weekend wrap 88.
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Peace Now protests settler violence
Some 100 Peace Now activists and supporters were held up at Gush Etzion Junction for an hour on Friday on their way to the Palestinian village of Atuwani. The purpose of their trip was to protest against Maon settlers who have harassed the local Arab residents earlier in the week. The group was only allowed to pass after Defense Minister Amir Peretz intervened.
UN: Israel, Palestinians nearing humanitarian crisis
The United Nations' human rights chief warned on Friday that Israel and the Palestinians were "on the brink" of a humanitarian and human rights crisis. The official was seriously concerned about the situation in the region, saying both sides needed "to reaffirm their commitment to international human rights law and humanitarian law, and to prioritize human rights on their respective agendas."
Report: London suicide bombers sought martyrdom
British Home Secretary John Reid told Parliament on Thursday that the perpetrators of the quadruple suicide bombing that killed 52 people in London on July 7 were "homegrown terrorists motivated by a desire for martyrdom." The Home Office found that Islamist ideology and religious fanaticism were the common links among the bombers. Reid noted that they were "largely unexceptional" and that there was little in their background that marked "them out as particularly vulnerable to radicalization."
Hamas minister meets with anti-Zionist rabbi
Palestinian Cabinet minister Atef Adwan of the Hamas and Rabbi Moishe Arye Friedman of the Austrian anti-Zionist Israelite Religious Community pledged Friday to work to build ties between Hamas and anti-Zionist Jews. The two announced that the groups had formed a "joint coalition." The meeting took place in Stockholm, thanks to the visa that Sweden had provided Adwan - a move that angered Israel and some European diplomats.
Palestinians collecting funds for Hamas
Several thousand Hamas supporters gathered Friday to collect money and jewelry for the cash-strapped Palestinian government. Some people reportedly donated their entire paychecks, as was announced to the crowd by megaphones. Meanwhile, the Quartet met in New York this week to discuss the financial crisis the Palestinians have been going through since Hamas came to power.
Some 200 reported dead in explosion in Nigeria
A gas pipeline exploded in Nigeria as villagers collected fuel from the ruptured conduit, killing between 150 and 200 people on Friday. Rescue workers dug a ditch near the exploded pipeline so that the bodies could be buried in a common grave. Similar explosion have also occurred in 2004 and 1998, as the impoverished people of Africa's oil giant often tap into pipelines, seeking fuel for cooking or resale on the black market.
Bil'in protest wounds two border policemen
Two border policeman and a French photographer were wounded on Friday when some 150 protestors demonstrated, as they do every week, against the construction of the security fence near Bil'in. The protesters also claimed that five of their group had been struck with rods and three others wounded by rubber bullets.
Haniyeh calls prisoners' peace proposal 'important'
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Friday that a proposal, hammered out by Palestinian prisoners, implicitly recognizing Israel, is important but needs deeper study. The plan, backed by security prisoner Marwan Barghouti called for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, on Thursday a senior Hamas official rejected the peace initiative.
New weapons-grade uranium found in Iran
UN inspectors have found traces of highly enriched uranium at an Iranian research center linked to the military, diplomats said Friday. The density of enrichment appeared to be at or above the level needed to make nuclear warheads. However, the inspectors could not determine whether the Iranians enriched the uranium themselves, or whether it came from outside the country. Moreover, they cautioned, the findings still needed to be confirmed by laboratory tests.
UNSC: Syria should leave Lebanon alone
The United States, Great Britain and France introduced a draft of a resolution to the United Nation's Security Council on Friday urging Syria to establish diplomatic ties with Lebanon and delineate the border between the two countries. The draft also calls on Syria, as well as Iran, to work for the disarmament of Hizbullah. However, the Syrian foreign minister warned that the UNSC's involvement might impede attempts to reach a better understanding between the two countries. It was assessed that Russia and China would reject the proposal as well.
Pakistani general to Iran: Take Israel hostage if attacked
Pakistan's former army chief told Iranian officials that they should announce that if Iran is attacked by anyone, they would response by striking against Israel. Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg (ret.) informed the officials that the strategy was effective when Pakistan used it as a deterrent against India.
Tel Aviv suicide bombing attack victim dies of his wounds
Lior Enidzer, 26, who was wounded in the suicide bombing at a fast food stand near the Old Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv on Passover, died of his wounds on Friday night. The suicide bombing also killed nine other people and wounded about 70 others. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.
Police clash with anti-fence protestors in north Jerusalem
One border policeman was injured and ten protestors were arrested on Saturday when Israeli and Palestinians gathered in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of A-Ram to demonstrate against the construction of the security fence in the area. The crowd managed to reach the area in spite of it being declared a closed military zone. They were eventually dispersed using tear gas and stun grenades.
Ramon: Knesset supports convergence
Justice Minister Haim Ramon asserted on Saturday that the Knesset had a clear majority of 70 MKs supporting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's convergence plan. He stated that even the religious party would eventually be convinced that there was no Palestinian partner for negotiations, and would see that there was no alternative but for Israel to determine its own final borders.