Netanyahu: It is Israel’s right and obligation to build in Jerusalem
Haaretz 2 Nov — PM says Israel must continue to develop Jerusalem, asserts construction there is Israel’s basic right and not simply a punishment to Palestinian … On Tuesday, Netanyahu and his forum of eight senior ministers decided to initiate a new wave of settlement construction in the West Bank, as part of a wider set of sanctions Israel decided to impose on the Palestinian Authority after it was accepted to UNESCO as a member on Monday. Netanyahu’s office said Tuesday that the construction of 2,000 housing units planned in East Jerusalem, Gush Etzion, and Ma’aleh Adumim should be expedited.
The eight senior ministers also decided to suspend the transfer of tax money which Israel has collected for the Palestinian Authority in October. The money, which amounts to more than NIS 300 million, was supposed to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority before the Eid al-Adha holiday, when the money was to be used to pay the salaries of policemen and clerks of the Palestinian Authority.
Erekat: PLO rejects Israeli ‘blackmail’
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Israel’s approval of 2,000 new settlement housing units on occupied Palestinian land and its withholding of Palestinian tax revenue are illegal and amount to blackmail, PLO official Saeb Erekat said Tuesday. “Our condemnation is unequivocal. These steps are illegal and amount to blackmail that we categorically reject,” Erekat said in a statement.
Abed Rabbo: Israel seeks to undermine PA
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 2 Nov — Israel seeks to undermine the Palestinian Authority’s role through the collective punishment policy it pursues in opposing the Palestinian people’s rights agreed on by the world, Wednesday said PLO Executive Committee Secretary, Yasser Abed Rabbo.
US ‘deeply disappointed’ by Israeli settlement moves
WASHINGTON (Reuters) 2 Nov — The United States is expected to say it is “deeply disappointed” by Israel’s acceleration of settlement building after UNESCO’s vote to give full membership to the Palestinians, a US official said on Wednesday.
And more news from Today in Palestine:
Israel destroys Jerusalemite home, 20 olive trees
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 2 Nov — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) razed a Palestinian home in Tur village in the Mount of Olives in occupied Jerusalem on Wednesday and destroyed 20 olive trees, local sources said. They said that a big number of Israeli police and border policed escorted municipality bulldozers that razed the home at the usual pretext of lack of construction permit in Sheikh Anbar suburb. They also destroyed a 600 square meters land lot and its surrounding fence in Khilat Ein suburb in the same village and uprooted in the process 20 olive trees, the sources said.
The agricultural land in Bardala turns fallow
StopTheWall 2 Nov — Destruction of land: The head of Bardala village council in the north valleys, Jamal Matahen, said that the Israeli water company Makrot reduced the water pumping to Bardala village to 35 cups per hour, which portends disaster to the village crops if this reducing continues. Mr. Matahen said that the amount of water for the village agreed upon between both parties is 240 cups per hour, but that this amount has been reducing gradually by occupation policies over the past years.
East Jerusalem: 3 Hamas-affiliated institutes shut down
Ynet 1 Nov — Cleared for publication: Three establishments operating on behalf of Hamas in east Jerusalem were shut down in a joint Shin Ben-Police operation last month. The offices were closed by order of the police commissioner. Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ehud Barak declared the Hamas-affiliated Shabab Alaqsa group an illegal organization.
ACRI petitions High Court: Deployment of private security guards by Housing Ministry in East Jerusalem is unlawful
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 2 Nov — Stationed in neighborhoods such as Silwan and the Old City, 350 private security guards, financed by Israeli taxpayers, are charged with protecting some 2,000 Jewish Israeli settlers. The armed guards carry out daily policing duties such as patrols and guard watch in predominantly Palestinian neighborhoods, without proper supervision and guidelines. In September 2010, Silwan resident Samer Sarhan was shot and killed by a security guard, and in other cases Palestinian passersby have suffered gunshot wounds. The guards’ stated mission is to protect Jewish residents from Arab residents, in contradiction of both Israeli and international law, which obligate the Israeli authorities to protect all residents.
