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PACUSA via El Taller International - Tunis


Mardi, 8 septembre 2009 - 16h52

Tuesday 8 September 2009



Al-Quds Center issues report on continued home demolitions in J’lem
Al-Quds center for social and economic rights posted a report on Wednesday about house demolition in Jerusalem. The report said that since the first of 2009 till the end of August 2009 58 houses were demolished by its owners themselves and they were forced to pay an amount of money. According to the report prepared by the search department at the center it said that most of the houses that were demolished are inside the Jerusalem municipality borders. The report realized that all the houses that were demolished were built over lands, where Israel decides to build settlement over it and build public gardens.

Holy city twist: Arabs moving into Jewish areas
JERUSALEM – Yousef Majlaton moved into the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev for such comforts as proper running water and regular garbage pickup. But he represents a potentially volatile twist in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute over the holy city. The hillside sprawl of townhouses and apartment blocks was built for Jews, and Majlaton is a Palestinian. Pisgat Zeev is part of Israel’s effort to fortify its presence in Jerusalem’s eastern half which it captured in the 1967 war ... Palestinians have long accused those among them who sell land to Jews of betraying their homeland, and last week similar language was heard from a group of rabbis. Meeting in Pisgat Zeev, they issued an edict denouncing Jews who sell land to Arabs as "traitors" and barring them from participating in communal prayers.


Settlers attack Palestinian farmer near Qalqilia
Extremist Israeli settlers of the Gilad Farm illegal settlement outpost, near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, brutally attacked a 65-year old Palestinian man on Thursday. The resident, Ibrahim Taweel, was heading back to his village when the settlers attacked him. He said that he was attacked by seven masked settlers. Taweel added that the settlers struck him with a rod and a belt, in addition to kicking and punching him. Israeli Ynet news reported that Bashar, one of the sons of Ibrahim, stated that the settlers stripped his father, and that he had to walk back to the village only wearing his underwear. "Humiliating an older man is worse than beating him," the son added.

Settlers attack Palestinian homes in Hebron
A group of fundamental Israeli settlers attacked on Friday evening a number of Palestinian homes in Tal Romedia neighborhood, in the southern West bank city of Hebron. Local sources reported that the settlers hurled stones and iron bars at a number of homes causing damage. The settlers are from the Ramat Yeshai illegal outpost. Israeli soldiers did not attempt to stop the settlers ... Furthermore, Israeli soldiers searched dozens of residents at the electronic gate installed at the entrance of the neighborhood under the pretext of protecting the settlers.

A wet land, a parched land
By Craig Nelson. Water flows plentifully in the Jewish settlement of Eli high up on top of a hill in the heart of the West Bank ... Eli’s Olympic-size swimming pool is crowded with laughing mothers and children. A peacock strolls across one of many swathes of mostly luxuriant green grass, stopping to preen its brilliant tail feathers. Despite a summer drought that has parched the Palestinian villages dotting the valley floor below, the lush panorama is entirely fitting for a patch of land its residents believe was deeded to them by God. “We should take care of ourselves first,” says Tamar, who has lived in Eli since 1996. As for the Palestinians’ proper share of the water from the underground reservoirs that lie under the West Bank and make this bounty possible, they will just have to wait, says the 36-year-old mother of five children, who asks that her last name not be used. "We should take care of the foreigners here, and give them running water and help them survive and live the proper way," she says firmly, like a schoolmarm. "But we should do this only after they understand we are the rulers of this country."


Witnesses: Palestinians storm outpost in north West Bank
Some 200 Palestinians infiltrated and attacked a settlement outpost in the northern West Bank on Friday morning, according to eyewitnesses. The witnesses said that Palestinians from a neighboring village entered a hilltop community near the Nofe Yarden outpost in the Shiloh bloc, armed with hoes and axes. The Palestinians set fire to some structures at the outpost before security services summoned by settler girls arrived at the site. Nobody was wounded in the incident, though clashes erupted between the sides.

Clashes with settlers reported north of Ramallah
Israeli settlers uprooted olive trees from Palestinian land in the village of Maghayir, north of Ramallah on Friday provoking a confrontation. For their part, settlers reported that Palestinians armed with axes and hoes stormed a settler outpost in the same area called Nofe Yarden. Settlers said Palestinians set fire to the temporary ’caravan’ homes used by settlers. There were also reports of stone throwing, but the reports could not be immediately verified. Israeli forces reportedly deployed to the area, dispersing the clashes.

