Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines December 14, 2008 ~

Expand Messages
  • Shadi Fadda
    Hamas says truce most likely over (14 Dec, AFP) The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas which controls Gaza said on Sunday that a troubled Cairo-brokered
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 14, 2008
    View Source
    • 0 Attachment
      Hamas says truce 'most likely' over
      (14 Dec, AFP) The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas which controls Gaza said on Sunday that a troubled Cairo-brokered truce with Israel was unlikely to be renewed when it runs out later this week. But a spokesman for outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert insisted his government remained keen to see it extended beyond Thursday provided Hamas kept its side of the bargain and halted rocket and mortar fire against southern Israel. Hamas political supremo "Khaled Meshaal said that it is most likely that the truce will not be renewed," a statement from his base in exile in the Syrian capital said.

      Hamas chief: We won't renew truce with Israel
      (14 Dec) Hamas leadership in Damascus announced Sunday they will not renew a truce with Israel in the Gaza Strip after it expires Friday. "There will be no renewal of the calm after it expires," the statement quoted Khaled Meshaal, the Islamist group's exiled leader, as telling a Hamas television station. Israeli defense officials had predicted a tense week along the Israel-Gaza border, as the six-month cease-fire ( tahadiyeh in Arabic) between Israel and Hamas came to an end.

      Haniya of Hamas: The tahdiya did not serve Palestinians
      (14 Dec) Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya of the ruling Hamas party, stated on Sunday that Palestinians did not benefit from a six-month ceasefire deal with Israel, which Egypt brokered in June. "Israel did not commit to the Tahdiya (lull), as 20 Palestinians were victimized in one month. Other Palestinian factions have a negative impression about such a ceasefire, as Hamas has not observed a genuine supervision of the truce deal", Haniya told crowds of supporters in Gaza city. However, the Palestinian Prime Minister did not announce an outright position whether or not to renew the ceasefire, or terminate it unilaterally, addressing Egyptian mediators by saying "you Egyptian brothers must remember that you have Palestinian brothers and sisters in Gaza who continue to suffer under the Israeli siege". 

      Islamic Jihad: Ceasefire renewal allows Israel to displace Palestinians
      (14 Dec) An Islamic Jihad leader called on all Palestinian factions on Sunday to refuse the renewal of the Gaza-Israeli ceasefire and exert efforts to counter Israeli plans for occupying more land. Renewing the ceasefire will give Israel the opportunity to achieve its goal of displacing the Palestinian people from the villages and cities it occupied in 1948, said Senior Islamic Jihad leader Jamil Yousif in a Sunday press statement.

      Hamas and Israel to formulate positions on ceasefire
      (14 Dec) The ruling Hamas party in Gaza along with Israel are to formulate positions on an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire deal the two sides committed to in June. The six-month ceasefire will come to an end on December 19, as Hamas' leadership is set to declare its position on Sunday during a grand festival, marking the party's 21 anniversary since its establishment. Hamas' representative in Lebanon, Usama Hamdan, said yesterday that the party opted for the truce to maintain Palestinian national interests.. In the meantime, Israeli political sources reported that Amos Gil'ad, head of the political and security committee of the Israeli army, will head for Cairo on Sunday to discuss the ceasefire with Egyptian officials.. Sources believe that Gil'ad-Egyptian talks are aimed at extending the period of the truce. However, Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni and other Iraeli minister Eli Shai, opposed renewing the deal and believed that a strike against Hamas has become imperative.

      Gaza power plant shuts down; 80% of Strip dark after Israel blocks food, fuel shipments to Gaza for third day
      (14 Dec) The constant strains on the power plant after running out of fuel several times in the past month have caused further electricity cuts due to machinery malfunctions. The resulting overload on other power sources is expected to result in an overall 80% power outage in the Gaza Strip. Israel announced that the two previously open crossing points would remain closed for the third consecutive day Sunday, and refused to allow food or fuel into the Gaza Strip.

      Israel keeps Gaza sealed off after rocket fire
      (14 Dec) JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel said on Sunday it was keeping border crossings with the Gaza Strip sealed off after rocket fire from the impoverished Palestinian territory. "This decision was taken after rocket and mortar fire on Saturday towards southern Israel," said Peter Lerner, spokesman for the coordinator of Israeli activities in the Palestinian territories. The rockets fired from Gaza, which has been ruled by the Islamist movement Hamas since June last year, caused no victims or damage, Israeli police said. A Gaza ceasefire in force since June has been rattled over the past few weeks by by a string of tit-for-tat attacks between the Israeli army and militants, who fired dozens of rockets against southern Israel.

