September 8, 2004
Sixteen Israelis were tragically killed in the
city of Beersheba yesterday afternoon. As well as the dead Israeli
authorities have reported dozens injured. The Palestinian Authority
issued a statement saying that they condemned "any attacks
that target civilians, whether Israelis or Palestinian."
Already the media around the world have been quick
to yet again describe the bombing as marking the end of a period
of "relative calm" or "lull" in Israeli-Palestinian
violence, supposedly lasting since the last Palestinian suicide
attack in Ashdod in March earlier this year.
At least Conal Urquhart of the UK's Guardian clarified
that in fact it was Israel's five-month period of relative peace
that had been shattered. The Washington Times was just one paper
however, that said the attack 'ended a six-month lull in violence.'
The UK Telegraph also reported how yesterday "A lull in the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict was shattered".
It seems futile to try to explain how these last
six months of 'relative calm' have been anything but for the Palestinians
living under military occupation. How during this lull in violence,
almost 400 Palestinians have been killed, 71 in extra-judicial assassination
attacks including the killings of the two highest ranking Hamas
leaders, Abdel Aziz Rantissi and Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. The deaths
of whom Hamas claimed to be revenging with the bombings in Beersheba.
At least 23 of the 71 killed in assassinations were not Hamas leaders,
they were not Al Aqsa Brigades or associated with any of the groups
targeted for resisting the illegal occupation. They were women and
children, innocent bystanders like those killed on the buses but
whose deaths do not share the same weight in the international media.
More than 73 Palestinian children have been killed
since March. Thirteen year old Saber Abu Libdeh was killed by a
bullet through his heart, brother and sister Ahmed and Asma al-Mughair
were shot on the roof of their home, 5 year old Ruwan Abu Zaid was
shot by a sniper in her neck and her face as she walked hand in
hand with her two year old sister. Add to the list Mazen Majid al
Aghah whose 14 year old body was riddled with 18 bullets in the
Yibna Refugee Camp of Rafah on Monday night as his family fled their
home that was about to be demolished.
25 Palestinians have been killed in Beit Hanoun
in the last six months of quiet.
In the month of May 75 Palestinians were killed
in the Gaza Strip alone. Israel's Operation Rainbow into the Gaza
strip led to the deaths of many innocent men, women and children
in the Tel al-Sultan and al Zeitoun neighbourhoods of Gaza.
On May 18th six Palestinians gathering for pre-dawn
prayers at the Bilal Bin Rabah mosque were killed as it was set
ablaze by an Israeli missile strike.
On the 19th of May Israeli tanks and helicopters
opened fire on a procession of civilian demonstrators, killing at
least eight, some say 15 but there were so many dying that month
that no one could really keep count of the corpses let alone who
had died where.
The situation in Gaza in May was so bad that bodies
were piling up in hospital morgues and being stored in vegetable
How easily we forget.
Despite the continuous Palestinian bloodshed of
the last six months mainstream media organizations again describe
this period as being one of "relative calm" or "quiet"
that ended only when several Israelis were killed. As Ali Abunimah,
of the Electronic Intifada explained last December during a similar
episode, this widespread pattern is the most persistent and pernicious
failure of the media in reporting the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
It represents not only a shocking lack of professionalism and objectivity,
but a double standard that treats the lives of one set of human
beings as being inherently more valuable than those of another.
Internationally condemnation of the bombings has
been understandably quick. Kofi Annan and the British Foreign Minister,
Jack Straw have called again upon a weakened and debilitated Palestinian
Authority to reign in the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
Can anybody seriously expect the Palestinian Authority to act as
Israel's police force while Israel continues to kill their people,
their children, destroy their homes and livelihoods, and steal away
their land? The Palestinian Authority will never have any strength
or credibility among a people it appears to betray.
In the months since the international court of
justice hearing the Palestinians have moved towards peaceful activities,
and demonstrations. The past months have witnessed a new wave of
non-violent resistance in the territories. Numerous non-violent
demonstrations at various sites along the Israeli apartheid wall
have seen large sit-ins and peaceful gatherings, often including
prayers. Over and over again such protests are confronted with violent
suppression, Israeli soldiers responding to peaceful gatherings
of civilians with excessive force, using tear gas and live ammunition.
