Click on Link to download or play MP3 file || File 12.8 MB || Time 14m 0s ||This Week In Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.IMEMC.org, for January 13th through to January 25th, 2008.
As the UN fails to condemn Israel for its siege on Gaza, the Israeli army kills 12 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and three in the West Bank this week, these stories and more coming up stay tuned.
Let’s begin our weekly report with the nonviolent actions in Palestine, Marguerite Mancy with the details:
On Friday midday the villagers of Al Khader village located near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem protested against the illegal Israeli wall being built on the villagers land. Around 200 villagers along with international and Israeli supporters gathered at a nearby Israeli military checkpoint just out side the village of Al Khader. The checkpoint is located between the villagers and their lands. Two children were injured and nine treated for teargas inhalation.
After Friday prayers the march moved towards the checkpoint, where at least 50 Israeli soldiers were stationed to stop it. Israeli troops stopped the protest and did not allow it to move forward. Speeches in Arabic and English were delivered by the organizers. The demonstrators were about to leave when Israeli troops fired tear gas at the protest. The tear gas bombs landed in front of the soldiers instead of the protesters. Troops pulled back and several soldiers were treated for inhaling the gas that was meant for the protestors. The Israeli army closed the checkpoint and did not allow people to cross it for several hours after the protest finished.
Villagers of Bil’in, located near Ramallah city in the central part of the West Bank, along with their international and Israeli supporters conducted their weekly nonviolent protest against the illegal Israeli wall on Friday. The main theme of this week’s demonstration was the Israeli siege on Gaza. The protesters carried signs with ‘Gaza on my Heart’ and’ End the Siege of Gaza’ written on them.
As is the case each week, the protest started after the Friday prayers, participants marched from the village center towards the construction site of the Wall being illegally built on the village land. Israeli troops installed a military barrier along the way and as soon as the protesters reached it, the Israeli troops showered the demonstration with tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets. Eight civilians were injured; among them two international supporters. In addition, the Israeli troops kidnapped four protesters, three Palestinians and one American after attacking them with rifle butts and batons.
Protests against the Gaza siege
Thousands of Palestinians, including children, public figures and medics, took to the streets of Gaza city on Monday, in protest of the crippling siege, which the Gaza Strip has been going through since June2007, with the siege getting much tighter recently. Last week Israel declared all Gaza’s crossings completely closed, with a total ban of fuel and supplies to the coastal region. By Sunday Gaza had no electricity since the sole Gaza power plant depends on Israeli Fuel.
Scores of Palestinian women gathered on Tuesday at the Rafah crossing located between Egypt and the Gaza strip and protested the siege on Gaza. Egyptian police and troops attacked the protest using water canons and batons, medical sources reported that at least 20 women suffered injures and had to be moved to hospitals inside Gaza. Dozens of Palestinians and Canadians held a vigil on Wednesday in Montreal â€“ Canada, against the ongoing and unjust Israeli siege and attacks against the Palestinian residents in the Gaza Strip.
About 150 Palestinians and internationals gathered on Tuesday evening in front of the Nativity church located in the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem in protest of the Israeli imposed siege of the Gaza Strip. Throughout the week similar protests were reported in Israel and some other West Bank cities.
For IMEMC this is Marguerite Mancy
While the Gaza Crisis continues this week, the United States vetoed a UN statement to condemn and end Israelâ€™s siege and attacks against Gaza; IMEMCâ€™s Nate Bremen has more:
The United States of America has foiled the releasing of the United Nations Security Council statement that criticizes Israel for imposing a tight siege on the Gaza Strip, and the cut of fuel supplies which is pushing the entire costal region toward a humanitarian crisis. The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Zalman Zad, described the statement as unfair and said that it undermines the effect of the home-made shells that Palestinian fighters fire at Israel, a stand that is identical to the Israeli one regarding the statement.
The statement called for an end to the Israeli attacks and siege on the Gaza Strip and also an end to the Palestinian home-made shell attacks. The siege on the Gaza Strip, which was imposed in June 2007, but was tightened in the past few weeks, has resulted in long power blackouts, which have caused a serious crisis in the Strip, especially in the medical sector.
Louisa Morgantini, Vice-President of the European Parliament issued a statement describing the breach in the wall, by Palestinian fighters as an act of resistance. â€œThe breach in the wall and the breaking of the siege decided by Israel against the civil population, are all true acts of resistance and an affirmation of the freedom of that people,â€ said Morgantini in her statement.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert are scheduled to meet on Sunday in Jerusalem in order to discuss the conditions in the Gaza Strip. This comes in line with a statement made by a member of the negation team, Yasser Abed Rabbo, in which he said that Abbas is not planning stop the negotiations with Israel or dissolve the current negotiation team, despite the Gaza siege.
Abbas described halting talks with Israel as unhelpful, yet he condemned the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. During an INA joint press conference in the presidential compound in Ramallah, with the Dutch Foreign Minister Maxim Farghagen, Abbas condemned the firing of home-made shells from the Gaza Strip towards nearby Israeli towns, calling it irresponsible.
He added that his forces are willing to take control of the border crossings leading into or out of the Gaza Strip, to facilitate what he called ‘the life of the ordinary people living in Gaza.’ On Thursday the deposed Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh of Hamas, said he is willing to negotiate a deal with Abbas and the Egyptians to run the Rafah border crossing, which is the only entrance and exit Palestinian residents of Gaza can sometimes use to access the outside world.
For IMEMC, this is Nate Bremen.
The Israeli attacks
The Gaza Strip
As the siege continued on Gaza, the Israeli army attacks this week on the coastal region left 12 Palestinians dead. IMEMC’s Sophie Frazier with the details:
Israeli’s implemented on Saturday a total siege on Gaza, troops closed all borders crossing into the coastal region and did not allow fuel in. On Sunday, due to lack of fuel supplies from Israel, the Gaza power plant stopped operations. Sunday night, Israeli security officials admitted that the impacts of Israel’s complete cut-off of the Gaza Strip became more severe than expected when they put the plan in place. The 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are once again in a total blackout, an event that has become commonplace since Israel’s bombing of the Gaza power plant in 2006.
After a widespread international outcry following Israel cutting off of all fuel into Gaza, that left Gaza without electricity, the Israeli authorities agreed to allow fuel and medicine into the Palestinian coastal region on Tuesday for one day only.
Israeli sources announced on Wednesday that the Israeli army had stopped all fuel and food supply shipments from entering the Gaza strip on Wednesday. The Israeli government said that its decision comes as a response to the Palestinian resistance destroying the Wall separating the southern part of the Gaza strip from Egypt. On Wednesday at dawn the Palestinian resistance destroyed part of the Wall separating the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah from Egypt using five home made bombs, shortly afterwards thousands of Palestinians flocked through and started to buy food and fuel supplies from Egypt to bring back to the coastal region.
Meanwhile, this week the Israeli army continued to bomb Gaza, those attacks left 12 Palestinians killed. In two separate Israeli air strike attacks, at least four Palestinians were killed in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, in Rafah city. The first Israeli air strike hit a Palestinian civilian car, which was traveling near the border fence, leaving two Palestinians dead and destroying the car. In separate Israeli shelling, another two Palestinians were killed in al Shabora area in Rafah as Israelis targeted their car.
Medical sources reported one Palestinian killed and another injured in Israeli shelling of the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun on Thursday at dawn. The Israeli army killed two Palestinians on Wednesday in two separate attacks in the Gaza Strip. On Wednesday midday a Palestinian farmer, Isma’el Al Attar, 50, was killed when Israeli army tanks stationed North West of Beit Lahiya town located in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, and opened fire at him while he was working on his land.
Israeli forces invaded the border area of Karm Abu Mo’amar, east of Rafah on Wednesday morning, leaving one Palestinian dead and another four injured.
