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Wednesday`s Daily Summary 10/19/2011
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Well-informed Palestinian sources told “Al-Quds” that Fatah and Hamas are discussing the possibility of holding the Palestinian election in the beginning of next year in order to overcome the dispute that emerged on the composition of the Palestinian government which has obstructed the implementation of the reconciliation pact that was recently sealed in Cairo. The sources indicated that this issue was debated today (yesterday) during the meeting of the PLO Executive Committee and that president Abbas affirmed he will discuss it with chief of Hamas politburo Khaled Meshaal during their impending meeting before taking a decision.
Meanwhile, the PLO Executive Committee stressed at the conclusion of its meeting in Ramallah last Tuesday on the “importance of continuing working towards finalizing the national reconciliation file, and that the current circumstances require expediting these efforts and making tangible steps in this direction, including reaching an agreement over holding a general Palestinian election, presidential and legislative, and for the membership of the Palestinian National Council as soon as possible”.

The PA received yesterday an official invitation from the Quartet Committee for a meeting with its envoys in Jerusalem on the 26th of this month at the time the PLO warned of the failure of the Quartet`s efforts if Israel would not halt the settlement actions. Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said:” we received on Tuesday an official invitation from the Quartet Committee for a meeting with its envoys on the 26th of this month in Jerusalem”. Erekat added that the meeting “will discuss the political developments and the Palestinian approach to the UN and the necessity to halt the Israeli settlement action all over the Palestinian territories, particularly those designated for natural growth and those in East Jerusalem, and the need that Israel commits to its obligations towards the international community and the Quartet Committee”.  
Meanwhile, the PLO said in a statement that was published following its meeting chaired by the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas last Tuesday in Ramallah: “we continue cooperating with the Quartet Committee to achieve the re-launch of the negotiations; nevertheless, its efforts could be doomed to failure if Israel would not clearly halt settlement actions and recognize the borders of the state of Palestine on 1967 lines”. (

The liberated Palestinian prisoners arrived at midnight in Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Qatar coming from Cairo on private jets after they were released under the prisoners swap deal between Hamas movement and Israel. In Turkey, 10 prisoners arrived while the jet that landed in Damascus airport transferred 16 prisoners, and female prisoners Ahlam a-Tamimi arrived in Amman and more 15 prisoners arrived early Wednesday morning in Qatar. The Palestinian prisoners were welcomed in Syria by many Syrian ministers and leaders of Palestinian factions that are based in Syria in addition to Syrian celebrities and hundreds of Palestinians and Syrians.

Meanwhile, the Israeli occupation authorities banned last Tuesday holding a joint celebration for the entire released prisoners from Jerusalem under week security pretexts. Therefore, the freed prisoners headed to their family homes immediately after their arrival in Jerusalem.

The most prominent commanders of Izz a-Dein al-Qassam, the military wing of Hamas, including Ahmad al-Ja`bari, Nafedh Subeih and Raed al-Attar, personally transferred the captive Israeli soldier Gilaad Shalit in a “Magnum” jeep” into the borders of Egypt, and they handed him over to senior Egyptian intelligence officers. The black “Magnum” vehicle, escorted with a number of vehicles driving masked and armed Qassam personnel crossed into the Egyptian side via Rafah crossing, and al-Ja`bari got out of the car, opened the back door and pulled out Shalit before handing him over to two senior Egyptian intelligence officers. Al-Ja`bari and a group of al-Qassam personnel escorted Shalit to the VIP hall at the crossing where the Israeli negotiator David Midan received Shalit from the Egyptian intelligence. (
Al-Ja`bari disclosed that “the freed prisoners are responsible for the killing of 596 Israelis” whereas prisoner Ayman Abu Khalil revealed that “the deal was close to suspension two days ago after Israel requested from the prisoners to sign a paper thereby they denounces terrorism and pledge not to carry out any hostile action against Israel” citing that “Tel Aviv relented after the prisoners refused to sign the pledge”. (
Female prisoner Amneh Muna almost obstructed the implementation of the swap deal and she actually delayed the release of the Israeli soldier Shalit after she and her friend Mariam a-Tarabein refused to head to Gaza strip with the rest of female prisoners. This created confusion in the Palestinian and Israeli sides before Israel agreed on deporting her abroad and Egypt accepted to grant her access to its territories until her deportation to a certain country that is most likely Jordan.   The specific reasons why Muna, who is affiliated with Fatah, refused to enter into Gaza strip are unknown; however, sources told “A-Sharq Al-Awsat” that she fears of “exile” there and not to be permitted departure or not to allow her family members an entry as they carry an Israel ID card. Israel army sources said that the issue is likely related to “Muna`s fear of revenge from the side of some female prisoners` families in the Gaza strip as she mistreated other female prisoners while spending over 10 years in the Israeli jails”.
Palestinian security sources disclosed that 95 percent of those who cooperated with the Israeli internal intelligence (Shabak), and who have been nabbed by Palestinian security apparatuses in the Gaza strip during the past five years, admitted they were in missions to obtain information on the captive Israeli soldier Shalit and they were offered in return $10 million.  The sources also affirmed that the Shabak and the Israeli Military Intelligence recruited the collaborators during the war on Gaza strip in 2008 with the purpose of collecting information about Shalit`s place “considering that the resistance may change his place of detention during the war then his new place can be identified”. The Israeli channel 10, on the other hand, disclosed yesterday morning that the Israeli intelligence and special units searched for Shalit in a number of countries. (

