Click on Link to download or play MP3 file || 4m 0s || 3.50MB || or copy and paste link into your browser or media player http://portland.indymedia.org/media/media/2007/02/35354…4.mp3Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www.imemc.org, for Tuesday February 6th, 2007
Demolition is carried out by Israeli authorities near the holy Al Aqsa Mosque in the old city of Jerusalem, while two Palestinian delegations representing rival parties, Fatah and Hamas headed to Makkah in the Saudi Arabia for a dialogue. These stories and more coming up stay tuned.
On Tuesday morning Israeli bulldozers started demolishing the bridge to the Mugrabi (Moroccan) Gate, one of the main entrances to the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s old city.
As Israeli authorities commenced with the controversial demolition work today Palestinian youths took to the streets to express their opposition. Clashes erupted between Israeli armed forces and stone-throwing youths in East Jerusalem’s Salah a-Din street and in north Jerusalem’s Shoafat refugee camp, consequentially 11 youths were arrested.
The Waqf religious trust claims that leveling the mound will threaten the foundation of the entire al-Aqsa compound, which dates back to the 7th century. According to Israeli media, last week Jerusalem Comptroller Shulamit Rubin deemed the permit issued for the works at the Mugrabi site illegal due to the failure of excavation directors to submit a more detailed plan, and sent a report to all the relevant municipal bodies.
On Monday the ‘City of Peoples’ organization and city council member Peppe Alalo, sent an urgent letter telling the Attorney General Menachem Mazuz stating that the illegality of the excavation was well known by municipal bodies. However, this outcry was ignored. The Israeli government had recently decided to demolish the mound, citing the need to build a road for Jewish settlers. Ehud Olmert also recently granted permission for a synagogue to be built only 40-50 meters away from the al-Aqsa mosque.
In the Palestinian community there are concerns that Israel is using the excavation as a ploy to further their policy of ethnically cleansing Palestinians from East Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel in the 1967 conflict. The plans to build a synagogue very close to the Al Aqsa mosque are igniting fears that the whole area will gradually be evicted and reconstructed, forcing even more Palestinians to flee after Israeli authorities demolish their homes.
The West Bank update
Palestinian sources in Nablus, in the northern West Bank, reported that a massive Israeli army force invaded the city, injured one man and abducted at least another ten on Tuesday morning. Israeli troops, armored vehicles and one bulldozer stormed downtown Nablus and the old city, surrounded a number of homes and searched and ransacked them before abducting the ten men.
Medical sources in the city reported that one man was injured when Israeli soldiers attacked a shopping mall in downtown Nablus; eyewitnesses stated that the injured man along with another three men was abducted by the forces. All detainees were taken to an unknown military detention camp, source in the city added.
On Tuesday morning Troops invaded Kufer Kalil south of Nablus and abducted one man after searching and ransacking houses. He was taken to an unknown military detention camp.
In the southern West Bank the Israeli army abducted two Palestinian men from the town of Surif near Hebron after attacking resident’s houses.
Two Palestinian delegations representing the two rival parties, Fatah and Hamas headed to Makkah in Saudi Arabia for a dialogue in a bid to end the ongoing infighting in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinians hoping this meeting will bring an end the bloodshed and form a national unity government to ease the pressure of the internationally imposed embargo. The United States, European Union stopped sending aid funds to the Palestinian Authority following the overwhelming victory for Hamas in the Palestinian Parliamentary elections in January last year.
Israel seized nearly 550 million dollars in tax revenue that was due to the Palestinian Authority after Hamas formed the Palestinian government in March. Only 100 million dollars were released last month.
For more than 5 months Hamas and Fatah have been negotiating the unity government based on the national agreement document put together by the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, but has failed to implement their agreements.
Thank you for joining us from Occupied Bethlehem. You have been listening to Palestine Today from the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, brought to you by Polly Bangoriad and Ghassan Bannoura