Click here to downloas MP3 fileWelcome to This Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for October 17th to the 23rd, 2009
The Israeli siege and attacks targeting the Gaza Strip and the West Bank left four Palestinians dead, while a national reconciliation agreement between Palestinian factions is yet to be signed. These stories, and more, coming up, stay tuned.
Let’s begin our weekly report with the nonviolent activities in the West Bank with IMEMC’s Eyad Khair:
Four civilians were injured, one critical, on Friday, by Israeli military fire at the weekly protest against the wall in the central West Bank village of Nil’in.
Villagers along with their international and Israeli supporters held the midday prayers at their lands were Israel is building the wall. After the prayers, local youth tried to dismantle concert blocks of the wall.
Israeli soldiers fired rubber coated steal bullets at them and tear gas. Four were injured, among them Mohamed Minwer, 17 years old, who sustained critical wounds and was moved to a hospital nearby. Salah Mohamed was near Miwar when he was shot:
‘In Mohamed Minwer case, this 17 year old boy did not threaten the soldiers in any way; he was standing near an olive tree chanting. He did not have stones or anything else in his hands to justify Israeli troops shooting him in the face like that.’
Also in central West Bank, dozens were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation on Friday as Israeli troops attacked the weekly protest against the wall in Bil’in village.
As is the case every Friday since four years, international and Israeli supporters joined the villagers after the midday prayers and headed towards the wall.
As protesters reached the gate of the wall separating the villagers from their lands, Israeli troops opened fire at them. Dozens were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation by local medics at the location.
Among the groups that took part in this week protest there was a delegation from ‘Follow the Women’. The “follow the women” delegation, participated in the demonstration by riding their bicycles towards the wall.
For IMEMC.org this is Eyad Khair.
The Political Report
U.S Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, briefed President Barak Obama about her department’s efforts for Middle East peace. Meanwhile, a national reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah is yet to be signed. IMEMC’s Jessica Hulsey has the story:
The U.S administration still demands both Palestinians and Israelis to show commitment to their peace process obligations. In her written briefing to President Obama, Secretary Clinton wrote that Israel must stop settlement activity on occupied Palestinian territory and that Palestinians must act more against terror.
George Mitchell, Washington’s envoy to the Middle East, had earlier met with both Israeli and Palestinian officials, with no concrete progress observed. Israel from its part announced new settlement plans in the occupied West Bank, while Palestinians said they would not resume peace negotiations with Israel, before Israel freezes all settlement activity, including those for natural growth purposes.
At the internal level, rival Palestinian parties, Fatah and Hamas, have yet to sign their national conciliation memorandum of understanding. Hamas said the Egyptian-produced amended document, which Fatah has already signed, does not constitute a basis for reconciliation with the Fatah party.
Hamas has asked for further discussion in Cairo, before any agreement is signed.
In response to Hamas’ position, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah announced in Cairo this week that he would call for general elections by January 25, 2010.
Abbas said that presidential and legislative elections would decide the fate of the Palestinian political spectrum for the upcoming period. Hamas’ term in power would come to an end by that date.
For IMEMC.org this is Jessica Hulsey
The Gaza Strip Report
Two patients died this week in Gaza due to the continued Israeli siege on the territory meanwhile military attacks were reported in different areas. From Gaza IMEMC’s Rami Al Meghari reports:
A Palestinian child was announced dead on Tuesday as he was prevented from leaving the Gaza Strip to get life saving medical care he needed.
Doctors reported that Tamer Al Sakanni, 13 years old, was suffering from cancer and needed urgent care outside Gaza but the Israeli military refused to grant the boy the permission. On Wednesday a Palestinian man died after he was not allowed to leave the Gaza Strip to get the life saving medical care he needed.
Fareed Abu Odeh, 41 years old, also had cancer, his family applied for all needed documents to leave Gaza to get medical care but the Israeli military delayed the approval until he was pronounced dead today.
The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza announced that with those two new death cases the total number of patients that have died because of the Israeli siege on Gaza since June of 2007 has now reached 361.
On Tuesday one Palestinian man was killed and six other injured midday while working in a tunnel near the southern Gaza Strip borders with Egypt. Witnesses said that a manual lever used by the men to lift supplies out of the tunnel collapsed dragging the seven men down with it.
Doctors at the nearby Rafah hospital said that one man arrived dead at the emergency room while the six other sustained moderate wounds.
Since Israeli besieged the Gaza strip in June 2007, the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt became the source of much needed medical and food supplies to the 1.5 million Palestinians living there.
On Monday Israeli navy boats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the shores of the town of Beit Lahyia in the northern Gaza Strip.
The fishermen reported that the Israeli boats opened fire at them while they were fishing in the Palestinian territorial waters and gave them no warning. Damage to the fishing boats was reported but no injuries. The Israeli military attacks Gaza fishermen frequently. This year alone three fishermen were killed by such attacks.
In the Gaza strip, Israeli jet fighters bombarded on Thursday morning a number of locations during separate raids. Damage was reported but no injures
The Israeli military said that the attack was in response to a home made shell fired from Gaza. The shell landed in open areas at the Israeli side of the borders with Gaza on Wednesday, causing no damage or injuries.
For IMEMC.org Rami Al Meghari in Gaza
The West Bank Report
This week the Israeli military conducted at least 19 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Troops killed one man and kidnapped 25 Palestinian civilians, including two children. IMEMC’s Katharine Orwell reports:
This week invasions were focused in the cities of Nablus and Tubass, northern West Bank, in addition to Hebron in the south.
A Palestinian man was killed on Thursday after Israeli soldiers opened fire at his car near the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
Eyewitnesses said that Mohamed Qawarik, 28 years old, was driving his car near the city when Israeli soldiers surprised him and ordered him to stop the car.
The man was unable to stop upon the order of the troops, and then they opened fire at him which caused the car to flip over killing Qawarik, the witnesses added.
Palestinian medics arrived at the scene but at first the soldiers tried to stop them from taking the body to a local hospital, then later allowed them to do it, media sources reported.
Meanwhile a Palestinian was injured on Thursday at dawn when an Israeli settler ran him over with his car near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia.
Zakaria Radwan, 24 years old, was crossing the street near his home when an Israeli settler ran him over and fled the scene, local sources reported. Doctors told media that Radwan suffered major wounds and described his condition as critical.
For IMEMC.org this is Katharine Orwell
And that’s just some of the news from This Week in Palestine. For regular updates, please visit our website at www.IMEMC.org. Thank you for joining us from Occupied Bethlehem. This week’s report has been brought to you by Dina Awwad and Ghassan Bannoura.