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economy, where honest enterprise is encouraged by honest government. The United States, the international donor community and the World Bank stand ready to work with Palestinians on a major project of economic reform and development. The United States, the EU, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund are willing to oversee reforms in Palestinian finances, encouraging transparency and independent auditing. And the United States, along with our partners in the developed world, will increase our humanitarian assistance to relieve Palestinian suffering. Today, the Palestinian people lack effective courts of law and have no means to defend and vindicate their rights. A Palestinian state will require a system of reliable justice to punish those who prey on the innocent. The United States and members of the international community stand ready to work with Palestinian leaders to establish finance - establish finance and monitor a truly independent judiciary. Today, Palestinian authorities are encouraging, not opposing, terrorism. This is unacceptable. And the United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure. This will require an externally supervised effort to rebuild and reform the Palestinian security services. The security system must have clear lines of authority and accountability and a unified chain of command. America is pursuing this reform along with key regional states. The world is prepared to help, yet ultimately these steps toward statehood depend on the Palestinian people and their leaders. If they energetically take the path of reform, the rewards can come quickly. If Palestinians embrace democracy, confront corruption and firmly reject terror, they can count on American support for the creation of a provisional state of Palestine. With a dedicated effort, this state could rise rapidly, as it comes to terms with Israel, Egypt and Jordan on practical issues, such as security. The final borders, the capital and other aspects of this state’s sovereignty will be negotiated between the parties, as part of a final settlement. Arab states have offered their help in this process, and their help is needed. I’ve said in the past that nations are either with us or against us in the war on terror. To be counted on the side of peace, nations must act. Every leader actually committed to peace will end incitement to violence in official media, and publicly denounce homicide bombings. Every nation actually committed to peace will stop the flow of money, equipment and recruits to terrorist groups seeking the destruction of Israel - including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizbullah. Every nation actually committed to peace must block the shipment of Iranian supplies to these groups, and oppose regimes that promote terror, like Iraq. And Syria must choose the right side in the war on terror by closing terrorist camps and expelling terrorist organisations. Leaders who want to be included in the peace process must show by their deeds an undivided support for peace. And as we move toward a peaceful solution, Arab states will be expected to build closer ties of diplomacy and commerce with Israel, leading to full normalisation of relations between Israel and the entire Arab world. Israel also has a large stake in the success of a democratic Palestine. Permanent occupation threatens Israel’s identity and democracy. A stable, peaceful Palestinian state is necessary to achieve the security that Israel longs for. So I challenge Israel to take concrete steps to support the emergence of a viable, credible Palestinian state. As we make progress towards security, Israel forces need to withdraw fully to positions they held prior to September 28, 2000. And consistent with the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee, Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories must stop. The Palestinian economy must be allowed to develop. As violence subsides, freedom of movement should be restored, permitting innocent PalIsrael rights group condemns army Israel rights group condemns army An Israeli human rights group has issued a report attacking the army’s policy of demolishing the homes of suspected Palestinian militants. B’Tselem estimates that, on average, twelve innocent Palestinians are made homeless every time a suspected militant’s home is destroyed. The report said 47% of the demolished houses had never been home to militants involved in attacks on Israelis. B’Tselem described Israel’s policy as a “war crime”. Israel maintains that the demolitions act as a deterrent to further attacks by Palestinian militants. Flattened The rights group said that 628 buildings were demolished as a punitive measure by the Israeli military, leaving almost 4,000 Palestinians homeless. These homes were destroyed because of the actions of 333 Palestinians, the report said. A further 3,400 homes were flattened after Israel said they had been built without permission or as part of “”clearing operations”. Clearing operations often entail the demolition of buildings Israel says are used by Palestinian militants to launch or plan attacks. In total, Israeli soldiers have demolished 4,100 Palestinian homes since September 2000, leaving 28,000 homeless, B’Tselem said. Palestinians were given prior warning of the demolitions in fewer than 3% of cases, according to the report. Compensation B’Tselem said that the deterrent effect of home demolitions had never been proven. The group went on to describe Israel’s policy as “a grave breach of international humanitarian law”. It concluded the report by demanding the government “cease the policy of demolishing houses as a means of punishment, and compensate Palestinians whose homes have been demolished as a result of this policy”. The Israeli military replied by saying: “House demolition is based on clear military considerations and is done in full accordance with the law.” The statement said that the Israel Supreme Court had upheld the practice on several occasions. Story from BBC NEWS: | Source... Jew Watch Keeping a Close Watch on Jewish Communities & Organizations Worldwide Jew Watch is a Not-For-Profit Library for private study, scholarship, or research. | Source... - BBC NEWS | Middle East | Aid agencies slam roadblocks Aid agencies slam roadblocks By Jannat Jalil BBC correspondent in Jerusalem On the third anniversary of the Palestinian intifada, international aid agencies have called on Israel to end the restrictions it imposes on Palestinians. The group of more than 20 aid agencies has issued a statement urging Israel to allow Palestinians to move freely in the West Bank and Gaza. The agencies say Israeli roadblocks and checkpoints are severely limiting Palestinians’ access to basic services like medicine and schooling. The agencies say Israel is obstructing and humiliating Palestinians as they go about their day-to-day business. This according to the agencies, is increasing the frustration of Palestinians and destroying hopes of peace. Israel though, says it has to impose the restrictions to prevent attacks by Palestinian militants. It is estimated that there are more than 450 barriers like checkpoints and roadblocks in the West Bank alone. The agencies say they are more than just an inconvenience for the Palestinians. Birth emergency They give the example of a pregnant Palestinian woman who tried to get to a hospital in the West Bank city of Nablus after she went into labour. Her husband said Israeli soldiers refused to let them through a checkpoint and so his wife was forced to give birth behind a nearby rock. INTIFADA TOLL 2000-2003 Israeli deaths: 794 total (99 minors) (246 security forces) Palestinian deaths: 2,201 total (398 minors) (207 “targeted killings”) Suicide attackers: 129 Palestinians Israel’s prisoners: 5,278 Palestinians (528 “administrative detainees”) Source: Israeli human rights group B’Tselem The agencies say the baby died just minutes afterwards. But the Israeli army says it carried out a thorough investigation after that incident which found that Israeli soldiers had not stopped the couple going through the checkpoint, but in fact had called for an ambulance for the couple and that the woman gave birth after she passed the checkpoint. The aid agencies say humanitarian workers are also forced to wait hours at checkpoints, despite Israel having said it would allow them more freedom of movement in the occupied territories. The West Bank and Gaza have been completely sealed off by Israel over the past couple of days, because of reports that Palestinian militants might be planning attacks during the Jewish New Year holiday. | Source... BBC NEWS | Middle East | Aid agencies slam roadblocks INTIFADA TOLL 2000-2003 Israeli deaths: 794 total (99 minors) (246 security forces) Palestinian deaths: 2,201 total (398 minors) (207 “targeted killings”) Suicide attackers: 129 Palestinians Israel’s prisoners: 5,278 Palestinians (528 “administrative detainees”) Source: Israeli human rights group B’Tselem | Source... Yahoo! News - Palestinians Mark Anniversary with Vow to Fight On Spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (news - web sites), Raanan Gissin, said the victory Palestinians sought would result in the “ultimate destruction or annihilation of the Jewish state as it exists today.” | Source... Yahoo! News - Six Palestinians, one Israeli soldier killed as Mideast violence flares Most of the deaths came when a column of about 35 Israeli armoured vehicles, including tanks, backed up by a helicopter gunship, pushed into central Gaza’s al-Bureij refugee camp in a pre-dawn raid, Palestinian security sources said. The incursion sparked a fierce gunbattle that left the Israeli soldier and two Palestinian militants from the armed wings of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad dead. Another six soldiers and at least one other Palestinian were wounded in the operation aimed at dismantling the groups fighting Israeli occupation. The Israeli army said it found homemade Qassam rockets and mortars which have been used to launch attacks across the border and on Jewish settlements. A three-year-old Palestinian girl also died of “fright” during the large-scale operation, family and hospital sources said. Israeli troops staged another early morning raid into the southern West Bank city of Hebron and killed two Islamic Jihad members, security sources on both sides said. The two militants were shot dead during an exchange of fire in the house where they were holed up, they said. A third Palestinian was seriously wounded in the gunbattle in the town, where eight