Tuesday, May 09, 2006

[imra] Daily digest - Volume: 2 Issue: 1386 (15 messages)

imra Tue May 9 00:27:57 2006 Volume 2 : Issue 1386

In this issue of the imra daily Digest:

Excerpts: Iran's nuclear ploys. Gulf States'
concerned about nuclear Iran. 7 May 2006
Kadima MK Schneller: Machpelah Cave not negotiable
(but won't commit to vote against plan that cedes it)
The Million Person Gap:
A Critical Look at Palestinian Demography
Israel Snubs Abbas' Offer for Summit, Talks
Iran Stresses Strong Relations with Syria
Syria Calls for International
Conference to Define What is Meant by Terrorism
Excerpts: Jumblatt to Mubarak: Hezbollah should
give up arms.Hamas-Iran connection. 8 May 2006
Israeli Arab MK Zahalka: "We are loyal
to values - not institutions"
PMW: PA: Christian Zionists
adopted Satan as God
3 Palestinians Killed in Armed Clashes
between Fatah and Hamas in Khan Yunis
MEMRITV: An Interview with
Syrian Cartoonist on Al-Jazeera
COS Halutz forgets isn't politician
- publicly ridicules Minister Mofaz
Aharon Abramovitch appointed
Foreign Ministry director-general
Kadima boosts Arab influence in Knesset


From: imra@netvision.net.il
To: imra@imra.org.il
Subject: Excerpts: Iran's nuclear ploys. Gulf States'
concerned about nuclear Iran. 7 May 2006

Excerpts: Iran's nuclear ploys. Gulf States' concerned about nuclear Iran. 7
May 2006

+++JORDAN TIMES 7 May '06:"Playing more dangerous power games in the region"
by Musa Keilani
"It does not matter to the Iranian leadership how many Iranians and pro-
Iranians could die since the Iranian mindset has an intense focus on
... It is as if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, having concluded that
Iran is targeted for regime change by the US, is daring the US and Israel to
stage military strikes against his country.
... then his strategy is based on the conviction that Iran, which is in no
position to launch a military offensive against the US, could draw the
Americans into starting military action. Such action would justify a
"defensive" war by Iran that could prove catastrophic for the US ... It
does not matter to the Iranian leadership how many Iranians and pro-Iranians
could die since the Iranian mindset has an intense focus on martyrdom.
...US military action against Iran could shoot up international oil prices,
...negatively affect the US dollar ... for which oil is traded .... ....
If the US pulls back from the brink and puts off military plans against
Iran, then it would also be touted as a major victory by the Iranian
On the other hand, the US ... does not seem to have any clue about Iran's
nuclear programmes, except what has been reported by the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Veteran members of the US congressional
intelligence committees ... have asserted that US intelligence network
simply lacks the capability to secure accurate information on Iran's nuclear
The painful and embarrassing truth ... is also prodding Washington into
undertaking a military adventure against Iran. At the same time, insisting
that the world is in the dark about Iran's plans also suits the US strategy
because it could always cite the benefit of the doubt in favour of action
against Iran.
... Israel ...is straining to hold itself back from staging in Iran a repeat
of the 1981 attack that destroyed Iraq's sole nuclear reactor. ... . .
... (UN Charter) Chapter 7 can authorise economic sanctions and the use of
force in case of threat to international peace and security. ... The
obvious conclusion is that the US would, at some point, sooner than later,
cite the resolution as a justification for its planned military action
against Iran.
. . .
... the increasing intensity of Iran's defiance of the US. Iran might be
engaging in rhetoric, but the US is not. Washington has made up its mind
that Iran should not be allowed any leeway that would permit it to develop
an effective nuclear programme. It is only a matter of time and methods to
achieve that objective, though Arab states in the Gulf know that an Iranian
nuclear warhead is more of a political threat to them, proof of Tehran's
regional hegemony, than a military threat to Israel.

+++ARAB NEWS ( Saudi)7 May '06:"GCC Seeks Iran's N-Assurances" by K. Abdul
Ghafour, Arab News , plus agencies.-
"there needs to be more Iranian guarantees"
":Iran had 'commitments' to its Gulf Cooperation Council neighbors ... to
ease concern"
" 'The GCC countries ...want stability in the Gulf and they will call on
the world to save the Gulf region from any convulsions' "

JEDDAH, 7 May 2006 - Gulf Cooperation Council leaders concluded their
one-day consultative summit in Riyadh yesterday seeking greater assurances
from Iran that its nuclear program is entirely for peaceful purposes.
"We appreciate Iran's efforts to reassure the region over its nuclear
program," ..."But for the sake of stability and to avoid any environmental
disaster, there needs to be more Iranian guarantees and we are trying to
ensure this." UAE Foeign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Ibn Zayed)
The minister declined to say whether the political and economic alliance,
comprising Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the UAE, might try
to use its close links to Washington to mediate in the dispute. He said Iran
had "commitments" to its GCC neighbors as well as the international
community to ease concern over its nuclear plans, Sheikh Abdullah said the
GCC countries were worried about the Iranian nuclear program. "The Iranian
nuclear program ... is worrisome not only for us, but for the entire world,"
he said, urging Tehran to act with more "transparency."
Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and has vowed revenge
if attacked by the United States or Israel. "We hope this crisis will be
brought to an end through peaceful dialogue and (Iran) cooperating with the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," GCC Secretary-General Abdul
Rahman Al-Attiya said after the Riyadh talks.
The GCC summit took place as France and Britain, with US backing, drafted a
UN resolution demanding a halt to Iran's nuclear fuel program. Russia and
China, which have vetoes on Security Council resolutions, may oppose
sanctions against Iran, the world's fourth biggest oil exporter.
...(Saudi)King Abdullah called upon the GCC countries to stand united in the
face of challenges. "We have to stand united for goodness and for pleasing
all nations," ... .
. . ."The GCC countries do not want Iran to have a nuclear weapon but they
also do not want force to be used against it," said Saudi political analyst
Dawoud Al-Shiryan. "They want stability in the Gulf and they will call on
the world to save the Gulf region from any convulsions."

Sue Lerner - Associate - IMRA


From: imra@netvision.net.il
To: imra@imra.org.il
Subject: Kadima MK Schneller: Machpelah Cave not negotiable
(but won't commit to vote against plan that cedes it)

Kadima MK Schneller: Machpelah Cave not negotiable (but won't commit to vote
against plan that cedes it)

Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 7 May 2006

Kadima Knesset MK Otniel Schneller was Secretary General of the Yesha
Council (1983-1986).

IMRA interviewed Schneller, in Hebrew, on 7 May 2006:

IMRA: Do you have a clear picture regarding the future of the Jewish
Community of Hebron and Kiryat Arba after the implementation of the

Schneller: I do not think that anyone has a clear picture. I think however
that everyone must remember that Kiryat Arba and Hebron are not regular
communities. I think that Hebron and its connection to the Jewish People is
so deep - so important - that I certainly see a tremendous importance that a
way be found that there is an arrangement that Jews can live permanently in

I think that we should be very aware and very sensitive to this matter. And
our struggle should be how to succeed in an arrangement or in a unilateral
consolidation - to cause that our presence in Hebron will be clear.

