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UN denies media reports of Israeli incursion


The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon today denied media reports claiming that the Israeli military forces recently carried out an incursion over the Blue Line separating the two countries. “There was no violation of the Blue Line,” UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Commander Major-General Alain Pellegrini said in a statement. “Members of the Israel Defence Forces were carrying out regular maintenance work on the technical fence near the village of Ayta Chaab. Throughout their maintenance work, they remained south of the Blue Line,” he added. 

Israel Looking for an Extreme Makeover


OAKLAND, California (IPS) - It hasn’t been the easiest year for Israel. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s strongly criticised Israel in his new bestselling book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, and a recent international consumer survey found that Israel has the worst “brand name” of any country in the world. Finally, The Sunday Times of London reported this week that the Israeli Air Force may be preparing to use low grade, tactical nuclear weapons to strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities. So perhaps it is not surprising that Israel — whose international image is of a country in continuous conflict — would engage in a serious long-term effort to reshape global perceptions of itself. 

Hard limits and long-observed taboos


With his new book, former President Jimmy Carter has been vilified by the pro-Israel lobbying industry in the United States with the frequent intimation that he is anti-Semitic. Yet even this furor demonstrates the hard limits which the debate still faces. In defending himself against such attacks, Carter has been careful to stress that he is only talking about the situation inside the territories occupied in 1967, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. “I know that Israel is a wonderful democracy with equal treatment of all citizens whether Arab or Jew. And so I very carefully avoided talking about anything inside Israel,” he said. 

Israel destroys Negev Bedouin village for second time


On Tuesday, January 9th, Israeli forces entered the Bedouin village of Twail Abu Jarwal in the Northern Negev for the fifth time, in order to demolish it. Large police forces, with the aid of special-task forces and with the aerial help of a helicopter and two bulldozers, demolished the entire village. Twenty-one homes, shacks, brick rooms, and tents were destroyed. During the last battle Israel waged against the residents of this village, on 6 December 2006, Israeli forces demolished 17 homes - more than half the village. But the villagers managed to rebuild roofs over their heads to protect them from the harsh Negev winter weather. 

Sole protester greets otherwise unchallenged Lieberman


Every once in a while I end up at precisely the right spot at precisely the right time. Sunday 10 December 2006 was one such instance. I raced over that morning to the Ritz-Carlton at 22nd and M Street in Washington, DC with the hope that Member of Knesset Avigdor Lieberman was indeed speaking at 8:30 am. I parked, charged up the stairs, and then calmly walked in. I was sporting my wedding suit and a classy yellow tie. Hair cut short. Other than the touch long beard and some scuffs on my black dress shoes, I very much looked as though I belonged. And, in fact, it’s a shame I was not invited to the Saban Forum 2006 on “America and Israel: Confronting a Middle East in Turmoil.” 

Videotaped Hebron settler violence just the tip of the iceberg


The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem calls on Israeli authorities not to make the settler, Yifat Alkoby a scapegoat for law enforcement failures in the West Bank. Alkoby was summoned for questioning following the extensive airing of a B’Tselem video in which she is seen assaulting and swearing at women and girls from the Abu-‘Ayesha family, in Tel Rumeida, Hebron. The incident, as grave as it is, is only the tip of the iceberg of the daily violence committed by Hebron settlers, against their Palestinian neighbors, under the protection of the army. 

Palestine 2007: Genocide in Gaza, Ethnic Cleansing in the West Bank


On this stage, not so long ago,I claimed that Israel is conducting genocidal policies in the Gaza Strip. I hesitated a lot before using this very charged term and yet decided to adopt it. Indeed, the responses I received, including from some leading human rights activists, indicated a certain unease over the usage of such a term. I was inclined to rethink the term for a while, but came back to employing it today with even stronger conviction: it is the only appropriate way to describe what the Israeli army is doing in the Gaza Strip. 

The "Normal" Violence of Everyday Life in Palestine


I arrived from the east on a busy road and we stopped at an intersection, one block from the city-center. There was a large amount of traffic at this intersection and horns were blaring. I gradually became aware of an increasing level of intensity and anxiety. I was on the right side of the bus, looking out of the window and I noticed several women running frantically into a store. It dawned on me that something was wrong. I looked out the windows on the other side and saw two Israeli armored jeeps immediately beside my bus. Just as I registered this, guns began going off, firing short quieter bullets in quick succession and then huge, enormous bangs. 

The latest Carandiru: Somalia and Palestine


Somalia, like Palestine, is part of the global Carandiru. For those not familiar, Carandiru was Latin America’s largest and most notorious prison complex. In 1992, Brazilian military police stormed the Carandiru facility of Casa de Deten, massacring 111 defenseless inmates. Preceding this awful incident was an increasingly shameful public consciousness over the conditions of Carandiru: HIV transmission and drug abuse were rampant; overcrowding produced nightmarish sanitation problems. The military police were not murdering human beings, they were cleansing the public conscience. 

Dennis Ross' curious maps problem

Dennis Ross’s [“Don’t Play With Maps,” 9 January 2007, The New York Times] concern over President Carter’s use of maps in Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid is curious. The first of the maps on page 148 does indeed resemble an Israeli map — one presented at Eilat in May 2000. The Palestinians rejected it categorically then. Perhaps it was also presented in July 2000 at Camp David. That Israel should have presented it at all shows audacity — and little Israeli interest in peace. That it might have been presented again boggles the mind.