Resheq: No fixed date for Mishaal’s visit to Jordan
CAIRO, (PIC)-- Political bureau member of Hamas Ezzet Al-Resheq has denied press reports claiming that supreme leader of Hamas Khaled Mishaal would visit Jordan on Thursday.
He told the PIC on Tuesday that the news report was “inaccurate”, explaining that contacts were made to prepare for Mishaal’s visit but no date was so far determined.
The London-based Al-Hayat newspaper said that the Qatari Emir personally contacted King Abdullah of Jordan to improve relations between Amman and Hamas. It quoted unidentified sources as saying that Mishaal would most probably visit Amman on Thursday.

A press communiqué released by the leadership of the strike in the Israeli prisons that the strikes has been suspended to three days after signing an initial agreement. The press communiqué states that an agreement has been reached on ending the policy of solitary confinement and to transfer the secretary general of the PFLP Ahmad Sa`dat to a hospital in order to get a treatment before moving him to a regular section of Ramleh prison then to the regular sections of the prisons.  It was also agreed on reversing the situation pertaining to the measures the prison service imposes on the prisoners to the period that preceded Shalit`s captivity, and that a meeting for a final agreement will be held within three days, and in case the prison service would not abide (by the agreement) the strike will be resumed. (Al-Quds)  
Meanwhile, head of the Palestinian Prisoner Club Qaddoura Fares quoted Sa`dat saying he “will continue with the hunger strike that he started since 22 days until all just demands of the prisoners will be accomplished”. (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)  


* The liberated prisoners and masses chant for national unity. The president addressed them: you will see the results of your struggle in the independent state with Jerusalem as its capital. (Al-Quds)
* Meshaal: the deal is a lightened torch in the history of Palestine, and Gaza welcomes the freed prisoners with sweeping joy. (Al-Quds)
* Governor al-Husseini received them on behalf of the president and the leadership, Jerusalem celebrated its freed prisoners with huge celebrations. Al-Quds)
* The PLO Executive Committee: the liberation of the prisoners is the fruit of their steadfastness and our people`s struggle. (Al-Quds)
* Shalit returned to his parents in good condition. (Al-Quds)
* The president receives Colombia foreign minister.. (Al-Ayyam)
* The president: I will be offer Meshaal to hold the election as soon as possible. (Al-Ayyam)
* Washington voices “concern” over the release of some Palestinian prisoners. (Al-Ayyam)
* Israel slams the “forcible” interview by the Egyptian TV with Shalit. (Al-Ayyam)
* Rafah: One person died and seven more injured during the celebration of the prisoners. (Al-Ayyam)
* The president: I hope Israel would release a similar number of prisoners according to an agreement with Olmert.
* A Jewish group of extremists and an Israeli family offer $200 thousands in return for killing liberated prisoners. (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)
* Khaled Meshaal thanks Egypt and proposes meeting with the president to boost the reconciliation. (Al-Hayat al-Jaddida)
* Turkey confirm its high contribution to the release of Shalit and receives 11 prisoners. (Al-Hayat- Jadida)
* Hanniyeh: the prisoners deal is a strategic turning point in the conflict with the enemy and the possibility of defeating Israel has become a reality. (

* al-Ahmad: president Abbas welcomes meeting with Meshaal.(
*France demands releasing prisoners from the West Bank in support of president Abbas.

