Thursday, November 30, 2006

Meanwhile in Palestine

Bulldozing the rule of law: In the first years of the occupation, Israel regularly "requisitioned'' land, ostensibly to meet provisional military needs. Palestinian residents retained ownership, but not control, of their real estate. On some of that land, the government established settlements. Facing court challenges in the 1970s, the state argued that the new communities served Israel's security and were not permanent.

Report: Yaalon escapes arrest in New Zealand: Former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon escaped an arrest during a visit to New Zealand. The warrant, which was filed by a New Zealand citizen against Yaalon for alleged war crimes, was cancelled at the last minute after the local Justice Ministry interfered, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights reported Thursday.

Army levels several houses south of Bethlehem: The Israeli army leveled two Palestinian houses located in the Iskarba area, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Thursday. The houses are located on lands belonging to Mohamed Odah and Taysser Odah nearby the illegal Israeli settlement block of Kfar Atzion.

Army levels a number of shops in Salfit: The Israeli army leveled to the ground three Palestinian owned shops in the West Bank city of Salfit. The shops are located just on the outskirts of the city near the entrance of the illegal Israeli settlement of Ari'al.

In pre dawn invasions to several West Bank areas the army takes prisoner 21 residents:
Israeli army sources said that the arrest campaign troops conducted in the West Bank on Thursday at dawn targeted what the army calls "Wanted Palestinians." None of these families were told why their relatives were taken, nor were they told where they were taken to.

AIC Member Ahmad Abu Hannya Placed in Administrative Detention for an Additional Six Months: Ahmad, coordinator of the AIC youth group in Bethlehem, was detained at a checkpoint on his way to work on 18 May 2005 and placed in administrative detention, which is imprisonment without trial or charges. As with all of the approximately 600 Palestinian administrative detainees currently being held by Israel, Ahmad and his attorney are not even permitted to know the evidence against him.

Human Rights Watch Must Retract Its Shameful Press Release - By Norman Finkelstein: After Palestinians spontaneously responded to that "unknown voice on a cell phone" by putting their own bare bodies in harm's way, HRW rushed to issue a press release warning that Palestinians might be committing a "war crime" and might be guilty of "human shielding." ("Civilians Must Not Be Used to Shield Homes Against Military Attacks"). In what must surely be the most shocking statement ever issued by a human rights organization, HRW indicted Palestinian leaders for supporting this nonviolent civil disobedience.

UN report: “Israel violated all articles of Crossings agreement”:
Number of roadblocks increased by 44%, and movement between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is totally blocked, the report added, the West Bank is currently divided in 10 isolated sections. The agricultural sector suffered a 30 Million US Dollar loss this year, the shelling and bulldozing of agricultural hothouses and barracks caused additional 6 Million US Dollar losses, and 4200 employee in the agricultural sector are jobless.

EU diplomat: Olmert refused European force to oversee ceasefire:
According to a senior European diplomat, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that Israel was not interested in a European force to uphold the ceasefire with Palestinians at a meeting Tuesday with European Union ambassadors in Herzliya.

Haneya: talks on unity gov't face differences: "Unity is the national interest of the Palestinians," said Haneya, adding that Palestinian factions have agreed to set up a unity government based on a prisoners' document. The document, which calls for a two-state solution, also guarantees Hamas to participate in the government.

Al Aqsa brigades says it will not abide to the truce since it excludes the West Bank:
The Al Aqsa brigades, the armed wing of Fateh movement, issued a statement on Thursday declaring its position that it will not abide to the truce since its excludes halting the Israeli attacks, and invasions in the occupied West Bank.

Sources: Rice will ask Olmert to lift roadblocks in West Bank:
Rice's visit to Jerusalem is meant to show American support for the new negotiating process, official sources say. That began with the cease-fire, and should presumably lead to setting up a Palestinian national unity government. In the next stage, the U.S. is expected to help jump-start the political negotiations between Israel and the PA.

