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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
30 September 2004
Division for Palestinian Rights

Chronological Review of Events Relating to the
Question of Palestine

MONTHLY MEDIA MONITORING REVIEW

September 2004

1

IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Moshe Yaalon told the Knesset that Israel would “take care of those who support terror. That is those in the PA, the Hezbollah organization in Lebanon, in the terrorist command in Damascus.” A senior Israeli Government source said on conditions of anonymity: “There will be a continuation of our targeted operations against the heads of Hamas. There will be no geographical barrier.” (AFP, Ha’aretz)

Prime Minister Sharon's spokesman, Ra’anan Gissin, said: “Now we will expedite the building of the fence there [in the south of the West Bank]. We will build the fence where it provides the best protection, not where the world decides.” (AFP)

Al-Jazeera TVquoted Gen. Jibril Rajoub, President Arafat’s national security adviser, as saying that the scheduled visit by Foreign Minister of Egypt Ahmed Abul Gheit and Intelligence Service Chief Omar Suleiman had been postponed in view of the recent developments in Israel. (Al-Jazeera)

All PLC open sessions would be suspended between 7 September and 7 October 2004, pending PA President Arafat's approval of a series of laws passed months and even years ago, PLC Speaker Rawhi Fattouh told reporters. (DPA)

Israeli authorities barred UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen from leaving the Gaza Strip via the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing to perform his duties in the West Bank. “It is unheard of for the executive head of a UN agency to have his freedom of movement flagrantly curtailed by a Member State of the UN in this way,” UNRWA said in a press release. The agency officially protested to the Israeli Government over the incident. (UNRWA press release HQ/G/24/2004)

Approximately 1.2 million Palestinian children returned to school, with many children from the West Bank going through gates and checkpoints to get to the other side of the separation wall. PA Education Ministry spokesman said that nearly 3,700 Palestinian students crossed the wall each day, with some taking about an hour to reach a school a mile away. “We expect that the problem will continue to deteriorate as the barrier is built,” he said. The Education Ministry said that Israeli restrictions have caused an education crisis. More than 95,000 Paletinian students go to school in the afternoon to alleviate the overcrowding. (AP)

At least seven Palestinians were wounded and three buildings and a mosque were destroyed as Israeli forces conducted an operation in the Khan Younis refugee camp. Witnesses said scores of Israelis tanks and APCs, backed by helicopters, raided the camp and the Al-Namsawi neighbourhood. After midnight, troops ordered residents of the apartments, via loudspeakers, to leave their homes. Israeli forces blew up two large apartment blocks, leaving some 300 Palestinians homeless. A third building, the home of the Hamed family, went up in flames after being struck by an Israeli missile. Thirteen other houses were partially damaged. Two IDF soldiers were wounded in the operation. PA Negotiations Affairs Minister Saeb Erakat said, “We strongly condemn the Israeli aggression … against our people in Khan Younis”, adding that it would escalate violence. (Albawaba.com, BBC, Ha’aretz, Ma’ariv, Reuters, www.ipc.gov.ps)

2

Four Palestinians were killed during an Israeli incursion in the central Gaza Strip. Shadi Murab, 19, was shot dead by army gunfire that also left some 40 people wounded. Earlier, Ahmed Abu Shawish, 19, and Mohammed Abu Mousabbeh, 15, were mortally wounded when soldiers opened fire to disperse a group of youths throwing stones in the town of Deir Al-Balah. Mohammed Barakeh, 19, was killed earlier under similar circumstances. (AFP)

Thousands of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons ended an 18-day hunger strike, with representatives saying that Israel had agreed to meet certain demands for improving their conditions. Head of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Association, Issa Karake, said Israeli authorities had agreed to an end to strip searches, to allow prisoners to speak to their families over the phone, and to remove glass barriers between prisoners and visitors. Israeli authorities confirmed that the strike was winding down, but denied giving in to any Palestinian demands, saying that the strike had ended without any negotiations and adding that humanitarian concerns unrelated to prison security and the security of Israel would be considered in the future. The last group, approximately 600 prisoners at the Eshel and Ohalei Kadar prisons, finished eating their first meal under medical supervision. About 4,000 prisoners had participated in the strike. (Albawaba.com, AP, DPA)

The IDF discovered a tunnel north of the “Kfar Darom” settlement in the Gaza Strip. The cave-like tunnel was more than 10 metres deep. (Ha’aretz, Ma’ariv)

Hamas issued a statement denying that its political leadership based in Damascus was involved in any way in the suicide bombings in Beersheba on 31 August. Israel had claimed that the decision-making centre of Hamas was now located in Damascus. The Hamas statement said, “Hamas is totally denying these accusations, which are a new pretext to continue aggression on the Palestinian people.” An adviser to the Syrian Information Minister, Ahmed Haj Ali, said that Syria supported the Palestinian resistance, but that there were no Palestinian training centres for Palestinian militants in Syria. (DPA)

Disengagement preparations were being carried out by a commission of ministries’ directors-general headed by Director of the Justice Ministry Aharon Abramovitch. The Commission has been formulating all civil and legal aspects of the plan, including compensation to settlers or sanctions against those who would refuse to evacuate. The bill was being drafted by officials from the Ministries of Justice, Finance, Housing, Agriculture and Income Tax. Prime Minister Sharon had announced that the bill would be brought to the inner Cabinet by 14 September, the Cabinet by 24 October, and the Knesset by 3 November, when the bill entitled “Law for the implementation of the disengagement plan” would be brought for approval. (Ma’ariv)

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom intends to lobby EU Foreign Ministers to keep the issue of the wall out of the Security Council. (Ha’aretz)

The approval of the route of the wall in the southern Hebron Hills area was delayed due to a dispute between Prime Minister Sharon and the Justice Ministry. Mr. Sharon insisted that the route run deeper into the West Bank to include more settlements on the “Israeli side” of the wall. (Ha’aretz,www.ipc.gov.ps)

The IDF continued to search for Hamas members in connection with the suicide bombing in Beersheva, and arrested 14 Palestinians in Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus. (Ha’aretz)

Organizers of the “One Voice Campaign”, an NGO initiative seeking common ground between Palestinians and Israelis, said results of its opinion polls showed 72 per cent of Israelis and 76 per cent of Palestinians agreed that a viable Palestinian State should be established alongside Israel. A total of 59 per cent of Israelis and 76 per cent of Palestinians agreed that both sides should halt violence and that Israel should end its occupation, though the questionnaire did not spell out whether this would entail a withdrawal from all lands Israeli occupied since 1967. (AP)

3

Two Palestinians were killed near the Karni Crossing in the Gaza Strip. Israeli soldiers killed one as he was crawling toward the border fence near the crossing, Israeli media reported. Troops also opened fire as they saw two other Palestinians approaching the fence near Kibbutz Nahal Oz. A bomb carried by one of the Palestinians exploded, killing him, according to the Israeli media. (AFP, Albawaba.com, DPA, Ha’aretz)

Three Qassam rockets fired from the northern Gaza Strip landed in Sderot, Israel. Five people were treated for shock. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Popular Resistance Committees in a phone call to AFPin Gaza. (AFP, Ha’aretz)

Israeli helicopters launched a rocket attack against a building in the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza. The building, which had been targeted two months ago, was severely damaged in the attack. There was no immediate news of casualties. The IDF confirmed the attack. (AFP)

EU Foreign Ministers began a two-day meeting near Maastricht, the Netherlands. EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana urged the US to put pressure on Israel to cease all further settlement activity. “We are very concerned today with the question of settlements in the West Bank. We think it is contrary to the road map,” he said. (AFP, DPA)

4

Palestinian sources reported that a Palestinian civilian died of wounds sustained when Israeli forces raided Khan Yunis a week earlier. Wissam Abu Zarga, 19, died of gunshot wounds to the head. In Rafah, a youth was killed and another critically wounded when troops opened fire on houses at the Tel el-Sultan neighbourhood. Muneer Al-Sindy, 16, was killed after being shot with live bullets. Mu’een Al-Dahoody, 17, was wounded after being shot in the stomach. (AFP, Albawaba.com)

Israeli military bulldozers razed arable land in eastern Gaza City. Backed by several tanks, the bulldozers destroyed the land belonging to the Alloush family. (Albawaba.com)

In the West Bank, Israeli troops arrested three Palestinians. Israeli troops entered the al-Tayasseer village, near Jenin, launching a door-to-door search and arresting Ghassan Daraghmeh, 33, and Jamal Daraghmeh, 32. The third man was not identified. Witnesses also said that Israeli tanks entered the villages of Kora al-Shama’a, Wadi Nseis, al-Ma’sara, Marah Ma’la near Bethlehem and imposed a curfew on them. A curfew was also imposed on the villages of Hilat Adaher, Jaba, Sandakumieh and Asafa near Jenin. In the Fara refugee camp, a Palestinian was seriously wounded by Israeli gunfire. (AFP, Albawaba.com)

PA President Yasser Arafat and senior election officials announced that the PA aimed at holding simultaneous presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections next spring. “We are proud of our Palestinian democracy and it is an honour for me to register,” Mr. Arafat said, signalling the start of a voter registration drive in 1,000 offices across the Occupied Palestinian Territory. “It is the occupation that has stopped us from holding until now the elections that all Palestinians want.” According to Palestinian Central Elections Committee General-Secretary Ali Jarbawi, almost 1.8 million Palestinians were expected to register during the coming five weeks. He added that he did not expect registration to go smoothly due to daily curfews and Israeli military incursions. Israel did not allow any PA activity in East Jerusalem despite a previous agreement which allowed Palestinians living there to participate in the 1996 Palestinian elections. Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine supported plans to hold elections in 2005 and urged its followers to register. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

5

Israeli security officials confirmed that work had started on a 20-mile stretch of the separation wall south-west of Hebron. Two bulldozers began clearing an area in Beit Awwa, a Palestinian village close to Israel. Security guards and an army jeep surrounded the area. PA Negotiations Affairs Minister Saeb Erakat condemned the construction,saying: “This action totally destroys the road map.” (AFP, AP, DPA, Ha’aretz, IMEMC, Ma’ariv)

PA President Yasser Arafat invited UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Terje Rød-Larsen to meet with him at the muqataain Ramallah. A spokesman from Mr. Larsen’s office said: “Mr. Arafat telephoned Mr. Larsen to tell him that he was welcome to return to the region and that he was welcome in Ramallah for a friendly and conciliatory meeting. The Palestinian leader also underlined his support for the work that has been achieved by the United Nations to advance the peace process.” The Palestinian news agency WAFAconfirmed the phone conversation, adding that Mr. Arafat had asked Mr. Larsen to “send his kind regards to Kofi Annan and his efforts to support peace”. (AFP)

The Head of Israel’s High Court of Justice, Aharon Barak, called on the Israeli State Prosecution to end the IDF practice of sending Palestinian civilians to knock on doors of suspects at the beginning of an arrest raid. Mr. Barak criticized the practice known as “early warning procedure”, saying there was no way of certifying whether the Palestinian neighbours of suspects were actually assisting the soldiers on their own volition. (Ha’aretz)

The two-day “Palestinian-Arab Private Sector Forum”, sponsored by the Islamic Development Bank and ESCWA, ended at a Dead Sea resort, calling on Arab countries to “open their markets” to Palestinian goods. The appeal by the 100-member conference backed efforts to rehabilitate the Palestinian economy. “We appeal to Arab countries to open their markets to Palestinian products and facilitate the arrangement of Palestinian trade fairs as a gate for spurring trade exchanges” between the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the Arab world. The participants estimated the loss incurred by the Palestinian economy as a result of Israeli military operations since September 2000 to be about $7 billion. (DPA)

Israel asked donor countries to contribute funding to the Palestinian Authority for the construction of new roads and the upgrading of existing ones in the West Bank, according to diplomatic sources. The Palestinians and some donor nations believed that Israel was seeking to create two separate transportation systems in the West Bank – one for Israelis, especially settlers, and another for Palestinians. Diplomatic sources said that the financing of such projects might violate rulings of the ICJ, which had instructed States not to assist the barrier being built in the West Bank in any way. Others said such roads would help maintain and expand settlements, and by financing them, their countries would be helping Israeli activities that were illegal according to international law, and would contradict the road map. Israeli sources said it had not asked donors to finance the roads, but had attempted to respond to their request to ensure “transportational contiguity” for the Palestinians. (Ha’aretz, IMEMC)

6

An Egyptian delegation headed by Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit and the Chief of Egyptian Intelligence, Omar Suleiman, met with PA President Arafat and other Palestinian leaders at the muqataa. The focus of the meeting was on the internal Palestinian dialogue and a way to go forward with reforms in the PA. Another issue discussed was Egyptian-Palestinian coordination in connection with the Israeli disengagement plan. The Egyptian delegation insisted that the disengagement should be within the framework of the road map. (IMEMC)

Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz reiterated his threats to expel PA President Arafat at “the right time” and attack Damascus as well. He also said that the decision to expel Mr. Arafat taken by the emergency cabinet was still in effect, and declared that Israel’s intention was to have another Palestinian leadership to take over, and to lead talks with Israel. He also said the separation wall would be completed by mid-2005. He added that, based on the new routing proposal, Hebron would be outside the “Israeli side”, but would remain under the authority of IDF. (IMEMC, IPC)

7

Israeli helicopters attacked a Hamas community centre complex in the Shajaiyeh section of Gaza City, killing 14 Palestinians and wounding at least 30 others, according to medical sources. Eleven of the dead were identified as Hamas members in their 20s, none senior figures. At least five helicopter missiles hit the area, which was close to the Jabaliya refugee camp. The IDF said it had struck a field where senior Hamas members had trained militants to fire mortars and rockets. “No crime goes unpunished. For sure there will be retaliation, and the retaliation will be justified if it happens,” PA Prime Minister Qureia told a meeting of the PA Cabinet. Some 50,000 people attended funerals in Gaza City. Thousands also staged a general strike in cities and refugee camps in Gaza City to protest the Israeli strike. Meanwhile, Hamas fired five Qassam rockets, with two landing near the “Dugit” settlement and another in an open field near Sderot in Israel, lightly injuring a man. A mortar shell fired at the “Neveh Dekalim” settlement caused damage to a local bus stop. (AP, BBC, CNN, Ha’aretz, Ma’ariv)

A girl sitting at a classroom desk of the UNRWA Elementary C Girls’ School in the Khan Yunis refugee camp was hit by gunfire from an Israeli position in the Gaza Strip. Taghda Adhan Al-Assar, 10, was struck in the head and underwent major surgery at the European Gaza Hospital. UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen said: “The kind of live firing into refugee camps that is so indiscriminate that it makes classrooms dangerous for 10-year-old children is totally unacceptable. UNRWA will protest this violation of the sanctity of its school in the strongest possible terms to the Israeli authorities.” Israeli troops firing at the Khan Yunis refugee camp also critically injured another 10-year-old girl who had been walking home from school, Palestinian hospital officials said. (AP, Xinhua, UNRWA press release HQ/G/25/2004)

Israeli sources said the authorities intended to release 150 Palestinian prisoners to ease overcrowding, not as a goodwill gesture towards the PA. The decision would have to be approved by Defence Minister Mofaz and Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky, Head of IDF Central Command. The 150 selected prisoners, most convicted of rock throwing, were nearing the end of their prison terms. The majority would have been released by the end of 2004. (Ha’aretz, IMEMC)

PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia said he deplored the world’s silence over the situation of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. He said “the two-facedness of the workd has to change, all the world hears about the brutal, horrendous Israeli practices against the prisoners, which by all means exceed the brutality of the Americans in Abu Ghuraib prison in Iraq.” He reiterated his willingness to meet with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as long as the meeting would bear constructive conclusions pertaining to the Palestinian land and people. He added that the PA reform process was going ahead and that there was a dedicated committee on this question. A timetable was to be set to implement the reform programme and the “full document prepared by the dedicated reform committee.” (IPC)

The PLC announced full solidarity and support for imprisoned legislator and Fatah Secretary-General Marwan Barghouti under solitary confinement at the Beersheba prison in Israel. For its part, the PA implored Mr. Barghouti to call off his hunger strike. PA Minister of Prisoner Affairs Hisham Abdel Razeq appealed to legal and human rights organizations to intervene immediately and press the Israeli Government to stop the solitary confinement of Mr. Barghouti and do their best to work for his release. (IPC)

8

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced that the settlements “Ariel”, “Ma’ale Adumim” and the settlement block “Gush Etzion” were to remain on the “Israeli side” of the separation wall. A revised route was presented to Mr. Sharon during the meeting with Defence Ministry officials. Mr. Sharon agreed to changes in the stretch south of Hebron, which would be closer to the Green Line. Settlements such as “Karmel”, “Maon” and “Susia”, which would remain on Palestinian land, would have fortifications built around them. The new route would be presented to the Cabinet for approval. (AFP, Ma’ariv, Reuters)

PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia expressed his intention to step down, complaining about his lack of authority. (AP, AFP)

Egypt took a step back from plans to help the Palestinians prepare for an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, saying it could not play its role in full as long as Israeli attacks on Palestinians continued. Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit and Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman travelled to Ramallah to discuss the future of the Gaza Strip with PA President Arafat. “Egypt cannot intervene in the Palestinian issue with the required weight and depth in the shadow of continuing Israeli attacks on the Palestinians, the latest of which is the massacre in Gaza,” said Egyptian presidential spokesman Maged Abdel Fattah. (Reuters)

The Israeli Supreme Court granted a stay of execution to the Palestinian cave dwellers in the West Bank from Government efforts to remove them from their lands. “The Supreme Court rejected the request by the State to demolish their tents and shacks, and said that everything that stands can stay,” said lawyer Shlomo Lecker who represents 15 Palestinian families. The court also ruled that Palestinians could apply for building permits. The Palestinians also sought protection against what they described as systematic settler violence and harassment, but Mr. Lecker said that issue had not been addressed by the court. (AFP)

The Israeli organization, Peace Now, removed a trailer from an unauthorized West Bank outpost, trying to show the Government that it, too, could dismantle the settler enclaves. Dror Etkes of Peace Now said the group rented a crane and went to an outpost near Ramallah. They removed one of the three trailers recently placed on a hilltop not far from the “Migron” outpost, placed it on a truck and drove it to the Israeli Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv, before the settlers realized what was happening. “We wanted to demonstrate to the Israeli public … that it is possible to dismantle outposts. If Peace Now can do it, the State of Israel can surely do it,” Mr. Etkes said. There are now 100 West Bank outposts, 51 of them established since Prime Minister Sharon came to power in March 2001. Israel has removed 24 outposts, at least 18 of them uninhabited, he added. (AP)

Two Palestinians were shot and injured by Israeli tank shelling in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya, Palestinian medics said. Medics at the Kamal Edwan Hospital said one of the wounded was a 12-year boy who was in serious condition. (Xinhua)

Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said in leaflets that its militants had fired homemade rockets at several Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip. In another leaflet, the group promised to go on Jihad (holy war) until Israeli occupiers leave the Palestinian lands. (Xinhua)

Israel began releasing 150 Palestinian prisoners in the largest mass release in more than seven months. The PA dismissed the move as meaningless, and Israeli officials said it was meant not as a goodwill gesture but to ease overcrowding. All were nearing the end of their terms and most had been convicted of minor offences, such as stone-throwing or illegal entry into Israel, security sources said. (AP)

Palestinians accused Israel of launching a campaign of intimidation to block a voter registration drive in East Jerusalem for an as-yet-unscheduled and nearly four-year overdue Palestinian general elections. A senior Israeli official said that the week-old registration was a violation of Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem. “In Jerusalem, we feel there is a systematic campaign of intimidation to make people not participate in the elections”, said Ammar Dwaik, assistant chair of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission”. Palestinians, who began registering voters last week in 1,000 centres in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, said Israeli forces had raided five of seven centres in East Jerusalem. (Reuters)

Israeli troops seized control of parts of the northern Gaza Strip overnight, a day after 14 Hamas members were killed in a rocket strike. About 20 tanks, accompanied by bulldozers and backed by helicopters, entered the eastern part of Jabaliya. Seven Palestinian rock-throwers were wounded when troops opened fire to disperse them. Israeli military sources said nine rockets had been launched over the past 48 hours, with one man lightly wounded in the Israeli town of Sderot, across the Gaza border. “The whole purpose of the IDF presence in northern Gaza is to stop Qassam rockets from being fired”, a military source said. (AFP, Reuters)

Palestinian sources said that three members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades had been arrested in an IDF raid in Nablus that involved 15 armoured vehicles and one helicopter. (AFP)

Israeli Foreign Minister Shalom told Likud activists that the day of PA President Arafat's expulsion was “near”. “Arafat has no place among us and the day will come when we will remove him from this land to a different place, and this day is closer than ever,'' Mr. Shalom said. “Arafat is a terrorist; Arafat is not a person with whom we should talk,'' he added. PA Cabinet Chief of Staff Hassan Abu Libdeh said any Israeli action to oust Mr. Arafat “would be a crazy step that would certainly lead to the collapse of the peace process in the Middle East.” PA Minister for Negotiations Affairs Saeb Erakat said: “I believe this is part of the strategy of destroying the Palestinian Authority and harming the President.” (Ha’aretz, Ma’ariv, UPI)

9

A Qassam rocket fired from the region of the Jabalia refugee camp landed in a field in the western Negev, causing no injuries or damage. Elsewhere in the Gaza Strip, a mortar fired from the area of Khan Yunis struck an agricultural storage structure in the “Gush Katif” settlement block, according to Israel Army Radio.No injuries were reported. (Ha’aretz)

Four Palestinians (one 12-year-old boy, two Hamas members and a 25-year-old policeman) were killed by IDF troops that advanced about 700 m into Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip after they had dug in around Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahya and Jabalia itself. Witnesses said the troops, backed by tanks and helicopters, opened fire at the residents' houses. They added that snipers had also seized the roofs of several buildings and were opening fire on anything that moved. Palestinian security officials said a Palestinian was killed near Beit Lahiya when an IDF helicopter opened machine gun fire on a group of people. Two more Palestinians - a Hamas militant and a child, Munir al-Deqqes, 12 (9, according to some sources), were killed later, medical officials said. They said 40 people had been injured in the fighting, many of them seriously. Another Palestinian was killed near the settlement of “Morag” in southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian security sources said. (Chicago Tribune, Xinhua)

An undercover IDF unit stormed Jericho and assassinated Amer Abedea, a member of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, as he was sitting in a café, Palestinian security sources said. Three others in the café were wounded, added witnesses. (Ha’aretz)

Mohammed Abu Nasra, 15, was run over and killed by an IDF jeep during a brief incursion into Am’ari refugee camp near Ramallah, sources on both sides said. An IDF spokeswoman said the raid was prompted by shots directed at the nearby “Psagot” settlement and were met by stone-throwing youths. (AFP)

Hamas announced that it did not intend to stop firing Qassam rockets at Israeli towns and cities. A spokesman for Hamas in Gaza City said that “Palestinian resistance and the launching of rockets and mortar shells either by Hamas or other militant groups would continue until the occupation forces leave our territories.” (Xinhua)

Palestinian sources say Egypt is mediating recent disputes between PA President Arafat and Prime Minister Qureia. They said President Mubarak and Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman had spoken with both Mr. Arafat and Mr. Qureia on the phone. (Al-Hayat, Al-Quds, UPI)

King Abdullah II of Jordan has called for an appropriate climate to restore the peace process in the Middle East, the Jordanian press reported. King Abdullah made the call during his meeting with visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for Middle Eastern Affairs, William Burns. King Abdullah noted the surging cycle of violence which still blocked the peace process in the region. (Xinhua)

Mohammad Mousa Al-Haj Ali, 24, died from wounds sustained the day before during IDF operations in the northern Gaza Strip. (Palestine Media Center)

Israeli troops arrested a Palestinian man carrying a 10-kg bomb in his taxi after he tried to evade a roadblock outside Nablus and threw the explosives out of the cab’s window. The man was identified as Ibrahim Abu Zahu. (AFP, AP)

The IDF announced “the end of manual security checks”, starting to search Palestinians passing through checkpoints around major cities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in computer databases. “This new search, which is already planted at the airport’s terminals, enhances the IDF capability to search those who cross at checkpoints and arrest wanted terrorists”, said the head of the project in the teleprocessing department, Col. Yoram. (www.idf.il)

PA donor states delayed a meeting that was to convene at UN Headquarters in New York to discuss the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip's economy following the anticipated Israeli withdrawal in 2005. The meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee was to take place on 23 September, after a Quartet meeting the previous day. The PA asked that the meeting be delayed until after the US presidential elections in November 2004. Israeli Foreign Minister Shalom failed to persuade his European counterparts to hold the meeting on schedule. Following the cancellation, the US Administration decided to curtail a visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory by Assistant Secretary of State for Middle Eastern Affairs, William Burns, currently visiting the region. (Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post)

