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Monday, February 28, 2005

News for 02-28-05

2-28 - Palestinian gunmen wound two Israelis Both of the wounded were apparently guards responsible for securing the settlement

2-28 - Abbas 'will not tolerate' attacks

2-28 - Environmentalists raise awareness on deforestation in Palestinian areas The World Council of Churches is working with environmentalists in Jordan and the region on a campaign to stop Israel from uprooting trees in Palestinian areas.

2-28 - 1000 Dunams annexed near Jerusalem

2-28 - UN makes billion dollar appeal for Palestinian refugees

2-28 - Palestinian militants denounce Tel Aviv bombing

2-28 - Blair meets Abbas at No 10 Mr Blair originally wanted to have a full-blown peace conference but was overruled by the US and Israel.

2-28 - Israel: Tel Aviv blast killed soldiers Earlier, the platoon commander, Eran Cohen, told Army Radio (Gali Tzahal) virtually all the casualties of the bombing were members of his unit.
Earlier, the Israeli media had reported that all the people killed and injured in the blast were civilians.

2-28 - Israel court orders army to reexamine shooting of US activist

2-28 - 'Army' road slashes through Arab land A new road to Tel Romeida - the six-family Jewish settlement neighborhood in Hebron - is being paved through Palestinian-owned property in the city and involves expropriation of land. However, as "it is an Israel Defense Forces road, it does not require the approval of the defense minister,"

2-28 - Israel in Diplomatic Push Against Syria After Bomb Israel hopes giving foreign diplomats a glimpse of its intelligence on Friday's attack on a Tel Aviv nightclub will encourage a London conference on Palestinian reforms, set to open on Tuesday, to push Palestinians to get tough on militants.

2-28 - Bomber's family fears Israelis will retaliate For the elderly Mr Badran, such accusations meant nothing. He shook his head forlornly and said his son was a "simple, country boy who never met anyone from Syria''.

2-28 - Bomber's family shunned by whole town

2-28 - Israel adamant on Syria's 'guilt'

2-28 - Meeting to bolster Palestinian leadership

2-28 - London conference must bring return to roadmap: Abbas

2-28 - Brian Avery's day in Israel's Supreme Court

2-28 - EU warns against new Mideast derailment

2-28 - Abandoned Settlements May Be Left Intact for Palestinians

2-28 - Straw backs Abbas with call for full peace conference He recognised that thebombing in Tel Aviv provided a "sombre backdrop" to today. I note the inordinate number of bombings just before ME conferences and other key events.

2-28 - Blair seeks payback from focus on foreign affairs

2-28 - Israeli 'hasbara' campaign against Syria

2-28 - Censorship and the Empire Dieudonne and the Uses of "Anti-Semitism"

2-28 - The faces all looked the same

2-28 - Israelis come to At-Tuwani

2-28 - Palestine expressions at DePaul University

posted by Somebody @ 10:24 PM Permanent Link 0 comments

Sunday, February 27, 2005

News for 02-27-05

2-27 - Israel steps up military operations Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has said Israel is escalating military measures and would freeze peace efforts after a Tel Aviv suicide bombing unless Palestinians smashed militant groups

2-27 - Mahmoud Abbas: 'We cannot build foundations of a state without rule of law'

2-27 - Israelis arrested over Palestinian land scam Police suspect the land sale was rubber-stamped by the civil administration official in exchange for a bribe. Another 19 lawyers are also expected to be questioned over their alleged involvement in the land sales.

2-27 - We must not let this opportunity slip away, says Abbas "An end to violence cannot be sustained when Palestinians are being killed by the Israeli army on a daily basis. Ending the violence is a mutual Israeli and Palestinian commitment."

2-27 - Blair presses reluctant Abbas into London conference after the Palestinian leadership expressed fears that the meeting will serve Israel's interests by raising new hurdles to the revival of political negotiations.

2-27 - Israel 'to show Damascus guilt' Israel says it will explain to foreign diplomats why it believes Syria was responsible for Friday's suicide bomb in Tel Aviv that killed four people.

2-27 - The New Israeli "Disengagement Plan" Map

2-27 - Israel threatens to call off prisoner releases after Tel Aviv blast

2-27 - IDF refuses to give bullets to PA police in Gaza The Palestinians asked Israel for bullets for the U.S.-made M-16 rifles police carry, but the military refused,

2-27 - Dichter: No administrative detentions of far-right activists

2-27 - Palestinian refugee family can stay in Canada Three Palestinian Christian refugees who spent more than a year in a church basement in Montreal will be allowed to remain in Canada.

2-27 - Palestinians postpone meeting with radical groups

2-27 - Israel Says Will Strike Syria if Needed

2-27 - Europe: EU hopes pinned on preparing Palestinians for own state

2-27 - Dichter: Jews ready to commit terrorism Labor ministers were outraged to hear that even though 44 incitement files and 31 for making threats have been opened, only two people have actually been convicted and are sitting in jail, one for each charge.

2-27 - Sharon Demands Palestinians Act After Tel Aviv Bomb Signalling Israel was likely to hold its fire with Syria, Vice Premier Shimon Peres said: "Syria is involved in many terrible things and the United States is at the moment leading the initiative against Syria.

"We should allow the Americans to do this," he said.

2-27 - Israelis, Palestinians face hard choices with own extremists The bombing, analysts say, harms Abbas by shifting the focus away from Israeli practices such as settlement expansion and the construction of the West Bank separation barrier.

2-27 - Israeli appointment may up Tehran stakes In the diplomatic war of nerves over Iran's nuclear ambitions, last week's appointment of the first air force chief to head the Israeli armed forces will have added to concerns within the Tehran regime that its enemies might eventually decide to resolve the issue by force.

2-27 - Saud Rules Out Ties With Israel Before Peace Deal Saudi Arabia will not make any contacts or relations with Israel until the Jewish state signs a comprehensive peace deal with Arabs, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal has said.

2-27 - Gaza exchange far from settled Mohammed Kanal, farmer and fisherman, has been unable to farm or fish for more than two years. His land is locked inside a bloc of Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, which also separates him from his boats and the sea.

2-27 - Scars of massacre still fresh in Hebron

2-27 - Israel Plans to Electronically Fence Al Aqsa Mosque

2-27 - Map of Settler Roads and Tunnels

2-27 - Israel will have to try harder says Clark

2-27 - Report: Israeli jailed in New Zealand headed Cyprus spy ring

2-27 - PM to reconsider demolition of settlers' homes

2-27 - Wary Israelis keep close eye on Iran threat Israel would do anything possible to avoid losing its nuclear monopoly in the Middle East but there would be a price to confronting the Tehran regime.

2-27 - Did you say the Israelis are withdrawing?

2-27 - Doctor is drawn to the most innocent Adel Abdallah knows something about overcoming odds. He was born in Surda, a small Palestinian village about 15 miles north of Jerusalem.

2-27 - Palestinian priest counsels respect

2-27 - A Scorned Idealist George W. Bush adores Natan Sharansky. So why don't the Israelis? More recently, he chaired an obscure cabinet committee that authorized the confiscation of Palestinian-owned lands in East Jerusalem (considered by Israel, but not by the rest of the world, as a sovereign part of its territory)

2-27 - Weird Australian 'spy' case casts shadow on Katsav trip only once, in 1987, were Israeli diplomats expelled from a Western country: Great Britain. But those "diplomats" were actually Mossad espionage operatives in London, who were running a Druze agent inside a PLO cell in Britain.

posted by Somebody @ 11:03 PM Permanent Link 0 comments

Saturday, February 26, 2005

News for 02-26-05

2-26 - Israel Blames Syria for Suicide Bombing

2-26 - Palestinians Angry Over Tel Aviv Attack

2-26 - West Bank raided after deadly bombing

2-26 - Syria Rejects Israel Accusation on Tel Aviv Bombing

2-26 - Prince voices Saudi doubts about Sharon peace moves "You just have to go through history and see what they have done," he said. "Their history is full of destroying the prospects of peace in the Middle East. We hope that this time they will not do it."

