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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, aservice of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for July 31, through August 6, 2010.
Lets us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in West Bank
The villagers of Ni’lin near Ramallah in the West Bank organized their weekly nonviolent protest Friday at noon.
This week’s activity was dedicated to commemorate the death of Yousef ‘Amira who was killed by Israeli troops in 2008 during a nonviolent protest in the village.
The villagers managed to hold their prayers on the lands slated for confiscation for the sake of building the wall.
Following the prayer, protesters carried ‘Amira’s photos and waved Palestinian flags as they marched towards the construction site. Israeli troops present there fired a number of tear gas canisters at them causing dozens of them to choke.
In the nearby village of Bil’in the Popular Committee against the Wall and settlements in the village organized the weekly march against the construction of the Wall on Friday at noon.
The march started after the Friday prayer and moved towards the lands Israel is building the wall on. Marchers carried Palestinian flags and banners calling for Palestinian internal unity and for the cessation of all settlement activities in the West Bank.
The villagers of Bil’in were accompanied by a group of International and Israeli peace activists and at least 80 youth from a summer camp from the village of Farkha near Salfit.
As the crowd arrived near the construction site of the wall, Israeli troops showered them with a hail of tear gas canisters and fired several rounds of rubber-coated steel bullets. Clashes erupted later between youth and the soldiers.
Eyewitnesses said that troops also fired some kind of black rubber balls that caused bruises to those who were hit by them. A number of protestors were also wounded as a result of inhaling the tear gas and were treated by field medics.
Also on Friday, village of Artas west of Bethlehem organized on their weekly march against the construction of the wall on their land.
Dozens of citizens accompanied by international supporters marched through the village to the construction site of the wall. Local sources said that Israeli troops operating in the area were taping the march.
The marchers waved Palestinian flags and banners condemning the building of the wall on the farmers’ lands.
Awad Abu Swai, spokesperson of the popular committee against the wall and settlements in Artas, spoke to the crowd calling for unity among the Palestinians in order to face the Israeli measures of land confiscation and the construction of the wall.
Sonior Palestinian negotiator Sa’eb Eriqat says that the Palestinian Authority does want to start direct talks with Israel but the problem lies in the Israeli side. Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority’s Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, called for allowing the PA to have control over border crossings in Gaza . IMEMC’s Rami Almaghari has more.
Eriqat maintains that if Israel agrees to stopping all settlements construction in the occupied West Bank and to working out a solution based on the 1967 borders, then the PA would no have no problem starting direct peace talks with Israel.
The Palestinian official also believed that current Israeli propaganda that the Palestinians are reluctant to start such talks, is merely untrue and that Israel has ever delayed going into such negotiations.
Washington has been relentlessly mediating between the two sides since late 2008, when the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks stalled.
Israel is expected to lift a temporary freeze of 10 months to construction in major West Bank settlement blocs. Many voices within the Israeli cabinet agreed to the freeze and wanted Palestinians to start direct talks soon.
So far, Washington has not been able to influence Israel to change position regarding the settlement activities, which are dubbed illegal by international law.
At the internal Palestinian level, Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, called for allowing the Palestinian Authority to have control over border crossings in Gaza. The call came as Israel continues border closure of Gaza for three years now.
Recently, Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman, hinted at the possibility that Israel would consider disengaging from Gaza once and for all and requesting international forces to guard Gaza-Israel border lines.
Currently, the Islamist Hamas party is in control of the Gaza Strip and PA-loyal security forces have been ousted from the territory by Hamas since June2007.
Rami Almeghari. IMEMC.ORG, Gaza
West Bank and Gaza
Israel assassinates a commander in the al-Qassam Brigade and settler violence against Palestinian livelihoods continues. IMEMC’s Brian Ennis with the details.
This past week the Israeli military invaded Palestinian communities thirty-six times all across the occupied territories, during these invasions they abducted twenty-seven civilians, including eleven children.
Also this week, Israeli Central Court in Jerusalem approved the expulsion of 60 Palestinian families from the northern suburbs of Jerusalem because they hold Palestinan Authority ID cards. The sixty families are composed of 500 individuals.
Wednesday August 4, the Israeli military killed a Palestinian resistance fighter when a drone attacked of number of fighters in the southern Gaza Strip near Khan Yunis.
On Monday morning, Israeli forces moved into al-Baq’a area in the east of Hebron. They proceeded to destroy plantings and irrigation belonging to Badran Bader Jaber. The military also beat most of Mr. Jaber’s family as they protested the destruction of their property. They arrested his son and brother-in-law. This is the fourth attack on the family in the last ten months.
Also on Monday, the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem approved the construction of forty housing units in ‘Pisgat Ze’ev Mizrah’ settlement neighborhood.
Thursday, settlers torched Palestinian fields in the Hebron area in ‘price tag’ reprisals of being forcibly evicted from their settlement and having their illegal structures torn down.
Also Thursday Israeli Civil Administration forces demolished twenty-three structures in al-Farisiya which they had labeled as illegal.
Settlers near the village of Beit Furik set fire to Palestinian lands Friday. Hundreds of
dunums were burned as a number of factors prevented the civil defense from reaching
the lands quickly.
The Israeli military continued to fire at Palestinian workers who were collecting raw
construction materials in the northern Gaza Strip. As a result, 5 workers, including a
child, were wounded.
The Israeli military extra-judicially executed ‘Isa Abdul Hadi al-Batran, a commander
in the al-Qassam Brigade in the central Gaza Strip.
The night of July 30th, 19 Palestinian civilians, including two women and a child,
were wounded by an Israeli air strike against a Palestinian police station in Gaza City
And that was just some of the news from this week in Palestine, for more updates, please visit our website at www.imemc.org. Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem, this report has been brought to you by George Rishmawi.