More homes planned

19/12/09; (2 Items

Israel has invited tenders to build hundreds of more homes in Jewish settlements in occupied east Jerusalem, according to the independent Channel 10 television station. The Housing Ministry sought bids to build 692 homes in the settlements of Neve Yaacov, Pisgat Ze’ev and Har Homa, the channel said. East Jerusalem settlements already house 200,000 settlers alongside 270,000 Palestinians. Israel’s continued expansion of settlements is one of the biggest obstacles to the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians, now suspended for a year.; See:;

Gazan children bear ‘scars of war’
Phoebe Greenwood; 29/12/09
Samar Zaquot sits in front of a portrait of her eldest brother, Mohammed, that almost reaches from the floor to the ceiling of her parents’ front room in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza. Mohammed was 20 when he was killed by an Israeli rocket while having a picnic with friends, just before Israel’s Gaza offensive began on December 27 last year. Sixteen-year-old Samar smiles as she remembers where she was on the first day of Israel’s three-week military offensive that would leave 1,400 Palestinians dead, including 352 children. “It was the first day of our leaving exams at school. We were just going into our classrooms and preparing to sit the test when we heard the bombs falling. None of us expected it. “My friends started crying and screaming. They were all terrified but I wasn’t. I told them, ‘don’t be scared, if we die it is our judgement’. Ever since Mohammed was killed, I don’t care if I die or not,” she says.