Thursday, November 23, 2006

Meanwhile in Palestine

Israel permit 'too short' for PhD: Sawsan Salameh won a scholarship to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem but was banned by the army from attending. The Israeli authorities have not commented on the case. Sawsan Salameh was admitted to university but fell foul of Israeli army regulations banning Palestinian students from the West Bank from entering Israel or occupied East Jerusalem, where the university is located. The decision was overturned last week and Ms Salameh was granted a six-month permit to pursue her studies.

A brutal taste of the future: For the past week, the Gaza Strip city of Beit Hanoun has been made a ground zero by the Israeli army. By yesterday, more than 260 Palestinians lay dead and injured, with 53 fatalities — women, children and ambulance drivers among them.

November in Gaza: 105 killed, 353 injured, 52 left handicapped for life: 105 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of November, Palestinian medical sources have reported. The emergency and first aid department in the Palestinian ministry of health reports that 31 percent of the victims were children. Of the 105 killed, 14 were women.

UN official: Apology insufficient when you kill 19 civilians: Frankly I don't think it's sufficient for the armed forces, after 19 innocent civilians are killed in their house, in their bed, two days later to say 'well, this was an accident'. It's not enough; it does not persuade the victims that this is the truth. I don't think it persuades the community at large and it certainly doesn't give any guarantee that it won't happen again.

Army levels one house and one sheep shad in Qarawit Bani Hassan village near Salfit: The house and the shad belong to resident Nabil Khalil; the house provides shelter for more than 30 family members. Soldiers did not allow the family to evacuate their belongings, residents reported. Local youth clashed with the invading Israeli forces after soldiers opened fire at residents... Soldier also handed over some 30 demolishing orders to 30 families in the village; army wants to demolish the house within a week.

Fatah official survives attempted hit: Efforts to resume coalition talks between Fatah and Hamas suffered a major setback on Wednesday when an attempt was made to assassinate a senior Fatah leader in the Gaza Strip. A planned meeting between Abbas and PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was postponed in the aftermath of the attack.

Abbas, Haniyeh hold fresh talks on Palestinian unity government: Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas met Thursday for renewed talks on the formation of a unity government.

Seven Palestinians killed on Thursday in the Gaza Strip, over twenty residents injured: Several attacks were carried out at different areas in the Gaza Strip; at least twenty residents were injured. Resident Nasser Al Nithir, 22, was killed after the army fired artillery shells at Palestinian houses in Sheikh Zayid city, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip; two residents were injured in the attack.

Matriarch who lost grandson in conflict with Israelis turns into "suicide bomber": Daughter said Fatma Omar An-Najar was driven to lay down her life in an attack on Israelis Thursday because one grandson was killed and another disabled in clashes with troops. Fatma presided over a small army of militants, mostly from the Islamic Hamas movement, but with a few active in the rival Fatah. Her husband, who died a year ago, served time in Israeli jails, so did five of her seven sons.

Five residents taken prisoner in Hebron: Thursday, Israeli soldiers took five residents prisoner in Hebron city, in the southern part of the West Bank. Palestinian security sources in Hebron reported that soldiers broke into several houses, northeast of the city, searched them, and took five residents prisoner.

Army shells residents' houses, east of Jabalyia in the northern Gaza Strip: Israeli helicopters fired their heavy machine guns towards residents' houses in Jabalyia town in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday at noon. Residents reported a lot of damage to their houses but no injuries; the army offensive continues.

Palestinians: We'll halt Qassam fire if IDF stops attacks: A spokesperson for Islamic Jihad said the representatives of the various organizations in Gaza have reached an agreement according to which the Qassam attacks on Israel would cease in return for an end to the IDF's activity in the Strip and in the West Bank.

OPT: BADIL statement submitted to the UN Human Rights Council: BADIL Resource Center calls upon States and organizations to recognize the root causes of the conflict, namely Israel's protracted occupation and colonization of Palestinian land and its historical policy of population transfer, and to take measures to ensure respect for the rights of the Palestinian people. International efforts in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be balanced. The conflict in the occupied Palestinian territories is often misleadingly described as part of the so-called 'War on Terror'.

