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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
31 October 2010



Division for Palestinian Rights

Chronological Review of Events Relating to the
Question of Palestine

MONTHLY MEDIA MONITORING REVIEW
October 2010


Monthly highlights

• Palestinian leadership suspends direct talks with Israel (2 October)

• Arab League Follow-up Committee meets in Sirte and endorses President Abbas’ decision to suspend talks until settlement freeze, leaving door open to a resumption of direct negotiations (8 October)

• Prime Minister Netanyahu says he would extend moratorium if Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish State (11 October)

• Israel approves construction of 238 homes in Israeli settlements (15 October)

• Israel rejects UNRWA request to establish new Gaza schools in the Tel al-Hawa, saying the land that was provided by Hamas was next to a Hamas military installation (22 October)

• Palestinian leadership considering possibility of re-examining PLO agreements signed with Israel, including the Oslo Accords (23 October)

• PA condemns Israeli decision to approve a draft law classifying Jerusalem as a national priority area (26 October)

• Israel and the United States reportedly discussing option of Israel leasing lands in East Jerusalem from the Palestinians in exchange for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State (29 October)

1

A Qassam rocket fired from Gaza landed in an open area in the Western Negev. There were no reports of injury or damage. (Ynetnews)

An estimated 60 Palestinian, Israeli and international activists clashed with Israeli security forces along the separation wall, near the village of Bil’in. A group of 30 Palestinian, Israeli and international activists also clashed with Israeli troops along the wall next to the village of Ni’lin. (www.israelnationalnews.com)

United States Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell told reporters, as he concluded two days of shuttling between Jerusalem and Ramallah: "Both President [Mahmoud Abbas] and Prime Minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] have agreed that we will continue our discussions… in an effort to move forward in this process toward what we all share as a common goal: the establishment of comprehensive peace in the Middle East." (Reuters)

An Israeli high school principal had been summoned for a hearing by the country's Education Ministry for using a textbook that presents the Palestinian narrative about events surrounding Israel's creation in 1948, officials said today. (AP)

Israeli Arabs were holding a general strike to mark the tenth anniversary of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's visit to Al-Haram Al-Sharif. (IMEMC)

Palestinian Authority (PA) Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqei’ visited the family of a 13-year-old Hebron boy days after the child's release from an Israeli prison. The boy had been taken from his family home on 22 September by Israeli forces, who said that he had thrown stones at settlers on his way home from school. (Ma'an News Agency)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, PA President Abbas and US Special Envoy Mitchell. Mr. Ban welcomed the continuing US efforts to sustain the talks and offered his support to peace process. He encouraged Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas to find a way forward, reiterating his belief that negotiations were the only way for Israelis and Palestinians to resolve all final status issues and realize their aspirations. Mr. Ban also renewed his hope that the Israeli Government would extend its settlement restraint policy, and underscored the need to create an environment conducive for the negotiations to be successful. Mr. Ban reiterated that settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, was illegal under international law, urging Israel to fulfil its obligation and freeze settlement activity. (UN News Centre)

At its 326th meeting, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People adopted its report to the General Assembly. (Division for Palestinian Rights)

Sources at the United Nations said that the Arab League would consider a proposal to request an emergency session of the Security Council on the settlements freeze issue. (Haaretz)

Viva Palestina Malaysia urged the Egyptian Government to ensure safe passage for a convoy to Gaza to deliver aid. The convoy was expected to arrive in Gaza on 10 October. (Bernama)

2

The joint meeting of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Fatah’s Central Committee, chaired by PA President Abbas, decided to suspend direct peace talks with Israel until the Israeli Government froze settlement construction in the Palestinian territories. The Palestinian position will be presented to the Arab League follow-up committee and the Arab Summit to be held in Libya on 8 October. (AFP, The Jordan Times)

3

A Palestinian mosque was set alight and vandalized by settlers in the village of Bayt Fajar. The PA strongly condemned the arson, describing it as "a serious escalation in settler violence" against the Palestinians, according to Spokesman Ghassan Khatib. PA police launched an investigation into the incident. An Israeli military spokeswoman said that Israeli police in the West Bank had begun operating in the area to locate the assailants. (Haaretz, Ma’an News Agency)

An Israeli settler allegedly deliberately ran over a Palestinian man with his car in the town of Beit Ummar. The young man sustained injuries all over his body and was taken to a hospital. (Palestinian Information Center)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called on PA President Abbas and the PA leadership to continue the peace talks in order to reach a peace agreement within one year. (IMRA)

Egypt and Jordan backed the Palestinian refusal to negotiate with Israel as long as it continued to build settlements in the West Bank, while urging more efforts to salvage peace talks mediated by Washington. US Special Envoy George Mitchell held separate meetings with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (in Cairo), with Jordan’s King Abdullah II (in Amman) and PA President Abbas (also in Amman). Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said, after Mr. Mubarak met with Mr. Mitchell: "We understand the Palestinian position which calls for setting the appropriate environment and circumstances for negotiations to take place and continue. The current conditions are not favourable". In Jordan, King Abdullah reiterated Jordan’s support for the Palestinians in their efforts to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the two-State solution. The King stressed the need to intensify international peace efforts, calling on the US to assume a leading role in removing obstacles to the continuation of direct peace talks. (AP, The Jordan Times)

US Special Envoy Mitchell, speaking in Cairo after meeting President Mubarak, said: “Despite their differences, both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority asked us to continue these discussions in an effort to establish the conditions under which they can continue direct negotiations.” (Financial Times)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh welcomed the decision by the PLO to suspend peace talks with Israel, saying it was "a good step", but had to be accompanied by other moves. Mr. Haniyeh furthermore said that “our position concerning the negotiations is clear in that we reject being dependent on the American will". (DPA)

Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi met with PA security officials in the West Bank to discuss issues related to the daily life of residents, in particular movement restrictions, farmers’ access to their lands, development of the tourism industry, as well as plans to facilitate the upcoming olive harvest. (Ma’an News Agency)

An Israeli military court convicted two soldiers of using a 9-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield during the 2009 Gaza war. (AP)

Israeli police shot and killed a construction worker in East Jerusalem after he had used a rope to scale the separation wall. The victim was part of a group of Palestinian construction workers trying to enter Israel without permits. A witness said that the worker had been shot from close range and without provocation. (AP)

Israeli settlers attacked a family in the Al-Sa'diya neighbourhood in East Jerusalem and tried to remove furniture from their house, claiming they owned the house. Israeli police intervened to protect the settlers and prevented human rights activists and journalists from B'Tselem from entering the house. (Palestinian Information Center)

According to reports, the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish ship that was the scene of bloodshed during Israel's raid on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla, was made the setting of a film critical of Israel. The movie, Valley of the Wolves - Palestine, is a spin-off from the controversial TV drama series Valley of the Wolves, which sparked a diplomatic row between Turkey and Israel earlier this year after one episode showed Israeli security forces kidnapping children and shooting old men. (AP)

4

According to Gaza police, several Israeli military vehicles crossed the Gaza border into the central district near the Al-Bureij refugee camp. Two Israeli tanks and four Israeli bulldozers entered 150 metres into the central district, searching the area and bulldozing land. (Ma’an News Agency)

A 36-year-old Palestinian labourer from Hebron was shot and killed by an Israeli policeman in East Jerusalem. The man was trying to cross a barbed-wire fence in order to seek work in Jerusalem when the policeman shot him at point blank range, according to witnesses. (IMEMC)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said "sensitive contacts" with the US were under way on the issue of Israeli construction in the West Bank, in an effort to find a compromise that will prevent the collapse of peace talks. Mr. Netanyahu stated at his weekly Cabinet meeting that the continuation of peace negotiations was “a vital interest for the State of Israel". (DPA, The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz)

A poll of Cabinet ministers, published in Yediot Aharonot newspaper, indicated that attempts by Washington to entice Israel into extending a settlement moratorium were likely to meet opposition from coalition hardliners. Of the 30 ministers who made up the Cabinet, 15 were opposed to any renewal of the partial freeze. Eight said they would back such a move, with the remaining seven undecided. (AFP)

It was reported that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had given his consent in principle to a two-month renewal of the settlement construction moratorium, but had conditioned it by stipulating it would be the last of its kind. In exchange, Mr. Netanyahu reportedly obtained a US pledge for full political support in the Security Council, military assistance and support to guarantee Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley as part of a future peace deal. In an apparent reference to these reports, Mr. Netanyahu said that he did not "have the possibility of denying the baseless media report". (Al-Sharq al-Awsat London, DPA)

The Israeli defense establishment's complaints committee, set up to minimize the damages caused to Israeli citizens in the West Bank following the construction freeze, had reached a decision on 45 of 109 compensation claims submitted by settlers since the beginning of the freeze. The committee accepted 42 of the claims and rejected three. Private individuals or groups, including housing companies and contractors, whose claims were accepted, will receive some NIS 60,000 each. The State will pay more than NIS 2.5 million to settlers who incurred losses owing to the freeze. (Haaretz)

Thirty new cars, spare parts and tires, 210 truckloads of goods and humanitarian aid and limited quantities of domestic-use gas and industrial diesel were scheduled to be delivered through Kerem Shalom crossing to Gaza. Israel allowed gas and industrial diesel through the crossing the previous day. (Ma’an News Agency)

A poll by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research found that 66 per cent of Palestinians wanted PA President Abbas to pull out of the peace talks, while just 33 per cent supported his sticking with them, following the resumption of Israeli settlement construction. (AFP)

The Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) voiced its shock following the burning of a mosque in the West Bank that was suspected to be an act of arson. UNSCO reminded the Israeli Government that the extremists responsible for such attacks must be brought to justice and the rule of law upheld. (UN News Centre)

The Turkish charity IHH (Humanitarian Relief Foundation) said that activists from dozens of Muslim countries were planning to send a convoy of aid ships to the Gaza Strip in a new effort to break Israel’s blockade. Some 500 activists would take part in a new flotilla aiming to reach Gaza by 27 December. (AP)

Mairead Corrigan Maguire, an Irish Nobel peace laureate, detained on 28 September after landing at the airport in Tel Aviv on her way to meet Israeli and Palestinian peace activists, appeared before the Israeli Supreme Court. Ms. Corrigan Maguire had been banned from entering the country because of her attempt to breach the Gaza naval blockade aboard a vessel in June. During the hearing, she called on Israel to cease its "apartheid" policy against the Palestinian people. The Court was expected to rule on her deportation. (AP, The Washington Post)

5

A 27-year-old Palestinian was shot in the leg by Israeli forces while collecting stone aggregate in the northern Gaza Strip. (Ma’an News Agency)

An Islamic Jihad leader, Yousif Al-Arif, was detained at an Israeli checkpoint south of Nablus. (Ma’an News Agency)

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said that Cairo would “spare no efforts to ensure that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process does not fall apart over the settlements”. (Ma’an News Agency)

The PA said that it had won the backing of Egypt, Jordan and several other Arab countries for its refusal to return to the negotiating table unless settlement construction was stopped. “There is full agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Egypt with regard to the issue of settlement construction,” a spokesman for President Abbas said, following his meeting in Cairo with President Mubarak. (The Jerusalem Post)

King Abdullah of Jordan pressed Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for a change of heart on new settlements construction. “All unilateral actions that threaten peace, in particular the construction of settlements, must cease,” a Palace statement quoted the King as telling Mr. Netanyahu in a telephone conversation. (AFP)

