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Students face challenges as new school year begins in Gaza and the West Bank


Ongoing violence in the West Bank and Gaza is threatening to disrupt the new school term as more than 1.6 million children prepare to return to classes. The situation is compounded by poverty; teachers haven’t been paid for six months and are threatening to strike while many families can’t afford the cost of fees or uniforms. UNICEF, the Ministry of Education and other partners are launching a Back to School campaign with aid for those most vulnerable. UNICEF’s Dan Rohrmann, says school is a vital lifeline to these children who are living in daily fear and danger – 39 were killed in July alone. 

UN aid chief urges action to stem suffering in Occupied Palestinian Territories


Painting a grim picture of the current social climate in the Middle East, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator today urged donors meeting in Stockholm to address the severe suffering of Palestinians living under occupation. Mr. Egeland, reflecting on more than two decades of travel to the region, said he had never felt such a sense of disillusionment, despair and hatred as on his last mission there in July. Calling the situation in Gaza severe, he said a cessation of hostilities and the release of the captured Israeli soldiers were needed. The humanitarian community also needed better access to Gaza, he added. 

Cinema Lebanon in Amsterdam


With the media saturation of the recent war between Israel and Hizbullah still fresh, and the shaky promise of a brittle ceasefire, Lebanon once again risks to fall prey to stereotyping. In defiance of the war and in solidarity with the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon, De Balie organises an evening of films, documentaries and videos by Lebanese makers, in collaboration with the Lebanese production house and film festivalNe a Beyrouth. The selection of films are testimony to the resistance of Lebanese artists to a historical and cultural amnesia, and show that being rooted in contemporary Lebanon means is as much a commemoration of an untold past, as it is a reflection on and of the present. 

Oxfam calls on world leaders to lift Palestinian aid freeze at Stockholm conference


International agency Oxfam is calling on donor governments, meeting in Stockholm Friday, to resume international aid to the Palestinian Authority in order to address the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian Territories. Oxfam believes that the Palestinian Authority stands to lose more than $1 billion following the suspension of aid earlier this year and Israel withholding Palestinian tax revenue, according to UN and World Bank estimates. Oxfam says that Palestinians are being pushed into deep poverty as a result. Hundreds of thousands of people have been left without an income. Rubbish is piling in the streets, sewage is overflowing. 

Palestinian Health Ministry in financial crisis, World Health Organization warns


The Palestinian Health Ministry is facing a growing financial crisis as well as a humanitarian crisis, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned ahead of the Stockholm donor conference on the humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The health component of the revised UN humanitarian appeal for the territory is critically underfunded despite growing humanitarian needs, especially in Gaza. The situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been deteriorating due to a severe funding crisis and the recent escalation of violence, on top of five years of the Intifada. Israel’s actions have had an extremely negative impact on the health of the Palestinian people. 

UK Headquarters of Israeli Company Blockaded to Gain Ruling on Legality of Trading with Settlements


Activists arrived at the UK headquarters of Carmel-Agrexco before sunrise on Wednesday morning for a day of uncompromising protest. The purpose underlying the protest was clear: to expose an Israeli company that is engaging in continuous unlawful and brutal activity by importing fresh produce originating from illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The method of protest chosen by the activists was to construct two large metal triangular cages at each entrance. Protestors secured their necks to the cages by using bicycle D-Locks for over 11 hours with several supporters close at hand. 

"The world just sat by": Interview with Dahr Jamail


Dahr Jamail is an award-winning, independent journalist who reported live from Baghdad for eight months in 2003. He is considered one of the best sources on the war in Iraq. Recently, he returned to to the Middle East, traveling to Syria. While in Damascus, the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah began. Jamail left immediately for Beirut and sent daily dispatches from his Iraq-dispatches website. Christopher Brown received the chance to speak to Jamail about what he saw during this 34-day conflict in the Middle East. 

Rooftop protest against arms dealers


23 August 2006 - Protesters are currently occupying the roof of an arms manufacturer who supply weapons to the Israeli army used in the bombing of Gaza and Lebanon. In the early hours of Wednesday morning (today) protesters climbed 40 feet onto the roof of EDO MBM on Home Farm Road, Brighton. Activists aim to draw attention to the production of weaponry used in war crimes. Sarah Johnson, press spokeswoman for Smash EDO, said “Over a thousand civilians have died as a result of Israel’s bombing of Lebanon. Israel continues to kill civilians in the West Bank and Gaza with weaponry armed with components made in Brighton.” 

Half-yearly report on house demolitions in Jerusalem


During the first half of the year 2006, 47 structures were demolished in East Jerusalem by the Municipality of Jerusalem and/or the Ministry of Interior. There were 16 pirate gas stations included in that statistic, therefore a net total of 31 residential structures was demolished. Relative to preceding years, this represents a decline in the number of home demolitions in Jerusalem. Were this decline to continue proportionately for the remainder of the year, the annual number would be approx. 70 structures, i.e. 20 less than in 2005. 

The correct moral position for Lebanon


The Lebanese people should not reject Hizballah, as their arms protect the country’s sovereignty, dignity, and rights. Hizballah is not the reason Israel has attempted to destroy Lebanon. Israel has attacked Lebanon, and has been an aggressor against many other Arab peoples, because this is the only way it can survive. It has used violence against Lebanon because it wants the people as a subjugated neighbor with no power and no ability to take any moral stand. Israel, along with the United States, would like the Lebanese people, and other Arabs alike, to be followers and consumers while Israel makes no retribution for the crimes it has committed against them or against the other 10 percent of the Lebanese population — the Palestinians who reside in camps.