*Israel threatens the liberated prisoners to be arrested in case they would violate the agreed upon restrictions. (

Front Page Photos

Al-Quds: 1) Ramallah- President Mahmoud Abbas between the PLC speaker Dr. Aziz Dweik and Hasan Yousef and Nasser a-Dein a-Shaer during the reception celebration for the liberated prisoners yesterday.
Al-Ayyam: 1) President Abbas with a number of Hamas leaders (Aziz Dweik, Nasser a-Dein a-Shaer and Hasan Yousef) while welcoming the liberated prisoners at the presidential premise yesterday; 2) The family of a liberated prisoner while receiving him at the presidential headquarter yesterday; 3) Shalit after his release yesterday.
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: 1) Hamas leader Yehia a-Sanwar upon his arrival after his release yesterday; 2) the president shaking hands with the liberated prisoner Fakhri al-Barghouthi; 3) Shalit between Ahmad al-Ja`bari (in the left) and Egyptian intelligence officer upon arrival at the Egyptian side of Rafah crossing.

Voice of Palestine Interviews

**Erekat: the Palestinian leadership will pose the demand to release a batch of Palestinian prisoners according to a previous Palestinian-Israeli agreement with the US administration and the Quartet**
Saeb Erekat: Member of the PLO Executive Committee.
Q: What will the Palestinian side display during the meetings scheduled on October 26 in Jerusalem with the Quartet envoys?
We intend to hear if the Quartet envoys have anything new to offer. They are very aware of our stance and we have accepted the recent statement of the Quartet. The president also expressed at the Europe Parliamentary Council our willingness to resume negotiations and to meet all our obligations as stated in the Road Map Road and in statement number five of the Quartet Committee. We are awaiting now to hear what is the Israeli response on the Quartet`s statement. Israel has not yet accepted this statement and said it can study it and may accept it with reservations. It continues refusing to halt settlement actions and the principle of two states on 1967 lines. In addition, and since the release of the Quartet Committee, Israeli announced on the construction of 1100 housing units in Gilo settlement, occupied East Jerusalem, in addition to new 1650 housing settlement in Givaat Hamatous settlement. This is indeed the true Israeli response. Therefore, we hoped to hear from the Quartet Committee at least one sentence saying that the Israeli government is held responsible for destroying the peace process.  It is high time for the international community either to clearly announces it deals with Israel as a state above the international laws and the UN or to declare it is the state that is blamed for the collapse of the peace process and holds it responsible for the dire consequences of rejecting the decisions of the international legitimacy.  
Q: President Abbas said while welcoming the liberated Palestinian prisoners there is an agreement with the Israeli government on the release of a similar number of prisoners. Would you give us more details about this agreement?
This agreement was reached with the former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in September 2008. We constantly demanded from Olmert to release detainees, particularly those who were arrested before Oslo accords and female and sick prisoners. He positively responded to our demands by releasing batches of 300 detainees. The last time we demanded the release of another group of prisoners, he said that after the release of the Israeli soldier in return for Palestinian prisoners a similar number of Palestinian detainees will be freed. President Abu Mazen stressed then that this group of prisoners should include leaders like Ahmad Sa`dat, Marwan al-Barghouthi and others. We intend to raise this issue with the US administration and during the meeting with the Quartet envoys on October 26.  

