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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for August 14th, to August 20th, 2010.
While U.S. Secretary of state announces that the Palestinians and the Israelis will resume direct peace talks soon, Israeli military invades several areas in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and abducts civilians, and settlers’ harassment of Palestinian civilians continue, these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
Lets us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in West Bank, the Details with IMEMCs Jenka Soderberg.
The Nonviolence Report
This week, anti wall protests were organized in the villages of Bil’in and Nil’in, in the central West Bank, and the villages of al Walaja and Al Ma’ssara,in the southern West Bank.
The Israeli military attacked the weekly anti wall protest in the central West Bank village of Bil’in on Friday. Villagers, along with international and Israeli supporters, marched from the village to the wall that separates villagers from their land.
People demanded the prosecution of Eden Abergil, an Israeli soldier that published photos on facebook showing her abusing Palestinian detainees. As soon as the protest reached the gate in the wall, Israeli troops stationed there fired sound and tear gas bombs at the unarmed civilians.
Haitham Al-Khatib, a Local Journalist, suffered minor injuries when troops attempted to arrest him. International activist, Evie, and Israeli activist, David, were arrested by Israeli troops during the non-violent demonstration. Their current whereabouts are unknown.
Clashes between local stone-throwing youth and the army continued for hours when the Israeli military attempted to advance into the village.
In the village of Nil’in villagers held midday prayers on their lands near the Israeli Annexation wall. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and sound bombs at them. The protest ended shortly after that, no injuries were reported.
Israeli and international supporters joined the villagers of Al Ma’sara, near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, to protest the Israeli wall. Villagers and their supporters marched after the midday prayers on Friday and headed toward the land that Israel is planning to take over to build the wall. |The land in question belongs to farmers living in Al Ma’sara.
People carried the photos of the Israeli soldier abusing Palestinian detainees, which appeared on facebook this week. Israeli soldiers stopped the protesters at the entrance of the village and used tear gas and sound bombs to force people back.
A number of civilians were treated for tear gas inhalation. The protest ended shortly after that.
Villagers of Al Walaja near Jerusalem also protested on Friday against the Israeli wall being built on their lands. People marched across the village, then reached the completed section of the wall. Organizers delivered number of speeches and ended the protest without any clashes with Israeli soldiers, who kept their distance and did not interfere with the protest.
For IMEMC.org this is Jenka Soderberg reporting…..
U.S Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton says Washington will announce this weekend that both Israel and the Palestinians will resume their direct peace talks. Meanwhile, rival Palestinian parties Hamas and Fatah are refreshing efforts to reach a unity deal. IMEMC’s Rami Almaghari has the details.
According to New York Times, U.S Secretary of States, Hillary Clinton is set to announce that both Palestinians and Israelis will resume direct talks by the end of this month.
The paper also reports that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, have agreed to necessarily reach some sort of an agreement within one year from now.
Palestinians and Israelis have stopped their peace talks since August 2008. Since then, Palestinians have been demanding a complete halt of Israeli settlement activities before peace negotiations are resumed.
Next month, Israel is expected to lift a 9-month-long temporary ban on settlements building that would exclude major settlement blocs on the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
On the internal level, Prime Minister Ismail Haniya of Hamas met in Gaza with some Fatah representatives. The meeting came on the sideline of a mourning ceremony for an a former PA security official. Haniya invited the delegation for discussions.
Sakher Bsaiso, member of the delegation, was quoted as saying that ‘signing the Egyptian-produced conciliation paper is not an ultimate goal in itself, what is rather needed is that both Hamas and Fatah should have a unified political agenda’.
The Islamist Hamas took over Gaza in June2007, after ousting Fatah-linked security forces from the region. Fatah party is the leading faction of Palestine Liberation Organization and being led by the Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas has shunned peace talks with Israel until Israel stops settlements construction in the West Bank, lifts the Gaza blockade and ends occupation of Palestinian territories once and for all.
Rami Almeghari. IMEMC.org. Gaza
West Bank and Gaza
This week Israeli military attacks on Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza left one fighter killed and a civilian injured, IMEMCs Dina Awwad has more.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said in its weekly report that over the last week, the Israeli military conducted 21 incursions into various areas in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. During these incursions, Israeli troops killed 1 Palestinian, wounded two people, and abducted 14. Palestinian media sources said the Palestinian who was killed was member of an armed resistance group in the Gaza Strip.
The two people wounded by Israeli troops this week were an Israeli human rights activist who was at a protest in the West Bank, and a Palestinian worker in Gaza who got too close to the border with Israel.
In the West Bank Thursday night, a group of Palestinians allegedly tried to blow a hole in the Israeli Annexation Wall near Ramallah.
Loud explosions and gun shots were been heard near the annexation wall near Qalandia refugee camp near Ramallah, Thursday near Midnight.
Israeli media sources reported that Palestinians set some tires on fire and put a gas container in it near the wall causing an explosion near the wall. The Wall sustained some damage, but was not broken by the explosions.
Israeli settlers continued their expansion of settlements onto Palestinian land this week, and Israeli settlers also attacked Palestinians on a number of occasions.
This past weekend, the Israeli military demolished five Palestinian-owned shops, located on a major West Bank highway that Israel is attempting to take over for use by settlers only.
The owner of the shops, Tahseen Mansour, said that he was not given any notice or a demolition order by the Israeli troops before his stores were taken by military force and destroyed.
On Sunday, Settlers from Tel Romeida settlement inside Hebron, in the southern West Bank, assaulted a 10-year old girl near the old city of Hebron. According to eyewitnesses, 10-year old Enas Mazin Qa’qour was playing in the neighbourhood when a group of extremist settlers violently attacked her and began to beat her without any provocation.
The child was admitted on Sunday at night to the Hebron Governmental Hospital suffering from a concussion and bruises all over her body.
On Monday, a group of armed Jewish settlers uprooted more than 250 olive trees near the village of Qasra, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
Palestinian sources stated that settlers from the illegal settlement known as Shavut Rachel, located near the Palestinian towns of Qasra and Jaloud, attacked Palestinian orchards and uprooted around 250 trees.
In the Gaza Strip, following a cross-border skirmish between Palestinian fighters and Israeli forces in which one Palestinian was killed on Monday, Israeli forces invaded southern Gaza twice in a 24-hour period.
A group of Palestinian fighters with the Popular Resistance Committees crossed the border with Israel in an attempt to attack a military base. They were detected by Israeli forces, and one was killed.
Following that incident, Israeli forces invaded southern Gaza twice, with at least 20 armored vehicles and tanks. During the first invasion on Monday night, Palestinian fighters with the Popular Resistance Committees fired five mortar shells toward the invading troops, and 5 additional shells across the border toward Israel, causing no injuries.
Israeli troops invaded the crowded city of Khan Younis a second time on Tuesday with at least 20 armoured vehicles and tanks, and fired dozens of tank shells at residential buildings. Local witnesses said that one house in particular appeared to be the target, and it sustained heavy damage.
The Israeli military warplanes also bombarded a number of civilian facilities in the southern and central Gaza Strip, however, no injuries were reported.
And in other Gaza-related news, A United nations report released Thursday found that Israeli forces in Gaza have severely restricted access to farmland and fishing zones along the Gaza Coast. The report found that these restrictions have steadily increased over the last ten years, beginning long before the siege imposed in 2007.
In total, the ‘restricted areas’ now constitute 17% of the land area of the Gaza Strip, and 85% of the internationally-allowed fishing zones off the coast.
For IMEMC.org this is Dina Awwad
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, and Husam Qassis.