Such occasions have led to many being seriously wounded and indeed
Now the Palestinians are also faced with Sharon's
unilateral solution to consolidate Apartheid which has already seen
the United States give its full backing to the Israeli state's aspirations
to consolidate its hold over the West Bank and imprison the Gaza
As Beersheba lies 10 miles from Hebron, in a part
of the West Bank where the Israeli army has yet to construct the
apartheid wall the bombings immediately led to Israeli demands to
accelerate the building programme - a major factor in Sharon's unilateral
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has already convened
an emergency security cabinet meeting to plan Israel's response.
Needless to say this response will provoke another retaliation and
again the emergency cabinet will be convened. But ending the cycle
of violence will take more than building a wall to seal off the
disappointments and frustrations of a people denied the chance to
exist, denied their freedom and their rights to live. Only by acknowledging
that behind that wall the cycle of violence is a permanent reality,
a daily invasion, a town a village under siege, a farmer denied
access to his land, families denied permits to visit one another,
husbands and sons enduring hunger strikes in Israeli jails, women
giving birth at checkpoints, and children shot in the street only
when the occupation is ended and there is no longer the suffering
and frustration which provokes violent responses can the cycle of
violence realistically end.
killed thirty children - Confirmed and confessed, B. Michael
October, 2004: Yediot Aharonot: (This article was translated
Between Sept 29 and Oct 15, fifteen days in all,
I killed thirty children. Two children per day.
Two dead children per day is more or less four
bereaved parents per day. Why more or less? Because some of them
were brothers. So, two dead children for one pair of bereaved parents.
Perhaps that's better, because these parents are bereaved anyway,
so they are just bereaved twice, and another pair of parents is
released from being bereaved. But perhaps it is less good, because
to be bereaved is worse than being dead, and being twice bereaved
is twice worse than being dead. So I don't really know what to decide.
All these children I killed in the Gaza Strip,
and all of them I killed by mistake. That is, I knew that there
were children there, and I knew I would kill some of them, but since
I knew it would be by mistake I did not feel so pressured about
it. Because everybody makes mistakes. Only the one who does nothing
does not make mistakes. Mistakes happen, we are all human beings.
That is what I think is so nice about my mistakes, they make me
so human and fallible, is it not so?
The 30 children I killed by all kind of mistakes.
Each child with his special mistake. There was one about whom I
thought by mistake that he was not a child. And there was one which
I hit because he insisted on standing exactly on the spot at which
I decided to shoot. And there was one who threw stones and did not
at all look six years old. And there was one who from the air looked
like a wanted terrorist. Or like a Qassam rocket. Or like a terrorist
holding a Qassam rocket. And there were some children who by mistake
got into their heads some of the shrapnel from the shell I shot
into their house. And there was one who by mistake hid under her
bed exactly when I blew up the bed in order to expel the terrorist
squad which was hiding there. But this does not count, it was her
mistake, not mine.
I remember it was the most hard with my first
mistake. I shot and shot and shot, then they told me I had killed
a child. I became pale, and my mouth was dry, and my knees were
shaking, and in general I did not sleep very well that night. But
with the passing of time, and of mistakes, it became much easier.
Now I make mistakes with hardly any side-effects. It was very helpful
that my friends, my environment, everybody, did not make so much
fuss over every small mistake.
Here, just last week, when I killed by mistake
one girl, I shot two more mistakes into her head, just to make sure
that I was making a mistake. And then the rest of my magazine, full
of mistakes. Once, I would not have been able to do that.
True, some people tell me that I am making a mistake
in making this confession. They tell I have not been in Gaza at
all, and did not shoot any bullet, and did not bomb, and did not
shell, and did not snipe. That's true, I did not. But who paid for
the bullets? Me. And who bought the gun? And financed the shell?
And the missile? Me. Me. Me. Also me.
And also, who is not growing pale any more with
every new mistake? Whose mouth is not getting dry when one more
child is laid in the earth? Whose knees do not grow weak when another
nameless baby lies dead in a bloody cradle? Who goes on sleeping
soundly even when the number of mistakes reaches thirty in two weeks?