      Catastrophe for Gaza
      (14 Dec) By Eyad El-Sarraj, founder and president of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program--The advanced medical treatment I need is not available here. But although it is readily available just up the coast in nearby Tel Aviv, I was not allowed to visit my doctor there without permission from the Israelis, who still control our borders and, as the occupying power, remain responsible for the welfare of our civilian population. In the end, I waited three months for a medical permit to travel to treat my multiple myeloma. My requests were denied repeatedly until an Israeli friend who teaches at Tel Aviv University intervened and helped me secure a one-day permit.

      VIDEO: Gaza crowds for Hamas anniversary
      (14 Dec) Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters are rallying in a Gaza City stadium to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the militant group's founding. The mass rally-with its sea of green flags-is being seen as a show of strength by Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since a violent takeover in June 2007.

      Thousands of Gazans gather for Hamas anniversary
      (14 Dec) Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters marked the Islamic group's 21st anniversary with an outdoor rally Sunday. The huge crowd filled an outdoor area that can hold at least 150,000 people, and nearby streets were also thronged with Hamas supporters. Many wore baseball caps and waved flags in Hamas' signature green color. During a colorful ceremony that included songs and plays, Hamas loyalists paraded a mock-captive Israeli soldier, who in Hebrew begged to return home. "For those who made my children swallow a bitter drink, you will drink from the same cup," intoned a voiceover.

      Fateh calls Haniyeh's speech 'meaningless'; affirms readiness for elections
      (14 Dec) Haniyeh's speech announcing Aziz Dweik as the next President of Palestine after Mahmoud Abbas' term expires on 9 January was "meaningless," according to Fatah spokesperson Fahmi Az-Za'arir. In a statement following Haniyeh's Gaza City speech in front of thousands Sunday Az-Za'arir said Palestinian law dictates that 9 January will be a "normal working day" for Abbas. Since he is the elected leader of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the representative of the Palestinian people he is the only person who can legitimately run the Palestinian government.

      Mysterious phone calls promise 10 million dollars to Gazans for Shalit information
      (14 Dec) Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been receiving phone calls telling them they could win 10 million US dollars if they reveal where Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is detained. The calls seem to be coming from Israeli intelligence officers who have apparently failed to obtain the information from Palestinian collaborators. Hundreds of Gaza residents, including journalists, have attested to receiving the call on their mobile phones.

      Mysterious explosion in northern Gaza leaves four injured
      (14 Dec) Four Palestinians from the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip including two children were hospitalized Saturday night after they sustained injuries in a mysterious explosion.. Medical sources at Kamal Udwan Hospital said the four received medical attention and were released Sunday morning. They are all described as in good condition. [End]

      Top Hamas leader to Haaretz: US sanctions to blame for Gaza crisis
      (14 Dec) By Amira Hass. Zahar says that despite the international boycott of the Hamas government, it has had achievements in governing the Gaza Strip and inculcating internal security. "But we failed to achieve many things in our program because of the incursions, because of the American sanctions. If we had been given a chance, much would have been improved," he says, "but I am not asking for help from America, because if you are going to ask for American money, you have to pay a price...."

      Government to rethink cash transfers to Gaza
      (14 Dec) Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni is scheduled to hold a meeting on Sunday afternoon on the subject of transferring Israeli currency to the Gaza Strip. This in response to the harsh public criticism that arose in the wake of Israel's to transfer of NIS 100 million to the cash-strapped Strip, still under Hamas rule. In the initial phase of the meeting Livni will demand an explanation for why Israel is maintaining these humanitarian ties, which obligate it to systematically transfer banknotes and coins to the very Hamas government it seeks to topple. The foreign minister will then ask those present to draft a recommendation on whether the controversial ties ought to be severed.

      Palestinians fire two mortar shells at Sha'ar HaNegev region; no casualties
      (14 Dec) Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired two mortar shells at Israel later Sunday afternoon.. The shells landed near two different kibbutzim in the Sha'ar Hanegev region. No casualties or damage were reported in the attack.

