relief operations in the Gaza Strip, at a time the IOF is conducting a genocidal war against the Palestinians in Gaza for the fourteenth day killing 776 people. Fawzi Barhoum, the Hamas spokesman, said in a written press statement said that the decision of UNRWA to suspend all its operations in the Gaza Strip is illogical and unjustified because it is its duty to protect the victims of war and not abandon them. Barhoum added that this decision does not serve the citizens of the Gaza Strip and that UNRWA should use its influence to stop the aggression and protect the victims. The UNRWA decided on Thursday to suspend its operations after one of its relief trucks was targeted by the IOF and one of its contractors died in the attack.

UN aid workers plan to resume Gaza movement soon
Reuters, YNetNews 1/9/2009
’We received credible assurances from Israel that the security of UN personnel, installations and humanitarian operations would be fully respected,’ spokeswoman says - UN aid workers in Gaza plan to resume their movements in the Gaza Strip as soon as possible after receiving assurances from Israel that they are not being targeted, a UN spokeswoman said on Friday. "The UN received credible assurances (from Israel) that the security of UN personnel, installations and humanitarian operations would be fully respected," spokeswoman Michele Montas told reporters. "On this basis, UN staff movements, suspended yesterday, will resume as soon as possible. " A UN agency curtailed aid operations on Thursday in Gaza in response to a fatal incident involving Israel firing on a UN aid convoy.

UN says it will soon resume suspended aid in Gaza
Associated Press, Jerusalem Post 1/9/2009
UN officials said Friday they will resume their suspended humanitarian aid operations in Gaza "as soon as practical," based on assurances from the Israeli Ministry of Defense that aid workers be better protected. UN spokeswoman Michele Montas said the Israeli military told senior UN officials at a high-level meeting at Ministry of Defense headquarters in Tel Aviv that they "deeply regretted" the incidents that led the UN to suspend aid deliveries in the Gaza Strip on Thursday. The UN halted movement of staff and deliveries to the Gaza Strip on Thursday after gunfire from an Israeli tank killed one aid truck driver and injured two others, Montas said. The international Red Cross also said it would restrict activities after one of its drivers was injured in a similar incident.

Israeli troops shoot, injure and detain 16-year-old Nablus resident
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Nablus - Ma’an - Israeli soldiers shot, injured and arrested 16-year-old Nablus resident Ahmad Ash-Shami from near his home in the An-Namsawi district Friday afternoon. Ahmad’s uncle Imad told Ma’an Israeli forces later called the family, instructing them to bring his identity card to the Israeli military station. Ahmad was shot near the setter bypass road as he played with a group of children. According to Imad officials refused to tell the family about the condition of the youngster. [end]

Israeli forces arrest two in Huwwara village, announce curfew
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Nablus - Ma’an - Israeli forces arrested two young men in Huwwara village south of Nablus Friday afternoon, after clashes broke out following Friday prayers. Eyewitnesses said youth threw stones at Israeli troops in the area as the prayer session adjourned, though no injuries were reported. The two arrested were identified as 21-year-old Sami Jihad and 20-year-old Ahmad Khamis. Following the clash and arrests, locals reported that Israeli soldiers took up sniper and look-out posts on top of residential buildings in the area. Officers announced that a curfew was in place on the village. The curfew is the fifth in the past week, after several similar incidents of youth throwing stones at Israeli patrols or settler cars passing through the area.

Man lightly injured in Rehovot attack
Eli Senyor, YNetNews 1/9/2009
Young Jenin resident arrested in central Israeli city after threatening to harm residents with axe; tells investigators he sought to avenge his friend’s death in Gaza bombing - One man was lightly injured in a terror attack in the central Israeli city of Rehovot on Friday afternoon. A Jenin resident armed with an axe arrived at the city’s main city and threatened to harm passersby. He was arrested by policemen passing by before managing to hurt additional people. An initial investigation revealed that the man, in his 20s, arrived at the city’s Herzl Street with an axe in his hand. He began shouting, "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) and threatened to beat the residents. Officers traveling in a police patrol car spotted the man and managed to gain control over him.

Police: Pipe bomb incident in Lod terror-related
Eli Senyor, YNetNews 1/9/2009
Investigation of pipe bombs thrown at building inhabited by religious-nationalist Jews in central city of Lod leads police to believe attack was nationalistically motivated; search for suspects among Arab sector continues - Twelve hours after a pipe bomb was thrown at a house on Yaakov Plumnick Street in the city of Lod, police said there was reasonable probability that the incident was nationalistically motivated. Police intelligence officers have been operating among the Arab population of Lod since Friday morning in an attempt to locate the perpetrators. No suspects have been arrested yet. Thursday night, around 10 pm, a blast disturbed the quiet in the Ramat Elyashiv neighborhood that borders the old city of Lod. Tensions have been high recently among the religious-nationalist families in the neighborhood and their Arab neighbors.

500 illegal residents arrested in 1 week
Raanan Ben-Zur, YNetNews 1/9/2009
Police seize more than 500 Palestinian workers in Sharon region, fear terror attacks in light of Gaza operation - More than 500 Palestinians staying in Israel illegally [sic] were arrested in the Sharon region over the past week; 114 of them were arrested on Friday. The Palestinians were detained in a Sharon District Police activity, as part of the continuous efforts to enforce the law in light of the fighting in Gaza. According to Chief Superintendent Eitan Menashe, the Sharon District Police’s operations officer, "The activity against the illegal residents is carried out throughout the year, but these days of the fighting in the south we fear popular terror acts by a Palestinian who will enter Israel and carry out an independent attack in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza. "In addition, the activity against the illegal residents is carried out in order to prevent criminal offenses.

Israeli army invades Salfit, interrogates families
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Salfit – Ma’an – Five military jeeps invaded the West Bank city of Salfit and broke into a number of houses in the old city on Friday. Eyewitnesses said forces compelled a woman to call her family together so Israeli soldiers could check their identity cards. The family, and several others, was interrogated but no arrests were reported. Clashes erupted with the forces as they continued their interrogations; youth threw bottles and stones and Israeli forces responded by firing at the youth. [end]

Jenin resident stabs two Israelis in Tel Aviv and is detained by Israeli police
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Bethlehem - Ma’an - Israeli media reported Friday that a Jenin resident stabbed two Israelis in Tel Aviv on Hertzel Street, injuring the two lightly. Israeli authorities were concerned over how the Jenin resident travelled from Jenin to Tel Aviv, since barbed wire fence and 30-foot concrete wall now separates the West Bank from East Jerusalem and Israel. [end]

QB: Its fighters killed 8 IOF soldiers in Beit Lahya
Palestinian Information Center 1/9/2009
IOA acknowledges death of three soldiers despite unprecedented media blackout - OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation army has acknowledged Thursday that at least three soldiers, including a major, of its elite troops were killed with Palestinian resistance bullets in northern Gaza Strip. The Israeli acknowledgment came despite the strict media blackout the Israeli occupation government imposed on the events in Gaza. Ten more Israeli soldiers were also wounded in the battle, according to official Hebrew sources. Two more Israeli troopers were killed by Palestinian snipers, the sources confirmed. But Palestinian fighters asserted they have killed at least 33 Israeli soldiers and wounded more than 100 others since the Israeli aggression on Gaza began 14 days ago. At dawn Friday, the IOF troops pulled out of the Qarara town, east of Khan Younis city, after fierce. . .

Al-Qassam Brigades: Eight Israeli soldiers killed during operation in Beit Lahiya
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades reported to have killed eight Israeli soldiers taking cover in a home in Beit Lahiya on Friday. The Brigades added in a statement that a Special Force of fighters attacked the soldiers “in a quick and qualified operation. ”The fighters broke into the home, killed at least eight soldiers and confiscated their weapons. The home the soldiers were taking cover in was in the As-Salteen neighborhood of Beit Lahia in the western Gaza Strip. A spokesperson with the Israeli army denied the report. So far Israel has confirmed the death of ten soldiers in the Gaza invasion. [end]

3 Israel Defense Forces soldiers wounded in Gaza fighting
Anshel Pfeffer, Ha’aretz 1/10/2009
Three Israel Defense Forces soldiers were wounded while fighting in the Gaza Strip on Friday. One soldier was moderately wounded, and two others were lightly hurt. All three were taken to Soroka hospital in Be’er Sheva for medical treatment. Three more IDF soldiers killed in GazaThree Israeli soldiers were killed in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, bringing the Israel Defense Forces’ death toll to nine since Israel began its ground invasion of the coastal territory last week. A tenth IDF soldier had been killed at the start of Israel’s air offensive on Gaza, by a Qassam rocket which struck his base in the western Negev. Capt. Omer Rabinovitch of the Golani infantry brigade was killed in the northern Gaza Strip during clashes with Hamas gunmen, the third IDF soldier to die in one day.

3 IDF soldiers injured in Gaza Friday evening
Hanan Greenberg, YNetNews 1/9/2009
IDF soldier moderately wounded, two others sustain minor injuries during IDF activity in northern Strip. Iranian TV station says two people wounded in Air Force strike on Gaza City building housing its office; army sources deny report -Three IDF soldiers were injured in north Gaza Thursday evening, shortly after the cabinet decided to press ahead with the offensive in the Hamas-controlled territory despite a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. One of the soldiers sustained moderate wounds, while the other two were lightly injured. The troops were evacuated to Beersheba’s Soroka University Medical Center for treatment. Meanwhile, Palestinian sources in Gaza City said the Israeli Air Force struck a compound that housed offices of TV stations covering the fighting.

Hamas claims to have hit an IDF air force base 45 km fromg Gaza Staff, Jerusalem Post 1/10/2009
Hamas on Friday claimed that a rocket fired by their military wing struck an IAF Air Force base 45 kilometers from the Gaza Strip. In a statement posted on their website and carried on the Al-Aksa television station, the group said that they "succeeded for the first time in hitting the Tel-Nof base, the biggest base in Israel, 45 kilometers from the Strip. " The claim could not be verified by the Jerusalem Post. According to the statement, the rocket was launched at 8:05 a. m. , and reached the farthest point to date. "The shooting was carried out in response to the massacres that Israel is committing in the Gaza Strip," the group said, "and which, up until now, has taken the lives of hundreds of Palestinians. The IDF said it knew nothing about the report.