Attacks / Incursions / Violence

PCHR weekly report: 4 Palestinians killed, 10 wounded by Israeli forces 27 Aug-2 Sept
During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 22 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Israeli forces abducted 39 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and a woman. In one of these invasions, on Monday August 31st, at approximately 21:30, Israeli forces troops stationed at a military observation tower inside "Beit Eil" settlement, north of Ramallah, opened fire at five Palestinian children who were near al-Jalazon UNRWA School, located near the southeastern entrance of al-Jalazoun refugee camp. Full report: http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/W_report/English/2008/03-09-2009.htm

Teen farmer injured by Israeli fire Friday dies of wounds
Palestinian medical sources announced the death of 13-year-old Ghazi Maher Ghazi Az-Za’anin of wounds he sustained Friday when Israeli forces opened fire on the car he was in. Medical sources said the youth, heading east to farm family land, sustained critical wounds to the head after he came under fire by Israeli forces stationed east of Bait Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.

Following night airstrike, Israeli bulldozers invade Gaza
4 Sept 18:21 — Israeli warplanes bombed a tunnel allegedly linking the southern Gaza Strip with Israel early on Friday morning. Later in the day witnesses in Gaza said Israeli military vehicles, including three armored bulldozers, razed farmland about 100 meters east of Gaza City and forces reportedly fired on houses in the area. Israel’s overnight strike hit the town of Al-Khuza’a, close to the Green Line. Medical officials at An-Nasser Hospital in the nearby city of Khan Younis said that while the strike caused a state of panic among residents of the area, there were no physical injuries ... Israeli news reports said that five mortar shells were fired from Gaza, landing in an open area.

PA police report mass rights violations by Israeli forces
Israeli forces invaded Qalqiliya and a Hebron-area village, detaining two children, a sick woman and holding 30 adults hostage, Palestinian Authority police said late Friday ... The Israeli army invaded Azzun Atma and installed a checkpoint in the middle of the town, detaining 30 residents for half an hour, saying there were stone throwers in the area. Forces then searched the home of Yousef Abed Ar-Raheem Abu Haneiya and then withdrew without any reported arrests. Israeli army also invaded the West Bank city of Qalqiliya and fired sound bombs into residential areas. Forces arrested two children, identified as 11- year-olds Walid Nael Hendi and Sabri Harb Abu Shehab. Both were released after an hour in custody. The police report said the incidents all occurred in a 12-hour window starting Friday afternoon.

Palestinian woman collapses as Israeli soldiers attempt to strip-search her
A Palestinian woman was to the Hebron Governmental Hospital, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, on Friday after she collapsed when Israeli soldiers attempted to strip-search her. The woman was identified as Wisal Al Rajabi, 35. She was hospitalized after suffering a nervous breakdown, when the soldiers took her to a tent in order to strip search her. The incident took place at the entrance of the Ibrahimi Mosque (The Cave of the Patriarchs) in Hebron.

Bil’in night invasion 05.09.09
Bil’in Official Website: Around 2:30am, the Israeli occupation forces invaded Bil’in again. They raided two houses but no arrests were made. They raided the house where Hamza Burnat (age 16) lives and attempted to arrest him, but he was not at home at the time. They also raided the house where Yaseen Mohammed Ali Yaseen (age 21) lives but could not find him either. And house of Mohamed Ahmed Yaseen. During the raid at both houses, Palestinian and international activists challenged the soldiers standing guard outside.

Al Jazeera video: Jazeera reporter ’under attack’
Watch al-Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland dodge IDF tear gas grenade while covering anti-fence protest

Israeli army invades Tulkarem area, hands out warrants
Israeli forces invaded the West Bank city of Tulkarem and several adjacent villages, handing out warrants for the arrest of dozens of citizens and calling them to present themselves to Israeli intelligence, Palestinian police said Saturday. Police also reported invasions in Hebron and Tubas with no arrests reported.