PA President Abbas’ speech before the Arab League Follow-up Committee, charged with overseeing the Arab Peace Initiative, had reportedly been postponed until 8 October. He was scheduled to address the Committee on 6 October in Cairo, ahead of an extraordinary session of the Arab League in Libya. (Ma’an News Agency)

A senior Hamas official, Salah al-Bardawil, said that Fatah and Hamas planned to hold a second round of reconciliation talks in Syria on 20 October, and that the discussions would be aimed at “forming a joint security committee” as part of a process of reconciling the two movements. (AFP)

The European Commission decided to provide an additional €61.4 million for the Occupied Palestinian Territory under its 2010 budget, in addition to the €295 million already approved from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument. (www.europa.eu)

In a report presented to the Turkel Commission of Inquiry into the 31 May Gaza flotilla incident, Physicians for Human Rights said that 80 per cent of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip was dependent on humanitarian aid, while the number of unemployed had increased by 40 per cent over the past three years. According to the group, 61 per cent of the Gaza population (973,600) suffered from food insecurity, and the number of children suffering from growth problems had increased by 150 per cent between 2007 and 2009. (The Jerusalem Post)

During a visit to the West Bank, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge expressed concern over travel obstacles facing Palestinian athletes and said that athletes should be granted free movement regardless of politics. Mr. Rogge met with Palestinian leaders and watched an exhibition soccer match before going to Israel tomorrow. He said that he would raise the issue in his meetings with Israeli officials. (AP)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was to convene his forum of top Ministers later in the day to debate extending Israel’s moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank for 60 days. (Haaretz)

The Israeli army said that it was investigating a YouTube video that appeared to show a soldier dancing suggestively around a bound and blindfolded Palestinian woman. The Palestinian Government Media Centre issued a statement saying, “This is a disgusting illustration of the sick mentality of the occupier”. (BBC, www.palestinecabinet.gov.ps)

The US State Department released a statement condemning the burning of a mosque in the West Bank. "We condemn this attack in the strongest terms and call for the perpetrators to be brought to justice", the statement read. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israel announced that it had launched an investigation into the mosque attack and promised to bring the guilty parties to justice. “The Israeli police... have opened a very widespread investigation; the other security forces in Israel will be a part of [it], as well as Palestinian information that has some contribution to this investigation,” a spokeswoman said. The PA had launched a separate investigation. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israel's Jerusalem municipality received new plans to break down part of East Jerusalem's Old City walls to create a gate to accommodate Jewish worshippers near the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. (Haaretz)

6

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) intensified its military operations in Hebron, imposing a siege and closure procedure around the city. (IMEMC)

Two Qassam rockets exploded near the Gaza border causing no casualties or damage. Another rocket had fallen short inside Gaza, Army Radio said. (AFP, The Jerusalem Post)

Four Palestinians were wounded and one detained on the Ramallah-Nablus road after an Israeli military vehicle pursuing them had rammed their car. (IMEMC)

The Israeli Security Cabinet met to discuss measures to reinforce buildings against rocket attacks, among other issues. (The Jerusalem Post)

PA officials said that the US Administration was working on the possibility of extending the moratorium by an additional three months to avoid the collapse of the peace talks. “This is not a bad proposal”, an official said. “But it remains to be seen if the Americans are able to exert pressure on Netanyahu to stop the construction in the settlements.” (The Jerusalem Post)

Frederick Hoff, assistant to US Special Envoy George Mitchell, met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallaem in an effort to get Arab leaders to continue their support for the peace negotiations ahead of the Arab League meeting this week. (DPA)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a news conference: “All [Messrs. Abbas, Netanyahu and Mitchell] told me they were committed to finding solutions to the problems immediately before us. All want to keep the peace process going. I urge Israel to restore settlement restraint, under its Road Map obligations, and I urge Arab leaders meeting in Sirte to keep doors open and support President Abbas. Negotiations should move forward intensively, focused on resolving core issues – not talks for the sake of talks.” (UN News Centre)

Hamas threatened to attack senior PA officials if the PA continued to “hunt down” Hamas members. The threat came as a Hamas fighter was sentenced to 20 years in prison over a deadly 2009 shootout with Palestinian police. (AFP, Haaretz)

Fatah accused Hamas leaders in Gaza of attempting to sabotage ongoing unity talks by releasing statements “aimed at increasing tensions and blowing off efforts to arrive at unity”. (Ma’an News Agency)

Turkey’s Minister for Foreign Trade, Zafer Caglayan, announced that Turkey would open a trade office in the West Bank to boost closer commercial links with the Palestinians. (Middle East Online)

The World Food Programme released a report naming the Palestinian territories as one of the 22 areas of the world facing “protracted” food crises. (DPA)

Israel’s Jerusalem Mayor, Nir Barkat, said that he would welcome a Palestinian embassy in Jerusalem, but denounced the idea of splitting the city between Israel and the Palestinians as unworkable. (Haaretz)

Ten days after the settlement freeze expired, 350 new housing units in various settlements were under construction. A council chair for one the larger settlement denied that building was operating at a heightened pace, stating that “we are returning to routine”. (Haaretz)

Israeli Civil Administration personnel headed for the “Maale Shomron” settlement in order to seal off an illegally constructed synagogue. The State urged the Israeli High Court to reject a petition filed by the settlers to stop the sealing. (The Jerusalem Post)

Six rabbis from West Bank settlements took a step to defuse tension over the arson attack on a mosque on 3 October as they presented 20 new Quran books to replace those damaged in the blaze. (AP)

Israeli settlers cut down dozens of olive trees and looted the harvested olives from the villages of Yanoun and Hawara near Nablus, Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official in charge of the settlement issues in the Northern West Bank, said. (IMEMC)

Prime Minister Netanyahu called the YouTube footage of an Israeli soldier humiliating a Palestinian female prisoner an embarrassment to the army and the country. (Haaretz)

Israeli Environment Minister Gilad Erdan visited the new Palestinian city of Rawabi which was under construction. He said that he would recommend delaying the construction on the grounds that arrangements had not yet been completed to safeguard the environment. (AFP)

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni accused the United Nations of intervening in Israel's affairs, telling UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that his decision to appoint a panel to investigate the Gaza aid flotilla raid was "unacceptable". (Haaretz)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a news conference: “Again, I urge the Israelis to expedite their domestic investigation process and submit the report as soon as possible, so that the Panel members could review and liaise between the Turkish investigation and the Israeli investigation, so that they will be able to have their own judgment.” (UN News Centre)

A spokesperson for the Viva Palestina convoy said that Egypt had promised to facilitate the entry of the flotilla into Gaza. According to the spokesperson, the 380 activists planning to partake in the convoy would also be allowed access. (IMEMC)

7

Israeli warplanes carried out three raids on the Gaza Strip overnight wounding four Palestinians, Hamas security officials and witnesses said. (AFP)

Palestinian medical sources reported that 11 Palestinians had been wounded in Gaza in several Israeli aerial attacks, one of which struck the car of a militant. Damage was reported to several homes. (IMEMC)

IDF forces discovered two pipe bombs on two Palestinians at the Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus. (www.idf.il)

Israeli soldiers seized 12 Palestinians in various parts of the West Bank. (IMEMC)

In a phone call, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reassured PA President Abbas that US efforts towards the renewal of the temporary ban on settlement building would continue "until the very last minute”. (Middle East Online)

"There will be no serious political process while Netanyahu's Government pursues settlements," Yasser Abed Rabbo, Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee, told Voice of Palestine radio. "I can go further still and say that there will be no serious political process with Netanyahu's Government," he added. He said that no meeting was planned between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Paris during October. (Ma’an News Agency, Reuters)

A delegation of 17 individuals, including 11 children, caregivers and medical professionals, left Gaza through the Erez (Beit Hanoun) crossing heading to Slovenia, where they will receive treatment and training from one of Europe's premier hospitals, organizers said. (Ma’an News Agency)

Prime Minister Netanyahu promised to consider ways of easing travel restrictions on Palestinian athletes, as IOC President Jacques Rogge invited sports officials of both sides to meet at its headquarters in Europe. (AP)

The only products entering Gaza via the smuggling tunnels in the past months have been iron, cement and house paint, with scrap metals moving in the reverse direction. Wages of tunnel workers have gone down, according to tunnel owners. (Ma’an News Agency)

Residents of Hawara village south of Nablus said that settlers had set dozens of dunums of farm lands on fire, destroying crops. (Ma’an News Agency)

Settlers in the northern Jordan Valley settlement of “Mehola” began large-scale construction projects. (Ma’an News Agency, WAFA)

The Haifa District Court will resume hearings today in the civil lawsuit filed by US activist Rachel Corrie’s family against the State of Israel for her unlawful killing in Rafah in 2003. (Ma’an News Agency)

8

Israeli troops killed two senior Hamas militants “wanted” in connection with the 31 August 2010 killing of four Israelis in Hebron, the military said. Hamas-aligned media in Gaza confirmed the incident. "This cowardly act calls for a response," said a Hamas military wing spokesman. (AP, KUNA, The Jerusalem Post)

A Palestinian woman in her fifties died of a heart attack sustained two weeks ago following the fatal shooting of her son by a settler guard in Silwan in East Jerusalem. (Ma’an News Agency)

Hamas had uncovered an Israeli plot to locate captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit by monitoring the calls of senior Hamas officials, Israel’s Channel 2 quoted Hamas officials as saying. (Haaretz)

The Arab League Follow-up Committee meeting in the Libyan city of Sirte agreed to give the United States one more month to convince Israel to halt its settlement activities, and endorsed PA President Abbas’ decision not to continue direct talks with Israel as long as the settlement construction continued. (AFP, AP)

PA President Abbas informed US Special Envoy Mitchell last week that the renewal of settlement construction would not only bring about the collapse of peace talks but would also induce his resignation as PA President, according to Palestinian sources close to the PA leadership. (Haaretz, Ma’an News Agency)

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine urged the Arab League Follow-up Committee to adopt a new political strategy based on multiple options, not only the choice of negotiations. It also called on the Arab countries to approach the Security Council to pass a resolution to give the Palestinians a State on the lands occupied in 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital. (Xinhua)

"We accepted a [settlement] moratorium for two months on condition that by the end of this period we will reach an agreement on the issue of the borders", Palestinian negotiator Nabil Sha’ath told AP, adding that if no agreement was reached, "then this moratorium should be extended. If borders were set, Israel could then resume construction on all territories it expected to keep.” (AP)

Prime Minister Netanyahu was demanding that US President Obama reaffirm the commitments given by his predecessor, George W. Bush, to then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, to convince his ministers to accept a settlement moratorium, Yediot Ahronot reported. "First and foremost among these, is the American support for the Israeli annexation of the settlement blocks," the daily quoted Mr. Netanyahu as saying. The Obama Administration believed that the annexation of settlement blocks would take place only as part of a territory swap, it added. (AFP)

The US had offered Israel "incentives" geared toward encouraging Prime Minister Netanyahu's Cabinet to extend the settlement moratorium, Israel's Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, said in an interview. "No letter was sent to the Prime Minister. We are not going to comment on sensitive diplomatic matters,” said Deputy US National Security Council Spokesman Benjamin Chang. (Haaretz)

