Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter

Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
31 October 2008



Division for Palestinian Rights

Chronological Review of Events Relating to the

Question of Palestine

Monthly media monitoring review

October 2008

Monthly highlights
    • Israel’s Supreme Court temporarily halts Mughrabi Gate construction in East Jerusalem. (7 October)

    • UNRWA Commissioner-General appeals for emergency Arab funds for Nahr-el Bared camp refugees. (8 October)

    • Israel’s Defense Minister Barak orders efforts to stop wave of settler violence in the West Bank. (12 October)

    • Inter-Parliamentary Union admits Parliament of Palestine as a full member. (15 October)

    • Egypt delivers draft plan for the comprehensive Palestinian national dialogue meeting in Cairo on 9 November. (19 October)

    • Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics says the separation wall displaced some 28,000 Palestinians. (23 October)

    • 585 Palestinian security officers deploy in Hebron. (25 October)

2

A senior Israeli official said that an international summit would be held in Egypt in November, with representatives from Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the Quartet. The official said that the Israeli and PA participants would brief the Quartet on progress made in the peace talks and that the event would probably take place in Sharm el-Sheikh on the anniversary of the Annapolis Conference. Quartet Representative Tony Blair would participate, as well as officials from Egypt and Jordan. (Haaretz)

Settlers from the unauthorized outpost of “Shvut Ami” set fire to olive trees belonging to Palestinians in the village of Kafr Qaddum, east of Nablus. (Haaretz, Ma’an News Agency, Ynetnews)

In an interview with Haaretz, IDF commander in the West Bank Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni criticized extremist settlers who had attacked Palestinians and Israeli soldiers in recent weeks. He said that their radical behaviour had intensified in light of the encouragement they received from the settler leadership, rabbis and the public. “There has been a rise in Jewish violence in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank]. In the past, only a few dozen individuals took part in such activity, but today that number has grown into hundreds. That’s a very significant change. These hundreds are engaged in conspiratorial actions against Palestinians and the security forces. It’s a very grave phenomenon,” he said. (Haaretz)

3

Israeli forces arrested 20 Palestinians in a raid in the village of Al-E’bayat east of Bethlehem. The IDF said that they found four hunting weapons and M16 rifles in addition to bullets and two knives during the raid. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli settlers clashed at an olive grove near Hebron with activists protesting the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Israeli police said. One activist was arrested, police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said. In a related development, settler leader Daniella Weiss, from the northern West Bank, was charged by an Israeli court with assaulting police, obstruction of justice, and hindering police investigations. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA))

A $ 50 million programme would see the water and sanitation infrastructure of the West Bank and Gaza expanded, repaired and rehabilitated over five years. The project, administered by the American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) is to be funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The programme is set to begin in October 2008 and would initially focus on providing emergency relief to Palestinians affected by last winter’s drought and increasingly short supplies of water. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Nakba at UN Headquarters. (WAFA)

Ibrahim Khraishi, the new Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office in Geneva, presented his credentials. (www.unog.ch)

4

Attending the opening of an industrial park financed by France and Germany in Jenin, visiting French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said that he believed that a detailed peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians before the end of 2008 was unlikely. "We talked ... about the peace process," PA President Abbas said in a joint news conference with Mr. Kouchner: "We emphasized that we are continuing this process, whether it is with the outgoing Prime Minister, Olmert, or with Livni, if she forms her Government, and also with the new [US] Administration, which we hope will handle this immediately and directly." (AP, DPA, WAFA)

French Foreign Minister Kouchner toured Jenin and praised the PA security services for restoring order, saying he would share his positive assessment with Israeli and European Union (EU) leaders. When asked about a report in Asharq Al-Awsat about a French proposal to deploy monitors or an EU peacekeeping force in the future Palestinian State, he replied that "this is a suggestion that was proposed before, and we are working on studying this proposal. A decision was not taken yet, but the idea itself is not bad." (AP, Haaretz, WAFA)

Egypt's presidential spokesman Suleiman Awwad confirmed that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had asked Egypt to invite Israeli and Palestinian leaders and members of the Quartet to meet before President Bush's term ends, and that Egypt endorsed the proposal. (AP)

Senior Fatah leader and chief of the PA delegation to the intra-Palestinian dialogue in Cairo Nabil Sha’ath said that the comprehensive dialogue would be launched on 4 November. Mr. Sha’ath said that Fatah accepted the proposal to form a national unity Government with Hamas which would be recognized by the Arabs and the international community. "The mission of this Government will focus on rebuilding of the Palestinian security apparatuses and preparation for presidential and legislative elections," said Mr. Sha’ath. Musa Abu Marzouq, a senior Hamas leader, said, "The scheduled [Hamas] meeting with the Egyptian side will tackle the essence of Palestinian disputes, which are related to rebuilding the security apparatuses, forming a national unity Government and preparing for the elections.” Hamas leader Ismail Radwan said: "We reject discussing the idea of holding early legislative elections." "Every party has to settle everything in Cairo," said Ahmed Yousef, political adviser to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. "They should come back with good news that they reached understandings achieving the national reconciliation, or think deeply about breaking up the PA." (Xinhua)

China, the PA and the United Nations Development Programme signed an agreement to construct the PA Foreign Ministry's new office building. PA President Abbas attended the ceremony in Ramallah and laid a corner stone for the new structure. (WAFA, Xinhua)

5

A Gazan was electrocuted and died in the smuggling tunnels beneath the border with Egypt. (Ma’an News Agency)

A Palestinian fisherman was wounded by the Israeli Navy which fired at boats near the coast of Rafah. (WAFA)

The IDF beat up two young Palestinians in Khadr, near Bethlehem, who were later hospitalized, and arrested three Palestinians in Bethlehem, PA security sources said. (WAFA)

Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told a conference in Jerusalem that the Annapolis process would go on. She told the audience, which included PA Foreign Minister Riyad Malki, visiting French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and US Ambassador James Cunningham: "Let us not allow dates or political changes to stand in our way," adding that the two sides concurred that "nothing is agreed upon until everything is agreed upon." Mr. Malki said: "Negotiation is our strategic choice," assuring the Israelis that the official position of the PA remained to strive for a separate Palestinian State alongside Israel. (AP, Haaretz)

Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told her French counterpart Bernard Kouchner that she opposed the agreement in principle that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had offered to the Palestinians. "Abu Mazen [Abbas] in his present political situation cannot accept such an agreement," she said. "The political situation in Israel also does not allow it to be signed.” Mr. Kouchner also met with Mr. Olmert, who expressed his frustration: "You've read what I said in the interview," he told Mr. Kouchner, referring to his statements in Yediot Ahronot. "Still, the Palestinians do not want to sign.” (Haaretz)

6

Israeli forces arrested nine Palestinians in Jenin, Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus, Palestinian security sources said. A senior Islamic Jihad commander was captured after a firefight, said a spokesman for the faction’s military wing. He was arrested in Qabatiya, where PA security forces operate. By agreement with the Palestinian leadership, the Israeli military was supposed to stay out of the area. (Ma’an News Agency, Xinhua)

Israeli forces have killed 5,526 Palestinians over the past eight years including 1,010 children under 18 and 340 women and girls, said a PLO report. Israeli forces detained more than 65,000 Palestinians, of whom 11,000 are still in Israeli jails. (Ma’an News Agency)

Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group, filed a lawsuit on behalf of five Palestinians against the Israeli Government seeking NIS 1.5 million ($430,000) in damages for letting Israeli settlers illegally seize their land to build the unauthorized “Migron” outpost. (AP, Haaretz)

7

Israeli soldiers stormed the Far’a refugee camp in Nablus injuring three Palestinians. (Xinhua)

Israeli forces apprehended three Palestinians from the northern West Bank village of Asira Al-Qibliya near Nablus, local Palestinians said. (Ma’an News Agency)

A 30-year-old pregnant Palestinian woman sustained burns and a man nearly suffocated when vast areas of agricultural land burned near the village of Qaffin in northern Tulkarm. The city’s mayor, Aai’d Harasha, told Ma’an News Agency:“150,000 square meters were on fire and Israeli forces impeded the entry of fire fighters for two hours.” The mayor added that “the Israeli occupation deliberately hinders the entry of Palestinians to their fields, “citing the location of an electronic gate controlled by soldiers who allow farmers to access the land just three times a week.” (Ma’an News Agency)