Children boycott first day of school after Israeli soldiers shoot and kill classmate
By Kristen Ess. 2 Sept — The new school year began on a tragic note with the killing of Mohammad Riad Nayef. Children in the central West Bank’s Jalazone Refugee Camp boycotted the first day. Israeli soldiers occupying Beit El Settlement in the central West Bank’s Ramallah gunned him down on Monday evening. He was reported dead at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital early Tuesday. His mother did not get to send her 14 year old to school on the first day of the new academic year. Instead, she sent her son to the cemetery on the first of September.

Update: Cop gets 15 months in prison for killing Israeli Arab
A Petach Tikva court on Thursday sentenced a police officer to 15 months in prison for killing an Israeli Arab who was trying to flee in a stolen car. The Petah Tikva District Court convicted Shahar Mizrahi of killing Mahmoud Ganaim more than a month ago, during a 2006 raid against car thieves in Pardes Hannah. Ganaim was spotted by undercover policemen as he was breaking into a vehicle, and when an attempt was made to arrest him he attempted to flee the scene with his car. Mizrahi, who stood nearby, smashed the window of Ganaim’s car with the butt of his gun and shot him in the head, killing him on the spot.


Israeli forces shoot youth in legs, detain him
Israeli forces shot and injured 18-year-old Muhammad Massa’id in Tubas Friday evening, then took the youth to a detention center despite his injury. Eye witnesses said Massa’id was resisting capture when forces shot him from a short range, injuring both his legs. Forces then took the youth, bleeding, into a military vehicle.

Israel forces seize five Palestinians, assault one overnight
4 Sept 21:34 - Israeli military forces seized five Palestinians from the West Bank in the past 12 hours, according to Palestinian police and witnesses. Palestinian police said that Israeli soldiers raided the small village of Nahalin, west of Bethlehem [plus Beit Fouriq, near Nablus, and Tulkarem]. In the village of Huwwara, Israeli soldiers beat Zahi Mustafa Ibrahim Adli, 22. Adli was taken to Rafidia Hospital in neighboring Nablus. Police also reported that in the city of Hebron, Israeli settlers threw stones and sewage water at Palestinians in the Al-Qasaba neighborhood of the Old City.

Hamas: PA forces detained six of our supporters
4 Sept, 20:56 - Hamas said that Fatah-backed Palestinian Authority forces detained six members of the Islamic movement in the West Bank overnight. Hamas said that the arrests took place in Ramallah, Tulkarem and Hebron. This could not be immediately verified by Ma’an.

Adalah calls for ending strip-search policies of female visitors of Palestinian detainees
The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel – Adalah, called on the Israeli Prison Authorities and the administration at the Ofer detention facility, to put an end to the practice of strip searching female visitors. The letter was sent after two Palestinian women from East Jerusalem complained that the soldiers ordered them to undress in order to be searched. The two women were sent to a room that had a dark window that does not allow you to see who is on the other side. After entering the room, they heard a female voice via a loud speaker, ordering them to strip naked but they refused especially since they could not see who else is on the other side.

Movement restriction

Checkpoints become friction points as Palestinians throng Jerusalem for prayers
Israel deployed a heavy police presence around the Old City of Jerusalem as tens of thousands of Palestinians headed to the city for noon prayers on the second Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Armed police and border guards were seen in each street leading to the gates of the Old City. Most of the worshipers were elderly men and women, since Israeli restrictions prohibit men under the age of 50 and women under 45 from entering the city and praying at the mosque. Nonetheless the surge of Muslim worshippers trying to access the holy city from West Bank access points caused havoc at the few points where West Bank residents can enter Jerusalem.

Siege / Humanitarian considerations

Gaza students without notebooks as Israel’s supply blockade continues
School started fifteen days ago in Gaza but schoolchildren remain without books or pencils, as high prices prevent most parents from purchasing necessary goods. The only stationery in Gaza comes from the Rafah-area smuggling tunnels, and the cost of smuggling keeps prices too high for average families. Israeli crossings authorities have refused to allow paper and pencils into the Strip ... The Israeli army earlier agreed to allow 100-180 truckloads of stationary and school supplies into Gaza two weeks before the beginning of the school year, but no action was taken on the promise, and supplies continue to sit in warehouses.

3,000 Hajj pilgrims may not get visas; Umrah worshippers return to Gaza
Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash is making every effort to arrange visas for Gaza pilgrims wishing to visit Mecca "but time is running out," he said Friday. He noted there were "real concerns" that the visas would not be processed on time, noting they had not arrived yet for the 3,000 applicants. The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Tourism will process the visas.