David Be'eri, head of a known settler group, struck two Palestinian children with his car, after they had hurled rocks at his vehicle in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan. (Haaretz)

A group of public figures in Tubas filed a lawsuit in Palestinian courts against Palestinian construction workers employed in settlements. (Ma’an News Agency)

Lawyers acting on behalf of Turkish casualties in the flotilla raid of 31 May sent a letter to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Louis Moreno-Ocampo, urging the Court to prosecute members of the IDF for the raid. (The Guardian)

9

Witnesses reported that drones and war planes hovered over northern Gaza, where Israeli forces fired flares, including live ammunition near the Erez crossing. An Israeli military spokesperson said that soldiers were searching for a Gaza resident who had infiltrated Israel. A teenager from Gaza, who had entered Israel illegally, was later detained. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Al-Nasser Salah ad-Din Brigades claimed responsibility for firing a mortar shell at Israeli forces, which had crossed into the northern Gaza Strip. (Ma’an News Agency)

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner welcomed the fact that the Arab leaders had left the door open to a resumption of the US-sponsored direct negotiations. (AFP)

Speaking at the Arab League Summit in Sirte, PA President Abbas warned that the "dangerous challenge" ahead required a unified Arab stance and that Israeli violations against Palestinians were escalating with an intensity that had not been seen in decades. Head of the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department Saeb Erakat said that President Abbas had told leaders that Israel had “effectively cancelled the Oslo agreement and the other agreements it has signed with the PLO” and had stripped the PA of much of its limited powers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Mr. Erakat also said that President Abbas had spelled out several alternatives to direct negotiations should Israeli settlement construction continue, including demanding US recognition of a Palestinian State on the pre-1967 borders. (AFP, Ma’an News Agency, Reuters)

In a message to the Arab League Summit delivered by UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated that there was “no alternative to a negotiated settlement resulting in the creation of an independent and viable State of Palestine living side by side with the State of Israel in peace and security”. He added that “the expiry of Israel's ten-month partial settlement moratorium without anything in place to preserve an atmosphere for successful negotiations, has created a major obstacle to progress.” (UN News Centre)

Hamas Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that the Arab League’s decision to support President Abbas in halting the direct negotiations was not enough “to support the Palestinian position in confronting the occupation”. “The Arabs must adopt a unified strategy that backs the armed Palestinian resistance and backs the Palestinians steadfastness on their land,” he said. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said that the decision “is not enough and goes on in a vicious circle”, adding that “the Arabs’ weak position would encourage Israel to keep carrying out practices against our people and lands”. (Xinhua)

Eight protestors, including three foreign nationals and an Israeli activist, were detained by Israeli forces at an anti-settlement rally in Beit Ummar. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian and Israeli solidarity activists attempting to harvest olives near Hebron. In the West Bank village of Burin, settlers destroyed olive trees. (AP, IMEMC)

10

The Sirte Declaration, which was issued at the conclusion of the second Arab-Afro Summit, said, inter alia, that Israel's continued occupation of Arab territories was a threat to international peace and security. (SANA, Xinhua)

As part of a trip aimed at breaking the deadlock in the peace talks and boosting Europe’s role in those talks, the Foreign Ministers of France and Spain, Bernard Kouchner and Miguel Ángel Moratinos, met with Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. Mr. Liberman reportedly told his guests: “Before coming here to tell us how to solve our conflicts, I would expect you could have at least solved all the problems within Europe,” while Mr. Moratinos and Mr. Kouchner asserted that Europe did have an important role to play in the Middle East peace process. (AFP, Haaretz)

In an interview with Al-Ayyam, French Foreign Minister Kouchner said that while France preferred a negotiated two-State solution, the international community could not be satisfied with a prolonged deadlock. “I therefore believe that one cannot rule out in principle the Security Council option,” he added. (AFP)

The Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, which was part of a coalition of non-governmental organizations helping Palestinians during the olive harvest season, sent a letter to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, General Avi Mizrahi, Police Chief Hagi Dotan and Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, reminding them of Israel’s responsibility to protect the residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and asking them to instruct the Israeli security forces to allow Palestinians to harvest their olives unimpeded. (Ma’an News Agency, WAFA)

11

Eight Palestinians, including three minors, were arrested by Israeli forces in the West Bank. (IMEMC, www,idf.il)

Israeli forces detained seven residents of the Hebron district, including a mother who had given birth two weeks before, locals said. (Ma’an News Agency)

A Palestinian woman was detained at an Israeli military checkpoint for allegedly attempting to stab a border guard officer. (Ma’an News Agency)

In a speech to the Knesset, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that he would be willing to extend the restrictions on settlement construction if the Palestinians met his demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish State. (AP)

The PA rejected a demand by Prime Minister Netanyahu to recognize Israel as a Jewish State in exchange for an extension of the settlement freeze. PA President Abbas' spokesman said that a return to peace talks required a complete freeze on Israel's settlement building, adding that "the issue of the Jewishness of the State has nothing to do with the matter”. Meanwhile, Fatah described the demand as a "new obstacle in reviving negotiations”. (Ma’an News Agency, DPA)

The US State Department dodged a direct response to Prime Minister Netanyahu's offer. "Our position on settlements is well known. As we’ve noted, we would like to see the settlement moratorium extended. Beyond that, we are not going to get into the substance of our discussions with the parties," a State Department official said. (Haaretz)

Nabil Sha’ath, a member of the Palestinian negotiating team, strongly criticized US incentives reportedly offered to Prime Minister Netanyahu in order to get Israel to agree to a moratorium extension, calling them "odd and awful". "It means the violator will be rewarded for his wrongdoings while those who are under occupation are not given any guarantees," he said. (DPA)

French Foreign Minister Kouchner and Spanish Foreign Minister Moratinos met with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Jerusalem, before heading to Amman for talks with King Abdullah II of Jordan and PA President Abbas. A subsequent statement from the Jordanian Royal Palace said that “Europe plays a key role in supporting peace efforts to overcome problems facing the Palestinian-Israeli talks”. (AFP)

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman addressed his recent comments to the French and Spanish Foreign Ministers at a party meeting after he was reported to have told the European ministers to “solve your own problems in Europe before you come to us with complaints”. Addressing his party, Liberman said that he "tried to explain that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is far from being central to the world” and that “our stance is that we must stop stuttering and apologizing". Mr. Kouchner and Mr. Moratinos had expressed outrage at their Israeli counterpart’s remarks, saying that Mr. Liberman had "violated every rule of diplomatic etiquette”. They were also very surprised by the remarks since, according to them, Prime Minister Netanyahu had made remarks contradicting Mr. Liberman's tone only hours earlier. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli President Shimon Peres gave a speech at the opening of the Knesset's winter session, expressing his hope for peace. "It is up to our generation to resolve these difficult issues," Mr. Peres said. "If we stay passive, the negative forces will gain strength. I hope that we will succeed in this historic test." (Jerusalem Post)

Israel’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation passed a bill requiring any relinquishing of land in Jerusalem or the Golan Heights to be approved in a national referendum. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the bill was unnecessary and could obstruct the peace process. (The Jerusalem Post)

Several Palestinians were wounded in violent clashes with Israeli residents and Israeli police south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. A Palestinian child sustained a rubber bullet wound to the leg and another injury to his face after he was hit by a stun grenade. The clashes followed after Israeli forces had arrested several Palestinians in the Silwan neighbourhood nearby. (Ma’an News Agency)

An Israeli military court sentenced Abdallah Abu Rahmah to 12 months’ imprisonment, with a six-month suspended sentence. Mr. Abu Rahmah had been in an Israeli prison since December, and had been convicted in August of incitement, and of organizing and participating in anti-wall protests in Bil'in. (Ma’an News Agency)

A PA official denied reports in the Israeli daily Haaretz that the PA had approved the use of a history textbook, banned by the Israeli Education Ministry, which offered both Palestinian and the Israeli narratives. (Ma’an News Agency, IMEMC)

Pro-Palestinian groups plan to sail a flotilla of boats to Gaza as early as February, activists announced. The activists, representing groups from over a dozen countries, including Switzerland, Turkey and the US, said that the flotilla would be bigger than the one stopped by Israel earlier this year. (AP)

12

Israeli troops conducted large-scale raids of homes in Silwan in East Jerusalem. In Beir Ayoub, near Silwan, undercover Israeli soldiers arrested four Palestinian children. (IMEMC)

Israeli forces detained five Palestinians during raids in the Nablus, Jenin and Hebron districts. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli Vice-Prime Minister and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon said that he saw “no chance of reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians in the near future”. “Their refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish State shows they have no interest in having Israel as a State beside theirs”, he added. (Haaretz)

The European Union urged Israel to guarantee the equality of all its citizens. Asked to comment on Prime Minister Netanyahu's demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish State, a spokeswoman for EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said: "We support the two democratic States living side by side in peace and security. We also stress that the future States of Palestine and Israel will need to fully guarantee equality to all their citizens," she added. "Basically in the case of Israel this means whether they are Jewish or not." (The Jerusalem Post)

Spain pledged €30 million to support the PA following a meeting between Spanish Foreign Minister Moratinos and PA Prime Minister Fayyad. (Ma’an News Agency)

Ma’ariv reported that the PA had recently approved plans for an international airport to serve the residents of the West Bank. The PA Ministry of Transportation had forwarded the plans for the project to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office for approval. The airport would be built in the vicinity of Jericho, near the Jordanian border, according to the report. Planners said that the programme had already received approval from the International Civil Aviation Organization and that they were seeking international funding. (Xinhua)

Palestinian and Israeli officials met at the Erez crossing between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip. The meeting, initiated at the request of Israeli officials, was attended by liaison official Raed Fattouh and a number of other Palestinian business representatives, and it focused primarily on issues related to crossings, including the delivery of goods. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli settlers bulldozed Palestinian land to expand the “Eli” settlement, south of Nablus, and the “Karmei Tzur” settlement, north of Hebron. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli police raided several houses in Silwan and detained an eight-year-old Palestinian child. (IMEMC, Ma’an News Agency)

A car carrying members of the Israeli Knesset was hit by rocks as it got caught in the middle of clashes between Israelis and Arabs in Silwan. There were no casualties and the car sustained no damage. (Haaretz)

Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch addressed the clashes in Silwan in which children had thrown stones. “These things need to be stopped. The children cannot receive immunity", he said, adding that “there have been over 50 arrests and most of them are children.” (The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli officials denied the allegations made in the UN report on the Gaza flotilla that detainees had been treated with “extreme and unprovoked violence”. In testimony to an Israeli investigative committee in Jerusalem, Interior Ministry official Yossi Edelstein, who was in charge of processing detainees, said that everyone had been treated "with restraint and respect". He also said that he had received no formal complaints of mistreatment. (AP)

Breaking the Silence, an Israeli NGO that documented testimonies of soldiers who served in the West Bank and Gaza, had been nominated for a European Parliament prize for defenders of human rights. In response, the right-wing Israeli group NGO Monitor had started approaching individual Parliament members, asking them not to let Breaking the Silence win the prize. (Haaretz)

