And yes, this site is still alive.. just taking a holiday break. Back in the New Year.

News, statements, etc on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People…

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

News News: On the occasion of the Day of Solidarity, Palestinians call for the application of international law

(29-11-06)Najib Farag, PNN. On the occasion of the Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People a collective call is being issued by all Palestinian factions. The request is simple, yet somehow unattainable as of yet: apply international law, including the Fourth Geneva Conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in particular, United Nations resolutions. The Palestinian Liberation Movement, Fateh, said that if the UN simply applied the resolutions already on the books, regardless of those that did not make it due to the United States veto, the injustice would be rectified.

Read more…

News News: UN marks Palestinian Solidarity Day with calls for peace with Israel

(29-11-06)Najib Farag, UN News. The United Nations today marked the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people with urgent calls for re-launching the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, special meetings of the General Assembly and related committees and film shows and exhibitions. “Let us commit ourselves to breathing new life into the peace process so that the goals of statehood for Palestinians, and security for the State of Israel, can be realized before this tragedy takes too many more lives,” United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message for the Day.

Read more…

News News: PFLP calls for “practical solidarity” with the Palestinian people

(29-11-06)Report, Ma’an. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), has on Wednesday issued a statement calling upon all free people of the world to support the Palestinian people, and to help lift the siege imposed on them. In a statement received by Ma’an, the PFLP thanked every person who expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people, despite “the hardships of the American era”. They stressed the necessity for “practical, perceptible, action” to accompany the “abstract solidarity”.

Read more…

News News: Palestinian People’s Party – Palestinian unity cannot be substituted

(29-11-06)Report, Ma’an. The Palestinian People’s Party has, on Wednesday, stressed the necessity for Palestinians to take the political initiative and submit it to the domestic, Arab, regional and international levels. They declared that there is no alternative to Palestinian agreement on all issues, especially the formation of a unity government and the reactivation and reform of the PLO.

Read more…

News Statement: BADIL centre for Palestinian refugees urges recognition of the roots of the Palestinian ‘problem’ on international day

(29-11-06)Report, Ma’an. The international community of states has failed the Palestinian people, but global civil society has not. In light of ongoing occupation, colonization, displacement and dispossession under Israel’s Apartheid-regime over the Palestinian people, 29 November 2006 can become a day of solidarity and awareness of the collective strength of global civil society organizations working for freedom and justice in Palestine.

Read more…

News Statement: Palestinian university teachers mark International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

(29-11-06)Report, Ma’an. Ever since 1948 Israel has been exercising a policy of ethnic cleansing, massacres, sieges, collective punishment, building settlements and apartheid walls, expropriating more lands and waging genocidal wars against the armless refugees of Palestine. In the last four months alone, Israel has committed a series of massacres in which whole families were eliminated in cold blood. More than 450 Palestinians, mostly children and women, were killed and 4500 injured.

Read more…

News Statement: On International Day of Solidarity – Occupation is the issue

(09-11-06)Statement, Al-Haq. On 29 November 2006, the international community observes the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. As a Palestinian organisation dedicated to the protection and promotion of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), Al-Haq takes this opportunity to emphasise that the root cause of the pervasive violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the OPT is the almost 40-year-old Israeli occupation. Both Israel and the international community have repeatedly failed to meet their international legal obligations with regard to the OPT. Consequently, the full realisation of the fundamental rights of Palestinians, including the right to self-determination, remains as distant as ever.

Read more…

Here are today’s news headlines from Occupation Info. For today’s commentary, op-eds etc please see this post

An Israeli soldier watches Palestinians cross Huwwara checkpoint near the West Bank city of Nablus after a Palestinian man was shot dead there, 9 October 2006.

News Headlines: Selected articles from the International Middle East Media Centre

(29-11-06)Various, IMEMC.

Audio – Palestine Today – November 29, 2006

Olmert decides to appoint Livni as Justice Minister besides her position as Foreign Minister

Rice to ask Abbas to “impose order”, pledge aid to strengthen his position

Egypt Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman Arrives in Israel, meets with Peretz

Several school girls injured and army takes over one house in a village near Hebron

House leveled by the army in Hebron

Rafah border crossing re-closed on Wednesday

Army ‘shells areas’ in northern Gaza strip

Settlers in Hebron abduct a Palestinian woman for seven hours

Read more…

News Headlines: Selected articles from the Ma’an News Service

(29-11-06)Various, Ma’an.

