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 July 12th, through July, 18th, 2008. As political sources announce an upcoming summit between Palestinian and Israeli leadership in the US, five Palestinian patients died because Israel did not allow them to leave the coastal region of Gaza for medical care. 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 Rula Shahwan has the details: The nonviolent actions this week were part of an ongoing campaign marking the fourth year of the International Court of Justice ruling against the Israeli wall being built in the West Bank. Close to a hundred Palestinians from the village of Al Khader, located near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, were joined by International peace activists for the weekly prayer and march in protest of the illegal wall Israel is building on village land. As organizers from popular committees for land defense began to march, Israeli soldiers left their truck, which had been stationed a few meters from the assembled group. The soldiers stretched a barrier of coiled barbed wire across the road. “If you cross that barrier,” I will shoot you,” one soldier said. The protesters left peacefully following speeches that were delivered by local organizers. As soon as Friday prayer finished, the people of Bil'in, a village near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, marched in their weekly protest against the apartheid wall and settlements, joined by international and Israeli activists. The demonstrators carried banners against the occupation, arrests, killings, closures and incursions against the Palestinians. The protesters headed towards the gate of the wall and soldiers started firing tear gas and rubber bullets, resulting in the injury of Adeeb Abo Rahmah and dozens of others affected by the tear gas. On July 9th 2004, the International Court of Justice in The Hague declared that the construction of an Israeli wall in the West Bank was illegal, yet construction of the wall continues to this day. For IMEMC.org this is Rula Shahwan. The Political Lead: Diplomatic sources announced on Friday that the U.S Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, will be holding a three-way meeting by end of this month including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert. This and more by IMEMC's Andrew Chappelle: Jhon Machromac, Spokesman of the U.S State Department, did not confirm Rice's next visit to the region but said her efforts are underway to achieve Washington's goal, a two-state solution by end of 2008. In other news, Israeli radio reported on Friday that Israel intends to resume talks on the release of captured Israeli soldier Gil'ad Shalit. Israeli official sources said that the government would rather shift the numbers of would-be swapped prisoners with Hamas, rather than soften its position on the actual list of prisoners the ruling party in Gaza wants to see freed. Hamas, which has held Shalit in Gaza for more than two years now, and Israel have suspended Egyptian-mediated negotiations over the swap deal. Hamas demands that 450 Palestinian detainees, many of whom have extended sentences, be released in exchange for Shalit. Recently, Israel and the Lebanese Hizbullah party, concluded a prisoners swap deal, in which a top Hizbullah jailed leader, Samir Quntar was released along with remains of about 200 Palestinian, Arab and Lebanese fighters. In return, Lebanon handed over the bodies of two Israeli soldiers captured by Hizbullah in June 2006. Meanwhile, this week Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, emphasized the need to push peace talks forward, for the sake of an agreement between Palestinians and Israelis. The two leaders' assertion came on the sideline of a Paris International Conference in the French capital. In the meantime, Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad of the Ramallah government, stated that Israeli army actions in the West Bank would harm the peace process and undermine the Palestinian Authority's control in the West Bank. According to an online public opinion poll, conducted this week by Maan News Agency, 39 percent of 16,338 respondents believe that the latest Israeli army actions against the West Bank, particularly in the Nablus city, are intended to undermine the Palestinian Authority. On another internal issue, talks over national unity between the major rival Hamas and Fatah parties are still stalled. Khaled Mash'al, supreme political leader of Hamas, based in Damascus, said in Yemen this week that the Yemeni proposal for conciliation between Fatah and Hamas is the best way to realize national unity. Last month, President Mahmoud Abbas launched an initiative of dialogue, based on the Yemeni proposal, which he says is aimed at returning the situation back to the way it was prior to Hamas's takeover of Gaza in June 2007. In Gaza, spokesman of the Hamas-led government, Taher Annono, questioned how the situation could be returned back to the way is was before June 2007. He spoke to an IMEMC correspondent about the situation. " I can not understand what is meant by returning the situation back prior to June14, 2007!, Is it the return to the national unity government?, Is it the return to the times of war lords, who used to kidnap then release foreigners, claiming they have achieved something?, Is it the return to those who used to take over public assets?, Is it the return to the times of killings before June14?. We want to understand; this question needs hundreds of explanations!". The Hamas-led government in Gaza welcomed this week an expected visit by the Quartet Committee's envoy, Mr. Tony Blair. Blair was expected to arrive in Gaza and meet with a number of businessmen, as a component of Blair's economic commitment to the Palestinian territories. The visit was canceled in the last minute, a cancellation considered by Hamas as a part of international and Israeli pressure on Blair. Yet Blair's office in Jerusalem said the cancellation