BBC : Page last updated at 12:20 GMT, Thursday, 20 November 2008
Hebron settlers desecrate mosque
Israel soldier painting over graffiti on Hebron mosque
Israeli troops quickly painted over the inflammatory graffiti on the mosque
Jewish settlers protesting against an official Israeli eviction order have desecrated Muslim buildings in the flashpoint West Bank town of Hebron.
They sprayed "Death to Arabs" and an insult to the Prophet Muhammad on a mosque wall and vandalised a cemetery.
Israeli troops were seen painting over the graffiti. A soldier was injured in scuffles with settlers, the army said.
The high court has ordered dozens of hardline settlers to leave a house in the overwhelmingly Palestinian town.
The dispute over the strategically located building has raised tensions even higher than usual between settlers and Palestinians in Hebron.
Settlers say they bought the building legally from its Palestinian owner, although he denies the claim.
The Israeli Supreme Court has ordered they must leave the building and set a deadline of Wednesday 19 November for them to go or face a forced eviction.
Call for protection
About 500 settlers live in enclaves in central Hebron in an area under full Israeli military control. The town has about 170,000 Palestinian inhabitants.
Hebron governor Hussein al-Araj urged Israeli authorities to halt the violence and carry out the court decision.
"What happened is unacceptable," he said. "The Israelis have to enforce the law and stop the suffering of the Palestinians who are living next to settlers. They have to take the settlers from this house and protect the Palestinians."
The ministry of defence has said it will implement the order but legal opinion is reportedly divided on whether it must do so within one month.
Hebron is home of some of the most hardline religiously motivated Jewish settlers, and correspondents say the authorities are concerned about the possibility of violent retribution if they are evicted by force.
Nearly one thousand Palestinian children are imprisoned by the Israeli regime
Nearly one thousand Palestinian children are imprisoned by the Israeli regime, a spokesman of Palestinian prisoners' affairs ministry says.
The spokesman said Israeli forces have detained at least eight thousands of Palestinian children since the start of the second Palestinian intifada (uprising) in 2000.
About one thousand of them are still in Israeli detention facilities, he added.
Marking World Children's Day, hundreds of Palestinians children on Thursday rallied in the Gaza Strip to protest the Israeli atrocities against children and the continued blockade on the region.
Demonstrators called on Israel to release all detainees.
According to the Palestinian figures, 800,000 Palestinian children suffer from poverty.
Israeli prisons incarcerate at least 11,500 Palestinians, including women and children, under harsh conditions.
Source: Press TV
GAZA CITY — Hend has never hated night fall, but Israel is forcing the Gaza college student to do. "This is unbearable, I can't take it any more," a (more)
GAZA CITY — Hend has never hated night fall, but Israel is forcing the Gaza college student to do. "This is unbearable, I can't take it any more," a distressed Hend told IslamOnline.
The impoverished Gaza Strip, home to 1.6 million, sinks into total darkness every night over the lack of fuel supplies to feed its sole power plant.
Hend stays awake every night struggling to see through the dark to study for her upcoming mid-term exams.
"I study on the light of candles all night. Eventually, my eyes get terribly sore," she said with her face barley seen though the candlelight.
Click to Watch Video "I wake up every morning with a killing headache and I go to college almost blinded by the pain."
It's not the first time Gaza plunges into darkness under the Israeli blockade.
Even before the November cut off, electricity supply in Gaza ran 30 percent below demand.
Human Rights Watch has slammed Israel's power cuts to the people of Gaza as a violation of the law of war.
Despite international criticism, Israel remains adamant on maintaining its Gaza closure.
In Khaled Abdu's house, even candlelight has become a luxury.
"We have sought candles in almost every shop around, the answer is always 'sorry, sold,' and so we return empty-handed," his wife says bitterly.
"My children had to sleep with total darkness surrounding them."
Israel has been closing the Gaza Strip's exits to the outside world since Hamas took control of the territory last June.
Gaza officials warn that if the power cuts continued, the situation would turn into a full-blown humanitarian disaster.
"The magnitude of the disaster will engulf all aspects of life," Saheel Sakik, head of the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO), told IOL.
Many hospitals have partially stopped working due to power and medical shortages.
The Hamas government warned on Sunday, November 23, that patients at al-Shifa hospital and Gaza European Hosbital, the largest medical facilities in the strip, could die as the two hospital face closure due to the lack of power.
Life necessities are already vanishing from Gaza markets.
"Our life is paralyzed," Abu Ra`ed Ragab told IOL.
The Gazan father struggles to get potable water to his family everyday as the cuts of electricity have stopped the pumping of fresh water in his home.
"I breaks my heart to hear my children crying and I can not help them."
Abdul-Nasser Al Ajrami, head of the Association of Bakeries in the Gaza Strip, affirmed that all bakeries have resorted since Saturday to grinding "secondary wheat" which is used to feed birds and certain animals.
Sitting in her home surrounded with candles, Om Said can't help feel abandoned by Arabs and Muslims.
"The situation is getting worse by the minute."
Times Of India:
23 Nov 2008, 1831 hrs IST, AFP
DAMASCUS: The exiled political chief of the Islamist Palestinian Hamas group on Sunday slammed Arab and Islamic states for keeping silent over
Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.
"What is happening in the Gaza Strip is a tragedy. Shame on those who stay silent on the criminal blockade that has been imposed on Gaza. Shame on Arab and Islamic regimes and on the international community," Khaled Meshaal told a meeting in Syria on the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
"Every Arab country could send a boat to Gaza" to break the blockade imposed since Hamas ousted forces loyal to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in June last year, Meshaal said.
Boats from Cyprus carrying peace activists have been able to do so three times in the past three months.
On November 5 tightened the Gaza blockade in response to rocket fire at its territory following a deadly raid into the impoverished and densely populated Palestinian territory.
In a speech Meshaal said the return of Palestinian refugees to a homeland now under Israeli occupation was "a natural right guaranteed under international law."
"Anyone who compromises on the right of return is party to a great crime," he said.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, created in 1949 after the first Arab-Israeli war for Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, accords "refugee of Palestine" status to people who lived in Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, as well as to their descendants.
While numbering 914,000 in 1950, the number of UNRWA-registered Palestinian refugees is currently around 4.6 million, according to the agency's figures. Nearly half a million live in Syria.
"I call upon the Arabs not to be too hasty in proposing new initiatives" on peace with Israel, Meshaal said. "It is up to (US president-elect Barack) Obama to present something to the Arabs," he said.
According to the official SANA news agency, the two-day Damascus meeting is being attended by Arab and foreign personalities, clerics and representatives of political parties.
Under mounting international pressure over the blockade of the Gaza Strip, Israel has decided to allow in fuel, food and medical supplies.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided to open the crossings to the Gaza Strip and allow humanitarian supplies, including medicine, food and fuel, throughout the day, the ministry said in a statement on Monday.
The development came after the UN, political figures and international rights groups expressed their serious concerns over the humanitarian crisis in the region, calling on Israel to lift the blockade.
It added that Barak expects a truce between Israel and Hamas to 're-establish itself' in the coming day.
Addressing the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Barak said that he did not regret the truce with Hamas, and assessed that the situation would stabilize once more.
Despite an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Hamas movement and Israel, the Israeli regime has tightened its siege on the costal strip and has carried out military operations against the Palestinians settled in the area for more than two weeks, killing and wounding a number of them.
The blockade has left more than 1.5 million Gaza residents without basic supplies, including food and medicine. The region is currently suffering a wide-spread blackout and hundreds of patients are in fatal condition.
In response to Israeli attacks, Palestinian fighters have fired homemade rockets into the Israeli-occupied territories over the past two weeks.
Source: Press TV
PCHR: 7 Palestinians Killed in 32 Israeli Attacks on OPT Date : 1/12/2008 Time : 19:43
GAZA , December 1, 2008 (WAFA)- Seven Palestinians including three children were injured by Israeli gunfire in 32 Israeli attacks on Palestinian communities, between November 20-26, 2008, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) weekly report, published Thursday.
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) continued its systematic attacks against Palestinian Citizens and property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and a serious humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip is due to the closure of Its border crossings.
Seven Palestinians, including 3 children, were wounded by the IOF gunfire, in 32 Israeli attacks into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which nine Palestinian citizens were arrested and four houses in Hebron were transformed into military points.
Israeli units have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT and have isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world. The Strip is still suffering from a serious humanitarian crisis due to the closure of border crossings.
IOF have continued to take measures aiming at the Judization of Jerusalem. And a Palestinian civilian who was expelled from his house died from a heart attack.