      Faced with tough reality, Gazans turn to painkiller for relief
      (14 Dec, AP) The new drug overtaking the Gaza Strip doesn't stimulate hallucinations or boost endurance at the dance club. It merely chills you out, which is exactly what many Gazans say they need. Ruled by Islamic hard-liners from Hamas and locked in by Israel and Egypt, Gazans can't travel outside the strip, have few places to go for fun and are faced with a failing economy. Thus the boom in the popularity of tramadol, a painkiller known here by a common brand name, Tramal.

      Swiss human chain delivers protest note to Egyptian embassy over Rafah closure

      (14 Dec) BERN, (PIC)--A human chain was formed in Switzerland on Saturday that ended at the Egyptian embassy in Bern and handed the embassy staff a protest note against the continued closure of the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip. Gharbi noted that a media tent concerning the conditions of Palestinian farmers in the Gaza Strip had been pitched at Plainpalais.

      Police block right-wing march through Israeli-Arab town, fearing deadly violence
      (14 Dec) The demonstration planned by right-wing activists through the northern Arab city of Umm al-Fahm, scheduled for Monday, has been postponed until further notice, due to police fears the march could result in life threatening violence. "There was a real danger that lives could be lost," said the source. "That is why it was decided not to allow the march to proceed." He added that the police will reassess the situation in two weeks and set a new date for the march.

      Arabs slam police rationale for delay of rightists' march in Umm Al-Fahm
      (14 Dec) Umm al-Fahm residents lauded the Northern District Police's decision to postpone a right-wing activists' march planned for Monday in the Arab town, but cast criticism over the stated reason for the delay: Fear of injuries due to Arab extremists' plans to fire at the marching activists. "The (police) premise which led to the postponement of the march is even more provocative than the march itself," said Amir Mahoul, chairman of Ittijah-the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations, the umbrella organization of the Arab NPOs in  Israel. "Instead of dealing with this group of terrorists they are trying to lay the blame on the Arab population, which is a victim of the racism in Israel," he said while demanding that the police apologize and retract the statement.

      Ahmad Qurei: Transformation of Jerusalem casts doubts on peace process
      (14 Dec) Top Palestinian negotiator, Ahmad Qurei, believed that ongoing Israeli transformation of occupied East Jerusalem casts doubts over the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. During a field visit to the old city of Jerusalem, Qurei warned of what he termed "Israeli schemes to take over Arab-owned real estate for the sake of constructing a synagogue around the Al-Aqsa mosque". The Palestinian official also pointed to Israel's isolation of the occupied Palestinian city of Jerusalem, saying that this move is intended to force the Palestinian inhabitants out of the holy city. He called on all concerned Arab and Islamic nations to take a firm stance toward what he described as a "systematic transformation" of the Arab city, by bidding all forms of support to Arab-Palestinian inhabitants so that they can remain on their lands, in accordance with international law.

      Israeli security fence pushes some into Mideast twilight zone
      (13 Dec) EIZARYA, West Bank–A woman named Suheir Hashimeh used to live in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Al-Shayah, in Israel, but now she is a resident of the Palestinian town of Eizarya, in the West Bank. Question: How far did this woman have to move?Answer: Not a solitary centimetre.The modest but comfortable second-floor apartment Hashimeh now shares with her mother and three of her siblings still occupies the same location it did before this mysterious change of address occurred about six years ago...Says Hashimeh, "We are in the West Bank now." Much has been written about the security wall Israelis are continuing to construct, with the aim of sealing their country off from the West Bank. The structure is praised by some and excoriated by others, but Hashimeh's story tends in neither of these directions. Instead, this is a tale of the strange and paradoxical impact Israel's notorious security barrier has had on many of the people who dwell near its path, as it winds through the legendary City of Gold, rarely following the map.

      East Jerusalem heritage day at tent-home of evicted Palestinian family
      (14 Dec) A Palestinian Heritage Day will begin Sunday morning at the protest-tent the Al-Kurd family now calls home in the East Jerusalem community of Sheikh Jarrah. Dozens of Palestinian women from the community will lead activities and workshops about Palestinian heritage, and will engage young Palestinians in elements of their cultural traditions. On display is the Palestinian attribute of steadfastness, " sumud" in Arabic, exemplified by Umm Al-Kird, the matriarch of the family and woman spearheading the non-violent protest against Israel's decision to evict her from her family home.

