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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for Tuesday, November 30th 2010.
Today, five Palestinian workers were wounded by the Israeli army while they were reportedly gathering stone aggregates in the northern Gaza Strip, near the Israeli settlement of Eli Sinai. The incident followed a rapid succession of sniper attacks. With the latest injuries confirmed, the number of workers shot by Israeli forces went up to 12 in the last 48 hours.
Also in a report published today, 21 international human rights organizations called for an end to the siege on Gaza. The enquiry showed that the partial lifting of the blockade, agreed by Israel six months ago, has done little in improving the lives of the Gaza strip. According to the report, about 40% of the 1.5 million Gazans are jobless, 80% of them depend on aid, and an overall 11% of the construction materials that entered Gaza before the embargo is now allowed in. In this fourth year of the Israeli siege, the humanitarian groups demanded fresh international action to unconditionally lift the blockade.
On the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinians that was celebrated on Monday, the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, stated during a UN Speech that Israel’s settlements are a ticking time bomb that is capable of destroying the peace process at any given moment. He added that Israel will only be able to achieve peace through direct bilateral talks and compromise.
In addition, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki moon, published a statement with regard to the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinians and the establishment of a Palestinian State and said that ‘Yet few Palestinians are optimistic that anything decisive will be achieved next year, or even at all. Looking at the situation on the ground, I understand this despair.’
With regard to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the Arabic Affairs spokesperson of Israeli government Ofir Gendelman stated that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel and that the government will continue with the construction plan of 130 new units in Gilo settlement, because it is one of the many “Jewish neighborhoods” of the city.
Also in Jerusalem, the al-Maqdese Society for Development concluded a report on Israeli violations in occupied East Jerusalem, and revealed that since Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, the Israeli authorities have demolished, and issued orders to demolish 1,485 Palestinian homes. The society stated that the Israeli violations also targeted holy sites, especially Muslim and Christian archeological heritage.
In addition, The French division of multinational Veolia decided to drop out of the controversial Jerusalem tramway project in favor of an Israeli Egged bus operator. The company denied that it was selling out due to political pressure and threats of trade boycott.
According to a poll released on Tuesday and conducted by the Israel Democratic Institute, the 53 percent of Israeli Jews believed the state has the right to encourage Arab citizens to emigrate from Israel and only the 51 percent of those polled said that Israeli Arabs and Jews should have equal rights.
In the U.S., the Palestine Committee of Princeton University students proposed a boycott of Sabra hummus brand for its donations to the Israeli army. The results of the referendum have not been released yet, but if it succeed, the school’s administration should provide additional brands of hummus.
That sums up our news for today, thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem, you have been listening to Palestine Today, from International Middle East Media Center. For more updates, please visit our website at www.imemc.org. This report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and Alessandra Bajec.