Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines ~

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers

[price tag] Settlers set fire to mosque near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) 7 June -- A Ramallah-area mosque was torched overnight and its remains graffitied with racist anti-Arab slogans; witnesses said Israeli settlers were seen setting the fire at 3 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Al-Mughayyir's village council said the building was badly damaged, and its contents incinerated, drawing condemnation of the third mosque torching in three years ... The vandals spray-painted "Alei Ayin" on the walls, which is the name of a nearby settlement outpost demolished by Israeli police last week, sparking fierce clashes with the settlers ... The National Christian Coalition in the Holy land condemned the arson, with President Dimitri Diliani blaming Israel's occupation and unquestioning protection of militarized settlers ... Al-Mughayyir, north east of Ramallah, is the fifth village to have their mosque vandalized by settlers in the last three years, four of which were burnt down.

Netanyahu condemns West Bank mosque attack as 'criminal act'
Haaretz 7 June -- Defense Minister Barak echoes PM's condemnation and says IDF will take steps to catch the perpetrators ... Civil rights organizations have spoken out against the arson as well. Rabbis for Human Rights said Tuesday that this kind violence threatens everyone and may backfire. "This despicable act goes against human morality and our Jewish belief that we must not harm followers of different religion," the organization said in a statement. The Peace Now movement responded by calling for more decisive actions against violent settlers. "The Shin Bet security service and the police must uproot the 'hill youth' phenomenon," it said. This condemnation has not, however, been universal. Rightist activist Itamar Ben-Gvir said the arson doesn't come as a surprise. "In the last few months Jewish blood has been spilled like water in Judea and Samaria," he said.

Palestinians say Israeli government was behind West Bank mosque fire
CNN 7 June -- The Palestinian Authority has accused the Israeli government of incitement in an arson attack Tuesday on a West Bank mosque, claiming the act was committed by settlers under the protection of the Israeli military. "Israel is forever accusing Palestinians of incitement, but does nothing to stop its citizens attacking our religious places -- what is that but incitement?" read a statement from the Palestinian Authority's media office.

Jewish settlers burn 250 Palestinian trees in Nablus village
NABLUS, (PIC) 6 June -- Jewish settlers started a huge fire in Palestinian farmland in Deir Al-Hatab village east of Nablus on Monday burning 250 olive and almond trees, local sources reported. They said that Palestinian fire brigades managed to contain and extinguish the fire before it spread to nearby groves. The firefighters said that the fire destroyed 200 olive trees and 50 almond trees, but hundreds of others were protected and saved.

Israel to approve 4,100 settlement units in Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC) 6 June -- An expert planning researcher has revealed that an official board in Israel is on the verge of approving the construction of 4,100 houses in Jewish settlements in Jerusalem. The Israeli interior ministry tasked the board two months ago to see that settlement construction increases in Jerusalem, said Attorney Qais Nasser, who specializes in monitoring settlement activity in holy city. In its first session scheduled for June 14, the committee is expected to approve plans to erect 4,100 homes in Ramat Shlomo, Gilo, Pisgat Ze'ev, and Har Homa.

Dark days for Silwan's youth
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 7 June -- Israel’s continuous arrest campaign of Palestinian youth and children of Silwan has intensified in recent weeks, with no place or activity seemingly safe for minors from Israeli authorities. Arrests have occurred as children return from school, drink coffee on the balcony of their family home or buy vegetables in the street. Many minor arrests in recent days have taken place during quiet periods in Silwan, entirely unprovoked. The campaign highlights Israeli authorities’ willingness to defy basic standards of conduct and treatment, such as targeting and criminalisation of minors. Humiliation and physical assault are reportedly commonplace in interrogation and detention, even for minors. 7 children numbered amongst 8 arrested by Israeli forces in Silwan today. One child arrested, Yahya al-Rishaq, is not even 6 years of age. Despite al-Rishaq’s attempts to persuade soldiers not to take his young son, Israeli forces insisted on his arrest.


