Sunday, November 19, 2006

Meanwhile in Palestine

Swedish human rights worker viciously attacked by Israeli settler: Tove Johansson from Stockholm walked through the Tel Rumeida checkpoint with a small group of human rights workers to accompany Palestinian schoolchildren to their homes. They were confronted by about 100 settlers in small groups, who started chanting in Hebrew “We killed Jesus, we'll kill you too!”... Then settler men from the back of the crowd began jumping up and spitting, while others kicked the volunteers from the back of the crowd and from the side.

Norwegian Trade Union calls for Arms Embargo Against the Occupation: The resolution, passed at the Union's congress last weekend, went through with an overwhelming majority with only 3 votes against. It condemns Israel's "massacre" perpetrated against Lebanon this summer and calls for "strong international pressure upon Israel" stating that "Israel must respect UN resolutions and end the occupation of Palestine, the Sheba farms and the Golan Heights, which is in violation of International Law."

For West Bank, It’s a Highway to Frustration: For four years, the separation barrier Israel has been building just inside the West Bank boundary has drawn protests from Palestinians and international censure for the hardship it imposes on their movement and access to jobs and land. But getting much less notice have been parallel and perhaps even more restrictive measures imposed by the Israeli military much deeper inside the West Bank. The internal checkpoints and barriers on roads have increasingly limited movement, something Palestinians say they find especially grating, because they are not trying to enter Israel, only to go from one Palestinian area to another.

U.N. agency: Two schoolchildren wounded in Israeli shooting at Gaza school: Stray Israeli gunfire hit a U.N. school in the northern Gaza Strip, wounding two children, including a 7-year-old boy who was hit in the head as he sat at his desk, United Nations officials said Sunday, but Israel denied involvement.

25-year-old Palestinian shot for protesting IDF's treatment of women: A critically wounded Palestinian youth is hospitalized at Beilinson, allegedly after Israeli soldiers shot at him for protesting their treatment of women. Heitham Yassin, 25 years old, has been under heavy sedation and on a respirator since the November 4 incident. Yassin's doctors have told a lawyer for the family that he has undergone two abdominal surgeries, and that he also has pelvic injuries and peritonitis.

War of words: Ironically, what happened to Rachel in death is what she had studiously avoided in her brief but eventful life: partisan politics overwhelmed a desire to see that justice, pure and simple, be done. On one extreme, she was an idealistic volunteer coldly murdered while trying to stop the house of a Palestinian doctor from being destroyed.

One killed and nine hurt as IAF strikes Hamas militants' car in Gaza: A 75-year-old man was killed and nine others hurt in an Israel Air Force strike on a car in Gaza City on Sunday, Palestinian officials said. also included eight civilians were injured in the attack, among them four children aged five, 13, 14, and 16.

Protests Force Israel to Halt Airstrikes: Israel called off airstrikes on the homes of two militants Sunday after hundreds of Palestinians crowded around the buildings forming human shields, a new tactic that forced the army to re-evaluate its aerial campaign in the Gaza Strip.

2 Qassams land in Sderot Sunday evening: Three Qassam rockets were fired Sunday evening at the southern town of Sderot. Two rockets landed in two different neighborhoods. One of the rockets hit a gas pipe and several people were treated for shock. Another rocket landed next to a kibbutz.

Hamas, Jihad conditionally welcome arrival of Jordan-based Palestinian militia into Gaza: The ruling Hamas movement and the Islamic Jihad (Holy War) militants said Bader forces, if returned from Jordan to Gaza, should join the Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation and maintain national interests. "If Bader forces came to stop any kind of resistance or to protect Israeli settlements, then they would be unwelcome," said Khaled al-Batsh of the Islamic Jihad.

Report: Olmert orders targeting of Hamas leadership: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert instructed the heads of the defense establishment to target members of the Hamas leadership. This was reported by British newspaper The Sunday Times. Israeli security sources reported to the newspaper that the decision was made in cooperation with Defense Minister Amir Peretz.

Abbas, Haniyeh meet on new PA gov't; no progress reported: Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas for another round of talks on a unity government, but no progress was reported, officials said.

