Tuesday, September 30, 2008

[ePalestine] WPOST: Failure Written in West Bank Stone

washingtonpost.com 

Failure Written in West Bank Stone 

By Gershom Gorenberg 
Tuesday, September 30, 2008; A19 

JERUSALEM -- The latest phone call came from a journalist in Denmark. Why, he asked, has Israeli settlement in the West Bank continued despite peace negotiations with the Palestinians? 

As a historian of settlements, I'm used to this question. Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert insists that Israel's future depends on a two-state solution. Building new homes in settlements only makes it more difficult to withdraw. When President Bush convened the Annapolis conference last November, there was media buzz about a settlement freeze. Olmert said that every request to build from within the government required his approval. Yet in the past year, construction has increased -- despite Olmert's talk, despite Bush's supposed commitment to his 2003 "road map" plan with its freeze on settlement. 

Nearly a thousand housing units are being built in Maale Adumim, according to Peace Now's Settlement Watch project. At Givat Zeev, another of the settlements ringing Jerusalem, a 750-unit project was approved this year. The government has asked for bids on building nearly 350 homes in Beitar Illit, also near Jerusalem. Meanwhile, hundreds of homes have been added at settlements deep in the West Bank, with the government's acquiescence if not approval. 

All this fits a historical pattern: Diplomatic initiatives accelerate settlement building in occupied territory. When the peace effort fades away, the red-roofed houses remain as a monument. 

Maale Adumim, a hive of apartment buildings on the parched slope between Jerusalem and Jericho, is the most imposing example. Secret discussions about settling at the site began within the Israeli government in August 1974. At just that time, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was mediating between Israel and Jordan on an interim peace agreement. Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon proposed that Israel would withdraw from Jericho as a first step toward realizing his larger plan: Israel would also give up major Palestinian towns deeper in the West Bank. 

But Allon wanted to keep much of the West Bank under Israeli rule -- including a ring of land surrounding Jerusalem and separating it from Jericho. By the fall of 1974, the Israeli- Jordanian contacts had failed. But Allon's political ally, settlement czar Yisrael Galili, pushed on with Maale Adumim. Building is easier than negotiating, and it is harder to stop. 

The government's method of acquiring land for the settlement was audacious -- and, until now, well hidden. After a tenacious freedom-of-information legal battle, Israeli human rights activist Dror Etkes of the organization Yesh Din recently received data from the Israeli army's Civil Administration on West Bank land expropriations. In April 1975, Israel expropriated 11 square miles east of Jerusalem "for public use." In 1977, another square mile was taken. 

On his laptop, Etkes showed me an aerial photo of the settlement today, superimposed on a map of the expropriation. Most of the built-up area of Maale Adumim lies inside the land that was confiscated. 

This is a prima facie violation of international law. Under the 1907 Hague Convention, an occupying power may expropriate land only for the public use of the occupied population. Taking private West Bank land for Israeli use is therefore barred. 

That's just one example of the historical pattern. In 1970, Israel and Egypt ended their "War of Attrition" under a cease-fire proposed by Secretary of State William Rogers. The next stage of the Rogers initiative was supposed to be peace talks. Fearing pressure to withdraw, the Israeli cabinet approved the first settlement in the Gaza Strip to stake Israel's claim to the territory. Diplomacy stalled, but settlement continued in Gaza. 

The pattern repeated itself in 1998, when President Bill Clinton convened the Wye River summit to revive the Oslo process. The summit ended with an Israeli commitment to resume West Bank withdrawals and a Palestinian pledge to suppress terrorism. Neither promise was kept. But Ariel Sharon, then foreign minister, returned home and publicly advised settlers to "grab more hills, expand the territory. Everything that's grabbed will be in our hands. Everything we don't grab will be in their hands." That spurred establishment of the tiny settlements known as outposts that dot the West Bank. 

Since Annapolis, hard-line settlers have continued building, hoping to block any pullback. The government, meanwhile, is building in the so-called settlement blocs -- settlements that it insists Israel must keep under any agreement. As in the past, it is writing its negotiating position in concrete on the hills. That includes more construction on the expropriated land at Maale Adumim. 

As shortsighted as Olmert has been to allow this, the same is true of Bush. The president began a negotiating process but has invested little effort in pursuing it. The administration's objections to settlement expansion have been too faint. The new buildings are a monument to Bush's failure as well as Olmert's. They will make Israeli-Palestinian peace a more difficult challenge for the next president -- assuming the next president cares about pursuing peace. 

