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Israel Stops Palestinian Voters

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    Israeli troops storm Gaza ... JABALIYA, Jan 2: Israeli troops poured into the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday in a bid to halt rocket attacks by Palestinian
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 5, 2005
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      Israeli troops storm Gaza
      JABALIYA, Jan 2: Israeli troops poured into the northern Gaza
      Strip on Sunday in a bid to halt rocket attacks by Palestinian
      militants who were rebuked for their tactics by presidential
      election favourite Mahmud Abbas.

      Around 50 tanks and armoured vehicles trundled into the Beit Hanun
      area near the Erez border crossing between Israel and the
      Palestinian territory, after a new spate of rocket attacks which
      wounded at least three Israelis.....(AFP)



      Palestinian Women Triumph at Polls
      Thursday, December 30 2004 @ 03:02 AM EST

      "Female candidates buck societal pressure to run for municipal
      seats. More than half of those who are elected win their places

      YABED, West Bank (AP) — Women faced pressure not to run as
      candidates in Palestinian local elections. But they did, and more
      than half of them defeated their male opponents in this
      conservative, traditional Arab society.

      Palestinian women won 51 seats in Thursday's elections, 32 of them
      winning their places outright without having to claim seats reserved
      for women by Palestinian law.

      Maisoun Badarneh, a 44-year-old teacher elected as an independent
      candidate to the council in the town of Yabed, said she faced
      intense opposition from relatives and neighbors who argued that it
      was unacceptable for a woman to hold a position requiring daily
      contact with the public.

      "The majority of my problems were due to society's inability to
      accept the idea of women participating in the municipality,"
      Badarneh said, adding that four other women candidates in her town
      dropped out before the elections because of family pressure.

      The role of women in the Palestinian struggle has seen peaks and
      valleys. And Palestinian society has relegated most women to
      traditional house-bound roles.

      But Hanan Ashrawi, who has had a long career as a Palestinian
      spokeswoman, legislator and human rights activist, believes that the
      situation is changing for the better.

      "We were hoping for more, but this is a beginning," she said of the

      "We're delighted and plan to have a big celebration for the women."

      In the West Bank village of Abwein, north of Ramallah, Fatima
      Suhweil, 59, received more votes than any of the 27 other
      candidates, despite religious-based parties campaigning relentlessly
      against her.

      Now she will be mayor, representing the mainstream Fatah party,
      which won 12 of the 13 council seats.

      Suhweil attributed her support, from both men and women, to her
      record in building up and running a girls high school.

      Source: Los Angeles Times

      Wall Must Be Torn Down, Abbas Says

      Thursday, December 30 2004 @ 04:11 AM EST

      "The PFLP move would improve Barghouthi's showing by attracting a
      number of undecided voters, although not enough to upset Abbas.."

      QALQILYA, West Bank (AFP) - Palestinian presidential election
      favorite Mahmoud Abbas called for the tearing down of Israel's West
      Bank wall yesterday, warning that it would never deliver
      security. "If we are to coexist with the Israelis, this wall must
      disappear," he told supporters while on the campaign trail in the
      town of Qalqiliya. "The Berlin Wall was the last racist wall and it
      fell. We hope to see this wall fall and that peace and security can
      take its place."

      The citizens of Qalqiliya have been totally encircled by a
      combination of towering slabs of concrete and electronic fencing,
      ruled illegal by the UN's highest legal body. Abbas had traveled to
      Qalqiliya after addressing a crowd of some 8,000 supporters in the
      nearby town of Tulkarm where the wall also came in for fierce

      "Neither settlements, nor the wall will bring peace and security,"
      Abbas said during his speech in a football stadium, situated barely
      500 meters from the blocks of concrete which make up the barrier in
      Tulkarm. "We say to our neighbors (the Israelis) that no matter how
      many walls and obstacles you build, they will not bring you peace
      and security."

      The wall — a montage of concrete, razor wire and electric fencing —
      is being built across the West Bank in what Israel says is a bid to
      prevent attacks on its territory by Palestinian militants. The
      Palestinians, however, regard its route, often jutting deep into
      their territory, as proof of its real intent to appropriate land and
      prejudge the borders of their promised future state.

