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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www.imemc.org, for Tuesday, March 16th, 2010.

Dozens of Palestinian wounded and arrested during East Jerusalem clashes with Israeli police while Gaza protest in solidarity with the Palestinians of Jerusalem. These stories and more coming up, stay tuned.

The News Cast

At least 38 Palestinians civilians were injured by Israeli police fire on Tuesday during the ongoing clashes in East Jerusalem. Palestinian medical sources reported that most of those injured in Jerusalem today were hit with rubber-coated-steel bullets. Troops also used tear gas and sound bombs to suppress the protests.

The clashes took place after fundamental settler groups opened on Monday a synagogue near Al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem. Tension was high in Jerusalem as Israel declared intention to build 50,000 new housing units for settlers in the city last week.

Since Friday of last week Israel has completely sealed of Jerusalem preventing all West Bank residents, including those who has a permit, from entering the city. Also, Israeli police prevented all Palestinian men under the age of 50 from entering the old city.

The Clashes today were concentrated in Al Issawiyah, a Palestinian town near Jerusalem’s old city. In the morning clashes were also reported in many other parts of Jerusalem, while around noon time, protests escalated at the Qalandia military checkpoint, north of Jerusalem. Two Palestinians were wounded in the clashes, local sources reported.

In the meantime, Hundreds of Gaza students along with politicians and teachers protested on Tuesday in solidarity with Jerusalem. Protesters gathered near the building of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza City. Local MPs and politicians delivered speeches demanding Arab and international support to the Palestinians in Jerusalem.

In related news, The United States Embassy in Tel Aviv informed Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu that U.S. special peace envoy George Mitchell had canceled his visit to the region.

Mitchell was planning to meet Israeli officials to get their response regarding the government’s policy on the issue of settlements. Netanyahu announced on Monday that settlement construction will continue in Jerusalem. Political analysts say the trip was canceled due to growing anger by the Obama administration because of the ongoing Israeli settlement construction in East Jerusalem.

Currently, there are some 500 thousand settlers in the West Bank, almost half of them are focused in East Jerusalem, which diminishes any chance for a viable Palestinian state to be established.`

Conclusion

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 George Rishmawi.

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