Gershom Gorenberg is the author of "The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977." He blogs at http://SouthJerusalem.com




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Sunday, September 28, 2008

[ePalestine] Israeli settlers threaten to kill British film crew, curse Jesus [WARNING: OBSCENE LANGUAGE]

Dear friends, 

So many of you have asked privately what is it like to live day to day in Palestine as the illegal Israeli settlers roam the West Bank as if it was the Wild Wild West.  Well, no longer a need for long-winded emails, you can now watch these sick people live and in less than 2 minutes you will come to your own conclusions. 

Satyagraha [Hold the truth - Ghandi],
Sam 

-- 

Israeli settlers threaten to kill British film crew, curse Jesus 


Video of an Israeli settler threatening a British film crew. The video shows the settler cursing Jesus ("You and you're f**cking Jesus can kiss my ass... We killed Jesus and we're proud of it."), threatening to kill the film crew and the Palestinians on whose land they are trespassing. 

SOURCE: Redress Information & Analysis 



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Saturday, September 27, 2008

[ePalestine] Israel-Based Defendants Indicted and Arrested in Lottery Telemarketing Fraud Targeting U.S. Citizens

Dear friends,

Can you even start to imagine the ruckus this would have stirred if those who were arrested were Palestinians and were working from a "boiler room" in the West Bank or Gaza?  But here, it will pass with hardly a mention...just another crime.

$2M...that's peanuts compared to the fraud that The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) undertakes from U.S. coffers while sitting in a "boiler room" in the middle of D.C.!

Equal treatment please,
Sam

---

Sep 26, 2008 16:55 ET

Israel-Based Defendants Indicted and Arrested in Lottery Telemarketing Fraud Targeting U.S. Citizens 

Alleged Scheme Obtained Approximately $2 Million From Elderly Victims 

NEW YORK, Sept. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Guy Mayo, Elad Mayo, Asi Almakias, Moran Goldfarb, Lior Orgad, Orelya Belahsan, David Yamin, Mor Galanti and Yaniv Kalbers, all residents of Israel, were arrested today on charges that they engaged in a lottery telemarketing fraud scheme which obtained approximately $2 million from elderly victims in the United States between 2007 and September 2008, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Michael J. Garcia and the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI New York Field Office Mark J. Mershon announced. 

This case involves the largest number of Israeli citizens ever to be provisionally arrested by Israel in anticipation of extradition. Shai Kadosh, who is also charged in the scheme, is currently a fugitive. 

According to the indictments filed in this case in Manhattan federal court, the defendants participated in a fraudulent scheme in which hundreds of elderly victims in the United States were informed that they had won substantial cash prizes in an international sweepstakes lottery, but that to claim these prizes, they first needed to pay several thousand dollars in fees. In fact, there was no sweepstakes lottery and the victims never received any cash prize, even after many victims sent as much as tens of thousands of dollars to the defendants and their co-conspirators in Israel. 

As part of this scheme, the defendants operated a "boiler room" in Israel. Orelya Belahsan, David Yamin, Mor Galanti and Yaniv Kalbers were salespeople in the boiler room, calling individuals in the United States and informing them that they had won substantial cash prizes in an international sweepstakes lottery. These salespeople asked victims certain questions about their citizenship, age and financial condition. If a salesperson deemed a victim to have sufficient assets, the salesperson transferred that victim to one of the managers: Guy Mayo, Elad Mayo, Asi Almakias, Shai Kadosh, Moran Goldfarb or Lior Orgad. Once a victim was transferred, he or she was informed by the managers that to obtain the prize, one first had to pay several thousand dollars in fees and taxes. The victim was then instructed to send the money to the co-conspirators in Israel by wire transfer or by mail, and was provided with toll free "1-800" numbers at which the managers could be contacted to confirm that the money had been sent. Victims who had already sent money were often contacted again by the managers to send additional money to claim their prizes. 

"The defendants preyed upon the elderly in the United States from what they believed to be the safety of a boiler room in Israel," said U.S. Attorney Garcia. "Cooperation between law enforcement and prosecutors' offices here and in Israel has made clear that borders provide no safe haven for such fraudulent schemes." 

"Foreign lottery and sweepstakes frauds are especially pernicious because they target a vulnerable segment of our population. No one should underestimate the pitchmen in these schemes, who can be as persuasive as they are unethical. We only hope this investigation serves as a warning to others that operating from outside the U.S. does not necessarily make you unreachable," said FBI Assistant Director Mershon. 

The investigation into the lottery telemarketing fraud scheme is being conducted in New York by the FBI, in cooperation with the Israel National Police. U.S. Attorney Garcia praised the investigative work of the FBI and the Tel Aviv Fraud Division of the Israel National Police, and expressed his gratitude to the Office of International Affairs, Department of Justice Criminal Division; Department of International Affairs within the Office of the State Attorney in the Ministry of Justice for the State of Israel; and the Tel Aviv District Attorney's Office for their cooperation in the investigation. 

