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This Week in Palestine Week 43 2010
Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for October 23, to 29, 2010.
Egypt attempts to push the Palestinians to resume talks with Israel, meanwhile Israeli military and settlers continue assaults against the 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 took place in the villages of Bil’in and Nil’in, in the central West Bank, and also in Al Ma’ssara in the southern West Bank.
Israeli and international supporters joined the villagers at all three locations. This week the protesters commemorated the 54th anniversary of the Israeli massacre in Kafr Qasim. On the evening of October 29, 1956 Israeli troops shot and killed 49 unarmed Palestinian civilians in the village of Kafr Qasem, which is 20 km east of Tel Aviv near the green line.
One Palestinian was injured and dozens were treated for tear gas inhalation after a confrontation with Israeli troops during the weekly march to protest the wall in the village of Bil’in. The protestors shouted slogans opposing the separation wall, and to Israel’s settlement and detainment policies.
When protestors reached the wall and tried to cross into the Palestinian land on the other side, the Israeli military shot rubber bullets, sound bombs, and tear gas canisters at them. Samir Barnat, 34, was injured when a tear gas canister exploded on his shoulder.
Also on Friday, in the nearby village of Nil’, Israeli troops used tear gas and sound bombs to stop protesters. International and Israeli supporters joined the villagers at midday for prayers at land sites near the Israeli separation wall, which was built on villagers’ lands.
Later, people marched up to the gate of the wall, which separates farmers from their land. Troops stationed beside the barrier fired tear gas and sound bombs at the unarmed protesters; many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
The weekly protest ended with clashes between local youth and Israeli soldiers who chased them back to the village. The clashes ended shortly thereafter; no injuries were reported.
Elsewhere, Israeli troops stopped the weekly protest march protesting the wall and settlements in the Palestinian village of al-Ma’sara. Israeli troops broke up the protest with tear gas and sound bombs. One unnamed Israeli activist was beaten by police and taken away.
For IMEMC.org this is Doris Norrito
West Bank and Gaza
Israeli troops and intelligence services carried out a number of invasions into Palestinian civilian areas abducting dozens of Palestinians, troops also killed one and wounded another in the Gaza Strip, Alessandra Bajec has more.
This week, the Israeli army kidnapped Palestinian citizens from Beit Umar and towns near Hebron. Several kidnappings were also reported in Qalqilya. Soldiers invaded areas of Jenin and Bethlehem breaking into many homes and conducting a number of interrogations. In several towns across the West Bank, homes were ransacked in a claimed search for weapons.
Meanwhile, nineteen Palestinians were reportedly abducted in East Jerusalem including seven children aged 11 to 15. Tension between the local Palestinian residents of Jerusalem and Israeli settlers have been high during the past few months after groups of Israeli settlers forcefully took over some houses in the East Jerusalem Neighborhood of Silwan.
Also in the West Bank, a Palestinian boy was killed by a police car near the West Bank city of Hebron. Local sources reported that the young man, who was identified as Mahmoud al-‘Amour,17 years old, from Yatta village, was hit by the police car as he was attempting to cross the road.
On Wednesday, five Palestinians were detained from the villages of Madama and Beta near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Eyewitnesses reported that a large Israeli military force invaded the two villages, broke into a number of houses and kidnapped the five, in the early hours of the morning.
In the northern West Bank city of Jenin, Israeli soldiers and the Israeli intelligence chief broke many houses claimed to be belonging to Hamas leaders in city. No abductions were made, however, local sources said troops ransacked some of the invaded houses.
Children from Umm al-Kheir, invited to the premiere of a film featuring them, at the Children’s Film Festival in Tel Aviv, were refused entry into Israel.
The children, first and second graders, were supposed to enter via the Meitar checkpoint in order to watch the screening of the film ‘Galacticus’, in which they appear, as part of the Children Make Movies project, run jointly by the Education Ministry, the Children’s Channel and the Lahav and Mifalot associations.
‘Galacticus,’ which was filmed last year, features children from Umm al-Kheir and Israeli children from Kibbutz Harel.
