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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Israeli MP Arrested as Settlers Rampage Through West Bank

Terrorists what the heck? You decide.
Settlers Torch Palestinian Fields, Chop Down Trees
by Jason Ditz, June 01, 2009
Israeli settlers rampaged through the West Bank today, attacking Palestinian laborers, chopping down olive trees and burning fields. Six Palestinians were injured when the settlers attacked their truck. The settlers were reportedly infuriated by President Obama’s calls to halt settlement growth.
Six of the settlers were arrested by army forces, including a member of the Knesset (Israeli parliament). That MP, Michael Ben-Ari, is a member of the pro-settler National Union party and claims he was assaulted by the security forces.
Ben-Ari was a former member of the banned Kach Party, founded by Orthodox rabbi Meir Kahane. The party was banned when an Israeli court ruled it was “manifestly racist,” as one of its tenets was that Israel should not allow Arabs to have citizenship.
Ben-Ari has condemned his arrest, saying it violated the legal immunities enjoyed by members of the Knesset. The military said the MP was attempting to provoke the soldiers and that it had to arrest him to “clear the riots in the area.” LinkHere
By Joseph Nasr – Mon Jun 1, 5:36 am ET
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli settlers are waging court battles to evict dozens of Palestinians from homes in an East Jerusalem neighborhood, a move threatening to widen Israel's rift with U.S. President Barack Obama over settlements.
They are trying to reclaim plots of land in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood which they say were owned by Jews before Israel's creation in 1948. They have already won property rights to six Arab homes, whose residents were subsequently evicted.
Palestinians and an Israeli rights group say settlers are trying to evict a further 27 Arab families from 28 buildings.
"Stop ethnic cleansing," reads a sign erected outside the home of Maher Hanun, a 51-year-old father of three, who faces a July 19 deadline to evacuate the structure in Sheikh Jarrah, near the walled Old City of Jerusalem.
Such acts could cloud Israel's relations with its main ally, the United States.
Obama, who is to address the Muslim world in a speech in Egypt Thursday, renewed a call for a halt to settlement activity during talks last week with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Last week, the Israeli government dropped exploding boxes full of leaflets across the Gaza Strip, informing the Gazans that if they came within 300 meters of the border they would be shot. The leaflets damaged several buildings and injured a child, but the real harm is yet to come.
According to the United Nations, the 300 meter buffer has cut the Gazans off from 30 percent of the strip’s arable land. “The war increased the amount of land destroyed, particularly in the border areas, and the farmers can’t replant anything because it’s too dangerous,” according to one UN official. “The Israeli soldiers, they shoot at everything - dogs, sheep. They are very tense.”
The Israeli invasion of the strip earlier this year caused thousands of civilian casualties and damaged a significant portion of the strip’s buildings. Israel has barred reconstruction materials from the strip, and has severely limited the sorts of food allowed in. At one point they barred all pasta from entering Gaza.
Since the war, Israel has shot several Palestinian farmers for tending fields near the border fence. The region’s Hamas government says that the strip is capable of producing enough watermelons and onions to nearly satisfy domestic food demand, though it is unclear if these projections accounted for losing such a significant portion of farmland. LinkHere


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