10

The IDF widened and intensified its large-scale military operation in the northern Gaza Strip, dubbed operation “Front Star” (“Front Star 11", according to Xinhua,to stop Palestinian militants from firing homemade rockets and mortars at settlements and Israel. Four Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire during an armoured incursion into the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. A teenager and another Palestinian were killed after an Israeli tank opened fire in the early evening. Earlier in the raid, Hamas commander Abdelaziz Al-Ashqar, 34, and Saleh Hazaa, 22, were also killed by Israeli gunfire. At least 50 persons were treated for injuries.One Palestinian was killed and 13 were wounded when the army hit targets in Tal Za’tar north of Jabalia with rockets from a helicopter and tank fire in separate incidents. An Israeli soldier was also hurt in the fighting. Hamas identified the dead man as Abdel Aziz Ashkar, 34, a senior Hamas militant. Earlier in the day, Mohammad Qandeel, 30, from Jenin, died from wounds sustained the previous day. The death toll reached seven, including a 12-year-old boy, and 100 have been injured since the military operation began on 8 September. Despite the raid, at least three Qassam rockets were fired at the Israeli city of Sderot without causing casualties. Two Israelis were treated for shock after one of the rockets landed on a highway next to Sderot. Another Israeli was lightly wounded in the leg by shrapnel after two mortars were fired at an Israeli settlement in the central Gaza Strip. Earlier, an explosion was heard near the Erez industrial zone in north Gaza. It was unclear whether it was caused by a Qassam rocket or a mortar shell. (AFP, AP, DPA, IMEMC, The Jerusalem Post, UPI, Xinhua)

Israel imposed a total closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the Jewish holiday season ending in October. The ban went into effect at 6am (2am, according to The Jerusalem Post)and Defence Ministry officials said it would cover the Jewish New Year, which starts on 15 September, and continue to Yom Kippur, 10 days later, and the week-long Sukkoth festival, which begins on 29 September. (AP, The Jerusalem Post)

Senior Israeli defence officials dismissed Foreign Minster Shalom’s call to expel PA President Arafat, calling his comments the previous day “empty words meant for domestic political consumption”. “The background to these pronouncements is political,” one anonymous defence official said, adding that Mr. Shalom was playing to his constituency inside the Likud party. Meanwhile, Ha’aretzreported that “key European countries” were pressing Israel to end its policy of isolating Mr. Arafat. The subject reportedly came up in recent meetings between Israeli officials and the Foreign Ministers of the Netherlands and Germany, Bernard Bot and Joschka Fischer. However, Mr. Shalom said Israel would not change its policy. (Ha’aretz, Xinhua)

Dov Weissglas, Director of Prime Minister Sharon’s Bureau, is set to leave on 12 September for the United States where he would meet US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to discuss revisions to the route of Israel’s West Bank barrier, Israel Public Radioreported. (AFP)

11

Israeli forces withdrew from the northern Gaza Strip towns of Jabalia and Beit Lahiya, leaving eight dead, scores of wounded and at least 40 houses demolished after a four-day raid, according to Palestinian medical sources. (Albawaba.com)

12

Daud Abu Jazar, 17, wounded by Israeli gunfire in the Gaza Strip in November 2003, died in an Egyptian hospital, according to Palestinian security officials. (AFP)

Some 40,000 settlers and their supporters demonstrated against the proposed disengagement plan, shutting down much of the city of Jerusalem. The demonstrators demanded that the National Religious Party quit the coalition and bring down the Israeli Government. They marched in the direction of Prime Minister Sharon’s official residence. Heavily armed police blocked their way and the rally dispersed peacefully. Mr. Sharon said: “We are currently witnessing an extremely serious campaign of incitement, including calls aimed at civil war.” He called on Israelis to end “the hatred and incitement,” saying “this cannot go on, it simply cannot go on, because our plans will be implemented in all fields”. (AFP, AP, Ha’aretz)

Representatives of the Quartet held an unscheduled meeting at the US Embassy in Cairo to prepare for the ministerial meeting of the Quartet scheduled on 22 September in New York. Following the Quartet meeting and his meeting with the Foreign Minister of Egypt, Ahmed Abul Gheit, US Assistant Secretary of State for Middle Eastern Affairs, William Burns, said the Quartet had reviewed the situation between Israelis and Palestinians, and that the meeting in New York would be an important opportunity for the international community to reaffirm its commitment to the road map. (AFP)

13

Rawa Ibrahim Al-Suweirki, 24, died from wounds sustained earlier during an Israeli attack on the Shujaiah suburb in Gaza City. He had been seriously injured in an air strike in eastern Gaza on 7 September, which killed 14 Hamas members. (AFP, Albawaba.com)

Three Palestinians were killed and several others wounded in an Israeli Air Force missile strike targeting a car in Jenin. Witnesses said three children were injured as gunships fired at a car in the southern entrance of the city. The dead were identified as Mahmud (Abu) Khalifa, 25 (28, according to AFP), Amjad Hosni, 22, and Yamin Faisal, all of them members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Mr. Khalifa was a deputy to local Brigades leader Zakaria Zubeidi. An IDF statement said he had been "recently involved in the planning of several terror attacks inside Israel" and was "responsible for the attack at the Kalandia checkpoint on 11 August 2004, in which 2 Palestinian civilians were killed and six border police soldiers were injured." (AFP, Ha’aretz, IMEMC,www.idf.il)

Israeli soldiers conducted a wide scale operation in Hebron and apprehended seven residents from Hebron, the villages of Al-Thaheriyya and Al-Sammou, and the Al-Fawwar refugee camp. A local source in Al-Thaheriyya said the IDF raided the village at dawn, broke into several houses and fired tear gas and grenades at them. In Hebron, soldiers broke into several homes, including that of the Al-Zaatary family. (IMEMC)

Palestinians detonated a roadside bomb under an Israeli Army tank south of the settlement of “Dugit” in the northern Gaza Strip. Witnesses said the explosion had directly targeted the tank as it was driving near an IDF roadblock. The tank was badly damaged. The explosion was followed by intensive gunfire by Israeli soldiers at the roadblock, hitting several nearby houses. Flames had been seen coming out of the tank, and several IDF ambulances approached the area. (Xinhua)

A demonstration by hundreds of Palestinian children and their parents in East Jerusalem ended in clashes, with Israeli police using tear gas to disperse protestors. The demonstration, held under the slogan “Let us learn”, took place in the village of Ar-Ram, where schoolchildren had been unable to reach school due to the separation wall that runs through the town. Ar-Ram has 12 schools and one college. Some schools, such as the one in Isawiyah, were becoming overcrowded, while others were expected to empty. Ar-Ram local council Head Sirhan Salayme said the problem would reach its peak once the wall was completed. “The disaster is on its way,” he said. (Ha’aretz)

The two-day UN International Conference of Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People was opened by Under-Secretary-General Kieran Prendergast on behalf of the Secretary-General. In his message, the Secretary-General said “… the international community, including civil society, cannot turn away from its obligation to do all it can to alleviate the plight of the Palestinian people, and to help cultivate a climate conducive to political negotiations….” He also said, “A peace settlement can only be reached through official political negotiation resulting in an agreement between the parties.” (UN News Centre)

The Palestinian leadership called upon the Quartet to revive the road map in conjunction with its forthcoming meeting in New York. The call was made following PA President Arafat’s meeting with members of the PLO Executive Committee and representatives from other organizations a day earlier. The leadership also called for dialogue among all Palestinian organizations. (Xinhua)

Israel closed down six Palestinian voter registration offices in East Jerusalem, saying they had been carrying out illegal activities. (Ha’aretz)

Former PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas called on Hamas and the Islamic Jihad to transform their organizations into political parties in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and abroad, according to Al-Quds.He said these organizations should change to political parties to be part of the PA and to participate in the municipal and general elections. He said the programme his former Cabinet had presented to the PLC had focused on four principles: all weapons must be legal; there should be one PA; one law; and elections should be held. He said his Government had not succeeded because of the Israeli side, and the US did not press Israel to implement its obligations. (Xinhua)

Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a nation-wide referendum over the PM's disengagement plan. In his view, the referendum should be held in an accelerated manner, with the run-up to the voting taking no longer than six weeks, Israeli Radioreported. Mr. Netanyahu said: “I propose, not as a condition but as a step that could help safeguard the unity of the people, bringing about an accelerated process of a referendum, posing one question: ‘Are you in favour or against the Government’s decision on a phased disengagement?’” Former MK and current leader of the Yahad Movement, Yossi Beilin, said a referendum was unnecessary. Since nobody had asked the nation to go into the Gaza Strip, there was no need to ask for approval to exit Gaza, Army Radioquoted Mr. Beilin as saying. Israeli Cabinet Ministers announced that cash advances on compensation would soon be offered to settlers to entice them to leave their homes in the Gaza Strip. A compensation bill was to be approved by the Security Cabinet. (AP, BBC, Ha’aretz)

Israel arrested a citizen of Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) in the southern Gaza Strip, the IDF said. The army said the man, identified as Ahmed Abu Shabab, built bombs and helped plan attacks for the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. He reportedly came to the Gaza Strip in 1992 on a visitor visa and then stayed illegally, living in Rafah. He was arrested on 12 September. (AP)

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A Palestinian suicide bomber riding a bicycle blew himself up near an IDF checkpoint in the West Bank, wounding at least three Israeli soldiers, one of them seriously, and two Palestinians. Lt.-Col. Shimon, an Israeli commander at the scene, said the incident had occurred as Palestinian farmers crossed through a gate in Israel’s separation Wall near Qalqilya. “He looked like an innocent civilian. ... It appears he even spoke to the soldiers,” said the officer, who is barred from giving his last name under IDF rules. “Then he turned the bike around and blew up.” An anonymous caller to AFPoffices in Nablus said the attack had been carried out by Yussef Taleb Ighbariyeh, 26, from Qalqilya, and was “a first response” to air strikes on 13 September, which local Brigades leader Zakaria Zubeidi had promised would be avenged within 24 hours. Shortly after the attack, the IDF raided the nearby Nur Shams refugee camp, where a curfew was imposed. Loud explosions could be heard in the camp, witnesses said. Palestinian militants also commandeered a police car and gunned down Ramez Yaghmour, 24, who had been suspected of collaborating with Israel, Palestinian police said. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for both attacks. (AFP, AP, IMEMC)

At least 20 Israeli vehicles, including three tanks, raided the Shu’ut neighbourhood of Rafah early in the day amid intensive gunfire and demolished two houses close to the border with Egypt. Israeli soldiers also detained three Palestinians in Al-Qarara village, east of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip before dawn. A military post was established by the IDF east of Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip. (Xinhua)

Israeli troops dispersed a peaceful protest against the West Bank separation barrier involving several hundred Palestinians and foreign activists. Soldiers fired tear gas canisters as demonstrators tried to prevent bulldozers from levelling land that belongs to Palestinian residents of Deir Samit village west of Hebron. The villagers had been joined by hundreds of other Palestinians from neighbouring Beit Awwa and Al-Kum and by foreign activists from the International Solidarity Movement. Once completed, the segment of the barrier in question will take in 200 hectares of Palestinian agricultural land. (AFP)

In a 9-1 vote, Israel’s Security Cabinet approved the policy of paying cash advances to Israeli settlers who will be removed from their homes under Prime Minister Sharon’s disengagement plan. Earlier in the day, Mr. Sharon rejected Benjamin Netanyahu’s call to hold a national referendum on the pullout, calling it a stalling tactic. Under the compensation plan, families would receive $200,000 to $500,000, based on the value of lost homes and property and time spent in their settlements. An unnamed Government official, quoted by AP,said it would be several weeks before the payment of advances would begin, as the Finance Ministry and parliamentary finance committee needed to approve the advances, but described the steps as procedural. Further legislation on full compensation packages must be approved by the Cabinet and parliament in the coming months, another official said. The cash advances would amount to about one-third of the total package. According to a senior official quoted by Reutersthe overall cost of the policy would be in a range of $550-670 million because it would span two fiscal years and the final total expenditure would depend on how many settlers relocated early and voluntarily. “Anyone who does not evacuate before the deadline does not automatically forfeit compensation, unless they are actively resisting. If they [do], they face prosecution as squatters and could forfeit up to $15,000 in peripheral perks,” he said. (AP, Reuters)

Prime Minister Sharon again threatened to expel Chairman Arafat, Yediot Aharonotreported. “We took action against Ahmed Yassin and Rantissi and a few other murderers when we thought the time was right. On the matter of Arafat’s expulsion, we will operate in keeping with that same principle: we will do it at a time that suits us,” he said. Asked if he saw any difference among the three men, Mr. Sharon replied, “I do not see any difference.” PA Cabinet Minister Saeb Erakat called the threats part of a hidden agenda “to kill President Arafat and to push the Palestinian people toward chaos”. (AFX, AP)

A group of 45 Palestinian police officers will begin a special seven-week training session in Egypt over the weekend to prepare to take over security in the Gaza Strip after Israel’s planned withdrawal next year, Al-Ahramand MENAreported. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit and intelligence chief Omar Suleiman will ask Israel for guarantees in exchange for helping the Palestinians take control of Gaza after an Israeli withdrawal, Al-Ahramalso said. They will visit Israel in the first week of October, later than originally planned, because Mr. Gheit will go to New York for the fifty-ninth session of the General Assembly. They intend to tell Prime Minister Sharon that Egyptian efforts cannot succeed unless the withdrawal is a step towards implementing the road map, unless the pullout is complete and unless Israel abandons its practice of closing off Palestinian areas, the paper said. “The Gaza Strip must be open to the world, Gaza port and airport must start working, a link must be established between Gaza and the West Bank, Palestinian workers must be employed, the Israeli side must not reoccupy these areas and there must be a real desire to find a Palestinian partner to negotiate on a final settlement,” it also said, but did not mention a previous demand that Israel refrain from attacks on Gaza after withdrawal and give guarantees that any Egyptian security experts who go to Gaza will be safe. (AFX, Reuters, Xinhua)

