Bill Thomson: The Gaza Crisis


Richard Moore

From: Bill Thomson <•••@••.•••>
Subject: The Gaza Crisis

The crisis in Gaza and throughout the occupied territories continues.  The first
two items are "ACTION REQUESTED" -- please respond.

The Israeli implementation of collective punishment (a war crime under the 
Geneva accords) apparently knows no bounds.  In addition to significantly 
reducing the water supply for 1.5 million parched Gazans and live ammunition and
sonic boom attacks, it seems clear that Israel is also intent in cutting off 
personal communication of Palestinians and reporting to the outside world (see 
Item 6).

It would be beyond naive to assume that these oppressive actions had not been 
planned for some time by the Israeli government.  The capturing of the Israeli 
soldier is merely a convenient pretext.

It does not take much of a student of history to see parallels with some of the 
most tragic periods of the human experience.



1)  Hardship Intensifies in the Palestinian Territories  (ACTION REQUESTED)

2)  Faculty For Israeli-Palestinian Peace, FFIPP-USA Emergency Bulletin –July 

3)  Aggression Under False Pretenses
4)  Starvation in Palestine
5)  UN Agencies Statements from Gaza/WB

6)  Israel bars Palestinian Americans for first time since 1967 (with personal 

7)  Rights groups ask court to prevent harm to Gaza civilians
8)  A Jewish Perspective:  Israel has Crossed a Moral Boundary
9)  Hezbollah seizes Israel soldiers


1)  Hardship Intensifies in the Palestinian Territories  (ACTION REQUESTED)

LIFE is an extremely reputable organization, and you may donate to them without 
concern.  They have worked throughout the Arab world, especially during the Iraq
sanctions era, and they sponsored two trips to Iraq that I attended. -- Bill

Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2006 21:07:40 -0400
From: •••@••.•••
Subject: Hardship Intensifies in the Palestinian Territories

Hardship Intensifies in the Palestinian Territories

We are all aware of the humanitarian crisis that the Palestinian people in the 
West Bank and Gaza have been experiencing for decades. This crisis has been 
exacerbated as a result of recent election outcomes. It appears that these 
steadily declining living conditions are unlikely to be resolved any time soon.

According to the World Bank¹s report on the Palestinian Fiscal Crisis issued 
May, 2006: ³The Palestinian economy will experience a dramatic decline over the 
next eight months". To put it simply, the quality of life for the average 
Palestinian family is terrible. Children there have less food, patients have 
less medicine, families have less income and the outlook is no better.

LIFE, through its office in Nazareth, is distributing food packages to 4,000 
families in the West Bank and will be distributing the same packages to 2,000 
families in Gaza. The food distribution will be executed throughout 2006 over 
the course of four consecutive months, including the month of Ramadan.

One package will be enough to feed a family of 6 in the West Bank, or a family 
of 7 in Gaza, for one month. The cost per package per month is $100.

Here¹s how you can help:

$500: Will feed 5 families for 1 month of distribution.
$400: Will feed 1 family for all 4 months of distribution.
$200: Will feed 1 family for 2 months of distribution.

Your immediate donation will make this humanitarian project possible. To donate,
visit our 
secure online donation page or call us at 1-800-827-3543.

Legal Note: LIFE recognizes the immensity of the humanitarian crisis in the 
Palestinian Territories and continues to provide humanitarian relief to the poor
and needy in that region. We assure our donors that we are aware of the U.S. 
government rules and regulations that were enacted in the aftermath of the 
Palestinian elections that regulate humanitarian relief operations in the 
Palestinian Territories. We fully abide by these rules and regulations and are 
absolutely committed to continuing our humanitarian efforts within this legal 


2)  Faculty For Israeli-Palestinian Peace, FFIPP-USA Emergency Bulletin –July 

Faculty For Israeli-Palestinian Peace, FFIPP-USA
Emergency Bulletin –July 2006

*Gaza Emergency     *Gaza Emergency     *Gaza Emergency     *Gaza Emergency

Academics and Intellectuals World-Wide Make a Statement:

End the escalating violence in Gaza and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories!

Start genuine negotiations for a just peace now!

Please join the President and the Chair of the Board of Faculty for 
Israeli-Palestinian Peace-International, Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj and Dr. Arnon Hadar,
and sign the FFIPP-I statement.

To sign please go to: <>, click on 
"GAZA EMERGENCY" (near the top), and sign at the end of the petition.

Please share widely with friends and colleagues.

