zaterdag 7 juni 2008

Obama krabbelt terug over uitspraak ongedeeld Jeruzalem

De woorden van een politicus zijn altijd voor verschillende uitleg vatbaar, zo blijkt maar weer. Wat is er mooier dan op de jaarlijkse AIPAC bijeenkomst een staande ovatie te krijgen door te pleiten voor een ongedeeld Jeruzalem onder Israëlisch bestuur? In de praktijk heeft geen enkele Amerikaanse regering dat ooit voorgestaan, en zou Obama, als hij de verkiezingen wint, daarmee de meest pro-Israëlische president zijn geworden.
De VS heeft, net als bijna alle andere landen, uit protest over Israëls annexatie van Oost-Jeruzalem in 1980, zijn ambassade verplaatst naar Tel Aviv, iets wat veel Israëli's nog steeds dwars zit. Je kunt je inderdaad afvragen wat er problematisch is aan een ambassade in West-Jeruzalem, Israëls hoofdstad en toch redelijk onbetwist gebied zou ik zeggen.
Dit voorval laat zien dat we alle mooie (of minder mooie) woorden die Obama en MacCain nu spreken met een flinke korrel zout moeten nemen. De Arabische wereld kan dus opgelucht adem halen.

Obama backtracks on a united J'lem
WASHINGTON Jun 6, 2008 0:13 | Updated Jun 6, 2008 0:31

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama did not rule out Palestinian sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem when he called for Israel's capital to remain "undivided," his campaign told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.

"Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided," Obama declared Wednesday, to rousing applause from the 7,000-plus attendees at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference.

But a campaign adviser clarified Thursday that Obama believes "Jerusalem is a final status issue, which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties" as part of "an agreement that they both can live with."

"Two principles should apply to any outcome," which the adviser gave as: "Jerusalem remains Israel's capital and it's not going to be divided by barbed wire and checkpoints as it was in 1948-1967."

He refused, however, to rule out other configurations, such as the city also serving as the capital of a Palestinian state or Palestinian sovereignty over Arab neighborhoods.

"Beyond those principles, all other aspects are for the two parties to agree at final status negotiations," the Obama adviser said.

Many on the right of the political spectrum among America's Jews welcomed Obama's remarks at AIPAC, but the clarification of his position left several cold.

"The Orthodox Union is extremely disappointed in this revision of Senator Obama's important statement about Jerusalem," said Nathan Diament, director of public policy for the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations. He had sent out a release Wednesday applauding Obama's Jerusalem remarks in front of AIPAC.
"In the current context, everyone understands that saying 'Jerusalem... must remain undivided' means that the holy city must remain unified under Israeli rule, as it has been since 1967," Diament explained.

"If Senator Obama intended his remarks at AIPAC to be understood in this way, he said nothing that would reasonably lead to such a different interpretation."
Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America and another Jewish activist who had originally lauded Obama's statement, now called the candidate's words "troubling."

"It means he used the term inappropriately, possibly to mislead strong supporters of Israel that he supports something he doesn't really believe," Klein charged.

Obama has faced questions about his support for Israel from hawkish quarters of the Jewish community, and his campaign said the speech before AIPAC, following a town hall meeting at a Florida synagogue last month, were key elements in shoring up the Jewish vote, which generally goes to the Democrats.

"We think we've gotten a good reaction to the speech and we're pleased that we've gotten a good reaction," said the campaign adviser of the candidate's AIPAC address, which received multiple sustained standing ovations.

But not everyone was pleased with the speech, particularly Palestinians.

"This statement is totally rejected," said Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, whom a top aide described as "disappointed."

"The whole world knows that holy Jerusalem was occupied in 1967 and we will not accept a Palestinian state without having Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state," Abbas said.

The Obama campaign adviser said that whatever the international reaction, it was important for the Illinois senator to "make his positions clear."

"Our main audience is American voters at the moment. Other people want to know where he stands and it's important that they do know where he stands," he said.
Speaking generally about the speech, which also stressed the importance of a secure Israel and the need to isolate Hamas, Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters: "Obama's comments have confirmed that there will be no change in the US administration's foreign policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict."

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, however, called Obama's address "moving," adding that he was also impressed by the speeches delivered at the same conference by Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, and presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain.

Olmert spoke to all three candidates by phone Thursday as he wrapped up a three-day visit to Washington.

Grondstof voor explosieven ontdekt bij checkpoint

Prohibited Substances Discovered

June 5th, 2008


Prohibited Dangerous Substances Discovered in Judea and Samaria

In a joint IDF, Israeli Police and Civil Administration operation, forces discovered this afternoon an Israeli truck carrying 1300 liters of Sulphuric Acid at the Eliyahu Crossing, east of Qalqiliya.

Sulphuric Acid is a prohibited dangerous substance in Judea and Samaria, by the order of GOC Central Command. This substance can be used for the production of weaponry and explosives.

The security forces will continue to operate against the transfer of prohibited substances into the Palestinian Authority. These substances are used as raw material for the manufacturing of explosives used for terror attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Without these substances terrorist organizations will have much more difficulty executing terrorist attacks.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

Wat heeft Syrië te verbergen?

Als de in september door Israël gebombardeerde installatie niet werd gebruikt om plutonium te verrijken, zoals Israël en de VS beweren, waarom zou Syrië dan zo'n bezwaar maken tegen controle door de IAEA?

Nuclear watch: What is Syria hiding?

Last update - 09:55 04/06/2008
By The Associated Press
Syria has told fellow Arab countries that it will not permit an International Atomic Energy Agency probe to extend beyond a site bombed by Israel, despite agency interest in three other suspect locations, diplomats told The Associated Press Tuesday.
The agency's main focus on its planned June 22-24 visit to Syria is a building in the country's remote eastern desert that was destroyed in September by Israeli jets.
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei announced Monday that Syria had agreed to an agency check of U.S. assertions that the target was a plutonium-producing reactor tèlp was near completion, and thus at the stage where it could generate the fissile material for nuclear arms.
But the agency is also interested in following up on information that Syria may have three other undeclared atomic facilities. Diplomats and a nuclear expert told the AP Monday that at least one of the sites may have equipment that can reprocess nuclear material into the fissile core of warheads.
One of the diplomats said the IAEA was following up on a U.S. intelligence-based tip but emphasized the agency had not seen the intelligence itself. The nuclear expert said two of the military sites were operational and one was under construction. He and the diplomats asked for anonymity because their information was confidential.
On Tuesday, a senior diplomat familiar with the planned IAEA Syria trip told the AP that expectations were that Syria would gradually warm to the idea of giving agency experts access to those three sites, as well as the bombed Al Kibar facility.
But two other diplomats briefed on the Syrian stance said outside a meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation board that a senior official from Damascus ruled that out during a meeting with chief delegates of the 10 Arab nations accredited to the IAEA.
The diplomats said Syrian atomic energy chief Ibrahim Othman told the Arab delegates that his country could not open secret military sites to outside perusal as long as Syria and Israel remained technically in a state of war.
After fighting three wars and clashing in Lebanon, Israel and Syria are bitter enemies whose last round of peace talks collapsed eight years ago. Both countries recently confirmed that they are holding peace talks through Turkish mediators.
As well, they said, Othman expressed fear that too much openness on Syria's part would encourage the U.S. to push for years of relentless international scrutiny of the kind Iran's nuclear program is now undergoing, despite Tehran's assertions its aims are purely peaceful.
After-hours calls to the Syrian Mission to the IAEA in Vienna for comment went unanswered.
Neither the U.S. nor Israel told the IAEA about the bombed site until late April, about a year after they obtained what they considered decisive intelligence: dozens of photographs from a handheld camera of the inside and outside of the compound.
Since then, Syria had not reacted to repeated agency requests for a visit to check out the allegations. Satellite photos appear to show construction crews using the interval to erect another structure over the site - a move that heightened suspicions of a possible cover-up.
Pressure on Syria to respond positively mounted with the approach of the latest meeting of the IAEA board that opened Monday.
In announcing the Syrian visit to the board, ElBaradei repeated his criticism of Israel and the U.S., taking Washington to task for waiting so long to brief him on its suspicions, and Jerusalem for its airstrike.
Diplomats have recently suggested that the Americans may have waited even longer, telling the AP that Washington may have had indications of Syrian plans more than five years ago. They demanded anonymity because their information was confidential.
The invitation signaled the start of an international fact check of U.S. and Israeli assertions that Damascus had tried to build a plutonium-producing facility under the radar of the international community.
Syrian President Bashar Assad denied once again that his country has a secret nuclear program in interviews appearing Tuesday in United Arab Emirates newspapers.
Israel has never officially confirmed September's air strike on the Al Kibar site, though it has not disputed the foreign reports, or U.S. government comments, on the incident.

vrijdag 6 juni 2008

Alan Dershowitz over Jimmy Carter

Hoe objectief kun je nog zijn als je wordt betaald door een partij die belang heeft bij wat je doet?
Jimmy Carter, die de macht en invloed van de zogenaamde 'Joodse lobby' op het Amerikaanse buitenlandse beleid bekritiseert, blijkt zelf miljoenen te krijgen van dubieuze Arabische bronnen.

Ex-President For Sale, by Alan M. Dershowitz

Jimmy Carter is making more money selling integrity than peanuts. I have known Jimmy Carter for more than 30 years. I first met him in the spring of 1976 when, as a relatively unknown candidate for president,he sent me a handwritten letter asking for my help in his campaign on issues of crime and justice.

I had just published an article in The New York Times Magazine on sentencing reform, and he expressed interest in my ideas and asked me to come up with additional ones for his campaign.

Shortly thereafter, my former student Stuart Eisenstadt, brought Carter to Harvard to meet with some faculty members, me among them. I immediately liked Jimmy Carter and saw him as a man of integrity and principle. I signed on to his campaign and worked very hard for his election.

When Newsweek magazine asked his campaign for the names of people on whom Carter relied for advice, my name was among those given out. I continued to work for Carter over the years, most recently I met him in Jerusalem a year ago, and we briefly discussed the Mid-East.

Though I disagreed with some of his points, I continued to believe that the was making them out of a deep commitment to principle and to human rights.

Recent disclosures of Carter's extensive financial connections to Arab oil money, particularly from Saudi Arabia , had deeply shaken my belief in his integrity. When I was first told that he received a monetary reward in the name of Shiekh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan, and kept the money, even after Harvard returned money from the same source because of its anti-Semitic history, I simply did not believe it. How could a man of such apparent integrity enrich himself with dirty money from so dirty a source?

And let there be no mistake about how dirty the Zayed Foundation is. I know because I was involved, in a small way, in helping to persuade Harvard University to return more than $2 million that the financially strapped Divinity School received from this source.

Initially I was reluctant to put pressure on Harvard to turn back money for the Divinity School , but then a student at the Divinity School Rachael Lea Fish -- showed me the facts.

They were staggering. I was amazed that in the 21st century there were still foundations that espoused these views. The Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-up - a think-tank funded by the Shiekh and run by his son hosted speakers who called Jews 'the enemies of all nations,' attributed the assassination of John Kennedy to Israel and the Mossad and the 9/11 attacks to the United States' own military, and stated that the Holocaust was a 'fable.' (They also hosted a speech by Jimmy Carter.) To its credit, Harvard turned the money back. To his discredit, Carter did not.

Jimmy Carter was, of course, aware of Harvard's decision, since it was highly publicized. Yet he kept the money . Indeed, this is what he said in accepting the funds: 'This award has special significance for me because it is named for my personal friend, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan.' Carter's personal friend, it turns out, was an unredeemable anti-Semite and all-around bigot.

In reading Carter's statements, I was reminded of the bad old Harvard of the 1930s, which continued to honor Nazi academics after the anti-Semitic policies of Hitler's government became clear. Harvard of the 1930s was complicit in evil. I sadly concluded that Jimmy Carter of the 21st century has become complicit in evil. The extent of Carter's financial support from, and even dependence on, dirty money is still not fully known.

What we do know is deeply troubling. Carter and his Center have accepted millions of dollars from suspect sources, beginning with the bail-out of the Carter family peanut business in the late 1970s by BCCI, a now-defunct and virulently anti-Israeli bank indirectly controlled by the Saudi Royal family, and among whose principal investors is Carter's friend, Sheikh Zayed. Agha Hasan Abedi, the founder of the bank, gave Carter '$500,000 to help the former president establish his center...[and] more than $10 million to Mr. Carter's different projects.'

Carter gladly accepted the money, though Abedi had called his bank-ostensibly the source of his funding-'the best way to fight the evil influence of the Zionists.'

BCC isn't the only source: Saudi King Fahd contributed millions to the Carter Center- 'in 1993 alone...$7.6 million' as have other members of the Saudi Royal Family. Carter also received a million dollar pledge from the Saudi-based bin Laden family, as well as a personal $500,000 environmental award named for Sheikh Zayed, and paid for by t he Prime Ministe r of the United Arab Emirates.

It's worth noting that, despite the influx of Saudi money funding the Carter Center, and despite the Saudi Arabian government's myriad human rights abuses, the Carter Center 's Human Rights program has no activity whatever in Saudi Arabia . The Saudis have apparently bought his silence for a steep price.

The bought quality of the Center's activities becomes even more clear, however, when reviewing the Center's human rights activities in other countries: essentially no human rights activities in China or in North Korea , or in Iran , Iraq ,the Sudan , or Syria , but activity regarding Israel and its alleged abuses, according to the Center's website.

The Carter Center 's mission statement claims that 'The Center is nonpartisan and acts as a neutral party in dispute resolution activities.' How can that be, given that its coffers are full of Arab money, and that its focus is away from significant Arab abuses and on Israel's far less serious ones?

No reasonable person can dispute therefore that Jimmy Carter has been and remains dependent on Arab oil money, particularly from Saudi Arabia .

