Monday, September 25, 2006

Meanwhile in Palestine

Israel Occupation Forces Steal Millions in Bank Raids Across West Bank: Palestinian security sources said that "millions of dollars, documents, and files were stolen" when Israeli troops raided 24 banks and money exchange shops in several towns, including Ramallah, Nablus, Tulkarem, and Jenin.

PA's Abbas to demand Hamas honor Oslo Accords : Palestinian sources explained that Abbas did not want a confrontation with Hamas and therefore is not demanding direct recognition of Israel, but is making do with recognition of Oslo.

Israel shrugs off Syrian overtures: A senior Israeli official rejected statements made earlier Sunday by Syrian President Bashar Assad about his desire for peace between the two neighbours, Israeli Army Radio reported.

U.S. Jewish Solidarity with Muslim and Arab Peoples of the Middle East: As Jews of conscience living in the United States, we are outraged by the violence being perpetrated in our name both as Jews and as U.S. citizens. We, the undersigned, represent Jews across the United States who are choosing to stand in solidarity with the peoples of Gaza and Lebanon.

Bil’in Announces Plans to Build Hotel on Israeli Occupied Village Land: 12.30 am: The villagers of Bil'in have successfully inaugurated their project to build a hotel on their land in the illegal settlement. A sign detailing their plans was erected and the foundation stone laid. No-one was detained or arrested. As of this writing, the sign is still standing. Villagers erected a 5×3 meter sign-post advertising the forthcoming hotel called ‘Falastin’, and intend to submit a planning application to the Israeli Civil Administration which is responsible for civilian matters on occupied Palestinian land.

War Turns the Tide For Israeli Settlers: But after a month-long war in southern Lebanon and as sporadic fighting continues in Gaza, a highly unpopular Olmert has put his West Bank withdrawal plan on hold. His government has stepped up construction in the large settlement blocs, including areas the Bush administration has warned Israel against developing, and the West Bank settlement population of a quarter-million people is growing.

Court rejects Bedouin villages' request for clean water connection: The Adalah Center plans on appealing the decision with the Supreme Court. They said there is no connection between realizing the basic right all state residents to clean water and the legal standing of the Negev towns. The Adalah Center said the ruling meant that the court decided the right to water is not absolute and can therefore be limited.

Irish lecturers call on EU to boycott Israeli universities: The call for the boycott, published last week in the Irish Times daily, came since according to its organizers "The Israeli government appears impervious to moral appeals from world leaders and to longstanding United Nations resolutions." The letter was signed by 61 Irish academics.

Israeli Colonists Break Old Man’s Leg in Susia: On Monday, soldiers from this outpost accompanied seven young armed settlers to the home of an elderly couple where they watched as the settlers pushed, taunted and beat the old man and woman with sticks. Nevertheless, Haj Khalil’s legs are now sore and swollen from the beating, one of the bones in his calf fractured. His wife buries her head in her hands as he talks, punctuating his sentences with nods and sighs of despair.

Army shoots at three Palestinian workers near Bethlehem and takes one of them prisoner: The construction of the wall, checkpoints and one large Jewish settlement has separated the city of Bethlehem from Jerusalem, forcing workers to cross the fence surrounding the settlement to reach their jobs in Israel. To cross legally, Palestinians must apply for a permit, which either takes too long or is not granted at all.

Palestinian official condemns Israel's settlements expansion in W. Bank: Tayssir Khaled, member of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee, considered Israel's decision to build more houses into the Israeli settlements in the West Bank settlements as "a new escalation and aggression against the Palestinians and their land."

Israeli Military Court Rejects Release Of Hamas Officials: The court's president accepted an appeal by the prosecution and overturned an earlier, September 12 ruling by its vice president, who said the 21 Hamas officials should be freed because of a lack of evidence that they were involved in terrorist activity.

EU pays social allowances to 40,000 Palestinian families: The European Union said Monday it has begun paying social allowances to 40,000 needy Palestinian families through a temporary funding program overseen by the World Bank that bypasses the Hamas-led Palestinian government.

Palestinians to seek release of Barghuti and Saadat: Abbas: "When discussions will take place on ... the people we want freed among them will be Barghuti and Saadat," he said. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Friday that he was prepared to negotiate a prisoner release with Abbas in exchange for a captured soldier.

Palestinian legislator: US trying to block democracy in Palestine: "I am optimistic that it will soon work out. Of course, we know that there are restrictions on us. We are not in a normal situation. We have to be flexible in a way that does not compromise our national rights," Abdullah Abdullah told IRNA in Brussels in an exclusive interview. The US, he said, is not promoting democracy but aggressiveness.

Abbas puts off planned talks with Hamas in Gaza: Abbas wants a political platform honouring interim peace deals with the Jewish state, which he hopes will satisfy the West. Hamas has sought vague wording that would not contradict the group's charter calling for Israel's destruction. The president has accused Hamas of reneging on an agreement reached earlier this month on the political programme for the unity government. Hamas has denied the allegation.

U.S. Double standards: Israeli-Americans rewarded, Palestinian-Americans punished: Despite stipulations in the U.S. Constitution that there is to be no discrimination against Americans based on their country of origin, the very real double standard in U.S. policy towards Palestinian-Americans vs. Israeli-Americans has caused some groups to raise concerns about the constitutionality of the current regime's policies.

Israel to allow electricity import from Jordan to Jericho: National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer approved the setting up of an electricity connection between Jericho and the Jordanian kingdom. If the project materializes, this would be the first time that a Palestinian Authority town receives its power supply from a foreign country.

Rice mission to Mideast hinges on Palestinian Unity talks, Israeli flexibility: The prospects for a planned Middle East tour by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have been thrown into doubt by uncertainty over Palestinian efforts to create a unity government and fears that a failed trip could further harm US diplomatic credibility in the region.

Interpol police agency accepts Israel into its European branch: Up to now, Israel has been part of the Asia region. The five-year wait reflected traditional European concern of angering Arab nations. Israeli efforts to join European sections in other international groups have met similar delays. Also, Israel was recently admitted to the International Committee of the Red Cross after a decades-long struggle.

UNRWA and Ministry of Health signs hospitalization agreement: An agreement was concluded this morning at the Ministry of Health in Amman between the Ministry and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), whereby the ministry administers the Agency's hospitalization reimbursement scheme.

Saudi prince may have held secret meeting with PM envoy: Prince Bandar, secretary general of the Saudi Arabian National Security Council and former Saudi ambassador to the United States, may be the senior official at the center of reports of contacts between Riyadh and Israel, Haaretz has learned.

Israeli intellectuals petition for contacts with Syria, Hamas: Dozens of Israeli university lecturers, writers and reserve officers have signed a petition calling on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to open contacts with Syria and the Palestinians, including Hamas.

PM: Assad not a partner at the moment: Should one believe Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when he says that he was stunned to read Yedioth Ahronoth's leading story heralding that he had met a senior Saudi official – perhaps King Abdullah himself?

Why recognize Israel?: Most of the Palestinian public is not demanding that Hamas recognize Israel. This, at least, is what a reliable survey conducted in the territories indicates. The explanation for this is expressed by Hamas spokesmen in every corner, from Rafah to Jenin, and is very accepted in the territories: Look, Yasser Arafat and the PLO recognized the State of Israel in the Oslo agreement and what did they gain from that? Only suffering and misfortune.

PM testifies to comptroller aide over real estate dealings: According to these suspicions, Olmert's associates worked to help the contracting company that renovated the house to obtain unusual permits from the Jerusalem municipality. These permits significantly increased the profitability of the project.

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