senior members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been killed over the past two months, Israeli military sources said. In another incident, a suspected Palestinian militant was shot dead by Israeli troops near the Jewish settlement of Morag in the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian security sources said. | Source... Yahoo! News - Six Palestinians, one Israeli soldier killed as Mideast violence flares Six Palestinians, one Israeli soldier killed as Mideast violence flares 2 hours, 37 minutes ago GAZA CITY (AFP) - Six Palestinians, including five militants and a todddler, and one Israeli soldier were killed as fresh violence flared in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (news - web sites), security sources on both sides said. | Source... Yahoo! News - Israelis Refuse to Carry Out Airstrikes A watershed, for some pilots, apparently was last year’s attack on Salah Shehadeh, leader of the Hamas military wing. A one-ton bomb killed Shehadeh, an assistant and also 14 civilians, nine of them children. Halutz said at the time that he felt the bombing was morally correct. | Source... Yahoo! News - Israelis Refuse to Carry Out Airstrikes The group of 27 is informally led by Brig. Gen. Yiftah Spector, a highly decorated retired pilot who, according to Israeli media reports, participated in the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. Nine of the pilots are still on active duty. In their petition, the pilots said airstrikes on crowded Palestinian areas are “illegal and immoral.” They also condemn Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, saying it corrupts Israeli society. | Source... Yahoo! News - Israelis Refuse to Carry Out Airstrikes JERUSALEM - A group of reserve air force pilots drew condemnation Thursday for refusing to carry out airstrikes in Palestinian areas, but their unprecedented protest set off an emotional debate on the ethics of the targeted killings of militants. | Source... Aljazeera.Net - Article Home demolitions are considered a war crime under international law and the fourth Geneva Convention. However, since 1967, Israel has consistently ignored all legal, ethical and human norms. To the Palestinians who attach a great social and psychological value to their homes, only death is a greater calamity. Indeed, if a Palestinian wants to express extreme condemnation to someone in Arabic, he says “Yikhrib Beitak,” meaning “May your home be destroyed”. | Source... Aljazeera.Net - Article There is a calculated cruelty to the Israeli policy of home demolitions. Normally, Israeli troops storm the doomed house or apartment building shortly before dawn, terrorising the still-sleeping occupants with gunfire and stun grenades before herding them out at gunpoint. Then in a matter of minutes, the premise is dynamited or bulldozed, while shocked women and children are made to look on. Before the Palestinian Intifada, the Israeli army used to give occupants a 20-minute grace period to remove some of their belongings from the doomed building. Pain Now, demolitions take place without warning and occupants are not allowed to save anything. The aim is to torment, inflict pain, and wreak as much havoc as possible. | Source... Aljazeera.Net - Article Since the outbreak of the Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, against Israel’s occupation three years ago, the Israeli army has destroyed as many as 3000 Palestinian homes. Not a day passes without the Israeli army demolishing another home and dooming another family to homelessness, misery and poverty. From the very beginning of the Intifada, the wanton destruction of Palestinians’ homes and possessions became one of Israel’s chief means of tormenting the civilian population. In the last few months, the Israeli army has stepped up the practice, resorting to dynamiting multi-storey apartment blocks. On 10 September, an eight-storey building in downtown Hebron in which more than 30 families were living was dynamited and then levelled after two resistance fighters barricaded themselves on the rooftops. No excuse The two fighters were killed by Israeli occupation troops, a fact that should have left no excuse for demolishing the building and destroying the lives of so many innocent men, women and children who had committed no wrong. Jawad al-Kawasmi, a Hebron citizen in his mid 40s, spent all his and his wife’s savings to purchase an apartment in that building. They have now lost everything: their home, their possessions, their dreams and their peace of mind. “My family and I had just moved in, having succeeded after many years of hard work in owning a place I could call home. We thought we were the happiest family on earth. Now, we have lost everything, everything” he says. Al-Kawasmi’s next-door neighbor, Hasan Ajlouni, who also lost his apartment, lashes out at the international community for allowing Israel to “gang up like this on a defenceless people”. | Source... Aljazeera.Net - Article Demolition job In occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli bulldozers destroyed five apartments owned by Palestinian families. “Tens of Israeli police vehicles surrounded the neighbourhood of al-Shayyah, in Jerusalem, and demolished a three-story building hosting five apartments,” said one International Press Centre correspondent. The building was apparently destroyed because it was owned by Palestinian citizen Muhammad Al-Sayyad, who is wanted by the Israeli authorities. Destroying homes According to Aljazeera’s correspondent, 104 houses owned by Palestinians have been destroyed in occupied Jerusalem. At least 4046 houses have been completely destroyed while 50,709 were partially damaged by Israeli Occupation Forces during the three years of second Intifada. The Intifada, or uprising, erupted on the 28th September 2000 after 36 years of Israeli military occupation. | Source... Israelis to Go to U.S. to Discuss Barrier Rift Israelis to Go to U.S. to Discuss Barrier Rift By ALAN COWELL BU DIS, West Bank, Sept. 19 - Israeli leaders resolved today to send envoys to Washington to test how strongly the Bush administration will resist construction of contentious stretches of the West Bank barrier they call a security fence, which President Bush has called “a problem.” The aim of sending a high-ranking delegation to Washington, a senior official said, is to establish “what options we can live with and what would the United States accept” concerning the segment of the barrier near Ariel, a large West Bank settlement. Israel says the barrier is intended to shield its citizens from terrorists. It is not difficult to divine how Palestinians respond to the idea. Here, farther south from Ariel, in a Palestinian town on the fringes of Arab East Jerusalem, a stretch of the barrier is scheduled to slice through the hardscrabble sports facilities of the Palestinian Al Quds University. The structure, said Sari Nusseibeh, the president of Al Quds and a moderate Palestinian voice, is a “concrete wall of rejection.” Along its length of high walls, fences, guard towers and barbed wire, he said, it will create pockets of Palestinians isolated from one another, “putting us in cages all along the way so that movement will only be allowed from one cage to another, exactly like a zoo.” So today, as Israeli officials led by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon were meeting to assemble a negotiating position with Washington, hundreds of people gathered here on the university’s basketball court to join in Friday Prayers and to protest the construction of the barrier. While the two gatherings concerned different sections of the divide, the disparate encounters underscored the conflicting perceptions of its purpose: Israel says it is a security measure intended to prevent suicide bombers from entering its towns and cities; many Palestinians call it a land grab that by snaking a contorted route well inside the Green Line boundary established between Israel and the West Bank after the 1967 war, will rob Palestinians of much of their historical land. ”We believe this land is a holy gift,” said Abdullah Yusef Halabieh, 72, who reckons he will lose a chunk of his family’s centuries-old holdings when the barrier is completed here, severing Abu Dis from Jerusalem. “And we want to die on our own land. But this wall will separate family from family, brother from brother.” The preparations for the barrier here are evident enough. Backhoes and bulldozers have carved dusty access roads on either side of town. They will meet, Palestinian protesters said, on the university’s rock-hard ocher soccer field, with its netless goals and gravelly playing field. In the process, a local official said, the barrier will separate people from schools, cemeteries and one another. So far Israel has completed 80 miles of the barrier. Abu Dis is only one of hundreds of Palestinian places contemplating such disruption after three years of the latest Palestinian uprising, in which thousands of people have died, hundreds of them Israelis killed in suicide bombings. As they continued to retaliate for the bombings, Israeli forces entered the West Bank town of Jenin on Thursday and demolished the former home of Sahdi al-Tubasi, who killed 15 Israelis when he blew himself up in Haifa last year. The incursion sparked gun battles in which two Israeli soldiers were wounded today. Israel is also pressing for the removal of Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader. Israel declared him “irrelevant” two years ago, and the United States has tried to sideline him, but he has secured a remarkable political comeback as a result of Israel’s most recent threats to take him out of the political equation by means it has not specified. In Ramallah, where he is confined to a compound with his supporters, Mr. Arafat and other officials pondered the composition of a new Palestinian cabinet today. Washington has strongly protested against an Israeli proposal to create a corridor leading to Ariel and has suggested that $9 billion in loan guarantees to Israel could be reduced to press for changes in its path. Israel responded to the pressure by agreeing not to construct the disputed segments until a compromise was reached with the White House. In Jerusalem, Mr. Sharon met with other ministers from his Likud Party and agreed on options to offer Washington. One was to construct the West Bank barrier as planned so that it reached eastward into the West Bank, an Israeli official said. The second - which ministers generally disapproved of - was to surround Ariel, making it a kind of walled enclave. The third, the official