(1 Nov) United Nations Middle East envoy, Robert Serry, slammed on Saturday the Israeli decision to resume the home demolitions policy in the occupied West Bank, and stated that this decision is a discouraging signal about the support for the ongoing efforts that aims at improving the living conditions in the West Bank. The Israeli army knocked down dozens of shacks and hothouses in several West Bank villages earlier this week. As a result dozens of Palestinians were rendered homeless. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Yigal Palmor, claimed that "at least some of the houses were built illegally", Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported. He claimed that the UN criticism which he described as "generalized" makes these statement "very unhelpful", Haaretz added.
UN envoy slams Israel’s Palestinian house demolition
(1 Nov) JERUSALEM (AFP) The UN special envoy to the Middle East on Saturday expressed alarm at Israel’s resumption of Palestinian house demolition in the occupied West Bank, warning it undermined peace efforts. Robert Serry "is alarmed by the recent resumption of house demolitions in the West Bank after a freeze dating back to April this year," his office said. Serry’s remarks follow the Wednesday demolition of a number of makeshift homes belonging to Palestinian Bedouin families south of the West Bank town of Hebron . An Israeli security official said "the structures were destroyed for security reason due to their proximity to the Jewish settlement of Carmel." … The United Nations said earlier this year that Israel had demolished 208 buildings in the West Bank in 2007. Most of the houses were torn down under demolition orders issued because there were no construction permits, which Israeli authorities only seldom grant to Palestinians.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/ 20081101/wl_mideast_afp/ mideastconflictunwestbankdemol ition
Gov’t withdraws support from all settler outposts
(2 Nov) Ministers vote to intensify measures being taken against illegal West Bank settlements; security forces will be beefed up and make more arrests while justice system to expedite proceedings against lawbreakers with administrative injunctions and restraining orders — Following a lengthy cabinet meeting Sunday morning, in which the Shin Bet warned another political assassination was possible, the government decided on new measures against the illegal Jewish outposts in the West Bank. Ministers said the state would immediately eradicate any support of the outposts, be it any and all forms of funding or by the provision of infrastructure.
http://www.ynetnews.com/ articles/0,7340,L-3616604,00. html
Two Border Police hurt by stone-throwing settlers near Hebron
(1 Nov) Settlers hurled stones at a contingent of Border Policemen on Saturday, lightly wounding two of them, near the West Bank outpost of Federman Farm. The Border Police relayed that some of the stone-throwers were children. It said it views the use of minors by settlers in clashes with the security forces gravely. Settlers, for their part, said the security forces were planning on demolishing the outpost. They said the dozens of youths currently at the outpost, situated near the settlement of Kiryat Arba, will be joined by others in order to foil the demolition. Security forces razed the outpost a number of times last week, after which settlers returned to the site and began to rebuild it. This happened on Friday, after an overnight evacuation during which four policemen were lightly injured during in clashes with settlers. Reuters television footage also showed settlers throwing stones at Palestinian photographers on the scene.
Troops wounded by settler youths in Hebron
(1 Nov) Two Border Guard officers securing Palestinian homes near ‘Federman Farm’ lightly wounded by rocks thrown at them by young Israeli settlers, outraged commanders slam ‘cynical use of children to confront security forces’
http://www.ynetnews.com/ articles/0,7340,L-3616139,00. html
12-year-old girl indicted in Hebron riots
(2 Nov) Three teenage Israeli girls were indicted at the Jerusalem District Juvenile Court on Sunday for attacking police officers with rocks during the evacuation and demolition of an illegal structure in the Givat Harsina neighborhood of Kiryat Arba three days ago. The State Prosecution is charging the young girls, aged 12, 15 and 17, with reckless endangerment, aggravated assault of security forces, and the obstruction of a police officer. Due to the severity of the accusations, the hearing on the remand of the girls’ arrest through the end of the legal proceedings will be held at the Jerusalem District Court.