IMRA: When the prime minister talks about Consolidation he generally says
that Jewish communities will not remain beyond the fence that will be

Schneller: Yes. The prime minister said in his address at the formation of
the government at the Knesset that there will be a state [boundary] fence
that will be appropriate. There is no relevance in this connection to the
location of the fence today.

IMRA: So you see a situation in which the fence will also include the Jewish
neighborhoods in Hebron?

Schneller: I want to see Hebron as part of the State of Israel in the
future. Yes. This is what I want. That's not to say that that is what
will be. That doesn't mean that this is what will be accepted by the
government. I, as a member of Knesset, as a person who deals in this area,
will make very effort to find a way that this will be.

And of course, I am not the one who decides.

IMRA: Of course.

As an MK would you be prepared to vote in favor of the plan if you did not
succeed in making such an arrangement?

Schneller: That is a question that is well in the future. I don't know yet
what the principles of the plan will be. I don't know yet what the reaction
of the United States will be when the prime minister presents it soon when
he visits the United States.

IMRA: So here you are saying that he is about to present a plan to the
United States and. . .

Schneller: I imagine that he will present the Consolidation plan - at least
at a level of principles.

IMRA: When the principles of Kadima were first presented there was a
reference to "places of importance to the Jewish People - and particularly
Jerusalem". The wording was "particularly Jerusalem" - not "only Jerusalem".

Schneller: That is an excellent point. And certainly the prime minister
feels to the need to seek every way to retain national treasure in our

IMRA: In light of the Muslim religious perspective that the Machpelah Cave
[Cave of the Patriarchs] is considered to be a mosque and thus it is
prohibited for Jew to pray there, do you see any possibility of an
arrangement in which the Machpelah Cave is not held by Israel but there is
an agreement that can carried out in practice under which Jews can pray
there. That's pray - not visit.

Schneller: I am very liberal and very pluralistic and will certainly always
allow Moslems to pray there.

It is ours. Jews pray there. It is the graves of our Fathers, it is a
national treasure, and there is no reason in the world that Jews cannot pray

IMRA: Do you reject the relevance or the implement ability of any
arrangement on paper according to which the place is under Palestinian
control but Jews have the right to pray there?

From a practical standpoint would it be possible to implement such an
arrangement in light of the problem in Moslem religious law?

Schneller: My concern is Jewish religious problems.

In all due respect it is in my home. It is a national treasure. It is my
treasure. Something that is only mine. My concern is Jewish religious law.

IMRA: But if a day comes and they come to you and say "there is an
arrangement". And they come with an arrangement that is signed before many
cameras on the White House Lawn with many signatures and great celebration
and the whole world is there saying "hurray!" and under the arrangement it
is written that the Palestinians get control of the Cave of the Patriarchs
and the Jews will be allowed to pray and it will be OK.

Would you think that because of the problem of Moslem religious law that
regardless of the White House Lawn ceremony that this is something that
simply cannot work.

Schneller: I very much honor the White House. I very much honor - and I
mean it - the greatness of our friendship and our strategic cooperation -
but the Machpelah Cave is personal and it is only mine.

And thus the question as to whether Jews will pray or not pray at the
Machpelah Cave is not a question at all.

And all the speculation to make a comparison between what is now the
situation on the Temple Mount [AL: Jews are not allowed to pray there] is
void in my eyes. And thus my answer to the question is very clear: I will
do everything in order that Jews will continue to pray at the treasure that
is the Jews' and only the Jews'. The Machpelah Cave where Abraham Isaac and
Jacob are buried along with the Mothers is ours and only ours.

IMRA: And if we come to a Knesset vote and it turns out that the agreement
that was arranged with a lot of cameras at a beautiful ceremony on the White
House Lawn that they want you to vote to approve does in fact transfer
control to the Palestinians: would you still be prepared to vote for it?

Schneller: I imagine that my phone number won't change by then and we will
be able to talk in any situation should it change.

But I say now in a very very clear way: there are many things that I am
willing to forego - many. There are many parts of the Land of Israel that I
am willing to forego for national unity and peace.

The Machpelah Cave is not a matter for negotiations in my eyes.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il
Website: http://www.imra.org.il


From: imra@netvision.net.il
To: imra@imra.org.il

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the 31st Government's ( http://tinyurl.com/lrjbs ) first weekly Cabinet
meeting today (Sunday), 7.5.06:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made the following remarks:

"I want to welcome all of the ministers and wish that the Government serve a
long time, as determined by law, and meet all of the tasks that it has set
for itself and regarding which it received the confidence of the Knesset. I
especially want to welcome the new ministers, for whom this is their first
Cabinet meeting. I very much hope that after the first wave of excitement,
that we will all get down to business. Cabinet meetings entail working and
making decisions in order to carry out the tasks that each one of us is
responsible for in the framework of his/her ministry. I welcome you all and
wish you all success.

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that no government could
expect a more encouraging welcome than that which we received on our first
day in office last Friday when in distant Nebraska, a gigantic deal was
reached in which global tycoon Warren Buffett announced that he was
acquiring from the Wertheimer family an 80% stake in ISCAR. This is not
just another deal for the Israeli economy, this is one of the biggest
investors in the world, who has never invested outside the US before. He
represents tens of thousands of investors whose investments depend on his
decisions. His decision to invest in an Israeli company, in a country that
he has never visited or seen its factories, solely on the basis of its
record and on professional opinions attests - first and foremost - to great
confidence in the Israeli economy and in full trust both in its stability
and in its great potential. When a man like Warren Buffett says, to the
25,000 important economists and business people who have come to listen to
him, that he believes in the Israeli economy, this is a signal to tens of
thousands of investors from around the world to do what is good for them.
What is good for $4 billion of Warren Buffett's money is also good for very
many other investors and we can only rejoice. I would like to take this
opportunity to commend the Wertheimer family: There are none like you -
fair, patriotic, lovers and builders of this country, developers of the
Galilee and the Negev, and I am convinced that the great compensation you
are receiving following the sale will be a lever for further development in
the same pioneering Zionist spirit that has always characterized this

2. Defense Minister Amir Peretz briefed ministers on current security
matters. He noted the evacuation of Beit Shapira in Hebron was completed a
short while ago. During the evacuation, 14 members of the Border Police,
the Israel Police and the IDF were injured. Most were injured in attempts
to prevent security forces from reaching the house. As of now, six settlers
have been arrested for involvement in disturbances at the site. Nine of the
injured have already been released from hospital. Before the actual
evacuation, there was a night of disturbances by residents in an attempt to
prevent the evacuation, this in continuation of both the disturbances that
occurred last Thursday in which several police personnel were injured, and
the violent confrontations over the weekend between police personnel and
settlers. The defense Minister noted that last Friday the High Court of
Justice had - at the request of the security establishment - extended the
date of the evacuation in order to prevent the desecration of the Sabbath.

Regarding the events in Hebron, Prime Minister Olmert made it clear that he
had instructed Defense Minister Peretz to evacuate the squatters from Beit
Shapira: "We have reiterated that we will not countenance the illegal
determination of facts and violations of the law anywhere, certainly not in
these sensitive areas, and certainly not in a place that was evacuated by
agreement two months ago. I want it to be clear - this evacuation has no
bearing on government policy regarding the territories. Wherever the law is
violated, wherever there is illegal squatting and wherever there are
attempts to determine these kinds of facts, we will respond immediately,
without compromise."

