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Six killed in large-scale military operations in north Gaza

At dawn today the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) started a large incursion in the north Gaza town of Beit Hanoun. So far, six Palestinians have been killed and 20 wounded. The incursion is still underway and Al Mezan has detected serious violations by IOF. According to Al Mezan’s investigations, at approximately 1am Wednesday 1 November 2006, IOF special forces sneaked into the town and took positions on the roofs of several houses in As Sikka neighborhood. Other troops took positions in other neighborhoods under the cover of helicopters. 

Israel's New Arsenal

What bizarre science-fiction horrors have to occur before the American media wakes up to the strange war that Israel is prosecuting against Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, asks Ethan Heitner of People are still being maimed or killed every day in Lebanon thanks to unexploded cluster ordinance dropped massively by Israel in the 48 hours after a cease-fire had been negotiated but before it went into effect. Over 30 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in October alone. As usual, however, Lebanon and Palestine have vanished from the newscycle (where Israel is currently represented by a president who refuses to step down despite an all-but-indictment for multiple rape charges and an openly fascist party joining the government ). 

UN agency concludes operation to feed 810,000 mostly displaced people

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today wrapped up a successful three-month operation in Lebanon to feed over 810,000 people displaced or otherwise affected by this summer’s fighting between Israel and Hizbollah, providing nearly 13,000 tons of food throughout the country. “The Lebanese government will take care of the few remaining pockets that may need some assistance to secure their basic food needs, but for WFP our mission is complete,” the agency’s emergency coordinator for Lebanon, Zlatan Milisic, said. 

Senior UN envoy for Lebanon 'particularly disturbed' by Israeli over-flights of Beirut

A senior United Nations envoy today expressed serious concern at continuing Israeli over-flights of Lebanon, especially intensive mock air raids over Beirut this morning, calling them a breach of the Security Council resolution 1701, which ended this summer’s conflict with Hizbollah. Senior UN envoy Geir Pederson noted in his latest report to the Council on Lebanon that Israeli over-flights have continued since the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah on 14 August. 

Israeli court issues home demolition orders without presence of affected families

According to a new report issued by the human rights organization Adalah, the ease with which the state (Israel) obtains ex parte orders for home demolitions from the Beer el-Sabe Magistrate Court, without the presence of the affected families, is a dangerous phenomenon. The state is exploiting legal procedures in order to compel residents of the unrecognized Arab Bedouin villages in the Naqab to evacuate their homes and villages and to relocate to government-planned towns. 

Analysis: The wait for Al-Jazeera's international channel

It is still not known when Al-Jazeera’s long-awaited English-language news channel will launch. First mooted in 2004, Al-Jazeera International (AJI) initially had a target launch date of late 2005. But despite regularly announcing the signing up of star names such as David Frost and Rageh Omaar, the launch date kept slipping. It is now thought that it may go on air sometime during November. One of the reasons cited for the delay is the ambitious technical nature of the project. During a 24-hour cycle the channel plans to broadcast for four hours from its Kuala Lumpur bureau, 11 hours from its base in Doha, five hours from London and four hours from Washington. 

Book Review: Ramzy Baroud's "The Second Palestinian Intifada"

Over the last five years, the Palestinian people have faced a host of obstacles in their fight for sovereignty, preventing them the opportunity to create a life those in the Western world brag about. A principal impediment facing the Palestinian struggle today is the constant reaffirmation that the Palestinian people — deemed by Israel and the US — are “terrorists,” “militants,” or animalistic beings lesser than those of the “civilized world.” In Ramzy Baroud’s new book, The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of People’s Struggle, this myth is shattered. 

Photostory: Climbing the Hill to Jerusalem and Bethlehem

Central Tel Aviv along the beach seems like such a relaxed and cosmopolitan place. From here one can ignore the cataclysmic events taking place to the north in Lebanon, to the south in Gaza, to the east in the West Bank and even further to the east in Iraq. I feel tempted to just go swimming here in the Mediterranean Sea, let my feet nourish the sand, and just relax on this beach to work on my tan. It would be easy to remain oblivious here in Tel Aviv to all the turmoil surrounding us here, but I must move on. I board the bus to Jerusalem, which is filled to capacity, and plop myself on the floor in the back, surrounded by young IOF soldiers. 

Palestinian Brain Drain

Since Oslo, the Palestinians have been trying to establish and build sustainable institutions that would form the basis of an independent state. This necessitates investment by Palestinians in the diaspora both in terms of money and skills. Such a vital objective for Palestinians is now being severely undermined by the insistence of Israel and western countries on isolating and starving the Hamas-led Palestinian government that came into power in January 2006 after fair and democratic elections. Israel is currently withholding from the Palestinian Authority millions in Palestinian funds it has collected in the form of taxes and custom duties. 

"Popcorn" bombs: The casualties continue

Yasmine is 11 years old, from a small village in the south of Lebanon and a good tour guide around her family’s garden as she shows you the remaining unexploded cluster bombs. Two to give a count — one is hiding high in the grape vine and the other next to a little rock. They look nonthreatening, just little odd metal canisters calling to be removed. But Yasmine is good at protecting you. She firmly asks you not to touch them nor get close to them, only to laugh later as she teases you that you can never know when the one on the grape vine would fall, “so you’d better be ready to run”.