This case is being prosecuted by the Organized Crimes Unit at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Avi Weitzman and Steve C. Lee are in charge of the prosecution. 

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 

Source: U.S. Department of Justice 

CONTACT: Rebekah Carmichael of the Office of U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia, Southern District of New York, +1-212-637-2600, TDD +1-212-637-0053 

Web Site: http://www.usdoj.gov/

 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

[ePalestine] Dead on arrival...The occupation kills...

....and yet tonight, people are stupid enough to keep asking why individual acts of vengeance are on the rise in occupied Palestine... 

The occupation kills, and not just bodies!!! 

Stillborn Zaid lives on in all of our children!!

---

w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m
Last update - 19:45 21/09/2008
Twilight Zone / Dead on arrival 
By Gideon Levy

Nothing helped. Not the pleas, not the cries of the woman in labor, not the father's explanations in excellent Hebrew, nor the blood that flowed in the car. The commander of the checkpoint, a fine Israeli who had completed an officers' course, heard the cries, saw the women writhing in pain in the back seat of the car, listened to the father's heartrending pleas and was unmoved. The heart of the Israeli officer was indifferent and cruel. For over an hour, he would not let the car with the young woman in labor pass through the Hawara checkpoint on the way to the hospital in Nablus. Not to Tel Aviv; but to Nablus; not for shopping, not for work; but to get to the hospital in an emergency. Nothing helped.  

Nahil Abu-Rada is not the first woman to lose her baby this way because of the occupation, and she won't be the last. At least a half-dozen checkpoint births that ended in death have been documented here over the years, and nothing has changed. No punishments, no lessons, not even a request for forgiveness from parents who lose their children because of the coldheartedness of soldiers.  

The occupation kills - never has this slogan sounded so true as on that night, two weeks ago, at the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus. No convoluted excuse or explanation from the Israel Defense Forces spokesman (military sources were quoted the day after the incident, making this outrageous comment: "This baby would have died anyway") can erase the simple, chilling fact that for officers and soldiers in the occupation army we have established, human feeling has become alien, at least when it comes to Palestinians. Or the fact that there are still officers and soldiers in the IDF who behave with such lack of feeling toward a woman in labor who is about to lose her child.  

What went through the mind of the officer who refused to let Nahil pass? He saw her in agony, he heard her husband's desperate pleas, and he surely knows how children come into this world and how they can leave it just as easily, without lifesaving medical treatment.  

The couple had gone to bed at nine. They woke up after midnight when Nahil, 21, suddenly went into labor; she was at the beginning of her seventh month of pregnancy. This was on the night between September 5 and 6, at their home in Qusra, a quiet and relatively well-off village east of the Tapuah Junction, at the foot of the Migdalim settlement in the northern West Bank. The closest hospital was in Nablus, a 15-minute drive at night to the Hawara checkpoint, and then another 10 minutes from there to Rafidia Hospital, if all goes smoothly. But that night, nothing went smoothly.  

The husband, Mu'ayyad, 29, called his brother Uday to come quickly with his car. The two brothers work in different industrial plants on the Ma'ale Ephraim settlement. They speak Hebrew well. Their father works as a gardener in Ma'ale Ephraim. They come from a family of 16 siblings, most of whom attended university; they had never been in any trouble. Uday's phone's ring tone is the Hebrew song "Hayal mishmar hagvul" (Border Police Officer), with the lyrics: "We were a pair of lovebirds, innocent and shy, suddenly it all ended, my heart is broken ... You went to the army and love went with you, now I'm lonely and sad." Now, Uday's cell phone also carries a horrifying photograph of his brother's dead baby.  

Uday arrived within minutes and they carried Nahil to his red Opel and lay her down in the back seat. There is no ambulance in the village. Had they called for one to come from Nablus, it would take much longer, they thought. Uday drove quickly, using flashing red lights in the back, while Nahil lay moaning with her husband by her side. The brothers' mother joined them in the car, too.  

Shortly before 1 A.M., they reached the Tapuah checkpoint and after a delay of a few minutes, they were allowed to continue on their way. Nahil's cries grew stronger. Every so often, she would anxiously ask her husband: Where are we? How much longer? Mu'ayyad reassured her: We're almost at the hospital, just a few more minutes. Some minutes later, they reached Hawara.  

The checkpoint was deserted. They stopped where cars are supposed to stop. "It's the army: If you don't stop the right way, they can shoot you and you can be killed," Mu'ayyad explains later.  

A soldier stood 25 meters away. Mu'ayyad began walking toward him carrying the identity cards of all the passengers in the car. "Come here a second; it's an emergency. My wife is in labor and I have to take her to the hospital, to Rafidia," Mu'ayyad said. The soldier said he'd have to consult his superior officer. "He walked really slowly, not in any hurry," as Mu'ayyad describes it.  

