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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for Monday September 27th, 2010.
Direct talks continue despite end of settlement freeze, and Israeli settlers take over lands in different part of the West Bank, this and more are coming up, stay tuned.
Israeli settlers took over a land that belongs to a Palestinian in Al-Khader village near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, Palestinian media sources reported.
The sources said that a group of Israeli settlers arrived at the land, Monday morning and forcefully removed the owner, Islam Jaber from his land, and claimed ownership to the land.
Almost a similar incident took place near Hebron. A group of Israeli settlers bulldozed a farmland that belongs to a Palestinian farmer from the village of Beit Ummar. Eyewitnesses said that the settlers were accompanied by Israeli military who watched over the settlers while bulldozing the land to expand the settlement of Efrat, that is built on lands mostly belong to villagers form Al-Khader.
The settlers seem to be celebrating the end of the so-called settlement freeze, the Israeli government declared ten months ago. The Israeli leftist group Peace Now published a report in August indicating that during the reported period, the Israeli government committed 492 violations of the moratorium, by building new settlement units in different parts of the West Bank, especially in Jerusalem.
Israeli officials, such as the defence minister Ehud Barak commented as saying that the moratorium does not include Jerusalem, and that Israel has full rights to build settlements in Jerusalem.
On the other hand, the Palestinian leadership had repeatedly asked Israel to renew the settlement freeze, otherwise, they will walk away from the talks. On Monday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a press conference with his French Counterpart, Nicolai Sarkozy, that he will consult with the Palestinian leaders regarding this issue. Meanwhile, Sarkozy expressed france’s concern for Israel’s end of the settlement freeze, and said the settlement construction must stop.
The US, on the other hand, expressed disappointment of the Israeli decision to end the settlement freeze, and the U.S. Envoy, George Mitchell, is heading back to the region in an attempt to resolve the deadlock.
Israeli sources reported that both, the Palestinian and the Israeli negotiators agreed to continue the talks for one more week despite of the end of the settlement freeze.
In the meantime, the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine, (PFLP) declared that it has suspended its membership from the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO). The leftist group is one of the major parties in the PLO.
Khaleda Jarrar, member of the PFLP’s politburo said in press conference in Ramallah on Sunday that the group made this decision as a rejection to the ongoing direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
On his part, deputy secretary general of the PFLP Abdul Raheem Mallouh said his party’s decision is also a message to Fatah, headed by President Abbas who, according to Mallouh, is controlling the Palestinian decision making process.
That sums up our news for today, thank you for joining us form occupied Bethlehem, you have been listening to Palestine Today, from the International Middle East Media Center. For more updates, please visit our website at www.imemc.org. This report has been brought to you by, Hussam Qassis, and George Rishmawi.