Press Release, 7 July 2006

The Freedom Theatre wishes to express its condolences to the Nagnagiyya family 
for the death of their son Eid (16), who was murdered yesterday, 6 July, by the 
Israeli army in Jenin refugee camp. The Nagnagiyya family contributed their old 
house to The Freedom Theatre to host a computer centre. The family offered to 
renovate the house as a contribution to the children of Jenin. Eid's brother was
also killed during the Battle on Jenin in 2002.

The Freedom Theatre also wishes to express its condolences to the El Hannoun 
family for the death of their son Ammar (16), who was murdered in the same 
incident, yesterday, 6 July, by the Israeli army in Jenin refugee camp.

The attack of the Israeli army took place at a memorial tent where many people 
were expressing their condolences to the Qandil family for the death of their 
son Fida (22), who was killed by the Israeli army on Tuesday 4 July. Among the 
people in the tent was Zacharia Zubaidi, the leader of the Al-Aqsa Brigades. 
According to the army their forces were intending to arrest him. The special 
forces acted in a crowded place, injuring 30 people and killing two children.  
Zacharia Zubaidi managed to flee the attempted assassination.

The Freedom Theatre

If you received this email from a colleague and would like to join our email 
list, please email us at <mailto:•••@••.•••>•••@••.••• to 
subscribe. If you would like to unsubscribe, please email us at 

Support FFIPP's work by making a donation.

By credit card, go to <>

By check, payable to FFIPP-USA, mail to: FFIPP, PO Box 2091, Amherst MA 01004.

PO Box 2091, Amherst MA 01004
Phone: 413-253-0676
email: <mailto:•••@••.•••>•••@••.•••

3)  Aggression Under False Pretenses

From: <mailto:•••@••.•••>Khalil Barhoum
To: <mailto:•••@••.•••>•••@••.•••
Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2006 10:37 AM
Subject: Aggression Under False Pretenses, By Ismail Haniyeh

Aggression Under False Pretenses
By Ismail Haniyeh
Tuesday, July 11, 2006; Page A17
Washington Post

The writer is prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority.

GAZA, Palestine -- As Americans commemorated their annual celebration of 
independence from colonial occupation, rejoicing in their democratic 
institutions, we Palestinians were yet again besieged by our occupiers, who 
destroy our roads and buildings, our power stations and water plants, and who 
attack our very means of civil administration. Our homes and government offices 
are shelled, our parliamentarians taken prisoner and threatened with 

The current Gaza invasion is only the latest effort to destroy the results of 
fair and free elections held early this year. It is the explosive follow-up to a
five-month campaign of economic and diplomatic warfare directed by the United 
States and Israel. The stated intention of that strategy was to force the 
average Palestinian to "reconsider" her vote when faced with deepening hardship;
its failure was predictable, and the new overt military aggression and 
collective punishment are its logical fulfillment. The "kidnapped" Israeli Cpl. 
Gilad Shalit is only a pretext for a job scheduled months ago.

In addition to removing our democratically elected government, Israel wants to 
sow dissent among Palestinians by claiming that there is a serious leadership 
rivalry among us. I am compelled to dispel this notion definitively. The 
Palestinian leadership is firmly embedded in the concept of Islamic shura , or 
mutual consultation; suffice it to say that while we may have differing 
opinions, we are united in mutual respect and focused on the goal of serving our
people. Furthermore, the invasion of Gaza and the kidnapping of our leaders and 
government officials are meant to undermine the recent accords reached between 
the government party and our brothers and sisters in Fatah and other factions, 
on achieving consensus for resolving the conflict. Yet Israeli collective 
punishment only strengthens our collective resolve to work together.

As I inspect the ruins of our infrastructure -- the largess of donor nations and
international efforts all turned to rubble once more by F-16s and American-made 
missiles -- my thoughts again turn to the minds of Americans. What do they think
of this?

They think, doubtless, of the hostage soldier, taken in battle -- yet thousands 
of Palestinians, including hundreds of women and children, remain in Israeli 
jails for resisting the illegal, ongoing occupation that is condemned by 
international law. They think of the pluck and "toughness" of Israel, "standing 
up" to "terrorists." Yet a nuclear Israel possesses the 13th-largest military 
force on the planet, one that is used to rule an area about the size of New 
Jersey and whose adversaries there have no conventional armed forces. Who is the
underdog, supposedly America's traditional favorite, in this case?

I hope that Americans will give careful and well-informed thought to root causes
and historical realities, in which case I think they will question why a 
supposedly "legitimate" state such as Israel has had to conduct decades of war 
against a subject refugee population without ever achieving its goals.

