Click on Link to download or play MP3 file|| 9 m 40s || 8.85 MB ||
Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for June 26, through July 2, 2010
U.S. Envoy for Middle East peace disappointed over proximity talks, while Israeli military and settler attacks continue to target Palestinian communities, these stories and more are coming up, stay tuned.
Let us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in West Bank villages and in Jerusalem.
Today the people of Bil’in were joined by internationals and Israelis in the weekly demonstration against the illegal apartheid wall that has stolen more than half of Bil’in’s land. About 150 protestors carried out the message to the Palestinian leaders, expressing the need for unity, bringing a large banner showing a picture of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and Ahmad Yaseen, the founder and late leader of Hamas together. The popular committee in Bil’in, represented by Iyad Burnat said there is a need for the Palestinians to unite to resist Israel’s illegal occupation.
Burnat stressed the fact that many people are coming from abroad to show support, and urged the Palestinian leaders to focus on solidarity instead of causing more suffering for their people.
The protesters went together dancing and chanting slogans until they reached the fence, where the Israeli soldiers were stationed. Troops asked the protesters to leave in ten minutes. According to a report by the Friends of Freedom and Justice group in Bili’n Israeli troops started shooting tear gas at the marchers as they were on their way back to the village, causing dozens to choke from tear gas inhalation.
Heat from tear gas canisters and sound grenades set fire to the dry ground in several places. The smoke and the gas forced people further back, and in spite of the non violence and retreat the soldiers continued shooting. A number of olive trees caught fire causing severe damage.
Nearby, the residents of the village of Ni’lin near Ramallah organized their weekly non-violent protest against the construction of the wall on their land. A few months ago, the Israeli military placed the lands slated for confiscation under military order which prohibits the residents form reaching the land for any reason.
The villagers, accompanied by International peace activists, marched from the center of the village to the land carrying Palestinian flags and chanting slogans calling for the removal of the wall and the end of the Israeli occupation in Palestine.
Salah Khawaja, member of the popular committee against the wall and settlement in the village stressed the importance of the non-violent protests to face the Israeli policies of separating Palestinians from their lands, and the ongoing attempts to evacuate the Palestinians from Jerusalem.
The protest ended peacefully as the Israeli troops remained behind the gate in the wall and did not attempt to prevent the prayer.
In the meantime, villagers of Al-Ma’asara near Bethlehem organized a protest against the Israeli wall being built on their land. The villagers along with International and Israeli peace activists marched after the Friday prayer to the construction site of the wall.
Mohammad Brejiyeh, one of the organizers of the protest said Israeli troops violently prevented the demonstrators from reaching the wall. Instead, protestors organized a sit-in near the sealed area and carried signs condemning the wall and pointing to the ruling of the International court of Justice in 2004, which called for the immediate removal of the wall and the compensation of the Palestinians who suffered losses from its construction.
In other news, Elected Hamas legislators in Jerusalem started a protest against Israel’s order to expel them from Jerusalem, and may likely escalate their protest to a hunger Strike.
Engineer Khaled Abu Arafa, former Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, told media that the protest is enjoying wide public support, and would continue until further notice.
Israel has recently arrested Mohammad Abu Teir, member of the Palestinian Parliament representing the Palestinian Jerusalem constituency.
The protesting legislators decided to hold their protest at the Red Cross building and said that they will remain there until their issue is resolved and the expulsion orders against them are revoked.
For IMEMC.org this is George Rishmawi
American envoy for Middle East peace, Gorge Mitchell, was reported to have expressed disappointment over stalled proximity talks between Israelis and Palestinians, IMEMC’s Rami Al-Meghari has the story.
Palestinian negotiator Ahmad Qurei was reported as saying that proximity talks between Israelis and Palestinians are deadlocked over Israel’s continued unilateral actions in the occupied east Jerusalem.
Qurei called on all parties concerned to move in order to save what could be saved in the Arab holy city. He also reiterated call to Israel to accept the Arab peace initiative of 2002, which calls for a comprehensive peace with Israel, based on the 1967 borders.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Natyahou is expected to visit Washington. The visit is preceded by remarks of Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman, in which he expected no Palestinian state within a period of two years.
Media reports suggest that U.S President Barak Obama is going to pressure Natinyahou over freeze of ongoing Israeli settlement activities in the occupied East Jerusalem, so that peace talks between the two sides shall resume.
In another news, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said that he is ready to pay any price for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gila’d Shalit. The ruling Hamas party in Gaza, which holds Shalit, reiterated position that Shalit can never be released unless Israel agrees to a list of Palestinian prisoners, Hamas wants to see freed in return for Shalit.
Earlier this week, Hamas rejected a request from the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit Shalit.
On the internal Palestinian level, Hamas and Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have not yet reached any agreement on national unity, despite latest Arab mediation efforts.
In a letter to Secretary General of Arab states league, Amr Mousa, Hamas’s supreme exiled leader, called on Mousa to name the party responsible for the deadlocked national unity.
Some time ago, Mousa visited the Gaza Strip and met with representatives of all Palestinian factions including Hamas and Fatah. Hamas handed Mousa a list of Hamas’s reservations to a Fatah-signed Egyptian-produced conciliation paper.
Rami Almeghari. IMEMC.org, Gaza
West Bank and Gaza
One Palestinian killed in the Gaza Strip and several wounded, while Israeli military raids into West Bank communities continue. The details with IMEMC’s Brian Ennis.
This past week the Israeli military invaded West Bank communities no less than thirteen times. These invasions resulted in the kidnapping of nineteen Palestinian civilians; among those are three human rights activists, a child, and a girl.
This past Saturday, the 26 of June, Israeli settlers assaulted the home of a Palestinian man in Silwan village. They attempted to seize the home but the community rallied around the legal occupants of the residence and repelled the would-be invaders.
In further clashes with the Israeli military that day around 140 civilians were injured from either tear gas inhalation of beatings from soldiers.
The next day, Sunday the 27, a Palestinian child in the same village of Silwan, lost his eye as the result of an injury sustained from the impact of a high-velocity tear gas shell fired by the Israeli military. Other civilians in the vicinity suffered tear gas inhalation.
On Wednesday, two water well keepers in the village of Sebastiya were attacked by settlers. The settlers threw rocks at the men before they ran away. The men were not injured.
Hebron saw settlers attack two cars owned by Palestinians on Friday. The settlers lit the two cars on fire, destroying them, before they ran back to their settlements.
In Gaza, the Israeli military continued to fire at workers near the border areas who were collecting materials for construction. No one was injured this week.
Israeli military forces near the border with Gaza killed one resistance fighter after the group had fired at Israeli forces on Monday.
The Israeli military on Thursday also bombed areas near the Gaza International Airport, Khan Younis, and Gaza City. The Gaza City strike damaged nearby homes. No wounded were reported for any of those attacks.
Al-Quds Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights reported that some 40 Bedouin families in the al-Farsiyya area, in the northern plains of the Jordan Valley, received official notices from Israel ordering them to leave their areas.
The families have been living in the area for several decades having been previously forced out of another area, due to Israel’s illegal policies and the construction of settlements.
The Center said that the orders did not give the families more than 24-hour notice; an issue that would make it practically impossible for them to present the needed ownership documents or to appeal the decision.
For IMEMC.org this is Brian Ennis
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.