Rice’s visit shows US support of Abbas; US to demand more “gestures of leadership” from PA president

Clash between Al-Aqsa Brigades and Israeli force in Tulkarem

Al-Aqsa Institution for Reconstructing Islamic Sanctities condemns violation of Islamic cemetary in Tiberias

All Palestinian civil servants to receive NIS 1,000 from Wednesday

Prisoners’ families appeal for release of confiscated funds

Palestinian minister of prisoners’ affairs updates the prisoners in Israeli jails

Two young Palestinian men released from Israeli jail after completing their sentences

Israeli forces abduct a Hamas activist in Qalqiliya, army invades two Tulkarem villages

Foreign passport-holders learn about their options regarding denial of entry to the Palestinian territories

An-Najah University closed on Wednesday out of fear of Hamas-Fatah clashes following election draw

Read more…

News News: Israel crippled by general strike

(29-11-06) Report, AP. Israel’s largest trade union began a sweeping general strike today, shutting down the country’s only international airport and all the ports. The strike began after the Histadrut union failed to reach an agreement with the government on providing funds to regional councils that have been unable to pay their workers for months. See Also: Israel general strike paralyses air travel, public sector (AFP), Industrialists petition court in bid to end public sector strike (Haaretz), Hirchson: General strike could come to end within a few days (Haaretz), and Manufacturers ask court to end strike (JPost).

Read more…

News News: Israel warns losing patience over truce violations

(29-11-06)Jean-Luc Renaudie, AFP. Israel has warned that the Jewish state was losing patience over Palestinian rocket attacks that have continued to violate a tentative four-day ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Wednesday’s warnings come amid a flurry of diplomatic efforts to shore up the truce, with Egypt’s intelligence chief Omar Suleiman in Israel and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas Thursday. See Also: Misfired rocket causes Gaza blast (Reuters), Qassam landed near Sderot yesterday (Haaretz), Rockets disappoint Olmert but hopes truce can last (Reuters), Congenial meeting in Beirut warns against possible detractors (PNN), and Fatah faction fires two projectiles at Sderot Tuesday (Ma’an).

Read more…

News News: Palestinian PM pushes 1967 borders proposal

(29-11-06)Report, Reuters. Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Wednesday set the tone for his first foreign tour since taking office by promoting a Palestinian initiative based on an independent state on land outside Israel’s 1967 borders. After talks with Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, Haniyeh told a news conference it was time governments in the Middle East and around the world put pressure on Israel to recognize such an independent Palestinian state. Haniyeh is from the Islamist movement Hamas, which has traditionally advocated a single Palestinian state in all of Palestine as it existed before the creation of Israel in 1948. See Also: Jordan refuses to receive Palestinian Prime Minister (PNN).

Read more…

News News: Desmond Tutu to head UN mission to Beit Hanoun

(29-11-06)Report, Haaretz. Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu has been named to head a United Nations fact-finding mission to the Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanun, where at least 18 civilians were killed earlier this month, UN officials said Wednesday The South African anti-Apartheid campaigner and former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town will travel to the Palestinian territory to “assess the situation of victims, address the needs of survivors and make recommendations on ways and means to protect Palestinian civilians against further Israeli assaults,” according to the president of the UN Human Rights Council, Luis Alfonso De Alba. See Also: Desmond Tutu to head UN mission on Beit Hanun (AFP), and Credible Israeli probes key to break Mideast impunity: UN rights chief (AFP).

Read more…

News News: Israel – Arab party not to be dissolved for Syria visit

(29-11-06)Aviram Zino, YNet. Attorney General Menachem Mazuz and Attorney Yaron Keidar, the party registrar at the Justice Ministry, decided Wednesday to reject Attorney Ophir Miller’s demand to dissolve the National Democratic Assembly party because “its objective is to denounce the State of Israel’s existence.” Miller claimed that the party violated the law, after its members visited Syria and Lebanon several months ago. See Also: MK Taha: Instead of probing me – use me (YNet), Mazuz rejects bid to ban Arab Balad party over MKs’ visit to Syria (Haaretz).

Read more…

News Report: Farewell to arms in Gaza

(29-11-06) Rami Almeghari, IMEMC. The past five months saw the most severe round of fighting in Gaza, that has so far claimed the lives of 479 Palestinians (an estimated 80% of whom were not involved in fighting), and resulted in injuries to 4200 others, all by the Israeli military’s weaponry. In the same time period, Palestinian resistance fighters killed three Israelis — two soldiers and one civilian. In the aftermath of such a horrible period, both sides agreed on Sunday to a ceasefire, with the hope that this would lead to more calm and make way for peaceful means to be used instead. See Also: Gaza relishes moment of peace (BBC).