European campaign warns of mass thirst and poisoning in Gaza
BRUSSELS, (PIC)— The European campaign to end the siege on Gaza warned Friday that Gaza people would suffer from mass thirst and poisoning as a result of the contamination of drinking water ... It explained that this crisis resulted from the lack of operable chlorine injection pumps used to cleanse and disinfect water which led to the outbreak of diseases and epidemics among citizens. The UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs had reported that 10,000 people in Gaza are without access to the water network and an additional 60% of the population does not have continuous access to water.http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7YBGsN4hMqEWofrzVQUI0ky1bgV47NCo7HgmF0zF7V9kTzNxYl2%2b%2fCMP%2bfjg2QvWC1zga%2fttiLcquLZqZX0nEMF6dG5RdveCvHkeSvGDnTtE%3d

The Israeli government’s war on NGOs
...In the West Bank, where many large international and Palestinian non-profits and charities are based, the Israeli government refuses to issue critical foreign staff a working visa. This politicizing of administrative affairs ensures that Israeli bureaucrats maintain control over those attempting to work for positive development in the West Bank. Only being able to obtain a tourist visa means that many teachers, volunteers and writers are then vulnerable to often outright illegal harassment from under-qualified and unaccountable contract security firms and soldiers when entering and exiting the country.

Israelis target medical teams
By Mel Frykberg. Fourteen-year-old Muhammad Nayif’s mother broke down as she spoke to IPS. Nayif died after being shot three times in the chest by Israeli soldiers Monday night. Palestinian medical personnel who tried to reach the critically injured boy near the Jelazon refugee camp north of Ramallah were threatened at gunpoint by Israeli soldiers and shot at. "The interception of the ambulances in Nayif’s case is just the latest in a long list of such incidents we have faced through the years from the Israelis in trying to provide Palestinians with the necessary medical assistance," says Raed Yassin, director of the Ramallah PRCS’s emergency department. "The problems revolve around attacks on our personnel, on the ambulances, damage to our equipment, long delays at checkpoints, and the refusal of access for critically injured patients despite having the requisite security permits from the Israelis," Yassin told IPS.

Hosted Ramadan evening in Gaza Strip refugee camp targets the most vulnerable
In Jabaliya Refugee Camp, just to the northeast of Gaza City, the Society for Rehabilitation in Jabaliya, funded by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE charity and UNRWA, a collective breakfast was held. More than 500 people attended the collective breakfast that was held amidst a concert of events aimed at alleviating the suffering of citizens in the Gaza Strip living under siege.

Israelis destroy boats - and lives
By Eva Bartlett. GAZA CITY – Until Monday, Omar and Khaled Al-Habil were the owners of a 20m fishing trawler staffed by five or six fishermen at a time, but employing around 18 in cycles. But that morning the vessel came under heavy Israeli navy machine-gun fire, and then shelling. The trawler caught fire ... Palestinian fishers have the right to fish as far as 20 nautical miles from the coast of Gaza, but Israeli authorities have over the years unilaterally reduced that limit to three miles. The more abundant catches are found past six miles. The Palestinian fishing industry, employing more than 3,500, has been devastated by Israeli attacks on fishing boats, confiscation of boats and equipment, and the abduction of Palestinian fishers.

Fuel smuggling truck catches fire in Egyptian Rafah
Two tanks of fuel were said to have ignited, forcing the driver and several assistants to flee the vehicle. The truck was incinerated despite efforts of local fire crews to douse the blaze.

Activism / Solidarity / Boycott / Divestment / Sanctions

Report: Jane Fonda joins boycott of Toronto film festival over homage to Israel
Jane Fonda, Danny Glover and Eve Ensler have joined the growing list of artists who are boycotting the Toronto film festival over a program honoring Tel Aviv’s 100th anniversary, gossip blogger Perez Hilton reported on Friday. The three have added their names to a letter aimed at festival officials claiming that Tel Aviv was built on violence, ignoring the "suffering of thousands of former residents and descendants," Hilton reported.

