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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for December 25th to 31st 2010.
As the year 2010 ends, the political scene in Palestine and Israel remains the same, Israeli Prime Minister suggests and Interim agreement, however, this does not change facts on the ground regarding the settlements and the wall and the ongoing settler and army violence against Palestinian residents. This and more are 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 latest anti-wall protests of 2010 were organized in the villages of Nil’in, Bil’in, and al Nabi Saleh, in central West Bank, as well as in al Ma’ssara, southern West Bank. Israeli and international supporters joined the villagers at all four locations, after the midday prayers.
In Bil’in, despite Israeli army blockaded the village in the early morning, Israeli and international supporters managed to join the protest. In addition, Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad took part in the demonstration as an action to mark the creation of Fatah political group.
As soon as the crowd reached the wall, local youth managed to dismantle parts of it, but Israeli soldiers stationed at the nearby gate, which separates local farmers from their lands, fired tear gas in all directions. As a result, one person was hit in the face with a tear gas canister and rushed to Ramallah for medical treatment. Many others were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
It is worth mentioning that the Israeli High Court considered the path of the wall in Bil’in illegal and demanded to be rerouted, which could return 800 dunums of the 2300 dunums that have been seized to construct the wall and the nearby settlement. However, Israeli army still refuses to remove the wall.
In the nearby Nil’in village, the protest this week ended peacefully. Villagers and their supporters marched to the wall and protested for some time. The group left without being attacked by the army.
In the central West Bank village of al-Nabi Saleh, local and international joined the demonstration, although many people from outside the village were prevented from entering by the military. The troops also fired tear gas and sound bombs. The protest ended later in the afternoon.
In the village of Al Ma’ssara, protesters were stopped by Israeli army at the entrance of the village, before they reached the lands taken to build the wall. Soldiers also used tear gas to force people back to the village.
For IMEMC this is Ane Irazabal
Political Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Natenyahu, offered this week reaching an interim agreement with the Palestinian Authority IMEMC’s Rami Al-Meghari with the details.
The new Israeli proposal includes a transitional peace deal with the Palestinians through negotiations. But the suggestion doesn’t include any details and the Palestinian Authority, from its part, rejected the initiative and insisted that any negotiations should involve significant issues like the occupied East Jerusalem, the borders of future Palestinian state and the refugees problem.
The Palestinian Authority said there can not be peace between Israel and the Palestinians unless Israel stops all settlement construction on the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel continues to dismiss such a Palestinian demand and keeps up settlement construction on the occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
This week, Israel allocated 2 billion new Israeli shekels for the settlement construction for the next two years, further dismissing Palestinian and international calls for halting such illegal buildings.
Israeli intransigence over the settlement issue has been faced with worldwide criticism as Palestinians said they would submit the issue to the United Nations Security Council, demanding a UN biding resolution that would oblige Israel to stop the settlement activities once and for all.
The Palestinian Authority insists that the stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinians can not be resumed until the settlements building are ceased.
In the meantime, as Israeli army generals and officials have recently threatened to attack the Gaza Strip, following two years of Israeli 22 day war on Gaza two years ago, Palestinian Prime Minister of Hamas in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, submitted a letter to world leaders including UN’s Ban Ki-Moon and King of Jordan, Abdallah II to prevent reoccurrence of that war.
On the internal level, the ruling Hamas party reiterated demand from the Fatah-led government in the West Bank, to release scores of Hamas people from the Palestinian Authority’s jails. Hamas contends that such prisoners are held illegally and that a unity deal with the Fatah party can not be forged without realizing the release.
The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, further denied this week that its jails include any political prisoners, blaming the Hamas party in Gaza for what it termed failure of the national unity talks, in place for almost three years now under Egyptian and Arab brokerage
Rami Almeghari. IMEMC.org. Gaza
West Bank and Gaza
Settler violence against Palestinian civilians continue in the West Bank without action by the Israeli military or police to stop it, and two Palestinians are killed in clashes with Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip, the details with IMEMC’s Alessandra Bajec.
