Thursday, December 21, 2006

Meanwhile in Palestine

After 17 years Israelis demolish Palestinian home in East Jerusalem: Jabarin said, “The workers demolished the house, although through the Municipal Court there was an injunction to stop the demolition which I showed to the Israelis. But the Israeli forces did not honor it and began demolishing the house. Jabarin also said that he and his family had lived in the 250 square meter home for 17 years.

High Court approves cutting off a-Ram from East Jerusalem: B'Tselem calls on Israel to cease construction of the barrier in the area and to dismantle sections it has already built there. Given the way of life of the residents that has developed since the annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967, any security solution based on unilateral construction of a physical barrier in the city, including one along the Green Line in the Jerusalem , will result in the severe infringement of human rights. Israel must carry out its obligation to ensure the security of its residents by employing other means, which respect the human rights of everyone living on land under its control.

Religious leaders arrive in Bethlehem for three-day pilgrimage: The leaders have called for prayers for the struggling town, where Christians have suffered economic hardship and anxiety about their homes and their security. The town's Roman Catholic mayor, Victor Batarseh, has described the security barrier as transforming Bethlehem into a "large prison", with visitors forced to pass through a 30ft wall and negotiate their way past armed soldiers and concrete barriers.

Gaza fisherman dies of wounds inflicted earlier this month: A fisherman died on Thursday morning due to wounds he sustained earlier this month when Israeli navel gun boats opened fire at a group of fishermen near the Rafah beach south of Gaza strip. Medical sources reported that Hamdan Barhum, 23, died on Thursday at dawn in the Gaza city hospital due to wounds he sustained on the 11th of December.

Detained father of girl shot dead by IDF blocked from her funeral: The father of a 14-year-old girl shot dead by Israel Defense Forces soldiers near Tul Karm on Tuesday was not allowed to attend his daughter's funeral on Wednesday. Al-Qadr's daughter Da'ah tried to cross the separation (WALL) fence near the village of Faroun adjacent to Tul Karm to visit the family's plot of land, says her mother.

New graduate arrested at West Bank checkpoint: Zaid was described as the “backbone” of his family who expressed shock that their son had been taken. “He travels a lot, the same road almost everyday, passing the same military roadblocks. He just completed his studies and picked up his diploma in Ramallah.” Israeli forces also arrested his brother, Imad, several months ago from their family home in the northwestern West Bank's Qalqilia.

So this is what occupation feels like: At the Israeli checkpoint, I experienced what occupation meant from the Arab perspective. It is not just semantics. *To Arabs, "occupation" means that a foreign power is depriving Palestinians of basic freedoms. *Through its unwavering support for Israel and its illegal (per UN resolutions) occupation, America is complicit in depriving Palestinians of freedoms its Declaration of Independence holds as "unalienable."

State Department Weighs Plan for Palestinian State: The idea has been “kicked around” in the State Department for several weeks, according to sources. It could be one element of a new American Middle East peace plan, the sources added, if President Bush decides to push forward with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process as part of a fresh Middle East policy he is constructing. At the same time, in an effort to bolster the regime of Mahmoud Abbas, the administration also has begun lobbying Congress to provide $100 million to fund forces loyal to the Palestinian president.

U.S. not waiting for Palestinian unity: "The presidency is a responsible Palestinian voice," Miss Rice said. She said the negotiations "failed for the right reasons," because Mr. Abbas "refused to accept a national unity government that was not going to be internationally acceptable." Still, she added, the Palestinians have to find a solution to their political crisis.

EU: Palestinians agree to crack down on Hamas cash "smuggling": General Pietro Pistolese, the European Union's chief monitor at the Rafah border crossing, said Thursday that the Palestinian Authority has agreed to put an end to Hamas' smuggling of funds from Egypt into the Gaza Strip. Pistolese said that anyone who opposes the agreement would not be allowed to cross through the Rafah crossing.

Who is Mohammad Dahlan?: In April 2002 testifying before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said he had offered control of the Gaza Strip to Dahlan. In exchange, Dahlan, who had control of the most significant military force on the Gaza Strip, would be obligated to ensure complete quiet along the border.[1] He is believed to have drawn up an early agreement at a January 1994 meeting in Rome with senior Israeli military and Shin Bet officials to contain Hamas, and was actively involved in subsequent negotiations with the Israelis.

