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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for Wednesday, December 15th 2010.

Today, Israeli military arrested seven Palestinians in a series of raids near the cities of Tulkarm, Tubas, Jenin and Ramallah; the arrestees were identified as Abdul Sitar Khaled Nebi Awda and Salah Alariyyeh. No information was provided about the identities of the other five people. In addition, soldiers blockaded and photographed the al-Nabi Matta Mosque in the village of Beit Ummar, near Hebron. No explanation was given by the Israeli troops about the reason of the invasion although local sources said that the move could anticipate a demolition operation.

Israeli soldiers also raided on Tuesday the house of Hamas MP Shamira Al- Halaika in Hebron, after stopping tens of cars questioning all people inside. Last month, Israeli forces already stormed her house in a night raid and took away her eldest son Anas, who is still in Jalama interrogation center.

In Gaza, a Gulf delegation arrived to the strip with two plane-loads of humanitarian aid, after landing in Egypt.

With regard to this fact, a report by the Health Ministry in Gaza reported that 137 essential medicines are completely out of stock in Gaza’s hospitals In addition, the Health Ministry reported that only 37% of necessary medicines have been allowed to enter the strip this year, due to the ongoing Israeli blockade on Gaza.
Meanwhile, police officers reportedly found, during a raid, weapons and narcotics in a shop in northern Gaza City. No arrests were made.

Also in Gaza, marking the 23rd anniversary of the founding of Hamas, the Prime Minister of the deposed government, Ismail Haniyeh, claimed on Tuesday that in the next elections, ‘Hamas will get the West Bank and Gaza with more votes than before.’ Haniyeh also asked Fatah to abandon the negotiation table with Israel, and to focus on the Palestinian unity.

Also in the strip, two men were injured in their lower legs on Tuesday by Israeli firing in the northern Gaza strip, local medical sources said. Both men, claimed to have been collecting rubble from buildings in the area destroyed during Operation Cast Lead.

In a separate report and in connection with the local stations shut down on Monday, the Palestinian Authority informed that three local radio stations would be re-opened after settling registration and licensing issues.

Also today, Quds Press reported that several Israeli Knesset members have called for the assassination of the former Arab member Azmi Bishara while approving a bill which strips him of parliamentary pension. Bishara resigned from the Knesset in 2007 after being charged by Israeli authorities for transmitting information to Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

In other news, a joint initiative between Ramallah’s International Art Academy and the Van Abbemuseum in Netherlands, is trying to bring a picture by the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso to Ramallah, to be placed at the academy publicly. The art work is ‘Buste de Femme.’

In Israel, 150 asylum seekers were repatriated on Monday night, as officials believed they entered the country illegally in search of work. One third of them were minors, and some were enrolled in a Tel Aviv school. While Israeli authorities said the migrants had undergone an organized selection process prior to the return operation, unknown sources noted that some of them didn’t find out they were leaving until a few days before.

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.

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