said, would entail building the fence farther west but deploying extra forces and other security arrangements at Ariel. On its Web site, the newspaper Haaretz said Mr. Sharon favored a proposal by Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to reinforce Ariel with Israeli forces and other barriers without extending the main north-south barrier to encompass it. Israel also moved today against suspected extremists among Jewish settlers in the West Bank, charging Shahar Dvir-Zeliger with stealing weapons from the Israeli Army. His lawyer denied the charge. The police said they had found weapons, including assault rifles, machine guns, antitank rockets, ammunition and grenades cached in a West Bank cave. | Source... Independent Argument Israel - Palestine: Facts Worth Noting United Nations “Partition Plan” to the Palestinians: You are going to have 47% of the 100% which was originally yours. ”Oslo Agreement” to the Palestinians: You are going to have 22% of the 100% which was originally yours. Barak’s “Generous Offer” to the Palestinians: We are going to give you 80% of 22% of 100% of the land, which was originally yours. Sharon’s “Peace Plan” to the Palestinians in 2,000: We are going to give you 42% of 80% of 22% of 100% of the land, which was originally yours, and this 42% will remain under continuous curfew. ”American Zionists” to the Palestinians: According to our version of the Bible you are entitled to 0% of 42% of 80% of 22% of 100% of the land, which was originally yours. The “Road Map” to the Palestinians that Bush envisions: - If you stop your resistance to the occupation (which we call terrorism), and if your refugees give up their right of return to their ancestral homes, and you agree to only elect officials acceptable to US and Israeli administrations, you agree to lock up all your resistance fighters, and you agree to outlaw all Palestinian movements and organizations that appose US/Israeli policies, and you agree to drive your cars only on roads that Sharon assigns for your use, and you do not object to the ‘wall’ that Sharon is building, and you agree not to claim Jerusalem as your capital, and you agree that your children’s school curriculum only includes courses and books approved by the Israeli government, and you agree not to give birth to more than three children per family, and you become more tolerant to Israeli settlers who are confiscating your homes and lands because they are doing it out of religious believe that they are fulfilling God’s promise, and you accept Israeli policy of punishing the families of those who resist the occupation which include demolishing their parents homes then Sharon will remove the sanctions on your territory, improve your live conditions under Israeli occupation and if he might in the far future consider negotiating with you on the 42% of 80% of 22% of 100% of the land which was originally yours. | Source... Yahoo! News - Explosion in Central Israel Kills 7 Earlier Tuesday, Israeli troops killed two Hamas militants and a 12-year-old boy in a raid in the West Bank city of Hebron, witnesses and Israeli security officials said. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said one of the men was the head of Hamas in Hebron, Ahmed Bader, and the other was Izzedine Mesk, who they believed was related to a suicide bomber who killed 22 people on a Jerusalem bus last month. The troops also blew up a seven-story apartment building where the militants had been hiding out. | Source... Yahoo! News - Hamas Leader Killed; Israel Accepts PM In the West Bank city of Hebron, Israeli troops surrounded a seven-story apartment building before dawn in search of wanted Hamas militants. Gunmen fired on soldiers, triggering a gun battle, the army said. During the standoff, troops fired several tank shells, and shrapnel from one of the shells killed a 12-year-old boy who was watching the fighting from a nearby balcony, witnesses said. After searching the building, troops found the bodies of two men, who were not immediately identified. Witnesses said troops repeatedly used Palestinian civilians in Tuesday’s raid to enter the building and asked them to retrieve the bodies. Israel’s Supreme Court has banned the use of so-called “human shields” in military operations, and the military declined comment. In other developments Tuesday, Israel’s army chief, Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, hinted that leaders of militant groups abroad could also be targeted in Israel’s all-out war on terror suspects. ”Leadership, whether it’s in Damascus or Hezbollah (in Lebanon) and (Iranian) Revolutionary Guard garrisons in Lebanon who support Palestinian terror cells here ... all leaderships should be held accountable,” Yaalon told a counter-terrorism conference. | Source... More Mideast violence but talks progress Israeli troops swept into the village of Mughraqa in central Gaza and surrounded the home of Adnan al-Ghoul, a reputed master Hamas bombmaker, precipitating a clash in which helicopter gunships and tanks fired into the area, witnesses said. Al-Ghoul’s 15-year-old son Mohammed and 21-year-old nephew Emran, both Hamas militants, were killed as well as an operative of the allied Islamic Jihad faction and a civilian in an adjacent house, relatives and neighbours said. Relatives said Adnan al-Ghoul was not there at the time and remained “alive and free”. Israeli forces demolished the house and blood smeared olive trees nearby in the aftermath. | Source... Israel kills 4 in Gaza missile strike Missiles crashed into two cars near Khan Younis in southern Gaza on Wednesday, killing two Palestinians including a woman and wounding their apparent target, an operative of Islamic militant group Hamas which has led 33 months of conflict with Israel. Hospital sources said the injured militant, Mohammed Sayem, had had his leg amputated. Palestinian security sources said Sayem was on Israel’s wanted list and that he was in one car while the two people killed were in the other, a taxi. An Israeli army spokesman said a helicopter fired two missiles to take out a “Hamas terrorist cell on its way to firing mortar shells into Israeli communities”, most likely settlements in the desert strip. | Source... Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Israel accused of undermining ceasefire talks with arrest of 160 Palestinians Israeli army arrests 160 Palestinians Agencies Tuesday June 24, 2003 Israeli forces swept through the West Bank city of Hebron today and arrested more than 130 Palestinians, just as Palestinian officials claimed militant groups were on the verge of agreeing to halt attacks on Israelis. The roundup focused on the Hamas network, the Israeli army said. The arrests came just days after Israeli troops shot and killed Abdullah Kawasme, the militant group’s leader in Hebron. Palestinian residents said troops rounded up people with any Hamas connections, however remote, including relatives of Hamas members. | Source... BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israeli press says Hamas killing justified “The Americans made clear that in the case of ‘ticking bombs’, they have to be liquidated quickly. ”Powell reiterated this publicly in Jerusalem. In Israel they understood the ‘green light’ and yesterday the IDF killed Abdullah Qawasmeh, head of the Hamas wanted list in Hebron.” | Source... Buoyed by US support, Israel presses drive against militants Emboldened by strong US support, Israel appeared set to step up its drive to crush the radical Palestinian group Hamas after a week of bloodshed that has scrubbed chances for an early ceasefire. With a US peace envoy expected in the region this weekend, diplomatic efforts quickened to rescue the international peace roadmap, whose authors planned to meet later this month in Jordan to discuss the spiralling violence. Click to enlarge photo UN General Secretary Kofi Annan proposed sending an international peacekeeping force to act as a buffer between the Israelis and Palestinians in their 32-month-old conflict, which has cost more than 3,300 lives. | Source... | West Bank settlements Take Itamar, a settlement near Nablus. Home to fewer than 500 settlers, it has established seven outposts, some ten kilometres (six miles) beyond its built-up area. Earlier this month, the last families from the neighbouring Palestinian village of Yanun were forced to leave their homes after years of armed harassment from Itamar’s settlers. It was the first full evacuation of a Palestinian village since the 1967 war. The Palestinians ask for a full freeze on settlement construction as a first step to their evacuation or dismantlement. They presented this demand to William Burns, the State Department’s special envoy, when he was in Jericho last week. Mr Burns is touring the region with the draft of a “roadmap” to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict within three years. Among a slew of other demands, the roadmap calls for dismantling the outposts by December, and a freeze “on all settlement activity” by next May. But Palestinians believe that only a handful of the outposts will be removed, and Mr Sharon has consistently ruled out a freeze. | Source... | West Bank settlements According to a recent study by B’Tselem, an Israeli human-rights group, the West Bank settler population doubled in size during the seven-year Oslo peace process, and the settlements’ territorial reach has now been extended to cover nearly 42% of the West Bank. This huge expansion has been achieved largely through the construction of settler-only bypass roads and military zones which serve to integrate the settlements with Israel proper. What was interim during Oslo has become formalised during the intifada, says Yehezkel Lein, a B’Tselem researcher. Under the fire of conflict, settlements, roads and zones have in effect become Israel’s new military borders in the West Bank, enabling the army to isolate Palestinian villages one from the other, and to reoccupy six of the eight main Palestinian towns. | Source... Wheelchair-bound Hamas spiritual guide in Israeli army sights: radio Meanwhile, in the West Bank, the Israeli army continued its controversial policy of destroying the family homes of militants, blowing up that of Abdul Mohti Shebana, who carried out the Jerusalem suicide bombing, Palestinian security sources said. Troops also demolished the house of Abbas Abu Halial in the nearby village of Dura. The sources said he was a member of a group linked to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement. Since January 2002 the army has destroyed more than 180 houses under a policy it says is aimed at deterring militants, but