Does this mean that Carter has necessarily been influenced in his thinking about the Middle East by receipt of such enormous amounts of money? Ask Carter. The entire premise of his criticism of Jewish influence on American foreign policy is that money talks.

It is Carter-not me-who has made the point that if politicians receive money from Jewish sources, then they are not free to decide issues regarding the Middle East for themselves.

It is Carter, not me, who has argued that distinguished reporters cannot honestly report on the Middle East because they are being paid by Jewish money. So, by Carter's own standards, it would be almost economically 'suicidal' for Carter 'to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine .'

By Carter's own standards, therefore, his views on the Middle East must be discounted. It is certainly possible that he now believes them. Money, particularly large amounts of money, has a way of persuading people to a particular position.

It would not surprise me if Carter, having received so much Arab money, is now honestly committed to their cause. But his failure to disclose the extent of his financial dependence on Arab money, and the absence of any self reflection on whether the receipt of this money has unduly influenced his views, is a form of deception bordering on corruption.

I have met cigarette lobbyists, who are supported by the cigarette industry, and who have come to believe honestly that cigarettes are merely a safe form of adult recreation, that cigarettes are not addicting and that the cigarette industry is really trying to persuade children not to smoke. These people are fooling themselves (or fooling us into believing that they are fooling themselves) just as Jimmy Carter is fooling himself (or persuading us to believe that he is fooling himself).

If money determines political and public views -as Carter insists 'Jewish money' does -then Carter's views on the Middle East must be deemed to have been influenced by the vast sums of Arab money he has received. If he who pays the piper calls the tune, then Carter's off-key tunes have been called by his Saudi Arabian paymasters. It pains me to say this, but I now believe that there is no person in American public life today who has a lower ratio of real [integrity] to apparent integrity than Jimmy Carter.

The public perception of his integrity is extraordinarily high. His real integrity, it now turns out, is extraordinarily low. He is no better than so many former American politicians who, after leaving public life, sell themselves to the highest bidder and become lobbyists for despicable causes.

That is now Jimmy Carter's sad legacy.

Author Biography: Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter professor of law at Harvard Law School and author of The Case for Israel .

Overzicht aanvallen op de christelijke gemeenschap en 'Westerse' doelen in de Gazastrook

Een overzicht van de aanvallen in de Gazastrook op de christelijke gemeenschap en als 'Westers' beschouwde doelen, met achtergrondinformatie.
De positie van christenen in Gaza wordt steeds onhoudbaarder, en Hamas neemt een ambivalente houding aan, die de christelijke gemeenschap lippendienst bewijst maar niets tegen de radikale moslims onderneemt die achter de aanvallen zitten.

Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC) - June 2, 2008
An increase in attacks on Christian and institutions identified with the West in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas, which controls the radical Islamic entity in the Strip, pays lip-service to condemning the attacks but does not take effective steps to stop them.


1. Since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in June 2007 incitement and attacks against Christian institutions and those identified as Western have increased, and have included churches, Christian and UN schools, the American International School, libraries, Internet cafes, etc. Recent incidents were the detonation of bombs in Gaza City near a school run by nuns and at the entrance to a fast-food restaurant.

2. There are approximately 3,500 Christians living in the Gaza Strip, mainly in the Zeitun, al-Daraj and Sheikh Radwan neighborhoods of Gaza City . Most of them are professionals or businessmen and their socio-economic status is higher than that of the other residents. The tiny Christian minority under the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip lives in daily fear and prefers to tone down its holidays and religious and cultural activities, while some of them even consider leaving the Gaza Strip.

3. Moreover, institutions identified as Christian or with Western culture have been attacked by radical Islamic elements, some of them affiliated with the global jihad which seek to prevent the influence of Western ideas and to enforce strict Islamic codes on the daily life of the Gaza Strip. The institutions also serve as a kind of punching bag to protest perceived slights to Islam, such as the Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.

4. The attitude of the ruling Hamas administration toward the attacks on the Christian and Western institutions is ambivalent. On the one hand , Hamas strives to enforce an Islamic code on the lives of the Gaza Strip residents and to increase it's control over the infiltration of Western ideas.1 High-level Hamas activists incite the residents against Christianity and the West. 2

5. A result of that ambivalence is the way Hamas has tackled the attacks, appointed "investigation committees" and paid lip-service to expressing solidarity with the Christian community. On the practical level , however, Hamas has preferred not to confront radical Islamic elements in that regard. So far it is unknown whether the perpetrators of any of the attacks have been caught and tried. In our assessment, the lack of effective action by Hamas encourages the radical Islamic elements and enables the attacks to continue.

6. Abu Mazen's Palestinian Authority and its media have condemned the attacks. On June 20, 2007 Abu Mazen gave a speech accusing Hamas of vandalizing churches when they took over the Gaza Strip. After the May 16, 2008 attack on the school run by nuns, the Presidential Committee for Christian Affairs in the Gaza Strip issued a public condemnation stating that "the repeated attacks in on national institutions in the Gaza Strip [since the Hamas takeover], especially Christian [institutions], have become a source of concern for the [PA's] presidency and for the entire Palestinian people (Al-Quds, May 17, 2008).

Appendix I 

Attacks against Christian and Western-identified institutions in the Gaza Strip 

1. Attacks against Christian and Western institutions have risen since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip. In recent months there were several such incidents, the latest of which were bombs which were blown up at the entrance of a fast-food restaurant in the center of Gaza City on May 18 and near a school run by nuns on May 16.

2. The school attacked was the Rahabat al-Wardia school. It has a student body of 500, 450 of whom are Muslims. There are 35 employees, 25 of whom are Muslims. The school was attacked because its students are exposed to Western culture, which is different from the ideology radical Islamic elements seek to enforce in the Gaza Strip. In another example, radical Islamic elements opposed to Western values and ideas have recently criticized the summer camps run by international institutions because they are coeducational and the participants absorb messages opposed to what they consider the values of Islam.

