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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for December 5th to 16th 2010.
Peace talks at deadlock as Israel turns down a US resumption proposal, meanwhile Palestinian civilians continue to suffer from Israeli military and settler attacks, these stories and more coming up, stay tuned. Nonviolence Lets us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in West Bank. The details with IMEMC’s Ane Irazabal.
This week the protests were organized in the villages of Bil’in, Nil’in, and al Nabi Saleh in the central West Bank; and in al-Ma’ssara, southern West Bank. International and Israeli supporters joined the villager’s at all four locations. The protests took place shortly after the midday prayers had ended.
In al Nabi Saleh Israeli soldiers closed the village early in the morning and tried to stop supporters from reaching the protest. In addition, the troops attacked protesters before leaving the village.
Rafat al-Barghouthi, in his twenties, was critically injured after being hit on the back of his head with a tear gas canister. He was taken into a hospital in Ramallah, although local sources reported that the Israeli military held the ambulance transporting him for considerable time.
Furthermore, Israeli journalist, Joseph Dana, reported that the Israeli military used live ammunition in their attacks against the non-violent protest.
In the march of Bil’in, which was organized by the Popular Committee Against the Wall, the participants chanted national songs and slogans, calling for national unity, freedom for political prisoners, as well as the end of the Occupation and the construction of the Wall.
Protesters demanded the release of Abdullah Abu Rahma, a local organizer who is in jailed since the beginning of 2010 for organizing the weekly nonviolent actions.
They also condemned the daily attacks that Palestinians suffer in Jerusalem and claimed the end of the deportation policy, like recently happened to the Jerusalemite deputy, Mohammad Abu Tir, who was expelled to the West Bank, following his release from prison.
As soon as the crowd reached the fence, which separates the lands owned by the villagers, the Israeli soldiers threw tear gas, sound bombs and rubber bullets in all directions. As a result, dozens of people were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In the nearby Nil’in villagers and protesters marched to the gate of the wall but Israeli soldiers threw tear gas and forced them back to the village.
Israeli army also stopped demonstrators in the entrance of al Ma’ssara, southern West Bank, where villagers, along with supporters were trying to reach their lands, confiscated to build the wall. Soldiers used tear gas to dispel the protest.
For IMEMC.org, this is Ane Irazabal.
Political European Union countries renounced this week their commitment to recognize a Palestinian state within 1967 border lines. Israel did turn down an American proposal to resume direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. IMEMC’s Rami Al-Meghari with the details.
Palestinian Authority still refuses resuming direct talks with Israel before Israel stops settlement activities. Top Palestinian Authority’s negotiator Saeb Eriqat retreated such a position during a meeting with U.S officials in Washington.
Meanwhile, U.S envoy to the region Gorge Mitchell arrived earlier this week to Ramallah and Tel-Aviv in order to save what could be saved of an already stalled peace process.
Mitchel’s visit comes as Israel embarked this week on construction works of new housing units for settlers in the occupied East Jerusalem, core of underway controversy between Palestinians and Israelis.
Israeli officials had warned of some European Union countries’ intention to declare recognition of a Palestinian state within the1967 borders, which includes East Jerusalem.
Also, the United States had echoed the same reaction yesterday in the shadow of an EU representatives meeting. The meeting came out of not declaring any recognition unless a Palestinian state is agreed by both Israelis and Palestinians.
Rami Almeghari. IMEMC.org. Gaza
West Bank and Gaza
Israeli settler attacks and military raids against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank while an Israeli airstrike leaves two Palestinians wounded in the Gaza Strip, the details and more with IMEMC’s Alessandra Bajec.
Local sources announced that last Friday, the former Minister of Detainees Qabha was abducted by Israeli soldiers while heading to visit his family in Barta’a village, near Jenin.
On Monday, Adeeb Abu Rahma was released after spending 18 months in prison and paying a 6.000 NIS fine. Leader of the weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the Wall and settlements in Bil’in, Abu Rahma had bee arrested with charges of “obstructing the work of the army” and “incitement.”
A report published this week by the Israeli information centre B’Tselem showed that, during the past year at least 81 minors from Silwan were arrested or detained for interrogation, most of them suspected of stone throwing. The study found that the arrests and detentions came after confrontations between Palestinians and Jewish settlers in the area resulting from the take over of houses and archeological sites by the settlers.