http://www.ynetnews.com/ articles/0,7340,L-3616626,00. html
Fatah condemns settler violence, says it weakens PA
(1 Nov) Fatah has strongly condemned the recent wave of violent settler attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank, and says that it undermines the authority of the Palestinian government. Since Palestinian police have no jurisdiction over citizens of Israel, which the settlers are, they are unable to protect Palestinian citizens from Israeli settler and military violence. Fatah spokesperson Fahmi Az-Za’areer noted that Israeli police, who operate inside the settlements and are meant to regulate settler activity, rather protect the settlers when they attack Palestinians, rather than restrain them.
http://www.maannews.net/en/ index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID= 32948
IDF commander calls off settlement visit
(2 Nov) Army says Judea and Samaria District chief Noam Tibon decided to cancel planned speech at Efrat yeshiva at last minute due to schedule constraints; settlers claim he feared ‘reception’ prepared for him — Ever since the evacuation of the house of extreme right-wing activist Noam Federman in the West Bank city of Hebron, settlers have been slamming Brigadier-General Tibon, claiming he was responsible for the place’s destruction. They also issued leaflets declaring that should he come to Efrat on Sunday, they would prevent his arrival and hold a demonstration outside the yeshiva. Extreme right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir told Ynet, "Noam Tibon is destroying the army. He is an expulsion criminal. We won’t forget and won’t forgive him for destructing the Nati Ozeri hill, shortly after (Ozeri’s) murder and expelled his widow and children."
http://www.ynetnews.com/ articles/0,7340,L-3616226,00. html
Barak: Settlers trying to fracture State authority
(2 Nov) Government to hold urgent discussion on recent bout of violence directed towards security forces in West Bank; PM Olmert to address domestic, foreign media with sharp condemnation. Defense minister tells Ynet group of extremists is trying to dictate its agenda to state — The discussion was set after Vice Premier Haim Ramon lodged a request to hold such a meeting nearly a fortnight ago. "Several hundred unruly Jewish hooligans are running amuck in the Territories, beating IDF officers, breaking bones, and trying to assassinate Professor (Ze’ev) Sternhell. And the government stands before them trembling and helpless, and all the law enforcement agencies explain why nothing can be done against them. I am convinced that if these were Palestinians, they would all be behind bars by now," said Ramon.
http://www.ynetnews.com/ articles/0,7340,L-3616208,00. html
Violent settlers condemned, but flawed Israeli security system to blame
(2 Nov) …According to Communications Director for the Israeli human rights group B’tselem Sarit Michaeli, the police force for the settlements are "unequipped, understaffed, undertrained and underfunded," and are essentially unable to carry out their duties. Michaeli explained that the poor quality of the Israeli police forces in West Bank settlements means that they rely heavily on the Israeli military troops for support. The Israeli army, however, "will not explain or at the very least will not enforce its’ soldiers role in policing settlers; many soldiers believe it is their express duty to protect settlers, and not to police them when they are on duty in Palestinian areas," said Michaeli….
http://www.maannews.net/en/ index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID= 32965
Report: IOF troops killed six Palestinians including two children last month
(2 Nov) OCCUPIED JERUSALEM- A report issued by the Quds Press stated that the IOF troops killed during last October six Palestinian citizens including two children, which increased the number of those killed during this year to 471 victims most of them in the West Bank. According to the report, the IOF troops have killed 5,445 Palestinians since the Intifada broke out eight years ago and 72 children since the beginning of 2008. The report pointed out that in October, two Palestinian young men were killed by Israeli settlers in occupied Jerusalem, one was beaten to death when he entered a Jewish neighborhood in the city and the other was slaughtered by settlers.
Jewish extremists burn two vehicles belonging to Arab residents in Tiberias
(1 Nov) A group of young extremist Jews burnt two vehicles belonging to Arab residents in Tiberias. The owners of the torched vehicles were vacationing at the Gold Tulip hotel in the city when extremist Jewish youths burnt their vehicles, the Arabs48 news website reported. The Arabs48 added that Hisham Dirawi, 34, from Al Jadeeda Al Makr village, stated that he came to Tiberiaus with his wife and three children, and a group of workers two days ago as part of a work vacation…The police said that an investigation is underway, no arrests were made and the Arab residents filed an official complaint. Dirawi stated that he is annoyed by the responses he got from the police as he was never informed of any developments in the case and the police still rejects to consider the attack as an act of racism.