Read more…

News Report: No clinic? No school? We’ll open one

(29-11-06)Aryeh Dayan, Haaretz. The reaction of the residents of Kafr Aqab to the situation in which they found themselves was completely different from that of other Palestinians in similar situations in other areas. Initially they did exactly what the others did: appealed the land-seizure orders for the construction of the wall, petitioned the High Court of Justice against its construction, organized demonstrations, sent demands to the Jerusalem Municipality and organized various lobbying activities. They soon realized, however, that they could expect to gain no benefit from all that, and opted for a different strategy.

Read more…

News Report: Media conference criticizes discrimination against Arab media

(29-11-06)Press Release, Mossawa Center. The Mossawa Center has criticized the Israeli Cinema Council, large private companies, the government advertisement office, the Ministry of Transportation and the First and Second Broadcasting Authority for their discrimination against Arab media. This discrimination marginalizes Arab citizens and negatively affects their right to knowledge and their ability to express their needs and present them to the Arab and Jewish public. Insufficient allocation of advertising budgets to written and visual media, Internet, radio, television, cinema and even phone services has proved to be a method of further marginalizing Arab society. See Also: Women’s film festival in Jenin (PNN), and Israeli gov’t votes ‘yes’ to discrimination against Palestinians within its boundaries (PNN).

Read more…

Today’s Commentary, Op-Ed and miscellaneous itmes from Occupation Info. For today’s news headlines, please see this post

Qalqilya -- A Palestinian youth rides his bike along the 8 metre-high wall that surrounds the city

News Book Review : The borders of fact and myth – The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe

(29-11-06)Stephen Howe, The Indpendent. The war of 1948 created Israel and destroyed Palestinian Arab society. Argument over that destruction has never ceased – continuously, often directly, reshaped by contemporary political developments. Ilan Pappe is surely wrong to suggest in this important, provocative book that the Palestinians’ fate has been “erased almost totally from the global public memory”. Rather, some ways of seeing it have been blocked, for political reasons and with great, sometimes vindictive energy, in particular places. The kind of view that Pappe presents has been held or maybe even heard only by a very small minority, in Israel and the US.

Read more…

News Interview: Jimmy Carter shares insight on peace in Mideast

(29-11-06)Marty Rosen, Courier-Journal. Former President Jimmy Carter’s new book, Palestine – Peace Not Apartheid, reflects a lifetime of contemplation on the Middle East. Mixing memoir and policy, it recounts his youthful fascination with the Holy Lands, his long acquaintance with the political leaders who have shaped the modern history of the Arab and Israeli worlds, and it makes a strong case for renewed debate about the best path to peace in a long-troubled part of the world. In a telephone interview, Carter spoke in detail about the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and his hopes for peace. Here are his unedited responses.

Read more…

News Comment: The extinction of Palestinian Christians

(29-11-06)Daoud Kuttab, Ma’an. In the land where Jesus once walked, Palestinian Christians face extinction. With nearly 500,000 Palestinian Christians worldwide, only 170,000 remain in the Holy Land. They belong to 15 different churches, some still using Aramaic, the language Christ spoke. But the traditions of service and continuity of Christian communities in the very birthplace of Christianity may soon disappear. With its establishment in 1948, Israel drove nearly 750,000 Palestinians from their homes, among them 50,000 to 60,000 Christians. Some neighborhoods in Jerusalem where mostly Palestinian Christians lived, such as Qatamon, emptied overnight and were seized by Israel for newly-arrived Jewish immigrants.

Read more…

News Comment: Is Olmert’s peace plan real?

(29-11-06)Ray Hanania, YNet. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said this week that he is prepared to grant Palestinians a state, release funds, and free prisoners. All he asked Palestinians to do is: Form a new government (the existing government doesn’t really exist); agree to international conditions such as the “Road Map” (which they have already basically done); and, release Gilad Shalit, the abducted Israeli soldier, (which is the right thing to do).

Read more…

News Comment: The ‘Gaza Solution’ and ongoing War on Islam

(29-11-06)Mike Whitney, Palestine Chronicle. The central tenet of American foreign policy hasn’t changed since the early 1980s when Secretary of State Henry Kissinger summarized our involvement in the Iraq-Iraq War saying, “I hope they kill each other.” Kissinger’s dictum reveals the basic racial and religious odium which animates the current policy and has become the organizing principle for maintaining the global empire. Now that the Muslim world has been systematically ravaged from the southern-most part of Gaza to the northern tip of Afghanistan, we can see that the application of the Kissinger Doctrine is an effective method for decimating societies where coveted resources are located. By all accounts, it’s been a huge success.

