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This Week In Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center ,, for June 2 through June 8, 2006. 

Some Palestinian governmental employees receive their pay for the first time in months under US-led sanctions.  Negotiations between Hamas and Fatah continue, tenuously. And the Israeli army kills nine civilians in the Gaza Strip, including two Egyptian border guards, and abducts a twenty-three-year-old man from a hospital ICU unit.These stories and more coming up.  Stay tuned.

Separation Wall

Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and Arab members of the Israeli Knesset joined this week’s demonstration against the annexation Wall in Bil’in.  Israeli soldiers attacked the marchers with unusual severity.  Six Palestinians had to be evacuated in ambulances after sustaining serious injuries from beatings, and four Israeli peace activists, including a journalist were injured.

In Tel Aviv this week, one thousand people demonstrated against the siege and sanctions imposed on the Palestinian government.  The demonstrators called on the Israeli government to enter immediate and unconditional peace talks with the democratically elected leaders of the Palestinian people.  A concurrent demonstration in Ramallah, organized by a coalition of parties and civil societies, called for an end to the sanctions and the creation of a Palestinian state within 1967 borders.

Meanwhile the Israeli government approved a new plan to expand four illegal settlements in the West Bank, a practice the has opposed in the past.  Under the new plan, Maskiot, an army outpost in the Jordan Valley , will be converted into a residential community, built for twenty families of former Gaza settlers.  This runs in opposition to former Israeli statements that new settlements would not be built in the West Bank to accommodate the evacuated Gaza settlers.

The Israeli army also signed to expand Bitar Ilit, an ultra-Orthodox settlement, by a one-hundred-acre strip that will connect it to proper.  With around 30,000 residents, Bitar Illit is one of most rapidly growing settlements.  Thousands of new homes have been built over the past three years, and more are currently under construction.  Under the new expansion plan, two illegal outposts, located three full miles beyond the Green Line will likely be incorporated into the main settlement.

All this runs counter to ‘s former statements committing to the dismantling of two dozen outposts, as well as the U.S-backed road map, in which agreed not to expand settlements or create new ones.

PCHR in Brief

And now, highlights from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights weekly report on Israeli military attacks against Palestinians. This week, the Israeli army killed nine civilians in the Gaza Strip, including two Egyptian officers.  On Monday evening, the Israeli army extra-judicially assassinated two members of the Palestinian Popular Resistance Committees and wounded four, two of whom were civilians.  This brings to eighteen the number of extra-judicial assassinations conducted by the Israeli military since the beginning of the year.  Fifty-four, including fifteen civilians, have been killed in the assassinations, which are illegal under international law.

On Wednesday, an Israeli tank fired an artillery shell at two Palestinians who were attempting to infiltrate .  The two men were killed, as well as a member of the Palestinian National Security Forces.

The Israeli army continued to shell the Gaza Strip, injuring eleven.  The Israeli air force also conducted mock air raids over Gaza .

Meanwhile in the West Bank , twelve civilians, including an Israeli solidarity activist, were wounded by army gunfire.  The Israeli army conducted at least forty-two military incursions into the West Bank, focusing on Nablus .  Soldiers arrested fifty-five Palestinian civilians, including a child, raising the number of arrests since the beginning of the year to 1,685.  In one incursion into Nablus , at least thirty Israeli soldiers broke into the Arab Biblical Hospital in the city and arrested twenty-three year old Jawad Sa’id al-Ka’bi, who was receiving medical treatment in the intensive care unit for a bullet wound in the abdomen.  The army arrested al-Ka’bi and moved him to an Israeli hospital, for eventual interrogation.

And in al-‘Aqaba village, Israeli soldiers broke into a mosque.  One opened fire, then committed suicide.  Afterwards, the army declared the village under curfew.

 Financial Crisis

A fraction of Palestine’s 165,000 governmental employees have been paid after months of waiting, and amid growing unrest, as the siege prevents the transfer of money into Palestine.  The payments came only after members of the Palestinian security forces marched in the streets, firing automatic weapons and smashing the windows of Gaza ‘s parliament building in protest.

National Dialogue

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with the heads of Palestinian factions Saturday evening in the ongoing inter-factional dialogue.  Abbas, who has organized the talks, hopes they will result in agreement on a document authored by Palestinian prisoners that calls for a Palestinian state to be established alongside .  In Saturday’s talks, Abbas gave the factions two days to come to agreement before announcing a national referendum on such a document.  A new poll indicates that 77% of Palestinians favor Abbas’ proposed document, and that electoral support for Hamas has fallen 13%.

But Hamas shows no sign of reconciling with Abbas.  Ismail Haniyeh, who heads the Hamas government, repeated on Sunday that Abbas was not authorized to call for a referendum under the current constitution.  Meanwhile the Palestinian Liberation Organization, headed by Abbas, convened earlier this week and approved the referendum.

Amidst the talks, inter-factional fighting continued.  In the West Bank city of Jenin , two-thousand-five-hundred members of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Fatah’s armed wing, converged in black uniforms, chanting national slogans.  And in the Gaza Strip, fighting occurred between the Palestinian National Security Forces and a new military force recently redeployed in Gaza .  Fatah and Hamas leaders urged calm.


Attah Abu Rmeilah, who founded this new force, explains why it was needed.



"This force will not be a substitute for the police, or any other system of the Palestinian National Authority. The security systems alone do their tasks, and yesterday, although we positioned this force we didn’t perform any formal tasks on the street at all.  We didn’t stop cars or arrest people.  We are a force intended to assist the legal system whenever we are called for duty by the general commander of the Palestinian forces in Jenin or the police commander General. We will be soldiers who follow the orders of the police commander. We have begun talks with President Mahmoud Abbas to enlist this force within the Palestinian police system."


And that’s just some of the news this week in Palestine .  For constant updates, check out our website,  As always, thanks for joining us.  From Occupied Bethlehem, this is Dina Awwad and Terrina Aguilar.