2-26 - Soldier shoots woman after alleged stab attempt in Hebron

2-26 - Palestinians Make Arrests After Tel Aviv Bombing

2-26 - Abbas Blames 'Third Party' for Bombing

2-26 - Israel Freezes Planned Security Handover

2-26 - Islamic Jihad behind Tel Aviv bombing Speaking on a videotape, the suicide bomber said the operation aimed to sabotage Palestinian leaders' efforts to implement the truce agreement declared with Israel.

2-26 - Israel Pledge To Take Action Over Attack Israeli security officials have said they may resume killing leaders of the Islamic Jihad militant group

2-26 - Bomber's mom: I didn't know "I did not know that he would commit any attack and if I had known I would have told him not to do it,"

2-26 - Israel Imposes Curfew on West Bank Village

2-26 - Evacuation and Construction: ?new plan to expand settlements?

2-26 - Qureia: Israel not serious about peace Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia said Saturday Israel's decision to continue building settlements showed it was not serious about achieving peace.

2-26 - Militants claim Tel Aviv bombing Our correspondent in Jerusalem says the statements could suggest a divide between Islamic Jihad's inner circle, based in Gaza, and its outside leadership in Syria, which is said to have more influence over cells in the West Bank.

2-26 - Hezbollah denies involvement in Tel Aviv suicide bombing

2-26 - Syria denies role in Tel Aviv bombing, blames Israel "Israel is known around the world for sabotaging any peace process."

2-26 - Iran to stand by Syria if attacked Asked to comment on the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, Rohani said: "I do not believe Israel will take such a decision, and if it did it will regret it a lot."

2-26 - U.S. says in touch with Palestinians about bombing

2-26 - Cave dwellers evicted by settlers return to their homes After the residents were evicted, settlers moved into the village and caused damages to structures and caves. They prevented the Palestinian residents from returning to the village and cultivating their lands.

2-26 - Russia condemns terrorist attack in Israel

2-26 - Australians aware of agent's connection to Mossad The passport operation employed full-time Mossad staff and local Jewish citizens (called sayanim) who help Mossad within foreign countries. In New Zealand, one sayanim participant was apparently former Auckland Jewish Council member Tony Resnick.

2-26 - Why Israel Really Fears Iranian Nukes, Part Two

2-26 - Activist seeks trial of Israeli soldiers "I know that is not true [that it was a Palestinian bullet]. I was standing right next to him and was the first to examine his destroyed face, as he was face down on the street. The only shots came from the Israeli machine gun, and we six internationals were the only people nearby,"

2-26 - The LA Times' notion of "relative calm" The fact is, however, that the truce and this "calm" were shattered long before this. The last suicide bombing against Israeli civilians was Nov. 1, 2004. It took three Israeli lives. Since that time, while Israelis have basked in "relative calm," 170 Palestinian men, women, and children have been killed.

2-26 - Global community advised to stop patronising Israel

2-26 - Churches urged to consider protesting Israel In the anti-apartheid movement of the 1970s and '80s, the WCC led churches in an economic boycott of South Africa

posted by Somebody @ 11:00 PM Permanent Link 0 comments

Friday, February 25, 2005

News for 02-25-05

2-25 - Abbas calls emergency meeting after Tel Aviv blast

2-25 - Tel Aviv Suicide Bombing Kills Up to Five 'Hezbollah did it'

2-25 - Child killed in the southern Gaza Strip

2-25 - IDF kills Palestinian trying to break through fence Israel Defense Forces troops shot and wounded a Palestinian man who attempted to break through the Gaza Strip security fence at the Sufa checkpoint before dawn Friday, Israel Radio reported.

2-25 - Islamic Jihad Claims Responsibility for Bombing

2-25 - Middle East truce shattered as suicide bomber hits club Police said that the bomber's method resembled that of the two British Muslim militants who carried out an explosion at the nearby Mike's Place nightclub after breaking out of Gaza two years ago.

2-25 - Israel Plans 6,000 W. Bank Settlement Homes --Report The reported settlement expansion project by the Israel Lands Administration (ILA), a government agency, would coincide with Israel's plan to pull out of the Gaza Strip this summer and defy U.S. calls for a freeze in "settlement activity."

2-25 - Israeli troops use tear gas to break up anti-barrier demo

2-25 - A Hard Day in At-Tuwani Two hours later, villagers discovered that 150 young olive trees had been
uprooted the night before in the field which the settlers had encircled.
Apparently the two settlers walked in that field to survey what they or
their friends had accomplished in the night. Those olive trees were donated
by the YMCA in Jerusalem and had been in the ground about three months.

2-25 - Palestinians denounce Tel Aviv suicide attack

2-25 - Now Syria is at the top of the bad guys' league table Ariel Sharon and his Likud party have long seen their Syrian neighbour as a more direct menace than distant Iran, and the evidence suggests the Bush administration shares this view and has started to take action accordingly.

2-25 - On this day 1994: Jewish settler kills 30 at holy site

2-25 - Russia considering renewed arms sales to Palestinians "The Palestinian leadership has proven its ability to keep the situation under control,"

2-25 - UAE official under fire over Sharon talks

2-25 - Military mumbo-jumbo versus the morality of occupation

2-25 - Palestinian Truce Talks Set for Cairo on March 5

2-25 - Israel Orders Accelerated Gaza Pullout

2-25 - UNEP facilitates Israeli-Palestinian environmental cooperation

2-25 - Israel plans air force "umbrella" in evacuated Gaza "Halutz will now have the job of preparing the Israel Defence Force for different scenarios, ranging from renewed Palestinian violence launched from post-disengagement Gaza, to responding to a radical Iranian regime attempting to acquire nuclear weapons," said Israeli analyst Gerald Steinberg.

2-25 - Palestinians may be establishing another Mideast democracy The most challenging of these obstacles is the continuing Israeli occupation. The Palestinians managed to conduct free elections under occupation, but they cannot build a full democracy under occupation

2-25 - Arab Knesset member tells Emaar group Palestine is no real estate project ?The purchase (of the colonies) rewards the Israeli occupation and makes it legitimate... It risks engaging the Emirates in a misunderstanding with our Palestinian brothers and damaging the excellent reputation built by the Emirates over the years with Palestinian people and officials,?

2-25 - Rabbis Call for World Jewry to Stop Disengagement In speeches and in open letters, respected rabbis and Hassidic leaders are calling upon Jews the world over to join the struggle against the government's plan to withdraw from parts of the Land of Israel.

2-25 - Connors Released from Israeli Prison

2-25 - Tale of Two Territories Having spent four weeks in Palestine at the end of last year performing humanitarian work and witnessing human rights violations, the Memphis Peace Team is now talking to churches and community groups

2-25 - US slaps curbs on Arab Bank branch A US bank regulator has ordered Palestinian-managed Arab Bank Group to convert its New York branch to a federal banking agency, ending the branch?s wire transfer business.

2-25 - Unrwa commissioner general pays price for support of Palestinians According to the sources, Hansen was paying the price for his criticism of Israeli attacks in the Palestinian territories.

2-25 - Questions over military details sent to Israel The ministry also cited a provision which means a licence can be turned down because of the recipient country's record in international humanitarian law and the law of armed conflict.

posted by Somebody @ 10:22 PM Permanent Link 0 comments

Thursday, February 24, 2005

News for 02-24-05

2-24 - Israel Fears Jewish Militants Could Attack Mosques

2-24 - Palestinian cabinet to embrace reform

2-24 - Hidden costs of Israel's occupation policies

2-24 - New Palestinian Cabinet Sworn in After Crisis

2-24 - New Apartheid Wall construction in two villages near Ramallah If the Wall is completed here, 25,000 Palestinians in eight villages will be trapped inside a ghetto with just one exit toward Ramallah, according to Nasif al-Deek of the National Committee Against the Wall. Hundreds of the 6,000 residents of Bil?in and Saffa will lose their land to Israel?s ongoing state-sponsored theft.

