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Welcome to This Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for April 3rd to the 9th, 2010
The ruling Hamas party in Gaza announced this week it would implement death sentence of more than a dozen people, as Israeli attacks on the West Bank and siege on the Gaza Strip left one civilian dead at least six others injured. These stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
Letâ€™s begin our weekly report with the non-violent activities in the West Bank with IMEMCâ€™s Jamila Hasson:
Anti wall nonviolent protests were organized on Friday in the villages of An Nabi Saleh north of Ramalla, Bilâ€™in and Nilâ€˜in, central West Bank, as well as Al Maâ€™ssara village, southern West Bank.
Joining the villagers were international and Israeli activists. Troops used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets to counter the protesters; in Bilâ€™in soldiers used live rounds injuring one civilian. A journalist from Bilin was arrested during the demonstration
On Thursday night The Israeli military invaded Al Maâ€™asara village and threatened local organizers with detention if the anti wall protest continue.
At all three locations the anti wall protests were in commemoration of the April 19th 1948 Dier Yassin massacre. Etzel and Lechi zionist military organizations attacked Deir Yassin, a village with about 750 Palestinian residents. These military organizations became part of the Israeli army when the country was officially recognized.
Over 100 men, women, and children were systematically murdered. Fifty-three orphaned children were left along the wall of Jerusalemâ€™s Old City, where they were found by Miss Hind Husseini who brought them to her home, which was to become the Dar El-Tifl El-Arabi orphanage.
For imemc.org this is Jamilla Hasson
The Political Report
The ruling Hamas party in Gaza is to execute more than dozen Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israeli intelligence amidst calls to rescind its decision. Meanwhile, Hamas-Fatah dialogue is still deadlocked. IMEMCâ€™s George Rishmawi has the latest:
At least 16 people are awaiting execution, according to Hamas’s decision. Most of those facing execution are Fatah affiliated individuals whom Hamas has accused of collaborating with Israel, a capital offense under Hamas’ legal standards. If Hamas carries out its scheduled executions, they will be the first in Gaza since 2005.
While legal authorities in Gaza say the executions are consistent with the Palestinian law, independent legal bodies argue that only Palestinian president is the one who has the right to ratify such executions.
On its part, Human Rights Watch has called on Hamas to rescind its decision of carrying out the executions. Human Rights Watch described the Hamas execution methods – death by firing squad or hanging – ‘inherently cruel and inhuman’ and says the death sentences, which were handed down by military courts, ‘violate fair trial standards.’ Bill Van-Ezvalet is a spokesperson for the Human Rights Watch in Jerusalem.
(Actuality – In English )
In another issue, The Israeli army has lifted a gag order on the case of a former military employee leaking top secret documents to the press. The documents indicate Israel has been conducting assassinations of Palestinians in the West Bank.
The Israeli Human Rights group B’Tselem accused the Israeli government of ignoring the seriousness of the information by only choosing to probe how the leak happened.
The documents, which were given to an Israeli journalist by a soldier back in 2007, indicate the military has ignored court orders to avoid targeted assassinations of Palestinians if an arrest is possible instead. The ex-soldier, who works as a journalist now, is on trial for espionage.
The Israeli government has not indicated whether it is investigating violations of the court order or international human rights laws. Bill Van-Ezvalet is a Human Rights Watch representative in Jerusalem:
(Actuality – In English )
The military announced back in 2006 that, given the opportunity, troops will arrest wanted Palestinian and not kill them. B’Tselem says they have documented many cases sine then were Israeli troops handled arrests operations as if they were hit missions.
On the internal Palestinian level, Hamas’ leadership in exile has revealed that Saudi Arabia is currently involved in mediation talks between Hamas and Fatah. The Hamas declaration came after the two parties have failed to reach a unity deal following long series of mediation talks by Egyptian brokers.
Hamas contends that the Egyptian paper for conciliation on which Fatah signed in October of last year, needs to be modified in accordance with the original script drafted months before the signing.
For IMEMC.org this is George Rishmawi.
The Israeli Attacks Report
This week the Israeli military conducted at least 15 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During those attacks troops injured five civilians and detained 22 others, including 6 children. Meanwhile attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip were also reported this week. IMEMCâ€™s Rami Al Meghari has the details:
A Palestinian young man was found dead inside a tunnel at the Gaza Strip boarders with Egypt. 18-year-old Bilal Abu Taha went missing along with five other workers as a tunnel at the southern Gaza Strip borders collapsed on them on Tuesday. Five made it to the Egyptian side unharmed while Abu Taha got trapped and was found dead on Thursday.
Since Israel started its siege on the Gaza Strip back on June 2006, the tunnels at the borders with Egypt became the main sources of much needed supplies for the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the coastal enclave. With Abu Tahaâ€™s death the number of workers killed in tunnel accidents now reached 132.
Also this week in Gaza, Israeli tanks and bulldozers invaded areas at the northern borders. Israeli tanks stationed near the border area, opened fire at residential areas while bulldozers uprooted trees in nearby farm lands. No injuries were reported, however, tank shells caused damage to some houses in the area.
In the West Bank, two Palestinian youth were injured on Thursday by Israeli troops during clashes erupted in the southern city of Bethlehem. Both were moved to a hospital in the city were doctors described their wounds as moderate. Also on Thursday, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian residents in Hebronâ€™s old city, southern West Bank, lightly injuring four people.
On Wednesday undercover Israeli soldiers, apparently using a stolen Palestinian car, opened fire at a group of men at the entrance to the village of Bitta northern west Bank; injuring 33 year old Haytham Odeh before detaining him and three other men. Troops later allowed a Palestinian ambulance crew to examine Odeh before he was taken away by the military.
Internally, a home-made bomb exploded on Wednesday near the house of a Fatah fighter located in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem. The bomb targeted Hassan Abu Zaghab, an activist in the Al Aqsa brigades, the armed wing of the Fatah movement, however he escaped unharmed.
Thousands of Palestinian political detainees in Israeli jails began this week a hunger strike. According to the Center for Prisoners’ Studies, around eight thousand Palestinian detainees being held in 13 military detention facilities in Israel took part in the strike. Prisoners are protesting Israeli policies against them and the harsh life conditions they are acing. Currently Israel holds nearly 11,000 Palestinian political detainees among them 400 children.
For IMEMC.org this is Rami Al Meghari in Gaza.
And that’s just some of the news from This Week in Palestine. For regular updates, please visit our website at www.IMEMC.org. Thank you for joining us from Occupied Bethlehem. This week’s report has been brought to you by Ghassan Bannoura.