Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How trustworthy is Haaretz (3) ?

Settlers attack a photographer who was taking pictures of the olive harvest in Tel Rumeida near Hebron. The picture is from 2008.

Ma’an News reports:
Nablus – Nine Palestinians were injured and one was detained on Tuesday when dozens of Israeli settlers attacked farmers were harvesting olives in the West Bank village of Qaryout, south of Nablus, according to witnesses, local officials, and medics.
According to sources in the village, the incident began when dozens of Israeli settlers assaulted farmers working near the Israeli settlement of Shavout Rachel.
After the initial attack, both soldiers and settlers stormed the village, clashing with Palestinian residents who defended the area by throwing stones at the marauding groups. Soldiers fired bullets and tear gas, residents said.
Medics identified some of the injured people as: 21-year-old Isra’ Badawi, who was hit in the eye; 50-year-old Hani Kassab, the village council’s accountant; 30-year-old Jawad Badawi; 70-year-old Muhammad Muqbil; 46-year-old Abdullah Badawi; and 31-year-old Mu’taz Ghassan.
Qaryout’s Mayor, Abd An-Nasser Al-Qaryouti, told Ma’an the farmers obtained permission to enter their own fields from the Israeli army through the Palestinian Authority’s liaison office. Part way through the olive harvest season, Israeli authorities implemented a mandatory registration and permission process for farmers who wished to access agricultural land in the West Bank for the harvest.
Despite this prior coordination, the mayor said, settlers arrived in more than 70 cars. He said the settlers initiated the fight by hurling stones at the farmers. Israeli forces were present, and they did not attempt to stop the settlers, he added.

Haaretz reports:
Residents of the settlement of Shvut Rachel clashed with Palestinians picking olives in the northern West Bank on Tuesday, after the settlers held a march to protest the "security threat" posed by the harvest. The settlers, who were joined by residents of nearby illegal outposts, said the Palestinian harvesters were a threat because could gather intelligence and launch attacks from the olive groves.
When the settlers reached the Palestinians, the two groups began throwing stones at each other, after which the Israel Defense Forces and Border Police deployed troops to separate the sides.Israel's security forces allowed the settlers to enter the nearby Palestinian village of Kraiyut to hold a brief rally against the harvest; troops subsequently removed them from the site.
No one was wounded during the incident.

Over recent weeks, the IDF has carried out a joint operation with the Border Police to safeguard the Palestinian olive harvest. As part of the operation, IDF soldiers deploy in a number of areas around the settlements on a daily basis in order to allow the Palestinians to pick olives without harassment by settlers.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hamas does not want to sign agreement with this leadership of Fatah

People in Gaza throw shoes at a poster of Abbas. Throwing shoes at someone - or calling him son af a shoe - is a very serious insult in the Arab world.

A delegation of Hamas, under Moussa Abu Marzouq had talks in Egypt and formally asked the Egyptians to postpone the signing of a reconciliation agreement with Fatah, which was planned to take place the 25th of October in Cairo. Hamas does not want to conclude the agreement with this leadership of Fatah, after it postponed the vote about the Goldstone report in de UN Human Rights Council. Hamas-parlementarian Yahya Moussa said that 'the dismissal of that leadership has become not only a Hamas demand, but also a demand by the Palestinian public as well as other Palestinian opposition factions.'
'There are angry sides amongst the Palestinian public who would not accept that Hamas signed agreement with those who are accused of selling martyrs blood through withdrawing the report which was supposed to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council,' Moussa said. 'Fatah, the PA, and the PLO must amend the situation,' he added, before Hamas can reconcile with them.

And analist Sami Khoury wrote: 'Abbas has failed his people, but he can partially redeem himself and set the stage for his successor to play a more effective role. He should act with honor and confidence by stepping down as PA president, calling a new election to bring in a more legitimate and capable leadership, and focus his energy on where he started his days decades ago when he still had credibility and courage -- by reconstituting the PLO as the coordinating body for all Palestinians,'

Friday, October 9, 2009

A bit early for a Peace Prize

Just imagine. You are the  president of the United States. You are sleeping. And then in the middle of the night the phone rings. You immediately fear a calamity. The embassy in Kabul, the headquarters in Afghanistan, oh Lord, please, don't let it be.
But then you hear the quiet, soothing voice at the other end: Got Oslo for you, Sir. About the Nobel Prize. Is urgent, they said, Can I put them through?
Jee, what do you think? Is this a dream? Carter got the prize for his endeavoors for peace only in 2002, long after he left the presidency. Al Gore got a shared prize for his work about Global warming, but also some time after he quit as a vice-president. But I still am the president of the US of A. And we have yet to make the develish choice between sending 40.000 man more troops to Afghanistan or conceive a decent exit strategy. Also in Iraq the trouble is far from over. And Israel and the Palestinians, oh my..
But wait, maybe this IS a dream after all, maybe this shitty bussiness in Iraq and Afghanistan is over by now, maybe this arrogant Netanyahu and that meathead of a Palestinian fellow succceeded to agree on something at last....
But then the voice with the Norwegian accent slowly gets to your head with the message that you get the prize as an incentive and for your striving for a world free of nuclear weapons. And then you wake up. For a second you contemplate to start protesting that you started th work only yesterday so the sepak. But then, sleepy as you are, you refrain from commenting. Because, man, isn't this a tremendous honor?   

