Unknown gunmen kill a Palestinian judge in southern Gaza Strip: Bassam Al-Farra, 45, was leaving his car and walking towards the court house of Bani Suheila town east of Khan Younis when he was ambushed by a group of unknown masked gunmen, "who showered him with live rounds", eyewitnesses reported. Sources in the Gaza strip said that the judge is known for his affiliation with Hamas movement and he also work and a lecturer in Al Quds Open University.
No Palestinian fishing rod : And above all, the high aid ceiling reflects the depths of the leniency toward Israel, or the absence of the political ability to cause Israel to do one of two things: Either to recognize its obligations as the occupying power under international covenants, and to care for the occupied population, or to desist immediately from its policy of intentional economic strangulation. For years, Israel has been using the weapon of economic strangulation as a means of political pressure.
Destroyed Homes in Walaja: "It's always the same picture for us…"In the space of two weeks, the Israeli occupying army has come to the village of Walaja at least three times. The first time was to demolish an outbuilding that housed animal feed. The second, last week, was to arrest a father of five during the night for apparent links to political party Hamas (he works for a Bethlehem orphanage supported by the social services part of Hamas). The third was this morning when they came to demolish the home of Monder Abed Hamad and his family, for the second time.
Israeli army attacks a Palestinian school and takes over two nearby houses south of Hebron: Troops stormed the school, searched and ransacked it then tuned it into a military post. Soldiers also attacked two adjacent Palestinian houses, forced each family in a room in their houses, and tuned the two houses into military posts, eyewitnesses reported. Residents of Al Samou'a village reported that troops are attacking houses and schools on daily basis over the past few weeks.
First Gaza killing since truce:
The man was hit in the head by Israeli fire opposite the boundary fence from the Israeli village of Nahal Oz. Medical officials identified the man as a member of Fatah, which is led by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president.
Pipe-bomb explodes at Hamas rally in Gaza-witnesses : Hamas representatives blamed members of the rival Fatah for the attack in Nusseirat refugee camp, which came amid spiralling inter-factional violence. Fatah spokesmen could not immediately be reached for comment. The Nusseirat rally was held to protest against the killing earlier on Wednesday of a Hamas judge by gunmen.
High Court's ruling / Human rights trump the Knesset's laws : However, the state remains immune from damages incurred during "combat operations." In the past, the Supreme Court ruled that this immunity applied only to combat operations in the "narrow and simple" sense of the term, meaning operations in which soldiers' lives were in real danger. It was this ruling that led the state to enact the current law, with its much broader definition of combat operations. Now, the courts will presumably have to revisit the question of how this term should be applied.
Under-cover troops abduct three resident in Tulkarem : Salah Iraki, 24, Mo'men Safaka, 24, and Mo'tassem Abu Dughsh, were taken to an unknown destination when under-cover troops, driving a Palestinian licenced vehicle, forced the three into the car and sped to an unknown destination.
Ten Palestinian men abducted by the Israeli army during morning invasions in the West Bank : Hassan Badir, 16, and Ather I'lian, 14, were abducted when Israeli forces and Israeli secret service agents (Shin Bit) invaded Abu Dir town, east of Jerusalem, and searched houses there. The two teens were handcuffed blindfolded then they were moved to unknown detention camp, their families reported.
Report: Haniyeh says Israel more flexible on Shalit prisoner swap : Haniyeh said Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who has been a central mediator on the issue, told him that Israel has agreed in principle that the release of Shalit and the release of Palestinian prisoners by Israel would occur simultaneously, the radio reported. Nonetheless, the two sides have yet to agree on the number of Palestinians that will be freed, or their identities, the radio said.
Blair seeks to get Palestinians to negotiate with Israel: Tony Blair revealed yesterday he intended to set out a political and economic offer to the Palestinians when he visits the Middle East, detailing what they can expect in return for negotiations with Israel. Speaking at his monthly press conference in Downing Street, he also hinted that the US and the EU were willing to be flexible on the "pre-conditions" that the Hamas-led Palestinian government would have to meet to see direct aid restored and talks started.
Time to pay for mistakes : In a rare decision, Supreme Court justices told the State of Israel that it cannot do whatever it wishes without paying. Even if we're talking about another people, the kind been ruled over for 40 years. And please note the ironic timing: A day after the Olmert government gave the United Nations the finger and refused to accept a UN commission of inquiry into the Beit Hanoun affair, the High Court ruled that we are responsible in fact.
Prodi: Preserve Israel's Jewish character: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed great satisfaction with his meeting with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi. During the meeting Prodi said that "Israel's Jewish character should be preserved." Olmert interpreted this sentence as Prodi's support of the Israeli stance on denying the Right of Return to Palestinian refugees.
Right furious at 'Intifada Law' verdict's ramifications : MK Michael Eitan (Likud), a former chair of the Knesset Constitution Committee, asked Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik to schedule an urgent plenum debate on the ruling. "If the overturning of Knesset legislation continues, the High Court will liquidate the existence of Israeli democracy and the army's defensive capabilities," he said.
