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This Week in Palestine – Week 17 011
Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for April 23rdto 29th 2011
General Lead Palestinians reach a reconciliation agreement that is not welcomed by Israel and the United States, meanwhile Israeli settlers and military set up attacks against Palestinian communities, these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
Lets us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in the West Bank, with IMEMC’s Fredrika Kallstrom
Two children and a youth were injured, three Israeli activists were arrested on Friday as Israeli troops attacked the weekly anti-wall protests taking place in Bilâin, Nilâin and al-Nabi Salleh, central West Bank, as well as al-Maâssara village in the south.
This week protesters welcomed the National Unity deal signed by Palestinian factions in Cairo on Wednesday.
In Bilâin, 8 year old boy was injured many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation during the weekly protests there. Like every Friday for the past six years international and Israeli supporters joined the villagers after the midday prayers and marched up to the wall to protest. Upon arriving at the gate of the wall, troops stationed there fired tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets at protesters, leading to their injuries.
In al-Nabi Salleh, a 13 year old child and a young man were injured, three Israeli supporters arrested when troops attacked the weekly protest against the wall and settlements. International and Israeli supporters marched up after the midday prayers to the land where Israeli plans to build a new settlement. Troops attacked the villagers as soon as they reached the lands and forced them back into the village.
Later troops stormed the village and fired chemical water and tear gas into people’s homes. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In the nearby village of Nalin, villagers along with their Israeli and international supporters, marched up to the wall where soldiers fired tear gas and sound bombs at them. Many were treated for effects of tear gas. This week protest ended with clashed between soldiers and local youth.
Al-Maâsara village in the southern West Bank, international and Israeli supporters joined the weekly protest against the wall and settlements there and Israeli troops stopped villagers from reaching the construction-side of the wall and used rifle butts and batons to push people back into the village. Israeli troops also arrested two French activists before the weekly protest had ended.
For IMEMC.org this is Fredrika Kallstrom
This week, rival Palestinian parties, Fatah and Hamas signed in Cairo an agreement on national unity. The signing bred various reactions from the region and the world .IMEMC’s Rami Al-Meghari has more.
Rival Palestinian parties, Fatah and Hamas, came to a historic agreement on Wedensday in Cairo. After a four-year split, the factions say they will form a unity government and move towards elections.
Officials from both parties confirm that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of the Fatah party and Hamas’ top political leader, Khaled Mash’al, will sign a unity deal in Cairo next week. The agreement was officially announced at a press conference in the Egyptian capital .
Under the agreement, a new cabinet will be formed, which will begin preparing the Palestinian territories for elections. Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Alzahar spoke to Aljazeera about the agreement.
‘Elections for the legislative council, the presidential post, and the Palestinian national council, will be held all together at once. I will happen one year after signing the national conciliation agreement, with the participation of all Palestinian factions.’
In reaction to the agreement, Israeli officials expressed concern and said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will have to either choose between peace with Israel or peace with Hamas. Israel considers Hamas a ‘ terrorist organization’ that is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
Right after the conciliation news, Israel called on key international players like Washington and the EU not to recognize a Palestinian state declaration, the Palestinian Authority is set to ask the UN to embrace by next September.
Washington called on any upcoming Palestinian government to renounce violence and abide by previously-signed peace agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, chaired by President Mahmoud Abbas.
Also its threatened to with hold financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority
Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Eriqat, rejected Israeli concerns outright as ‘ interference in Palestinian affairs’. Eriqat regarded the unity agreement as purely Palestinian issue that has nothing to do with the peace with Israel.
Hamas and Fatah split after Hamas won legislative elections in January 2006. In June2007, Hamas took over Gaza and ousted the Abbas-led Fatah party from the territory. Since then, Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip.
In related news, Egyptian foreign minister, Nabil Aarabi, hinted at the possibility that Egypt would largely ease travel restrictions on the Egypt-Gaza border line for both Gaza residents and goods. Palestinian sources welcomed the statement, while Israeli sources voiced out fear this would enhance Hamas’s standing in the Gaza Strip.
Prior to the fall of former regime of Egyptian Husni Mubarak in February, Egypt has imposed severe restrictions on movement of Gazans on the Rafah crossing terminal in southern Gaza, allowing only occasional opening of the crossing for special cases such as patients, students and people with residencey permits in nearby Arab countries.
