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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for December 4th to 10th 2010.
Israeli refusal to freeze settlement activities draws wide rebuke, as another U.S. Attempt to push the peace talks on the way, in the meantime, Israeli military continue to operate in the West Bank and attack the Gaza Strip, these stories and more are coming up, stay tuned.
Lets us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in West Bank. The details with IMEMC’s Joe Mercer
On Friday anti-wall protests took place in the southern West Bank village of al-Ma’ssara in addition to the villages of Bil’in, Nil’in and al Nabi Saleh, in the central West Bank. Israeli and international supporters joined villagers’ at all four locations, this week the protests marked the international day for human rights.
In the village of Nabi Saleh, in central West Bank, protesters headed towards lands taken from the village to build an illegal Israeli settlement; soldiers fired tear gas and forced people back to the village. Troops then stormed the village and fired tear gas at homes causing damage.
Two-year-old Lara Ramimi and her mother Zinab were injured by tear gas, in addition to Khitam al Tamimi who was hit by a tear gas bomb in the back. Witnesses said that the Israeli officer in charge gave the orders to his troops to fire tear gas at villagers’ homes. The protest ended after clashes between local youth and soldiers erupted.
In Bil’in village, around 300 villagers and their supporters marched from the village mosque and headed towards the Israeli wall separating local farmers from their lands. as soon as people reached the gate of the wall Israeli soldiers targeted tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at the protesters.
A local teenager was hit in the leg with a tear gas bomb while many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation. A German journalist was arrested by Israeli soldiers who chased protesters back to the village.
In the nearby village of Nil’in, soldiers also used tear gas to suppress the weekly anti wall protest. A number of protesters were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation
In al Ma’ssara village,in the southern west Bank, Israeli soldiers prevented demonstrators from reaching the land confiscated by Israel to build the wall and pushed them back into the village. Soldiers fired tear gas and sound bombs at the protests.
For IMEMc.org this is Joe Mercer
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterates the Palestinian Authority stance of no talks unless settlement activities freeze in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Such remarks come as U.S peace envoy George Mitchell is expected to arrive in the region to inject momentum to the stalled peace process. IMEMC’s Rami Al-Meghari has more.
Israel refuses to freeze settlements building in the occupied Palestinian territories upon an American-produced plan. The Israeli position came concurrent with an expected visit for U.S peace envoy, Gorge Mitchel.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his position that there will be no direct talks before Israel halts all settlements construction across the territories, a demand that Palestinians consider as a pre-condition for resumption of peace talks.
Israeli illegal settlement activities have been a thorny issue on the U.S peace efforts agenda in the Middle East. Recently, Washington has proposed a three-month settlements freeze in return for U.S security guarantees to Israel, yet the latter declined.
Next Monday, Washington is sending its envoy Gorge Mitchell in an attempt to inject some momentum to Palestinian-Israeli peace process, stalled for two years now.
British foreign minister, William Hague, voiced this week his country’s concern over stalled peace and Israeli’s refusal to stop settlements buildings. He expressed disappointment over the Israeli position.
Meanwhile, former EU officials including prime ministers, called on current EU countries to consider imposing sanctions on Israel over the settlements issue.
Also this week, three countries including Brazil and Argentina, recognized a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders which include the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.
In 1967, Israel occupied the said Palestinian territories and since then international law has regarded settlement activities illegal!
Rami Almeghari.IMEMC.org. Gaza
West Bank and Gaza
Israeli military kidnapps more than 35 Palestinians this week and demolishes houses near Hebron, meanwhile a number of Israeli airstrikes hit the Gaza Strip, the details with IMEMC’s Alessandra Bajec.
A report published this week by the Higher Committee for Supporting the Detainees showed that, in the month of November, 280 Palestinians were kidnapped by Israeli military in several areas across the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. According to the report, more than 8000 Palestinians are currently detained by Israel, hundreds of them children and women.
On Monday, Ma’an News reported that several banks in Nablus closed at 10 a.m. to protest the P.A.’s decision to impose a new tax on benefits of both civil servants and private sector employees.
Between Sunday night and Monday morning, six Palestinians were arrested in a round of raids conducted by Israeli military in the Ramallah area.
A Palestinian couple was also arrested on Tuesday, after Israeli troops searched their house in Hebron.
Also on Tuesday, Israeli forces invaded a town south of Qalqilia and surrounded a mosque preventing Palestinian prayers from leaving and examining each person one by one.
On Wednesday early morning, Israeli bulldozers razed the village of Tana, near Hebron, demolishing hothouses and a school, and forcing dozens of families to evacuate their tents. A Red Cross building was also severely damaged in the demolition.
In other news on Wednesday, the hearing on the case of Abdullah Abu Rahme started. Abu Rahme has completed a one year prison sentence due to his role of organizing non-violent weekly demonstrations against the Wall in Bil’in. Israeli authorities said they intend to extend the sentence indefinitely however failing to present any evidence against him.
In addition, Ma’an News claimed that a PFLP member, known as Hakim Hanani, was arrested, in the early hours of Wednesday, in an Israeli army raid in Beit Furik, east of Nablus.
On Thursday, Israeli authorities ordered demolition of an electricity infrastructure in two villages near Yatta, south of Hebron. The villagers plan to mount a legal challenge to the demolition orders.
In other reports, the Palestinian Authority’s forces arrested 28 Hamas affiliates in the West Bank in the last 24 hours. The Palestinian Information Center claimed the arrests took place in the areas of Hebron, Nablus, Bethlehem, Tulkarem, Qalqilia, Salfit, and Jenin. Most of the Hamas members were allegedly ex-prisoners in Israeli jails.
On Friday, five Palestinians were abducted by Israeli troops in their parent’s homes during a series of overnight invasions carried out in the districts of Hebron and Jenin. The five included three students, between 15 and 20 years old, from Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, and two boys, aged 15 and 16, from Zababda village, west of Jenin. Troops also detained an engineer in Doura, and another man at a roadblock in Beit Awla, in the Hebron area. Haaretz confirmed that 9 Palestinians in total were kidnapped over night in different Israeli raids across the West Bank.
On Tuesday, in the Gaza strip three men were detained for collaborating with Israel. One was sentenced to death and the other two were condemned to serve seven and three years in prison
In addition, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights condemned the suppression of a peaceful assembly and the arrest of 16 participants by Hamas police forces in Gaza city. The assembly was held in protest against Hamas’ decision to close a Youth Forum.
Also on Tuesday, the southern crossing Kerem Shalom was opened for entry of humanitarian aid, fuel and commercial goods and for the limited export of strawberries and flowers.
On Wednesday, two Israeli airstrikes were reported in the overnight near Khan Younis, south of Gaza. One young Palestinian was found injured and a tunnel under Gaza’s border with Egypt was destroyed in the attacks. A few hours later, an Israeli tank shelling left three Palestinian men wounded near the Karni crossing, east of Gaza City.
Israeli warplanes launched further airstrikes on Thursday at dawn in the Strip hitting a school in Gaza city, and an alleged training facility belonging to the al-Qassam brigades in the central part of Gaza. The Israeli military claimed having attacked in retaliation to mortar shells fired into the Negev on Wednesday night.
On Friday, eyewitnesses reported two Palestinians were injured by Israeli soldiers in northern Gaza, while they were collecting wood. Furthermore, a 16-year-old child was shot and wounded while working in his family’s land in Khan Younis.
Medical sources also confirmed on Friday monring that two children were killed in the Gaza Strip after an explosive left by the Israeli army detonated near them, east of Gaza City.
For IMEMC.org this is Alessandra Bajec
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