The PA condemned a statement by German Interior Minister Otto Schily and asked for clarification from the Government of Germany. Mr. Schily said in a radio interview on 13 September that the barrier had proved its worth because it had led to a drop in attacks on Israel. He also insisted the barrier should be referred to as a “fence” and not a “wall”, as it is often called in Germany, and rejected its comparisons with the Berlin Wall. PA Minister Saeb Erakat said the statements were “very strange and unusual”, and not in keeping with the official German position on the barrier, which the Foreign Minister of Germany, Joschka Fischer, only recently had criticized as “barely understandable” from a security point of view. (Deutsche Welle, Xinhua)

PA Prime Minister Qureia condemned Israel’s closure of six voter registration centres in East Jerusalem, accusing Israel of trying to “Judaize” the city. “The Israeli decision constitutes a flagrant violation of all signed agreements and international law,” Mr. Qureia said in a statement issued in Ramallah, adding that the PA was determined to carry out plans to register voters in “all Palestinian territories that Israel occupied in 1967, starting with Holy Jerusalem”. (Reuters)

Israel’s High Court of Justice rejected a petition by settlers and the “Karnei Shomron local council", who sought to prevent the evacuation of the West Bank outpost of “Ramat Gilad”. The decision paves the way for the IDF to evacuate the outpost, erected west of Nablus in May 2001 and consisting of several families residing in mobile homes. (Ha’aretz)

The Vatican said it had received assurances from Israel’s Interior Minister, Avraham Poraz, that delays in granting visas to Roman Catholic clergy would be resolved. Mr. Poraz met with the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, and other officials at the Vatican before travelling to Castel Gandolfo for talks with Pope John Paul II. A Vatican statement issued after the talks with Cardinal Sodano said Mr. Poraz had given assurances “of having given the necessary instructions for a satisfactory solution” of the visa problem. It said they had also discussed the negotiations currently under way in Jerusalem regarding the tax status of the Roman Catholic Church in Israel. Earlier this year, the Catholic patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, had said the visa issue involved the survival of the Church in the Holy Land and warned that it could lead to a complete paralysis. At that time, the Interior Ministry said Arab visa applications were undergoing special scrutiny, and that this explained some of the delays. (AP)

In Ramallah, militants from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades killed a suspected informer for Israel as he was being taken to court in a police car, Palestinians said. Gunmen stopped the vehicle and shot the suspect, Ramez Yaghmour, before fleeing. (Chicago Tribune)

Israel would not follow the road map and could remain in much of the West Bank for a long time after it withdrew from the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Sharon said in an interview with Yediot Ahronot. PA Minister for Negotiations Affairs Saeb Erakat said that Mr. Sharon had confirmed Palestinian fears that the disengagement plan was a ploy to cement Israel's control over large areas of the West Bank. (AP)

Director of Prime Minister Sharon’s Bureau Dov Weissglas met with US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and was scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Colin Powell to review proposed Israeli modifications to the route of the separation barrier, prompted by a meeting of Israel's High Court of Justice. (The Jerusalem Post)

The PA Cabinet harshly condemned Israeli PM Sharon's recent threats against PA President Yasser Arafat. The Cabinet warned of any harm coming to Mr. Arafat, calling for the protection of the Palestinian leadership from any Israeli acts of violence. It also strongly denounced the Israeli closure of the voter registration centres in Jerusalem . (WAFA)

15

IDF forces killed five militants and an 11-year-old girl bystander during a raid into Nablus. Four of the slain militants were from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the other from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, witnesses said. (AP, Ha’aretz)

Israeli special forces, backed up by helicopter gunships, killed four Palestinians - a militant, a policeman and two civilians - at a car repair shop in Jenin, according to local witnesses and medics. (Xinhua)

PA Interior Minister Hakam Balawi announced that the PA security services would not participate in the intra-Palestinian dialogue due to start in Cairo on 19 September 2004. The dialogue would include Fatah, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and is expected to produce a joint document to prepare for the general Palestinian dialogue to be held in Cairo in the middle of October, which would include all factions of the PLO, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the representatives of the PA. (AP)

PA Minister for Negotiations Affairs Saeb Erakat told Voice of Palestineradio that the reports that Egypt was interfering in the Palestinian internal affairs "are totally untrue". "The Egyptians are helping Palestinians upon our request in the field of training Palestinian security and police officers," Mr. Erakat said, accusing Israel of blocking these efforts. (Xinhua)

President Assad of the Syrian Arab Republic and President Mubarak of Egypt said during their meeting in Damascus that Israel should "start negotiations for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state”, adding that the Palestinian factions should work "to achieve their commitments toward the establishment of an independent state." The two leaders emphasized their "support for dialogue between Palestinian factions under Egyptian auspices to achieve unity in Palestinian ranks." (Ha’aretz)

The separation wall in the West Bank will move closer to Israel in one area to minimize hardship to Palestinians, leaving three small Israeli settlements, “Susia”, “Maon” and “Carmel”, on the Palestinian side, Prime Minister Sharon decided. However, the system of concrete slabs, fences and trenches will also swing around at least two large settlement blocks so as to include them on the Israeli side. Mr. Sharon's decision came during a meeting with defence officials, who presented a revised route for parts of the barrier, in line with an Israeli Supreme Court directive that planners must try harder not to disrupt the lives of Palestinians. Sources at Mr. Sharon's office said the final route would be presented to the Cabinet for approval once planners complete their work. (AP)

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) demanded an investigation of the IDF killing of five men and a girl in Nablus, which it regarded as war crimes. ISM activists, who are presently accompanying the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees medical teams in the area, interviewed the Director of Rafidia Hospital, Dr. Samir Abu Srour, where the five men and the young girl were taken, and made a private investigation of its own. According to Dr. Srour, four of the five men had been shot in the head at close range. One of the killed had a boot print on his chest, suggesting that he had been restrained before being shot. In addition, one man had a bullet entering his neck and exploding upwards, leaving blood stains high up on the wall. "Another man had knife cuts on his arm. All five were found in close proximity to each other, whereas the 11-year-old girl was shot in the cheek while in her home by an Israeli soldier occupying a nearby house. ISM added that an 11-year-old boy was also in critical condition after being shot in the head with a rubber bullet at close range, dislodging part of his brain. The Movement also said that a 35-year-old mentally challenged Palestinian had been shot in the head and a 33-year-old man had been shot in the femur. Both are in the intensive care unit. (WAFA)

Israel's Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Arkady Milman, said that Israel would continue to control the situation in the Gaza Strip after the withdrawal. "After the settlements are withdrawn, Israel will do everything in its power to stop the Gaza Strip from turning into a breeding ground for terrorism, and will not allow the Islamic Republic of Iran and other countries supporting terrorism to freely deliver weapons to the area," Mr. Milman said during an Internet conference. "As far as resuming the peace process is concerned, our prospects involve withdrawing Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip and continuing to build the 'security fence'.” (Interfax, moscow.mfa.gov.il)

16

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ayalon said in a pre-recorded interview on Israel Radio:“Forces are at an advanced stage of planning for the disengagement, and we are just waiting for the order to go ahead.” (Ha’aretz, Reuters)

The Foreign Minister of Sweden, Laila Freivalds, after a meeting with PA President Arafat, stated: “The road map is the only plan on the world’s agenda for solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict”. Ms. Freivalds stressed Swedish support for President Arafat and for the Palestinian people on the path towards the establishment of a Palestinian State living alongside the State of Israel. She also stressed the commitment of the EU to the road map. (BBC)

PA Interior Minister Hakam Ballawi said in an interview with MENAthat 45 Palestinian police officers were to start a training course in Egypt from 25 September to prepare for Israel's planned pullout from Gaza. Their training would last six or seven weeks. Mr. Ballawi has been in Egypt as a part of a PA security delegation to examine the details of an Egyptian role to boost security after the Israeli withdrawal of the Gaza Strip and to discuss a “comprehensive action plan” for a dialogue between Palestinian factions to be held in Egypt. (AFP)

Prime Minister Sharon admitted for the first time that his Government did not intend to honour the road map and that after a planned pullout from the Israeli settlements from Gaza Strip that would be completed next year, Israeli troops could stay in the West Bank. Mr. Sharon said in an interview with Yediot Ahronotthat he viewed the road map as dead. “Today, we are not following the road map. … It is very possible there will be a long period when nothing else happens”. (The Daily Telegraph)

Palestinian official sources revealed that the Cairo dialogue with Palestinian factions would be confined to five Palestinian factions, namely: Fatah, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and the Islamic Jihad. The sources said the dialogue would focus on security after the intended Israeli pullout from Gaza. (Xinhua)

The Governing Body of the Church of Wales voted on a motion calling for Israel to halt construction of its separation wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The motion states that the wall “is causing profound social and economic harm for the Palestinian people and is seriously hampering efforts for a just and lasting peace. (The Western Mail)

A Palestinian serving an eight-year sentence died at the Megiddo Prison of a severe heart attack due to the alleged negligence of Israeli police. Prisoners told Voice of Palestinethat the prison police delayed the transfer of Fawwaz Sa'id Hassan (Fawaz Balbal, 30, according to Albawaba.com)of Tulkarm to a clinic for five hours on the pretext of Jewish holidays. He died while being transferred to Afula Hospital. (Albawaba.com,Voice of Palestine)

Thousands of Palestinians attended the funerals of six Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers in Nablus, including five members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Maram Al-Nahleh, an 11-year-old Palestinian girl, who was also killed in the Israeli military operation. Four other Brigades members were also shot dead a day before in Jenin. (Xinhua)

NGOs participating in the Third UN International Conference of Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People on 13 and 14 September 2004 at UN Headquarters vowed to campaign for sanctions if Israel does not end its occupation of the Palestinian territories. “We, as civil society, will encourage divestment and targeted sanctions against the occupying Power”, said the action plan. Participants in the two-day conference also sought to involve Governments to impose restrictions on Israel, such as arms embargoes, bans on the purchase of goods from Israeli settlements and travel restrictions on Israeli officials. “We stand committed to mobilize a broad people’s movement, working together with Governments, parliaments, multinational organizations, religious organizations and especially the United Nations itself to end the Israeli occupation”, the plan of action said. (Reuters, The Jerusalem Post, Ha’aretz)

Three young British women who had planned to teach Palestinian schoolchildren in the West Bank were to fly out of Israel after being told to leave the country voluntarily or face deportation. The women, a student from Cambridge University, a teacher and a lawyer, had planned to spend a month in Nablus but were detained in their guest houses in East Jerusalem at 3.30 a.m. and subjected to a lengthy interrogation by about 20 security policemen and border police. (AFP)

General Mohammed Ahmed Al-Batrawi, Head of the Financial Control Committee of the National Security Service, was kidnapped by unknown gunmen in the centre of the Gaza Strip and later released. (AFP)

Seven armed Palestinians trying to cross into the Gaza Strip surrendered to Egyptian security after a 24-hour standoff. (Reuters)

17

A young Palestinian woman was killed by Israeli army gunfire Friday in Nablus, Palestinian security officials said. Fariza Minawi, 19, was hit on the roof of her home when soldiers opened fire at Palestinian stone-throwers. Her death rose to 4,318 the number of people killed since the September 2000 outbreak of the uprising against the Israeli occupation, including 3,304 Palestinians and 943 Israelis, according to an AFPtoll. (AFP, AP)

Eight Palestinians were arrested overnight by Israeli troops in several West Bank towns, an IDF spokesman said. Three of them, suspected of belonging to the Islamic Jihad, were arrested in Bethlehem, while five others were arrested in Nablus and Salfit. The spokesman said Israeli troops had also discovered and safely detonated an explosive charge in Nablus' Old City. (AFP)

After a meeting with PA President Yasser Arafat in Ramallah, junior Foreign Minister of India Shri E. Ahamed warned Israel not to contemplate any moves against Mr. Arafat. "Any effort to remove him from the scene would be indefensible in international law, would serve a non-constructive purpose, would negate all efforts towards reconciliation and would have a negative impact on the peace process," Mr. Ahamed told journalists, adding “President Arafat is known as a symbol of the Palestinian cause and a great hero of our time”. Mr. Ahamad also met with Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Sha’ath. (AFP)

The Foreign Minister of Kuwait, Sheikh Muhammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, called for cooperation of the international community to tackle the Middle East conflict, the Kuwait News Agencyreported. The Minister made the call before departing to New York to participate in the fifty-ninth session of the General Assembly. He emphasized the importance of adhering to the Arab peace initiative and activating the role of the Quartet in implementing the road map. He also called on the international community, the UN Secretary-General and human rights groups to look into conditions of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails and to hold Israel responsible for all human rights violations and crimes committed against Palestinian and Arab prisoners. (Xinhua)