Defense Minister Peretz added: "According to the police commander on the
scene, as soon as they were inside the house itself, three Hebron Jewish
community leaders accompanied them and very much helped them to carry out
the evacuation quietly and without injuring any of the residents, Heaven
forbid. I say this positively because this was the only point of light when
one considers what happened from the side of the community itself."

Defense Minister Peretz said that as of this morning a gradual lifting of
the closure that had been imposed on Judea and Samaria approximately two
months ago following an increase in the number of warnings, had begun.
According to the recommendation of security officials, the Defense Minister
approved the gradual entry into Israel of 8,000 workers from Judea and
Samaria (not including northern Samaria) aged 35 and over, the entry of
workers from Judea and Samaria to the Atarot industrial zone (married and
aged 28 and over) and the entry of 4,000 merchants from Judea and Samaria.
Theses approvals come against the background of the desire to enable the
Palestinian population to have a respectable daily routine alongside the
need to deal with terrorist attack warnings and prevent Israeli citizens
from being harmed.

Following an increase in Kassam rocket fire over the weekend, last Friday
afternoon Defense Minister Peretz authorized an attack on a Popular
Resistance Committees target in Gaza. The target was attacked by the Air
Force Friday afternoon; this action was accompanied by the distribution of
leaflets to the Palestinian population that emphasized that continued quiet
would prevent aggressive activity by Israel. However, as long as the
projectile and rocket fire continues, Israel will continue to defend the
lives of its residents.

3. Pursuant to Article 31f of Basic Law: The Government (
http://tinyurl.com/2v5nk ), the Cabinet approved regulations setting its
work and debate procedures, and decision-making processes.

4. The Cabinet re-approved the 2006 state budget and the concomitant
Economic Arrangements Law and decided to table them in the Knesset

5. Pursuant to Article 31 of Basic Law: The Government (
http://tinyurl.com/2v5nk ) , the Cabinet transferred the Israel Land
Administration ( www.mmi.gov.il/Envelope/indexeng.asp ) from the Industry,
Trade and Employment Ministry to the Construction and Housing Ministry. The
Knesset shall be duly notified.

6. Pursuant to Article 1 of the 1965 Broadcasting Authority Law, the Cabinet
authorized Minister Eitan Cabel to be responsible for implementation of the
aforesaid law.

7. Pursuant to the 1959 Civil Service Law (Appointments), the Cabinet
appointed Ra'anan Dinur as Prime Minister's Office Director-General, instead
of Ilan Cohen, effective 15.5.06 (see http://tinyurl.com/jokwb ).

8. Pursuant to the 1959 Civil Service Law (Appointments), the Cabinet
appointed Aryeh Bar as Construction and Housing Ministry Director-General
(instead of Shmuel Abuav).

9. The Cabinet discussed a three-year development plan for the Halutz Dunes
communities and decided - in continuation of both its previous decisions and
the work of the designated interministerial committee - to work towards the
establishment of the communities, as per the first stage of the aforesaid
plan (the Halutzit 1 and Halutzit 4 communities; see
http://tinyurl.com/h4xe7 ), which also involves permanent housing for Gush
Katif evacuees (188 families in the first stage). The projected cost for
the 2006-2008 plan is NIS 159.2 million.

10. The Cabinet decided to establish a team to prepare a development plan
for the eastern Lachish district and instructed a team of directors-general
to prepare a three-year plan for the establishment of residential areas in
the district that would include the expansion of the existing communities of
Amatzia, Shomriya and Shekef. The plan will incorporate budgeting,
timetables, project management and implementation and the responsibilities
of the various ministries.

This decision is in continuation of Government policy that views as
necessary the strengthening of communities in the eastern Lachish district
and in the strategic buffering of the 'Hebron Hills envelope'.

Amatzia, Shomriya and Shekef have absorbed residents from Atzmona, Katif and
Neveh Dekalim, who have asked to live permanently in these communities in
order to continue dealing in agriculture, tourism and other sectors.

11. Pursuant to Article 31 of Basic Law: The Government (
http://tinyurl.com/2v5nk ), the Cabinet decided to reallocate various areas
of responsibility so as to establish the Ministry of Education and the
Ministry of Science, Technology, Culture and Sports. The Knesset will be
duly notified.

12. The Cabinet decided to add the community of Yesodot to the list of
communities that will receive Government assistance in constructing
permanent housing for residents of Gush Katif and northern Samaria. The
development budget will be activated after the signing of an agreement
pursuant to Article 85 of the 2005 Disengagement Implementation Law.

The Cabinet also decided to allocate NIS 70 million to the Construction and
Housing Ministry for the concomitant planning needs at Yesodot; the planning
will begin once 40 families have committed to permanent housing at Yesodot.
Forty families from Netzer Hazani have expressed interest in residing at
Yesodot, which is part of the Nahal Sorek Regional Council, which has
absorbed over 300 families from Gush Katif.

13. The Cabinet decided to change the name of the Negev and Galilee
Development Ministry to the Vice-Premier's Office.


From: imra@netvision.net.il
To: imra@imra.org.il
Subject: The Million Person Gap:
A Critical Look at Palestinian Demography

The Million Person Gap: A Critical Look at Palestinian Demography
by Bennett Zimmerman, Roberta Seid and Michael L. Wise

BESA Perspectives No. 15, May 7, 2006


Executive Summary: Population statistics and predictions of the Palestinian
Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) are unreliable. A BESA study that
subjects Palestinian demography to rigorous analysis shows that the 2004
Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza stood at 2.5 million; not
the 3.8 million claimed by the Palestinians. The 1997 PCBS population
survey - which has been widely used as the basis for subsequent
studies -inflated numbers by including over three hundred thousand
Palestinians living abroad and double-counting over two hundred thousand
Jerusalem Arabs included in Israel's population survey. Later PCBS
broadcasts echoed the forecasts of the 1997 study, reporting unrealized
birth forecasts, including assumptions of mass Palestinian immigration that
never occurred, and disregarding significant Palestinian emigration from the
territories to Israel and neighboring Arab countries. The resulting PCBS
report for 2004 inflated the size of the Arab population in the West Bank
and Gaza by over fifty percent. The BESA study and further demographic
research indicate that Israeli concerns about demographic pressure from the
West Bank and Gaza have been exaggerated.

According to demographic projections by the United Nations, the U.S. Census
Bureau, and the Palestinian National Authority, the Arabs of the West Bank
and Gaza are the world's fastest growing population -and residents of the
Palestinian National Authority will outnumber Israeli Jews in the
foreseeable future. But are these estimates accurate?

Our recent study "The Million Person Gap: The Arab Population in the West
Bank and Gaza", (the full 80-page study, with charts, tables and sources, is
available on the BESA Center website at www.besacenter.org) finds
inconsistencies and contradictions in the Palestinian National Authority
data that make it clear that the size of the population in the West Bank and
Gaza has been significantly -and increasingly -exaggerated.

