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80Palestine News

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  • World View <ummyakoub@yahoo.com>
    Dec 14, 2002
      Palestine News

      Nidal al-Mughrabi, Reuters, 12/13/02

      KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip (Reuters) - Poverty and despair drove Ahmed
      al-Astal to try to sneak across a frontier where an infiltrator's
      life can end in the flash of a tank shell.

      Astal was one of five unarmed Palestinians, all members of an
      extended family in the Gaza Strip, killed by an Israeli tank Thursday
      as they tried to cross a border fence and find work in Israel.

      "He told me he was going to earn a good living for our children,"
      Astal's wife, Wafa, told Reuters Friday.

      "He promised us a better life and he lost his own," she said,
      cradling a 3-year-old child in her arms. The couple have three other
      children aged between 7 and 10.

      Unemployment in the Gaza Strip and West Bank has rocketed to 65
      percent since the start more than two years ago of a Palestinian
      uprising for statehood that led Israel to largely stem the flow of
      Palestinian workers into the Jewish state…

      In Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Jonathan Peled
      called the killings a "tragic event" but added: "They were five
      suspicious persons in a prohibited area."

      Inside the Astral family home -- which lacks electricity and where
      mattresses strewn on a cement floor serve as beds -- a widow
      contemplated a bleak future.

      "Is this a life? It is no life," she said. "He was the sole supporter
      of the family. Who is going to take care of us now?"

      6 Palestinians, 2 Israelis shot dead

      TEL AVIV, Dec 12: Two Israeli soldiers were killed on Thursday by
      Palestinian gunfire as they guarded a wildcat settlement in the
      flashpoint West Bank city of Al Khalil.

      The male and female soldier were struck down as they guarded a rogue
      settlement outpost erected not far from the spot of a sniper attack
      that killed 12 Israelis on Nov 15.

      Earlier, Israeli troops shot dead six Palestinians, including five in
      a single incident, in the Gaza Strip.

      The identities of the dead men were not yet known, but Palestinian
      medical sources in Gaza City said the Israeli army had contacted them
      to collect the five bodies.

      The Israeli army said in a statement it had shot dead five men
      spotted crawling towards a no-go area near the Karni crossing point,
      between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

      It did not specify whether the men were armed, but said it had
      earlier received information that a group of Palestinian militants
      was planning to infiltrate. It said the bodies were discovered in the
      morning with ladders next to them.

      A top aide to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Nabil Abu Rudeina
      denounced the shooting as "a crime".

      He was referring to the meeting planned in Washington next week of
      top US, UN, EU and Russian officials, during which a Middle East
      peace plan they have been working on is due to be finalized.-Reuters

      Christian Science Monitor

      Regarding the Dec. 9 "Economic Scene" column "Economist tallies
      swelling cost of Israel to US" (Work&Money): If Americans were not
      constantly subjected to a veritable blitzkreig of pro-Israel
      propaganda by mainstream press and broadcast news organizations, they
      might have noticed that, but for the cost of supporting Israel's
      illegal and brutal occupation of 1967 Palestine, nearly a million
      unemployed Americans would probably not be losing their unemployment
      benefits just three days after Christmas.
      Israeli censor bans Palestinian film on Jenin assault

      11/12/2002. ABC News Online
      [This is the print version of story

      Wednesday, December 11, 2002. Posted: 01:25:46 (AEDT)

      Israeli censor bans Palestinian film on Jenin assault

      The Israeli censorship board banned on Tuesday a screening of the
      Palestinian documentary Jenin, Jenin on the grounds it distorted the
      facts of an April assault on the city's refugee camp, Israel army
      radio reported.

      The film, produced by Palestinian actor and director Mohammed Bakri,
      includes testimony from Jenin residents after the Israeli army's
      Defensive Wall operation, during which the city and camp were the
      scenes of fierce fighting.

