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Israeli troops attack Jericho prison

Israeli troops have stormed into the Palestinian jail in Jericho in a bid to arrest or assassinate Ahmed Sa’adat, secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and a number of other prisoners. After calling on guards to hand over prisoner Ahmed Saadat, the troops opened fire with small arms and stun grenades. There are reports that two Palestinians have been killed. Witnesses at the jail in Jericho say US and British monitors stationed there withdrew when Israeli troops arrived. 

UN Special Rapporteur: "Israeli settlers 'terrorize' Palestinians"

In a report to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, Special Rapporteur John Dugard said Israel and the Palestinians had failed to adhere to the “road map” plan drawn up three years ago by the United States, Russia, the United Nations and European Union. He said the plan is hopelessly out of date and needs to be revamped. The report, to be discussed by the UN commission in Geneva next week, said “much more needs to be done by Israel” to meet its human rights obligations. 

Israeli and Palestinian voices on the US op-ed pages

In the US media, Palestinians generally aren’t allowed to speak for themselves or to articulate their historical narrative. Israelis, however, are permitted to speak, to explain the Israeli experience and even to explain about Palestinians. As a result, the Israeli story is known in the US while Palestinians are dehumanized. This report exhaustively details the extent to which Palestinian voices have been silenced in the op-ed pages of major US newspapers for the past five years. This report compares the number of opinion pieces published by Israeli writers with those published by Palestinian writers between September 29, 2000, and December 31, 2005, in the op-ed pages of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post, the five US newspapers with the greatest circulation. 

Breaking Oslo's Unmagical Spell

At a time in which the Palestinian people are desperately lost between the harsh reality of occupation and the uncertainty of a changing internal political landscape, a sober assessment and restructuring of the foundations of the so-called “peace process” may be our best attempt at reversing, or at least containing, the damage that has beset the Palestinian cause since the (evident) end of the first Palestinian Intifada (uprising) in 1993. Given the complete failure of the Oslo Agreement, and in light of the new dynamics governing the current regional and global political stages, what we desperately need is a fully restructured framework for negotiations. 

Building an edifice on blackmail

Richard Rogers, the noted British architect, was recently summoned to the offices of the Empire State Development Corp. to explain his connection to a group called Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine which has called for a boycott of Israel’s construction industry to protest the apartheid wall. Empire State is overseeing the redesign of New York’s $1.7-billion Javits Convention Center, and Rogers is the architect on the job. EI contributor Saree Makdisi explains how pro-Israel groups, enraged at Rogers’ association with the architects’ group used their political clout to force Rogers into obsequious professions of loyalty to Israel. 

Sane Britain disappears as Neocons set agenda

Until recently liberal Europeans were keen to distance themselves, at least officially, from the ideological excesses of the current American administration. They argued that the neo-conservative enthusiasm for the “war on terror” — and its underpinning ideology of “a clash of civilisations” — did not fit with Europe’s painful recent experiences of world wars and the dismantling of its colonial outposts around the globe, writes EI contributor Jonathan Cook. But there is every sign that the public dissociation is coming to a very rapid end. As criticism of Israel is increasingly not tolerated, it is becoming normal to see Muslims as a civilizational threat. 

Britain secretly gave Israel plutonium for atom bombs, BBC investigation reveals

Britain secretly supplied Israel with plutonium during the 1960s, despite a warning from British intelligence that the material could help Israel get the atom bomb. Documents obtained by the BBC program Newsnight show the decision to sell plutonium to Israel in 1966 was blocked by officials in both the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office who said “It is [government] policy not to do anything which would assist Israel in the production of nuclear weapons”. But it was forced through by a civil servant in the Ministry of Technology, Michael Michaels, whose full name was Michael Israel Michaels. 

'Annan's Story: Freedom stolen at thirteen

One day before Valentine’s Day, ‘Annan’s father went to his 13-year-old son’s school in Beitunia, Ramallah, and only found his oldest boy’s jacket and backpack on the school grounds. Along with four other boys ranging from the ages of 11 to 14, ‘Annan had been arrested by Israeli soldiers who gave him a beating that was evidenced in the bruises seen by his parents when they were finally able to see him only briefly during ‘Annan’s 15-minute court hearing two days later. He told them that the soldiers beat him with their fists and feet, as well as the butts of their guns. 

World Bank approves $42 million to Palestinian Authority to sustain public services for Palestinian people

The World Bank approved a $42 million grant to assist the Palestinian Authority (PA) meet its immediate financing needs in the wake of a severe fiscal crisis to avoid suspension of vital basic services to the Palestinian population. The grant will be made through a multi-donor trust fund—the Public Financial Management Reform Trust Fund—launched in 2004, with support from international donors, to channel budgetary aid to the PA against progress in financial reforms. The EC, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and the UK contributed to the current grant. The West Bank and Gaza continue to suffer from a debilitating economic recession brought on by restriction on movement of goods and people since September 2000. 

Photostory: Israeli extremists' attack on Nazareth's most famous Christian church goes virtually unreported

Thousands of Nazarenes rushed to the Basilica of the Annunciation in the early evening of Friday March 3, as rumours swept the city that their church was under attack. For several minutes the congregation huddled together in fear of their lives before a priest and several churchgoers managed to overpower a grey-bearded man in jeans, 44-year-old Haim Habibi, an Israeli Jew accompanied by his wife, Violet, and the couple’s 20-year-old daughter Odelia. Almost from the outset the Israeli media downplayed the significance of the attack, saying only “firecrackers” had been set off by Habibi, who was described - without evidence - as being mentally disturbed. As a result, most of the world’s media ignored the event entirely.