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Welcome to Team Shalom Fry'd Daze. Fry'd Daze is a long running series dedicated to dialogue in the Middle East. Currently we are in our second year. These diaries are not intended to be a flame forum, but rather something where community members can meet and exchange ideas about I/P and/or issues that concern the Middle East.

Generally, these diaries take the form of four to five news articles and short commentary selected by the diarist. These stories however, are just a platform to get discussion going. The diaries from now on will publish under the banner of the  Team Shalom

What is Team Shalom:

"Team Shalom is Team Peace. We are a group of Kossacks supporting a fair, pragmatic, and realistic resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the two-state solution. We support Israel's continued existence as a Jewish and democratic state, with it existing alongside Palestine, a Palestinian and democratic state, as friends and neighbors. We believe this is the only way forward and the only way to achieve an enduring peace. This is the view endorsed by the overwhelming majority of the world's nations, including the Quartet, which consists of the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations."

So please participate. The only thing we ask is that you keep comments respectful, reality based and please no use of Anti-Semetic or Anti-Arab memes. Enjoy!

For our first story we go to Ma'an News and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas heading to Gaza to try to forge an agreement for National Unity ahead of possible upcoming Palestinian elections.

Practical arrangements underway for Abbas visit to Gaza

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday instructed Civil Affairs chairman Hussein Al-Sheikh to make logistical arrangements for his visit to Gaza as quickly as possible.

Abbas also asked Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh to make arrangements to receive him at Erez border crossing in the coming days.

The president said Wednesday that he was ready to hold unity talks with Hamas in the Gaza Strip in the midst of massive youth protests across the West Bank and Gaza demanding an end to the division

With the future of the Palestinian Polity on the line at least this is a positive step towards creating a coherent polity. In related news: Hamas breaks up pro-reconciliation rally in Gaza

Hamas police in Gaza detained a Palestinian protester and two Palestinian cameramen on Thursday while breaking up a rally calling for political reconciliation, and 16 other protesters briefly holed themselves up in a United Nations school.

About 40 activists gathered in front of a UN school, waving flags and chanting slogans for unity between the rival Hamas and Fatah factions. When Hamas police approached the group, it dispersed, and police detained the three Palestinians.

The 16 other Palestinians rushed into the UN school compound, where Hamas police are prevented from operating. Protester Nuha Wajeh told reporters by text message that the group vows not to leave the school until representatives from the dueling Palestinian parties, Hamas and Fatah, meet with them and pledge to end their bitter rivalry.

Hamas is certainly sending mixed messages here by making things ready for President Abbas but at the same time trying to co-opt and suppress demonstrations for democracy and unity.

However, not to be left out, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had this to say:

The Palestinian unity government with Hamas, he warned, would kill off the peace process. "What do I negotiate with Hamas, the method of our termination?," he asked.

He questioned how is it possible to be for peace with Israel and also for peace with Hamas, which he said wants to destroy Israel, and likened such a situation to a peace agreement with Al-Qaida.....

...If Mahmoud Abbas wants a peace, he said, he should stop flying around the world. "Ramallah is ten minutes away from Jerusalem" and both sides should sit down and negotiate “until smoke comes out", the way Israel made peace with Egypt and Jordan, Netanyahu said.

Seven Israeli prime ministers tried to make peace with the Palestinians, he said, but yielded no results. “They refuse to say they recognize a Jewish state. I want to hear this clear statement,” he said.

In other news as if trying to prove PM Netanyahu right Hamas ...

10 mortars fired at Negev; no injuries

Palestinian terrorists in north Gaza fired 10 mortars towards Israel's western Negev region on Friday. Four of the shells were fired before noon. Some of them landed in Palestinian territory.

At around 4 pm six additional mortars launched from the Hamas-ruled territory landed in an open area within the limits of the Eshkol Regional Council, near the security fence separating Israel and Gaza. There were no reports of injury or damage in either attack.

On Wednesday two gunmen belonging to Hamas' armed wing – the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades – were killed during an Israeli aerial strike in Gaza. The attack was launched in response to rocket fire from Gaza on Israeli territory earlier in the day.

Haaretz is repoting: Report: U.S. considering strategic outreach to Hezbollah

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is considering reaching out to the political elements in Hezbollah, the Washington Post reported on Friday, stressing that the at this stage it was an intelligence effort, not a policymaking one.

In an opinion piece appearing on the newspaper's online edition, columnist David Ignatius indicated that Washington was considering an effort similar to the one the U.K, implemented "during the 1990s with Sinn Fein, the legal political wing of the terrorist Irish Republican Army."

"That outreach led to breakthrough peace talks and settlement of a conflict that had been raging for more than a century," Ignatius wrote, adding that several U.S. officials were expected to endorse dialogue with political elements of both Hezbollah and the Taliban in an upcoming intelligence report.

In a positive Story despite the killings at Itamar AND the Settlers terrorist like behavior there comes this nice piece of news:    Report: Palestinian baby delivered at Itamar settlement :

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces and paramedics saved the life of a Palestinian woman and her newly born infant Wednesday, at the settlement where five members of a family were murdered, news reports said.

The illegal settlement of Itamar was the site of a brutal murder Friday during which five members of the same family were killed, including three children. Israeli officials have blamed Palestinians for the attack.

But on Wednesday, paramedics told the Israeli news site Ynet that a Palestinian taxi arrived at the settlement with a woman giving birth but facing complications.

Anyway to all of you, please add and discuss.... Shalom, Salam, Peace

Originally posted to volleyboy1 on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 11:12 AM PDT.

Also republished by Team Shalom.

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