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Souce: PACUSA via El Taller International - Tunis


Lundi, 13 avril 2009 - 6h06 PM

Monday 13 April 2009



Despite closure, [some] Palestinians celebrate Easter in Jerusalem

Thousands of Palestinian Christians prayed and sang in and around East Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher on Sunday, where Catholics marked Easter at the spot they believe Jesus was crucified and resurrected. Due to the coinciding Jewish holiday of Passover, however, Israel sealed off the West Bank, preventing the entry of Palestinians who would typically be given special permits for the occasion. Others in Gaza were unable to attend due to the ongoing blockade of the besieged coastal strip.

50 Israeli settlers enter Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Compound

Israeli police allowed 50 right-wing settlers to tour the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday afternoon without a police escort. Ma’an’s correspondent in Jerusalem reports that the settlers entered the compound during a time slot reserved for foreign tourists. Palestinians who were in the compound at the time said that they found the settlers’ tour “provocative.”

Arab leaders in Jerusalem demand probe into death of youth shot by border police

Public figures and representatives of the residents of Jabal Al Mukabbir area in east Jerusalem, demanded the Israel Authorities to form a neutral investigation committee to probe the death of Eyad Azmi Oweisat, 18, who was shot and killed by Israeli border policemen last Tuesday. Border policemen involved in the attack claimed that the youth attempted to ram them with his vehicle while the Israeli authorities were demolishing the home of Husam Duweiyyat, from Sur Baher. Duweiyyat was shot and killed after carrying a bulldozer attack in Jerusalem, the police said. The representatives slammed the Israeli authorities for holding the body of Oweisat, and demanded Israel to hand his body so that the family can bury him in accordance to the Arab and Islamic traditions. Civil society and political activist, Rasim Obeidat, stated during a press conference at the home of Oweisat that the youth was killed in a cold blooded murder and without any justification.

Attacks / incursions

Israeli army assaults three from Al-Khader, near Bethlehem, arrests one

Israeli soldiers assaulted three Palestinians and arrested one in Al-Khader south of Bethlehem on Saturday. Israeli forces had invaded the old town of the Al-Khader and beat 38-year-old Jamil Mahmoud Sa’eed, his brother 49-year-old Khalid, and Murad Sa’ada before arresting Khaled Sa’id and taking him to unknown location. [End]

Israeli soldiers occupy house, imprison family near Tulkarem

Israeli forces took control of a Palestinian house near the separation wall in the West Bank town of Shweika, near the city of Tulkarem, on Sunday afternoon. According to Ma’an’s reporter in Tulkarem, Israeli soldiers ransacked the twos-story house owned by Abu Aysha, detaining his family in their bedrooms and ordering them to remain silent. Israeli soldiers are stationed on the roof of the house, and are using it as a watchtower.

Red Crescent, World Volunteers for Peace condemn settler attack on ambulance

The Palestinian Red Crescent society denounced Saturday’s settler attack that targeted medical staff, a frail patient and an emergency vehicle in the Old City of Hebron. The society said one ambulance worker was bruised by the rock-throwing settlers and that damage was caused to the vehicle. Mu’tasem A’wad, an international and human rights lawyer for the Red Crescent said there was evidence of “a clear Israeli policy of targeting medical staff,” in the incident, and added that it corresponded with attacks on medical personnel at the weekly anti wall protests in Bil’in and Ni’lin.

Israeli army detonates ’explosives factory’ in Qalqilia

Israeli media sources reported that Israeli army explosives experts detonated on Friday a building in Qalqilia, in the northern part of the West Bank, after claiming that the building was used as a factory for manufacturing explosives. The sources added that the Palestinian Preventive Security forces located the factory and informed that Israeli side. Later on, Israeli sappers arrived at the scene and detonated the factory after unplugging the explosives. Israeli sources said that uncovering this factory comes as the fruit of security coordination between the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and the Israeli side.