Rights group: Israel holding boy nearly blinded by IOF
NABLUS, (PIC) 6 June -- A human rights group has revealed that the Israel Prison Service is detaining an ill Palestinian boy left nearly blind by Israeli occupation force soldiers. The development shows that the IPS has not restricted its medical neglect policy to adult prisoners alone. Ismail Turki Mohammed Okel, 16, from the Old City of Nablus was arrested a year back and sentenced to 20 months in jail ... [His mother] said that earlier in 2002, Ismail was caught in a situation while playing ball with friends. After an Israeli soldier stationed nearby claimed to have been attacked by stones, patrol cars began searching for suspects; and they reportedly hit Okel with their vehicle under suspicion that he was behind the attack. Ismail's mother Umm Rasmi asserted that the soldiers not only ran Oker down but they also assaulted him with the butts of their rifles, putting him in a coma for a week as he stayed at the Rafidia hospital in Nablus. The crash broke Oker's skull and caused internal bleeding and broken teeth and back pains, and he also lost about 70 percent of his vision, ISHRO researcher Ahmed al-Beitawi said.

OCHA weekly report says 13 Palestinians injured in West Bank at end of May
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 7 June -- Israeli forces injured 13 Palestinians in West Bank incidents during the week between May 25 and 31, said the weekly report of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OCHA) ... Thus far in 2011, 699 Palestinians and 47 Israeli soldiers and policemen were injured in conflict-related incidents in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, a 6% increase and 44% decline, respectively, compared to the equivalent period of 2010. ... Overall that week, Israeli forces conducted over 100 search-and-arrest operations throughout the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, a slight increase compared to the weekly average for such operations since the beginning of 2011.

Gaza - under siege for 1,455 days now

Gaza: Non-violent protester injured by Israeli fire
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 June -- A young Palestinian man was injured Tuesday when Israeli forces opened fire on a non-violent rally in Beit Hanoun near Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip. A group of dozens had marched toward the border with Israel, demanding Israel's disengagement from a swath of land inside the coastal enclave that has been declared a "no-go zone" by the military. Eyewitnesses identified the injured man as Muhammad Osama Kafarna, saying he was shot in his head and neck and was evacuated to a hospital in Beit Hanoun ... Extending between 300-1,500 meters from the border, the "no-go zone" consumes 20 percent of the arable land in the coastal enclave.

Video -- Trapped in Gaza: Rafah crossing closed to Palestinians soon after Egyptian pledge to reopen it
Democracy Now 7 June -- Democracy Now!’s Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar were one of the few teams of foreign journalists to witness the scene at the Rafah border, and they file this report from the Gaza Strip ... BADREYA: [translated] The Egyptians told us the crossing is open and that they’re letting in elderly people and women. They haven’t let in anything. I’m going to have surgery that I myself am paying for. For three days I’ve been coming to this crossing for no reason.

Rafah crossing to re-open Wednesday
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 June -- The crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip will be re-opened Wednesday after a four-day closure, the Palestinian official responsible for the Rafah terminal said Tuesday. Ayyoub Abu Sha‘ar said in a statement that the transit point would open normally in both directions for travel, and travelers on a list of passengers due to cross last Thursday and Saturday would be given priority.

Gaza activists: Monitoring boat to sail Wednesday
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 June -- The first monitoring boat in Gaza waters crewed by international citizens will set sail on Wednesday morning, activists said. The vessel, named Oliva, will leave from Gaza City fishing port with crew from Spain, the US, Sweden and the UK, and accompany Gaza fisherman in the waters, organizers said in a statement released Tuesday. "Violations of international law will be monitored, documented, and disseminated," the release from the Civil Peace Service said ... Israeli military vessels monitor the Gaza coast and enforcing a fishing limit of three nautical miles and blockade of the Gaza Strip, with fishermen reporting fire, boat confiscations and detentions by the navy.  Last Wednesday, fishermen said one skiff was hit by an Israeli ship and sunk, injuring a fisherman, off the southern Gaza coast.

Turkey asks flotilla to 'rethink' planned voyage
ANKARA, Turkey (AFP) 7 June -- Turkey's foreign minister has called on activists to rethink a planned flotilla to the blockaded Gaza Strip and suggested how to avoid fresh tensions after last year's bloodshed, reports said. "Civic groups should take into account the fact that the Rafah crossing [between Gaza and Egypt] has been opened and... act in a more careful manner," Ahmet Davutoğlu said in remarks carried by Anatolia news agency Tuesday.

Activism / Solidarity / BDS

Video: Kalandia checkpoint 5 June
An Naksa demonstration in Ramallah on the way to Kallandia Checkpoint - photos, filmed, edited by Jan Beddegnoodts   IDF violence towards Internationals, Israelis, as well as Palestinians - women as well as men

Scores treated for gas inhalation as soldiers attack protest in northern West Bank
Tul-Karam (PNN) 7 June -- Scores of civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation as Israeli soldiers attacked a non-violent protest against the wall and settlements on Tuesday at the village of Nazlit Issa, near Tul-Karam city in the northern West Bank. The protest was organized by the popular committee against the wall and settlements in the village and was meant to commemorate the 44th anniversary of the Naksa.

Three arrested in Majdal Shams; Israeli army enforces closure of the Golan Heights
Majdal Shams (PNN) 7 June -- At dawn on Tuesday, the Israeli police arrested three young men from the town of Majdal Shams in the occupied Golan Heights after clashes erupted between local youth and Israeli soldiers. Young men and women from Majdal Shams organized a protest that started late on Monday evening. The youngsters were protesting the Israeli military attack on Naksa Day protesters on Sunday across the border from Majdal Shams, which left 23 dead, according to Syrian TV.
In related developments Israeli army radio announced that the West Bank and Gaza would be closed military zones and only people with special permission and humanitarian cases would be allowed through to Israel.

Syria warns of more marches on Israeli border, says thousands of refugees will return
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) 7 June -- A Syrian government newspaper said Tuesday that more Syrians and Palestinians plan to march to the Israeli border, warning Israel the day will come when hundreds of thousands of refugees return to their occupied villages.Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian and Syrian protesters Sunday, killing as many as 23 people who tried to cross into the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights. The article referred to Palestinian refugees in camps in Syria, as well as Syrians who fled the Golan Heights when Israel captured the strategic plateau in the 1967 Mideast war.

IDF on high alert for 'Al-Quds Day'
Ynet 7 June -- Palestinians prepare to mark day IDF seized control of east Jerusalem [today, 7 June]; IDF, police remain on high alert on northern border, Jerusalem,7340,L-4079333,00.html

IHH publishes second Marmara book
Ynet 7 June --  Turkey's IHH, the group which organized the 2010 Gaza flotilla, has released a book detailing the story of the aid sail and its tragic results, Ynet learned Tuesday. The book, titled "Freedom Flotilla through Language of Global Conscience: Interviews with Passengers,” follows a previous publication by the IHH, “Mavi Marmara/Gaza Freedom Flotilla,” and reportedly details "never before published testimonies" by 39 passengers.,7340,L-4079460,00.html

Cosmetics firm LUSH endorses "Freedom for Palestine" / Ali Abunimah
EI 4 June -- The UK-based international cosmetics firm LUSH has endorsed a single aimed at raising awareness of the struggle for human rights in Palestine ... The LUSH statement adds, "The catastrophe facing the Palestinian people is one of the defining global justice issues of our time" and urges, "If OneWorld are successful at getting the song in the charts, the mainstream media will find it hard to ignore it or censor its message."


Hamas legislator detained by Israeli forces
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 7 May -- ...Ahmad Al-Hajj Ali was taken into Israeli custody after soldiers entered and searched his home in the Ein Beit El-Mai refugee camp west of Nablus in the northern West Bank ...The 73-year-old lawmaker is the fourth Hamas official to have been detained without charge since the party signed a unity deal with its former rival party Fatah in early May.

Israeli forces detain man in Jenin
JENIN (Ma‘an) 7 June -- Israeli forces detained a Palestinian man in Jenin on Tuesday morning, after a raid on houses in the city's ancient center. Palestinian security sources said Hani Adnan Makhzoum was detained after 15 military vehicles entered the city, fired sound grenades and raided a number of houses. Also Tuesday morning, witnesses told Ma'an that the Israeli army set up a flying checkpoint to the south of Jenin. Soldiers stopped cars on the road between villages Meithalun and Sanur, with no detentions reported, the locals said.

Hamas: PA detained 4 members in West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 June -- In a statement, Hamas officials in the West Bank accused Palestinian Authority security forces of arresting four of the party's members and summoning several others for an appearance in front of police. The statement, issued on Tuesday, was the first accusing PA-affiliated security forces of carrying out politically-motivated arrests since the signing of a unity agreement in early May.


Videos: Update on protests, killings in Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Syria / Ali Abunimah
EI 7 June -- More information is emerging about events in Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus, Syria. Yesterday, 6 June, news emerged of the shooting of a number of people in the camp. According to various reports members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC) a small faction headed by Ahmad Jibril, opened fire on people protesting and chant slogans against faction leaders, after some protesters had set fire to a PFLP-GC building. A shocking video showed an unarmed young man being shot in the head, although the shooter is not visible ... New videos show more of the 6 June events in Yarmouk camp, including a mass protest as what is said to be the PFLP-GC building burns. In the first video, posted above, protesters are apparently heard shouting "al-sha’ab yurid isqat al-fasa’il" - or "The people want the fall of the factions." Political factions have a long history of exercising some governance functions and controlling resources and patronage within refugee camps. ...

Racism / Discrimination / Repression of dissent

WAFA monitors incitement and racism in Israeli media May 27-June 2
RAMALLAH (WAFA)  June -- Mordechai Kedar, an Israeli researcher and lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, published a racist article on NFC website under the title "Arabs Can’t Live Without War and Arms." He said that Netanyahu’s demand of a demilitarized Palestinian state is absurd and unacceptable for the Arabs, who live by the law of the gun, adding "perpetual conflicts are the core of an Arab’s existence." ... . M. Shalom wrote an instigating article against Abbas in 'Hamodia' newspaper, accusing him of being a racist. ... Shalom also attacked Islam, saying that deception and lying are Arabs’ main traits and solid characteristics of Mohammad’s religion.

Can equality exist in the Jewish state? Kieron Monks
AJ 4 June -- As right-wingers dominate the Knesset, Arab citizens of Israel say institutional discrimination is getting worse.

Israel's treatment of gay Palestinian asylum seekers / Caroline Esser
WashNote 6 June -- ...Israel advocacy groups like the ADL and the Jewish Federations have latched on to LGBT rights in Israel as a means of combating negative press and demonstrating Israel's dedication to equal rights and democracy ... Sadly, when the ADL wrote in small print that Israel supports civil rights for "all its citizens" it meant exactly what it said--basic human rights are strictly for Israelis. In their 2008 study, "Nowhere to Run: Gay Palestinian Asylum-Seekers in Israel," Michael Kagan and Anat Ben-Dor describe in detail Israel's unsympathetic and unbending policy towards gay Palestinians. In stark contrast to the vibrant gay culture within Israel, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip Palestinians face intense discrimination and often brutal violence if they are discovered to be gay ... However, despite their desperation, Israel refuses to even review gay Palestinian applications for asylum (those who have successfully received asylum have had to submit their cases directly to the UNHCR headquarters in Geneva). Moreover, gay Palestinians who have illegally entered Israel have been arrested and promptly deported

Journalist and activist Gideon Spiro arrested for 'incitement'
978mag 7 June -- A Tel Aviv Police investigator arrested Monday Gideon Spiro, a veteran leftist activist aged 76, for suspected incitement relating to an article he had written. Spiro was discharged two hours later, after his attorneys – from the office of Michael Sfard – intervened on his behalf.

Political / Diplomatic / International news

Palestinians in Washington deny indirect talks with Israel
Haaretz 6 June -- Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Monday denied that a Palestinian delegation to Washington exchanged messages with an Israeli official, who is also in the United States for meetings with the White House, saying that he did not know the Israelis would be there.

Obama: Palestinians should avoid seeking UN recognition for statehood
Reuters 7 June -- U.S. president meets German Chancellor Merkel, who says 'unilateral measures are not helping at all' to bring about a two-state solution.

France: Israel considering Paris peace talks
WASHINGTON (Ma‘an) 7 June -- Israel is considering a French proposal to resume peace talks with Palestine in Paris before the end of June, France's foreign minister told reporters in the United Sates on Wednesday. Speaking alongside the minister, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the two discussed Paris' plan, "will be certainly working together," she said, adding that both nations believed the "status quo is unsustainable."

Blair open to French Mideast peace talks
OSLO, Norway (AFP) 7 June -- Tony Blair, the envoy of the Quartet group of world powers seeking an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, said Tuesday he was open to a French proposal to host a Middle East peace conference. "What the French foreign minister has been saying is absolutely right in the sense that you need to put together not just the support for Palestinian statehood and institutions building, but some political momentum has to be injected back into this," he said on a visit to Oslo.