      The UN's International Court of Justice ruled in July that parts of
      the wall built on the Palestinian side of the internationally-
      recognized border between Israel and the West Bank are illegal.
      Israel vowed to ignore the nonbinding verdict but has modified its
      route after rulings from its own Supreme Court.

      Abbas, who is standing for the dominant Fatah faction in the Jan. 9
      contest to succeed Yasser Arafat as head of the Palestinian
      Authority, also reiterated his vision of an independent state on all
      the land occupied by Israel since 1967, with east Jerusalem as its

      Before his appearance at the stadium, Abbas also paid a visit to the
      local refugee camp where he met the parents of 'martyrs' of the
      conflict with Israel and with members of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades,
      an armed offshoot of Fatah. Abbas was accorded a hero's welcome in
      the camp, and was carried briefly on the shoulders of one of the

      A Palestinian group said it would back a leading proponent of
      nonviolence running in the election. The endorsement of human rights
      activist Mustafa Barghouthi by the Popular Front for the Liberation
      of Palestine highlighted a political shift after Arafat's death in
      which other militants have decided to back Abbas.

      "We call on all members of the PFLP and the Palestinian people to
      support and vote for Mustafa Barghouthi," senior PFLP leader Rabah
      Muhana told a news conference in Gaza. The PFLP, which has about 2
      percent support in opinion polls, is a radical group in the umbrella
      Palestine Liberation Organization led by Abbas and opposes peace-
      making with Israel in contrast with Fatah, the PLO's mainstream

      Barghouthi, running a distant second to Abbas in the election race,
      is a prominent critic of Israeli Army crackdowns in occupied
      territory but, like Abbas, wants a halt to bloodshed and talks on a
      Palestinian state coexisting alongside Israel. Muhana said the PFLP
      and Barghouthi had agreed on key issues such as stressing a "right
      of return" of refugees to what is now Israel and rejecting any peace
      based on 1990s interim deals that did not require full Israeli
      withdrawal from occupied areas.

      Asked about being linked with a group that has killed Israelis in
      suicide bombings and assassinated an Israeli Cabinet minister,
      Barghouthi said he disagreed with some PFLP views but its move would
      foster Palestinian unity after Arafat. "We will give maximum effort
      to strengthen the popular (nonviolent) nature of the struggle (for
      statehood). We will seek to unite the vision of struggle through
      dialogue. "(The PFLP endorsement) can be the start of a new
      democratic Palestinian coalition," he told Reuters.

      Political analyst Hani Habib said the PFLP move would improve
      Barghouthi's showing by attracting a number of undecided voters,
      although not enough to upset Abbas. It could also raise fear in
      Fatah, he said, that Islamists might back an independent like
      Barghouthi "to at least prevent Abbas from achieving a big victory"
      that he needs for a popular mandate to rein in militants so he can
      negotiate with Israel.

      The Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades say its gunmen will
      vote for Abbas "to give him a chance" because he wants to root out
      corruption and carry out democratic reform. But the Brigades, like
      Hamas and the PFLP, have resisted Abbas' calls for a truce with
      Israel, although violence has abated markedly in most areas since
      Arafat died in November.

      Source: Agency France Press

      Israeli Occupation Claims 12 More Palestinian Lives

      Thursday, December 30 2004 @ 04:05 AM EST

      "Sharon voiced strong opposition to any EU role in Middle East peace
      talks, charging that the 25-nation bloc had an 'unbalanced' approach
      to the problem.."

      OCCUPIED JERUSALEM - Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have killed 12
      Palestinians in less than a week, including a 7-year old child, 4
      extra-judicially executed, and 4 died in sporadic tank shelling
      inside their homes, to vindicate the Arab League chief Amr Mousa's
      statement on Tuesday that there is "not a glimmer of hope" for the
      creation of a true Palestinian state because he could not see any
      change in the positions of Israel and the United States.

      There is "not a glimmer of hope" for the creation of a true
      Palestinian state, the Secretary General of the Arab League said,
      dismissing growing hopes that the moribund peace process is on the
      verge of recovery.

      Mousa dismissed the UN-adopted "roadmap" was on the verge of

      "I do not see any change in the positions of Israel, the United
      States and their allies or that the situation is going to calm down.
      I don't see a glimmer of hope," he told Egypt's Al-Ahram.