Court charges border police with beating, robbing Palestinians in 2006

According to the indictment, the Palestinians, who were illegally present in Israel, were heading back to their homes in the Hebron area. The border policemen, Michael Nagawkar, Raz Sarusi and Idan Moyal, all from Be’er Sheva, stopped them near Tel Arad. After the officers directed the Palestinians to drive to a side road, the Palestinians left their car and tried to flee on foot. The policemen caught up to them, beat them with their batons and threw stones at them.

Israel reverses decision to banish woman prisoner to Gaza

Israeli authorities agreed on Sunday to allow a Palestinian woman to return home to the West Bank after releasing her from prison and sending her to the Gaza Strip. Shirin Ash-Sheikh was released from an Israeli prison and sent to Gaza earlier on Sunday. Ash-Sheikh was born in Gaza in 1985 and moved with her family to Ramallah in 1998. She was apprehended in 2003 and was sentenced to six years in prison.

Gaza / siege

Israel re-opens two Gaza crossings after four-day closure

According to Palestinian border official Raed Fattouh, the Nahal Oz fuel terminal and the Kerem Shalom shipping terminal were open on Sunday. The Karni crossing was remained closed. Fattouh said 131 trucks entered Gaza through Kerem Shalom. Three of these trucks were loaded with humanitarian aid for the UN refugee relief agency UNRWA and other international organizations. Some 116 truckloads for the commercial-private sector were also allowed in loaded with shampoo, washing powder, cleaning liquids, soap, flour, sugar, pasta, toilet paper and cooking oil, Fattouh said. Another 12 truckloads of fruit went to the agricultural private sector.

Five injured as underground tunnel catches fire in Gaza

Five Palestinian were reported injured as an underground tunnel in the southern Gaza strip city of Rafah caught fire on Saturday. Doctors say that five sustained light wounds due to inhaling fire fumes inside the tunnel. Local sources said that the tunnel, which link Gaza with Egypt, is used to deliver food and medicine to the besieged Gaza Strip.

Al Jazeera video: Gaza war leaves many jobless

More than 70 per cent of Gaza residents are jobless. But Gaza’s economic problems stem more from Israel’s brutal assault on the territory earlier in the year than from the global recession. Besides destroying more than 20,000 homes, the Israeli offensive left hundreds of factories and businesses in ruins, with devastating consequences. Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros reports.

Police: Violent crime down in Gaza

Violent crime dropped in the Gaza Strip in March, with only two cases of murder reported, according to police statistics released on Sunday. The police said that in particular there was a reduction in clan-related violence. No attempted murders were reported. The police recorded 21 cases of assault and 1,520 misdemeanors.

Child and family care center in Khan Younis set alight by unknown persons

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights’ (PCHR) investigations indicate that, at approximately 03:00am on 12 April 2009, a number of masked gunmen set fire to tents belonging to the Child and Family Care Center. During the attack the gunmen detained the Center’s security guard in a nearby field. Mr. Al-Bahdari, director of the Center, stated that fire destroyed the six plastic tents which formed the Center, along with their contents and equipment. The Child and Family Care Center had been subject to a similar attack in the early morning of Saturday, 11 April 2009.

Union leader: Hamas fired PLO, Jihad leaders over loyalty

The leader of the Palestinian union of civil servants, Bassam Zakarna, accused the de facto government in Gaza on Sunday of hiring Hamas members for high-level posts in the Education Ministry while firing members of PLO factions and Islamic Jihad. Zakarna denounced what he called “unprofessional appointments.”

War crimes

Gaza children to be screened for long-term effects of white phosphorus smoke

The Union of Health Care Committees (UHCC) in Gaza and in cooperation with the Campaign for the Children of Palestine (CCP) will begin a program offering medical check-ups and screening for 1,000 children in the Strip. The children, 300 from the Afaluna Society for Deaf Children and 700 associated with the Culture and Free Thought Association in Gaza will be screened with particular attention to the long-term effects of the use of white phosphorus weapons by Israel during its war against the Gaza Strip. Children requiring follow-up treatment and medications will be seen by both Japanese and Jordanian doctors, who are supporting the initiative.