Read more…

News Comment: New forms of resistance

(29-11-06)Nadia Naser-Najjab, BitterLemons. I have been observing discussions in Ramallah for some time now, trying to understand what people think about the political situation in general and the Israeli aggression against Palestinians in particular. I have noticed that the majority discusses social and personal issues with minimal reference to political events. On the same day an elderly woman exploded herself near Israeli soldiers in Gaza I had friends over for dinner. When I raised the incident to my guests, none of them had heard about it, as they do not really watch the news, and no further discussion took place. Even when political issues are discussed the most common comment one hears is, `what can we do?

Read more…

News Comment: Take Olmert and Meshaal at their word

(29-11-06)Rami G. Khouri, Daily Star. When the leaders of Israel and Hamas in the same weekend offer each other long-term peace deals, you just know in your bones that we are passing through a potentially historic moment. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that Israel was prepared to leave much of the Occupied Territories, release many Palestinian prisoners, remove many roadblocks and checkpoints, and restore the delivery of withheld tax funds that belong to the Palestinians. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, for his part, said in Cairo a day earlier that the Palestinians expected to see serious progress toward a Palestinian state in all the territories occupied in 1967, or else a third intifada would break out.

Read more…

News Comment: An ambitious Spanish plan becomes a modest flop

(29-11-06)James Badcock, Daily Star. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s set of proposals to break the seemingly interminable impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems doomed to failure – but not because there is anything in them that is wholly unreasonable. First, it would appear to be the wrong moment for any real progress to be made, with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government relatively weak. The second flaw, however, is one of Madrid’s own making, namely the botched manner in which the peace plan was sprung upon a divided international community.

Read more…

News Comment: Cease the fire in the West Bank, too

(29-11-06)Editorial, Haaretz. The developments of the last few days are liable to arouse hope. The agreement on a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, together with the prime minister’s impressive speech in Sde Boker, could generate a new atmosphere in Israel’s relations with the Palestinians – an atmosphere that would enable the start of serious negotiations between the parties. Israel must not waste this rare window of opportunity.

Read more…

News Comment: Two laws, one trap for family unification

(29-11-06)Shahar Ilan, Haaretz. The proposed new Citizenship Law and the Illegal Residents Law (Amendment No. 19 to the Entry into Israel Law) are so much alike that it begs the question of why both are being put forth. Both call for a dramatic closure of Israel’s gates to non-Jews, especially residents of the Palestinian Authority. Both tread a thin line between constitutionality and non-constitutionality. Both rely on non-demographic arguments but are clearly aimed largely at preserving the demographic balance. Both bills are being championed by the Attorney General’s Office and are likely to gain broad support in the Knesset.

Read more…

News Comment: The checkpoint generation

(29-11-06)Amira Hass, Haaretz. For nearly a month now, a young Palestinian has been hospitalized at Beilinson Hospital; soldiers shot him at a checkpoint in northern Nablus on Saturday, November 4. Haitem Yassin, 25, is conscious now, but he is still hooked up to a respirator. In recent days, he has been suffering from a high fever, apparently caused by an infection in his abdomen, which was wounded in the shooting. His family is still waiting for a report from the hospital about the number or type of bullets that caused the serious injury.

Read more…

News Comment: Human Rights Watch must retract its shameful press release

(29-11-06)Norman G. Finkelstein, CounterPunch. How has Human Rights Watch responded to the challenge? It criticized Israel for destroying Gaza’s only electrical plant, and also called on Israel to “investigate” why its forces were targeting Palestinian medical personnel in Gaza and to “investigate” the Beit Hanoun massacre. On the other hand, it accused Palestinians of committing a “war crime” after they captured an Israeli soldier and offered to exchange him for Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jails. (Israel was holding 10,000 Palestinians prisoner.) It demanded that Palestinians “bring an immediate end to the lawlessness and vigilante violence” in Gaza. (Compare Amira Hass’s words.) It issued a 101-page report chastising the Palestinian Authority for failing to protect women and girls. It called on the Palestinian Authority to take “immediate steps to halt” Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel.

Read more…

Here are today’s news headlines from Occupation Info. For today’s commentary, op-eds etc please see this post

Palestinian students wait in a line to cast their ballots for student council elections at An-Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus November 27, 2006. REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini

News Headlines: Selected articles from the International Middle East Media Centre

(28-11-06)Various, IMEMC.

Audio – Palestine Today – November 28, 2006

Israeli-planted minefield discovered in southern Lebanon

International Academy of Art Palestine to launch Next Week

Knesset Foreign and Security Committee criticizes ceasefire

Detainees facing harsh living and health condition in Be’er Shiva and Nafha prisons

Army uproots trees to install a Wall section near Bethlehem

Israeli forces kill woman as she attempts to save man bleeding at her doorstep

Haniyya leaves Gaza on his first tour as a Prime Minister

21 taken prisoner and three are injured in the West Bank

Read more…

News Headlines: Selected articles from the Ma’an News Service

(28-11-06)Various, Ma’an.

