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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for 18th, September to 24th, 2010
As Palestinian President expresses hope for success of talks with Israel the tension in the Palestinian territories raises after the killing of two Palestinians in the West Bank, these stories and more are coming up, stay tuned.
Lets us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in West Bank.
Anti wall protests were organized in the villages of Bil’in and Nil’in, in the central West Bank, and the villages of Al Ma’sara, and Al Walajeh, in the southern West Bank.
This week Israeli soldiers fired live rounds at protesters in Bil’in and Nil’in. two local journalists and two activists were injured by the army fire in Bil’in.
Eyad Jadallah, 25 year old and 34 years old Haytham Al Khateeb, both local Palestinian journalists were hit, Jadallah in the head while Al Khateeb in the chest, also Ashraf Al Khateeb, 30 years old and 32 years old Samier Burnat, were both injured by live rounds in their legs. They were moved to a hospital in the nearby Ramallah city for treatment.
In Nil’in five protesters suffered effects of tear gas inhalation, chased the demonstrators back to the village where clashes erupted between the invading troops and local youth, the clashes ended without any injuries on either side.
Also on Friday, villagers from Al Ma’ssara and Al Walajeh, near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem. In Al Ma’ssara, Troops stopped the protest at the village entrance. People set fire to settlements products that are being marketed by Rami Levie stores. After the Palestinian Authority made it illegal to buy or sell Israeli products in West Bank cities. Rami Levie, an Israeli business man and member of Israel’s Jerusalem municipality, opened stories near West Bank settlements in areas that can be reached by Palestinians.
This week a new campaign was organized to protest those stores that only sell settlement products, by organizing protests in front of those shops. According to international law all Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal.
Soldiers today fired tear gas and used batons to force people back to Al Ma’ssara village, a number of protesters were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation. Israeli and international supporters also joined the villagers of Al Walajeh located between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. People marched up to the construction site of the wall. Village organizers delivered speeches and the protest ended without clashes with the army.
Palestinian President expressed this week hope for success of peace talks with Israel, despite Israel’s reluctance to freeze all settlements building on occupied Palestinians lands in the West Bank. Meanwhile, a factional meeting in Gaza did not come out with concrete progress towards national unity. IMEMC’s Rami Al-Meghari has the details.
This week, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamine Natenyahou said he would let an envoy of him in Washington in order to find a solution to the problem of freeze of settlements. Nateyahou’s position came as both parties have not yet reached an agreement over guidelines of their current direct peace talks.
From their part, Palestinians want a total freeze of settlement activities while the Israeli side iniststs that such activities should continue unabated. Among other contentious negotiation issues are the borders of future Palestinian state, the security, refugees and the occupied East Jerusalem.
Despite Washington’s concentrated efforts, such issues are still vague and obviously not to be solved in the near future. This might affect the recently-resumed direct talks, for the first since late 2008.
In a related developments, national unity talks between the Fatah party of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and the ruling Hamas party is yet to observe any progress since the two parties have split in 2007.
This time, the Islamist Hamas party along with many other political factions in Gaza have rejected current peace talks with Israel unless Israel admits the Palestinian people’s right to the occupied lands.
A factional meeting in the territory this week, involving Hamas, representatives of Fatah and some other local political parties such as leftist ones, did not bring any concrete results towards reaching lon-waited national unity.
On another note, Prime Minister Ismail Haniya of Hamas, downplayed the factional talk unless there is concrete progress on the ground. Hamas refused to sign an Egyptian-produced conciliation paper that was drafted in October of this year.
Hamas contends that such a paper derogates the Palestinian people’s right to resist the Israeli occupation, in reference to what the paper stipulates’ integrating all Palestinian armed factions into the Palestinian Authority.
The international community including Washington had demanded Hamas to recognize Israel, accept past-signed peace agreements with Israel and renounce violence, before the party wins international recognition.
Rami Almeghari. IMEMC.ORG, Gaza
West Bank and Gaza Israeli forces extra-judicially executed a Palestinian in Tulkarem and a private Israeli security guard killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded two others in Jerusalem, the details with IMEMC’s George Rishmawi.
On Friday, September 17, an Israeli military force shot dead Eyad Abu Shilbaya, 38 from Nour Shams refugee camp in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem. Abu Shilbaya is an operative of the Islamic Hamas movement, and is claimed to be wanted by the Israeli military.
An Israeli military spokesperson claimed that Israeli troops opened fire as they felt a serious threat to their lives. The spokesperson added that Abu Shilbaya was walking towards the soldiers and he was hiding his hands behind his back ignoring orders by the troops to stop.
The Palestinian version of the story is in complete contradiction with the Israeli story. An investigation done by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights indicated that Abu Shilbaya was assassinated while in his bedroom, that has only one door, and that his blood is all over the bed.
This week witnessed high tension in Jerusalem, following the killing of a Samer Sarhan, 32 by an Israeli settler guard in the Silwan neighbourhood of the city.
Israeli police claim that the guard, who is employed by a security company hired to work in the Israeli settlement in the occupied east Jerusalem, was stuck in his car that was blocked and stoned by Palestinians.
Sarhan left behind a wife and five children, the oldest is 11 and the youngest is 3 years old.
On the other hand, the Palestinian Authority has demanded an international investigation in Sarhan’s death.
Ahmad Al-Rweidi, in charge of Jerusalem unit in the office of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said that there is evidence that Sarhan’s death was not an accident or a reaction to an incident, adding that he believes that it was a pre-arrange assassination by Israeli settlers.
Al-Rweidi also said that the family of Sarhan told him that the Israeli police arrested Sarhan a number of time recently and that Israeli settlers has threatened to kill him several times.
Samer’s cousin Mohammad said that as Samer was driving one of his friends to the hospital, an armoured jeep driven by an Israeli settler, blocked their way. A quarrel erupted between the settler and Samer, as a result, the settler guard jumped out of the car and shot Samer in the chest, and left him to bleed to death for half an hour.
The Gaza Strip:
In the Gaza Strip this week, Israeli gunboats stationed opposite to Beit Lahia beach in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. They also fired flash bombs over the area. No casualties were reported.
Israel has continuously closed all border crossings to the Gaza Strip for over three years. The illegal Israeli-imposed closure of the Gaza Strip, which has steadily tightened since June 2007, has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.
In the meantime, the ruling Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip denied any relation to a new video claimed to be of the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Some Israeli media outlets in Israel published a video showing two Qassam fighters standing next to Shalit while one of the fighters was holding a machine gun and another fighter telling a message.
The video also shows that, suddenly, the lights are off and gunshot sounds are heard in the background.
In an official press release published on its website, the Al Qassam brigade, the armed wing of Hamas, said that this video was like to be fabricated by the Israeli media itself, or by other groups adding, that the tape “contains untrue information”.
For IMEMC.org this is George Rishmawi
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 Dina Awwad Husam Qassis