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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www.imemc.org, for Tuesday, December 8th, 2009.
Israeli settlers continue to prevent government inspectors from implementing a 10-month settlement freeze, and Palestinian officials welcome the European call for Jerusalem as a capital of two-states, these stories and more are coming up, stay tuned.
The news cast
Hundreds of settlers yesterday blocked the entrances to two settlements in the occupied West Bank to prevent Israeli government inspectors from serving construction freeze orders in line with a government order issued in late November, Palestine News Network.
This is the second time in two days that settlers had defied police and tried to prevent inspectors from serving the orders to freeze settlement building. The Israeli government decided a few weeks ago to freeze settlement construction for 10 months, a decision staunchly opposed by the Jewish settlers who described it as anti-zionist. The 10-month moratorium does not include Jerusalem.
Israeli authorities managed to peacefully serve similar orders to dozens of other settlements in the West Bank, but on Sunday, government inspectors were held up for hours trying to serve similar papers to the settlement of Kedumim.
Elsewhere, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad welcomed the call of the European Union to make Jerusalem a capital of two states.
European Union foreign ministers on Tuesday called for negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis to find a way to make Jerusalem the capital of two nations, Israel and the future Palestinian state.
‘If there is to be a genuine peace, a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states,’ the EU foreign ministers said in a statement released on Tuesday.
Sweden, which currently holds the presidency of the European Union, presented a draft document last week supporting the division of Jerusalem and the recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
For their part, Israeli officials have strongly objected to the Swedish draft resolution saying that it does not recognize Israel’s claims to the eastern part of the city as reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Israel’s Foreign Ministry warned the move would damage the EU’s standing as a mediator in the Middle East, Haaretz added.
In the Gaza Strip three Palestinians died of H1N1 virus on Tuesday, Palestinian medical sources reported. A baby and two women were confirmed as the fist deaths from the H1N1 virus in the densely populated Palestinian territory, a spokesman said.
The coastal region is under a tight Israeli and Egyptian blockade since June 2006, tightened since Hamas took over the strip in June 2007.
World Health Organisation officials say that there are not enough swine flu vaccines to protect Gaza’s hospitals.
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, Zak Brophy.