US delegation visits Cairo to study Egypt's new foreign policy
MEMO 7 June -- A US delegation of members of both Houses of Congress has been touring the Middle East, beginning with Cairo to identify new aspects of Egypt's foreign policy. The delegation met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Araby, who briefed them on the most important characteristics of the policy and its impact on various regional issues. Paramount is how Egypt is going to manage its role in the Israel-Palestine conflict; the American delegation is also going to visit Tel Aviv. The meeting included a discussion of the latest regional political and social developments ... The delegation's visit, headed by Democrat John Yarmouth, was arranged by Jewish-American organisation J Street.

J Street: PM refuses to meet delegation
Ynet 6 June -- Despite enjoying a hearty welcome at the US Congress recently, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to meet with a delegation of representatives organized by J Street, the liberal Jewish lobby said Sunday ... The delegation, composed of Democratic Congress members, was set to arrive in Israel on Monday. The trip was initiated by J Street, considered a controversial group known for its fierce criticism of Israel, particularly over the issue of West Bank settlements.,7340,L-4078936,00.html

Other news

Israeli towns' new line of defense from Gaza rockets: trees
Haaretz 7 June -- Israel has spent no less than NIS 1.6 billion on defenses for the townships around the Gaza Strip in the last five years, Udi Shani, Defense Ministry director general, said yesterday. "We view the present state of quiet as transient," said Shani, speaking during a tour of the boundary between Israel and the Strip ... One [defense] is afforestation -- planting rows of trees by the towns located along the Gaza Strip. The idea is that the trees will prevent precise mortar fire on Israeli targets and camouflage Israeli troops. [Just give Gaza justice and freedom and you won't have to spend anything....]

OPT: Huge demand for hearing aids
TULKAREM, WEST BANK (IRIN) 7 June -- Hearing impairments are common among Palestinians mainly due to inherited genetic mutations and lack of access to adequate medical services which allows minor infections to develop into major problems, according to Rafi Walden, a surgeon at Sheba medical centre in Israel ... "Hearing aids are not funded by Palestinian public health providers and are out of reach for nearly all Palestinians," said Salah Haj Yihyeh, who recently coordinated a donation of hearing aids by the Starkey Hearing Foundation to 1,000 Palestinians in Tulkarem. Before this, speech therapists and experts from the Sheba medical centre had visited the area in April.

Analysis / Opinion / Human interest

Finding the Israel lobby on the map / Yusuf Munayyer
7 June -- How can you see the influence of the pro-Israel lobby on a map? ... You could, I suppose, look up the address of AIPAC headquarters, but that wouldn't be nearly as illustrative as this ... [W]hen you study a conflict over land, the precise location of every square meter is important. For years, Israel's continued colonization of Palestinian territory has happened one settlement or one settlement home at a time. Hilltops, aquifers, valleys, walls, checkpoints, distances, locations are all vital for understanding the intricacies of this conflict. So, as with just about every field, technology has revolutionized the study of Palestinian geography, especially with the advent of widely available satellite imagery (e.g. Google Maps) which allows anyone with a computer to see how big illegal settlements around Jerusalem are, just how deep Ariel protrudes into the West Bank or how tiny Gaza really is .... Take a look at this image, for example. What you are looking at, at Google Maps' highest available resolution, is Military Aircraft parked at Area 51, the secret U.S. military base in Nevada's desert used to test and develop state of the art weapons and planes. Go ahead, zoom in and out. But if we were to look at any random location in Israel at Google Maps' highest resolution, not say a top-secret military facility, we get this: [blurs] This image is supposed to be of the Dahmash village outside of my ancestral hometown of Al-Lyd. Dahmash is an Arab village unrecognized by the state and thus homes there do not receive permits and they are subject to demolition. Hardly a sensitive military location, in fact, it is more like a shanty town. If you zoom out you can see it. But you won't be able to see it, or any other area under Israeli state control (including in the Occupied Territories) at the highest resolution. Why is that? Well, it's because Congress passed a law which stipulated that Israel and any territory it controls deserve more privacy than the USA's most secret military installations.
Shavuot 2011: Obscenities as words of Torah / Yossi Sarid
7 June -- This isn't the Torah we received. Since that time, Israel has been swallowed up by the Land of Israel and disappeared inside its maw -- Go to your computer right now and watch the frightening video clip posted on YouTube as a memento of Jerusalem Day (it's called "Yom Yeru 2011" ). Not a handful, but hundreds of young people high on hard-core nationalism wave blue-and-white flags; may their eyes grow dim. "Death to the Arabs, death to the leftists," they chanted. "The Temple will be rebuilt, the mosque will be destroyed." "Kahane lives, Mohammed is dead." "Itbach al-Arab" ("Death to the Arabs" in Arabic ). Thus they elevate Jerusalem as their chief sin: May their tongues cleave to their palates. While I was roaming Jerusalem's streets, another mob was gathering at the city's Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, with rabbis Shmuel Eliyahu of Safed and Dov Lior of Hebron among the guests. The former demands Israel be purged of Arabs, while the latter endorses a book that justifies killing gentiles, urges soldiers to disobey orders and refuses to show up for questioning by the police. Nowadays, every obscenity is treated as 'words of Torah.' A bill was even submitted for discussion to the cabinet that would permit incitement by rabbis, and rabbis only. And MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union ) was also among the guests. The guest of honor was the prime minister; lift up your heads, O ye gates. "I see you as an elite Torah combat unit," the king of glory - and of shame - said fawningly. Now the Torah, too, has its own elite combat unit.

