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Patient died when soldiers blocked the direct route to hospital


The following is testimony given by ‘Adnan a-Shtiyeh, a taxi driver, on 13 December 2006 to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem: I am a taxi driver. I run the route between our village and Nablus. Yesterday (Tuesday, 12 December), around 1:30 P.M., I got to the area known as al-Muhalal, about one kilometer from Nablus. There I encountered about eight army jeeps and an Israeli bulldozer. They were parked in the middle of the road, and nobody could pass. Before dawn, an explosive charge laid by activists had blown up when an army jeep passed. 

This is what democracy looks like


For the past few months the biggest issue for people in Gaza has become the security situation caused by the the clashes between Hamas and some ‘leading lights’ in the decrepit Fateh party. People felt unsafe to leave their home. One friend lives near a hot spot — her house has bullet holes through it. Her children are so afraid that even when no fighting is happening they are crawling from room to room. In the centre of Gaza City, in the square of the Unknown Soldier a movement has sprung up. Partially out of desperation, partially out of a desire to end the violent internal clashes and provide some protection for Palestinian civilians. 

Ten-year-old girl brain dead after border police shooting


Abir Aramin, ten years old, who was wounded by an Israeli border policeman Tuesday the 16th, was announced brain dead this morning at the Haddasa Ein Karem hospital and is being examined by a committee to determine whether or not to unplug her from life support machines. Bassam Aramin, the girl’s father, is a member of Combatants for Peace, the Israeli-Palestinian peace organisation. Israeli and international supporters have gathered at the girls school in Anata to express their solidarity and protect the traumatised students from the ongoing threat of the Israeli border police. 

Ministry of Education must respect multiplicity, freedom and human rights


Al Mezan has expressed concern to the Minister of Education regarding the type of questions directed to second-year secondary students in the 2006-2007 Arabic exam, in Gaza district, which included writing a letter to His Excellency the Prime Minister: students were expected to express their solidarity with the Palestinian cabinet and their resistance against the cruel siege imposed upon our people. In this respect, Al Mezan emphasizes that students were faced with severe restrictions in their freedom of expression. In other words, students might adapt different or neutral opinions, especially at this time of severe party [division] within Palestinian society. 

Specialists warn of potential water shortage


Water specialists have warned that Lebanon will face a severe water shortage over the coming years unless an effective water management system is soon put in place. “Some say that there could be a serious deficit by 2010 to 2015,” said Fadi Comeir, director-general of hydro-electrical equipment in Lebanon’s Energy and Water Ministry. He added that the country might experience shortages even sooner than that. While Lebanon actually has an abundance of rainfall and underground water, for years it has struggled to distribute this water and prevent it becoming contaminated in the earth. 

Changes to denial of entry policy fail to resolve crisis


A notice recently issued by the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (CoGAT), states changes in Israel’s policy of denying entry to foreign nationals traveling into the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The notice, delivered to chief Palestinian negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erakat on December 28, 2006, states that entry of foreign nationals “will be permitted through means of the military commander’s consent.” The notice further explains that restricted foreign nationals will be ‘eligible’ to apply for temporary entry into the oPt as well as periodic visa renewals. It outlines the procedures for processing these applications. 

Palestinian Detainee Dies in Israeli Prison


On Tuesday, 16 January 2007, Jamal Hasan ‘Abdullah al-Sarahin, 37, from Beit Oula village north of Hebron, a father of a child, died in the Negev Prison (Ansar 3) inside Israel. PCHR is concerned that he might have died as a result medical negligence and delay in offering him medical treatment. Al-Sarahin was suffering from a blood disease. His health condition deteriorated approximately a week ago, but the administration of the prison procrastinated his transfer to the hospital. On Tuesday morning, his health condition further deteriorated. 

Tomatoes, Gas, Coffee and their Stories


Every single object carries significance that goes far beyond those things we would normally associate with them. Here, in occupied Palestine, life is hard. Objects tell stories just like the people do: constant, beating stories. Like fierce monsoons, they pelt at you, daring you to challenge their significance. And yet like individual raindrops in a monsoon, each story is but one of millions. Like raindrops, each story takes a slightly different shape, but they all carry the same “Made in Israel” pollutants. Life here in occupied Palestine is hard. Objects carry significance here that a visitor simply cannot imagine. 

Offering an Alternative Vision: "One Country" Reviewed


For years the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been mired by a series of failed peace negotiation, enmeshing Israeli Jews and Palestinians in a seemingly intractable struggle. Even 59 years after the creation of the state of Israel the quest for Jewish security has not been realized, while Palestinians – those dispossessed in 1948, 1967, and the 3.8 million living under Israeli occupation – have not seen a just resolution to a conflict that has marred their history and shaped their identity. The international community, including many Israeli and Palestinians, still subscribe to the notion that the two-state solution is the only way to settle the conflict. 

People's Revolt in Lebanon


Ever since Hezbollah and its allies began an open-ended protest against the US-backed government on December 1, Beirut’s gilded downtown—built for wealthy Lebanese and foreign tourists—has become more authentically Lebanese. Where Persian Gulf sheiks once ate sushi, families now sit in abandoned parking lots, having impromptu picnics, the smell of kebabs cooked over coals wafting through the air. Young men lounge on plastic chairs, smoking apple-scented water pipes, and occasionally break out into debke, the Lebanese national dance.