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,, for June 21st, through June 27th, 2008. Egyptian-mediated talks between the Palestinians and Israelis continue in Cairo as the truce deal between Israel and the Palestinians is in jeopardy. These stories and more, coming up, stay tuned. Nonviolent Resistance We begin our weekly report with recent nonviolent actions in the West Bank. IMEMC's Sam Digel has the details: Bil'in On Friday, villagers from Bil'in, located near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, marched in their weekly nonviolent protest against the illegal Israeli wall built on the village's land. They were supported by international and Israeli peace activists. Protesters carried banners demanding the removal of the Israeli wall and settlements and called upon the international community to help Palestinians retain Jerusalem. They demanded that the Israeli army stop killing Palestinian civilians as well as an end to the use of live ammunition against Palestinian civilian protestors Residents of Bil'in along with Israeli and international peace activists, marched towards the separation Wall which separates 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. Two internationals were injured, Shawn Burg from the US and Shawn McCurry from Ireland in addition to the scores of protesters who were treated for gas inhalation. Bethlehem The Israeli army attacked a peaceful protest organized by the villagers of Al Ma'ssarah located near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem on Friday morning, five were injured. Local sources said that scores of villagers supported by Israeli and international peace activists marched from the main entrance of the village headed towards the lands that are in threat of being confiscated due to the building of the Wall. The participants held Palestinian flags and banners condemning the Israeli action of building of the wall while also calling for the unity among Palestinians. Soldiers attacked the protesters using riffle butts and batons injuring the five activists including one international supporter. Later in the day the village of Al Khader, also located near Bethlehem, organized on Friday midday a nonviolent protest against the illegal Israeli wall being built on the village's land. At least 100 Palestinians from the village of Al Khader along with Israeli and international supporters staged the protest at the nearby settlers road. The march started with midday prayers held near the army checkpoint there, then speeches were delivered by local organizers. The protest ended shortly after the speeches were finished. Samier Jaber an organizer in Al Khader village said that Israeli troops arrived at the area but did not do anything For this is Sam Digel The Political Report Lead: Egyptian-mediated talks between the Palestinians and Israelis continue in Cairo, as the truce deal between the two sides is in jeopardy. Israel closed the border crossings into Gaza in response to homemade shells being fired into nearby Israel. IMEMC reporter Jane Smith has the story: According to a statement released by Islamic Jihad, the shells fired were in response to an Israeli army assassination of an Islamic Jihad leader this week in the West Bank. The Cairo talks are based on last Thursday's Egyptian-mediated ceasefire deal. Israel is reportedly considering a prisoner swap deal with the ruling Hamas party in Gaza. Reports indicate that Egypt had handed over a list of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners Hamas wants to see freed within stages, in return for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gil'ad Shalit. Shalit who was captured by Hamas in a cross-border attack in June 2006. According to the expected deal, media sources say, Israel might consider releasing prisoners including some of the group Israel refers to as ‘those whose hands are stained with blood', and might also free 550 women and children. However, Israel suggested to Egyptian mediators that these prisoners be transferred outside Palestine or that Hamas' original list be modified to include Gaza Strip prisoners only. As the talks progress, Israeli media sources hinted on Friday that the ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians will likely collapse. Israeli foreign minister, Tzibi Livni, called today for a military response to the latest homemade shell fire from Gaza into the nearby Israeli towns of Sderot and Negev, as the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, ordered the reopening of one of Gaza's seven crossings. The Palestinian President welcomed this week in Bethlehem, the French President, Nicholas Sarkozy. Abbas expressed support for the ceasefire, calling on all parties to maintain the agreement. Abbas's stance was echoed by the ruling Hamas party in Gaza, as the Hamas interior minister, Said Siyam, reiterated the call for all Palestinian resistance factions to give top priority to the higher national interests of the Palestinian people, by maintaining restraint and refrain from firing homemade shells into Israel. Sarkozy’s visit to the region included the Palestinian territories and was intended to inject momentum into the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. Sarkozy pledged that France will establish an industrial zone in the West Bank city of Bethlehem and called on Israel to freeze settlement activities. President Abbas started the joint press conference by welcoming Sarkozy, and thanked him for his support: "I thank you and France for financing the industrial Zone in Bethlehem and we look forward during those critical times our nation is going through for more of your support and help to ease the surfing of our people and built the foundations of our independent state". In his turn President Sarkozy stated his support for a Palestinian state: "Mr. President I said to my Israeli friends that we can not solve the injustice that was done to the Jewish people by creating conditions of injustice for the Palestinians. I am a friend of Israel. The security of Israel is non-negotiable for France, but the creation of a viable democratic and modern Palestinian state is a priority for France. I already said it-France demands a halt to the settlement activity including in Jerusalem." In Berlin, a meeting of the donor countries including the Quartet Committee for Middle East