Hamas claims it hit IAF base 27km from Tel Aviv
Yossi Melman, Ha’aretz 1/10/2009
Hamas claims it hit an Israel Air Force base 27km from Tel AvivHamas claimed on Friday that rockets it fired from the Gaza Strip struck the Israel Air Force base in Tel Nof. Hamas’ military wing published comments on its Web siteand aired statements on its Al-Aqsa television station saying they succeeded in striking their furthest target yet - the base of Tel Nof. Tel Nof is located 27 kilometers from Tel Aviv, between Rehovot and Gdera, and serves as a squadron base for fighter jets and helicopters. The Hamas report did not elaborate on the alleged attack. [end]

Palestinian gunmen battle Israeli army, fire missles as far as 40km from Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian fighters affiliated to Hamas and other factions did not heed a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for aceasefire in Gaza, continuing armed resistance to the Israeli invasion and attacks across the Green Line into Israel. According to Israeli officials, some 20 homemade projectiles and Russian-manufactured rockets landed in Israeli territory in the course of Friday morning. One Israeli man was injured and several buildings were reportedly damaged. Four Grad missiles landed near the city of Beersheeba, nearly 40 kilometers from Gaza. Palestinian rockets have reportedly landed in and around the city for over a week. Hamas’ military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, said that the range of their Grad missiles is now 45 kilometers. They claimed on Friday to be targeting an air force base called Tal Nof.

14th day under attack: death toll in Gaza reaches 790 on Friday night
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 1/9/2009
The Palestinian Ministry of health in Gaza announced on Friday that the Israeli army attacks on the Gaza strip have left 28 Palestinians killed by Friday evening. With those killed today the death toll in the Gaza strip now stands at 790, with 3300 injured among them 500 in critical conditions. Dr. Mo’awiah Hassanin, the director of the Emergency and Ambulance department in the Ministry of Health in Gaza said that among those killed so far there is 230 children, 92 women, 92 aged people. Dr. Hassanin added that two reporters were killed, Iyhab Al wahidi, who is a camera man for the Palestinian President office in Gaza and Bassel Faraj, a Cameraman for the Algerian TV, since the attack on Gaza started. Today local sources in Gaza reported that 12 Arab Doctors entered the Gaza strip to work in local hospitals, according to Dr.

Israeli airstrikes demolish Gaza’s International Football Stadium
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Gaza’s International Football Stadium was bombed Friday, destroying the facility, located in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. The facility was the headquarters of the Palestinian Football Association, build partially with funds from the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)’s Goal project, as well as contributions from the French and Saudi Arabian government. The 2. 5 million US dollar facility, built in 2002 and opened in 2005, housed the men’s and women’s football teams. It also housed the technical and administrative center of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA). Along with the International stadium, Israeli air and artillery strikes have damaged several sports clubs and youth organization headquarters.

In spite of UN Resolution (1860); army continues offensive killing 29 Palestinians on Friday
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 1/9/2009
The Security Council issued resolution number 1860 calling on an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, yet the Israeli military killed on Friday 29 Palestinians, including 6 family members, destroyed seven homes and wounded dozens of residents. The number of Palestinians who were killed in Israel’s offensive exceeded 800 residents and more than 3200 Palestinians were wounded, half of the casualties were women and children. On Friday, the fourteenth day of the aggression, 29 Palestinians were killed. Medical sources reported that six members of Salha family, including a mother and her three children, were killed and twenty residents were wounded when the Israeli Air Force dropped a bomb at their home on Friday at dawn. In Al Zawayda town, in the central Gaza Strip, three Palestinians were killed and seven others were wounded after the Israeli navy shelled their area.

IOF troops kill more Palestinian children, women in Gaza
Palestinian Information Center 1/9/2009
GAZA, (PIC)-- The brutal Israeli occupation army continued its monstrous aggression on the tiny Gaza Strip for the fourteenth successive day, killing around 800 Palestinians and wounding more than 3250 others, hundreds of them in serious condition. According to Dr. Muaweyya Abu Hassanien, the director of the emergency department in the PA health ministry in Gaza Strip confirmed that at least 50% of the martyrs were children and women, adding that ambulance teams were unearthing new bodies of Palestinian civilians buried under the rubbles of their homes that were destroyed by the Israeli air strikes and tank shelling. Paramedics and ambulance vehicles face big difficulties in reaching out to wounded Palestinian civilians, especially in the northern part of the coastal Strip where many Palestinian families believed to be killed or forced out of their homes at the hands of the IOF troops.

Gaza death toll at 771, including 189 children and 58 women
Press release, Al Mezan, Electronic Intifada 1/9/2009
1:30pm GMT Gaza Time (+2hrs GMT) The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) continued its war crimes in the Gaza Strip by deliberately targeting civilians and civilian premises. The IOF escalated its destruction of houses, mosques and other civilian premises. Attacks also targeted United Nations personnel and property. The IOF’s ground invasion continues under artillery and machine gun shelling of neighborhoods, particularly in the south and east parts of Gaza City, northern Gaza as well as all the border areas along border between Gaza and Israel. Under continued failure of the international community to uphold its obligations, the Israeli operations in Gaza have killed 771 people, most of whom civilian noncombatants. Al Mezan Center has so far verified the killing of 189 children and 58 women; however, it believes the number is higher.

VIDEO / 30 Gaza rockets strike Negev, one person lightly wounded
Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 1/10/2009
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a barrage of at least 30 rockets at southern Israel on Friday, just hours after the United Nations passed a resolution calling for an immediate truce between Israel and Hamas. At least seven rockets hit the western Negev by 8 A. M. , all of them striking cities previously considered out of the range of rocket fire. Four Grad rockets exploded in open fields near Be’er Sheva at around 7 A. M. , two more rockets struck the Ashkelon area just after and minutes later, a seventh hit Ashdod. There were no casualties reported in any of those incidents. Another two rockets exploded in fields near Ashkelon just before 8 A. M. Three more Grads struck near Be’er Sheva at around 10 A. M. and another hit the area before noon. Two rockets exploded in the Eshkol Regional Council just before 9 A.

Gaza hopes die under barrage from both sides
AP, The Independent 1/9/2009
Israel and Hamas responded to a UN peace demand by hammering away at each other with bombs, shells and rockets today. Ignoring international pleas for the fighting in Gaza to cease, Israel continued its air attacks and the Palestinian militants kept up their missile barrages. The Palestinian death toll for the two-week conflict rose to 777, many of them children. Thirteen Israelis have also been killed. Overnight the UN Security Council had approved a resolution calling urgently for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. The US, Israel’s closest ally, abstained from the vote. In Israel’s first official response to the resolution, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office said the Hamas rockets fired at Israel today "only prove that the UN’s decision is not practical and will not be kept in practice by the Palestinian murder organisations.

Some 450 rockets fired during Gaza op
Efrat Weiss, YNetNews 1/9/2009
Shin Bet security service releases interim conclusion of Operation Cast Lead, 13 days after military campaign was launched: 13 Israelis killed, 900 targets attacked in Gaza, Hamas was surprised, Palestinian public feels abandoned by Hamas - Some 450 rockets have been fired at Israel since the Israel Defense Forces launchedOperation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip 13 days ago, the Shin Bet security service said in an interim conclusion released Thursday night. About 700 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire and 13 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian fire. The first stage of the operation included striking targets from the air. The ground offensive stage was launched on the second week. Eight IDF soldiers were killed have been killed during the ground incursion. Throughout the operation, Palestinian gunmen continued firing rockets into Israel, and additional cities joined the firing range.

IDF unveils Hamas battle map seized by paratroopers in Gaza
Amos Harel, Ha’aretz 1/9/2009
The Israel Defense Forces presented for reporters an illustrated map by made by Hamas gunmen that was found during a raid in the Strip, which reportedly illustrates ways in which they could attack IDF troops in Gaza. The map shows a drawing of the battlegrounds in a particular area of northern Gaza, with breakdowns of where to deploy and where to lay explosive devices. The areas where the explosives were to be laid are heavily populated urban areas. The map was captured by IDF troops from the Paratroopers’ Brigade during a raid this week in the town of Al-Atra. A Military Intelligence officer who was embedded with the troops examined the map and translated the Arabic for the soldiers. Intelligence Officer Lieutenant General Yuval Halmish presented the map to reporters in Tel Aviv on Thursday, and said that it contained strategic directives for Hamas gunmen battling IDF troops.

This Week in Palestine -Week 02 2009
Ghassan Bannoura - Audio Dept, International Middle East Media Center News 1/9/2009
Click on Link to download or play MP3 file || 12 m 0s || 10. 9 MB ||This Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center www. imemc. org, for January 3rd 2009 through to January 9th 2009. Despite popular and diplomatic efforts to end its offense against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military forces continue to attack the Gaza death toll exceeds 700. These stories and more coming up. Stay tuned. Nonviolent Activities Let us begin our weekly report with the nonviolent activities in the West Bank with IMEMC’s George Rishmawi: Rammallah On Friday, midday Hundreds of Palestinians from the village of Nil’in located near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, conducted a protest against the illegal Israeli wall being built on the village land. The people conducted the Friday prayers near the village land and then preceded in a march to their land.

Man lightly injured by mortar in south
Ilana Curiel, YNetNews 1/9/2009
Hamas responds to UN Security Council Resolution calling for ceasefire by firing rocket, mortar shell barrages at Beersheba, Ashdod, Ashkelon, other southern communities. At least 30 rockets land in Israel since morning hours; one man hurt, several residents suffer shock -The rocket fire directed at Israel resumed Friday morning, on the 14th day of the Israel Defense Forces’Operation Cast Lead and several hours after the United Nations Security Council called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Rockets and mortar shells were fired at Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beersheba and the Sha’ar Hanegev and Eshkol regional council. One man was lightly injured in Eshkol and several buildings were damaged. At least 30 rockets have been fired since the morning hours. A rocket landed in an open area in Ashdod in the afternoon hours.

Palestinians: Israel attacks 30 Gaza targets, killing at least 10
News Agencies, Ha’aretz 1/9/2009
Israeli air and naval forces attacked some 30 targets in the Gaza Strip on Friday morning, Palestinian officials said, killing at least 10 people across the Hamas-ruled coastal territory. Residents of Gaza City said that Israel Air Force warplanes dropped bombs on the outskirts of the city and other Gazans reported shelling by the Israel Navy. One Israeli air strike strike killed two Hamas militants and another unidentified man, Palestinian officials said. In the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya, medics said tanks shelled a house, killing seven Palestinians from the same family, including an infant. A Ukrainian woman and her 2-year-old son were also killed by an Israel Defense Forces’ tank shell in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical officials said.

Ukranian citizen, infant son, killed by Israeli shell
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Gaza – Ma’an - A Ukranian citizen and her infant son were killed by Israeli shelling in Gaza overnight, Palestinian medical officials reported. Thirty-six-year-old Olvera Al-Jarou, and her one-year-old son, Yousif, were killed by an artillery shell in the Ash-Sha’f area of the Ash-Shaja’iyah neighborhood of Gaza City. The woman becme the first foreign national to die in the Israeli offensive in Gaza. Al-Jarou’s husband, Palestinian doctor Awny Al-Jarou was injured. Their daughter Yasmine lays critically injured an intensive care unit. Another son was also slightly injured. Dr Al-Jarou said his wife’s body was blown to pieces. He said he was at first unable to send his wife and children to a hospital because of the intense shelling.

More bodies found beneath Gaza rubble; death toll mounts
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Gaza - Ma’an - Family members and medics have uncovered dozens of bodies in the central Gaza Strip towns of Al-Latara and Juhor Ad-Dik. Palestinian medical sources said that bodies of three Palestinians were found in A’basan As-Sagheera in Khan Younis Friday afternoon. They were identified as Hamid As-Smeiri, Jihad Abu Mudeif and Ahmad Ash-Shreihi. The body of 15-year-old A’tef Abu Al-Hasna arrived dead in hospital Friday morning. The death toll of the Israeli violence in Gaza is now 781. [end]

Hamas says US is giving Israel more time in Gaza
Reuters Published, YNetNews 1/9/2009
Exiled Islamist group leader Abu Marzouk tells Hizbullah TV ’by not voting for UN truce resolution and by not vetoing it, US sending clear signal that it supports initiative but wants to give the enemy more time’ - An exiled Hamas leader said on Friday the United States appeared to want to give Israel more time to persist with the Gaza offensive. On Thursday the UN Security Council voted on a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, but the United States unexpectedly abstained in the vote, saying talks on a truce were still under way through Egyptian mediation. "By not voting for the resolution and by not vetoing it, the United States is sending a clear signal that it supports the resolution but after a while," deputy political leader Moussa Abu Marzouk told Hizbullah’s Al Manar television from Damascus.

US abstention stuns security council
Julian Borger and Ian Black, The Guardian 1/10/2009
A UN resolution calling for an end to the fighting in Gaza was weakened at the last minute by a surprise US abstention, it emerged yesterday. Diplomatic sources said the US was closely involved in the drafting of the security council resolution calling for a ceasefire and that Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, had defended it in the face of pressure from Israel. The US abstention, at the final vote, stunned British and French diplomats. The resolution, calling for a truce and a withdrawal of Israeli troops once a "durable" ceasefire had been achieved was passed 14-0, but the US abstention will soften its impact in Israel, where signals sent from Washington are carefully scrutinised and where an election is looming. Ehud Olmert, Israel’s prime minister, issued a statement saying the resolution was "not practical" and the offensive against Hamas in Gaza would continue.

Hamas: UN Gaza truce resolution ’does not meet our demands’
News Agencies, Ha’aretz 1/10/2009
Hamas on Friday rebuffed a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip as Israel’s offensive against the Islamist organization enters its third week. An exiled Hamas leader said on Friday the United States appeared to want to give Israel more time to persist with the Gaza offensive. On Thursday the UN Security Council voted on a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, but the United States unexpectedly abstained in the vote, saying talks on a truce were still under way through Egyptian mediation. "By not voting for the resolution and by not vetoing it, the United States is sending a clear signal that it supports the resolution but after a while," deputy political leader Moussa Abu Marzouk told Hezbollah’s Al Manar television from Damascus.

Hamas rejects UN call for Gaza ceasefire
Ian Black, Middle East editor, The Guardian 1/9/2009
Islamist group angry at not being consulted by security council - Deputy accuses US of wanting to give Israeli military more time - Hamas has dismissed the UN security council call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, insisting that whoever tries to enforce it on the ground will be forced to deal with the Islamist movement – underlining its determination to be recognised as a key player in the conflict. Musa Abu Marzouk, the Hamas deputy political leader, today accused the US – which abstained from voting on the resolution – of wanting to give Israel more time to achieve its military goals in Gaza. "This resolution was discussed in the hallways of the United Nations," he told Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV. "The movement [Hamas] was not consulted. Our vision and the interests of our people were not taken into consideration. " Hamas fears a settlement being imposed on it and, like Israel, wants

Children found alive next to their dead mothers
Palestinian Information Center 1/9/2009
GAZA, (PIC)-- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday that four of its ambulance cars managed to reach a number of homes in the Zaitoun neighbourhood of Gaza City on Wednesday evening after days of the area being out of bounds. The ICRC had been requesting a safe passage for its ambulances to reach the wounded since 3rd January, but they only got permission from the IOF on the afternoon of Wednesday 7th January. The ICRC statement said that a joint team of ICRC personnel and Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) personnel found, in one of the houses, four children next to the corpses of their mothers who were killed by the IOF, they have been without food or water for four days. Hungry, thirsty and terrified the children were two frail to stand up. The team also found a man alive along with 12 corpses in one of the houses and 3 corpses in another.

Fatah spokesperson defends UN resolution, says effort was 'more important than personal interests'
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Ramallah – Ma’an – The Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah) said Friday that it considers Security Council resolution # 1860 an essential step to establishing peace in Gaza. Fatah spokesperson Fahmi Az-Za’areer said the resolution’s elements would halt the attacks on Gaza and had the safety of all Palestinians in mind. The resolution will remove Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip, lift the siege and open all crossings. Palestinian blood is more important than personal interests or gains, Az-Za’areer added, calling the successful resolution a result of great joint efforts by the Arab foreign ministers and especially Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa. This proves the effectiveness of cooperation, when Arabs work together as a political force in the international community, real gains can be achieved, he said, making note of the ongoing Egyptian ceasefire initiative.

Israel rejects UN, Hamas efforts for truce
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 1/9/2009
Despite simultaneous attempts by both the United Nations Security Council and the Hamas party leadership in Gaza to reason with the Israeli government to get them to stop their ceaseless 2-week long assault on the people of Gaza, Israeli officials have reiterated their plan to continue their onslaught until they have accomplished certain unnamed ’security objectives’. With the continuous attacks on civilian population centers by Israeli air, sea and ground forces, many Palestinians have begun to wonder if Israel’s unnamed ’security objective’ is in fact the complete decimation of the population of the Gaza Strip. While Israeli officials have repeated the official line that they do not target civilians on purpose, but are forced to do so when Hamas fighters hide among the population, human rights groups on the ground have found no evidence that this is the case.

Motlanthe: Mideast conflict shows need for UN reform
Middle East Online 1/9/2009
JOHANNESBURG - South African President Kgalema Motlanthe said Friday that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has underscored the urgent need to reform the United Nations. "I agree that the UN, and the UN Security Council in particular, is in need of urgent reform in order to become more representative of the world’s population," he said in an interview in the Mail and Guardian newspaper. He said that the United Nations was not implementing its original mandate to give equal treatment and protection to all the countries. "The problem is that if a country has powerful friends on the Security Council, they can sometimes act with impunity," Motlanthe said. "All you have to do is listen to the minister of foreign affairs or defence of Israel to know that you are dealing with people who believe they can cock a snook with impunity.

Olmert: UN resolution impractical
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 1/9/2009
Following cabinet meeting on Security Council resolution calling for immediate ceasefire in Gaza, prime minister says Israel to proceed with Operation Cast Lead, as ’rocket attacks prove resolution will not be upheld’. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urges Israel to implement truce - Israel’s Operation Cast Lead will proceed, despite the UN Security Council’s resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Friday. In an announcement published following the cabinet meeting on the matter, Olmert said, "The rocket attacks this morning on the residents of the south only prove that the UN’s resolution is not practical and will not be upheld by the Palestinian murder organizations. " The prime minister added that "Israel has never allowed any outside source to determine its right to defend its citizens.

Livni on UN resolution: We will act only in our interest
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 1/9/2009
Limited cabinet including prime minister, foreign minister and defense minister convenes to discuss Security Council resolution calling for ceasefire in Gaza. Livni says ’Israel will act only according to its calculations, for security of citizens, in right of self defense’. Hamas says not bound by resolution - A few hours after the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1860 calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, the limited cabinet including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak convened Friday morning to decide whetherOperation Cast Lead should be expanded, or if fire should be held. Israel has shown a certain level of apathy to the resolution, and Hamas has also stated it is not bound by and will not accept the decision.

VIDEO - US abstains as UN backs Gaza ceasefire
The Guardian 1/9/2009
Security council passes resolution calling for immediate ceasefire in Gaza conflict, but Washington fails to add its voice to international criticism of Israeli offensive [end]

UN passes Gaza ceasefire resolution
Al Jazeera 1/9/2009
The UN Security Council has called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza that Arab nations hope will put an end to Israel’s 14-day assault on the territory. The resolution, passed by the 15-member body on Thursday with 14 votes in favour and the US abstaining, "stresses the urgency of and calls for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza". The resolution also sought the reopening of Gaza’s borders and called for measures to prevent arms being smuggled to Palestinian fighters. It said there should be "unimpeded provision" and distribution of aid to the territory, where 778 Palestinians have been killed since Israel launched its offensive. While Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, rejected the UN resolution. . .

Text of UN Security Council resolution for Gaza cease-fire
DPA, Ha’aretz 1/9/2009
The Gaza resolution adopted Thursday by the UN Security Council "stresses the urgency of and calls for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire leading to the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. " The resolution’s main points: "Calls for the unimpeded provisions and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment. "Welcomes the initiatives aimed at creating and opening humanitarian corridors and other mechanisms for the sustained delivery of humanitarian aid. "Calls on member states to support international efforts to alleviate the humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza, including through urgently needed additional contributions to UNRWA and through the Ad-hoc Liaison Committee. (UNRWA is the agency responsible for assisting Palestinian refugees). . .