      The operation ended with the refugee camp flattened, 52 Palestinians
      and 13 Israeli soldiers dead, and the Palestinians accusing Israel of
      a massacre.

      On Tuesday, the radio quoted censors as saying: "In the disguise of
      democratic truth, a propaganda film has been made which presents the
      Palestinian position in a one-sided way."

      Mr Bakri will appeal the decision to Israel's High Court, the report

      © 2002 Australian Broadcasting Corporation
      Palestinian man says Mossad sought to induce him to set up fake
      Qa'ida cell in Gaza

      Occupied Jerusalem: 11 December, 2002 (IAP News)

      A Palestinian citizen from Gaza has revealed how the Israeli
      intelligence Service, the Mossad, had been trying to enlist him to
      set up a terrorist cell in Palestine under the name of "al-Qaida,"
      the group headed by Osama bin Laden.

      "Ibrahim" (not his real name) said during a news conference in Gaza
      Monday night that he had been contacted by a man who identified
      himself as "Haj Yousuf" from the city of Akka, who told him that he
      was working for Osama Bin Laden and that he was able to carry out
      bombings in Tel Aviv and Haifa and other Israeli towns.

      "He told me that all he wanted from me was to declare responsibility
      for the bombings in the name of al-Qaida," said the masked "Ibrahim."

      "He spoke very nicely and told me he would help me financially; then
      he asked me to try to enlist a number of sincere Islamic-minded
      youths to set up al-Qaida cell in Gaza."

      Ibrahim said his contacts with "Haj Yousuf" (the Mossad agents)
      became more frequent, adding that at one point the Mossad agent
      offered him a monthly salary of up to 3000 US dollars.

      At a later date, the Mossad agent asked "Ibrahim" to rent an
      apartment in Gaza in order to facilitate communications between them.
      He also promised to provide "Ibrahim" with a computer and fax
      machine, saying that communication between the two would be conducted
      via the internet.

      "Ibrahim" said the man would inject his telephone conversations with
      a lot of Quranic verses and would exhort him to perform daily
      prayers, particularly the Dawn prayer.

      However, "Ibrahim," said he began to be suspicious of the man when he
      told him that he knew him and his family.

      "Every thing he told me made me suspect his true identity. He told me
      he knew me, my home, my friends; he also told me to expect a visit to
      my home or place of work."

      "Ibrahim" said his contacts with "Haj Yousuf" lasted for five months
      after which he decided to inform the Preventive Security Force in
      Gaza of the entire affair.

      The Israeli government and media have been dumbfounded by the

      A spokesman at the Israeli Prime Minister's office issued a terse
      statement on Tuesday describing "these allegations as nonsense."

      Earlier, a gleeful-looking Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told
      reporters that Israel had discovered an al Qa'ida cell in Gaza and
      that Israel was a "key partner in the worldwide war against terror."

      The Israeli claims were instantly and vehemently denied by the
      Palestinian Authority whose leader Yasser Arafat labeled Sharon's
      remarks as "a big, big, big lie."

      Moreover, the PA briefed the US, EU, Russia and the UN on the affair
      and urged them to be mindful of Israeli designs to carry out
      massacres and acts of wanton killings in the Gaza Strip under the
      false rubric of fighting al-Qa'ida.


      SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The Dalai Lama, Tibet's
      spiritual leader and one of the world's most recognized moral
      authorities, is "particularly troubled" by the suffering of the
      Palestinians at the hands of the Israelis, Scott A. Hunt notes in his
      new book The Future of Peace: On the Front Lines with the World's
      Great Peacemakers.

      At the advice of one of the highest officials in the Dalai Lama's
      government, Hunt went to the Holy Land to "figure out what can be
      done" to end the violence in that land. In the course of his
      investigation, Hunt traveled throughout Israel, the West Bank, and
      the Gaza Strip. He interviewed Hanan Ashrawi, and two Israeli
      political leaders, Uri Avnery and Shulamit Aloni. He also met
      hundreds of civilians and soldiers on both sides. His book shows the
      clear blueprint to peace in that region.