On Saturday, three international activists were detained in Hebron while they were attending a nonviolent protest. Also, at least four Palestinians and three internationals were injured after being violently attacked by the Israeli military.
On Sunday, Israeli troops, stationed near Nablus, stopped three Palestinian youth and assaulted one of them on the grounds that he was not understanding the soldiers speaking in Hebrew.
In addition, nine French protestors were arrested at the military checkpoint of Qalandia, after participating in a nonviolent protest in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
In Jerusalem, a five-year-old Palestinian girl was hit by an Israeli police patrol car in Silwan. The incident came after clashes broke out between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces following the home eviction of a resident.
On Monday, dozens of Israeli settlers set fire to agricultural lands and harassed Palestinian farmers in the southern part of Nablus.
Also on Monday, Palestinian National Security forces reportedly found weapons and ammunition east of Nablus. The weapons, according to police officers, were found in a house, on Sunday evening, at the time when a clan clash took place.
On Tuesday, local sources reported that settlers confiscated 60 dunums of land in the Jaloud district, southeast of Nablus. The total of lands seized in the area has gone up to 100 dunums over the past week.
A survey by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel revealed that up to 90% of Palestinian prisoners interrogated by the Shin Bet security agents are prohibited to consult with their lawyers. The expose’ pointed to common illegal interrogation methods used such as sleep deprivation, threats of violence, solitary confinement in unsanitary conditions, and uncomfortable positions.
On Wednesday, Israeli settlers allegedly attacked in two locations south of Nablus. The attacks caused destruction of several vehicles and fire damage to agricultural fields. In related news, a group of settlers uprooted, on the same day, 30 olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers from the nearby area.
In separate reports, Israeli bulldozers demolished an agricultural storehouse, a gas station, and many other industrial buildings in Hazma village, north of Jerusalem. According to Israeli forces, the demolition was carried out because the buildings were based nearby a military crossing and did not have a valid license.
In other news, on Thursday at dawn, Khalil Raba’ey, elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was abducted by troops from his home in Yatta, south of Hebron. The news came after Israeli settlers attacked two journalists from Reuters and Ball Media in Yatta.
Also, a report released by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Detainees’ Affairs denounced that 1,100 Palestinian children have been arrested this year by Israeli police, most of whom in East Jerusalem and Hebron.
On Friday, Palestine News Network claimed that Israeli forces arrested five Palestinians across the West Bank in a round of night raids. A woman and her son were also allegedly beaten. In the meantime, in Nablus Israeli military detained another man after searching his home.
In the Gaza strip, on Friday night, the Israeli Air Force launched three strikes targeting several areas in central and southern Gaza. Three Palestinians were injured and some houses were also damaged as a result of the air attacks.
Also in Gaza, the Al Quds Brigades claimed that two of its fighters were killed during clashes with Israeli soldiers, when troops entered the southern part of the Strip. The men were both from Khan Younis district and in their twenties.
On Monday night, six Gazan fishermen were allegedly detained by the Navy, north of Gaza. Israeli military sources said the boat was dragging an object whose nature was not identified.
In addition, medics claimed that, on Tuesday evening, Israeli forces bombarded an area in the eastern part of Khan Younis, killing one Palestinian fighter and injuring five others. One of the five wounded was found in a serious condition.
In related reports, on Wednesday, local residents witnesses that shelling was heard, in the east of Gaza city. No injuries were reported. The army did not confirm any military activity in the area.
On Thursday, on the second anniversary of Israel’s war on Gaza, Ma’an News reported that two youth groups in Gaza City were painting murals in the destroyed government compound, as symbol of freedom.
On Friday, Press TV quoted an Egyptian daily informing that about 50 Iranian and Jordanian activists on the Asia 1 aid convoy were banned from reaching the Gaza Strip. Egypt was also reportedly preventing entry of 10 generators donated by Iranians. The humanitarian convoy was scheduled to enter Gaza by December 27, in time for the second anniversary of Israel’s 2008- 2009 offensive.
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. On behalf of IMEMC staff and administration we thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem, and wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. This report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and George Rishmawi.