A high-level Hamas delegation, headed by the Deputy Hamas Political Bureau Chief Moussa Abu Marzouk, travelled to Egypt for talks with Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman. (AP, The Jerusalem Post, Ma’an News Agency)

During a visit to Jenin’s Municipality, Quartet Representative Tony Blair expressed interest in improving the security situation in the city, hoping it would one day become “a model for development, as well as political and economic stability.” Mr. Blair met with Jenin’s Governor, Qaddura Mousa, PA Minister of Justice Ali Khashan and PA Attorney-General Ahmad Al-Mughanni. Mr. Blair said that he had noticed a “great change over the past three months,” which he attributed to the PA security services, judiciaries and the Attorney-General, adding that in the coming weeks, he expected Jenin’s judicial court headquarters to open. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli Minister without portfolio Ami Ayalon was declared persona non grata in the Netherlands after a case was filed against him in the Dutch courts accusing him of torturing Mr. Khalik Al-Shami during his time as head of the Shin Bet. (Ma’an News Agency, Haaretz)

In New Delhi, PA President Abbas and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attended a ceremony inaugurating the new Palestinian Embassy, a gift from India to the Palestinian Government. Mr. Singh said, “I have great pleasure in announcing a grant of $10 million as budgetary support to the Palestinian National Authority to help meet its immediate requirements and a further $10 million as assistance for development projects.” (www.arabnews.com, www.meaindia.nic.in)

The Israeli Supreme Court ordered a temporary halt to the construction of an iron bridge at the Mughrabi Gate area of the Al-Haram Al-Sharif. Hatem Abd Al-Qader, PA Adviser on Jerusalem Affairs, said the court’s decision obliged the Israeli Government, Department of Antiquities, and the Municipality of West Jerusalem to halt all construction and excavation. Mr. Al-Qader also said that the West Jerusalem Municipality had plans to dig wells for 88 pillars to support the new bridge. (Ma’an News Agency)

A new study released by the Palestinian Union of Agricultural Committees said that Israel had violated international law by creating a water crisis in the Gaza Strip, contributing to a deficit of 65 million cubic metres of water needed for basic purposes by Gaza’s 1.5 million residents. In 2007, Gaza residents had consumed 86 litres of water per person per day, short of the 100 litres minimum requirement set by the World Health Organization. By contrast, Israelis consumed 330 litres per person per day, according to B’Tselem. (Ma’an News Agency)

At a press conference, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, when asked about the Israel-Palestinian peace process: “It is encouraging that the leaders of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority have been regularly meeting, and I am quite convinced that this bilateral meeting will continue, even with the change of leadership in Israel. There may be some skepticism whether this Annapolis peace process may be able to be realized as was promised by the US President. But our duty, our role, and our commitment should continue until the very last minute of President George Bush's mandate. If it cannot be achieved by then, they should be taken over as a priority issue by the incoming administration of the United States. Many Arab countries were also hopeful about the prospect of this. So one should not be overly pessimistic, even though we have not seen any very positive, tangible results. You have again my full commitment. There was an agreement that we will have another Quartet meeting in the region with the parties concerned - that means the Israelis and Palestinian leaders will participate in the Quartet and brief on their progress of the peace talks”. (UN News Centre)

8

Israeli settlers attacked and injured three Palestinians, including a woman, in Hebron, hospital sources reported. They all suffered injuries and bruising. (WAFA)

Israeli forces seized five Palestinian teenagers in the towns of Qaffin and Anbata, near Tulkarm. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces seized two Saraya Al-Quds [the military wing of Islamic Jihad] members in Qabatiya, south of Jenin, Islamic Jihad sources said. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israel sealed off the West Bank ahead of the Day of Atonement holiday. The closure was expected to last until the morning of 10 October, according to an Israeli military communiqué. (DPA)

After talks with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman in Cairo, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahhar said, “Fatah and Hamas will meet on 25 October in Cairo under Egyptian mediation to resolve their differences on how to reach reconciliation and end the current Palestinian divisions. … We have reached an agreement in principle with Egyptian officials on the matters that need to be resolved during the meeting. … These matters include forming a government of national consensus [and] the reorganization of Palestinian security forces, with the help of Arab experts who will be charged with training and coordination,” he said, adding, “We agreed on a government of national consensus, meaning factions will be represented but (the government) will also include independents and professionals.” The meeting on 25 October would be followed by a meeting of all 13 Palestinian factions in Cairo, after which the process of forming a government and reforming the security services would last six to nine months, Mr. Al-Zahhar said. (AFP)

A group of doctors from Israel was banned from entering the Gaza Strip, although their entry had been previously approved by the IDF. The members of the organization Physicians for Human Rights were supposed to provide, over three days, medical services that were unavailable in the Strip. "We were the only hope for 400 Palestinian patients who were supposed to receive treatment and were fasting since yesterday because of the operation they were supposed to undergo today," said the oncologist Dr. Abed A'baria, on his way home from the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing. (Haaretz)

In Vienna, Commissioner-General Karen AbuZayd of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) made an urgent appeal for Arab funds for emergency assistance to some 30,000 Palestine refugees whose homes had been destroyed by fighting last year at the Nahr-el Bared camp in Northern Lebanon. Ms. AbuZayd called on "Arab donors to help UNRWA respond adequately to the humanitarian needs of these refugees who have endured more than their fair share of misery and displacement." (UNRWA press release)

9

The body of a young Palestinian was found on the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip near Rafah. According to Palestinian medical sources, 22-year-old Jihad Abu Shab died of a bullet wound. (Ma’an News Agency)

Members of the Hamas delegation participating in the Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo indicated that Hamas had accepted extending the PA presidency of Mahmoud Abbas for an additional six months. (IMEMC)

PA President Abbas arrived in Sri Lanka for a two-day visit, including talks with top officials and the signing of an agreement on technical cooperation. Sri Lanka had opened a representative office in the Occupied Palestinian Territory last year. (AP)

The PA Ministry of Higher Education issued a statement indicating that Israeli forces had been preventing students and teachers from accessing schools in the Tubas district in the northern West Bank by closing at irregular intervals the Tayaseer checkpoint used by more than 45 teachers to reach their schools. (Ma’an News Agency)

10

Israeli troops wounded up to eight activists and arrested three others, including Israeli activist Jonathan Pollack, in Ni’lin village, located west of Ramallah in the West Bank in an attempt to prevent hundreds of international activists and farmers from harvesting olives in the village near the separation wall. A border guard policeman was injured by the protesters, who said that they had coordinated the harvest in advance. The IDF fired rubber-coated bullets, tear gas and stun grenades. One of at least 100 Israeli activists was hit in the abdomen by a gas bomb. (AFP, Ma’an News Agency, WAFA, Ynetnews)

The Israeli army dispersed international, Israeli and Palestinian activists during a protest against the separation wall in the village of Al-Ma’sara near Bethlehem. Sound bombs and tear gas were used to disperse the group; no injuries or arrests were reported. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli army prevented Muslim worshippers from attending prayers when it closed the Ibrahimi Mosque (Cave of the Patriarchs) in Hebron, West Bank, on the occasion of Jewish holidays. (IMEMC)

The Military Judge Advocate General of Israel, Avi Mandelbilt, was considering amending the charges brought against the former Na’alin regiment commander, Lt.-Col. Omri Burberg, who was indicted for his involvement in an incident in which a soldier fired at a bound Palestinian detainee. Mr. Mandelbilt was reportedly considering adding several new charges, including reckless endangerment, which could result in a criminal record for the former regiment commander and could carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison. (Ynetnews)

Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was reported to have stated in recent weeks that it was a mistake to link the issue of Gilad Shalit’s release to the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. (Haaretz)

Israeli settlers injured six Palestinian residents of a village south of Nablus, including an elderly man and two children, who were harvesting their olive trees near the “Berakha” settlement. (Ma’an News Agency)