which rights groups say constitutes collective punishment and is of doubtful effectiveness. | Source... Yahoo! News - Powell: Israel Setting Back Peace Process Bush did not make calls himself, Fleischer said. ”There’s a moment when the president will decide when it’s appropriate for this to be a presidential contact,” Fleischer said. “You want the parties to be able to work together to solve these problems with the help of the president of the United States, without the president of the United States being the only crutch that they have to get anything done.” | Source... Yahoo! News - Powell: Israel Setting Back Peace Process At the White House, spokesman Ari Fleischer (news - web sites) said, “The president is concerned that the strike will undermine efforts by Palestinian authorities and others to bring an end to terrorist attacks, and does not contribute to the security of Israel.” Shortly after Fleischer spoke, Israeli tanks and helicopters fired toward a Palestinian residential area in the northern Gaza Strip (news - web sites), killing three Palestinians and wounding 30, doctors said. At about the same time, Palestinians fired six homemade rockets from northern Gaza, four of which landed in Israel. Meantime, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Daniel Ayalon, defended the assassination attempt. He called the Hamas leader a “master terrorist” and said that Israel would present the administration with detailed information about his planned activities. | Source... Yahoo! News - Israel Tries to Kill Hamas Militant Leader GAZA (Reuters) - Israel tried to kill the public face of Hamas Tuesday, wounding Palestinian militant leader Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi in a helicopter strike that drew vows of revenge from Hamas and fears for the U.S.-backed peace plan. | Source... News The story of Hiba, 19, a suicide bomber. Can the road-map put an end to all this? By Sa’id Ghazali in Tubas, West Bank 27 May 2003 Even her family is baffled that Hiba Daraghmeh insisted on covering herself from head to toe in a dark brown, all-enveloping robe at all times. The white veil she also wore - a badge of Islamic fundamentalism - concealed her head, mouth and nose. Only her almond-coloured eyes were visible to the outside world. The shy 19-year-old student of English literature never spoke to men, and so avoided drinking coffee or tea at the cafeteria of Al Quds Open University in her home town, Tubas in the West Bank. All of her friends were women. Even her cousin, Murad Daraghmeh, 20, also a student at Al Quds, says: “I never saw her face. I never talked to her. I never shook hands with her.” The first time the world saw her young face unveiled was in a poster. Islamic Jihad released it, after her death eight days ago. Hiba was a suicide bomber. She detonated the explosives around her waist outside the Amakim Shopping Mall in the northern Israeli town of Afula, killing three Israelis and wounding 48. Eyewitnesses described a horrifying scene of rubble, shattered glass and great pools of blood. As casualties lay on the pavement, emergency workers hunted in the ceiling to recover body parts. One of the dead was a female security guard who had tried to bar the student from entering the building. With the others, she brought to 360 the victims killed by suicide bombers in 32 months of the intifada. Monday last week had dawned like any other in Hiba’s household. As usual, she said her prayers at dawn. She insisted on preparing the family breakfast of cucumber salad, bread, olive oil and thyme, and tea. Her mother, Fatima, 45, recalls: “We ate. She washed the dishes.” Then Hiba went outside to the garden where the family had almond and olive trees, pomegranites and roses. Her mother says: “She watered the plants and I noticed she was smelling the roses. She was laughing, and I asked her why. She told me, ‘I feel that I am a new person. You will be very proud of me.’ Then she left and never returned.” Before leaving town, Hiba visited her sisters, Jihan and Mariam. She returned a notebook to a classmate. She went to say goodbye to her grandfather. The last time anyone in Tubas saw her, she was - as always - wearing her Islamic clothes. Four hours later when she got to Afula, she was dressed in jeans. She was also wearing a belt of explosives. To the followers of Islamic Jihad, which recruited her, to many Palestinians and millions of Arabs and Muslims, Hiba Daraghmeh is the fifth heroine of the intifada. To Israelis and the international community she is a terrorist, a callous killer. Told of the atrocity, President George Bush vowed that it would never deflect Washington from the road-map to peace. He dismissed suicide bombers as “sad and pathetic”. Interviewed as the Israeli Cabinet was voting narrowly in favour of the Middle East road-map, Hiba’s family say they are proud of her. They insist they knew nothing of her plans. Only her grandmother Fozeh, breaks ranks and says she regrets her action and blames those who recruited her. She says: “She was too young.” They are staying with relatives now, for the family’s house, large and comfortable, was dynamited by the Israelis the day after the bombing. Only the garden, where Hiba smelt the roses on the morning of her mission, remains. On the rubble of their home, the family has plastered one of the Islamic Jihad’s posters of her. There are two more on a wall in Tubas. Hiba Daraghmeh was much more devout than her family. Obsessed by religious ideals, she was a fundamentalist Muslim. Her mother says: “At 15, she wore the Jelbab. At 16, she wore the veil.” The Jelbab is the flowing costume that envelopes the entire body. The white veil covering all but the eyes is a badge of fanatical Islam shunned by most Palestinian women including Hiba’s mother, sisters and female relatives. “Throw it away, this veil,” her grandmother remembers telling her. “You are too young and it is too hot.” Her oldest sister, Jihan, 26, recalls: “Any time the radio or TV played a love song, she turned it off.” She was a model student, gaining 100 per cent in her most recent exams in Palestinian studies. In English literature she scored 89 per cent. ”She saw herself as a special person,” Jihan said. She demonstrated that in her religious obsession. “She used to pray for two hours, standing, stooping and kneeling in devotion,” Jihan added. “She spent most of her free time reading the Koran. ”When she was repeating its verses she said she felt unique. I thought she meant unique in her studies and religious feelings. I did not realise she meant she wanted to be unique in her death.” Aside from Hiba’s religious zeal, the political environment she grew up in radicalises many Palestinians to the point where they make no distinction between soldiers and shoppers in a mall. A psychiatrist, Ahmed Abu Tawahina, explains: “The closures and daily incursions by the Israeli army, the martyrs’ funeral, the eulogies recited by militants, the graffiti, revering suicide bombers as Istishadyeen - the martyr- attackers - are part of the political environment which nourishes suicide bombings.” The involvement of women in suicide bombings is a new and unsettling phenomenon for many Palestinians. Hamas, responsible for most suicide bombings, and for the four previous suicide bombings by women, opposes it because the organisation has enough male volunteers. Islam does not prohibit the participation of women in the jihad. But Islamic Jihad would not encourage it, say members, unless the female suicide bomber insisted on doing it. Hiba Daraghmeh might have insisted because of her own personal brush with the Israeli military authorities. She was visibly affected by the trial of her 23-year-old brother, Bakr. Bakr had been shot in Nablus in a demonstration to commemorate the 1948 Palestinian Nakba, or disaster anniversary, when Israel was established. He was arrested on charges of weapons possessions and carrying out attacks for Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. The charge sheet includes the possession of an explosive belt. The Israeli prosecutor requested a 99-year prison term for him. On the day her brother was arrested in June 2002, the army stormed the family house. One of the soldiers tore up Hiba’s text books and a copy of the Koran, her mother says. A week later, there was a curfew on Tubas. As she was walking to school, an army jeep stopped her and soldiers forced her to take the veil off. Her grandmother explains: “She was very angry. She was full of hatred against Jews. I believe this is the motivation for what she has done.” Immediately after a suicide bomber is named, the Israeli army demolishes the bomber’s family house and arrests members of his or her family. The army prevents them from rebuilding on the same spot. Murad Daraghmeh calls her a heroine. As he surveys the ruins of the family home, he says: “I am a coward. She is courageous. I will never be an Istishahdi. I have brothers and sisters. The army would arrest them. And the army would destroy my family house.” | Source... Yahoo! News - Divided Israel Cabinet Accepts Peace Plan Sharon has said he envisions a Palestinian state in about half the West Bank without a Palestinian foothold in Jerusalem. | Source... Yahoo! News - Divided Israel Cabinet Accepts Peace Plan Israeli news media quoted Sharon’s advisers as saying the prime minister did not want to be seen as turning down U.S. requests, but felt Israel was not likely to have to make painful concessions because he expected the Palestinians would fail to carry out their obligations under the plan. | Source... BBC NEWS | Middle East | The ‘roadmap’: Full text The settlement will resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and end the occupation that began in 1967, based on the foundations of the Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace, UNSCRs 242, 338 and 1397, agreements previously reached by the parties, and the initiative of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah - endorsed by the Beirut Arab League Summit - calling for acceptance of Israel as a neighbour living in peace and security, in the context of a comprehensive settlement. | Source... BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israel ‘ready’ to adopt peace plan ROADMAP MAIN POINTS Phase 1 (to May 2003): End of terrorism, normalisation of Palestinian life and Palestinian political reform; Israeli withdrawal and end of settlement activity; Palestinian elections Phase 2: (June-Dec 2003) Creation of an independent Palestinian state; international conference and international monitoring of compliance with roadmap Phase 3 (2004-2005): Second international conference; permanent status agreement and end of conflict; agreement on final borders, Jerusalem, refugees and settlements; Arab states to agree to peace deals with Israel | Source... BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israel ‘ready’ to adopt peace plan But in a separate development on Friday, the Israeli Housing Ministry said it was going ahead with plans to expand the largest Jewish settlement in the West Bank and had already invited bidders to build over 500 more homes. | Source... Yahoo! News - Abbas Cancels Gaza Trip Due to Incursion The troops demolished 15 houses, uprooted thousands of trees and damaged the water and sewage systems during the operation, witnesses said. Soldiers pulled back to the town’s outskirts Tuesday but continued to hold territory inside the Gaza fence where militants often set up and fire the rockets. On Wednesday, 15 bulldozers rumbled back into the industrial area of Beit Hanoun “and started a new wave of destruction,” said Sofian Abu Zaida, chairman of the Palestinian liaison committee with Israel. | Source... Yahoo! News - Palestinians Protest, Blame Militants The protest erupted two hours after Israeli troops withdrew from this Gaza town, following a five-day takeover during which they flattened orchards, demolished 15 homes, knocked over garden walls, tore up streets and damaged the sewage, water and electricity systems. The Israeli military said much of the destruction, especially of homes and orchards, was aimed at depriving militants firing rockets of cover. | Source... Yahoo! News - Latest Suicide Bombing Kills Two at Israeli Mall AFULA, Israel (Reuters) - A suspected Palestinian suicide bomber killed at least two people, including a security guard, and wounded 17 others at a shopping mall in northern Israel Monday, police and witnesses said. | Source... | Israel and the Palestinians From Israel, Mr Powell did receive several promises to relax the army’s punishing regime in the West Bank and Gaza, which has reduced much of the Palestinian population to poverty. Some 25,000 permits will be issued to Palestinians to work in Israel and 180 Palestinian prisoners are to be released. But by the time Mr Powell arrived in Egypt on Monday, Israel had reimposed a travel ban on people moving in and out of Gaza, citing “security concerns”. On Thursday May 15th-the day on which Palestinians commemorate their flight from Israel during the war over its creation in 1948-Israeli tanks and helicopters raided the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, killing five Palestinians, reportedly including a 12-year-old boy. | Source... The Observer | Comment | Comment: Tim Llewellyn on Israel No. It was more than this that accumulated and broke the dam. The Palestinians found out this summer that Israel wanted yet more concessions: their legal rights to proper, effective self-determination traded for a clean bill of health for Israel. For an ephemeral state, Arafat was to sign up to dropping the whole Palestinian case against Israel. For the administration of a sticking plaster, a deep and angry wound was to be forgotten: the exodus from Palestine; the horrors of massacre and exile; the right of return; all recognised by and enshrined in international law and United Nations resolutions. As for Jerusalem, the Arabs had notionally conceded West Jerusalem to the Jews (a concession made by no major government, neither the United States nor Britain, for instance, since Israel’s creation in 1948): now they were being asked to concede East, Arab, Jerusalem as well; though Ehud Barak’s smoke and mirrors would have been deployed to make this look palatable, with outer Arab city areas granted a kind of municipal quasi-sovereignty. The Israeli and American spin doctors convinced most of the media that only the Holy Places were at issue, when it was the ancient and continuing right to Jerusalem, the right to the communications, commerce, vitality, heritage, bloodline, stones and bones of that city, to a real capital at Palestine’s core, the new state’s nerve centre, that Arafat held out for and for which justifiable campaign he was excoriated and blamed by President Bill Clinton. It was ironic that, in the end, it was in the Holy Places where the dam finally broke. | Source... The Observer | Comment | Comment: Tim Llewellyn on Israel It is not just that in the seven years of this process, against the spirit but not the letter, of Oslo, Israel’s illegal settler population in the West Bank and Gaza (not counting the Jerusalem settlers) has expanded from 110,000 to 195,000. Since Ehud Barak came to power 15 months ago, nearly 2,000 dwellings have been started in the Israeli settlements, about the same number as for 1998 under the ostensibly more aggressive Binyamin Netanyahu. Nor is it only the closure of Jerusalem to Palestinians not resident there (which means that most Palestinians in the Territories cannot pray at the Holy Islamic and Christian sites of the Old City); nor the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Jerusalem; nor the daily indignities at the roadblocks and Ministries and criminal courts run by a foreign military power; though all these impositions, which we called apartheid and pass laws in South Africa, continued to intensify Palestinian despair while the diplomats and politicians displayed their maps and talked of peace. | Source... Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Peace among Palestinians is the first step on the road The latest Washington mutterings, for example, suggest there may be a new hurdle placed before US publication of the road map. Not only will the Palestinians have to ratify their new cabinet, hints one US administration source, they might have to issue an “unequivocal renunciation of terrorism and violence” - a whole new condition. | Source... BBC NEWS | Middle East | Wall fears grip West Bank Initially, the main Jewish voices raised against the fence came from the settler movement and the ultra-right wing, who are generally hostile to anything that might limit Israeli sovereignty in what they hold to be the biblical land of their ancestors. But recently the settlers have come round to the idea - after the body representing them proposed an expanded wall that would place many more settlements, and another 100,000 Palestinians, between the fence and the Green Line. | Source... BBC NEWS | Middle East | Wall fears grip West Bank The project gives a clue to hardline Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s thinking when he talks of giving up settlements in the West Bank for the sake of peace with the Palestinians. It is unlikely that would include places on the Israeli side of the security fence like Shareh Tikva - which happen to be built on some of the best West Bank land and whose presence blights the lives of Palestinians in the surrounding villages. | Source... BBC NEWS | Middle East | Wall fears grip West Bank Their village’s name may mean “Safe home” in Arabic, but the inhabitants of Beit Amin, about 10 kilometres south of Qalqilya in the West Bank, feel anything but safe at the moment. ”Last year the Israelis came with maps and told us they were confiscating land to build a security barrier to stop suicide bombings,” says Shakir, a Beit Amin farmer, as he surveys the devastated orchards around him. ”They said we could appeal against the confiscation - but there’s a saying that goes: ‘How can you have justice when the judge is not fair?’” | Source... Five killed in Israeli raid TUNNELS, HOUSES BLOWN UP In the Rafah raid, Israeli forces found two 30-metre-deep (100 ft) tunnels used for smuggling weapons and explosives from Egypt and blew them up, the army said in a statement. Eight houses-including the home of Mahmoud Abu Shmallah, the leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas in Rafah-were demolished, witnesses said. Palestinian medics said two of the five Palestinians killed in the camp were civilian males aged 14 and 32, while the others were a militant, a policeman and an unidentified man. They said about 70 Palestinians, including women and children, were wounded. After the troops pulled out, Palestinian militants fired a makeshift Qassam rocket into the southern Israeli town of Sderot, touching off a small fire in an apartment building, where a woman was treated for smoke inhalation, police said. Brigadier-General Gadi Shamni, commander of Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip, told Reuters that most of the Palestinians shot by his forces in Rafah were gunmen and some of the civilian casualties might have been caused by crossfire. In the West Bank city of Nablus on Saturday, Palestinian cameraman Nazih Darwazeh, 45, was shot dead by Israeli troops while filming a clash, Reuters journalists and other witnesses said. Television footage showed him wearing a bright yellow, sleeveless jacket marked “Press” as he worked. An Israeli army spokeswoman said the incident happened near the end of an army pursuit of militants, when an armoured vehicle got stuck and was hemmed in by Palestinians throwing stones and petrol bombs. Major Sharon Feingold said “our forces used non-lethal weapons to disperse them and when that didn’t help they used light weapons”. Witnesses in Nablus said there had been no Palestinian gunfire in the area at the time. Since the uprising began, at least 2,005 Palestinians and 733 Israelis have been killed. | Source... Guardian Unlimited Books | Special Reports | Review: Arab Nationalism in the 20th Century by Adeed Dawisha If 1948 was the nadir of Arab nationalism, in 1958 the movement reached its highest peak. In February of that year, the United Arab Republic was established by the merger of Syria and Egypt. On July 14, a bloody military coup destroyed the monarchy in Iraq and transformed the country into a radical republic. Iraq was expected to join the UAR. The pro-western regimes in Jordan and Lebanon teetered on the brink of collapse. For a brief moment, the jubilant masses believed that those they considered to be the enemies of Arab nationalism were about to fall like a row of dominoes. It was a revolutionary moment in the Middle East, but the revolution did not spread. With hindsight, 1958 was the great turning-point in Middle East history in which history failed to turn. Since 1958, it has been downhill all the way. The power generating Arab nationalism was eventually turned off in June 1967. The armies of the confrontation states were roundly defeated in the six-day war, their territory was occupied, their economies were in ruins and the bluster of Arab nationalism was completely deflated; 35 years on, the Arabs have not yet fully recovered from the crushing defeat they suffered in the second “battle of destiny”. Nor have the Israelis recovered from the spectacular military victory that launched them on a course of territorial expansion. Hence the impasse on the Arab-Israeli front today. | Source... Breaking News - powered by Press Association ‘Two die’ as Israelis push into camp Israeli forces using dozens of tanks and attack helicopters have pushed into the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza. Palestinians said it was one of the largest military incursions into the Gaza Strip in 30 months of fighting. Two men died in the raid, doctors said. Israeli military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the army was operating in the Rafah area, but would not give details. | Source... Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Full text of George Bush’s speech Full text of George Bush’s speech on Israel and a Palestinian state Tuesday June 25, 2002 For too long, the citizens of the Middle East have lived in the midst of death and fear. The hatred of a few holds the hopes of many hostage. The forces of extremism and terror are attempting to kill progress and peace by killing the innocent. And this casts a dark shadow over an entire region. For the sake of all humanity, things must change in the Middle East. It is untenable for Israeli citizens to live in terror. It is untenable for Palestinians to live in squalor and occupation. And the current situation offers no prospect that life will improve. Israeli citizens will continue to be victimised by terrorists, and so Israel will continue to defend herself. In the situation the Palestinian people will grow more and more miserable. My vision is two states, living side by side in peace and security. There is simply no way to achieve that peace until all parties fight terror. Yet, at this critical moment, if all parties will break with the past and set out on a new path, we can overcome the darkness with the light of hope. Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership, so that a Palestinian state can be born. I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror. I call upon them to build a practising democracy, based on tolerance and liberty. If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts. If the Palestinian people meet these goals, they will be able to reach agreement with Israel and Egypt and Jordan on security and other arrangements for independence. And when the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions and new security arrangements with their neighbours, the United States of America will support the creation of a Palestinian state whose borders and certain aspects of its sovereignty will be provisional until resolved as part of a final settlement in the Middle East. In the work ahead, we all have responsibilities. The Palestinian people are gifted and capable, and I am confident they can achieve a new birth for their nation. A Palestinian state will never be created by terror - it will be built through reform. And reform must be more than cosmetic change, or veiled attempt to preserve the status quo. True reform will require entirely new political and economic institutions, based on democracy, market economics and action against terrorism. Today, the elected Palestinian legislature has no authority, and power is concentrated in the hands of an unaccountable few. A Palestinian state can only serve its citizens with a new constitution which separates the powers of government. The Palestinian parliament should have the full authority of a legislative body. Local officials and government ministers need authority of their own and the independence to govern effectively. The United States, along with the European Union and Arab states, will work with Palestinian leaders to create a new constitutional framework, and a working democracy for the Palestinian people. And the United States, along with others in the international community will help the Palestinians organise and monitor fair, multi-party local elections by the end of the year, with national elections to follow. Today, the Palestinian people live in economic stagnation, made worse by official corruption. A Palestinian state will require a vibrantestinians to resume work and normal life. Palestinian legislators and officials, humanitarian and international workers, must be allowed to go about the business of building a better future. And Israel should release frozen Palestinian revenues into honest, accountable hands. I’ve asked Secretary Powell to work intensively with Middle Eastern and international leaders to realize the vision of a Palestinian state, focusing them on a comprehensive plan to support Palestinian reform and institution-building. Ultimately, Israelis and Palestinians must address the core issues that divide them if there is to be a real peace, resolving all claims and ending the conflict between them. This means that the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 will be ended through a settlement negotiated between the parties, based on UN resolutions 242 and 338, with Israeli withdrawal to secure and recognize borders. We must also resolve questions concerning Jerusalem, the plight and future of Palestinian refugees, and a final peace between Israel and Lebanon, and Israel and a Syria that supports peace and fights terror. All who are familiar with the history of the Middle East realise that there may be setbacks in this process. Trained and determined killers, as we have seen, want to stop it. Yet the Egyptian and Jordanian peace treaties with Israel remind us that with determined and responsible leadership progress can come quickly. As new Palestinian institutions and new leaders emerge, demonstrating real performance on security and reform, I expect Israel to respond and work toward a final status agreement. With intensive effort by all, this agreement could be reached within three years from now. And I and my country will actively lead toward that goal. I can understand the deep anger and anguish of the Israeli people. You’ve lived too long with fear and funerals, having to avoid markets and public transportation, and forced to put armed guards in kindergarten classrooms. The Palestinian Authority has rejected your offer at hand, and trafficked with terrorists. You have a right to a normal life; you have a right to security; and I deeply believe that you need a reformed, responsible Palestinian partner to achieve that security. I can understand the deep anger and despair of the Palestinian people. For decades you’ve been treated as pawns in the Middle East conflict. Your interests have been held hostage to a comprehensive peace agreement that never seems to come, as your lives get worse year by year. You deserve democracy and the rule of law. You deserve an open society and a thriving economy. You deserve a life of hope for your children. An end to occupation and a peaceful democratic Palestinian state may seem distant, but America and our partners throughout the world stand ready to help, help you make them possible as soon as possible. If liberty can blossom in the rocky soil of the West Bank and Gaza, it will inspire millions of men and women around the globe who are equally weary of poverty and oppression, equally entitled to the benefits of democratic government. I have a hope for the people of Muslim countries. Your commitments to morality, and learning, and tolerance led to great historical achievements. And those values are alive in the Islamic world today. You have a rich culture, and you share the aspirations of men and women in every culture. Prosperity and freedom and dignity are not just American hopes, or Western hopes. They are universal, human hopes. And even in the violence and turmoil of the Middle East, America believes those hopes have the power to transform lives and nations. This moment is both an opportunity and a test for all parties in the Middle East: an opportunity to lay the foundations for future peace; a test to show who is serious about peace and who is not. The choice here is stark and simple. The Bible says, “I have set before you life and death; therefore, choose life.” The time has arrived for everyone in this conflict to choose peace, and hope, and life. Thank you very much. | Source... Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Israelis shoot dead cameraman Saturday April 19, 2003 An Israeli soldier shot and killed a cameraman with Associated Press television news who was covering a skirmish between troops and rock-throwing Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus today, witnesses said. The Israeli military had no immediate comment but said it was looking into the shooting. Nazeh Darwazeh, 45, was filming clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinians that began early today. Doctors said Darwazeh died of a bullet wound to the head. Video footage taken by a Reuters cameraman showed young Palestinian men running up an alley toward a parked armoured personnel carrier. After they threw rocks at the vehicle, troops fired shots. Witnesses said several firebombs were thrown toward the vehicle, and later footage showed a part of it on fire. The footage then showed a man with a rifle in green combat fatigues kneeling down between the armoured personnel carrier and the wall of a house at the top of the alley. Witnesses identified the man as an Israeli soldier. The footage showed him pointing his weapon toward the journalists. Seconds later, Darwazeh was seen lying in a doorway in a pool of blood. He and other cameramen, still photographers and reporters had been at the bottom of the alley and were wearing brightly coloured vests that said “Press.” It was unclear whether there was anyone behind Darwazeh at whom the soldiers might have been aiming when he was shot. ”A soldier came from under the tank and shot towards us,” said Hassan Titi, a Reuters cameraman who witnessed and filmed the shooting. Another witness, Sami al-Assi, a cameraman with a local TV station, said “The Israelis shot him and aimed specifically at us.” | Source... BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Arab ban proposed in Jewish areas Human rights groups in Israel are vowing to fight a government decision that would prevent Israeli Arabs from moving into Jewish communities built on state land within Israel. Seventeen cabinet ministers voted on Sunday to support a bill brought by a right-wing MP in response to a Supreme Court ruling that would have allowed an Arab nurse to move into a Jewish village in the north of the country. No