2-24 - Organizations Confront State Department over Silence Accorded Israeli Mistreatment of U.S. Citizens

2-24 - Mubarak urges West to deliver on pledge to support peace process

2-24 - Palestinians Consider Resuming Executions

2-24 - The Wall Map around Bethlehem

2-24 - UN Palestinian Refugee Agency: Record $500 Million

2-24 - Nato-Israel partnership boosted But Jaap de Hoop Scheffer ruled out the possibility of Israel becoming a Nato member in the foreseeable future.

2-24 - Israeli Police Brace for Possible Violence

2-24 - New York man indicted in arson threat The handwritten letter threatened to set churches on fire while people were inside in retaliation for "anti-Israel and anti-Jewish attitudes," Jerry L. Van Marter, director of the Presbyterian news service, said at the time.

2-24 - World Bank May Fund Israeli Checkpoints ?If they are going to be funding the checkpoints outside of places in the Green (Line) then it's clearly a violation of international conventions and law,? said Terry Walz of the Washington-based Council for the National Interest, a group that monitors U.S. and international policy towards Israel and the Palestinians.

2-24 - Palestinian Cabinet Dominated by Academics

2-24 - Israel: ICJ Ruling over the Wall is Not Binding

2-24 - Bush Plan for Funding of Palestinians Facing Resistance in Congress DeLay, a top ZOA ally, is set to impede progress on the current aid plan, his aides told reporters last week.

2-24 - Israeli jets overfly Lebanon drawing retaliatory fire

2-24 - IDF soldier sentenced to 4 months In the incident, the soldier violated IDF rules of engagement by opening fire without any warning shots at the vehicle that bypassed a military roadblock. He also confessed to lying to investigators in an attempt to cover up for his actions.

2-24 - Lifting the shackles For Israel's pullout from Gaza to be successful, both sides need to work to make the strip's economy flourish afterwards

2-24 - Dearborn student govt. pushes for Israel divestment

2-24 - Editorial: Prompt pullback in Gaza

2-24 - From 2002: Palestinian Christians face ethnic cleansing

2-24 - Israel and US Jewish groups denounce WCC stance on divestment

2-24 - More radical Christian peacemakers arrive in Israel and Palestine

2-24 - Israel must strive to avoid land grabs Bush will have to keep prodding Sharon on that point; a Palestinian checkerboard state that prevents farmers from reaching their plots or workers their jobs would not be viable.

2-24 - N.Y. School Board Bans a Controversial Arab Professor A pro-Palestinian professor at Columbia University, hailed by some Jewish students as a model instructor, is being barred by the New York City Board of Education from lecturing public-school teachers.

2-24 - Beware the Public Diplomacy Disaster

2-24 - What caused the Sabra-Shatila massacre in Lebanon?

posted by Somebody @ 10:59 PM Permanent Link 0 comments

N.Y. School Board Bans a Controversial Arab Professor

February 25, 2005

A pro-Palestinian professor at Columbia University, hailed by some Jewish students as a model instructor, is being barred by the New York City Board of Education from lecturing public-school teachers.

A spokesman for the school board attributed the move against Rashid Khalidi, the Arab-American director of Columbia's Middle East Institute, to "past statements" on the Middle East. Khalidi "should not have been included" in a 12-week course for public-school teachers on teaching about the Middle East — and "he won't be participating in the future," the spokesman said.

The school board's decision was praised by some New York lawmakers with ties to the Jewish community, as well as by the American Jewish Committee. A number of other organizations and individuals, however, including Columbia University and the American Jewish Congress, have questioned the school board's decision.

The school board's decision appeared to be taken in reaction to an article in The New York Sun, which pointed to Khalidi's participation in the program and wrote that Khalidi had "called Israel a 'racist' state with an 'apartheid system.'"

Khalidi and his supporters reject that characterization of his views. Free speech experts have said that whatever Khalidi's political opinions, the school board may have violated his constitutional rights.

"They made a mistake in saying he can't teach because of his political views," said Nat Hentoff, a journalist and free-speech expert. Hentoff has been a strong supporter of Jewish students at Columbia who have alleged that they have been subject to intimidation by several Middle East studies professors. "That is a clear violation of his free-speech rights, and his academic freedom rights."

With the concerns the school board had, Hentoff said, "the school board should have brought in a team teacher for the course so that it wouldn't be one-sided indoctrination."

The barring of Khalidi is the latest development to result from the uproar at Columbia over the student's accusations. Although Khalidi has not been accused of any wrongdoing by the students, he has occupied a central position in press reports on the conflict. Many mention that his chair at Columbia was endowed with a gift from the United Arab Emirates and named after late Palestinian intellectual leader Edward Said, and that he once worked as an adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

During the turmoil at Columbia, Khalidi has been held up as a model teacher by some of the pro-Israel students who have complained about other Middle Eastern studies professors. In a guide to university courses compiled by Columbia students, known as Culpa, Khalidi's teaching received a silver nugget, the second-highest award after the gold nugget, and one reviewer said, "Not one divisive issue was polemicized."

The enrichment course that Khalidi was barred from taking part in is a 12-week program with a different Columbia professor talking about a different aspect of the Middle East each week. The course is organized by the school district, but the professors are paid by Columbia University as part of their community outreach. A spokeswoman for Columbia, Susan Brown, criticized the school board's decision. "The fact that a respected professor and scholar would be summarily judged and dismissed, without consultation or discussion with him, or with us, is an issue of great concern."

This was Khalidi's second year taking part in the program, and he had given his contribution this year. On February 3, in the first lecture of the teacher-training course, Khalidi provided an overview of the geography and demography of the region. According to the teacher who organized the course and was present at the lecture, Khalidi's talk did not touch on any sensitive material.

"I am not unaware of the controversy surrounding him," said Mark Wilner, assistant principle for social studies at Brooklyn's Midwood High School, who also organizes a teacher enrichment course on the Holocaust. "But I can tell that that his session was completely apolitical. It was basically geographic information."

The school board's decision was immediately hailed last week by New York mayoral candidate Rep. Anthony Weiner and by the American Jewish Committee, which issued a press release saying that Khalidi should not have been offered the platform given his "record of brazen, openly biased and distorted statements about Israel."

When asked what statements of Khalidi's had been problematic, David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, declined to point to any specific statements and said that the problem was "where he stands on Arab-Israeli issues."

Wiener, when asked to identify objectionable statements, said, "I am by no means an expert on the guy's work, but what I have seen anecdotally on the guy is troubling."

The director of legal affairs at the American Jewish Congress, Marc Stern, said he did not agree with the tack chosen by these communal leaders and political officials. "It's not as if we're rejoicing that Khalidi gets an audience," Stern said. "But we don't think the way to go about it is by treating Khalidi as if he is not qualified to teach on the Middle East."

Greg Lukianoff, a constitutional lawyer for the group Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which has stood squarely with the Jewish students in the Columbia melee, said that "the department was under no obligation to hire him in the first place." But, Lukianoff said, "rescinding the invite after the fact does send a bad message."

Khalidi said he has not decided how to respond.

The problem with the whole debate that has sprung up around Middle Eastern studies, Khalidi said, is that it has taken professors' views on the Israel and used them to critique their entire body of scholarship.

"The Middle East is not the Israel-Palestine conflict," Khalidi said. "It's five millennia of history, and nearly 400 million people. People need to raise their noses from this tiny little spot."