Israel continues its military operation despite a UN resolution
George Rishmawi & Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 1/9/2009
The Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip continues despite diplomatic efforts and United Nations Security Council calling for an immediate, durable and fully respected cease-fire. Israel has rejected the call, describing it as unworkable. Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel has never agreed to let an external body to decide for Israel what to do, and stressed that the Israeli military will continue its operations in the Gaza Strip. On the other hand, Hamas said, the UNSC resolution does not meet the Palestinian demands of ending the siege on the Gaza Strip and opening the border-crossings. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the UN failed to consider the interests of the Palestinian people. The UN resolution 1860, which passed with a majority of 14 votes with the United States abstaining from voting, did not add to the Egyptian-French initiative calling for immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

UN demands immediate ceasefire in Gaza Strip
David Usborne in New York, The Independent 1/9/2009
The United Nations last night backed a milestone resolution calling for an end to military action by all sides in the Gaza Strip. The British-led United Nations resolution calling for an "immediate and durable" ceasefire was backed by 14 out of 15 members of the security council. The United States abstained. The UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the UN had "served its purpose" after the vote, and urged the international community to "turns the words into changes on the ground". The US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said America supported the "objectives" of the resolution, but the US abstained from the security council vote because it "thought it important to see the outcomes of the Egyptian mediation" with Israel and Hamas. As the vote was taking place, dozens more attacks occurred in Gaza with unconfirmed reports of a bomb flattening a five-storey apartment block in the northern part of the territory.

Gaza under fire despite truce call
Al Jazeera 1/10/2009
Israel is pushing ahead with its offensive in the Gaza Strip after branding a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire "unworkable". Dozens of Palestinians were killed on Friday as Israeli warplanes pounded areas across the Gaza Strip and tanks shelled Jabaliya and Beit Lahiya, medical sources said. Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, rejected the truce call following a security cabinet meeting. Referring to continued rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, he said: "The firing of rockets this morning only goes to show that the UN decision is unworkable and will not be adhered to by the murderous Palestinian organisations. "In a telephone call to Olmert, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general,"expressed disappointment that the violence is continuing on the ground in disregard" of the Security Council resolution.

Israel maintains Gaza assault despite cease-fire resolution
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 1/10/2009
GAZA CITY: A defiant Israel pounded Gaza with bombs and shells Friday, vowing to pursue its war on Hamas despite a truce order from the UN Security Council, amid warnings the population was running out of food. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel would not bow to "outside influence" as its aircraft carried out more bombings and the army’s tanks shelled several locations despite an announced three-hour "humanitarian" lull. Hamas meanwhile also rejected the UN resolution, which called for an immediate cease-fire on the grounds that it only served Israel’s interests and didn’t call for an end of the Jewish state’s siege of the impoverished territory. Two weeks on from the start of "Operation Cast Lead," nearly 800 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, according to Gaza medics. Figures published by OCHA indicate 33 percent of those killed are children.

Ceasefire in shreds as war in Gaza rages on
Kim Sengupta in Jerusalem, The Independent 1/10/2009
The Gaza conflict raged on yesterday after both sides dismissed a UN call for an immediate ceasefire, and Israel indicated it may move its forces deeper into densely populated urban areas. A meeting of Israel’s security cabinet rejected a ceasefire resolution passed by the Security Council in New York while air and ground attacks continued in Gaza, killing 22 more Palestinians and raising the death toll to at least 800, according to the head of Gaza emergency services. Hamas fired a fresh barrage of rockets across the border, hitting the cities of Beersheba and Ashkelon. Thirteen Israelis have died since the Gaza offensive was launched on 27 December. The office of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said rocket attacks demonstrated the futility of calling for an immediate ceasefire. A statement said it "only proves that the UN’s decision is unworkable and will not be adhered to by the Palestinian murder organisations".

Candles lit in Jerusalem churches for the living and the dead of Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Jerusalem - Ma’an - Dozens of Christians participated in a sit- in Friday in the yards of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City of Jerusalem expressing their condemnation of the Israeli violence in Gaza. The group prayed and the Archbishop Theodosios delivered a speech affirming that all the churches in Jerusalem were in solidarity with Gaza and expressing his categorical rejection of the Israeli acts in Gaza. “There is not even one family that has been unharmed by this assault,” he said in his speech, “The Israelis have killed Palestinians in cold blood ignoring religious rules and moral ethics. ”He concluded by saying that “this assault obliges us to stand beside Gaza,” adding that the churches in Jerusalem have begun to collect supplies including medical aid for shipment to Gaza.

Barghouthi: Israel committing 'mass executions' in Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouthi said that photos emerging from Gaza showing the corpses of women and children piled under the rubble of buildings prove that Israel is committing “mass executions” in Gaza. Barghouthi, a doctor and former presidential candidate, also said Israel is committing “Genocide. ”. . . He added his voice to growing calls for Israeli politicians and military leaders to be tried for war crimes. He said the photographic evidence disproves “all the lies that Israelis in charge, including Shimo Peres, Olmert, Livni, and Barak, that they don’t target civilians. ”Barghouthi added that 50 bodies had been recovered from rubble in the areas of Zaytoun, Atatra and Juhor Ad-Dik. He also decried attacks on UNRWA and Red Cross personnel and installations.

The village of al Ma’ssara protest the Israeli attacks on Gaza
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 1/9/2009
The villagers of Al Ma’ssara, located near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, protest the ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza on Friday morning. The protest was organized at the lands owned by the villagers where Israeli is planning to construct its illegal wall. People gathered at the village center, then marched towards their land that is currently being annexed by Israel, where Israeli soldiers were waiting for them. At the military barricade, troops attacked the people when they tried to cross it. One man was lightly injured during the ensuing scuffle, local sources told IMEMC. The villagers were protesting the Israeli confiscation of their lands and the ongoing attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Rallies for Gaza across the West Bank; some erupt into clashes
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Tulkarem – Ma’an – Angry rallies took place all over the West Bank Friday, where West Bankers and international activists called for a stop to the Israeli violence in Gaza, and labeled Operation Cast Lead a massacre. In the Tulkarem area three rallies took place, one in the city center and another two in the nearby towns of Attil and Baqa Ash-Sharqiya, where confrontations erupted between Palestinian youth Israeli soldiers who fired rubber coated bullets, sound and gas bombs at the marchers. Dozens suffocated on tear gas. One rally was held near the separation wall in Nazlat Isa village, and angry youth burned tires and an Israeli flag. Participants carried banners that denounced the Israeli war on Gaza as barbaric. In Jenin hundreds of protestors attended a solidarity rally and denounced the ongoing Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.

The Israeli army attacks the weekly protest on Nil’in near Ramallah; five injured
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 1/9/2009
On Friday, Hundreds of Palestinians from the village of Nil’in, located near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, conducted a protest against the illegal Israeli wall being built on the village land by the Israeli settlement and annexation project. The people conducted Friday prayers near the village lands, then preceded to march to the land being confiscated by Israel. Demonstraters carried banners calling for the immediate halt of the Israeli attacks on Gaza. As soon as locals and their international supporters arrived to the village where the Israel is building the wall, soldiers showered them with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets, five were reported injured. Nil’in was the scene of protests all throughout the week against the the continued attacks on Gaza, local sources reported.

Bil’in demonstrators remind the world of the Holocaust
Eyad Burnat - Bil'in local committee, International Middle East Media Center News 1/9/2009
The residents of Bil’in, located near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, gathered in a protest today after the Friday prayer. The protest was joined by Israel and international activists standing in solidarity with Palestinians and opposing the war on Gaza, Israeli settlement building and the construction of the wall. Protesters carried Palestinian flags and the Venezuelan flag, in appreciation of Venezuela’s removal the Israeli ambassador from his post. The protesters wore clothes similar to those worn by Jews in the fascist concentration camps during the Second World War. Protestors also wore small yellow cut-outs in the shape of Gaza with the word “Gazan” written on them to symbolize the yellow “Jude” stars of David worn by European Jews during World War II. This angry message was to remind the world of the Nazi Holocaust and of the promise made by the international. . .

7,000 Palestinians join largest Hamas rally in three years in Israeli-controlled area of Hebron
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Hebron – Ma’an – More than 7,000 Palestinians marched in an Israeli-controlled area of Hebron in the largest Hamas demonstration in the West Bank since the Islamic movement won Parliamentary elections nearly three years ago. Hamas chose to stage the demonstration in the H2 area of Hebron, which is heavily patrolled by the Israeli military, after the Palestinian Authority refused to allow the march in the H1 area, which it controls. According to medics at Muhammad Ali Hospital in H2, 20 demonstrators were treated for injuries after Israeli forces opened fire on the crowd with rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas. The march left the Wasaya Rasoul Al-Allah Mosque after the noon prayer. Angry protesters denouncing the Israeli invasion of Gaza marched towards the flashpoint Ibrahimi Mosque, where Israeli soldiers are stationed and right-wing Jewish settlers maintain a presence.

