Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center for Monday  November 13, 2006. || Click here to Download MP3 file 5.27MB || time: 5m 45s

In Gaza Fateh and Hamas resume unity talks, while in the West Bank the Israeli army invades cities and takes prisoners. These stories and more coming up, stay tuned.

The Gaza Strip Update

Senior officials of the Fateh and Hamas movements resumed their talks on the formation of a national unity government. The two movements held an extended meeting last night that concentrated on the distribution of the ministerial posts. Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyya, and his predecessor Ahmad Qorei participated in the first session and confirmed that the talks will be expanded to include all Palestinian blocs and factions.

Haniyeh added that Hamas will provide all needed elements to ensure successful talks, which would lead to a national Unity Government. Meanwhile, Qorei said that the new government will be respected and trusted by the Palestinian people, both the Arab and Islamic worlds.
Also, Palestinian independent Legislator Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi intends to meet with Khaled Mashal, the Hamas political bureau chief in Syria. The two will discuss the continuous efforts and the latest developments on the formation of the new government.  Initial reports revealed that Dr. Mohammad Shbeir, the previous head of the Islamic University in Gaza City, may be appointed head of the Palestinian National Unity Government. Hamas submitted his name and Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, accepted it.
Although Abbas has not officially requested Shbeir, 60, to form the government, Shbeir’s widespread reputation as an Islamic independent figure who enjoys good relations with Islamic and national factions make him a likely candidate. Shbeir has a doctorate in microbiology from the University of West Virginia and is not identified as a member of any Palestinian political organization but is considered close to Hamas movement.

Meanwhile, Palestinian sources reported that the upcoming cabinet of experts will most likely be filled by moderate figures who are also acceptable to the United States. Al Quds Arabic daily newspaper published an interview with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday in which he states that he is willing to talk with Hamas if the movement accepts the conditions of the international community.

Israeli troops operating in Rafah at the southern border of the Gaza Strip attacked and took over one Palestinian home on Monday morning. Soldiers took over the roof top of the house and turned it into a shoot out post. The house belongs to Ali Mo'amer and is located near the Israeli-controlled Sofa border crossing into Gaza.
The West Bank Update

The Israeli army invaded Al Doha Village on the western side of the West Bank city of Bethlehem and took prisoner six residents on Monday at noon. Several army vehicles stormed the village and surrounded a car repair workshop, searched and ransacked it, then took all residents who were inside to unknown locations.

Among the prisoners were: Firas Nawaura, Fares Nawaura, Hassan Nawaura, and Hanni Zawahra; the remaining two have yet to be identified. Eyewitnesses said that troops forced the six into an army jeep and took them away. Late Sunday night, less than 12 hours ago, troops invaded a nearby area of the city, surrounded a building and took a child prisoner after searching ad ransacking residents' homes.

Also on Monday morning, the Israeli army started to bulldoze farm lands and uproot trees that belong to the residents of Wadi Rahal Village, south of Bethlehem city. The lands are located between the village of Wadi Rahal and the nearby Jorit Al Sham'a Village, situated next to the illegal Israeli settlement of Efrat, originally built on lands annexed from the two villages.

The Israeli army invaded Ein Beit Al Ma' refugee camp near the West Bank city of Nablus and took prisoner two residents on Monday at dawn. Troops and army vehicles stormed the camp and fired sound bombs and tear gas at residents' houses, soldiers searched and ransacked many before taking Abu Ihab Al Khatawi and Mohamed Maraka, 17, to unknown locations. Moreover, Israeli troops searched houses on the eastern side of the city of Nablus and the nearby Askar Refugee Camp. No arrests were reported, according to local sources.

The Israeli soldiers stationed at Za'tara military checkpoint near the city of Nablus detained a Palestinian ambulance who was carrying a severe case patient on Monday morning. The ambulance driver, Mohamed Shabita, said that troops stopped and searched the ambulance even after they were told the patent is suffering from a severe case of Paraplegia and needs urgent medical care. Regardless, the soldiers stopped the car for more than an hour, searched it and finally allowed them passage.

The Israeli army started to install a barbed wire fence on the southern farm lands that belong to Azon Village, south of the West Bank city of Qalqilia on Monday morning.
Local residents said that the fence looks like it will surround the village, cutting it off completely from the nearby village and Qalqilia City. The village of Azon is already surrounded by illegal Israeli settlements, which were built on lands stolen from the local farmers, who are now forced to pass through two checkpoints to reach their lands.


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.