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Today in Palestine! Headlines September 19, 2007

Thursday 20 September 2007

Families cannot sue firm for Israel deaths
The parents of Rachel Corrie, the US peace activist who was crushed to death four years ago in the then Israeli-occupied Gaza as she was protesting against the demolition of Palestinian homes, have been refused permission to sue the company which made the bulldozer that killed her. A panel of three judges argued that the legal action could not have gone to trial “without implicitly questioning, and even condemning, United States foreign policy towards Israel”.

West Bank village faces demolition
When school began this month, the children of Akkaba in the northern West Bank did not just have the usual concerns of a new school year. The children of Akkaba in their soon-to-be-demolished school . They had the added grave worry that any day their school may be demolished. The Israeli army says Akkaba is in a “militarised zone” and was built without planning permission. It therefore views the village as illegal and has handed out dozens of demolition orders.

Hamas denounces curbs on Gaza as ’declaration of war’
Hamas denounced as a “declaration of war” the Wednesday decision of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s security cabinet to declare Gaza a “hostile entity” and to approve curbs in electricity and fuel supplies to the population of the strip. “They aim to starve our people and force them to accept humiliating formulas that could emerge from the so-called November peace conference,” said Hamas spokesman Barhoum, referring to a U.S.-sponsored meeting expected to be held in two months.

FEATURE-Gaza on war footing as Israel declares it “enemy”
Masked gunmen crouch behind piles of sand, fingers on the triggers of their rifles, while others rig explosives along the streets of Gaza. The Hamas-run Gaza Strip is bracing for a major incursion by Israeli forces after the Jewish state labelled the territory an “enemy entity” on Wednesday, a move the Islamist group described as a declaration of war.

Hamas ’hostile entity’ to US
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday that the Hamas movement ruling the Gaza Strip was a “hostile entity” for the United States, after Israel made a similar declaration. “Hamas is indeed a hostile entity. It is a hostile entity to the US as well,” Rice said at a press conference with Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni.

Erekat says Rice’s visit will guarantee success to int’l peace conference
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Wednesday that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’ visit to the region is to guarantee success to a U.S.-sponsored international peace conference slated for November."

Israeli occupation force soldier and Palestinian resistance fighter killed in West Bank
An Israeli soldier and a teenage Palestinian were killed during a major Israeli incursion into a refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank yesterday, officials said.

For the second day the army continues to attack Nablus, killing one
Israeli forces continued, on Wednesday, the military operation in El-Ein Beit Al Ma refugee camp in the northern West Bank city of Nablus for the second consecutive day. Israeli soldiers shot and killed a disabled Palestinian man in his home during the early hours of Wednesday morning. The man, Adeeb Al Damouny, received serious injuries to his head and neck.

Israeli forces kidnap 3 Palestinians from Qalqilia, one from Hebron, two from Bethlehem
Israeli forces kidnapped three Palestinians from the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Hamas militants fire at invading Israeli troops in northern Gaza
The military wing of Hamas movement said it fired three mortar shells at an Israeli army force that invaded the eastern part of Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza.

Israel prepares response to Palestinian rocket attack that wounded soldiers
The Israeli government came under increasing pressure Tuesday to respond harshly to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip after a barrage wounded dozens of soldiers as they slept in their tents at an Israeli army base.

PLO Executive Committee: Israeli crimes aim at dismantling the peace process
During its Wednesday meeting, the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) affirmed the necessity to guarantee the success of all conditions for the coming peace conference, including affirming the Arab Peace Initiative, and the rest of the resolutions of the International legitimacy, and stressed on the importance of the attendance of all of concerned countries without any obstacles or preconditions.

Bil’in vows campaign will go on
Despite their victory in the Israeli High Court, the villagers of Bil’in in the West Bank will continue their campaign against the illegal Segregation Wall.

Justice minister withdraws intention to limit right of appeal to High Court
Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann has withdrawn his intention to limit the right of citizens and organizations to appeal to the High Court of Justice against government actions, in cases where they were not directly harmed.

Peace Activist Wounded by IOF Fire Returns to Sue
On the night of April 5th, 2003, in the west bank city of Jenin, Brian Avery from North Carolina was shot in the face by machine-gun fire from an approaching Israeli Army APC. He did not die, the bullet penetrated his nose, broke the bones in his nose, hit his eye and exited from the other cheek. He has since needed to go through six operations and there are still more to go.

Meretz: Cabinet can’t whitewash war crimes in Gaza
Left calls cabinet decision to declare Gaza a hostile entity ’dangerous and foolish.’ Right dismisses cabinet vote as ’lip-service’, too little and too late.

International HRWs evicted from the streets of Tel Rumeida by Police
At 5pm, a busload of soldiers in the midst of their training and a busload of settler-supporting tourists arrived to the illegal settlement of Tel Rumeida. At this time, two international Human Rights Workers (HRWs) were warned by an IOF soldier that if they were to stay within the immediate vicinity they would be arrested. The HRWs refused to leave in order to be able to continue safeguarding the local Palestinian children from possible attacks carried out by the Israeli settlers of the area. Under questioning the IOF soldier refused to give a reason why the HRWs were not allowed to be in the area, and after a series of further warnings the frustrated soldier called the police.