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast said at the monthly Security Council briefing on the situation in the Middle East that Israel might abandon the road map, as its conflict with the Palestinians had heightened in past weeks. “It has been a bad month in the Middle East. We have seen a marked increase in the number of casualties on both sides and a resumption of suicide bombings.” Mr. Prendergast said that since he had briefed the Council five weeks ago, 80 Palestinians and 17 Israelis had been killed. (DPA, UN News Service)

A total of 54 PA security officers will depart for Cairo on 18 September to undergo training in anticipation of Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reported that the training session, set to begin on 25 September, will last for seven weeks. The list of participating PA officers in the Egyptian-sponsored course was determined by Palestinian security chiefs visiting Cairo this week. (Ha’aretz)

18

The IDF carried out an incursion into the Al-Yamoun town and Beir Al-Basha village near Jenin, besieging a house and arresting a Palestinian. Palestinian security sources said some 20 jeeps, backed by five tanks, entered the neighbourhood, sparking clashes with Palestinians. There were no reports of casualties. (AFP, Albawaba.com)

A report issued by the Jerusalem-based Centre for Social and Economic Rights warned of an Israeli plan to reduce the population in East Jerusalem, particularly those of the Shu’afat refugee camp. For this purpose, the Israeli authorities would allegedly introduce some 30,000 Israelis to East Jerusalem and add 3,000 Jewish settlers to nearby settlements. The report said that the plan would include offering current Palestinian residents new housing units outside the city boundaries as compensation. (IPC)

19

In Gaza City, an Israeli missile struck the car carrying Khaled Abu Shamiyeh, 30, head of Hamas, in Gaza’s Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood. At least eight bystanders were injured. In another incident, Israeli security forces said Rami Abu Lahiya, 20, was killed and three others wounded as they tried to plant explosives near the Karni border crossing with Israel. Palestinian medical sources also reported that a 23-year-old man was in critical condition after being shot in the head by troops manning the Rafah crossing into Egypt. In the West Bank, military sources said a pipe bomb had been thrown at Israeli security staff guarding the wall being built in the Bethlehem area. (AFP, AP, Ha’aretz, IPC)

Israeli troops moved into the Abu Al-Ajeen area of Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian sources. In Bethlehem, Israeli soldiers entered the Al-Dheisheh refugee camp and Al-Doha area of the city, arresting two Palestinians. Also, in Rafah, Israeli soldiers opened fired on a Palestinian who was approaching the Egypt-Gaza border. The man was wounded and evacuated to a Rafah hospital. (Albawaba.com)

The head of a delegation from the Palestinian Legislative Council visiting the Syrian Arab Republic said at the start of a four-day visit that it wa seeking that country's help to achieve “positive results” in talks on the planned Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip . PLC Speaker Rawhi Attuh told reporters in Damascus, “We will ask our Syrian brothers to help all of us to reach positive results in the Palestinian dialogue and reach a Palestinian agenda that takes us out of the crisis and suffering we are through.” He added that he had a message from PA President Yasser Arafat to President Bashar Assad of the Syrian Arab Republic. He also said his delegation would discuss ways of improving relations between the Syrian Arab Republic and the PA. A meeting was being scheduled between the Damascus-based Palestinian leaders and the delegation. (DPA)

Israeli troops fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of demonstrators protesting the construction of the wall, some 18 km south-west of Hebron. Around 300 protestors had been trying to stop the heavy earth-moving equipment from working in Beit Awwa village. Eight protestors were injured, mostly with severe bruises. (AFP, Ha’aretz, Xinhua)

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said in New York that he hoped to close the international debate over Israel’s separation wall. Mr. Shalom said he would try to persuade EU not to support a General Assembly draft resolution that would initiate divestment and impose sanctions on Israel. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Senior Advisor to PA President Arafat, said diplomatic efforts would continue. “We will work with the Arab Group and the Group of the Non-Aligned countries to ask the General Assembly to implement the decision that has already been voted for.” (AFP, IPC)

Israeli journalist Amira Hass reported on three affidavits by Palestinian prisoners over Israeli prison officers’ deliberate humiliation of them during the hunger strike. The prisoners said they had been transferred to different prisons and wards, ordered to disrobe and perform squats and walk around in front of wardens, not given blankets, clothes or toiletries, and that they had been beaten or handcuffed. (Ha’aretz, IPC)

20

The IDF killed an unarmed Palestinian near the “Gush Katif” settlement block in the Gaza Strip. The man could not immediately be identified and the circumstances of his death were unclear. His body was handed over to Palestinian medical personnel. Also, Soldiers shot and wounded two Palestinians near Gaza City as the men tried to bypass a closed beach road outside the “Netzarim” settlement. (AFP, AP, Reuters)

Habah Zaqut and Nabil Al Saeidi, Hamas members, were killed and at least eight bystanders were wounded, including children, in an Israeli helicopter missile attack on a pickup truck in Gaza City. Hamas threatened to retaliate for the air strike. (AP,www.albawaba.com)

Palestinians fired a rocket at the Israeli town of Sderot, hitting a residential area. No casualties were reported. (Ha’aretz, Reuters)

Two Palestinian policemen were arrested over the weekend for carrying military rifles. Senior Palestinian security officials had informed IDF officers that they had authorized some of their men to carry guns, despite an Israeli prohibition. Earlier, Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz had agreed to the army’s recommendation to enable a limited number of Palestinian policemen to carry revolvers in city centres in order to enforce law and order there. Then the practice was suspended. (Ha’aretz)

The Executive Committee of the PLO held a meeting chaired by PA President Arafat and attended by representatives of Palestinian organizations. The Executive Committee said the meeting focused on strengthening Palestinian unity and considered the offer of the Government of Egypt to train security services. The meeting also discussed the voter registration drive and Israeli closures of a number of registration centres. (IPC)

The PA warned of serious ramifications of Israeli threats that the expulsion of PA President Arafat was inevitable. PA Negotiations Affairs Minister Saeb Erakat said such threats would bring the entire region unavoidable tension and would foster radicalism. (IPC)

Government spokesperson Asma Khodr said that Jordan would back Palestinian efforts to lobby support at the UN for a Security Council resolution aimed at halting the construction of the separation wall. “Jordan will back the Palestinian efforts in coordination with the Arab countries in order to halt the construction of the wall,” she said. (AFP)

The PA Housing and Public Works Ministry reported that since the beginning of the intifada, the Palestinian construction and road sector has incurred damage estimated at $425.9 billion due to Israel’s continued destruction of infrastructure. The report also said that 6,757 houses had been destroyed or damaged, resulting in a housing loss estimated at $176.1 billion. The most hard-hit area was Rafah, followed by Jenin, Nablus and Khan Younis. (IPC)

The International Strategy Meeting of the Anti-War and Anti-Globalization Movements held in Beirut supported the right of the peoples of Iraq and Palestine to resist the occupations, according to Walden Bello, Executive Director of Focus on the Global South organization. In its final statement, the meeting “demanded the destruction of the ‘apartheid wall’ and the dismantling of Jewish settlements, and the release of all Palestinian and Iraqi political prisoners.” The meeting was attended by 260 delegates from 54 countries. (AFP)

21

Mustapha Khatabeh, a 38-year-old Palestinian farmer from the village of Beit Furiq near Nablus, was beaten with clubs and rifle butts by a group of settlers as he gathered figs near the settlement of “Itamar”. Medics classified his condition as serious. He suffered multiple fractures and was bleeding heavily. (APF)

Two dozen people were hurt by rubber bullets when Israeli troops opened fire at a protest march against the separation wall near the village of Budrus in the West Bank. Palestinian, Israeli and foreign activists were demonstrating against a new segment of the wall. (AFP)

Palestinian militants said that they had fired several Al-Qassam rockets at the Israeli city of Sderot, and at settlements, but no casualties were reported. (UPI)

A Birzeit University opinion poll showed that PA President Arafat remained the strongest candidate to win the presidential elections planned to be held in the spring of 2005. The poll showed that 46 per cent of the respondents would vote for Mr. Arafat and 11 per cent would vote for Marwan Barghouti. The polls also revealed that 75 per cent of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip supported general elections, including presidential elections. The poll covered 1,204 people, with a 3 per cent margin of error. (Xinhua)

A Tel Aviv University survey showed that 17 per cent of all 127 West Bank settlements should be evacuated in the framework of peace with the Palestinians. A majority of 62.5 per cent thought that Israel’s 11 settlements in East Jerusalem were not in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and 19.5 per cent were aware that they were built on Palestinian land. (AFP)

The US would sell Israel nearly 5,000 "smart" bombs in one of the largest weapons deals between the countries in years, Ha’aretzreported. The deal, worth $319 million, was reflected in a Pentagon report to the US Congress a few weeks ago. Funding for the sale would come from US military aid to Israel. According to the newspaper, the Pentagon wanted to help maintain Israel’s military advantage and ensure US strategic and tactical interests. (Ha’aretz)

IDF vehicles raided Jenin. An Israeli military source said that that the army had launched the operation to arrest 36 wanted Palestinians. (AFP)

In his address to the fifty-ninth session of the General Assembly, US President G. W. Bush said:


A PA Ministry of Agriculture report said that the losses inflicted on the Palestinian agricultural sector due to Israeli measures between 28 Sept 2000 and 31 August 2004 reached 1,091,543,986. The Ministry said that Israeli troops had uprooted 1,145,154 trees and razed 68,728 dunums (1 dunum = 1,000 sq. m.). It added that 12,371 farmers have suffered from continued Israeli attacks on agricultural land. As for the total losses due to declining prices of agricultural products, the Ministry estimated them at $151,640,000, while losses in the fishery sector were estimated at $12,955,587. (WAFA)

22

Raghda Adnan Al-Assar, 10, passed away at Gaza European Hospital in Khan Yunis. The girl had been hit by an IDF bullet while sitting at her desk at the UNRWA Elementary School in Khan Yunis on 7 September. (UNRWA Press Release HQ/G/28/2004)

Two Israelis, including a policeman, were killed and 16 other people wounded when a Palestinian female suicide bomber blew herself up at a police checkpoint next to a group of bus stops near the “French Hill” settlement in East Jerusalem. Israeli Police spokesman Gil Kleiman said that the first victim, who had been manning the checkpoint, had died at the scene of the blast. Medical sources later said another person had died in hospital. A spokesman for the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack in a telephone call to AFPoffices in Jenin, adding that the attack was in retaliation for the recent killings by Israeli forces of a number of senior members of the group. Arutz 7reported that the 18-year-old female suicide bomber, Zeinab Ali Isa Abu-Salem, was a children's TV show hostess on a local station in Nablus. The PA immediately condemned the attack, saying it opposed all attacks against civilians and warning that only an end to Israeli occupation could end the violence. Prime Minister Sharon, who was being interviewed on TV at the time of the blast, vowed Israel would strike Palestinian militants with “all force”. (AFP, Arutz 7, Reuters)

The following statement was issued by the Spokesman of the Secretary-General:


Commenting on the Jerusalem suicide bombing from the United Nations, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told reporters that the incident showed that the Palestinians would not like to abandon the tool of terrorism against Israel, adding "I think the world should be united in its combat against terrorism, it is not a problem of Israel any more. Terrorism can hit anywhere." (AFP)

Two Israeli soldiers were lightly wounded as troops moved into the Jenin refugee camp and clashed with militants there, an Israeli military source said. AFPjournalists saw some 20 jeeps packed with troops and escorted by 5 armoured cars move into the camp in the second such incursion in less than 24 hours. An Israeli military source said that the IDF launched the operation as part of a campaign to arrest wanted Palestinians, adding that 36 had been detained around the West Bank. (AFP)

A total of 30 Palestinians were wounded when the IDF broke up a peaceful demonstration against the separation wall in Budros village. The IDF attacked the demonstrators with live and rubber-coated metal bullets, medics and Popular Committee to Resist the Wall sources said. The IDF also moved into different parts of the village and targeted the houses amid intensive shooting, wounding five members of the Shukry Awwad family. (WAFA)

Addressing the fifty-ninth session of the General Assembly the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, pointed out that the Palestinian cause embodied the suffering of a people deprived of all its political and economic rights. The Israeli occupation was a heavy burden on Palestinian dreams for freedom and development. He added that the international community had to act to pressure Israel to implement international resolutions, and the road map, and to cease the construction of the separation barrier according to the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion. He concluded by reiterating the necessity of enabling the Palestinian people to establish their independent State, with Jerusalem as its capital. (WAFA)

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights condemned the continued closure of six Palestinian election registration centres in East Jerusalem. In a press release, the Centre said that this measure obstructed preparations for Palestinian elections and breached the right of Palestinians to participate in the elections. The Centre called upon the international community to confront those Israeli breaches and pressure the Government of Israel to reopen the election registration centres that had been closed. (WAFA)