was due to high security alert on the life of Mr. Blair. Omar Sha'ban, a Gaza-based businessman who was supposed to meet with Blair, discussed the prospects of his economic program in Gaza with an IMEMC correspondent. The Quartet (United Nations, United States, Russia, the European Union), have enforced a boycott on Hamas, two months after the party took power after the 2006 parliamentary elections. The coastal territory is now controlled by the Islamist Hamas party after it took over amidst factional fighting with the Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on June14, 2007. Abbas outlawed Hamas and in July 2007, formed a Fatah-dominated government in the West Bank, as Israel imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza's 1.5 million residents, over whom Hamas holds sway. For IMEMC.org this is Andrew Chappelle: The Israeli attacks The Gaza Strip Lead: As the truce deal in Gaza between Hamas and Israel enters its fifth week, five Palestinian patients died because Israel did not allow them to leave the coastal region for medical care; from Gaza IMEMC's Rami Al Meghari has the story: As Israel continued its siege on the Gaza Strip for over a year, the death toll has reached 210 as a Palestinian 10 month's old baby died in Gaza city on Friday at dawn after the Israeli army did not allow him to leave the costal region for treatment. Another 6 year old child died on Thursday morning of a kidney failure, since he was banned from leaving the Gaza Strip to receive medical treatment. Three more patients were announced dead on Monday for the same reason as they were banned from seeking medical treatment out of the Gaza Strip. Medical sources reported that Latifa Kafina died on Monday morning of leukemia. She couldn’t get the permission to leave the Gaza Strip to receive treatment. The patient's family reported that they tried for over ten days to get permission, but they got it only after she was dead. Moreover sources in Gaza reported that 36 year old Suhaila Abu Hweshel died of cancer on Monday after being banned to leave the Gaza strip to outer hospitals for medical treatment. In addition Ahmad Abu Ajwa, an old man with diabetes, was pronounced dead on Monday for being unable to get life saving medical treatment out of the Gaza Strip because the army banned him from getting the permission. Israel placed the Gaza Strip under total siege in June 2007. Last month, Israel agreed to open the border crossings around Gaza after Egypt mediated a truce deal between Israel and the Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza. Earlier on Monday a Palestinian civilian was shot by Israeli troops at the southern border between Gaza and Israel. The young man was wounded and transported to a local hospital for treatment. The Hamas movement considered this a violation of the truce terms and demanded an international intervention. For IMEMC.org this is Rami Al Meghari in Gaza. The West Bank Lead: This week the Israeli army conducted at least 40 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these attacks Israeli troops kidnapped 66 Palestinian civilians, including seven children. IMEMC's Jennifer Favor has the details: This week's attacks were focused in the cities of Nablus, Jenin and Ramallah. With this weeks kidnappings the number of Palestinians kidnapped by the Israeli army from the West Bank since the beginning of this year has reached 1,548. Also this week and for the second consecutive week, the Israeli army continued its systematic campaign against Palestinian civil institutions in Nablus city. Israeli forces attacked and searched several civil institutions; where soldiers confiscated property of these institutions and ordered the closure of a number of them. The attacks included also five local mosques. On Thursday evening an 18-year old youth from Jerusalem city was wounded in his head in addition to sustaining burns in the head and face after Israeli soldiers hurled a sound bomb at him. The youth, Abdullah Jamal Mubarak, also lost his hearing sense permanently, as the concussion grenade exploded near his ear. Witnesses said that Mubarak was heading towards an exterior toilet near his home when the soldiers hurled the concussion at him. On Thursday at dawn, in the City of Jerusalem, Israeli forces backed by a bulldozer stormed and demolished the home of Ahmad Al A'rameen in Al Ezariye neighborhood in Jerusalem City. Witnesses said that Israeli troops attacked Ahmad, and his family injuring three of them then kidnapped two of his sons before demolishing the house. Earlier in the Week, On Tuesday the Israeli Authorities demolished a two-story home in Al Aiswiye neighborhood in Jerusalem city. The demolished building belonged to Aishaq Mustafa which housed 12 family members. Furthermore, the Israeli army announced to 20 other civilians that their homes would also be demolished. The Israeli army says that the homes were built without the needed permission. Since Israel occupied Jerusalem in 1967 it has rarely given its Palestinian residents any form of documentation for their land or homes. Also on Tuesday morning Israeli settlers left the local park at Esh Ghrab in Beit Sahour town near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem. According to eyewitnesses the settlers left early on Tuesday morning leaving behind racist graffiti and Israeli flags. On Monday evening more than 150 Israeli settlers invaded the local park at Esh Ghrab, which is an evacuated military base, owned by the people and municipality of Beit Sahour. As IMEMC reporter Ghassan Bannoura and photographer Rami Rishmawi approached the site, settlers assaulted the two men despite their clearly visible press credentials. This is not the first time the settlers attempted to colonize this site. The first time they appeared on May 15, 2008. For IMEMC.org this is Jennifer Favor. 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 Ghassan Bannoura and Husam Qassis.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail