Click on Link to download or play MP3 file || 13 m 0s || 11.9 MB ||This Week In Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.IMEMC.org, for June 7th, through June 13th , 2008.
Hamas is still committed to its ceasefire initiative with Israel as the Israeli army attacks leave eight Palestinians killed. These stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
We begin our weekly report with the nonviolent actions in the West Bank. IMEMC’s Jane Orwell has the details:
Five Palestinians were injured and an American peace activist was kidnapped when the Israeli army attacked a peaceful protest organized in the village of Um Salamunah, located near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem on Friday.
150 villagers, international, and Israeli peace activists marched in the morning to protest the illegal Israeli wall being built on land owned by the villagers. Local sources said that as soon as the march reached the wall site soldiers fired tear gas and sound bombs, five villagers were injured, soldiers also kidnapped an American man who was marching with the protesters.
At least 150 Palestinians from the village of Al Khader also located near Bethlehem along with Israeli and international supporters protested the Israeli wall on Friday that is being built on the village lands.
The protest started with midday prayers held on the settler road near the village, then speeches were delivered by local organizers. Samier Jaber of the local committee against the Wall and settlement encouraged the farmers to continue their resistance against the wall to save their lands from destruction.
Scores of Villagers from Bil’in, located near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, supported by international and Israeli peace activists conducted their weekly nonviolent protest against the illegal Israeli wall built on the village’s land on Friday.
The villagers called for the removal of the Israeli wall, and settlements. Protesters marched towards the location of the Wall which is separating the village from its land.
Immediately after the protest reached the gate of the Wall, soldiers showered the protestors with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Three were injured, among them was Ibraheem Burnat who was moved to a hospital because of the seriousness of his injury.
On Sunday at least 300 Palestinian villagers from Na’aleen, located near the city of Ramallah supported by international and Israeli peace activists protest the Israeli illegal wall planed to be built on the village land.
At 6:30 am, a group of farmers went to their lands that are set to be taken by the army for the wall, Israeli troops attacked them and kidnapped Ibraheem Amira a local activist. The farmers were planning to stop the Israeli bulldozers from destroying their lands.
At around 9:00 am on Sunday, villagers, internationals and Israeli supporters marched from the village towards the farmers’ land to aid those protecting their lands. The Israeli army attacked them using tear gas, sound bombs and rubber-coated steal bullets. Seven civilians, including an Israeli journalist known to villagers by the name of Shakhof, were injured, two others were critically injured sources told IMEMC.
For IMEMC.org this is Jane Orwell
Palestinian Prime Minister of the ruling Hamas party in Gaza, Isma’el Haniya, stated on Thursday that Hamas is still committed to its ceasefire initiative with Israel, which Egypt has been mediating since last April. IMEMC Jane Smith has the details:
Haniya was delivering a speech to a congregation of vocational associations. He maintained that lifting the ongoing Israeli blockade on Gaza and halt of Israeli army actions on the Gaza Strip are the main conditions for a truce deal with Israel and that the case of captured Israeli soldier, Gil’ad Shalit, is a separate issue.
The Palestinian PM, whose government was outlawed by President Mahmoud Abbas in June2007, reaffirmed willingness for unconditional conciliation with the Abbas’ Fatah party, based on Abbas last week’s call for a dialogue between Hamas and Fatah.
In the meantime, the ruling Hamas party and other Palestinian resistance factions, involved in ceasefire talks, declared they havenâ€™t yet received an official Israeli response to their ceasefire offer, despite more than two rounds of talks with Egyptian mediators in Cairo.
On Friday, Israeli media outlets reported that the Israeli chief of political and security committee, Amos Gil’ad, submitted to Egyptian intelligence chief, Omar Sulieman, Israel’s demands for a ceasefire agreement. The sources revealed that Israel wants release of Shalit, halt of homemade rockets fire and a crackdown on ‘alleged’ arms smuggling from Egypt into Gaza.
Such developments came in the backdrop of an Israeli cabinet’s decision that the Israeli army would hold off a large military offensive on Gaza until underway Egyptian truce efforts are exhausted. A statement, issued by the Israeli government’s spokesman, Mark Regev, read that the Israeli government decided to give a chance to ceasefire talks and that the Israeli army will carry out a large offensive on Gaza if such talks will fail.
On a separate issue, the Palestinian observer in the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, said that the UN Security Council should practice pressure on the Israeli government in order to stop its settlement activities on occupied Palestinian lands.
The Israeli Haaretz newspaper published on Friday that the Israeli government plans to construct some hundreds of housing units in a settlement enclave in the occupied city of east Jerusalem.
Last week, a new settlement plan of more than 800 housing units in east Jerusalem, sparked a widespread criticism by the UN, the United States and the Palestinian Authority.
Earlier this week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, met with the Jordanian Monarch, King Abdullah II, in Amman over the latest developments of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. Palestinian negotiators voice pessimism over their underway talks with Israelis, as top Palestinian negotiator, Ahmad Qurei, was quoted as saying ‘peace can not go with settlement’.
The Palestinian Authority called for more international pressure on Israel to halt its settlement activities, which would hamper the realization of a two-state solution by end of this year, which Washington highlighted during its last November Israeli-Palestinian peace conference.
For IMEMC.org this is Jane Smith.