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, PA President Arafat's media advisor, told AFPthat President Bush should have criticized the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory instead of the legitimately elected Palestinian leadership if he was sincere in serving the peace process and the road map peace plan.” (AFP, IPC)

During a media encounter at the United Nations, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said: “We believe that the Palestinian Authority has to empower its Prime Ministers so that the Prime Minister … will be seen as somebody who has authority to act in the name of the Palestinian people, and that he can work with us, work with the Israelis, work with the Egyptians and others to get ready to assume political control over Gaza after the disengagement takes place, and also to put in place a security force that has been trimmed down in size, that is rationalized and that is fully equipped to provide security in Gaza… and Chairman Arafat, in our judgement, is not able to act in this manner and therefore we continue to encourage him to give authority to a Prime Minister.” (www.state.gov)

The Quartet meeting held at the United Nations brought together US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, EU High Representative Javier Solana, European Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten, Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, Bernard Bot, representing the EU Presidency, and Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The statement released after the meeting reads in part as follows:


The OPEC Fund for International Development approved a grant of $2 million to support the second phase of a project that will provide grants to nine non-governmental, non-profit universities to cover the tuition fees of needy students in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (www.opecfund.org)

A British food supplier launched a new brand of extra virgin olive oil from the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Profits will go to Palestinian farming cooperatives in the West Bank, where access to markets was limited. The bottles bore the slogan "Resisting the occupation by insisting on life". Distribution has so far been limited to liberal Jewish groups, pro-Palestinian groups and charities in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It was estimated that nearly half of the Palestinian olive harvest went unsold and left to spoil. The oil will also be sold in Belgium, Japan, Spain, and the United States of America. (The Guardian)

23

Three Palestinian gunmen, infiltrating an IDF outpost near the “Morag” settlement in the Gaza Strip and killing three soldiers, were shot to death, the IDF said. The Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees and the Ahmed Abu Rish Brigades claimed responsibility. (AP,www.idf.il)

Hussam Abu al-Naja, 24, wounded by IDF gunfire earlier in the week in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, died of his injuries, hospital sources said the next day. (AFP)

Israeli authorities informed the family of Falah Masharka, 38, that he had died in an Israeli hospital from wounds sustained on 14 September, when an IDF unit raided his house in the Nur Shams refugee camp in Tulkarm to arrest him, Voice of Palestine reported. Mr. Masharka’s family said they knew nothing of his condition until they were informed that he had died in an Israeli hospital and had asked for an investigation. (DPA)

Five Palestinians were wounded as IDF troops tried to break up a protest against the construction of the separation barrier near the village of Beit Awwa, west of Hebron, according to Palestinian officials. An AFPcorrespondent said around 1,000 people, among them Israeli and foreign activists, were trying to stop bulldozers from levelling land. (AFP)

The IDF demolished two houses in the Balata and Askar refugee camps near Nablus, one of them belonging to the family of the female suicide bomber responsible for the attack in the "French Hill" section of East Jerusalem on 22 September 2004. (Ha’aretz, IPC)

A large convoy of IDF vehicles and troops, backed by combat helicopters, entered Jenin and raided a number of houses, arresting several Palestinians. (WAFA)

Two Qassam rockets fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip struck Sderot in Israel, lightly wounding one Israeli man, IDF sources said. Three other people were treated for shock. (AP)

At least 17 Palestinians were wounded in early morning attacks by IDF helicopters and tanks on the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian security sources said. An 11-year-old Palestinian girl died of wounds sustained during a previous IDF raid on Khan Yunis on 7 September 2004. (AFP, Xinhua)

PA Prime Minister Qureia said in an interview with Israel Public Radiothat contacts had not been severed with Israel and that he was willing to meet Prime Minister Sharon. “From the very beginning, I have said I have no problem to meet with Mr. Sharon," Mr. Qureia said. “I am ready for that, if it is well prepared and if there will be results from the meeting”. (AFP)

The Foreign Minister of Japan, Yoriko Kawaguchi, told PA Foreign Minister Nabil Sha’ath that Japan hoped for progress in the peace process based on the recent Quartet statement, a Japanese official said. At their talks held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, Mr. Kawaguchi asked Mr. Sha’ath to make efforts to improve the security situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and promote the reforms of the PA. Mr. Sha’ath thanked Mr. Kawaguchi for Japan’s $10 million donation to the World Bank Trust Fund for assistance to Palestinians and called for continued financial support, saying the Palestinian economy was in very bad shape. (AP, Kyodo)

The Foreign Minister of France said that no progress could be made in the Middle East peace process by marginalizing or not negotiating with PA President Arafat. “There are a number of political authorities who say that nothing can be done with Yasser Arafat,” said Michel Barnier, answering a question on whether he was concerned that recent calls by President Bush for a change in Palestinian leadership would further undermine the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process. “I believe that nothing can be done without Arafat or against Arafat,” Mr. Barnier said. “He is the legitimate and chosen leader of the Palestinian people, and we must have a dialogue with him because he represents his people.” (AP)

The Anglican Peace and Justice Network said it would press leaders of the 75 million Anglicans and Episcopalians worldwide to impose sanctions on Israel after an eight-day visit by 29 representatives to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The tour exposed the representatives “to the draconian conditions of the continuing occupation under which so many Palestinians live”, the group said in a statement. Their leader, Jenny Te Paa of New Zealand, said the delegation was so shocked by the plight of the Palestinians, including the construction of the wall through the West Bank, that there was strong support for a boycott of Israel and firms that do business there. “There was no question that there has to be a very serious kind of sanction in order to get the world to see that at least one major church institution is taking very, very seriously its moral responsibility,” she said. “It happened in South Africa, and in South Africa the boycott had an effect. Everybody said it would not work and it did work. So here we are taking on one of the most wealthy and incredibly powerful nations, supported by the US. That is the Christian call.” The network is to recommend the boycott to the church’s decision-making body, the Anglican Consultative Council, to convene in Wales, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in June 2005, and prior to that make the case that divestment is a “moral imperative” to a meeting of Anglican archbishops to be held in London in February 2005. Ms. Te Paa said the network had influence within the Anglican community and that she believed the Consultative Council would agree to a boycott of Israel. (AP, The Guardian,www.jerusalem.anglican.org)

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Palestinian militants fired at least two mortars at the “Neveh Dekalim” settlement in the Gaza Strip, one of which hit a house, severely injuring one woman and wounding another, the IDF said. The women were evacuated to a hospital in Beersheba, one Tiferet Tratner died of injuries sustained when part of the roof collapsed on top of her. Ms. Tratner, a 25-year old Jerusalemite, was stationed at the “Gush Katif” settlement block as part of her national service. Relatives said Ms. Tratner was born in Israel and held US citizenship due to her parents, who immigrated to Israel from New York City in 1967. In response to the mortar attack, Israeli tanks opened fire on nearby Khan Yunis, wounding two Palestinians, a 42-year-old man and a 4-year-old boy, witnesses said. The army said it was targeting the source of the mortar fire. Hamas’ military wing, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for the attack, which was the first time any of the mortar attacks on Gaza settlements had led to a fatality. A video released by Hamas showed three masked militants setting up and firing a mortar. After the mortar shell was fired, heavy gunfire could be heard. (AFP, AP, Arutz 7, Ma’ariv, UPI, Xinhua)

The IDF demolished Palestinian buildings close to the “Morag” settlement in the Gaza Strip, where three Israeli soldiers had been killed in an attack on their post on 23 September. The Israeli military said the demolitions were carried out in order to improve visibility in the area as well as to deprive militants of places to hide. (Xinhua)

Israel's Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz ordered the army to tighten a closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which was protested by UNRWA. (AP,UN press release PAL/2010)

UNRWA, in a statement, protested Israel’s “new and constantly changing restrictions affecting the freedom of movement of UN staff crossing into and out of the Gaza Strip”. Israeli soldiers compelled UNRWA international staff members to cross on foot through the Palestinian labourers terminal at the “Erez” border crossing, said the statement, adding, “Passage on foot leaves the staff members exposed to considerable risk, as numerous incidents in the recent past can testify, so this modality is prohibited under current UN security rules.” UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen told reporters he was obliged to relocate international staff to Jerusalem, as “measures taken by Israeli Authorities have put the lives of my staff at risk”. “Liaison and coordination are increasingly futile exercises”, he added. (UNRWA press release HQ/G/27/2004, Xinhua)

Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski sent a letter to the Housing Ministry suggesting the rezoning of the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Wadi Joz to make way for settling Jews in the area, which was “likely to contribute significantly to the unification of the city”. The development would create a link between the Jewish area of Mount Scopus and the Old City. “There is no one living there at there moment,” the Mayor's spokesman Gidi Schmerling said, adding that Mr. Lupolianski was also working on plans to build some 20 new housing projects for Palestinians. “There is no discrimination here,” he said. (AP, IMEMC)

PA President Arafat’s national security adviser Jibril Rajoub arrived for talks in Cairo, six days after Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. While in Egypt, Mr. Meshaal reportedly discussed the so-called “ideas paper”, a document authored by the Egyptians. The document aimed at reaching a cease-fire, truce or calm in the Gaza Strip ahead of the planned Israeli withdrawal, as well as the creation of a ne PA administration there. (AFP, Ha’aretz)

PA President Arafat’s political adviser Nabil Abu Rudeineh criticized US calls for Mr. Arafat to step down, telling reporters in Ramallah: “such declarations do not help implement the road map for peace in the Middle East and do not lead to any positive results. The Palestinian people has its own elected leadership and political programme, which are recognized at the Arab and international levels.” The day before, US Secretary of State Powell had urged Mr. Arafat to cede control of Palestinian security forces for the good of his people, warning that international aid could be jeopardized soon if he did not. (AFP, UPI)

CTK reported that the new Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Stanislav Gross, had told Parliament: “The Government of the Czech Republic holds great respect for the way that Israel has dealt with this phenomenon [terrorism]. The Israeli people have our unwavering support, which there can be no doubt about. We only do not want a further escalation.” At the same time, Mr. Gross voiced concerns at the construction by Israel of a barrier in the West Bank. ( UPI)

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In an air raid on the Khan Yunis refugee camp on 25 September, the IDF killed Ahmed Abdullah, 55, and wounded four others. (AFP)

A UN official said the IDF bulldozers had razed 35 houses in the Khan Yunis refugee camp, a day after an Israeli was killed in the nearby “Neveh Dekalim” settlement by mortar fire from the area. The army said it had destroyed no more than 10 structures that were abandoned and served as cover for militants. However, after troops withdrew, dozens of Palestinians pulled clothes, utensils, books and mattresses from the rubble. One resident said he and his four children had fled in their pyjamas as the family’s two-storey house was being destroyed. According to UNRWA, the destroyed houses were standard camp structures consisting of two rooms each. (AP)

A missile fired by Palestinians fell short of its target and hit a car in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, blowing up the vehicle but causing no injuries, witnesses said. The IDF said two rockets had been launched after dark, one falling in a field near the Israeli town of Sderot and the other near an army post in the northern Gaza Strip, causing no casualties. (AP)

In the south of the Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers fired at a group of Palestinians they said were preparing to launch an anti-tank missile at the “Rafiah Yam” settlement, an IDF representative said, adding that the army fire had caused the missile to explode, injuring the men. Palestinian hospital staff said that four men had been injured in the incident but that their wounds were not life-threatening. Earlier, Israeli media reported that two Palestinians had been killed in the incident. (AP, DPA)

PA Minister for Civil Affairs Jamil al-Tarifi, in a letter to the Israeli side, protested Israel’s decision to prevent Palestinians under 35 years of age from travelling through the Rafah crossing on the border between Gaza and Egypt. He said the decision posed a problem to thousands of Palestinian students who studied abroad and that those who worked outside the Occupied Palestinian Territory might lose their jobs. Mr. Tarifi criticized Israel for not responding to his repeated demands during more than a month to cancel this decision and stressed that the PA considered it as a form of collective punishment. He also said letters had been sent to Egypt and Jordan, as well as to the EU, the Russian Federation, the UN and the US Consulate to explain the graveness of the Israeli decision. (Xinhua)

PA Negotiations Affairs Minister Saeb Erakat said that the PA welcomed the Quartet’s statement of the previous day and urged it to turn its statements into action. “Israel does not care about anything as long as there is no pressure exerted by the world on it,” Mr. Erakat told reporters, adding that the statement had specified the peace process aim and called for implementing the road map as a whole. “It is a US responsibility to execute mechanisms and timetables and to impose supervision on the ground. Without those actions, all statements will stay words and things would continue to deteriorate.” (UPI)

26

Jihad Hassan, 35, a senior leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, was killed in Salfit, some 20 km south of Nablus, when his automatic rifle exploded. It was not immediately clear whether the explosion was an accident or if his weapon had been booby-trapped, Palestinian security sources said. (AFP)

