Saturday, December 23, 2006

Meanwhile in Palestine

Announcements of Israeli Change of Policy Unfounded in Reality: Despite assurances relayed by American and European diplomats, foreign passport holders trying to join their families in the Israeli occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), including Bethlehem, for the holidays are being denied entry and expelled by Israel. In stark contrast to that announcement, at least three foreign nationals attempting to join their families in the Israeli occupied Palestinian territory were expelled last week.

Villagers Unite Against Apartheid Road: This afternoon over 200 Palestinian, Israeli and international activists participated in a protest against the proposed “Route 60? apartheid road which will illegally annex Palestinian farmland, affect homes and destroy significant heritage sites including a cemetery in the Halhul and Beit Omar villages near Hebron in the West Bank. The proposed road will result in the illegal confiscation of precious Palestinian farmland and be exclusively for the use of Jewish settlers.

Wall gate delays transfer of body of a deceased resident for three hours: Even the dead cannot cross through this gate installed in the Annexation Wall section leading to Barta'a village, south-west of Jenin in the northern part of the West Bank. As residents were attempting to move the body of a dead relative back to the village, soldiers stationed at a gate of the Wall delayed their entry to their own village for three hours.

Infighting fails to inspire Gaza blood donors:
When Palestinians are wounded by Israeli fire, Gaza's hospitals fill up with blood donors. But after this week's factional fighting, they've been largely empty as residents register their discontent with the internecine violence. For the dozens of people wounded during this week's battles between Fatah and Hamas, that could soon mean a shortage of badly needed blood." Our blood bank is at its lowest level," said doctor Jumaa al-Saqqa.

PM Olmert and PA Chair Abbas meet in Jerusalem: The meeting is being described as a private one, and therefore the leaders will not hold a press conference nor issue any official statements following the meeting. The meeting signals that the two sides have reached agreement on the confidence-building measures Israel will offer the PA chairman.

Head of Fateh in PLC says national unity dialogue must be complete in 2 weeks & is still blaming PM: He gave it two weeks, telling a Ramallah press conference that if talks were not completed within that time frame, the President would move forward with early elections. “The decision by President Mahmoud Abbas to call for Presidential and Legislative elections is serious. President Abbas is holding consultations with the Central Elections Commission and the relevant parties for the provision of the technical and security aspects of holding elections.

Senior Fatah security official critically hurt in Gaza shooting: Hassan Jarbouh, the deputy director of the Rafah branch of the Preventive Security Service, which is allied with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, was critically wounded in the shooting.

30 village councils in Bethlehem voice appeal for ceasefire: Thirty village councils in Bethlehem voiced an appeal to all Palestinian factions in order to stop the internal clashes and solidify the ceasefire between the armed groups, especially Fateh and Hamas who engaged in violent clashes. Moreover, the appeal stated that the Palestinian people are facing a serious stage which involves vast immigration of youth and businessmen while the Israeli occupation continued its attacks and assaults against the people and their property.

Israel blocks another UN fact-finding mission: Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mark Regev disingenuously claimed that Israel had not denied entry, but simply not yet reached a decision. The families of the 19 Palestinian civilians slain at Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip on 8 November 2006 will apparently not see even an approximation of justice at this time.

'A matter of making history': It is not easy to take responsibility for the future of over one million people, but that is what Rinawi has been doing for the past year and a half. During this period she coordinated the work of about 40 Israeli Arab intellectuals, who together sought to come up with a vision for their community's future in the coming years.

Abbas opposes Hamas proposal for long-term truce with Israel: Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday that he opposes a Hamas proposal to offer Israel a long-term cease-fire in exchange for the creation of a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 boundary.

Palestinian Fatah, Hamas committed to cease-fire deal: A Palestinian factional committee announced on Saturday that rivals Fatah and Hamas groups are holding on to an internal deal of cease-fire in spite of sporadic violations. In a joint written statement, representatives of the two movements agreed to stop media escalation and set up a joint office to monitor any future breach in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Palestinian militant group threatens to drop ceasefire with Israel: Dawood Shihab, Islamic Jihad's spokesman in Gaza, told reporters that his movement "rejects the calm agreement and the truce with Israel which continues its attacks on the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank." On Thursday, two Islamic Jihad militants were killed in northern West Bank by Israeli special forces.

Quartet to channel funds to Palestinians skirting Hamas: In a statement, the so-called Quartet - the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia - said the Palestinian people are in need and encouraged donors to respond to UN and other requests for aid.

Harper calls Hamas 'genocidal':
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada will not talk with the "genocidal" Islamic groups Hamas and Hezbollah even though he acknowledged that dialogue is the way to peace in the Middle East.

Palestinian Organization for the Right of Return opens Beirut headquarters: In a news conference held at the Press Federation headquarters in Ain al-Mreisseh on Friday, FIRM's administrators described the organization as a non-governmental, cultural entity, whose activities encompass issues related to the Palestinian diaspora. FIRM is dedicated to championing the Palestinian refugees' cause and their right of return to their homeland. One of FIRM's key goals is the creation of a lobby "that would make the voice of Palestinian refugees heard."

