Click on Link to download or play MP3 file || 14 m 0s || 12.8 MB || This Week In Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.IMEMC.org, for July 5th, through July, 11th, 2008.

As the Palestinian truce deal with Israel enters its fourth week, Israeli army attacks on the Gaza Strip and the West Bank leaves four dead this week. 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 Nathan Dannison has the details:

The nonviolent actions this week were part of the campaign marking the fourth year of the international court ruling against the Israeli wall being built in the West Bank.

Hundreds of Palestinians protested in communities from Bethlehem, Ramallah, Tulkarem and Qalqilia marking the 4th anniversary.

On July 9th 2004, the International Court of Justice at The Hague declared that the construction of an Israeli wall in the West Bank is illegal, yet construction of the wall continues to this day.

After weeks of on-going protests in Na’lin village located near Ramallah, this week the Israeli army reportedly attacked protesters, injuring 12 civilians. While in Dier Al Ghsoun village near Tulkarem, protesters assembled at the gate of the wall that surrounds their village.

The army showered the group with CS gas canisters. Ten civilians are reported to have suffered from gas inhalation. Other protests were reported in Al Khader and Um Salamunah near Bethlehem and Bil’in near Ramallah. Organizer Salah Al Khawaja spoke about the campaign:

‘We consider the court ruling of The Hague a historic national victory for the Palestinians, that was only accomplished by the continued struggle on the ground, we protested today to tell the world that this ruling must be implemented at all levels.’

The protests were part of the activities organized by the Popular Committees Against the Wall and Settlements in the West Bank.

The 2004 ruling also requires Israel to make reparation for any and all damages caused by the construction of the wall in the West Bank including east Jerusalem. The ruling also prohibits any state party to the Fourth Geneva Convention from recognizing the wall as a legitimate boundary; furthermore, states are prohibited from rendering aid or assistance to Israel in maintaining the construction of the apartheid wall.

For IMEMC.org this is Nathan Dannison.

The Political

Lead: Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad of the caretaker government in Ramallah believed this week that a coalition government might constitute a way out of the current internal Palestinian division. IMEMC’s Nigel Collingsworth with the details.

Fayyad’s remarks came amidst President Mahmoud Abbas’s visit to Damascus over a national unity deal between his Fatah party and the ruling Hamas party in Gaza. The visit came out with nothing as Abbas has met with several other Palestinian factions’ representatives excluding those of Hamas. Asked whether the Palestinian President’s Inititaive for dialogue with Hamas will bear fruits in the upcoming period, Fatah MP Ahmad Abu Huli, told the IMEMC:

‘The President didn’t use the word coup but rather referred to the division and then his initiative is based on the Yemeni proposal for conciliation, which calls on Hamas to renounce control over Gaza. This demand has been long stated by the Arab sates league in the second day of Hamas’s takeover of Gaza’

In Gaza, the Hamas’s political leader, Mahmoud Alzahar, believed that the dialogue with Fatah over conciliation and national unity has reached ‘ground Zero’. Hamas’s spokesman in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, informed the IMEC earlier that his party has extended hand of dialogue.

“We have made many contracts with Arab parties, including Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Qatar, in order to urge these parties to intervene for ending this profile effectively’.

Both Fatah and Hamas have been at loggerheads since the Islamist Hamas party has taken power after 2006’s parliamentary elections in 2006. Their division has been deepened following Hamas’s takeover of the coastal territory in June2007.

In the meantime, the recent ceasefire deal between Israel and the ruling Hamas party, brokered by Egypt, has been threatened after Hamas accused Israel of procrastinating the deal implementation. Representatives of Hamas headed for Cairo this week over reopening of the Rafah crossing terminal, closed since June 2007’s Israeli blockade on Gaza.

Hamas officials said that Egyptian-mediated underway talks over releasing captured Israeli soldier have been held off due to what Hamas called ‘Israel’s reluctance to meet its ceasefire deal obligations’. In a special interview with the IMEMC , Abu Mojahed, spokesman of the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza, one of the group that hold Shalit, commented.

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“Israel still blocks reaching an agreement on the release of Shalit. Maybe if there was a good will from the part of Israel, Israel would have taken its soldier back through an honored prisoners swap deal , upon which are demands would have been met’.

The Palestinian resistance factions demand the release of 1400 prisoners from Israeli jails, including 350 of high sentences. Israel has principally agreed to releasing 70 then it has declined. On a separate issue, Envoy of the Quartet committee for Middle East Peace, Tony Blair, slammed this week the Israeli roadblocks and checkpoints across the West Bank, as ‘unhelpful to peace-making’ in the region. Meanwhile, a meeting of the G8 industrialized nations group in Japan, criticized the Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and called on Palestinians to stop what it termed ‘violence.

For IMEMC.org this is Nigel Collingsworth.

The Israeli attacks

The Gaza Strip

Lead: As the Palestinian truce deal with Israel enters its fourth week, the Israeli army kills one Palestinian civilian and shoots at another at the borders, this and more by IMEMC’s Rami Al Meghari in Gaza:

The Israeli army killed a Palestinian resident in the southern Gaza Strip early Thursday morning, the first Palestinian causality since Israel and Palestinian resistance factions agreed to a ceasefire three weeks ago.