11

Israeli forces shot and wounded two Palestinians and arrested six in Hebron. (WAFA)

Palestinian farmers said that they had been attacked by Israeli settlers while trying to pick olives near the “Yitzhar” settlement. Ali Eid, mayor of the nearby village of Burin near “Yitzhar,” said that the two sides had fought with sticks and stones and two farmers and one settler had been slightly hurt. (AP)

12

Israeli soldiers beat unconscious a 15-year-old Palestinian student in the village of Taqu, near Bethlehem. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces detained 10 Palestinians in Jenin, Nablus, Bethlehem and Hebron. The IDF said it had detained three Palestinians carrying nine pipe bombs at a road block west of Nablus. (WAFA, Ynetnews)

Palestinian sources said that the PA was expected to deploy a battalion of security forces to Hebron. The move would be coordinated by Israel, and the 700 troops would handle security operations among the city’s Palestinian population. Samih al-Sifi, the commander of the security forces, said that the deployment did not mean that the PA was taking security responsibility for the Palestinian part of Hebron, adding that Israel had authorized the PA to restore order and security in the city but that there would be no wide-scale operations. He said that the operations would begin after the Jewish Sukkot holiday. (Haaretz)

In Damascus, PA President Abbas called for an end to divisions between Fatah and Hamas. “Syria’s role is essential. … Syria is playing a role and we will continue to coordinate our positions with it and with other Arab countries such as Egypt,” Mr. Abbas said after talks in Damascus with President Bashar Al-Assad. Mr. Abbas was visiting Syria against the backdrop of plans for Fatah and Hamas delegations to meet in Cairo on 25 October for Egyptian-mediated talks aimed at forming a Palestinian transitional government acceptable to the factions. Saeb Erakat, Head of the Negotiations Affairs Department of the PLO, told reporters, “We have asked President Assad to do (his best) to help end (Palestinian) divisions and help make a dialogue successful.” (AFP)

Speaking at a conference on Jerusalem held in Doha, Hamas Political Bureau Chief Khaled Mashaal said that the internal Palestinian division might soon end. “We went to Cairo and other Arab capitals and agreed with the Egyptian mediation to start Palestinian national dialogue and reached a reconciliation agreement,” Mr. Mashaal said. (Ma’an News Agency)

The office of Quartet Representative Tony Blair said that the Gaza Strip’s banks were on the verge of collapse. In the letter to Israel’s Defense Ministry, Mr. Blair’s office said that Israel must funnel some 100 million shekels, or about $28 million, into Gaza each month to keep Gaza’s 45 bank branches afloat. Without the cash, the Palestinian Authority would not be able to pay the salary of thousands of civil servants and Gaza’s black market and money launderers would thrive. (AP)

Israeli defense officials said that Defense Minister Ehud Barak had ordered his deputy, Matan Vilnai, to establish an inter-agency task force to coordinate efforts to stop the current wave of settler violence. (The Jerusalem Post)

A report by the Physicians for Human Rights said dozens of Palestinian prisoners held in isolation or in solitary confinement in Israeli prisons had developed severe mental disorders. The report focused on inmates who must be separated from the general prison population due to security reasons, and on those suffering pre-existing mental difficulties or illnesses. Some of them had been held in various conditions of confinement for as long as 20 years, the report said. (Ynetnews, www.phr.org.il)

13

The Israeli military detained five Palestinians in Hebron. (IMEMC)

A 20-year-old Palestinian was shot and wounded by Israeli soldiers at the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus. According to the IDF, he had been carrying three improvised explosive devices. (Ma’an News Agency, Ynetnews)

A Gaza-Egypt underground tunnel exploded in Rafah. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israel shut down entry from the West Bank during the weeklong Sukkot holiday. The order barred almost all Palestinians from entering Israel until 21 October, except for humanitarian cases. (AP)

Jordanian Prime Minister Nader Dahabi urged Israel to stop all settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, saying that such practices "do not serve the quest of peace". He was speaking at a meeting with the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert H. Serry. He also urged a continuation of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians "regardless of political developments". (DPA)

In the Declaration on the Peace Process in the Middle East, adopted during a two-day extraordinary session held in Jordan, the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) said, “The EMPA reiterates its total support for the current negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and stresses the need for them to be conducted in a limited time framework and in a climate of mutual trust, which can only be established by visible progress on the ground, which has a direct impact on the living conditions of the civil populations; regrets, therefore, that the international financial support that has been mobilized has not yet produced an economic revival in the Palestinian Territory because of the restrictions on access and movement which are still being imposed by the Israeli authorities and continue to jeopardize the prospects of Palestinian economic revival.” (www.europarl.europa.eu)

UNRWA and the Salam Ya Sughar Fund from the United Arab Emirates signed a $3 million cooperation agreement to feed Gaza refugee schoolchildren. (www.unrwa.org)

Palestinian farmers from the West Bank village of Gith said that settlers from “Havat Gilad” had cut down at least 20 of their olive trees. (Ynetnews)

Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu condemned the actions taken by Israel to build a synagogue in the vicinity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem. (www.oic-oci.org)

14

The IDF had arrested eight Palestinians in Hebron, PA security sources said. (WAFA)

The IDF had killed 17-year-old Abdul Qader Al-Badawi and wounded two others in Al-Jalazone refugee camp in Ramallah, local sources said. The sources said that the IDF opened fire at a group of young men, killing Mr. Al-Badawi as he was walking near the camp's school. (WAFA)

PA President Abbas met with the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi. Mr. Abbas reviewed the latest developments in the peace process and the internal situation and briefed the UAE President on his international tour. He also praised the UAE political and financial support for the PA and the Palestinian people. (WAFA)

PA Ambassador to Egypt Nabil Amr delivered a letter from PA President Abbas to Egyptian officials concerning the Palestinian national dialogue. He told WAFA that the Egyptian reconciliation efforts had made huge progress and “we are waiting to determine the final dates for a comprehensive dialogue”. He pointed out that “the efficiency of the dialogue is remarkably enhanced due to the Arab and Palestinian need to end the Palestinian divisions and to reinforce the national unity to face the upcoming challenges.” (WAFA)

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in an address to the Palestinian Business and Investment Forum, held at the US Chamber of Commerce headquarters in Washington, D.C., that Israel had made some progress towards lifting movement restrictions in the West Bank, but that roadblocks, checkpoints and other security measures still stunted Palestinian economic growth. Ms. Rice also said that Israel should stop building new homes for the settlers in disputed territory. She pledged to use her remaining three months in office to work towards a peace deal. She said that Palestinians must continue to "dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism and to promote an atmosphere of tolerance," and "Israel must also halt settlement activity which can be seen as prejudging the outcome of negotiations and undermining its negotiating partner". "And while there have been some lowered restrictions to access and movement, more progress needs to be made in order for Palestinian business people and workers to be able to conduct business in an environment in which they can thrive," Ms. Rice told the audience, which included PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. (www.state.gov)

Palestinian medical sources announced the death of a 3-year-old child, Hani Al-Hasayneh, who had been refused permission to travel outside the Gaza Strip for medical treatment, bringing the total number of patients who had died due to the blockade of the Gaza Strip to 252. (WAFA)

Hamas announced that it would not permit thousands of striking teachers in the Gaza Strip to return to their jobs. Unspecified legal action was threatened against the strikers. (AP)

The National Campaign against the Wall, in cooperation with other Palestinian civil society organizations, announced that the national campaign for olive harvest would start the following day. The coordinator of the campaign, Jamal Joma’, said at a press conference: “The campaign is aimed at supporting Palestinian farmers while they are working in their fields and protecting them from the continuous attacks by Jewish colonizers, which usually escalate in the olive season, especially in the Nablus, Qalqilya and Hebron areas,” adding, “The United Nations reported 222 attacks by Jewish colonizers [settlers] during the last six months and 291 attacks in 2007.” (WAFA)

15

IDF troops had arrested three youths, two of them brothers, in Bethlehem, according to security sources. Two Palestinians were arrested in the area of Nablus. (WAFA, Ynetnews)

