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Welcome to Today in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for Thursday, October 28, 2010.
Wednesday Israeli soldiers and undercover units kidnapped seven children ages 11 to 15 in the town of Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem. They were ambushed as they came home from school. No reason was given; and the children were taken to a local Israeli police station for questioning. One boy, 14, was ordered to appear for his attack on Israeli soldiers while his was defending his mother and brother who were being beaten by soldiers on October 14th.
Arab member of the Israeli Knesset, Hanin Zo’by, was hit by two rubber-coated bullets fired by the Israeli police during clashes on Wednesday in the Arab city of Um Al Fahim, Police had violently attacked protesters who came into the streets to counter a march by fundamentalist settlers. Reports say the Arab Knesset member was deliberately targeted by the police. Dozens of residents were wounded and treated for gas inhalation. Reports said police made deliberate attacks intending to hurt Arab residents. Zo’by said Arabs will continue to defend themselves and their lands, demand their legitimate rights.
The Prime Minister of the dissolved government in Gaza, stated the importance of holding direct talks with western governments and not relying on hearsay. Ismail Haniyya welcomed a French team that included international human rights experts and called on delegates to help Palestinians achieve liberation and end the siege on Gaza which he referred to as an open-air prison.
On Thursday, Israeli soldiers arrested two Palestinians after throwing stun granades and invading and searching their houses. The Israeli army also erected a blockade at the entrance north of Hebron. Other invasions, searches and blockades were reported in the south and central Hebron regions.
On Wednesday, the Anglican Archbishop canceled a performance of the opera ‘Porgy and Bess’ that the Cape Town Opera Company was scheduled to perform in Israel next month. Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu said that it would be ‘unconscionable’ for performance to take place in Israel while millions of Palestinians are denied access to culture and education. The opera has a ‘universal message of nondiscrimination, which contradicts the behavior of Israel toward Palestinians. Tutu, who likened the Palestinian situation to South Africa under Apartheid, said luring artists to Tel Aviv advances a false claim that Israel is a civilized democracy.
The Minister of Religious Affairs and Chairman of Jerusalem Committee condemned the building of 750 housing units that had been approved by the Local Committee of Construction and Organization in the Israeli municipality in a settlement in occupied Jerusalem. Taleb Abu Sha’ar considered the approval as a new step in continuing settlement construction and ‘Judaizing’ the city and he demanded international support condemning the Israeli practices against the Palestinians and their lands.
On Thursday afternoon, Israeli soldiers and the Israeli Intelligence Chief invaded many houses belonging to Hamas leaders in the neighborhood of Jenin and engaged him in conversation about the current political situation.
On Wednesday, Dr. Hanna Issa, an expert in international law, confirmed that among all the children of the world, Palestinian children are suffering the most due to the ongoing Israeli practices against them that began in 1948 families were displaced and became homeless. Trauma, loss of home and family, and abuses suffered over decades leave the indelible scars of their suffering.
More than 3,000 children have been kidnapped by the Israeli army and face imprisonment, abuse and bad living conditions depriving them of basic human rights.
Dr. Issa demanded that the international community exert pressure on the Israeli government to abide by the international law to protect the internationally guaranteed rights of Palestinian children.
On Thursday, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin met with French Senate president Gerard Larcher in Paris to discuss the peace talks. Rivlin said that in his opinion, the settlements are merely an excuse for the Palestinians to end peace negotiations. He said the Israeli people who live in the settlements are not an obstacle to peace.
Palestinian Prime Minister, Salaam Fayyad, claimed that the issue is not a mere excuse for the peace process but the settlements are considered illegal under international law and that Israel interprets UN resolutions as only recommendations.
Today more than 500,000 Israelis live in illegal settlements within the West Bank and East Jerusalem. More than 600 Palestinians were displaced from East Jerusalem and the West Bank after their homes were demolished to construct Israeli settlements, With no alternative housing or compensation for the displaced left homeless and destitute.
On Thursday Israeli soldiers invaded several areas of Jenin and Bethlehem, breaking into and searching several homes and causing damage. Soldiers interrogated several citizens while tanks and armored vehicles were stationed nearby.
Last Tuesday, Nigeria announced, that its secret service managed to intercept 13 containers reportedly loaded with weapons believed to be sent from Iran to the Hamas movement in Gaza. The explosives were camouflaged as construction materials, and were seized at Lagos Port in Nigeria. A Nigerian spokeswoman, stated that after opening the first container, grenades, rocket launchers, and different sorts of explosives were located concealed among crates of floor tiles. Israel is currently holding talks with Nigeria in an attempt to acquire more information about the weapons, and have an investigation started.
And that is just some of our news for today. Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem. You have been listening to Palestine Today, a 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 Hassam Qassis and Doris Norrito