3. The following is a list of the more notable attacks against Christian and Western institutions in the Gaza Strip during the past year.

i) On May 18, 2008 , a large IED exploded at the entrance to a fast-food restaurant near Al-Quds Open University in the center of Gaza City . The restaurant was completely destroyed. According to the owner, it was the second time his establishment had been attacked (Ma'an News Agency, May 18). Hamas's reaction was unclear.

ii) On May 16, 2008 , an IED exploded in the Rahabat al-Wardia school run by nuns in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City . Hamas condemned the incident and a call was made to the police to bring the criminals to justice. The previous year, when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, the school was subjected to thefts and an arson attack.

iii) On April 3, 2008 , a monument in the Gaza Strip's foreign nationals' cemetery was blown up. Hamas promised to investigate.

iv) On February 15, 2008 , the "Army of Islam in the Land of Ribat," a network headed by Mumtaz Dughmush, 3 broke into the YMCA library in Gaza City and set off a bomb which caused extensive damage. The Hamas police condemned the event, calling it "a criminal act" and promising to investigate. The Hamas security forces detained a number of Army of Islam operatives but released them shortly thereafter following a threat that force would be used to free them otherwise. A meeting was held after the event attended by senior Hamas figures met with senior Christian figures to express solidarity

v) On January 10, 2008 , the so-called "Army of the Believers -- the Al-Qaeda Organization in Palestine ," attacked the International School in Beit Lahia twice.4 Vehicles were burned and equipment was stolen. According to a statement issued two days later, the school was accused of spreading polytheism and hatred for Islam. The PA led by Abu Mazen condemned the attacks. On February 17 an editorial in the London based Al-Quds al-Arabi called upon Hamas to uncover the identity of the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

vi) On December 31, 2007 , the so-called "Friends of the Sunnah Bayt al-Maqdis" issued a manifesto on the Pal-today Website, affiliated with the PIJ, threatening to attack anyone who participated in New Year's Eve celebrations. The Hamas response was unclear.

vii) On October 6, 2007 , elements linked to Hamas abducted Rami Khadr Ayad from his home and shot him to death; he was Christian who worked for the Holy Bible Society. The Hamas administration condemned the murder and opened an investigation whose results are so far unknown. Muslims in the Gaza Strip expressed their solidarity with the victim's family.

viii) On June 19, 2007 , during the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip Hamas operatives attacked and vandalized a monastery and church.5 On June 20 Abu Mazen spoke before the Palestinian Legislative Council and used strong language to describe Hamas's takeover of the Gaza Strip. He said, among other things, "Even the Christian churches did not escape [from Hamas]. They looted and burned a church in Gaza [City], one of the oldest churches in Palestine …" 6

ix) On April 21, 2007 , elements linked to the global jihad attacked the American International School in Gaza City .

x) On April 15, 2007 , a group calling itself "The Swords of Truth in the Land of Ribat " set off bombs in two Internet cafes and a store selling Christian books, causing damage.

Appendix II

The Christian community in the Gaza Strip

Background information

1. The Christian community in the Gaza Strip numbers about 3,500 of a total population of 1,400,000 Sunni Muslims. Most of them live in Gaza City in five neighborhoods: Zeitun, Al-Daraj, Sheikh Radwan, Rimal and Tel al-Hawa. The most prominent Christian families are the Tarazi, Khuri, Muslem, Ayad, Hakura, al-Siagh, Farah, al-Tawil, al-Saraf and Ghatas families.

2. The Christians have a representative in Hamas's Palestinian Legislative Council, Fuad Kamal Yaakub al-Tawil, who is supported by Hamas.

3. A small part of the Christian community lived in Gaza before 1948. They possessed houses, real-estate and businesses. Their socio-economic status was higher than that of other Gaza Strip inhabitants

4. Most of the Christians living there now came as refugees from the city of Ramle during Israel 's War of Independence. They bought land and houses but nevertheless the socio-economic status was lower than that of the original Christian residents. Some of them lived in the Shati refugee camp where they were given land by the Egyptian government on which they built houses and a church. Another wave of Christians arrived with the establishment of the PA in 1994, when PLO activists returned to the Gaza Strip.

The Christian educational system

5. There are five Christian schools in the Gaza Strip, four of them Catholic and one of them Orthodox Christian. Most of the students and staff are Muslim:

i) The Holy Family School : 700 students in 12 grades, 100 Christian and 600 Muslim.

ii) The Latin Patriarch School : 550 students from kindergarten through high school, 40 Christian and 510 Muslim.

iii) The Rahabat al-Wardia School : 500 students, from kindergarten through the ninth grade, 50 Christian and 450 Muslim.

iv) The Sisters of Love Kindergarten : 120 children, 5 Christian and 115 Muslim.

v) The Orthodox Christian School : 500 students from kindergarten through the ninth grade, 100 Christian and 400 Muslim.

Christian associations and societies

6. There are a number of Christian associations and societies operating in the Gaza Strip, most of them dealing with vocational training, education and humanitarian aid to all local residents:

i) The Middle East Church Council : provides medical and vocational training for Christians and Muslims. The Council operates a number of medical clinics. The Council receives support from churches around the world.

ii) The YMCA : provides educational services and organizes social activities and vocational training courses.

iii) The Episcopalian Church Society : operates the Al-Ahli hospital, a medical center with a large library.

iv) The Society of Christ : provides medical services and runs an infirmary.

v) The Papal Delegation Society : deals primarily with building Christian institutions.

vi) The Catholic Relief Service : provides agricultural aid

Appendix III

Pictures of the results of attacks:   For these and other pictures see the original article here.

1 For further information see our August 31, 2007 Bulletin entitled "Since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, it has intensified its activities to impose an Islamic social code" .

2 Conspicuous was the the Friday sermon given by Sheikh Yunis al-Astal, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, broadcast by Al-Aqsa TV on April 11, 2008. He said that Islam would soon conquer Rome, "the capital of the Catholics, or Crusaders," which would then become "an advanced post for Islamic conquests which will spread through Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas and even Eastern Europe" (MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 1885, April 14, 2008).

3 A terrorist organization affiliated with the global jihad, in effect a branch of Al-Qaeda in the Gaza Strip.

4 For further information see our January 14, 2008 Bulletin entitled "The "Army of the Believers—the Al-Qaeda Organization in Palestine " has claimed responsibility for two attacks on the American International School in Gaza " .

5 That was not the first time Hamas operatives attacked a church. There was a similar incident on September 23, 2006.

6 On June 20 a column by Yussef al-Qazaz appeared in the PA's organ, Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda entitled "Crime Comes to the Churches." It described how Hamas operatives burned a church library and attacked a school run by nuns.


donderdag 5 juni 2008

Eén dode en drie gewonden bij Qassam aanval in Negev

De vrijwel dagelijkse Qassam aanvallen op Israël leiden gelukkig zelden tot doden.
Hoopt Hamas hiermee een staakt-het-vuren van de tafel te krijgen of juist af te dwingen?

Last update - 12:18 05/06/2008      
One person killed, 3 hurt in Negev Qassam strike
By Fadi Eyadat and Mijal Grinberg, Haaretz Correspondents

One person was killed and two people were seriously wounded when militants in the Gaza Strip fired a Qassam rocket into the Eshkol region in the western Negev Thursday.

One additional person sustained minor wounds in the strike. All the victims were hit with shrapnel from the rockets.

Last week, two migrant workers from Thailand were wounded in a Qassam rocket attack in a community in the same region. The two workers, who were gathering eggs at a chicken coup, were hospitalized at Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva.
One of the Thai workers suffered moderate wounds to the head, and the other was lightly hurt. Three other people were also wounded in the same rocket salvo.

On Tuesday, seven Qassam rockets and four mortar shells slammed into the western Negev. Five of the rockets struck in the Eshkol region.

Shin Bet verdenkt ex-Knessetlid Bishara van werven Balad activisten voor Hezbollah

Niet goed voor de relatie tussen Joden en Arabieren in Israël.