Nimr Hammad, an aide to PA President Abbas said that previous bilateral meetings with Hamas had been “ineffective” and only worsened the division between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. He said that a Hamas-Fatah meeting was unlikely to take place and that Fatah had agreed to a comprehensive dialogue that included all the Palestinian factions. Meanwhile, PA officials reiterated their demand for a transitional Palestinian government composed of independent Palestinian figures. Mr. Hammad said the transitional coalition should include internationally recognized figures that would be able to travel between the West Bank and Gaza. He said that the new government should work to lift the siege of the Gaza Strip. Once a government was formed, Mr. Hammad said, stage two of the transition would begin, including a restructuring of the Palestinian security forces with help from Arab States. He said if Hamas refused to reform its own forces in Gaza, it would “create a crisis.” Hamas leader Ahmad Yousif said, however, that any government would inevitably be formed of figures close to both Hamas and Fatah, but the names of the ministers would not be known until the moment of the agreement. Mr. Yousif rejected the suggestion that the transitional government’s programme would be the same as Mr. Abbas’s and the PLO’s, saying that all those issues would be discussed at a three-way meeting between Hamas, Fatah, and the Egyptian mediators on 25 October. (Ma’an News Agency)

The spokesman of Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades stated that the armed faction reserved the right to end the ceasefire with Israel but would consider Palestinian consensus on the matter. (IMEMC)

At a meeting in Amman with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert H. Serry, King Abdullah II of Jordan said that halting all Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory was crucial. He stressed the importance of ensuring momentum to reach a comprehensive settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian State. The King reiterated the need for the UN to help create the appropriate environment in coordination with concerned parties to help Palestinians and Israelis achieve tangible progress in the Middle East. (WAFA)

Some 100 persons organized by the Coalition of Women for Peace protested in front of Damoun prison, near Haifa, where two Palestinian girls, Salwa and her cousin Sara, both aged 16, were being held in administrative detention, without charge or trial. According to the attorney representing both girls, Israeli security services described them as “dangerous, based on classified information”. Apart from initial interrogation at the time of arrest, neither girl had been questioned since. The administrative detention of both girls was extended for an additional three months last week. There are currently some 600 Palestinians in administrative detention in Israel, some 15 of whom are minors. (Haaretz)

The 119th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union admitted the Parliament of Palestine as a full-fledged member. (www.ipu.org)

An agreement was signed in Rome between the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Directorate General for Cooperation and the regional administration of Tuscany for the implementation of “Support for Children of the Palestinian Territories - Medicine at the Service of Peace”, an initiative to which Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini had made a personal commitment during his visit to the Palestinian Territory in July 2008. The €5.7 million project would be carried out by two NGOs: Israel’s “Peres Center for Peace” in Tel Aviv, and The Palestinian “Panorama” in Ramallah. The initiative aimed at direct medical collaboration between Palestinians and Israelis at the non-governmental level. The intention was to make it possible for seriously ill Palestinian children to be treated in the most advanced health-care facilities in Israel. (www.esteri.it)

16

The IDF killed two Palestinians in the Ramallah area, which brought the number of such deaths in 48 hours to three. The first death occurred when the IDF raided at midnight the village of Kufr Malik, near Ramallah, opening fire at the villagers, including at a group of three people, one of whom was allegedly carrying a firebomb. Villagers said that young men were throwing stones and empty bottles at the forces. The victim had bled for two hours before he died. The second person who died at a hospital in Ramallah had been shot the previous day near the Jalazone refugee camp, located near the “Beit-El” settlement in the West Bank. Saeb Erakat, Head of the Negotiations Affairs Department of the PLO, stated that “it looked as if the Israeli army has received instructions to carry out an escalation in the Palestinian territories.” (AFP, AP, BBC, Haaretz, IMEMC, Al-Jazeera, Ma’an News Agency, The Jerusalem Post, WAFA, Ynetnews)

In a joint Shin Bet-IDF operation, Israeli troops arrested four Islamic Jihad militants during a raid in Qabatiya. Troops used sound grenades, destroyed furniture and forced residents onto the street during the raid, which took place before dawn. Two pipe bombs weighing 20 kg were confiscated during the arrest and were deactivated by the Border Police. In Hebron, the IDF arrested seven Palestinian children, aged between 13 and 17, for throwing stones. They were released after hours of interrogation. (Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, Ma’an News Agency, WAFA, Ynetnews)

A group of Israeli settlers posing as foreign pilgrims tried to enter by force the Al-Aqsa Mosque Esplanade at the Al-Haram Al-Sharif (Temple Mount). (WAFA)

Armed settlers attacked the Osh Alghorab neighbourhood in the town of Beit Sahour in the West Bank, detaining four international peace activists and two Palestinians. (IMEMC)

Israeli settlers from the “Kedumim” settlement set fire to olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmer Fathi Amer from the Kafr Qaddum village, west of Nablus. (Ma’an News Agency, Wafa News Agency)

Israeli forces closed an agricultural road between the villages of Kafr Al-Labad and Shufa, near the city of Tulkarm in the West Bank. Army bulldozers backed by soldiers built a mound of earth and placed large stones on the road, preventing local farmers from bringing newly harvested olives from their fields to a nearby olive press. (Ma’an News Agency)

Settlers embarked on a new practice in their attempt to prevent Palestinians from harvesting olives: they brought flocks of sheep to feed on the small trees. Dozens of sheep were thus put on Palestinian farmland near the “Itamar” settlement in the Nablus area. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian parliamentarian Jamal Al-Khudari, head of the Popular Committee against the Siege of the Gaza Strip, announced that 35 per cent of the deaths caused by Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip were children. He said that 252 people had died since June 2007 as a result of the lack of medical supplies, closure of the border crossings and inability to travel abroad for treatment. He added that Israel had barred the shipment of 52 critical medicines to Gaza, including one for treating cancer. (Ma’an News Agency)

In an interview with Al-Arabiya, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, “If [Prime Minister-designate] Tzipi Livni is able to form a coalition … she’s made it very clear that the peace process is … at the top of her agenda. … And I was just with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who has been here in Washington for work with the Palestinian American Business Council. There are very good developments in the Palestinian territories, in the West Bank …The West Bank is also a different place than it was just a few years ago. And Gaza is quiet, at least, at this particular point in time … They [Palestinians] will make a choice, and I believe they will choose peace.” (www.state.gov)

Director of UNRWA operations in the Gaza Strip John Ging called on Israel to immediately lift the siege imposed on 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, which was the only way to “enable Palestinians to live in dignity.” Mr. Ging described the situation in Gaza as a “political collapse, the absence of humanity.” (Ma’an News Agency)

17

Israeli forces detained 10 Palestinians in the West Bank: two from the town of Al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, six from villages near Ramallah, and two others from Jenin and Hebron. (Ma’an News Agency)

Twenty members of the PA’s Criminal Investigation Department were participating in a three-week course directed by experts from Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office, which began on 6 October at the police academy in Jericho. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip said Hamas was likely to seek to extend its truce with Israel for another six months. (Haaretz)

A group of Israeli settlers destroyed a Palestinian car near the “Alon Moriah” settlement, east of Nablus. (Ma’an News Agency)

''Peace for the Children'', a charity initiative launched by the Emirate of Sharjah for the relief of Palestinian children under the patronage of the wife of Sharjah Ruler, Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, would spend about $500,000 to deliver health and nutritional services to Palestinian children suffering from acute malnutrition. The fund signed agreements with the London-based Medical Aid for Palestinians and ''Ard Al Insan'' Foundation in the Gaza Strip to improve the well-being of Palestinian children under 5 through preventive and curative programmes. The health drive would serve 8,000 children for nine months and would be carried out in partnership with UNRWA. (WAFA)

Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian olive harvesters, wounding an elderly man in the West Bank. They also attacked a Palestinian photographer taking pictures of Palestinian farmers picking olives in the West Bank. (AP, WAFA)