Israel's unilateral movements of the past year will not lead to peace. These 
acts -- the temporary withdrawal of forces from Gaza, the walling off of the 
West Bank -- are not strides toward resolution but empty, symbolic acts that 
fail to address the underlying conflict. Israel's nearly complete control over 
the lives of Palestinians is never in doubt, as confirmed by the humanitarian 
and economic suffering of the Palestinians since the January elections. Israel's
ongoing policies of expansion, military control and assassination mock any 
notion of sovereignty or bilateralism. Its "separation barrier," running across 
our land, is hardly a good-faith gesture toward future coexistence.

But there is a remedy, and while it is not easy it is consistent with our 
long-held beliefs. Palestinian priorities include recognition of the core 
dispute over the land of historical Palestine and the rights of all its people; 
resolution of the refugee issue from 1948; reclaiming all lands occupied in 
1967; and stopping Israeli attacks, assassinations and military expansion. 
Contrary to popular depictions of the crisis in the American media, the dispute 
is not only about Gaza and the West Bank; it is a wider national conflict that 
can be resolved only by addressing the full dimensions of Palestinian national 
rights in an integrated manner. This means statehood for the West Bank and Gaza,
a capital in Arab East Jerusalem, and resolving the 1948 Palestinian refugee 
issue fairly, on the basis of international legitimacy and established law. 
Meaningful negotiations with a non-expansionist, law-abiding Israel can proceed 
only after this tremendous labor has begun.

Surely the American people grow weary of this folly, after 50 years and $160 
billion in taxpayer support for Israel's war-making capacity -- its "defense." 
Some Americans, I believe, must be asking themselves if all this blood and 
treasure could not have bought more tangible results for Palestine if only U.S. 
policies had been predicated from the start on historical truth, equity and 

However, we do not want to live on international welfare and American handouts. 
We want what Americans enjoy -- democratic rights, economic sovereignty and 
justice. We thought our pride in conducting the fairest elections in the Arab 
world might resonate with the United States and its citizens. Instead, our new 
government was met from the very beginning by acts of explicit, declared 
sabotage by the White House. Now this aggression continues against 3.9 million 
civilians living in the world's largest prison camps. America's complacency in 
the face of these war crimes is, as usual, embedded in the coded rhetorical 
green light: "Israel has a right to defend itself." Was Israel defending itself 
when it killed eight family members on a Gaza beach last month or three members 
of the Hajjaj family on Saturday, among them 6-year-old Rawan? I refuse to 
believe that such inhumanity sits well with the American public.

We present this clear message: If Israel will not allow Palestinians to live in 
peace, dignity and national integrity, Israelis themselves will not be able to 
enjoy those same rights. Meanwhile, our right to defend ourselves from occupying
soldiers and aggression is a matter of law, as settled in the Fourth Geneva 
Convention. If Israel is prepared to negotiate seriously and fairly, and resolve
the core 1948 issues, rather than the secondary ones from 1967, a fair and 
permanent peace is possible. Based on a hudna (comprehensive cessation of 
hostilities for an agreed time), the Holy Land still has an opportunity to be a 
peaceful and stable economic powerhouse for all the Semitic people of the 
region. If Americans only knew the truth, possibility might become reality.

The writer is prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority.


4)  Starvation in Palestine

Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 10:52:21 -0600
From: Lina CCRR <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Starvation in Palestine

Note:  I have known Noah for many years--he has been in the forefront of 
Palestinian nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation. -- Bill

Starvation in Palestine – Noah Salameh

The world is watching the killing of children and the different shapes of 
collective punishment against the civilians in Palestine. All of this is done by
occupation forces armed with different and modern kinds of weapons produced in 
the democratic world. For more than 10 days, the Israeli army has totally closed
the Gaza Strip preventing anyone from entering or leaving it, even sick people 
who need treatment outside. They also have prevented any kind of food whether 
milk for children or flour to enter in addition to their destruction of 
electricity¹s generators and most of the water resources. The child Rawan Hajaj,
a 4 year-old young girl, her mother and her 18 year-old brother were shelled by 
an Israeli tank in a thorough shelling while they were sitting in their home.