Israeli settlers, right-wing extremists
Settlers ransack Palestinian houses in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 2 Nov — A group of Jewish settlers Wednesday attacked and ransacked Palestinian homes in Al Baqa‘a area, east of Hebron in the southern West Bank, according to local sources. Local residents said that group of settlers from Kiryat Arba and Kharsena nearby settlements, accompanied by Israeli soldiers and police dogs, attacked the houses, forces the residents out, inspected the houses and ransacked them. Settlers broke windows of the houses and several windshields of Palestinian vehicles in the area, added the residents
In a related matter, a group of settlers from Itamar settlement, southeast of Nablus, set fire to a Palestinian’s tractor in the nearby village of Aqraba on Tuesday night, according to local activist. Ghassan Daghlas, an activist monitoring settlement activities in the northern West Bank, warned from further settlers’ attacks in Nablus after the Israeli authorities decided to close a religious school in Yitzhar settlement south of the city. He called on Palestinians to take precautionary measures from the attacks.
Israel closes down Yitzhar yeshiva due to violent acts against Palestinians
Haaretz 1 Nov — Dorshei Yehudcha yeshiva high school is part of the institutions of Od Hai Yosef, headed by Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg. Two heads of the yeshiva, Rabbis Yosef Elitzur and Yitzhak Shapira wrote the controversial book “The King’s Torah” which justifies the killing of non-Jews. Last month, Haaretz revealed that the Shin Bet recommended that the Education Ministry close down the yeshiva since “it had collected extensive information on yeshiva students which are involved in illegal and violent activities against Palestinians and the security forces.” It was also known that the yeshiva rabbis and its heads were aware of some of the activities taking place and allowed the students to participate.
Settler violence against Palestinians and their property, Beitillu, Ramallah district
[map, photos] B’Tselem 1 Nov — Over the course of three days, from 24 to 26 October 2011, B’Tselem documented four cases of attacks on farmers from Beitillu, a Palestinian village near Ramallah, and their property. In three of the cases, the perpetrators, apparently settlers, damaged olive trees on privately-owned Palestinian land adjacent to the settlements Nahli’el and Talmon. In one case, settlers assaulted farmers who had come to their land to pick olives.
CPT Palestine closes At-Tuwani project
In 2004, the village of At-Tuwani and its Israeli partner, Ta’ayush, approached CPT’s Hebron team and the Italian peace group, Operation Dove, asking if they could provide accompaniment for the children of the village whom settlers regularly attacked as they walked to school … Seven years later, CPT-Palestine is closing its At-Tuwani project. The growth of the South Hebron Hills nonviolent organizing work has made the presence of CPT less critical. The shepherds of At-Tuwani and surrounding villages now are part of a large nonviolent resistance network encompassing various regions of Palestine.
Bitter olive harvest adds to animosity
AWARTA (Reuters) 2 Nov — A potent symbol of peace and harmony, the olive has become a source of confrontation and violence in the decades-old conflict that pits Israel against Palestinians … The farmers maintain that the aggression is all part of a concerted effort to sweep them from the sun-soaked land. Maazoza Zaben says settlers torched 270 of her trees in Burin in September, leaving an ugly black smear across the hill. “They want us to leave the land. It will be easier to chase us away if we don’t have our trees. But even if they kill me, I won’t leave this place,” said the 58-year-old widow.
Israeli army raids Jenin, tanks enter Gaza, 12 arrested
PNN 2 Nov — On Wednesday, the Israeli army raided the northern West Bank city of Jenin and the nearby Jenin refugee camp for the second consecutive day…
In the central Gaza Strip, armored Israeli bulldozers and tanks penetrated to the border lands to the east of Deir al-Balah. Local sources reporting to the Palestinian official news wire Wafa said there were four bulldozers, two tanks, and “heavy gunfire” in the direction of the Wadi al-Salqa neighborhood.
Israel drops missile on North Gaza neighborhood, no one cares
ISM Gaza 1 Nov — The Israeli Air Force fired a missile into a Beit Hanoun residential neighborhood in north Gaza early Sunday morning. The missile landed in a grove surrounded by homes, creating a crater the size of a tennis court and destroying over forty orange and olive trees. Chunks of shrapnel and oranges lay scattered about the grove.Local children and area residents interviewed appeared to be in shock. Ayman Ismail Hamad explained that “[a]t 3 a.m. we heard a huge boom. It was so scary for the children and women here and they started to shout and cry — such a scary thing for them. When we looked out to see what happened we found everything there totally destroyed … and the windows from the houses in this area — totally nothing. The [Israeli] F-16 didn’t leave anything behind.”