Arab Press

Jordan Times
Netanyahu and his endgame in Palestine  
By Ramzy Baroud*

During his deliberately offensive speech on September 23, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the UN General Assembly as “the theatre of the absurd”. Israel’s few friends at the United Nations - led by the US delegation - listened gleefully and applauded as Netanyahu issued a steady stream of insults.
Netanyahu then returned to Israel enraged by the passionate international reception of Palestinian Authority’s statehood bid. Despite every Israeli effort, the world community has long been united in its support for Palestinian rights.
For decades, Israel laboured to legitimise itself, denying the very existence of Palestinians. Following its occupation of the rest of historic Palestine in 1967, it tried to validate its colonial project while concurrently targeting any political platform that represented the Palestinian people. This endeavour was unsuccessful, thanks in part to the resistance of the Palestinians themselves, but also largely due to the enduring international support.
The Palestinian people owe a great deal to the many countries that refused to adhere to such notions as might makes right. Over 100 nations embraced the PLO’s declaration of Palestine in 1988, and now, many more have been added to the list.
While Netanyahu is a rightwing zealot without a shred of respect for international law, he is also a pragmatic leader.
He understands that international support for Palestinians and the growing isolation and delegitimisation of Israel (a mainstream topic of discussion in Israel today) are still not enough to alter facts on the ground.
They will not impede the construction of the illegal “separation wall”, nor slow down Israel’s colonial ambitions. The reason for this is US support.
The illegal colonies dotting the Palestinian landscape, in violation of many UN resolutions, are funded by US money.
The wall is also largely an American investment. In fact, the entire Israeli colonial project would have been unfeasible without US funding, political backing and the silencing of any country that tried to challenge this iniquitous state of affairs.
Despite the difficulties facing Netanyahu at home - social upheaval and mass protests - and abroad, Netanyahu remains well-composed, speaking with the tone of an emperor.
His secret is not the prowess of his army - whose recent victories include the killing and wounding of thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza - nor the moral ascendancy of his logic (it doesn’t exist).
Netanyahu is elevated by the full knowledge that there are many men and women in Washington DC who remain dedicated to Israel’s interests, even at times like this, of economic, political, military and even moral crises in America. Yes, in the minds of these individuals and organisations, Israel’s interests, sadly, trump US interests.
Keeping all this in mind, it seemed entirely incongruous that while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was trotting the globe to harness support for his statehood bid, Israel did little on that front.
Instead, it announced grand plans to finally isolate occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, to further expand existing settlements, to dig more trenches and erect more walls - not only in and around the West Bank and Jerusalem, but also around its border alongside Egypt.
Shortly after announcing plans to construct over 1,000 units in the illegal Gilo colony (also referred to as “neighbourhood” by US and Israeli media), another “neighbourhood”, Givat HaMatos, will be built.
According to the Israeli anti-settlement organisation Peace Now, the latest announcement is particularly grave and is a “game changer that significantly changes the possible border between Israel and Palestine”.
“Unlike recent plans that caused controversy in Gilo and Pisgat Ze’ev which expanded the footprint of existing neighbourhoods, the new plan creates an entirely new footprint of a new Israeli neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, for the first time since the establishment of Har Homa in 1997 by the first Netanyahu government.” (, October 13)
In all fairness to Netanyahu’s government, the new construction, Plan No. 14295, is an expanded version of Plan No. 5834A, which was made public during the term of former prime minister Ehud Olmert in 2008.
It is a fact that all Israeli governments since 1967 carried out illegal settlement construction in Palestine, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and many clearly worded UN resolutions.
The newest Israeli violation of international law is part of an Israeli action to speed up its projection of the endgame in Palestine. Shortly before the public announcement concerning Givat HaMatos, Netanyahu announced, on October 11, “the establishment of a new committee charged with finding ways to legalise settlement outposts built on private Palestinian land” (Al Jazeera, October 13). This means that every act of theft by individual or groups of Jewish settlers and colonial enterprise that took place since 1967 might soon be recognised as legal ownership.
It is the height of injustice, not only from a Palestinian point of view, but also from standards set by international law. For example, UN Resolution 252 of May 21, 1968, considers “that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel … which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change its status”.
There are numerous laws and legal proclamations that render null and void all Israel’s illegal action in the rest of the occupied territories.
The world’s only superpower, the veto-wielding US, has done much to ensure that Israel’s violations of international law go unpunished. Worse, it largely funded these violations, and shielded Israel from any accountability.
As for the real “theatre of the absurd”, US lawmakers from both parties are launching a “new push to cut off American aid to the Palestinians as punishment for their efforts to become a separate state, with a House of Representatives committee pressing ahead with a bill withholding funding from any UN agency that recognises Palestine”, according to the Financial Times (October 10).
Meanwhile, presidential candidates are once again grovelling before the Israeli lobby. The latest is Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who claims that President Barack Obama has not done enough by way of aiding and abetting the Israeli occupation. He promised to “bolster and repair alliance” with Israel, and escalate US action against Iran (Ynet News, October 9).
“Our friends should never fear that we will not stand by them in an hour of need,” he said.
“Theatre of the absurd,” indeed.

