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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www.imemc.org, for July 10th, through July 16th , 2010.
Lead: US envoy to the Middle East returns for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, but Palestinians have as yet gotten no response to their positions from Washington. These stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
Let us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in West Bank villages IMEMC’s Katie Smith with the details.
In the town of Bil’in west of Ramallah, two citizens were injured and dozens of suffocations occurred due to the attacks of the occupation forces to the participants in the march of the town’s weekly anti-wall protests.
Witnesses said that Israeli soldiers shot rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, and gas towards the participants, resulting in the injury of two civilians, including one child.
The press spokesman for the Popular Committee against the Wall, Mr. Mohammed Brejieh, said dozens of citizens and international activists suffocated from the tear gas fired by occupation forces at the anti-wall demonstrators.
The villagers of Ni’lin, together with international supporters, marched after Friday prayer to their confiscated land where the wall is being built.
They carried Palestinian flags and banners with slogans denouncing the occupation and the wall showing their solidarity with all Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. They also protested against the recent lenient verdict against two Israeli soldiers found guilty of shooting a bound and blind-folded man.
Salah Khawaja, one of the speakers at the protest, vowed that the national struggle against the apartheid regime will not stop.
Occupation forces fired tear gas, concussion grenades, and rubber coated steel bullets at the nonviolent protesters. Many suffered suffocation from tear gas inhalation and a few fainted.
He added that Israeli soldiers arrested an Israeli Solidarity Denmark protestor and other demonstrators during their participation in the march.
Near Bethlehem, participants in the Artas village march, the weekly protest against the anti-annexation wall and its expansion, called on the international community to act immediately to stop Israeli aggression against Palestinian rights and property.
The march was in solidarity with foreigners from Belgium, and started in front of the Sisters of Artas monastery, where it moved to Wadi Abo Ameera, west of the village.
Speakers at the protest stressed the importance of strengthening national unity in the face of Israeli occupation schemes, and the need to expand popular participation in the peaceful resistance against land grabs by occupation authorities for the annexation wall.
For IMEMC.org this is Katie Smith.
U.S envoy Gorge Mitchel is back in the region for meetings with Palestinian and Israeli officials. Mitchel’s visit comes as Fatah leader Mohammad Dahalan said that the Palestinian side has not received Washington’s response to a Palestinian position. IMEMC’s Rami Almaghari has the story
Dahalan says that the Palestinian side can not go to direct negotiations with Israel unless Israel agrees to basis of negotiations with Palestinians, mainly a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.
Dahalan also stated that Washington has seemingly ignored the Palestinian demands from Israel, particularly Israel halting all settlement constructions in the occupied East Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, Gorge Mitchell is set to meet with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday and with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the next day.
However, Washington’s efforts have not come out with concrete progress regarding expected Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.
On another issue, unity talks between the Fatah party of President Abbas and the ruling Hamas party in Gaza, have yet to restart amidst Hamas’s refusal to sign an Egyptian-produced conciliation paper, drafted in October2009.
Mohammad Nazzal, an exiled leader of Hamas, said from Damascus that a unity deal with Fatah is far from reaching due to what Nazzal believed ; ‘ the PA’s decision-making is hijacked .
West Bank and Gaza
This week Israeli troops conducted at least twenty-one invasions into the West Bank and arrested over twenty Palestinian civilians while settler aggression continues. IMEMC’s Brian Ennis reports:
Israeli soldiers arrested eighteen Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. Nine were arrested in one day from around Nablus. Israeli troops stationed at military checkpoints and border crossings in the West Bank also arrested six Palestinian civilians, including a child.
Two demonstrators were injured in a protest Saturday against Israeli occupation plans to steal more land in the Zaher al-Brahish area near Beit Ummer village.
On Sunday Israeli forces moved into Fasayel village, north of Jericho, where they distributed notices to three Palestinian civilians ordering demolition of their houses, claiming that they were built without permits.
The Israeli military demolished six homes Wednesday, in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, rendering fifty-two individuals homeless.
The next day, Monday, settlers with the protection of the Israeli military, broke into ‘Awarta village, southeast of Nablus, and conducted Jewish rituals. They left the village a few hours later.
On the same day Israeli settlers beat a 65 year-old man injuring him. The settlers hit him with stones, and he sustained injuries to the head and bruises to the body.
On 14 July 2010, Israeli forces moved into al-Baq’a area, east of Hebron. They destroyed an agricultural well belonging to a Palestinian resident and confiscated irrigation equipment.
In the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, a Palestinian woman was killed and three of her relatives, including two women, were wounded when the Israeli military fired three artillery shells at their home in Gaza Valley village in the central Gaza Strip.
The Israelis also continued harassing citizens of the Gaza strip near the border areas. Six Palestinian civilians, including two children, received gun-shot wounds from Israeli soldiers firing at them.
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