Shin Bet opposes targeted killings of Palestinian politicians: The cabinet, which was discussing Israel's response to the ongoing Qassam rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, adopted Diskin's recommendation and decided against targeting politicians. However, it approved another controversial proposal: targeting Hamas institutions in the Gaza Strip.

No technological solution to ongoing Qassam rocket fire: It is best not to delude the citizens of Israel with false promises: Even if a miracle does take place and a decision on the appropriate technological solution is made, it would be two to three years before emergence of the first results.

Make movies, not war: After introducing us to extraterrestrial creatures and presenting the world with unknown stories about the Holocaust and WWII, Steven Spielberg has a new cinematic project up his sleeve: A joint Israeli-Palestinian film aimed at promoting coexistence. Spielberg is due to arrive in Israel shortly to launch the project.

Israel shopping for high-tech shield against Palestinian rockets: Israel has been looking at anti-rocket systems since 2003 but is now speeding up its effort and putting millions of shekels aside for this purpose, the defense officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the anti-missile preparations are secret.

Palestinian sources: Saudis have severed ties with Hamas; Palestinian sources have claimed that Saudi Arabia has severed relations with Hamas in recent weeks, and the Saudi government is consequently refusing to meet with senior Hamas officials. Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud a-Zahar, who visited the kingdom recently, did not meet with a single senior Saudi official during his stay, sources said.

Israel/Occupied Territories: Governments at General Assembly must now put civilians before politics: “Political posturing should not be allowed to take priority over the human rights of victims and the civilian population on both sides of the conflict. A visionary approach is now required from the international community in order to halt the appalling abuses of human rights suffered in the Occupied Territories and Israel and to bring peace and security to the region,” Amnesty International said

Israel Sends More Tanks and Troops to Gaza: Israel sent additional tanks and troops into the northern Gaza Strip today where they battled Palestinian militants, although Israel's government appeared to rule out a major military escalation at least for now.

72-year-old left-wing activist decries repeated 'harassment' by B-G security: Ingrid Steinitz, a 72-year-old Danish Jew, has alleged she was strip-searched and harassed by Ben-Gurion Airport security for hours and on a second occasion told to spread her legs and place her hands against a wall. But Ben-Gurion security officials said Monday that everything was done according to procedures, and that the treatment the grandmother and left-wing activist had received was entirely justified.

Poll: More than half of Israelis support Syria talks:
Fifty-seven percent of 499 respondents said they supported negotiations, while 54 percent said they could not agree to a Golan withdrawal. Fifty-nine percent said they feared another war would break out in the North unless talks were held.

'When it comes to firing the gun, it's a massive shock. It's what you don't see in the movies.': The British recruits, who arrived in the summer when the war with Hizbullah was at its height, believe the Jewish state needs a show of solidarity. "If it's a job that we have to do, then I have to do it," Mr Wainer said. "Israel has always been under attack. Without the army, there would be no Israel."

Israel to spend $250 million in bid to boost number of tourists: The Ministry of Tourism announced on Thursday that Israel aims to double the number of foreign tourists to 4 million over the next five years by spending $250 million on marketing.

France authorizes troops to fire at IAF jets over Lebanon: French soldiers in Lebanon who feel threatened by aggressive Israeli overflights are permitted to shoot at IAF fighter jets, a high-ranking French military officer told The Jerusalem Post.

Mideast diplomacy / Bush to visit Jordan, won't meet PM, Abbas: The official purpose of Bush's visit to the region is a meeting with the prime minister of Iraq, Nuri al-Maliki. The American administration would like "to expedite the transfer of security responsibility in Iraq to the local government," a code for the commencement of an American disengagement from the Bush military adventure in the Middle East. His meeting with al-Maliki is reminiscent of the American exit from Vietnam, where the U.S. also began the "transfer of authority" to its surrogate in Saigon.

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