The first official Palestinian number for the West Bank and Gaza, issued in
1997 by the Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), was 2.78 million
people. At the same time, the PCBS forecast that its population would grow
to 5.81 million people by 2015. This forecast became the basis of all future
population reports issued by the PCBS. In 2004, following its pre-determined
schedule, the PCBS reported that 3.8 million Arabs were living in the
territories. By combining this figure with 1.3 million Israeli Arabs, the
conclusion was reached that there were 5.1 million Arabs living west of the
Jordan River.

Israel estimated in at year-end 1996 that there were 2.11 million Arabs in
the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinian figures diverged in 1997, when the PCBS
issued a number of 2.78 million. The question then became whether the
Palestinians over-counted or the Israelis undercounted.

This is what we found:

1. The 1997 PCBS population base was inflated by the inclusion of residents
living abroad and of Jerusalem Arabs already counted in Israel's population
survey. The PCBS augmented the definition of de facto residents, a term
usually reserved for individuals present in a territory, to include persons
living abroad.

2. The PCBS's projections with respect to birth and immigration were not
met in any year between 1997 and 2004. The actual birth data recorded
annually by the PA Ministry of Health and corroborated by the PA Ministry of
Education showed dramatically fewer births.

3. Instead of the predicted immigration, Israel's records on actual border
entries and exits showed a steady net emigration both to countries abroad
and into pre-1967 Israel.

Quite simply, the PCBS predictions were never adjusted for actual reported
births, deaths and emigration each year, but were instead released as
official reports and accepted without question.

Here are a few details:

- Palestinian numbers include at least 325,000 residents who are living
outside of the territories. This number was the main cause for the jump
between the Israeli and Palestinian counts in the mid-1990s. The head of the
PCBS quantified this figure in the release of the 1997 Census result.

- On top of the population base, the PCBS developed a projection for births
to 2015. By 2003, the PCBS expected that there would be 143,000 births in
the territories. The Palestinian Ministry of Health statistics showed a much
lower rate of births in the territories. Instead of the 907,000 births
predicted by the PCBS for the seven years from 1997-2003, we found
consistent evidence from Palestinian agencies that actual births 308,000
fewer than forecast.

- Immigration assumptions are also an important aspect of the Palestinian
forecast. The original Palestinian assumption was that statehood would occur
in 1999 and that people would immigrate at a rate of 50,000 people per year,
starting in 2001. This inclusion is what made the Palestinian Authority
forecast the highest growth rates in the world, which over time turned into
the highest forecasted birth rates in the world. However, actual activity at
the borders showed net emigration of only 10,000-20,000 persons per year
since 1997. From 1997-2003, the PCBS projected 236,000 new entrants, whereas
Israel border records show 74,000 left; a difference of 310,000.

- Migration to Israel across the Green Line is also a significant
consideration. According to an Israeli Ministry of the Interior report,
105,000 people have changed from the status of Palestinians to Israelis
under family reunification programs since 1997.

* In contrast to the 3.8 million PCBS broadcast in 2004: 2.4 million in the
West Bank and 1.4 million in Gaza; our study produced a significantly lower
population figure of 2.49 million: 1.4 million in the West Bank and 1.1
million in Gaza by mid-2004.

* The PCBS assumed annual growth over 4.7% for Gaza and 4.4% for the West
Bank; however, the actual growth rate was 2.9 percent for Gaza and 1.8% for
the West Bank.

* Our study shows total fertility rates (TFRs) of 5.2 for the West Bank and
5.4 for Gaza. These numbers were comparable to the PCBS 2004 Household
Survey, which yielded numbers of 5.2 for the West Bank and 6.6 for Gaza.
PCBS fertility rates support the level of births found in our study for West
Bank and Gaza. The PCBS forecast substantially overstated births for West
Bank and Gaza because it applied reasonable rates, but included Palestinians
living abroad and Jerusalem Arabs.

After correcting the current population figures, in a separate yet
unpublished study, we developed a forecast based on recent growth and
fertility trends.

- We found that the current 2 to 1 Jewish to Arab majority in the West Bank
and Israel will remain stable through 2025 because of high Jewish fertility
rates (the highest of any Western nation), high but declining Arab fertility
rates, and continuing modest Jewish immigration, and neutral migration into
the Israel Arab sector. The West Bank forecast starts with updated figures
from our study and uses fertility forecasts published by the UN and the PCBS
for the territory.

- The key assumption behind the Jewish population growth is the Jewish
fertility rate. Previously, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS)
had assumed that Jewish TFRs would top off at 2.6 births per woman (in the
high case scenario), or decline to 2.4 or 2.1 (in the medium and low case
scenarios, respectively).

- However, between 2000 and 2004, the Jewish fertility rate actually rose to
2.71. Our research considers three slightly higher fertility scenarios for
Israeli Jews (with a base birth rate of 2.7 births per woman), and projects
fertility rates in 2025 of 2.4, 2.7, or 3 for the low, medium, and high
cases respectively.

- For Israeli Muslims, the ICBS projected that the 2000 rate of 4.7 births
per woman would continue until 2025 in its high case scenario. The medium
and low PCBS projections would fall gradually 3.8 and 2.6 respectively.
However, since 2000, the actual rate among Israeli Muslims has rapidly
dropped to 4.36, following along the lowest trajectory developed by the
ICBS. Similarly, the overall Israel Arab (including Christian Arabs and
Druze) TFR has fallen to 4.0 in 2004. Thus, we predict three new scenarios
for Israel Arabs: birth rates starting at current level of 4.0 births per
woman and moving to 2.4, 3, and 4 by 2025 for the low, medium, and high
projections, respectively.

- For West Bank Arabs, the UN population estimates (which come from the
PCBS) predict that by 2025, the TFR will drop from 5.4 to 3.2 births per
woman for the middle scenario. Our study predicts a drop from 5 to 4 births
per woman for the high scenario (a higher birth scenario than provided by
PCBS), or a significant drop from 5 to 2.4 births per woman for the low
scenario. This drop in TFR is consistent with the entire Middle East region,
where dramatic drops in TFR were registered across the board between
1970-1975 and 2000-2005.

The overall mid-case scenario for Israel and the West Bank presented by our
study posits that by 2025, the Israeli Jewish portion of the population will
decline from the current 67 percent to 63 percent. In the lowest-case
scenario, the Jewish population will decline to 56 percent of the
population, whereas in the highest-case scenario the Jewish population will
grow to 71 percent of the population in Israel and the West Bank. For Israel
proper, the mid-case scenario posits that the percentage of Israeli Jews
will drop from the current 81 percent to 77 percent in 2025. The low-case
scenario could see the percentage of Israeli Jews drop to as low as 72
percent, and the high-case scenario could see the percentage of Israeli Jews
rise to 83 percent.

Ultimately, contrary to popular belief, there has been tremendous stability
in the demographic balance in the area, which, barring large-scale
migrations, can be expected to continue over the next twenty years. Thus, we
find that Israeli concerns about demographic pressure, especially those from
the West Bank, have been exaggerated. In truth, while the long-term outcome
could change either way depending on fertility and migration patterns, the
demographic challenges in Israeli society remain similar to the levels seen
since 1967. Moreover, the false PCBS figures have influenced infrastructure
planning including water and land use, and have served as the basis for
American and international foreign aid to the PA.