      He warned against the temptation of giving the Palestinians
      statehood that turns out to be based on no more than a rump state.

      "I fear that all that is going to be proposed to the Palestinians is
      the creation of a rump state of a provisional nature which is just
      ridiculous because by consolidating the status quo a time-bomb is
      being laid," he said.

      "If there is a true desire to establish a Palestinian state in line
      with the roadmap then Israel must give the Palestinians 90 percent
      of the occupied territories as well as east Jerusalem and it must
      stop settlements," he said.

      Sharon Rules out EU Role

      Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon voiced Tuesday strong opposition
      to any EU role in Middle East peace talks, charging that the 25-
      nation bloc had an "unbalanced" approach to the problem.

      He said the EU would be qualified for a role only when the European
      Union pressures Palestinians to stop armed resistance to the 37-year
      old Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza strip.

      British Prime Minister Tony Blair held official talks with
      Palestinian leaders in the West Bank city of Ramallah last Wednesday
      after failing to convince Israeli officials to attend a proposed
      international conference in London early next year.

      Sharon supported convening the London conference provided it
      pressures Palestinians "to reform" and refused Israel's
      participation in the meeting.

      Although Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath on Monday
      welcomed Blair's deepening involvement in the Middle East peace
      process as a way of pressuring Washington to step up its role, 13
      Palestinian anti-occupation factions opposed the London conference
      as "an interference in Palestinian internal affairs."

      "Blair's proposal for the London conference, which was supposed to
      discuss the peace process, has been transformed into an interference
      in Palestinian internal affairs," the factions said in a statement

      The Palestine National Authority (PNA) reiterated its demand that
      the London conference discusses the final status issues of the
      Palestinian – Israeli conflict and to reactivate the "roadmap" peace
      plan, which the UN Security Council endorsed in resolution 1515 in
      November 20003.

      But Israel refused and reiterated its commitment only to its
      unilateral plan to re-deploy the IOF troops and the illegal Jewish
      settlers from the Gaza Strip.

      World Bank President James Wolfensohn announced Monday that
      Israel's "Disengagement" plan is insufficient if it does not also
      give hope to the Palestinians.

      Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom Monday slammed Chairman of
      the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Mahmoud Abbas, saying
      Israel could not ignore his latest statements that Israel must take
      down all settlements, return to the pre-1967 borders, accept a
      Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem and the return of
      Palestinian refugees, and release all Palestinian detainees in the
      IOF jails.

      Shalom ignored Abbas' repeated calls for the demilitarization of the
      Palestinian Intifadah.

      Abbas told a gathering of business leaders in Ramallah Sunday "it is
      impossible to liberate Palestine with the use of weapons because the
      balance of power is not with us," adding that independence could
      only be achieved through peaceful means.

      Abbas however said that a ceasefire with the IOF is a reciprocal

      Israel Justifies Palestinian Resistance

      Mahmud Zahar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza Strip, told Egypt's Al-
      Ahram the Islamic Resistance Movement had not changed its rejection
      of any move to "demilitarize" the Intifada (uprising), citing the
      continuing Israeli occupation, military aggression, and extra-
      judicial assassinations, demolition of houses as justification for
      the Palestinian armed self-defense.

      Israel has continued its military attacks and extra-judicial
      killings of Palestinian activists, which claimed twelve Palestinian
      lives in less than a week.

      21-year old Palestinian Eyad Kamel Nabhan died Wednesday of wounds
      sustained from IOF gunfire during the Israeli 3-day reoccupation of
      western Khan Yunis in southern Gaza Strip last week.

      On Tuesday three Palestinian anti-occupation activists survived an
      Israeli extra-judicial killing when an IOF missile hit a civilian
      car in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis, Reuters reported.
      Some passersby suffered wounds.

      In a statement, the IOF said an aircraft had fired on gunmen blamed
      for mortar attacks from Khan Yunis, including 40 in the past week.

      Palestinians suspect informers among their ranks of providing
      information to the IOF on the movement of Palestinian activists.

      Last Tuesday four Palestinians (Ali Shaban, Hussein al-Yaziji,
      Ibrahim Abu Taybeh and Ibrahim al-Qahwaji) suspected of
      collaborating with the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) were
      sentenced to prison terms ranging between 10 – 20 years by a
      Palestinian court in Gaza City.