Hamas ministers accused of doing the same as Fatah once did: only appointing employees from their party

Fatah’s armed wing reveal ‘Jund-1’ projectiles in Nablus

Undercover Israeli forces seize an Al-Aqsa Brigades’ member in Qabatiya

Israel’s Negev 2015 plan will only benefit Jews, the Adalah legal centre reveals

Al Aqsa Brigades say they will comply with the truce

Israeli army invades town of As-Samu’ in southern West Bank

Israeli army besieges the Jenin governorate, arrests ten from same family

Public sector strike will continue till our demands are met, union says

Israeli MK criticises Israel’s collective racism towards its Arab citizens

PPSF denounces Israeli court decision to legalise the separation wall in East Jerusalem

Read more…

News News: Gaza militants fire rocket in violation of ceasefire

(28-11-06) Report, AFP. Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip have fired a rocket at the southern Israeli town of Sderot, again violating Sunday’s fragile ceasefire agreement. “We identified a rocket being fired from the Beit Hanun area in northern Gaza and landing near Sderot,” an army spokesman told AFP on Tuesday. Medical sources said the rocket hit Sderot’s cemetery, causing no injuries or damage. Militants have aimed several rockets at Israel on each of the three days since the ceasefire took effect, under which Palestinians agreed to halt all rocket attacks in exchange for an Israeli halt to operations in the Gaza Strip. See Also: Qassam rocket lands in western Negev despite Gaza cease-fire (Haaretz), Palestinian militants fire rocket into Israel (Reuters), and Fateh force ‘to police truce’ (Al Jazeera).

Read more…

News News: Bethlehem residents are skeptical as West Bank is not included in ‘cease-fire’

(28-11-06)Najib Farag, PNN. Bethlehem residents consider the new ‘cease-fire’ fragile to say the least. Hopes were not high from the beginning in the West Bank as checkpoints, arrests, settlement and Wall activity, and invasions continued. And then the Israeli Central Command, which is the occupying administration in the central West Bank, said that the ‘cease-fire’ does not include the West Bank. Gas station worker in Bethlehem, Abu Mustafa Kaid, commented to PNN on Monday that the ‘cease-fire’ is fragile and frequently violated by Israel. He cited arrests and continuing incursions into Palestinian cities, villages and camps in the West Bank, in addition to killing a young man and woman in the Jenin area. See Also: Bethlehemites forced into village square, all arrestees bound and blindfolded (PNN),  and Israeli forces kill Jenin woman as she attempts to save man bleeding at her doorstep (PNN).

Read more…

News News: Abbas: Olmert initiative is ‘positive’ step toward peace-making

(28-11-06)Aluf Benn, Haaretz. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that a peace initiative laid out the day before by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was a “positive” step toward peacemaking. Olmert told the Palestinians on Monday that he was prepared to grant them a state, release desperately needed funds and free prisoners if they choose the path of peace. He also said that Israel would pull out of West Bank land and uproot settlements under a peace deal with the Palestinians. See Also: Yisrael Beiteinu, rightist factions slam PM’s speech (Haaretz), Olmert speech elicits mixed reaction from Palestinians (Haaretz), Olmert: Israel agrees to the formation of a contiguous Palestinian state free of settlements (Ma’an), Haniyeh says Israel must stop its arrests, incursions and assassinations for truce to last (Ma’an), and Palestinian president welcomes Israeli PM overtures (AFP).

Read more…

News News: Palestinian Official – Abbas sees talks with Hamas at “dead end”

(28-11-06)Wafa Amr, Reuters. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has told Jordan that talks on a unity government with Hamas have hit a “dead end” and he will pursue other options, a senior Palestinian official said on Tuesday. The “other options” could include the dismissal of the Hamas-led government and the appointment of a new prime minister, moves that would signify a new hard line against Hamas that could shake up the Palestinian political process. See Also: Rice, Abbas to meet in West Bank (AP), Rice to meet Abbas on Thursday: Palestinians (Reuters), and Hamas PM leaves for Egypt on first foreign tour (AFP).

Read more…

News News: UN urges end to Israeli settlements

(28-11-06) Report, Al Jazeera. The United Nations human rights council has called on Israel to dismantle its settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, and to confiscate the arms of Jewish settlers. The council voted 45-1 on Monday in favour of a resolution submitted by a group of Muslim countries. Canada opposed the motion, while Cameroon abstained. The resolution urged Israel to “stop immediately the expansion of the existing settlements” and prevent any new installation of settlers. See Also: Third nonviolent demonstration at Israeli settlement company in UK (PNN), High Court approves Bir Nabalah enclave (B’Tselem), MIFTAH calls for universal support of Palestinian rights (MIFTAH), and Appeal to Supreme Court against policy of not providing drinking water to unrecognized Arab villages (Adalah).