The drumbeat against Khalidi has been increasing in a handful of newspapers since the dispute at Columbia broke out last October. In November, The New York Daily News profiled Khalidi in an article titled, "Vile Words of Hate That Shame Top University," and The New York Sun compared him to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, whose views have been condemned widely as antisemitic.

The Sun published a column last year by Martin Kramer, a leader in a campaign against pro-Palestinian professors, in which he slammed Khalidi for warning Arab intellectuals against participating in events organized by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank supported heavily by pro-Israel donors and now run by former U.S. Middle East envoy Dennis Ross.

"Its basic function is to spread lies and falsehoods about the Arab world, of course under an academic, scholarly veneer," Khalidi was quoted as saying during a panel discussion broadcast on Al-Jazeera. "Basically, this is the most important Zionist propaganda tool in the United States."

The Sun has repeatedly pointed to Khalidi's use of the words "racist" and "apartheid" in relation to Israel.

It is this characterization, Khalidi said, that most piques his anger.

"Everything that has been said has misrepresented the entirety of my work," said Khalidi, who specializes in Arab nationalism, the early 20th-century history of the Middle East and great power politics.

On the issue of whether Israel is racist, Khalidi says there are "scholars who will not talk about these things without using the word 'racist,' but I am not one of them." He said, "I do not think Zionism is racist. When we talk about some of the contemporary laws, there are policies that I consider racist and discriminatory."

Khalidi was at the front of an early group of Palestinian intellectuals calling for a two-state solution in the Middle East, though he has suggested recently that Israeli settlement expansion has made such a plan impossible.

He has defended the right of Palestinians to launch attacks against Israeli soldiers in the territories, but condemned Palestinian suicide bombings against Israeli civilians as "war crimes."
Many who are familiar with his politics said he is not the extremist that he has been made out to be in press accounts.

"He is about as virulently anti-Israel as the Likudniks are anti-Arab," said Arthur Hertzberg, who jointly taught a course on Zionism and Palestinian national identity with Khalidi when he was a professor at Columbia. "Have we decided that we are going to throw all the Likudniks out of public life?"

"My Arab students never tried to shut me up when I was teaching Zionism at Columbia," Hertzberg said. "We ought to be ready to brook disagreements."

posted by Somebody @ 10:35 PM Permanent Link 0 comments

Bush Plan for Funding of Palestinians Facing Resistance in Congress

DeLay, Democrats Seek Conditions
By Ori Nir
February 25, 2005

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration's efforts to revive the Palestinian economy and boost the peace process with a quick infusion of American aid are facing stiff resistance from some pro-Israel forces on Capitol Hill.

Supporters of the assistance fear that the stringent conditions being proposed by opponents to the Palestinian aid package will slow down or even sink the administration's attempts to secure direct financial aid to the Palestinian Authority. The Bush administration is asking Congress for $200 million in emergency aid for the Palestinians, in addition to the $150 million for the Palestinians in the president's 2006 fiscal budget.

Powerful members of the House of Representatives, including House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Republican, and several Democratic lawmakers, are either opposing any direct aid to the P.A. or pushing for more stringent conditions on direct assistance. Many in Congress are concerned that the aid package might be thwarted by such conditions, including calls for American funds to be dependent on Arab countries fulfilling previous financial pledges to the Palestinians.

"If you want to ensure that there will not be a peace process, then you attach enough strings [to the aid package] that you strangle the process," said Rep. Gary Ackerman of New York, the ranking Democrat on House Subcommittee on the Middle East.

Congressional staffers who sought guidance from the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most influential pro-Israel lobbying organization, were told that Aipac supports aid to the Palestinians, including direct cash assistance — as long as safeguards are in place to make sure that the funds are not used to fund terrorism or to perpetuate corruption in the P.A.

But for the most part, Aipac and other prominent Jewish organizations are not actively lobbying for or against the aid package. The lack of lobbying comes despite White House and Israeli support for the plan.

Israeli officials recently said that Jerusalem might be facing a situation similar to the one that existed in the mid-1990s, when American Jews were slow to adjust to Israeli-Palestinian rapprochement during the Oslo process.

To address that concern, American Jewish communal leaders, returning from a week of political meetings in Israel, will brief their groups and communities, said Malcolm Hoenlein, vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Members of the Conference of Presidents, widely viewed as the American Jewish community's consensus voice on Middle East affairs, met with top representatives of the Israeli government, Israeli military leaders and representatives of the P.A.

At a press conference in Jerusalem, the chairman of the conference, James Tisch, said that the umbrella group has "unequivocally" expressed its support for the plan, a sentiment echoed by Hoenlein.

President Bush, speaking in Brussels this week, called peace between Israel and its neighbors "our greatest opportunity, and our immediate goal." He declared that "peace is within reach" and said he intends to be personnaly involved.

Such involvement will be needed to pass the aid package, said Lewis Roth, assistant executive director of Americans for Peace Now, a longtime proponent of aggressive American efforts to secure a two-state solution. The organization has emerged as the chief Jewish group lobbying for direct aid to the Palestinians.

Lobbying against the package is the Zionist Organization of America, which has become increasingly vocal in its criticisms of the Gaza disengagement plan of Israeli Prime Minister Sharon.

Opponents to a quick, loosely conditioned aid package are in the minority, especially in the Senate, according to congressional insiders. However, some of the opponents are highly influential. They could significantly hinder the administration's attempt to rush cash to the West Bank and Gaza in order to produce a "peace dividend" by creating jobs and instilling a sense of economic recovery among Palestinians.

DeLay, a top ZOA ally, is set to impede progress on the current aid plan, his aides told reporters last week. They said that the majority leader, who is highly skeptical of the P.A. and of current Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, would try to detach most of the proposed Palestinian aid from the administration's $82 billion supplemental spending request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — a move that would slow down the disbursement of aid and allow legislators more time to scrutinize and attach conditions to the package.

A DeLay spokesman told the Forward the Majority Leader believes that "the first step in discussing any aid package to the Palestinian Authority [is] to ensure that there is a real commitment — not only in rhetoric but in action — to going after the terrorist organizations."

Last December DeLay, who in the past vehemently opposed direct aid to the Palestinians, proved his ability to restrain such assistance when he successfully insisted that almost all the $20 million requested by the administration for assisting the election of a new Palestinian president actually go to cover Palestinian utility bills to Israel.

Some lawmakers, including Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat representing heavily Orthodox sections of Brooklyn, are squarely opposed to directly funneling aid through the P.A. Rep. Tom Lantos, a California Democrat and the lone Holocaust survivor in Congress, is among those arguing that America should not send funds to the P.A. as long as Arab states do not fully live up to the funds they pledged to support the fledgling Palestinian entity in past years. Others, including Rep. Shelley Berkley, a Nevada Democrat, are demanding that any American funds be contingent on the Palestinians proving that they are effectively fighting terrorism, incitement and corruption in their midst.

Israeli officials pointed out that Jerusalem and the White House do support safeguards against money being spent on terrorist activities, as does the World Bank, the European Union and other donors to the P.A. Even Palestinian officials stated recently that such safeguards are welcome.

Yet the demands of some lawmakers extend far beyond such proposals.

Ackerman criticized colleagues who oppose the administration's push for a quick, direct aid package, accusing them of refusing to join Israel's prime minister in taking chances for peace.

"If you want to make sure that the process succeeds, step up to the plate," Ackerman said. He lamented what he described as the "pandering" of some of his congressional colleagues to their constituents by "playing tough guys."

Lantos rejected Ackerman's criticism. "Only through the adoption of my conditions do we have any chance of the [peace] process going forward," Lantos said.

"One of the things that we have learned the lesson about, very painfully," Lantos said, "is that the Palestinians have to be held to their promises, both in regards to the total termination of their terrorist activities and promises with respect to full transparency and accountability."