Bil’in protesters thank Norway for divestment as two locals injured
The Bil’in Popular Committee publically thanked the Norwegian government for their readiness to divest from Israeli settlement projects following a letter from the committee requesting a halt to government pension fund investments with the Israeli companies that build settlements near the village. The thank-you was issued during the village’s weekly anti-wall rally, where two Palestinians were hit with sound-bomb canisters and moderately injured and dozens of others suffered from tear-gas inhalation.

Human rights campaign sue EU over continued economic ties with Israel
Brussels / PNN – The European Union is being sued over its relationship with the Israelis. The European Campaign to Lift the Siege on Gaza, in cooperation with European institutions and individuals, has filed a lawsuit. This is the first of its kind against the European Union. The purpose, organizers say, is to force the EU to end its economic partnership agreement with the Israelis.

Did Leviev’s empire succumb to boycott?
By Shir Hever. As the crimes of Africa Israel became infamous throughout the world, international pressure on the company began to mount. Demonstrations took place in New York City, including in front of Leviev’s store on Madison Avenue. UNICEF refused a donation from him, saying "We are aware of the controversy surrounding Mr. Leviev because of his reported involvement in construction work in the occupied Palestinian territory." The UK embassy in Tel Aviv decided not to buy its office from Africa Israel while on 23 August 2009, it was revealed that Blackrock Inc., a large British investment firm, decided to divest from Africa Israel. Eight days later, Leviev convened the press conference in which he announced his inability to repay his debts.

Political developments

US not surprised by West Bank construction approval
5 Sept - Sources in Washington say last Wednesday Netanyahu’s envoys informed Mitchell of decision to okay construction in West Bank as part of effort to soften rightist camp in Israel ahead of expected settlement freeze; agreement possible as early as Thursday

Hamas chief arrives in Cairo to discuss Shalit deal
Meshal arrived in Cairo on Saturday. He heads a high-ranking delegation of the Palestinian Islamic movement to meet senior Egyptian officials, including intelligence chief Omar Suleiman. Spokesman Ayman Taha said Meshal will also discuss restarting Palestinian reconciliation talks.

Abbas doubts validity of talks with Netanyahu at UN General Assembly meeting
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas confirmed rumors of a US suggestion he and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet on the sidelines of the next UN General Assembly meeting in New York later this month. Addressing a press conference following meetings with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on prospects for peace process progress and Palestinian unity, Abbas said he and Mubarak both "wonder on what basis such a meeting will be held, and for what purpose."

Abbas and Mash’al in Cairo; sources say two will not meet
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Cairo Friday for a two-day visit where he will meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to discuss the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. In what is said to be a separate event, Hamas politburo Chief Khalid Mash’al will arrive in Cairo Saturday to hold talks with head of the Egyptian intelligence Omar Sulaiman over both Palestinian reconciliation and the issue of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. According to senior Hamas leader and PLC member Salah Bardaweil, however, Mash’al will not discuss the Shalit file while in Cairo.

Palestinian official says next Intifadah to be over settlements
If settlement construction does not end a new Intifadah is on the horizon, official Ghassan Daghlas who holds the settlement file in the northern West Bank said Saturday. Daghlas cited the increasing number of settlements and outposts in the north, which now number 208 including Jerusalem and 217 outposts. The latest approval for hundreds of new settlement homes by the Israeli government is akin to a “declaration of war against the Palestinians while the whole world is watching,” he said.

Elections expert weighs in on prospect of 25/01/2010 vote
Ramallah – Ma’an Exclusive - Palestinian elections monitoring expert Taleb Awad said Palestinian law obliges President Mahmoud Abbas to prepare for simultaneous presidential and legislative elections on 25 January 2010, and must issue a decree to that effect 90 days before elections.

Elections countdown puts pressure on post-Ramadan Cairo talks
Ramallah – Ma’an Report– Political analysts have warned of an increased threat of internal violence as the 25 January deadline for Palestinian legislative and presidential elections nears. Political figures and observers are concerned about the prospect of holding presidential and legislative elections using the ’complete proportional representation system’ as it was formulated in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ 2 September 2007 presidential decree.

Other news

Nablus refugees to protest UN reduction of services
...The protests are set to start Tuesday, said committee coordinator Ibrahim Saqr. “We tried several times to settle the problem through meetings with UN officials; the Palestinian Prime Minister and the governor of Nablus also tried to mediate. They all tried to convince UNRWA to stop reductions in refugee fund allocations [and services] , but there was no positive response to any of those mediators,” Saqr said in a statement. In the same regard, coordinator of local refugee camps committees in the West Bank Ahmad Thouqan confirmed that the UN made reductions in all services including health, education, and social welfare services.