*The writer (
 is an internationally syndicated columnist and the editor of His latest book is “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story” (Pluto Press, London). He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.

The United Arab Emirates
Gulf News
Prisoner swap about scoring political points
Shalit's release could enable Hamas to extend its sphere of influence outside Gaza

An image grab taken from Egyptian state TV shows Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit speaking during an interview at an undisclosed location in Egypt on Tuesday following his release after 5 years of captivity.
Yesterday's successful prisoner swap between the Israelis and Hamas was not a humanitarian gesture by either side. The Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured by Hamas more than five years ago, and some of the hundreds of Palestinians have been in Israeli hands for much longer than that. Their release could have happened at any time, but the present moment suited both sides for their own political advantage.
Both Hamas and the Israelis (for very different reasons) have been put under pressure by both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas going to the United Nations to seek recognition for the Palestinian state, and the new political dynamism in the region created by the events of the Arab Spring.
The Israelis are pumping out their lies with great fluency. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman produced the most flagrant nonsense after Shalit reached Israel yesterday when he said that "we hope to live in peace and reconciliation with our neighbours. We are ready for the immediate resumption of peace talks. The Palestinian side so far says that they are not willing to talk to us. We hope they change."
The Netanyahu government has been blatant in its refusal to talk to the Palestinians, and to frustrate any attempt to go back to the defined path to a two-state solution. It has continued to build and expand its colonies, and it has increased the roadblocks and routine harassment and persecution of the Palestinians.
Hamas has different issues to consider. It has agreed to reconciliation with Fatah, but it wants a reasonable measure of influence over events as they unfold. The release of Shalit allows them to enter a wider field of regional politics outside the narrow confines of Gaza, which may well suit them over the next 12 months.

The Daily Star
Make Israel comply

The international media focused Tuesday on the prisoner swap between Israel and the Palestinians, highlighting the theme of an end to a five-year saga. The release of more than 1,000 Palestinian detainees and prisoners is certainly a welcome sight, but one must remember that around 10,000 more such cases remain. Commentators have been enthusiastic in citing the huge number of Palestinians swapped for a single Israeli soldier; they’re not nearly as enthusiastic in talking about the huge number of prisoners who are behind bars in the first place, swept up under the category of “terrorist” while most are simply fighting an unjust foreign occupation.
Moreover, some of those who are being released as a part of the deal are not allowed to return home; they will be going to places that are not of their choosing, and will face the difficulty of integration, in new countries.
But the most significant developments are yet to come, as Tuesday’s prisoner swap generates serious challenges on two fronts.
An upcoming meeting of the International Quartet, in the wake of the Israel-Hamas prisoner deal, is now taking on added significance. The swap demonstrated that the process of negotiations between enemies have a hope of success. It obviously required many rounds of meetings and discussions, but the latest deal shows that such efforts can succeed.
The Quartet will be expected to play its proper role in eliminating the complications surrounding a resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Officials from the Quartet will have to realize that they cannot just go through the motions of issuing statements that express a hope for peace. The international community must either facilitate things, or better still, exert pressure on the belligerent party, Israel, in order to make real progress. Otherwise, the general public can do without the photo-op diplomacy of empty meetings.
Meanwhile, as the latest attempt to re-start the peace process approaches, the Palestinians face the challenge of presenting a unified position. Fatah and Hamas are supposedly reconciled; will their newfound rapprochement manage to contribute anything useful to the negotiation tug-of-war?
The Jewish state will not act like a charity organization; it will act based on what its leaders see as the national interest. If there is no Palestinian determination to negotiate as a unified team, the Israelis will play on this weakness and fall back on the old “no partner for peace” strategy.
This week’s prisoner swap demonstrates that the Israelis do respond to pressure, whether domestic or external. The next round of peace negotiations, should they take shape, will be yet another disappointment unless the two missing sides to the equation step up their performance, and supply this pressure. The Palestinians and the Quartet have their work cut out for them.

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