Closing the Rafah crossing terminal coincided with the Israeli enforcement of the siege on Gaza in June 2007.Rami Almeghari. IMEMC.org. Gaza
The Israeli Attacks Report
Israeli settlers intensify assaults against Palestinian communities and Israeli gunboats open fire at Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, the details are coming up,,
A group of armed extremist Israeli settlers hurled Molotov cocktails at several Palestinian stores in the southern West Bank city of Hebron late Wednesday, setting four stores on fire in al-Kazazeen market in the old city.
Palestinian firefighters rushed to the scene but were blocked by Israeli soldiers declaring the area a closed military zone.
Also in Hebron area, Israeli settlers dumped sewage water from the settlement of Kfar Etzion causing serious damage to farmlands in the village of Beit Ummar. Ibrahim Sabarneh, whose land was flooded, said this flooding happens frequently.
On Monday, a group of extremist settlers attacked a number of Palestinian homes near the Keryat Arba’ illegal settlement inside the city of Hebron.
Settlers also attacked a car that belongs to resident Mohamamd al-Qameeri from Hebron, and broke its wind shield however, no injuries were reported.
Staying in the West Bank, a large force of Israeli military invaded the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem Wednesday morning. A Palestinian source said, a number of military vehicles entered the city and opened fire in the air in the early hours of the morning, causing panic among the residents.
It is believed that this incursion came after a Palestinian security officer shot a single bullet as an Israeli military vehicle was passing near Tulkarem Tuesday night. However, a Palestinian security chief said the bullet was fired by mistake and no injuries were reported.
Palestinian sources reported that hundreds of Israeli settlers, mostly armed, roamed around the city of Nablus in the northern part of the West Bank. This motion by the settlers came two days after an Israeli settler was shot dead in Nablus, believed to be by Israeli military gunfire by mistake.
The settler was killed when he was with a group of other settlers who invaded Nablus and attempted to enter the Tomb of Joseph in the city. According to Palestinian sources, PA police tried to stop them however, the settlers pointed their guns at the police. The source added the police opened fire in the air to stop the settlers. Immediately a nearby Israeli military post responded to the source of fire, which led to the settler’s death.
A group of at least ten armed Israeli settlers violently attacked several farmers in Wadi Qana, near the West Bank city of Salfit, and hurled stones at them wounding a number of farmers, including an 84-year old woman.
In the meantime, Israeli soldiers imposed a tight closure on the village of Azzoun near Qalqilia in the West Bank Tuesday morning. Head of the village council, Ahmad Imran said Israeli troops set up temporary checkpoints at all the entrances of the village and denied entry and exit to anyone.
Imran said he is not informed of the reason behind this closure.
In Jerusalem, settlers attacked on Sunday a group of Palestinian children with batons and used pepper spray against them. The children were treated for the effects of the pepper spray in their face especially in the eyes.
A number of Israeli armoured vehicles carried out a limited invasion into an area, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning. Soldiers fired rounds of live ammunition into several directions; damage was reported but no injuries.
On Saturday, Israeli military gunboats fired shells and opened intensive fire at Palestinian fishing boats and fired a number of flairs causing panic among fishermen forcing them to go back to shore. No casualties were reported however, fishermen were deprived of their only source of income for that day.
In other news, the Egyptian Authorities allowed on Wednesday evening six Palestinians who were in Egyptian prisons to return to the Gaza Strip via the Rafah Border Terminal.
Imad Al Sayyid, spokesperson of the families of Palestinian detainees in Egyptian prisons, confirmed that the six Palestinians were released and crossed into the Gaza Strip. Since the beginning of the revolution that ousted former Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian Authorities released 46 detained Palestinians.
There are currently at least twenty Palestinians imprisoned by the Egyptian Authorities, including six whose place of detention or whereabouts are still unknown.
Israeli authorities opened on Thursday Karem Abu Salem crossing to allow the entry of aids and goods to the coastal region.
Raed Fatouh, Gaza crossing official, said that Israeli authorities allowed the entry of 280 vans loaded with aids and goods for agricultural, commercial, and transportation sectors including 20 new vehicles.
He pointed out that two vans carrying flowers will be exported and limited quantities of cooking gas will be pumped via Karm Abu Salem crossing.
And that was just some of the news from this week in Palestine, for more updates; please visit our website at www.imemc.org. Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem, This report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and George Rishmawi.