peace backed the latest ceasefire deal between Palestinians and Israel. U.S Secretary of States, Condoleezza Rice, reaffirmed Washington's demand that the Islamist Hamas party in Gaza should abide by the three conditions before it wins international backing; renouncing violence, recognizing Israel and accepting past signed peace agreements. On the internal Palestinian political level, talk over national unity between the rival Hamas and Fatah parties has been underway at different levels. In Gaza City, a congregation of various civil society organizations and some political factions convened a national conciliation conference, jointly with counterpart affiliations in the West Bank via video conference. Participants and speakers asserted the need for dialogue between Hamas and Fatah as in the national interests of the Palestinian people. This week, President Abbas, maintained that the ceasefire underway in Gaza might positively impact the atmosphere of dialogue between Hamas and Fatah. Abbas dispatched representatives two weeks ago to Gaza but there were no concrete results out of the visit. Abbas' spokesman, Nabil Abu Rodaina, stated on Thursday that the Palestinian decision on national unity remains independent and that any external influence can not affect such decision-making. Speaking to the IMEMC's correspondent in Gaza, Mr. Hani Habib, a Gaza political analyst says that such a dialogue needs strong will by both parties to engage seriously in direct talks. "There is no doubt that the external factors play an important role in this respect, but basically I believe that the internal factors play a more important role. Therefore, if these internal factors and conditions are available, the external efforts become marginal". Amidst optimism and pessimism, the Palestinian people remain trapped between a crippling Israeli blockade in Gaza and hundreds of roadblocks in the West Bank. For this is Jane Smith. The Israeli attacks Gaza Strip Lead: As the truce between the Palestinian resistance in Gaza and Israel ends its first week, Israeli attacks and the siege on the coastal region leave one Palestinian killed and one injured. From Gaza, IMEMC's Rami Al Meghari has more: Medical sources in Gaza City reported that a Palestinian man died on Thursday because he was prevented by the Israeli army to leave the Gaza Strip to get medical care. The sources said that Adnan Aloush, 55, had cancer and he needed life saving medical care outside Gaza, but the Israeli army refused. Aloush is the 197th patient who has died since June 2007 in Gaza because the Israeli army refused to allow them access to medical care outside the coastal region. The Israeli army shot and wounded on Wednesday morning a Palestinian elderly man in southern Gaza Strip, less than 24 hours after homemade shells hit the nearby Israeli town of Sderot, as a truce deal between Palestinians and Israel had been agreed upon since last Thursday. Palestinian medical sources confirmed that Salem Abu Raida, 80, was wounded with several live bullets in the shoulder and that he was transferred to a hospital for medical attention. Witnesses said that Abu Raida was near his house, which is located close to the Israeli-Gaza border lines in the Khuza'a village in southeastern Gaza Strip, when the Israeli soldiers, manning the borders, shot him. As Israel continued to close the borders leading in or out of Gaza a Palestinian resistance group fired several Qassam home made shells at the Israeli town of Sderot on Thursday afternoon. Israeli sources said that the shells landed in open areas causing no damage or injuries. Al Qudes brigades the armed wing of the Fatah party headed by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas claimed responsibility for the attack and demanded that Israel should include the West Bank in the truce deal reached last week. Last week The Egyptian-mediated truce between Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since June 2007, and Israel took effect. The ceasefire deal stipulates that Hamas will cease firing homemade shells into Israeli territory in exchange for Israel lifting the 12 month-blockade and ceasing all military attacks against the Gaza Strip. For this is Rami Al Meghari from Gaza. West Bank Lead: This Week the Israeli army conducted at least 36 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these attacks, the Israeli troops killed two and kidnapped 48 Palestinians, including 14 children. IMEMC's Jennifer Favor has the details: The kidnappings of the Israeli army this week were focused in the cities of Jenin, Nablus and Hebron. This week's kidnappings bring the total number of Palestinians kidnapped by the army from the West Bank to 1382 since the beginning of 2008. On Tuesday morning the Israeli army attacked the northern West Bank city of Nablus where Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinians originally from the nearby Jenin city. Troops surrounded the house where Eyad Khanfar, 24 a student at a local university, and Tareq Abu Ghali, 25 resided in Nablus and opened heavy fire at their flat killing the two and causing excessive damage before abducting five civilians, eyewitnesses reported. Abu Ghali was reported to be an operative of the Islamic Jihad in the nearby Jenin city. On Wednesday morning Israeli troops attacked the house of Ghalib Tahha, 19; troops searched his home and then kidnapped him. Witnesses said that the soldiers beat up Tahha's brother and damaged the house during the search. Also Wednesday Israeli soldiers attacked a mourning house in the village of Sourif located near Hebron, witnesses said that soldiers barged into the house then attacked three men, the men sustained cuts and bruises and were treated at a local hospital. On Tuesday night three Palestinian civilians were injured when Israeli settlers attacked them near Hebron city. Khalied Al Najaar, 55, Khalied Abu I'raam, and his son Na'el, 24, sustained light wounds when settlers from the Israeli illegal settlement of Matsby Ya'er located near the village of Qfqees near Hebron attacked them while on their way home in the village. For this is Jennifer Favor. Conclusion And that’s just some of the news this week in Palestine. For constant updates, check out our website, Thanks for joining us from Occupied Bethlehem. This week's report was brought to you by Andrew Chappelle and Ghassan Bannoura