      East Jerusalem residents indicted for planning abduction
      (14 Dec) Two east Jerusalem residents were indicted Sunday of planning to kidnap and harm Israel Defense Forces soldiers in a bid to carry out a hostage exchange deal in return for their family members, who have been sentenced to life terms in Israel. According to the indictment, the two-Ayad Aabid, 20, and Abdullah Aabid, 21, relatives from the village of Issawiya – planned to drive a tractor, crash into a military jeep stationed near their neighborhood and abduct the soldiers from inside the jeep... In addition, the two are suspected of torching a school used as a polling station in the recent municipal elections and threatening the voting station's committee members.

      Ya'alon: Every prisoner swap encourages more kidnappings
      (14 Dec) Former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon on Sunday criticized recent calls to broker the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit "at any price", saying such calls were not appropriate, adding that previous prisoner exchanges encouraged additional kidnappings. Ya'alon explained his hesitance to comment on the matter by saying that in past prisoner exchanges "we have backed ourselves into a corner, where every deal we make encourages kidnappings. In addition, those murderers who we release, go on to murder more Israelis."

      Israel to free 227 Palestinian prisoners Monday
      (14 Dec) JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel is planning to free 227 Palestinian prisoners on Monday, military radio reported, after a special government committee approved the list of those set for release. The radio said 217 of the prisoners will be sent home to the West Bank and another 10 to the Gaza Strip , although none are members of the Islamist movement Hamas, which Israel considers a terrorist group. Israel's cabinet last month approved the release as a gesture to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and it was initially due to take place to mark the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha last week before being delayed...In August, Israel freed 198 Palestinian prisoners but more than 11,000 Palestinians are still held in its jails.

      One shot, one beaten and arrested by Israeli forces in Salfit
      (14 Dec) Israeli soldiers beat and arrested a high school student, and shot another in the back during an incursion in the West Bank town of Salfit on Friday, witnesses told Ma'an. According to the witnesses, Israeli troops approached the boy's secondary school in Salfit, then assaulted and detained one of the school's students, and also stole the teenager's bicycle. The soldiers fired tear gas, sound bombs, and rubber-coated metal bullets, and ordered shopkeepers to close their stores. Witnesses also said that 26-year-old Ahmad Salim was shot in the back by the Israeli soldiers while he was on his way home from Friday prayers. He was treated at Yasser Arafat Hospital.

      10 Palestinians seized as Israeli forces invade Jenin area towns
      (14 Dec) Israeli forces carried out a wide range military operation on Saturday in the Jenin area of the Northern West Bank, seizing ten Palestinians. The ten youths were taken from the village of Zabuba, west of the city of Jenin. Israeli forces also installed a military checkpoint between the villages of A'raba and Fahma, southwest of the city. Israeli military jeeps also drove into the towns of Yamun, west of Jenin and Kefer Ra'ee, A'raba, Fahma and Ar-Rama, southwest of the city. The jeeps were deployed in the streets and the soldiers fired bullets, threw sound bombs and damaged a number of homes. No arrests were reported in these villages.

      IOF troops round up 14 Palestinians in a single village
      (14 Dec) JENIN, (PIC)--Israeli occupation forces at dawn Sunday raided the village of Zabuba west of Jenin city in tens of armored vehicles and rounded up 14 villagers including three boys. Locals reported that the IOF soldiers raided the village firing in the air and imposing a tight curfew shortly after midnight Saturday. They noted that the soldiers, coming from the nearby Salem military base, used flare bombs and police dogs during their storming of homes that ended with arresting eight Palestinians.The soldiers returned at dawn and kidnapped five other villagers including three boys 13 to 15 years old and two brothers, the local sources pointed out. The town of 2,000 inhabitants is located near to the separation wall that has eaten up most of its lands and is adjacent to the Salem army camp, which makes it a favorite target for daily army harassment. The IOF soldiers routinely round up youngsters from that village at the pretext they tried to sabotage the wall.