Supreme Court compels finance ministry to explain exclusion of Arab villages: Adalah also requested that an equitable policy be determined for the calculation of compensation payments covering the remaining towns and villages in northern Israel, which have been classified as 'restricted towns'. This would entail applying an equal method of compensation, in accordance with the Property Tax Regulations and Restitution Fund (Compensation Payments) (Direct and Indirect War Damages), 1973, to all towns and villages exposed to the same dangers during the war.

South Africans Urge the Recall of the Ambassador From Tel Aviv and Sanctions Against Israel: At a press conference held on the 18th of December in South Africa the Palestine Solidarity Committee, COSATU (the Congress of South African Trade Unions representing 1.2 million workers) and the South African Council of Churches called on the South African government to recall the ambassador to Israel and to implement sanctions against Israel.

Fighting rages on in Gaza and West Bank; Abbas blocks Hamas appointments: Adding to the tensions, Abbas blocked five major Hamas appointments to senior government positions. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas had accused Abbas of trying to subvert the government's authority by refusing to authorize the appointments. Adnan Amr, a legal adviser to Abbas, said the president rejected 40 appointments in all.

Christians suffer for Iraq, says archbishop: Dr Williams, who is visiting Israel with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, Bishop Nathan Hovhannisian, the Armenian Primate of Britain and David Coffey, the head of the Baptist World Alliance, returns to Britain today with a call for all British churches to take action to raise the profile of Christians in the Middle East. Dr Williams said yesterday that the Israeli-built wall around Bethlehem symbolised what was “deeply wrong in the human heart”.

Face to faith: Back in May, in the Assembly Hall at the top of the Mound in Edinburgh, during the Church of Scotland's general assembly, the Rev Dr Mitri Raheb, a Lutheran minister from Bethlehem, won the rapt atttention of the gathering when he spoke movingly about what it feels like to be living in the birthplace of Christ surrounded by the high wall erected by the Israeli Defence Force in the West Bank.

Alive and kicking: One of the speakers shouted into the microphone slogans about Palestinian unity and the heroic shaheeds (martyrs), Yasser Arafat and Ahmad Yassin. He asked the participants to repeat after him: "I swear in the name of Allah that I will not participate and I will not fight in wars against members of my Palestinian people."

End the policy of isolation: As long as the United States does not change its policies toward Iran and Syria - that is, open the lines of communication and break their diplomatic isolation as well as the isolation of Hamas - there can never be a solution to the Palestinian problem. This also forms part of the recommendations issued in the Baker-Hamilton report, recommendations that Bush still seems very hesitant to adopt.

Olmert giving Abbas one last chance (LOL!!!!!!!): The real reason behind the recent restraint in the face of ongoing Qassam attacks is only discussed in the innermost offices of the government: It's not a desire to win points from the international community and it's not recognition of the fact that the IDF has no effective solution to stop the Qassam fire.

Satire gone wild: Another thing is that Independence Day or Remembrance Day or the Sherutrom (annual fundraising day for the IDF), all the strong Zionist powers here have so much propaganda power. We don’t say what’s right and what’s wrong, we just want to expose the fact that this is propaganda. I think that the perviousness of the Israeli society to different ideas has really decreased, especially since the intifada… in some way we want to disrupt the way in which reality is viewed.

Civilian killed in Gaza clashes:
Clashes in Gaza City between Hamas men and a powerful local clan have cast doubt on a recent truce between rival Palestinian groups.

Hamas puts together plan for 5-year truce with Israel:
Israeli newspapers claimed to have a copy of the document, which it said was put together by representatives of Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas and European officials.

Bush inks law blocking aid to Hamas govt: The "Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006," Bush said in a statement, is "designed to promote the development of democratic institutions in areas under the administrative control of the Palestinian Authority."

America's Double Standard on Democracy in the Middle East: What's good for Beirut is not good for Gaza, according to Washington's playbook. And that discrepancy undermines the credibility of U.S. claims to be promoting democracy in the region.

Provoking Civil War in the Occupied Territories: So it's official. Britain is no longer simply boycotting a democratically elected Palestinian government. Following Tony Blair's visit, it is committing millions of pounds to Fatah militias that wish to overthrow it.

George Galloway - Israel: A History Of Violence: Audio: British Member Of Parliament, George Galloway Answers Questions From A Zionist Supporter.

Jerusalem Post: Has Carter crossed the line?: Have former US president Jimmy Carter's recent statements crossed the line from legitimate criticism of Israel to illegitimate anti-Semitism?

Jimmy Carter is engaged in the practice of soft Zionism: You can't condemn the poisonous waters of hatred and oppression that are drowning the Palestinian people and yet ignore the river of Zionism from which these waters flow.

Stalin's Jews: An Israeli student finishes high school without ever hearing the name "Genrikh Yagoda," the greatest Jewish murderer of the 20th Century.

Abbas rejects temporary truce with Israel: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected the idea of a Palestinian state with temporary borders in return for long-term truce with Israel.

Hamas views Abbas-Olmert meeting as insignificant: The Palestinian Islamic group Hamas on Saturday played down significance of a meeting that grouped Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Jerusalem today.

'What would happen if the Virgin Mary came to Bethlehem today?': Johann Hari on the plight of pregnant women in the West Bank, where babies are dying needlessly

No comments: