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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre,, for Wednesday, May 21st, 2008. 

The Palestine Investment Conference opens in Bethlehem, as the death toll of Palestinian patients in the Gaza strip climbs to 160.  These stories and more coming up, stay tuned.  

The News Cast  

The Alqassam brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, claimed on Wednesday that one of its fighters in the Gaza Strip was killed early in the morning to the east of the refugee camp of aL-Buraij.  

In a statement faxed to press, the brigades said that 25 year-old Ahmad Al bahaysa was killed during a 'resistance mission' in the Johr Adeik area of the camp.

Meanwhile, the armed wings of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza declared yesterday night they jointly fired a 'developed homemade shell' onto the Israeli town of Ashkelon, 12 kilometers away from the Gaza Strip.  

In other news from Gaza, spokesperson of the Popular Committee Against the Siege in Gaza, Rami Abdo, stated late on Tuesday that the toll of Palestinian patients who have died as a result of not being able to leave the strip for medical treatment has risen 160 since the beginning of the Israeli siege 11 months ago.  The death toll reached this number after 69-year old Dr. Abdul-Karim Hussein died of brain tumor after he was unable to leave the Gaza Strip for medical treatment abroad.  

The Israeli military siege on the Gaza strip has been in effect since June 2007.  Today, several police and security officers linked to the Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, called for a general strike in Gaza on June 14, 2008 to coincide with the first anniversary of the Hamas takeover of the coastal region.  According to the Ma'an news agency, the officers condemned what they call a 'coup against legitimacy' on June14, 2007, referring to Hamas seizing power in Gaza amidst factional fighting with Fatah party.  

In the West Bank, the Israeli army invaded Balata refugee camp in Nablus on Wednesday at dawn and kidnapped three civilians.

Eyewitnesses reported that the three kidnapped were Jibreel Al Kaabi, 22, Omer Urdoniah, 17, and Wasseem Hajjah, 17.

The Palestine Investment Conference kicked off today at the Jacir Palace Hotel in Bethlehem.  The three day conference is aimed at jumpstarting a process of integrating Palestine into the global economy. Over 1200 Arab, Israeli, Palestinian and international investors are expected to participate.

The conference comes amidst some controversy, as it remains unclear whether investors will be permitted by Israel to actually implement their projects in the Palestinian occupied territories.  Hassan Abu Libdah, the director of the Palestine Investment Conference:

(clip of Abu Libdah)  


Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem. You have been listening to Palestine Today from the International Middle East Media Center, This report brought to you by Aaron Lakoff.