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Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre www.imemc.org for Monday September 4th, 2006
Five residents were injured today as their house was completely destroyed by Israeli air strikes in Gaza, while in the West Bank, Israeli Occupation Forces took scores of prisoners. In addition to this, PA Employees have been going on strike over loss of wages. These stories and more coming up so stay tuned.
The Gaza update
In the early hours of Monday morning, the Israeli Air Force fired several missiles at a house in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Five residents were injured while the house was completely destroyed. Israeli military sources reported that the house belonged to a Fateh resistance fighter, and that soldiers warned him and his family to leave the house prior to shelling it. Military officials claimed that the house was being used by members of the resistance to store weapons and ammunition.
Over the last several weeks, the Israeli army has adopted a policy of phoning families 10 -15 minutes before shelling their homes and informing them to leave. This policy is considered a violation of international law and the principles of human rights as the army gives it self the authority to shell and destroy any house without giving the owners the chance to defend the charges and appeal.
Israeli forces took one resident prisoner from Khaza'a town, east of Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza strip on Monday at dawn. Abd Hamed Qadeih, 60, was taken to an army post near the Sofa border crossing, after Israeli forces stormed the eastern areas of the village and searched poultry farms where Qadieh works.
Eyewitnesses said that tanks and bulldozers had invaded the area earlier whereby after two hours the special unit forces followed. Qadieh's family did not know what had happened to him until the morning when he called them and told them that he had been arrested.
Later that day the Israeli army left Khaza'a, leaving behind massive destruction of individual personal property. Army bulldozers uprooted farmlands and olive orchards that belonged to the residents of the village. According to local sources, during earlier incursions Israeli Occupation Forces had already destroyed vast quantities of land and uprooted more than 100 olive trees.
The West Bank Update
The Israeli army injured one women and three reporters during a house search campaign today, in the West Bank city of Hebron. Medical reported that Mayson Missk, 38, was admitted to the Hebron public hospital after sustaining cuts and bruises all over her body after Israeli soldiers hit her with clubs and rifle butts while searching her house.
Missk's sister said Mayson was attacked by the soldiers after she tried to stop them from turning the house into an army post.
Meanwhile, medical sources reported that soldiers also attacked Hussam Abu Allan, who works as a photo journalist for the Palestinian WAFA news agency as well as Nayef Al Haslamon, who works as a journalist for Reuters, and Najeh Al Hashlamon, who works as a freelance journalist. The three were attacked while covering the house searches in the city. Soldiers forced them to leave the area for no reason, eyewitnesses reported. Local sources also reported that soldiers searched and ransacked a large number of houses, allegedly looking for illegal materials and wanted individuals.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Al Markten, 25, and Mahdi Shahror, 30, were taken to unknown locations by the Israeli army during an invasion of the village of Tarqomia, west of Hebron on Monday. Troops invaded the village, searched scores of houses and ransacked the belongings of the two families, then took the two men away. The army reported that they were looking for "wanted people".
Israeli forces invaded the village of Qabatia south of the West Bank city of Jenin, injuring three residents and taking four prisoners including three brothers. More than 15 Israeli armored vehicles stormed Qabatia and opened fire at residents and their homes injuring 22 year old Rab'e Turkman, in his abdomen. He was later moved to a near by hospital in Jenin city, medical sources reported. The four prisoners were taken after the Israeli army conducted a wide scale search campaign of the resident's houses. The three brothers were identified as Anass Assaf, Mo'men and Hisham. The other prisoner was identified as Tha'er Abu Al Rob. All were taken to unknown locations.
Also today, Ibrahim Abed, 24, was injured during and invasion in Kofer Dan village west of Jenin city.
In the West Bank city of Nablus, on Monday morning the Israeli army invaded Balata and Al Ein refugee camps and took four prisoners. Local sources reported that a large number of army vehicles stormed the city and the two refugee camps firing live rounds of live ammunition at resident's houses.
In Al Ein refugee camp, troops searched several houses and took Amer Khalifa prisoner. According to eyewitnesses in Nablus, troops attacked residents' houses and ransacked them before taking Wajdi E'lawi, 26, Jaber Kalbonah, 26, and Lo'ai Barakat, 21, to unknown locations. In Balata refugee camp, troops also searched residents' houses and ransacked them but no arrests were made, local sources added.
Also on Monday, Yousif Selwadi, 22, and Hitham Ramadan, 36, were taken prisoner when the Israeli army invaded Tal village, south of Nablus. Omer Ishtawi, the head of the village council reported that troops and army vehicles invaded the village, surrounded their houses, searched them and then took the two men to unknown locations. Ishtawi added that in the house of the Selwadi family, troops destroyed the floor and ransacked the furniture.
On Monday morning, Israeli soldiers abducted one resident at the Container Checkpoint, near Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem as he was heading back home to Al Obediyya village, near Bethlehem. The resident is the sixth family member to be arrested by troops within the last two weeks. The Palestine News Network reported that resident Suleiman Shanaita, 40, was on his way back home from Ramallah when the soldiers stopped him at the checkpoint and severely beat him. He was later handcuffed, blindfolded and taken to an unknown destination, local sources reported.
Meanwhile, an Israeli military source claimed that Shanaita was a member of Islamic Jihad and was wanted by Israeli security forces for alleged attacks against the Israeli army.
The financial crisis
Palestinian teachers and employees resumed their general strike for the third day in protest for not receiving their full salaries since march 2006. Ministries, schools and government offices have been closed and school students came back home today without attending their first day in the new school year.
Bassam Zakarna, head of the Union of Government Employees, said that the percentage of striking employees has significantly increased since Saturday. He added that 98% of the employees participated in Monday's strike. A local teacher at Beit Sahour School for Girls told the IMEMC that the whole amount she and her colleagues received since March is less than a two-month salary.
She added that the teachers received an official statement from the Teachers Union in Palestine informing them to go on general strike until further notice. Jamil Shihada, head of the Teachers Union, told the IMEMC that the strike will be ongoing, and will not end until the government pays salaries and finds proper solutions to the current crisis.
Mr Shihada indicated that the union was not demanding a pay rise but simply payment of owed salaries, emphasizing that teachers are under enormous economic and psychological pressure and can not teach properly under such conditions.
Thank you for joining us from Occupied Bethlehem. You have been listening to Palestine Today of the International Middle East Media Centre, www.imemc.org brought to you by James Brown & Ghassan Bannoura.