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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for Thursday, October 21, 2010.
Documents confiscated by the Israeli Defense Forces from Gaza-bound aid flotilla passenger’s laptops suggest that flotilla organizers received assistance from high level officials of the Turkish government. The documents revealed detailed plans for the aid mission last May and speculation regarding possible scenarios that included Israeli aggression and possible imprisonment. The most significant document, attributed to a Polish journalist, dealt with a meeting in among leaders of the six organizations and captains of the vessels that shed light on the role of the Turkish government, and other countries of their support for the initiative and included direct support from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other senior officials.
The Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv denied the claim, saying it was a civilian initiative. The Israeli Defense Forces had confiscated all documents after May 31 attack, and sent them to the Terrorism Information Center for analysis. Results were released in the beginning of October.
On Wednesday, The Convoy of Hope, which departed from London on October 10th, arrived in Tunisia and is heading to Gaza to deliver urgently needed humanitarian supplies.
The convoy carries sixty-nine activists, 29 vehicles, food, medical and school supplies in an attempt to provide humanitarian aid to the impoverished and besieged Gaza residents.
Also on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem at the 15th anniversary memorial of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. He said he is a partner to Rabin’s approach to push for peace and said there have been positive changes and less division ‘within ourselves’ He added that a peace deal must ensure security, and warned of the threat of a strengthened fundamental Islam. Rabin was murdered at a peace rally in 1995 by a right-wing Orthodox Jew opposed to the Oslo Peace Accords. He has been in prison since 2003.
A group of extremist Jewish settlers from Bracha, an illegal settlement near Nablus, attacked some Palestinian villagers, cut and burned trees and injured one farmer. Dozens of marching settlers also attacked Palestinian olive-pickers near Burin. At least 2500 olive trees owned by Burin residents have been torched since last Thursday, putting the farmers’ livelihoods in jeopardy.
Witnesses said soldiers stood idle while the settlers attacked. Israeli soldiers kidnapped a villager while he tried to defend his land.
At an annual gala of the American Taskforce for Palestine in Washington DC, US State Secretary Hillary Clinton said that Israelis and Palestinians have not abandoned peace negotiations and a two-state solution is still possible. If negotiations persevere, with an agreed swap and a viable Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines, peace is possible. She added that a US goal is to support sustainable economic growth in Gaza and said the Palestinian Authority is the principal financial supporter of Gaza. Economic growth is good for those in the West Bank and Gaza, she added. Speaking of settlements, she said that the U.S. position ‘is well known and has not changed.’
On Thursday, two residents collecting scrap metal were wounded when the Israeli army opened fire at them in northern Gaza. The latest attacks are part of repeated attacks by Israeli soldiers stationed near the Gaza Strip border.
Palestinians in Gaza collect stones and rubble from structures damaged during the Israeli war on Gaza. The collected materials are used for reconstruction; basic materials, equipment and tools are lacking due to ongoing restrictions by Israel.
Construction of a new international airport east of Jerusalem is slated to begin. The Palestinian Authority said it will be built in Area C, which is fully under Israeli control at a cost of about $340 million. The Palestinian Minister of Transportation said the Palestinian Authority would not ask for permission from Israel because it is believed that under the 1993 Oslo Accords, Palestine has the right to have an airport. Construction will start in the first half of next year. “An airport means sovereignty, freedom, progress and economic development,” the Minister added.
On Thursday, the military army invaded and ransacked the homes of Palestinian citizens in towns north of Hebron. Two Palestinian citizens were abducted. A checkpoint was erected at the entrance to Hebron. Inspections of Palestinian citizens, vehicles and identities were checked.
South of Hebron, the Israeli army invaded houses in the town of Yatta erected checkpoints and confiscated 20 Palestinian vehicles and 15 motorcycles.
The Palestinian Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights published, on Thursday, new reports about Israeli abuse and random detention of Palestinian children and their parents in the town of Silwan next to the old city of Jerusalem.
One of these reports came from Abdullah Ghaith, 17. He told a social worker in the Center that he and his mother went to the school, where they found his brother Mahmud surrounded by soldiers. When Mahmud tried to run away, the soldiers attacked and harassed him. When his mother began to argue, they hit her with their guns until she lost consciousness.
Mahmud was taken to an Israeli police station for questioning, then to al-Masqubeya center where is spent the night. He was released when he signed a personal guarantee of five thousand shekels, approximately 1,400 U.S. dollars.
Israeli bulldozers began, on Thursday morning, clearing large areas of Palestinian land in the region of al-Bok’a, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The News Agency ‘WAFA’ reported that dozens of Israeli soldiers, Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers invaded a region adjacent to two Jewish settlements. Israeli soldiers and border guards surrounded the region from six o’clock in the morning, preventing citizens from responding to their aggression and allowing soldiers to continue to bulldoze. About 16 Palestinian agricultural acres were destroyed that included land in the region owned by Mostafa Jaber. Sheep pens were demolished and citizens were kept from planting trees.
That’s some of our news for today. Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem. You have been listening to Palestine Today, program of the International Middle East Media Center. For more updates and details of these stories, please visit our website at www.imemc.org. This report was brought to you by Husam Qassis and Doris Norrito.