Read more…

News News: Bulldozers destroying 700 dunams of Bethlehem

(28-11-06)Najib Farag, PNN. Israeli military bulldozers began dredging Artas Village in southern Bethlehem under heavy guard. Israeli forces are confiscating and destroying 700 dunams of the southern Bethlehem village. The land is planted with fruit and olive trees, and grapevines. Head of the Artas Village Council, Hamdi Ayash, said Tuesday that this is a prelude to the next phase of the Wall. “Israeli forces are working to destroy hundreds of trees and are damaging the citizens’ land with the goal of seizing as much territory as possible for the Efrat Settlement about a kilometer from the current destruction. This could prove a source for resistance activities against Israel”. See Also: First person account as a foreigner witnesses a West Bank home demolition (PNN), Army uproots trees to install a Wall section near Bethlehem (IMEMC), and Ghettos form in shadow of the wall (IRIN).

Read more…

News News: Arabs and EU urge new efforts for Middle East peace

(28-11-06)David Brunnstrom, Reuters. Arab and European ministers on Tuesday welcomed the ceasefire in Gaza and urged renewed efforts to promote Middle East peace and direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The European Union has hailed signs of hope for Middle East peace after the ceasefire was declared in Gaza on Sunday and Israel said it was prepared to free many jailed Palestinians in return for a captured soldier. See Also: EU, Arab leaders voice hopes of breakthrough for Mideast peace (AFP), Jordan doesn’t want Palestinian influx (AP), and Jordan will reject ‘unjust’ Mideast settlement (AFP).

Read more…

News News: Israel – Treasury to meet Histadrut chair in effort to avert general strike

(28-11-06) Haim Bior, Haaretz. Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson will meet with Interior Minister Ronny Bar-On and chairman of the Histadrut labor federation, Ofer Eini, on Tuesday evening in a last-minute attempt to prevent the general strike threatened to take place on Wednesday. The Histadrut declared Monday that several government offices and local councils would strike Wednesday to protest debts owed by the government to council employees, religious councils, and firefighters. Many of the unpaid employees belong to local authorities of Arab towns. See Also: Academic faculty to declare labor dispute (Haaretz).

Read more…

News News: Israeli, Palestinian DJs plan joint performance in London

(28-11-06)Idit Avrahami, Haaretz. The connection between Einhorn and Khalil was forged by musician Roy Chiki Arad, who met Khalil during a tour of Ramallah. “We met a few times and played a few pieces for each other, and we felt that there was a connection between us,” said Einhorn. “I don’t think the cooperation between us will dramatically affect prospects for peace in the Middle East, but we really enjoy performing together, and this allows the crowd to see that cooperation and coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians is possible”.

Read more…

News News: 72-year-old left-wing Jewish activist decries repeated ‘harassment’ by airport security

(28-11-06)Rebecca Anna Stoil, Jerusalem Post. Ingrid Steinitz, a 72-year-old Danish Jew, has alleged she was strip-searched and harassed by Ben-Gurion Airport security for hours and on a second occasion told to spread her legs and place her hands against a wall. But Ben-Gurion security officials said Monday that everything was done according to procedures, and that the treatment the grandmother and left-wing activist had received was entirely justified. Steinitz travels annually to Israel, both to visit her daughter, Michal and her four grandchildren who live in the Sharon area, and also to participate in NGO projects, such as helping Palestinians during the olive harvest.

Read more…

News Report: Gaza’s teetering tower of debt

(28-11-06)Report, IRIN. After nine months of an international trade embargo on the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), which has seen international aid cut off to the Hamas-led government because it has not recognised Israel or renounced violence, the economy of the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) is verging on collapse. The 160,000 employees of the PNA have received hardly any pay since March, after Hamas won a democratic election in January. Their families have coped by buying fewer goods, cutting back on expensive food such as meat, and by borrowing.

Read more…

News Report: The invisible prisoners—Palestinians “prohibited” by the Shabak

(28-11-06)Report, Machsom Watch. Many residents of the Occupied Territories – 180,000 by some counts – are defined as “security prohibited” or “Shabak prohibited” [Shabak – General Security Service or GSS]. The restrictions imposed on these residents’ movement are greater than those imposed on any others. Thus, for example, GSS prohibited Palestinians are delayed longer at internal checkpoints on the West Bank. They are not entitled to a magnetic card (tantamount to a “certificate of good character”), and generally they cannot obtain entry permits for Israel or the settlements for work, commerce or personal needs, travel permits for vehicles within the Territories or cross the Jordan bridges to go abroad. We encounter GSS prohibited persons in all aspects of our observation: among detainees at checkpoints in the heart of the West Bank, in the villages, and of course in the Civil Administration’s offices.