Lantos denied suggestions made by congressional staffers that legislators demanding strict conditions on aid to the P.A. are out of step with positive development between Israel and the Palestinians. "There is no reluctance to recognize a new reality," Lantos said. "But there is total reluctance on my part to closing my eyes to the continuous terrorist activity and financial corruption" in the Palestinian Authority.

posted by Somebody @ 10:25 PM Permanent Link 0 comments

Organizations Confront State Department over Silence Accorded Israeli Mistreatment of U.S. Citizens

Date: February 24, 2005

A delegation of concerned organizations and citizens met with State Department officials on February 17 to request an explanation of why there has been an official silence on the part of the U.S. Government over the mistreatment of Americans in Israel.

During the meeting, they requested that the Department negotiate the release of American prisoners at the same time as Palestinians were being released by the Sharon government, as a significant gesture by Israel of its friendship with the American people.

Nazir Hussain and Norman Tanber, members of the Arab American Republican Club of Orange County, asked in a statement presented at the meeting for more effective protection of American prisoners in Israel as a way of "recapturing the moral high ground." Nicholas Dibs, another member, called the discussion "a meeting for those who can't speak for themselves," and spoke at length on the need for greater transparency on the question of Palestinian-Americans caught up in the Israeli justice system.
Meeting with the group were Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Catherine Barry, and David J. Green, representing Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Elizabeth Dibble. The meeting had taken almost a year to arrange.

Jerri Bird, president of Partners for Peace, participated in the first meeting with the Department of State on this issue four years ago. She reviewed for the present officials the egregious use of torture she had discovered through considerable investment in time and effort.

Accompanying the delegation was Ambassador Edward Peck, former Chief of Mission to Baghdad, who spoke of "the intolerable, indefensible silence of the American government over the imprisonment of U.S. citizens," and Dr. Riad Abdelkarim who, as head of an International Medical Corps fact-finding mission to the West Bank in 2002, explained how he was jailed for 15 days, with any charges or explanations being given for his detention. Nor was he given any effective assistance by the consular staff of the American embassy. No U.S. demands were made for his release. He said that for three years he had been unable to obtain a meeting with State Department officials.

The delegation submitted 10 actions for the Department of State to consider, including:

providing a list of Americans held in Israeli jails on a quarterly basis;

facilitating a delegation as soon as possible to visit all American prisoners held in Israeli jails;

working to attain agreement from both Israelis and Palestinians that non-violent international groups be allowed to operate, and to facilitate their efforts to promote the peace process on the non-governmental organization track;

urging Israel to stop forcing Palestinian-American residents of East Jerusalem to make a choice between holding an American passport and giving up their Jerusalem identity card, with all its benefits;

encouraging congressional efforts to negotiate a "code of interrogation" and promote its use by friendly nations, particularly in the Middle East

Huwaida Arraf of the International Solidarity Movement and Michael Brown, executive director of Partners for Peace, drew attention to the failure of the government to publicly criticize Israel over the recent detention of U.S. citizen Pat O'Connor, an ISM volunteer working in the West Bank. Two years ago, another ISM volunteer, Rachel Corrie, was crushed to death by a US-exported Caterpillar bulldozer driven by an Israeli solider, and the US has never demanded an independent investigation into the incident.

The State Department officials apologized to Dr. Abdelkarim for his treatment, and promised to look into the reasons why he, American citizens Dr. Laila al-Marayati of the Muslim Women's League and chairwoman of KinderUSA, and Ms. Dalell Mohmed of KinderUSA, who also attended the meeting, were banned from returning to the West Bank. If able, they offered to assist with their return.

The delegation included the Council for the National Interest, Partners for Peace, the Arab American Republican Club of Orange County (which organized the meeting), the International Solidarity Movement, KinderUSA, the Muslim Women's League, the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, and American Muslims for Jerusalem. Also attending were several congressional aides.

For more information, contact: Terry Walz, 202-863-2951

Council for the National Interest Foundation

posted by Somebody @ 8:48 PM Permanent Link 0 comments

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

News for 02-23-05

2-23 - Israeli Soldiers Drive Shepherds From Their land

2-23 - Palestinian premier wins cabinet deal

2-23 - Israel, PA discussing security plan based on Tenet outline: Sharon Despite the historic agreement reached at the summit, Sharon made clear late Tuesday that Israel was not party to the ceasefire agreement, which he said was an internal issue between the Palestinian leadership and militant groups

2-23 - Hebron Horrors

2-23 - Peace Now: Construction in the Gaza Strip Settlements Growing

2-23 - Israel still demolishing homes

2-23 - Israeli ambassador booed in Florence

2-23 - 500 million Christians urged to divest

2-23 - Sharon says France "pro-Arab" Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has criticised France for balking at a U.S.-backed proposal to declare Hizbollah a terrorist group.

2-23 - In Israel, money can't buy you peace Last week the Israeli parliament voted $870 million to pay 8,500 settlers in Gaza and a few hundred in the West Bank to leave their homes. But there are at least 250,000 Jewish settlers on the West Bank. Will Israel pay for any resettlement? Or will the US and others pony up cash to finance the transition?

2-23 - Brian Avery challenges Israeli military impunity Brian, an American human rights activist with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), was shot in the face and critically wounded on April 5, 2003 by Israeli soldiers

2-23 - 23 Feb. 2005: Barrier route updated Despite these improvements, the new route does not eliminate the ?fingers? which reach deep into the West Bank to surround the Ariel and Qedumim settlements. In addition, a new section of the Barrier has been added around Ma'ale Adumim and the settlements near it. In these locations, the government approved the route in principle.

2-23 - Egypt insists on Gaza corridor pullout Egypt has insisted on Israeli withdrawal from the corridor between Gaza and Egyptian territory as part of an agreement they are negotiating to go with an Israeli withdrawal from the rest of Gaza.

2-23 - Sharon rejects Peres request to participate in London summit Peres met Sharon on Monday and told him that Israel's absence from the summit would be a mistake, and that the PA and donor states have requested Israel's presence.

2-23 - Jordan calls for recognizing Palestinian refugees's right of return

2-23 - NATO chief: We could send troops once treaty is signed

2-23 - Rabbis at pro-Palestinian conference "Zionists can in no way represent Jewry," said Cohen, who wore a badge pinned to his chest showing a Palestinian flag written on it "A Jew Not a Zionist" in Arabic, English and Hebrew.

2-23 - London talks for Middle East peace However, this strategy will count for little unless Israel can also be persuaded to freeze settlement construction and land confiscation.

2-23 - Rewarding aggression in Palestine

2-23 - A New Face to Bush Foreign Policy? This is evident first and foremost in the new appointments to key positions in the Administration as well as the top officials retained in office.

2-23 - The War Party's agenda: Syria, Iran, and beyond I just see issue after issue in the Middle East where the United States eventually is playing the Israeli game and adhering to the Israeli agenda

2-23 - Weiner Says He'll Defend Israel 'Here or Anywhere'

2-23 - Lawyer Decries Couple's Prosecution "If my client's surname was Smith or Jones, we would not have been there"

2-23 - Who killed Rafik Hariri? There is far more to this crisis than a struggle between rival clans in Lebanon.

posted by Somebody @ 10:31 PM Permanent Link 0 comments

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

News for 02-22-05

2-22 - Palestinian forces probe murder of security officer

2-22 - MPs force Qureia to purge ministers

2-22 - Jewish settlers threaten attack on Al Aqsa

2-22 - Israel to Disarm Militant Settlers

2-22 - Brian Avery challenges Israeli military impunity

2-22 - Supreme court freezes construction of separation barrier near Ramallah

2-22 - Toddler coveted by both Palestinian, Israeli parents

2-22 - ICRC monitored the release of Palestinian detainees

2-22 - Palestinians close down seven tunnels in south Gaza Strip - Israeli officer

2-22 - Mofaz picks Halutz as next IDF chief of staff as commander of the air force, Halutz oversaw one of the most controversial air strikes during the Al-Aqsa Intifada: in July 2002, the air force dropped a one-ton bomb on a Gaza neighborhood to assassinate a Hamas militant. The militant, Salah Shehadeh, was killed along with 16 others.