Settlers shoot at village homes; Israeli troops overrun village and surround mosque
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Qalqiliya – Ma’an- Israeli soldiers invaded the village of Kfar Qaddum north east of Qalqiliya after a group of Israeli settlers entered the village and shot at several homes in the area. Eyewitnesses said a massive number of Israeli soldiers overran the village and surrounded its mosque preventing residents from entering it. Witnesses added that they heard soldiers talking about a settler who was inside the mosque in a bid to commit some sort of crime while inside. Soldiers then combed the area surrounding the mosque and then retreated from the area. [end]

US Congressman calls for inquiry into illegal use of US weapons by Israel
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 1/9/2009
After reports emerged from Gaza that Israel bombed a United Nations School on Tuesday, where people had sought refuge from Israeli military attacks, US Congressman Dennis Kucinich has called for an investigation into Israel’s possible illegal use of US-supplied weapons. The US is the single largest supplier of weapons to Israel, with over $3 billion in weapons transfers taking place each year. In addition to F16 fighter jets, guns, tanks and bombs, the US has also supplied Israel with tens of thousands of cluster bombs, weapons which have been declared illegal under international law. In a letter to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Kucinich stated, "I believe that with the current escalation of violence in Gaza, a legal threshold has been reached, warranting a Presidential examination and report to Congress. "

Washington diary: While Gaza burns
Rob Reynolds in Washington, Al Jazeera 1/10/2009
Most of the world’s attention is riveted by the war in Gaza, the raw sights and sounds of which are brought home most vividly by the coverage provided by Al Jazeera’s English and Arabic channels. Here in the US however, the Gaza story is seldom the lead on the major evening news programmes. The mainstream media is too squeamish to show the reality of war - the blood, the pain, the screaming children. And US cable networks and satellite systems seem afraid to allow Al Jazeera English into their lineup of channels, quailing at the prospect of a political backlash from far right-wing, self-appointed media "watchdogs" who caricature Al Jazeera as "terror TV". The preoccupation here in the US is much closer to home: The economic crisis.

VIDEO - WATCH: U.S. House passes landslide vote backing Israel in fight against Hamas
Reuters, Ha’aretz 1/10/2009
The U. S. House of Representatives on Friday passed a resolution "recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza" by a majority of 390-5. Lawmakers in Washington routinely pass nonbinding resolutions supporting Israel during Middle East crises. The Senate on Thursday backed Israel’s battle against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip and the House of Representatives followed on Friday. Even U. S. lawmakers who express sympathy for the Palestinians have hesitated to call themselves pro-Palestinian and voice strong support for the security of Israel as well, hewing to decades of close U. S. -Israeli ties. Watch comments from US Senate representatives voicing their support for Israel: "When these events occur, there’s almost a knee-jerk reaction of Congress that endorses 1,000 percent what Israel is doing," said Nick Rahall, a West Virginia Democrat and Lebanese-American. . .

MK Tibi: End war crime in Gaza
Sharon Roffe-Ofir, YNetNews 1/9/2009
Thousands of Arab-Israelis protest IDF offensive, chant ’Mubarak, open the crossings’ and ’the people of Gaza are strong’; MK Zahalka: Crazies in government must be retrained - Tens of thousands of people gathered in the Arab-Israeli town of Baqa el-Gharbiya on Friday to protest against the IDF’s offensive in Gaza. Jewish peace activists were also on hand for the demonstration, which was organized by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee. Protestors waved black flags, as well as PLO flags and chanted "Mubarak, open the crossings" and "the people of Gaza are strong". The rally was part of the Monitoring Committee’s ongoing campaign against what it calls the "massacre in Gaza". Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) said during the demonstration that "the horrific images (from Gaza) of children’s bodies are proof of the war crime that has been carried out.

Cabinet decides to push ahead with Gaza offensive
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 1/9/2009
Despite UN resolution calling for immediate ceasefire in Gaza, cabinet says operation in Hamas-controlled territory will continue as planned: ’Israel has a right to defend its citizens, and the IDF will continue to operate in order to bring security to south Israel’ -Less than a day after the UN Security Council called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the Israeli cabinet decided on Friday that the army’s offensive in the Hamas-controlled territory will continue. "The State of Israel has a right to defend its citizens, and therefore the IDF will continue to operate (in Gaza) in order to complete its mission, which is to bring about a change in the security situation in south Israel in accordance with plans that had been approved prior to the launching of the offensive," a statement issued following the cabinet meeting read.

Olmert: Cast Lead op will continue
Herb Keinon, AP And Staff, Jerusalem Post 1/9/2009
Despite the UN Security Council resolution calling for a Gaza cease-fire, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Friday afternoon that the IDF operation in the Strip would continue. "Israel has never agreed to external forces determining its right to defend its citizens," Olmert said in a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office following the Security Cabinet discussion on the UNSC resolution. "The IDF will continue to work to defend Israeli citizens and will carry out all the objectives it was given in the operation," he continued. Olmert said that the rocket fire from Gaza Friday morning "only proves that the UN resolution is not practical and will not be honored by the murderous Palestinian organizations. "

Jerusalem governor prepares to launch 'We are all Gaza' campaign
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Jerusalem – Ma’an – The “We are All Gaza” campaign organized by Jerusalem Governor Adnan Al-Husseini will seek to collect clothing, shoes, candles, bed covers and first-aid equipment for those who have been driven from their homes in the Gaza Strip. The campaign seeks to involve civil society institutions including sports and youth groups, and to involve all segments of the Jerusalemite society to rally for Gaza and pitch in to show support. Al-Husseini has been meeting with representatives of local groups in his offices all week in preparation for the launch of the campaign, including Muhammad Ziyad Sab Laban of the youth and sports movement[end]

Global protests condemn Gaza war
Al Jazeera 1/9/2009
More than 50,000 Egyptian have protested in the city of Alexandria against Israel’s assault on Gaza, one of many held across the world as the conflict enters its 14th consecutive day. Protesters in Egypt, led by parliamentarians allied to the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, chanted slogans condemning the war and the failure of Arab nations to tackle the crisis. "Down with Israel, and with it every collaborator," protesters chanted after Friday prayers. Others shouted: "Gaza excuse us: opening Rafah is not in our hands," referring to the border crossing between the strip and Egypt which Cairo has refused to open despite the deaths of more than 780 Palestinians. An AFP news agency reporter said riot police had tried to prevent the protest going ahead but gave up because of the number of demonstrators.

Protests across Arab world demand end to Gaza war
Compiled by, Daily Star 1/10/2009
Protests in the Arab world calling for an end to Israel’s bloody invasion of the Gaza Strip grew in size and intensity on Friday, with clashes between rival political parties in Palestine - and riot police in Egypt failing to stem a 50,000-strong rally. Supporters of the Hamas movement clashed with members of Fatah during protests in the Occupied West Bank city of Ramallah against the Israeli offensive. The clashes erupted after the Hamas rulers of Gaza had called for a second week in a row for Palestinians to mark a "day of wrath" against the Israeli bombardment. Fistfights erupted and security forces used tear gas and batons to disperse the demonstrators who had taken part in rival protests. Thirteen people were taken to hospital and several were detained, witnesses said. In the West Bank city of Hebron, some 3,000 people took part in a protest march on Friday, with some hurling. . .

National and global protests against the attacks on Gaza
IMEMC News & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 1/9/2009
Hundreds Angry Palestinian protesters have also clashed with Israeli police in the Jerusalem and other West Bank cities. Meanwhile the Israeli military placed the West Bank on a 48-hour lockdown, prohibiting movement into and out of the Palestinian areas until Saturday except in emergency cases. Palestinian sources reported that at least 40 youth were injured by the military crack-down on those protest in Hebron and Ramallah cities. Arab capitals witnessed today similar protests. Around 50,000 Egyptian have protested in the city of Alexandria against Israel’s assault on Gaza. In Amman the Jordanian capital, police stopped protesters carrying Palestinian and Jordanian flags from marching to the Israeli embassy. Both Sunni and Shia Muslim worshippers in Baghdad staged rallies condemning the offensive following Friday prayer services.

Papal response: Vatican compares Gaza to Nazi camp
Peter Popham in Rome, The Independent 1/9/2009
The pope’s minister for peace and justice was accused yesterday of speaking like a Holocaust denier after comparing Gaza to a "big concentration camp". Cardinal Renato Martino, a veteran Vatican diplomat with years of experience as the Pope’s delegate to the United Nations, told an interviewer for L’Avvenire, the daily paper of the Italian bishops, that "nobody" in the Israel-Hamas dispute "sees the interests of the other, but only their own". He continued: "But the consequences of egoism are hatred for the other, poverty and injustice. The ones who pay are always the defenceless populations. Look at the conditions in Gaza: more and more it resembles a big concentration camp. " He added that "both sides" were to blame for the dispute and must be separated like feuding brothers. "The world cannot just look on, doing nothing," said Cardinal Martino.

Analysts say Gaza conflict seen as boost to Hamas
Middle East Online 1/9/2009
PARIS - Israel’s military offensive in Gaza plays into the hands of Hams, experts said. Targeted by Israel, democratically elected Hamas could well come out of the conflict with an elevated status in Arab public opinion even if it is weakened militarily, said Denis Bauchard, a Middle East specialist from the French Institute of International Relations. The fighting in Gaza is a new headache to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who already "faces a difficult social and political situation" domestically, under pressure from the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, said Bauchard. US expert Anthony Cordesman from the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) agreed. "The only way to counter this is to arrive at a political resolution," said Cordesman, in an interview with Le Monde newspaper.

6 injured in violent Gaza protests in Oslo
AFP, YNetNews 1/9/2009
Thirty-one people arrested as some 1,000 pro-Palestinian protesters attack pro-Israeli demonstration in Norwegian capital; clashes said to be worst in Oslo since 1980s - Six people were injured and 31 were arrested when some 1,000 pro-Palestinian protesters attacked a pro-Israeli demonstration in Oslo, police said Friday amid reports that the clashes were the worst in the Norwegian capital since the 1980s. "The in all 31 people who were arrested were brought in connection with the clashes and violence in central Oslo Thursday night," Oslo police said in a statement, adding that 12 people stood accused of violence against police and bodily harm. "Police have so far registered that six people have been injured, five of whom are police officers," the statement said.

Jordanian recalls ambassador to Israel in protest of Gaza op
Ali Waked Published, YNetNews 1/9/2009
Diplomat says Ambassador Ali al-Ayed will return to Tel Aviv only after Hamas and Israel sign a ceasefire agreement to end the fighting; clashes reported between anti-Israel protestors, police near Israeli embassy in Amman -Jordan has recalled its ambassador to Israel in an apparent act of protest against the IDF’s offensive in Gaza, Ynet learned Friday evening. Ambassador Ali al-Ayed was summoned to Amman by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry and was instructed by the government to remain in the Hashemite Kingdom. The Jordanians have expressed great concern over the escalation in the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave, and clashes were reported Friday between anti-Israel protestors and Jordanian police near the Israeli embassy in Amman. An Arab official told Ynet that Jordan recalled the ambassador as an act of protest, even though it had initially claimed that he was asked to return to Amman over an "internal matter".

