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Welcome to Palestine Today a service of the International Middle East Media Center for Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

The Palestinian delegation arrives in Washington to start direct talks, while Israeli settlers continue their harassment to Palestinian farmers, theses stories and more are coming up, stay tuned.

The News Cast
Israeli military abducted five Palestinians form the Bethlehem area, Palestinian sources reported. According to local sources, Israeli military vehicles invaded some villages in the area in the early hours of Tuesday morning and abducted five residents. Their names remain undisclosed.

In the northern West Bank, a group of Israeli settlers opened fire at a group of Palestinian farmers while working on their lands near the village of Deir Istiah, near Salfit.

The head of the village council Nathmi Salman said the three farmers were surprised to see around ten settlers coming towards them on horses and shooting at random. The three farmers had to flee in order not to be hurt.

Witnesses reported that the farmers were fertilizing their olive orchard in preparation for the harvest season in October when the settlers attacked them. The witnesses said that the settlers came from the nearby settlement of Emmanuel, adding that settlers from many other settlements threaten the farmers and try to interrupt the olive harvest season every year.

In other news, Egyptian police arrested a Palestinian man said to be member of Hamas at the entrance of the northern Sinai district, the Maan News Agency reported. Egyptian sources reportedly said that the man did not have any identification documents and came from the Gaza Strip to Egypt through one of the tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip border with Egypt.

The source added the man was carrying five thousand U.S dollars and he revealed no information about being in Egypt.

In political news, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Washington in preparation for the kick off of the direct talks with Israel scheduled for Friday.

President Abbas is accompanied by A number of senior Palestinian officials including Dr. Sa’eb Ereikat head of the negotiation affairs department in the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

The direct talks will start despite of the concerns presented by a number of Palestinian leaders in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian Authority had pre-conditioned engaging in direct talks by Israel’s freeze of all settlement activities in the West Bank and a stoppage of the home demolitions in East Jerusalem. Israel rejected the pre-conditions and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his ministers on Sunday that he never promised the U.S administration to extend the settlement freeze in West Bank settlements.

However, the PA was under heavy pressure during the proximity talks supervised by the U.S. Envoy for the Middle East George Mitchell to re-engage in direct talks.

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.