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Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre  for Monday August 14th, 2006

Three Palestinians including a child were killed in an Israeli air strike in Beit Hanoun, displaced Lebanese left their shelters in an attempt to return to their homes, and the army continues to take prisoners in the West Bank.  These stories and more coming up.  Stay tuned. 

The Gaza Update
Three Palestinians including a child were killed in an Israeli air strike in Beit Hanoun in the northern part of the Gaza Strip early Monday morning. Three other civilians were injured in the attack, which targeted a residential area in the city. Palestinian medical sources at Kamal Udwan hospital said the three dead belonged to the same family and were identified as, Ahmad 18, Othman 70, and Zuheir Kafarna, 50. 

On Sunday, a mother and her child were wounded and Israeli tanks fired heavy machine guns at their home in Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Palestinian sources said that Halima Abu Al-Sa’eed, 39 and her son Sayel 13, were taken to the hospital for treatment.  Their wounds were described as moderate.

The SDC, along with the United Nations and Swiss agencies are warning of a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, which has been largely forgotten due to the conflict in Lebanon.  The situation in Gaza has seriously deteriorated over the past few weeks, according to the Agencies.  Amid reports that President Abbas and Prime Minister Hanniya will be meeting in Gaza today to discuss a national unity government, several prominent Palestinian politicians spoke out on the conditions necessary for the implementation of such plans.

The Secretary of the leftist Palestinian People’s Party (PPP), Bassam Assalhi said that as a first priority, groups must come together for a common purpose. However, he also said that the rules have significantly changed. “We cannot continue negotiations the way they were before, based on the Road Map, but instead must create new Palestinian political behavior that takes into account the inability of the to play a positive role in the Middle East."

Salhi also told reporters that although a consensus had been reached in the National Accord Document, the Palestinian government must now take into account the Israeli arrests of many high government officials, including the Legislative Council Speaker Dr. Azziz Dweik, now recovering in the hospital, presumably because of mistreatment following his arrest.

The West Bank update

Israeli forces took two prisoners Monday morning from the village of Kofer Ra’ee and invaded the nearby village of Al Yamon west of the West Bank city of Jenin. The prisoners were known as Othman Melhem, 18 and Mohamed Melehm, 18. Both were taken to unknown locations after troops searched their family houses and ransacked them, eyewitnesses reported.

Amer Shaker Da’ass, 23, was taken as prisoner while trying to cross an Israeli army checkpoint near his village Kofer Kadom east of the West Bank city of Qalqilia on Monday. Israeli army took two prisoners during a pre dawn invasion to the town of Halol near the West Bank city of Hebron on Monday. The prisoners are known as Sameh Al Atrash, 23 and Ali Al Baba, 18.  Both were taken when troops searches several houses and taken to an unknown location.

Israeli army troops and jeeps stormed the Balata refugee camp in the West Bank city of Nablus on Monday at dawn.  Local residents said that troops stormed the camp and fired live rounds in the air in a very provocative manner.

Israeli army troops also detained several police officers and the commander of the police in the West Bank city of Tubas on Monday at dawn. Palestinian security forces in Tubas said on that during the early hours of Monday morning Israel forces stormed the police station in the city and took all officers, including the commander of police in the city to a nearby military checkpoint.  After interrogations, they were released.

Armed members of the Al Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, executed a 26-year old man who admitted that he collaborated with the Israeli security forces. The man, from Jenin refugee camp, said that he gave the Israeli forces information that led to the Israeli assassination of two leaders of the brigades.

Lebanon Update

Displaced Lebanese left their shelters in an attempt to return to their homes, after a UN brokered cease-fire took affect on Monday morning, halting the one-month war in Lebanon.

Following the cease-fire, which began at 8:00am, the south of Lebanon was completely quiet, local sources reported.

Cars of people from Tyre and Saida began streaming back into the cities to return to their homes they left a few weeks ago, in hopes that they would still be standing.

The Masnaa border point, the main crossing between Lebanon and Syria, was also packed with cars full of Lebanese refugees who were trying to return from Syria.  Some even crossed on foot.

Despite the ceasefire, Israel said it would maintain its air and sea blockade of Lebanon, imposed at the start of the conflict on July 12. Some Israeli troops began withdrawing from Lebanon, but the army said that it reserved the right to defend itself.  

Just a few hours before the beginning of the ceasefire, Israel launched a new wave of air strikes. At least 38 Lebanese civilians and four soldiers were killed on Sunday, as the country witnessed some of the most intense bombing since the start of the conflict.

Israeli planes flew over Beirut just hours before the truce came into effect dropping leaflets that said: "To the Lebanese citizens: Hezbollah which is serving its Iranian and Syrian masters has led you to the edge of the abyss."

Hezbollah said that it would also agree to the truce once it began but would reserve the right to fight Israeli soldiers still on Lebanese soil.


Thanks for joining us from Occupied Bethlehem.  You have been listening to Palestine Today for the International Middle East Media Centre, brought to you by Jacque Shoen & Ghassan Bannoura