Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Meanwhile in Palestine

Bethlehem to be hemmed in on four sides, the latest for the Wall & a settler road in the southwest: The Israeli forces Commander for the Central Region of the occupied West Bank, Major General Yair Naveh, has decided to confiscate 152 dunams of southern Bethlehem. The stated aims of the confiscation are “military purposes” and “the security wall. ” Director of the Committee to Defend against Land Confiscation in the southern West Bank, Khalid Al Azzeh, says that this portion of the Wall will run alongside a new settler road linking Israeli settlements surrounding Bethlehem.

Army closes a Wall Gate cutting Far'on village farmers from their land: The Israeli army closed on Tuesday the gate number 708 of the Annexation Wall, which is located between the village of Far'on, near the West Bank of Tulkarem, and its orchards. This gate was installed to allow the farmers of the village to reach to their orchards that became isolted behind the Wall, closing it will bar the residents from reaching their lands, the main source of livelihood of the villagers.

For Gaza's students, classes by 'remote control': Shaima Naji, a 21-year old from Gaza, has never attended classes at Bethlehem University where she is enrolled to study occupational therapy. Naji registered at the university four years ago, but security forces forbade her entry into the West Bank. Occupational therapy, commonly called OT, has become a vital aspect of rehabilitative treatment in the Gaza Strip since the intifada began, but Naji may only receive professional training in Bethlehem...

Walls turn into fact of life in West Bank city of Hebron: A Palestinian child in Hebron has drawn her West Bank home town. Apart from rows of houses and olive trees, the picture shows an area circled by barbed wire, and is complete with checkpoint and watchtower. The large drawing now hangs in a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) consulting room, where the international non-governmental organisation counsels Palestinians on "the violence of the intifada and the (Israeli) occupation" of the area.

PM unaware of gov't-issued tenders for W. Bank apartments: Security sources said yesterday that the construction plans for Ma'aleh Adumim and Beitar Ilit had already been approved last year, under the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. The sources said the tenders for Ma'aleh Adumim are part of a larger plan to build 4,000 apartments in the town.

Hamas on the brink of deal to lead new coalition in move to end funding crisis: But Hamas officials say even in a new joint government with its main political rival, Fatah, the movement will not give explicit recognition to Israel - one of the conditions set by the international community for funding to resume.

Report: “86, including 16 children killed, 270 taken prisoners in August” : Sixteen Palestinian children were killed by Israeli shells and bullets, the youngest casualty was a three-day old child, Shahad Saleh Al Eid. The report stated that the Israeli attacks are in direct violations to the international law while Israel continues to violate the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people by using excessive force against civilians and children.

Tony Blair 'not welcome' in Ramallah: In a statement distributed in Ramallah, they said that Blair, who is expected to visit the region later this week, was "completely unwelcome in our country because he was coming to wash the hands that are dripping Lebanese blood with Palestinian water."

EU monitors may opt to leave Gaza crossing, Israel: European monitors could be withdrawn from the border between Gaza and Egypt later this year amid concerns about Israeli restrictions on performing their duties, European officials said on Tuesday. "We cannot continue like this," a European official said.

PM: Shalit must be freed before PA prisoners: "I said in the past, before the abduction, that in my talks with Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas], I would want to release Palestinian prisoners to convey to everyone that whoever opposes terror and accepts the Road Map should be supported," Olmert said. "But now we are not interested in doing so under the pressure of Shalit's abduction."

Palestinian lawmaker holds Israel responsible for economic crisis in territories: In a news conference in Ramallah, Mustafa al-Barghouti of the National Initiative party accused Israel for having withheld the Palestinians' tax revenues for more than six months. "Israel keeps holding not less than 600 millions U.S. dollars from tax revenues that form about 70 percent of the Palestinian local income," al-Barghouti denounced.

Penury and boredom weigh on West Bank refugees: While much media attention has been on Israel's war against Hizbollah in recent weeks, the situation in the Israeli-occupied West Bank has been slipping from bad to worse and beyond.

Heading for 3rd Intifada?: As Hamas is standing its ground, Israel is acting in an effort to bring about the paralysis of the PA through various administrative and military means. Against the backdrop of the ideological, constitutional, and political struggle between Fatah and Hamas, this policy is indeed leading to a growing collapse in the PA's ability to govern. This outcome contradicts the Israeli interest. A Palestinian Authority that is allowed to provide for the population's basic needs and possibly even put an end to the firing on Israeli territory is a fundamental Israeli need.

'We know what we want' : An interview with the Palestinian prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, about his hopes for a national unity government .

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