Yesterday the United Nations announced through Mr. John Ging, the Director of 
the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near 
East (UNRWA) Gaza Field Office that if the area will not be supplied with food, 
a human disaster will take place. Almost 70,000 persons depend on the United 
Nations for food, but the supplies in the UNRWA stores are finished as a result 
of the closure imposed by the Israeli army upon all the entrances to Gaza. It 
has become a prison for more than one million people, living under daily 
shelling in the area. What is the fault of those who are living in this area, 
except that it is their fate that they are Palestinians? And who justifies the 
continuation of the occupation of the Palestinian people and the control of the 
military occupation for 50 years?  Sometimes they cut off the electricity, 
sometimes the water, and sometimes the food using various justifications. No 
matter what are the reasons or the justifications, no force has the right to 
prevent food, water or electricity from one million people who are not guilty 
except that they are living under occupation. The ethics and the moral standards
of the world have declined that much, so they do not even condemn anymore the 
violation of human rights of those human beings, that means, if the world 
recognizes that they are human beings.  Why is the world silent regarding the 
killing of Palestinian children? Why can the world not object to the murder of a
Palestinian family on the beach while having a family day there; only one 
10-year girl was left alive from this family screaming at the beach about 
loosing her family? And yesterday, a 4 year-old girl and her family were killed 
in their home, so where would a child like her find security? Why do the crimes 
of the occupation continue all these years and the world stays silent? Does the 
world consider the value of a child¹s life depending upon its color or 
nationality or religion??! Our children have the right to live, the right to get
food, water and electricity just like your children all over the world. Then why
do the occupation forces destroy the electricity generators, shell the water 
tanks, and destroy the Palestinian infrastructure? Is this the human rights law?
Why is the world silent and does not listen to the voice of the United Nations 
and human rights organizations¹ reports? Why is the democratic world keeping 

Does all of this happen because of the imprisonment of an Israeli soldier? Do 
you not know that there are more than 9000 Palestinian prisoners in Israel? Is 
the life of this soldier more important than the life of all the Palestinians 
who are living under occupation and are shelled by airplanes, tanks and the navy
from all directions? Why does Israel refuse to negotiate or talk and always asks
the Palestinians to surrender and only surrender? Why all this militaristic 
arrogance? Where will this lead us?

5)  UN Agencies Statements from Gaza/WB

Date: Sun, 09 Jul 2006 10:47:51 -0700
From: Sami Abuhamdeh <•••@••.•••>
Subject:  UN Agencies Statements from Gaza/WB

United Nations

Statements by the United Nations Agencies working  in the occupied Palestinian 

8th July 2006

The United Nations Humanitarian Agencies working in the occupied Palestinian 
territory, are alarmed by developments on the ground, which have seen innocent 
civilians, including children, killed, brought increased misery to hundreds of 
thousands of people and which will wreak far-reaching harm on Palestinian 
society. An already alarming situation in Gaza, with poverty rates at nearly 
eighty per cent and unemployment at nearly forty per cent, is likely to 
deteriorate rapidly, unless immediate and urgent action is taken.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which works with 980,000 
refugees, believes that Gaza is on the brink of a public health disaster. Since 
the strike on Gaza¹s only power plant on June 28th, the entire strip is without 
electricity for between 12 and 18 hours every day. The Coastal Municipality 
Water Utility is now relying on its own backup generators to operate its 130 
water wells and 33 sewage pumping plants. As it only has 5,000 liters of the 
18,000 liters of fuel needed, the Water Utility¹s daily operation has been cut 
by two thirds, resulting in water shortages and a critical situation at the 
sewage plants. With restrictions on the humanitarian supply lines there is now a
backlog of over 230 containers of food awaiting delivery through the Karni 
Crossing and the bill for surcharges arising from these delays has reached a 
staggering half a million dollars.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) the public health system is 
facing an unprecedented crisis. WHO estimates that though hospitals and 50 per 
cent of Primary Health Care Centres have generators, the current stock of fuel 
will last for a maximum of two weeks. Those generators which are being used were
intended for backup purposes and the malfunctioning of these generators will 
have grave consequences. According to WHO in the last week, there has been a 160
per cent increase in cases of diarrhea compared with the same period last year. 
Compounding these problems, WHO estimates that 23 per cent of the essential drug
list will be out of stock within one month.  WHO is also alarmed by the 
tightening of restrictions on patients needing to leave Gaza for treatment. Only
a handful of extremely critical cases  have crossed through Erez since June 25th
even though prior to current! developments, an average of 25 cancer patients 
left through Erez every week. According to WHO, the monthly referral rate of 
emergency patients stands now at between 500 and 700 people.

The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that in June 70 % of the Gaza 
population were already unable to cover their daily food needs without 
assistance. The escalation of hostilities has made food an increasingly critical
issue. Wheat flour mills, food factories and bakeries, reliant on electricity 
are being forced to reduce their production due to power shortages; furthermore 
the loss of capacity to preserve perishable food in the Gaza heat is resulting 
in high food losses in the home. Supplies of sugar, dairy products and milk are 
running extremely low due to limited commercial supplies from Israel; as a 
result food prices have increased by 10% in the past 3 weeks. WFP is assisting 
160,000 of the most food insecure non refugees in Gaza and is standing by to 
respond to additional needs as they emerge as part of a coordinated interagency 
response. WFP believes it is essential that a humanitarian corridor ! for relief
items and personnel remains open to avert a further deterioration in the food 
security situation at this critical time.