Kidnappers release Gaza-born Israeli after 46 days; family complains of official inaction : "Only his relatives were interested in the matter," said Mansour. "We didn't read a thing in the papers, and we didn't hear anything on the radio. No one demanded that he be returned." Al-Luh was kidnapped as he was heading back to Israel after visiting his parents' family in Gaza for the Muslim holiday of Id al-Fitr.
MKs okay preliminary reading of bill for Arabic language academy: "We have an academy for the Hebrew language and institutions for the preservation of Ladino and Yiddish, all funded by the government. Why shouldn't there be a similar institution dedicated to Arabic?" Reiter told Haaretz.
President is expected to call for early elections, but not to set the date : Expectations are running high, as is speculation, as to the contents of President Abbas' speech scheduled for Saturday. He will address the Palestinian situation, the state of lawlessness, the impasse over the national unity government, and the Palestine Liberation Organization call for early elections.
EU considers paying Palestinian police: Abbas asked the EU to expand its so-called Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) to include roughly 80,000 members of the security services, including the police force. The EU programme makes payments to Palestinian hospital workers and pensioners but the security services are excluded.
Iran, Arabs demand UN action over Israeli nuclear arms : The 22-member body called on "all states which offered assistance to Israel, particularly on the issues of uranium and heavy water, to speak out without delay," he said. "Everyone knows that Israel possesses weapons of mass destruction which could reach as far as 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles), and all Arab capitals are within this range," Sobeih added.
EU presidency wants Olmert to explain nuclear comments: The Finnish presidency of the European Union has called for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to explain his apparent admission that the Jewish state has nuclear weapons. "I think that Mr Olmert must explain more fully what this information means ."
Let the world worry : Kennedy told Peres at the 1963 White House meeting that the U.S. was closely following the development of Israel's nuclear potential and asked what he had to say about it. The surprised Peres responded: "I can tell you clearly that we shall not be the ones to introduce nuclear weapons into the area. We will not be the first to do so." It was a momentary stroke of brilliance designed to ward off Kennedy's pressure and the deterioration of bilateral relations at a time when Israel was searching for a new ally after the special relations with France, the reactor's supplier, had ended.
Carter prays with rabbis angered by book : Carter's book follows the peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians during his presidency in 1977-1980. He's critical of all players in not reaching a better accord, but he's especially critical of the Israelis. He previously told The Associated Press that Americans are rarely exposed to anything other than pro-Israeli views in the news media.
Analysis: Israeli-Arab dispute feeds ire: A poll conducted on 6,296 Americans between Dec. 4 and Dec. 6 found that for 59.2 percent, it is very important to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. The numbers were high regardless of party affiliation. Among Democrats 67 percent found it very important compared to 51.8 percent among Republicans and 59.1 for Independents.
Concert in honour of secretary-general kofi annan to take place on monday : The renowned pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim will conduct the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra on Monday, 18 December 2006, at 6:45 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall. The concert, sponsored by the Government of Spain and promoted by the Barenboim-Said Foundation .
War Crimes: How Israeli Soldiers Kill and Civilians Grow Numb: One Israeli officer says the world doesn't seem to notice killing in small numbers. And those closest to the violence become too scared to empathize for those who die .
Court overturns Israel's intifada law: Israel's Supreme Court has overturned a controversial Israeli law banning Palestinians from claiming compensation for harm suffered at the hands of soldiers.
Gunmen shoot dead Hamas judge in Gaza: Unidentified gunmen dragged a judge from the Hamas Islamist movement out of a taxi and shot him dead in front of his courthouse in Gaza on Wednesday, increasing fears of a Palestinian civil war.
UK visit to Bethlehem welcomed by local church and civic leaders : Church and civic leaders in Bethlehem, together with the Anglican and Catholic bishops of Jerusalem, have welcomed the plans by UK church leaders to make an Advent pilgrimage to Bethlehem - which is facing isolation, depopulation and economic collapse due to the Israel-Palestine conflict and the presence of the separation wall.
Israeli Hight Court rejects appeal against Wall route north of Jerusalem : The Israeli High Court rejected on Wednesday an appeal filed by residents of Al Ram neighborhood, in Jerusalem, against the construction of the Annexation Wall around the norther Jerusalem neighborhood. The High court, headed by Justice Aharon Barak, also ruled that the route of the Annexation Wall in Bir Nibala town, is "legal", thus rejecting five appeals filed regarding the same issue.
UPI Poll: Israeli lobby's U.S. influence: Nearly half of those asked on a UPI-Zogby International poll said pro-Israel interest groups have a significant level of influence on U.S. foreign policy.
Five Palestinian refugees killed in Iraq, dozens injured: armed militias in Iraq shelled a Palestinian compound in Baghdad killing five Palestinian refugees and injuring at least 25 others, in addition to causing considerable damage to the property. A total of ten shells were fired at the Palestinian compound on Wednesday, the agency added.