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This Week in Palestine –A service of the International Middle East Media Center, IMEMC.Org, for the week of Friday September 23rd to Thursday September 29th.

Despite the Palestinian factions’ declaration of commitment to halt the display of weapons, Israel carried out its ‘First Rain’ military operation against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. This operation killed many Palestinians and injured others, and obstructed diplomatic efforts to resume peace talks. Meanwhile, Israeli military killed three residents in the West Bank, stormed several cities and arrested hundreds of Palestinians.

Six Resistance fighters killed in the West Bank

Six resistance fighters, including a leading operative of Al-Aqsa Martyr brigades, Samer Al-Sa’adi, and four Islamic Jihad operatives were killed in the West Bank.

Three were killed on Friday at dawn, after Israeli troops, backed by fifty armored vehicles, invaded Allar village, near the West Bank city of Tulkarem.

The other three were assassinated in a predawn invasion to Jenin area on Thursday.

The killing of the resistance fighters is carried out as part of the Israeli Military operation, ‘First Rain’ started a week ago, at a time, the Palestinian factions decided to end the public display of weapons in the areas the Israeli military has redeployed in the Gaza Strip, and declared their commitment to the calm.

Abu Al Qassam the spokesman of Islamic Jihad movement in Tulkarem said we are committed to calm, and preserve the right to respond to the Israeli attacks.

‘We are committed to the calm as long the Israel reciprocates. However we preserve the right to respond to all Israeli attacks. Israel has ignored the agreements and the calm that existed before.’


Escalated violence in the Gaza Strip

Last Friday at night, 16 Palestinian residents were killed and at least 80 were injured, 12 seriously, in an explosion during a Hamas rally in Gaza. The rally was attended by thousands of residents in addition to senior Hamas leaders and fighters of Al-Qassam brigades, the armed wing of the movement.

Hamas held Israel responsible for this explosion. Palestinian resistors fired shells at the Israeli Negev town of Sderot causing no damage or casualties.

On Saturday afternoon, Israeli Air Force fired missiles east of Gaza city at two vehicles said to be carrying Hamas operatives. Four residents were killed and nine others were injured.

Later in the day, an Israeli military Apache helicopter fired missiles at a Palestinian car in Gaza killing Sheikh Khalil, 32, a prominent leader of Al Quds brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad Mohammad. A second Palestinian was killed and five others were injured in the attack.

Meanwhile Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz warned that Israel will resume its policy of targeting the resistance fighters despite the latest call by the Palestinian factions for a halt of attacks on Israeli targets.

Israeli gun ships continued their air strikes for almost a week against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in a military operation called ‘First Rain.’ The operation has included the storming of several cities in the West Bank and the arrests of hundreds of Palestinians who Israel claims to be either Hamas or Islamic Jihad. Senior Hamas political leaders Hassan Yousef and Mohamad Ghazal were among those arrested.

Abbas Sharon Summit meeting called off

The Palestinian Authority called off the summit meeting between the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon scheduled for October 2.

Also Sunday, the Palestinian Legislative Council delayed Monday’s no-confidence vote against Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei’s government because of the latest escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip.

Separation Wall

John Dugard, Special Reporter of the Commission on Human Rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967, reported that Israel is conducting major violations of Human rights in the Palestinian areas. Dugard said that Israel is still expanding settlements and constructing the Separation Wall, an act that seriously undermines the fundamental right of self determination of Palestinian people upon which other rights depend. Meanwhile the Wall Israel is constructing will force 55 thousand Jerusalemite Palestinian residents out of Jerusalem. An additional 50 thousand Jerusalemites living outside Jerusalem will be separated from their city by the Wall.

In his report, Dugard high lighted, in addition to settlements and the Separation Wall setting borders of the occupied territories, these actions also reduce the geographical contiguity of Palestinian areas.

Every Friday, residents of Bil’in along with Israeli and international peace activists peacefully protest the separation wall. Members of the Israeli ‘Peace Bloc’, ‘Anarchists Against the Wall’, International Solidarity Movement and other movements are always present, and participate in the village’s peaceful activities against the Wall. These peaceful protests are always met with violence by the Israeli army which has also attacked Arab members of Knesset who have participated in the protests.

Israeli soldiers arrested, on Friday afternoon, ten protestors against the Separation Wall, in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah in the West Bank. Dozens of protestors were hurt after inhaling gas fired by the army.

Israeli soldiers fired gas bombs and concussion grenades at international peace activists, and hundreds of residents marched peacefully towards the construction site of the wall.

Soldiers also attempted to bar journalist from entering the area, and declared it a closed military zone.

For the International Middle East Media Centre IMEMC.ORG in Beit Sahour Palestine, this is Dina Awwad.