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wow, the number of children in detention fell...

In September, the number of Palestinian children held in Israeli detention facilities fell to 326, the lowest figure this year, but which still represents a 7% increase compared with the corresponding period in 2008. The monthly average number of Palestinian children held in Israeli detention in 2009 still remains high, at 370 per month, compared with 319 in 2008. This represents an increase of 16%.

DCI-Palestine continues to be deeply concerned by the high number of young children between the ages of 12 and 15 being detained. At the end of September 2009, 40 children in this age category were being held in Israeli detention facilities, compared with 23 children in September 2008. This represents an increase of 74%.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Moshe Ya'alon does not travel to London - for fear of being arrested

There will more stories like this in the months to come:
Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon recently canceled a planned trip to Britain for fear of being arrested there. Ya'alon was invited to London to attend a fund-raising dinner by the British branch of the Jewish National Fund. When Ya'alon consulted the Foreign Ministry's legal team, they warned that Palestinian groups might ask a British court to order his arrest and that despite being a minister he would not enjoy diplomatic immunity.
Ya'alon was chief of staff in 2002-5. He is one of several senior officers whom pro-Palestinian groups have sought to put on trial over the assassination of Hamas member Salah Shehadeh in July 2002. The attack also killed 14 civilians, nine of them children.

Last week, when Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited London, pro-Palestinian groups sought his arrest for alleged war crimes during January's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. However, the court ultimately decided not to hear the request immediately, enabling Barak to leave London in peace.
In 2004, when pro-Palestinian groups sought the arrest of then-defense minister Shaul Mofaz during a visit to London, a judge ruled that he did have diplomatic immunity. During last week's incident with Barak, Britain's Foreign Office asked the court to uphold this precedent. But since the hearing was postponed, whether it will do so remains unknown. (Haaretz)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

'Talks wth Iran were serious, businesslike and even cordial'

The Geneva talks between the Five plus one and Iran about Irans nuclear program were serious, businesslike and even cordial.What did this meeting actually produce? Iran agreed to permit inspections of its new site. The Western negotiators came up with a clever ploy to permit Iranian low-enriched uranium (LEU) to be sent to Russia for further enrichment, probably from about 5 percent to about 20 percent, and then transported to France to be fabricated into fuel rods to feed the Iranian research reactor (ironically given to Iran by the United States in an earlier day), which is used to produce isotopes used for medical purposes. This had many dimensions. First, it reduced the Iranian LEU stock below the level required to produce a nuclear device. Second, it established the principle that Iranian enrichment could be conducted outside the country. But third, it promised to provide Iran with uranium enriched well above the level required for nuclear power reactors (but not yet at the level required for bomb-building). And lastly, it tacitly acknowledged Iran’s right to produce enriched uranium. Nothing in the reports we have seen to date indicate that the Western interlocutors insisted on the previous red line that Iran should abandon its enrichment program. Finally the two sides agreed to meet again later this month.
Those were the words of veteran Iran-specialist Gary Sick. Here is his story in full.

Obama will not pressure Israel on subject of nuclear arsenal

U.S. President Barack Obama will not pressure Israel to disclose its nuclear arsenal to international inspection, as reported on Friday by The Washington Times.

The 40-year-old covert agreement between the U.S. and Israel has allegedly permitted Israel to maintain an active nuclear facility without inspection that contains several hundred nuclear bombs. The joint understanding was apparently reached during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the White House in May this year. The report also said that the senior officials who had confirmed these findings spoke on the condition that they would not be named.
Israel was nervous Obama would retract U.S. understanding of the secret treaty signed in September 1969 in a summit between former U.S. President Richard Nixon and the then Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, the report added.

The report follows a United Nations nuclear assembly resolution which urged Israel earlier this month to put all its atomic sites under the world body's inspection and join the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The non-binding resolution, which passed for the first time in 18 years of attempts thanks to more developing nation votes, voiced concern about "Israeli nuclear capabilities" and urged the International Atomic Energy Agency to tackle the issue. UN Security Council members Russia and China also backed the resolution, which passed by 49 votes to 45 against in a floor vote at the IAEA's annual member states conference. Before the vote, U.S. Ambassador Glyn Davies said the resolution was "redundant ... Such an approach is highly politicized and does not address the complexities at play regarding crucial nuclear-related issues in the Middle East."