      Tulkarem area sees clashes with Israeli forces; nearby arrest of two farmers
      (13 Dec) The town of Anabta east of Tulkarem was invaded with three Israeli military vehicles and a number of ground troops Saturday evening, local residents reported. The foot-soldiers became embroiled in clashes with village youth after they threw stones and empty bottles at the soldiers, who retaliated with live bullets and gas bombs. Though the clashes calmed down after an hour the troops remained in the town as of press time. Several kilometers away near the illegal Israeli settlement of Avne Hefez a Palestinian farmer and young boy working alongside him [were arrested]. 15-year-old Subhi Barqawi and 20-year-old Baha' Yaseen Saleh were working on lands abutting the settlement when they were arrested, and were taken into the area for questioning.

      Israeli peace activists forced out of Hebron by Israeli army; locals disappointed
      (14 Dec) Israeli military forces prevented busloads of Israeli peace activists from entering the West Bank city of Hebron Saturday morning. According to Gush Shalom, the group that organized the event, more than a hundred Israeli peace activists were blocked by army and police at the entrance to Hebron, and prevented from visiting the city and meeting with the mayor and with Palestinian inhabitants whose homes were set on fire by settlers a week ago. The group expressed indignation over the fact that Israeli forces and police protect the 700 Israeli settlers living in the Palestinian city hundreds of whom participated in a violent riot on 4 November, and repeatedly refused to allow passage to a group of peace activists.

      PA security seizes 13 Hamas supporters, says movement

      (14 Dec) Hamas accused Palestinian Authority security on Sunday of arresting 13 Hamas supporters in the West Bank. According to a statement, one man was detained in Nabulus, four in Salfit, two in Tulkarem, two in Hebron and four in Jenin. [End]

      Barak weighs compensating Palestinians for damage caused by settlers
      (14 Dec) Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday that he had instructed his office to consider compensating Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron for property damage caused by rampaging settlers. During the weekly cabinet meeting, Barak said "the recent disturbances in the West Bank are an attempt by a small extreme group to undermine the authority of the state to enforce the law within its boundaries."

      Barak: Judicial system too lenient on [Jewish] lawbreakers
      (14 Dec) Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Sunday that the judicial system is Israel was being too lenient with West Bank lawbreakers and therefore undermining deterrence and preventing the defense establishment from being able to nip the phenomenon at the bud. "Harsher penalties should be given to lawbreakers in the West Bank," Barak said at cabinet meeting on law enforcement in the West Bank. "This is the attempt of an extremist minority group to undermine the State's authority. ..."

      Haaretz editorial: A judicial and moral miscarriage
      (14 Dec) The arrest of settler Ze'ev Braude, who was filmed shooting Palestinian civilians at close range, sheds more light on the law enforcement system applied to the Jewish population in the occupied territories. Judges in two courts rejected prosecutors' requests to remand the suspect, accused of serious crimes, until a final decision is made on whether to keep him in custody for the duration of judicial proceedings against him. The rulings by Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Judge Malka Aviv, who released Braude from jail, and District Court Judge Orit Efal-Gabai, who sent him to house arrest subject to restrictions, are not unusual. A few days prior, Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Judge Moshe Drori refused to impose restrictions on Hebron settler Noam Federman, and even castigated the security forces who had evicted the Federman family from the site they had broken into numerous times.

      Rightists arrested outside officer's home

      (14 Dec)   Extreme right-wing activist Noam Federman and six other protestors were detained for questioning by the police Saturday night on suspicion of causing a disturbance outside the home of Judea and Samaria Division Commander Brigadier-General Noam Tibon in north Tel Aviv. The rightists arrived at the house as they had done last week. At a certain stage, they began rioting and clashing with Tibon's neighbors.

      Bethlehem police ready for Christmas
      (14 Dec) Special Palestinian police units in Bethlehem have prepared for crowd control for events leading up to the Christmas celebrations planned for the city. Thousands are expected to descend on Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of Christ, or simply to take part in a festive occasion. Pilgrims from around the world are joined by Palestinian Christians and Muslims from Jerusalem and across the West Bank who wander Manger Square amidst carol singers and flashing Christmas lights.

      Report: Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons victims of medical neglect
      (13 Dec) Palestinian Prisoners Society confirmed Saturday that many Palestinian prisoners are suffering from different illnesses in the Israeli detention facility of Gilboa Prison in Israel just north of the West Bank city of Jenin. Prisoners say their maladies are caused by medical negligence on the part of the prison administration. The Prisoners' Society released a report on the conditions of life for Palestinians in the prisons shortly several lawyers with the organization visited the facility.

