Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, For Thursday, November 30th, 2006.|| Click here to Download MP3 file 4.8MB|| time:5m13s


The army takes scores of prisoners in pre-dawn invasions in the West Bank and President Abbas meets Rice in Jericho where Rice praises the Palestinian President and vows to “renew the peace process.” These stories and more coming up, stay tuned.

The West Bank Update

In the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem Israeli army vehicles surrounded Al Azzeh refugee camp on Wednesday late at night. Troops attacked residents' homes and searched and ransacked them. Families were forced outside during the search, eyewitnesses told IMEMC, adding that soldiers threatened to kill them if they did not leave their homes.

Soldiers left the refugee camp at around 5:00 AM taking with them 10 residents to unknown locations. Among the prisoners were ; Majed Al Azzah, 34, his brother Nihad 37, Jihad Nufal, 44, and Issa Al Barbari, 46.

Moreover, another army force invaded the village of Al Shawawra, north of Bethlehem, and took prisoner four residents. Troops attacked houses and searched them then left the village, taking Ali Hamdan Nadier Salem and his brothers Bassem and Shakier to unknown locations.

Mohamed Al Badan, 20, and Isma'el Abd Al Jalil, 19, were taken prisoner from the village of Taqua, east of Bethlehem; they were taken to unknown locations after troops searched and ransacked their homes, the families reported.

Palestinians threw an explosive device at Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Thursday midday. Several army vehicles stormed Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem on Thursday also midday.

Soldiers closed the eastern entrance of the camp and are not allowing residents to go in or out of the camp. Eyewitnesses said that soldiers also fired live rounds and sound bombs at them.

Israeli media sources reported the incident but said there were no injuries or damage.
Elsewhere, in the northern part of the West Bank, Israeli forces took prisoner five residents from the city of Nablus and its Balata refugee camp.

Army vehicles and bulldozers stormed the city and the refugee camp and troops opened fire randomly at residents' houses. Residents also heard explosions ringing throughout the city. The army searched and ransacked scores of houses and took Amjidi Al Bakar, 22, Mohamed Abu Al Haiat, 22, Hamid Bashier, 42, and Jamal Akup, 35- all are from the city of Nablus while Mohamed Abu Saleem, 21, was taken from his home in Balata refugee camp. All where taken to unknown locations.

Israeli army sources said that the arrest campaign troops conducted in the West Bank on Thursday at dawn targeted what the army calls "Wanted Palestinians." None of these families were told why their relatives were taken, nor where they were taken to.

Abbas- Rice meeting

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met on Thursday in the West Bank city of Jericho to discuss the recent cease-fire and efforts to achieve a lasting agreement between Israelis and the Palestinians.

During their meeting, Rice told Abbas that Washington is interested in “intensifying the efforts to renew the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.” Rice said that the United States has made it clear that it wants the creation of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state, and that there must be no actions which could prejudge a final status peace agreement.

She also stressed that there should be security and political reforms in the Palestinian Authority. Meanwhile, President Abbas said that unity talks with the Hamas-led government had reached an impasse due to differences between the two factions.

“Unfortunately, the talks are still at a dead end,” Abbas said, adding, “Employees have been without salaries since eight months.” Following her talks with Abbas, Rice met Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, in Jerusalem.

Israeli sources reported that Rice is expected to ask Olmert to help boost Abbas by easing the restrictions imposed on the Palestinians and removing some of the checkpoints installed in the occupied territories. Meanwhile, Israeli officials said that Olmert wants to emphasize to Rice that the Hamas movement should be isolated, and that the US should push for a Palestinian government that would recognize Israel, renounce violence and recognize the previous peace agreements.

Palestinian Foreign Minister, Mahmoud Zahhar, from the Hamas party, said that he does not think that the Rice-Abbas meeting would help the Palestinian cause.  Zahhar stated that the United States always justifies the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people.

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