Solidarity / sanctions

Dutch Laborites: Sanctions if Israel thwarts peace

Members of Labor, which is a member of the Dutch government as the country’s second largest party, said they intended to write a manifesto on the matter to Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen, from the centrist ruling CDA party, who is widely considered to be a staunch Israel supporter. Labor’s Martijn van Dam said his party insisted that Verhagen and the European Union take "concrete" action, demanding that Israel accept Hamas as a partner for dialogue.

Cuba reaffirms support for Palestinians

Havana (Xinhua): Cuban First Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura reaffirmed Cuba’s solidarity with Palestinians over their "fair cause" on Thursday, local newspaper reported on Friday. Machado made the remarks when meeting with Nayef Hawatmeh, the general secretary of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). During the meeting, Machado, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), strongly condemned the Israeli "permanent brutal aggression" against Palestinian people, according to official daily Granma.

Ahmadinejad: We’re condemned because we support Palestinians

Ahmadinejad accused Europe and the US of condemning his country because Teheran "defends the rights of the Palestinian people," and not because his country allegedly supports terror or is pursuing a military nuclear program. "Do you think it is right that some European countries and the United States support the occupying regime and the unnatural Zionist state, but condemn Iran, merely because we are defending the rights of the Palestinian people?" the Iranian leader was quoted as saying in interview with the German Der Spiegel.

The Egyptian connection

PA official: Egypt settled score with Hamas

Senior Palestinian source says Cairo has been waiting to put Islamist organization in its place even since gunmen stormed Rafah crossing in January 2007. Opportunity came when Hamas and Hizbullah crossed red line with funds and arms smuggling, he tells Ynet ... First signs of the Egyptians’ lack of trust in the Hamas leadership, including the political one, were seen when they arrived at the talks with Fatah and the other organizations in Cairo.The Hamas delegation was the only one put under tight security, the Hamas members’ possessions were searched thoroughly as if they were smugglers, and senior organization members were banned entry to Cairo.

Egypt rejects Fatah request to hold conference on its soil

Egypt refused on Sunday a request from Fatah to hold the movement’s sixth general conference in the country, Egyptian sources told Ma’an. Some 1500 Fatah members are planning to attend the conference, which has been in stuck in the planning stages for years without a venue or a set date. The preparations for the conference seem to be stuck in an endless cycle. In 2008 President Mahmoud Abbas declared that the summit would be held before the end of the year. Movement leader Ahmad Qurie said it would be held on 21 March 2009. Each time a date passes, the Fatah grassroots becomes more tense.

Hamas: Egypt suggested temporary Palestinian ’committee’

Egyptian mediators have suggested a temporary Palestinian committee in order to end a two-year-long political crisis, said Hamas leader Salah Bardaweel on Sunday. Egyptian intelligence director Umar Sulaiman suggested formation of a temporary Hamas-Fatah committee instead of a government. Meanwhile, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas will form a new transitional government to create the conditions for the suggested committee to be formed.

Egypt takes hard line against arms smuggling into Sinai

Egyptian authorities have underscored their determination to combat foreign and domestic threats by highlighting their activities against arms smugglers in Sinai, including a clash yesterday in which police shot and killed a Bedouin suspected of running weapons into Gaza ... The Bedouin in Sinai consider the Egyptian regime intrusive and authoritarian, and in recent years many clashes have erupted with the security forces as the authorities try to stem arms smuggling into Gaza. This is lucrative trade for one of Egypt’s poorest communities.

Egyptian MPs call for arrest warrant against Nasrallah

Egyptian security sources suspect that another network of Palestinians is operating in the Sinai Peninsula and smuggling weapons into Gaza through the tunnels connecting Egypt and the Strip, the London-based Arabic-language al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Sunday. According to the report, residents of the city of Sheikh Zuwayed in Sinai are helping the Palestinian network and producing rockets in lathe-shop they built. The suspects’ interrogation revealed that they had purchased an entire apartment building in Cairo and several villas and stores in the Dahab, Nuweiba, Rafah and Suez areas – including a villa overlooking the canal, from which they had planned to target boats.