The Israeli attacks
The Gaza Strip
In the Gaza Strip this week Israeli army attacks and siege have left eight Palestinians killed including two children, and wounded 16 others; including 5 children and 3 women. From Gaza IMEMC’s Rami Al Meghari with the details:
On Saturday the Israeli army shot dead a Palestinian civilian in al-Shojaâ€™eya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City, when he attempted to offer help to a number of activists of the Palestinian resistance who had been wounded by an earlier Israeli shelling. Also on Saturday the Israeli forces killed one Palestinian resistance fighter, when Israeli tanks targeted a group of resistance fighters at Al Shojaâ€™eya neighborhood.
Palestinian sources reported that three Palestinian resistance fighters were killed during two separate Israeli attacks targeting Gaza City on Tuesday midday. By Wednesday afternoon, Israeli attacks on Gaza had left four Palestinians dead. Early on Wednesday morning; Israeli tanks shelled Palestinian homes, killing one child, one resistance fighter and injured two other civilians, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
Hadeil Al Smierri, nine years old, was located in her home in Qarara village, just east of Khan Younis, when shells ripped through the wall of her home, killing her instantly. As soon as the tanks attacked, local resistance fighters clashed with the invading forces during the clashes one fighter was killed.
55 year old Mohamed Assalyiah was also killed, while his 10 year-old granddaughters was injured alongside two other civilians, during an Israeli air strike which targeted Jabalia refugee camp, located in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday at midday.
12 Palestinian civilians, among them Nur Hamudah, four months old were killed on Thursday midday as an explosion ripped a house in Beit Lahyia town located in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. Witnesses said that the explosion left a house comprised of their apartments totally destroyed.
The Hamas movement said that Israeli F16’s shelled the house which belongs to a leader of the movement armed wing Al Qassam Brigades. Meanwhile the Israeli army denied any responsibility and said that the house was destroyed because the Hamas fighter had bombs stored there.
On Thursday morning Palestinian resistance fighters attacked a military site near the Israeli â€“ Gaza northern borders. Their fighters clashed with Israeli soldiers for two hours and managed to detonate a home made bomb, two fighters were killed during the attack. Meanwhile in a separate incident, Israeli army sources said that its forces shot and killed a Palestinian fighter on Thursday at dawn at the borders between northern Gaza and Israel. Also this week Palestinian medical sources in Gaza said that two more patients died on Tuesday at night due to the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.
On Friday, three Palestinian resistance fighters were killed when Israeli jet fighters fired missiles at them in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.
Fouziah Fakher, 59, died on Tuesday night after suffering from a hart disease and complications with her kidneys. Fakher is an Egyptian woman who came to Gaza several months ago to visit relatives and was stranded there. She tried to leave the Gaza Strip several times but the army refused. Meanwhile also on Tuesday night Raja’ Abu Zied, 17, died of cancer, she is a resident of Rafah city in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, local sources reported.
Doctors stated that she has applied to the Israeli army for permission to leave Gaza for the life saving medical care she needed but the army refused. With those two women, the number of patients who died in Gaza due to the Israeli siege now stands at 184. Israel has placed the Gaza Strip under total siege on June 2007.
For IMEMC.org this is Rami Al Meghari.
The West Bank
This week the Israeli army conducted at least 32 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these attacks Israeli troops kidnapped 39 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children. This and more by IMEMC’s Jay Sheridan:
This week the Israeli army focused its attacks around the cities of Hebron, Nablus and Jenin, with this week kidnappings of Palestinians by the army from the West Bank, since the beginning of the year, has reached 1,306.
In addition on Saturday of this week two Palestinian children were wounded when Israeli soldiers fired at a number of children who demonstrated the Israeli army attack on Al Farâ€™a refugee camp, south of Tubas city.
On Monday a Palestinian child was wounded during an Israeli army invasion targeting Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron. Later on Tuesday a Palestinian civilian was wounded when soldiers fired at a number of Palestinian children who demonstrated in Deir Abu Mashâ€™al village, northwest of Ramallah.
The Israeli army invaded the village of Hussan located near Bethlehem city in the southern part of the West Bank. During the invasion on Thursday morning the soldiers kidnapped a Palestinian man and his wife that is from Jewish origins.
Mohamed Hamamerh, 25, met his wife Melissa, 23, several months ago when he used to work at the settlement of Bitar Illit near his village. They were married last month during a large wedding at Hussan village, Hamamerh’s family reported. The villagers told media sources in Bethlehem that the settlers threatened to send the Israeli army to get Melissa out using force, which was done today. The Hamamerh family said that the settlers are using the army forces as a tool to force their son to divorce his wife.
A group of Israeli settlers attacked the home of a Palestinian family located in Howwara town near the northern West Bank city of Nablus and injured two civilians.
Witnesses said that settlers from the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Yitshar attacked the Khalaf family house; settlers stabbed with a knife Ahamad Khalaf, 33, and beat up his friend Samir Ali, 25.
Both were transported to a hospital in Nablus city where doctors described their injuries as serious Earlier this week three Palestinian civilians were injured on Sunday when Israeli settlers attacked a house in the village of Susia located near Hebron in the southern part of the West Bank.
Eyewitnesses said that, on Sunday evening, a group of armed settlers form a nearby settlement attacked the house of Al Nawa’jah family, during the attack settlers injured Khalil, 70 years old his wife Tammam, 68, and their cousin Yousif, 32. Tammam was transported to a hospital in Israel after sustaining critical wounds medics said.
For IMEMC.org this is Jay Sherida.
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 week’s report was brought to you by Taylor Bray and Ghassan Bannoura.