other government in the democratic world would have adopted such a law Yossi Sarid, Israel opposition leader The proposed law aims to preserve the character of certain Jewish communities inside Israel by making it harder for non-Jews to buy land there. According to Israeli media, the bill empowers the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency, which leases about 93% of state land, to establish exclusively Jewish communities on land it administers. The man behind the proposal, Haim Druckman, has described the cabinet’s support for it as one of the government’s finest hours, a decision that he said put colour back into the cheeks of Zionism. | Source... BBC NEWS | In Depth | Mideast Peace Process | Jerusalem: Eternal, intractable “In effect,” a diplomat said, “the Palestinians would have sovereignty over their people in Jerusalem, but not the land.” | Source... BBC NEWS | In Depth | Mideast Peace Process | Jerusalem: Eternal, intractable Israelis of all political persuasions insist that a united Jerusalem will be the eternal capital of the Jewish state - come what may. Palestinian women pray near the Dome of the rock With equal insistence, the Palestinians say that the Arab eastern half of Jerusalem - where the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, sacred Islamic sites, are located - will be the capital of their new state. | Source... BBC News | MIDDLE EAST | Analysis: A faltering peace It is clear that, while other issues proved difficult, it was the question of sovereignty over Jerusalem which finally scuppered President Clinton’s best efforts. | Source... BBC News | MIDDLE EAST | Arafat ‘not to blame’ for summit failure In an article to be published shortly in the New York Review of Books, Mr Malley says President Clinton was incensed that Mr Barak backtracked on previous commitments to freeze all building on Jewish settlements and to hand over a number of villages to the Palestinians. | Source... Israel/Mideast Briefings - Camp David: What Went Wrong and What Lies Ahead? Point 6: The Bogey-Man of Massive Violence Rather than the catastrophe or “end of the line” portrayed by some American observers, the summit’s failure is just another incident in a long history of negotiations. The bargaining will continue and another round of talks will take place in the not-too-distant future. At Camp David, lessons were learned and positions thought through for the tough bargaining to come. While instances of violence cannot be ruled out, the likelihood of large-scale Palestinian-Israeli confrontation appears limited. Political confrontation may escalate - but within familiar bounds. The facts on the ground, after all, remain the same. Any unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence would destroy Arafat’s bargaining position and alienate his potential international helpers. The results of the Camp David summit might also inspire more talk of a “partial” deal in which some subjects would be left to the future. There is no sense, some observers would say, in letting east Jerusalem or the refugee issue block any interim arrangement. At any rate, the peace process will continue. The summit failed to achieve a solution but it may not have failed to achieve some progress. The key issue will be whether Arafat can cross his own red lines toward compromise. Until that happens, there will not be a breakthrough - but neither will there be a breakdown. | Source... Israel/Mideast Briefings - Camp David: What Went Wrong and What Lies Ahead? On two occasions in history, Arafat has had the courage to transform the Palestinian framework. First, after the 1967 war, he shifted the doctrine from Pan-Arab to Palestinian nationalism and the strategy from waiting for the Arab states’ victory to Palestinian armed struggle. Second, in 1993, he accepted the Oslo framework for recognizing Israel’s existence and Palestinian state-building. It is quite possible he could manage a third transformation. This would not require him to accept all of Israel’s demands but to cross his own red lines to some degree, however limited, to move negotiations forward. | Source... Israel/Mideast Briefings - Camp David: What Went Wrong and What Lies Ahead? Point 4: The Central Problem of Palestinian History In Palestinian domestic politics, though, the summit’s failure was a victory for Arafat. This outcome dramatically underscores the central problem of Palestinian history: to maintain principles that bring pride but no material benefits, or to make compromises required by pragmatism. Arafat’s opponents (and some of his allies) already portray him as a weak man who makes too many concessions to Israel. There is a strong element of political demagoguery in this stance. Yet it does have a big appeal to Palestinians. By standing firm and tough, Arafat is strengthened at home. This strategy is not a cynical one. Arafat passionately wants, and feels himself entitled to receive, everything he demands. He does not want to “betray” the maximal demands of the refugees or his own historical goals of having his capital in east Jerusalem. But Arafat prefers to maintain his domestic support, which shows that reaching an agreement is not his only priority. | Source... Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Jews settle in Palestinian Jerusalem Danny Seidemann, an adviser to previous Israeli leaders on how to divide Jerusalem, said Mr Sharon’s approval for the settlers’ move into Ma’aleh Ha’zeitim was a test for George Bush and Tony Blair, who meet in Belfast today to discuss, among other things, the “road map” to a Middle East peace deal which envisages a Palestinian state within three years. ”This is not something Sharon turned a blind eye to. This is something he gave the go ahead for even after Condoleezza Rice asked him not to,” he said. ”The Jewish settlement in Ras al-Amoud makes a resolution more difficult and undermines the stability of the city. If the US is serious about the road map it will not countenance unilateral action on the settlements that predetermine an outcome to negotiations. ”If Mr Blair accepts this, it undermines his credibility when he says he is serious about the road map.” At the weekend Mr Sharon’s chief aide, Dov Weisglass, said Israel was not prepared to make any concessions on “security issues”and would walk out of negotiations on the road map if forced to do so. The prime minister’s critics say that Ma’aleh Ha’zeitim is a political tactic to block the possibility of dividing Jerusalem as part of a peace deal. It also undermines plans under the Camp David accords for a corridor to give Palestinians access to Muslim sites in Jerusalem’s old city without having to pass through Israeli territory. The flats at Ma’aleh Ha’zeitim are built on land bought in the 19th century by religious groups to expand a Jewish cemetery. The property fell into Jordanian hands after Palestine was divided in 1948. Jewish groups argue that they are entitled to live on the land, and to remove the Palestinian “squatters”, under the Jews’ right of return. The courts agree, even though no similar right is extended to Palestinians driven from their homes in West Jerusalem. Moreover, the supreme court has ruled that Palestinians cannot buy property in the Jewish quarter of the city, even if they once lived there. | Source... Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Jews settle in Palestinian Jerusalem Sharon tests Bush, Blair and the road map by letting families occupy contested district Chris McGreal in Jerusalem Monday April 7, 2003 The Guardian Ariel Sharon has brushed aside an appeal by the White House to stop an unprecedented move by Jewish settlers into a Palestinian district of Jersualem which his critics say will further hinder a political settlement. After more than two years of legal and political wrangling, Mr Sharon’s office approved the plan last week and the first Jewish families have moved into new flats in the Ma’aleh Ha’zeitim settlement, beside the densely populated Arab district of Ras al-Amoud. It is the first time a Jewish settlement has been built in a Palestinian area of Jerusalem since Israel seized control of the entire city in 1967. The first settlers at the apartment complex, just a few hundred metres from the Wailing Wall, include a millionaire, Irving Moskowitz, and his son-in-law Ariel King, a far-right political activist. More than 100 more families are expected to move in during the coming months. | Source... Observer Headlines in Detail 3 Sharon: Israel would yield settlements for peace JERUSALEM - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said in an interview published yesterday that Israel would have to remove some settlements to get peace with Palestinians, and called the fall of Saddam Hussein a chance to end the conflict. | Source... The Observer: revealing information about two men driving US foreign policy The Observer said “In a document two years ago, the Project pondered that what was needed to assure US global power was ‘some catastrophic and catalysing event, like a new Pearl Harbor’. The document had noted that ‘while the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides immediate justification’ for intervention, ‘the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein’. At a graduation speech to the Military Academy at West Point, Bush last June affirmed the Wolfowitz doctrine as official policy. ‘America has, and intends to keep,’ he said, ‘military strengths beyond challenge.’” The Observer said “At the Pentagon, Wolfowitz and his boss Rumsfeld set up an intelligence group under Abram Schulsky and the Under-Secretary for Defence, Douglas Feith, both old friends of Wolfowitz. The group’s public face is the semi-official Defence Policy Board, headed by Perle. Perle and Feith wrote a paper in 1996 called ‘A Clean Break’ for the then leader of Israel’s Likud bloc, Binyamin Netanyahu; the clean break was from the Oslo peace process. Israel’s ‘claim to the land (including the West Bank) is legitimate and noble,’ said the paper. ‘Only the unconditional acceptance by Arabs of our rights is a solid basis for the future.’” The Observer said “Abrams is another veteran of Reagan days and the ‘dirty wars’ in Central America, convicted by Congress for lying alongside Colonel Oliver North over the Iran-Contra scandal, but pardoned by President Bush’s father. He has since written a book warning that American Jewry faces extinction through intermarriage and has counselled against the peace process and for the righteousness of Ariel Sharon’s Israel. He is Wolfowitz’s man, talking every day to his office neighbour, Rove.” | Source... Jenin: Defiant