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Winter In The Holy Land

Winter In The Holy Land

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-Dec. 24: Mordechai Vanunu was arrested by police on his way to the Mass in Bethlehem - to be released only at 2.00 after midnight, and with five days of "house arrest" at the St. George's Cathedral where he enjoys hospitality ever since his release in April.

For his first Christmas after 18 years of imprisonment, the nuclear whistleblower had violated the restrictions prohibiting him from leaving the city without police permission - as getting permission to enter the Palestinian territories was anyway out of the question. His being arrested for wanting to pray in Bethlehem was reported prominently in Israeli and international media. Vanunu is now celebrating Christmas with the community of St. George's Cathedral. [Based on the report by Rayna Moss ]

-The University of Haifa turned down a request of Arab students to place a X-mass tree in the main building and agreed only to do that in the campus margins. Can anyone explain this decision? If Tony Blair can light a Hanukia in Downing street 10 and George bush at the White House, where the proportion of the Jewish community is far smaller than that of the Christian community at HU, why isn't possible for our university to show more respect, dignity and tolerance? [Haifa Professor Avraham Oz - - in his "Middle East Update, Christmas 2004"]

-Nobody is allowed to compare the holocaust with anything else, but Gaza settlers protesting their imminent evacuation from Palestinian territory (with huge monetary compensations) couldn't care less. This week they stole the show with their controversial orange-yellow stars, but had to share the stage with other settlers, those of Pe'at Sadeh, who publicly opted for the possibility to stay together as a community on a parcel of land near Ashkelon, in Israel proper.

-While the world speaks about Arafat's death as "the wonderful opportunity" a Gush Shalom delegation - present at the 40 days' memorial in Ramallah - saw that for Palestinians his heritage is the key to legitimacy: (more on

-On Thursday a protest confronting Limor Livnat, the Likud Minister of Education. The hard-line minister had set her mind upon appointing a Lieutenant Colonel for every High School (sic!). Arriving at 4pm to the Beit Goldmintz building in Netanyah to launch her newest idea she was met by protesters many of whom had travelled quite a distance. The protest was initiated by Haifa activist Haggai Katriel, and joined by the "Courage to Refuse" anti-occupation reservist organization (, as well as by a new high-school group ("Shministim") in the process of being formed. In the past weeks the Israeli media had been full of revelations on the ugly side of army behaviour in the occupied territories - due to the revelations of the "MachsomWatch" women ( ) as well as the interviews taken from fellow soldiers by the "Break the Silence" group ( ).

-The third olive harvest in which all Israeli peace groups participated comes to an end; there may be a few more "last chances" to pick the very last olives (more info at the office of Rabbis for Human Rights : 02-5637731, Arik 050-5607034, Diana 054-5309432 - ). For a thorough background of the three year old "olive war" read Ta'ayush activist Vera Reider's "No peace under the olive branches", which is accessible at:


The eye of the needle that is Gaza

Yitzhak Laor recalls how we got into the Disengagement Trap

Wed., December 22, 2004

òáøéú / hebrew:

" (...) gradually, with the integration of the territories in Israel, or more accurately, the deepening of the annexation, it was impossible for the political system, or for that matter, the military or economic system, to accept the position of "all the territories for peace." Thus, the doves of Labor (...) retreated to Meretz. But in the same way, with the deepening control over the territories, Meretz retreated toward positions that included formulations like "the large settlement blocs" and "territorial exchanges" (...) ~~~

Amos Elon leaves Israel and looks back (talking to Ari Shavit):

òáøéú / hebrew:

"Nothing has changed here in the last 40 years. The problems are exactly the same as they always were. The solutions were already known back then. But no one paid attention to them. And I found myself repeating [myself]"

# Shepherds and the Wall #

# Eyal Dor-Ofer's checkpoint photo gallery at: #

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