In his report on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Israel and Palestinians to forge ahead towards a peaceful settlement to their long-running conflict, in line with the peace process launched last November in Annapolis. In his report, he stated, “Time is now running short until we reach the benchmark of the Annapolis process, and there reportedly remain significant gaps. Should the parties not be able to reach a peace agreement by the end of the year, it will be essential that the process not be disrupted and instead continue, with the aim of leading to the long-overdue peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine as early as possible.” (UN News Centre)

19

An Israeli was wounded when a firebomb was thrown at his car near the West Bank settlement of “Barkan”. Earlier in the day, six firebombs had been hurled at Israeli drivers in two separate incidents near Nablus. There were no casualties in those attacks. (Haaretz)

Egypt delivered invitations to Palestinian officials to a summit meeting of all Palestinian factions, along with a draft plan for ending the political crisis between Hamas and Fatah, high-ranking sources said. The “comprehensive national dialogue” meeting was set for 9 November in Cairo. Palestinian officials, who spoke anonymously, said that the Egyptian draft called for the creation of a new Palestinian unity government. Specifically, the plan was said to include four main points: The new government’s tasks are to end the blockade (of the Gaza Strip), ease daily life, prepare for presidential and legislative elections, and reform the Palestinian security in order to “defend land and civilians”, simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections; reform of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in accordance with the 2005 Cairo agreement; PLO would be empowered to “conduct negotiations in adherence with national goals,” a reference to the Palestinian-Israeli final status negotiations. (Ma’an News Agency)

Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the former Director-General of the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate, presented a proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace at a conference attended by Arab, Palestinian and Israeli political figures and organized by the Oxford Research Group, which sought to promote the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002. Mr. Al-Faisal, who heads the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies, said that both sides must condemn violence and called on Israel to stop targeted assassination and arrests, the construction of the West Bank wall and the expansion of settlements and separate roads. The Palestinians, he said, must stop all suicide bombings and rocket fire at Israel. He also called on Israel to release all Palestinian prisoners and for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit to be released from the Gaza Strip. (Ha’aretz)

Israeli Defense Minister Barak told Army Radio that Israeli leaders had been discussing the Arab Peace Initiative. Mr. Barak said that with individual negotiations with Syria and the Palestinians making little headway, it may be time to pursue an overall peace deal for the region. "There is room in the Israeli coalition for the Saudi [Arab Peace] initiative," he said, adding, "We have a mutual interest with moderate Arab elements on the issues of Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas." (Haaretz)

Senior Israeli officials downplayed the rising interest in the Arab Peace Initiative, saying it was a function of both a diplomatic process that had stalled and the transition periods in Israel, the US and the Palestinian Authority. "Whenever the process stalls, there will be those who will pull out the Saudi plan," one senior official said. The official warned against expecting to see any new diplomatic initiatives launched or picked up at this time ─ Arab League initiatives or otherwise ─ because it was not clear what the next Israeli Government would look like, or when it would be sworn in. (The Jerusalem Post)

Backed by Israeli police, a Jewish group tried to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque esplanade in East Jerusalem. Israeli police attempted to arrest three guards from the Mosque when they tried to prevent the Jewish group from forcefully entering the Mosque in order to perform religious rituals at the religious site. Jerusalem Governor Adnan Husseini called on Jerusalemites to concentrate their presence in the Al-Aqsa esplanade to prevent such incidents. (WAFA)

About 10 settlers from the “Alon Moreh” settlement attacked Palestinian olive harvesters in the West Bank village of Azmut, near Nablus. Settlers from the “Mabodothan” settlement, south of Jenin, also physically assaulted a Palestinian farmer from the village of Arraba. They also prevented his family from entering their land and collecting their olives. (WAFA)

The Palestinian Journalists’ Committee condemned the previous day’s attack by Israeli settlers against a group of Palestinians and a journalist who were collecting olives in an olive grove in Hebron. (Ma’an News Agency)

About 3,000 Israeli protesters rallied at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza, near the IDF post where Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured in 2006. The protestors blocked the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip as they set fire to rubber tires outside the crossing point, at the southernmost tip of Gaza. The rally, according to the Israeli press, was a demand for information on the whereabouts and condition of Mr. Shalit. “This is our condition for opening the crossing,” said Yoel Marshak, the event organizer. (Ma’an News Agency)

Responding to the demonstrations at the Kerem Shalom crossing, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Hamas refused to bow to Israeli pressures to release the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, particularly not to the tactics of Israeli demonstrators who closed the crossing into Gaza. “The Shalit case is dependent on a prisoners' swap,” Mr. Abu Zuhri explained, adding, “He will never be released if the Israeli occupation does not release Palestinian prisoners whom Hamas wants free, whatever the consequence might be.” (Haaretz, Ma’an News Agency)

20

The Israeli army arrested six Palestinians in Jenin and Nablus, Israeli and Palestinian security sources reported. They said that several IDF armoured vehicles and jeeps stormed the Askar refugee camp in Nablus and the Jenin camp, searching homes and arresting young Palestinians allegedly wanted for being involved in attacks against Israel. (Xinhua)

A Palestinian, Ahmad Al-Lahham, who suffered from cancer and was supposed to receive urgent medical care, died after Israeli authorities refused to allow him to leave the Gaza Strip, medical sources said. Some 253 Palestinians have died due to a lack of treatment in the Gaza Strip, according to reports. (WAFA)

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak had drawn up a plan under which PA security forces will take control of several key West Bank cities during the coming year. Mr. Barak had presented the plan to US security coordinators for the region ─ Generals Keith Dayton and James Jones ─ as well as to Quartet Representative Tony Blair, senior defense officials said. On 22 October, IDF regional commanders and Civil Administration head Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai would meet with their Palestinian counterparts to finalize details ahead of the planned deployment of 700 Palestinian policemen in Hebron. Following the deployment in Hebron, the Defense Ministry was also considering adopting the "Jenin model" in Nablus, Tulkarm and Qalqilya (AFP, The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli President Shimon Peres would meet Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak this week, Mr. Peres's office said. "Mr. Peres and Mr. Mubarak will meet on Thursday at Sharm el-Sheikh," said Ayelet Frish, Mr. Peres’s spokesperson. (AFP)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the Quartet might meet with Israel and the Palestinians in November. He added that it would be natural for the meeting to take place in the region. (AP)

In Santiago, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said, following a visit by King Abdullah II of Jordan that Chile and Jordan, shared a vision of “balance between the right the State of Israel has to exist within safe borders and the right of the Palestinians to a free and sovereign State.” (AFP)

The village of Shufa, south of Tulkarm, had been without electricity for the seventh consecutive day when municipality generators, the only power source for the village, burned out. Shufa had been denied a connection to the main electricity grid by Israeli authorities since 2001 despite the presence of all necessary towers and lines. (WAFA)

The head of Kufr Qaddoum village Council said that over 100 armed settlers from nearby “Kadoumim” settlement attacked Palestinian farmers and British solidarity activists who were helping the farmers pick olives and destroyed their cars after preventing them from working in their fields. (DPA)

"All lines have been crossed in the olive groves this season," PA President Abbas said in comments published in the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam. He blamed Israel for not protecting Palestinian farmers against settler attacks during the ongoing olive harvest. Mr. Abbas was quoted as saying that the situation had become "unbearable." He said that a continued failure by Israel to crack down on militant settlers was a show of bad faith at a time when the two sides were trying to reach a peace deal. (AP)

Israeli Defense Minister Barak told Army Radio that the army was making a major effort to protect Palestinian olive pickers and denounced those attacking farmers as "hooligans," but dismissed PA President Abbas’s accusation of bad faith. Mr. Barak said that the military was doing its best, adding, "We are talking about hundreds of locations where there is an olive harvest, and it is impossible to be at all the places at the same time" and "we understand the economic importance and the importance to the lifestyle, and the harassment by a group of hooligans in the area and those that come there must be condemned," he said. (AP)

An 18-year-old Palestinian woman, jailed in Israel after police accused her of intending to carry out a suicide bombing, would be released after paying a 10,000-shekel fine to Israeli authorities. Suzan Wasfi Ibrahim Al-Haj Saleh, a resident of Jenin refugee camp, had been arrested on 29 September 2008 in the northern Israeli city of Netanya after her family had tipped off police. (Ma’an News Agency)