Defence for Children International had documented 10 cases of children aged 13 to 17 being shot while collecting rubble in or near the "buffer zone" created by Israel along the Gaza border. Nine were shot in a leg or arm; one was shot in the stomach. Israeli soldiers were routinely shooting at Gazans well beyond the unmarked boundary of the official 300-metre-wide no-go area, the rights groups said. (The Guardian, The Independent)

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations released a report on the forced displacement of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah area of East Jerusalem, stating that the situation “continues to be of serious humanitarian concern”. (www.ocha.org)

13

A 17-year-old Palestinian was injured by Israeli fire while collecting construction aggregate in the northern Gaza Strip near the Erez (Beit Hanoun) crossing. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Mark Regev, said that Israel’s insistence on maintaining a security presence on the eastern border of a future Palestinian State could be reviewed over time. (AP)

Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, the US Security Coordinator for Israel and the PA, had finished his tenure and returned to the United States. His replacement, Lt. Gen. Michael Moeller, was already in Israel. (Haaretz)

In response to the statement by US State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley the previous day that the Palestinians should respond to the Israeli demand that they recognize Israel as a Jewish State, Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee Yasser Abed Rabbo said, “We want to receive a map of the State of Israel which Israel wants us to accept. … If the map will be based on the 1967 borders and will not include our land, our houses and East Jerusalem, we will be willing to recognize Israel according to the formulation of the Government within the hour.” (AFP, Haaretz)

The US welcomed a Palestinian counter-offer to Israel as a good step. US State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley said, "This is exactly the right conversation that the Israelis and Palestinians need to have, to be exchanging ideas on how to advance this process to a successful conclusion," adding, "But it also is a reminder of the limitations of... making offers and counter-offers by long distance through the media as opposed to sitting down face-to-face in a direct negotiation," underscoring the US conviction of the imperative for the Israelis and Palestinians to stay committed to direct negotiations. (AFP, www.state.gov)

Israeli authorities decided to partially open the Kerem Shalom and Karni crossings to allow aid into Gaza. Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattouh said that approximately 230 truckloads of goods would be allowed through. (Ma’an News Agency)

In a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat sought the Government’s support for his plan to rezone some of the City's Arab neighbourhoods and suspend demolitions of homes built there without permits Under the plan, 22 homes would be razed, while another 66 would be legalized. At the heart of the plan was a new archaeological park in the Arab neighbourhood of Silwan that had drawn widespread condemnation from Palestinians. The project in Silwan was to be implemented with the involvement of a Jewish settler group. Daniel Seidemann, head of Ir Amim, an Israeli group that supported coexistence in Jerusalem, said that Mr. Barkat's main aim was to promote the settler project in Silwan, adding that the Mayor’s proposals were, "… clearly an assault on the residents of Silwan, not a bona fide effort to improve things”. Municipal Spokesman Stephan Miller said that the city was working closely with Arab residents in East Jerusalem, and that many had approached the Mayor with requests for rezoning after he announced the Silwan project. (AFP, AP)

Palestinian sources reported that settlers had attacked Palestinian olive groves in Burin village, south of Nablus. One Palestinian farmer said that more than 50 settlers had attacked and injured him with stones and had stolen olives and tools. (IMEMC)

14

Three Palestinians, including a 35-year-old woman, were injured in clashes between young men and Israeli forces in the Silwan area of Jerusalem. (Ma'an News Agency)

Israeli forces detained a group of journalists and PA employees helping in the olive harvest in Nablus. The PA Information Ministry had organized a volunteering day for approximately 40 journalists and 20 Ministry employees to help villagers in Kafr Qaddum pick olives. A ministry statement said that Israeli forces surrounded the volunteers and threatened to shoot them if they moved. Two days earlier, Israeli human rights groups had written to Israeli authorities asking them to provide protection for Palestinians by security forces during the olive harvest, recalling Israel’s obligation under international law to protect people under occupation. (Ma’an News Agency)

Speaking at a news conference with visiting Finnish President Halonen, PA President Abbas said that he expected the US to convince Israel to halt settlement building on occupied Palestinian land so that direct peace talks could resume. He said that Israel was "still putting obstacles" by constructing settlements on land where the Palestinians aimed to found a State. But the President expressed hope that this would change saying, "Let's focus on hope and not failure." (Reuters)

In Berlin, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Arab League Chief Amre Moussa met separately with German leaders over the past 24 hours in efforts to push forward the Middle East peace process, an official spokesman said. Mr. Liberman met with his German counterpart, Guido Westerwelle, who said in a statement, "The goal remains to negotiate a deal within one year on a two-State solution". German Chancellor Angela Merkel also received the Arab League Chief in Berlin where she "encouraged" him to remain "constructive" in the negotiations. (DPA)

In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" from Brussels, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "There is a lot of activity going on," adding, "I'm convinced that both President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu want to be the leaders that resolve this conflict". (Reuters)

The Foreign Ministers of France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and Spain, along with EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, were set to discuss the Middle East peace process with their Egyptian counterpart in Brussels, diplomats said. (DPA)

Finland's Foreign Minister, Alexander Stubb, paid a visit to the Gaza Strip by entering through the Erez crossing escorted by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) vehicles. He met with UNRWA officials, as well as with Gaza businessmen. Mr. Stubb called for the further lifting of movement restrictions on the Gaza Strip, the halting of rocket attacks from Gaza and demanded the release of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Mr. Stubb called on EU and other foreign ministers to visit the Gaza Strip "to see what the situation is on the ground", adding, "You can only be struck personally with a sense of despair once you cross the border, when you see all the rubble, when you see all the poverty". Finnish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor said that Israeli Foreign Minister Liberman, during a visit to Italy in June, had invited five EU counterparts to visit Gaza via Israel to see the situation. (www.eubusiness.com, DPA)

Portugal said that it would upgrade the Palestinian diplomatic representation in the country from office to mission. (Ma'an News Agency)

Some 50 settlement youngsters blocked the entrance of IDF soldiers and police officers who arrived at the West Bank outpost of “Ramat Migron” to demolish five illegal structures. During the ensuing clashes, which involved settlers, Palestinians and security forces, at least four people were lightly hurt by pepper spray and stones thrown by Palestinians. Some of the settlers hurled rocks at security forces and set tires on fire at the entrance to the outpost. In addition, dozens of Palestinians clashed with Jewish settlers trying to implement the “price tag” policy, in which settlers seek revenge by attacking Palestinians for every outpost that had been demolished. Three settlers were arrested in the incident. (Ynetnews.com)

Lawyers representing the Turkish victims of the Gaza aid flotilla incident urged the ICC in The Hague to pursue those responsible for the attack. "We believe war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed," Ugur Sevgili, one of the lawyers, said, after presenting a dossier with evidence to the Office of Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo. He said, "The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC has a duty to prosecute", adding that "we want to bring an end to impunity. We want to bring justice to the people of Palestine." The Office of the Prosecutor would now conduct a preliminary analysis to determine whether to launch a full probe. (AFP)

IDF Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi had been asked to testify for a second time before the Israeli committee probing the navy's raid on the flotilla, a spokesman said. (AFP)

British singer Elvis Costello had cancelled two summer concerts in Israel because of the country's treatment of the Palestinians. Explaining his decision, Mr. Costello spoke of "intimidation, humiliation or much worse" inflicted by Israel on the Palestinians. (AP)

15

PA President Abbas said that under no circumstances would the PA sign an agreement with Israel which required the recognition of Israel as a Jewish State. “The PA recognized Israel's existence in 1993, and now Israel needs to recognize the Palestinian State in line with the 1967 borders”, Mr. Abbas said. (Haaretz)

Arab nations may seek United Nations recognition of a Palestinian State if Israel continued to build settlements in the West Bank, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said today in Brussels. He added that an Arab League request to the UN might come next month. (AP)

The United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Authority and the Palestine Investment Fund signed a cooperation agreement for rehabilitating infrastructure in West Bank cities under the technical supervision of the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City. (Khaleej Times)

Israel's Government today approved the construction of 238 homes in Israeli settlements. This was the first time a tender had been issued for East Jerusalem since US Vice-President Joe Biden's visit to Israel last March. "This announcement is a very clear-cut indication that the choice of Mr. Netanyahu is settlements, not peace," Saeb Erakat, Head of the Negotiations Affairs Department of the PLO, said, charging the Israelis with "closing all doors on attempts to revive the direct negotiations". (AP, Haaretz)

The United States expressed disappointment over news that Israel had approved construction of nearly 240 new housing units in East Jerusalem. “It is contrary to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties,” US State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley said. (Haaretz)

Amnesty International urged Israeli authorities to halt expansion of settlements in East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied West Bank. "Not only does the building contravene international law, it also compounds the litany of abuses of the human rights of Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including their rights to adequate housing and water,” said Philip Luther, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. (AP, Amnesty International)

Ten Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets and dozens inhaled tear gas during clashes with Israeli forces in the Silwan neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian farmers from the village of Azmout complained that settlers from “Elon Moreh” had opened fire on them while they were picking olives, but the settlers claimed they had been attacked in their settlement by Palestinians and leftists. No one was injured. In another incident, near “Havat Gilad”, Palestinians from Far'ata said that settlers had torched their fields. But the settlers claimed that the fields belonged to one of the founders of the settlement, and that Palestinians had torched them in an effort to threaten their homes. (Ynetnews)

Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails had launched a prison-wide hunger strike to protest poor conditions, the head of a detainees committee said. (Ma’an News Agency)

Former US President Jimmy Carter will join global leaders in a visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territory beginning 16 October, the group announced today. The trip will be the second collective visit by “The Elders”, a group founded by Nelson Mandela. (Ma'an News Agency)

Denmark's former Foreign Minister, Mogens Lykketoft, is donating his game-show winnings to the Peres Centre for Peace, to cover the expenses of Palestinian children hospitalized in Israeli facilities. (Haaretz)

16

The planned 21 October summit in Paris between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, PA President Abbas and Egyptian President Mubarak had been postponed. “Following consultations, the parties concerned have agreed to decide on another date," a statement released by Mr. Netanyahu's office said. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat implicitly confirmed the postponement, stating that "The continuation by Israel of settlement activity ruins all peace efforts, be they those of [US] President Barack Obama or those of President Nicolas Sarkozy.” (AFP)

The Russian Federation officially urged Israel to halt plans to expand settlements in East Jerusalem. The Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling for restraint as a means of keeping alive the direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. (UPI)

Israel will only stop its disputed settlement building when the Palestinians make a peace agreement, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Meron Ruben, declared. "That would be ... if the Palestinians set up a Palestinian State in a demarcated area, then I presume the settlements in that area would definitely stop," Mr. Reuben said, adding that “settlements are not a burden on the peace process and not something that will stop the peace process". (AFP)

17

An Israeli air strike killed two Palestinians and wounded a third in the northern Gaza Strip. According to the IDF and Palestinian medics, the two had attempted to launch rockets at Israel. (Reuters)

The Palestinians are ready to end all historic claims against Israel once they establish their State in the lands Israel occupied in the 1967 war, PA President Abbas said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 1. Mr. Abbas also said that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had told him that he could not extend the settlement moratorium "because he fears his Government might collapse". While negotiations with Netanyahu remained his preferred choice, Mr. Abbas added, other options would be considered if talks were to break down over settlement expansion. (AP)

Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa slammed the approval by Israel of new settlement homes in East Jerusalem. He added that with the ongoing construction and expansion of settlements, Israel was proving that the continuation of peace talks would only provide it with more cover up for its policies, and would not lead to real peace. (IMEMC)

New clashes erupted and live ammunition was used by Israeli forces against Palestinian youth in the Silwan neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli settlers began construction on a new road on Palestinian farmland in the Al-Buweira village, in the southern West Bank district of Hebron. (Ma’an News Agency)

Settlers from the Gush Etzion settlement pumped sewage onto vineyards in the nearby Palestinian village of Beit Ummar in the Hebron district, destroying several trees. (Ma’an News Agency)

Settlers installed several mobile homes in a settlement near Jericho overnight. The caravans were escorted by Israeli forces that remained in the area. (Palestinian Information Center)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu confirmed the resumption of negotiations for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Contacts with a German negotiator resumed “a few weeks ago”, Mr. Netanyahu said. (The New York Times)

The Israeli Turkel Commission invited Turkish citizens who were on the Mavi Marmara to testify. "We have sent a letter via the Turkish Ambassador inviting all Turkish passengers or crew to come and give evidence in Israel," a spokesman said, adding that the captain of the ship had not yet responded to an invitation to testify that was sent on 12 September. (AFP)

18

The IDF reported that it had arrested seven Palestinians in the West Bank and brought them in for questioning. It was also reported that the Israeli army had detained four Palestinians from the Hebron area, including Issa Ghnemat, a leader of the Palestinian security service, and Hatem Kfesha, the deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). (IMEMC, www.idf.il)

Local sources reported that Israeli soldiers had fired live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets and gas bombs at Palestinian protestors in Silwan, in East Jerusalem. At least 5 protestors were wounded and 12 were detained. (IMEMC)

Islamic Jihad announced that it would dismiss any member who attacked Israel without authorization or under the banner of a rival faction. The announcement came as the Hamas leadership in Gaza took steps to halt rocket attacks as part of an unofficial ceasefire. (AFP)

Speaking at a Likud meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Gaza's Hamas rulers had obtained anti-aircraft missiles. (Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post)

Palestinian sources reported that Hatem Qafaish, a Hamas-affiliated member of the PLC, had been arrested overnight at his home near Hebron by Israeli forces. The IDF had not commented on the report. (Ynetnews)

Israeli Permanent Representative to the UN Meron Reuben told Reuters that Israel might renew the settlement moratorium and that it was too soon to declare the US-sponsored direct peace negotiations dead. (Reuters)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said that PA President Abbas’ preoccupation with settlement construction was “superficial” and that new building permits would not affect the peace process. “If the Palestinians want to find problems, then we won’t proceed. If they want to solve the problems, I think that there are other ways to get over the gaps and move forward,” he added. (Haaretz)

During a political seminar in Cairo, Head of the PLO’s Jerusalem Affairs Unit Ahmed Qureia said that if talks with the Israelis failed, all options were open to the Palestinians, including asking the Security Council to declare a Palestinian State. If that failed, he said, "Let us declare a Palestinian State and seek an international mandate." (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces opened the Kerem Abu Salem commercial crossing for the entry of dozens of trucks carrying aid and industrial fuel to the Gaza Strip. (The Palestine Telegraph)

Israeli authorities partially opened two Gaza crossings for the entry of 20 new cars, a Palestinian official said. (Ma’an News)

The PA Ministry of Health sent 17 truckloads of medicine and medical supplies through the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israel’s military court sentenced an IDF soldier to five months in military jail for stealing electronic equipment from the Mavi Marmara as the ship was docked in Ashod. (Haaretz)

The Libyan capital of Tripoli will host a meeting attended by coordinators from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, and Libya to determine the routes of aid convoys that will run from their countries to the Gaza Strip, and to set dates for their departure. (Palestinian Information Center)

Head of the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department Saeb Erakat thanked the countries that had decided to withdraw from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Tourism Committee Summit, to be held in Jerusalem from 20 to 22 October. He said, “By hosting the OECD conference in Jerusalem, Israel seeks de facto recognition of its illegal annexation of East Jerusalem, and by not attending, countries have sent Israel a clear message that it is not a State above the law.” (Ma’an News Agency)

19

The IDF reported that Palestinians had hurled rocks and damaged an Israeli vehicle travelling near “Teqoa” and that a Palestinian man had been taken in for questioning after a 12 cm-long knife had been found in his vehicle at the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus. (www.idf.il)

The IDF arrested Ayyad Bregheth, 20, from the West Bank town of Beit Ummar. (IMEMC)

A day after Prime Minister Netanyahu declared that Al-Qassam Brigades possessed anti-aircraft missiles, Abu Obayda, the brigades’ spokesman, called his remarks "a new attempt to justify Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people by misleading the world through the deliberate exaggeration of the resistance's capacities and weapons". Mr. Obayda did not say if Al-Qassam had anti-aircraft missiles, but he insisted that the Gaza-based resistance "has every right to amass arms to target the enemy. It's our responsibility to defend the people and land by all means necessary." (Ma’an News Agency)

According to Haaretz, the Palestinians, in conjunction with Arab States, were planning to submit a draft resolution to the Security Council, stating that Israeli settlements in the West Bank were illegal and must be evacuated. This plan reportedly came instead of an earlier idea of seeking the Council’s recognition of a Palestinian State. (Haaretz)

Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren remarked that Israel would not allow anyone to dictate its borders. "Like Ben-Gurion, Netanyahu will not allow the United Nations, or any other organization, to dictate our borders. They will be determined through negotiations," he said in Washington, D.C., during an event at the Chamber of Commerce celebrating 25 years since the establishment of the Free Trade Agreement between the US and Israel. He praised the Israeli Government’s “commitment to peace”, “but not a peace at any price. Not a peace that will impair Israel’s security or impugn its identity as the nation State of the Jewish people.” (Haaretz)

Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, currently on a tour of the Middle East, met with Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa in Cairo. Both urged preservation of the Middle East peace process, warning that its permanent discontinuation could lead to further exacerbation and spillover of the crisis in the wider region. (ANA-MPA)

Member of the Hamas leadership, Mahmoud al-Zahhar, has expressed his willingness to finalize a prisoner exchange agreement with Israel. At the same time, Saudi newspaper al-Madina reported that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had agreed to release senior Fatah member, Marwan Barghouti, in exchange for Israeli captive soldier, Gilad Shalit. (The Jerusalem Post, Ynetnews)

Speaking in Damascus, as part of the delegation of “The Elders,” former US President Jimmy Carter called on Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza. In a joint statement, the Elders called for a "more energetic" drive for Middle East peace, warning that the major powers appeared to be more interested in conflict management than resolution. (AFP, DPA)

Former US President Carter said, after meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Syria that “Hamas should be included in all the major efforts to peace ... It is part of the Palestinian people”. He also said that the blockade of Gaza “is one of the most serious human rights violations on earth and it must be lifted fully”. (PressTV)

Ahead of deliberations in the Israeli High Court of Justice on six unauthorized West Bank outposts, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that owing to the political implications, his Cabinet would need more time to decide when and how to dismantle the outposts. (Haaretz)

Sources reported that overnight, Israeli settlers had invaded al-Makkam village near Nablus under the protection of the Israeli army. The settlers withdrew early this morning. (IMEMC)

An Israeli settler was alleged to have deliberately run over, with his vehicle, a young Palestinian man from the town of Tuqu', south-east of Bethlehem, and to have fled the scene. (IMEMC)

Settlers of Beitar Illit, west of Bethlehem, torched a number of olive trees that belonged to residents of the village of Husan. (IMEMC)

An internal Israeli defense establishment document revealed that despite extensive preparations to safeguard this year’s olive harvest, this year had been particularly violent and most of the [settler] violence had taken place at night, when soldiers and police had not been around to provide protection. (Haaretz)

The Israeli Supreme Court asked the State for clarifications for failing to execute demolition orders in Jewish outposts in the West Bank. In response, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that his Cabinet needed more time to decide when and how to dismantle outposts, owing to the "political implications" involved, and that the Government "needs time to consider its priorities". (Haaretz)

A draft bill put forward by eight Israeli Knesset members seeks to ban Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem from working as tour guides in the city. (Haaretz, Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli authorities released a Hamas-affiliated lawmaker, Ali Rumanin, who was seized in 2006 following the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Security Council held an open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. In his briefing, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco said that the Quartet might hold a high-level meeting soon to try to revive direct Israeli-Palestinian talks. (UN News Centre)

The French Development Agency committed, on 17 October, €4 million for the construction of a regional wastewater treatment plant in northern Gaza. (WAFA)

It was reported that the human rights group Al-Haq had initiated criminal proceedings against a Dutch construction company, Riwal, for supplying equipment used to build the wall and settlements. A complaint had been lodged with the State prosecutor, who may pursue criminal prosecution. (Palestine Monitor)

Aid groups planning to send a second peace flotilla to Gaza announced that they were hoping to send between 12 and 20 boats carrying humanitarian aid. Sixteen organizations from 16 countries – Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Greece, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States – will join the trip, scheduled to start between March and May from several European countries. The Spanish representative for the flotilla said that the “objective is both humanitarian and political". (AFP)

20

Twelve Palestinians, including five children and three women, were injured in an explosion at a training site of Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades in Rafah, southern Gaza. Hamas did not give a cause for the blast and the IDF said that it was not involved, signaling the blast might have been an accident. (Ma’an News Agency, AP)

An elderly man was injured by Israeli fire near the Sufa crossing east of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. A spokeswoman the Israeli army said that she was not familiar with the incident. (Ma’an News Agency)

Four Israeli tanks and two bulldozers invaded an area east of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, and exchanged fire with Palestinian fighters. No injuries were reported. (IMEMC)

Israeli special forces detained 14 Palestinians in Silwan in East Jerusalem. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Jerusalem Post reported that the sixth Palestinian battalion finishing training in Jordan would deploy in the West Bank at the beginning of November, raising the number of PA security personnel trained under the direction of the US Security Coordinator for Israel and the PA to 3,000. After that, a seventh battalion, including about 500 security officers, will head to Jordan. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli soldiers performed house searches in the town of Ethna, north-west of Hebron. They also erected a blockade on the road between the towns of Doura and Dair Samet, conducted inspections of Palestinian vehicles and checked the passengers’ identities. Another blockade was established at the crossroad of Yatta, south of Hebron. (IMEMC)

The warehouse of a Palestinian school near Nablus was set on fire and vandalized with Hebrew graffiti reading "regards from the hills". The IDF sent officers to investigate. The fire appeared to have caused minor damage. (Ma’an News Agency, The Jerusalem Post, AP)

The New York Times reported that the Palestinian leadership was increasingly focusing on how to get international bodies and courts to declare a Palestinian State in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The idea, being discussed in both formal and informal forums across the West Bank, is to appeal to the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, and the signatories to the Geneva Conventions, for opposition to Israeli settlements and occupation and, ultimately, for a global assertion of Palestinian statehood that will tie Israel’s hands. Hanan Ashrawi, a former peace negotiator, said, “The two-State solution is disappearing. If we cannot stop the settlements through the peace process, we have to go to the Security Council, the Human Rights Council and every international legal body.” She said that the PLO was holding high-level discussions on these options this week. (The New York Times)