Adds Uday: "They're working very quietly, very slowly, it's all quiet. She's yelling and they're quiet. Moving very slowly."  

The soldier disappeared into the building next to the checkpoint. The two brothers say it was 15-20 minutes until he returned, accompanied by the officer. Meanwhile, Nahil had started bleeding in the car. "What's the problem?" asked the officer. "My wife is suffering, she's bleeding in the car. Please, do me a favor, check the car quickly and let us go." The officer: "You need a permit."  

Mu'ayyad pulled out a work permit that's good for Judea and Samaria, 24 hours a day, but the officer didn't even bother to look at it. "I started to plead with him. I told him: The situation is serious. I told him: Keep all the IDs with you and keep me with you, and my brother will just bring her to the hospital and come back." It didn't help. Nothing helped.  

The cries of agony from the car grew louder and more frequent, the officer must have heard them quite well. He heard, but closed his ears. "I opened all the doors so they would hear my wife's cries," says Mu'ayyad. "I was not asking to go into Tel Aviv. I was asking to go to Nablus, and not so I could stroll around at one in the morning, but so I could bring my wife to the hospital."  

After all his pleas fell on deaf ears, Mu'ayyad tried one last request: "Help me. Maybe you have the phone number of an ambulance? I'm from the villages and I don't know it. Could you help me in this situation? Look, my wife is screaming in pain, she's bleeding, help me, please." Nothing. A heart of stone. "He didn't want to help me, the officer," Mu'ayyad recalls dryly.  

Desperate and terrified, he phoned his brother who lives in Nablus and asked him to call an ambulance to rush to the checkpoint. But by the time the ambulance arrived, the birth had begun. The tiny head was emerging; Mu'ayyad is sure he saw the baby move its head. He quickly grabbed hold of either side of the head to protect it.  

"I said to them: Look, the baby is starting to come out! I show the soldiers my wife in this condition. It's no easy thing for me to show them my wife in this condition, but I wanted to save my son. I'm ashamed, but out of fear for my wife and child, I showed her to them. We need oxygen, you have to do something, I say. He didn't listen to me. In the end, the baby started to come out, my wife was lying in the car, her legs sticking out. I grabbled hold of the baby so he wouldn't fall between the seats. I thought I could feel his heart pounding. I felt that my son was still alive. He moved his head to the side two or three times; he needed someone to take care of him right away to get him out and save him."  

But the birth stopped, with the baby half out and half in. Mu'ayyad and Nahil were desperate, frantic. The officer and the soldier outside didn't lift a finger to help. "We needed someone to take care of him. He's a neonate. He needs to be taken right away to an incubator with oxygen," Mu'ayyad yelled. He tried to get help, but no one at the checkpoint responded.  

Meanwhile, the ambulance from Nablus arrived. Mu'ayyad says that precious minutes passed before it was allowed to cross to the other side, where Nahil was. He says he screamed at the soldiers: "You didn't help me! Now I think my son is dead! Help me save my wife's life, at least. I lost a child, but my wife has to be saved! I started yelling like a madman until they let the ambulance approach."  

The paramedic put on gloves and entered the car. The baby was still only halfway out; the paramedic pronounced him dead.  

Mu'ayyad: "He said to me: "I have to take the child out, before we take your wife to the ambulance. I think he's dead." He removed the baby and cut the umbilical cord. We took the bag with the clothes that we'd brought for the baby, dumped them out and put my son inside. We tore out the upholstery from the car and carried my wife to the ambulance. Then the medic removed the placenta and put it in the bag with my baby."

A while later, the couple arrived at Rafidia with the bag holding their dead son. The doctor started shouting: "What happened? Why is she bleeding this way?" Mu'ayyad explained: "An hour and a quarter at the checkpoint."  

"Actually, I felt like it had been a year, but we left home at 12:40 A.M. and arrived at Rafidia at 2:45 A.M.," he recalls now.  

It also pains him that no one at the hospital opened the bag to examine his dead son: "I heard they gave the soldier a 14-day sentence. This is a person who not only killed my son, he killed me and my wife. What kind of punishment is that? This is something horrific, what happened to us. I don't wish it upon anyone, not even the soldier. He killed my son. With a cold heart, he killed my son. Everyone should try to put himself in my place. What would happen if something like this happened to the soldier's wife? He'd kill 100 people. My son died and I couldn't help him. What kind of father am I?"  

They were thinking of calling their son Zaid. They have another baby, a girl, at home. On the way back, the couple placed the baby's body in a cardboard box. At the Hawara checkpoint, the soldiers asked to see what was in the box.  