Abbas accepts Shubair as new premier: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday accepted Hamas's candidate, Mohamed Shubair as the new Prime Minister of the proposed Palestinian national unity government, official Palestinian sources said.

Diskin: PA unity will win legitimacy: In the meantime, Diskin said, Fatah has begun to show sparks of awakening. Abbas was newly elected chairman and there's an election platform, should young members be appointed within the party – the unity process with begin. "The question was and remains," said Diskin, "if Abu-Mazen (Abbas) can bring in the scattered factions – that's the real challenge for him."

Abbas seeks pressure on Hamas leader in exile Khaled Meshaal: Earlier reports said President Abbas rejects that Hamas would be in charge of the interior ministry of the new government. The reports also spoke about controversy between Abbas' Fatah and Hamas over the key portfolios.

Haniyeh: PA unity gov't depends on lifting of Western sanctions: "We need documentation and we need a greater assurance. We need to feel that they will be committed to lifting the siege in return for this big step," Haniyeh told reporters.

Haneya complains Arabs failed to break up siege on Palestinians: Haneya, a senior leader from the ruling Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), made the re marks as Arab countries failed to take action to implement their commitment, made by Arab foreign ministers a week ago, to break up the western embargo.

Israeli DM admits wider operation in Gaza: Peretz said that he had instructed the Chief of Staff Dan Halutz to expand military action in Gaza. "The IDF will act in initiatives rather than responses," Peretz said, "however, we will resist falling back into the mire of Gaza."

Spanish FM: We were afraid Israel would thwart peace plan: The diplomatic initiative for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement was not coordinated ahead of time with Israel for fear that its government would try to thwart it, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos said.

AL chief says ready to cooperate with Europe on new Mideast peace initiative: Arab League (AL) Secretary General Amr Moussa Saturday said that the AL is ready to cooperate with European nations on a new initiative on holding a Mideast peace conference to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Egypt's official news agency MENA reported.

Aid to North won't close gap between Jewish, Arab schools: "The Education Ministry is using the program to escape its obligations to close the gap between Jews and Arabs in Israel," Rian says. "Not only is there no assurance that the gaps in the North will really close, but the status of Arab education in the rest of the country will remain unchanged."

Minister: Israel should declare 10-day cease-fire in Gaza Strip: However, Ezra added, "if during those 10 days, the Palestinians violate the truce, in my view, the state of Israel would be justified in taking much, much tougher measures than we have been taking thus far." Such a step could act to strengthen the hand of moderates against the ruling Hamas, Ezra said.

Peretz proposes installing Qassam warning system in Ashkelon: In the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Peretz said that the Defense Ministry is looking into methods of intercepting the rockets, as well as preventing their use altogether. A senior ministry official reported that several developers are currently working on devices that could be effective against both Qassam and Katyusha rockets.

Olmert: Evacuation of Sderot a 'millionaire's promotional trick': "All throughout our history in this land, even during much tougher days, we never fled our homes," said Olmert. "We will not lend a hand to these magic solutions which are good for two or three days, but may lead to disastrous results in the long run."

Report: Syria to demand Golan as price for aiding U.S. on Iraq: "The Syrian leadership is fed up with the Americans and does not trust their word when it comes to future aid for Syria," Abdel Nour was quoted as saying. "Syria will not do anything unless it has secured guarantees from Washington and London that every action Damascus takes to help them will be reciprocated. It will be a step by step scenario: these actions for those actions," he added.

Bring back Kfar Darom: The settlements must be returned to Gaza. Anyone who cares about the fate of those living in the Gaza Strip should wish for the re-establishment of Netzarim and Kfar Darom. If I were a Palestinian, I would dream of seeing Dugit and Nisanit resurrected. They could serve as the last human shield for a million and a half residents who now comprise one of the most helpless populations in the world.

Israel, France in crisis: Following his speech, Gillerman walked past the French Ambassador without greeting him. The disregard was apparent even at lower echelons. Israeli diplomats have recently begun regarding France as a hostile force in the Security Council as well as the EU. “It is truly and Arab extension,” one Israeli diplomatic source said.

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