According to the United Nations Childrens¹ Fund, (UNICEF) children in Gaza are 
living in an environment of extraordinary violence, insecurity and fear. 
Electricity and fuel shortages are leading to a reduction in the quantity and 
quality of health care and water accessible to children. The ongoing fighting is
hurting children psychologically. Caregivers say children are showing signs of 
distress and exhaustion, including a 15%-20% increase in bedwetting, due to 
shelling and sonic booms. UNICEF-supported counseling teams also report a large 
increase in the number of requests for assistance. UNICEF says steady supplies 
of fuel and electricity are needed to store safely and transport vaccine and 
drugs, and for operating primary h! ealth care facilities. UNICEF stressed that 
children are always most v ulnerable to outbreaks of communicable disease 
brought on by lack of water and sanitation.

The use of force by Israel during its military operations into the Gaza Strip 
has resulted in an increasing number of deaths and other casualties amongst the 
Palestinian civilian population, and significant damage to civilian property and
infrastructure, says the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. 
Whilst Israel has legitimate security concerns, international humanitarian law 
requires that the principles of proportionality and distinction between 
civilians and combatants be respected at all times. The prohibition on targeting
civilians is also being violated by Palestinian armed groups, launching missiles
from the Gaza Strip into Israel, and must therefore end. The deterioration in 
the current human rights situation requires that measures a! re promptly taken 
to put an end to these actions and to ensure the protection of civilians.

The Office of the Co-Ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is calling for 
the continuous and unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance and fuel 
supplies. Nahal Oz and Karni must remain open twenty-four hours a day, if 
humanitarian need is to be adequately met. In addition, OCHA is calling for the 
opening of the Rafah Crossing, to allow in 250 passengers stranded in Egypt and 
to allow the passage of emergency health cases that cannot be treated in Gaza. 
UN operations to deliver assistance are already being hampered by the fighting. 
But humanitarian assistance is not enough to prevent suffering. With the bombing
of the electric plant, the lives of 1.4 million people, almost half of them 
children, worsened overnight. The Government of Israel should repair the d! 
amage done to the power station.  Obligations under international humanitarian 
law, applying to both parties, include preventing harm to civilians and 
destroying civilian infrastructure and also refraining from collective measures,
intimidation and reprisals. Civilians are disproportionately paying the price of
this conflict. In the immediate future, OCHA fears that the humanitarian 
situation could easily deteriorate, with continued Israeli military operations 
and artillery shelling, which could damage the remaining infrastructure and 
essential services.

The United Nations humanitarian agencies believe that the facts on the ground 
speak for themselves and carry their own imperatives to all parties. Unless 
urgent action is taken, we are facing a humanitarian crisis that will have far 
reaching consequences for the communities we work in and the institutions we 
work through.


Christopher Gunness
Head of Public Information
Mobile: +972 (0) 545627825


6)  Israel bars Palestinian Americans for first time since 1967 (with personal 

Note:  A few minutes ago I received the following message from a close friend 
here in Ann Arbor.  The person in question is a US citizen and a primary school 
teacher for decades here in Ann Arbor....

R was not allowed by the Israeli Occupiers to enter Palestine, to visit her 
family in Nablus, yesterday. After spending hours on various bridges, searched 
and strip searched at many check points, an equivalent of over $ 2500 were 
confiscated from her and then was refused entry with the claim that she did not 
declare all the money she had! The fact that they knew what she had at every 
point of inspection and search (was not asked to fill a form of any sort), did 
not matter! She started her ordeal at 7 AM from Amman, got as far as the Jordan 
River and finally was back in Amman, penniless, at around midnight. Now, she 
will be looking for a way to cut short her trip and come back. -- F

Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 07:29:03 -0400
From: Jon Swanson <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Israel bars Palestinian Americans for first time since 1967

By Amira Hass < mailto:•••@••.•••>, Haaretz Correspondent

For the first time since 1967, Israel is preventing the entry of Palestinians 
with foreign citizenship, most of them Americans.

Most of those refused entry are arriving from abroad, but have lived and worked 
for years in the West Bank.

The Interior Ministry and Civil Administration made no formal announcement about
a policy change, leaving returnees to discover the situation when they reach the
border crossings.