Shin Bet: Ex-MK Bishara likely recruiting Balad activists to Hezbollah
By Jack Khoury, Haaretz Correspondent

The Shin Bet security service believes it likely that former MK and Balad chairman Azmi Bishara is trying to recruit activists in his Israeli Arab party to serve Hezbollah and other enemy groups.

The security service revealed this while responding to the Adalah Arab minority rights center's demand that Attorney General Menachem Mazuz halt the "political" investigations of Balad activists.

Bishara, who left Israel last year amid suspicions that he collaborated with the Lebanon-based guerilla group Hezbollah, is continuing to maintain contacts with groups hostile to Israel, according to the Shin Bet.

In the Shin Bet's statement, it emphasized that Bishara is likely to exploit his contacts in Israel for hostile purposes, including recruitment to serve in Hezbollah, or to persuade activists to perform other illegal activities, while misleading them as to his real intentions.

Balad expressed its anger at the Shin Bet's response. Attorney Riad Anis, one of the party's senior members, stressed that the activists told investigators that they "believe in [the validity] of their national political roles, that their activities were not in opposition to the law, and that this investigation comes as the continuation of the political persecution of Dr. Azmi Bishara and Balad activists."

The security forces suspect that Bishara received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash during the 2006 Second Lebanon War for providing "information, suggestions and recommendations," including censored material, to sources in Lebanon during the war.

Syrië blijft Hezbollah bewapenen ondanks onderhandelingen met Israël

Assad moet zich wat minder bezig houden met of Israël wel klaar is voor vrede, en wat meer met wat Syrië zou kunnen doen om haar goodwill te laten zien...
Defense sources: Syria arming Hezbollah even as talks with Israel develop
By Haaretz Service and News Agencies
Last update - 12:32 04/06/2008

Syria is continuing to supply the Lebanon-based Hezbollah organization with large amounts of weapons, missiles and rockets even as it conducts indirect negotiations with Israel, defense officials in Jerusalem told Army Radio on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar Assad said Monday in a series of interviews that resumed peace talks with Israel hinge on the current cabinet remaining in power in Jerusalem.

In interviews he gave to newspaper editors in the United Arab Emirates, Assad said: "The success of the talks depend on the Israeli side and is tied to the Israeli government's ability and how stable it is."

According to one report, Assad said direct talks would begin only next year, though Syria is not opposed in principle.

"We explained our vision for peace, and we are waiting for the Israeli response. However, our previous attempt to negotiate with Israel was not encouraging, and what we are doing now is to verify that Israel is ready for peace," he said.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak referred to the indirect talks with Syria while touring the northern border Tuesday. "With the Syrians, feelers are being put out to check whether there is a possibility of opening direct negotiations and discussing in that framework all of the topics about which we will have to make tough decisions and make concessions, but it cuts both ways. These will be tough decisions from Assad's perspective and also ours," Barak said.

Referring to Syria's "intimate" cooperation with Hezbollah, including helping to arm it," Barak said "the supreme responsibility in our view falls on Hezbollah, on the one hand, and Syria and Iran, on the other."

*** Balanced Middle East News ***
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Hezbollah versterkt posities langs de grens met Israël

De zoveelste schending van VN resolutie 1701, en hij zal - net als alle andere - niet tot enige verandering leiden. Syrië gaat gewoon door met de bewapening van Hezbollah ondanks zogenaamde overtures naar Israël, en UNIFIL gaat gewoon door met de andere kant op kijken, zoals ze al bijna twee jaar doen.

Barak: Hezbollah setting up fortified positions along border
By Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz Correspondent
Last update - 21:27 03/06/2008
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who toured Israel's northern border Tuesday, said that Hezbollah is setting up fortified positions in villages along the Israel-Lebanon border while continuing to grow stronger and collect weapons.

According to Barak, the militant Lebanon-based guerilla group is also setting up positions in 150 villages deep within southern Lebanon.

Barak added that the strategic positions were established in a clear violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution 1701, which ended the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah in the summer of 2006.

"On the surface it appears that there is calm," Barak said, "but there are no delusions here. Israel Defense Forces officers in the northern command and the lateral units are working day and night along the fence, primed and ready for any possibility."

Addressing the issue of the cooperation between Hezbollah and Syria, Barak said "the Syrians are working in intimate cooperation with Hezbollah, and they are in large part responsible for the transfer of weapons and supplies to Hezbollah. The ultimate responsibility, as far as we're concerned, lies with Hezbollah on the one hand, and with the Iranians and the Syrians on the other."

The defense minister also addressed the recently renewed indirect peace negations between Israel and Syria, saying "initial contact with the Syrians is aimed at determining whether there will be proper conditions in the future to launch direct negotiations and discuss all the issues. But the issues themselves require, like in any negotiations, some tough concession. That means difficult decisions on [Syrian President Bashar] Assad's part as well as on ours."

During his visit to the border, Barak met with GOC Northern Command Gadi Eisenkot, Division 91 Commander Brigadier General Imad Fares, and IDF Chief of Operations Major General Tal Russo. The senior officers briefed Barak on the recent security developments in Syria and Lebanon, and the condition of IDF units along the northern borders.

woensdag 4 juni 2008

De Britse universiteiten boycot van Israël en 'buiten het kader denken'

Rabbi YY Rubinstein:
But let me here be frank. Since the founding of the State in 1948 it has created untold suffering. It has been responsible for a massive transfer of population and  a huge refugee problem. It was carved out of an existing State and was set up specifically to be the home of one religious group. It is Nuclear armed and has been the cause of several wars with its neighbours, any one of which could have escalated and dragged the world into a third world war. It's politicians and government are generally believed to be corrupt… But personally I wish Pakistan and it's people well.'
Now if you thought I was taking about Israel, that s because you suffer from Anti Semitism. To single out one person for criticism and disapproval while ignoring the exact same faults in others in bigotry and prejudice. Against Jews it has historically been called Anti Semitism and that is exactly what it is today.  
Israël maakte niet 'exact dezelfde fouten' en ook niet ongeveer dezelfde fouten. Het zou dus accurater zijn te zeggen: "to single out one person (or country) for criticism and disapproval by inventing and falsifying its history while ignoring the much worse things that others really do or did, is bigotry and prejudice."

Israel Boycott - Think outside the box


Tonight is the start of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day).

Yesterday, in honour of this day, we listened to a humdinger of a sermon by Rabbi YY Rubinstein, one of the most sought-after rabbis in the world:

After giving his opinion on the recent decision taken at Manchester University to boycott Israeli academics (yet again), Rabbi YY related his experience at a recent meeting of university chaplains from all over the country, including some imams. This meeting took place at Church House in Manchester. The subject was how to deal with anti-semitism on campus, although it was billed somewhat differently. The meeting had been arranged jointly by the Council of Christians and Jews and the Christian-Muslim Forum.