Fatah requested a change of venue for its meeting with Hamas, scheduled to take place in Damascus today. A Hamas spokesman said that the delay was "suspicious and poses question marks", while one high-ranking official said: "We insist on holding the meeting in the same place as agreed as we fail to find any justification for their request." (AFP, Ma’an News Agency)

South Africa’s representative to the PA, Ted Pekane, said that South Africa had launched a new initiative aimed at encouraging Palestinian reconciliation by sharing its experience in overcoming apartheid. The initiative would be carried out by Alex Boraine, the former deputy head of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Mr. Boraine said that he had no intention of interfering with Egypt’s mediation. He also said that he had been denied Israeli permission to travel to Gaza for meetings with senior Hamas leaders there, adding that he hoped to meet with Hamas’ exiled leadership in Syria. (AFP)

Israeli dignitaries gathered at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem to mark the 15th anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. At the ceremony, Prime Minister Netanyahu remembered Mr. Rabin, saying "I am a partner to your approach that we must always continue pushing for peace". (Haaretz)

Japan and China voiced regret over Israel’s decision to build new housing units in East Jerusalem. Japan urged the Israeli Government to freeze all settlement activities in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, while China expressed the hope “that Israel will take a responsible attitude and careful action to create conditions for pushing forward the peace talks”. (United News Network)

Israeli Minister of Justice Yaakov Neeman had reportedly said that he would not remain in the Cabinet if a bill requiring naturalized citizens to pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and democratic State did not pass. A head count by Haaretz revealed that currently, there was no Knesset majority for the bill: only 56 of the 120 Knesset members supported it. (Haaretz)

Local residents in Nablus said that approximately 40 settlers had entered olive groves and attacked olive pickers. One Palestinian was wounded in the attack. (IMEMC)

According to local residents, a number of Palestinian farmers were brutally beaten by settlers as they harvested olives in the northern West Bank village of Burin in Nablus. The incident reportedly happened on 18 October. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli authorities told Palestinian crossing officials that two Gaza crossings would partially function for the transfer of goods. Some truckloads of aid and goods for the agriculture and transport sector, and limited quantities of cooking gas and industrial diesel, would enter through the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Gaza. The Karni crossing in northern Gaza will be open for the transfer of 115 trucks of gravel for internationally funded construction projects. (Ma’an News Agency)

The EU Representative to the PA and the EU Consuls General in Jerusalem said in a statement that they were concerned by the 12-month prison sentence of anti-wall activist Abdallah Abu Rahma. “The EU considers Abdallah Abu Rahma a human rights defender who has protested in a peaceful manner against the route of the Israeli separation barrier through his village of Bil’in. The EU considers the route of the barrier where it is built on Palestinian land to be illegal,” they said in the statement. (Ma’an News Agency, http://ec.europa.eu)

The Elders met with PA President Abbas in Ramallah in an effort to push the peace process forward. Their visit to Ramallah came after the delegation had held a series of meetings in the Gaza Strip, Egypt, Syria and Jordan aimed at bolstering regional peace efforts. The delegation leader and former Irish President Mary Robinson said that the issue of Israeli settlement construction was “of particular concern” to the group. The delegation, which also included former US President Jimmy Carter and Indian women’s union leader Ela Bhatt, was to meet Israeli officials in Jerusalem on 21 and 22 October. (AFP)

“The Convoy of Hope”, carrying 69 activists from the United Kingdom and transporting 29 vehicles, food, medical and school supplies to be sent to Gaza, arrived in Tunisia, after having departed London on 10 October. The convoy would try to cross into Gaza through the Rafah border terminal. (IMEMC)

21

Israeli forces fired live ammunition near the border with the northern Gaza Strip, injuring two Palestinians collecting rubble near Beit Lahia. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli army detained two Palestinians after raiding their houses in Hebron. (IMEMC)

An Israeli army drone crashed in the north of the Gaza Strip but was recovered by a military unit, an army spokeswoman said. (AFP)

At the annual Gala of the American Task Force on Palestine, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said “I cannot stand here tonight and tell you there is some magic formula that I have discovered that will break through the current impasse. But I can tell you we are working every day, sometimes every hour, to create the conditions for negotiations to continue and succeed.” Mrs. Clinton said that the Obama Administration would continue working “every day to achieve the just, lasting and comprehensive peace that has been a cornerstone of the United Sates policy for years. We believe it is possible, it is necessary, and it is the only way.” She emphasized the importance of the Palestinian State and institution-building programme, praising Palestinian economic development and the performance of the new security forces. (www.americantaskforce.org)

In his daily press briefing, US State Department Spokesman Phillip Crowley described news reports that the US Administration had agreed with Middle East leaders to stall peace negotiations until after US midterm elections, largely to avoid an embarrassing diplomatic setback, as “nonsense”. He said that the Obama Administration was pursuing a comprehensive peace in the Middle East because it was in the US interest to gain a successful agreement on all tracks that ultimately ends the conflict. (www.state.gov)

Fatah officials said that a Fatah delegation, headed by Presidential Advisor Abdullah Al-Ifranji, would visit the Gaza Strip on 24 October. (Ma’an News Agency)

The PA said that the project to construct a new international airport east of Jerusalem would cost an estimated $340 million and would be built on a 4-square-kilometre plot in Area C. PA Minister of Transportation Saa’di Al-Krunz told reporters that the PA had not and would not ask permission from Israel because the PA believed that Palestinians had the right to have an airport under the Oslo Accords. He also said that the construction would start in the first half of next year and would take approximately two years to finish. (IMEMC)

Peace Now said that Israeli settlers had started building at least 600 homes since the end of a building ban on 26 September, a pace four times faster than before the start of the freeze in November 2009. Peace Now’s Hagit Ofran said that the surge in construction was to meet immediate demand for some 2,000 housing units, as part of a longer-term plan to build some 13,000 new homes, all of which had already been approved. (AFP)

Israeli settlers from “Ariel” attacked residents of Kifl Haris village near Salfit and stole their olives. Settlers supported by Israeli soldiers also destroyed farmland in Al-Baq’a, east of Hebron. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Jerusalem Post reported that the IDF planned to complete the construction of a new concrete wall near the West Bank village of Bil’in in the coming weeks. About 650 dunums of agricultural land would be given back to Bil’in. However, according to attorneys representing the village, roughly 1,300 dunums of private farmland would remain on the Israeli side. (The Jerusalem Post)

Former US President Carter said that Gaza’s Hamas leaders were “very eager” to resume talks with Israel over a prisoner exchange. “They are very glad that the German negotiator has been back on the scene lately and that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has made some positive statements about a prisoner exchange,” Mr. Carter, on a visit with “The Elders”, a group of retired world figures, told reporters in Jerusalem several days after meeting Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip. (AFP)

Col. Ilan Malka, a Givati Brigade Commander during Operation Cast Lead, was questioned by the Israeli military police about his approval of an air strike which left 21 members of the Al-Samouni family dead. Col. Malka said that he was unaware of civilian presence in the building, adding that he learned only later that the Palestinian family had been inside the structure. He said that he had conducted a number of tests and operations before the bombing to ensure that there were no civilians in the building. After the Goldstone report, the investigation was ordered by the Military Judge Advocate General, Brigadier-General Avi Mandelblit, who, upon reviewing the IDF operational inquiry, decided that the matter's criminal aspect should be looked into as well. A decision had yet to be made in this investigation. (Ynetnews.com)

A joint poll released by the Truman Institute at Jerusalem's Hebrew University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that most Israelis and Palestinians believed that the peace process was unlikely to produce a breakthrough, even if the US succeeded in breaking the impasse over settlements and restarting direct talks. Only 5 per cent of Israelis and 6 per cent of Palestinians believed that the talks would yield an agreement. If the negotiations failed, the preferred option for the Palestinians would be to seek a UN resolution recognizing an independent Palestinian State along the 1967 borders. The Truman poll found that 69 per cent of Palestinians favoured that option, while 54 per cent wanted a unilateral declaration of independence and 51 per cent supported non-violent resistance against Israeli occupation. As for the possibility of a third intifada, 41 per cent of Palestinians favoured an armed uprising, while 57 per cent opposed violence. (truman.huji.ac.il)

The New York Times said that settler leaders as well as Peace Now observers had reported that hundreds of units were under construction in dozens of settlements in the West Bank. Foundations had been dug for 300 units and work was under way on a couple of hundred more. Hagit Ofran from Peace Now said in a telephone interview that she was preparing a report showing that in at least 36 settlements, intensive building was under way, adding, ''They suspect another freeze is coming, and they are running to build”. (The New York Times)

The following statement was released by the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry:


The Viva Palestina convoy of over 300 international activists entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing, bringing medical supplies with them. The goods, along with some activists, had arrived at the Egyptian port city of El-Arish by ship from Syria the day before. (DPA)

22

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated his demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish State, Army Radio reported. Speaking at a meeting of worldwide Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, Mr. Netanyahu said that only upon such recognition would the Palestinians be ready to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to the report. (Haaretz)

At a symposium in Ramallah, Palestinian negotiator Nabil Sha’ath criticised remarks by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the American Task Force on Palestine’s gala in Washington, D.C., a day earlier, asking, "Do we need magical formulas or a simple decision?” He said "If we're drawn into a deceptive game in which we negotiate with Israel on a land-for-peace basis while the occupation and settlements are deepening, there will be no peace." (Ma’an News Agency)

In a speech to Jewish leaders broadcast today by Israel Radio, Israel’s President Shimon Peres the previous day said that Israel needed good ties with the United States to survive and must be more understanding of US demands over securing peace with the Palestinians. He said that an end to the conflict would improve the United States' own security position in the Middle East. Mr. Peres said, ""As the United States is trying to understand the security needs of Israel, we Israelis ourselves must understand the security needs of the United States". (Reuters)

An Israeli Government source said that Israel would pursue its own unilateral steps if the Palestinians did not return to the negotiating table and instead sought UN support for unilateral moves to declare a State within the pre-1967 lines, adding that “Israel is against unilateral steps. Israel believes that all problems should be solved around the negotiating table, but if the Palestinians choose unilateral steps, they can expect Israel to respond in kind.” (The Jerusalem Post)

Former Saudi Ambassador to the US, Prince Turki al-Faisal, speaking before the annual conference of the National Council for US-Arab Relations, said that Washington "has failed to curb the brutal Israeli policy of collective punishment, arbitrary arrests and killings", and criticized American officials "who rationalize, excuse, and condone Israeli intransigence while seeking to put more pressure on the Palestinians to concede even more". (Ynetnews)

Yesha Council Director General Naftali Bennett sad, "There is nothing to hide in terms of the scope of our [settlement] building and we aren't counting the number of Jews who are working to build in our land." (Financial Times)

Settlers spray-painted slogans on graves at a cemetery in the village of Kfar Kadum, near the West Bank city of Qalqilya, Israel Radio reported. The Palestinian security forces alerted the IDF, who launched an investigation while Israeli soldiers washed off the paint. (DPA)

Dozens of settlers attacked Othman Abu Sabha and his family while they were picking olives in Yatta, in the West Bank district of Hebron, witnesses said. They also damaged Mr. Abu Shabha’s car and stole his olives. (Ma’an News Agency)

Settlers entered Kfir Qaddum village, east of Qalqilya, and wrote graffiti on the walls, threatening revenge. (Ma’an News Agency)