An explosion killed Izz ad-Din al-Sheikh Khalil, believed to have been in charge of Hamas’s military wing outside the Occupied Palestinian Territory, as he got into his car outside of his home in the Az-Zahra district of Damascus. The Israeli Government and military declined public comment, but defence ministry officials quoted by the private Channel TwoTV confirmed that Israeli agents had been behind the explosion. A statement from the Information Ministry of the Syrian Arab Republic carried by SANAsaid Mr. Khalil had not been engaged in any militant activity inside Syrian territory. Ahmad Haj Ali, an adviser to the Syrian Information Minister, described the killing as a “terrorist and cowardly action”. Palestinian sources told APin Cairo that Sheikh Khalil was killed because he had been working as a liaison between the group’s Gaza leaders and the political wing based in Damascus. (AFP, AP)

A statement, issued by Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, in the Gaza Strip and read out on Al-JazeeraTV, mourned the death in a car bomb of Izz ad-Din al-Sheikh Khalil and threatened to target Israelis abroad. “We have let hundreds of thousands of Zionists travel and move in capitals of the world in order not to be the party which transfers the struggle. ... The Zionist enemy has opened a new door for the struggle by transferring the battle outside Palestine, in spite of the fact that the al-Qassam Brigades has always been keen to keep its rifles directed against the entity in the land they occupy”, said the statement. Hamas Politburo member Mohamad Nazzal denied that the movement’s leadership had decided to strike Israeli interests abroad. “Until today, the issue of carrying the fight outside Palestine is under study and no decision has been taken in that direction,” he said.. “Following the assassination operation, the Hamas leadership is studying the consequences of this incident, but we cannot say that there is a change in the general policy of keeping the fight inside Palestine”. A spokesman in Damascus also said that Hamas would launch attacks only inside Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. (AFP, Reuters)

An Israeli helicopter fired two missiles at a building in the Al-Amal area of the Khan Yunis refugee camp bordering the “Neveh Dekalim” settlement where a mortar attack had killed an Israeli-American woman on 24 September. Two Palestinians were slightly injured, witnesses and medical officials said. The IDF said the target was a metal workshop used by Hamas to make mortar rounds. It was the second Israeli airstrike on Khan Yunis in just over 24 hours. (AFP, AP)

Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, claimed responsibility for shelling the city of Sderot in southern Israel. The Brigades said in a leaflet sent to reporters that its members had launched several Qassam rockets in the morning and vowed to continue striking Israeli posts and settlements “till the enemy leaves our blessed lands”. Ha’aretzsaid four Israelis suffered from shock after the attack, adding that one rocket had directly hit a house and a second had fallen between houses. (AP, Xinhua)

“Jordan strongly condemned the assassination [of Hamas leader Sheikh Khalil in Damascus], which aimed at destabilizing security in the region and derailing the peace process,” a spokeswoman of the Government of Jordan, Asma Khader, was quoted by Jordanian TV as saying. Ms. Khader stressed the necessity of being committed to the road map to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. (Xinhua)

Palestinian security sources announced that 45 Palestinian police and security officers would leave Gaza for training in Cairo as soon as Israel officially informed the Palestinian side that it had lifted the restrictions which barred Palestinians under the age of 35 from leaving Gaza. “The officers were scheduled to leave Gaza two weeks ago, but the tightened Israeli security measures imposed on the Palestinians under the age of 35 postponed their departure,” said the sources. However, Israel shut down the Rafah crossing, the only exit from the Gaza Strip for Palestinians going abroad, announcing the closing of additional terminals, crossings, passages and checkpoints in the Gaza Strip until further notice, without giving the Palestinian side any reason. Israeli sources said the Palestinian officers would not be able to leave Gaza unless Israel received from Egypt their names and records and the officers’ guarantee that they would not leave Cairo during the training. (Xinhua)

Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Sharon “ordered the Israeli forces to intensify their fight, especially in order to stop Palestinian terrorists from firing rockets and mortars” at Israeli targets, Israeli Public Radiosaid. (AP)

Israel fears that part of Al-Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount may collapse when some 200,000 Muslims are expected to visit the compound once the holy month of Ramadan begins in mid-October, officials said. Israel’s Antiquities Authority said the Mosque’s foundations in the galleries known as Solomon’s Stables had become unstable from a combination of neglect, shoddy construction work and a recent earthquake. Fissures had formed in the roof and the eastern wall of the underground cavern. Israeli media said the findings were based on a recent on-site examination by Egyptian engineers. The Islamic trust overseeing the site denied the Mosque was unsafe and accused Israel of looking for a pretext to take control of it. (Reuters)

In his first press conference, held at Prime Minister Sharon’s Office in Jerusalem, Disengagement Authority chief Yonatan Basi quoted a poll showing that about half of the 8,800 affected settlers did not believe the evacuation would be carried out. He estimated that about half would leave voluntarily and the exit would cost as much as $667 million. A spokesman for the Gaza settlers, Eran Steinberg, denied that most settlers would leave voluntarily, saying Mr. Basi’s comments were meant as “psychological warfare” against the settlers. A draft law, distributed by Mr. Sharon to his Cabinet on the same day, includes a five-year jail sentence for those using or threatening to use weapons against security forces evacuating the settlers. (AP, Ma’ariv)

Israeli troops detained six settlers near Hebron as they tried to establish two new outposts, police said. The six, three of whom were minors, were part of a group of hardline settlers who attempted to build on land between the “Kiryat Arba” settlement and Israeli enclaves in the centre of Hebron. (AFP)

27

The IDF shot dead two Palestinians close to the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip as they tried to plant a bomb near the fence on the border with Israel, security sources said on both sides. The Popular Resistance Committees indicated it had sent the two on the mission. In Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, a teacher, identified as Said al-Madhun, was shot dead in a schoolyard by Israeli troops posted in the nearby “Gush Katif” settlement block. His age was given as 45, 55 and 60 by different sources. In the nearby Rafah refugee camp, five Palestinians, including four children aged 9-15, were injured by IDF fire, hospital officials said. (AFP, AP, DPA)

An Israeli helicopter gunship fired several missiles at a car in Abbassam, near Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. According to Palestinian sources, the target of the attack was Muhammad Abu Nasira, a senior member of the Popular Resistance Committees. One member of the group identified as Al-Shaer, 26, was killed, while three others, including Mr. Abu Nasira, sustained injuries. (AP, Ma’ariv)

Two members of Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades Ammar Abu Nafisa and Ahmed Nidal Al-Tirawi were killed when Israeli Apache helicopters hit their car in Balata refugee camp near Nablus. (Xinhua)

An Israeli settler shot and killed a Palestinian taxi driver on a remote West Bank road, said Israeli police spokesman Shlomi Sagi. The settler confessed to the killing, and police were on the way to arrest him, Mr. Sagi said. Palestinian witnesses said the Israeli opened fire without provocation. The Palestinian taxi driver, Sayel Jubara (Jibara, according to AFP),41, was driving on a small path through Palestinian fields when he tried to cross a road east of Nablus, near the “Elon Moreh” settlement, passengers said. Seconds later, the Israeli approached the taxi on foot, shooting at Mr. Jubara with an M-16 assault rifle from about 1.5 m, said a passenger, Ahmed Ishtayeh. He added that when the passengers asked the Israeli why he had shot their driver, the settler answered, “It doesn’t matter”, and turned away. (AFP, AP, DPA)

Israeli police said Israeli towns across the border from the Gaza Strip had come under attack from Qassam rockets. Two of the missiles hit the town of Sderot, 1.5 km from the border, and damaged a warehouse while the third struck a kibbutz, without hurting anyone. Rescue services said two people were treated for trauma when the rocket landed directly on the house. The attack prompted the mayor of Sderot, Eli Amoyal, to call for Khan Yunis further south in the Gaza Strip to be razed. The move, he told Israel Army Radio,would “guarantee our residents’ safety.” (AFP, AP)

An Israeli security guard committed suicide near Israel’s West Bank separation barrier north-west of Jerusalem, police said, after initially reporting he had been attacked by Palestinians, with police and border troops searching the area for the assailants. The man suffered a shot to the head, police said. (AP)

More than 70 Israeli military vehicles raided Jenin, prompting clashes with gunmen and stone-throwing youths. Medics said that nine Palestinians had been wounded by Israeli gunfire, most of them unarmed youths, with two in critical condition. The troops stormed the private Al-Arazi Hospital, the office of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and a local branch of the PA Education Ministry. The Director of Al-Arazi, Fawwaz (Talal) Khamad, said the hospital’s operating theatre had been destroyed by the troops and much of the equipment damaged beyond repair. He said the hospital, run by a charity with close links to Hamas, was not harbouring militants. Palestinian security sources said a hospital janitor and security guard had been arrested while two Hamas members were seized in the town’s refugee camp. Also, troops maintained a cordon round Jenin’s public hospital well into the afternoon, and the entrance to the town was sealed by tanks while barbed wire blocked access to the refugee camp where troops carried out house-to-house searches. Military sources quoted on public radio said the raid had been long planned, branding Jenin the “top centre of terrorism”, after Nablus. Zakaria Zubeidi, the Jenin leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, was reportedly among those searched for by the army. (AFP, AP)

Five Israeli border policemen were arrested on suspicion of having abused two Palestinians at a checkpoint near East Jerusalem, judicial sources said. The five allegedly led the Palestinians to an abandoned building in Abu Dis. One of the policemen then threw at the Palestinian a bucket into which he had urinated at the Palestinians. The two Palestinians were also burned with cigarettes before being forced to jump from the second floor of the building. The Attorney-General’s office recommended that the five, who confessed in part to the mistreatment, be charged. (AFP, Reuters)

PA Prime Minister Qureia criticized the killing of a Hamas activist in Damascus, telling a Cabinet meeting, “We consider such an act an attempt by Israel to export the Israeli-Palestinian crisis abroad.” He said the act would not help efforts to restart the deadlocked Palestinian-Israeli peace process and would further increase tensions in the region. (UPI)

Israel Security Agency (aka Shin Bet) published data showing that since the intifada began in September 2000, 1,017 Israelis had been killed, 70 per cent civilians and 30 per cent members of Israeli security forces. According to the data, Palestinian militants had carried out 13,730 shooting attacks and 138 suicide bombings. Nearly 5,600 Israelis were injured during the period, 82 per cent of them civilians and 18 per cent security forces. The worst year was 2002, during which 452 Israelis were killed and 2,309 injured. A significant drop has occurred since then, with 97 Israelis killed and another 441 injured in 2004. The firings of Qassam rockets had risen steadily in the past year. In 2002, 25 rockets landed in Israel, 15 in the Gaza Strip and two on the West Bank. In 2004, 118 landed in Israel and 41 in the Gaza Strip. (Ma’ariv)

Fadwa Barghouti, the wife of jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti, declared her husband's intention to run in the Palestinian parliamentary elections slated to take place sometime next year. Holding power of attorney, Ms. Barghouti signed for her husband at a registration booth in Ramallah, giving him the right to vote and run in any upcoming Palestinian election. She also registered her eldest son, Qassam, who had been in an Israeli detention centre since December 2003. “Marwan will definitely nominate himself as a candidate,” Fadwa said. (AP)

India will raise the “oppression” and “confinement” of PA President Arafat with Israel, since it believes such actions do not help the cause of peace in the region. Junior Foreign Minister Shri E. Ahamed, who visited Mr. Arafat in Ramallah earlier in Sptember, told The Hindustan Timesthat he “saw the suffering of President Arafat and how he has been confined to his house...” and believed curbs on his movements “only compound difficulties” in achieving peace in the Middle East. “President Arafat ... narrated to me the sufferings of his people. I will take this up with the Israeli Government,” Mr. Ahamed was also quoted as saying. He said Israel’s treatment of Arafat “was an affront to the Palestinian people” and must stop forthwith. India recognized Arafat “as an elected leader of the Palestinian people. We hope the already tense and uncertain situation in Western Asia would not be exacerbated by irresponsible pronouncements regarding him.” (AFP)

Ha’aretzreported that four officers of the Israeli Air Force unit "Shaldag" have said that the widespread demolition of houses in Gaza was immoral and hurt the innocent. The officers sent a letter to Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon, Deputy Chief of Staff and former Air Force Commander Dan Halutz, and current Air Force Commander Eliezer Shakedi. The letter said that the officers were disturbed mainly by the destruction that befell Rafah during "Operation Rainbow" in May, when scores of Palestinians homes were destroyed by the IDF. (WAFA)

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Mahmoud Naser, 19, was shot dead, while Khalil Sleet, 14, and Shoja Abed, 15, were injured by IDF fire in Jenin, hospital sources said. (IPC)

The following statement was issued by the Spokesman for the Secretary-General:


Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Hamas could agree on a unified national programme drafted by the PA. He told reporters that the programme would lead to the establishment of a unified Palestinian leadership in which all Palestinian factions participated. He added that a senior Hamas leader, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, had stressed the necessity of reaching a national programme that served the goals of the political forces. He added, “We talk about a unified Palestinian programme, so we have to search for the common points that everyone agrees on.” The spokesman also said that Hamas was ready to participate in the legislative elections based on a national referendum that was not related to 1993 Oslo Accords. “There's an agreement with the PA about participating in the elections, but till now there is no final agreement on the main points," he said. (Xinhua)

The Kfar Sava Magistrate's Court in Israel rejected a police request to extend the remand of Yehoshua Elitzur, 33, who was expected to be charged with manslaughter for shooting and killing Sa'al Jabara near the “Itamar” junction in the West Bank on 27 September. Mr. Elitzur, resident of the “Itamar” settlement, said he opened fire on Jabara in self-defence. Witnesses said that Mr. Jabara, a father of six from the village of Salem, near Nablus, left his village driving a Ford which he used to transport labourers from the area to the Jordan Valley. As he turned to the main road, he saw Mr. Elitzur and opened his car window to ask him whether he needed a lift. Mr. Elitur then shot and killed Mr. Jabara with his M-16 rifle. (Ha’aretz; see 27 September 2004)

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that he would make the revival of the Middle East peace process his “personal priority” after the US presidential elections. Mr. Blair, addressing the annual conference of the Labour Party in Brighton, said: “This party knows the depth of my commitment to the Middle East peace process and shares my frustration at the lack of progress. … Two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in an enduring peace, would do more to defeat this terrorism than bullets alone could ever do." (AFP)

Hamas published an advertisement in Al-Ayyamcalling on its followers to vote in the Palestinian local elections scheduled to begin on 9 December. The advertisement read, “Fellow citizens, it is time for change. It is time to register your name.” The Islamic Jihad said it would take part in the municipal elections and urged its followers to register to vote, adding, “We believe that the contribution in the election process would cause competent personnel capable of offering better services for the Palestinian people.” (AP)

Hungary and the PA signed an agreement by which Hungary would provide training to Palestinian health workers, election observers and teachers. Laszlo Vizi, a Foreign Ministry official, said Hungary would also donate food supplies to Palestinian refugee camps in the Gaza Strip. The food, worth some 2 million forints (US$10,000), will be shipped to the camps through a local charity, the Hungarian Ecumenical Charitable Service. (AP)

In its quarterly report, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said that the gross domestic product (GDP) estimates had decreased during the second quarter of 2004 by 2.4 per cent compared with the first quarter of the same year. PCBS said that the preliminary estimates at constant prices for the second quarter of 2004 showed a substantial decline in the performance of the economy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, due to the decline in the main economic activities (manufacturing activities, transport, hotels, real estate and business services). (WAFA)

The Israeli High Court rejected a petition filed by the “Amana” settlement movement and allowed the IDF "Civil Administration" to demolish three caravans in the “Givat Asaf” outpost near Bet El, north of Ramallah. The judges ruled that “Amana” had failed to prove title to the land. (Israel Radio)

Riad Ali, an Israeli Druze and CNN producer, was released a day after he had been kidnapped by armed Palestinians. Talking to reporters after emerging from a Gaza police station, Mr. Ali said his kidnappers had identified themselves as members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Brigade spokesman Abu Mohammed denied that the group was involved, noting that it had denounced the kidnapping. Mr. Ali refused to discuss what demands his abductors had made. He thanked President Arafat, Israeli Arab leaders and CNN for helping to win his release. (AP)

PA Prime Minister Qureia marked the fourth anniversary of the Al-Aqsa intifada by calling on the PA and Israel to rethink their positions. “We need an evaluation of these four years, where have we been right and where have we been wrong? What did we achieve and what didn't we achieve?” He added that power could not achieve security. Real security could be achieved only through real peace. He said the growing lawlessness in Palestinian areas was “unacceptable”, adding, “Destruction of our homes and continuing the killing of our people and hunting of our activists and leaders inside and abroad is crazy and will lead to neither security nor peace.” (AP, Reuters)

The IDF shot dead Saleh Blalu, 46, from the Jenin refugee camp, local hospital staff said. Camp residents said the man had a history of mental illness and had been wandering about in the dark in a section of the camp under military curfew when soldiers shot him. (AP, WAFA)

PLO Political Department Head Farouk Kaddoumi addressed the General Assembly describing the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He said the continuation of daily assaults on Palestinian towns and villages, the demolishing of homes and houses, the bulldozing and uprooting of age-old fruit bearing trees - olive and citrus, targeted killings, assassination, closures and the imposition of state of siege and curfews and the use of excessively disproportionate force had resulted so far in more than 3,200 deaths and thousands of injured Palestinians. He said that the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza was long overdue. He added that in order to ensure the success of the road map and the achievement of a two-State solution, the freeze of all settlement activity and withdrawal from Palestinian areas occupied since 28 September 2001 had yet to be fulfilled as a first step. Instead, the occupation had persisted and Israel had embarked on establishing new settlements, particularly in and around East Jerusalem. Mr. Kaddoumi stressed that the Palestinian people and leadership had demonstrated goodwill and accepted in good faith the provisions of the road pap and other proposals in order to terminate the Israeli occupation, so that all could live in peace and security and stability in Middle East. (UN News Service)

A large IDF contingent entered the northern Gaza Strip and took positions near Beit Hanoun and the Jabalya refugee camp. The operation was meant to prevent the firing of Qassam rockets against Israeli targets, the IDF said. (Ha’aretz)

In its meeting in Ramallah, the PA Cabinet praised the Quartet’s emphasis on the need to halt Israeli settlement activities and commitment to the ICJ Advisory Opinion. While welcoming the speeches in the General Assembly supportive of the Palestinian position, the Ministers criticized President Bush's statements regarding PA President Arafat, stressing that the Palestinian people is the only party that has the right to choose their president, and calling on the US Administration to respect the wishes of nations and the right to democracy. (WAFA)

British Prime Minister Blair told the Labour Party's Annual Conference: “This party knows the depth of my commitment to the Middle East peace process and shares my frustration at the lack of progress. After November, I will make its revival a personal priority.” (www.labour.org.uk)

29

A “Qassam” rocket hit the town of Sderot in the south of Israel, killing two children and wounding 12 people, according to Israeli rescue services. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. (AP, Xinhua)

Three Palestinians were killed and 10 others wounded as IDF forces entered the Jabalya refugee camp. The dead were identified as 22-year-old Tawfik Ali Sharafi, a member of the Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, Ahmed Madi, 17, and Said Abu Eish, 14. (AP, IPC, WAFA, Reuters)

The IDF launched an aerial strike against a group of Palestinians preparing to launch a Qassam rocket east of the Jabalya refugee camp, killing one, the IDF said. (Xinhua)

Two IDF soldiers were lightly wounded in a mortar attack aimed at the Gaza Strip settlement of “Netzarim”. A Qassam rocket crashed into hothouses belonging to the “Ganei Tal” settlement in the “Gush Katif” block, lightly wounding a Palestinian employee. (Ha’aretz)

IDF troops shot dead 13-year-old Mohammed Jaber and wounded four others in a crowd of stone-throwers who approached the entrance to the “Netzarim” settlement, according to medics. (AP, IPC, WAFA)

Two Palestinians were killed by IDF troops pursuing a militant from the Islamic Jihad in Jenin. Palestinian security sources said the intended target, Ahmed Chalabi, had escaped from the car he was in before the soldiers opened fire, killing the driver, Mohammed Al-Bitar, 25, and the other passenger, Rateb Abu Taleb, 50, the brother-in-law of Al-Chalabi. (AFP)

Majdi Khalifa, 25, a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, was killed in clashes with IDF soldiers in Nablus, Palestinian security sources said. (AP)

PA Minister for Negotiations Affairs Saeb Erakat said that there were talks under way with British officials in order to activate the peace process and help “turning the words into deeds”. (Xinhua)

PLC lawmakers plan a no-confidence vote that could bring down the Government appointed by PA President Arafat, according to legislators. The lawmakers said they had collected enough signatures on a petition to compel the Parliament Speaker to call a special session, possibly by early October, on the future of PA Prime Minister Qureia and his Cabinet. (Reuters)

Since the beginning of the current Intifada, Israeli forces have demolished 4,811 Palestinian-owned houses, 2,432 of which the destruction was total, the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reported. (WAFA)

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The following statement was issued by the Office the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General:


UNRWA called on the Government of Israel to lift restrictions and ensure safety of staff in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA has been forced to suspend many of its normal operations, including the resumption of much needed emergency food aid. These restrictions also barred the Commissioner-General of UNRWA from attending the annual meeting of the Agency’s Advisory Commission. (UNRWA press release HQ/G/29/2004)

Israeli troops raided the centre of Jabaliya, the largest Palestinian refugee camp and home to 100,000 people, after a Palestinian rocket killed two children at the Israeli town of Sderot. A total of 21 Palestinians were killed and more than 100 people were wounded. Bulldozers had earlier started demolishing houses, forcing residents to flee. The invasion of the northern Gaza Strip was accompanied by a complete closure of the Gaza Strip and partitioning it into three parts. In addition, all commercial and industrial checkpoints were closed by the Israeli authorities, preventing essential goods, such as fuel, from entering the Gaza Strip, which could cause a fuel crisis and power outages throughout the Gaza Strip. (Reuters, IPC)

Two Israelis, a woman jogging near the “Nissanit” settlement and a man who tried to help her, were killed by two Palestinian militants who had infiltrated the settlement. Subsequently, the two Palestinians were killed by the IDF. (BBC)

An Israeli soldier was killed when Hamas militants attacked an IDF base near Jabaliya. Two militants of the Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades were killed in return fire, Hamas said. (BBC)

Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz decided after consultation with army commanders to widen the military campaign and send more troops, the IDF said. Bulldozers demolished 15 Palestinian homes. (AP, Reuters, AFP, Xinhua)

Prime Minister Sharon, at a Security Cabinet meeting, approved an intensified campaign, which would include re-occupying parts of the northern Gaza Strip. The Cabinet unanimously approved the plan, codenamed “Days of Penitence”. A security source said the army was about to take control of a 6-km deep "buffer zone" in the northern Gaza Strip to “keep militants firing rockets at Sderot” and that there would be “non-stop army patrols to draw armed men into the streets and kill them from the air.” Defence Minister Mofaz said the IDF operation in the northern Gaza was “a necessary and legitimate operation that will take time”. (AFP, Albawaba.com, DPA, Reuters)

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, in a speech to the Labour Party’s Annual Conference, Mr. Straw said that there was no “greater challenge to the international order than the terrible conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians”. “As for Israel, the targeted killings have to end, the settlement building in the West Bank must stop, as must the routing of the security barrier onto the Palestinian land”, he said, adding that the PA must rein in terrorist groups. (AP, Reuters)

Former PA Minister of Interior Security Mohamed Dahlan warned Israel that its ongoing military operations in the northern Gaza Strip may take a heavy toll on both sides. He said in a written statement that if the Israeli operation continued for several days in a densely populated area like the Jabaliya refugee camp, hundreds of Palestinians would be killed. (Xinhua)

Sa’eed Seyam, a senior Hamas leader, said in a written statement sent to the press that it was willing to stop rocket attacks at Israel if the latter stops military offensives in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. “If Israel stops aggression, the militants will stop firing rockets,” he said. (Xinhua)

In Kfar Qaddum, troops prevented the village’s farmers from reaching their land located near the settlement of “Kedumim”. Local sources also said Israeli forces, backed by military jeeps and armoured vehicles, stormed the town of Hebron and arrested Naeem Al Darabee, 23, and Salem Al Daraweesh, 22, both university students, after raiding and searching their homes. Three brothers, Amer, Omar and Anan Abu Arafa, were also arrested in Hebron, after their house was searched. Five other Palestinians were arrested in the Qalandiya refugee camp. (IPC)

The PA called for the international community to put a stop to Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a senior advisor to PA President Arafat, said the PA “is requesting the UN Security Council, the Quartet and the United States to get involved immediately to put an end to the massacres Israel is committing in Gaza”. (Ha’aretz, IPC)

US Secretary of State Colin Powell, in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV,said the Palestinian uprising, which was entering its fifth year, had done nothing for the Palestinians and urged them to put an end to it. “What is the intifada in its five years of existence? What has been accomplished for the Palestinian people? Has it produced progress toward a Palestinian state?” He added that it “is the time to end this process. It is time to end the intifada.” Mr. Powell also criticized Israel for settlement activity and for not destroying all West Bank outposts. (AFP, Ha’aretz, IMEMC)

The results of a survey commissioned by the Chicago Council for Foreign Relations found that almost two thirds of the American people favoured an even-handed approach by the US Administration in handling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The poll, which was conducted to survey attitudes in the United States toward global issues, indicated that 74 per cent of American respondents said the US should not take sides in the conflict. The survey also showed a wide support for a multilateral approach to international issues and a willingness to “further empower the United Nations”. The survey of 1,195 Americans was carried out by Knowledge Networks between 6 and 12 July 2004. (IPC)


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