Egypt: Nasrallah wants to turn us into Lebanon

Responding to Hizbullah leader’s admission that his organization smuggled arms into Gaza, senior Cairo official tells al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper ’Egypt is not a building without a doorkeeper.’ Nasrallah wants to unit region with Lebanese resistance moment in order to satisfy Iran, he adds

Egypt press brands Hezbollah chief ’war criminal’

(AFP) "A criminal who knows no mercy" cried the blood-red headline in the state-owned Al-Gomhuria which reserved the whole of its front page for an editorial bashing Nasrallah, repeatedly referring to him as "Sheikh Monkey." Al-Ahram newspaper, which is also state-owned, said Nasrallah’s admission that Hezbollah is operating in Egypt provided grounds for prosecution.

Analysis: Israel is profiting from Egypt-Hezbollah quarrel

By Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff. In what was apparently one of Hezbollah Secretary-General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah’s most important speeches since taking office in 1992, on Friday he admitted for the first time in the organization’s history that it was operating on Egyptian soil. Nasrallah mentioned the swearing-in of Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet, but it was clear that, in the context of Friday’s speech, the real enemy was the Egyptian regime.

The Mubarak factor

In a recent piece that appeared in the Badeel newspaper, the shocking levels of dilapidation in Egyptian society are exposed. (4) Forty-four percent (44%) of the population find themselves below the poverty line with earnings of less than a dollar a day. Unemployment figures have soared to twenty-nine percent (29%) and the level of illiteracy presently stands at twenty-six percent (26%). The degradation in healthcare conditions and the prevalence of social ills have moved Egyptian society perilously close to the edge. All these would seem unrelated without regard for a simple fact. Egypt has been the second largest beneficiary of US foreign aid since 1979 i.e. the year of the signing of the Camp David Accords. Since then, US foreign aid to Egypt has averaged about USD $2 billion annually in military and economic aid. To find the second largest beneficiary of US aid faced by such systemic squalor, even after three decades in power, says a great deal about the tick boxes that qualify one for being a recipient of US monies.

Other news

Netanyahu, Abbas speak for first time since induction

Palestinian president offers Israeli premier holiday wishes in conversation described as ’warm, friendly.’ State officials say call may indicate PA willing to negotiate with new government despite contrasting statements

Activists handcuffed before Gush Katif march

Sderot police arrested more than a dozen activists on Sunday morning, including children, just hours before a protest march was scheduled to step off from the Gaza Belt city of Sderot, about a kilometer from the security barrier. Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior, former Kedumim mayor Daniella Weiss and Ichud Leumi (National Union) MKs Yaakov "Ketzaleh" Katz and Michael Ben-Ari were among those who had planned to participate.The marchers planned to head at 12:00 noon for the former Jewish region of Gaza, Gush Katif, and begin to rebuild the communities in response to what the activists are calling the "abandonment of the south."

The IDF can’t be satisfied

The defense establishment and its boss, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, act as though they represent some organization not part of the Israeli economy. The economic crisis doesn’t interest them and they continue to demand bigger budgets; this year’s will be the largest ever. In the West, 1 to 3 percent of gross domestic product is allocated to defense. In Israel this number is more than 10 percent.

Israeli woman illegally enters Palestinian village near Hebron

An Israeli woman was transferred to the police by Palestinian security forces after she was caught in a Palestinian village near Hebron. The IDF reminds the public that the entrance of Israeli citizens into Area A is prohibited. [After all, there is apartheid. Evidently the woman was not a settler - no one seems to stop their entering Palestinian villages.]

Israeli man succumbs to wounds sustained in 2002 Hamas suicide bombing

Shimon Shiran, 57, of Haifa, succumbed on Saturday to wounds he sustained in a suicide bombing exactly seven years ago. Shiran was critically wounded in the bombing at the Matza restaurant in Haifa in Passover 2002. He suffered from severe brain damage, and has since been confined to a rehabilitation hospital. His death raised the death toll in the attack to 16. In the attack, Shiran’s 17-year-old daughter Adi was killed and his wife was seriously injured.