During more than four hours of testimony in a Haifa courtroom, the 38-year-old bulldozer driver who crushed to death the American activist Rachel Corrie seven years ago made his first public comments since Ms. Corrie’s death. His testimony was the climax of the Corrie family's long-running civil lawsuit against the Israeli Government. The driver said that he remembered little about that day and never followed the news coverage of Ms. Corrie's death. He said that he had known only six months earlier that he would have to testify in the family's lawsuit. The Israeli Government had maintained that Ms. Corrie and her fellow international activists were responsible for the incident, saying that they had entered a "war zone". The driver insisted that he never saw Ms. Corrie until her friends rushed over to dig her body out of the dirt. (McClatchy-Tribune Information Services)

Israel’s Defense Ministry had rejected an UNRWA request to establish a number of new schools in the Tel al-Hawa neighbourhood in the Gaza Strip, arguing that they were to be built on land provided by Hamas and next to a Hamas military installation. UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness said that the installation had been damaged by Israel during Operation Cast Lead and doubted that it could still serve as a military facility. He cautioned that an acute shortage of UNRWA schools in that area would drive children, who were not receiving UN education, to seek local education instead. (The Jerusalem Post)

A senior UNRWA official, Andrew Whitley, who was due to soon leave his post as Director of the UNRWA New York office, said that Palestine refugees should acknowledge that they would almost certainly not be returning to Israel. (The Jerusalem Post)

The enormous cumulative effect of prolonged Israeli occupation, accelerated settlement expansion in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and related policies to destroy homes and revoke residency permits made the vision of an Israeli-Palestinian peace based on a two-State consensus a “political impossibility”, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, said. Mr. Richard Falk told a press conference at UN Headquarters that the peace process was premised on an “illusion” that talks would result in an independent, sovereign Palestinian State. (www.un.org)

23

Israeli troops seized a Palestinian man and two children from Hebron. (IMEMC)

A senior Palestinian official said that the Palestinian leadership was considering the possibility of re-examining the agreements the PLO had signed with Israel, including the Oslo Accords. The Voice of Palestine quoted Yasser Abed Rabbo, the PLO's Executive Committee Secretary-General, as saying that "the situation in which one side will be bound by the agreements forever while the other side violates them to the point of annulling them entirely cannot continue". (Voice of Palestine, Arab News)

The Catholic Bishops the previous day concluded a two-week conference in Rome with a call for the international community, especially the UN, to work "to put an end to the occupation" of the Palestinian territory. In response, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said, "We express our disappointment that this important Synod has become a forum for political attacks on Israel." (CNN, Ma'an News Agency)

Settlers attacked a group of non-violent protestors who demanded that Israel reopen a street in Hebron. The settlers hurled stones at the protestors and sprayed them with waste-water. (IMEMC)

Israeli settlers desecrated a number of graves near the village Kufr Qaddoum, in the district of Nablus, and wrote graffiti on the walls of a number of Palestinian homes. (IMEMC)

24

Three mortars fired from Gaza hit southern Israel and Gaza itself but caused no damage or injuries. (AFP)

Israeli soldiers set up roadblocks in the towns of Hares and Deir Estia, near Salfit. (IMEMC)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu urged the Palestinians to avoid unilateral action and resume peace talks. Mr. Netanyahu said that the Palestinians should “honour their obligation to engage in direct negotiations,” and added, “I think any attempt to circumvent it by going to international bodies is not realistic and won't advance true peacemaking in any way. Peace will be achieved only through direct talks.” Saeb Erakat, Head of the Negotiations Affairs Department of the PLO, rejected Mr. Netanyahu's criticism, saying that Israel was acting unilaterally through settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. He called on Mr. Netanyahu to "stop unilateral actions and engage as a partner in peace by stopping settlement activity". (AP)

PA President Abbas and Saeb Erakat welcomed the call by Catholic Bishops for an end to Israel's occupation and urged further support for Palestinian Christians. (CNN, Ma'an News Agency)

PA Prime Minister Fayyad said that a pledge of $100 million from Saudi Arabia and other international aid would ease the PA’s financial crisis. (Reuters)

Palestinian youths and Israeli police clashed in East Jerusalem after city officials had served home demolition orders on residents, witnesses said. (AFP)

Israel’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved a bill that gives “national priority” to Jerusalem. Among other things, the proposal would give priority to construction in Jerusalem, including in East Jerusalem. Furthermore, the bill's creators said that it would lead to an increase in the number of Jews in East Jerusalem. (The Jerusalem Post, Ma'an News Agency, Ynetnews)

A senior settler official confirmed that work had begun on up to 600 new homes in West Bank settlements since Israel had lifted its curb on such construction, mirroring recent findings by AP and the Israeli watchdog Peace Now. (AP)

Israeli commandos fired 308 live bullets aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship in May to repel passengers who had attacked them with lethal weapons, Israel's top general said. Gabi Ashkenazi was testifying for a second time before the Turkel Committee investigating the Gaza flotilla raid in May. Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni told the Committee that Turkey had exploited the event as a provocation against Israel. (Haaretz, Reuters, Al-Jazeera)

An Israeli military court extended the solitary confinement of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Secretary-General Ahmad Saadat until 21 April 2011, the PFLP said. Mr. Saadat had already been held in solitary confinement in Ramon prison in Israel for 18 months, PFLP officials said, adding that the latest court decision also renewed a ban on visits for a further three months. (Ma'an News Agency)

25

Israeli soldiers burned and tore up a copy of the Koran during an operation in the town of Jayyus, east of Qalqilya, and seized three Palestinians, two of whom worked in PA institutions. (IMEMC)

Al-Nasser Salah ad-Din Brigades (military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees) said that it had fired eight mortar shells towards an Israeli force stationed along the border near Rafah. An Israeli military spokesperson said that one shell had landed in Israeli territory. (Ma’an News Agency)

PA President Abbas and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia discussed over the weekend plans to persuade the US to accept a Palestinian State. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

PA President Abbas said that Israel had been taking unilateral steps for decades by building settlements, so the Palestinians might take one of their own, asking the UN to recognize their independent State. (AP)

Some senior Israeli officials were beginning to question the wisdom of the policy of their Prime Minister, who had made recognition of the legitimacy of the Jewish nation-State a prerequisite for any final agreement with the Palestinians. “Of course we are a Jewish State,” Israel’s Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, told a conference. “But we have to make sure we do not get on a slippery slope,” he continued, “where our justifiable demands become prohibitive obstacles” along the way to a deal, particularly so early on. (The New York Times)

In an interview with AP, Israeli Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, head of the Office for Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), said that Israel sought to work with the PA to help revive the Gaza economy. The PA would set priorities for what Gaza needed and place its people at the borders, he explained. The General said he hoped that a further easing would allow in more raw materials for Gaza's key industries — textiles, furniture and agriculture — and enable more exports by spring. He could envision private builders receiving construction materials, provided their projects were approved by the PA. PA Spokesman Ghassan Khatib called for a complete lifting of the blockade, saying that Israel's policy had been counterproductive and only had benefited Hamas. (AP)

The PA announced that it was planning an ambitious restoration project for the ancient Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. (AP)

Israeli authorities will continue to allow the entry of new cars into the Gaza Strip as Palestinian officials were told to expect the eighth shipment today. (Ma'an News Agency)

A top Shin Bet official asked a Knesset committee to extend a temporary order that allowed the security service to detain Palestinian prisoners for four days without a hearing. He also asked the Knesset to restore the temporary legislation, struck down by the Supreme Court, which had allowed Shin Bet to hold hearings on prolonging detention without the suspect being present. The Shin Bet official was responding to testimony by human rights groups. (Haaretz)

UNRWA issued the following statement: “UNRWA unequivocally distances itself from the statements made by the Director of its office in New York, Andrew Whitley, at the National Council on US-Arab Relations in Washington on 22 October 2010. These statements in no way reflect the policies or positions of the Agency and are the personal views of Mr. Whitley.” (www.unrwa.org)

Saeb Erakat, Head of the Negotiations Affairs Department of the PLO, issued a statement to commemorate the sixty-fifth anniversary of the United Nations. He said, “On this historic day, we ask all Member States to honour the noble objectives of the UN by holding Israel accountable for its continued occupation of Palestine and to uphold the rights of Palestinian refugees.” He added that “Israel has undermined the efficacy of and derogated the UN system, the very authority through which it was created.” Mr. Erakat concluded, “It is time for the international community to hold Israel accountable for its disregard for international law. It is time for Palestine to be free.” (www,nad-plo.org)

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry and Prime Minister Fayyad stood in an olive grove in the West Bank village of Turmus'ayya, located near the “Shilo” settlement, where the two were marking the sixty-fifth anniversary of the UN. The olive tree, Mr. Serry said, was a symbol of Palestine. "In recent weeks in this village alone, settler extremists have destroyed hundreds of trees by poison or by knocking them down… I am appalled at acts of destruction of olive trees and farmlands, desecration of mosques, and violence against civilians," Mr. Serry said. (The Jerusalem Post)

26

Israeli forces seized five Palestinians from the town of Beit Ummar in the Hebron district, including a minor, the Palestine Solidarity Project said. (Ma’an News Agency)

Medical sources reported that a retarded Palestinian had been shot by Israeli soldiers near Beit Hanoun. (IMEMC)

Hamas official Fathi Hamad said in a speech that Israel was preparing for “another battle against the Gaza Strip in order to uproot the Palestinian resistance”. Addressing Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Hamas official warned: “We’re coming to liberate Haifa and Acre together with world armies.” (The Jerusalem Post)

"All international players are now in agreement that the Palestinians are ready for statehood at any point in the near future," UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry told PA Prime Minister Fayyad. He continued, "We are in the homestretch of your agenda to reach that point by August next year and you have our full support." (The Jerusalem Post)

The Interdisciplinary Centre in Herzliya published a study which asserts that Israel's best diplomatic option is a declaration of a willingness to accept the Arab Peace Initiative. (Haaretz)

Since 2007, Israeli officials have employed mathematical formulas to monitor foodstuffs and other basic goods sent to Gaza by aid groups to ensure the supplies entering were in line with what Israel permitted, according to COGAT documents recently declassified following a petition by Gisha. The factors that determined which goods were allowed in included security, the necessity of the product for meeting humanitarian needs, whether the product was considered a luxury, legal obligations, the impact of its entry on the Hamas authorities’ status, the sensitivities of the international community, and the existence of alternatives. (Haaretz)

The PA Cabinet condemned Israel's decision to approve a draft law classifying Jerusalem as a national priority area, which "absolutely contradicts the international law and international resolutions that recognize East Jerusalem as a Palestinian city under occupation", the statement said. Ministers further agreed that the PA would "resist this decision with all political and diplomatic means”. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was working on a plan that would involve a three-month freeze on settlement building, followed by nine months of restricted building to meet the “natural growth” needs, Ma’ariv reported. (AFP)

Thousands of olive trees in the village of Deir al-Hatab, east of Nablus, had been ruined after being flooded with sewage from the nearby settlement of “Elon Moreh”, residents said. (AFP)

Leaders of Israeli settlements in the West Bank complained that construction in their settlements had stopped. "The cities of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) are effectively frozen… The Government has promised to stop the freeze, yet it is continuing it," Director-General of the “Yesha Council” Naftali Bennett said. According to Mr. Bennett, 4,300 apartments currently had the necessary building permits, but had yet to receive the final authorization by Defense Minister Ehud Barak. (Xinhua)