      Late Tuesday also IOF tanks and bulldozers stormed into the northern
      Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoon, demolishing houses and bulldozing
      agricultural land.

      Hours after the failed extra-judicial assassination an Israeli tank
      shell, fired from the nearby illegal Jewish settlement of Neve
      Dekalim, wounded nine Palestinians in the center of Khan Yunis,
      witnesses said.

      The same day the IOF tanks and military jeeps stormed into the West
      Bank city of Nablus and wounded several Palestinian teenagers.

      On Monday a Palestinian who was extra-judicially killed by the IOF
      in Nablus was identified as Wael Mohammad Riyahi, 35.

      Early Sunday IOF killed Mohammad Abdul Salam Abulroos, 24, and
      Mohammad Hamdan Abu Jaber, 22 in Al-Buraij refugee camp in southern
      Gaza Strip.

      The same day 7-year old Tasahil Majdi Al-Hasanat died of wounds
      sustained from IOF gunfire on October 13.

      Early the day before, Saturday, Thaer Abul-Kamel, 27, was extra-
      judicially killed under the rubble of a 4-storey building, which the
      IOF demolished in the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

      On Friday December 24, the IOF extra-judicially killed 3
      Palestinians in the northern West Bank refugee camp of Tulkarem,
      namely: Jamal Khaled Aazem, 16, Kamel Abdulah Kamel Sabbarini, 23,
      and Iyad Azmi Ghannam, 21.

      On Thursday December 23 the IOF tank shells killed Rami Kamel Abu
      Eker, 25, and Eid Mohammad Abu Namoos, 25, inside their homes in
      Khan Yunis. IOF demolished the walls of Nasser Hospital and Mubarak
      Hospital in the town a day earlier.

      At least one Palestinian (Mohammad Ashraf Grately, 18) was killed
      when IOF tanks and military vehicles stormed into Khan Yunis early
      the day before, and demolished several residential buildings.

      The latest deaths raised the Palestinian death toll to 3,767 since
      the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada (uprising) against the 37-year
      old Israeli occupation on September 28, 2000.

      More than 10,000 mourners attended the previous Sunday the funerals
      for 12 victims of the IOF three-day invasion of Khan Yunis refugee

      That invasion of the camp left 46 houses demolished and 56 families

      Meanwhile the IOF continue to close Rafah border terminal between
      the Gaza Strip and Egypt since Monday morning, 13 December 2004. The
      terminal is the only outlet to the outside world for about 1.5
      million Palestinians in Gaza Strip.

      Source: Palestine Media Center (PMC) - www.palestine-pmc.com

      "Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, has admitted that the
      arrangements are designed to show that Israel has sole sovereignty
      in East Jerusalem.."

      Israel Stops Palestinians Voting in Jerusalem
      By Conal Urquhart
      Thursday, December 30 2004 @ 04:22 AM EST

      JERUSALEM - Israel was accused yesterday of undermining the election
      of a Palestinian Authority president by allowing only a few thousand
      Palestinians to vote in East Jerusalem.

      More than 100,000 will have to leave the city if they want to vote.

      The government has told the Palestinian Election Commission that it
      will not allow privacy screens in the voting booths in East
      Jerusalem post offices, nor will election officials be allowed to
      mark voters with indelible ink to prevent fraud.

      The prime minister, Ariel Sharon, has admitted that the arrangements
      are designed to show that Israel has sole sovereignty in East

      Palestinians say it could make the election meaningless and reduce
      the credibility of the winner. Amar Dweib, the chief electoral
      officer, said that the commission had been told that 5,367 people
      could vote at five post offices in East Jerusalem.

      "We asked the Israelis to increase the number of polling stations,
      but they refused," he said.

      "I do not know the precise number of eligible voters in East
      Jerusalem, because the Israelis would not allow us to register them,
      but we think it is around 120,000.

      The rest... will have to undertake long journeys around the
      separation wall in order to vote."

      Qais Abu Leila, leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of
      Palestine, whose candidate, Tayseer Khaled, is third in the opinion
      polls (on 7%), said the Israeli obstruction would call the result
      into question.

      "If we agree to go along with this we will be capitulating to the
      diktat of the Israelis and helping them deceive the world that they
      allowed free and fair elections," he said.

      Source: The Guardian



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