PA Chairman says hopes to meet PM Olmert before end of year: "We always showed our willingness to hold this meeting with Olmert, and it's no secret that we hope it will take place before the end of this year," Abbas said at a news conference with visiting Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema. "There is progress in preparations for this meeting.

PA accuses Israel of using banned weapons:
"Analyses carried out in laboratories outside Palestine have shown that Israel has had recourse to banned chemical weapons and depleted uranium" in the territories, Youssef Abu Sofia told reporters in Algiers at a conference of Arab environment ministers. He further accused Israel of having "transported major quantities of dangerous chemical products into the interior of the Palestinian Territories, thereby seriously polluting the water table."

Audio Report: Montrealers Denounce Israeli Apartheid: On Saturday, December 16th, 2006 Palestinian solidarity activists gathered on St. Catherine street in downtown Montreal to draw attention to a 2005 appeal from over 170 Palestinian civil-society organizations to, "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights."

Americans not sure where Bethlehem is, survey shows
: Though their government plays a determinative role in the region, most Americans are not too sure about where Bethlehem is and who lives there. Many believe that is an Israeli town inhabited by a mixture of Jews and Muslims, a pre-Christmas survey of US perceptions of the city has shown... Only 15 per cent of people in the United States realise that it is a Palestinian city with a mixed Christian-Muslim community, lying in the occupied West Bank territory.

Israeli confiscation of Jerusalem includes 100,000 Jewish settlers per year
: The area of “Greater Jerusalem” is 600 km and is becoming possible to access for Israelis-only through a system of streets and tunnels that connect to the settlements. The Wall, home demolitions, land and identification confiscation and settlement expansion are forcing out the original Palestinian population.

'We are facing the hardest Christmas yet': Nazareth sits above a broad plain dotted with Arab villages and long plastic greenhouses. A few minutes' drive south the road crosses the 1967 boundary dividing Israel from the occupied West Bank. The Green Line, as it is known, is invisible on the ground and not shown in Israeli school textbooks. The road crosses at the Jalama checkpoint, a large set of yellow metal gates guarded by a two-storey concrete watchtower. A picture of a reindeer has been spray painted on a wall of army concrete blocks nearby.

Why we support a cultural boycott: John Berger and others' call for a cultural boycott of Israel (Letters, December 15) is wholly to be supported. The appalling human rights record of Israel during its 39-year occupation of Palestinian territories is amply documented, not least by Israel human rights organisations and in the writings of Uri Avnery, Norman Finkelstein, Baruch Kimmerling, Tanya Reinhardt and many others.

British Press: Erdogan Rejects Blair's Proposal for Early Election in Palestine: The Guardian wrote that Erdogan's rejection spoiled Blair's plans for early elections. The Daily Telegraph used the headline “Turkey attacks Blair backing for poll,” to indicate the seriousness of the rejection.

From the West Bank, a circuitous road to market: Like a growing number of West Bank residents, Mr. Tamimi doesn't have Israeli permission to enter Jerusalem. For Palestinian businesses to get their produce into East Jerusalem - which has always been a natural market for them - it's becoming a longer, more complicated, and circuitous haul. They face Israel's security barrier - a concrete wall in some parts and fence in others - and more security checkpoints outside Jerusalem, says the Israeli human rights group Btselem.

Figures don't lie: As of today, December 2006, Israel's GNP stands at USD 150 billion, a rise from last year's USD 132 billion. This is an impressive achievement by any standards. What is the GNP of the Palestinian Authority, with whom we sought a unified economy without borders? USD three billion.

U.S. ambassador appears to confirm Israeli-Saudi contacts: The United States ambassador to Israel appeared to confirm on Wednesday that there have been high-level contacts between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which do not have diplomatic relations. In September, Israeli press reported that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had held talks with a member of Saudi Arabia's royal family on Middle East peace and Iran's nuclear program.

Halutz: Internal IDF probes on war aren't commissions of inquiry: Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz told Army Radio on Thursday morning that some of those conducting internal IDF inquiries on the second Lebanon war have confused their mandate to examine the army's functioning with that of a commission of inquiry.

No comments: