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  • JERUSALEM, July 6, 2007 -- The built-up areas of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank occupy less than a 10th of their allotted land but often spill over on to private Palestinian property, according to a study released Friday.

    Israel's Peace Now group, which published the report, claimed that this was part of a deliberate policy of encroaching on the Palestinians.

    Construction in the settlements covers 9 percent of the municipal territory placed under their jurisdiction, or 4,500 hectares (11,120 acres) out of 52,000 hectares, the report said.

    But while 90 percent of settlements have ample room for growth, up to one-third of building is outside those zones, it said.

    "The importance of these spillovers, 70 percent of which affect private Palestinian holdings, is to demonstrate that there is a deliberate policy of expansion, underhandedly encouraged by the authorities," said Dror Etkes, one of the report's authors.

    The study covered 164 colonies with permanent settlements - including wildcat sites illegal under Israeli law - where a total of 260,000 people live. Under international law, all Jewish settlements in the West Bank are illegal.


    • Originally posted by Al-khiyal View Post

      July 6, 2007, Hebron, West Bank:
      Palestinians dance to a live band as Israeli soldiers raid a wedding party
      Yikhrib baiton


      • Algiers, July 12, IRNA -- Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem and IRI Ambassador to Algiers Hossein Abdi-Abyaneh here Wednesday evening stressed that the necessity of supporting unity among various Palestinian groups is an absolute necessity today.

        According to an IRNA correspondent here, the two countries' officials asked the entire Islamic and independent countries to spare more efforts aimed at restoring solidarity and unity among the Palestinians.

        The Algerian PM said, "We believe distracting from unity among the Palestinians would merely be to the benefit of Israel."

        Belkhadem added, "That is a good reason why all Islamic and independent countries should do their best to restore unity among Palestinians", adding "Algeria would continue its efforts in that regard."

        The Iranian Ambassador Abdi-Abyaneh also said during the meeting that sowing the seeds of discord among Palestinians is a plot hatched by the usurper Zionist regime and the Westerners, aimed at defeating the resistance forces in Palestine more easily.

        He added, "The influential Islamic countries including Iran, Algeria, Libya, Yemen and Syria, that are pioneers in the Islamic and Arab world can begin high level consultations aimed at restoration of unity and solidarity among Palestinians."

        The Iranian diplomat said, "The Westerners are after stationing international forces in Gaza and the main objective of such a move is obviously defeating the Palestinian resistance and ensuring Israel's interests."


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          • Originally posted by Al-khiyal View Post

            After about 15 minutes Sami looked up at us and told us that "something was missing;" we were "leaving out part of the story," and he was going to find out just exactly what that "part" was. He was looking for what he called the "truth." So I repeated what we had told the previous soldiers: we were staying our first two nights in East Jerusalem, we would be traveling to the holy sites (to see where baby Jesus was born), Haifa and Yaffa (the cities our grandparents were dispossessed from in 1948), Nazareth and Bethlehem. We told the truth, but kindly omitted Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, Jenin, Dheisheh, and any other intended stops in the occupied territories that didn't involve conventional tourism. In all honesty, we had only planned out our first two days in East Jerusalem, which made Sami increasingly annoyed.
            Damn ! Those are the exact reasons why I want to go there .

            They're like monsters... they take over the kid's bed and won't let him sleep in it without terrifying him.


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                • July 26, 2007 -- The Palestinian security chief has resigned, six weeks after Palestinian security forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, the president, were routed by Hamas and forced out of the Gaza Strip.

                  Mohammad Dahlan's resignation came as an official committee of inquiry investigating failures in the security forces in Gaza concluded on Thursday.

                  Investigators found that 60 members of the security forces should be court-martialed, an official in Abbas's office said.

                  It was not clear whether Dahlan is among the officers to face trial in a military court. The final report is to be made public on Friday.

                  Dahlan cited health reasons for his resignation, which was accepted on Thursday by Abbas.

                  However, Palestinian government officials said Abbas asked him to step down because investigators concluded Dahlan bore much of the responsibility for the humiliating defeat of Fatah-aligned forces in mid-June.

                  Dahlan has been heavily criticised within Abbas's Fatah faction for the failure.

                  He was not in Gaza when fighting broke out between the two factions. More than 100 people were killed in the conflict, while Dahlan was sidelined due to surgery on both knees.

                  In an interview with the Reuters news agency earlier in the month, Dahlan acknowledged mistakes and said individuals, including himself, should take responsibility for their errors.

                  Last month, Abbas dismissed Rashid Abu Shbak, another senior security official.

                  The committee investigating the security forces' failures was headed by Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a senior Abbas aide.

                  Investigators heard 120 hours of testimony, including from Dahlan and other senior security commanders.

                  Among the 60 facing trial in a military court are officers of various ranks, the official said.

                  Abbas has already dismissed or accepted the resignation of more than a dozen Gaza security officers.


                  • Ramallah, July 26, 2007: Palestinian security chief Mohammad Dahlan resigned yesterday after weeks of criticism over the routing of his forces by Hamas in the Gaza Strip in June, senior Palestinian officials said.

                    Dahlan, 46, rose through the ranks of President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement as a protege of the late Yasser Arafat. But he has disappointed US sponsors who hoped he could counter Hamas in both Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

                    Abdul Salam Abu Askar, an aide to Dahlan, said in a statement that he had "tendered his resignation" as Abbas's national security adviser on medical grounds. Dahlan, who is recovering from surgery performed in Germany on both knees, is now having physiotherapy in a hospital in the Balkans, he said.

                    Jibril Rajoub, a former security chief and longtime rival of Dahlan, is widely seen as a possible successor.

                    Rajoub has had good relations in the past with US officials, who have stepped up efforts in recent months to train and equip Abbas's forces.

                    Dahlan had already been sidelined since the fall of Gaza six weeks ago in the fighting with Hamas in which 100 were killed.

                    Aides to Abbas said the president expected to receive a report today into events in Gaza that is likely to point out Dahlan's responsibility for the failures of security there.

                    Dahlan told Reuters in June he expected to be blamed for Fatah's defeat "because I wasn't there and I'm very close to [Abbas]". He added: "Definitely mistakes were made .... Even myself, I was gone for 50 days", during the surgery.

                    Abbas aide Azzam Al Ahmad told Reuters yesterday: "He was fully responsible for the events in Gaza events .... He feels that he shoulders the responsibility .... Resignation does not exempt him from responsibility."

                    US support for Fatah-run security forces has been built up this year - at first despite international sanctions against the Hamas-led government and now, since Abbas ejected Hamas from government following the rift with Gaza, as part of a wider strategy to bolster Abbas as a bastion against the Islamists.


                    • JERUSALEM, July 27, 2007 (AP) - One of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's closest confidants said Friday that Israel should withdraw from "most'' of the West Bank in a negotiated deal with the Palestinians and that a previous plan for a major unilateral pullback was no longer viable.

                      Vice-premier Haim Ramon, one of the politicians closest to Olmert, told Israel Radio that he favored reducing the Israeli presence in the West Bank to the "large settlement blocs'' and that NATO forces could replace Israeli troops in the areas evacuated.

                      "In my eyes, the occupation of the territories threatens our very existence, our legitimacy and our international standing,'' Ramon said in the radio interview.

                      The major blocs are in the northern and southern parts of the West Bank and to the east of Jerusalem. According to settlement watchdog Peace Now, more than 100,000 of the approximately 260,000 West Bank settlers live in these three clusters.

                      Ramon would not specify the scope of the pullout he envisaged, but said a plan floated by Olmert before his election in 2006 for a unilateral pullout from 90 percent of the West Bank was no longer a possibility, "certainly not in one step.''

                      He said Israel's 2005 unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip was "an option of last resort'' forced by the breakdown of talks with the Palestinians in 2000, and that the political situation has been transformed since Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' split last month with the radical Islamic Hamas. That split led to Abbas' installation of a government of Western-leaning moderates under former international banker Salam Fayyad.

                      The Palestinian Authority is now headed by "two people committed to negotiations and fighting terror,'' Ramon said.

                      "We have a partner. The moment there's a partner, we must renew negotiations with him and reach agreements,'' he said.

                      In an interview published Friday in the mass-circulation Israeli daily Maariv, Abbas praised Olmert and was upbeat about prospects for progress toward peace.

                      "I am optimistic, I work with Olmert,'' the paper quoted Abbas as saying. "We are about to meet every few weeks and move forward,'' he said.

                      The two leaders last met July 16, in Jerusalem. An official in Olmert's office said Friday no date or venue had so far been finalized for the next session.

                      Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is arriving next week for talks with Olmert and Abbas, but her office hasn't said if there will be a joint meeting of the three.

                      In an excerpt from the Maariv interview released Thursday, Abbas said both Rice and President Bush promised to push hard to conclude a Mideast agreement before Bush leaves the White House, in January 2009.

                      "I heard this with my own ears from the president himself and from Secretary of State Rice,'' Abbas told the paper. "They want to reach an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians in the next year.'' His aides confirmed those comments.

                      Aides to Olmert said Thursday he wants to formulate a declaration detailing what a Palestinian state in Gaza and most of the West Bank would look like. However, they hinted that it would leave out the most difficult issues, such as final borders and the fate of Palestinian refugees.

                      Abbas ejected Hamas from a coalition government after the group's fighters chased his Fatah forces out of the Gaza Strip last month in five days of brutal fighting.

                      Abbas aide Nabil Amr said Friday that security officials and field commanders deemed responsible for the defeat would face trial or disciplinary proceedings within the Fatah movement. More than a dozen people have already resigned from their posts, including Mohammed Dahlan, a former Gaza strongman who was not in Gaza during the fighting.

                      "There are those whom a court of law or justice will hold accountable, and there are those whom Fatah will handle,'' Amr said. He did not mention any names, but said some senior Fatah members could face disciplinary action.

                      The Hamas takeover of Gaza spurred a new round of diplomatic activity, with the international community lining up behind Abbas and his moderate government.

                      On Thursday, the government approved a platform that includes acceptance of all previous peace deals with Israel. Hamas' refusal to endorse the peace accords and renounce violence led to an international aid cutoff. The aid has been restored to Fayyad's government.


                      • July 27, 2007 -- On Friday, the village of Bil'in, located near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, held its weekly protest against the illegal Israeli wall that separates the village from its agricultural land.

                        The protest started shortly after Friday prayers.

                        As is the case each week, the local villagers were joined by international and Israeli peace activists. This week, protestors at Bil'in included visitors from an international training delegation in solidarity with the Palestinian nation. For the past ten days, they have been touring several West Bank cities like Bethlehem, Nablus and Hebron, and participating in non-violent activities protesting the Israeli occupation.

                        The protestors left the village and marched to the location of the wall, where they were confronted by a massive Israeli army force that opened fire on the protestors, injuring six of them. Medical sources identified the injured as Louisa and Nura from Algeria, Elan Shalif from Israel, and local village residents Soleman Khataab, Binaan Khalil and Mamoon Zalum. Sand bombs and tear gas used by the Israeli troops landed in nearby olive groves, sparking fires which destroyed a number of olive trees.

                        Late on Thursday evening, the Israeli army attacked the village of Bil'in and searched villagers' homes. These searches are a new method of dissuading the villagers from holding their weekly protest.


                        • ... 7ameer


                          • "In my eyes, the occupation of the territories threatens our very existence, our legitimacy and our international standing,'' Ramon said in the radio interview.
                            Wow... they FINALLY get it...


                            • August 1, 2007 -- Shifa hospital, the biggest in the Gaza Strip, is running out of drugs. It is performing emergency operations only. The CAT scanner is out of service for want of spare parts. The orthopaedic department no longer has plaster of Paris. Hospital managers appealed yesterday to the international community to lift the siege on Gaza, which was imposed after Hamas seized control in June.

                              Dr Juma al-Saqa, a hospital spokesman, told reporters they needed 150 tons of medicines urgently. On Monday, Israel allowed the Red Cross to bring in 50 tons. That was not enough.

                              Dr Moaya Abu Hasnein, the director of accident and emergency, said dozens of cancer and kidney patients were slowly dying because of the boycott. While the Rafah crossing, formerly manned by European Union monitors, remained closed, it was impossible to transfer patients to Egypt. He reported that about 700 emergency cases had been sent to hospitals in Israel and the West Bank over the past month, but that left many more behind.

                              Palestinian doctors are trapped in the political crossfire between the Fatah government on the West Bank and its Hamas rival in Gaza. "Our job is to administer services to the Palestinian people. We are not politicians," said Dr Abu Hasnein despairingly.

                              The war of words between Fatah and Hamas continues. Mahmoud Zahar, the former Hamas foreign minister, presented reporters yesterday with 30 documents seized from conquered Fatah bases in Gaza, which he said showed that Fatah stole millions of dollars of the "money of the Palestinian people".

                              In Moscow yesterday, Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, endorsed the visiting President Mahmoud Abbas as the "legitimate leader all the Palestinians".


                              • Is this what leaders are good for? Killing their people?

                                I know that this may be unhelpful, since there's a siege and all, but once the hospitals have easy access, it's necessary for them to have the supplies they need... so...


                                Allah yisa3idhon ya rabb


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