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Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre for Tuesday October 10th, 2006.

One Palestinian killed east of Rafah, in the West Bank, an Aqsa Brigades fighter was injured near Jenin, the army takes prisoners in morning invasions to several cities and efforts to form a national unity government between Hamas and Fatah continues. These stories and more, coming up. Stay tuned. 

The Gaza Update

Under-cover units of the Israeli army shot and killed, earlier on Tuesday at dawn, one resident of Al Shuka village, east of Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical and security sources reported. Soldiers operating in the area fired several rounds of live ammunition at Ameen Al Sufi, 22. Al Sufi was injured in his chest, abdomen and back, and died instantly, medical sources at Abu Yousef Al Najjar hospital in Rafah reported.
Meanwhile, an Israeli military source claimed that army reservists opened fire at two armed resistance fighters after spotting them approaching the border fence east of Dahaniya area, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The source claimed that the two were approaching a military camp in the area. No injuries among the soldiers were reported. In a separate incident, Palestinian fighters fired anti-tank shells at soldiers operating in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported.

The Israeli authorities closed, on Tuesday morning, the Rafah Border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt after opening it on Monday. Rafah crossing, which is the only way in and out of Gaza for Palestinians, was opened for Palestinian Muslim pilgrims going to Mecca, Saudi Arabia for Omra, a pilgrimage made during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. 

The West Bank Update

Israeli soldiers invaded on Tuesday at dawn the village of Abu D'eif, west of Jenin in the northern part of the West Bank, shot and injured a fighter of the Al Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fateh. The fighter was apparently shot after he was arrested. Mustafa Awwad, 25, one of the leaders the Al Aqsa Brigades, had been wanted by Israeli security for many years.

Local sources reported that soldiers invaded the village, surrounded a house where Awwad was hiding and arrested him. Eyewitnesses told the Palestine news website that Awwad was shot and injured upon arrest. The family of Awwad was unable to obtain the extents of his injury because the soldiers abducted him and immediately took him to an unknown destination. In Qabatia town, also near Jenin, soldiers exchanged fire with fighters of the Salah Ed Deen Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, and the Al Quds Brigades, the armed wing of  Islamic Jihad, after troops, backed by dozens of vehicles, invaded the town, broke into and searched several houses.

The clashes took place overnight until the early morning hours. An Israeli military source said that soldiers invaded the town to arrest one of the resistance fighters.

The army took prisoners in similar invasions to other West Bank cities on Thursday. The Israeli army took prisoner two residents from the city of Hebron, south of the West Bank.  While, in the city of Tulkarem in the northern part of the West Bank, the Israeli armed forces invaded on Tuesday morning, searched houses and took prisoner two  residents. Moreover, Israeli forces invaded the West Bank city of Qalqilia on Tuesday at dawn and took prisoner two residents.

After an extensive investigation, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights found that the Israeli army intentionally killed two Palestinian civilians at military checkpoints inside the West Bank city of Nablus. The report, released Tuesday, states that within 24 hours Israeli forces killed two Palestinians and continue to contravene international law.

The National unity government

The political deadlock between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s efforts to form a national unity government between Hamas and Fatah continues. Hope that the Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasmin Al Thani could resolve the stalemate through mediation efforts has dissipated.

Al Thani met with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in Damascus Monday before meeting with Abbas and Haniyeh in Gaza Monday night to present Qatar’s 6 point plan, which included forming a government of technocrats and arranging a meeting between Abbas and Meshal. The proposal, which Abbas approved beforehand, addressed larger problems such as the internal crisis between Hamas and Fatah as well as the international political and economic boycott on the Hamas-led government and the Palestinian Israeli conflict, but so far nothing has been solved.

There are two main obstacles preventing the formation of a coalition government. Hamas has repeatedly said it will not recognize Israel’s right to exist and it will not renounce armed resistance. Until Hamas reverses its position, there will be no unity government and in fact, Abbas may call for early elections.

According to the plan, the new government would accept the Quartet’s conditions, release captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and Hamas would join PLO institutions in accordance with the 2005 Cairo agreement.  Although Al Thani has left the area, he plans to continue acting as mediator, but no arrangements have been made for his return.  Al Thani’s visit comes at a tense time as Hamas and Fatah supporters battle each other on the streets, resulting in the deaths of 15 people, in the worst internal fighting in over ten years. 


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