Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Meanwhile in Palestine

The illegal rezoning of Jerusalem's Al Ram: Wall construction in East Jerusalem's Al Ram is ongoing. Twenty-two schools are threatened with closure as students and teachers alike cannot reach them. “What about the sick people?” she asked, “Or those with special needs? What could the Israeli judges be thinking? The Governor and the executioner are one in the same.” Several residents of the northern Jerusalem suburb filed petitions which were just denied by the Israeli Supreme Court.

Palestinian leaders call for calm: The Palestinian president and prime minister have called for calm after gun battles between Hamas and Fatah loyalists in the Gaza Strip killed six people and injured at least 12 injured. Senior security officials from the rival parties responded by ordering their fighters to cease fire and withdraw from Gaza's streets late on Tuesday night.

Palestinian girl, 14, killed by IDF fire in West Bank: Israel Defense Forces troops on Tuesday opened fire on two teenaged Palestinian girls approaching the separation fence near the West Bank town of Tul Karm, killing one and wounding the other. The slain girl was identified as 14-year-old Da'ah Abed al-Kadr, and her wounded friend was named as 12-year-old Rasha Shalbi.

Assassination in northern West Bank:
Early Tuesday Israeli special forces assassinated Rami Rashid Inab in Nablus. The 25 year old was a member of the Al Aqsa Brigades armed resistance wing of Fateh. Medical sources in the northern West Bank report that Inab died immediately while Israeli forces shot and injured two other Palestinians, Imad Abu Muslim and Talal Abu Leila. Israeli forces besieged a local hospital and took the two injured men to unknown locations.

Israeli army invades a village near Bethlehem and abducts three men: Local sources reported that army vehicles and troops stormed the village, imposed a curfew while searching and ransacked resident's homes. Troops then abducted Mufied Abu Luha, 28, who is the Mayer of the village, Wisam Hamdan, 30, who works as a police officer in the city of Bethlehem, and Hitham Hmadan, 26.

Knesset okays first reading of bill to extend Citizenship Law: Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (the Temporary Order known as the "Citizenship Law"), by two years, until the end of 2008. The law restricts reunification of families between residents and citizens of Israel and residents of the Palestinian Authority. The vote was passed by 46 votes in favor, from the rightwing and centrist parties, while 9 MKs from Meretz and the Arab parties voted against. The government is seeking the extension despite the harsh criticism leveled at it by the High Court of Justice.

Palestinian: Soldiers invaded my home to nap: A resident of the Palestinian village of Salem near Nablus was forced to accommodate 20 soldiers for 15 hours in his home, after they broke into his house in order to rest. The soldiers claimed that he had to empty rooms for them in his house, for a security mission.

Human rights groups reject West Bank travel ban: Officials from a few organizations, most of them United Nations groups, told Haaretz that the issue was under legal review. The order, dated November 19, is scheduled to take effect on January 19, 2007. In a letter sent to the international organizations, the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din - whose volunteers help Palestinians file complaints against settlers - asked the foreign groups to tell Israeli security authorities they would not comply with the directive, by which they must obtain permits to drive Palestinians.

This is an attempt to overturn our elections: Mahmoud Abbas declared yesterday: "Let the people decide for themselves what they want." But there already is a national consensus: there must be Palestinian elections, not for a president of the Palestinian Authority, or for members of its legislative council, but for the Palestinian National Council, the institutional body that forms the sovereign base of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian people have already elected a legislative council that represents a proportion of the body politic. They now demand elections for the entire Palestinian population.

Haniyeh calls for formation of Palestinian state on 1967 lines: In a rambling televised speech that stretched more than 40 minutes, Haniyeh said the truce could last as long as 20 years, after an independent Palestinian state is established in territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War. During his speech, the Palestinian prime minister also called on the warring Palestinian factions to desist infighting and unite together against Israel.

Panel slams inclusion of pre-1967 borders in school maps: National Religious Party Chairman MK Zevulun Orlev presented the committee with the 1967 Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee decision to remove the Green line -as well as the pre-1948 British Mandate border- from all but historical maps. "Tamir's decision is blatantly political," Orlev said. "It has no educational, instructive or scientific basis. As far back as 1967 the government decided that the Green Line had ceased to exist."

Interior Min. plans to develop area along Syrian border: Interior Minister Roni Bar-On (Kadima) plans to accelerate the process for issuing construction permits in the (OCCUPIED) Golan Heights and to shepherd new projects for the areas adjacent to the Syrian city of Quneitra through the planning committees under his ministry. The decisions follow Bar-On's tour of the Golan last week.