By various estimates, the ban has so far affected several thousand American and 
European nationals, whom Israel has kept from returning to their homes and jobs,
or from visiting their families in the West Bank. This could potentially impact 
many more thousands who live in the territories - including university 
instructors and researchers, employees working in various vital development 
programs and business owners - as well as thousands of foreign citizens who pay 
annual visits to relatives there. The policy also applies to foreigners who are 
not Palestinian but are married to Palestinians, and to visiting academics.

The first group to suffer are Palestinians born in the territories, whose 
residency Israel revoked after 1967 while they were working or studying abroad. 
Some eventually married residents of the territories, or returned to live with 
aging parents and siblings. Israel rejected their applications for "family 
reunification" (i.e., requests to have their residency restored). However, until
recently Israel permitted them to continue living in the territories on tourist 
visas, renewable every three months by exiting and reentering the country. In 
some cases the State also granted them work permits.

Citizens of Arab states (whether or not of Palestinian origin) have been barred 
from entering Israel since 2000. A handful were allowed in as "exceptional 
humanitarian cases" - mostly when a first-degree relative is dying or has died -
but even this practice was suspended in April.

One of the demands that Israel has posed in specific cases which attorney Leah 
Tsemel represented before the High Court of Justice, is that applications for 
visitation permits be authorized by a low-ranking official from the Palestinian 
Interior Ministry, who is not affiliated with Hamas. The ministry refuses to 
comply with this condition. Now it turns out that this policy has been extended 
to U.S. and European citizens.

An Israeli Interior Ministry spokesperson told Haaretz that this is not a new 
policy, but merely a "procedural updating." But the High Court petitions 
department at the State Prosecutor's Office, which has been addressing the 
phenomenon with regard to several specific petitions, wrote Tsemel on May 2, 
2006 that a policy on entry of foreign nationals to the West Bank would be 
formulated only "at the start of next week." Since then Tsemel has not learned 
whether such a policy was indeed drafted.

The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv told Haaretz that no Israeli official informed them
of a change in entry policy, and said that the United States cannot intervene in
sovereign decisions of another country. Several people who were refused entry 
and spoke with U.S. representatives said that the consulate and embassy are well
aware of the apparently new policy.

An e-mail from the department of U.S. Citizen Services in Jerusalem to a U.S. 
citizen who had inquired about entering the West Bank stated that the consul 
general had met with a representative from the Israeli Interior Ministry 
regarding the government's entry policies: "The Israeli official conceded that 
90-day visa entry cards, which were once routinely granted in the past, 
especially to U.S. citizens, are now more difficult to obtain, specifically for 
Palestinian American citizens traveling to the West Bank and for U.S. nationals 
affiliated with humanitarian organizations. Both the U.S. Embassy and the 
Consulate in Jerusalem are pursuing the issue."

Israel's Civil Administration stated in response that "the entry to the region 
of foreigners who are not residents of the territories takes place by means of 
visit permits issued by the Palestinian Authority and approved by the Israeli 
side," because coordination stopped after September 2000, and entry was 
permitted in exceptional humanitarian cases - a practice that was also suspended
after the Hamas government was formed. Today, the statement continued, cases 
"involving special humanitarian need" are being considered.

The Civil Administration confirmed that the applications must be conveyed by a 
low-ranking official who is unaffiliated with Hamas. The Interior Ministry and 
Civil Administration declined to comment on the fact that for 40 years, 
Palestinian citizens of Western countries did not required a "visitation 

7)  Rights groups ask court to prevent harm to Gaza civilians

Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2006 18:53:39 +0200
From: Gush Shalom <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Rights groups ask court to prevent harm to Gaza civilians

Renew Gaza Fuel Supply and Open Crossings for Humanitarian Supplies

Six Human Rights Groups to Israeli High Court: Renew Fuel Supply to Gaza and 
Open the Crossings for Food, Equipment and Humanitarian Supplies

Today, July 11, 2006, six human rights groups petitioned the Israeli High Court 
demanding that the crossings in Gaza be opened to allow for the steady and 
regular supply of fuel, food, medicine, and equipment, including spare parts 
needed to operate generators.

The groups – the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Physicians for Human 
Rights-Israel, Hamoked: Center for Defence of the Individual, B¹tselem, the 
Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and Gisha - Center for the Legal 
Protection of Freedom of Movement also asked for an urgent hearing in order to 
prevent serious harm to the health of the civilian population, especially 
patients in hospital, and to prevent the breakdown of the water and sewage 
system in Gaza.

