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Balata refugee camp under attack


The weekly reports of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights tell the frightening story of the Israeli occupation In its latest report of the week from 16 till 22 February 2006 it is mentioned that Balata refugee camp was invaded. Israeli troops “willfully killed two Palestinian children in Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus.” Most of the over thirty incursions took pace in Nablus and the neighbouring Balata refugee camp, killing three Palestinians, wounding thirty six civilians and arresting at least thirteen people. A number of houses were transformed into military sites. Adri Nieuwhof and Walid Abdelhadi researched the story behind the figures of the weekly report on the ground. 

UN agency aiding Palestinians says Israeli forces left behind damage in schools


The main United Nations agency helping Palestinian refugees reported today that Israeli forces left significant damage behind after occupying two schools in the Balata refugee camp in the West Bank town of Nablus earlier this week. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said it had compiled a list of damages, including broken doors and windows as well as waste materials left in the schools. Agency officials plan to discuss the issue with the Israeli Foreign Ministry. UNRWA reported on Monday that Israeli forces had occupied two schools it runs in the camps and blocked a health clinic, which prevented patients or staff from leaving the building. 

Photostory: Freedom Theatre in Jenin aims to plant seeds of dignity


The spirit of resistance has not been beaten out of Jenin, was the message at the opening of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin refugee camp last weekend. Calls by speakers for the Palestinians to stand firm despite Israeli and American pressure resonated with the crowd, men on one side of the hall and women and children on the other. On one of the walls of the theatre hangs a series of photographs of the original theatre created by the late Arna Mer Khamis. Witnessing the devastating affects of the first intifada on children, Arna created a series of creative programmes to give beleaguered Palestinian children a means of expressing themselves. 

Palestinian death toll from Israeli assault rises in Balata refugee camp


Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) continued their military operations in Balata refugee camp and the eastern part of Nablus for the 5th consecutive day. On Thursday, February 23, Israeli forces killed five Palestinians, including three in an extra-judicial assassination. Israeli troops with thirty military vehicles resumed military operations in Balata refugee camp and the eastern part of Nablus. Helicopter gunships provided aerial support for Israeli ground forces. Israeli troops embarked on a house-to-house search in the area. Israeli troops shot at Palestinian youth and targeted medical personnel, fired at an ambulance. 

Gunmen storm the Rafah Governorate and the Khan Yunis Municipality


A group of twenty gunmen from the “Al-Yasir Brigades”, affiliated with Fatah, stormed the Rafah Governorate building in protest to the appointment of Zuhdi El-Qedra as the new governor of Rafah. El-Qedra, who is from Khan Yunis, was appointed to succeed Majied El-Agha, who was elected as a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council for the Khan Yunis district and represents Fatah. The gunmen requested Mahmoud Abbas to reconsider the appointment. Another armed group affiliated with Fatah stormed the Khan Yunis municipality building. This took place after the municipality had refused to provide the group with a bulldozer to level an area of land near the old Khan Yunis municipality butcher house, which the group intends to take over and turn into an outpost. 

As crises mount, EU's Solana sky high on travel perks


EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana marked a breakthrough for his diplomatic efforts in the Middle East when he achieved Gold status in the British Airways Executive Club, a popular frequent flyer, program on Thursday, reports BNN Europe correspondent Agathe de Pauwer. As EU policy failures in the Middle East mount, Solana is racking up massive amounts of travel perks. A back-slapping chum of Israel’s leaders, Solana is also new member of the El Al frequent flyer program. “As Middle East tension mounts,” a giddy Solana said, “there is nothing to relieve the stress like a shiatswe massage and a facial scrub before a flight.” 

Punishing Hamas is punishing the Palestinian people


Israel claims, as it did years ago with the PLO, that it will not negotiate with anyone who does not recognize its “right to exist”. But for the past five years, writes EI contributor Hasan Abu Nimah, the Fatah-led PA, which recognizes Israel and opposes armed struggle has begged Israel for negotiations to no avail. The implementation of the two-state solution has not been blocked by Hamas or its violence, or its reluctance to recognize signed agreements. The main obstacle is Israel’s placement of 400,000 settlers throughout the West Bank in a manner calculated to preclude an Israeli withdrawal. It’s time for the international community to recognize this and change its hypocritical approach. 

Israeli forces launched military attack on Nablus


The city of Nablus and Balata refugee camp have been subject to a large-scale Israeli military operation for the past three days. Three Palestinians, including 2 children, have already been killed during these operations. Another 30 have been injured, some seriously. Severe restrictions on the movement of civilians have also been imposed. On Sunday, February 19th, Israeli forces, supported by armoured vehicles and helicopter gunships, moved into the city of Nablus and the nearby Balata refugee camp. Israeli forces went from house to house in the refugee camp. Over the course of the following two days, Israeli forces sent reinforcements into the city. 

"This House believes that Zionism is a danger to the Jewish people"


In a full chamber, the Cambridge Union last Thursday hosted the motion ‘This House believes that Zionism is a danger to the Jewish people”, an event labelled a “Jewish blood sport” by participant Ned Temko. The motion, which was carried by a small margin, was a good chance for Zionist apologists and their critics to showcase the best of their arguments. Brian Klug, speaking in favour of the motion alongside Israeli journalist Daphna Baram and Chair of Jews for Justice for Palestinians Richard Kuper, opened the proceedings. One of the recurrent themes of the evening were the repeated attempts to specify what this debate was not, with Klug pointing out that specific historical narratives, or potential future solutions, were not on the agenda. 

First Museum-quality Exhibition of Contemporary Palestinian Art to open in New York City on March 14th, 2006


Made in Palestine is the first museum-quality exhibition devoted to the contemporary art of Palestine to be held in the United States. It is a survey of work spanning three generations of Palestinian artists who live in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, parts of Israel, Syria, Jordan, and the United States. “A rare opportunity to view contemporary art from Palestine… What these artists add to our minds’ images of destruction and despair from this troubled region is an underlying sense of consciousness,strength and hope, both in themselves and their people.” - ArtvsHouston Gallery Review 

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