Palestinian medical sources reported that a Palestinian man died on Tuesday morning due to wounds he sustained in Israeli army attacks on Sunday. The Islamic Jihad armed wing, Al Qudes Brigades, stated that the man who died on Tuesday is a member of the brigades and named him as Mohamed Al Ghandor. Al Ghandor sustained critical wounds on Sunday when Israeli jet fighters fired several missiles at a group of Palestinians in Beit Lahyia town in the northern part of the Gaza strip.
Israeli aircrafts shelled overnight Sunday an occupied home in Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in northern Gaza. The attack left one Palestinian killed another two injured, one critically. A new Israeli air strike on Gaza killed early on Monday a Fatah-linked fighter and injured three others critically. Palestinian sources reported that two Palestinians said to be resistance fighters for Al Qassam Brigades the armed wing of Hamas were killed on Saturday morning, when Israeli jet fighters fired missiles at them in the northern Gaza Strip town on Jabaliya.
For IMEMC.org this is Sophie Frazier.
The West Bank
This week the Israeli army conducted at least 33 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. In those invasions troops kidnapped 58 Palestinian civilians, including 7 children. IMEMC’s Ghassan Bannoura has the details:
The kidnappings this week were focused in the West Bank cities of Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and Hebron. Among those kidnapped this week was Hatim Abdul-Qader, the advisor of President Mahmoud Abbas for Jerusalem Affairs, he was taken by the Israeli police after he participated in a protest held by the Fatah movement against the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip.
Including the kidnappings this week, the number of Palestinian civilians kidnapped by the Israeli army in the West Bank since the beginning of this year has mounted to 207.
One Palestinian youth was killed and at least seven others injured when Israeli troops invaded the village of Beit omer near Hebron city in the southern part of the West Bank on Friday afternoon. Troops invaded the village and kidnapped 16 civilians, during the military operation local youths clashed with the invading troops, soldiers fired live rounds at the youths killing Mohamed Awad, aged 18 years old.
The Israeli attack on Friday targeting Beit Omer village was after two resistance fighters of Hamas from the village injured three Israeli settlers in Kibbutz Atzion near Hebron. The two Palestinian fighters managed to infiltrate the Kibbutz and fired at the settlers. One of them carried a knife while the other carried a gun, according to Israeli military sources. The two Palestinian resistance fighters were killed in the attack.
Israeli military and medical sources reported on Thursday night that one Israeli policeman, a member of the Border Guard Units, in addition to two Palestinian fighters, were killed, and four other Israelis, including a female soldier, were injured in two separate Palestinian attacks that took place in the Jerusalem area.
The sources stated that the policeman was killed and one policewoman was injured in a shooting incident by Palestinian fighters against the Ras Khamis Israeli military roadblock, near Shuâ€™fat town, north of Jerusalem.
On Monday a young Palestinian man was killed by Israeli gunfire in a neighborhood in eastern Tulkarem city, when Israeli forces invaded the neighborhood and besieged his home. Medical sources reported that the man killed Monday morning was identified as Murad al Basha, aged 23. The sources added that Al Basha died immediately after being shot by Israeli troops with several rounds in different parts of his body.
On Wednesday Ahmad Abu Hantash, 33 from Nablus city died of wounds sustained during the Israeli invasion of the city last Friday.
Abu Hantash was on his way to Friday prayer when the Israeli army was invading the area and randomly opened heavy fire, leaving Hantash critically wounded. Hantash was then moved to hospital for treatment but died early Wednesday morning. During the invasion last Friday, Israel killed a senior leader of the al Aqsa brigades after clashes broke out between the army and a group of the al Aqsa brigades resistance fighters.
For IMEMC.org this is Ghassan Bannoura.
And thatâ€™s just some of the news this week in Palestine. For constant updates, check out our website, www.IMEMC.org. Thanks for joining us from Occupied Bethlehem; this is Caroline Johns.