      'Seeds' on Hebron road
      (10 Dec) At eight o'clock in the morning I joined five youths of the Seeds of Peace Organization who live in Bethlehem, Occupied West Bank, two girls and three boys, ranging in age from 16 and 17 years old.. Seeds of Peace, including myself, used to call the organization Seeds. They are full of energy and ambition. We met at the area called Bab Zqaq, which is an area that lies between Bethlehem and Bit Jala cities.

      Palestinian play humanises Middle East conflict
      While politicians fail to make peace, the human cost of the Middle East conflict is the subject of a play which is proving hugely popular in Israel. T he Return to Haifa tells the story of a Palestinian boy who was adopted by a Jewish couple after his family was forced to leave the city during the 1948 war. Aljazeera's Adam Pines reports on the impact of the play.

      Al-Maliki postpones return from UN meeting to watch Palestino vie for top Chilean soccer cup
      (14 Dec) The Chilean soccer team "Palestino" will compete Sunday night for the national championship cup against the nation's largest team "Colo Colo." The team, founded by Palestinian immigrants to Chile in 1920, plays in uniforms the color of the Palestinian flag, and is followed by members of the estimated 300,000 strong Chilean-Palestinian community. The match will be attended by several Palestinian and Chilean dignitaries, including Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Al-Maliki, who postponed his return from a UN panel discussion on the Israel-Palestine conflict hosted in Chile so he could watch the match.

      UK Muslim group visits Israel for 1st time
      (10 Dec) Members of East London Three Faiths Forum participate in week's pilgrimage to great religious sites of Holy Land. Visitors say trip meant much more to them because they were accompanied by believing adherents of other two faiths--A pilgrimage to the Holy Land by a predominantly Muslim group is truly a ground-breaking event and the East London Three Faiths Forum felt truly proud to come from Redbridge, reflecting the high level of tolerance and trust between all faiths represented in the Borough.

      Mazuz weighs indictment of Arab MK who met Hamas leaders in Syria
      (14 Dec) Attorney General Menachem Mazuz on Sunday told Arab Israeli MK Said Naffaa (Balad) that he may face indictment for a trip he took in September 2007 to Syria, where he met with senior members of Palestinian terror organizations. Naffaa could face charges of unlawful travel to an enemy country, contact with a foreign agent, and aiding a visit to a foreign country. While in Syria, Naffaa met with Hamas Political Bureau Chief Khaled Meshaal, as well as Talal Naji, deputy head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Naffaa on Saturday denied he met or spoke to the people in question, and called the allegations against him baseless and "lies."  Naffaa is also suspected of helping nearly 300 Israeli citizens travel to Syria, something he said Saturday he is proud of. "Syria is not for us an enemy country. This is the right of Druze spiritual people to visit holy sites and their family members. "

      Jenin Trade Fair: a step down, a step forwar
      (13 Dec) From resistance stronghold during the al-Aqsa Intifada to role model for development and political stability. How security and trade go hand in hand in city of Jenin.

      Life under occupation: Testimonies from an occupied land
      (13 Dec) I have just finished editing a documentary about my 5 weeks in Nablus and the West Bank during summer 2008. It tells the story of people (Palestinians and Internationals) living under a strict occupation. It mainly takes place in Nablus, biggest city of the West Bank, surrounded by checkpoints, facing Israeli army incursions day and night, where the unemployment rate has skyrocketed in the last few years and where many people now live under the poverty line. Those people need us to act NOW to stop this vicious occupation and collective punishment.You can watch it online at: http://www.archive.org/details/Occupation2008  Any feedback welcome. Feel free to share it with others. All the best-Frank Barat-London

      Report: In Israel, Ashkenazis earn 40% more than Sephardis
      (14 Dec) Ashkenazi Israelis earn around 40 percent more than their Sephardi counterparts, according to an annual report being released Sunday by the Adva Center for policy analysis. This is the tenth such report by the center, which analyzes social equality in Israel. "The decade was marked by decreasing equality and justice in Israeli society," the document states.

      Jewish charities suffer from fraud case
      (14 Dec) WASHINGTON-Days after the arrest of former NASDAQ chairman, Jewish-American Bernard Madoff, for fraud charges involving $50 billion, the effects of the financial disaster have begun to show. On Sunday it was clear that Jewish charities in the United States suffered the most from the scandal.