Israeli police attack stall owner in Jerusalem, arrest his two sons
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 2 Nov — Jerusalem municipality’s crews accompanied by Israeli police and soldiers attacked Wednesday a sandwiches stall owner, the stall and arrested his sons before Damascus gate, one of the main gates of the old city of Jerusalem, according to witnesses … Stalls’ owners in the area said that they are subjected to a racist campaign lead by a policeman from Kiryat Arba settlement, Ma’er Ruther
Detention / Interrogation
Israel detained 235 Palestinians in October including 23 children
GAZA (PIC) 2 Nov — The Palestinian center for the defense of prisoners said that the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up 235 Palestinian citizens in the past month of October including 23 children and ten women. The center said in a statement on Wednesday that the detainees were mostly from the West Bank, occupied Jerusalem, 1948 occupied land with two fishermen from Gaza Strip. It said that the detainees include a 9-year-old child from Bethlehem and a 12-year-old child from occupied Jerusalem. Riyadh Al-Ashqar, a researcher with the center, said that Israel ignored the condition of improving the Palestinian prisoners’ incarceration conditions as stipulated in the exchange deal with Hamas last month.
Israeli intelligence summons Abbas’ consultant
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 2 Nov — Israeli intelligence Wednesday summoned Ahmad Rwaidy, a consultant for the office of President Mahmoud Abbas, to report for interrogation, said Rwaidy’s lawyer Jawad Boulus. He added that he and Rwaidy went to al-Muskubiya, the detention center in the Russian compound in West Jerusalem, to clarify the matter. Adnan Husseini, governor of Jerusalem, was also summoned for interrogation.
Israeli police arrest seven Palestinians in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 1 Nov — Israeli police Tuesday arrested seven Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem on the pretext of throwing Molotov cocktails and stones at police and Beit Orot religious school in the Mount of Olives, according to an Israeli police report. The report said the detainees, three of whom are minors, are from al-Tur neighborhood in East Jerusalem.
Freed prisoner hospitalized after release
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Freed prisoner Amal Jumaah, 41, has been transferred to hospital days after her release from Israeli prison, says her brother Jameel Jumaah. Amal was hospitalized in Nablus for complications due to bleeding in her stomach. She suffers cancer of the uterus and other serious health issues complicated by her time in jail, he says.
Israeli forces detain 12 Palestinian overnight
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Local witnesses said eight military jeeps raided the al-Ein refugee camp, west of Nablus, at 4 a.m. on Wednesday and broke into several homes, before detaining five people. Locals identified those detained as Hadi Darawsheh, Ahmad Khabas, Ramzi Afouri, Zahi Shabaro and Fateh Allah. The names of the other detainees are unknown.
Israel authorizes army to stop attacks from Gaza by any means
JERUSALEM (AP) 2 Nov — Israel has authorized its military to take all necessary steps to stop rocket fire from Gaza, including a ground operation, an Israeli military official said Tuesday, as Egypt worked on a truce and said Israel had agreed to delay stepping up its response. The Israeli government decision stopped well short of ordering tanks to roll into Gaza, and it appeared unlikely that would happen, as rocket fire all but stopped over the past day. The official said the decision authorized the military to act in accordance with the severity of Palestinian attacks, meaning that a ground offensive would be ordered only after massive rocket fire.
Islamic Jihad: We are united with all factions
MECCA, Saudi Arabia (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Islamic Jihad, whose military wing was at the forefront of recent cross-border fighting with Israel, is united with all factions but subordinate to none, senior official Khalid al-Batsh says … Al-Batsh said Israel initiated the latest attacks on the Gaza Strip to distract from its internal problems and to impede the completion of a prisoner swap agreement with Hamas. Israel agreed to release over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for an Israeli soldier held in Gaza, and has freed 477 detainees. An additional 550 prisoners are due to be released later this year.
Aid ships head from Turkish port to Gaza
AJ 2 Nov — Two boats carrying pro-Palestinian activists have reached international waters of the eastern Mediterranean and are making their way towards the Gaza Strip, in the latest attempt to break the Israeli blockade against the territory. The Tahrir, or Canadian Boat to Gaza, and the MV Saoirse, the Irish boat to Gaza, left the port of Fethiye in southwest Turkey on Wednesday after Turkish authorities gave them permission to sail to the Greek island of Rhodes. The Turkish coast guard briefly escorted the ships before the Tahrir and Saoirse took a turn towards Gaza. Sailing under the flag of the Comoros Islands, the Tahrir is carrying six activists, a captain and five journalists. The Saoirse – sailing under the US flag – has 12 Irish nationals on board, none of whom are journalists.
