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This Week In Palestine -week 19 2010
Welcome to This Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for May 8th to the 14th, 2010
As proximity talks started this week Israeli leaders continued to authorize more settlements in the West Bank putting a doubt over those talks, whilst Palestinians marked the 62nd anniversary of the Nakba this weekend. These stories, and more, coming up, stay tuned.
The Nonviolence Report
Let’s begin our weekly report with the non-violent activities in the West Bank. IMEMC’s George Hanson has the story:
The protests began after midday prayers in all three locations. International and Israeli supporters joined people from the villages. Every May 14th and 15th Palestinians and their supporters remember those who were killed and displaced during the creation of the state of Israel.
When Israeli was formed in 1948, its army took over 774 Palestinian villages, towns and cities; of those 531 were destroyed.
800,000 Palestinians became refugees. The Israeli army committed 70 documented massacres, killing 15,000 Palestinians.
In Bil’in and Nil’in protests ended with clashes between local youths and troops; one journalist was detained by Israeli soldiers.
At Al-Massaara villagers built a stage at the village entrance where, every Friday, soldiers prevent protesters from reaching land belonging to the community which has been confiscated for the construction of the apartheid wall.
Reem Banna, a Palestinian political singer, preformed some of her songs. Dabka dance troupes performed and speeches were made by officials and organizers.
For IMEMC.org this is George Hanson
The Political Report:
Proximity talks between Palestinians and Israelis continue despite settlement construction activities in the West Bank, IMEMC’s George Rishmawi has the details:
The United States this week warned both the Palestinians and the Israelis against taking unilateral actions that could obstruct the indirect proximity talks which were announced last week.
Washington has been engaged in constant efforts to get both sides to agree to the resumption of talks which have been stalled since August 2008.
Israel has argued that resuming talks should not be conditional on a freeze in settlement construction, a demand that Palestinians have insisted upon. It seems that this demand has not been met.
Almost every week, Israel declares its intention to build new settlement units in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. 14 new settlers units in the Israeli settlement of Maaleh David, near Jerusalem were approved.
In a phone conversation, U.S. President Barack Obama told Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, that the proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians will focus on final-status issues, mainly borders and security.
Some commentators believe Abbas might resort to the League of Arab Countries before making any tough negotiation decisions.
Israeli media sources reported that Israel would consider playing one of its negotiating cards by saying it will halt the demolition of homes belonging to Arab residents in occupied East Jerusalem in response to pressure by the U.S.
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week that Jerusalem belongs to the Israelis and they will continue to build in order to make a strong, modern city as a home for all the Jews of the world who wish to live there.
Palestinians, on the other hand, are required to apply to the Israeli military for rarely-granted special permits to enter Jerusalem.
Away from the renewed talks, Human Rights Watch revealed this week that the Israeli army intentionally and unlawfully destroyed Palestinian property and made false claims that Palestinians used it for military purposes, during the January 2009 Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.
“Israel should investigate the unlawful destruction of civilian property during the 2009 Gaza hostilities and lift the blockade that hinders residents from rebuilding their homes,” Human Rights Watch said in a new report released on Thursday.
The 116-page report indicates that there are at least 12 documented cases during Operation Cast Lead in which Israeli forces extensively destroyed civilian property, including homes, factories, farms, and greenhouses, in areas under their control, without any lawful military purpose.
The report also slams the siege on the Gaza Strip and demands that the International community, as a matter of urgency, call upon both Israel and Egypt to open the borders for the delivery of reconstruction materials and other essential supplies for the besieged 1.5 million civilian population of the coastal enclave.
For IMEMC.org this is George Rishmawi
The Israeli Attacks Report
This week Israeli troops conducted at least 16 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which soldiers killed a baby and detained 26 Palestinian civilians, including 12 children. Settler attacks also left one teenager dead, IMEMC’s Rami Al Meghari Reports.
A Palestinian infant died when Israeli troops fired tear gas at protestors in the town of Beit Ummar, near Hebron on Sunday, Palestinian medical sources reported. The infant was identified as Hamza Abu Maria, 18 months.
A Palestinian teenager was shot and killed by Israeli settlers on Thursday night near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Ayssar Zrak, 16 years old, died after being hit with live rounds in the back, medical sources reported. The boy comes from the village of Al Mazra’a Al Shrqia near Ramallah.
Zrak and his friends were camping at the hills near Ramallah when settlers opened fire at the group of children killing one of them, Zrak friends who witnessed that attack reported.
Settlers’ attacks were also reported this week. On Tuesday settlers attacked villagers homes in northern West Bank and caused damage, moreover settlers attacked residents homes in Jerusalem city as they marked Jerusalem Day, the day Israeli occupied the city of Jerusalem in 1967.
Elsewhere, Egyptian navy killed on Wednesday a Palestinian fisherman of the southern Gaza shoreline. Mohamed Al Bardaweel, 40 years old, was killed when an Egyptian Navy vessel rammed his boat, witnesses reported.
The Hamas-run government accused Egypt of killing the man intentionally. The Egyptian navy denied the accusation and said that vessel hit the fishing boat by mistake because the fisherman did not turn on his lights.
On Monday at dawn Israeli jetfighters bombarded areas at the southern Gaza Strip boarders with Egypt, Palestinian sources reported. The air strikes targeted tunnels between the city of Rafah and Egypt. According to eyewitnesses, the strikes damaged two tunnels, but no injuries were reported.
The Israeli army says the attacks are in response to a Palestinian attack on Saturday with a home-made Qassam shell that targeted the Negev area outside of the Gaza Strip. The attack did not cause damage or injuries.
Israel attacks the tunnels frequently claiming Palestinians use them to traffic weapons into the Gaza Strip. Since Israel tightened the siege on the Gaza Strip in June of 2007, the tunnels became the source of much needed supplies to the 1.5 million Palestinians besieged in the Gaza Strip.
For IMEMC.org this is Rami Al Meghari in Gaza.
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.