Israeli troops demolished a house in Al-'Eizariya village near Jerusalem ans seized another house in the Old Town of Jerusalem.
Israeli Occupation Authorities have continued colonization activities in the West Bank and Israeli colonizers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
Jewish settlers continued to riot in the West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday, clashing with Israeli troops who normally protect them.
Violence broke out overnight as rumours spread that troops were about to evict settlers from a disputed building in the mainly Palestinian city.
Hundreds of settlers and supporters converged on the building, throwing stones at Palestinians and the police.
Reports say several Palestinians have been injured.
Divided into H1 and H2 under 1997 agreement
115,000 Palestinians lives in H1 under Palestinian security control
H2 is under Israeli security control and is home to several hundred settlers and 35,000 Palestinians
Tomb of Patriarchs and traditional Palestinian town centre is in H2
Palestinian life: Splits and barriers
Mixed emotions on Hebron tour
Fact meets fiction in Hebron film
Hebron turned into 'ghost town'
Soldiers used stun grenades against the rioters, but have not attempted to seize the building.
Reports say some Palestinians have retaliated by throwing stones at the settlers.
The Israeli military says Jewish settlers in other parts in the West Bank have also blocked roads and thrown stones at Palestinian cars.
In the northern West Bank, near Nablus, dozens of settlers clashed with Palestinians and border police in a show of support for the Hebron settlers. There were several arrests.
Several hundred hard-line religious settlers live in the centre of Hebron under heavy military guard amid some 150,000 Palestinians.
The settlers say that they bought the house in question in a legal transaction from its Palestinian owner for nearly $1m (£660,000), but he says he pulled out of the deal.
Israel's supreme court ordered the eviction in November but settlers have refused to leave.
They have been involved in several clashes since the order was issued, and have desecrated a mosque and a Muslim cemetery.
Hebron is holy to both Jews and Muslims as the site of the cave that Abraham bought as a burial site for his wife Sarah.
All settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are considered illegal under international law though Israel disputes this.
UN official slams Israel 'crimes'
Palestinian family celebrates a meagre Eid meal in Gaza
The blockade means Gazans have little to celebrate this Muslim feast-time
The UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories has said Israel's policies there amount to a crime against humanity.
Richard Falk's statement came as UN human rights delegates urged Israel to take nearly 100 measures including ending its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
He said the UN must act to protect the Palestinian population suffering what he called "collective punishment".
Israel says the blockade is a necessary security measure to stem rocket salvos.
The UN Human Rights Council has spent two days reviewing Israel's human rights record under a new mechanism called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), in which the Council scrutinises the records of all UN member states every four years.
Israel is to report back in March on how it plans to follow-up on 99 recommendations made by the Council, which also include freeing thousands of Palestinian detainees.
Flurry of denunciation
In his statement, Mr Falk called on the United Nations to make an "urgent effort" to "implement the agreed norm of a responsibility to protect a civilian population being collectively punished by policies that amount to a Crime Against Humanity".
He said the International Criminal Court should also investigate whether the Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders for the Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law.
The last time there had been "such a flurry of denunciations by normally cautious UN officials" it was during the heyday of the apartheid government in South Africa, Mr Falk said.
"And still Israel maintains its Gaza siege in its full fury, allowing only barely enough food and fuel to enter to stave off mass famine and disease," Mr Falk said.
Israel allowed dozens of trucks filled with humanitarian supplies into Gaza on Tuesday, the fifth such shipment permitted to enter the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory in the past month.
There were heated exchanges between Israel and some of its adversaries during the debate at the UN last week.
Israeli officials described Gaza as "a hotbed for terrorist preparations" and said more than 200 rockets and mortar shells had been fired from there in the past four weeks. Palestinian militants say their barrages are a response to Israeli violations of a ceasefire in the summer.
Late on Tuesday Israel's ambassador to the UN in Geneva said the country was committed to building on successes in human rights and dealing with any shortcomings, and he welcomed the "positive and productive" dialogue with the Human Rights Council.
However a foreign ministry spokesman dismissed Mr Falk's intervention as "more anti-Israeli propaganda than truth".
"The situation in Gaza is the direct result of the violence inflicted by Hamas, not only on Israeli civilians but the Palestinian population," said Yigal Palmor in an interview with AFP news agency.
Israeli-Arabs are reacting with outrage with Foreign Minister and frontrunner for premiership Tzipi Livni's call for Arab citizens to leave Israel and move into the new Palestinian state.