According to Rabbi YY, people were awfully nice and friendly and he wondered whether to change the address he had already prepared. But he decided against this option, and spoke to his fellow Christian and Muslim chaplains as follows: 

'...The New Anti Semitism is in reality the old anti Semitism. When I walk in the street or Campus and someone shouts "Jew" or "Palestine" at me, they have not asked me whether or not I am an Israeli or a Zionist, I am in fact neither, they simply see a Jew and one Jew is guilty of the crimes or perceived crimes of all the Jews… In medieval Europe I killed Jesus. In the New Anti Semitism I am guilty of every alleged crime of Israel, although I have never oppressed a Palestinian or a Muslim in my life… and that is Anti Semitism.

But let me here be frank. Since the founding of the State in 1948 it has created untold suffering. It has been responsible for a massive transfer of population and  a huge refugee problem. It was carved out of an existing State and was set up specifically to be the home of one religious group. It is Nuclear armed and has been the cause of several wars with its neighbours, any one of which could have escalated and dragged the world into a third world war. It's politicians and government are generally believed to be corrupt… But personally I wish Pakistan and it's people well.'

After the general intake of breath at this .... (call it what you will), Rabbi YY went on to say:

Now if you thought I was taking about Israel, that s because you suffer from Anti Semitism. To single out one person for criticism and disapproval while ignoring the exact same faults in others in bigotry and prejudice. Against Jews it has historically been called Anti Semitism and that is exactly what it is today.  

Rabbi YY went on to talk about George Orwell's remarkable 1945 essay: Anti-Semitism in Britain:

"George Orwell in an essay on Anti Semitism wrote the following…

'I defy any modern intellectual to look closely and honestly into his own mind without coming upon nationalistic loyalties and hatreds of one kind or another. It is the fact that he can feel the emotional tug of such things, and yet see them dispassionately for what they are, that gives him his status as an intellectual. It will be seen, therefore, that the starting point for any investigation of anti-Semitism should not be "Why does this obviously irrational belief appeal to other people?" but "Why does anti-Semitism appeal TO ME? What is there about it that I feel to be true?" If one asks this question one at least discovers one's own rationationalisations, and it may be possible to find out what lies beneath them. Anti-Semitism should be investigated ... and I will not say by anti-Semites, but at any rate by people who know that they are not immune to that kind of emotion."'

Meanwhile this was my own contribution to how well Jews, Christians and Muslims (not to mention Bahais and Druze) get on in Haifa, Israel. It is published in the Council of Christians and Jews' journal 'Common Ground', which I'm delighted to see is now available on line. Just scroll down to the article entitled Melting Pot:

Haifa University was the focus of the earlier attempt by the universities' union to boycott Israel.


Continued here: The British universities' boycott of Israel and thinking outside the box


De reaguurder als terrorist (Bradley Burston)

Met de 'talkbacker' bedoelt Burston mensen die online hun commentaar geven onder Haaretz artikelen, zoals dat ook bij talloze Nederlandse kranten gebruikelijk is. Bij Geen Stijl en Retecool heten dit popi 'reaguurders'. Dat het niveau van deze commentaren - om het vriendelijk uit te drukken - vaak te wensen over laat, mag bekend zijn. Ik zou aan Burstons analyse willen toevoegen dat na het derde of vierde commentaar de ander doorgaans voor nazi wordt uitgemaakt. Persoonlijk ben ik lang geleden al gestopt met het lezen van de talkbacks bij artikelen, en ik reageer ook nog slechts sporadisch.

The talkbacker as terrorist
By Bradley Burston 
In an earlier age, we might well have concerned ourselves with the Taxonomy of the Talkbacker, probing, collecting, and classifying the sorts of people who appear to live a good portion of their lives at the bottom of the page.

As in any biological example of rapid, globe-circling growth in a habitat of markedly favorable conditions and few predators, the genus Backtalkus has spawned countless distinct and flamboyantly diverse species.

There is, of course, the species Pottymouthus, whose favored mode of communication, to say nothing of reasoned discourse, is variations on a few basic vocalizations, e.g., "You're a moron," "You're a *&^%$#%$," "Your mother's a *&%&$%."
This group includes a subspecies popularly known as the Diagnostician. Examples of the characteristic calls of this variety are "When did you go off your meds?" "When did you slip out of your straightjacket?" or "When are you going to do the world a favor and die?"

A second, not unrelated, subspecies is the Sadistic Undertaker, who reserves his or her cruelest comments for gloating at the death of a prominent person, especially if the death is particularly tragic.

While all of these groups has its own undeniable charm, they have nothing on the profoundly embittered, fanatically boilerplate, immutably singleminded crusaders who never shrink from a fight, defending the incomprehensible, including violence against civilians, on the condition that they can wage verbal war from their keyboards thousands of miles away from the local battlefields.

There is the species which may be called the Terminator, viewing mass killings and expulsions as the answer to all ills.

And then there is the mirror image, the Genocidophile, who spares no opportunity to accuse the other side of advocating and carrying out the systematic murder of millions.

This ground has, of course, been plowed before, as in the essay entitled
Talkbacks are for cowardly bigots.
But it may be worthwhile taking a closer look at the talkback shock troops, the hardliners, for whom talkbacks are, effectively, terrorism by other means.

These are the readers who cannot stomach, much less listen to, an opposing viewpoint. These are the readers whose side - whichever it may be - is the only side.

These are the readers who, rather than relate to those with whom they disagree, badger, berate, curse, humiliate, cow, dismiss and otherwise abuse them for daring to think otherwise.

These are the readers who would like nothing better than to terrorize the talkback landscape into a verbal version of Grand Theft Auto video games. These are the readers whose purpose, first and foremost, is to dehumanize. They are counter-compassionate, denying all humanity for those they feel that it is their life's duty to, literally, write off.

They would like nothing better, than to reduce discussion to the level of what may be called Dinformation, in which noise and volume and misdirection and misappropriation of selective portions of truth, take the place of fact and reason.

The hallmarks of the BarcaLounger bomber are many, their causes and betes noires diverse. They may include:

There are no Palestinians, never were. Therefore, let them go back to where they came from, or starve, or be killed, where they are.

Jews have no claim to Jerusalem or the Holy Land. Therefore, let them go back to where they came from, or be put on trial, or put to death, where they are.

The goal of the other side is to ethnically cleanse and/or annihilate all of those on my side. Therefore, all means are legitimate in resisting their goal.

The road to hell is paved by moderates. Those who preach moderation are wussies or naive or cowardly at best, treasonous at worst.

Those of us who are dubiously privileged to see all Talkbacks in their original, straight-from-the-large-bowel form, long ago gave up hope of having people actually communicate with one another through this remarkable medium.

What a damn shame. What a crying waste.

