Palestine Today – June 28, 2006

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Palestine Today a service of the International Middle East Media centre, www.imemc.org for Wednesday June 28th 2006
 
Homes shelled in Rafah as Israeli army forces residents out, while army arrests one resident form Farkhah village, and invades Jenin and the nearby villages of Qabatia and Kofer Ra’e. Those stories and more coming up stay tuned
 
Homes shelled in Rafah as Israeli army forces residents out        
 
The Palestinian News Agency, WAFA, reported Wednesday at dawn that Israeli fighter-jets and tanks fired several shells at Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Soldiers who invaded the Al Shouka area in Rafah, forced dozens of families out of their homes as the Israeli army prepares to control them.
 
A Rafah resident, Mohamed Abdullah, describes the destructive consequences of Israeli military shelling:
 
"Beginning at eleven o’clock, the shelling started from the army artillery positioned recently between Rafah borders and the Green Line. Neither civilians nor resistance were injured in Rafah, but the situation is expected to become worse due to the intense fighter jet movement in the area."
 
The WAFA agency added that fighter-jets fired heavy rounds at dozens of civilians’ houses causing considerable damages, no injuries were reported, but the residents, including mothers and their children, fled out of their houses fearing additional shelling.
 
Residents of Al Shouka area said that soldiers used loud speakers to call them out of their houses declaring the area a closed military zone.
 
The attack comes hours after the soldiers controlled the Yasser Arafat International Airport in the city, and set fire to one of its main halls.
 
Soldiers completely sealed the borders of Gaza Strip and significantly increased naval forces presence.
 
Abdullah depicts the effects on Rafah residents after Israel army shelled the main power supply and generators with which at least 60% of residents have lost power:
 
"This time they targeted the power company because its existence decreased the electricity shortage in the Gaza Strip. For example in Rafah we used to have power failure for 6 hours every other day, shelling the power company today made us go back to this problem."
 
Additional missiles were fired at several areas in Gaza City after the Israeli air force broke the sound barrier.
 
 
Israeli army arrests one resident form Farkhah village        
 
The Israeli Forces have arrested Iyad Shabak, 21, from Farkhah village near the West Bank city of Jenin Wednesday.
 
Shabak was arrested at the Atarah checkpoint north of the West Bank city of Ramallah after soldiers stopped him, and searched his car, eyewitnesses reported.
 
 
Israeli army invades Jenin and the nearby villages of Qabatia and Kofer Ra’e, one resident arrested                
 
One resident was arrested when Israeli army troops invaded the West Bank city of Jenin and the nearby villages of Qabatia and Kofer Ra’e Wednesday at dawn.
 
Wa’el Zakarnah, 22, was arrested when seven army vehicles invaded Qabatia, south of Jenin, while firing intensively, and stormed several houses before taking him away to an unknown location, eyewitnesses reported.
 
In Jenin, ten army jeeps and one bulldozer stormed the city from the southern entrance and fired rounds of live ammunition and sound bombs at residents’ homes, residents stated
 
Local sources said that clashes took place in the city between soldiers and resistance fighters after the invasion, no injuries were reported.
 
Meanwhile army troops invaded the village of Kofer Ra’e to the west of the city and conducted wide scale search operation in the village that included residents’ homes and farms, no arrests were made, local sources reported.
 
 
Israeli army arrests one resident in Jericho              
 
The Israeli forces arrested one resident from Aqabat Jabeer refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jericho, early on Wednesday morning.
 
Troops invaded the refugee camp and surrounded the house of Abdel Hafidh Al Maqitee and arrested his son Wa’el, 29, then took him to an unknown destination, the family reported.
 
Israeli army invades Nablus, arrests two residents and damages several shops
 
Israeli troops invaded the West Bank city of Nablus, arrested two residents and damaged several shops in the market area, on Wednesday.
 
Amed Rahal, 17, and Adel Qoronfola, 17, were arrested when troops searched several homes in the city, both were taken to unknown locations, eyewitnesses reported.
 
Meanwhile residents said that explosions were heard in the old market area in the city, also damage to some of the shops, attacked by the army, was reported .
Army arrests one resident from Bethlehem              
 
The Israeli army has arrested Mohamed Dakhal Allah, 21, a resident of the West Bank city of Bethlehem , on Tuesday evening.
 
 Dakhal Allah was summoned to an interview with the Israeli intelligence at the Kfar Etzion military base, south of Bethlehem.
 
 As he went there, the Israeli military held him there, local sources reported.
 
 
Beit Jala: the Annexation Wall goes Ahead at Full Speed            
 
Tuesday morning, Israeli bulldozers guarded by armed personnel started cutting and uprooting olive trees in the Cremisan area of Beit Jala in preparation for the continuing construction of the Annexation Wall.
 
The Annexation Wall will separate Beit Jala and its citizens from the northern part of the city, severely affecting all citizens. It will result in the destruction of private and public property, swallow up all open spaces and strangle built-up areas of the city.
 
As member of the Land Defense Committee of Bethlehem, Walleed Al Azza describes:
 
"One, completing the wall will affect the tourism industry in the city. Two, by confiscating large amounts of land the city will not be able to expand and it kill farming activity in the region." 
 
The Cremisan area has the only remaining forest in the city, the most fertile agricultural land, and the main source of income for many city farmers. It is also one of the very few city recreational sites where many citizens go on weekends or holidays. In addition, the area hosts the only winery in Palestine, two monasteries and a kindergarten.
 
Beit Jala is one of the Palestinian cities most damaged by Israeli firepower since the current Intifada began in September 2000. Whereas originally it consisted of 14,500 dunums of land, now Beit Jala has been left with only 4,500 dunums due to Israeli land confiscations.
 
Conclusion
 
And that’s just some of the news for today in Palestine. For constant updates, check out the International Middle East Media Center website, www.IMEMC.org.  As always, thanks for joining us.  From Occupied Bethlehem, this is Palestine today, brought to you by Maia Willaims Carpenter and Ghassan Bannoura
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