Three Arabs arrested in Acre yeshiva arson
(2 Nov) Police and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) have arrested three Arab youths in Acre suspected of torching an office in the city’s hesder yeshiva last week, it was announced Sunday. Police said the motives appeared to be nationalistic. The suspects – Ibrahim Bayuni, 29, Khaled Shaaban, 20, and Salah Titti, 20 – said they carried out the attack to avenge violence against Arabs during the Acre riots. The blaze, caused by a Molotov cocktail, badly damaged the office and threatened to reignite the rioting that battered the city for several days starting on Yom Kippur. … Ru’ah Tzfonit is located in Acre’s Wolfson neighborhood. Approximately three-quarters of the area’s residents are Arab. Four years ago the yeshiva, which opened in 2001, relocated to Wolfson to reinforce the dwindling Jewish community and to reopen a synagogue that had closed. The yeshiva currently has 170 students.
Israeli military detains Palestinian youth in eastern Bethlehem
(2 Nov) The Israeli military detained on Sunday a Palestinian youth from the eastern Bethlehem village of Taqou’, Palestinian security sources reported. The sources said that the Israeli troops cordoned off the house of Tamer Khalil Albadan, 22, vandalizing furniture inside and searching the house thoroughly. Witnesses said that the Israeli soldiers rounded the young man up and took him to an unknown destination. According to the Palestinian center for human rights, the Israeli military has detained more than 2000 Palestinian residents from various areas of the occupied West Bank since the beginning of 2008.
PA police arrest 40 criminal suspects across Hebron district
(1 Nov) Palestinian Authority (PA) police arrested 40 wanted residents of Hebron on Saturday as security forces stepped up the new campaign aimed at maintaining order in the city. The arrests were carried out in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, as well as several villages surrounding the city: Ithna, Dir Samet, Al-Kum, Al-Muareq, Beit Awa, Al-Majd, Al-Burj and Beit Al-Rush. The public relations department of the Hebron PA police said that "those arrested were for criminal cases."
http://www.maannews.net/en/ index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID= 32945
Journalist working on police success story has car vandalized near Ramallah police station
(2 Nov) Unidentified vandals smashed the windshields of Ma’an’s Ramallah correspondent Muhammad Al-Lahham in the central West Bank while he was preparing a report on the Palestinian police units in the city. According to Al-Lahham, he parked his car near Ramallah Park and left the area with another journalist in order to prepare a report about the success of the Ramallah police. When he returned one hour later, the windshield of his car was smashed and the car door open. He also reported that personal items were stolen from the car. [End]
http://www.maannews.net/en/ index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID= 32958
Fatah thugs raid Palestinian homes, beat, arrest anti-Occupation elements
(1 Nov) AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– Hundreds of heavily-armed CIA-trained Palestinian troops on Saturday stormed the village of al Burj, 30 kilometers south west of Al-Khalil (Hebron), raiding homes, vandalizing property and detaining a number of teachers and college students suspected of "carrying out anti-Israeli activities." The operation, code-named "Isrhaqato Watan" (Sunrise) started around dawn, with masked troops, backed by some 20 jeeps, sniffing dogs, arriving at the village, apparently in coordination with the Israeli occupation army. Al-Burj, situated along the former armistice line (the Green Line), is classified as area C and totally controlled by the Israeli army. However, the Israeli army recently allowed PA troops to operate in area C for a short duration provided that only anti-Israeli elements, particularly pro-Hamas supporters, are targeted.
Hamas: PA security detained 17 members across West Bank
(2 Nov) Hamas officials announced on Sunday that Palestinian security services detained 17 loyalists across the West Bank. Those detained were identified as: …From the Ramallah area:
Iyad As-Safi; Jamal Al-Biyari; Khalil Nakhlah; Shihdah Abu Al-Qassam; From the Nablus area:
Azzam Barakat; Yasser Abu Hamada; Ragheb Eleiwi.
http://www.maannews.net/en/ index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID= 32967
Hamas says it may skip Cairo ‘sulha’ because of Fatah clampdown
(2 Nov) Hamas has threatened to boycott an Egyptian-sponsored "national reconciliation" conference in Cairo after accusing the Palestinian Authority of beginning a large-scale crackdown against the movement’s supporters in the West Bank in the past few days. Hamas officials said over the weekend that they had notified the Egyptians that the movement was "seriously" considering staying away from the conference, which is scheduled to begin on November 9, unless Cairo pressured the PA to halt the clampdown.