During the current military operation in the Gaza Strip the Israeli military has
interrupted the supply of fuel to Gaza and kept Gaza`s crossings mostly closed 
to supply of food and other humanitarian goods. The uninterrupted supply of fuel
and equipment is necessary for the functioning of Gaza`s health and sanitation 
systems, and Gaza requires a steady supply of food and medicine.

Since Gaza`s power station was destroyed on June 28, there is an increased need 
for fuel to power the generators in Gaza and for spare parts to keep the 
generators running at such a high capacity. The closure of Karni Crossing has 
led to shortages in food at a time when, given the difficulty of obtaining 
electricity to prepare and refrigerate foodstuffs, Gaza requires increased 
shipments of dairy products, meat, flour, and other goods.

Without a steady supply of fuel and parts, hospitals cannot perform life-saving 
surgery and treatment plants cannot pump and treat sewage in Gaza. Gaza 
hospitals have reduced their activities to life-saving procedures. Since the 
bombing of the power plant, Gaza`s water utility has been dumping 60,000 cubic 
meters of raw sewage into the sea each day, for lack of power and equipment to 
run the treatment plants, and there is concern that untreated sewage will 
pollute the aquifer or spill into the streets.

Because of the electricity shortages, stores in Gaza have stopped selling meat 
and dairy products. Trucks laden with food and medicine have been stuck at Karni
Crossing, which has been closed since July 6, including 230 containers from 
international aid organizations.

Withholding fuel, food, and equipment from Gaza residents constitutes collective
punishment, in violation of international law. The petition argues that Israel 
is not fulfilling its legal obligations to provide for the needs of the civilian
population and to distinguish between military and civilian targets.

According to Faysal Shawa, a businessman and Gaza resident: "We have been thrown
back to the way people lived 100 years ago ... We don`t have water, we don`t 
have milk for our kids."

According to Maher Najer, Deputy Director of Gaza`s Water Company: "We face 
severe shortages in the electricity, fuel, and spare parts needed to operate 
Gaza`s water and sewage systems. These shortages threaten to create a public 
health catastrophe."

© All rights reserved to ACRI
last updated : 11/07/06

8)  A Jewish Perspective:  Israel has Crossed a Moral Boundary

Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 01:00:52 -0400 (EDT)
From: "•••@••.•••" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Israel Has Crossed a Moral Boundary

Although I would disagree with some of the statements that Rabbi Lerner makes 
below (in particular, describing those who carried out the sophisticated capture
of the Israeli soldier as "lunatics"), he makes the valid point that collective 
punishment of the most onerous sort has been carried out by the Israeli 

Israel has Crossed a Moral Boundary
Rabbi Michael Lerner

In 2003 I was prevented from speaking at a large demonstration protesting the 
impending war in Iraq because I was deemed too pro-Zionist by one of the 
sponsoring organizations. My sin then, as now, is that I believe that both sides
have acted with insensitivity and have been oblivious to the needs of the other,
and both sides need to repent.

I still believe that now, and as late as last week was calling on the tens of 
thousands of readers of to insist to the Palestinians that they 
would be far more effective if they were to adopt the non-violent strategies of 
Gandhi, King, and Mandela rather than to imagine themselves capable of 
militarily defeating Israel. And just as I¹ve critiqued the state terrorism 
against civilians that the IDF brings to the West Bank occupation, so I¹ve 
always critiqued the terrorism of some sectors of the Palestinian population.

But this week it¹s impossible as a Jew and as an American to not notice that a 
new human rights violation by Israel has taken place which manages to surpass 
many of its previous violations in cruelty and in the outrage it has generated.

Anyone has ever faced the crippling heat of the desert-like conditions of 
southern Israel or the Gaza strip knows the desperation for water that comes 
each summer. So when Israel bombed and destroyed the electricity system for 1.2 
million Gazans and thereby made all electric pumps inoperable, they inflicted a 
collective punishment on the entire Gazan population.

The alleged justification was a desire to punish Palestinians for electing a 
Hamas government, and more immediately to retrieve a soldier who had been 
³kidnapped² (the quotes because this was not a civilian but a soldier in 
uniform, so if Israel sees itself as at war with Hamas, then the only possible 
description is that their soldier was captured by the other side). The Hamas 
government, however, has publicly urged the ³kidnappers² whom it does not 
control to free the captured soldier.