Palestinians are not allowed to enter Jerusalem and Israeli areas unless they obtain a special permit from the Israeli military, which is rarely granted.
This week, Israeli Navy gunboats opened fire at several Palestinian fishing boats in the south of Gaza. No injuries were reported.
On Monday Israeli soldiers invaded the southern part of the Gaza Strip. During the invasion, Al Quds Brigades exchange fire with Israeli army however no injuries were reported.
Two Palestinians were killed on Monday due to an attack at one of the Southern Gaza’s tunnels. Although some Palestinians have been trafficking weapons in the the Gaza Strip through the tunnels, yet, many others use them to traffic much needed supplies especially after the tight siege imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip since June of 2006.
On Wednesday, a Palestinian man was killed in northern Gaza by shrapnel fragments fired by Israeli tanks stationed outside of the Gaza borders. A worker was also injured in the same area by Israeli troops while he was collecting scrap metal form destroyed buildings to sell them for income.
In addition, Israeli war planes flew over the Gaza Strip at low altitudes and carried out an intensive mock air attack creating a very loud boom. This move has increased after Israel removed its settlers from the coastal region during the unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in September of 2005.
Egyptian officials in the region to push up stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace process. Meanwhile, Arab media sources reported that American and Palestinian officials are holding secret meetings to find a way out of current impasse. On the internal politics, rival Palestinian parties Fatah and Hamas are expected to resume national unity talks. IMEMC’s Rami Al-Meghari has the story
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says Palestinians have a number of options to consider if Israel doesn’t halt settlement construction in the Palestinian territories. He did not detail the alternatives, but did indicate restarting the peace talks is the desired outcome.
Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmad Abuelgheit, told reporters during a joint press conference with Abbas, his country has been working with the US and EU to bring the parties back to the negotiating table.
Acctuality (In Arabic-Ahmad Abuelghiet,Egypt’s foreign minister
‘We are currently focused on urging Israel to accept the internationally-backed American-European demand for Israel to stop settlement activities. We should wait and see before we move to other options like going to the UN Security Council or the UN General Assembly or other work able political options.’
In September, Arab leaders gave Washington a period of one month to convince Israel to halt settlement construction. But just last week, the Israeli pacifist group Peace Now said 600 new homes have been started since Israel lifted the freeze – a construction rate four-times higher than before the freeze began.
In the meantime, Israeli online newspaper Haaretz reported Friday that Israel is considering leasing Palestinian lands from the Palestinian Authority, in case an agreement between the two sides is reached.
The lease, according to Haaretz, will last from 40 to 99 years. No Palestinian sources commented. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was quoted by Haaretz as saying that the issue of settlement construction won’t affect a future peace agreement.
Netanyahu was reacting to media reports that Palestinians are currently considering winning international and UN recognition of a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, which includes the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem.
‘ Such a move should be coordinated with us and only through direct talks,’ the Israeli premier pointed out.
In related news, a high-ranking European Union official in Brussels
told reporters this week that the EU is relentlessly involved in political efforts to bring Palestinians and Israelis back to the negotiating table. The official voiced rejection of Israeli settlement activities.
He also called for a unified Palestinian political stance: reference was to the disunity between Gaza, which is represented by the ruling Islamist Hamas party, and the West Bank, which is represented by the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority.
At the internal political level, representatives of the rival Fatah and Hamas parties are expected to meet up soon again in Damascus to sort out a number of outstanding unity issues, particularly the security profile.
A spokesperson for Hamas in Gaza, Ayman Taha, said Thursday that his party and Fatah seem to be willing to reach an understanding that would serve the Palestinian national interests.
According to an Egyptian-produced conciliation paper drafted in October2009, armed Palestinian resistance factions should be integrated into Palestinian Authority’s security bodies, something that Hamas has yet refused.
Both parties have been at loggerheads since 2007, when Hamas took over the coastal territory amidst factional fighting. Since then, Israel and the international community have boycotted Hamas until the latter recognizes Israel, accepts past-signed agreements with Israel and renounces violence.
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. IMEMC’s Ane Irazabal