to the Death Israel denied committing any atrocities and blamed the Palestinians’ defensive strategy for the damage and civilian casualties. “A refugee camp is where there are people who are living with a humanitarian crisis,” said Colonel Gal Hirsch, the Israeli army’s chief of operations. “The Jenin refugee camp is a military combat position. It was set up that way because the Palestinians decided they wanted to fight us there. There wasn’t a massacre there; there was a battle.” The pattern of the Israeli attack was frighteningly direct. Helicopter gunships pounded areas where gunmen had taken positions. As the gunmen were chased closer to the camp’s center, tanks, bulldozers and troops advanced on the areas that had been abandoned. Jihad Hanoun, 30, lived in a compound with his six brothers and their families in the camp’s main square. On the morning of April 6, the army started shelling his three-story house, briefly setting the third floor on fire. There were 60 people inside. They heard a voice over a loudspeaker telling them to leave, but they didn’t. “We were scared to death,” said Hanoun. Then soldiers broke through a wall from a neighbor’s house. In a pattern repeated throughout the campaign, the soldiers forced Hanoun to knock on his neighbor’s door, shooting over his head as he did so to prevent ambush. (Palestinians also accused Israeli soldiers of using them as human shields.) Hanoun persuaded his neighbors to come out. The soldiers separated the men, forced them to take off their clothes, then blindfolded and handcuffed them, he said. “I was beaten on my head and chest with the butt of a rifle. They burned my face [with cigarettes],” he said. Other residents told similar stories of harrowing escapes as bulldozers or sledgehammers punched through walls of occupied houses. Fearing suicide attacks-five Palestinians died after blowing themselves up as they surrendered-the soldiers forced hundreds of men to strip naked in the streets and march to detention centers. Some prisoners said they were kept for days without clothes. Ambulances were prevented from reaching the wounded. A 15-year-old boy was forced to dump a dead body outside an Islamic Jihad leader’s house. After the fighting died down, a middle-aged man rushed among the refugees, trying to reunite families torn apart by battle. “I’m appealing to everybody to take notes and find names,” he said. Israeli army officials say the Palestinians were shooting from minarets and carrying munitions in ambulances. The Israelis say they uncovered labs for making explosives and factories for assembling Qassam II rockets. Certainly, the camp’s defenders used every resource available. Trip wires attached to 200-lb. charges were laid across streets. Each morning D-9 bulldozers swept the streets, setting off explosions. Hundreds of doorways were booby-trapped. Israeli soldiers avoided suspicious-looking doors and instead tunneled through walls or had bulldozers shear off the facades of buildings to expose any snipers within. Any building that could serve a military function was leveled. “We could have taken the camp in one day by using artillery and aircraft bombardment,” said Brigadier General Eyal Shlein, who commanded the operation. “But we didn’t. That cost us a lot of casualties.” The Israelis were willing to take such risks because they wanted to catch big fish and take them alive. Three “heavy terrorists” were captured, including Ali al-Saidi, 40, known as Safouri. Born in the camp, he was allegedly behind a series of terror attacks inside Israel. Jamal Ahawil, 32, head of the Fatah Tanzim in the camp, surrendered Thursday. Thabet Mardawi, a senior Islamic Jihad leader, also gave up. Israeli officials have not confirmed reports that the man they most wanted, Mahmoud Tawalbe, is dead. Known as Nursi, he is head of Islamic Jihad’s suicide-bombing operation in Jenin. As for Jenin’s civilians, they have, in another of this conflict’s twisted ironies, become refugees from their refugee camp. Jenin has been shattered. Very much like the peace process itself.-REPORTED BY NASSER ABU BAKR/JENIN; MATT REES AND AHARON | Source... Israel: Opportunistic Law Condemned (Human Rights Watch Press release, New York, March 7, 2002) Against a backdrop of spiraling violence, on March 4 the Israeli Knesset passed the “Imprisonment of Illegal Combatants Law.” The law allows the chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Force to detain anyone if there is a basis to assume that he or she “takes part in hostile activity against Israel, directly or indirectly” or “belongs to a force engaged in hostile activity against the State of Israel.” All detainees held under the law are automatically assumed to be a security threat and can be held without charge or trial as long as hostilities against Israel continue. ”This perverse legislation disregards basic principles of international law,” said Hanny Megally, Executive Director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch. “In times of armed conflict international law recognizes two categories of individuals-combatants and civilians. The new law is just another example of Israel ignoring and manipulating international legal standards to suit its own purposes.” The new law also enables the military to hold individuals arbitrarily and indefinitely, on the basis of assumption rather than proven guilt. Detainees can be held for up to fourteen days without access to a lawyer and have limited choice of counsel. Judicial reviews are to be held in camera, using secret evidence unavailable to the detainee. A detainee may appeal his or her continued detention to the Supreme Court. But, based on similar appeals lodged in the cases of administrative detainees, the court hardly ever queries a military decision to detain an individual. One of the main reasons for the passing of this law is apparently an effort to legalize the continued detention as hostages of Sheikh ‘Abd al-Karim ‘Obeid (abducted from Lebanon in July 1989) and Mustafa al-Dirani (abducted from Lebanon in May 1994). Both ‘Obeid and al-Dirani have been held as “bargaining chips” for the return of Israeli soldiers missing in action in Lebanon. In April 2000, the High Court of Justice ruled that Israel could not continue to detain Lebanese nationals solely to serve as hostages for the return of missing soldiers in Lebanon. Thirteen such hostages were released after the ruling, but ‘Obeid and al-Dirani have remained in detention. In June 2000, an earlier draft version of the “illegal combatant” law was introduced in the Knesset but came under intense local and international criticism. The new law was re-introduced in the Knesset in February 2002, shortly after US attempts to treat Taleban and al-Qaeda forces as “unlawful combatants” and automatically deny them Prisoner of War protections. Megally said the law would be applied retroactively to continue the illegal detention as hostages of ‘Obeid and al-Dirani. | Source... Israel: Opportunistic Law Condemned (Human Rights Watch Press release, New York, March 7, 2002) Israel: Opportunistic Law Condemned (New York, March 7, 2002) -- Human Rights Watch today criticized the Israeli parliament for passing an “illegal combatants” law. The new law is designed to legalize the indefinite detention of anyone suspected of “taking part in hostile activity against Israel, directly or indirectly.” It also permits the continued detention of two Lebanese nationals as bargaining chips for the return of missing Israeli soldiers. | Source... BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Israelis face West Bank charges There have been fewer than 10 indictments on such charges since the beginning of the Palestinian uprising - despite the death of 105 women and 180 children under the age of 15 during that time, according to B’Tselem. | Source... BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Israelis face West Bank charges There have been fewer than 10 indictments on such charges since the beginning of the Palestinian uprising - despite the death of 105 women and 180 children under the age of 15 during that time, according to B’Tselem. | Source... Israel tells Palestinians to heed Iraq An Israeli missile strike has killed a Palestinian bomb-making expert in Gaza and gunmen have killed two Israeli soldiers in the West Bank in a surge of violence ahead of an anticipated U.S.-led peace drive. | Source... Israel tells Palestinians to heed Iraq An Israeli missile strike has killed a Palestinian bomb-making expert in Gaza and gunmen have killed two Israeli soldiers in the West Bank in a surge of violence ahead of an anticipated U.S.-led peace drive. | Source... News Last week more than 1,000 Palestinian men and boys were rounded up and trucked out of the Tulkarem refugee camp in the West Bank at gunpoint. The Isreali army said they were only forced out to allow soldiers to search their homes, and all the men and boys were allowed to return home after three days. But the experience unnerved many Palestinians. | Source... News Last week more than 1,000 Palestinian men and boys were rounded up and trucked out of the Tulkarem refugee camp in the West Bank at gunpoint. The Isreali army said they were only forced out to allow soldiers to search their homes, and all the men and boys were allowed to return home after three days. But the experience unnerved many Palestinians. | Source... News Ghalem Shehaiber, a 16-year-old with shrapnel in his back from the attack, told reporters in al-Shifa hospital how he was standing near by, at the Askoula circle, a landmark. “I heard two missiles fired. I rushed to the scene.” What Mr Shehaiber claims happened next is disturbing. A large crowd had gathered around the wrecked car. “After a short time, maybe two minutes, two more missiles were fired at the crowd.” Mr Shehaiber and another witness, who declined to give his name, claimed that it was at this time that most of the wounded were hit. The Israeli army has an openly stated policy of assassinating senior Palestinian militants, and it has repeatedly fired into crowded civilian areas during its assassinations. Last July, nine Palestinian children were killed when the Israeli air force dropped a one-tonne bomb into a packed area of slum housing in Gaza City in the middle of the night on a mission to assassinate Saleh Shehadeh, a leading Hamas militant.
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This is Keith Richardson's alternative news site. The site aims to promote Truth, Justice, a green clean healthy environment and a wildlife friendly world. It is currently focused on Foreign News and particularly the Middle East.