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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for Tuesday, December 28th 2010.
On Monday, The Middle East Monitor claimed that Israel announced to boycott a UN summit, scheduled for next year in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Durban declaration against racism. The Israeli government said publicly it will not join the summit because the Durban conference has been a platform for ‘anti-Semitism and attacks against Israel’. The UN event’s agenda will cover racism and racist discrimination, including Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories.
Also on Monday, the British Foreign Ministry reportedly declared it is planning to upgrade the diplomatic status of PLO officials in the UK. The announcement comes amidst increasing pressure on Israel with the recent Palestinian efforts to obtain international recognition after failure of US-sponsored peace negotiations.
Britain’s upgrade of the PLO diplomatic representation follows similar initiatives by France, the US, Spain, Portugal and Norway since last summer. Israel stands against any recognition of a Palestinian state which, it claims, should be created through negotiations.
With regard to the failed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that a temporary agreement is still possible; especially should the direct peace talks between the two sides fail. He also reiterated that Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
In the West Bank, on Monday, dozens of Israeli settlers torched agricultural lands and attacked Palestinian farmer near Madame village, south of Nablus.
On Monday night, Israeli military sources reported that six Gazan fishermen were detained by the Navy, near the northern part of the strip. The army claimed that the boat was dragging an object before cutting it loose into the sea. The nature of the object remains unknown.
Today, the Associated Press reported that about 20 Israeli suppliers agreed to help construct the first modern Palestinian city in the West Bank however promising to not use of products or services from settlements. The city of Rawabi, north of Jerusalem, is part of Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad’s plans to start creating a future Palestinian state. Israeli residents of the West Bank condemned the project arguing the companies have given in to a boycott of settlement goods and services.
In related news, Haaretz reported that the Palestinian Authority decided to reconsider the proposal to ban Palestinians from working in Israeli settlements. The decision is said to be motivated by the inability to provide alternative sources of employment. The draft law, presented earlier this year, is aimed to prevent Palestinians from taking jobs in the illegal settlements. The P.A. cabinet reportedly stated there is no intention to pass the legislation without alternative work prospects for the workers.
Also today, 60 dunums of land were reportedly seized by settlers in the Jaloud district, southeast of Nablus. This is the latest episode of land confiscation which takes the total of lands seized in the area to 100 dunums in the past week.
In addition, Ma’an News claimed today that Palestinian National Security forces seized weapons and ammunition, on Monday, in the village of Salem, east of Nablus. Police officers said the weapons were found in a house after a special force entered to deal with a clan clash on Sunday evening. Police confirmed two of the family members involved in the clash were detained.
In other news, Egyptian security forces located large weapons and explosives storage in the Sinai Desert. According to Egyptian sources, the arms were meant to be smuggled into Gaza Strip.
In separate reports, Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak was sentenced to three months in jail and ordered to pay NIS 1,500 for participating in a protest against the blockade of the Gaza Strip in Tel Aviv, in 2008. Pollak, aged 28, rejected the offer of Tel Aviv Magistrate to alternatively do community service. He claimed he did not do anything wrong. Pollak is one of the founders of the Israeli activist group Anarchists against the Wall, known to demonstrate weekly alongside Palestinians against the Wall and settlements in the Occupied Territories.
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.