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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for Monday, December 13th 2010.
Today, the Israeli Authorities released Adeeb Abu Rahma, one of the leaders of the nonviolent movement against the Annexation Wall and settlements in Bil’in, a village near Ramallah. Abu Rahma spent 18 months in prison and was forced to pay a 6.000 NIS fine for, according to the Israeli prosecution, “obstructing the work of the army” and “incitement.”
In other news, sources at the Palestinian Foreign Ministry declared that representatives of the European Union will discus the possibility of recognizing a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, if no agreement is reached with Israel within a year. The discussion will be based on a resolution draft, made by Germany, which gives the peace process a year, before starting other strategies.
The Legal Committee of the Israeli Knesset decided on Monday to approve a new draft submitted by the Israeli Interior Ministry, in which it is demanded that Palestinian detainees, imprisoned on nationalistic/political grounds, should not be allowed to meet their lawyers up to six months after their arrest. The law also allows prison directors to prevent visitations up to 96 hours instead of the originally allocated 24 hours.
In separate reports, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’Tselem) published that, during the past year at least 81 minors from Silwan were arrested or detained for questioning, most of them on suspicion of stone throwing. The arrests and detentions followed confrontations between Palestinians and settlers in the area, where there is great tension resulting from the taking of control of houses and archeological sites by settlers.
With regard to the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, U.S. Special Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell, intended to hold a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem in an attempt to push the stalled peace talks forward. In addition, Mitchell intends to meet with Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
Mitchell’s visit comes shortly after U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, stated that Washington is serious about perusing a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, and for establishing the foundations of an independent Palestinian State.
On Sunday, The Israeli Army stated that the soldier who was injured on Saturday at night during clashes with Palestinian fighters in Gaza, was not hit by Palestinian fire as previously announced, but was shot by another soldier. Two Palestinians were killed in the same clashes, while Israeli soldiers were invading an area inside the Gaza Strip.
On Saturday it was also reported that the Jerusalem Municipality is trying to oblige store owners in Arab East Jerusalem neighborhoods to change the language of their store signs into Hebrew, and informed the owners that, unless they do so, their stores will not be licensed and they will have to be shut down.
On Friday, a delegation of the World Jewish Congress leaders met with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican, and asked the pontiff to combat what they called as a ‘new form of anti-Semitism’, referring to criticism of Israel and its violations against the Palestinians. In a statement released to the press, it was stressed the pope’s compromise to join forces to fight anti-Semitism in the world.
Palestinian sources reported also on Friday that Israeli soldiers kidnapped former Minister of Detainees, Wasfy Qabha, while heading to visit his family in Barta’a village, near the northern West Bank city of Jenin. He was moved to an Israeli hospital later on due to a sharp increase in his blood sugar level.
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 Ane Irazabal.