zaterdag 15 november 2008

Toespraak Shimon Peres op Inter-Religieuze Dialoog VN

President Peres zegt:
The Jewish and Arab national revivals occurred at almost the same time and in almost the same place. They occurred rapidly and in a land that was small.
However, after the First World War, a window of opportunity was opened when Emir Feisal and President Weizmann aspired to create a new environment. They met 89 years ago, in November of 1919 to announce an understanding between the two peoples from the same crib, who could have lived under the shadow of the same trees - the old olives and tall date.
Instead, we confronted one another, abandoning faith for greed and forging swords instead of peace.  They tore apart the land and increased hostility, resulting in a region of barriers and walls that rose higher, destroying any bridges that may have been built.
Hundreds of thousands of men and women from all sides lost their lives. Many were incurably injured; others lost their homes and became refugees.
Fortunes were wasted on the purchase, maintenance and replacement of new weapons that inevitably became obsolete - resources were spent on sustaining hostility instead of advancing life.
The can be no consolation for the bereaved families or orphaned children other than the end of violence and bloodshed.
There is an Arab proverb that states that there are three events that cannot be reversed: an arrow released from its bow; a word which has escaped one's mouth; and a bullet that splits the heart.
We cannot change the past.  HOWEVER, we can shape our future.
Premier Olmert zegt:
The Government, any government, must tell the truth, and this truth, unfortunately, will obligate us to rip away many portions of the homeland - in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. This decision, when it is made, will not be an indictment against the settlers, the vast majority of whom are not violent, but rather an integral part of a dedicated, loyal public, one which loves the land and builds it up. (toespraak bij herdenking Rabin)
"The ways of the shahids [martyrs] Arafat, Abu Jihad [Khalil Ibrahim al-Wazir], George Habash and even Sheikh Ahmed Yassin - are the ways we recognize. These are the ways in which we are meant to preserve the national interests of the Palestinian people,"
"We rejected Israeli proposals that stipulated making concessions including on Jerusalem and the refugees," he said.
"We either get all six points - Jerusalem, settlements, borders, refugees, water and security - or nothing at all," Abbas said.
(toespraak bij herdenking Arafat)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

His Excellency Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel
Speech for the UN General Assembly Meeting on Inter-Faith Dialogue

Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary General,
Your Majesty,
Your Majesties,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Earlier this week, we commemorated 13 years since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin - my friend and partner to our journey.  He was murdered while singing a song of peace.

Assassins may take a life, but they cannot kill a dream.  That fateful night at the square, we stood together and sang of peace, the aspiration of my people for generations.

Then came three shots.

However, we were not alone in our despair.  Many who cherished Rabin's vision from around the world came to stand at our side and share our grief. Arab and Muslim leaders came, and at the time it felt like sorrow shattered barriers.

Tragedy had united the sons and daughters of all religions.  Our shared agony shed light on our shared hopes, our hunger for fraternity, the dream of peace which we nurtured in our hearts.

Mr. President,

In our region, children bear the names of prophets who are sacred to us all. Why should Moses, Moshe, and Musa, Avraham, Abraham and Ibrahim grow up as adversaries, in animosity?  As our prophets asked:

"Have we not all one father?  Hath not one God created us?  Why do we deal deceitfully every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?"

And Abraham added to his nephew Lot: "Please let there be no strife between me and you, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are kinsmen."

That was the first call for peace among brothers in history.  Brotherly relations should not involve violence or domination.  We all worship the same Lord in Heaven.

Religion carries the word of God to man, as is written in Psalms:  "What man is he that desires life and loves many days that he may see good?  Depart from evil and do good.  Seek peace and pursue it."

Religious belief requires that we recognize the eternal message that all men were created in God's image.  Harming a human being is tantamount to harming God himself.  When nuclear weapons, long-range missiles, indiscriminate terror and fanatical incitement determine the agenda, we have to change that agenda.

Mr. President,

The Jewish and Arab national revivals occurred at almost the same time and in almost the same place.  They occurred rapidly and in a land that was small.

However, after the First World War, a window of opportunity was opened when Emir Feisal and President Weizmann aspired to create a new environment. They met 89 years ago, in November of 1919 to announce an understanding between the two peoples from the same crib, who could have lived under the shadow of the same trees - the old olives and tall date.

Their declaration states: "Mindful of the racial kinship and ancient bonds existing between the Arabs and the Jewish people, and realizing that the surest means of working out the consummation of their national aspirations, is through the closest possible collaboration."

This was great statesmanship and timely wisdom.

Alas, we did not take heed of them.

Instead, we confronted one another, abandoning faith for greed and forging swords instead of peace.  They tore apart the land and increased hostility, resulting in a region of barriers and walls that rose higher, destroying any bridges that may have been built.

Hundreds of thousands of men and women from all sides lost their lives. Many were incurably injured; others lost their homes and became refugees.

Fortunes were wasted on the purchase, maintenance and replacement of new weapons that inevitably became obsolete - resources were spent on sustaining hostility instead of advancing life.

The can be no consolation for the bereaved families or orphaned children other than the end of violence and bloodshed.

There is an Arab proverb that states that there are three events that cannot be reversed: an arrow released from its bow; a word which has escaped one's mouth; and a bullet that splits the heart.

We cannot change the past.  HOWEVER, we can shape our future.

This seems more feasible today in light of the Saudi proposal which evolved into a Arab peace initiative.

The initiative's portrayal of our region's future provides hope to the people and inspires confidence in the nations.

YES - in order to change the world we have to change ourselves.

The Arab peace initiative states that: "A military solution to the conflict will not achieve peace or provide security for the parties".

Israel agrees with that assumption.

Further on, the initiative states that: "A just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East is the strategic option of the Arab countries".

This is Israel's strategy as well.

It continues that its goals are to: ".consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states in the region.

Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of comprehensive peace.

Stop the further shedding of blood, enabling the Arab countries and Israel to live in peace and good neighborliness, and provide future generations with security, stability and prosperity."

These expressions in the Arab peace initiative are inspirational and promising - a serious opening for real progress.

A comprehensive regional peace requires the completion of the bilateral negotiations with the Palestinians and sharing the painful cost.  We are ready for this as we have proved many times in the past.

30 years ago when the peace accords with Egypt were signed;
15 years ago when the Oslo process began;
14 years ago when the peace agreement with Jordan was signed;
8 years ago when we withdrew completely from Lebanon;
And 3 years ago when we evacuated Gaza and dismantled willingly all our settlements there.

Today we are making progress with the negotiations with the Palestinians; we are exploring the possibility of real peace with the Syrians, the last in the list of the historic conflicts.

However, there are those in our region who sow hatred and try to widen the abyss and erect barriers, those who seek to wipe out other people and encourage killing.

In order to stand up against those who instigate discord and violence, we must bear the flag of brotherhood and peace.  This will be a beacon for a world in trouble.

It will end many conflicts and offer a comprehensive peace for all people - real freedom without domination or occupation; global economic cooperation and cultural relations - a new vision for the entire region.

I know it is harder to pursue peace than to wage war; building is more difficult than destruction.  Yet, this is my life experience - it is worthwhile to strive for peace and build homes.

This is the proper biography for men of good will.

For the sake of our children, let us break the bonds of hostility which stem from the past.

When the world faces a serious crisis, let us offer a new remedy to overcome old maladies.  The global crisis worries us just as our crisis worries the world.  However, we can adopt a position acceptable to the entire world without erasing our national identities and offering global opportunities.

This meeting of religious leaders can produce a movement of profound significance and one which will bear great responsibility.  By calling on their believers to serve peace in every nation for all nations, for every person and for all peoples, the bridges we build will render the barriers useless.

Let us free the world from the perception that an irrevocable curse darkens the skies of our region.

Our shared history has known golden ages during which we lived as friends and brothers.

Inter-faith dialogue will elevate our spirits, bring a breath of fresh air to our peoples today and live on in posterity.  Let us renew our faith in one God.

This is the duty and responsibility of all states and religious leaders. Let us not recoil from hardship; we must not hesitate when faced with risk.

Working for peace will justify our prayers and bring a new sense of purpose to our lives; it will demonstrate our values to our children.

Peace is not just a goal.  It is a promise made to us at the dawn of time and the pinnacle of the holiest mountain.

Let's claim them together.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

vrijdag 14 november 2008

Barkat wint burgemeestersverkiezing Jeruzalem

Enkele uitslagen van de burgemeestersverkiezingen in Israel.
Kandidaat Gaydamak in Jeruzalem, die ook Arabische kiezers achter zich probeerde te krijgen, kreeg maar een paar procent van de stemmen.
Secular candidate Barkat, after win: I'll be mayor of all Jerusalemites
By Jonathan Lis, Yair Ettinger, and Ofra Edelman, Haaretz Correspondents, Haaretz Service and The Associated Press  
Secular candidate Nir Barkat declared victory over his Haredi rival Meir Porush in the Jerusalem mayoral election early Wednesday, in a race that again exposed the deep divide between religious and secular Israelis.
With all polling stations reporting in the capital, Barkat won 52 percent of the vote versus 43 percent for Porush. Russian billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak ran a distant third with just 3.6 percent.
In his victory speech, Barkat declared himself the mayor of all Jerusalemites, pledging to work for those who had voted for him as well as those who had voted for other candidates. He added that he would be working for both religious and secular, as well as Jewish and Arab residents of the city.
"I'm aware of the depth of the challenge and the complexity of the mission. Now is the time to work together for the good of the city," Barkat, a technology investor and former paratroops officer, told his supporters.
The race in Jerusalem was one of many that captivated the country as Israelis around the country flocked to the polls for Tuesday's municipal elections, with Arab and ultra-Orthodox voter turnout exceeding expectations.
Meanwhile, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai won an additional five-year term in office. With all 646 precincts reporting, Huldai won 50 percent of the vote as opposed to the 34 percent for Hadash MK Dov Khenin. Challenger Oren Shachor placed third.
The victorious Huldai said he was "incredibly privileged to serve as the mayor of Tel Aviv during its centennial."
"The residents of Tel Aviv have made their choice," he added. "Democracy is our strong point. As I've said many times, I know Tel Aviv and its residents well. I'll continue to serve them, driven by my devotion to the city's development."
Huldai's campaign manager Nissim Duek said he was relieved. "We had to face an increasingly fashionable [rival] with very limited resources, contrary to what people might think. Almost all of our rivals ran very aggressive campaigns."
"Dov Khenin did a marvelous job," he added, "but they forgot that Tel Aviv is not just [the bohemian] Rothschild Boulevard."
Aides to Huldai said that 150,000 of the city's residents, which comprise 37.5 percent of all of Tel Aviv's inhabitants, voted on Tuesday. Khenin's campaign expressed satisfaction at the turnout.
"We are certainly happy that this is a higher voter turnout than the previous elections in 2003," Khenin campaign officials said. "Yet, this is still a lower turnout than we would have liked. We are certain that a considerable part of the fact that the campaign was galvanized in recent months is to our credit."
Conceding defeat, Khenin said that he "remains committed to municipal action."
"We had to deal with malicious allegations and spins, but insisted on running a decent campaign," he said. "The elections made me very optimistic. I got to know many people who are willing to do a lot to improve their situation."
In Be'er Sheva, incumbent Ya'akov Terner lost to his former deputy Rubik Danilovich. Terner won just 30 percent of the vote versus 60 percent for Danilovich. With most polling stations reporting in Haifa, incumbent mayor Yona Yahav holds a 10-point lead over Ya'akov Borovsky.
Most of the candidates in cities and local councils cast their ballots just a short time after polling stations opened. Afterwards, they devoted their efforts to last-minute campaigning.
As the polls closed at 10:00 P.M. local time, the nationwide voter turnout stood at 40 percent. At least 36 percent of those eligible to vote cast their ballots in Tel Aviv; 41 percent voted in Jerusalem; Haifa saw a 35 percent turnout; Be'er Sheva's voter turnout reached 40.7 percent; and in Kiryat Shmona, which is fielding nine candidates for mayor, the voter turnout stands at 33 percent.
Arab and ultra-Orthodox voter turnout is hovering around 30 percent. In the southern town of Lakia, voter turnout reached 59 percent. The turnout in Netanya, though, stood at 7 percent.

Abbas prijst bij herdenking Arafat en de 'weg van de martelaars'

Abbas zei:
"The ways of the shahids [martyrs] Arafat, Abu Jihad [Khalil Ibrahim al-Wazir], George Habash and even Sheikh Ahmed Yassin - are the ways we recognize. These are the ways in which we are meant to preserve the national interests of the Palestinian people,"
The ways of the shahids are the ways we recognize. staff and Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST Nov. 11, 2008

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas paid tribute to his predecessor Yasser Arafat at a Ramallah memorial rally on Tuesday, while challenging Hamas to a referendum.

"The Palestinian leadership will continue to lead in the way of Yasser Arafat until a Palestinian state is established with Jerusalem as its capital," he said at the rally commemorating Arafat's death.

Abbas added that Fatah had rejected offers made by Israel for concessions which included Palestinian renouncement of parts of Jerusalem and the refugee issue. Furthermore, Abbas maintained that "the Palestinians will not sign any agreement with Israel which will not see the emptying of Palestinian prisoners from its jails."

"The ways of the shahids [martyrs] Arafat, Abu Jihad [Khalil Ibrahim al-Wazir], George Habash and even Sheikh Ahmed Yassin - are the ways we recognize. These are the ways in which we are meant to preserve the national interests of the Palestinian people," Abbas told thousands of Fatah supporters who had rallied for the commemoration of the former PA chairman's death.

"The Palestinian leadership will not let our fate be decided by external forces," Abbas went on, adding that should Hamas wish to join the ranks of the PLO, it should accept the organization, its institutions and its history and not set conditions.

Abbas also said that Hamas is divisive and unpatriotic. He urged Arab nations to hold Hamas responsible for the latest failure in reconciliation talks. His harsh rhetoric made it unlikely there would be a new attempt soon by Egypt to bring the two sides together.

He also challenged Hamas to a referendum. "If you are so sure of yourselves, let's go to elections today. And if you do not want elections, let's conduct a referendum."

MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL) also spoke at the rally, saying that "all Palestinians miss Arafat and, whereas in the US, a black president was elected, here, racism and fascism continue unabated."

Tibi said that the struggle must end with the establishment of Arafat's dream. He appealed to Arafat to "rise from his grave and liberate the Palestinian people."

Responding to Tibi's remarks MK Arye Eldad (NU/NRP) said that he "calls upon the Arab enemies of Israel to join Arafat in his grave."

"If they don't like it they should drink the sea at Gaza," Eldad added, alluding to the title of a controversial book by Israeli journalist Amira Hass.

Meanwhile, Hamas security forces were on high alert due to fears that Fatah would send large crowds into Gaza streets for the commemoration of Arafat's death.
Fatah strongly condemned Hamas's ban on the memorial in the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas government decided last Thursday to ban Fatah supporters from marking the anniversary and Hamas's security forces arrested dozens of Fatah supporters in southern Gaza in the past few days to prevent them from preparing for the celebrations.

Hamas said it would clamp down on rallies not authorized by the group, Israel Radio reported. In the Gaza Strip, Hamas security forces prevented students and youth groups from conducting spontaneous rallies.

Witnesses said that in a few instances, Hamas men used force and tore down Fatah flags and photos of Arafat that were hung in homes. One man who refused to take down the photo was taken for interrogation.

AP contributed to this report

IDF stopt terreurgroep bij infiltratie Israel

In de kranten zal wel weer slechts staan vermeld dat Israel vier Palestijnen heeft gedood.....
IDF thwarts terror cell's attempt to infiltrate Israel
IDF force spots terror cell about to break into Israel through border fence.
Several gunmen hurt in exchange of fire with soldiers, possibly killed. One soldier lightly injured
Hanan Greenberg - YNET
IDF forces thwarted an attempt by a Palestinian terror cell to infiltrate Israel through the Gaza border fence Wednesday noon. The cell, which included four or five members, was apparently planning to place explosive devices in the area.

According to military sources, gunmen approached the fence in an area east of Khan Younis and were about to enter Israeli territory when a paratrooper force identified them and opened fire at them.

The army reported that four Palestinians were killed in the clashes, but hospital officials in Gaza said they were unaware of any Palestinian casulaties. One soldier was lightly injured in his hand and was evacuated to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba.

The soldiers are currently scanning the area for other gunmen.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians claimed that an IDF force has entered Palestinian territory, where it clashed with Hamas and Jihad operatives.

In the course of the event Palestinian launched mortar shells at the Kissufim crossing area.

IDF sources said this was a severe and unusual incident, and that the terror organizations have been trying to break the truce in any possible way.

"We are committed to upholding the true, but first and foremost we are committed to protecting the lives of civilians and soldiers, and therefore, in any incident of this kind we will act in order to thwart it in the clearest way," said one IDF source.

Ali waked contributed to the report

Slechts enkele duizenden Arabische stemmers bij verkiezingen Jeruzalem

Arabieren boycotten de verkiezingen niet alleen omdat ze Israels bestuur over Oost-Jeruzalem niet erkennen, maar ook uit angst voor represailles van militante Palestijnen.
Issam Abu Rmaileh, a shopkeeper, said he was didn't vote because he was afraid that PA activists would harm him.
"I heard that they were standing outside the voting centers and threatening people who wanted to come and vote," he said. "I would have liked to vote because it's in our interest, but who's going to protect me and my family afterwards? The Israeli police don't do anything for the Arabs."
De Palestijnse Autoriteit die heeft opgeroepen tot deze boycot, doet zelf ook niks voor de Arabieren in Oost-Jeruzalem, merkte een Arabische medewerker van kandidaat Gaydamak op. Het vreemde is, dat een grote meerderheid van de Arabieren in Oost-Jeruzalem niet onder de PA zou willen vallen, ook niet als er een Palestijnse staat komt. Het is dus eigenlijk niet echt duidelijk wat ze willen, of misschien toch wel: sociale voorzieningen en onderhoud van de stad betaald door Israel, met Palestijnse soevereiniteit over de stad. Een unicum in de geschiedenis volgens mij, maar dat maakt niet uit, toch?
The Jerusalem Post
Nov 11, 2008 23:11 | Updated Nov 11, 2008 23:17

Jerusalem Arabs' election boycott continues

As in previous municipal elections, the overwhelming majority of Jerusalem's Arab voters boycotted Tuesday's vote.

Only a few thousand Arabs - mostly municipality workers and their families - cast their ballots amid tight security measures and threats by Palestinian activists.

The number of Arab voters in the city is estimated at 125,000. But since 1967, the Arab residents of Jerusalem have been boycotting the municipal elections out of fear that their participation would be interpreted as recognition of Israel's annexation of the Arab neighborhoods.

The Arabs in Jerusalem are entitled to vote and run in the municipal elections in their capacity as permanent residents of the city. However, because they aren't citizens of the state, they can't vote for the Knesset.

As has been the case on the eve of each municipal election, the Palestinian Authority issued several warnings to the Arab residents not to participate in the election. PA officials and spokesmen repeatedly warned that any Arab who presented his or her candidacy or voted would be treated as a "traitor." The PA's top religious leaders also issued a number of fatwas [Islamic decrees] banning Arabs from taking part in the municipal election.

Early Tuesday, PA supporters in the city tried to enforce a commercial strike in protest against the municipal election. But after most of them were detained by the police, the merchants reopened their businesses, especially inside the Old City and in the main commercial center near Salah Eddin Street.

Graffiti painted overnight on the walls also warned the Arabs against participating in the election. The warnings were issued by masked men belonging to various Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah.

However, despite the threats and warnings, dozens of young men working for the different candidates were seen roaming the streets and neighborhoods in an attempt to recruit potential voters. Cars carrying posters of Nir Barkat and Arkadi Gaydamak could be seen in almost every neighborhood and village in the eastern part of the city.

Gaydamak appeared to have run the largest election campaign in the Arab part of the city since 1967. Over the past few months, Gaydamak succeeded in building a vast network of supporters who worked hard to introduce him to the Arab population.

Gaydamak also ran full-page advertisements in Al-Quds, the largest daily newspaper, in which he urged the Arabs to vote for him. It was the first time that a Palestinian daily had agreed to publish such advertisements.

Gaydamak supporters expressed confidence that the majority of the Arabs who defied the boycott voted for their candidate. "Many Arabs like Gaydamak," said Ahmed Hosni, who has been working as an advisor for Gaydamak's election staff for three months.

"Gaydamak is the only candidate who visited the Arabs and promised them equality and better services. He seems to understand their problems."

Asked about the PA's call for boycotting the vote, he replied: "What has the Palestinian Authority done for the Arab residents of Jerusalem? Absolutely nothing; I see no reason why we shouldn't participate in an election that doesn't have political repercussions. These elections are about the municipal services and taxes more than political issues."

Issam Abu Rmaileh, a shopkeeper, said he was didn't vote because he was afraid that PA activists would harm him.

"I heard that they were standing outside the voting centers and threatening people who wanted to come and vote," he said. "I would have liked to vote because it's in our interest, but who's going to protect me and my family afterwards? The Israeli police don't do anything for the Arabs."

Reflecting the state of apathy, many Arab residents interviewed Tuesday said they weren't even aware that it was Election Day. And those who had heard about the election said they thought Gaydamak was running for prime minister.

"Most people just don't care," said civil engineer Haitham Bakri. "These elections are for west Jerusalem, for the Jews. The Arabs are out of the game. The candidates don't care about the Arab residents."

Hatem Abdel Kader, a top Fatah operative and resident of the city, said the decision to boycott the election was a "natural response to the ongoing occupation of east Jerusalem."

He added: "Participating in the election means legitimizing Israel's illegal occupation of the city, and that's why we're opposed to the move. East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine and one day we will have our own municipality and elections."

Abdel Kader criticized those Arabs who either ran in the election or cast their ballots, dubbing them a "tiny minority that is driven by greed."

Another Fatah activist claimed that Gaydamak had "bought" hundreds of young Arab men. "He exploited the fact that there are many unemployed young men who are desperate for work," he said. "These people want to earn a living and some of them are even prepared to work for the devil."

woensdag 12 november 2008

Zes christelijke stromingen in één kerk in Jeruzalem

Roman Catholic
Greek Orthodox
Armenian Orthodox
Syrian Orthodox
Egyptian Copt
Ethiopian Orthodox

Een poging tot uitleg van de ingewikkelde regeling rond de Heilig Grafkerk in Jeruzalem. De ruzie van zondag haalde zelfs de Nederlandse media.
Christian infighting at Jerusalem

By Michael Hirst
BBC News

The argument over rights within Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre is as complicated and seemingly intractable as the Middle East conflict itself.
But when the dispute descends into violence, battles are pitched with crucifixes and staves rather than missiles, guns and stones.
Many Christians believe the church in the heart of Jerusalem's old city marks the place of Jesus Christ's death, burial and resurrection. As such, it is arguably Christianity's holiest site.
A church has stood in the area for 1,700 years. Due to the conflicts that Jerusalem has since endured, the building has been partly destroyed, rebuilt and renovated several times.

It is now a labyrinthine complex of chapels and living quarters that is visited by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year.
The church is grudgingly shared by six claimant communities - Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Egyptian Copt and Ethiopian Orthodox - who have always jealously defended their rights over various parts of the complex.
Rivalry between the groups dates back to the aftermath of the crusades and to the great schism between Eastern and Western Christianity in the 11th Century.
The Status Quo
So intense is the intra-Christian dispute that the six communities cannot agree which of them should have a key to the site's main door.
Consequently, two Muslim families have been the sole guardians of the 25cm (10 inch) key since they were entrusted with the task by the Muslim ruler Saladin in 1178.

One family is responsible for unlocking the door each morning and locking it each night, while the other is responsible for its safekeeping at all other times.
In order to settle disputes, the Ottoman sultan issued a 1757 edict (now referred to as the Status Quo agreement) which outlined jurisdiction over Jerusalem's various Christian holy places.
Regarding the Holy Sepulchre, it defined exactly which parts - from chapel, to lamp, to flagstone - of the complex were to be controlled by which denomination.
The ruling forbad any changes in designated religious sites without permission from the ruling government.
It also prohibited any changes whatsoever to designated sacred areas - from building, to structural repairs to cleaning - unless collectively agreed upon by the respective "tenants" from the rival religious communities.
Punishment for a violation of the edict could result in the confiscation of properties overseen by the offending group.
So closely is the ruling followed that it took 17 years of debate before an agreement was reached to paint the church's main dome in 1995.
Acrimonious processions
Monks and friars have been known to exchange blows over who owns a chapel or whose right it is to clean which step.
Religious ceremonies can appear more like singing contests with communities battling to chant the loudest.
Access to the tomb of Christ - a pale pink kiosk punctuated with portholes and supported by scaffolding that the writer Robert Byron compared to a steam-engine - is particularly fiercely guarded on such occasions.
Processions on holy days regularly become acrimonious, with jostling crowds exacerbating tensions over territorial disputes that periodically descend into in punch-ups.
The smallest slight can end in violence: In 2004, a door to the Roman Catholic chapel was left open during a Greek Orthodox ceremony.
This was perceived by the Greeks to be a sign of disrespect, and a fight broke out which resulted in several arrests.
The intractable nature of the territorial arguments over the site are epitomised by the short wooden ladder that rests on a ledge above the church's main entrance.
It has been there since the 19th Century because rival groups cannot agree who has the right to take it down.
Under the Status Quo agreement, rights to the windows reached by the ladder belong to the Armenians, but the ledge below is controlled by the Greeks.
Roof falling in?
Also emblematic of the territorial dispute's intensity is an ongoing row which, unless resolved, could see the church's roof collapse.
Ethiopians were banished from the church's interior by the sultan two centuries years ago because they could not pay the necessary taxes, and have been living in a monastery on the roof ever since.
The monastery, Deir al-Sultan, now comprises two chapels, an open courtyard, service and storage rooms and a series of tiny huts inhabited by Ethiopian monks. It is reminiscent of a basic African village.
All agree the monastery is in poor shape, but a recent Israeli report said it had reached an "emergency state", and was at risk of collapsing through the roof into the church.
Israel has said it will pay for the repairs if the Christians can reach agreement on them, but this seems unlikely, due to a long-running ownership dispute between Ethiopian monks and their Egyptian counterparts.
Over the years, this dispute has been played out on various battlefields, including Israel's highest courts.
So intense has the argument become that when a monk moved a chair out of the sunshine into a shadier area during a heat-wave six years ago, his action was seen as an attempted land-grab.
A fight broke out that left several monks needing hospital treatment.
Such skirmishes may seem nonsensical, but are all too common an occurrence at Christianity's most revered shrine. 

Jonge bruid uit Gaza wil martelares worden

"Umm Anas was at the centre of a highly-staged event, but she was far from a cipher."

Islamitische Jihad is zeer geëmancipeerd, en biedt speciale trainingsprogramma's aan voor vrouwen. Ook vrouwen hebben immers recht op een goede opleiding...

Just married and determined to die

There is a ceasefire in Gaza, but the BBC has found evidence of militant groups preparing for a return to violence. One group, Islamic Jihad, is training female suicide bombers.

Middle East correspondent Paul Wood went to meet a Palestinian woman who has volunteered.

The young, veiled woman was sitting quiet and still as the room bustled around her.

The black flag of Islamic Jihad was pinned on the wall behind her and two Kalashnikovs were carefully placed in camera shot. Her husband, an Islamic Jihad fighter himself, tied on her "martyr's" headband.

Umm Anas - not her real name - had just graduated from a programme to train female suicide bombers in Gaza.

Our meeting was a highly-orchestrated propaganda event laid on by Islamic Jihad. It was almost theatre - and certainly Israel accuses the Palestinian leadership of manipulating young women like 18-year-old Umm Anas.

Yet, although she nervously twisted her wedding ring, Umm Anas did not appear to be a cipher.

She was articulate - more so than the men staging the event - and she knew her own mind.

Secret ambition

When she spoke of becoming a suicide bomber, Umm Anas's voice was strong and steady: "This is a gift from God.

"We were created to become martyrs for God," she continued, her eyes burning behind the full face veil.

"All the Palestinian people were created to fight in God's name. If we just throw stones at the Jews they get scared. Imagine what happens when body parts fly at them."

The bomb belt which she hopes will end her life - and kill many Israelis - rested on the table next to us.

Her main motivation in becoming a suicide bomber appears to be religious rather than nationalistic - the fulfilment of a long-held ambition. Even getting married recently hadn't changed her mind.

"When my husband married me, he knew my way of thinking. He knew exactly who I am and based on this he decided to marry me. Marriage doesn't give me a second's doubt."

I asked if that would alter if she became pregnant.

"I would wait until I delivered the baby," she said. "I would give him to my parents and ask them to look after him... Then I would leave them and the baby would remain behind as a piece of me."

Her parents, brothers and sisters did not know.

"Martyrs - male or female - have to work in secret. No one can know about it. We have to be careful not to give our parents any sign of what we are about to do.

"Sometimes, maybe, they can tell and see on your face the signs of martyrdom. They are suspicious but they don't know for certain."

Ready for death

Umm Anas thinks she knows the manner of her death, but she doesn't know the timing.

She is waiting for the collapse of the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic movement which rules Gaza.

Jordanië en Israël werken aan oplossen waterschaarste

Fifty percent of all water technology deals in Europe last year involved Israeli companies.
En de andere helft betrof Nederlandse bedrijven? ;-)
Als Limburger ben ik niet erg ervaren met het watermanagement waar Nederland zo befaamd om is. Zo snap ik maar niet waarom zeewater ontzilten nog steeds zo duur en ingewikkeld is. Ik zou denken, met de hitte daar verdampt een hoop water; vang die damp op en je hebt drinkwater?
Het is goed dat Israël en Jordanië op watergebied samenwerken, maar ik krijg niet de indruk dat het nou erg veel concreet resultaat oplevert..

Jordan, Israel work to overcome regional water deficit
Ehud Zion Waldoks , THE JERUSALEM POST
The grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence. While Israel's water crisis is severe and much publicized, Jordan's is much worse.

Jordan is one of the 10 poorest countries in the world in terms of water per capita. Water runs there for just one day a week. The rest of the week, residents must carefully ration the water they have stored in rooftop containers.

Israel has offered to desalinate water and pass it on, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

"There has been a deficit for the last 10 to 15 years," Friends of the Earth Middle East Jordan Director Munqeth Mehyar told the Post. "And with this past dry year, I fear the authorities are drawing on our strategic reserve of aquifers and that's scary."

The Jordanian Water Ministry has done a good job of meeting the needs of residents, industry and agriculture, he said, and has kept up a steady flow once a week.

That very reliability prompted Mehyar to worry about the danger of depleting the strategic reserves. Jordan relies mostly on groundwater and the Jordan River for its water because there aren't many other rivers or lakes.

Recently, Israel offered to desalinate water from the Mediterranean and pass it on, according to a source. Both another source and Mehyar confirmed that there had been rumors about utilizing Israeli desalination expertise.

Mehyar added that he believed that Israel siphoned off water from Lake Kinneret as well, when it could, for the Jordanians.

Israel and Jordan have been meeting regularly about water at the highest levels since signing the peace treaty in 1994. Under the treaty, Jordan is entitled to 50 million cubic meters per year from the Jordan River. Jordan's water minister was here two weeks ago for consultations with National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer.

Another delegation of water experts from Jordan was here last week to learn about Israeli technology and techniques.

The group, six men and four women, was not here to discuss transferring water to Jordan. The experts came as part of a program organized by CINADCO - The Center for International Agricultural Development Cooperation.

Under the program, Israeli and Jordanian water experts are to share their expertise in four week-long workshops- two here, two there - over the course of the year. Last week's was the second of four. Last year, Israelis went to Jordan to learn from its experts.

CINADCO is the professional arm of MASHAV - The Center for International Cooperation in the Foreign Ministry.

A source close to the Jordanian delegation told the Post that the point of the workshops was to compare and find solutions to the water crisis.

"Both parties suffer from a shortage of water and search for solutions. We gained a lot of experience from the visit. We saw lots of practical lessons and projects. The impression is that these kinds of meetings and workshops should continue," he said.

Jordan was focused on two main projects to alleviate the crisis, the source said. The first was the Red-Dead Canal project. The second was the Aldisi project to bring 100 million cubic meters from the south to Amman. The project has been ongoing for a decade at a cost of $600 million.

From an Israeli perspective, the goal of the canal is to save the Dead Sea. The Jordanians, though, are much more interested in desalinating water from the Red Sea at the Dead Sea. If the project passes the World Bank's feasibility study, two-thirds of the roughly 1 billion cubic meters of water would go to Jordan and the other third to Israel and the Palestinians.

In the face of water scarcity, both Israel and Jordan have developed very marketable expertise. The source close to the delegation said Jordanian experts are routinely consulted by the Gulf countries and the Arab world to the east. Israel, meanwhile, has been exporting its know-how to Europe.

Fifty percent of all water technology deals in Europe last year involved Israeli companies.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

Bij Arafat herdenking zegt Abbas dat hij concessies rond Jeruzalem afwees

Abbas legt precies uit waarom er nog geen vrede is:

"We rejected Israeli proposals that stipulated making concessions including on Jerusalem and the refugees," he said.
"We either get all six points - Jerusalem, settlements, borders, refugees, water and security - or nothing at all," Abbas said.

Zo werkt dat natuulijk niet in onderhandelingen.

Het volgende is nogal vreemd:

Arafat died at a hospital in France in November 2004 at the age of 75 of a stroke triggered by a blood-clotting disorder brought on by food poisoning.

Although his French hospital record published by The New York Times said no traces of commonly used poisons were found in his system and his liver and kidneys were not damaged as is common after poisoning, Arafat's nephew insisted on Tuesday that Israel was behind the late Palestinian leader's death, and that the type of poison and method used by Israel would soon be revealed.

Het is onwaarschijnlijk dat hij door vergiftiging omkwam, en zijn neef is natuurlijk geen neutrale bron. Als in het ziekenhuis geen sporen van vergiftiging zijn gevonden, is de kans groot dat hij gewoon een natuurlijke dood is gestorven. Waarom Haaretz hier meedoet met de Palestijnse complottheorieën is me een raadsel.

Abbas: In talks, Israel has proposed concessions regarding Jerusalem

By DPA Last update - 18:49 11/11/2008

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that during peace talks over the past year, Israel had proposed concessions to him regarding Jerusalem, but he rejected them because they were partial.

Abbas told tens of thousands of Palestinians who gathered at his Ramallah headquarters to mark four years since the death of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat that he wants a full peace deal and will accept no partial one.

"We rejected Israeli proposals that stipulated making concessions including on Jerusalem and the refugees," he said.

"We either get all six points - Jerusalem, settlements, borders, refugees, water and security - or nothing at all," Abbas said.

The Palestinian leader added that he had made his position clear during a meeting Sunday with the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators - the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia - in Egypt.

Israel has consistently insisted in recent months that the sides had not yet touched on the issue of Jerusalem, although it had agreed "in principle" to include it in the negotiations. Outgoing prime minister Ehud Olmert had promised ultra-Orthodox coalition partners in the past that negotiations on Jerusalem would be left for last.

Abbas has rejected his offer for a peace deal that would sideline the highly sensitive issue and leave it for later, arguing that partial peace agreements have thus far not yielded any progress toward statehood for the Palestinians.

Abbas strongly attacked the Islamic movement Hamas, at one point calling them "traitors."

Abbas also accused Hamas, the bitter rival of his and Arafat's more secular Fatah movement, of having undermined efforts to achieve "national reconciliation" by refusing to attend Egyptian-hosted talks which had been scheduled to start in Cairo on Monday, but were canceled when Hamas announced a last minute boycott of the talks.

He said he was ready to hold presidential and legislative elections immediately, calling on Hamas to accept this proposal.

Abbas charged Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, used force to prevent Gazans from marking the anniversary of Arafat's death.

Pro-Fatah Palestinian media also said Hamas forces, both in civilian clothes and military uniforms, had deployed across Gaza to prevent any gathering of Fatah supporters trying to commemorate Arafat's death. They said they also entered schools and "beat up" a number of pupils who wore Arafat's trademark kaffiyeh.

Tens of thousands of Fatah supporters flocked to the Ramallah compound, which contains Arafat's mausoleum and tomb, since the early hours of Tuesday, carrying yellow Fatah flags and portraits of their late leader.

Arafat died at a hospital in France in November 2004 at the age of 75 of a stroke triggered by a blood-clotting disorder brought on by food poisoning.

Although his French hospital record published by The New York Times said no traces of commonly used poisons were found in his system and his liver and kidneys were not damaged as is common after poisoning, Arafat's nephew insisted on Tuesday that Israel was behind the late Palestinian leader's death, and that the type of poison and method used by Israel would soon be revealed.

Sinds september honderden kilo's gevaarlijke stoffen ontdekt op Westoever

Hoeveel aanslagen zouden er worden gepleegd wanneer het Israelische leger deze stoffen, reeds gefabriceerde explosieven, pijpbommen, messen en andere wapens niet zou onderscheppen en onschadelijk maken?

IDF Spokersperson Office November 11th, 2008

Hundreds of Kilograms of Dangerous Substances Uncovered in Judea and Samaria since September

Now released for publication: On October 28th, 2008, Security forces operating in Salfit uncovered 2.5 kg of naphthalene and 20 kg of 20-20-20 type fertilizer.

In recent months the IDF, ISA, Civil Administration, the Crossing Administration and the Israeli Police have been operating in order to uncover dangerous substances, based on ISA intelligence.

In light of the fact that these substances are used to make weapons and explosives, their use or possession in the Judea and Samaria region is forbidden by order of the G.O.C of the Central Command.

The IDF and Israeli security forces have uncovered such dangerous substances in other incidents this year: 160 kg and 56 liters of hazardous materials were uncovered in Qalqilya on September 15th, 65 liters of Formalin were uncovered in Ramallah on September 8th, and 25 kg of fertilizers, 10 kg of sulfur and 5 liters of pesticides were uncovered in the village of Fasayil, north of Jericho, on September 1st.

Security Forces will continue these operations in order to stop the spread of these hazardous materials, which are often used for making explosives and in terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Controlling these potentially lethal substances will prevent their use by terrorist groups and stop them from committing acts of terror.

*** Balanced Middle East News ***
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dinsdag 11 november 2008

Olmert pleit voor opgeven delen van Jeruzalem op Rabin herdenking

Hoewel de Israelische vredesbeweging is ingestort tijdens de Tweede Intifada, is sinds de dagen van Rabin in Israel het besef verder doorgedrongen dat een Palestijnse staat onvermijdelijk is om tot vrede met de Arabieren te komen. Wat Rabin nog niet hardop zei, zei - of all people - ijzervreter Sharon later wel, en Olmert (akkoord, hij heeft niets meer te verliezen) pleit openlijk voor de noodzaak om Jeruzalem te delen. De vraag is of Livni dit ook openlijk zal kunnen zeggen en toch de verkiezingen winnen....
Ziet iemand Abbas al de komende Palestijnse presidentsverkiezingen winnen, als hij openlijk zou verkondigen dat de Palestijnen het 'recht op terugkeer' moeten opgeven? Als Livni en Abbas dit nu beiden zouden doen, en beide verkiezingen op dezelfde dag houden?

The Jerusalem Post
Nov 10, 2008 16:22 | Updated Nov 10, 2008 19:30
Olmert at Rabin memorial: We must give up parts of J'lem

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday used a Jerusalem memorial ceremony for former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin to reiterate that Israel must be willing to cede parts of the capital.

"If we want to keep Israel Jewish and democratic, we need to give up parts of the homeland we have dreamed about for generations and [mentioned] in our prayers, even Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, and to return to a 1967 Israel with certain amendments," he said.

"The decision must be made now. The moment of truth has arrived. There is no escaping it, but [the opportunity] can be missed. If, God forbid, we dither, we will lose the support for the idea of two states. There is no need to expand on the alternative…Rabin will win," he continued.

"The moment of truth has arrived," he repeated. "We can push if off for many years in which blood will be spilled. But we must look at it honestly, proudly and responsibly. The bullets that killed Rabin could not stop the historic path that he led. Even after his death, Rabin will be victorious."

During the state ceremony at Mount Herzl, President Shimon Peres emphasized that even today, there were those who were inciting and causing harm and he said that the state must "utilize the law to its fullest, without fear."

