Click on Link to download or play MP3 file || 4.57 MB || Time 5m 0sWelcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www.imemc.org, for Wednesday March 7th, 2007.
At least 45 Palestinians were abducted by the Israeli army in several parts of the West Bank, while in Nablus residents protest at a nearby military checkpoint. These stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
The West Bank
At dawn on Wednesday a large Israeli army force entered the city of Al Bireh near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and surrounded the headquarters of the Directorate of the Palestinian Authority Military Intelligence. Troops abducted 18 employees.
Troops opened fire and threw sound bombs in the vicinity of the headquarters and began seizing employees of the Palestinian security services by threatening to tear the buildings down if they did not submit themselves to abduction.
The Israeli army stated that they suspected those abducted are involved in ‘shooting attacks on Israeli targets’. Palestinian sources stated that all abducted are PA security officers. Elsewhere, the Israeli army abducted at least 14 Palestinian civilians during dawn invasions of several West Bank areas on Wednesday.
In Jayous village located to the east of Qalqilia city in the northern part of the West Bank, massive Israeli forces attacked and searched residents’ homes. Soldiers forced families out of their homes during the search, eyewitnesses reported. After searching a number of houses in the village the force left, taking with them six men from the village.
In the meantime, also in the northern part of the West Bank, the Israeli army invaded the village of Qafien near Tulkarem city. Soldiers conducted a wide-scale search campaign that involved a number of homes in the village then took three men prisoner and left.
Nablus city and the nearby Balata refugee camp in the northern part of the West Bank were also attacked on Wednesday at dawn. Soldiers invaded the city and the refugee camp and attacked and searched a number of houses then abducted three civilians. Hisham Tzghiber, 22 and Ashraf Jawabra, were also abducted by the Israeli forces on Wednesday at dawn during an invasion of the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
Later during the day Israeli forces abducted 13 Palestinian school children on their way to school in Al Arop refugee camp, near Hebron city.
Palestinian sources in the city reported that an Israeli army force stopped the students, confiscated their identity cards, then forced them into military vehicles and took them to an unknown detention camp. The sources stated that all of those abducted were aged between 13 and 16 years old. Eyewitnesses stated that no clashes were occurring when the army abducted the children.
The Israeli police forces arrested Al Sheikh Ra’ed Salah, the chief of the Islamic movement inside the Green Line on Wednesday midday. When he was arrested, Al Sheikh Salah was in a marquee that was set up near the excavation site by Palestinian organizations in Jerusalem as a base for the protest against the controversial excavation near the Aqsa mosque in the old city.
The Israeli police have arrested Al Sheikh Ra’ed Salah several times during the past few weeks during protests against the excavation. The last time this happened, he was released under conditions of not going back to the site of the excavation.
Palestinians fear that the digging will weaken the Aqsa Mosque’s foundations, since it is too close to the mosque. The Al Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site for Muslims all over the world.
Nablus Non-Violent Action
The Popular Committee against the Closure of Nablus held a demonstration at Huwwara checkpoint, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, on Wednesday morning. They protested against the curfew which was imposed on much of the city last week. The General Woman’s Union and a wide coalition of groups took part in the demonstration to mark International Women’s Day, which is on March 8th.
Israeli soldiers met the non-violent demonstration with violence; first troops prevented the protest from reaching the checkpoint, then used rifle buts and batons to force the demonstrators to leave. A small fist fight broke out.
Dr. Ghassan Hamdan, the director of the Palestinian relief services in Nablus city and the coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Closure was attacked by the soldiers and was detained for three hours and later released. In a phone call with IMEMC, Dr. Hamdan said that he was the only one injured, since soldiers assaulted him while he was in their custody.
Speeches were given condemning the Israeli military offensive, code named as ‘Hot Winter’ that lasted all of last week. During the offensive two civilians were killed, many were injured, scores were detained and millions of dollars worth of damage to property was caused.
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 Jimi Eph and Ghassan Bannoura.