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Welcome to Palestine Today a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, for Thursday, June 21 2010.

Israel approves the demolition of twenty-two homes in East Jerusalem, Dock workers in Oakland, California refuse to unload Israeli ship, these stories and more coming up, stay tuned.

The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, has asked the city’s planning council to approve construction plans in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, according to Haaretz. These plans call for the demolition of twenty-two Palestinian homes to make way for a tourist center, shops and an art gallery among other things.

After originally putting off approval in March due to U.S. pressure, the city’s government seems set to go ahead with the plans despite protests from the community’s residents.

The people of the area had put forth their own plan which would have avoided the destruction of homes. It would seem the planning committee did not even consider the hernative plan to the outrage of the residents.

The move comes a day after the U.S. envoy to the region, George Mitchell, finished his most recent trip to the region.

The Palestinians would like to see East Jerusalem, with the advent of a two-state agreement, to be their capital. U.S. criticism of the government’s plans is expected.

Within the United States, a California dock workers union, in cooperation with local peace groups, has refused to unload an Israeli ship’s goods.

500 workers from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 and their supporters picketed at the port of Oakland, California.

An organizer had this to say, ‘We want to send a clear message that if you commit acts of piracy on the high seas, if you attack and murder civilians in cold blood, if you build an apartheid Wall, if you appoint a racist minister like Avigdor Lieberman who calls for the expulsion of all Palestinians, then we will not honor your cargo here in the Port of Oakland.”

The workers have agreed to not unload the ship for at least 24 hours. The protest comes after the Israeli military attack of humanitarian activists aboard a Turkish vessel this past May.

On Sunday, Israeli forces used violence to disperse a protest in Beit Jala. Two Palestinian men were wounded by Israeli soldiers who beat them with fists and sticks even though the men were not a part of the protest that was occurring.

The Israeli’s also harassed and beat six journalists documenting the protest. They were hit on their legs repeatedly with sticks in the process of covering the events.

Elsewhere, the Israeli High Court has denied the appeal of four Palestinian legislators seeking to overturn orders seeking to have them removed from East Jerusalem.

The original orders still stand and would have the four men deported from the city, if they did not leave, on July 2nd. The men have stated their intention not to comply with the orders.

Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem, you have been listening to Palestine Today from the International Middle East Center, for constant update, please visit our website at This report has been brought to you by Brian Ennis.