Mr. Bennett Zimmerman, a former Strategy Consultant with Bain & Company,
holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and has conducted numerous due
diligence audits on business and governmental organizations. Roberta P.
Seid, PhD, is a historian and former lecturer at the University of Southern
California. She is a researcher and consultant on Israeli history,
particularly on events surrounding Israel's War of Independence. Dr. Michael
L. Wise, PhD, a physicist and expert in mathematic model techniques, is the
founder and director of a wide range of public and private companies in the
United States and Israel.


From: imra@netvision.net.il
To: imra@imra.org.il
Subject: Israel Snubs Abbas' Offer for Summit, Talks

Israel Snubs Abbas' Offer for Summit, Talks
Egypt Wants 'Roadmap' Amended, UK Seeks Quartet's OK for Palestinian Fund

Palestine Media Center - PMC

Ahead of May 9 meeting in New York of the international Quartet on
Palestinian - Israeli conflict, Israel rejected a Palestinian offer of a
summit meeting and immediate peace negotiations, Egypt called for amendments
to the Quartet-sponsored and UN-adopted roadmap, the EU suggested a joint
fund be created to give humanitarian aid to Palestinians, and Britain
circulated a memo to major donors with a proposal to avert a collapse of
Palestinian basic services.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday called Israel's new Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert and urged him to resume peace talks.

"President Abbas called Mr. Olmert, congratulated him on the formation of
the new Cabinet and offered to resume the partnership between the two sides
and to resume negotiations," said Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.
Olmert told Abbas he would consider a meeting after his Washington trip,
later this month, Erekat said, adding that no date has been set for
Abbas-Olmert meeting.

Israeli Cabinet Secretary Yisrael Maimon said a meeting with Abbas was
possible, but that negotiations "can only resume if Hamas moderates its
positions," he told Israel Radio.

There can be no peace talks until Hamas meets three conditions set down by
the international community: It must renounce violence, recognize Israel and
accept previous peace agreements, Maimon said.

However other Israeli officials rejected Friday out of hand the possibility
of renewing dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority

"There are no plans for such meeting, not before the prime minister's trip
and not after it," one official said.

"There is no intention to sit down for talks with Palestinian Authority
chairman (Abbas), because agreements reached in the spirit of the roadap
would be brought by Abbas for the Hamas government's approval," officials
told Ynet, adding: "We're unwilling to sit down with the Hamas government.
There is no intention to maintain any kind of diplomatic dialogue with

Egypt Wants 'Roadmap' Amended

Meanwhile, Egypt on Saturday said the roadmap blueprint should amended.

Egyptian FM Ahmed Abul Gheit said the roadmap plan for Palestinian - Israeli
peace should be amended as it had expired in 2005, the official MENA news
agency reported.

"The roadmap needs to be modified because its expiry date was last year in
2005," Abul Gheit said in Egypt's Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

Abul Gheit expressed hope that a meeting of the Quartet of international
mediators, slated for Tuesday in New York, would help activate the roadmap
plan and resume the stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia will meet with the Quartet next week. Foreign
ministers from the three Arab countries will meet in New York with
representatives from the Quartet, Israel Radio reported.

The Quartet comprises the United Nations, the European Union, the United
States and Russia.

The three Arab foreign ministers will focus on resuming aid to the PNA by
western donors.

"It's important to continue to have assistance to the Palestinians. You
cannot punish them. You can't move forward if people are faced with a
horrible humanitarian situation," said Egypt's ambassador to Washington
Nabil Fahmy.

Jordan's ambassador in Washington, Karim Kawar, warned against collapse of
the Palestinian economy: "Our worst case scenario is seeing the Palestinian
Authority collapse as well as the Palestinian economy going through even
harder times. That will evolve into a humanitarian crisis."

Saudi Arabia voiced similar concerns. The Quartet had to find a "more
realistic" way of handling funding and not dangle legal threats against aid
groups dealing with Hamas, said spokesman of the Saudi Embassy in
Washington, Nail al-Jubeir.

US Promises No Change to Its Hardline

However the US Administration was not responsive.

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the United States would
listen to any proposals at Tuesday's meetings but he said only Hamas was to
blame for the Palestinian financial problems.

"The principle for us remains the same. We want to address the humanitarian
needs of the Palestinian people, but we are not going to provide money" to
the Palestinian Hamas-led government.

US rejected an EU proposal to channel aid to the Palestinians through
President Mahmoud Abbas and opposed separate humanitarian aid transfer
proposals by Britain, France and the Arab League, Israeli daily Haaretz
reported on Friday.

The US Congress on Tuesday, at the same time the Quartet meets in New York,
will be presented with a bill aimed at prohibiting direct American funding
of the Hamas-led government.

A bipartisan effort headed by Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen,
with the support of Democrat Tom Lantos, managed to raise the required 290
co-sponsors to bring the bill before Congress.

British Memo to Quartet, Donors

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will host the Quartet meeting, which is
expected to be attended by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, with the EU represented by its High
Representative for a Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana,
Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik of Austria, which currently holds the EU
Council presidency, as well as European Commissioner for External Relations
Benita Ferrero Waldner.

The EU has suggested to its other three Quartet partners, US, Russia, and
the UN, that a joint fund be created to give humanitarian aid to the
Palestinians that will bypass the Hamas-led government.

The EU prepared a $43 million aid package that would help fund Palestinian
health and education services, and suggested that Arab and other countries -
including Israel - could provide aid to the Palestinians through the fund,
Israel Radio reported.

Palestinian President Abbas would not be able to decide how the fund
distributed money, noted the EU's representative for foreign affairs.

Separately, Reuters reported that Britain had circulated a memo to major
donors, ahead of the Quartet meeting, proposing a joint trust fund to pay
overdue Palestinian salaries, which would undercut Hamas.

The four-page document, of which Reuters obtained a copy, argues, in
response to US efforts to block creation of such a fund, that it "will not
undermine the diplomatic effort" to persuade Hamas to renounce violence,
recognize Israel and abide by interim peace accords.

The Islamic movement, which came to power after a landslide electoral
victory on January 25, stands to lose "a big part of its street credibility
and hence have an incentive to come closer to what the international
community wants," the British memo said.

"Humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people should not be conditional on
actions by Hamas," the document added.

In an earlier memo, Britain said its goal was to try to "mitigate the
decline in living standards of the Palestinian people and reduce the
possibility of domestic instability by sustaining delivery of basic services
such as health and education," Reuters reported.


From: imra@netvision.net.il
To: imra@imra.org.il
Subject: Iran Stresses Strong Relations with Syria

Iran Stresses Strong Relations with Syria
Saturday, May 06, 2006 - 09:45 PM
Tehran, ( SANA - Syrian News Agency)-

Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad Hussein Saffar
Harandi said his country's relations with Syria were strong, adding there
were many common grounds that bind the two friendly countries together.

Meeting Syrian Minister of Endowments ( al-Awqaf) Ziaduddin al-Ayoubi in
Tehran on Saturday, Minster Saffar Harandi said there was a lot of prospects
for cooperation between the two countries.

Minister al-Ayoubi said the strong relations between the two countries were
based on the principles of justice and right.
He added that Syria had achieved very important rapprochement among Islamic
creeds and religious tolerance through seminars and meetings among Moslem

The Minister called for a more active cooperation in the endowments field
between Syria and Iran.

He also pointed out to the 'religious tourism' and its importance in helping
the two peoples of Syria and Iran knowing each others culture.

Ahmad F. ZAHRA


From: imra@netvision.net.il
To: imra@imra.org.il
Subject: Syria Calls for International
Conference to Define What is Meant by Terrorism

Syria Calls for International Conference to Define What is Meant by
Saturday, May 06, 2006 - 08:25 PM
Vienna, (SANA-Syrian News Agency)-

Syria has called for an international conference to differentiate between
terrorism and the right of people to self-determination.

Minister of Interior General Bassam Abdul Majid said in a statement on the
sidelines of a conference of Interior Ministers of the EU and Adjacent
Countries which was concluded overnight in Vienna that there was need for a
deep look into the roots and reasons of terrorism and subsequently tackling
it in a rational way.

He added that Syria's participation in such an event reflects its real
interest in regional and international cooperation to confront the problem
of terrorism in all its forms.

The Conference ended deliberations by adopting a draft declaration that
contained a set of principles and proposals on fighting terrorism, organized
crime, corruption human trafficking and illegal immigration.

The Arab delegations to the Conference underscored importance of security
partnership with the EU, calling for more consultations on forms of this

Ahmad F. ZAHRA


From: imra@netvision.net.il
To: imra@imra.org.il
Subject: Excerpts: Jumblatt to Mubarak: Hezbollah should
give up arms.Hamas-Iran connection. 8 May 2006

Excerpts: Jumblatt to Mubarak: Hezbollah should give up arms.Hamas-Iran
connection. 8 May 2006

+++ARAB NEWS (Saudi) 8 May '06:"Hezbollah Should Disarm: Jumblatt" Agence
France Presse -
"no justification for Hezbollah fighters to continue bearing arms"
"(Hezbollah) a key provider of ... services to traditionally impoverished

CAIRO, 8 May 2006 -(After meeting with Mubarak) Prominent Lebanese MP Walid
Jumblatt said yesterday there was no justification for Hezbollah fighters to
continue bearing arms because Israeli troops have long ago withdrawn from
Lebanese territory."That's unacceptable," ... .
Lebanese leaders are divided over the disarmament of the military wing of
the Shiite fundamentalist group Hezbollah, ...Jumblatt suggested that
Hezbollah fighters be integrated into the Lebanese army, saying "the
Lebanese state must have control over all weapons and territories... it's
time Lebanon enjoys a semblance of peace." . .
. . .
Hezbollah was formed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards after Israel
invaded Lebanon in 1982.
Washington considers Hezbollah a "terrorist" organization because it has
been linked to numerous attacks on Americans, including a 1983 Beirut truck
bombing that killed more than 200 US Marines.
Thousands of active militants belong to the group, which is also a key
provider of social, cultural and educational services to traditionally
impoverished Shiites.

+++THE DAILY STAR (Lebanon) 8 May '06:"Fatal attraction, the Hamas-Iran
by Anna Mahjar-Barducci, Tunis-based Moroccan-Italian journalist
"The Iranian regime and Hamas are currently upgrading their alliance ...
to jointly supress other
schools of thoght"

"Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood"

"for Hamas changing its strategy effectively means ceasing to exist"

"Iran ... needs Hamas ... maybe even more than Hamas needs Iran"

" (Iranian president) Hizbollah and Hamas ... ready to retailate"
The Iranian regime and Hamas are currently upgrading their alliance, which
is over a decade long. It is an alliance across the great Islamic divide,
between a Sunni group and a Shiite regional power. Radical religious
movements do not easily form alliances; they tend to fight each other, at
times over small details of doctrine. On the rare occasions they do unite,
it is generally to jointly suppress other schools of thought.
The contemporary strife between Sunnis and Shiites can be traced back to the
1979 revolution in Iran, a revolution that, once it was commandeered by the
clergy, aspired to embrace the entire Islamic world. The huge surge of pride
in, and support for, the revolution in the Muslim world, threatened Sunni
religious hegemony, led by the Saudi custodians of the two holy places in
Mecca and Medina.
The Saudi and Sunni reaction was not long in coming, and it led to two great
victories that restored Sunni predominance in the Islamic world: a 10-year
effort, where Saudi Arabia used a great deal of its resources to support the
jihad in Afghanistan, leading to the defeat of the Soviet empire; and an
equally substantial effort by the kingdom to spread Sunni, albeit Wahhabi,
Islam through its funding of Islamic centers and mosques worldwide, and
through the formation of a network of alliances. More recently, however, the
election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad marked the start of a
second Islamic Revolution, and with it a revival of radical aspirations
dating back to the days of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. During the second
Intifada it was assisted by the Iranian-supported Lebanese Shiite group,
Hizbullah. This evolved into significant military support and financial
assistance. These ties were sponsored by the Iranian regime and strengthened
the relationship between Hamas and Iran. This alliance was further
reinforced by the fact that senior Hamas official Khaled Meshaal is
headquartered in Syria, so that the movement effectively became part of the
Iranian-Syrian-Hizbullah axis. However, Hamas has never submitted to the
directives of its Shiite-supported benefactors.
Western states decided to freeze financial aid to the Palestinian Authority
(PA) after Hamas' victory in the January Palestinian legislative elections.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas, for his part, also chose to politically confront
the movement, in an attempt to force Hamas to honor prior agreements between
the PA and Israel. However, for Hamas changing its strategy effectively
means ceasing to exist. Survival also means securing new funding, which is
why Hamas' only real option was to turn to Iran, the one government that
officially and fully shares its goals. Improving the alliance was exactly
what Hamas needed at that critical juncture.
Iran, for its own part, needs Hamas too - maybe even more than Hamas needs
Iran. But while the Islamic Republic, in supporting the Sunni militant
movement, is pursuing its own interests, Hamas, by aligning itself with
Iran, is pursuing its own destruction.
The alliance with Iran will increase Hamas' isolation from the West. But
Hamas does not want to transform itself from a resistance movement into a
political party. The extent of the financial aid it will receive from Tehran
is also unclear: Reports range from $50 million to $100 million. But even
the higher sum is hardly enough to sustain the PA, considering its yawning
deficit. Hamas still hasn't realized the difference between governing a
country and supporting poor Palestinian refugees. Moreover, the alliance
with Iran will cost Hamas the support of its Sunni hinterland: Saudi Arabia
has already delayed the $92 million it promised the PA, releasing only $20
million at the personal request of Abbas. Thus, Hamas' only gain from its
alliance with Iran will be support for its resistance against Israel.
The Hamas-Iran alliance is a fatal attraction. Hamas and Ahmadinejad are
true "holy" warriors. As the Arabic saying goes, they are the type who fight
in the khanadiq (trenches), not the fanadiq (hotels). The Hamas leadership
identifies more with Ahmadinejad, the popular leader who wears second-hand
jackets like they do, than with the Muslim Brotherhood sheikhs who wear
expensive robes and own shares in American chain-stores, like Sheikh Youssef
al-Qaradhawi. Hamas and the Iranian president share not only religious
ideals and positions on Israel, but also, and especially, their social
outlook. Both came to power on the basis of platforms in which they vowed,
among other things, to fight corruption and respond to the needs of the
At the Al-Quds conference in Tehran in mid-April, Meshaal publicly thanked
the Iranian regime for its help, confirming the tighter alliance with Iran.
The summit took place a few days after Ahmadinejad's speech about progress
in the Iranian nuclear program. Tehran needed the conference to demonstrate
that it was not alone, and to show its deterrence capabilities. By saying
that Iran was building an army of suicide bombers, Ahmadinejad wanted to
make clear to the United States and Israel that it they decided to bomb
Iranian nuclear sites, Hizbullah and Hamas were ready to retaliate.
As in the Persian "Shahnameh" epic, Ahmadinejad is leading the battle of the
forces of good against the forces of evil - the West and Israel. In joining
this battle, Hamas is entering a long dark tunnel with no way out. Now, with
Fatah split and virtually dying, maybe it's time for the Palestinian people
to think about building a new national movement.

Sue Lerner - Associate - IMRA


From: imra@netvision.net.il
To: imra@imra.org.il
Subject: Israeli Arab MK Zahalka: "We are loyal
to values - not institutions"

Israeli Arab MK Zahalka: "We are loyal to values - not institutions"

Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 8 May 2006

When Israeli Arab MK Jamal Zahalka (National Democratic Assembly) was asked
in a live interview broadcast on Israel Radio's afternoon news magazine
today to relate to the question of loyalty to the State of Israel, Zahalka
replied "we are loyal to values - not institutions."

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il
Website: http://www.imra.org.il


From: imra@netvision.net.il
To: imra@imra.org.il
Subject: PMW: PA: Christian Zionists
adopted Satan as God

Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin - May 8, 2006

Palestinian Media Watch:
p:+972 2 625 4140 e: pmw@pmw.org.il
f: +972 2 624 2803 w: www.pmw.org.il

PA: Christian Zionists adopted Satan as God
By Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
Official PA government Religious Judicial Council web site:

Christian Zionists "adopted Satan as God"

Christian Zionism is a dangerous distortion, a deviation from the true
Christian faith

The Christian Zionists and Zionist Jews "comprise the greatest danger to
world truth, justice, and peace".

The International Christian Embassy "carries out criminal activities"
against Palestinians

Christian Zionism must be expelled by the World Church.


The following article, written by a senior Palestinian Authority religious
figure and placed on the website of the PA Supreme [Islamic] Judicial
Council, attacks Christian Zionists for adopting "Satan as God" and
deviating "from the true Christian faith." Christian Zionists are presented
as a danger to Muslims and the world, and the PA Religious leader calls for
their expulsion by the "World Church." Zionist-Christian motivation is said
to be "Crusader motivation" and was behind not only the "cursed Balfour
Declaration" but is today "behind the British and American policy in
Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other Arab and Muslim countries."

It should be noted that the writer Hamed Al-Tamimi, a member of the Supreme
Judicial Council, was appointed to his position of religious leadership
before the Hamas came to power in the PA.

The following is the text as it appears today on the website of the Supreme
[Islamic] Judicial Council:

Christian Zionism
by Hamed Al-Tamimi - Director Inter Religion Dialogue Department, member of
the Supreme Judicial Council

Very few people know the truth about this [Christian Zionist] movement,
which unconditionally supports the Zionist enemy, and unconditionally
opposes Islam and the Muslims. Their association and their organizations,
headed by "The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem," carry out
their criminal activities against the Palestinian issue and the Palestinian
people, as Walter Riggans, the Secretary-General of the International
Christian Embassy, proudly and defiantly announced: "We are more Zionist
than the Israelis" .

And even if the sides of this hated- malicious alliance [of Israelis and
Christian Zionists] have different goals, they both agree on hatred of Islam
and the Muslims and on [the goal] to destroy them.

The Zionist-Christian motivation, in addition to imperialist motivation, was
behind the cursed Balfour Declaration -Balfour and Prime Minister Lloyd
George were Christian Zionists -.and the truth is we should not deny [that]
these Crusader motivations stand [today] behind the British and American
policy in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other Arab and Muslim countries.
We choose [to quote from] the following lecture, by the Doctor Priest Riad
Jarjour, the Secretary-General of the Middle-Eastern Churches Committee. to
shed light on this destructive [Christian Zionist] movement that together
with her Zionist Jewish ally comprise the greatest danger to world truth,
justice, and peace.

[From lecture of Riad Jarjour]:

"Hence there is no place in the Middle East for Christian Zionism, it must
be expelled by the World Church, since it is a dangerous distortion and a
big deviation from the true Christian faith, which concentrates on Jesus,
and it [Christian Zionism] defends a national political program which
considers the Jewish race supreme."
[Back to Tamimi]

They [Christian Zionists] are a group who adopted Satan as God who drives
their crazy nature. They have praised depravity and cursed virtue, they have
turned the moral scale upside down and have reached [a point] in which
forgery, deception, and lying, have turned into descriptions of world
policy, which is led by the Zionism on both its branches - the Jewish and
the Christian."

[ www.kudah.gov.ps/news.asp?tbl=news&id=268 ]

To SUBSCRIBE to PMW reports,
send an e-mail to pmw@pmw.org.il with "SUBSCRIBE" in the subject line.


From: imra@netvision.net.il
To: imra@imra.org.il
Subject: 3 Palestinians Killed in Armed Clashes
between Fatah and Hamas in Khan Yunis

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Security Chaos and Proliferation of Small Arms
Attacking Public Institutions and Officials

Field Update
8 May 2006

3 Palestinians Killed in Armed Clashes between Fatah and Hamas in Khan Yunis

3 Fatah and Hamas activists were killed and 11 others were injured during
armed clashes between both factions in Khan Yunis.

PCHR's initial investigation indicates that at approximately 00:00 on
Tuesday, 8 May 2006, a verbal exchange began between members of the Izzedeen
El-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) and Fatah activists in the town
of Bani Suheila. The exchange took place after a group of the El-Qassam
Brigades had intercepted a car carrying a group of Fatah activists.

After twenty minutes, a car carrying three members of the El-Qassam Brigades
entered the town. An armed group belonging to Fatah, and including members
of the Preventive Security Apparatus, intercepted the car and kidnapped the
occupants. Tension between both sides escalated. The Popular Resistance
Committees (PRC) intervened in order to free the kidnapped El-Qassam
Brigades members. In the meantime, El-Qassam Brigades members kidnapped
four members of Fatah in the town of Greater Abasan. Negotiations were held
to release the captives, with assistance from the PRC. Exchanges of fire
were heard in Bani Suheila and Greater Abasan during the negotiations.

At 03:30, Wasfi Shaker Shehwan, 25, was brought to Naser Hospital in Khan
Yunis. Citizens found him in Kassab Street in Khan Yunis, bleeding as a
result of a gunshot wound in the hip. He was admitted to the Intensive Care
Unit, but efforts to save his life failed and he was pronounced dead shortly
after. Unidentified gunmen had chased Shehwan and fired at him, before
fleeing the area.

At 03:40, captives from both sides were released. Fatah gunmen, including
members of Palestinian security forces, withdrew from Bani Suheila to their
homes in Abasan. At this time, clashes resumed in Abasan around the houses
of two families with active Hamas and Fatah members. The clashes resulted
in the death of two Fatah activists working in the Preventive Security
Apparatus and the injury of eleven others. The dead activists are: Hamada
"Abdel Rahman" Ismail El-Daghma (25), killed by a bullet to the chest, and
Mohammad Ahmad El-Jorf (22), killed by a bullet to the chest.

PCHR strongly condemns these clashes, and:
1. calls on both sides to demonstrate calm and self-restraint.
Both sides should engage in dialogue in order to resolve the crisis and
ensure that it is not repeated in the future;
2. calls upon all national and Islamic parties to intervene in
order to ensure that the crisis does not escalate;
3. calls upon the Palestinian National Authority, represented by
the Attorney-General, to investigate these attacks and to bring the
perpetrators to justice; and

Public Document
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8
2824776 - 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip.
E-mail: pchr@pchrgaza.org
Webpage www.pchrgaza.org
If you got this forwarded and you want to subscribe, send mail to
and write "subscribe" in the subject line.


From: imra@netvision.net.il
To: imra@imra.org.il
Subject: MEMRITV: An Interview with
Syrian Cartoonist on Al-Jazeera

The following are excerpts from an interview with Syrian cartoonist and
newspaper editor Ali Farazat, aired on Al-Jazeera TV on April 30, 2006.

TO VIEW THIS CLIP: www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=1128

*Clip # 1128- Cartoonist Ali Farazat Talks about the Difficulties He
Encountered while Publishing a Satirical Weekly in Syria

Interviewer: When our guest founded Addomari, an independent satirical
weekly in Syria, he enjoyed the personal support of President Bashar
Al-Assad. Two years later, this weekly was shut down for reasons he will try
to explain in this edition of our show, "Special Visit."


Ali Farazat: We in Syria are forbidden to draw presidents, or to deal with
figures like the president. Of course I draw cartoons, but I keep them for
myself. No one publishes them.

Interviewer: Is there a law forbidding the drawing of the president?

Ali Farazat: It is only natural that...

Interviewer: Is there a law forbidding this?

Ali Farazat: I don't think so, but no newspaper... As you know, until
recently our newspapers were governmental. Such newspapers refrain from
publishing cartoons not only of the president. It is difficult to draw
cartoons of even ordinary people - the prime minister, or ministers, for
example. It would cause an uproar. I was courageous to some extent, and I
drew several senior officials in Addomari, and it caused an uproar.
Nevertheless, I wanted to break through this barrier, to some extent.


Interviewer: [You said] that Saddam could only be toppled by the Americans.

Ali Farazat: What I said was that dictatorships of this type apparently
cannot be toppled by anyone else. Since the Arab people cannot take any
action or do anything, the only alternative is for the Americans or the
foreigners, to come from outside and remove those people who represent
oppression. [...] Occupation does not come from outside, but from within.

TO VIEW THIS CLIP: www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=1128

For assistance, please contact MEMRI TV Project at memritv@memri.org

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent,
non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle
East. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background
information, are available on request.

MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with
proper attribution.

MEMRI TV Project
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax: (202) 955-9077


From: imra@netvision.net.il
To: imra@imra.org.il
Subject: COS Halutz forgets isn't politician
- publicly ridicules Minister Mofaz

COS Halutz forgets isn't politician - publicly ridicules Minister Mofaz

Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 8 May 2006

In an unprecedented display of a lack of respect for civilian authority, IDF
Chief of Staff Dan Halutz publicly ridiculed Minister Shaul Mofaz in the
speech he made at the ceremony held yesterday marking the transfer of the
Ministry of Defense from Shaul Mofaz to Amir Peretz. Mofaz served as
minister of defense in the previous administration and will now serve as
minister of transportation.

During the course of the speech, Halutz looked towards Mofaz and remarked
that the defense community was larger and more complex than the
Transportation Ministry.

Halutz went on to say "I was just kidding - I just wanted to see if you were

Mofaz replied in what was interpreted as a joking tone that he would "settle
accounts with him."

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il
Website: http://www.imra.org.il


From: imra@netvision.net.il
To: imra@imra.org.il
Subject: Aharon Abramovitch appointed
Foreign Ministry director-general

Aharon Abramovitch appointed ministry director-general
(Communicated by the Foreign Minister's Bureau)

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke this morning (Monday, 8 May 2006) with
Foreign Minister Director-General Ron Prosor and thanked him for his two
years of service as director-general. The minister pointed out his many
contributions to furthering the foreign policy of the State of Israel.

"As an excellent and esteemed diplomat, Ron Prosor acted successfully to
tighten cooperation and relations with the Arab world, dealt with sensitive
security issues, and broadened coordination and cooperation with the various
security bodies," she said.

The minister pointed out that Prosor was extremely helpful to her when she
took office and demonstrated great professional and personal ability during
her term as minister in the interim government. In this context, the
minister announced that she would like to continue to utilize these
abilities by appointing him as Israel's ambassador to a central capital.

Minister Livni has decided to appoint attorney Aharon Abramovitch to the
post of Foreign Ministry director-general.

Abramovitch has served for the past four and a half years as
director-general of the Justice Ministry. He previously served from
1999-2001 as director-general of the Jewish Agency. During last year's
disengagement from the Gaza Strip, he was asked by then prime minister Ariel
Sharon to head the civilian and judicial staff work connected with the
operation and to prepare legislation for the Knesset, in addition to his
conducting far-reaching changes at both the Jewish Agency and the Justice


From: imra@netvision.net.il
To: imra@imra.org.il
Subject: Kadima boosts Arab influence in Knesset

Kadima boosts Arab influence in Knesset

Ruling party to assign greater number of Arab MKs to major Knesset
committees, in bid to ensure approval of future plan to withdraw from West
Ilan Marciano YNET 8 May 2006

The Kadima ruling party has already started acting to promote the future
withdrawal from the West Bank, by removing potential obstacles that may work
to impede the implementation of the plan. The Knesset's largest faction
intends to do so by creating a majority of Arab

and left-wing Knesset members on the parliamentary committees that are set
to vote on the convergence plan - the Economics Committee and the
Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.

The Arab and left-wing MKs will be assigned to the committees on the expense
of members of the Likud, Israel Our Home and the National Union-National
Religious Party factions.

According to Knesset regulations, a party needs to have seven parliamentary
mandates in order to receive automatic representation in these two important
committees. In light of the problems the previous government encountered
when trying to have the disengagement plan approved, the current cabinet
decided to grant the Arab parties two seats in each of the committees,
compared to only one seat they received during the last term.

Right-wing MKs were outraged with the decision, claiming that the Arab
parties have been granted representation not proportional to their relative
power in parliament. Worried that the proposed distribution will be approved
by the Knesset's arranging committee, the rightist factions are trying to
form a "plenum rebellion" that would take shape in constant interruptions
during Knesset sessions, until the committees' distribution is changed.

(05.08.06, 14:28)


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End of [imra] Daily digest - Volume: 2 Issue: 1386 (15 messages)

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