Israel-Palestinian conflict is in the eye of the beholder / Amira Hass
Haaretz 6 June -- Israel is fighting against the memory of the Nakba, whereas others are searching for ways to give the Nakba its rightful place in teaching and education -- Some six months ago, 54 Israeli and Palestinian students received a series of photos and were asked to describe them and jot down their impressions and the feelings stirred by them in two stages - before seeing the caption explaining them and then afterwards ... Some 32 such photos from 1948, along with the impressions of the Palestinian and Israeli students, appear in a book called "Zoom In, Palestinian Refugees of 1948, Remembrances." The book was issued by the Holland-based Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation, which "seeks to dispel public myths about historic legacies in societies divided by ethnic conflict."

Haaretz editorial: Readiness and blindness in the Golan Heights
7 June -- The IDF proved this week that it does a good job preparing for the previous war. ... On Sunday, Naksa Day, the Israel Defense Forces succeeded in blocking hundreds of demonstrators who, surrounded by cameras, stormed the border fences in the Golan Heights, carrying flags, posters and loudspeakers ... The Palestinians reckoned they would have casualties. They too have learned lessons from May 15. It did not deter them, and there are no grounds to assume it will deter others on other fronts, especially when the regimes or organizations holding the Arab side of the border have no interest in acting against the demonstrators. The incidents have also shown that 30 years of forced annexation and naturalization have not turned the Golan Druze into devoted Israeli citizens. This has become routine in the Israeli-Arab conflict -- the IDF scores a tactical victory, which shrinks in contrast to the strategic failure.

Revealed: the untold story of the deal that shocked the Middle East / Robert Fisk
Independent 7 June -- Secret meetings between Palestinian intermediaries, Egyptian intelligence officials, the Turkish foreign minister, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal – the latter requiring a covert journey to Damascus with a detour round the rebellious city of Deraa – brought about the Palestinian unity which has so disturbed both Israelis and the American government. Fatah and Hamas ended four years of conflict in May with an agreement that is crucial to the Palestinian demand for a state. A series of detailed letters, accepted by all sides, of which The Independent has copies, show just how complex the negotiations were

the open-minded:
Between warm and fuzzy and dangerous in the West Bank / Olivia Snaije
Haaretz 7 June -- Refugee camps, desert moonscapes, checkpoints and monasteries - all were part of an eye-opening bike trip around the West Bank, organized by a nonprofit Palestinian rights organization -- We left Jenin early on our first day of cycling through Palestine. After an inaugural hill, we crossed a main thoroughfare where the terrain flattened, and whizzed along under a brilliant sun, the road lined with olive trees as well as multicolored fields of thistles, poppies, marigolds and daisies.

and the very fearful:
Israel needs northern wall / Yosef Argaman
Ynet 6 June -- Op-ed: In face of new Arab invasion strategy on Golan, Israel must build new cement wall -- Not transparent fences that can be cut, not a series of new outposts, and not a system of fortifications that can be circumvented. We need a contiguous, high and deterring cement wall like the security fence in Judea and Samaria or the Great Wall of China.,7340,L-4079282,00.html
For further information contact Shadi Fadda

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