PM makes surprise trip to Amman for talks with king: The king warned that "time was being wasted with blame-laying and exchanges of accusations," according to the statement. He said "any hesitance to take action that reinforces chances for peace pulls the Middle East closer to a cycle of violence for which everyone in the region will pay a heavy price."

Fatah official takes to Israeli airwaves to describe Hamas kidnap: Abu Zaida, the former Palestinian Authority minister of prisoners' affairs, speaks fluent Hebrew, learned during his 12 years in Israeli prisons, and is a frequent guest on Israeli radio and television shows. On Tuesday, he recalled at length his harrowing experience in interviews with Israeli journalists.

Early Palestinian vote 'very negative' -Erdogan: His comment was an apparent slap at Israel and Western powers led by the United States, which have cut off all direct aid to the Palestinian government. "If by not respecting the will of the Palestinian people, people think that they can move forward, I don't think that that would be the right way to move forward," he said.

Bush suspends moving U.S. embassy to Jerusalem for six months: In the memorandum, Bush said it is necessary to protect the " national security interests" of the United States to suspend for six months the limitation set forth in the Jerusalem Embassy Act, passed by the Congress in 1995. However, "my administration remains committed to beginning the process of moving our embassy to Jerusalem," Bush said.

Rice calls on Palestinians to end violence, form new government: "The political crisis also has to be resolved and it needs to be resolved by the Palestinian people getting a government that can be acceptable internationally so that the difficulties that have been there in terms of resources for the Palestinians can be resolved," Rice said.

Blair: Strengthen Mahmoud Abbas: Blair met Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Amir Peretz in Jerusalem, and spoke about his initiative to strengthen the Palestinian Authority's capacity to govern even before an agreement is reached.

News Analysis: Strong-arming Hamas a tall order for Abbas: Two years after he was elected president, after the death of Yasser Arafat, opinion polls show that Abbas is perceived by a majority of Palestinians as a great disappointment, having brought little reform to his Fatah movement or improvement to their lives, while appearing to carry water for Israel and the United States. Abbas made a great drama on Saturday of announcing these early elections, but they seem unlikely to happen.

Do America and Israel want the Middle East engulfed by civil war?: Fratricidal fighting is threatening to engulf, or already engulfing, the occupied Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Iraq. Both Syria and Iran could soon be next, torn apart by attacks Israel is reportedly planning on behalf of the US. The reverberations would likely consume the region.

Carter's letter to Jewish citizens of America: “When asked my proposals for peace in the Middle East, I summarized by calling for Hamas members and all other Palestinians to renounce violence and adopt the same commitment made by the Arab nations in 2002: the full recognition of Israel's right to exist in peace within its legally recognized 1967 borders (to be modified by mutual agreement by land swaps). This would comply with UN Resolutions, the official policy of the United States, commitments made at Camp David in 1978 and in Oslo in 1993, and the premises of the International Quartet's "Roadmap for Peace."

First, say yes: At no point should Israel find itself in a situation in which an Arab country offers to negotiate and Israel refuses. In the 1970s, president Anwar Sadat, in an interview with Newsweek, offered to negotiate with Israel for peace in return for occupied territories. Golda Meir, "Madam No," said under no circumstances. Our arrogant leaders maintained at the time that it was just a public relations ploy. Until the Yom Kippur War hit us. We took him up on his offer late, and paid with 3,000 lives.

Robert Fisk Interview: Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine: Audio

Abbas Calls For End To Fighting As More Die In occupied Gaza Gunbattles:
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas has called on rival factions to honour a frayed two-day old ceasefire, as raging gunbattles in the Gaza Strip claimed another five lives, AFP reported.

Israeli Occupation Troops kill 3 Palestinians including 14 Year Old Girl:
Israeli occupation troops Tuesday killed three Palestinians, including a 14-year-old girl

Haniyeh urges end to Palestinian infighting : Palestinian PM blames Washington for leading coup against Hamas

Haniyeh Willing to Accept Israeli 1949 Borders--Temporarily:
Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, in what he called a major speech, said Tuesday night that Hamas would be willing to accept a new Arab state on the land that Israel recovered in 1967, but only for 10-15 years.

Aide to Abbas Warns Israel May Take Over Gaza:
Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator and aide to Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, told Cybercast News Service that continued fighting in Gaza could cause Israel to take control of the region.

Israeli housing to expand in Golan:
Israel is to speed up development on land it occupies in the Golan Heights, despite Syrian calls for talks, the country's interior minister says. Roni Bar-On told Israeli army radio on Tuesday.

Christians plan 'night to honor Israel':
A leading Evangelical US pastor has announced plans to hold a "night to honor Israel " in every major American city as part of an Evangelical political campaign.

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