2-22 - Sharon tells Egyptians he no warmonger

2-22 - Settlers Eye Budget to Block Gaza Pullout If opponents to the withdrawal or the government's economic policy vote down the spending plan in parliament, they can bring down the government ? and hold up the pullout indefinitely.

2-22 - Arab-US tensions linger over US policies in region: survey

2-22 - Israel hopes to reap diplomatic dividends from Gaza pullout plan

2-22 - Israel Killed al-Hariri to Set the Stage for a Confrontation with Hezbollah

2-22 - IAF: Israel must be prepared for an air strike on Iran

2-22 - What Christians in Holy Land Are Armed With

2-22 - Japan donates $15 million for re-housing and job creation to UNRWA's emergency appeal

2-22 - An odious policy razed

2-22 - Wednesday, April 13, 2005 -- Day of Action Against Caterpillar Stop Caterpillar from selling home-crushing bulldozers to Israel

2-22 - Palestinian brewery hopes to toast Middle East peace "We don't have our own country, but we have our own beer."

posted by Somebody @ 10:28 PM Permanent Link 0 comments

Monday, February 21, 2005

News for 02-21-05

2-21 - 500 prisoners freed, but Palestinians await the rest Last week, Israeli forces shot dead two youths aged 14 and 15 in separate incidents, one for allegedly throwing stones and the other for brandishing a knife. Yesterday, Palestinians questioned why it was necessary to kill rather than wound the teenagers.

2-21 - Urgent Action Help Protect CPT Peacemakers from Extremist Israeli Settler Violence
- Urge Israeli and your Authorities to Halt Settler Attacks

2-21 - Palestinians wounded by IDF in separation fence protest

2-21 - Palestinians freed by Israel warn their release is not enough to secure peace in a village close to Jenin they were overshadowed when a 30-year-old bystander was killed accidentally, and four others were wounded by celebratory gunfire.

2-21 - Hebron Shepherds and nonviolence The shepherds have
found the strength to take back some of their land.

2-21 - Scenes of joy as freed Palestinian prisoners hailed as heroes

2-21 - ICAHD Launches Bottom-up E-mail Campaign

2-21 - PM pledges: No negotiation on J'lem "Jerusalem will remain united as the eternal capital of the Jewish people. It will not be divided," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pledged on Monday at the conclusion of a meeting with President Moshe Katsav

2-21 - Settlers vow to fight to the death after Israel approves Gaza pullout

2-21 - 'Seize the Moment,' Bush Tells Palestinian Leader

2-21 - Bush Calls for 'Contiguous' Palestine


2-21 - Mideast peace is key US-EU goal, says Bush Bush is telling the Europeans what they want to hear (to gain their support for ..).

2-21 - 9,000 Jewish settlers to split $900 million

2-21 - In pictures: Palestinians freed

2-21 - Fatah passes Palestinian cabinet

2-21 - Palestinian cabinet vote delayed

2-21 - Palestinians freed, but barrier path still draws ire

2-21 - Likud rebels scheme to torpedo pullout Headed by Likud MK Uzi Landau, the rebels proposed two schemes to bring about the downfall of the disengagement plan.

2-21 - Bush Scolds Russia for Political Crackdown "All the parties have responsibilities to meet," Bush said. "Arab states must end incitement in their own media, cut off public and private funding for terrorism, stop their support for extremist education and establish normal relations with Israel,"

2-21 - Egyptian gas for Israel

2-21 - More PR woes for York University: $10-million defamation suit by ...

2-21 - QUIT! premieres latest line of "Estee Slaughter" products on Valentine's Day Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!) premiered "Eternally Mine," "a stench beyond occupation," from Estee Slaughter at its Valentine's Day Extravaganza at Macy's Union Square in San Francisco.

2-21 - Israel pushes U.S. on Iran nuke solution

2-21 - Baiting a Trap for Bush? by Patrick J. Buchanan

2-21 - World Council of Churches gives nod to Israeli divestment proposal The World Council of Churches (WCC) on February 21 urged its members to consider economic measures to oppose Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and praised the action of a U.S. denomination that has started a process of selective divestment from companies linked to the occupation.

posted by Somebody @ 10:08 PM Permanent Link 0 comments

Urgent Action

20 February 2005

- Help Protect CPT Peacemakers from Extremist Israeli Settler Violence
- Urge Israeli and your Authorities to Halt Settler Attacks

On 16 February 2005, a pair of Israeli settlers attacked international
team workers from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) and the Italian-based
Operation Dove (OD), breaking the jaw of one Italian and sending him to
hospital with a concussion and memory loss. The attack occurred near the
Palestinian village of At-Tuwani and the Israeli settler outpost of
Ma'on, a location of repeated settler harassment. CPT and OD have turned
over videotape of the settlers to the Israeli police and the US
Consulate in
Jerusalem. Find more details about the attack below.

Since Ma'on settlement was established in 1982, settlers have
more than 350 acres of At-Tuwani land. For years settlers and Israeli
soldiers have harassed the At-Tuwani Palestinian community with relative
impunity. In an effort to reduce this violence and harassment, CPT and
have maintained a presence in the At-Tuwani region in the southern West
for over 6 months, accompanying Palestinian school children and farmers
experience repeated attacks from Israeli settlers.

The 16 February attack is the latest in a pattern of attacks by
settlers on international peace-builders and local Palestinians. In
September 2004 a group of masked settlers attacked and beat CPTers Kim
Lamberty and Chris Brown with chains, breaking Lamberty's arm and
Brown's lung. In October 2004 masked settlers attacked a group of five
internationals including CPTers Diana Zimmerman and Dianne Janzen and
severely beat an OD member, nearly rupturing his kidney and injuring his
wrist. In December 2004 and January 2005 settlers attacked Palestinian
shepherds numerous times, and repeatedly threatened violence against

At a time when a flagging peace process is inching forward, many are
that Palestinian extremist actions threaten to derail the process. There
little said in the press about Israeli extremists and military actions
also jeopardize peace.

Please notify CPT at peacemakers@c... as to what action you have
who you talked to and what they agreed to do, so that we can follow up
let you know the impact of your action.

As soon as possible, ask Israeli authorities to expediently and
investigate the February 16 attack on unarmed international peacemakers
the village of At-Tuwani, Hebron District, and to hold these armed
civilians accountable for their violence.
-Israeli Minister of Justice, Tzipi Livni, from North America dial: Tel:
011-972-2-675-3225 Fax: 011-972-2-675-3709 E-mail zlivni@k...
-Israeli Ministry of the Interior, Avraham Poraz, from North America
Tel: 011- 972-2-6701411 Fax: 011-972-2-6701628 e-mail: sar@m...

- Give them the details of the attacks.
- Tell them the presence of international peace-builders like CPT and OD
an important element in reducing violence as the peace process inches
- Agree that it is in the interest of peace to deter extremist violence
all sides -- including settlers -- cannot be allowed to continue.
- Remind decision-makers that it was an extremist settler that
Prime Minister Rabin. The February 16 attack is an opportunity to place
scrutiny on extremist settlers.
- Most importantly: Urge decision-makers to apply pressure so that an
expedient and thorough investigation into the February 16 attack is
conducted. Ask them what they can do to help.



At 11:00 a.m. 16 February 2005 while CPT member Dianna Zimmerman and an
Operation Dove (OD) team member were accompanying shepherds on their own
land near the Havat Ma'on Israeli Settler Outpost above At-Tuwani at the
southernmost tip of the West Bank. Two settlers accosted them. One
discharged his gun into the air, and later stood with his gun aimed at
Zimmerman while she engaged the other in dialogue. When the army drove
the settlers briefly left.