During an interview with the Ramallah-based Al-Ayyam paper, PA President Abbas said that since the Palestinian election law stated that presidential and legislative elections should be held simultaneously, he would stay on in his post until that happened. "Article 34 of the (election) law states that elections will be held simultaneously," Mr. Abbas told the paper. "Whatever is said other than this is illegal. We asked six Egyptian experts, and they all said there should be simultaneous presidential and legislative elections." President Abbas said he was prepared to hold such elections, stressing, "I am ready for elections whenever there is an agreement on them, and I will not be blackmailed by anyone." (DPA)

21

In the village of Kafr Qaddum in the northern West Bank, Israeli forces arrested three Palestinian journalists from Watan TV who were filming settler attacks on Palestinian farmers. (Ma’an News Agency)

Militants from an organization calling themselves “Hezbollah-Palestine” took responsibility for the firing of a Qassam rocket towards Israel from the northern Gaza Strip. It landed in an open area near the Yad Mordechai kibbutz in the Negev desert in Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Israeli Defense Minister Barak ordered the closing of all border crossings between Gaza and Israel. (Haaretz, IMEMC, Ma’an News Agency, Reuters, WAFA, Ynetnews)

Two Palestinians were arrested by Israeli authorities for alleged incitement during a visit by Jews to the Al-Haram Al-Sharif (Temple Mount) in East Jerusalem. (Haaretz)

Hamas voiced tentative approval of an Egyptian draft plan for unity. “We will agree to the draft of the agreement and will not reject it, but there needs to be guarantees that what is agreed upon will be implemented,” Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said. He added, “Hamas will work towards the success of the Egyptian effort to reach a national reconciliation that protects our principles, preserves our blood and unites our people … The draft contains positive elements, but also has some points that need to be modified and some points that need clarification from the Egyptian leadership. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) expressed approval for the Egyptian proposal for Palestinian unity. PFLP Central Committee member Jamil Mizher said, "We appreciate and applaud this Egyptian effort even though the PFLP made its own notes on that draft regarding government, resistance, security systems, elections and PLO issues.” (Ma’an News Agency)

Hundreds of Palestinian business leaders met in Istanbul for talks on business cooperation with the diaspora. Forum spokesperson Ziad Al-Aloul said that the forum “aimed at building cooperation between those [business] leaders and to encourage investment in Palestine.” The forum was expected to attract more than 300 businesspersons from around the world, along with a number of ministers, deputies and heads of Turkish ministries. (Ma’an News Agency)

22

A 17-year-old Palestinian was critically wounded by a live bullet fired by Israeli forces in the town of Tubas in the West Bank. A 14-year-old boy was arrested in the same town. (WAFA)

More than 20 Israeli armoured vehicles entered the Al-Far’a refugee camp north of Nablus and imposed a curfew, after patrols had been attacked with firebombs. (IMEMC, Ma’an News Agency)

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and the Italian Consul-General in Jerusalem, Luciano Pezzotti, signed a grant agreement in the amount of €20 million which will provide direct support to the PA budget in the areas of social protection and development The sum was part of the €200 million pledge made by Italy at the 2007 Donors Conference held in Paris. (WAFA)

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced that he had received $150 million in assistance from the United States Government in support of the PA budget. This assistance was in addition to the budget support provided to the PA in March 2008. With this transfer, the United States will have provided more than $700 million in humanitarian, development and budget support in the course of 2008, thereby exceeding the commitment made by the US Secretary of State Rice at the Paris Donors Conference. (AFP, The Jerusalem Post, Ma’an New Agency, WAFA)

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad joined West Bank farmers in picking olives in the village of Mazra al-Gharbiyeh, north of Ramallah, which is surrounded by settlements. He denounced attacks by settlers on farmers as “nothing short of terrorism”. Mr. Fayyad said that his visit was “a clear message that we are here to stay” and that “the settlers being there in itself is illegitimate”. Mr. Fayyad stated further that the olive tree was not only a source of income for most Palestinians, but more importantly a “symbol of the determination of the Palestinian people to stay on their land and to preserve and defend it”. (Haaretz, IMEMC, Reuters, Ynetnews)

An IDF soldier was slightly wounded by a group of 12 masked far-right-wing settlers while his unit was protecting Palestinian farmers harvesting olives near the settlement of “Otniel” in the southern Hebron Hills. (Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post)

Abdul Nasser Ferwana, head of the Statistics Department in the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs, said that “the Israeli excessive use of force against Palestinian prisoners was in continuous escalation” and said that the silence of the international community gave the Israeli authorities the green light to continue their excessive use of force against Palestinian prisoners. (WAFA)

In a meeting in Paris with the Director-General of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a delegation of Palestinian officials urged European Governments to work for the release of Palestinian prisoners. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Security Council was briefed by B. Lynn Pascoe, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. Mr. Pascoe said that despite bilateral contacts between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as efforts by the Quartet, among other concerned parties, the situation on the ground was not improving “in the way that is required” to ensure a durable settlement. He said that on 26 September the Quartet had called on the Palestinian and Israeli sides to make every effort to conclude an agreement before the end of 2008. (www.un.org)

The Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Koïchiro Matsuura, warmly welcomed the adoption by consensus of two decisions concerning, respectively, the Old City of Jerusalem and the Bab al-Maghariba ascent in the Old City of Jerusalem by the Executive Board during its 180th session. (www.unesco.org)

23

A Palestinian stabbed and killed an 80-year-old Israeli settler and wounded a policeman in the settlement of “Gilo” near Bethlehem, Israeli police said. The Palestinian was seriously wounded by police fire. Israeli forces raided the town of Tuqu and called through loudspeakers on the family of the Palestinian to leave the house before it was demolished. Clashes ensued between the Israeli troops and the Palestinians, but no injuries were reported. (AFP, DPA, Haaretz, Ma’an News Agency, Reuters, Ynetnews)

The IDF arrested 12 Palestinians in the West Bank. The IDF arrested a Palestinian in Hebron. A gun and ammunition were seized, the IDF said. (Ma’an News Agency, Xinhua, Ynetnews)

Israeli President Shimon Peres, speaking at a meeting with Egypt’s President Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheikh, said that while he did not “accept all of the [Arab Peace Initiative] and it needs to be negotiated further, its spirit is correct.” The talks would focus on Egyptian attempts to broker a prisoner exchange, including the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. (AP, Reuters)

The Rafah crossing was opened for one hour to allow 67 Palestinian patients to cross back into Gaza from Egypt. (Ma’an News Agency)

The PA Ministry of the Economy and Public Works signed an agreement worth €13 million with Germany for the construction of a new industrial zone in Jenin. (Ma’an News Agency)

The World Bank said in a report on the economic effects of restricted access to land in the West Bank that Israeli restrictions on the movement of people, access to natural resources and land use by Palestinians had stifled economic growth, caused land prices to escalate and inhibited productive investment. The recurrent destruction of trees, private homes and public infrastructure, as well as the settlers’ encroachments on private Palestinian land had created a permanent state of insecurity, further inhibiting Palestinian economic activity. (www.worldbank.org)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) issued a statement saying: “In recent weeks, because of a standstill in cooperation between Palestinian authorities in Ramallah and Gaza, imports of essential medical supplies have been reduced to a trickle, thus aggravating an already critical situation”. ICRC said that the situation was extremely worrying for several hundred severely ill patients, including children suffering from cystic fibrosis, who had not been able to take essential daily medicine for the past week. The statement also said that surgical operations had decreased by 40 percent and hospital admissions were down to 20 per cent as a result of the Gaza Strip health workers’ strike. (www.icrc.org)

The PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs warned that Israel planned to approve new legal procedures that could deprive Palestinian prisoners of access to their families, which could be used as a bargaining chip during the negotiations over Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. (Ma’an News Agency)

The separation wall was displacing Palestinians from their homes at alarming rates, according to a report issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics finding that 3,880 households had been displaced as of June 2008, while 49,291 dunums of land had been confiscated. (www.pcbs.gov.ps)

