Tony Blair gets heckled at visit to mosque in Hebron

October 21, 2009  

Bodyguards subdued a Palestinian man as he approached Middle East envoy Tony Blair, shouting, ‘You are a terrorist.’ The former British prime minister was verbally assailed while visiting the ancient Ibraheemi Mosque, a location sacred to both Muslims and Jews, during an official trip to the West Bank city of Hebron

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Once again Blair spouts about a two state solution but does nothing to stop the building and expansion of the settlement program. He is well aware of the fact that a Palestinian state is impossible under the current Israeli administrations plans for the region. You may also want to read how he is profiting from his position as Middle East Envoy.

Ankara to exclude Israel

October 16, 2009  

Barak warns against further harming Israel-Turkey relations

By Barak Ravid and Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz Correspondents, and Haaretz Service

Israeli forces near the Gaza border in January. Turkey said it barred Israel from multinational war games, scheduled to begin today, because of concerns over the Gaza conflict.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday warned against further harming Israel’s relations with Turkey, after Turkey excluded Israel from a joint military exercise because of its criticism of Israel’s offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

“The relations between Israel and Turkey are strategic and have been maintained for dozens of years,” Barak said in a closed meeting, according to a statement his press officer released.

He added: “Despite all the ups and downs, Turkey continues to be a central figure in our region; it is unsuitable to be drawn into criticizing it.”

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EU backs UN Gaza report

October 12, 2009  

EU backs UN Gaza report, disappointing Israel

GoldstonelSTOCKHOLM (AFP) ? The European Union backed on Thursday a contentious UN report blasting Israel‘s military offensive in Gaza, praising its chief author and saying the document is “worthy of consideration.”

Israel immediately expressed disappointment at the support from Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt — whose country holds the EU presidency — and said it showed that Bildt had either not read the report or misunderstood it.

“It is worthy of consideration needless to say, I think Mr Goldstone is a person of high credibility and high integrity and accordingly his report carries weight,” Bildt told reporters in Stockholm.

The report by a fact-finding mission led by former international war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone accused both Israel and Palestinian armed groups of committing war crimes in the three-week Gaza war that erupted on 27 December, 2008.

“It is now in the Human Rights Council (based in Geneva) and that’s where we think it should be deliberated, it is an independent report,” Bildt added.

In Israel, foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said: “Anyone who had bothered reading the report and not just the headlines in the press would realise this is not an independent or professional investigation but a collection of claims brought forward by Hamas to the members of the panel.

“The Swedish foreign minister‘s words are very disappointing because they show that either he did not read the text or that he really did not understand what was written in it,” he told AFP.

More than 1,300 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s land, sea and air assault, Operation Cast Lead, launched in the impoverished coastal strip to stop Hamas militants firing rockets at Israeli civilians.

Some 5,300 people were wounded, with 4,100 homes destroyed and 17,000 damaged. Israel lost 10 soldiers and three civilians.

Bearing the brunt again – children killed in buffer zone

October 9, 2009  

[Ramallah, 8 October 2009]

BTBACoverOn Sunday, 4 October 2009, it was reported in the media that a Palestinian child had been shot on his family’s farm in the north of the Gaza Strip, near the border with Israel. It is reported that the child was shot in the spine and is now recovering in hospital, having first been denied access to medical care.

Israel has established a so called ‘buffer zone’ inside Gaza, a closed military zone which runs the entire length of the border. Since the end of the Israeli offensive in January 2009, this ‘no go’ area has been extended 300 metres into Gaza, although the killing of civilians has been reported up to one kilometer from the border.

The UN estimates that the buffer zone consumes approximately 30 percent of Gaza’s arable farmland, at a time when there is a near-total Israeli blockade of the territory. With limited options, farmers and their families are compelled to risk their lives in order to gather food from their lands in and around this killing zone. Read more

Cold War’s Ghost Blocks Mideast Peace

October 8, 2009  

And you thought “don’t ask, don’t tell” was a U.S. law on gays in the military that Barack Obama has promised to change.

llew-nukesAs it turns out, the same phrase plays quite a different role in the Middle East, where Obama seems to have no intention of changing it at all. Successive administrations have adhered to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to Israel’s sizeable arsenal of nuclear weapons. That country has never acknowledged their existence, adhering instead to another arcane formula: “We will not introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East.” Jonathan Schell has described this strange situation: “Evidently, in some abstruse way, possessing [nuclear weapons] is not introducing them. You’d have to do something more to introduce them. You’d have to brandish one or make a threat with one, or maybe just acknowledge that you had them. As long as they keep them in the basement and don’t make any introductions, then it’s alright.”

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UN to teach children about Holocaust in Gaza schools

October 6, 2009  

Donald Macintyre reveals plans opposed by Hamas to include Jewish tragedy in UN secondary school lessons

gaza_247427tPalestinian schoolchildren should learn about the Nazis? slaughter of Europe?s Jewish population during the Second World War aspart of a curriculum component based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UNRWA says

Palestinian schoolchildren should learn about the Nazis’ slaughter of Europe’s Jewish population during the Second World War as part of a curriculum component based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UNRWA says

The United Nations’ refugee agency is planning to include the Holocaust in a new human-rights curriculum for pupils in its Gaza secondary schools despite strident opposition to the idea from within Hamas.

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