The Israeli Defense Ministry had agreed to move towards granting a license to a synagogue built without a permit in the settlement outpost of “El-Matan”. The human rights organization Yesh Din had petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice on behalf of neighbouring Palestinian village councils to destroy the building. (Haaretz)

Prime Minister Netanyahu paid a special visit to a military base in northern Israel to praise the naval commandos who had participated in a deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in May. He told the commandos that they had acted "heroically" and "ethically”. (AP)

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry condemned the attacks by "settler extremists" on Palestinians' olive trees in the occupied West Bank and called on Israel to "combat violence and terror by Israelis". Mr. Serry also said that he was alarmed that work had started on hundreds of new homes for settlers. An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman rejected Mr. Serry's use of the term "terror" and said that he should have chosen his words more carefully. (Haaretz, Reuters)

Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the UN, said that he would meet with Andrew Whitley, Director of the UNRWA New York office, to explain to Mr. Whitley that his position was not acceptable and was condemned by the PA. He said that it was not the right of a single UNRWA worker to derogate from international texts. Mr. Whitley had said that Palestine refugees should acknowledge that they would almost certainly not be returning to Israel. (Ma’an News Agency)

27

Israeli tanks fired shells at Palestinian militants in northern Gaza, killing one, both sides reported. (DPA)

Israeli soldiers detained seven Palestinian children in Silwan in East Jerusalem. (IMEMC)

Israeli forces arrested eight Palestinians in the West Bank, according to an Israeli military spokesman. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli army detained five Palestinians, aged 16 to 18, from the villages of Madama and Beita, south of Nablus. (IMEMC)

Contacts between Israel and the PA would not resume until after the US congressional midterm elections in November were over, sources in the Israeli Prime Minister's office said. (Xinhua)

Following a meeting with a French group, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that it was important for Hamas to hold talks and dialogue sessions with Western Governments so that the latter could learn about the stances of his authorities in Gaza directly. The French delegation included Frédéric Hessel, a former French Ambassador, and Regis Debray, adviser to former French President François Mitterrand. (IMEMC)

Hamas leader Salah Bardawil said efforts to reach a unity deal between Hamas and Fatah were moving forward, stating that there was a “noticeable move on the security issue” and that “there is a clear political will for the two movements to reach true reconciliation”. He added that Hamas was willing to accept Fatah’s request to meet somewhere other than Damascus for continued talks. (Ma’an News Agency)

A group of armed Israeli settlers torched several greenhouses belonging to residents of Nabi Saleh and Dir Nitham villages near Ramallah. (IMEMC)

Saeb Erakat, Head of the Negotiations Affairs Department of the PLO, strongly condemned the flooding of a Palestinian olive grove near Nablus with raw sewage, which Israeli settlers were suspected of perpetrating. "Settler attacks against Palestinian civilians show the real face of the Israeli colonization process. With more settlement construction, the Israeli Government is rewarding the most extremist segments of their society,” he said. The settlers had denied the allegations, describing the accusations as a "blame campaign". (AFP, Ma’an News Agency)

Hamas rebuffed comments by an Israeli official that talks on the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for Palestinian prisoners were ongoing. Salah Bardawil said that the reports were simply meant to "reassure the Israelis that they are working to release Gilad Shalit". (Ma’an News Agency)

The Palestinian economy had the potential for annual growth of at least 10 per cent for several years, provided Israel eased access restrictions, PA National Economy Minister Hassan Abu Libdeh said. (Bloomberg)

In an urgent appeal for action, Defence for Children International documented 14 cases between March and October 2010 of Palestinian youths, between 13 and 17 years of age, that had been shot by the IDF while collecting gravel in the border exclusion zone imposed by Israel on the Gaza side of the Green Line. Some of the teens had been shot at 500, 600, even 800 metres from the border. Twenty-five Palestinian civilians had been killed in the border area since the end of Israel's three-week offensive on Gaza in January 2009. (www.dci-pal.org)

28

A Palestinian teenager was arrested in the Hebron area. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli soldiers invaded several areas in Jenin and Bethlehem, and broke into homes. (IMEMC)

Israeli forces detained three Palestinians near Nablus. An Israeli military spokesperson said that they had been carrying “a number of handguns and pipe bombs”. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces carried out an incursion into the southern Gaza Strip, bulldozing land east of Rafah.

PA President Abbas, speaking about peace talks at a news conference in Ramallah with visiting Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman, said that the first option was for Israel to renew its settlement construction freeze and get the talks going again. If talks did not resume, then the Palestinians would try to get the United States to recognize the pre-1967 lines as the borders of a future Palestinian State. If that failed, a third option was to try to get a Security Council resolution on the matter. “We are now focusing on the first option. But this does not mean we should not prepare ourselves for all the options,” Mr. Abbas said. Mr. Aboul Gheit told reporters that Egypt supported the Palestinian demand for an end to settlement construction. (DPA, Haaretz)

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, said in an interview with Corriere Della Sera while picking olives: "The deadline is next summer, when the Israeli occupation of the West Bank must end… In 2011, we will celebrate 66 years of the United Nations and the United Nations will celebrate the birth of our nation." Mr. Fayyad added that the Palestinians "need to build national institutions in the West Bank and prepare for an independent Palestinian State… The people of Gaza must be involved in our national project. There are gaps between us, it's true, but the real gap is the wall that closes off the Strip. Next week, I will try to enter Gaza," he added. (The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad discussed with US Senator Arlen Specter the latest regional developments. The President expressed his appreciation of recent attempts by President Obama to restart talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and said that he believed there were no indications such efforts would bear fruit as a result of the "presence of an Israeli Government which doesn't want peace and doesn't believe in it". (SANA)

In a meeting in Paris between Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and his French counterpart, Gérard Larcher, the latter expressed concern about construction in the settlements and asked about how negotiations can lead to peace. “Hundreds of thousands of Israelis live in the settlements and they are not an obstacle to peace," Mr. Rivlin said. "This is just the Palestinians' excuse." (The Jerusalem Post)

Israelis Jews were divided on the question of removing some settlements as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians, with 50 per cent in favour and 43 per cent opposed, a poll said. The survey by Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute found that 28 per cent of them thought that the Government would need to remove all settlements, including major blocks. Israel's Arab citizens were strongly in favour of the full removal of settlements. Seventy-four per cent of Israeli Jews supported Prime Minister Netanyahu's demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish State in exchange for renewed restrictions on settlement construction, while 79 per cent of Arabs were opposed. (AFP)

The German-Palestinian Steering Committee held a meeting of experts in Ramallah to discuss the development of effective state structures in the Palestinian territory and measures to benefit the Palestinian people directly. An agreement was reached on further cooperation in the water sector, economic development and strengthening the police force. This included the establishment of a contact point for German business in Ramallah. For the year 2010, German bilateral and multilateral support for the Palestinian territories totalled €140 million. (www.diplo.de)

29

Israeli navy boats opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Gaza. No injuries were reported. (Ma’an News Agency)

Asharq al-Awsat reported that Israel was conducting secret negotiations with the US on the future borders of a Palestinian State. According to the report, Palestinian sources confirmed that the two sides had discussed an option wherein Israel might lease lands in East Jerusalem from the Palestinians for a period of 40 to 99 years in exchange for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State. (Haaretz)

Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian official in charge of Israel-Gaza crossings, said that crossings would be closed for two days and would reopen on 31 October. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli military prevented Palestinian farmers from working on their lands adjacent to the separation wall in the western part of the town of Beit Ula, north-west of Hebron, under the pretext that the lands were closed military zones. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli army closed the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron for Muslim worshipers for two days in order to allow Jewish worshippers to celebrate a Jewish feast. (IMEMC)

Israel’s Speaker of the Knesset Reuben Rivlin was met by about 100 pro-Palestinian protesters outside the opening session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean in the Moroccan capital Rabat. (Ynetnews.com)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said that a decision by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to define West Bank shrines sacred to both Jews and Muslims as Palestinian was "absurd". A statement released by Mr. Netanyahu’s office said: "If the places where the fathers and mothers of the Jewish nation are buried some 4,000 years ago are not part of the Jewish heritage, then what is?" (DPA)

30

Two projectiles were launched towards southern Israel, landing in Kerem Shalom in the north western Negev, an army spokesman said. No damage or injuries were reported. (Ma’an News Agency)

A PA Civil Defence Department statement said that an abandoned building in Tubas was destroyed in a blast caused by explosives left behind by Israeli forces. (Ma’an News Agency)

According to Al-Hayat newspaper, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said that Gaza militants who fire rockets at Israel violate an agreement among Palestinian factions and face possible arrest. (Al-Hayat)

Al-Hayat daily quoted an Egyptian source as saying that Egypt was contacting world and regional leaders to organize an international peace conference. The source said, “Egypt considers it unbelievable that the status quo remains unchanged in the light of Israel’s refusal to take a positive step regarding settlements, while the Palestinian President insists that they stop settlements before he resumes face-to-face talks”. The source also ruled out the possibility that Israel would wage war on Gaza, as suggested in recent reports. (Ma’an News Agency)

Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square to pay tribute to former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, marking 15 years at the place of his murder. President Shimon Peres told the crowd: "We are more determined than the enemies of peace and that is why we will triumph," adding, "certainly the road to peace is long and difficult, and our [Arab] neighbours are not helping us; but we will not be denied the hope for peace nor from attaining it". Among the crowd were some Israelis who held banners calling for peace and tolerance. (AP)

Addressing reporters, PA National Economy Minister Hassan Abu Libdeh rejected recent accusations that his office violated its own ban on trading in settlement goods by issuing permits to vendors and merchants, allowing them to trade in settlement goods from “Atarot”. Mr. Abu Libdeh said that it was not a secret that there were a number of Palestinian investments in some settlements, but said that Palestinian businesses had been given a deadline to relocate factories and warehouses outside settlements. (Ma’an News Agecny)

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The Israeli army, in a statement, said that a 34-year-old Palestinian, who allegedly attacked an Israeli car travelling to Bethlehem and Jerusalem, had been arrested. None of the passengers were injured in the incident but serious damage was done to the car. (DPA)

Undercover Israeli army personnel, along with Israeli soldiers, detained a student from Hebron University. (IMEMC)

At a Cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said that during his trip to New Orleans the following week, he would be discussing the Middle East peace talks with US Vice-President Joe Biden. Both men would be attending a conference of Jewish-American leaders. (AP)

An Israeli police spokeswoman said that an initial inquiry into a fire incident at Jerusalem's Alliance Church that took place three days earlier suggested that it was accidental. Thirteen people were slightly injured and treated for smoke inhalation.

On the tenth anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women and peace and security, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry published an op-ed in the Israeli daily Haaretz entitled “Women at the peace table”. The op-ed was published in Haaretz in both English and Hebrew and in Arabic in the Al-Quds newspaper. Mr. Serry said that women had traditionally been absent from peace negotiations, which meant that certain issues had not been taken into account in peace negotiations, important constituencies were not heard, and valuable tools for peacebuilding were not used. He stressed the importance of having women at the negotiation table, including in the Middle East. (Haaretz)


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