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Welcome to This Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for May 22nd to 28th, 2010
Nonviolent activities continue in the West Bank as the Free Gaza boats or on the way to Gaza shore and Palestinians and Israelis meet with U.S. President separately, these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
Let’s begin our weekly report with the non-violent activities in the West Bank.
Non-violent anti wall actions these weeks were organized in the central West Bank villages of Bil’in, Nil’in in addition to Al Ma’ssara village near Bethlehem, southern West Bank.
Soldiers used rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and sound bombs to suppress the nonviolent protests which started after the midday prayers.
One teenager was injured in Bil’in after he was hit with a tear gas bomb in his back. Troops also arrested four Israelis who joined the Bil’in villagers in the protest.
Earlier in the week, the Israeli military raided the village of Bil’in.On Tuesday night troops broke into some of the villagers’ homes and searched them and on Thursday troops kidnapped one youth during the raid.
Eyad Burnat head of the Popular Committee Against the wall and Settlements in the village said the goal of these nightly raids is to empty the village from the activists in order to stop the anti-wall protests.
Bil’in have been organizing weekly nonviolent anti-wall protests since february of 2002.
In the village of Ni’lin hundreds of villagers in addition to a number of Internationals peace activists marched, after the Friday prayer, against the construction of the wall on the village’s land. This weeks protest marks the third anniversary of the anti wall protests in Ni’lin.
The protest ended with clashes between the the local youth and the Israeli troops who attacked the march with tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets. Dozens of Palestinians were treated for gas inhalation.
Ni’lin’s villagers continue to organize these activities after the Friday prayers on their lands near the wall, despite of a military order, in which Israel declared the area, a closed military zone.
In Bethlehem, Al Ma’ssara villagers marched on Friday in solidarity with the Free Gaza boats heading to the Gaza Strip to break the siege. The protest ended peacefully, and no injuries were reported.
Eight boats are en-route to the Gaza Strip carrying around 700 peace activists and around $2.5 USD worth of medical aid to the besieged 1.5 million Palestinians.
Israel has threatened to intercept the “Freedom Flotila” if the boats refuse to stop in an Israeli port for inspection.
For IMEMC.org this is George Rishmawi
The Political Report
Israeli and Palestinian officials are expected to meet separately with U.S President Barak Obama within Washington’s efforts to push the stalled peace talks between the two parties. Currently, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is having a worldwide diplomatic tour to garner support for underway indirect peace talks with Israel. IMEMC’s Rami Al-Meghari has the details:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu preempted this week an expected visit to Washington scheduled for next Tuesday, by declaring his conditions for advancing peace with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu was reported as setting forth Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, as a precondition for accepting a Palestinian state within the boundaries of 1967.
Also, the Israeli premiere emphasized on the need for economic peace with neighboring Arab states.
Ahead of the meeting with President Barak Obama, Israel continues settlement activities in the occupied East Jerusalem, which Palestinians consider as the capital of their future Palestinian state.
One week later, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who is now in Indonesia, is set to meet with the U.S president by June9. Abbas has already asserted on his Palestinian Authority’s position that any peace talks with Israel should go parallel with Israeli halt of all illegal settlements construction.
Israeli officials have reiterated their stance that security should come on top of the agenda for any peace talks with the Palestinians.
In other news, Israel said it would block Freedom Flotilla aid envoy from docking at on Gaza shores. Israel argues that the Gaza Strip does not suffer from a humanitarian crisis.
Those in charge of the largest fleet coming to Gaza confirmed that their aid ships will keep up sailing despite the Israeli warnings. They maintain that they are bringing in items that Israel has prevented during the last three years of Israeli blockade on the coastal territory.
Meanwhile, a delegation of 15 European members of parliament arrived in Gaza yesterday through coordination from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency ‘ UNRWA’. The delegation’s visit is intended at watching over the humanitarian conditions in Gaza. Rami Almghari in Gaza
The Israeli attacks Report
This week Israeli attacks on Gaza left at least 25 civilians injured, while in the West Bank the Israeli military conducted 26 raids into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Troops detained 35 Palestinian civilians, including 11 children. IMEMC’s Ghassan Bannoura has more.
Seventeen Palestinian civilians were injured by Israeli air raids targeting Beit Hannon in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning. Local sources reported that Israeli jets targeted residential areas near the border with Israel and Palestinian farm lands. Doctors at the Beit Hannon hospital announced that the injuries range from moderate to light. On Wednesday afternoon three Palestinian farmers were injured by Israeli gunfire while working on their lands near the northern the Gazan border with Israel.
On Sunday Israeli soldiers shot and wounded a Palestinian youth north of Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses reported that soldiers opened fire at Palestinian workers collecting stones, sand and scrap material to be used in construction due to the ongoing siege. Medical sources described the injury of the youth as moderate.
Israeli tanks stationed at the Gaza Strip borders with Israel bombarded on Tuesday residents homes and farmers in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. Tank shells caused damage to homes, some shells landed near farmers while they were working on their lands near Beit Lahyia town, they escaped unharmed, local sources reported.
Palestinian fighters detonated an explosive device near an Israeli military vehicle, Tuesday morning, near the Erez terminal in northern Gaza. The Jihad Jibril Brigade, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Israeli army reported no injuries among the soldiers. Israeli Troops opened fire at the Palestinian fighters, who managed to return to Gaza strip and harmed.
Israeli soldiers assaulted on Thursday a Palestinian family in the Ramadeen village near Hebron, southern West Bank. Witnesses reported that a special military force stormed the house of Amro family, using tear gas and sound bombs, then assaulted the family members with batons causing injuries to all of them.
Tayseer Amro, 45, his wife and their six children were moved to a Palestinian medical center as they suffered tear gas inhalation and third degree burns in the face, doctors reported. According to the Israeli military, the family was hiding Palestinian workers who were trying to jump over the fence surrounding the village to enter Israel for work. The Israeli military reported no arrests of Palestinian workers form that house.
Israeli settlers destroyed on Monday farm lands owned by villagers of Nahalien near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem. Also troops handed out demotion orders to nine Palestinian home owners in the village of Yatma near Nablus, northern West Bank. Local sources announced that the nine homes are under construction and the army says they are built without the needed permission from the military command. Earlier this year the army orders anther 13 Yatma residents to demolish their homes for the same reason.
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.