Isolation of Gaza Chokes Off Trade
One man runs a large clothing business started by his mother. The other runs an illegal smuggling business started by his father. One deals in clothes, the other in weapons and explosives.; Skip to next paragraph; Enlarge This Image; Steven Erlanger/The New York Times; Nabil Bowab’s clothing factory had 800 workers before Hamas conquered Gaza. Now it has laid off all but 20 of them.; Different though they may be, both men have been enduring a deep economic depression since Hamas took over Gaza, which has been almost entirely shut off from normal trade and travel with the world. And both men have laid off nearly all their workers.

Awad: “Everything is being done to overcome the embargo”
Dr Mohammad Awad, Secretary General of the dismissed Palestinian cabinet, rejected the idea that the prices of basic goods and food supplies had risen during the holy month of Ramadan, and stated that the government in the Gaza Strip is conducted utmost efforts to overcome the embargo.

It depends who is doing the torturing
In these mirror images, one large difference stands out: the acts of repression by Hamas in Gaza and the violation of basic civil rights there are given relatively wide media coverage in Israel and abroad. Similar actions by the PA in the West Bank, however, are hushed up.

Brown says Palestinian economy is key to revival of peace process
In his first comments on the Middle East since taking over from Tony Blair in June, the prime minister signalled a strong interest in reviving the moribund peace process by endorsing a “bleak” report on the Palestinian economy. The private sector in the Gaza Strip is now near “total collapse,” while movement within the West Bank remains “highly restricted”, it said. it warned, adding: “Israel’s medium-term security can only be assured through Palestinian prosperity.”

Israel to query 2002 strike killing of civilians, Hamas chief
An Israeli commission is to investigate the 2002 air strike that killed top Hamas leader Salah Shehade along with 14 civilians, the first such inquiry since the start of the Palestinian uprising, officials said Tuesday. The prosecutor’s office informed the supreme court that such a commission will be set up, made up of members of the military and the Shin Beth domestic security service, said an official with the Yesh Gvul group that has demanded in vain for years to hold officials accountable for the strike.

Hamas’s New Order Exacts Toll On Gazans , Party Cements Grip With Harsh Tactics
GAZA CITY — For years, the seaside Flower of the Cities resort was that rare place in the Gaza Strip where the dress code did not rule out bikinis. Now, with some of its cinder-block cabanas turned into prayer rooms, the beach club shows how Hamas is consolidating its hold here three months after seizing power. Bushy beards and black head-to-toe cloaks for women have become common at the club, which the armed Islamic movement torched in June after routing the secular Fatah party on the streets. The facility has been rebranded the al-Aqsa Resort, with a new logo featuring the revered mosque complex in Jerusalem next to a beach umbrella. Hamas followers collect the $2.50 entrance fee.

Coalition hawks slam reported Ramon plan for partition of J’lem
Rightists in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s ruling coalition reacted with alarm and criticism Wednesday to a reported proposal by Vice Premier Haim Ramon for a future partition of Jerusalem under a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Israel’s Agenda For Ethnic Cleansing and Transfer
The stage for ethnic cleansing of Palestinians has been set in the Occupied Territories, and ethnic cleansing is in progress. At present, this is the major project of the state of Israel. For an impartial person of medium intelligence, a tour of the Occupied Territories may be sufficient to understand this fact. The prime ethnic cleansing tool is, forever, land grab of Palestinian property in conjunction with expansion of settlements.

Dutch church to reexamine policy of solidarity with Israel
After 37 years of boasting of “inalienable solidarity” with the people of Israel, the Netherlands’ second largest church plans to reexamine its stance this fall. A group of notables from the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PCN) warned last week that the organization, which has over two million members, is in danger of being “hijacked” by pro-Palestinian activists.

Egypt, Syria press for nuclear resolution against Israel
Egypt and Syria urged the UN nuclear watchdog on Wednesday to pass a resolution condemning Israel for possessing nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency must show it is committed to “the principles and declared stances regarding peace, stability and security in the Middle East region,” Egyptian ambassador Ihad Fawzy said.

Who killed our homeland?
“Who killed Watan?” cried the dozens of youngsters on the stage of the Shawah, the largest theater in Gaza, as they pointed accusing fingers at a group of older actors waving the flags of the Palestinian resistance movements: Fatah, Hamas, Iz a-Din al-Qassam, the Al-Quds Brigade and Islamic Jihad. Their flags symbolize many long years of struggles, hopes, distress and blood. But this time there was nothing formal or festive about them; there were no calls against “the Zionist enemy,” none of the usual anti-Israel slogans.

Yet Another Peace Conference!
President Eisenhower did not have to convene a conference when he sent a letter to Ben-Gurion demanding Israeli withdrawal from conquered Sinai after the 1956 Israeli-British-French invasion of Egypt.

Holy Land terror trial winds down
Federal prosecutors mounted their final courtroom assault on former officials of a defunct Islamic charity on Monday, arguing that the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development funneled millions of dollars to support terrorists in the guise of helping needy Palestinian families.

Holy Land defense cites free speech
Defense attorneys on Tuesday said that their clients’ radical views – caught on tape and presented to jurors during the Holy Land Foundation terrorism finance trial – were rooted in their deep feelings over the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and are protected by free speech rights. Greg Westfall, attorney for defendant Abdulrahman Odeh, on Tuesday tried to explain a 1995 phone call his client made to co-defendant Mohammad El-Mezain to tell him “a beautiful operation just took place,” when a Hamas suicide bomber killed 18 Israelis. “May it be good, God’s willing,” Mr. El-Mezain replied.