Read more…

News Report: One Palestinian killed, one wounded, in misuse of weapons

(28-11-06)Report, PCHR. PCHR is gravely concerned over repeated casualties resulting from the misuse of weapons, which has become a prominent feature of the ongoing security chaos in the Occupied PalestinianTerritory. PCHR calls upon the Palestinian National Authority, represented by the Attorney-General, to investigate these incidents and bring those who are found responsible to justice.

Read more…

News Report: Iraq – Palestinians ‘die or flee’ from bullets

(28-11-06)Report, IRIN. Of the approximately 30,000 Palestinians who were registered in Iraq in 2003 by the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA), an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 are left in the country, according to UNHCR and other organisations. The rest have either been killed or have fled to neighbouring countries. With all borders now closed to them, Palestinians who are forced to stay in Iraq face an almost certain death as they are perceived by many Iraqis to have been favoured by the government of former president Saddam Hussein. See Also: Palestinian elderly refugee abducted, killed in Iraq (IMEMC).

Read more…

News Report: Nablus – Hamas and Fateh tie in An Najah University elections; a unified victory

(28-11-06)Amin Abu Wardeh, PNN. The results of Nablus’ An Najah University elections reflect the tone of the country. The split was even, with the Hamas and Fateh parties each winning 38 seats. The Muslim bloc of Hamas took 6,297 votes, with Fateh’s Martyr’s list gaining just two more at 6,229. Regardless, the seat allotment in the student council is identical. As for the others, Islamic Jihad won 331 votes, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine 389, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine 223. Smaller parties divided the remaining seats amongst themselves.

Read more…

Today’s Commentary, Op-Ed and miscellaneous itmes from Occupation Info. For today’s news headlines, please see this post

A lorry carries another slab for Israel's separation wall in Bethlehem. (Tom Spender/IRIN)

News Appeal: Norman Finkelstein to Alan Dershowitz: “Release the letters!”

(28-11-06)Norman G. Finkelstein, via JewsSansFrontiers. Levi9909 writes: I haven’t looked at Norman Finkelstein’s site for a while but a friend of mine told me that the Dershowitz letters saga has hotted up again. This is where Alan Dershowitz has denied that he tried to get Finkelstein’s book, Beyond Chutzpah, banned from publication… It is simple to resolve definitively whether Dershowitz attempted to suppress publication of my book. Dershowitz alleges that he has “released the letters” he wrote my publisher. Not quite. He has never released the letters his lawyers at Cravath, Swaine & Moore wrote my publisher. He has never released the letter he wrote Governor Schwarzenegger. Readers interested in learning the truth should request these letters from Dershowitz: dersh@law.harvard.edu. If what he’s saying is true, Dershowitz has nothing to hide. Please cc my [ie Finkelstein’s] web site a copy of your letter and his reply (if any).

Read more…

News Debate: One state or two? – Rashid Khalidi & Ali Abunimah on the Israel-Palestine conflict

(28-11-06)Debate, Democracy Now! “Today, we’ll spend the rest of the program with two leading Palestinian-American voices. Both have new books on the Israel Palestine conflict. Joining me here in our firehouse studio, is Rashid Khalidi, He is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies and director of Middle East Studies Institute at the Columbia University. His new book is called The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood. Also in the studio is Ali Abunimah, founder of The Electronic Intifada website and author of the new book One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse“.

Read more…

News Hate Mail: A letter by a “proud Israeli soldier”

(28-11-06)Sam Bahour, via Occupation Magazine. The Ed. of OM notes… The following is a translation of a piece of hate mail received by Yesh Gvul – an organization of Israeli men who refuse to serve in the Occupied Territories. I posted this letter after some debate with the OM Editors – since some of them argued – “why advertise hate mail?”` But in my view it is important to know what kind of beliefs have penetrated the Israeli mainstream, and to get a glimpse into the current spirit of corps within the `most moral army`. As for the adjectives used by the author for Yesh Gvul, an old wise Jewish saying comes into one`s mind: “The condemner condemns himself”.

Read more…

News Comment: Hamas sticking to tough line on Israel

(28-11-06)Nidal al-Mughrabi, Reuters. Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal’s latest remarks on conditions for peace in the Middle East did not signal any change in the Islamist group’s fundamental refusal to accept the existence of the state of Israel, analysts said. “Hamas believes the presence of Israel is something that is not permanent … and it is possible that in the end, it can be contained within a Palestinian state,” said Mustafa Assawaf, a Palestinian expert on Islamist groups.