24

Some 300 Palestinians and Israeli activists arrived at the West Bank village of Ni’lin to protest against the construction of the separation wall in that area. Protesters said that IDF soldiers and border guards fired tear gas at members of the group who were conducting prayers prior to the protest. Israeli police said protesters threw a Molotov cocktail and stones during a confrontation. No injuries were reported. (Ma’an News Agency, Ynetnews)

Israeli authorities ordered a stop to the construction on an agricultural project near Hebron. Soldiers also confiscated equipment from the site. The project was funded by the European Union. (Ma’an News Agency)

The PA awarded contracts worth over €2.8 million, provided by the European Union through PEGASE, to improve the road networks in the West Bank. (WAFA)

Mental health experts from around the world plan to gather in Gaza City for a conference on the crisis in Gaza on 27 and 28 October, with support from the World Health Organization. (Ma’an News Agency, www.who.int)

25

Two Palestinian young men were shot and wounded by Israeli troops near Nablus. Witnesses said that the Israeli army raided the al-Far’a refugee camp amid intensive gunfire. Seven Israeli army jeeps entered the camp and looked for “wanted” militants of the Islamic Jihad. Also, Hamas sources said that Israeli naval gun ships had opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats in the sea of the Gaza Strip, causing no damages or injuries. Sources said the naval forces targeted the Palestinian fishermen’s boats almost daily as they approached the restricted area off the shores of Gaza. (Xinhua)

A new contingent of 585 Palestinian security officers was deployed in Hebron as part of PA President Abbas’s efforts to reinforce law and order in the West Bank. The deployment had taken place in coordination with the Israeli army, which however, said in a statement, that the Palestinian operation was a temporary measure to help combat Hamas and maintain public order and did not constitute a transfer of overall security responsibility from Israeli to Palestinian forces. Hundreds of Palestinian security forces had been deployed earlier in the West Bank towns of Jenin and Nablus. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said that the deployment was part of a plan by the PA to bring security to its people, just like in any other country in the world. (AFP, AP, Haaretz, Ma’an News Agency)

Three Palestinians were killed when a tunnel beneath the Gaza-Egypt border collapsed. Palestinian medics said that the deaths brought the number of Palestinians killed in such tunnels to 50. Rafah Mayor Eissa Al-Nashar estimated that there were 400 tunnels used to bring food, livestock, household items and fuel into the Gaza Strip. (DPA)

In an interview with Swedish Radio, Nobel peace prize winner Martti Ahtisaari said it was a disgrace that the international community had not managed to resolve the conflict in the Middle East, blaming the failure on a lack of political will. He said he was ashamed that neither Europe nor the US had been capable of reaching a solution. “It is clear a Palestinian State is needed. The Israelis need to be guaranteed peace,” he said. He also criticized the Western boycott of Hamas. (AP)

26

Hamas leader Saeed Siyyam said it would be possible for the Egyptian-sponsored national Palestinian dialogue to succeed if there were no external interventions. He added that the current dialogue would not be like previous ones as there was now a “different fact on the ground”, and that the agreement should be applied as one package and simultaneously. (Xinhua)

Israeli settlers attacked Israeli troops and damaged Palestinian property in Hebron after the army demolished a settler outpost. Israeli Attorney General Meni Mazuz called for an incitement investigation against right-wing activists, hours after rioting by settlers that included the desecration of headstones at a Muslim cemetery near “Kiryat Arba.” The settlers were said to have sprayed paint on graves and punctured the tyres of some 24 cars. During the rioting, settlers hurled abuse at security forces and called for a “revenge attack” against them in response to the evacuation of an outpost. Defense Minister Ehud Barak slammed the settlers’ actions, saying, “I believe that the punishment is too soft and that the legal and justice system must pay attention to that.” (AFP, AP, Haaretz, Reuters)

Ahmad Hiyasat, Chief Executive Officer of Jordan’s National Electric Power Company, said, “The [energy ministers of the region] are expected to announce Palestine as a new member in the project, and that it will be provided with electricity through the Jordanian electric grid.” The decision was supposed to be made at the 13th meeting of the energy ministers of seven regional partners in an electric grid project. Ministers and officials from Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Syria and Turkey would take part in the meeting in Amman. (Xinhua)

The first Palestinian national football team hosted Jordan in its first international match on home soil, at a newly inaugurated stadium in the neighbourhood of Al Ram, outside Ramallah. It had been built in part with funds from the football governing body Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and FIFA President Joseph Blatter attended the game. (Xinhua)

The Free Gaza movement sent a formal notice to Israel informing them of the group’s second humanitarian mission to the Gaza Strip. Their boat was to depart from Cyprus on 28 October and arrive some 30 hours later. The group said that it would be carrying 6 cubic metres of medical supplies, which had been cleared by customs at Larnaca International Airport. There would be a total of 26 passengers and crew on board, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire, PLC Member Mustafa Barghouti, Member of the Knesset Jamal Zahalka, and five physicians. (Ma’an News Agency)

27

A Palestinian girl was injured when Israeli forces opened fire on her school and the surrounding farms in southeast Gaza Strip. Other students suffered from shock when troops stationed at the border east of Khan Yunis fired at Palestinian farmers who were working in their fields 500 metres away from the border security fence. (Xinhua)

New PA troops in Hebron conducted their first operation, arresting around 20 persons, who were described as “fugitives.” Those arrested were from the towns of As-Samu and Yatta, south of Hebron. (AP, Ma’an News Agency)

The meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and PA President Abbas scheduled for 27 October was postponed. The decision was made by both sides, according to Saeb Erakat, head of the Negotiations Affairs Department of the PLO. (Xinhua)

PA President Abbas said that the factions of the PLO had agreed on the Egyptian draft proposal for Palestinian political unity. He added that there were “no guarantees” that the Egyptian reconciliation plan would succeed, but that the Arab countries, especially Egypt, were exerting all efforts to achieve reconciliation, alongside the Arab League and its Secretary-General. He also expressed approval that the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative was back on the table. He said that normalization [with Israeli] would not come “for free” and that the Israeli flag would be raised in Arab States only if Israel pulled out of occupied land. Mr. Abbas would visit Saudi Arabia on 28 October for talks with King Abdullah on the upcoming dialogue in Egypt. (AFP, Ma’an News Agency)

A statement from the Union of Agricultural Work Committees said that farmers whose lands were near the settlement of “Otni’el” had been assaulted, along with volunteers who had accompanied them to the fields for the harvest. A campaign to help farmers pick their olives had begun on 15 October and would continue until 13 November. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the security establishment to increase the use of administrative injunctions against unruly Israeli settlers' in the West Bank. During a meeting with top security officials, Mr. Barak ordered the establishment of a committee to monitor settler activity. "The attempt to challenge the authority of the State and its representatives on the ground – the police and IDF – is a [grave] phenomenon," the Defense Minister said. "The security establishment must counter and eradicate this phenomenon.” (Ynetnews)

US Consul General in Jerusalem Jacob Walles said that Israeli settlers` attacks on Palestinian farmers in the West Bank were unacceptable, adding that the US Government had contacted the Israeli authorities to stop such attacks. He made his remarks during a visit to Turmus Ayya village, northeast of Ramallah. (WAFA)

28

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, at a stone-laying ceremony for a new US-funded library in Beit Jala, expressed his Government’s approval for the Egyptian draft plan aimed at restoring Palestinian unity. The Prime Minister said he hoped the dialogue would result in a national consensus, or at least in reaching a situation where the opposing parties can “coexist without violence” and without harming the unity of the Palestinian territory and the Palestinian national project. Regarding this week’s deployment of hundreds of new PA forces in Hebron, he hoped the PA forces would eventually deploy in all the Palestinian cities. The Prime Minister said, “We are about to start a national project based on ending the occupation and establishing a Palestinian State. What we are doing right now is the basic establishment of a State through establishing strong and effective institutions.” (Ma’an News Agency)