Today’s Gaza flotilla: Spread the word!
2 Nov — Israel and the U.S. outsourced the siege of Gaza to Athens last summer by preventing eight boats in the Freedom Flotilla 2-Stay Human from sailing from Greek ports to Gaza. Despite this we were able to bring worldwide attention to the blockade of the Gaza Strip … At this moment, two boats are in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea heading to Gaza. We need your help to make this mission a success. Please take these actions immediately. 1. Check these websites for updates: U.S. to Gaza, Irish Ship to Gaza and Canadian Boat to Gaza, watch or listen to Democracy Now for live coverage from the Tahrir. Look for twitter hashtag #Freedomwaves 2) Spread the word far and wide – send this alert to your contacts. 3) Call the State Department and the White House — demand that they take immediate action to ensure the safe passage of these boats and to put an end to the siege of Gaza.
Track the location of the #FreedomWaves flotilla
EI 2 Nov — Coordinators of the Freedom Waves flotilla are updating a Google Map where you can track the locations of the Irish and Canadian Boats to Gaza. If the map only shows two boats in a sea of blue, zoom out to get more context. Update The Google Map embedded here has not been updated in a few hours. A real time map is available online but it requires a password to access. Use the password “a” (the lowercase letter) to access the real time map.
Israeli navy tracks new Gaza-bound flotilla
Haaretz 2 Nov –The Israeli Navy is tracking two ships, believed be part of a new flotilla to Gaza, that departed Wednesday from Turkey headed for the Gaza Strip, according to the IDF spokesperson. The IDF intends to intercept the vessels if they continue on their course … According to IDF estimates, judging by the speed of the ships and the conditions at sea, the IDF estimates that the ships will arrive in Gaza between Thursday night and early Friday morning. The Israeli Navy intends to radio the ships and offer them to dock and unload equipment at the port in Ashdod or in an Egyptian port.
Palestinian youth join boats set to challenge Israel
ISM 2 Nov — …[Ramallah] Two civilian boats, the Canadian Tahrir (Liberation), and the Irish Saoirse (Freedom), carrying 27 people from nine countries, are currently in international waters making their way to the beleaguered Gaza Strip to challenge Israel’s ongoing criminal blockade of the territory. A Palestinian youth activist from Haifa has joined this renewed international mission to challenge Israel’s unrelenting stranglehold on Gaza via the sea. The message they carry is one of unity, defiance, and hope, in spite of Israel’s policies that have physically separated Palestinians from each other. The ‘Freedom Waves to Gaza’ organizers chose not to publicize the effort in advance given Israel’s efforts to block and sabotage Freedom Flotilla II last July.
Turkish harbormaster let 11 of us sail and 25 are left behind / Mazin Qumsiyeh
Mondo 2 Nov – Mazin Qumsiyeh is part of the ground crew for the latest Gaza flotilla. A letter he just sent out to friends. Dear friends and colleagues, This letter was written and rewritten four times as the ups and downs of the last few days. When you get it two boats would have left Turkish waters and I am not on one of them. I finalize this letter from a boat returning to port in Turkey. Tears are dry (of joy at success of our comrades and sadness for not being with them). The will is still there and I promise myself to get to Gaza next time.
PA sends medicine to Gaza
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday sent a convoy of medicine to the Gaza Strip, Health Minister Fathi Abu Moghli told Ma‘an. Abu Moghli said his ministry in Ramallah sent medicine worth six million shekels ($1.65 million) for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer medication to government hospitals in the coastal enclave.
Rafah crossing closed for Eid al-Adha
EL-ARISH (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — The Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt will close on Friday for six days for the Eid al-Adha holiday, Egyptian officials said Wednesday. Egyptian officials told Ma’an the terminal would open on Nov. 9, noting that pilgrims making Hajj would be returning to Gaza from Mecca.