Hamas lawmakers say barred entry to Egypt
(2 Nov) A senior Palestinian parliamentarian said Sunday that he and five colleagues from the militant Islamic Hamas movement had been barred by Egypt from crossing its border with Gaza on their way to visit other Arab countries. Acting parliament speaker Ahmed Bahar said in a statement Sunday that the Egyptians have rejected a request for the six lawmakers to travel through Egypt. The statement did not give the lawmakers’ destination or the purpose of their trip. An Egyptian security official, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the men tried to cross the border without the necessary prior coordination and were therefore turned away. The coastal strip’s only other frontier is with Israel, where Hamas officials are subject to capture and imprisonment. Israel also prevents air and sea traffic from Gaza.
Poll: 73.3% support PLC dissolution; Fatah would win parliamentary elections
(2 Nov) According to the survey, carried out by the research firm Alpha international 20.9% objected to the disillusion of the PLC, and 5.8% supported neither choice. If elections were held today on the basis of proportional representation, 48% would vote for Fatah, 12.3% for Hamas, 3% for the leftist PFLP, 1.7% for the Palestinian National Initiative, 1.8% for the Third Way and 1.8% for the democratic coalition, while 16% would not vote and 10.6% chose ‘none of the above.’ Three percent would choose another party. The poll shows that 52.7% support holding new presidential elections at the end of President Mahmoud Abbas’ term, which is set to expire in January 2009. Just 43.3% support extending Abbas’ term until the next scheduled elections of the PLC in 2010….
Jenin police arrest two in murder case
(2 Nov) Palestinian police have arrested two men accused of murdering a 32-year-old man near the West Bank city of Jenin. The arrests were the first in the case of the murder of Abd Ar-Rahman Al-Issa, who was found dead on 27 October in the forest on the border between the villages of Sanur and Al-Jarba, south of Jenin. Police are still pursuing the third suspect. Reportedly the second suspect said that the murder was a so-called "honor killing."
Hebron prepares to unveil weeklong "Open the city!" events
(1 Nov) The Popular Campaign against the closure of the city center of Hebron will launch a week of protest events in the downtown vegetable souq, including sport and cultural activities that will call for the re-opening of the city to its residents.
Palestinians hold protest in Hebron
(2 Nov, AP) Hundreds of Palestinians staged a protest in the center of Hebron, witnesses said Sunday afternoon. The demonstrators were calling on Hebron residents to reclaim the downtown area where IDF troops guard several Jewish enclaves. During the protest, several Jewish settlers pulled down three Palestinian flags and burned one of the banners. Israeli forces pushed the settlers away. Soldiers then demanded that the Palestinians leave the area. This promoted a scuffle. No one was wounded in the incident.
Four Palestinians rescued from collapsed Gaza tunnels: three remain trapped
(2 Nov) Four Palestinians have been hospitalized after suffocating when tunnel collapsed underneath the Egyptian with the Gaza Strip, while three are still trapped in the rubble. Palestinian rescue workers are attempting to retrieve the three. Ten tunnels collapsed on Sunday morning due to heavy rain.
First Palestinian food bank opens in Gaza; offers classes on economy and nutrition
(2 Nov) A local Gaza Strip organization, the Palestinian civil association for family care, opened the area’s first Food Bank that is being run and supported by Palestinians on Sunday. The bank will distribute free basic food items to needy families, the elderly and disabled Gazans on a need-basis. The organization’s staff carries out community assessments in order to assure that they have an accurate list of those most in need throughout the area, said executive director of the association Adel Rizq.
The calm before the storm
(30 Oct-5 Nov issue) Palestinians have had a respite, but for how long is anyone’s guess, says Saleh Al-Naami — Yehia Salasel, 44, tiptoes quietly into the house after a late night with friends. He lives in the village of Al-Qarara, right on the borders between Gaza and Israel, and spending time with friends is the one thing that compensates for the inconvenience of living in that dangerous zone. For nearly three years, the Israelis waged repeated incursions into his village. Often, he had to spend the night outside the house to avoid confronting the occupation soldiers. Two months after Egypt negotiated a calming-down agreement between Israel and the resistance movement, Yehia is pleased with the results. "For three years, we lived in hell. In our area, we have the right to a little peace."