Syrische drijfveren voor onderhandelingen met Israël

Syrië kondigde groots aan dat het vredesonderhandelingen met Israël voert, om een week later een defensiepact met Iran te sluiten, gericht tegen alle 'bezetters' en het 'imperialisme' in het Midden-Oosten. Men zei ook meerdere keren dat het verbreken van de banden met Iran, Hezbollah en Hamas absoluut niet aan de orde was, en in persberichten werd Israël 'bezet Palestina' genoemd.
Gisteren zei president Assad dat men de Golan terug wil 'tot aan Tiberias'. De grens heeft nooit langs Tiberias gelopen, dat aan de westkant van het Meer van Galilea ligt, maar in Syrische ogen is er natuurlijk niks mis mee om behalve de Golan ook een stukje 'bezet Palestina' in bezit te krijgen. Syrië heeft vanouds aanspraak gemaakt op het noorden van Palestina, dat men, net als Libanon, als onderdeel van Groot-Syrië beschouwt.
Onderstaande maakt duidelijk wat wellicht Syrië's motivatie was voor de aankondiging van de vredesbesprekingen met Israël.

Israel-Syria negotiations: What's in it for Syria?

Last update - 08:28 01/06/2008    
By Barak Ravid

Foreign Ministry officials are growing increasingly concerned at what they see as signs that relations between Syria and European countries are thawing following many months during which the Syrian regime was internationally isolated.
In view of the restart of talks between Israel and Syria, Israeli diplomatic missions in Europe were issued instructions from Jerusalem to ask European capitals to exercise "caution" in their contacts with Damascus, because it has yet to prove the seriousness of its intent regarding to the negotiations.
In recent years Syria had suffered international isolation due to suspicions that the regime of President Bashar Assad was behind the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri and the uprising in Iraq. However, senior European figures recently resumed contacts with Syria, and Thursday French President Nicolas Sarkozy telephoned Bashar Assad, even though France had been, along with the United States, among the major players leading the isolation of Damascus.

Five days ago, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos visited the Syrian capital, after a year of not visiting Damascus.
Last week, Israel's ambassadors in key European capitals received a classified telegram pointing out that the recent contacts by leading European figures are the first signs of the breakdown of Syria's isolation.
Haaretz received a copy of the content of the telegram, which was authored by the deputy head of the Western Europe division at the Foreign Ministry, Rafi Barak. The note also included instructions for diplomatic activities in those capitals.
"It must be explained to the Europeans that the negotiations have still not begun and therefore they must be careful and measured in contacts vis a vis the Syrians," the note read.
Barak added in the note that the Israeli diplomats should ask the Europeans to treat Syrian requests carefully, "until we can tell if they are serious [in their intentions]." "The Europeans need to be reminded that Syria continues to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah, supports Hamas and Islamic Jihad and is not disengaging from Iran. All these are issues of great concern for Israel, and they are still on the table, unresolved."
Sources at the Prime Minister's Bureau said last night that the content of the cable was not coordinated with them.
Foreign Ministry officials had expressed concerns that international pressure on Syria would be on the wane following the announced resumption of indirect talks between Israel and Syria and the backing Syria gave to the Doha agreement, which brought an end, two weeks ago, to the political crisis in Lebanon.
Even before Sarkozy telephoned Assad, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem met with the French president and delivered a message from Assad that "Syria is interested that France will contribute to Israeli-Syrian negotiations."
Details of the telephone conversation between Sarkozy and Assad, received by Haaretz, suggest that the French president expressed his satisfaction with Syria's role in bringing the crisis in Lebanon to an end and said he expected Damascus to contribute to its implementation.
Sarkozy also expressed his support for the talks between Syria and Israel and said that "France recognizes the legitimate rights of Syria on the Golan Heights."

Assad wil 'hele Golan terug' - tot aan Tiberias

Assads Groot-Syrië fantasieën. De grens heeft nooit bij of langs Tiberias gelopen. Gedurende 20 jaar had Syrië wel een stukje oever van het Meer van Galilea in handen, veroverd in 1948.

Assad: Syria wants Golan, up to Tiberias Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

Syrian President Bashar Assad vowed on Monday never to give up his demand that the entire Golan Heights be returned to Syrian control, all the way up "to Tiberias."

"With regards to the issue of water - there are international laws which deal with these kinds of matters," Assad told reporters during a press conference in the United Arab Emirates. "But if the question of water means that Syria will give up on its condition of stability - sticking to the '67 borders all the way to Tiberias - we will never compromise on the 1967 borders."

Syrian-Israeli peace negotiations "will need international sponsorship in later stages of talks, particularly from the US," Bashar continued, explaining that the US was in an important position due to its status as a world power and its special and strong connections with Israel. But the Syrian president stressed that talks were still in preliminary stages.

Asked on Syria's position in the event that Iran is attacked by Western powers, the Syrian leader said Syria did not intend to get involved in a war. He added that if war breaks out, the main casualties would be Iran's neighbors. He added that he had made this clear to the US.

Finally, on the issue of Syria's nuclear aspirations, Assad said Syria was interested in a peaceful program to develop nuclear energy. But he said the nation would advance such a program through the Arab League when the time comes.

Meanwhile, speaking during a tour of the Golan Heights on Tuesday, Transporation Minister Shaul Mofaz warned of the consequences of giving the region back to Syria, saying that it would in effect allow Iran a military presence right on the border with Israel.

"As of today, the renewal of indirect talks with Syria is important in and of itself," Mofaz said, but added that "distance between speaking and giving something up is very long. Handing over the Golan to Syria, would in effect mean the Iranians here, in the Golan Heights."

Mofaz added that Israel cannot "sign on an agreement until we know for certain that Syria wants real peace." Until then, he said, "the Golan will remain in Israel."

Achmadinejad: "Europa gaat gebukt onder Zionisme"

Wat doet Achmadinejad op een bijeenkomst van de VN voedsel organisatie, en wat heeft het volgende met de voedselproblematiek te maken?

"Europeans have suffered the biggest damage from the Zionists and today the weight of this artificial regime, both political and economic, is on Europe's shoulders," he said.

In het denken van Achmadinejad is er maar één probleem in de wereld en dat heet Zionisme. Alle andere kunnen daartoe herleid worden. Als leider van een van de machtigste islamitische staten ziet hij de oplossing van dit probleem als zijn verantwoordelijkheid. Hij is niet de eerste regeringsleider die meent dat alle problemen tot één oorzaak - namelijk de Joden - kunnen worden herleid.

