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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for August 28th, to 3rd September, 2010.
Direct peace talks launched in Washington despite increased tension in the West Bank and Palestinians continue their protests against the wall, these stories and more are coming up, stay tuned.
Lets us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in West Bank.
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.
Israeli and international supporters joined the villagers’ at all three locations. Protests started after the midday prayers on Friday.
Many civilians suffered effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli troops attacked the weekly nonviolent protest in the central West Bank village of Bil’in. This week soldiers attacked the protesters with tear gas before they reached the gate of the wall separating farmers form their lands.
Two international supporters were arrested by Israeli soldiers when they attacked the weekly anti wall protest at the nearby village of Nil’in on Friday.
The Villagers and their supporters tried to reach the wall Israeli is building on villager’s lands when troops ambushed them before they got to the wall and managed two arrest two supporters. Troops also used tear gas to force people back to the village.
In Al Ma’sara near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem Israeli soldiers used tear gas and sound bomb to suppress the weekly anti wall protested organized in the village.
Israeli troops stopped the protesters at the village entrance and did not allow them to leave the village. Later soldiers used tear gas and sound bombs to force the protesters back. Five were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Palestinian and Israeli leaders are back from Washington after having met in their renewed direct peace talks. The parties agreed to meet bi-weekly to continue negotiating. IMEMC’s Rami Almeghari has more.
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, want the Palestinians to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, while Palestinian Authority’s president Mahmoud Abbas, calls on Israel to stop all settlement activities , lift the Gaza siege and relax restrictions on movement in the West Bank, as a ground for their upcoming talks.
Meanwhile, U.S Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, advised Israel to halt the settlement activities till the end of this year, in order to give some chance for the talks to succeed.
Washington has revived peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis following concentrated efforts to bring the two sides together after they had failed in late 2008.
Yet, the U.S Secretary said that her country would not enforce any solution on the parties concerned. Direct peace talks were kicked off on September2 with the participation of Egyptian president Husni Mubarak and Jordanian Monarch Abdallah II.
In the occupied Palestinian territories, various Palestinian factions have voiced opposition to peace talks, in a time Israel has further gripped control over the West Bank and Gaza by continuing the Gaza blockade and keeping up settlement buildings in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
According to participants in the Washington talks, the parties agreed to reach a peaceful settlement within one year. Yet, basis for such a settlement have not been set during the talks. Palestinians want a solution that would allow a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders including Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The ruling Hamas party in Gaza considered the Washington talks as a failure and believed that President Mahmoud Abbas does not represent the entire Palestinian people.
Saleh Zeidan, political leader of the leftist Democratic Front for the Liberation in Gaza. Zeidan group is opposed to the talks.
‘There needs to be a comprehensive serious review for the negotiations process as a whole. For the past 19 years, such negotiations have resulted in nothing. Therefore, we are afraid that such current round of negotiations will also reach a deadlock’
In Gaza and the West Bank, 13 resistance factions agreed to form a unified command to encounter peace TALKS.
Rami Almeghari. IMEMC.org, Gaza
West Bank and Gaza
Four Israeli settlers dead, two injured, and eight Palestinian injured and fifteen abducted during this week, the details with IMEMC’s Bart Farrel.
The Israeli military conducted at least 37 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and one in the Gaza Strip during which 15 Palestinians were abducted including three children.
This week witnessed high tension between the Palestinians and the Israeli settlers and military as settlers declared their intention to build more settlements in the occupied West Bank areas, statements which were backed by comments from the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is now in Washington DC for direct talks with the Palestinian leaders, that Israel will not freeze settlement activities in the West Bank.
A group of Palestinian fighters said to be from the armed wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, opened fire at and killed four settlers on Tuesday near the West Bank city of Hebron.
Shortly after, settlers form the nearby settlement of Kiryat Arba, attacked Palestinians houses in Hebron with stones and glass bottles, while the Israeli military closed the Hebron area and searched all of the cars entering and exiting the area.
In Ramallah, two Israeli settlers were wounded in a drive-by shooting on Wednesday. Meanwhile Palestinian security forces spotted a group of settlers gathering in the evacuated settlement of Homesh near Jenin on Wednesday morning in north West Bank
According to the source, the settlers were accompanied by number of Israeli soldiers. The settlement of Homesh was evacuated in 2005 as part of the unilateral disengagement plan during which Israel withdrew all Israeli settlers and military personnel from the Gaza Strip and evacuated four small settlements in the West Bank.
The settlers and the military constantly come to the area although all structures were demolished during the evacuation.
In the West Bank, 7 civilians, including a photojournalist and an international human rights defender, were injured, when troops used excessive force to disperse peaceful demonstrations organised in protest to Israeli settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall.
In the Gaza Strip, two Palestinians were wounded when soldiers fired at a number of workers who were collecting raw construction materials in the northern part of the coastal region.
Also in the Gaza Strip Israeli forces conducted one limited incursion into al-Boreij refugee camp. They clashed with members of the Palestinian resistance. During the clashes 3 resistance fighters were lightly wounded.
For IMEMC’s this is Bart Farrell
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 Husam Qassis and George Rishmawi