Me. Also me. So, don't tell me I didn't kill.
GSS inflict physical punishment on Ms Fahima during interrogation
Ms. Tali Fahima, a peace activist from Kiryat-Gat
suspected of contacting the leader of the AlAqsa Martyrs Brigade
in Jenin, Zakariya Zbeide, was arrested on August 8, 2004, and turned
over to the GSS. The interrogation methods used against her include:
sleep deprivation, food deprivation, painful hand-cuffing to a chair
for long periods and sexual harassment.
After 28 days of intensive interrogation, no evidence
was found against her. She was not released but transferred to administrative
detention in Neve Tirtza prison for 3 months. During this period
of arrest (from September 5, 2004 to December 5, 2004) Ms Fahima
was kept separated from the other prisoners. She was allowed access
to only a limited number of books, and deprived of the right to
make phone calls, except to her lawyer. She was repeatedly punished
with solitary confinement and denial of visits, cigarettes and prevented
from buying basic needs in the prison’s cantina.
On Sunday, December 5, 2004, Ms Fahima was transferred
again to GSS interrogations compound for 12 days, in spite of the
fact that GSS representative admitted at court that there is no
reliable evidence to put her on trial. In a meeting with her lawyer
Ms Ben Nathan dated December 7 she complained about:
1. Interrogations lasting long hours where she
is tightly handcuffed to a chair, behind her back. During visit
time she was also held tightly handcuffed and signs were clearly
visible on her wrists. Despite the request of her lawyer, the prison
guard refused to release her hands, arguing that "those are
the orders". It should be remembered that an Israeli Supreme
Court decision 5100/94 (The Committee Against Torture in Israel
vs. The State of Israel) forbade the tying of prisoners and tight
handcuffing as methods of physical punishment or mean of interrogation.
2. Tali Fahima was denied access to the toilets
during the interrogations for hours on end. Her interrogators, including
one code-named "Gil," said to her that the Israeli Security
Services instructions allow denial of access to the toilet.
3. In spite of the long interrogation periods
lasting late into the night, she was asked to wake up at dawn. When
she refused to do it, she was denied access to cigarettes for 4
4. Ms Fahima is moved within the interrogation
compound with her eyes covered so tightly that the red signs resulting
from the pressure are clearly visible on her brow, according to
5. The interrogators and male prison guards come
into close physical contact with her.
Tali was let to understand that the harsh conditions
and methods are used against her because she is exercising her right
to remain silent. Ms. Fahima is only exercising her legal right,
which in no way entitles the authorities to punish her, physically
or in any otherway.
For more details contact Tali's lawyer, Smadar
Ben Nathan: 052-3589775
message to the soldiers was clear
Reuven Pedatzur, Haaretz, Opinion (Israel), December 13, 2004
In the best case, the chief of staff is feigning
innocence when he asks whether the army must examine "whether
the messages we are sending to combat units are not ambiguous"
and when he suddenly discovers, after four years of fighting in
the territories, that "in some places, there has apparently
been a blunting of the senses and erosion that stems from the prolonged
service in the territories and the fighting."
In fact, the messages sent to soldiers by Lieut.
Gen. Moshe Ya'alon and other senior officers were sharp and clear.
They stated that soldiers fighting in the territories are absolved
of the need to worry about moral dilemmas. In this war, everything
is permissible, and they will be backed by the high command even
if it turns out that they acted contrary to basic moral norms.
Ya'alon gave his soldiers a free hand in the use
of their weapons, even though this use often proved to be indiscriminate
and exaggerated. The message was clear. Soldiers would not be called
to account for acts of abuse against civilians, unnecessary shooting
that caused the death of children or the elderly, the daily humiliation
of thousands at checkpoints, or confirming a kill. The soldiers
understood clearly "the spirit of the commander". When
hundreds of innocents are killed, including many children, but in
many of those cases the Israel Defense Forces does not even bother
to carry out a serious investigation; when after four years of fighting,
numerous incidents of abuse and repeated cases in which innocents
were killed, less than a dozen soldiers have been indicted and only
two have been convicted - when all this happens, a clear message
is sent to the soldiers: In the territories, we have immunity; our
hands are free.