Clashes reported Friday between fighters and soldiers in Gaza
(2 Nov) For the first time since the Egyptianmediated truce was declared between resistance fighters in Gaza and Israel four months ago, armed clashes were reported on Friday east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Israeli sources reported that a number of military vehicles came under Palestinian gunfire and that resistance fighters fired two anti-tank shells at the invading forces. The sources did not report any injuries among the soldiers and said that this incident could be an indication for the end of the truce. A number of Israeli military helicopters opened fire at a number of homes in the area; damage was reported, no injuries.
PRC: Countdown to the end of the ceasefire has begun
(2 Nov) The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) in Gaza have begun their countdown to the end of their agreed ceasefire with Israel, they said in a statement on Sunday. They said they felt Israel showed a lack of commitment to most of the preconditions of the deal. The statement also commemorated the issue of the Balfour Declaration in 1917, and said the ceasefire has only served to help Israel kill Palestinians and continue the crippling siege on the area.
Massive women’s march in Gaza calls for opening Rafah crossing
(1 Nov) GAZA, (PIC)– The women’s sector within Hamas organized Saturday afternoon a massive march to call for opening the Rafah border crossing and breaking the siege immediately to alleviate the suffering of Gaza people. In a speech delivered during the march, Umm Mohamed Al-Rantisi, a prominent [and female] Hamas leader, called on Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his government to open the Rafah crossing and also urged human rights organizations and Arab states to pressure the besieging parties to lift the unjust siege on Gaza.
Solidarity boat returns to Cyprus after successfully breaking Israeli siege
(2 Nov) The second solidarity trip by the Free Gaza movement came off without a hitch, despite Israeli threats and provocations. The boat brought humanitarian and medical supplies to the people of Gaza, in violation of the Israeli-imposed siege on the impoverished coastal strip. Three crew members remained behind in Gaza to work as international human rights observers. Previous Free Gaza members who stayed in Gaza after the last ship arrived in late August volunteered to accompany Palestinian fishing boats who are constantly threatened and fired upon by the Israeli navy, despite having a right to be able to fish in their own waters. The Free Gaza movement has been organizing in a number of countries for the last year to bring humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip, which has been under an Israeli-imposed siege for two years. They have already broken the siege once, and this week’s boatload of supplies is the second to be able to enter the Gaza port. Next, the movement plans to break the siege by helicopter.
Al-Jazeera video: Free Gaza Movement: Yes we can
The ‘Dignity" arrives in Gaza. Includes interview with 14-year-old boy crippled by missile in 2006 and not allowed by the Israelis to leave Gaza for medical treatment. The first Free Gaza boat carried him out in August.
Exposed: the missing money and chequered past of campaigner behind mercy mission to Gaza
(2 Nov) Campaigners for Palestine have warned the public against giving money to a self-confessed gambling addict who made a high-profile "mercy mission" from Edinburgh to Gaza in a van. Khalil Al Niss, whose trip delivering medicines to the Middle East was backed by first minister Alex Salmond, is at the centre of a range of financial allegations. He has been isolated by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) and is accused of owing thousands of pounds to different women.
http://www.sundayherald.com/ news/heraldnews/display.var. 2464991.0.exposed_the_missing_ money_
and_chequered_past_of_ campaigner_behind_mercy_ mission_to_gaza.php
To come together
(30 Oct-5 Nov issue) For Cairo, Palestinian reconciliation is taking priority over Palestinian-Israeli negotiations — at least for now, Dina Ezzat reports — On 9 November Egypt will play host to the first round of a Palestinian reconciliation dialogue attended by 13 Palestinian factions. "Despite the many difficulties, Egypt is determined to continue with its efforts to achieve Palestinian reconciliation and accord. We hope that the meeting will make tangible progress," President Hosni Mubarak said Sunday
Fatah seeking to end ‘disagreement’ between Abbas and Qurei
(2 Nov) The Fatah movement is attempting to mend a months-long quarrel between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the head of the Palestinian negotiating team, former Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei, high-ranking Palestinian sources said on Sunday. The sources added Abbas and Qurei are planning to meet in the West Bank city of Ramallah in order to heal the rift before the Fatah conference and an upcoming Palestinian national reconciliation meeting in Cairo.