France takes Hamas TV off air in Europe
Middle East Online 1/9/2009
PARIS - The Palestinian group Hamas’s television channel was taken off the air in Europe less than 24 hours after it was added to a satellite network, industry officials said Friday. Hamas announced on Monday that Europeans would be able to see its Al-Aqsa service via the French firm Eutelsat’s satellites. Al-Aqsa is Hamas’ official mouthpiece, and its critics say that it has a show in which a man-sized pink rabbit named Assud urged children to embrace martyrdom and threatened to eat Jews (‘Jews’ is the name Israeli soldiers had used to identify themselves when communicating with Palestinian refugees, many of whom still in Gaza). Alerted by industry sources, the French broadcasting regulator CSA this week wrote to Eutelsat and warned that much of Hamas’ programming contravenes laws against inciting hatred and violence, the government body said.

France sending international staff to accompany aid to Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Bethlehem – Ma’an – International staff from France will arrive in the Middle East in the coming days to accompany aid convoys destined for the Gaza Strip, said a spokesperson for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Friday. Sending the international representatives with the aid to ensure it gets through is a joint initiative between Egypt and France, who are also working on a ceasefire deal between Israel and Gaza factions. [end]

PA Minister of Planning: Gaza will need five years and billions of dollars to repair damage
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Bethlehem - Ma’an- The Palestinian government needs to hold a meeting with donor countries in order to develop a plan to raise funds for the billions it will take to rebuild Gaza, said Palestinian Minister of Planning Samir Abdallah Friday. Abdallah said it will take mass amounts of money to remove the rubble from Gaza and estimated that the area would need at least five years of intensive reconstruction efforts until it is close to being back to where it was before 2008. Speaking to Ma’an by phone Abdallah said that until now, officials estimate the destruction and losses associated with the Israeli violence amounts to billions in houses and vital facilities that now need to be rebuilt. He noted that “we are contacting international organizations to hold a conference on rebuilding Gaza and we are inviting all of the organizations that were working in Gaza since 1994 to cooperate in the reconstruction.

Thousands show support for continuation of Abbas’ term as Palestinian president
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Nablus – Ma’an – Thousands of Palestinians pledged support for the continuation of Mahmoud Abbas as the Palestinian president. Supporters from several factions took to the streets in Nablus on Friday, carrying a massive Palestinian flag and an oversized photo of Abbas. Marchers chanted slogans for Palestine, in solidarity with Gaza and against the failure of the UN resolution passed Friday morning local time. Representatives of several Palestinian factions, including Fatah and Hamas, and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) including Najat Abu Baker and Sheiekh Hamed Al-Betawi I attended the rally and marched in support for Abbas. According to Hamas and several Gaza factions the legitimate term of Abbas as Palestinian President ends on 9 January. After the Hamas takeover in Gaza the only official governmental link between the two Palestinian areas was the office of the President.

Hamas, Fatah infighting mars Palestinian ’day of wrath’
News Agencies, Ha’aretz 1/9/2009
Solidarity rallies with the war-battered Gaza Strip led to scuffles between dueling Palestinian factions on Friday, reflecting competing efforts to assert legitimacy over the fractured Palestinian political scene. Police loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stood by while protesters allied with his Fatah Party struck demonstrators from the rival Hamas with flag sticks. According to news agency AFP, the clashes erupted after the Hamas rulers of Gaza had called for a second week in a row for Palestinians to mark a "day of wrath" against the Israeli bombardments. Fist fights erupted and security forces used teargas and batons to disperse the demonstrators who had taken part in rival protests. Thirteen people were taken to hospital and several others were detained, witnesses said.

Russia arms to Iran: A mistimed gambit?
Roger N McDermott, Asia Times 1/9/2009
Reports originating from within Iran, alleging an agreement by Russia to supply Tehran with modern air defense systems, have sparked mixed reactions from official sources in Moscow. Russia and Iran, according to those initial reports on December 21, were holding talks on supplying medium-range air defense systems - specifically, S-300 surface-to-air missile systems - and Esma’il Kowsari, the deputy head of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, stated that Tehran had reached an agreement with Moscow on the future delivery of S-300 missile systems. The following day, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was "checking" these reports. A spokesman for Russia’s state arms exporter was tight-lipped, saying only they could make no public comment on an agreement with its partners. Yet, the signals are conflicting and were perhaps deliberately confusing.

Jawwal provides mobile phone credit to Gazans
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Ramallah – Ma’an – Jawwal, the Palestinian mobile phone company, said it is providing free phone credit to all its subscribers in the Gaza Strip in order to allow Palestinians to make calls during the crisis. Jawwal said it hoped to facilitate communication with emergency and medical services during the Israeli invasion. It also hopes families will be able to stay in contact and reassure one another about their safety. The phone credit is provided to each subscriber as a percentage of personal consumption. Telecommunications companies have warned that the phone system in Gaza is on the verge of collapse due to ongoing blackouts and physical damage to the system.

Poll: 76% oppose truce without Shalit
Ynet, YNetNews 1/9/2009
War and Peace Index shows Jewish public supports Gaza operation, objects to ending it if kidnapped soldier is not released as part of agreement, even if rocket fire stops. Arab public conveys opposite views - A majority of the Jewish public in Israel opposes a ceasefire in Gaza without kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit’s release, according to the monthly War and Peace Index poll conducted about a week and a half after the of Operation Cast Lead. Beyond the decisive support for the Israel Defense Forces’ operation, the public also backs the raid’s continuation even if Hamas holds fire under certain conditions. The respondents were asked, "If a ceasefire agreement with Hamas could be reached, but without including Gilad Shalit’s release, do you believe Israel should or should not sign such an agreement? "About 76.

EU diplomats: Egypt’s refusal to station foreign troops on Gaza border holding up truce
Assaf Uni and Reuters, Ha’aretz 1/10/2009
Egyptian efforts to broker a Gaza cease-fire appeared on Friday to have to run into trouble because of disagreements with Israel over how to secure the border to prevent Hamas from rearming, diplomats said. Israeli and European diplomats, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said Egypt had objections to proposals for foreign forces deploying on the Egyptian side of its 15-km (9-mile) border with the Gaza Strip. Diplomats said an international deployment on the Palestinian side of the border was also unlikely because of objections from Hamas, which has yet to take a formal position on Cairo’s ceasefire blueprint. Israeli officials said their Egyptian counterparts were skeptical Hamas would accept it. Hamas, which is seeking an end to Israel’s blockade on the territory, had likewise rejected the presence of international forces.

Egypt closes Gaza border to aid
Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani, Electronic Intifada 1/9/2009
CAIRO (IPS) - Egyptian authorities have almost fully sealed the border with Gaza, preventing delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid. "The government has expressly forbidden the entry of aid convoys laden with food into the Gaza Strip," Emmad al-Din Moustafa, member of the Popular Committee for Aiding Gaza told IPS. "The continued border closure -- like the Israeli assault itself -- constitutes a crime against humanity. " Israel began a series of devastating air strikes on targets throughout the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip on 27 December, followed by a ground offensive launched 3 January. According to Israeli officials, the campaign, which has included thousands of air strikes and naval bombardment, comes in retaliation for rockets fired at Israel by Gaza-based Palestinian resistance factions. Since the campaign began, humanitarian aid -- donated by sympathizers from across

Hamas delegation leaves for Cairo to discuss Egyptian Initiative
Ma’an News Agency 1/9/2009
Bethlehem – Ma’an – A Hamas delegation left Gaza for Egypt Friday, where they will discuss the Egyptian Initiative set to negotiate terms for a ceasefire in Gaza. The delegation included Ayman Taha, Jamal Abu Hashem and Salah Al-Bardawil from Gaza, who left via the Rafah crossing Friday afternoon. Imad Al-A’lami and Mohammad Naser traveled from Damascus to Cairo as representatives from the Hamas leaders in exile. Deputy of the Hamas politburo office Mousa Abu Marzuq said the visit aims at clarifying several points in the initiative, and to assess whether it could be implemented in phases or immediately. In an interview with Al-Jazeera Marzuq indicated that the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, particularly from the Philadelphi Route, or buffer zone corridor inside Gaza where Israel continued to operate following its 2005 withdrawal, was an important point for Hamas leaders.

Lebanese Army, UNIFIL unearth old arms cache near Israeli border
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 1/10/2009
BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army and UN peacekeepers found a weapons cache in South Lebanon near the border with Israel Friday, a day after rockets were fired on the Jewish state. A launcher and several "non-operational rockets" were found in an area near a position of UN peacekeepers in Southern Lebanon, the army said in a statement. The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) issued a statement saying a UNIFIL patrol "operating in coordination with the Lebanese Armed Forces(LAF) found an old weapons cache inside two disused bunkers. " The cache contained "approximately 34 Grad-P rockets and some boxes of allied ammunition" and was found in bunkers covered by camouflage nets near the villages of Kfar Shuba and Kfar Hammam close to the border with Israel. "There is no sign of any recent use of the bunkers and the weapons appear to date from the period of the 2006 conflict," the statement said in reference to Israel’s 34-day war on Lebanon.

UN peacekeepers discover rocket cache in south Lebanon
Reuters, Ha’aretz 1/9/2009
UN peacekeepers and Lebanese army troops found an old cache of rockets near the border with Israel on Friday, one day after at least three rockets were fired into northern Israel. The UN force, UNIFIL, said the cache, consisting of 34 Grad-P rockets and some boxes of ammunition were placed in two old bunkers covered by camouflage nets and appeared to date from the 2006 war between Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Israel. "There is no sign of any recent use of the bunkers and the weapons appear to date from the period of the 2006 conflict," a UNIFIL statement said. The Lebanese army said in a separate statement the weapons found near the village of Kfar Hamam were a rocket launcher and 24 rockets. It described the weapons as old and unusable. At least three Katyusha rockets were fired into Israel from south Lebanon on Thursday, wounding. . .