In separate reports, the Palestinian Authority announced on Monday closure of 12 local radio and television stations in the West Bank, due to failure to abide by a new permit system. The next day, the PA informed that three local radio stations would be re-opened after settling registration and licensing issues.
On Tuesday, five wells and several sheds were destroyed in a small Bedouin community between At-Tuwani and Umm Lasafa, south of Hebron. Israeli Civil Administration officials explained the demolition was carried out due to lack of permits to build the wells.
In addition, Israeli forces demolished two Palestinian homes in two neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, near Silwan. According to local sources, the houses were two of approximately 60,000 with demolition orders saying the homes lacked building permits.
Israeli military also rounded up 31 Palestinians on Tuesday night in several raids across the West Bank. Two arrestees were identified as a 20-year-old university student from Tubas, two younger boys from the Qalqiliya district, and another boy aged 23 from Yatta. The identities or locations of the other 27 men were not confirmed.
Also on Tuesday, Israeli soldiers stormed the house of Hamas MP Al- Halaika in Hebron. Last month, soldiers already raided her house abducting her eldest son Anas, who is still held in an interrogation center.
On Wednesday, seven Palestinians were arrested in a round of raids near the cities of Tulkarm, Tubas, Jenin and Ramallah. Two arrestees were identified but no information was given about the other five people.
On the same day, Israeli troops detained near the Ibrahimi Mosque, in Hebron, a young Palestinian from Sourief, and the wife of Amjad Abu Samira who is currently serving a life sentence in an Israeli military prison.
On Thursday early morning, Israeli troops arrested 13 Palestinians for interrogation around the West Bank. Two were detained near Ramallah, nine others were summoned during an arrest in the Hebron area, and the other two men were abducted from their homes during a raid in the town of Dhahiriyya. Also, further arrests were made in a raid in Dora. According to the Palestinian Information Centre, the detentions were carried out in a wide-ranging campaign to pursue wanted activists.
Also, a local shepherd from Nablus was reported attacked by Israeli settlers who also killed one of his sheep.
Furthermore, four Palestinian security officers were detained at the entrance of Yatta, near Hebron. No reason was given for the arrests.
In the early hours of Friday, a group of religious Israelis and military entered the village of Kifl Haris. Locals believed that the people were settlers who came to visit a tomb in the village. Furthermore, local sources estimated around 3,000 visitors arrived, accompanied by dozens of Israeli army vehicles setting up checkpoints and barricades around the tomb. An Israeli military spokeswoman said about 800 visitors were in the area from midnight to 5 a.m.
Also on Friday, clashes were reported in a neighborhood of Silwan, East Jerusalem, between local youths and Israeli soldiers with live ammunition fired by the soldiers and young Palestinians responding by throwing molotov cocktails. No injuries have been reported. After the confrontations, the Israeli military erected roadblocks and checkpoints and searched vehicles and pedestrians.
In other news, the Palestinian Information Centre reported that a PA spokesman in Gaza city denounced, on Thursday, Palestinian female prisoners suffer harsh and systematic violations in Israeli jails. The spokesman detailed Israeli punishment measures against female detainees to include deprivation of family visits, solitary confinement, malnutrition, and denial of adequate medical care among others.
in the Gaza strip, medics confirmed that two young Palestinians were injured on Monday by Israeli shelling in Beit Lahiya. The two wounded were taken to hospital to receive treatment.
On Tuesday, another two men were wounded in their lower legs by Israeli firing in northern Gaza, according to local medical sources. Both men were shot while collecting rubble from buildings in the area destroyed during Operation Cast Lead.
Also in Gaza, a Gulf delegation arrived to the strip with two plane-loads of humanitarian aid, after landing in Egypt.
A report by the Health Ministry in Gaza revealed that 137 essential medicines are completely out of stock in Gaza’s hospitals In addition, only 37% of necessary medicines have been allowed to enter Gaza this year as a result of the Israeli blockade.
In other news, police officers reportedly found weapons and narcotics in a shop in northern Gaza City. No arrests were made.
For IMEMC.org this is Alessandra Bajec
Conclusion 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.