Islamic Jihad to hold internal consultations prior to Cairo unity talks
(2 Nov) A delegation of Jihad officials left the Gaza Strip on Sunday for Damascus for a week’s worth of internal talks. Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ramadan Shallah will travel with the officials to Cairo where they will join eleven other factions for the summit. Islamic Jihad plans to clarify its position an Egyptian draft plan for restoring Palestinian unity, which other factions have already weighed in on. The Cairo meeting will bring all the Palestinian factions, including the rivals Hamas and Fatah, to the negotiating table in hopes of returning political unity that has been elusive since violent factional infighting in 2007.
Palestine ranks low on press freedom due to factional fighting
(2 Nov) By Rashid Shahin — We don’t know how many Palestinian Authority officials in the West Bank and the de facto government in the Gaza Strip have read the report by the French organization Reporters Without Borders which labeled Palestine as one of the worst countries in the world in terms of freedom of press. Nor do we know what the reaction of those who might have read the report was. If we suppose that some officials read the report we must assume that they did not care, since no mention of Palestine’s disastrous ranking has been mentioned.
This is especially striking since the report by Reporters Without Borders named the main cause for press censorship in Palestine as the political rivalry in the Palestinian arena.
Palestinian factions denounce Balfour Declaration; demand British apology
(2 Nov) Several Palestinian resistance factions issued statements on Sunday denouncing the 1917 Balfour Declaration in which the British official promised Palestine as a homeland for individuals of Jewish descent. Palestinians consider the declaration a major factor in the creation of the state of Israel, and part of the system that ignored that Palestinian communities in the area and promised the land to Jewish people at their expense… Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Brigades reiterated the sentiments against the Declaration in a statement that said Palestinians remain attached to their ancestral lands and remember their loss on this anniversary of the issuance of the Balfour Declaration. The statement held Britain responsible for what happened to the Palestinians and demanded that the British government work to remedy its mistake.
Happy Birthday, Balfour Declaration!
Today, November 2, the Balfour Declaration is 91 years old. It was the crucial first official recognition of Jewish national aspirations. Although the declaration itself had little legal status, it was later incorporated into the Sèvres peace treaty with Turkey and the Mandate for Palestine, adopted unanimously by the League of Nations in the San Remo Resolution of 1920. This lent Zionism a legitimacy enjoyed by few national movements before or since… The initial drafts of the Balfour Declaration spoke of the desire "that Palestine should be reconstituted as the National Home of the Jewish people." Clearly, Palestine as a whole was to become this Jewish national home. The final draft was altered to contain the proviso, "it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
Eriqat: No Palestinian-Israeli negotiations before the Israeli elections
(2 Nov) Senior Palestinian negotiator , Saeb Eriqat, believed on Sunday that negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis can not go, while there is a transitional government in Israel, expressing the hope that the Israelis will opt for peace in the upcoming early elections. In an interview with the Palestine Radio Station, aired Sunday, Eriqat said that if the Israelis vote for the continuation of the Israeli occupation, this would mean enlargement of current cycle of violence and bloodshed in the region.
Israel, PA officials to hold joint briefing on peace talks
(2 Nov) Israeli and Palestinian officials said Sunday that their chief negotiators would give top diplomats a rare joint briefing on the state of peace talks at a meeting in Egypt next week. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni would head Israel’s delegation. Palestinian officials said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his chief negotiator, Ahmed Qureia, will lead their side to the Nov. 8 ministerial-level meeting of the Quartet of Mideast peace makers – the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia.
Israel mulling joint airport with PA near Netanya
(2 Nov) The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) is considering building a joint Israeli-Palestinian airport on the Poleg beach south of Netanya, authority chairman Ovadia Eli said this weekend. Addressing an economic conference at Ben-Gurion Airport, Eli said that the airport would be jointly managed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority. To facilitate Palestinian access, it would be connected to the West Bank via a tunnel.