Moreover, the outrage in Israel about this ³kidnap² reflects a huge level of 
systematic denial going on in the consciousness of Israelis and many who support
its policies­because virtually every human rights group including the various 
Israeli human rights organizations has chronicled tens of thousands of acts of 
"kidnap" of this sort by the IDF against Palestinian civilians, who are then 
kept in detention for as long as six months without a trial, often facing brutal
torture, and then released without ever having been charged with any crime. Of 
course, and I thank God for this because I care for the well being of the people
of Israel , and as a Jew I am deeply tied to the success and safety of this 
particular Jewish society, the Palestinians have never been able to punish 
hundreds of thousands or millions of Israelis collectively for these systematic 
violations of human rights. To the extent that they do so through acts of 
terror, I condemn those acts.

This is a defining moment in our relationship with Israel for all Americans of 
whatever faith. Just as we need to make clear to our own government that its 
human rights violations in Guantanamo and Iraq are unacceptable, so we need to 
communicate to the Israeli people that the mass punishment of a million people 
for the acts of a few is as unacceptable when it comes from a democratic society
as when it comes from the willful oppression of entrenched authoritarian 
dictators. Even if, God forbid, the captured soldier is murdered by the lunatics
who captured him, it is only they and their conscious sponsors who should be 
punished, not random Palestinians, unless you think it equally appropriate to 
some day punish the entire American public for the three million Vietnamese 
killed by American action in Vietnam or for the horrendous acts which continue 
in Guantanamo and Iraq even today.

Unfortunately, we can¹t count on our U.S. government to convey this sentiment 
without qualifying its concerns in ways that essentially communicate that Israel
can do whatever it wants and we won¹t interfere.

So the onus is upon us as ordinary citizens to act and act decisively. We need 
to communicate our concerns to legislators and media. We need to organize 
demonstrations in front of the offices of our elected officials, and also 
outside Israeli consulates and those Jewish institutions which continue to use 
their influence to support Israeli policy even at this moment (there are a few 
which have spoken out in critique, but very very few). And we need to write to 
those in power in Israel, starting with Prime Minister Olmert, telling them that
even those of us who love Israel and will never let it be destroyed find this 
particular action unconscionable, demand that Israel immediately rebuild the 
electricity system, and that Israel stop trying to impose its will with military
might but instead sit down with the Palestinians and negotiate a lasting peace.

Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun magazine, the largest circulation 
liberal/progressive Jewish magazine in the world. He is rabbi of Beyt Tikkun 
synagogue in San Francisco, national chair of 
The Network of Spiritual Progressives , and the author of ten books, most 
recently a 2006 national best-seller The Left Hand of God: Taking Back our 
Country from the Religious Right

9)  Hezbollah seizes Israel soldiers

BBC:  Hezbollah seizes Israel soldiers

The Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah has captured two Israeli soldiers 
during clashes across the Lebanese-Israeli border.

There has been heavy fighting in the area with Hezbollah firing dozens of 
rockets and Israel responding with tank and artillery fire, and air strikes.

Aircraft struck roads, bridges and guerrilla posts, Lebanese sources say, and 
there are reports of casualties.

Israel's PM said anyone trying to test its resolve would "pay a heavy price".

Israel says it is holding the Lebanese government responsible for the fate of 
the two soldiers, and demands immediate action.

Israeli ground troops have entered southern Lebanon to search for the two 
soldiers, local media report.

This operation has taken place as a kind of materialisation to the promise that 
Hezbollah has kept to the Lebanese

Hezbollah TV news editor

The news comes as a major Israeli offensive is under way in the Gaza Strip. An 
Israeli soldier was kidnapped by Palestinian militants in Israel over two weeks 

Overnight, Israel carried out an air strike on a Gaza City house, killing at 
least six people and injuring 15.

Hezbollah launched dozens of Katyusha rockets and mortar bombs at the Israeli 
town of Shlomi and at Israeli outposts in the disputed Shebaa Farms area.

At least four Israelis were wounded in the clashes, reports say.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has called a special cabinet session later on

Eying swap

Announcement of the soldiers' capture was made on Hezbollah's television 
channel, al-Manar.

It did not give many details about the capture operation, but the news anchor 
said more information would be released later.

The group says it has captured the soldiers to secure the release of detainees 
held in Israeli prisons.

"This operation has taken place as a kind of materialisation to the promise that
Hezbollah has kept to the Lebanese, that they are going to do everything 
possible to make the swap," the chief news editor of Hezbollah Television, 
Ibrahim Moussawi, told the BBC's World TV.

"[That is] because Israelis still occupy parts of Lebanon, and still hold 
hostages in their prisons. Some of them have been there more than 25 years."

Hezbollah captured three Israeli soldiers in 2000 - they died during the 
operation, but their bodies were later exchanged for prisoners.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/07/12 09:50:59 GMT



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