"It's my son, who died yesterday at the checkpoint when you wouldn't let me get to the hospital," Mu?ayyad told the soldier.  

The response from the IDF Spokesman's Office: "This is a difficult and unfortunate incident, following which a comprehensive investigation was carried out by the battalion commander of the soldiers at the checkpoint. The Coordination and Liaison Office also clarified the circumstances with the woman in question. The findings were presented to the head of the Samaria brigade, and the officer in charge of the checkpoint sentenced the squad commander to imprisonment in a military facility and dismissed him from his position."  

"From the investigation it appears that on September 4, a civilian vehicle arrived at the Hawara checkpoint at about midnight with a resident of Qusra, his pregnant wife, his brother and mother. The soldiers on duty did not allow the Palestinian to enter Nablus, as he did not have an entry permit for the vehicle. An ambulance was ordered and the woman was treated on the spot; the infant was stillborn. The woman was evacuated by ambulance for continued medical treatment in Nablus."  

"In light of the fact that this was a humanitarian incident, it would have been proper if it had been dealt with differently, and the IDF regrets this."  

Nahil is not willing to talk or have her photograph taken now. For two weeks, she hasn't spoken, and has hardly eaten or slept. Signs of trauma are obvious in the slim, pale woman in traditional garb. Mu'ayyad says he also has trouble sleeping.  

On the day we met this week, the couple had spent about six hours waiting in the Coordination and Liaison Office in Hawara until their testimony was taken down by an investigator. Six hours, during the Ramadan fast, after giving birth at a checkpoint. That's how it works.  

Attorney Michael Sfard of the Yesh Din human rights organization has written an urgent letter to the military advocate general, requesting a postponement of the disciplinary sentence imposed on one of the soldiers involved - two weeks of military detention - so as to allow a possible criminal proceeding.  




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[ePalestine] LA TIMES: Hey U.S., welcome to the Third World!

Los Angeles Times

Opinion

Hey U.S., welcome to the Third World!
It's been a quick slide from economic superpower to economic basket case.
Rosa Brooks

September 18, 2008 

Dear United States, Welcome to the Third World! 

It's not every day that a superpower makes a bid to transform itself into a Third World nation, and we here at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund want to be among the first to welcome you to the community of states in desperate need of international economic assistance. As you spiral into a catastrophic financial meltdown, we are delighted to respond to your Treasury Department's request that we undertake a joint stability assessment of your financial sector. In these turbulent times, we can provide services ranging from subsidized loans to expert advisors willing to perform an emergency overhaul of your entire government. 

As you know, some outside intervention in your economy is overdue. Last week -- even before Wall Street's latest collapse -- 13 former finance ministers convened at the University of Virginia and agreed that you must fix your "broken financial system." Australia's Peter Costello noted that lately you've been "exporting instability" in world markets, and Yashwant Sinha, former finance minister of India, concluded, "The time has come. The U.S. should accept some monitoring by the IMF." 

We hope you won't feel embarrassed as we assess the stability of your economy and suggest needed changes. Remember, many other countries have been in your shoes. We've bailed out the economies of Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia and South Korea. But whether our work is in Sudan, Bangladesh or now the United States, our experts are committed to intervening in national economies with care and sensitivity. 

We thus want to acknowledge the progress you have made in your evolution from economic superpower to economic basket case. Normally, such a process might take 100 years or more. With your oscillation between free-market extremism and nationalization of private companies, however, you have successfully achieved, in a few short years, many of the key hallmarks of Third World economies. 

Your policies of irresponsible government deregulation in critical sectors allowed you to rapidly develop an energy crisis, a housing crisis, a credit crisis and a financial market crisis, all at once, and accompanied (and partly caused) by impressive levels of corruption and speculation. Meanwhile, those of your political leaders charged with oversight were either napping or in bed with corporate lobbyists. 

Take John McCain, your Republican presidential nominee, whose senior staff includes half a dozen prominent former lobbyists. As he recently put it, "I was chairman of the [Senate] Commerce Committee that oversights every part of the economy." No question about it: Your leaders' failure to notice the damage done by irresponsible deregulation was indeed an oversight of epic proportions. 

Now you are facing the consequences. Income inequality has increased, as the rich have gotten windfalls while the middle class has seen incomes stagnate. Fewer and fewer of your citizens have access to affordable housing, healthcare or security in retirement. Even life expectancy has dropped. And when your economic woes went from chronic to acute, you responded -- like so many Third World states have -- with an extensive program of nationalizing private companies and assets. Your mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now state owned and controlled, and this week your reinsurance giant AIG was effectively nationalized, with the Federal Reserve Board seizing an 80% equity stake in the flailing company. 