Report: Hizbullah wary of another war with Israel
Roee Nahmias Published, YNetNews 1/9/2009
Source affiliated with Shiite group says its supporters reacted negatively to Thursday’s rocket attack on north Israel, indicating they do not support fresh aggression against Jewish state -A source affiliated with Hizbullah told the London-based Arabic language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat Friday that while the Shiite group has placed its forces on the highest alert level, it is not seeking another war with Israel. According to the report, as part of its heightened alert measures Hizbullah has transferred its logistical and security headquarters from the Dahiya neighborhood in south Beirut to the southern part of the country. In addition, the group has ordered members of its technical units to return to Lebanon at once. The source said that despite these measures, the reactions among the Shiite population in Lebanon following Thursday’s

MIDEAST: Lebanon War More Than a Shadow
Mona Alami, Inter Press Service 1/10/2009
BEIRUT, Jan 9(IPS) - The eerie calm reigning on the green hills of south Lebanon was broken Thursday by the sound of explosions as three Katyusha rockets were launched into Nahariya and Western Galilee areas in Israel. Israel fired back, according to local website Now Lebanon, but said the Lebanese militant group Hizbullah was unlikely to have launched the rockets. The ’Party of God’ officially denied any involvement in the attack. Unknown factions seem to be working on the creation of a new front in south Lebanon. While Salafist (radical Muslim factions) interviewed by IPS denied any involvement in the incident, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) neither denied nor confirmed a hand in firing rockets. The attack has spotlighted the grizzly resemblance that the Israeli assault on Hamas bears to the 2006 war that pitted Israel against Hizbullah.

Rockets strikes reveal new foe in Lebanon
Sami Moubayed, Asia Times 1/10/2009
DAMASCUS - Speaking in Beirut on January 7, the Muslim Ashura holidays, Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah told supporters, "We have to act as though all possibilities are real and open [against Israel] and we must always be ready for any eventuality. "Twenty-four hours later, Nasrallah’s words seemed to become reality when rockets were launched from South Lebanon into Israel, near the town of Nahariya, threatening to open another front to the Israeli war on Gaza. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, stationed on the borders between Israel and Hezbollah, declared a state of emergency, while the pro-US government of Prime Minister Fouad al-Siniora condemned the attack but fell short of blaming Hezbollah. For its part, Hezbollah denied having ordered the Ketyusha attack. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) responded with fire into South Lebanon, drowning an Israeli statement

Israeli comedy show satirises Gaza violence
Ben Lynfield in Jerusalem, The Independent 1/10/2009
With nearly 800 Palestinians and 13 Israelis killed, four of the latter by so-called friendly fire, the Gaza war is no laughing matter, putting Israel’s most popular comedy show in a delicate position. Eretz Nehederet (Wonderful Country) -- the Israeli equivalent of the Daily Show -- has nonetheless been highlighting the lopsided fatality count of the war raging in the Gaza Strip. Last week’s episode featured a warmongering military correspondent, played by actor Tal Friedman, repeatedly breaking in to the newscasts with updates on the rising Palestinian death toll as if the war was a sports match. "It’s 500 for the visitors, four for the home team," the correpondent says. "The result is good but we can’t be complacent and we have to widen the lead. "A moment later he announces "a direct hit on a fashion studio, we are up to 501".

Syria protests Israel Golan wine gift to UN staff
Reuters, Ha’aretz 1/10/2009
Syria has protested to UN leaders that Israel distributed wine from the contested Golan Heights as year-end holiday gifts to UN staff and asked that they be told not to accept it. Israel’s UN mission confirmed it had sent out the wine but said this was perfectly appropriate. "The Golan Heights is an integral part of the state of Israel and the wine produced in that region is some of the best in the country. As such, we were pleased to share it with our colleagues," Israeli mission spokeswoman Mirit Cohen said on Friday. Israel captured the strategic territory from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War and annexed it in 1981 in a move rejected by the United Nations. The future of the heights is a key issue in any future Israeli-Syrian peace deal. In letters to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto,. . .


Enough. It’s time for a boycott
Naomi Klein, The Guardian 1/10/2009
      It’s time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa. In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on "people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era". The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions was born.
     Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS [Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanctions] cause - even among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors in Israel. It calls for "the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions" and draws a clear parallel with the anti-apartheid struggle. "The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves ... This international backing must stop."
     Yet even in the face of these clear calls, many of us still can’t go there. The reasons are complex, emotional and understandable. But they simply aren’t good enough. Economic sanctions are the most effective tool in the non-violent arsenal: surrendering them verges on active complicity. Here are the top four objections to the BDS strategy, followed by counter-arguments....

Israel Rejected Hamas Ceasefire Offer in December

Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service 1/10/2009
      WASHINGTON, Jan 9(IPS) - Contrary to Israel’s argument that it was forced to launch its air and ground offensive against Gaza in order to stop the firing of rockets into its territory, Hamas proposed in mid-December to return to the original Hamas-Israel ceasefire arrangement, according to a U.S.-based source who has been briefed on the proposal.
     The proposal to renew the ceasefire was presented by a high-level Hamas delegation to Egyptian Minister of Intelligence Omar Suleiman at a meeting in Cairo Dec. 14. The delegation, said to have included Moussa Abu Marzouk, the second-ranking official in the Hamas political bureau in Damascus, told Suleiman that Hamas was prepared to stop all rocket attacks against Israel if the Israelis would open up the Gaza border crossings and pledge not to launch attacks in Gaza.
     The Hamas officials insisted that Israel not be allowed to close or reduce commercial traffic through border crossings for political purposes, as it had done during the six-month lull, according to the source. They asked Suleiman, who had served as mediator between Israel and Hamas in negotiating the original six-month Gaza ceasefire last spring, to "put pressure" on Israel to take that the ceasefire proposal seriously.

Mourn the Cat That Died

Mohammed Omer, Inter Press Service 1/10/2009
      AMSTERDAM, Jan 9(IPS) - On the phone from Gaza, Zahrah Salem shares the news she has just seen, that so many at the White House were "deeply saddened" by the death of the cat India Willie. Why, she asks, is nobody at the White House deeply saddened by the death of so many children in Gaza.
     After a pause she says, "At least the cat did not die hungry, like the children in Gaza."
     Zahrah Salem, 64, has four children and 15 grandchildren to worry about. Day after day of bombing brings blessing they are still there. "We all sleep in one room," she says. "So if we die, we die together. What if we die and the children don’t, we don’t want to leave them behind to suffer."
     These days the injuries suffered by this IPS correspondent at the hands of the Israelis on trying to return home to Gaza seem trivial in the face of what is going on in Gaza. And in the face of the fears over the fate of family and friends back home.

Holocaust Denied: Lying Silence of Those Who Know

John Pilger, Palestine Chronicle 1/9/2009
      ’The asymmetry of conquest and terror is clear.’ (AFP) "When the truth is replaced by silence," the Soviet dissident Yevgeny Yevtushenko said, "the silence is a lie." It may appear the silence is broken on Gaza. The cocoons of murdered children, wrapped in green, together with boxes containing their dismembered parents and the cries of grief and rage of everyone in that death camp by the sea, can be viewed on al-Jazeera and YouTube, even glimpsed on the BBC. But Russia’s incorrigible poet was not referring to the ephemeral we call news; he was asking why those who knew the why never spoke it and so denied it. Among the Anglo-American intelligentsia, this is especially striking. It is they who hold the keys to the great storehouses of knowledge: the historiographies and archives that lead us to the why.
     They know that the horror now raining on Gaza has little to do with Hamas or, absurdly, "Israel’s right to exist." They know the opposite to be true: that Palestine’s right to exist was canceled 61 years ago and the expulsion and, if necessary, extinction of the indigenous people was planned and executed by the founders of Israel. They know, for example, that the infamous "Plan D" resulted in the murderous depopulation of 369 Palestinian towns and villages by the Haganah (Jewish army) and that massacre upon massacre of Palestinian civilians in such places as Deir Yassin, al-Dawayima, Eilaboun, Jish, Ramle and Lydda are referred to in official records as "ethnic cleansing." Arriving at a scene of this carnage, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, was asked by a general, Yigal Allon, "What shall we do with the Arabs?" Ben-Gurion, reported the Israeli historian Benny Morris, "made a dismissive, energetic gesture with his hand and said, ’Expel them’. The order to expel an entire population "without attention to age" was signed by Yitzhak Rabin, a future prime minister promoted by the world’s most efficient propaganda as a peacemaker. The terrible irony of this was addressed only in passing, such as when the Mapan Party co-leader Meir Ya’ari noted "how easily" Israel’s leaders spoke of how it was "possible and permissible to take women, children and old men and to fill the roads with them because such is the imperative of strategy ... who remembers who used this means against our people during the [Second World] war ... we are appalled."

Hasbara spam alert

Richard Silverstein, The Guardian 1/9/2009
      With Israel’s foreign ministry organising volunteers to flood news websites with pro-Israeli comments, Propaganda 2.0 is here. The hasbara brigade strikes again! You always hear about Israeli attempts at media manipulation. Everyone knows it’s going on but usually the process happens through cyber insurgents like those involved with Giyus (and its media monitoring software, Megaphone). Now, we know that the Israeli foreign ministry itself is orchestrating propaganda efforts designed to flood news websites with pro-Israel arguments and information.
     A reader of my blog has received the following email which documents both the efforts and the agency that originated them. The solicitation to become a pro-Israel "media volunteer" also includes a list of media links which the ministry would like addressed by pro-Israel comments:
     Dear friends,
     We hold the [sic] military supremacy, yet fail the battle over the international media. We need to buy time for the IDF to succeed, and the least we can do is spare some (additional) minutes on the net. The ministry of foreign affairs is putting great efforts in balancing the media, but we all know it’s a battle of numbers. The more we post, blog, talkback, vote – the more likely we gain positive sentiment.
     I was asked by the ministry of foreign affairs to arrange a network of volunteers, who are willing to contribute to this effort. If you’re up to it you will receive a daily messages & media package as well as targets.
     If you wish to participate, please respond to this email.