A short time later CPT member Sally Hunsburger, a U.S. national, and two
Italian OD members appeared over the crest of the hill from the
direction of
the village of Tuba. Settlers reappeared, noticed the video camera a
member was carrying, and attacked. One OD member was treated for a head
injury including blurred vision and memory loss, and a broken jaw and
from a karate kick. He has short-term memory loss and blurred vision. A
second OD member was also punched and kicked. His injuries were less
Hunsberger was threatened during the attack, but was not injured.
police, who are responsible for issues related to settlers in the West
were contacted immediately. Instead of coming to the scene of the
they required the internationals who had suffered the attack to come to
their station at the gate of the Ma'on settlement to file a report.

For Agence France Presse report: SETTLERS BREAK JAW OF ITALIAN PEACE


Christian Peacemaker Teams is an ecumenical initiative to support violence
reduction efforts around the world. To learn more about CPT's peacemaking
work, please visit our website at:
Photos of our projects may be viewed at:

posted by Somebody @ 11:52 AM Permanent Link 0 comments

Sunday, February 20, 2005

News for 02-20-05

2-20 - Israelis target two Palestinians A 16-year-old was also shot in the back in Khan Yunis by troops protecting nearby Israeli settlements

2-20 - Israel wounds Egyptian soldier:

2-20 - PA officer killed while demolishing Gaza smuggling tunnel

2-20 - Israeli Cabinet OKs Settlement Withdrawal "What right does Israel have to build settlements on our land?" Abbas said.

2-20 - Israel approves evacuation of Gaza settlements Sharon will also have to contend with Palestinian anger at the cabinet's expected decision to push forward with the final segment of a barrier that cuts into the West Bank to encompass two settlement clusters near Jerusalem.

2-20 - Israel to free prisoners in gesture to Abbas

2-20 - Move to annex settlements overshadows Israeli cabinet's approval of Gaza pullout

2-20 - Abbas says willing to discuss refugee return

2-20 - Vandals foul water supply of Palestinian village near Yitzhar Kamal told Haaretz that 10 days ago a group of Israelis, some of them armed, clashed with shepherds near the spring. That evening the water stopped flowing to the villagers' houses.

2-20 - Israel allows 16 Palestinian deportees home

2-20 - E-Learning Defeats Israeli Restrictions Saati said that video conferencing rekindled hopes of dozens of Palestinian researchers to carry on with academic career.

2-20 - Israelis' 'regret' not good enough

2-20 - Abu Mazen"We Seek an Agreement with Hamas and Jihad"

2-20 - Abbas: Pullout won't be under fire The Palestinians, Abbas said, would "throw flowers on the Israelis, not stones."

2-20 - Hamas warns over extremists attack on Al Aqsa Mosque

2-20 - 'I never saw such fear' Each year thousands of foreign workers are invited to Israel, lured by the promise of good jobs and a new life. The reality is grimly different - they are treated like slave labour, live in squalor and, if they fall sick, can face deportation. Rachel Shabi reports

2-20 - Palestinians skeptical of Israeli pullout

2-20 - Bush to Focus on Israel, Iran in Bid to Mend Iraq Rift With EU

2-20 - Australia agog with tale of the playboy 'diplomat' and a minister's daughter

2-20 - Syrian minister hints at Israel, US, involvement in Harari killing

2-20 - Noor: Husband Put Mideast Ahead of Health

2-20 - Syria slams US, Israel Tishrin said Israel was "the only beneficiary of (Mr) Hariri's assassination".

2-20 - King Abdullah doubts terrorists killed Hariri - paper And he said antagonism towards the United States in the Arab street had reached dangerous levels and anger was now being directed at the American people and not just U.S. foreign policy.

2-20 - Neo-Cons, Israeli Lobby Declare War On Putin

2-20 - U.S. Jewish leaders relying on Bush to monitor aid to PA

posted by Somebody @ 10:24 PM Permanent Link 0 comments

Bush to Focus on Israel, Iran in Bid to Mend Iraq Rift With EU

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. President George W. Bush will call for a unified front with Europe to promote peace in the Middle East, spokesman Scott McClellan said as Bush began a four- day visit partly aimed at healing a rift over the war in Iraq.

``He'll talk about the immediate goal of peace in the Middle East and specifically about the unique opportunity we have to seize, to reach a settlement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,'' McClellan told reporters aboard Air Force One.

Bush arrived in Brussels today on his first post-election trip to Europe, anxious to repair relations with France, Germany and Russia, which opposed the war in Iraq, and to build a consensus on how to handle issues ranging from Iran to China.

``I know we had a difference of opinion, and it was a big difference of opinion on Iraq,'' Bush told European reporters at the White House on Friday. ``But now is the time for us to set aside that difference and to move forward.''

Americans and Europeans shouldn't expect too much from this visit, said Stephen Sestanovich, a professor of diplomacy at Columbia University in New York.

``You don't look for a trip to completely change the atmosphere,'' said Sestanovich, who's also a Russian and Eurasian studies expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. ``Politicians look for small steps,'' he said at a forum in Washington on Thursday. ``They want a symbol of some kind of cooperation.''

Move Beyond Iraq

Bush hosts a dinner with French President Jacques Chirac on Monday in Brussels. He will meet with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Mainz, Germany, on Wednesday and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, on Thursday.

Bush wants the U.S. and Europe to move beyond Iraq and to promote political and economic freedom in the broader Middle East, according to a senior administration official who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity during the flight to Europe.

At the same time, he'll seek to use his re-election in November to answer those in the European Union who are skeptical that his policies have support in the U.S., the official said.

Bush will raise concern about the EU's intention to lift a 15- year-old weapons embargo on China and what the U.S. says is Iran's development of nuclear arms technology, the official said.

While U.S. and European leaders have expressed optimism over last month's election of Mahmoud Abbas as president of the Palestinian Authority, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other European leaders have urged the Bush administration to become more directly involved in the Middle East peace process.

Difference Over Hezbollah

The U.S. and EU also disagree over the treatment of Hezbollah, a Shiite organization that the U.S. labels a terrorist group and the EU does not.

Bush's meeting with Putin may amount to a showdown over Russia's aid to Iran in building a nuclear power plant.

Putin ``has made some decisions that I look forward to hearing, in a very private way -- you know, why he made the decisions,'' Bush said on Friday. He told reporters he ``can be frank'' with the Russian leader. ``If you disagree with him, you tell him you disagree with him,'' he said.

Putin said Friday he would continue helping Iran build a nuclear power plant. The U.S. has urged him to abandon the reactor project in the Iranian city of Bushehr, arguing that it will facilitate a nuclear weapons program.

Bush told German ARD television on Friday he wants to work with Europe on halting Iran's nuclear program, the DPA newswire reported. Yet the U.S. has refused to participate in negotiations with Iran that are being led by Britain, France and Germany, sparking concern that the Bush administration wants to keep open a military option.

`Simply Not True'

Bush said the U.S. wants a diplomatic solution.

``I hear all these rumors about military attacks, but it is simply not true,'' DPA, in translation, cited Bush as saying. The president said Iran must stop supporting groups such as Hezbollah, which controls much of southern Lebanon, the German newswire reported.

Putin's statement that Russia will assist Iran's development of nuclear technology and continue military sales adds tension to his meeting with Bush, said James Goldgeier, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

``The timing of this, coming just before the summit, is provocative,'' said Goldgeier, a professor at George Washington University.

Putin Cites Elections

Putin told Hassan Rouhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme Security Council, that Russia will continue cooperating with Iran on nuclear energy projects, at a meeting on Friday in Moscow.

In a statement posted on the Kremlin's Internet site, Putin said the country's recent elections ``convince us that Iran doesn't intend to produce nuclear weapons.''

Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the Washington Post on Feb. 16 that his agency has uncovered no evidence in the last six months to substantiate U.S. concerns that Iran is working on a nuclear bomb.

Last week's car bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, which killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, also puts a focus on Syria. United Nations resolution 1559, passed last year, calls on other governments to remove themselves from Lebanon.

Bush cited U.S. cooperation with France in winning approval of that resolution, saying he hopes he and Chirac can discuss working together after the split over Iraq.

Bush recalled the U.S. ambassador to Syria in response to Hariri's killing on Feb. 14 and Syria's continued military involvement in Lebanon more than 15 years after it promised to withdraw.

``If we speak with a single voice, Syria will understand the message,'' Bush said in an interview yesterday with French television channel France 3, speaking through an interpreter.

Bush will have to change the way he has dealt with allies in the past, said Goldgeier of George Washington University.

``The great certainty that the American policy is right makes it difficult to work with others who have a different point of view,'' Goldgeier said. ``If that doesn't change, it's going to be difficult to work together.''


posted by Somebody @ 9:05 PM Permanent Link 0 comments

Saturday, February 19, 2005

News for 02-19-05

2-19 - Peres: Israel to evacuate from Philadelphi corridor

2-19 - Sharon says West Bank barrier not border for Palestinian state Sharon was also asked about two other sticking points in the peace process -- the future of Palestinians who fled or were driven from their homes when the state of Israel was created in 1948, and the status of Jerusalem

2-19 - Israel's Gaza withdrawal poised to win cabinet approval In an east Jerusalem hospital, a Palestinian teenager wounded last November during clashes with the Israeli army, died of his wounds, medics said.

2-19 - Netanyahu says will vote against disengagement bill

2-19 - A small but welcome step

2-19 - Emaar plans to set up firm in Palestine

2-19 - Jordan returns ambassador to Israel after 4 years

2-19 - Struggling for Justice in Palestine It is continuing, right now, to expand settlements and is building literally thousands of new housing units in areas confiscated from Palestinian ownership, both in the Jerusalem area and elsewhere along the wall.

2-19 - Dahlan offers to take Tul Karm first due to Jericho dispute

2-19 - PLC discharges Qurei from forming new cabinet

2-19 - Blindly Backing Israel Against Iran

2-19 - When Negroponte Raised His Hand, US Credibility Sunk to New Low

2-19 - South African film version of Carmen wins top prize at Berlin festival Paradise Now, a German, French and Dutch co-production from director Hany Abu-Assad that follows 28 hours in the lives of two Palestinian suicide bombers, was voted best European film.

2-19 - Army considers Israeli systems The purchase, if included in the 2005 procurement budget, would be the first since 2002 from Israeli companies.

2-19 - Palestine in Nokialand

2-19 - Hezbollah back in US sights after bombing

posted by Somebody @ 10:19 PM Permanent Link 0 comments

Friday, February 18, 2005

News for 02-18-05

2-18 - West Bank settler assaults Palestinian shepherd

2-18 - Settler said arrested for attacking Palestinian with a club

2-18 - Gaza crossing re-opened to young

2-18 - Mother forced to give birth at Qalandia checkpoint in good health along with her baby boy

2-18 - Expelled Palestinians to return to West Bank

2-18 - The Arab property tycoon, the Israeli settlements and a clever plan to boost Gaza

2-18 - Emergency grant aid to the Palestinian Territories

2-18 - European aid official urges Israel to suspend barrier work "We continue to be very worried about the construction of the security barrier or the wall which has major humanitarian consequences for the Palestinians,"

2-18 - US Presbyterians Consider Divesting Over West Bank

2-18 - Fatah revolt on Palestinian cabinet

2-18 - Peres proposes sell-off of Gaza Strip settlements

2-18 - Bush Says U.S. Won't Attack Iran

2-18 - West Bank Progress Report: Water & Youth With Near East Foundation project development and proposal writing assistance, the poorest of the poor in the West Bank village of Yasid will be getting good drinking water soon, and workers in the area gainful employment while making that possible.

2-18 - Poor Palestinian Families Get the Feast Day They Deserve

2-18 - Israel to approve new West Bank barrier route, Gaza pullout

2-18 - Israel Agrees to Evacuate Gaza Border

2-18 - Sex for secrets The Daily Telegraph has discovered that the former consul last year visited the man who had served 19 years in a special unit of the Israeli Army.

2-18 - Huge obstacles to Mid-East peace

2-18 - Claims Israel uses Australia as spy base

2-18 - Mideast Mirage? But the greatest weakness of the Sharm el Sheik agreement is that it fails to address the root of the conflict: the thirty-eight-year occupation

2-18 - Tragic photographer?s images of Gaza Strip

2-18 - How Manadel al-Jamadi was killed in Abu Ghraib It's a technique called "Palestinian hanging," not because Palestinians do it, but because Palestinians are hung that way by Israelis.

2-18 - Radio station rolls over and crushes host

posted by Somebody @ 10:37 PM Permanent Link 0 comments

Thursday, February 17, 2005

News for 02-17-05

2-17 - Palestinian gives birth at checkpoint A Palestinian woman has been forced to deliver her baby at an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank.

2-17 - Qurie to present new Cabinet on Monday

2-17 - Italian attacked by Jewish settlers

2-17 - Truce-Bound Israel Stops Razing Palestinian Homes At least seven Palestinians have also been killed during the operations -- crushed under rubble, witnesses said, after failing to hear or heed the army's evacuation orders.

2-17 - UN envoy: IDF has destroyed 4,170 houses "Israel has engaged in a massive and wanton destruction of property. Bulldozers have destroyed homes in a purposeless manner and have savagely dug up roads, including electricity, sewage and water lines."

2-17 - Israel to allow deportees' return Most of the other homes were destroyed to clear away buildings used by militants to mount attacks or to widen security roads. Such demolitions were not mentioned in Thursday's decision.

2-17 - Soldiers bar residents from crossing to their lands behind the Wall

2-17 - Thought for the Day ends in apology

2-17 - ILA admits using banned chemicals to spray Bedouin crops

2-17 - Gazan students unable to study in West Bank

2-17 - Bush: US to back Israel against Iranian threat "And in that Israel is our ally and in that we've made a very strong commitment to support Israel, we will support Israel if her security is threatened,"

2-17 - From 2003: Rice: Israel?s Security Is Key To Security Of Rest Of World

2-17 - Iran-Russia Deal Could Blunt Bush Diplomacy Talk

2-17 - Sharon's son charged in corruption case

2-17 - Palestinian Deportees to Start Returning

2-17 - USAID proposes Palestinian company 'caretaker' for Gush Katif lands

2-17 - Despite massive obstacles, Mideast leaders commit to Israeli pullback Yet the checkpoints prevent Palestinian security forces from doing their job

2-17 - Connecticut native released from Israeli prison

2-17 - An unsolved mystery

2-17 - Israeli settlers to defy Gaza vote

2-17 - Arab billionaire offers to buy evacuated settlements

2-17 - Jewish panel questions Israeli occupation "American money should not be enabling such gross human rights violations."


2-17 - Dean still faces doubts on Israel

2-17 - Protestant Churches Consider - Anti-Israeli Divestment two more mainline Protestant denominations ? the United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ ? are now weighing divestment proposals aimed at pressuring Israel to withdraw from Gaza and the West Bank

2-17 - Israel apology confirmed The prime minister's office today confirmed that Israel is working on an apology in the matter of two Israeli citizens accused in court of an amateurish attempt at passport fraud last year.

2-17 - Russia, Israel and Media Omissions It is in Israel's interests to bring to power a regime in Russia friendly to Israel, rather than the current one under Putin, which Israeli leaders feel is supportive of its enemies

2-17 - Bush warns Syria and Iran see paragraphs 2 and 3 from this article from 2003.

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