Click on Link to download or play MP3 file|| 09m 06s || 8.33 MB ||
Welcome to This Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for March 20th to the 26th, 2010
In this week’s report, Israeli attacks escalate in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, while US efforts to re-start Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are ineffective. These stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
Let’s begin our weekly report with the non-violent activities in the West Bank. This week a number of civilians were injured and one was detained when Israeli troops attacked the weekly anti wall protests.
Protests were reported at the village of Nil’in and Bil’in, central West Bank, Nabi Saleh village, northern West Bank and Al Ma’ssara village, southern West Bank. At all four locations Israeli soldiers used tear gas, sound bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets to disperse protesters.
One local youth was injured in his leg by a rubber coated steel bullet at the village of Nabi-Saleh while an Israeli peace activist was detained by troops in the village of Bil’in. In Nil’in and Nabi-Saleh this week, protests ended with clashes between local youth and the military.
Earlier this month the Israeli army made the villages of Bil’in and Nil’in a closed military zone every Friday for six months. The order bans international and Israeli supporters from the weekly protests, giving the military cause to arrest and deport anyone in violation of this new rule.
In Al Ma’ssraa this week, protests emphasized the detention of a local organizer, Omer Aladdin. Aladdin was held by the army for one week, being repeatedly beaten and tortured during this time. After his release on Tuesday, he had to seek medical care at a local hospital for injuries incurred during his imprisonment.
The Political Report:
The US attempts to help Israel and Palestine peace efforts although the situation remains tense on the ground. Meanwhile, Israel remains committed to settlement activities in occupied east Jerusalem, IMEMC’s Walter Jones has the updates:
The US has set out a number of demands from Israel during the latest meeting between President Barack Obama and Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Among the demands are easing the movement restrictions in the West Bank, allowing raw building materials into Gaza and halting settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories including East Jerusalem.
Israeli officials downplayed the demands, claiming the US does not object to settlement building. This week the Jerusalem Municipality approved the construction of 20 more settler homes near the Shepherd Hotel in occupied East Jerusalem.
The Shepherd Hotel, one of the historic sites in Jerusalem, will remain as is, according to the current plan. Fouziya Al Kurd, a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem displaced by Israeli settlers in 2008, comments on the planned construction:
US-Israel relations have been tense since Israel’s announcement earlier this month of plans to build 50,000 settlers homes in East Jerusalem. The Obama administration considers Israeli settlement construction an obstacle to jumpstarting the stalled peace process. Palestinians demand a total freeze of settlement construction before renewing such talks. Sahar Qawasmi, a Palestinian Member of Parliament, comments on the issue:
In other news, Israel rejected a condemnation of Israel by the UN Human Rights Council. The condemnation was issued after the Goldstone Report highlighted possible human rights violations during the January 2009 offensive on Gaza.
A meeting of the permanent representatives in the Arab states league approved 500 million dollars of aid for occupied East Jerusalem this past Thursday.
This year’s Arab league summit, to take place in Libya, is expected to confront a number of issues. On the agenda for this summit is the pending Palestinian national unity deal as well as recent Israeli actions on the ground that are believed to undermine chances for peace in the Middle East. Last year’s summit endorsed an Arab league peace initiative launched by Saudi Arabia in 2002. It is unclear whether the Arab states will endorse such an initiative again this time around.
For IMEMC.org this is Walter Jones.
The Gaza Strip Report
Two Palestinians were killed and others injured due to Israeli military attacks this week targeting the Gaza Strip. From Gaza IMEMC’s Rami Al Meghari Reports:
Two Palestinian fighters and two Israeli soldiers were killed on Friday during clashes at the northern Gaza Strip border with Israel. Local sources reported that an Israeli military force invaded the area and fought with a group of Palestinian resistance fighters resulting in the four deaths.
On Thursday, the Israeli military injured a Palestinian fisherman, according to local sources. The Israeli navy fired at fishing boats off the northern shore of Gaza leaving one man injured and numerous boats damaged. Also on Thursday, Israeli troops stationed at the southern Gaza Strip border, fired at Palestinian workers, wounding one. Naji Abu Rayda, age 32, sustained critical wounds to his back.
On Wednesday two Gazans were injured when Israeli missiles landed in areas east of Jabalia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. An army spokesperson claims the strike is in response to homemade shells fired from Gaza on Tuesday evening.
Twenty Palestinian workers were detained also on Wednesday by Israeli troops in the abandoned Dogit settlement, north in the Gaza Strip. According to witnesses, Israeli soldiers invaded the area, attacked workers and took them to military detention facilities for questioning. 15 of the detained workers were released the following day.
Israeli tanks and bulldozers invaded northern Gaza this Tuesday at dawn. Witnesses reported tank fire directed at homes while bulldozers destroyed farm land and trees. Palestinian fighters clashed with Israeli forces on Monday evening near the southern border of Gaza. One Palestinian civilian was wounded during the incident while an Israeli soldier was killed by friendly fire.
For IMEMC.org this is Rami Al Meghari in Gaza.
The West Bank report
Four Palestinian youth were killed by the Israeli military this week. Additionally 19 Palestinian civilians, including seven children, were detained by the Israeli military during invasions targeting West Bank communities. IMEMC’s George Rishmawi has the story:
On Saturday, Mohammed Qadous, age 16, and Usaid Abdul Naser Qadous, age 20, were killed in the village of Iraq Burin near Nablus during clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian youth.
On Sunday, Israeli forces killed two farmers near Awarta village outside of Nablus, Mohammed Qawariq, aged 20; and Salah Qawariq, aged19. The Israeli military claim one of the deceased threatened to stab a soldier, causing the shooting and subsequent death of the two local youth. Witnesses claim the two posed no threat to the soldiers calling the attack unnecessary and unprovoked.
Israeli media report that both sets of killings require further investigation due to differing initial testimony given by Israeli soldiers.
On Tuesday, armed Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian farmers in a number of locations in the West Bank.
In the village of Qaryout, northern West Bank, settlers stopped farmers from reaching their land. Witnesses reported settlers threatening to shoot farmers who entered their own land.
In central West Bank, armed settlers attacked farmers from Sinjel village. The farmers said they were in the middle of plowing their fields when settlers attacked. Soldiers arrived at the location to disperse the settlers but also expelled villagers from their own land.
For IMEMC.org this is George Rishmawi.
And that’s just some of the news from This Week in Palestine. For regular updates, please visit our website at www.IMEMC.org. Thank you for joining us from Occupied Bethlehem. This week’s report has been brought to you by Ghassan Bannoura.