Israeli Officer Taped Head Butting Woman

An Israeli human rights group on Monday released a video showing a helmeted Israeli policeman head butting a Palestinian woman who was protesting against the demolition of homes in Arab East Jerusalem three weeks ago.

The group, B’Tselem, said the incident was filmed by one of its researchers during Israel’s Nov. 5 demolition of homes built by Palestinians without permission from the Jerusalem Municipality.

B’Tselem monitors human rights violations in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem. It said police were investigating the incident.

In July, B’Tselem activists filmed two Israeli soldiers shooting a bound Palestinian with a rubber bullet. The soldiers were later charged by the army.
Media Ban on Gaza

Meanwhile, International media groups asked the Israeli Supreme Court to end a ban on journalists entering the Gaza Strip that was imposed by Israel nearly three weeks ago as violence flared in the territory.

The Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem said in a statement its lawyers had filed a petition seeking the reopening to foreign journalists of Israel’s Erez crossing to Gaza, where 1.5 million Palestinians live under an Israeli blockade.

Israel has cited security concerns for stopping journalists entering Gaza, to which it controls all access, save a normally closed border post with Egypt. However, Erez crossing is open to some, notably people needing medical care, officials said.

Last week, the heads of international media organizations wrote to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert urging him to end the ban. It comes at a time when the United Nations is criticizing Israel for blocking the supply to Gaza of food, fuel and other aid. Israeli leaders say this is a response to rocket fire from Gaza.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said in an editorial on Sunday: "Shutting out foreign journalists is an act of punishment that gives Israel and her democracy a bad name."

Israel bans all its citizens, including journalists, from going to Gaza. It also routinely denies passage to Palestinians, including journalists, wishing to enter or leave the enclave.
Aid Trickles

Israel opened border crossings with Gaza, allowing in limited amounts of food and fuel for the second time in three weeks.

Aid groups said the one-day shipment would have minimal impact because border crossings have been closed for so long, depleting reserves of everything from flour to animal feed.

"It is just not enough," said Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Israel agreed to allow in more than 40 truckloads of goods, including 10 for UNRWA, officials said. Gunness said his agency needed about 15 trucks a day.

Violence that has undermined a truce agreed in June began on Nov. 4, when raiding Israeli troops killed five Hamas Islamist fighters and Palestinians then renewed rocket fire into Israel.

( and agencies)

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