PNA security forces unveil West Bank arms store

RAMALLAH, April 12 (Xinhua) — The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) security forces announced that it discovered on Sunday a store of arms into one of the mosques in the West Bank, an interior ministry statement revealed.The interior ministry in a written statement said that the security forces found explosive devices were made into the store inside the mosque, adding "several raw-materials were also seized, which are used to manufacture bombs." The statement didn’t say in which town in the West Bank the mosque is located....

DFLP leader in Gaza dies at 42

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) announced on Sunday the death of one of its leaders in the Gaza Strip, 42-year-old Jabir Al-Qreinawi who passed away after a heart attack. Al-Qreinawi was born in Al-Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on 19 April 1967 to a family originally from Beir As-Sab (Be’er Sheva). He held a master’s degree in business administration from Birzeit University. In 1989, he was jailed by Israel for political activity for two and a half years.

Palestinians call on Canada to cancel scroll exhibition

OTTAWA (AFP) - The Palestinian Authority demanded this week the cancellation of an exhibition of Dead Sea Scrolls, which it said were stolen by Israel from Palestinian territories, Canadian media reported. Top Palestinian officials called on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to step in to cancel the exhibition, which is set to open in June at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), according to the Toronto Star newspaper. “The exhibition would entail exhibiting or displaying artifacts removed from the Palestinian territories,” said Hamdan Taha, director-general of the archaeological department in the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, reported the Star on Thursday ... The first fragments were discovered in arid caves along the shores of the Dead Sea by a Bedouin shepherd in 1947. In the letter, signed by senior Palestinian government officials, the objectors argue the texts were acquired illegally after Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1967.

200 European lawmakers, governors, mayors visit West Bank refugee camps

Some 100 European parliamentarians, mayors and governors arrived in the West Bank on Sunday under the auspices of a program that “twins” French cities with Palestinian refugee camps. The leaders, who are primarily French, visited their counterparts on Sunday in the twinning project in Deheisha Refugee Camp in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Opinion / analysis

Multilateral engagement, involvement, and imposition

Since the issuing of the road map in April 2003, Israel has not fulfilled even one of its obligations. The PA, on the other hand, has, at least in the West Bank, fulfilled almost all its obligations, notes Gershon Baskin. NOWHERE IN the road map or the UN resolutions does it state that the implementation of the obligations of the parties are sequential—meaning that first the PA must fulfil its obligations and only then will Israel begin to fulfil its obligations.

The dark religious side of Israel

By Gideon Levy. We must admit that this society has rather dark religious aspects. Foreigners landing in Israel might ask themselves what country they’re in: Iran, Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia? In any case, it’s not the liberal, secular and enlightened society it purports to be. Thieves’ hands do not have to be hacked off or women’s faces covered to be a religious country. Just as an occupying state, which controls 3.5 million people lacking basic civil rights, cannot call itself "the only democracy in the Middle East," so a country that has no bread for a week because of its religion cannot call itself secular and liberal.

The Birmingham [Alabama] News opinion page: In truth, Israel is not a democracy

By Jerry Levin. ...a succession of U.S. administrations have rationalized massive economic and military support by giving disingenuous lip service to the eyes-wide-shut claim that Israel is the only "true democracy in the Middle East." Israel has no constitution and no bill of rights. In addition, its history of legislating apartheid, unequal civil rights, privileges and access to public funds make a disqualifying mockery of the definition of "true" and the concept of "democracy." The truth is there are no true democracies in the Middle East. [Thank news editor Tom Scarrit for printing this op-ed: tscarrit@bhamnews.com]

"Rest has come to the weary..."

By Uri Avnery. Barack Obama told the Turkish people this week that they must come to grips with the massacre of the Armenians committed by their fathers, while at the same time reminding the Americans that they must confront the genocide of the Native Americans and the black slavery exploited by their own forefathers. I believe we can do this regarding the catastrophe that we have caused the Palestinians. I am convinced that this is important, indeed essential, for our own national mental health, as well as a first step toward eventual reconciliation. We must acknowledge and recognize the consequences of our deeds and repair what can be repaired – without rejecting our past and the songs that express the innocence of our youth. We must live with this contradiction, because it is the truth of our lives.