Radio Bethlehem 2000 returns to the airwaves despite Israeli confiscation and continued threat
3 Sept — After the Israeli military stormed Bethlehem Radio 2000 the station was forced off air under threat of explosion ... The Palestinian Ministry of Communications held a meeting Wednesday morning with the occupying Israeli administration on the issue. The Israelis refused to provide any justification for the confiscation and the threat of bombing if Radio Bethlehem began broadcasting again. Radio Bethlehem 2000 went back on the air today.

Wataniya cellular service to delay launch as Israel refuses 1.1Mhz
Officials from the stymied Palestinian cellular services provider Wataniya said they would not be able to offer services in mid-September as announced because of continued until Israeli delays around access to sufficient high frequency bands. The Israeli ministry of communication affirmed that it will not allocate more than the current 3.8 Mhz for the time being, saying it "is enough to secure the launching needs" of the provider ... A contract between Israel and the Palestinian Authority granting a frequency wave of 4.8 MHz to Wataniya was signed in July 2008, according to documents obtained earlier this month by AFP. The provider, backed by the Middle East Quartet, has made extensive investment and preparation for the launch of the new services, hiring more than 200 Palestinians to design and run programs and services.

’No yards to play in’: East Jerusalem schools crowded, underfunded
TEL AVIV, 3 September 2009 (IRIN) - Palestinian East Jerusalem lacks public educational facilities and many classrooms are cramped, according to a new report by Ir Amim, an NGO working in East Jerusalem, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) ... Ahmad Mustafa Sub Laban, a field researcher with Ir Amim, said they had seen many classrooms where 36 students sit in classrooms measuring 12 square meters, in the stifling summer heat."There are no yards to play in, and there is no equipment other than a board and desks, nothing to allow these children to enjoy their childhood. In one school we saw a new building but there was no equipment in any of the computer or chemistry labs," he said.

Signs will bring you closer to Jerusalem: distance to Capital of Arab Culture marked in ceramic
Jerusalem / PNN – All roads lead to Jerusalem, regardless of Israeli policy that blocks entry to the city for millions of Palestinians. Signs will be distributed in all villages, towns and camps to bring residents closer to Jerusalem. Signs will mark the distance in kilometers as part of a project of the International Academy of Art and Jerusalem as Capital of Arab Culture events. The project, ’the Road to Jerusalem’ includes 80 ceramics and is part of efforts to bring the city closer to those who can no longer reach what is slated to be the capital of the Palestinian state.

Ar-Rayhan group sells out first stage of Ramallah-area housing project
A new housing development project will be launched in Ramallah this week, with a projected 2,000 housing units in a new development north west of the city center, developers at the Palestinian Investment Fund announced. ... The Ar-Rayhan suburb falls under the PIF’s national program for suitable housing, which aims to build 30,000 housing units within the next ten years, 2,000 of which will be in the Ar-Rayhan development.

More strikes in government hospitals next week
The union of Palestinian Doctors, who serve government hospitals, announced an extension of their 13-day strike on Saturday, saying it would be prolonged for another week. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday will begin with a three-hour sit-in at the Bait Jala government hospital, though doctors will continue to see patients in the afternoon. The strike is principally over the dismissal of several doctors from the Bait Jala hospital.

BU students say strike to continue as University restarts classes
Bethlehem University (BU) students will continue to strike despite a university announcement saying classes would resume Monday, the students announced Friday.

Report: Dead Sea losing water more rapidly
The Dead Sea has dropped more quickly in the past two years than the average for the past decade, according to Water Authority figures released this week. The average for 1998-2008 was 98 centimeters a year, but last year the drop was 138 centimeters and this year it has already dropped 113 centimeters.

West Banker dies in construction fall in Israel
A West Bank Palestinian worker died Friday after falling seven meters while working to build a mosque in Bait Zarzir, a Palestinian village in Israel. Israeli police and medics pronounced the man, who did not have a permit to work in Israel, dead on the scene. His body was transferred to the Abu Kabir forensic center. [the good news is at least they let them build mosques...]