The head of the Palestinian Negotiating Team, Ahmed Qureia, spoke at an Israeli Council for Peace and Security conference in Tel Aviv and expressed his gratitude towards Israeli Prime Minister Tzipi Livni, who had rebuffed the demands of the Shas party not to include Jerusalem in negotiations, affirming the necessity of working out details over Jerusalem and final status issues in any negotiations. (AP, Ma’an News Agency)

British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Bill Rammell, in talks with Jordanian Foreign Minister Salah Bashir in Amman, said, “For a Palestinian State to become a reality, there has to be a complete halt to the construction and expansion of illegal settlements Israel is building on land outside its internationally recognized borders, which are those of 1967.” (AFP)

Israeli President Shimon Peres, during a speech at an event to mark the tenth anniversary of the Shimon Peres Center for Peace, said “If we come closer to the Palestinians, the Arab world will support peace. It’s doable, it’s possible. Never in the past 100 years are we closer to peace that we are now.” The President also said, “If the disengagement was a success, we would repeat it in the West Bank.” Mohammed Shtayeh, President of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction, also addressed the crowd, and said that the Palestinians would hold a session of national reconciliation on 9 November bringing together members of the Hamas and Fatah parties. (Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post)

EU officials said Palestinian courts were so backlogged that it would take 14 years to clear all 60,000 criminal and civil cases. The backlog in two of the courts was so bad that it would take 50 years at the current rate to clear all cases. The officials presented the statistics while unveiling plans to improve West Bank courts and jails. The initiative was part of the EUPOL COPPS mission, which had been training Palestinian police officers. (AP, Reuters)

29

Israeli troops killed a 67-year-old Palestinian farmer during a night-time raid outside the town of Al Yamun in the West Bank. (AP, Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces seized 11 Palestinians during raids in Nablus, Qalqilya, Jenin and Ramallah. (Ma’an News Agency)

An Israeli military court sentenced two PLC members from the Hebron area, both from Hamas, to three-year prison terms and fines, a Palestinian judge said. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israel prevented three members of the PLC from leaving the West Bank for Indonesia to attend a solidarity conference, citing “security reasons,” the lawmakers said. (Ma’an News Agency)

The current Israeli transitional Government, while it can continue to negotiate with the Palestinians, cannot make any actual decisions regarding the peace process, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said. (The Jerusalem Post)

The success of the Palestinian national dialogue is subject to Egypt taking Hamas reservations into consideration, the office of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said, adding that reservations "were also raised by more than one … Palestinian faction inside and outside Palestine." (Xinhua)

PA Prime Minister Fayyad said his Government had received $1.6 billion in aid. "This perfectly fulfils what was pledged at the Paris Donor Conference," he told reporters in Ramallah. Mr. Fayyad said the PA would require another $250 to $300 million through the end of the year. (AFP)

PA President Abbas instructed the PA Health Ministry to send dozens of types of medications to the Gaza Strip, the Health Ministry said in a statement. (Ma’an News Agency)

The second Free Gaza boat carrying 27 international activists, as well as humanitarian supplies, sailed into the Gaza Strip, defying an Israeli naval blockade, to call attention to Israeli sanctions on the territory. The Jerusalem Post had quoted unnamed Israeli officials saying that they had “no plans to tolerate a repeat performance.” Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire, who was on board, said: "The Government of Israel cannot cut off Gaza forever. We will come again and again." (AP, The Jerusalem Post, Ma’an News Agency)

In a meeting of top military and legal officials headed by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the Government of Israel decided to reduce government services to unauthorized outposts in the West Bank in an attempt to combat settler violence. According to the data presented at the meeting, the number of attacks by settlers on security forces stood at 450 during the first nine months of 2008, some 50 more than for the same period the year before. The same day, Mr. Barak instructed the heads of the defense establishment to step up issuance of restraining orders against right-wing activists in the West Bank. The Israeli High Court of Justice also made it clear to 20 families occupying a building which they had named “Beit Hashalom” located on “Worshippers’ Way” in Hebron that they would not be allowed to continue living there. (Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post)

30

Israeli military bulldozers for the second day destroyed houses in two communities in the West Bank, leaving approximately 130 Palestinians homeless. In Umm Al-Kher village south of Hebron, some 60 soldiers destroyed Palestinian homes located near the “Karmel” settlement, leaving 45 people homeless, including a woman who had recently given birth. In addition, Israeli forces demolished the homes of 95 persons belonging to the Jahalin Bedouin community located near the “Ma’ale Mikhmas” settlement in the vicinity of Jericho. (AP, Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces arrested four Palestinians in Bethlehem, Jenin, Salfit and Hebron. Israeli forces claimed that they had found three hand-made bombs in Qabatiya, south of Jenin. (Ma’an News Agency, WAFA)

IDF soldiers stationed near the Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi (Tomb of the Patriarchs) in Hebron arrested a Palestinian trying to cross a checkpoint with a 15-inch knife. (Ynetnews)

Four Israeli military jeeps raided the Palestine Technical College in Al-Arrub, north of Hebron, fired shots and detained two students. Some 20 students from a nearby agricultural school were also detained. The Israeli army said that a settler car had been attacked by stone-throwers on the main road near the Al-Arrub refugee camp and that a settler had been injured in the attack. (Ma’an News Agency, WAFA)

A rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel and landed in an open area near a kibbutz in the vicinity of Sderot, causing no damage or injury. A group calling itself Hezbollah-Palestine claimed responsibility. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the closure until further notice of all the crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel. (BBC, Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, Ma’an News Agency, Reuters, WAFA, Ynetnews)

The Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing point with the Gaza Strip in order to allow 72 Gazans to return to the Gaza Strip after receiving medical treatment in Egypt. (WAFA)

The Palestinian Authority announced that it would pay compensation to civilians affected by flooding after heavy rains in the Gaza Strip which had caused widespread blackouts. The head of the Palestinian Civil Defence in Gaza warned that the flood could “drag the impoverished and besieged area into a further humanitarian crisis”. The Palestinian Civil Defence reported that at least 115 homes had been damaged by the flooding. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad described the flood as an unprecedented economic disaster resulting from the Israeli siege and the separation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since basic equipment and supplies could not be brought into Gaza. (IMEMC, Ma’an News Agency)

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stated that Egypt would step aside and let another Government mediate a prisoner exchange between Israelis and Palestinians. He added that he did not believe that Gilad Shalit was being treated badly or was being harmed in any way and said that he should not be hurt under any circumstances. (Reuters, Ynetnews)

31

Palestinian militants fired two anti-tank missiles at Israeli troops along the Gaza-Israel border, the IDF said. Troops had been investigating suspicious movements along the fence near the Kissufim crossing, the army said. There were no injuries. The attack was claimed by a group calling itself Hezbollah-Palestine. (BBC, Haaretz)

Four Palestinians were shot by Israeli forces at an anti-wall march in Ni’lin, near Ramallah. Ni’lin Mayor Ayman Nafe said that the army attacked marchers using rubber-coated steel bullets. (Ma’an News Agency)

Right-wing Israeli activists rebuilt structures razed overnight by Israeli security forces at the “Federman Farm” outpost in the settlement of “Kiryat Arba” in Hebron. A day earlier, two Israeli police officers were lightly injured by several women on the farm. Three women were arrested. This was the second evacuation of the settlement outpost in less than a week. Half a dozen settlers masking their faces with scarves hurled rocks at several Palestinian photographers at the scene, striking Hazem Bader of the AFP in the head. (Haaretz, Ma’an News Agency)

The EU Presidency issued a declaration on the upsurge in violence by settlers against Palestinian civilians. (www.ue2008.fr)

At a General Assembly Fourth Committee meeting, UNRWA Commissioner-General Karen AbuZayd urgently appealed for funding of the Agency’s programme in northern Lebanon for the coming 15 months, describing its financial situation as being in “quite desperate straits”. After presenting the report on the work of UNRWA, Mrs. AbuZayd held a press conference and said that the Agency was “deeply concerned” that its activities in Nahr el-Bared refugee camp were at risk. UNRWA had launched the appeal last month for some $42.7 million to help meet the needs of the 27,000 persons uprooted from the camp, including rent and food for the next 15 months until they could, hopefully, be moved back into the camp again. (UN News Centre)


_____________

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter