Archive | September 27th, 2011

Eight-Year-Old Hit by Settler Car Dies in Hebron

On Tuesday morning, 8-year-old Farid Jaber died of injuries sustained last Friday when an Israeli settler struck him with his car on a settler bypass road 60 east of Hebron. During his funeral, Hebron governor Kamel Hamid demanded “actual international protection” for Palestinians in his province.

An official police statement obtained by Palestinian state-run news wire read, “The child martyr was gravely injured last Friday when a settler hit him as he crossed the bypass road in the Baqa’a area east of Hebron. An Israeli ambulance took him to the Hadassa Ein Karem hospital, where this morning he passed away from his injuries.”

On Friday, September 23, eyewitnesses told AFP that the incident happened at the entrance to the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba, and that the driver fled the scene immediately. Israeli troops arrested two of the boy’s relatives for “attacking a police officer” afterwards.

Governor Hamid asked for “actual international protection” for Palestinians during Jaber’s funeral, which took place on Tuesday afternoon. He said he appreciated the work of current international peacekeepers, such as the Christian Peacemaker Teams who patrol the old city of Hebron, but he claimed that since settlers were “targeting and intimidating Palestinian children,” more work must done to document settler attacks on a daily basis.

A PNN reporter said hundreds of people attended the funeral, including dignitaries from the Ministry of Education and civil rights organizations.

Eight-Year-Old Hit by Settler Car Dies in Hebron, Governor Demands “Real Protection”

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Israel must annex West Bank settlements, right-wing MKs tell Netanyahu

In letter to premier, leaders of several Knesset factions say Israel must retaliate against the Palestinians’ ‘unilateral’ statehood bid at the UN, or risk losing its deterrence.

Israel should legally annex West Bank settlements in response to the Palestinians’ recent bid for recognition in the United Nations, the leaders of several right-wing Knesset factions said in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.

The letter was signed by Likud chairman Ze’ev Elkin, Shas chairman Avraham Michaeli, Habayit Hayehudi chairman Uri Orbach, and the leader of the National Union faction Yaakov Katz.

In the missive, the right-wing MKs urged the prime minister to sanction the Palestinian Authority for what they called a “unilateral” move in the UN, saying that Israel had to make it clear that it would not agree serve as the Palestinians’ “punching bag.”

Among the steps mentioned in the letter to Netanyahu, the right-wing leaders mentioned the gradual annexation of all West Bank settlements; cutting Palestinian aid money; accelerated settlement building; cancellation of PA officials’ VIP ID cards; and prohibiting any Palestinian construction in areas controlled by Israeli security forces.

Citing the reasons behind such steps, the missive indicated that a Palestinian avoidance of unilateral moves was the only return Israel received for all of its concessions as part of the Oslo Peace Accords.

“The PA’s UN bid on unilateral recognition is a blunt breach of those agreements, which have, in the last 18 years, taken their severe toll on us,” the letter said, condemning states involved in those accords that are now deliberating whether or n or to support their undoing.

“We call upon you to make it clear to those nations that their conduct during this crisis rules them out was mediator in future negotiations,” the letter said, warning of the “serious damage that could befall Israel if it chooses to avoid reponse.”

In such an event, the letter indicated, Israel would “completely lose its deterrence, thus stimulating the Palestinians to continue their actions against it in the international arena.”

“In fact, the international damage that Israel could suffer in the wake of the UN vote is significantly smaller than that it would suffer if it doesn’t follow up on the principle you set a decade ago – ‘If they give, they’ll get; if they don’t give, they get nothing.'”

Israel must annex West Bank settlements, right-wing MKs tell Netanyahu

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Syria’s UN envoy: Israel committing ‘state terrorism’ against Palestinians

Syrian ambassador’s address to UN Human Rights Council comes amid reports of Syrian tanks storming a town on the main highway to Turkey, killing at least four.

Israel’s human rights violations are proof that it is committing “state terrorism,” Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations told the UN’s Human Rights Council on Monday.

The comment by the Syrian official came amid a months-long crackdown by Bashar Assad’s regime against pro-democracy protesters. Earlier this month, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that at least 2,700 people have been killed in Syria since anti-government protests broke out in March.

Speaking at the Human Rights Council on Monday, Syrian UN envoy Faisal al-Hamwi was quoted by Syria’s state news agency SANA as saying that Israeli human rights violations reported by Palestinians proved “the reality of state terrorism practiced by Israel” as well as what the SANA report calls an “aggressive tendency against the Arab people.”

The SANA report also cites al-Hamwi as accusing Israel of escalating violence along its borders with Syria and Lebanon, saying Israeli forces “committed the crime of killing Syrian, Palestinian and Lebanese peaceful protesters who were stressing their legal right of returning to their lands.”

The Syrian envoy was referring to an incident in May of this year, in which four people were reportedly shot dead by Israel Defense Forces troops as they opened fire on large numbers of infiltrators trying to breach Syria’s southern border with Israel.

Another four people were said to have been killed on the Lebanese side of its shared frontier with Israel, as Palestinian protests for the annual Nakba Day, which mourns the creation of the State of Israel, took hold across the region.

Al-Hamwi’s talk before the UN Human Rights Council came as new reports claimed Syrian forces were engaged in a wide-spread attempt to stamp out anti-Assad protests.

On Tuesday, activists based in Beirut said that Syrian tanks stormed a town on the main highway to Turkey, killing at least four and injuring several others.

“The Syrian army stormed under heavy shelling the village of al-Rastan,” an activist said. They also took prisoners, he said.

“Helicopters were used to shell a major highway leading to Turkey to prevent army defectors and activists fleeing,” he added.

“Dozens of people were snatched from their homes in the early hours of the morning and taken in buses blindfolded to an unknown destination,” said the activist, who requested anonymity.

Al-Rastan, which has 40,000 residents, is located near the city of Homs, which has been under siege by the Syrian army for two days.

Foreign journalists are barred from Syria, where the regime has so far killed an estimated 2,700 people during its crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, according to opposition activists and rights groups.

Syria’s UN envoy: Israel committing ‘state terrorism’ against Palestinians

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Survey: Jewish support for Obama on decline

American president’s approval rating on handling of US-Israel relations drops to 40% compared with 49% last year, but if elections were held today, majority of American Jews would still vote for Democratic president over Republican candidates

Disappointment with President Obama’s handling of US-Israel relations has caused a drop in Jewish support for the administration, an annual survey conducted by AJC, a Jewish advocacy organization, revealed.

Disapproval among Jewish voters exceeded approval of Obama’s presidency for the first time during the current administration. Jewish approval of Obama’s performance as president declined to 45%, with another 48% disapproving and 7% undecided.

According to the survey, which included 800 respondents, if the 2012 presidential elections were held today, Obama would still hold a considerable lead over potential Republican challengers among Jewish voters. But the margin differed significantly depending on which candidate the GOP fields.

When asked about Obama’s handling of US-Israel relations, 40% of respondents gave their approval, with another 53% disapproving and 7% undecided. A year ago, 49% of respondents approved and another 45% disapproved of the president’s policy vis-à-vis the Jewish State.

In contrast, approval of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of Israel-US relations dropped to 54%, compared with 62% approval last year.

In general, 63% of American Jews characterize US-Israel relations as positive, compared with 68% in 2010.

As part of the survey, respondents were also asked about their prospect for a lasting peace between Israel and the Arabs.

Less than 3% of respondents said they were “more optimistic” about the peace prospects now than they had been one year ago, compared with 8% feeling “more optimistic” in last year’s survey.

This year, 35% of respondents said their outlook has become “less optimistic”, compared to 18% in 2010.

Support for a Palestinian state among American Jews has also declined in the past year. According to the survey, in the current situation, 38% would favor and 55% would oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state, compared with 48% in favor and 45% opposed in 2010.

On a related question concerning Palestinian efforts to unilaterally seek recognition of statehood without an agreement with Israel, only 9% approved of this strategy, while 88% disapproved.

Unsurprisingly, support for requiring the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state is strong, with 95% saying they should be required to do so in a final peace agreement.

When asked about US aid to the Palestinian Authority, 73% of respondents said they would support the US Congress withdrawing assistance if the PA and Hamas form a unity government, while 21% said they would oppose the move.

Regarding Iran, 43% approved Obama’s handling of the Iran nuclear issue, while 45% disapproved – a similar finding to the 2010 survey.

Obama support among U.S. Jews hits all-time low, survey shows
Despite 6% dip in approval ratings, new AJC poll still predicts incumbent U.S. President would win majority of Jewish votes in 2012 presidential elections.


The support given to U.S. President Barack Obama has hit a new low, a poll by the American Jewish Committee indicated on Sunday, with the incumbent president, however, still leading among Jewish voters ahead of the 2012 presidential elections.

According to the AJC’s press release, the Obama’s current approval vote among Jewish voters – 45% – is the lowest since the U.S. president came into office, with 48% saying they disapproved of Obama’s policies.

It should be noted that this most recent figure represented a 6% drop from a similar survey last year, when Obama held a 51% approval rating among Jewish voters.

The survey was taken between September 6 –21, and in fact does not gauge the responsive of U.S. Jews to Obama’s speech at the UN last week, which was considered by many to be overwhelmingly supportive of Israel.

However, despite the dip in Obama’s approval ratings, the majority of Jewish voters, according to the survey, would still vote the incumbent president back into office in 2012.

In a potential head-to-head vote against potential Republican candidate Mitt Romney, Obama would garner 50% of the votes, with Romney collecting 32%. The margins would increase in a possible face-off with another Republican standout, Rick Perry, with Obama garnering 55% of Jewish votes, relegating Perry to just 25%.

Survey: Jewish support for Obama on decline

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