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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for Monday, October 25, 2010.
On Monday at dawn, Israeli soldiers invaded an area east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Local sources reported that the army fired live ammunition and shells into farmlands and uprooted trees close to a military base near the border.
Damage was reported, but there were no injuries.
On Monday morning, the Israeli military invaded several towns near Hebron and conducted inspections of Palestinian vehicles. The identities of passengers were searched, apparently looking for persons who were ‘wanted.’ Military blockades at Ebn Rashd circle in the center of Hebron were set up and Palestinian vehicles were searched.
On Sunday evening, the Al Quds Brigades claimed responsibility for firing four mortars at Israeli soldiers who invaded Al Qarara. The Brigades said fighters spotted an Israeli military force and armored vehicles, invading the area and exchanged fire: no injuries were reported.
On Sunday, several pictures published by soldiers on Facebook showed Israeli soldiers humiliating and degrading Palestinian citizens during the war on Gaza. Pictures taken inside Palestinian homes showed soldiers pointing guns at Palestinian civilians and defacing a wall with the warning, “We will be back,” accompanied by the Star of David. The soldier said he was sorry that the Break the Silence Israeli group continues to leak the pictures to the media instead of filing complaints to the army. He said Military Police would investigate and submit findings to the Military Prosecutors’ Office. Social network sites had been banned at military bases because the bases “have classified materials on their computers.”
At night on Sunday, the Israeli army kidnapped two Palestinian citizens from the village of Beit Umar near Hebron and transferred them to the Etzion interrogation and detention center located south of Bethlehem.
Also on Sunday, vandals attacked an ancient mosque in the village near Nazareth, inside Israel. They removed the stones and spray-painted slogans of the Israeli settler movement on walls. The vandalism was condemned by several organizations and is being considered ‘a serious crime.’ Mosques across the West Bank and inside Israel remain targets of attack by vandals who also use graffiti to threaten Palestinians. Israeli police have not indicated they plan to investigate the crime.
The US, backed a request by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to curtail the Israeli invasions into P.A. controlled areas that occur at will. Israel repeatedly rejected The P.A appeal for the United States to intervene. Areas in question are located in Area A, which are under P.A. control and include the major cities such as Bethlehem and Ramallah.. Palestinian Security Forces in the West Bank are trained by the United States. Israeli Army officers report that Palestinian Security Forces and Shin Bet security apparatus can deal with limiting army invasions into the West Bank.
On Saturday, right-wing Israeli spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef made a speech to followers in which he compared non-Jews to donkeys, saying they were put on earth only to serve Jews and their only purpose was to serve the People of Israel.
Although the Shas movement is considered an extreme right-wing group, it is part of the coalition currently in charge of the Israeli government and members are in key decision-making government positions. The reference to non-Jews as subhuman or like animals is common in extreme right Orthodox interpretations of Judaism. The Chabad movement also adheres to this idea. Right-wing Zionists say Yosef was an inspiration for their attacks against Palestinians. Although criticized by several groups, Yosef has never been charged with incitement by Israeli authorities. The Israeli government has made no effort to distance itself from the position taken by its former Chief Rabbi.
An Israeli court decided to keep the imprisoned Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in solitary confinement for an additional six months, ruling that Ahmad Saadat will remain in solitary confinement until April 21, 2011.The PFLP said that this Israeli ruling is illegal and immoral, and a continuation of Israel’s illegal policies against the detained leaders. The PFLP will be holding activities challenging the ruling as a violation of International Law. Saadat has been in solitary confinement for more than 500 days: his family has not been able to visit him.
Beginning Thursday, Muslim Palestinians from the West Bank will start the annual pilgrimage to Mecca via the Allenby Bridge on the West Bank’s border with Jordan. A total of 5,800 Palestinians from the West Bank are expected to depart for Mecca over a three day period to perform the Hajj. The pilgrimage exodus will occur over a three day period. Extra staff will be deployed at the bridge to ease the crossing into Jordan. Every Muslim adult who is able must perform the Hajj once in a lifetime.
On Monday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited the site of restorations being carried out on the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. He thanked the team who came to Palestine to work on the project and emphasized its importance as one of the oldest and most important churches on Earth. Repairs are expected to be completed before the Christmas holidays.
Several kidnappings were reported on Monday morning in sections east of Qalqilya. Israeli soldiers burned and tore up the holy Quran and terrorized the eleven year old daughter before being abducted during an invasion of the town of Jayyus. In several towns, homes were ransacked in a search for weapons, families were terrorized and Palestinians were abducted.
And that is some of the news from 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 Doris Norrito