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Israeli forces assassinate three Palestinians


Israeli forces committed two extra-judicial executions in less than 8 hours, leaving two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip dead and a third dead in the West Bank. This raises the total number of extra-judicial executions committed by IOF in the past two days to 4, killing 8 Palestinians. On Monday, Israeli forces fired an artillery shell at a civilian car in the Gaza Strip, killing two Palestinians. In the West Bank, an Israeli undercover unit moved into Nablus and surrounded a building in the Rafidya neighbourhood. Israeli forces opened fire on the building. When the Israeli forces withdrew, Palestinian medical personnel evacuated a body from the building. 

World Bank Chief Backs Continued Palestinian Aid


Paul Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank, said yesterday that the Bank should continue delivering aid to the West Bank and Gaza in spite of last week’s electoral victory for Hamas, reports The Financial Times. The Bank chairs the committee of donors for the West Bank and Gaza, which disburses about $1bn a year. The EU, which is the largest single donor, recently suspended some of the aid that was funneled directly into the budget of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in protest at financial mismanagement. The PA’s fiscal situation has become increasingly unsustainable mainly as a result of uncontained government consumption, in particular a rapidly increasing public sector wage bill, expanding social transfer schemes and rising “net lending”. 

EI on PBS's "Newshour with Jim Lehrer"


From Indonesia to India to Iraq, protests in the Muslim world grew wider and more violent over the weekend, with rioters torching European embassies in two Mideast capitals. The protests were ignited last week by a months-old series of cartoons in a Danish newspaper that caricatured the Prophet Muhammad. Many other European newspapers republished the cartoons in a show of solidarity with the Danish paper. Many Muslims consider any depiction of the prophet blasphemous. Fouad Ajami, director of Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, and EI’s Ali Abunimah were invited to give their opinions on the issue. 

Reinventing Lifta (2/2)


The Jewish state uses Jerusalem to define itself in the ever expanding city. All buildings, including new ones, have to be made of stone in order to show the eternal Jewish presence, in this process Jerusalem’s Palestinian past is being appropriated. Malkit Shoshan, director of FAST (the Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory), and Eitan Bronstein, director of Zochrot, examine the ways in which planning is being used to create this fantasy heritage for Israel, at the expense of Palestinian culture. The village of Lifta, which lies just outside Jerusalem, has been abandoned since the Israeli army drove out the last of its Palestinian inhabitants in 1948. 

Second attack in 24 hours: Israel assassinates two Palestinians in Gaza


On Sunday evening, 5 February 2006, Israeli Occupation Forces extra-judicially executed two members of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, in Gaza City. This attack came less than 24 hours after a similar attack, also in Gaza City, which left 3 members of the Fatah movement dead. This escalation in violence represents a confirmation of the Israeli official statement vowing to continue to search for and target activists of Palestinian factions. on Sunday, 5 February 2006, IOF aircrafts launched two missiles at two civilian cars that were traveling near the Doula building in the densely populated al-Zaytoun neighborhood in the southeast of Gaza City. 

Arab music tour to benefit music education in Palestine


The ensemble Playing lively arrangements based on classical themes, four Palestinian musicians will perform authentic instrumental Arab music in the U.S. for the first time, from February 14-24. Proceeds of the American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) sponsored concert tour will support the Palestine Youth Orchestra of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music. Touring New York, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, the four Palestinian members of this unique Ensemble are faculty of The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music where both Arab and western music is taught to 550 Palestinian students of elementary through high school age annually, even under the difficult conditions of Palestine. 

Aid cuts will hit Palestinians


The Middle East Quartet said on Monday that a new Hamas-led government must commit to non-violence, recognise Israel and accept current peace agreements, or it could lose the financial support it receives from the international community. Christian Aid is deeply concerned about the potentially crippling effect on Palestinian household economies if this aid was cut. Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories is the main cause of Palestinian poverty. While aid is a necessary lifeline for the Palestinians, it can only address the symptoms of the occupation rather than bring about a lasting solution to poverty. 

Reinventing Lifta (1/2)


The Jewish state uses Jerusalem to define itself in the ever expanding city. All buildings, including new ones, have to be made of stone in order to show the eternal Jewish presence, in this process Jerusalem’s Palestinian past is being appropriated. Malkit Shoshan, director of FAST (the Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory), and Eitan Bronstein, director of Zochrot, examine the ways in which planning is being used to create this fantasy heritage for Israel, at the expense of Palestinian culture. The village of Lifta, which lies just outside Jerusalem, has been abandoned since the Israeli army drove out the last of its Palestinian inhabitants in 1948. 

Israeli air attack in Gaza kills three Palestinians


On Sunday morning, 5 February 2006, Israeli forces extra-judicially executed three members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of the Fatah movement. Israeli aircrafts attacked a car, in which two of the victims were traveling towards the hospital. They were evacuating a person who had been wounded, when Israeli aircrafts attacked a sports club in the densely populated Tal al-Hawa neighborhood in the south of Gaza City. The club was totally destroyed and one of its members, 30-year-old Hani Tal’at al-Qayed, was seriously wounded. When two members of the club offered to help and evacuate Qayed, their car was hit by a missile launched from an Israeli aircraft. The three men were immediately killed. 

The Third Intifada


Welcome to the third Palestinian intifada. The first was with stones, the second a mix between non-violent and more violent means, and this one via a ballot box. With Hamas’ landslide victory in the Palestinian elections breaking years of political stagnation, we are witnessing, right before our eyes, a chapter of history being made. In an attempt to make sense of the rapidly moving situation following the elections, I pose the following for consideration. Three ironies, three potential failures and three challenges. 

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