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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www.imemc.org, for Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
The Israeli military kidnaps 9 Palestinian civilians from the West Bank, while the PLO extends President Abbas’s term. These stories and more coming up, stay tuned.
The News Cast
Nine Palestinian civilians were kidnapped by Israeli troops on Wednesday during morning invasions targeting a number of West Bank communities. Local sources reported invasions and house-to house searches in the village of Burka, northern West Bank, where all nine men were kidnapped from, in addition to Bethlehem city and nearby villages in the south.
Internally the Central Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization extended on Wednesday the terms for President Mahmoud Abbas and the Legislative Council. During a meeting today in the central West Bank city of Ramallah the committee announced that both terms are to be extended until elections are held.
The PLO Central Committee called on Hamas to sign the Egyptian mediated document for national unity between Palestinian factions so elections could be held. Hamas continues to refuse to endorse the Egyptian-presented reconciliation paper, on which Fatah has already signed. Hamas wants certain points in the document to be changed.
Since coming to power in January of 2006, Hamas has been at odds with the Fatah party which resulted in a bloody clash of forces in June of 2007. These led to the expulsion of Fatah-linked PA forces from Gaza by Hamas. President Abbas of Fatah consequently outlawed Hamas.
In response to The PLO Central Committee decision today, Hamas announced that extending Abbas’s term as President of the Palestinian Authority is illegal and contravenes the Palestinian constitution.
In other news British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday told Israel’s opposition leader Tzipi Livni that she is always welcome in UK. During a phone call Brown voiced his rejection of an arrest warrant issued in Britain against Livni earlier this week for her role in orchestrating last winter’s offensive against Gaza.
On Sunday Livni canceled her participation in a Jewish function in the UK, after receiving information from Scotland Yard that a warrant for her arrest had been issued.
The Israeli war on Gaza which started on December 27th 2008 and lasted till January 17th 2009 claimed the lives of around 1500 Palestinians, and wounded 5000 others, in addition to causing extensive damage to the infrastructure of the coastal region. 16 Israelis were killed, 14 soldiers and 2 civilians, during the war.
Following the January assault on Gaza Palestinian solidarity groups in the UK have been pursuing lawsuits against Israeli leaders accusing them of war crimes, which would subject any senior Israeli officials to arrest in certain European countries.
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