PCBS predicts population explosion in Gaza
KHAN YOUNIS (Reuters) 2 Nov — As the world’s population reaches seven billion, there are few places in the world where explosive demographic growth is having such a significant impact as Gaza … In Gaza, 1.7 million people are crammed into a living space measuring about 41 kilometers long, and between six and 12 kilometers wide, with a total area of 360 square kilometers. Almost three-quarters of them are UN-registered refugees … The population explosion is set to continue, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, which reported that the annual growth rate of 3.3 percent is higher than the world’s average rate of 1.4 percent. The head of PCBS Ola Awad warns that the population in Gaza will exceed two million by 2020 … The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees says not only is Gaza already one of the most densely populated parts of the world it is unique in being fenced-in, offering no escape for residents in times of conflict.
Egyptian ambassador promises to deliver petition to open Rafah border
ISM West Bank 2 Nov — Activists from popular committees and activist youth movements through out the West Bank met with Egyptian ambassador, his Excellency Yasser Othman, to express their congratulations and support for the people’s revolution of Egypt and to formally present a petition to open the Rafah crossing unconditionally and permanently. This petition was originally issued by Gaza-based civil society sectors including academics, students, workers, and youth.
UNRWA expresses concern over activities today in its school in Shufat
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 2 Nov — UNRWA expressed its concern over activities held by students in its school today in Shufat camp to mark the release of the Palestinian prisoners, said a press release by .. .[it] published Wednesday. UNRWA expressed its concern over this event and voiced its protest since these activities run counter to the inviolability of United Nations premises and violate its principles of neutrality and impartiality
Mother of killed Israeli Jihad leader mourns her son
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) updated 2 Nov — The mother of Islamic Jihad military leader Ahmad al-Sheikh Khalil told Ma‘an she was laughing with her son hours before he was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Saturday. “We have been expecting him to die as a martyr every day except the day he was actually killed, because we were so happy after Palestinian prisoners were released,” his brother Radwan al-Sheikh Khalil told Ma‘an … His mother, Fatima, expressed hope that her fifth son had not died in vain. “We will, God willing, triumph in the end even if we have to sacrifice our lives, because we are the owners of this land, and the (Israeli) occupiers are the aliens.”
Olympia Food Co-op files motion to strike lawsuit seeking to penalize exercise of free speech
OLYMPIA, Washington (WAFA) 2 Nov — On behalf of the Olympia Food Co-op, lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP filed a motion to strike the lawsuit that has been filed against the Co-op in response to its boycott of Israeli products, according to a press release by the Co-op published Wednesday.
Israel lobbied Serbians in Bosnia to block Palestinians at Security Council / Philip Weiss
Mondo 2 Nov — You’ve surely heard the news that Palestinian hopes of gaining nine votes for statehood in the Security Council were dealt a blow on Monday when Bosnia indicated that it would abstain. And without nine votes, Palestine won’t trigger the U.S. veto, which is an achievement, because it exposes the Israel lobby and marginalizes the U.S. It seems that Bosnia’s abstention decision is due to Serbs in Bosnia. And Israel has been cultivating the Serbs. Israel has opposed Kosovo statehood for three years, pleasing Serbians.
PLO to seek membership in more UN agencies
AJ 1 Nov — Official says PLO will seek to join more than a dozen world bodies after UNESCO’s vote to admit Palestine.
UNESCO funding cut over Palestine vote may harm US economy / Jim Lobe
EI 1 Nov — …membership in UNESCO normally translates into automatic membership in several other UN agencies, including the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) … Indeed, senior State Department officials and the US Patent and Trademark Office met with representatives of several leading US companies and business associations Monday to discuss the possible implications for their relations with WIPO, whose work forms much of the legal basis for protecting intellectual property rights around the world.“In the last year alone, dozens of major American companies brought cases before WIPO
UNESCO urges US to find way to continue funding
PARIS (AFP) 2 Nov — UNESCO’s Director General Irina Bokova called Wednesday for the US to find a way to continue financing the UN cultural agency after Washington withdrew its funding for admitting the Palestinians.
Palestine to submit sites for world’s heritage inventory
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 2 Nov — Hamdan Taha, assistant undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Wednesday said the ministry is in process of activating the addition of 20 Palestinian historical and archaeologist sites to the world’s heritage inventory, following Palestine’s full admission to UNESCO … Taha added that the most prominent of these sites include Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus in addition to several archaeologist sites such as the Tel el-Sultan site in Jericho, the site of Khirbet Qumran near the shores of the Dead Sea, Wadi Gaza, Hebron hills, Umm al Rehan forests (mother of basil) in Jenin, and the old port of Gaza.