Shin Bet chief: Israel far right may use political murder to thwart peace
(2 Nov, AP) Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin warned on Sunday that Israel’s radical right-wing could resort to armed attacks, including assassination of an Israeli leader, to scupper any accord under which the West Bank would be ceded to the Palestinians. "Just ahead of the anniversary of Rabin’s murder, the Shin Bet sees in the group we’re talking about on the extreme right a willingness to use firearms in order to halt diplomatic processes and harm political leaders," Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin said. "The Shin Bet is very concerned about this."
Ran Cohen to resign from politics
(1 Nov) A one-two punch to Meretz this week as MK Ran Cohen announced on Saturday that he intends to retire from political life and will not be seeking a spot on the party’s roster ahead of the upcoming general elections. Cohen’s decision follows a similar announcement Tuesday by another prominent member of the left-wing party, MK Yossi Beilin.
Meretz ad in Ramat Gan deemed immodest
(2 Nov) Meretz’s Ramat Gan branch was told last week that if the sleeves of the party’s third municipal candidate, Yuli Goldstein, are not lengthened in the party’s ad campaign the ads would not be posted on local buses. The sign in question actually addresses the fast growing skyscrapers being built in the city, and Meretz, a party known for its struggle against religious coercion, refused to be censored.
Truth, for a change
(2 Nov) By Gideon Levy — Politicians only tell the truth on their way out — This is a desperate call to politicians: Please, tell the truth… The time finally has come for Livni to say clearly and unambiguously that she is ready to withdraw from the entire Golan Heights in exchange for full peace with Syria; for Barak to say he is prepared for a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders; for Netanyahu to say what his real alternative is to a two-state solution; and for Eli Yishai to explain why he believes the sanctity of the land outranks the sanctity of human life, contrary to the statements by his teacher and rabbi many years ago. Let Yishai tell us if he really does want a state run by religious law, like Saudi Arabia and Iran – there are no other countries run by religious law – and if he really does want us all to study in yeshivas without working or showing any creativity.
UN agency seeks urgent funds to aid Palestinians uprooted from Lebanese camp
(2 Nov) The United Nations agency tasked with aiding Palestinian refugees called on donors to urgently respond to the $43 million appeal it issued last month for funds to help some 27,000 people displaced from a Lebanese refugee camp last year. Ever since the Nahr el-Bared camp was destroyed last summer amid fighting between the Lebanese Government forces and Fatah el-Islam gunmen, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has been providing rental subsidies and food to those who lost their homes.
Mazuz: Syria talks can go on even as government prepares for elections
(2 Nov) Attorney General Menachem Mazuz ruled on Sunday that there were no legal obstacles preventing Israel from proceeding with negotiations with Syria during even as the government approaches transition. Meanwhile, outgoing prime minister Ehud Olmert has expressed willingness to negotiate the Golan Heights borders in exchange for direct talks with Syria, a diplomatic source in Jerusalem said late Saturday night.
Syria rejects Israel’s calls to pursue Saudi peace plan
(2 Nov) Syria has rejected calls by President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to pursue the 2002 Saudi peace initiative, a plan touted by the moderate Arab elements across the Middle East. The initiative, a broad proposal for a comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, calls for Israel’s withdrawal from territories captured in 1967 in return from normalized relations with the Arab world. Syrian embassy spokesman in London Jihad Makdissi called Israel’s recent revival of the initiative "another attempt to bluff and evade peace."
Crossing the line
(30 Oct-5 Nov issue) The US made an unprecedented air attack on Syria. Bassel Oudat tries to fathom Washington’s logic — Syrian commentators say that the US attack was this year’s "October Surprise", designed to boost the chances of the Republican presidential candidate and to bring security back into the political agenda. There is also the chance that the US attack was staged in order to tarnish Syria’s image and dissuade Europe from normalising ties with Syria. The attack may have also aimed to persuade Iraqi legislators to approve a clause in the draft Iraqi-US security agreement. The clause calls for allowing US forces stationed in Iraq to launch military operations against other countries. Most Iraqi politicians objected to the clause.