The behavior of IDF soldiers serving in the territories
does not indicate that they belong to a young generation that is
cruel and lacking in moral inhibitions. Rather, this behavior is
the expected and inevitable result of warfare by an occupation army
against a population that is fighting to end the occupation and
that uses terrorist tactics to achieve its goals. The experience
of other armies, without exception, teaches that fighting in occupied
territory slides over into acts of abuse, unnecessary shooting,
the killing of innocents and wide-scale whitewashing. This process
is unavoidable, and even the most liberal and enlightened of nations
cannot escape it.
The chief of staff should have known all this
from the start, and he should have understood that the only way
to prevent moral deterioration on this anticipated slippery slope
was to explain to the soldiers again and again about the dangers
inherent in fighting among a civilian population. But Ya'alon and
his colleagues chose the path of silence and of turning a blind
eye. Even when unacceptable acts were committed, the chief of staff's
voice was not heard. When two 1-day-old babies died at a checkpoint
because the soldiers would not allow their mother to pass through
on her way to the hospital, the chief of staff was silent. And when
children on their way to school were killed by indiscriminate shooting,
Ya'alon and his officers did not respond.
Therefore, the feigned innocence of the IDF's
top brass, which has "suddenly" discovered that immoral
acts are being committed by soldiers in the territories, is extremely
grave. Suddenly, the IDF command has discovered that soldiers are
desecrating dead bodies, shooting at children, humiliating people
at checkpoints and shooting the wounded in order to confirm the
kill. The truth, of course, is otherwise: They have known about
these grave acts all along. They heard about what happens at the
checkpoints and knew the details of shooting incidents in which
civilians were killed.
And if no one told them, they could have read
the reports issued by B'Tselem, or visited the chilling exhibition
mounted by Breaking the Silence, an organization of soldiers who
served in the territories. But the top brass chose to keep quiet
and to send military policemen to confiscate the material displayed
in the exhibit. It seems that the only reason Ya'alon suddenly was
moved to respond to recent events was their exposure in the media.
The great failure of the chief of staff and his
senior officers over the last four years was in understanding the
importance of the moral deterioration caused by the fighting in
the territories and its grave impact not only on the IDF and its
soldiers, but also on the strength of Israeli democracy. At the
end of 1956, at the height of the war in Algeria, Gen. Jacques de
Bollardiere, a hero of World War II, wrote to the commander of the
French forces in Algeria. "If the leadership gives up on the
inviolable principle of respect for man because he is a man, enemy
or not," he told Gen. Jacques Massu, "it sets loose contemptible
impulses that no longer know any limits, and will always find a
way to justify themselves."
It must be hoped that after four years of
fighting in the territories, IDF commanders will also understand
and internalize what de Bollardiere understood five decades ago.
year, new settlements
The beginning of a new year is aptly marked by
building new enterprises of great pitch and moment: a shade of the
future in its inception. Ironically, the government marks the opening
of the new year by building new settlements in the heart of the
populated West Bank, and a notorious wall of separation to perpetuate
hate and alienation. We shall close 2004 by demonstrating against
it, Israelis and Palestinians together.
This week, as I have reported before, peace activist
Tali Fahima was charged for "assisting the enemy" by translating
some IDF documents left behind at the Jenin refugee camp last May,
indicating operations to capture targeted leaders of Palestinian
resistance to the occupation. This morning, Zaqaria Zubeidi, the
commander of the Al-Aqsa groups in Jenin, the man whom Israel has
long marked as a target for assassination and to whom Tali Fahima
volunteered to serve as "a human shield," appeared on
Israeli TV, telling the Israeli channel 10 reporter that would the
IDF retreat its troops from the area the Palestinian actions will
stop. What caught my ear was his accomplished Hebrew: no Tali Fahima
was needed to translate any Hebrew documents for him. The Israeli
government is concentrating its efforts to arraign peace activists,
while still sponsoring pre-military colleges, openly delivering
radical right-wing political messages to their students. Please
read the [report] below, and think, on the eve of a new year, about
the avoidable predicaments created not by nature, but by the human
heart, which threat to perpetuate themselves tomorrow, and tomorrow,
May you all have a peaceful and happy 2005!