      UN set to adopt resolution urging Israel, Palestinians to continue talks
      (14 Dec) The United Nations Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution on Tuesday calling on Israel and the Palestinian authority to continue negotiations on the core issues during the course of 2009, after both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders have completed their terms, in efforts to achieve "two states for two peoples."

      Washington is calling
      (14 Dec) By Zvi Bar'el--... There seems to be a much greater chance than ever before of mending the 30-year rift in U.S.-Iran relations... Close advisers of Obama, lobbyists for megacorporations and U.S. congressional representatives who sent a letter to the Iranian parliament, inviting their counterparts to initiate a dialogue, are all vigorously preparing the ground for a U.S.-Iran rapprochement.

      Cluster Bomb Treaty and the world's unfinished business
      (12 Dec) Ahmad Mokaled of the Lebanese town of Nabatieh at the border with Israel was about to celebrate his fifth birthday when he too found a shiny object. Ahmad's last words, according to his father, who was busily setting up his son's birthday picnic in a park, were: 'Dad, Help me.' He died, but after "four long hours of suffering." The tragic stories of Ahmad and Ayat are repeated throughout the world, almost everyday, with some countries paying a much more disproportionate price than others, notably, again, Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon. 

      Lebanese women wed to foreigners want equality

      (14 Dec, AP) BEIRUT, Lebanon—Every year, Salha Solh spends half her small income of $3,600 just to keep her three sons and three daughters from being deported from their homeland. Solh is Lebanese but her husband is Pakistani, and under Lebanese law she cannot pass her citizenship on to her children... Nearly every Arab country has similar laws, rooted in Islamic precepts that emphasize paternity as the source of identity. Women's groups have succeeded in changing such laws in Egypt, Morocco and Algeria and are leading campaigns elsewhere, usually against religious conservatives.

      Sunday: 1 Iraqi killed, 5 wounded

      (14 Dec) Excerpt: U.S. President Bush made a secret to Baghdad, where he met with Prime Minister Maliki and President Talabani to sign the new security agreement between the two countries. Meanwhile, the Iraqi Defense Ministry said that the country is ready for next month's provincial elections. Little violence and no Coalition deaths were reported. At least one Iraqi was killed and five more were wounded in today's events.

      Official history spotlights Iraq rebuilding blunders
      (14 Dec) BAGHDAD — An unpublished 513-page federal history of the American-led reconstruction of Iraq depicts an effort crippled before the invasion by Pentagon planners who were hostile to the idea of rebuilding a foreign country, and then molded into a $100 billion failure by bureaucratic turf wars, spiraling violence and ignorance of the basic elements of Iraqi society and infrastructure.

      Iraqi victims and families meet with US prosecutors
      (14 Dec) BAGHDAD — American prosecutors met Saturday with victims' families and survivors of the September 2007 shootings of Iraqi civilians by private security guards employed by Blackwater Worldwide.

      Saddam Hussein's Babylon palace is opened to Iraqis

      (14 Dec) Visitors take in the splendor and a panoramic view of the Euphrates and the ruins of the hanging gardens of Babylon. And they remember--"Entering this place is a triumph for human rights," said Maytham Abdul-Amir, adding that the opening of the palace proved that "nothing can stand up against the will of the Iraqi people."

      Some troops to stay in Iraqi cities past June

      (14 Dec, AP) Reporting from Baghdad--Some American troops will remain in Iraqi cities after a June 30 deadline for combat soldiers to leave urban areas, the top U.S. commander said Saturday. Army Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, told reporters that troops who serve on training and mentoring teams would not be included in the mandate to pull combat troops from the cities and towns.

      Carter meets with Hamas leader in Damascus for second time this year

      (14 Dec, AP) Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on Sunday met with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in Damascus, for the second time this year. The meeting was part of Carter's regional discussions on Middle East conflicts. Officials from the anti-Israel Hamas kept reporters away from the venue and no news conference was scheduled.

      Obama to base his Mideast police on army of envoys
      (14 Dec) Jerusalem has received various reports in recent weeks indicating that American foreign policy in the Middle East and in Southeast Asia after president-elect Barack Obama takes office will operate on the basis of special envoys who will report directly to Obama and his designated secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.

    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.