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Photostory: Bint Jbeil to Beirut

This was our second visit to Bint Jbeil and we saw more and more life coming back to the town. The rubble here is of old hand-hewn stones fallen from a very old house. We saw many children’s books all through the neighborhood. Inside the windows of the homes still standing was extensive damage. I had asked why the garage doors of the stores were bent in various ballooned shapes. The answer was that the bombs created pressure that blew out all windows and doors and bent the metal garage doors of the store fronts into various ballooning shapes. 

Middle East peace talks must resume without preconditions, Palestinian leader tells UN

The spirit of international cooperation that last month ended the deadly conflict in Lebanon should now be applied to resolve the question of Palestine, “the root of all the conflicts and wars” in the Middle East for many decades, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the United Nations General Assembly. Addressing the Assembly’s annual debate, Mr. Abbas called for the unconditional resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and an end to the suffering of his people, warning of the devastating impact on the region if these issues are not resolved. 

A lasting legacy: The deadly impact of cluster bombs in Southern Lebanon

The sheer amount of unexploded ordnance that remains in south Lebanon, one of the poorest areas of the country, has implications for the future social and economic livelihood of the region. The quick destruction of remaining unexploded ordnance, particularly cluster bomb sub-munitions, is critical to restoring normalcy to the region and, ultimately, to a secure and lasting peace. It is vital that a social safety net be quickly established and that agricultural livelihoods are restored to prevent people from south Lebanon slipping deeper into poverty. 

Gaza Still Occupied

Calling to the international community to get mobilised and bring the Israeli occupation to an end, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights has launched an international campaign to demonstrate that the Gaza Strip remains under Israeli effective control despite its claims otherwise. The campaign comes one year after the completion of the Israeli Unilateral Disengagement from Gaza in September 2005. It aims to bring about more effective international public and government involvement in the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) in an effort to repair the consequences of prolonged infringements of international law. 

In 9 hours in Gaza, IDF kills 5, including 3 children, and injures 7

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) has used excessive force in the north and south of the Gaza Strip during a 9-hour span today, Thursday, 21 September 2006, resulting in the death of 5 Palestinian civilians and the injury of 7 others, including a father and 2 of his children. Two of the victims including a woman were killed in cold blood in Rafah. They were left to bleed to death inside their houses. The other 3 victims were children from the town of Jabalia who were killed by a surface-to-surface rocket as they were herding sheep. 

Israeli government fears peace initiatives

Guess whose words these are: “Starting this war was a scandal…It was possible to solve the problem of the missiles in South Lebanon by diplomatic means…The offensive of the last two days of the war, in which 33 soldiers were killed after the cease-fire resolution had already been accepted, was a spin of the Prime Minister The Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense and the Chief-of-Staff must resign…” Right, it was Gush Shalom. But that’s not new. What is new is that yesterday, the former Chief-of-Staff, Moshe Ya’alon, repeated these statements, almost word for word. 

I went to Nablus

There were many places I wanted to see in Palestine this June and Nablus was certainly one of them. Many people were telling me not to go. It was not safe, and my plan to go on to Jenin afterwards was madness, they said. But I had things to see in Nablus, and memories to collect for friends who have never been able to go back home. From Jerusalem, Abu ‘Issa, his wife and I made our way, hoping that we would be able to drive through Huwarra checkpoint to Nablus. Abu ‘Issa had obtained a clearance from the Peres Centre in Jerusalem for passage in his car. The Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint had other ideas. “No car - walk!” 

Government eager to show self-reliance in relief coordination

As Lebanon rapidly moves further away from its humanitarian emergency phase and closer to early recovery, the Lebanese government is keen to show that it is able to manage all the country’s relief and reconstruction needs. “We are self-reliant,” said Yehia Raad, secretary general of the Higher Relief Council (HRC), a government body. “We have received a lot of [external coordination] help, some of which was necessary during the war. Now, it is more than fair to say that we are fully capable of working independently, while meeting all of everyone’s needs in war-affected areas.” 

Beatings and abuse on the Ramin Plain, Summer 2006

In recent months, B’Tselem has collected many testimonies from Palestinians in the West Bank about abuse by soldiers. A significant number of the testimonies dealt with events that took place in the area referred to as the Ramin Plain. The area has a dirt road that Palestinians use to avoid the checkpoint near the Einav settlement. Recently, the IDF imposed harsh restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the northwest part of the West Bank. In their testimonies to B’Tselem, the Palestinians described how the soldiers ambushed them on the dirt road along the Ramin Plain, beat and abused them for hours, and damaged their vehicles. 

B'Tselem's investigation leads to indictment of soldiers who abused Palestinians

Today, the Judge Advocate General’s Office filed an indictment against two soldiers from the Haruv Battalion who had abused Palestinians in Nablus District last month. The soldiers were charged with assault in aggravated circumstances and unbecoming conduct. Recently, B’Tselem uncovered that, in August, a group of soldiers from the battalion had maltreated two Palestinians near a-Naqora, a village in Nablus District. The two filed complaints and turned to B’Tselem. B’Tselem wrote to the Judge Advocate General’s Office and demanded that the matter be investigated.