For better days, A. Oz
Friday Dec. 31 Israeli peace activists to demonstrate
against creation of new settlement north of Qalqilia, West Bank.
"Gaza Disengagement plan: smokescreen for accelerated settlement
building on the West Bank." Together with Palestinian villagers
they will plant olive trees to replace those uprooted by the settlers.
At 11.00 am on the morning of Friday, December
31, hundreds of Israeli peace activists will hold a joint demonstration
with inhabitants of Jayyous village to protest the creation of a
new Israeli settlement on village lands north of Qalqilia on the
West Bank. Protesters will plant new olive trees to replace those
uprooted and sold by the settlers. About a year ago, the Sharon
Government erected a section of the so-called Separation Fence,
cutting the Jayyous villagers off from their land. At the time,
this was explained as "a security need", but it is obvious
that the true purpose was confiscating land for a new settlement.
The Friday action was initiated be The Palestinian-Israeli Committee
of Jayyous, Gush Shalom (the Israeli Peace Bloc), Ta'ayush (Arab-Jewish
Partnership), ICAHD, and Anarchists against the Fence.
The village of Jayyous already lost over two thirds of its lands
to the Separation Fence. Now the purpose of this confiscation is
becoming evident: on the lands of Jayyous are sprouting new settlements.
These settlements, "New Zufin" and "Nofey Zufin"
are presented as an extension of the existing settlement Zufin,
but in fact they are totally new settlements, and larger by far
than the original one. Also planned in this "seam zone"
is a new industrial zone (for the Alfey Menasheh settlement) below
the Fence, and the paving of a new road to link the various settlements.
When the building is completed, the inhabitants of Jayyous will
lose what remains of their lands beyond the Fence. On Dec. 12, bulldozers
of a company owned by the settlers , named "Ge'ulat Ha'aretz"
(i.d. "Redemption of the Land", i.e. "redeeming"
the land from its Palestinian owners and passing it to Jewish ownership)
uprooted approximately 300 olive trees in the land of Jayyous inhabitant
Tawfiq Hassan Salim. A week later (Dec. 19) the villagers of Jayyous
blocked the bulldozers that entered their lands. Today (Wed., Dec.
29) Israeli activists visiting the site found the settlers back
at their work, digging out the olive trees with their roots so as
to sell them in Israel and make an additional profit.
This accelerated settlement drive at Jayyous is not an isolated
event. These days a new wave of settlements is taking place in the
West Bank. It is especially evident in the area near the Green Line
(pre-'67 order) along a line running from the settlements of Elkana
and Oranit, via Zufin, east of Zur Yig'al, and all the way to Reihan
in the north. Thousands of housing units are built, in order to
blur the Green Line, and annex de-facto all the areas to which the
Palestinian owners' access is limited by the Fence.
It seems that Prime Minster Sharon is compensating for the planned
exit from Gaza by renewing and accelerating the settlement process
on another front.
Kole, 11:53AM (PDT), September 3, 2004
The link below takes you to the testimony of an
IDF soldier serving in Nablus.
The transcript comes from a trusted Israeli friend
actively involved in the ‘refusenik’ movement who has
given me permission to reproduce and distribute this text with the
names of those involved omitted. In recent months a particularly
dedicated group of soldiers has been actively engaged in gathering
the testimonies of Israeli soldiers about human rights abuses perpetrated
against Palestinian civilians by IDF units enforcing the illegal
military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The interview is unedited except for the addition
of section headings. The omissions in the text were left as presented
to me when I was asked to edit the English version of the text.
Some of the claims herein are shocking. I honestly hope that the
interview - originally conducted in Hebrew - will impel people to
action and that the commanders responsible for such abuses will
be held to account.
It is worth remembering that the soldier's unit
was 'exemplary' in that it was considered to be one that had relatively
good discipline compared to other fighting units in the IDF. The
interview is thus testimony to the real nature of a military force
that is often portrayed as 'the most moral army in the world.'