Ahmadinejad: Zionism has damaged Europe
Jun 2, 2008 19:43 - Updated Jun 4, 2008 0:19
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Tuesday his country would continue with its controversial nuclear program, but rejected nuclear weapons.
Khamenei, who has final say in all matters in Iran, spoke at a ceremony honoring the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
"Iran is after the peaceful use of nuclear energy and we will strongly pursue and reach it despite the envy of our enemies," he said. "No wise nation is interested in making a nuclear weapon since it is not logical and cannot be used," he added.
Khamenei also warned against nuclear terrorism, saying that one day "world terrorists could attain nuclear weapons and take peace away from all the people in the world." The Iranian leader also accused the US of using nuclear energy to maintain its dominance over other nations in the world.
"Americans, who are leading the opposition to Iran's nuclear energy, are signing nuclear agreements with less advanced countries," which results in their dependency on the US, Khamenei said. He did not elaborate, but the United States has concluded bilateral nuclear cooperation deals with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
The country's supreme leader also said US President George W. Bush and his advisers were acting erratically and "sound mentally ill."
"Sometimes they threaten, sometimes they order assassinations...and sometimes they ask for help - it's like mad people staggering to and fro," he said.
His comments appeared to be a reaction to claims made on Monday by Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. ElBaradei told the 35 nations on the agency's board that the Islamic Republic had not provided requested information needed for his investigation of Teheran's alleged work on nuclear weapons.
"It is regrettable that we have not made the progress we had hoped for" on the allegations over Iran's nuclear program, he said, adding that the alleged activities "remain a matter of serious concern."
The international community's concern was enhanced again by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comments at Tuesday's UN food agency summit in Rome. According to the Telenews agency, he said Europeans are suffering from the "artificial regime" of Israel.
"Europeans have suffered the biggest damage from the Zionists and today the weight of this artificial regime, both political and economic, is on Europe's shoulders," he said.
Italian activists, leftist politicians and Jewish groups have already protested against his presence at the summit, saying it was a disgrace to host someone who has repeatedly predicted Israel's disappearance.
Incoming Iranian parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, expressed support for Hamas in a conversation with Hamas's Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, on Tuesday.
"If you keep up the resistance you will succeed in being victorious," Larijani told Haniyeh.
In response, Haniyeh asserted that "We will never stop battling the Zionist enemy."

Plan om reisbeperkingen voor Palestijnen Westoever te verlichten

Het is moeilijk van buitenaf om de hieronder genoemde maatregelen op waarde te schatten, maar ze klinken niet onaardig.
Volgens Betselem (en anderen) waren er eind vorig jaar 486 wegversperringen en 99 permanente checkpoints op de Westoever, en was 300 kilometer weg afgesloten voor de Palestijnse bevolking. Israël heeft sindsdien (inclusief ondergenoemde 70) ruim 170 versperringen opgeheven, maar volgens critici zouden er een bijna zo groot of groter aantal nieuwe zijn bijgekomen. Het is moeilijk te zeggen wie je moet geloven - zoals zo vaak in dit conflict...

June 3rd, 2008


Implementation of Plan to Ease Restrictions in Judea and Samaria - Update and Summary

In accordance with political echelon directives, the IDF has formulated an extensive plan to ease restrictions for Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley. The plan will significantly improve Palestinian lives in the area.

The plan was created following a series of meetings between regional IDF commanders, Palestinian security officials and other Palestinian Authority senior officials.

The IDF and the Civil Administration are constantly operating to enable different relief measures to the Palestinian population whilst guaranteeing the security of the citizens of Israel.

The Plan includes:

Economy and movement:
·        The number of Palestinian workers allowed into Israel will increase by 40%; 5,000 Palestinian workers will be permitted to stay overnight in Israel; 500 permits will be issued for senior Palestinian businessmen.

·        Four central checkpoints in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley were already removed for Palestinian movement, including: Rimonim checkpoint, that allows free passage between Ramallah and the Jordan Valley; the checkpoint at Asira Ash-Shamaliya, north of Nablus, that allows passage between Nablus and northern Samaria; Bet-Ha'Arave between Jericho and the Dead Sea; and the checkpoint at Sheep Junction that allows passage between Hebron and adjacent southern villages.

·        During the month of May approximately 70 temporary and permanent checkpoints were removed in addition to 130 security officials and governors that received permits alleviating travel restrictions. The number of trucks transferring merchandise and goods from Nablus to Efraim Gate was doubled. In addition, 150 agricultural vehicles were permitted to travel from northern Samaria to the Jordan Valley and the validity of NGO workers permits was doubled.

Improvement of Infrastructure:
·        The authorized plan includes: two intersections built in Hebron, and the upgrade of five checkpoints in Judea and Samaria, at the total price of 30 millions shekels. In addition, it was decided that industrial zones will be established in Jericho, Jenin and Tarqumiya, and a hospital will be built in northern Samaria. Additionally, the authorization of 14 plans will allow the legal settling of thousands of Palestinians.

Reinforcement of Palestinian Security Mechanism:
·        20 Palestinian police stations in Judea and Samaria will be established; training for Palestinian security forces in Jordan was authorized. Seven police stations have been opened this far; three in Tulkarm, two in Ramallah, one in Qalqiliya and one in Nablus.

Financial Conference in Bethlehem:
·        Between May 21st and 23rd, a financial conference took place in Bethlehem, aimed at collecting funds for developing the Palestinian economy. The State of Israel prepared for the conference through coordination between the IDF, the Civil Administration and various government offices, to guarantee smooth passage of visitors to the conference. As part of the preparations, international crossings were open for additional hours and checkpoints were manned by representatives meant to assure the smooth running of the conference.

·        The conference contributed to Palestinian tourism, produced profits of 20 million shekels and led to the signing of contracts and investments estimated at 1.4 billion dollars. Palestinian officials publicly expressed their contentment with Israeli assistance that contributed to the success of the conference.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

7 Gewonden door Veiligheidstroepen bij rellen in Beit Foriek (bij Nablus)

Hoe reageert de Palestijnse politie, gisteren in het NOS journaal nog zeer positief geportretteerd, op stenengooiende relschoppers? Wel, net als Israël soms op stenengooiende Palestijnen reageert, zo blijkt: door met scherp te schieten.

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Press Release




PCHR - Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Press Release Ref: 51/2008

Date: 3 June 2008

Time: 07:30GMT


7 Injured, including 2 Children, by Palestinian Security Forces in Beit Foriek near Nablus


PCHR strongly condemns the incident that took place in the town of Beit Foriek two days ago, which resulted in the injury of 7 civilians, including 2 children, at the hands of Palestinian security personnel. The Centre calls upon the PNA, represented by the Attorney-General (AG), to seriously investigate the incident; fearing that law-enforcement personnel used excessive force was used against civilians.


The Center's preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 15:00 on Sunday, 1 June 2008, clashes broke out between people and security forces in the town of Beit Foriek northeast of Nablus on the backdrop of a security campaign to confiscate illegal vehicles in the town. Eyewitnesses stated that security forces fired at a person who set fire to an illegal vehicle parked in front of the town's police station and fled. The situation escalated quickly into rioting and fistfights between town residents and security personnel. The rioters threw rocks at the security personnel, who replied by firing at the rock throwers. Seven people suffered gunshot wounds, including 2 children. Others suffered bruises by severe beating. The injured were taken to Rafedia Hospital in Nablus for treatment. One injury was listed as serious.


In light of the above, PCHR:

  1. Calls upon the PNA, represented by the Attorney-General (AG), to seriously investigate the incident and to publicize the results of the investigation.
  2. Affirms the need for clear and definite instructions on the use of firearms by law-enforcement personnel in line with relevant international standards that ensure respect of human rights.   


Public Document


For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 - 2825893

PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail:, Webpage


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