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This week in Palestine – a service of the International Middle East Media Center for the week of Friday, June 10th to Thursday June 16th, 2005

PA Politics

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei told P.A ministers during a weekly session in Ramallah that if security departments do not perform their duties in enforcing the law, he will suspend the government. He added that the P.A security departments should act immediately against any person who endangers the security and lives of the Palestinian residents. The statements of Qurei came following a series of violent incidents in Ramallah and several other West Bank and Gaza cities.

Earlier in the week, dozens of fighters broke into Qorei’s vacation home in Jericho and fired live rounds of ammunition into the air. The fighters demanded to be given jobs in the Palestinian security forces. The gunmen remained at the home for about an hour, and left after P.A security officers persuaded them to leave.

As part of its campaign to rein in lawlessness and chaos, the Palestinian Authority executed four convicted murderers. The executed men were sentenced to death by a Palestinian court. The Israeli human rights group B’tselem condemned the executions, urging the PA to halt further use of capital punishment. Some 51 Palestinians are on death row. About half of them were convicted for spying for Israel. The PA stated that its use of capital punishment is intended to deter crime and ensure order.

Land Confiscation

The National Office for Land Defense reported that the settlements spread throughout the Palestinian territories are decimating any chance of a future Palestinian State. Since the 1967 war and the capture of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, consecutive Israeli administrations has constructed settlements on lands expropriated from Palestinians. Settlers have continued to construct illegal settlement outposts on Palestinian farmland and the army has failed to take action against them.

Anti-Wall Nonviolent Actions

Non violent protests against the construction of the Separation wall continued in West Bank cities and villages on Friday. Demonstrators in Bil’in hurled manure-filled bags at Israeli forces in response to tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber-coated metal bullets fired by the troops. The balloons did not hit the soldiers.

In a separate incident on Tuesday, 20 children from Bil’in demonstrated in front of the Israeli Supreme court against the confiscation of their land by the construction of the Separation Wall. Tasneem, a 14 year old girl, was one of the children who participated in the protest.

‘We were there defending our rights and our land. Our parents were unable to get to the court session, so we went instead, because we are the hope for our families. We demanded that they remove and stop building this wall.’

Later that day, the court rejected the appeals submitted by the villages of Bil’in and Kharbata to stop the confiscation orders. An Israeli policemen detained an international Peace Activist after the man waved a Palestinian flag outside the Supreme Court building.

In Marda, Israeli troops fired tear gas, rubber bullets and sound bombs at protesters opposing the construction of the Separation Wall and a settler bypass road that will almost completely encircle the village. Thirty were injured during the demonstration.

Re-arrest of freed prisoners and Kidnapping of others

A senior Palestinian source said that the Israeli army rearrested dozens of detainees who were freed after last February’s Sharm al-Sheikh understandings between Israel and the PA. The P.A said that these arrests are a direct breech of the arrived agreements and reveal a lack of commitment to the understandings by Israel.

Meanwhile, on Thursday Israeli forces arrested seven members of Islamic Jihad in the occupied West Bank. Undercover soldiers dressed in Arab costume and using a vehicle with Palestinian license plates pulled over three Palestinians traveling on the outskirts of the northern city of Jenin, witnesses said. Shots were heard during Thursday’s incident but there were no reports of casualties. Israeli Troops arrested another four Islamic Jihad members during the night near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Islamic Jihad condemned these arrests, stating that such unilateral moves by Israel in the Palestinian Territories endanger the period of calm declared by Palestinian factions.

Divestment from Israel

From international news, the New England United Methodist Church has joined the call for divestment from companies supporting the occupation of Israel. The resolution passed at the New England Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church on June 11th is the latest in a growing number of church resolutions calling for the use of divestment to end the Occupation of Palestine.

From the International Middle East Media Center, IMEMC.ORG, in Beit Sahour Palestine this is Denise Wilson