After months of anticipation, Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction finally launched their attempted coup against the democratically-elected cabinet headed by the Hamas party and prime minister Ismail Haniyeh. Days of interfactional violence, following Abbas’ speech in which he threatened to call new elections (something most legal experts agree he does not have the authority to do), claimed at least seven lives. A shaky truce continued to be violated, and the events of the past week have provided a terrifying glimpse of what may yet await Palestinians if Abbas decides to continue on his disastrous path. Read more about There is still another way for Palestine
Despite assurances given to the EU presidency by Israeli authorities, foreigners continue to be barred from passing through Israeli-controlled access points when their destination is the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). “Arbitrary denials of entry and expulsions have not stopped. No transparent rules or mechanisms are in place so far. Palestinian families, vital service providers and businesses remain vulnerable to arbitrary denials of entry and residency. This is especially hard to accept at a time of major Christian and Muslim traditional festivities when families want to be together more then ever”, said Anita Abdullah, speaking for the Campaign for the Right of Entry to the oPt. Read more about Israel continues to deny entry despite assurances to EU
The era of the Middle East strongman, propped up by and enforcing Western policy, appears well and truly over. His power is being replaced with rule by civil war, apparently now the American administration’s favoured model across the region. Fratricidal fighting is threatening to engulf, or already engulfing, the occupied Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Iraq. Both Syria and Iran could soon be next, torn apart by attacks Israel is reportedly planning on behalf of the US. The reverberations would likely consume the region. Read more about Do America and Israel want the Middle East engulfed by civil war?
On Tuesday afternoon, 19 December 2006, the bodies of Mohammed al-Harazin and Mohammed Kassab of the Palestinian General Intelligence were brought to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. The two victims were shot dead, but the circumstances of their killing have not been clear. Earlier, at approximately 12:00, the bodyguards of the spokesman of Ministry of Interior, Khaled Abu Hilal, opened fire at a supply vehicle belonging to the Palestinian Military Intelligence that passed near Abu Hilal’s house in al-Jalaa’ Street in the center of Gaza City. As a result, two members of the Military Intelligence were killed: Shadi Mohammed Dhaher, 25; and ‘Omar Nader al-Wehaidi, 22. Additionally, 7 bystanders, including two school children, were wounded. Read more about PCHR Condemns Escalating Violence between Fatah and Hamas Movements
OAKLAND, California (IPS) - Over the past 20 years, the U.S. Christian right has evolved into one of the most powerful grassroots organising forces within the Republican Party, and a host of Christian Zionists have taken a well-earned seat at the foreign policy table. At the same time, their support for Israel is not only growing — it is also becoming an influential political factor. Several prominent Christian right and conservative Jewish leaders have teamed up to found organisations that have provided millions of dollars to Israeli charities, lobbied in support of policies advanced by right wing leaders in Israel, opposed President George W. Bush’s so-called “Road Map” to peace in the Middle East, and have helped defray the costs of the immigration of Russian Jews to Israel, among other activities. Read more about Holy Warriors Set Sights on Iran
WASHINGTON (IPS) - Neo-conservative hawks in and outside the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush had hoped that Israel would attack Syria during last summer’s Lebanon war, according to a newly published interview with a prominent neo-conservative whose spouse is a top Middle East adviser in Vice President Dick Cheney’s office. Meyrav Wurmser, who is herself the director of the Centre for Middle East Policy at the Hudson Institute here, reportedly told Yitzhak Benhorin of the Ynet website that a successful attack by Israel on Damascus would have dealt a mortal blow to the insurgency in Iraq. Read more about Neo-Cons Wanted Israel to Attack Syria
Palestinians don’t want fresh elections in the occupied territories, but a free vote for a truly national ruling body. The elections that all Palestinians are demanding today (the millions under occupation and the millions in the refugee camps outside) are for the Palestine National Council, the parliament in exile, which is the national body that represents all Palestinians. The Palestinian people have indeed already spoken: for elections to the Palestine National Council, for lifting the economic boycott of a democratically elected authority; for liberty and to independence. Read more about Under an iron fist
“For seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, Time’s Person of the Year for 2006 is you,” Time’s Lev Grossman wrote in the December 25, 2006 issue. Time magazine realizes sites like The Electronic Intifada, Electronic Iraq and Electronic Lebanon are among a new generation of people changing the landscape of journalism and the open debate of ideas. Read more about Among TIME's Person of the Year
I first visited Gaza in 1968 and have returned more two dozen times, most recently in April 2002. Since then, Israeli authorities have prevented our visiting Gaza. I was eager to return, to renew friendships and see for myself the changes that have taken place. I also wanted to convey my support for those courageous people who continue to work for human rights, democracy and a political resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They persist despite formidable obstacles and being cut off from visitors. It is imperative, for them as well as for us, that those suffering such extreme isolation not be forgotten and that their voices still be heard. Read more about Pariah State: Meeting with the Prime Minister of Palestine
On 17 December 2006, EI co-founder and One Country author Ali Abunimah appeared on C-Span2’s Book TV. In his book, One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli - Palestinian Impasse, author Ali Abunimah puts forth a proposal to end conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. He believes that the only hope for peace is to move from calls for partitioning toward a one-state solution. Mr. Abunimah discusses the book with Ron Kampeas, Washington bureau chief for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Read more about EI's Ali Abunimah discusses "One Country" on C-SPAN2's "Book TV"