The Israeli army confirmed that the soldiers, manning the Kussofim commercial crossing in the southern Gaza Strip spotted and shot dead a Palestinian man this morning. The areas adjacent to the crossing are agricultural and are inhabited by dozens of Palestinian farmers.

Palestinian sources reported on Tuesday morning that two civilians were killed and two others were wounded in an unknown explosion in southern Gaza Strip.

Dr. Mawiya Hassanen, of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, reported that the source and causes of the explosion are still unknown. He identified the two killed residents as; Muhammad AL Maghaide and Wael Saliha.

He added that one of the two injured residents is in critical condition. Local sources said that the explosion took place at the ruins of an Israeli evacuated settlement.

The Israeli army opened heavy fire early on Sunday morning towards Palestinian farmers in areas, adjacent to the border electronic barbed wire fence with Israel in northern Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army fire today came following an Israeli decision to shoot at any moving object just 300 meters away from the border fence. The decision was delivered earlier to Egyptian mediators who brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinians three weeks ago.

On Monday Israeli sources reported that a Palestinian home made shell struck open areas near the Karen A border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel causing no damage or injures. The sources pointed out that the Israeli army has asked the Israeli government to allow quick military response to every home made shell fired at Israeli areas from Gaza.

For IMEMC.org this is Rami Al Meghari in Gaza.

The West Bank

Lead: during the week the Israeli army conducted at least 30 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During those attacks Israeli troops killed two Palestinians and kidnapped 58 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children. This and more by IMEMC’s Taylor Bray:

The Israeli army attacks this week were focused in the West Bank cities of Nablus, Jenin, Hebron and Ramallah. With this weeks kidnapping, the number of Palestinians kidnapped by the Israeli army since the beginning of the year, now stands 1,482.

A Palestinian was killed in Qalqilia during a fire exchange with the Israeli army on Friday. Gun shots were fired at a number of Israeli jeeps but no damages were reported. Israeli sources reported on Friday that a Palestinian was killed during an invasion in Qalqilia; moreover an Israeli soldier was slightly injured and was taken to hospital.

Israeli sources also added that the Israeli troops found a gun near the body and reported that he had shot at one of the Israeli cars and caused injury of an Israeli man, who was taken to hospital for treatment.

In the West Bank city of Jenin, undercover forces of the Israeli army assassinated Talal Sa’id Abed, 32 years old, on Wednesday evening. He was one of the leaders of Abu Ammar Brigades, one of the offshoots of the Fateh movement, in Kufr Dan Village, west of Jenin city.

Eyewitnesses reported that undercover forces ambushed Abed and intercepted his vehicle. After he was wounded, the forces abducted him and barred Palestinian ambulances and medics from reaching him. Eyewitnesses reported that Abed remained on the ground bleeding heavily before the undercover forces placed him in their vehicle and sped away. The army announced his death several hours later in an Israeli hospital.

On Thursday the Israeli army demolished two Palestinian-owned homes during attacks targeting the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

Israeli forces surrounded two homes that belong to the Karamah family located in the Hebron city center on Thursday morning. Witnesses said that troops forced the family out, and then demolished the two homes. Ied Karamah told reporters that his mother Mirfat sustained bruises and had to be moved to the hospital along with another family member after the soldiers attacked them.

This week the Israeli army setup up attacks against Palestinian charitable institutions in the West Bank, that attacks targeted schools and Islamic aid work organizations in addition to the Nablus municipality building, during the attacks witnesses said that troops took computers damaged building and took a school bus.

A Palestinian official source reported that on Tuesday night that a group of Israeli settlers attacked several Palestinian villages near Nablus city with homemade shells.

Nablus’s district attorney Jamal al Muhesen reported that three shells were launched between 9:30 and 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday night at the villages of Burin and Madma, He also added that this wasn’t the first time that those villages had been attacked by settler’s missiles. The office of civil defense in Burin city reported the incident, pointing out that the remains of the shells were found by an Israeli army force that came to the spot and seized them.

For IMEMC.org this is Taylor Bray.

Abraham’s Bath

And now for a typical report from Palestine. This week, a group of young people from different countries walked through Palestinian villages and towns in a two-week program. IMEMC’s George Rishmawi has the details:

Around 20 International and Palestinian youth walked through a number of Palestinian villages and towns in the West Bank during a two-week trip, with an aim to introduce the Palestinian landscape, culture and people to international youth and create links between these young people and the local community.

The trip is organized by the Abraham Path Initiative, an international NGO, whose purpose is to inspire and support the creation of the Abraham Path. The initiative was founded at the Global Negotiation Project at Harvard University and is sustained by a worldwide network of supporters.

This trip is sponsored by The Siraj Center in Beit Sahour and endorsed by the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, in partnership with the Palestine Wildlife Society and Bethlehem University, who are hosting the Palestinian students in order to promote cross-cultural exchange and understanding.

Taylor Norris, executive director of the Abraham Path Initiative, described it as a form of cultural tourism,

This group represented the inauguration of the Abraham Path initiative after nearly two and half years of preparations. The Siraj center is a project at the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement Between People and aims to create alternative tourism programs in Palestine. The center works to bridge the gap between the Palestinians and people around the world by bringing them to Palestine to experience and meet the Palestinian people in their homeland.

For IMEMC this is George Rishmawi

Conclusion

And that’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 Andrew Chappelle and Ghassan Bannoura.

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