      The Dalai Lama abhors violence from all quarters. He has been
      extremely supportive of Judaism and Jewish people throughout the
      world. He holds that the Wailing Wall is one of the most sacred
      spots on earth. After visiting the Holy Land, though, he could not
      help but notice the dire poverty and social instability facing the
      Palestinian people, as opposed to the relative comfort and wealth in
      Israel proper. He notes that this inequality does not contribute to a
      culture of peace…

      Citibank invests billion dollars in Zionist infrastructure

      Occupied Jerusalem - The American Citibank is to offer a credit of
      one billion dollars to finance projects in “Israel’s
      infrastructure”, according to the Hebrew daily ‘Yediot Ahronot’

      It noted that the step would allow the completion of a number of
      major projects financing of which was doubted by the Zionist banking

      The bank credit is guaranteed by the American governmental company
      “OPIC”, which assists American institutions in investing abroad.

      The step was taken after the visit to Washington by the director
      general of the Zionist finance ministry during which he tabled a
      number of proposed projects before representatives of OPIC in the
      presence of a representative from Citibank.

      Financing would start in one of those projects that cost between 250
      million to 300 million dollars, the paper pointed out, adding that
      the project would probably be transfer of natural gas to the Zionist

      boycott citi bank
      Justin Huggler, The Independent, 12/3/02

      Beside the pile of flattened concrete, all that was left of his home,
      Maher Salem described yesterday how his 68-year-old father was killed
      when the Israeli army demolished the house on top of him. When he
      found his father, Mr Salem said, the old man's head was "like a bar
      of chocolate, it was only two centimetres thick".

      20 YEARS
      STEVE WEIZMAN, Associated Press, 12/3/02

      JERUSALEM (AP) - A demographic study released Tuesday shows the
      Jewish population outside Israel declining and predicts that in
      Israel and the Palestinian territories, Arabs will outnumber Jews by
      the year 2020.

      The survey, commissioned by a new Jerusalem-based institute chaired
      by former Mideast peace negotiator Dennis Ross, says the world Jewish
      population stands at 12.8 million, with 5 million in Israel and 7.8
      million elsewhere.

      While the number of Jewish Israelis has doubled since 1970, boosted
      by a million immigrants from the former Soviet Union, the Jewish
      population overseas has shrunk by 2.2 million, much more than the
      number of emigrants to Israel…


      France condemns Israeli action

      By Our Correspondent

      PARIS, Dec 4: France has criticized Israel for destroying a UN World
      Food Programme warehouse in Gaza that was meant to keep food supplies
      for the Palestinian refugees.

      Foreign Ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau noted that "we are
      gravely preoccupied by the destruction by the Israeli Army of the
      foodstuffs that are stocked in a Gaza warehouse of the United Nations
      World Food Programme."

      "At a moment when the humanitarian situation has become seriously
      degraded in the Palestinian territories, a situation aggravated by
      months of encirclement, we demand that the Israeli authorities
      undertake a thorough investigation into these events and that they
      rapidly repair the damage that has been caused."

      The spokesman noted that a demand for a governmental inquiry and for
      reparations had also been sent to the Israeli government by the
      United Nations Secretary-General and by the World Food Programme, a
      specialized agency of the UN.

      In reply to a question about Egyptian allegations of the changed
      French stand on the Middle East had "encouraged" Israeli Prime
      Minister Ariel Sharon to continue his policy of destroying
      Palestinian areas," Mr Rivasseau replied by remarking that "we think
      today that what is essential is the humanitarian situation of the
      Palestinian population in the Gaza strip."

      "And," he continued, "there having been an urgent humanitarian
      situation (in the Palestinian territories), it's for this very reason
      that the World Food Programme of the United Nations had sent a stock
      of foodstuffs to Gaza that the UN felt indispensable to the
      Palestinian population. What is most important today, as far as we
      are concerned, is that these stocks of food (destroyed by Tsahal) be
      immediately replenished by the Israeli authorities."
      Hunger in Palestine
      By Peter Hansen
      The Hindu, December 10, 2002
      [The writer is Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and
      Works Agency.]