Amidst Iraq’s violence, a radio station gives people hope
(1 Nov) This is Sumer FM, Iraq’s most popular independent radio station. It broadcasts from a state-of-the-art, brightly decorated studio in Baghdad’s Karrada neighborhood, and its signal reaches every corner of the country. "It doesn’t look like Iraq in here, does it?" the station’s manager, Ammar Naji, says with a smile. In a city overwhelmed by the complexities and uncertainties of war, Sumer FM is one thing its listeners can count on.
Obama and Iraq
(1 Nov) By Robert Dreyfuss in The Nation — Let’s analyze that. First, he doesn’t reiterate that he is pulling US forces out . Instead, he appears to say that the key is to get Iraq to pay for the war , to get the Iraqis to use their surplus… Second, he says that he wants " the Iraqi government to step up ," meaning, presumably, to fight its own war… Third, and most troubling, Obama says that Americans will have to tighten their belts because of the "cost of the war in Iraq." Doesn’t that mean that the war will continue?"
Saturday: 10 Iraqis killed, 9 wounded
Excerpt: Updated at 7:12 p.m. EDT, Nov. 1, 2008 Few casualty reports came out of Iraq again today; however, at least 10 Iraqis were killed and another 9 were wounded across the country. Meanwhile, an Iraqi parliamentarian said that women in MNF jails were detained when wanted male relatives were not locatable. Also, Iraq has set aside about 25%, or $15 billion, for reconstruction.
Iraqi Kurd says US can have bases in northern Iraq
(2 Nov) ARBIL, Iraq (AFP) A top Iraqi Kurdish leader has said the US military could have bases in northern Iraq if Washington and Baghdad fail to sign the controversial security deal, a local newspaper reported on Sunday. Massud Barzani, the president of northern Iraq’s regional Kurdish administration, said that his government would "welcome" such a move, the Khabat, the newspaper run by Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party, quoted him as saying.
(1 Nov) By Uri Avnery — In three days, it seems at the moment, the incredible will happen: the most important "white" country in the world will elect a black president. …I dare to hope that Obama will be revealed as a friend of the Other Israel, the Israel that seeks peace. He promises change. I believe that for him this is not an empty phrase, but something more profound that is rooted in his character. The thing that is going to happen this week is not just another transition from one party to another party, when the difference between the two is minimal. The new arrival is a person who has the ability, and seemingly also the will, to get things out of the rut and look at everything with new eyes.
Khalidi: The Republican’s latest smear against Obama
(2 Nov) The smear campaign by John McCain, Sarah Palin and their supporters reached a new low this past week with their attacks on Democratic nominee Barack Obama for his former ties with Palestinian American scholar Rashid Khalidi. This is just one of a series of desperate guilt-by-association tactics by the Republicans to make the staunchly pro-Israel Obama appear to be anti-Israel and may be designed less to harm the Democratic nominee’s chances of election as to limit politically his options for addressing urgent matters of Israeli-Palestinian peace upon becoming president.
US Elections: Next president won’t fulfill Israel’s fantasies
(2 Nov) It’s the ultimate leftist fantasy. After being elected president of the United States on Tuesday, Barack Obama places the Palestinian-Israeli conflict at the top of his agenda… The rightist fantasy would have John McCain elected. He then places the annihilation of the Iranian nuclear program, along with Islamist terrorism, at the top of his agenda… Neither fantasy will materialize. The new U.S. president will pay the required lip service – he will announce his support for the "two-state solution" and criticize the Iranian nuclear drive. He will express his hopes that the tense quiet will continue in the Middle East, and that a new war will not break out. He will focus on his main task: reviving the American economy and rescuing the global economy from the crisis.
The Indian wars have never ended: Killing Leroy Jackson
(31 Oct) [noting again the similarities between the European takeovers of Native America and Palestine — no wonder America stands by Israel] Jackson was the charismatic leader of Dine CARE, an environmental group of traditionalists on the big Navajo reservation. Only days before Jackson disappeared, he had spoken out against the logging plans at a public hearing in Window Rock, Arizona. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) had just requested an exemption from the Endangered Species Act, which would allow the Navajo Forest Products Industries to clearcut the old-growth forest habitat of the Mexican spotted owl, a threatened species, in the Chuska Mountains near Jackson’s home.