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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www.imemc.org, for Tuesday, December 1, 2009.
As Israel declares a temporary settlement-freeze, fundamental Israeli settlers occupy a Palestinian house in East Jerusalem, these stories and more coming up, stay tuned.
The News Cast
A group of fundamental Israeli settlers forcefully took over a Palestinian house in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem, Tuesday morning.
The settlers broke into the house of Rifka al-Kurd, an elderly lady who lives in her house for a long time, at the sight of the Israeli police, who did not attempt to stop them.
Hatem Abdul Kader, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council form Jerusalem describe the move as provocation that would increase tension in the city of Jerusalem. The settlers move is apparently a response to the Israeli government’s recent decision to temporarily freeze settlement activities in the West Bank.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamine Netanyahu stated on Tuesday that the 10-month settlement freeze declared by the government is a one time move only.
Netanyahu’s statements came after strong criticism from the right wing in Israel who described the settlement freeze decision as anti-zionist. The decision is meant to give chance for talks between the Palestinians and Israeli to resume as the Palestinian leaders insist that talks will not resume as long as settlements continue to expand.
The Israeli government’s decision to temporarily freeze the settlement activities comes shortly after it has approved the construction of 900 new settler units in different parts of the West Bank including East Jerusalem.
In the meantime, the Israeli public Security Service, Shin Bet, responded to a petition in the Israeli High Court on Monday, defending their use of torture against Palestinian detainees during interrogation.
The petition was filed by the Public Committee Against Torture, a prisoner advocacy group which challenged the Israeli practice of forcing Palestinian detainees to sit on small chairs with their hands and legs cuffed under the chair during interrogations, a method known as the Banana technique.
Shin Bet agents, however, insisted that their methods of interrogating Palestinian detainees are ‘humane’, saying that they have increased the length of the chain to 48 inches.
In 1999, the Israeli High Court ruled that a number of torture techniques used by Shin Bet, including the ‘banana’ technique, were illegal. However, Palestinian detainees who have served time in Israeli detention centers in the past fifteen years say that many of the banned techniques continue to be used by Shin Bet and other Israeli military agencies.
In other news, the European Union will consider this week a resolution to recognize East Jerusalem as a capital of any future Palestinian state, a motion that was received with wide criticism form Israeli leaders.
Israeli officials immediately condemned the proposal and said that it will harm negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian officials.
Israel has always defined Jerusalem as unified capital of Israel, contradicting the International law that defines Jerusalem as an occupied territory.
The Unites States backs Israel’s position regarding Jerusalem as the ex-President George W. Bush has repeatedly said, the US considers moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem. You have been listening to Palestine Today from the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org. This report has been brought to you by Ghassan Bannoura.