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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www.imemc.org, for Monday, March 8th, 2010.
Israel approves more settlement in the West Bank as settlers step up assaults against Palestinian civilians. These stories and more coming up, stay tuned.
The News Cast
Israeli settlers’ assaults were reported on Monday in two Palestinian villages near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. At the village of Oreef, settlers closed the road leading to the farmers’ lands and set fire to farming machine that belongs to one of the villagers. Local sources said that the settlers were from the nearby Yetzahar settlement originally built on lands taken from the villagers of Oreef.
Also in the nearby village of Qarout, settlers erected roadblocks using metal nails to stop farmers from plowing their land. The settlers were from the nearby settlement of Shilo, local sources reported. Villagers say the settlers want to stop them from using their land so settlers can expand their settlements.
In related news the Israeli government approved 112 new housing units to be built in a settlement in southern West Bank. The Israeli Minister of Environment told the Army Radio that the government approved the new buildings on Sunday.
The 112 new houses will be added to the Israeli settlement of Bitar Ilit near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem. Under international law all Israeli settlement in the West Bank, including the ones in Jerusalem city, are illegal.
Today Ahamd Qurei, a senior Fatah official and a former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, said the new Israeli decision will thwart any hope for the resumption of peace talks.
The new decision comes few months after the Israeli government declared a 10-month settlement freeze to pave the road to restarting the stalled talks with the Palestinians. The ten months are not over yet.
Elsewhere, Israeli troops handed out on Monday 10 demolishing orders to Palestinian farmers from villages in the Jordan valley in the occupied West Bank. Troops stormed Al Jiftlek and Fasayil villages in the Jordan valley and ordered local farmers to demolish farm houses and huts.
All targeted structures are built on privately-owned land by those famers, local sources reported. The army says the famers built those structures on land the state of Israel consider as a national park.
The villagers told media that they have documents proving their ownership of the land. The documents date back to the Ottoman rule in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the farmers added.
Earlier on Monday, six Palestinian civilians were detained by Israeli troops during invasions targeting a number of West bank communities. Local sources said that the army took civilians from northern and central West Bank areas after searching their houses. Other invasions were also reported in southern West Bank, but no arrests were reported there.
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.