He said that like then, there was now a small minority that had "the audacity" to undermine the state's authority.

"They hurt Palestinians, just because they are Palestinians, and challenge the law enforcement authorities, police and soldiers, who are protecting the country and also protecting them," he said. "The violent and dangerous minority must be condemned and isolated and we must silence their abusive and inciting words. Their damaging and destructive acts must not be tolerated as if they are a state within a state.

"Israel's honor, the power of democracy and rule of law, obligate this. The extremists have no future because they don't act justly. The majority of the electorate won't be frightened by this threatening minority. The people will defend their land, peace and democracy with all their might. They will overcome those struck by blindness, like just one candle can dissolve darkness."

"Yitzhak underwent a difficult metamorphosis," continued the president. "It didn't develop overnight and wasn't devoid of misgivings and deep concerns. As 'Mr. Security,' who for most of his years dealt with strengthening Israel military might and in ensuring its capability to win wars, and also as 'Mr. Peace,' Yitzhak suffered misgivings. But when Yitzhak made the moral and diplomatic decision, he never looked back. He reached forward with a determined and energetic heart."

"The bullets that were fired into Yitzhak's back didn't kill his way, because ideas and visions cannot be killed." stressed Peres. "But they were aimed at delaying, ruining and damaging a huge process, which had enormous regional and international support, for creating a new political and economic reality in this land and on its borders for the nations living here and the surrounding neighbors. The despicable murderer who showed contempt for Israel's democracy, and who assassinated its elected leader, hurt the nation's soul. It is not fitting for his voice to be heard.
A killer is a killer and there is no need for his fictitious philosophy."

Rabin's son, Yuval, also spoke at the ceremony.

"Another year has passed and we are still here. The atmosphere is similar, the mood has not changed. The same things are happing, the same voices are being heard," he lamented. "The smell of gunpowder is upon us again, this time from the house of an academic, and again the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head has warned of a political assassination. Again, it is clear to everyone that the gun is loaded."

President Shimon Peres over de erfenis van Yitzhak Rabin

Rabin blijft herinnerd als de leider die het vredesproces met de Palestijnen op gang bracht in de jaren '90, met de erkenning van de PLO van Arafat en van het Palestijnse streven naar onafhankelijkheid. Terwijl het voor de internationale gemeenschap toen al evident was dat het Oslo vredesproces om niets anders kon gaan dan een zelfstandige Palestijnse staat op basis van de grenzen van voor 1967, wilde Israel zich daar (nog) niet openlijk toe bekennen. Het is gissen in hoeverre dat Rabins overtuiging was en in hoeverre het zijn politieke inschatting was dat voor een echte Palestijnse staat nog te weinig draagvlak was bij het Israelische publiek. Tijdens 'Oslo' vonden de eerste series Palestijnse zelfmoordaanslagen door Hamas en co plaats, terwijl rechtse Israeli's Rabin voor verrader uitmaakten. Het was dus balanceren op een wankel koord voor de regering. Na vele decennia van totale afwijzing en terroristisch geweld was de erkenning van Israel door de PLO pas enkele jaren jong, en werd Arafat met gepast wantrouwen gevolgd, die voor eigen publiek helemaal niet sprak over een twee-staten-oplossing en vrede met de Joodse staat.

As for two state solution, Rabin told the Knesset in his last policy statement on October 5, 1995:

"We view the permanent solution in the framework of State of Israel which will include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British Mandate, and alongside it a Palestinian entity which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
We would like this to be an entity which is less than a state, and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority."

Het was - en blijft voorlopig - ondenkbaar dat die Palestijnse 'entiteit' bijvoorbeeld een eigen leger zou hebben dat voor Israel een reële bedreiging zou vormen.
De Palestijnen hadden wellicht een voorbeeld moeten nemen aan hoe Israel werd opgebouwd: decennialang was er geen sprake van een Joodse staat, maar van een 'nationaal thuis voor het Joodse volk'. Eerst werden de staatsinstituties opgebouwd, en toen die zich eenmaal hadden bewezen, was een staat de logische consequentie en werd deze ook door de internationale gemeenschap gesteund en geaccepteerd. (Nou ja, min of meer dan...)

President Shimon Peres's Remarks at Candle Lighting Ceremony in Memory of Yitzhak Rabin

The President's Residence - 9.11.08

Rachel, Dalia, Yuval, the dear Rabin family,
Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, MK Otniel Schneller,
Honored guests,

When the murder of Yitzhak became known, the streets of Israel were filled with young and old, women and infants, mothers and soldiers.

They could not stop the flow of tears, and with trembling hands they lit yahrzeit candles. The tears were tears of loss. The candles were candles of prayer.

The candle that we have lit here is another candle, to illuminate the path and the activities of a statesman and military leader of Israel. In it burns the democratic wick which will strengthen the flame of peace.

The tears will not evaporate. The lights will not be put out. And they will add to the call to all of us to pursue the goal of peace - this is the foundation for our future existence.

Yitzhak was murdered while ascending a steep path, on which we walked together in a meeting of minds, in order to speed the State of Israel to the realization of the dream of the people of Israel from generation to generation: peace for everybody and security for everyone.

Yitzhak walked a path full of harassers. Legitimate democratic criticism did not threaten him; however the arrows of incitement and the spears of hatred, wrapped in a lie of holiness, these which were aimed at him silenced his heart.

They aimed for the leader in order to stop the journey. A journey of values and a journey of purpose. Indeed, our story of independence. To leave the house of bondage in Egypt and not to create a house of masters in another place.

We have walked together in order to pave the road to the destination of peace. And as close as we have gotten to this goal, so too have the escarpments around us grown taller, and the voices that wish to instill fear have gotten louder. Curses, invective, and threats, and from time to time in the name of God, these became part of our lot, and particularly so for Yitzhak.

But he walked in the lead, with bravery and perseverance, without hesitation and without fear. He believed with all of his soul that we serve the greater national Zionist interest above all else, and from this feeling, from this belief he drew uncommon courage.

And then, tragically, at nearly the last bend before the summit, a murderer ambushed Yitzhak and fired at him bullets of death. All at once a dark cloud came down, encompassing the horizon. The way forward was lingered and obscured, but as we continued seeking, the clear path slowly, slowly became the path of the decisive majority of the people.

The strengthening of the acceptance of the two-state solution for two people living in peace and security, each to its own, is today accepted even by the majority of those who opposed it in the past.

The flame of hope that was dulled on the night of the awful murder was not extinguished and will not be extinguished.

It will light up the future of Israel as a just society and as a Jewish democratic state living in security with peace agreements, in friendship and mutual respect with all of its neighbors and with all of its citizens at home.

The flickering lights on the night of the murder were an expression of the love and respect that the masses of Israel felt for Yitzhak, for his path, and for his message of peace. The message that came from the good heart of the public was sharp and clear: don't let the darkness prevail, don't leave the truth die, don't let the mission lose its significance. The "Song of Peace" will be sung anew in the reality of peace.

Dear Rabin family,

Already thirteen years all of us, and particularly you, have borne the sadness and longing for Yitzhak the father and the grandfather, the head of the family, and for the beloved and devoted mother and grandmother Leah. To them you all were the most dear, intimate companions. Nobody but you can share in the pain, discomfort, and grief that you have felt.

I want to tell you from the depths of my heart, which was broken by the murder of Yitzhak, that I miss him every day, from the day he was placed in his grave to this very day.

The partnership, the understanding, the faith and the friendship that was formed between us at the end of the road I keep in my soul as an eternal conscience.

The "Light of Yitzhak" will not be extinguished and his light will mark the coming of peace.

May the memories of Yitzhak and Leah Rabin be for a blessing.

Onderbreking van brandstof levering aan Gazastrook

Omdat die in onze media altijd ontbreekt, hier Israels positie wat betreft de sluiting van de grensovergangen met Gaza en het (vermeende) electriciteitstekort.

State of Israel
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Interruption of Fuel Supplies in Gaza
10 November 2008

Since 4 November, Palestinian terrorists in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip have fired 60 Kassam rockets and 20 mortar bombs at Israel.

Israel's response to the continuing barrage was to temporarily close the truck crossing points used to deliver humanitarian goods and fuel to the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has decided to exploit the situation, threatening to shut down Gaza's main power station, for the benefit of the media.

1.      Israel is committed to maintaining the state of calm and expects the Hamas to uphold its commitments - cessation of terrorism and the arms buildup.

2.      Overall responsibility for the situation in the Gaza Strip, and the suffering of the residents in particular, lies with Hamas alone. Hamas invests all of its resources in arms and terrorism instead of health, education and economy of the Gaza residents.

3.      In the last few days, Hamas has been conducting a series of terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians that includes:
·        the firing of dozens of rockets and mortar bombs at civilian population centers, creating a serious threat to a quarter of a million Israelis living in this area;
·        planning the abduction of Israeli soldiers and civilians from Israeli soil and digging a tunnel for that purpose;
·        the continued smuggling of huge amounts of arms into the Gaza Strip, etc.

4.      The continued shooting of rockets and mortars makes it impossible for Israel to provide the Gaza Strip with all the necessary supplies. As a result of the terrorist policies of Hamas, Israel has been forced to temporarily close the truck crossing points into Gaza, which have also been targeted by Hamas terrorism.

5.      It should be noted that the supplies not provided via the truck crossing points, such as electricity and water, are still flowing into the Gaza Strip. Electricity is being provided to Gaza through 10 high power lines. A total of 124 megawatts are constantly being supplied by Israel through those lines, providing 70 % of Gaza's total needs. An additional 17 megawatts are being supplied by Egypt, constituting an additional 5% of Gaza's consumption. On average, 70-80 megawatts (only 25 % of Gaza's consumption) are produced by the Gaza power station.

6.      The cynical Hamas exploitation of the civilian population in Gaza is contemptible. There is sufficient electricity in the Gaza Strip to operate hospitals and other essential facilities. Hamas, as usual, is orchestrating a media show. For example, in the past, Hamas has been documented manipulating the media with images of children holding candles in broad daylight, in a room darkened by drawn curtains.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

Wat als het staakt-het-vuren in Gaza eindigt?

Naast de vraag of het lukt om nu de rust weer te herstellen, is het de vraag wat er zal gebeuren na 19 december, wanneer het staakt-het-vuren eindigt. Had Hamas eerder aangegeven voor verlenging te zijn, nu verbindt het daaraan de voorwaarde dat het wordt uitgebreid naar de Westoever.
Wat betreft Haniyeh's opmerking dat Hamas bereid is een Palestijnse staat binnen pro-1967 grenzen te acepteren, zie:

IDF: Army may need to respond to fresh terror alerts from Gaza

By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent
Last update - 12:29 10/11/2008

Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip may be planning to execute terror attacks against Israel which would require responsive military operations like the one carried out last week, Israeli defense officials said on Sunday.

Over the next two days, Defense Minister Ehud Barak will determine whether to reopen the border crossings with Gaza, which were shut down last Wednesday after Gaza militants resumed rocket fire on the western Negev.

After nearly two days of quiet, militants in Gaza fired a Qassam rocket at the western Negev, but it exploded in Palestinian territory.

Some 70 rockets were fired from Gaza between last Wednesday and Saturday, in response to an Israel Defense Forces raid on the coastal territory which killed at least six militants.

Sunday marked the first resumption of calm since the raid and the rocket barrages. Israel and Gaza are still technically in the midst of a six-month old cease-fire, which both sides have breached since its implementation last June.

The critical question facing Israeli defense officials now is what will become of the truce in the coming months.

Hamas has declared that the truce ends on December 19 and is up for negotiation only if Israel keeps its word to expand the calm to the West Bank.

Israel said it never committed to such a deal and said that the truce has no official "expiry date." Egypt, which mediated the temporary truce, apparently sides with Israel on this matter.

Hamas' consideration for maintaining the calm are clear: The group believes the cease-fire serves its own well-being in allowing it to establish a firm basis as the prime political power in the Gaza Strip. Continuing rocket fire only increases the chances that Israel will close off its borders - and while Hamas relies on the smuggling of weapons and trade from Egypt, long-term closures have great effect on the comfort of the territory's residents.

Some Israeli military officials estimate that Hamas would prefer to blur the disagreement over these details and continue the truce, for the same political and security reasons it agreed to the calm in the first place.

Other Israeli officials claim there is high potential for renewed clashes between December 19 and January 9 - the date Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' term ends.

The same officials believe that as tensions between Hamas and Abbas' rival Fatah movements resume with the end of the president's term, so too will rocket fire on the western Negev.

Meanwhile, a senior Hamas official said Sunday that the group would not implement a long-term truce with Israel for the time being.

The offer "was not canceled," Mahmoud al-Zahar said, but added that there was "no room to implement it for the time being" since "there is no one to talk about this proposal with on the other [Israeli] side."

He said a long-term truce was "a project that can be developed when there are intentions."

The Hamas long-term truce offer was first made by the organization's late spiritual advisor, Ahmed Yassin, who suggested a 20-year-long ceasefire, without recognizing Israel's right to exist, in return for an Israeli withdrawal from lands captured in the 1967 Six-Day war.

Zahar's remarks were made a day after Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said his government could accept a Palestinian state only in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war.

Doelwit in dichtbevolkt gebied: het dillema van Israel

Door de gevechten in Gaza en de raketaanvallen als gevolg daarvan wordt Israel weer met de oude dilemma's geconfronteerd. 'Had het maar geen Hamas strijders in Gaza moeten doden vorige week' zullen sommigen zeggen, negerend dat Israel inlichtingen had over een tunnel die vanuit Gaza onder de grens met Israel was gegraven en bedoeld om soldaten te ontvoeren. De confrontatie met de Hamas strijders volgde op het opblazen van die tunnel.
Het komt een beetje suf over dat de regering de afgelopen maanden van rust niet efficiënter heeft gebruikt voor het bouwen van safe rooms in alle huizen in de buurt van Gaza. Anderzijds zal dit niet afdoende zijn omdat de raketten steeds verder komen en omdat het evengoed geen leven is dat je op ieder moment van de dag binnen twee minuten in de safe room moet kunnen zijn. Vandaar dat de vraag naar de moraliteit van legeroperaties in dichtbevolkt gebied weer opkomt. De internationale gemeenschap staat klaar om Israel hard te veroordelen als daarbij onschuldige doden vallen, zonder de moraliteit van het afschieten van raketten vanuit burgergebied ter discussie te stellen.
Barak seeks OK to hit residential areas
Defense Minister Ehud Barak called on the government on Sunday to examine ways of approving IDF action against residential areas in Gaza from which rockets are fired at Israel.

Speaking during the weekly cabinet meeting, Barak said many rockets were fired from the vicinity of residential homes and schools, precluding an Israeli response due to fear of harming civilians.

Around 60 rockets and an unknown number of mortars have fallen on western Negev communities since last Tuesday evening, when the IDF raided a tunnel 250 meters inside Gaza that the army said was about to be used to kidnap troops.

In response, Barak has ordered all border crossings with Gaza to remain shut until further notice.

The Defense Ministry has also called on the government to approve an extra NIS half-billion to construct rocket-proof protective structures and complete safety rooms for 4,400 Israeli housing units in the Gaza periphery.

During Sunday's meeting, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter warned that Hamas and Islamic Jihad have improved their rocket capabilities and range, placing cities like Ashkelon - where Dichter resides - in their crosshairs.

He added that Hamas's heavy mortar shelling of the region presented a threat that could not be detected by the Color Red rocket alert system. He called for the installation of the Iron Dome rocket shield, set to be in place by 2011.

Some 8,000 homes are situated within 4.5 kilometers of the Gaza Strip.

On February 24, the government agreed to allocate NIS 327 million for the first stage of a program to to build security rooms for all older housing units within that radius. The first stage calls for building reinforced security rooms for all homes with tile roofs in 12 of the 21 communities within that radius.

In stage two, the government is to provide reinforced security rooms for apartment buildings with concrete roofs in Sderot. In the final stage, the government is to build reinforced security rooms for houses with tile roofs in the remaining nine communities within the 4.5-km. radius.

The communities slated for the third stage have petitioned the High Court, charging that the government is discriminating against them and in favor of the 12 communities included in the first stage of construction.

Dan Izenberg contributed to this report.

maandag 10 november 2008

Griekse en Armeense monniken op de vuist in Heilig Grafkerk Jeruzalem

Niet alleen Joden en moslims vliegen elkaar in de haren in Jeruzalem, verschillende christelijke stromingen bestrijden elkaar.

Monks brawl at Jerusalem shrine
Israeli police have had to restore order at one of Christianity's holiest sites after a mass brawl broke out between monks in Jerusalem's Old City.
Fighting erupted between Greek Orthodox and Armenian monks at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional site of Christ's crucifixion.
Two monks from each side were detained as dozens of worshippers traded kicks and punches at the shrine, said police.
Trouble flared as Armenians prepared to mark the annual Feast of the Cross.
Tapestries toppled
Shocked pilgrims looked on as decorations and tapestries were toppled during Sunday's clash.
Dressed in the vestments of the Greek Orthodox and Armenian denominations, rival monks threw punches and anything they could lay their hands on.
The Greeks blamed the Armenians for not recognising their rights inside the holy site, while the Armenians said the Greeks had violated one of their traditional ceremonies. 
An Armenian clergyman said the Greek clergy had tried to place one of their monks inside the Edicule, an ancient structure which is said to encase the tomb of Jesus.
"What is happening here is a violation of status quo. The Greeks have tried so many times to put their monk inside the tomb but they don't have the right to when the Armenians are celebrating the feast," he said.
The Armenians had been preparing to commemorate the 4th Century discovery of the cross believed to have been used to crucify Jesus.
A Greek clergyman said: "We protested peacefully, we stood here in the middle and we claimed that we shall not leave the procession finished unless they leave our guardian be inside. This didn't happen and in that moment the police interfered."
Six Christian sects share control of the ancient church and the BBC's Wyre Davies in Jerusalem says confrontations between them are not uncommon, but rarely descend into violence.

Zou Hamas een Palestijnse staat naast Israel accepteren?

Een groepje Europese parlementariërs (zie onderaan dit bericht) liet zich dit wel wijsmaken:
The Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, said on Saturday his government was willing to accept a Palestinian state alongside Israel within the 1967 borders. He spoke at a meeting with 11 European parliamentarians who sailed from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip to protest Israel's naval blockade of the territory. Haniyeh told his guests Israel rejected his initiative.
Ze hoorden blijkbaar alleen wat ze wilden horen, want voor Hamas zou een Palestijnse staat binnen de grenzen van 1967 alleen een opstapje zijn voor de "bevrijding van heel Palestina". Dit is keer op keer op keer door Hamas verklaard. Hoevaak en hoe duidelijk moet Hamas het nog zeggen, voordat duidelijk is dat men Israel niet wil erkennen, geen vrede wil, en het 'recht op verzet' niet ophoudt bij de pre-1967 grenzen?
Een paar oudere berichten over Hamas:

Hamas official: won't recognize Israel - goal is all of Palestine and more

If Hamas wanted to recognize "Israel" , we will say it frankly. Hamas does not have the intention to recognize "Israel" at all because we will contradict the Quran with that in the Israa' verse "7" and will contradict ourselves that the occupation should  be eliminated.


Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mash'al has said that his movement is opposed to recognizing Israel and wants a Palestinian state from Rosh HaNikra on the Israeli coast near the Lebanese border to Rafah, and from the Mediterranean to the Jordan.

Mash'al clarified that Hamas would agree to a Palestinian state within the June 5, 1967 borders in exchange for a hudna (temporary ceasefire) only, which would give the coming generations of Palestinians an opportunity to liberate the rest of the Palestinian lands.

Source: Al-Kafah Al-Arabi, Lebanon, February 11, 2008
Posted at: 2008-02-12
Er zijn nog oneindig veel meer berichten te vinden met dezelfde strekking.
De parlementariërs werden goed ontvangen in Gaza:
The peak of the group's first day in Gaza was their meeting with Haniyeh at his official guesthouse in Gaza City's exclusive Rimal area - formerly the guesthouse of Yasser Arafat. The two-hour meeting was a good-natured affair, at the end of which the parliamentarians noted their host's pleasant manner.

Met hun bezoek aan de Gazastrook werken de Europese parlementariërs mee aan de legitimiteit van Hamas en aan haar propaganda. De kritiekloze houding van deze mensen, die zichzelf zien als dappere vredesactivisten, is belachelijk. Zij geloven Haniyeh op zijn mooie bruine ogen en laten zich gewillig om zijn vingertje winden.
Last update - 01:49 09/11/2008

Haniyeh: Hamas would accept state under 1967 borders
By Amira Hass, Haaretz Correspondent and Agencies

The Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, said on Saturday his government was willing to accept a Palestinian state alongside Israel within the 1967 borders. He spoke at a meeting with 11 European parliamentarians who sailed from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip to protest Israel's naval blockade of the territory. Haniyeh told his guests Israel rejected his initiative.

Clare Short, who served in the cabinet of former British prime minister Tony Blair, asked Haniyeh to repeat his offer. He said the Hamas government had agreed to accept a Palestinian state that followed the 1967 borders and to offer Israel a long-term hudna, or truce, if Israel recognized the Palestinians' national rights.

In response to a question about the international community's impression that there are two Palestinian states, Haniyeh said: "We don't have a state, neither in Gaza nor in the West Bank. Gaza is under siege and the West Bank is occupied. What we have in the Gaza Strip is not a state, but rather a regime of an elected government. A Palestinian state will not be created at this time except in the territories of 1967."
The parliamentary delegation was led by Baron Nazir Ahmed, who was born in Pakistan and is a member of the British House of Lords. Ahmed, Britain's second Muslim peer and the only one born Muslim, related how, 10 years ago, he was sworn into the House of Lords using a Koran. "And now you represent us," Haniyeh told him on Saturday.

Ahmed asked Haniyeh about Hamas' relations with Iran and requested his response to the claims of "our Zionist friends" that Hamas, like Iran, seeks to destroy the State of Israel and throw the Jews into the sea.

"Our ties with Iran are like those with other Muslim states. Does a besieged people that is waiting breathlessly for a ship to come from the sea want to throw the Jews into the ocean? Our conflict is not with the Jews, our problem is with the occupation," Haniyeh said.

The protest boat Dignity anchored at Gaza port Saturday morning, carrying nine MPs from Britain and Ireland, one from Switzerland and one from Italy. The parliamentarians sought to express their opposition to the Gaza blockade and see for themselves its effect on Gaza's population. The 11 were among a few dozen members of European parliaments who about two weeks ago were refused entrance to Gaza at the Rafah crossing by Egyptian officials.

This was the Dignity's third voyage from Cyprus to Gaza in 10 days, and the third time in three months the Free Gaza Movement organized a protest sail and visit to Gaza.

The peak of the group's first day in Gaza was their meeting with Haniyeh at his official guesthouse in Gaza City's exclusive Rimal area - formerly the guesthouse of Yasser Arafat. The two-hour meeting was a good-natured affair, at the end of which the parliamentarians noted their host's pleasant manner.

"Your visit proves that the Palestinian people is not alone in its struggle against the blockade and that many of the peoples of the free and cultured world support us," Haniyeh told his guests.

He explained to them why Hamas boycotted the talks with Fatah that were scheduled to begin on Sunday in Cairo. "We had 17 political detainees [from Fatah, held without trial and without being charged] being held in harsh conditions - I'm not proud of that," Haniyeh said. "They were released. We expected a similar measure from our brothers in Ramallah, but unfortunately the situation only worsened ahead of the meeting in Cairo."

According to Haniyeh, about 400 Hamas activists are being held in Palestinian Authority jails in the West Bank, and all requests to release them have fallen on deaf ears.

Haniyeh said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' statements to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her visit prove that the United States won't allow the two Palestinian factions to reach a reconciliation. He said the PA must shake off the "American fist" gripping it.

The European politicians took with them a ton of medical supplies and three medical scanners used for spinal injuries, said Arafat Shoukri, 37, a doctor based in Britain.

"We are taking very basic medical supplies like paracetamol and painkillers. We were shocked when we got the list from the Health Ministry in Gaza - it means they don't have anything," Shoukri said.

International aid agencies, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, have said virtually no medical supplies were reaching Gaza.