      The world has grown used to the idea that hunger manifests itself
      only in the hollow cheeks and distended stomachs of an African
      famine. But today in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, an insidious
      hunger has the Palestinian people in its grip. Hidden in the anaemic
      blood of children or lost in the statistics of stunted growth, a
      dreadful, silent malnutrition is stalking the Palestinians. The
      populations of Gaza and the West Bank have lived for over two years
      with checkpoints, closures and curfews that have ravaged their
      economy. Over 50 per cent are now unemployed and more than 60 per
      cent are living below the poverty line.

      The effect of this economic collapse was felt first in the erosion of
      family savings, followed by increased indebtedness and then the
      forced sale of household possessions. The Palestinian extended family
      and community networks have saved the territories from the absolute
      collapse that might have been found elsewhere in the face of such
      rapid decline. Every dollar is shared in the occupied territory.
      Anyone with an income, or a cousin working abroad, supports as many
      as seven other adults.

      Nevertheless, after two hard years of the intifada (Palestinian
      uprising), poverty is increasingly being felt in the stomach. In the
      terminology of experts, the Palestinians are suffering in the main
      from micronutrient deficiencies - what the World Health Organisation
      calls the "Hidden Hunger." It may be less dramatic than the protein-
      energy malnutrition that stalks African emergencies, but on the scale
      that it is being found among the Palestinians it is just as serious.
      Micronutrient deficient children fail to grow and develop normally;
      their cognition is damaged, often severely and irreversibly; their
      immune systems are compromised; in both adults and children, mental
      and physical capacities are impaired. In extreme cases, blindness and
      death result. The mental and physical development of a generation of
      Palestinian children hangs in the balance. An ongoing study funded by
      the United States Agency for International Development has found that
      four out of five children in Gaza and the West Bank have inadequate
      iron and zinc intake, deficiencies that cause anaemia and weaken the
      immune system. Over half the children in each territory have
      inadequate caloric and vitamin A intake.

      The stark fact is that 22 per cent of the Palestinian children are
      suffering from acute or chronic malnutrition for purely man- made
      reasons. No drought has hit Gaza and the West Bank, no crops have
      failed and the shops are often full of food. But the failure of the
      peace process and the destruction of the economy by Israel's closure
      policy have had the effect of a terrible natural disaster. Nursing
      and pregnant mothers too are suffering. On an average, they consume
      15-20 per cent fewer calories per day than they did before the
      outbreak of strife in 2000. The consequent anaemia, low folic acid
      intake and lack of proteins threaten both their health and the normal
      development of their children.

      The United Nation's relief agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, is
      the largest aid organisation in the territories. Before the start of
      the intifada, it was providing food aid to around 11,000 families in
      the West Bank and Gaza - families that had lost their breadwinner or
      were otherwise especially at risk. For the last two years, as part of
      its emergency programme, the UNRWA food programme has grown to
      2,20,000 families - or almost half the Palestinian population of the
      territories. To fund this huge food security effort, and its other
      emergency activities, UNRWA has turned to the international community
      with a number of emergency appeals. The latest appeal, to cover
      emergency operations for the first half of next year, has just been
      launched and contains a request for $32 million to provide food for
      Gaza and the West Bank. It would be a sad indictment of the world's
      priorities if funding for this feeding programme were not forthcoming
      because of the invisible nature of the crisis. There are as yet no
      skeletal faces in Gaza for the television cameras to record, no
      bloated bellies to shock the world to action. Instead, the
      Palestinians face hidden hunger and the quiet horror of a generation
      that will be physically and mentally stunted for the rest of their

      (c) Copyright 2000 - 2002 The Hindu.



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