After reading this interview, it is hard to understand
how such a mythology can be sustained within the Israeli body-politic
and in the mainstream of US public opinion:
year old girl killed in cold blood
Tuesday, October 5, 2004
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) kill, in cold
blood, a 13 year old Palestinian school girl from the Yebna refugee
camp. Iman Sameer Al-Hams was shot and killed by 20 live bullets
while she was on her way to an UNRWA school in the Gaza strip city
of Rafah, near the Palestinian-Egyptian borders.
According to eye witnesses, the area was quiet
at the time. Iman was shot at from an Israeli army observation tower
in the Tal al-Sultan neighborhood of the town of Rafah, on the border
with Egypt. Iman died instantly.
Israeli occupation soldiers were at a close distance
to the girl and could see that she was wearing her school uniform.
Dr Ali Musa, the head of Abu Yousef An-Najar hospital
in the Gaza Strip, said that "the girl's body was riddled with
bullets from head to toe, including 5 bullets in the head".
Palestinian children are not safe from Israeli
bullets be it at their homes, in the street, or even at UN schools.
On September 27, 2004, Raged Adnan al-Assar died of the wounds she
had sustained when she was shot by an Israeli soldier as she sat
at her desk at the UNRWA Elementary School in Khan Younis on September
7, 2004 .
There have been several reports that the Israeli
snipers frequently shoot Palestinian civilians to prove their marksmanship.
This might explain why 200 Palestinian children were shot in the
head and why 84% of Palestinian civilians, killed by the IOF, were
shot in the upper part of the body.
As Israel's so-called "Day of Penitence"
operation has entered its seventh day, the total number of Palestinians
killed has reached at least 80, most of them are civilians.
In another incident, Israeli troops assassinated
two Palestinians in a raid by undercover Israeli unit in the West
Bank town of Ramallah on Monday, witnesses and media reports said.
Palestinian security sources said that undercover
and regular Israeli troops ambushed two men in a shop in the Ramallah
marketplace, and that both men (28 and 35 year old) were killed.
one single settlement
Lead Editorial, Haaretz (Israel), December 17, 2004
This, perhaps, is the primary reason the Labor
Party must enter the government at any price: to keep a close watch
on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon so that he does not follow the familiar
yearnings of his heart from years gone by and fill the West Bank
with new settlements while all the attention is focused on the evacuation
of the Gaza Strip.
These words are being written in the wake of the
state's reply to the community of Nirit's petition to the High Court
of Justice against the establishment of a new Jewish settlement
with 1,200 housing units to be called Nof Hasharon, adjacent to
Nirit but on the other side of the Green Line, in the West Bank.
In his reply to the High Court of Justice, the representative of
the State Prosecutor's office said the road map that has been approved
by the government, whereby it has undertaken not to set up any new
settlements in the territories, does not legally obligate the state.
This amazing legal hairsplitting shows a trend
of thought in Sharon's government that portends ill. It is untenable
that it will demand of the Palestinians that they stick to their
commitment under the road map to fight terror while ignoring its
own commitment not to establish settlements.
The wall-to-wall support that Ariel Sharon has
been enjoying recently is based on his decision to turn over a new
leaf in the diplomatic arena. This is not unconditional support.
The suspicions regarding Sharon still exist and have often been
expressed on this page. There is still the possibility that the
disengagement from Gaza is nothing but a maneuver aimed at strengthening
the Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The recent silence of the
settler leadership makes one wonder whether they have been given
promises about which the public does not know.
This feeling is reinforced upon reading the follow-up
reports by Peace Now and other organizations to the effect that
in Samaria, the Etzion bloc and Ma'aleh Adumim, there is energetic
ground-breaking work going on in an attempt to establish new facts
on the ground. The suspicion is that the government is trying to
draw up a new map strewn with Jewish settlement points before the
Americans come to the region to draw their own map of the settlements.
In addition to this, about 100 outposts that were
slated to be evacuated long ago are thriving undisturbed, have already
been hooked up to water and electricity infrastructures and are
continuing to expand.