Mideast prisoner exchange on table: In a separate development, Palestinian officials quoted in London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat that the fractious Palestinian militant factions are united in their demand that high-profile prisoner Marwan Barghouthi be included in a prisoner exchange that would see the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Hundreds of Arab Bedouin are without Water, Because of Political Considerations: In a well-governed country which provides for the welfare of its citizens, the state supplies water to citizens as a basic necessity. However, in Israel in 2006, this commodity is supplied according to political considerations. Hundreds of Arab Bedouin families are living in the Naqab (Negev) in terrible conditions without infrastructure, and even without the supply of drinking water. According to a study commissioned by the Ministry of Health, this fact exposes most of these families to serious illnesses, including cholera, dysentery and typhus.

Palestinian FM: We need unity government that doesn't comply with US demands:
Meanwhile, Zahar said his government does not rely on the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "This endless series of meetings has achieved nothing for our people; instead, these visits come to justify more aggressions on the people."

IRCICA to Restore Ottoman Buildings and Monuments in Jerusalem:
Having realized a project entitled “Mostar 2004” preserving the cultural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA) is now taking action in Jerusalem. A sacred city according to all three celestial religions, Jerusalem’s historical buildings from the Ottoman period will be restored one by one.

Gaza and Darfur:
As a zone of ongoing, large-scale bloodletting Darfur, in western Sudan, has big appeal for US news editors. Americans are not doing the killing, or paying for others to do it. So there's no need to minimize the slaughter with the usual drizzle of "allegations." There's no political risk here in sounding off about genocide in Darfur. The crisis in Darfur is also very photogenic.

Will US position change?
President Bush's expected trip to Amman, just like the meeting between Vice President Cheney and Saudi King Abdullah, has the potential to affect Israel's diplomatic situation in the near future. These visits show that the American Administration is considering not only steps that would extract it from the Iraq mess, but even wider Middle-Eastern moves.

Security group: Start Saudi Plan talks: The Saudi plan, adopted at the Arab Summit in Beirut in March 2002, called on Arab states to "normalize relations" with Israel in return for the establishment of a Palestinian state following an Israeli withdrawal to the Green Line and a just solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees in accordance with UN Resolution 194. This resolution called on Israel to allow the return of Palestinian refugees.

It seems to be serious this time: The process began with a Palestinian initiative. The Israeli prime minister did not have much choice nor did he have the option of refusing the proposal. After all, we have just emerged from one difficult war - can Israel continue to fight? And if it can, is it wise to do so when the president of the United States is in the region?

Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid: It's the title of a new book authored by former President Jimmy Carter, and according to this statesman who oversaw the first Middle East peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, the title was meant to provoke a much-needed discussion which rarely ever transpires in US politics and media.

Ramle Mayor apologizes for offensive comments about Arab residents:
"If they don't like it they should go live in Jaljuliya, that's an Arab name," Lavi was quoted as saying. "What happened, what? Because some Mohammed wants to change the name? He should change his Allah."

Arabic teachers: Security situation is damaging the subject's image:
Carmit Bar-On, an Arabic teacher in Rosh Ha'ayin's Begin high school, is frustrated. The Internet site she set up for Arabic studies won a prize from the European Union, after competing with 800 educational sites from some 30 countries, but has received no recognition from the Education Ministry.

Palestinian killed, two wounded by Israeli Occupation Forces near Nablus.

Hamas Sets New Terms For Soldier's Release: The London newspaper quoted Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal as saying a new condition was Israel's release of Marwan Barghouti, a militant leader of the Tanzim Palestinian movement.

UN: Israel breaks border agreement:
A UN report has accused Israel of breaking all provisions in a year-old US-brokered agreement on Gaza's border crossings, as Condoleezza Rice visits the region.

Gideon Levy: Twilight Zone / Shock corridor: With all the focus on the bloodshed in Gaza, daily life in the West Bank has been forgotten. At the offices of the Medical Relief organization in Nablus, the medical director, Dr. Ghassan Hamdan, says that his city is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster.

Apartheid: Israelis adopt what South Africa dropped: As a South African and former anti-apartheid advocate who visits the Palestinian territories regularly to assess the human rights situation for the U.N. Human Rights Council, the comparison to South African apartheid is of special interest to me.

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