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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for October 16th, to 22, 2010.
The Israeli settlements construction disturbs peace effort, meanwhile Israeli military and settlers continue assaults against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
Lets us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in West Bank IMIMc’s Doris Norrito has the details
This week anti-wall protests were reported in the central West Bank villages of Bil’in, Nil’in and Nabi Saleh: there was also an anti-wall protest in Al Ma’ssara village in the southern West Bank.
Israeli and international supporters joined the protests in the four villages, which started at midday on Friday. At least 15 civilians were injured on Friday and three homes were burned by Israeli military fire when troops attacked the weekly anti wall protest in the village of Nabi Saleh, in the central West Bank.
Residents along with Israeli and international supporters marched towards the village lands where Israeli is building the wall. Soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas at the peaceful demonstrators injuring 15 civilians, one critically. Troops also fired tear gas at resident homes selecting three homes to be burned. Soldiers took over a forth house and told the owner they were going to use it as a military post for 45 days.
Also on Friday, two adults and one child were reported injured during the weekly anti-wall protest in the central West Bank village of Bil’in. As soon as protesters reached the gate of the wall, Israeli soldiers stationed there showered them with tear gas and sound bombs. Lamma Abu Rahma, 8 years old, along with Mohamed Al Khateb and Ahmad Burnat, both 17 years old, were hit by tear gas bombs. Many people were also treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In the nearby village Nil’in, many suffered from the effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli soldiers stopped the protesters from reaching local farmers’ lands on the other side of the wall.
Meanwhile one international supporter was injured and two others were arrested by Israeli soldiers during the weekly anti-wall protest in Al Ma’ssara village near Bethlehem on Friday. Israeli and international supporters joined the villagers and marched towards lands that Israel plans to take over in order to construct its wall.
Israeli soldiers stopped the protesters near the local school and used tear gas and sound bombs to force them back. A French activist sustained head injuries from a tear gas bomb and soldiers arrested two other internationals. This Friday marks the fifth year of anti-wall weekly protests in Al Ma’ssara village.
For IMEMC.org this is Doris Norrito
West Bank and Gaza
The family of the Jerusalem boy hit by a settler car is fined $550 and Israeli military continue invasions in the West Bank areas, more with IMEMCs Chyrel Hogan.
During this week there were 34 Israeli military incursions into West Bank communities resulting in 7 abductions, including one of a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Hatim Qfeisha.
On October 17, Israeli soldiers abducted a 12 year old child from his home, after he was victim of a hit and run assault by a settler driver in Silwan, East. Jerusalem. The child was taken for interrogation and his family was fined $550.
Twenty Palestinian civilians were wounded during clashes with soldiers and policemen in Silwan during the night on Sunday. Tensions provoked by Israel’s plans to take over the entire neighborhood for Jewish homes and a theme park escalated into rioting on Wednesday when a private Israeli security officer shot and killed a Palestinian in this village.
Residents of Silwan have erected a protest tent in their neighborhood, and military forces have tried to remove it three times.
In the area around Hebron 5 Palestinians were abducted by the Israeli military on Friday in separate raids on private homes.
In Gaza two resistance fighters were killed by Israeli warplane attacks. One child was wounded while collecting scrap metals from demolished buildings. One farmer was wounded during an Israeli invasion into Gaza.
Settler violence continued this week especially against farmers harvesting their olives. In Burin near Nablus, farmers were attacked by settlers from Brakka settlement. They cut and burned trees and injured one farmer. At least 2500 olive trees have been torched in Burin since last week
Near Bethlehem, settlers from Bitar Elite burned over 600 trees belonging to villagers from Housan.
Settlers from Eli settlement broke into a girls school in Nablus and burned desks and sports equipment, and wrote racist graffiti on the school walls.
In other incidents, settlers from Etzion pumped sewage onto agricultural land belonging to a farmer in Beit Ummar near Hebron, and also stole his bulldozer and truck. Also a settler driver hit a school boy as he was on his way home near Bethlehem, but fortunately his injuries were mild.
Israeli violence against Palestinian lands occurred this week when land was confiscated from a village near Qalqilia by the Israeli military for a ‘security road’ for the settlement of Qidoumim.
For IMEMC.org this is Chyrel Hogan
Still, Israeli settlements building on occupied Palestinian lands top the political scene in Palestine. Palestinian Authority’s top negotiator, Saeb Eriqat, said this week that Israel is keeping settlements construction up despite warnings by concerned bodies IMEMC’s Rami Al-Meghari has the story.
Eriqat says that Israeli talk of a freeze of settlements bears no significance in a time Israel had built more than 8 hundred settlement unit since a moratorium on building has come to an end in September26.
The Palestinian official wants a clear-cut Israeli position towards the issue by declaring a halt of such ‘illegal’ activities once and for all. Eriqat wants a genuine peace process that is void of unilateral actions, mainly settlements construction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israeli political leaders have yet to reach an agreement over a controversial settlements building, despite warnings by regional parties like Jordan of failure of the entire peace process between Palestinians and Israel.
Washington is yet to leverage Tel-Aviv to forge a halt of the settlements building amidst Israeli rightist calls to keep up such activities that would preempt any future solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Palestinians want a Palestinian state within the borders of 1967.
This week, the PA requested a UN recognition of such boundaries as the future Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
In another issue, new Israeli law of loyalty oath is still have repercussions in the region. Israeli-Arab MPs have called on the international community to question Israel over such a law, which they consider ‘discriminatory’.
The law stipulates that citizens of Israel should bid locality to Israel as a democratic Jewish state. Israeli Arabs inside Israel make up twenty percent of the entire Israeli population. There are other minorities that have nothing to do with the Jewish faith of the Hebrew state.
On a different issue, some Arab media reports suggested this week that Israelis and Palestinians have recently renewed German-mediated prisoners swap deal. No confirmation by Israel was reported, while sources within the Islamist Hamas party had hinted at this.
Since 2006, Both Israel and the Islamist Hamas party in Gaza have been negotiating indirectly and through a third party a prisoner swap deal, in which a captured Israeli soldier be exchanged for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails.
Rami Almeghari. IMEMC.ORG, Gaza
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