It is to be hoped that the Labor Party, upon joining
the government, will not nurture any mistaken illusions about Sharon's
new path and will not hesitate to insist upon the total cessation
of all investments in new Jewish settlements, or the expansion of
existing ones, even if this leads to a crisis and early elections.
The disengagement from the Gaza Strip has to be only a first stage
in a comprehensive peace plan that will lead to the establishment
of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
The decision by the Knesset Finance Committee
this week to transfer NIS 500,000 to tourism projects in settlements
in the territories is reasonable if it applies to work that has
already been completed; however, any future investment in the development
of settlements and their surroundings is unacceptable. This must
be the first and most important provision in the coalition agreement
with the Labor Party.
Anyone who has been following the settlement
project since its inception knows that most of it has come about
using the method of promises are one thing, winks are another thing
and construction is quite another, which is not unfamiliar to Sharon.
The time has come to put an end to this. The Jewish settlements
are the main obstacle today to an agreement with the Palestinians.
To this historical injustice, not one further settlement should
17 Palestinians killed by
Israeli army since the start of the Palestinian election campaign
Report, PCHR, 2 January 2005
Israeli forces have killed 17 Palestinians since the start of the
election campaign on December 25. Palestinian rights group PCHR
is gravely concerned at the escalation of attacks by Israeli occupation
forces throughout the occupied Palestinian territories and the impact
of this on the preparations for holding the Palestinian presidential
election on 9 January 2005. PCHR calls upon the international community
to pressure Israel and its occupation forces to stop such attacks
in order to create appropriate conditions to allow Palestinians
to exercise their electoral right and freely choose a new president
for the Palestinian National Authority.
Voters flock to polling stations
for the first phase of Palestine's municipal elections
Atef Saad, Palestine Report, 31 December
"These are the first local elections I have ever participated
in," said Abu Marwan, 72. "I missed the other election
in 1976." He and a friend, Asad Qassem, 74, were sitting outside
a grocery store, near the centre of Beit Fourik, a town of some
11,000 inhabitants near Nablus. The two of them were dressed in
traditional garb, a lot of it on this cloudy wintry day, and watched
the comings and goings at the small but busy intersection. The first
phase of the Palestinian municipal elections started this December
23 in 26 municipalities in the West Bank, and Beit Fourik's townsfolk
were out in force.
arrests Palestinian candidates
Khalid Amayreh, Al Jazeera, 2 January 2005
In an apparent effort to forestall gains by Hamas in Palestinian
elections, the Israeli army has arrested a large number of potential
candidates in the southern part of the West Bank. The arrests began
shortly after midnight on Saturday in the town of Dura, nearly 50km
south of Jerusalem, where the Israeli occupation army arrested an
undisclosed number of Islamist leaders. Local sources in the Hebron
area said the detainees included Shaikh Nayif Rajub, imam of the
town's Grand Mosque, and Shaikh Fathi Amr, a high-ranking official
in Hebron's Islamic endowments department. Rajub's twin brother,
Yasir, was also arrested.
Israeli forces seriously wound Palestinian journalist in
Report, PCHR, 3 January 2005
PCHR condemns shooting at a Palestinian journalist by Israeli Occupation
Forces (IOF) on Sunday, 2 January 2004, when he was covering an
Israeli military incursion into the northern Gaza Strip town of
Beit Hanoun. The journalist was seriously wounded by a live bullet.
PCHR is concerned at the escalation of attacks by IOF on journalists
and media crews, which is further evidence of the use of excessive
force by IOF against civilians in general and amounts to a systematic
targeting of journalists in an attempt to silence the press. The
goal of which is to prevent journalists from reporting about attacks
on Palestinian civilians.
"Edward Said: The last Interview"
Jenny Gheith, The Electronic Intifada, 31 December 2004
Filmed within three days in 2002, just one year before his death
at the age of 67, 'Edward Said: The Last Interview' is a compelling
portrait of a man who was not only a strong advocate of the Palestinian
cause, but an accomplished teacher, literary critic, writer and
musician. After living for more than ten years with a fatal strain
of leukemia, which he was diagnosed with in 1991, Said refused interviews.
However, former student D.D. Guttenplan along with director Mike
Dibb convinced him otherwise. Jenny Gheith reviews the film for
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