Some might deride this as socialism. But desperate times call for desperate measures. 

Admittedly, your transition to Third World status is far from over, and it won't be painless. At first, for instance, you may find it hard to get used to the shantytowns that will replace the exurban sprawl of McMansions that helped fuel the real estate speculation bubble. But in time, such shantytowns will simply become part of the landscape. Similarly, as unemployment rates continue to rise, you will initially struggle to find a use for the expanding pool of angry, jobless young men. But you will gradually realize that you can recruit them to fight in a ceaseless round of armed conflicts, a solution that has been utilized by many other Third World states before you. Indeed, with your wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, you are off to an excellent start. 

Perhaps this letter comes as a surprise to you, and you feel you're not fully ready to join the Third World. Don't let this feeling concern you. Though you may never have realized it, you've been preparing for this moment for years. 

rbrooks@latimescolumnists.com  

Copyright 2008 Los Angeles Times | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service



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Saturday, September 20, 2008

[ePalestine] IMEMC: Israel to construct dump in Nablus, just as archaeological discovery made

Israel to construct dump in Nablus, just as archaeological discovery made  

Friday September 19, 2008 06:09
by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News  

The timing of an Israeli contractor's approval by the Israeli government to construct a dump for Israeli garbage on Palestinian land in Nablus coincides with a major archaeological discovery in the area.  

The Israeli government did not respond to questions about its approval of the 20-year permit on the same day that an announcement was made of an important Roman-era archaeological discovery in the area.  The archaeological discovery consists of a large water cistern, which connects to a tunnel to the Roman city of Neapolis.  In the middle of the cistern is a set of spiral stairs.  Palestinian archaeologists say that the find dates from the Roman era, at least 2,000 years ago.  The cistern and tunnel may be connected to other, unknown ruins from that era under the city of Nablus.  

But while Palestinian archaeologists rush to uncover the latest discovery, an Israeli contractor has been approved to begin constructing a massive dump nearby, which will make impossible any more archaeological work in the area.  

Attempts by local Nablus officials to retain control of their own municipality have been repeatedly undermined by Israeli military occupying forces, which hold control of the Palestinian territories by military force since 1967, violating their duties as an occupying power on a daily basis.  

Israeli occupying authorities issue permits to their own citizens to construct Israeli-only settlements, factories and other enterprises on land seized illegally (under international law) from the indigenous Palestinian population.  

Now, in what locals say is a blatant example of the Israeli abuse of their occupying authority, they have issued a permit for an Israeli contractor to dump Israeli garbage on a historically rich and archaeologically valuable area of Palestinian land.  

Environmentalists and Palestinian Authority officials voiced their dismay at the approval of the landfill, and plan to file a lawsuit with the Israeli High Court.  Palestinians, even Palestinian Authority officials, are not allowed to file cases directly with the court, but must use Israeli lawyers inside Israel to act on their behalf.  

Author email: saed at imemc dot org  

IMEMC NEWS     http://www.imemc.org  




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Friday, September 19, 2008

[ePalestine] WSJ: Israel and Palestine Can Still Achieve Peace (By MAHMOUD ABBAS)

WALL STREET JOURNAL

OPINION

SEPTEMBER 19, 2008

Israel and Palestine
Can Still Achieve Peace
By MAHMOUD ABBAS

This month marks 15 painful years since the Arafat-Rabin handshake on the White House lawn. Palestinian children who started school when the Oslo Agreement was signed in 1993 are now young adults. They have not known a day of true freedom or genuine security in their lives. 

Oslo offered peace on a timetable, freedom doled out in stages. Its promise was derailed by increased Israeli settlement construction, restrictions on Palestinian movement and, correspondingly, by violent resistance to occupation from some Palestinians. The process begun by President George Bush in Annapolis last year offers another opportunity to reach a lasting peace. History will judge none of us kindly if we squander this opportunity. 

I continue to believe that we can achieve a lasting peace, with the Israeli and Palestinian peoples living as neighbors in two independent states. But if we do not succeed, and succeed soon, the parameters of the debate are apt to shift dramatically. Israel's continued settlement expansion and land confiscation in the West Bank makes physical separation of our two peoples increasingly impossible. The number of Israeli settlers in the Palestinian West Bank grew by approximately 85% after the Oslo accords were signed. 

We are impatient for our freedom. Yet partial peace, as proposed again by my current interlocutors, is not the way forward. Partial freedom is a contradiction in terms. Either a Palestinian lives free or continues to live under the yoke of Israeli military occupation. 

We want our children to live with hope and the opportunity to realize their potential. Yet our daily reality worsens. We are walled into shrinking pockets of land, reminiscent of the Bantustans of South Africa. Increasingly, Israel confines us to separate and inferior roads. 