PA: Hackers attack Internet in Palestine
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — The Palestinian Authority minister of telecommunications said Tuesday that hackers from more than 20 countries attacked the telecommunications network, interrupting all cable-based services. Mashhour Abu Daqqa said the Palestinian telecommunications company PalTel recorded some 1 million attacks per second on the Palestinian grid, a coordinated effort disrupting services across the occupied territories.
PA seeks UN inquiry into Internet attack
RAMALLAH (AFP) 2 Nov …Communications minister Mashur Abu Daqqa said the government would ask the International Telecommunications Union, a UN agency, to officially investigate Tuesday’s cyber-attack. “We will begin today our communications with the ITU to request an international committee to investigate the facts,” Abu Daqqa told a news conference … “I think from the manner of the attack and its intensity that there is a state behind it, and it is not spontaneous…”
Hamas urges Abbas to give up on talks with Israel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Hamas on Wednesday urged President Mahmoud Abbas to abandon negotiations with Israel after its government announced it would punish Palestinians for joining UNESCO.
Israel and Iran
Netanyahu trying to persuade cabinet to support attack on Iran
Haaretz 2 Nov — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are trying to muster a majority in the cabinet in favor of military action against Iran, a senior Israeli official has said. According to the official, there is a “small advantage” in the cabinet for the opponents of such an attack. Netanyahu and Barak recently persuaded Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who previously objected to attacking Iran, to support such a move … Senior ministers and diplomats said the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report, due to be released on November 8, will have a decisive effect on the decisions Israel makes … According to Western experts’ analyses, an attack on Iran in winter is almost impossible, because the thick clouds would obstruct the Israel Air Force’s performance. Netanyahu did not rule out the possibility of the need for a military action on Iran this week.
Israel air force conducts drills for long-range attacks
Haaretz 2 Nov — While the media and political sphere is abuzz with news on a potential attack on Iran’s nuclear development facilities, the Israel Air Force conducts comprehensive drills on long-range attacks at Italy NATO base.
Israel test-fires missile that can hit Iran
AP 2 Nov — JERUSALEM: Israeli defense officials say the military has successfully test fired an advanced missile from a base outside of Tel Aviv. One official says the launch tested a “rocket propulsion system” and that the exercise had been planned long ago. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of security restrictions, and declined to give further information. Foreign news reports, however, said the test involved firing a long-range Jericho missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and striking Iran. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed new concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. [The Guardian has video purportedly of this test]
Iran military warns of ‘heavy damage’ should Israel attack
Haaretz 2 Nov — Tehran responds to recent reports of Israeli leaders’ efforts to gain support for an attack on Iran’s nuclear development sites.
UK military steps up plans for Iran attack amid fresh nuclear fears
Guardian 2 Nov — Britain’s armed forces are stepping up their contingency planning for potential military action against Iran amid mounting concern about Tehran’s nuclear enrichment programme, the Guardian has learned. The Ministry of Defence believes the US may decide to fast-forward plans for targeted missile strikes at some key Iranian facilities. British officials say that if Washington presses ahead it will seek, and receive, UK military help for any mission, despite some deep reservations within the coalition government.
Israel and Turkey
Satellite project to prompt new Israel-Turkey crisis?
Ynet 1 Nov — Turkey’s Göktürk electro-optical satellite project continues to weigh on Jerusalem-Ankara relations. Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman reported that Israel is trying to persuade Turkey not sell satellite images of its territory to other countries or the Palestinians and warned of a new crisis between the nations.
South Africa football team to play in Palestine
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — The South African national football team will play two friendlies in the West Bank next week, head of the Palestinian football federation Jibril Rajoub announced. Rajoub said the first match would be played on Nov. 11 to commemorate the death of President Yasser Arafat and the second game will mark the declaration of Palestinian independence on Nov. 15.
Palestinian women’s radio crosses boundaries
RAMALLAH, West Bank (UPI – WOMENSENEWS) 1 Nov — NISAA FM may be the call letters of the only public radio station dedicated to Palestinian women, but the station’s manager is happy to attract male listeners and also employ them.
Areva finds 12,3000 tonnes of uranium in Jordan
AFP 1 Nov — AMMAN: French nuclear giant Areva has discovered 12,300 tonnes of uranium in central Jordan, state-run media said on Tuesday, as the parched kingdom tries to develop nuclear energy to meet its growing needs. “Reserves of 12,300 tonnes of uranium have been in found in central Jordan,” the Petra news agency quoted the French company as saying in a statement published Tuesday.