The Gaza Ghetto Uprising

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD - Bethlehem, Palestine Chronicle 1/9/2009
      ’The real reason for the onslaught on Gaza is not about fundamentalist Islam.’
     In Gaza as in Iraq, the US public is being lied to while US taxpayers and US power is wasted to support aggression. Vanity Fair reported on the scheme to topple Hamas concocted by Eliot Abrams (a Zionist in the Bush administration) that was "part Iran-contra, part Bay of Pigs" that ended up strengthening Hamas. And by contrast to PR strategies, the former head of the Israeli intelligence services admitted in Israeli papers that Israel could have stopped Palestinian retaliatory home-made rockets long ago by lifting its siege of Gaza (a condition of the cease fire between Hamas and Israel agreed to but rarely implemented) but that Israel had a more strategic issue: to try a different way to topple the duly elected Hamas government.
     But what else are we not being told about Gaza?
     Over 70% of the 1.5 million Palestinians in this besieged tiny strip of arid land are refugees. When Obama visited Sderot in the Negev, he should have also visited Gaza where he would have met with the original residents of Najd which was renamed Sderot after its destruction and settlement by European Jews. In Gaza he could have met with refugees from many of the 530 villages and towns ethnically cleansed. To aid the exodus, in the six weeks that preceded declaring Israel a state, 33 massacres were committed by Jewish forces like the Haganah, Irgun, and Stern (forerunners of the Israeli army that is attacking Gaza today).

Not in my name

Brian Klug, The Guardian 1/9/2009
      In the midst of the carnage in Gaza, it defies belief that my synagogue has asked me to march in solid support of Israel. In any conflict between peoples, there is a time for balancing the books, for placing facts neatly in the debit and credit columns, for issuing measured statements about the rights and wrongs on both sides. But not in the midst of one-sided carnage. The only decent thing to feel at the present time is outrage. The only thing for decent people to do right now is to condemn, without reserve or qualification, the brutal campaign that the Israeli military is waging against the population of Gaza. Every if and but derogates from decency.
     Earlier this week, my synagogue sent its members an email containing details of two rallies in support of Israel "which we would urge you to support". No ifs and buts here, just solid support for the perpetrator in the midst of the horror it is perpetrating. Is it possible to go further in the opposite direction to decency?
     Attached was a flyer for a "Mass Rally in Support of Israel" organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council, with "the support of the major organisations of UK Jewry", to be held in London this weekend. The flyer proclaims: "End Hamas terror!" No ifs and buts here either. No hint at the unspeakable state terror being unleashed, day after day, by the Israeli military. It defies belief.

The West Bank: We’re all Hamas now: supporters of Fatah unite behind enemy

Ben Lynfield in Ramallah, The Independent 1/9/2009
      Even if Israel wins on the battlefield or in the diplomatic corridors it is already paying the price of its Gaza onslaught in intensified hatred in the hearts of its Palestinian neighbours in the West Bank. The campaign also appears to be increasing public scepticism about the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s chosen path of negotiations as the way to establish an independent state alongside Israel.
     The diplomacy championed by Mr Abbas has for years been difficult to sell to Palestinians because it has brought little or no relief from occupation or improvement in their daily lives, only the expansion of Israeli settlements. This existing frustration –which helped Hamas defeat Mr Abbas’s Fatah movement in the 2006 elections – is now combined with popular anger and dismay at the carnage among fellow Palestinians in Gaza.
     Palestinian Authority security forces are keeping a tight lid on protests, preventing confrontations with Israeli troops and arresting anyone raising Hamas banners at rallies. But displays of identification with the beleaguered Gazans are everywhere. Nine-year-old green-kerchiefed girl Scouts, their foreheads marked with the word Gaza in red ink, were among those who marched through the main al-Manara square in a protest. They held up pictures of bandaged toddlers, and dozens of demonstrators chanted, "With blood and spirit, we will redeem you, O Gaza".

Misreading Gaza

Roane Carey, Middle East Online 1/9/2009
      The current Gaza crisis is the culmination of more than two years of failed strategy, conceived and carried out jointly by the United States and Israel.
     The first mistake was their refusal to accept the results of the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, acknowledged by all observers to be free and fair. Hamas won that poll, but instead of engaging the new leadership -- and testing its avowal that it would accept, if not applaud, a two-state resolution of the conflict -- Israel, with US encouragement, cut off aid, tax revenues and, eventually, almost all connection with the outside world. The policy was brutal and straightforward: Gaza’s 1.5 million citizens would be punished for electing leaders unacceptable to Tel Aviv and Washington.
     The next stage was to encourage a coup by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, despite Hamas’ willingness to form a coalition with Abbas’ Fatah faction. But Hamas struck first, overthrowing the corrupt and discredited PA in June 2007. Since then, Israel has tightened the siege on Gaza, leading the UN’s human rights representative in the territories, Richard Falk, to accuse Israel of committing a "crime against humanity.

Iran painted as the demon

Kaveh L Afrasiabi, Asia Times 1/9/2009
      Hamas is a home-grown Palestinian phenomenon enjoying legitimacy among Palestinian citizens as a religious-nationalist resistance movement, and yet the group’s demonization as a proxy of Iran forms an important dimension of Israel’s war effort.
     Ever since Israel’s military campaign started in Gaza on December 27, Israeli politicians, pundits and their wealth of supporters in the US government and media have consistently lumped Hamas, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah together, as part of a united front of "Islamofascists" on the march to "eradicate the little satan" [1], to paraphrase the title of a recent commentary in a mainstream US newspaper.
     "In Gaza, the real enemy is Iran," write authors in the Los Angeles Times [2], while William Kristol, in his opinion piece in the New York Times, portrays Israel’s re-invasion of Gaza in the larger frame of containing Iran-led Islamist extremism, ostensibly as a direct service to the national-security interests of the United States.
     Kristol’s article depicts the Israeli war in Gaza as implicitly framed as a "war to war" scenario, that is, as the beginning phase of a larger war against the Iran-led menace of "Islamist terror" that has now set its eyes on defanging Hamas.

Gaza offensive traumatises generation of children

Jonathan Cook - JERUSALEM, Middle East Online 1/9/2009
      The four-storey building of the Community Mental Health Programme in Gaza City is damaged, its walls still standing but the offices of its 150 employees wrecked by an Israeli bombing raid last week.
     As Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants waited anxiously for Israel’s ground invasion to unfold, Ahmad Abu Tawhina, the mental health programme’s director general, said its services were needed more than ever.
     Estimates from the United Nations are that at least one quarter of the more than 500 Gazans killed so far in Israel’s operations are women and children. More than five times that number are wounded.
     But, psychologists said, none of Gaza’s civilians are being spared feelings of fear and terror as the Israeli army moves deeper into the tiny enclave.
     Dr Tawhina admitted there was little in the current circumstances his staff could do. Their computers and records have been destroyed and they are working from home, largely without electricity, phones or the freedom to move about.
     Surveys in recent years have shown the rapid deterioration of the mental health of Gazans, especially children, who make up more than half of the Strip’s population.

Criticism of Israel’s war crimes mounts

Jonathan Cook, Electronic Intifada 1/9/2009
      Criticism by international watchdog groups over the increasing death toll in Gaza mounted this week as the first legal actions inside Israel were launched accusing the army of intentionally harming the enclave’s civilian population.
     The petitions -- over attacks on medical personnel and the shelling of United Nations schools in Gaza -- follow statements by senior Israeli commanders that they have been using heavy firepower to protect soldiers during their advance on built-up areas. "We are very violent," one told Israeli media.
     There is also growing evidence that Israeli forces have been firing phosphorus shells over densely populated areas in a move that risks violating international law by inflicting burns on civilians.
     Appointed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, meanwhile, called the events in Gaza a "new Nakba," referring to the catastrophe that dispossessed the Palestinians in 1948. The PA revealed that it was planning to seek the prosecution of Israel’s leaders for war crimes in the international courts.

Is Israel Winning the ’Media War’ over Gaza?

Ramzy Baroud, Palestine Chronicle 1/9/2009
      ’Israel’s crimes in Gaza is no victory, but a brief illusion of one.’
     "We are all Hamas," screamed a scrawny Mauritanian, repeatedly, as he determinedly drew his face closer to a TV camera. Behind him, thousands more tunefully chanted similar words, chants that were heard in different Arabic dialects, in fact in many different languages all across the globe.
     Yet, Israel, somehow is claiming victory in the media war, which it calculatedly unleashed weeks before its most violent attack on Gaza yet. Thousands have been reportedly killed and wounded in the first two weeks, starting Dec. 27, in the tiny stretch of land (roughly 140 square miles), yet densely populated Gaza Strip of 1.5 million people.
     "Whenever Israel is bombing, it is hard to explain our position to the world," said Avi Pazner, former Israeli ambassador to Italy and France, and "one of the officials drafted in to present Israel’s case to the world media," according to the Jewish Chronicle. "But at least this time everything was ready and in place."

Alastair Crooke: I know the difficulty of mediating a solution

Alastair Crooke, Former EU mediator, The Independent 1/9/2009
      Expect the totally unexpected. That is the rule of thumb when negotiating with Israel and the Palestinians, as the Egyptian mediators must have found out by now.
     I remember my own moment of sheer incredulity, when an entire Israeli military negotiating team suddenly vanished. "They’ve gone?" This was Bethlehem 2002. Inside the Church of Nativity, the birthplace of Jesus, 250 Palestinians were sheltering, having taken refuge as Israeli troops stormed into the city during the Palestinian intifada or "uprising".
     Israeli forces had encircled the old church and its connected buildings, demanding that the "terrorists" Israel suspected to be among those sheltering inside be handed over to them. Tanks and troops filled the side roads; and vast cranes had been erected above the church, dangling full-sized containers. These contained Israeli snipers, who, whenever a target appeared, would add to the toll of bodies to be collected periodically under cover of a brief cessation of fire.

Diary: ’Gaza has been zeroed’

Sami Abdel Shafi, Al Jazeera 1/9/2009
      Sami Abdel Shafi, a partner of a management consultancy firm based in Gaza City and media commentator, says what little capacity Gaza had to run its own affairs has been destroyed.
     We live close to the ministerial buildings, the police headquarters and the presidential compound, which have been hit over and over again.
     When the munitions actually impact, not only do you have a huge explosion but a huge vacuum is generated that sends shockwaves through the surrounding structures.
     We have to keep all of the windows open to prevent the glass from shattering and flying across the room. That’s the only precaution we can take.
     Other than that, I try to stay alert and on standby 24-hours-a-day, which is very difficult without sleep.
     People spend almost 24-hours a day indoors, listening to the news on the radio – if they have batteries.