Israeli leaders insist that Jerusalem not be physically divided. I agree. Although Jerusalem's sovereignty must be divided, the city itself can be shared as the capital of two states -- east for Palestine and west for Israel. While claiming to abhor dividing the city in half, Israel nonetheless splits the city through its complex of walls, tunnels and laws that segregate and discriminate between Muslim and Christian Palestinians and Israeli Jews. Israel continues to encircle the holy city with exclusively Jewish settlements that sever it from the rest of the occupied West Bank. 

We acknowledge the hardships faced by our Israeli neighbors. No Israeli child should go to sleep at night in fear. The irony is that although Israel possesses the strongest military in the region, its might cannot guarantee security for its people. The lesson of the last 15 years is that only a just peace can bring true security to Israel and Palestine. 

I have long believed that we must resolve our differences at the negotiating table rather than on the battlefield. But the goal of these negotiations must be a fair, comprehensive and clear agreement. The negotiations cannot be a cover allowing the stronger party to continue imposing its will. 

Rather than a partial outcome, we seek an agreement resulting in two viable and sovereign states based on 1967 borders, including a Jerusalem that is the capital of two states and a just resolution that honors the rights of the Palestinian refugees. 

What is often overlooked is the enormous historic compromise we already made in accepting the two-state solution and the creation of our state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on only 22% of our historic homeland. No responsible leader could agree to a peace that further erodes this tiny territory and strips away even more of its natural resources, historic sites and beautiful landscapes. And no responsible leader will accept a "peace plan" that repackages the occupation and makes it permanent. 

Israel says its goal is two states, coexisting in peace. Again, I agree. But those states must be real states -- sovereign, independent and viable. I cannot subject my people to an Israeli state and a Palestinian canton. Israel cannot have both control and peace. It cannot perpetually and illegally build settlements in the West Bank, particularly in East Jerusalem, and then argue it must keep that territory because of the existing facts on the ground. 

During her most recent visit to the Holy Land, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice rightly noted that Israeli settlement activity is not helpful to the peace process. Israel itself recognized this by agreeing to implement Phase I of its Roadmap obligations at Annapolis -- in other words, a settlement freeze. Yet since Annapolis, the pace of Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank has nearly doubled. 

Israel's occupation mindset must be exchanged for partnership and peace. And Hamas must come to the table, willing to discuss a true national dialogue based on the PLO political program. Palestinian national consensus and unity is a pressing need for our people who are thirsty for liberation. A critical Fatah conference should be held soon to allow a new generation to take charge of the Palestinian national movement. 

I pledge my full cooperation in the days and months ahead. I am thankful for the efforts of the Bush administration to assist in brokering peace. I again extend my hand to the Israeli people, and I urge them and their leaders to make a choice that ensures a secure and prosperous future for both our peoples. 

Mr. Abbas is chairman of the executive committee of the PLO and president of the Palestinian National Authority. 

Copyright 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved



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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

[ePalestine] "Jerusalem: The East Side Story" now on DVD via the web

Dear friends,

You may recall the review I wrote about the excellent documentary "Jerusalem: The East Side Story," Jerusalem...The East Side Story (2007) Dispossession, Occupation, and a Challenge to Survive .

Well, I write today, as promised, to advise that it is now on DVD and available at: http://www.eastsidestory.ps/order.shtml .

Don't miss this one.  Everyone who cares about Jerusalem must see this.

Jerusalem cries for all of us to stand up and be heard,
Sam



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[ePalestine] World Bank: Palestinians more dependent on aid

NOTE :  You may download and read the full report at:

World Bank: Palestinians more dependent on aid
AP
By KARIN LAUB,Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, September 17

RAMALLAH, West Bank - The Palestinians are becoming more dependent on foreign aid, mainly due to a sluggish economy stifled by continued Israeli restrictions on trade and movement, the World Bank said in a report Wednesday.

The bank's report was prepared for a meeting of key donor country representatives during the U.N. General Assembly in New York this month. 

The report counters a key assumption of international policy _ that the current massive aid to the Palestinians would stimulate their economy and make them increasingly less dependent on foreign money in the future. 

A three-year plan for Palestinian economic recovery was launched in December in Paris, and was based on three elements _ Palestinian government reform, a pledge of $7.7 billion in foreign aid through 2010 and a significant easing of Israeli movement restrictions. 

However, the bank said that while the Palestinians have moved forward with reform and donors have delivered significant sums of aid, Israel has only removed a few obstacles and its economic restrictions on the Palestinians have increased. 

"Aid and reform without access are unlikely to revive the Palestinian economy," the bank wrote. "As such, international manifestations of support toward a viable Palestinian state and institutions are incomplete insofar as they do not tackle Israeli economic restrictions in parallel." 

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor, who had not yet seen the report, noted in an initial response that security is key to any economic development. Israel has said its restrictions are aimed at stopping Palestinian militants who not only threaten Israelis, but also the moderate Palestinian government in the West Bank. 

Israel imposed the restrictions after the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising in 2000, in what it said was an attempt to thwart Palestinian bombing and shooting attacks on Israelis. 

Since then, Israel built a separation barrier that slices off about 10 percent of the West Bank, and erected more than 600 roadblocks, checkpoints and other obstacles that make it difficult to travel within in the territory. 

West Bank goods are trucked to Israel and other markets through a cumbersome back-to- back system. Israel has also halted movement between the West Bank and Gaza since 2000, and deepened Gaza's isolation after the violent takeover of the territory by the Islamic militant Hamas in 2007. 

The World Bank said that while Israel has important security concerns, considerations not related to security also come into play. "Overwhelming evidence suggests that the current restrictions correlate to settlement locations and expansion," the report said. 

Palmor dismissed the report's comments on security concerns as superficial, saying Hamas militants continue to pose a threat to Israel and Palestinian moderates. 

The Palestinian gross domestic product grew marginally this year, by 0.8 percent, the bank said. However, the economy remains sluggish, with the GDP increase outpaced by an annual 2.6 percent population growth. Since 1999, the real per capita GDP dropped by 30 percent, the bank said. 

Donors contributed $1.2 billion so far this year to support the Palestinian operating budget, such as the government payroll. However, a total of $1.85 billion is needed for the entire year. 

The Palestinians' 2009 spending envisions only $1.3 billion in budget support, but "with the (Israeli) restrictions restraining growth, it is questionable whether the current level of budget support can be reduced," the bank wrote. 

From 2007 to 2008, the share of foreign aid spent on budget support grew from 25 percent to 28 percent of the estimated GDP of $6.6 billion. 

The bank also took the donors to task for not paying regularly and making it difficult for the Palestinian government to plan ahead. 

The bank noted that the economies of Gaza and the West Bank are drifting further apart. After the Hamas takeover, Israel and Egypt virtually sealed the territory of 1.4 million people. The bank, citing the Palestinian Federation of Industries, said the closure forced 98 percent of Gaza's factories to close. 

An informal cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in June has largely held, but has not led to a significant easing of the border closure, the bank said. 




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Monday, September 15, 2008

[ePalestine] (Fwd) [Friends School Director] Vacancy Announcement Development Officer

Dear friends,

Please consider and/or pass this on to those who you feel may be qualified.

Rgds,
Sam


------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:                  Mon, 15 Sep 2008 13:56:01 +0200
Subject:                     [Friends School Director] Vacancy Announcement  Development Officer
To:                            sbahour@palnet.com
From:                         Friends School <admin@palfriends.org>


Dear Parents,

I hope the school year has started off on the right track for all of you and your children.   We are pleased that we will again serve them this year.   

My office is busy with many ambitious projects and plans that I am hoping to be able to brief you on in a future communication. 

I am writing today, to share with you the following Friends School Vacancy Announcement, in the hope that you could help us spread the word in your personal and business circles.  The Development Officer is an exciting and challenging senior level position and a crucial one for the school.  The post holder will help us ensure that we are able to meet our ambitious fundraising targets in a systematic manner.  

With kind regards and many thanks. 

Joyce Ajlouny
Friends School Director
 
                        
 
Vacancy Announcement
Development Officer
Friends School – Ramallah/El-Bireh

 
The Friends School is an over-century old, KG-12th grade, institution providing quality educational opportunities in the Ramallah/El-Bireh area.  The School is seeking a dynamic individual with a proven track record to fill the position of Development Officer.

 
The Development Officer’s main objective will be to ensure that the school’s revenue base is expanded to include new supporters through the establishment and maintenance of strong donor communications and relationships.  The post holder will be charged with soliciting and managing grants from individuals and organizations, organizing fundraising events and appeals, maintaining relations with our Alumni, preparing newsletters and appeals, among other tasks. A detailed job description, is available upon request from jthalji@palfriends.org .

 
Required Qualifications: A related university degree; at least 5 years of development/fundraising experience; demonstrated and dynamic inter-personal and communication skills; excellent command of written and spoken English; understanding and upholding of Friends School values.   It is desirable that the post-holder be familiar with the Friends School history and community.

 
Interested candidates are to send his/her CV with a cover letter expressing interest in the position and detailing areas of significant contribution to the Friends School. Applications are to be sent to application@palfriends.org  no later than 20th of September 2008.  Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.  
     
------- End of forwarded message -------



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