‘Israel is a strategic asset for the US’
Ynet 2 Nov — Robert D. Blackwill and Walter B. Slocombe, who served under Democratic and Republican administrations, have recently presented the Washington Institute for Near East Policy with a thesis asserting that US aid to Israel is not just a gesture among allied nations, but a move that serves US national interests worldwide and does not take a toll on its relations with its Arab allies … “The United States has taken advantage of access to unique Israeli capabilities in key ‘niche’ areas of military technology… Israeli technology promotes American interests.
Analysis / Opinion/ Human interest
Palestinians must say no to negotiations with Israel / Amira Hass
Haaretz 2 Nov — Now that Palestine has been recognized by the United Nations’ cultural organization, UNESCO, it will be no more of a non-state and no less occupied than it was before. Its citizens will be no less unfree than they are today, no less under the yoke of Israeli foreign rule. But their civil disobedience versus Israel, the United States and the Quartet raises the hope that the Palestinians will not return to the negotiating table – because negotiations have become an obstacle to the decolonization process, the essential condition for peace.
Haaretz editorial: Abandoned to violence
2 Nov– The reaction by both the public and the establishment to the murder of 46-year-old Tufik Assad Agbaria and his two sons, Mahmoud, 20, and Ahmed, 15, by an unknown assailant armed with a gun raises a number of difficult questions. Their killer broke into their house in Umm al-Fahm in the dead of night. A murder of this nature in a Jewish city in the center of the country would have caused enormous shock and a powerful media response, complete with calls to apprehend the killer as quickly as possible and bring him to justice. Tens of thousands of Umm al-Fahm residents turned out last week to protest, charging that the authorities have turned a blind eye and abandoned them to violence. They claim the police are not doing enough to prevent criminal violence in Arab communities.
German anger over Israeli settlements could cost Israel a submarine / Robert Mackey
. NYTimes blog 1 Nov — Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany was already so exasperated with Israel’s settlement policies, Der Speigel reported on Monday, that her government had threatened to pull out of a deal to partially subsidize the purchase of a submarine for Israel’s navy.
Thoughts on visit to Israel / Jello Biafra
[long and fascinating diary] 1 Nov — So now I have been to Israel. I have also been to Palestine. At least I got a taste of the place, but not in the way I originally hoped … I went up and talked to some of the fans outside. They were the most emotional yet about how heartbroken they were that we didn’t play. Others said they were glad. I asked them how they felt the boycott helped, and their main answer was that it was to show solidarity with the Palestinian people. They felt the boycott was already having a major impact and the government was already afraid … What really struck me the most about all of them was the sheer depth of hopelessness and despair. “Why do you keep talking about politicians and parties when they’re all shit? They’re all bad. It’s just going to get worse and worse.” One woman who wanted us to play just screamed over and over again how much she hated her country and how bitter she was that she couldn’t leave. I asked the boycotters that if the wall fell and peace came, what would they want? They said there was no point in talking about it because it will never happen anyway….
Israel’s ideal partners are in Gaza / Zvi Bar’el
Haaretz 2 Nov — It’s a pleasure to do business with Islamic Jihad. It fires Grad rockets, Israel responds with bombs, Egypt mediates indirect talks, there’s a cease-fire and everyone is satisfied. Israel once again displays its “deterrent power” (which did not deter Islamic Jihad from launching rockets in the first place ). Islamic Jihad shows its ability to challenge Hamas, and Hamas is granted the status of “the responsible adult.” Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas does not have to intervene and can continue to play the role of the desperate one, while Egypt once again demonstrates its authority as head of the house committee. This is the kind of confrontation Israel prefers … The beauty lies in the way Israel divides the conflict with the Palestinians into separate battlefields to avoid a comprehensive diplomatic solution.
Letter from the West Bank: sweet tea and coffee soothe a bitter landscape / Gail Simmons
Guardian 2 Nov — Under the shade of a Bedouin tent deep in Palestine’s Jerusalem desert reclines the robed figure of Sheikh Ishmael Ali al-Rashayda. Fondling the prayer beads between his fingers, eyes bright in a face creased with sun and time, Sheikh Ali recounts memories of his childhood almost 75 years ago.