Ben Gurion and the massacre of Deir Yassin

By Iqbal Jassat. The minutes of a meeting of the Jewish Agency Executive on 12 June 1938 records a chilling statement made by David Ben-Gurion: “I am for compulsory transfer; I do not see anything immoral in it”. Ben-Gurion, an ardent Zionist was a migrant from Poland where he was born in 1886. Since his arrival in Palestine as a 20-year old, Ben-Gurion was destined to be heralded as not only the founder of the State of Israel and its first prime minister, but also as the mastermind of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. In his Diary, an entry on 12 July 1937, Ben-Gurion records writing to his son that the only course of action open to Zionism was: “The Arabs will have to go”.

Zionist colonial enterprise superseded Judaism

By Hasan Afif El-Hasan.Jewish people are observing the Passover tradition of escaping slavery in Egypt and enjoying freedom. While they celebrate their ancient struggle against slavery and claim having Jewish moral superiority, they at the same time accept terrorizing, starving, strangulating, detaining and humiliating another people on a daily basis and occupying and colonizing their lands under false narratives. Last time I read the Ten Commandments that were given to Moses by God in the form of two stone tablets, according to Judaism, the sixth and eighth commandments prohibit murder and stealing. Murdering a human being is a capital sin according to God, but the Israelis murder Palestinians and steal their lands and properties every day. I wonder how the Jewish people, despite their achievements and contributions to science, philosophy, music and art, could have descended into the madness of suppressing a people and denying them free life in only one fifth of the land that they owned for centuries.

Israeli walls and separation as a philosophy

As something of a farewell before heading off to a new post in Europe later this month, NPR’s Eric Westervelt teamed up with NPR (and former Knight Ridder) photojournalist David Gilkey to produce a four-part series this week on the barrier that NPR calls its "most extensive single multimedia report to date." Eric and David traveled along the network of concrete walls, electronic fencing and checkpoints to meet with Israelis and Palestinians who see the barrier very differently.The report examines the fate of two Palestinian villages separated by the wall and life in Ariel, one of the most contentious Israeli settlements in the West Bank that its mayor, Ron Nachman, prefers to call a "gated community." It looks at lives left in limbo by the wall and includes several narrated photo essays.

Marching to Israel’s drummer

By William A. Cook. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s new Prime Minister, in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg (Atlantic Monthly, March 2009), ordered the new President of the United States to complete two “great missions” on behalf of Israel: “fix the economy” lest Israel not be able to collect its annual alimony of 3 billion plus the 30 billion promised by the Bush administration, and “prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons” lest Israel’s monopoly on such weapons be challenged in the Mid-East. The interview is a primer into the mentality of Israel’s new government. As always with any utterances from Israeli officials, one has to translate the assertions from the reality.

Pride and empty words

Despite big talk, our new government will have to accommodate Obama - By Eitan Haber. There is no reason to be overly excited by the words of some ministers and Knesset members in the near future, who just like many others are excited by our proud national government. State Department officials are filing away their words in dusty binders, and there are plenty of those. In the room adjacent to Obama’s Oval Office there is a very long table. Those who advise Obama to go to hell would later need to take their national pride and crawl under this table.

Sure shots

By Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff. ...

About five years ago, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot was serving as the commander of the IDF forces in the West Bank. Eisenkot, now the head of Northern Command, then called the military approach in the West Bank "an M-16 instead of an F-16." The ability of the IDF to reach the operatives everywhere, to pull them out of their hiding places by the hair, he claimed, is a far greater deterrent to the terror organizations and the Palestinian population than mass shows of Israeli strength. The West Bank commander based himself on a surprising source: articles by Amira Hass in Haaretz, in which senior Palestinian operatives said that they felt a certain "professional respect" for the enemy only when the soldiers engaged in face-to-face combat with them. Since then the IDF has been very sparing in using massive weaponry in the West Bank. No tanks have been seen in this arena for almost five years, ....