Sports / Culture

Can’t stop won’t stop - Palestinian racing gains momentum
Car racing, a sport quickly gaining momentum around the occupied territories, allows participants to compete at high speed without ever having to hear the word ’stop’. This is hugely significant for the drivers who participate. Palestinian youth have few opportunities to express their talents living under the stifling conditions of a dangerous and humiliating occupation. For Palestinians often even denied freedom of movement, racing has become a way to experience a kind of freedom rarely afforded them ... Currently there are five female racers who compete alongside the men.

Jumping through hoops
Filmmaker Hannah Murphy went to the occupied Palestinian territories to film the complexities of playing basketball in the West Bank. Here she describes the making of the documentary Salaam Dunk - Jumping Through Hoops and the issues behind it. The documentary was aired on Al-Jazeera International in August.

Video: Young Palestinians play to their strengths
LONDON, England (CNN) — The Palestinian Youth Orchestra (PYO) is just one example of the Middle East’s many arts and music initiatives that are helping spread a message of peace and harmony. Founded in 2004 by the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Palestine, the group aims to bring together talented young musicians from the Palestinian Territories and throughout the Palestinian diaspora. Thanks to one iReporter who attended their recent concert in Amman, Jordan, the PYO was featured on CNN’s newly re-launched program "Inside the Middle East." IReporter Ali Dahmash simply filmed a short video about the concert and sent it in to CNN’s website.

’Rhythm of Ramadan’ brings Afro-American spirituals to Palestine
4 Sept - The United States Consulate in Jerusalem kicked off three days of concerts and lectures featuring American and Palestinian musicians in a program called the "Rhythm of Ramadan" on Tuesday.

Op-ed / Analysis

How Thomas Friedman gets Palestine entirely wrong
By Toufic Haddad. “Green Shoots in Palestine” parts one and two, shed light on transformations in the West Bank that apparently buck the miserable trends that characterize Palestine and the Arab world at large - from poverty and underdevelopment, to illiteracy and authoritarianism. At least one of the articles topped the “most emailed” list on the N.Y. Times website - an accomplishment considering it is the 28th most read webpage in America. It is also a testament of how Western editors are oblivious to how wrong and hypocritical some of the things Friedman says actually are. ... In order to expose Friedman’s arguments, it’s necessary to first provide an overview of them. Taken at face value, they may appear to some as perfectly sound. But, it is the context that Freidman fails to provide which is so damaging and deceptive.

Newsweek: How Salam Fayyad will save Palestine - or not
[How one American newsmagazine sees the situation - includes video interview with Fayyad] ... American-style attempts to impose order on the Middle East have not generally turned out well. Yet for once, something seems to be making sense in the Palestinian territories, thanks largely to Fayyad. Crime and lawlessness have been cut significantly in hot zones like Nablus and Jenin, and Hamas has become nearly invisible in the West Bank. The IMF projects that the territories’ economy could grow at a rate of 7 percent in 2009 (if Israel further eases restrictions on movement) ... The prime minister has imposed the order he so values by helping to engineer a series of brutal crackdowns. In the past two years, PA troops have arrested some 8,000 Palestinians in the West Bank; nearly 700 are still in prison. Former inmates tell of beatings and torture.

Back to Warsaw 1968
By Michael Sfard. Last week the end of the terms of Israel Defense Forces GOC Central Command Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni and Judea and Samaria Division Commander Brig. Gen. Noam Tivon was announced. Their chests shine with the decorations they were awarded for their achievements during their years of service: Damaging the Hamas infrastructure on the West Bank, reinforcing the security forces of the Palestinian Authority, improving the standard of living in the Palestinian cities and - most important - reducing the number of terror attacks within Israel originating in the West Bank. But there is one decoration that eluded Shamni and Tivon, that they did not earn during their time as rulers of the West Bank: that annoying village, that stubborn protest that every week, for nearly five years, reminds the world that millions of people are still under occupation. Bil’in.

