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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center Tuesday August 24, 2010

Wide Palestinian criticism of the direct talks meanwhile Israeli court indicts a Palestinian peace activist, these stories and more coming up, stay tuned.

Palestinian legislator Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, questioned in an open letter published today the validity of going back to ‘direct talks’ with Israel at this time. On the right of the Palestinian political spectrum, the Hamas party, has also challenged the decision by the rival Fatah party to engage in direct talks with Israel without pre-conditions.

legislators from across the political spectrum in Palestine have voiced their concern about the decision by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to engage in direct talks with Israel.

Barghouthi said these negotiations without preconditions, ‘are more dangerous than the Camp David talks, since they are not based on the cessation of settlement activity, have no clear guidelines and can only lead to a dangerous failure.’

President Abbas was pressured by the US and Israel to engage in the talks with a threat that international aid would be cut off if he did not. The talks are scheduled to begin in Washington on September 3rd.

In the meantime, an Israeli military court convicted Palestinian peace activist Abdullah Abu Rahmah of incitement and cleared him from stone-throwing charges, on Tuesday.

Abu Rahmah, coordinator of the popular committee against the wall and settlement in the village of Bil’in, near Ramallah in the central West Bank, was detained nine months ago as investigation was ongoing.

Abu Rahmah was convicted of incitement and organising nonviolent protest against the construction of the annexation wall in the West Bank.

A number of european diplomats and many of his friends were in attendance to observe the trial. The sentence is expected to be pronounced next month, and some local sources said they expect a two-year imprisonment sentence.

The Palestinian Ministry of Information announced on Tuesday that the latest Israeli military decision to level two West Bank mosques is a violation of freedom of worship and an attack on holy places, Palestine News Network reported.

On Monday the Israeli military handed out demolition orders to a mosque in Al Jalazon refugee camp in Ramallah city central west Bank and another one in the southern West Bank village of Buren. The army says the two mosques are built without the military approval.

The Ministry deemed the Israeli military decision as an act of “Religious Terrorism” that contradicts with the international law regarding the freedom of worship and the protection of holy sites.

Also on Tuesday, a group of Israeli settlers destroyed farm lands owned by a Palestinian farmer in the village of Khirbit Al Hammam in northern West Bank.

Witnesses said that young settlers arrived at the village in a school bus occupied the house of Mohamed Al Jalon for three hours and set fire to his land causing serious damage to the crops. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers invaded a number of West Bank communities and arrested five men after searching their homes in Ramallah and Nablus in the central and northern parts of the West Bank.

In the Gaza Strip Israeli tanks invaded farm lands in the southern Rafah city. Local sources said that military bulldozers destroyed farm lands close to the borders as tanks opened fire at nearby homes, no injuries were reported.

Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem, you have been listening to Palestine Today from the International Middle East Media Center, for constant updates, please visit our website at this report has been brought to you by George Rishmawi and Husam Qassis.