Outrageous!: A BBC Journalist Almost Criticises Israel. Burn The Witch!

Jeremy Bowen, the BBCs Middle East Editor (a position he's held since it was created in 2005) is in trouble with some for a recent internal memo he sent to colleagues regarding the Israel/Palestine conflict.

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Rice In The Middle East

Last year, the Israel waged a brutal aggressive war against Lebanon, killing over 1,000 civilians, roughly a third of them children. According to the Lebanese Higher Relief Council, another 4,054 people were injured and 970,000 were internally displaced - Amnesty International put the number at over a million. Amnestyconcluded that the "evidence strongly suggests that the extensive destruction of public works, power systems, civilian homes and industry was deliberate and an integral part of the military strategy, rather than "collateral damage".

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Olmert Is Planning For War, Not Peace

Four Palestinian civilians have been killed in an Israeli raid on the West Bank city of Ramallah. The IDF entered Ramallah with the stated objective of locating and detaining Rabiah Hamad, a senior militant with the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. Israeli soldiers exchanged fire with the armed Hamad and injured him, but he was able to escape. Four other Palestinians were detained - Israel claims they are militants, Palestinian sources say none of them are operatives of the organisation.

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Give Peace A Chance

There are two important event threads currently at the fore of the Israel/Palestine conflict. The first is the (literal) embracing of PA President Mahmoud Abbas by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. This, of course, is nothing new - Israel, the U.S. and Britain have hailed Abbas as the voice of `moderation' ever since Hamas was elected to power (such support was notably absent when Abbas was Prime Minister). This support must be understood in terms of the relentless U.S./Israeli campaign to topple the Hamas government. After the U.S. failure (not for lack of trying) to ensure Fatah's victory in the January elections, this has taken the form of both devastating economic strangulation and brutal military aggression (under the banner, `Operation Summer Rains'). Both are collective punishment, the idea being that the Palestinians would blame Hamas for their suffering and vote/kick them out of office.

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What Does The Ceasefire Mean, And Will It Last?

There has been a very welcome development in the Gaza Strip: Israel and the various Palestinian factions have committed to a ceasefire. What's more, it appears to be holding. It comes after the IDF failure to stop the Qassam rockets landing on Sderot and southern Israel despite months of incursions and military operations into the Strip. When the Palestinians first proposed the truce, Israel rejected it, labelling the move as "ludicrous" and a "media stunt".

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