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Welcome to This Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for May 15th to the 21st, 2010
Palestinians boycott settlement products, and the Palestinian Authority denies reports of a possible deployment of International Peace Keeping forces, these stories and more are coming up, stay tuned.
Let us begin our weekly report with the nonviolent activities in the West Bank
This week nonviolent actions took place in the central West Bank villages of Bil’in, Nil’in and Nabi Saleh in addition to Al Ma’ssara village near Bethlehem, southern West Bank.
Soldiers used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets to suppress the protests. Two children were injured and three youth were detained in Bil’in’s non-violent action.
One civilian was hit with a tear gas canister in his face during the Nabi Saleh protest. He was moved to a hospital in the nearby Ramallah city for treatment. One Israeli soldier was slightly injured during the ensued clashes.
Two Palestinian civilians were injured another two arrested by Israeli soldiers during the weekly anti wall protest in Al Ma’ssara village near Bethlehem. Hassan Breijeieh was hit with a tear gas canister in his head. He was taken to Al-Hussein hospital in Bethlehem and his injury was described as critical, and will be moved to Hadassa hospital in Jerusalem, said Mohammad his brother.
This week’s demonstrations were dedicated to the settlements’ products boycott campaign which started earlier in the week.
In Ni’lin protestors stressed the need to continue with non-violent actions which they started almost two years ago. Protestors also carried banners calling for boycott of Israeli products.
The campaign, led by the Palestinian authority, calls for a total boycott of Israeli settlement products, and has been severely criticized by Israeli officials.
Palestinian farmers, locally made dairy products, and soft drinks industry will be among the major benefits of the settlements products campaign which started on Tuesday.
In total Palestinians consume up to $500 million of settlements products per year, according to Palestinian officials, with an average of $1.3 million per day.
The Palestinian Authority denied this week reports over possible deployment of international peace keeping forces in case an independent Palestinian state is established. Currently, Washington is
Involved in indirect talks between Palestinians and Israelis, IMEMC’s Rami Al-Mghari has more.
According to some media leaks, representatives of Jordan, Palestinians and NATO met in the Jordanian capital of Amman and discussed possibility of installing a NATO force into a future Palestinian state to ensure sustainability of such a state, once an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is reached.
Top Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Eriqat, denied there was a meeting between the said sides and reiterated the PA’s position that any Palestinian state should be established within the borders of 1967, which include the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Eriqat maintained that underway Israeli settlement activities would hamper reaching a U.S-mediated peace deal. Eriqat’s remarks came amidst a visit to the region by Washington’s peace envoy, Gorge Mitchel, who met this week with Israeli and Palestinian officials including President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority.
Mitchell has been demanding Israel to halt settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians consider as capital of their future Palestinian state.
Following Mitchel’s meetings with Israeli officials, more than 50 percent of Israeli members of parliament including some of the opposition Kadima party, were reported to have asked the Likud-led Israeli government to accelerate settlement buildings in one of the major settlement blocs in the occupied Arab city of Jerusalem.
Also this week, Israel accused the PA of leading an incitement campaign against Israeli settlement activities. A statement issued by the hardliner Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman, blamed the PA outright for what he termed ‘ an incitement against Israel’.
Since late 2008, peace talks between Israel and Palestinians have come to a complete halt after Israel had embarked on widespread settlement activities, which the international law considers as ‘illegal’.
On the internal Palestinian level, the rival Palestinian parties of Fatah and Hamas took some confidence building measures towards conciliation, amidst some Arab efforts underway.
In the Fatah-led West Bank, the authorities released an influential Hamas leader, while in the Hamas-dominated Gaza, the concerned bodies released a Fatah leader, hours after he was arrested from his home in southern Gaza.
In the Arab capital of Tripoli, Hamas’s top exiled leader, Khaled Mash’al, met with the Libyan President, Mo’mar Alqadafi, within accelerated Arab efforts for mediation between Hamas and Fatah.
Both parties have been at loggerheads since Hamas has taken over Gaza amidst factional fighting with the Fatah party of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in June2007.
In October of last year, Fatah signed an Egyptian-brokered conciliation paper, while Hamas refused to sign, given what Hamas claims changes into the original draft.
For IMEMC.org this is Rami Al-Mghari in Gaza
West Bank and Gaza
This week Israel’s military conducted at least 8 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Troops detained 15 Palestinian civilians, including a child. One patient also died in the Gaza Strip due to the continued Israeli siege; IMEMC’s Ghassan Bannoura reports.
A Palestinian man was reported dead on Wednesday after he was unable to leave the Gaza Strip for life saving medical care. Saeed Al Emour, 45 years old, from Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, was suffering from Cancer and needed medical care in Egypt or Israel.
The Israeli siege on Gaza that started three years ago left hospital there unable to treat patients like Al Emour. The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza announced that with Al Emour death on Wednesday the total number of the patients who died because of the siege now reached 370.
A Palestinian boy was injured on Tuesday night after a bomb left behind by the Israeli military exploded near him in Khan Younis city, southern Gaza Strip. On Wednesday morning Israeli tanks and bulldozers invaded farm lands that belong to Palestinian farmers form Beit Lahya town in the northern part of the Gaza strip.
On Friday Israeli jetfighters conducted their air raids targeting parts of the Gaza Strip damage was reported but no injuries. The military said the attacks come in response to Qassam shell that hit Israeli areas near the borders with Gaza on Thursday evening.
In other news, Israeli police officers attacked Palestinian peddlers in Jerusalem’s old city On Monday. Eyewitnesses said, police officers confiscated the kiosks and assaulted the owners. Kiosk owners were arrested and taken into the police station in Jerusalem old city where they were fined to varied amounts. Most owners could not pay the fines which might cause them to go to jail, the sources added.
An Israeli settler attacked on Wednesday a Palestinian old woman and her grandson in Beit Safafa neighborhood of Jerusalem. The settler who was identified as Isaac Herkovic, took over the house of Shiha Ali, 80 years old, last month. Ali was on her way along with her grandson to the protest tent outside their occupied house when Herkovic attacked her. Ali sustained cuts and bruises due to the attack while the grandson sustained an injury in the head.
For IMEMC.org this is Ghassan Bannoura
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 George Rishmawi.