"Israeli-Arabs will not leave their land," Arab member of Knesset Abbas Zakour told IslamOnline.net on Friday, December 12.
"We are the owners of this land. We have been born here and will be buried in this land."
Livni, the leader of the centrist Kadima party who hopes to become prime minister after the February 10 polls, said Thursday that Israeli-Arabs should move to the new Palestinian state when it is created.
"My solution for maintaining a Jewish and democratic state of Israel is to have two distinct national entities," she told a group of secondary school students in Tel Aviv.
"And among other things I will also be able to approach the Palestinian residents of Israel, those whom we call Arab Israelis, and tell them: 'your national aspirations lie elsewhere.'"
Livni on Friday ruled out the expulsion of Israeli-Arabs after the Palestinian state is established.
"The national aspirations (of the Arabs) should be realized elsewhere, but there is no question of carrying out a transfer or forcing them to leave."
Arabs in Israel are estimated at 1,413,500 or 19.8% of the Israeli 6.5 million populace, according to statistics released by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics in 2006.
Zakour, of the United Arab List, said Livni's statements reflect the anti-Arab racism in Israel.
"Livni's remarks show that there is a Zionist consensus among the right-wing and leftist parties that the Jewish state should be "pure" of Arabs," he said.
"Pitifully, some Arab and Palestinian parties as well as the Americans and Europeans show understanding to the idea of establishing a 'pure' Jewish state.
"We have to get ready before it is too late," stressed Zakour.
MK Ahmed Tibi agrees.
"These (things) have been said before, but this time it is more severe because they are said by a candidate for the premiership," he said.
Tibi said that the Kadima leader is copying right-wing Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu.
"[Livni] must be straightforward and open [as is appropriate] for someone running for prime minister.
"She must decide whether she means to leave a million Arabs without political rights or a national identity, or what she really intends, is to transfer a million Arab citizens to the Palestinian state that will be established, [and in this case] she must honestly say so. [Likud candidate Moshe] Feiglin, says this harshly, but at least honestly."
Livni's anti-Arabs statement also drew flak from the Palestinian Authority.
"[The remarks] put obstacles on the way of the peace process and will not lead to a peace agreement and a just and comprehensive solution," spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeinha told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
"These statements don't serve the cause of peace or efforts being made to reach a comprehensive peace in the region. They show that Israel is not serious about a solution or the negotiations with the Palestinians.
"The way to peace is by respecting international legislation. The Israeli election campaign should not be exploited to create tensions."
BBC: 15:24 GMT, Sunday, 14 December 2008
Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters are rallying in a Gaza City stadium to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the militant group's founding.
The mass rally - with its sea of green flags - is being seen as a show of strength by Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since a violent takeover in June 2007.
In Cairo Israeli and Egyptian officials were to meet in a bid to renew a six-month-old Gaza ceasefire with Hamas.
In Syria, though, Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal cast doubt on a renewal.
Hamas accuses Israel of failing to honour its side of the truce, under which it agreed to ease its blockade of Gaza.
Israel says Hamas has failed to stop militant groups from launching rockets and mortar rounds on its towns.
In a statement, the exiled leader said it was "most likely" the truce would not be renewed, Hamas said.
Also on Sunday, senior Hamas leaders were expected to discuss Hamas's relations with rival Palestinian group Fatah, which rules the West Bank.
'Stone-throwing to guns'
In Gaza City, busloads of demonstrators flooded into the city from across the territory.
Crowds flocked to the streets, many wearing the green of Hamas and waving flags in support of the group.
We will defend ourselves and we will defend our land and we will defend our right,
Hamas leader in Gaza
The Associated Press said the crowds filled an arena in Gaza City which can accommodate 150,000 people.
Among the performances was a sketch mocking the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, seized by militants close to the Gaza Strip in 2006, AP reported.
The Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, used the occasion to issue a rallying cry to supporters, accusing Israel of planning "new agression" against the Gaza Strip.
"We tell the occupation and the world we are here steadfast on our land and we will defend ourselves and we will defend our land and we will defend our right," he was reported as saying.
In a statement on its website, one of Hamas' senior officials, Mahmoud Zahar, paid tribute to the organisation on its anniversary.
"Hamas has gone from stone-throwing to guns and rockets, from a support base of a few thousand people to a backing of millions in Arab countries and around the world," he said.