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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org’ www.imemc.org, for August 21st, to 27th, 2010.
Direct talks to start next week despite of wide Palestinian rejection, meanwhile Israeli settlers and military escalate assaults in the west Bank and the Gaza Strip, these stories and more are coming up, stay tuned.
Lets us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in West Bank with the Details IMEMC’s Bart Farrell
This week, anti wall protests were organized in the villages of Bil’in and Nil’in, in the central West Bank, and the village of Al Ma’sara, in the southern West Bank.
This week protests marked the 9th anniversary of the assassination Abu Ali Mustafa, the former secretary general of the Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestine. He was killed by a missile strike at his office in Ramallah. Israeli and international supporters joined the villagers at all three locations.
Four civilians were injured, including a Palestinian journalist, by the Israeli military as troops attacked the weekly nonviolent protest in the central West Bank village of Bil’in. Martin Linton, member of the British Labour Party, participated in Bil’in’s protest this week.
In the nearby village of Nil’in Israeli soldiers used tear gas on Friday to suppress the weekly anti wall protest. Villagers held the midday prayers on their lands near the Israeli wall, then marched along with international and Israeli supporters to the gate of the wall which separates them from the rest of their lands.
Troops stationed at the gate used tear gas and sound bombs to suppress the protesters; many of the demonstrators were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.During the military attack on the protest soldiers detained a Palestinian Ambulance crew, a local journalist and an Israeli human rights activist working for Btsalem. All were released after the protest ended.
Five civilians were reported injured on Friday when troops attacked the weekly anti wall protested organized in the village of Al Ma’sara near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem.
The Israeli military forces stopped the protesters at the village entrance and did not allow them to leave the village.
Troops then used tear gas and sound bombs to force the protesters back. Soldiers fired tear gas and sound bombs at the protesters directly; five were slightly injured and many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation. Two Israeli supporters were also arrested by soldiers, one was released shortly after the protest while the other was taken to a nearby police station.
For IMEMC.org this is Bart Farrell
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said he wants a bi-weekly meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in evaluation of the peace process. Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismael Haniyeh of Hamas objected to the Palestinian-Israeli peace process IMEMC’s Rami Almaghari has more.
Palestinian and Israeli negotiators are expected to kick off their direct peace talks by early September. Such talks have been stalled since 2008. Since then both parties have been exchanging blame over failure of the peace process.
Washington has eventually succeeded to bring the two sides together by early next month, as both are expected to address imperative negotiation issues such as Jerusalem and the refugees.
President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has ever expressed rejection to talks that are not based on the 1967 borders. Yet, upcoming negotiations are vague and without clear reference.
Last month, league of Arab states gave the Palestinians the green light to resume those direct talks, as the Palestinian political spectrum sees a division between Hamas and Fatah for more than three years now.
This week in the West Bank city of Ramallah, leftist Palestinian groups protested at the launching of direct talks until Israel agrees to complete halt of all settlement activities and to a clear-cut reference for the peace process, based on the 1967 borders.
In Gaza, where Hamas is governing, Prime Minister of Hamas, Ismail Haniya said that any Palestinian negotiator is not entitled to renounce the Palestinian people’s rights to the occupied East Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that basis for upcoming peace talks should be those, highlighted by the Quartet Committee for Middle East Peace as well as the American administration.
Abbas maintained that Israel should stop all forms of settlement buildings on occupied Palestinian territories in order for the peace process to succeed.
Rami Almeghari. Imemc.org, Gaza
West Bank and Gaza
Israeli military continued to fire at Palestinian farmers and workers in the Gaza Strip’s border areas, A Palestinian child was wounded in the northern part of the coastal region, meanwhile an attempt by Israeli settlers to occupy a mosque in Jerusalem ends with clashes with Palestinian youth.
Israeli military continued to fire at Palestinian farmers and workers in the Gaza Strip’s border areas, A Palestinian child was wounded in the northern part of the coastal region, meanwhile an attempt by Israeli settlers to occupy a mosque in Jerusalem ends with clashes with Palestinian youth. The details and more are coming soon.
The Israeli military carried out around 14 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which 14 civilians were abducted, including one child.
On Monday at dawn, Israeli soldiers kidnapped 12 Palestinians in different areas of the occupied West Bank, and transferred them to a number of interrogation centres.
The army claims that the kidnapped residents are wanted, but did not reveal whether they are members of certain Palestinian groups of resistance factions.
Over the weekend, a group of right-wing Israeli settlers set fire to around five acres of Palestinian farmland near the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
According to the owners of the farmland, the settlers came from the illegal settlement outpost known as Ihya and torched farmland then fled the scene on foot.
The attack is just the latest in a series of arsons and beatings carried out by the settlers, who seek to expand their outpost in that area, and to construct new illegal outposts on Palestinian lands.
The arson was followed by an Israeli military invasion of the Palestinian village, during which Israeli soldiers also fired tear gas canisters at the local residents. The settlers who carried out the arson were not pursued or arrested.
Also this week, 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 yo 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.
In Nablus, 500 Israeli citizens, escorted by dozens of military vehicles, drove by bus deep into the West Bank on Wednesday in a provocative visit to a holy shrine.
Dozens of buses and military vehicles entered the city in violation of the Oslo agreement and other signed accords, in the second such incident this month. On August 5th, around 300 Israelis were escorted into the same area in Nablus to visit the site that is known as ‘Joseph’s Tomb’.
During the incursion, Israeli military forces deployed in the area implemented increased security checks on the Palestinian residents of the region, delaying some people for several hours at checkpoints in order to allow the Jewish worshippers to pass freely.
In the occupied East Jerusalem, clashes erupted between Israeli settlers and Palestinian youth in the Silwan neighborhood, in the early hours of Thursday morning. The clashes started when a group of right wing Israeli settlers who are forcibly occupying some houses in the neighbourhood, attempted to forcibly enter the mosque in the area.
Local residents noticed the attempt by the settlers to enter the mosque grounds which then sparked some local youth to demonstrate, setting 4 cars and 2 motorcycles on fire, as well as trees and rubbish skips in the vicinity.
A number of border police units arrived at the scene which escalated the demonstration and youth started to hurl stones at the Israeli police and settlers which resulted in wounding one Israeli settler. The police managed to disperse the demonstration shortly after.
THE GAZA STRIP
In the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian child was wounded when Israeli troops stationed at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel fired at Palestinian workers who were collecting raw construction materials in the northern Gaza Strip.
Also this week, Israeli soldiers invaded an area east of Rafah city at dawn.
According to eyewitnesses, the Israeli army, accompanied by a number of tanks and military bulldozers, advanced 300 meters into farmlands located in al-Nahda area, east of Rafah, and bulldozed farmlands while firing at random.
More over 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.
The Gaza Strip continue to suffer power failure due to the lack of fuel needed to generate electricity for the coastal region. The 1.5 million population of the besieged strip have to live a minimum of 8 hours everyday without electricity which has a tremendous effect on the daily life of the residents as well as the industry.
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