Israel Stops Palestinian Voters
- 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
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
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
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
Shalom ignored Abbas' repeated calls for the demilitarization of the
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
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,
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
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
"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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