Read more…

News Comment: Peace Now, with all respect

(28-11-06) Rashid A. Shahin, Ma’an. Following this settlement scandal, which was revealed by the Peace Now activists, whom I salute and thank for their efforts in this regard, what are the Palestinian owners supposed to do? What will all the Palestinian legislative bodies do? And finally, what will the Palestinian Authority (PA) do? Personally, I think there is a lot to do in this regard if the intention is there, especially by the PA. Instead of keeping the Palestinians busy by forming a new government – which seems to be faced by endless obstacles preventing its formation – somebody should take action, especially after the stagnant water was moved by the group, Peace Now.

Read more…

News Comment: Give peace a chance by providing it with momentum

(28-11-06) Editorial, Daily Star. It was not as detailed or as generous as most Palestinians would have preferred, but Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s rhetorical overture on Monday was certainly more than many observers had been expecting. Merely by ending his refusal to openly consider the massive prisoner swap that has been discussed behind closed doors for months, for instance, Olmert gave the impression of having adopted a more realistic view of his government’s relationship with the people on whose land his country was established. Although the real test of Israeli intentions will come when the two sides sit down to negotiate, every effort should be made to avoid and/or prevent actions that might delay that test.

Read more…

News Comment: Free Barghouti

(28-11-06)Yossi Sarid, Haaretz. Marwan Barghouti is not going anywhere. He is sitting in Hadarim Prison and serving five life sentences, to which he was sentenced by a civil court. “Informed sources” made sure to publicize the fact that there is no chance of releasing him in the context of the deal for exchanging prisoners and kidnapped soldiers – the deal that will free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The Israeli government does not agree to release Barghouti, and that’s final. And that is another of its mistakes.

Read more…

News Comment: Gaza: Shock and Awe 2006

(28-11-06)Liam Bailey, Palestine Chronicle. The biggest shock in operation “Autumn Rains” is the strength of the Gaza Palestinians resolve. Operation Autumn Clouds has so far been very similar to all Israeli operations against its Palestinian occupants in recent times, openly disproportionate, extremely indiscriminate against civilians, disregarding of International Law in the hope of breaking their enemies resolve and unsuccessful in their aims. Do Israel’s leaders still think that if they kill enough civilians, especially children, eventually the Palestinian majority, those not active in the resistance will say enough is enough and pressure the terrorists to stop attacking Israel… a strategy that’s past causes its future failure?

Read more…

News Comment: Refugees are the key

(28-11-06)Sam Bahour, Baltimore Chronicle. The Palestinian refugees symbolize the long-standing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The refugee problem has its roots in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, which ended in the mass displacement of over 750,000 Palestinian Arabs (approximately half of the Arab population). According to historical accounts of the War, including from recent Israeli historians, Jewish Zionist forces precipitated the flight of the Palestinian Arabs as part of a campaign of population transfer. The nascent State of Israel subsequently enacted laws to expropriate the refugees’ property and bar their return. The refugees were left homeless and destitute, mostly dependent on foreign aid for survival. The subsequent Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip resulted in the further displacement of around 200,000 Palestinians.

Read more…

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Nov 29th


Here are some events taking place in Ireland and the UK on Wednesday November 29th (International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People).

Dublin

What: Screening of ‘Welcome to Inspection Point‘, a documentary about Palestinian life. Followed by Q&A session with Irish people who have recently travelled to Palestine.
Where: The Teachers’ Club, Parnell Square, Dublin
When: 7.00 PM
More Info: Click Here

Belfast

What: Ramadan in Palestine – open meeting. Alana and John, two vistors to Palestine during the Ramadan holiday will talk about their experiences and impressions of the Israeli Occupation.
Where: PFC room 203, Queen’s University, Belfast
When: 7.30 PM
More Info: None available

Ballyshannon

What: Screening of ‘The Iron Wall‘, a documentary about the effects of the Israeli occupation on Palestinians. Followed by Q&A with Marie Crowley, recently returned from a trip to Palestine during Ramadan.
Where: Tir Hugh Resource Centre, The Mall, Ballyshannon
When: 8.00 PM
More Info: Click Here

London

What: Remembering Palestine, a talk with Ramzy Baroud (author of The Second Palestinian Intifada) and Dr. Ismail Patel (chairman of Friends of Al-Aqsa).
Where: Huxley Building Lecture Theatre 308, Imperial College London
When: 2.00 PM
More Info: Click Here