Practicing the right of return
A Palestinian refugee returning to his village of origin — By Malika Helena. ...what does a right of return mean when you can not apply it? However, the fact that Israel doesn’t allow people to apply it doesn’t mean the right doesn’t exist, as international law clearly stands above Israeli law. So backed by international law I decided to help the brother of a friend of mine with his right of return ... Beit Jibreen had been reduced to a moon landscape of stones and craters where once houses stood. From a distance you could still distinguish were the roads and spaces between the houses had been. Yasser guided us through the village as if it was still there and we had come to visit him. No matter how much he knows about his camp and how proud he is of his camp. His smile never revealed the feeling of being at home. But when he showed us around Beit Jibreen it felt as though he was sharing a part of his inner self with us. The feeling of him belonging there was so intense that the word "home" itself would not even slightly express it.

We refuse to be enemies!
By Zak Brophy. When Dahood Naaser talks about his land you could be forgiven for thinking that he is talking about one of his children. His words are not the grand statements of a politician or a nation builder but rather the heartfelt expressions of a man who has been raised with his hands in the soil ... The family’s land was purchased by Dahood’s grandfather in 1916 and they still hold title deeds from the Ottomans, British, Jordanians and even the Israelis. Yet despite Dahood’s legal rights over the land and the fact that three generations of his family have lived and died working the soil, the Israeli government has nevertheless claimed it as state land.

An obstructing condition
By Mati Steinberg. The demand of recognition as "a Jewish state" severely harms Israel. It raises the issue of absolute justice and injustice. The Arab and Palestinian readiness, of the last generation, to discuss the dispute in territorial terms is now being challenged with an approach that is based on values and identity. The roots of the problem (’48) become the be-all and end-all and not the final outcome (’67) that the Palestinian side is coming to accept. This is precisely the essence of the Arab peace initiative that presents a territorial equation: An end to the 1967 occupation will end the dispute with Israel.

Upping the ante
Gilad Shalit has unwittingly become a pawn in a new Great Game that involves not just Israel, the Palestinians and Egypt, but also Iran, Syria and even Qatar. By Zvi Bar’el. ...Gilad Shalit has developed from a bargaining chip between Israel and Hamas into a focus of power struggles between regional extremes. As the bargaining process has dragged on, more and more elements have seen the Shalit deal as a source of control and honor. The question now is how an agreement for his release could catalyze other processes that from the outset should not have been connected to it.

Clash of civilizations
By Tom Segev. Before the establishment of the state, most of the Israelis abandoned the Egyptian Jews to their fate, and for over a year did not take any steps to get them out of persecution and sometimes murder. The Polish and Romanian Jews, it seems, came first.

Ethiopian students affair shows prevalent racism in Israel
By Gideon Levy. All of a sudden, we can say "racism." A shock wave has struck complacent Israeli society. A few dozen Ethiopian children were not accepted to religious schools in Petah Tikva. That is truly terrible, everyone tsked-tsked at the heart-rending picture of Aschalo Sama, a boy without a school ... Now that we can use the term "racism," the time has come to admit our society is absolutely racist, that all its components are racist. The legal system, for example, is no less tainted than Petah Tikva’s Morasha school. In many cases there is one law for a Jew and another for an Arab.

Divide Jerusalem, before we lose it forever
By Yossi Sarid. ...I used to live in Jerusalem, and I loved the city ... I no longer love it: The atmosphere of Jerusalem makes me ill ...Is Jerusalem too holy for human beings to inhabit? From the moment the hope of 2,000 years was fulfilled, Jerusalem has known no peace. It is the craziest and most conflicted city in the world, and in no way resembles the city I loved before our redemption began to flower, before the messianic donkeys began to bray. There is no conflict in Israel that does not have its root in this city: Jews against Arabs; Arabs against Jews; the religious, and particularly the ultra-Orthodox, against the secular and vice versa; and liberals (there are still a handful left) against the nationalistic zealots.

Adapting law to life
By Reuven Hammer. The discrimination suffered by Israel’s non-Jewish citizens brings Judaism into disrepute in the eyes of the world, to say nothing of rendering the religion less than just and righteous in Jewish eyes as well.

Mondoweiss: Who’s attacking the veil? Why?
David Horowitz, Jamie Glazov, and Phyllis Chesler are all attacking the Muslim veil. Chesler’s headline is "The Hundred Year War Begins." Why do these people care so much about what women on the other side of the world are wearing? Why is it a source for permanent war? In Horowitz and Chesler’s cases, I know the answer: Israel first. They love the idea of a religious war between Muslims and Jews.