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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for Monday, January 3rd 2011.
Today it was reported that the Asia 1 solidarity convoy managed to enter the Gaza Strip on Sunday night, after arriving at the Egyptian port of Al Arish. The Egyptian Authorities allowed 112 activists to enter Gaza but one Iranian and one Jordanian activists were denied entry. Convoy organizers were warmly received by thousands of residents in the Strip.
Also today, 48 Knesset Members signed a petition calling for the boycott of Israeli companies involved in building the new Palestinian city of Rawabi, as they have agreed not to use any products or services from illegal settlements during the construction. Amongst the signatories are all the right-wing MKs, as well as half of the Kadima faction. According to Haaretz, the petition has been put forward by the Eretz Yisrael lobby.
In other news, Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, claimed that in 2010, 3,000 Hamas affiliates were arrested by the P.A. security forces in the West Bank. Amongst the detainees are Imams, university students, professors, journalists and businessmen. Barhoum also added that the Fatah-led government ignores calls for an end to political arrests and for the promotion of national unity.
With regard to the killings of two Palestinians by the Israeli army within 48 hours, the U.N. has expressed its concern and is ‘awaiting the full facts of these tragic fatalities,’ Ma’an News reported.
The victims of the Israeli military attacks were Jawaher Abu Rahmah, 35, who died on Saturday after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers at the anti-wall rally in Bil’in on Friday; and Mahmoud Muhammad Dharaghme, 21, who was fatally shot by soldiers at Al Hamra checkpoint, east of Nablus on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeina, considered the killings to be a ‘dangerous escalation’ by Israel and added that these attacks do not give any hope for the peace process.
In related news, the Israeli army bombarded northern and central Gaza on Sunday at dawn, wounding two residents and damaging several homes. The first attack targeted a site believed to be used as a training center for the Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas. The second attack targeted the west area of Al Nusseirat refugee camp.
In separate reports, the Israeli Ministerial Council decided on Sunday to extend the ban on family reunification for Palestinians married to Israelis for an additional six months. According to the law, Palestinians married to Israeli spouses will not be granted residency, and Arab/Palestinian spouses will not be allowed to live in Jerusalem or Israel. The cabinet claims that this issue is directly related to Israel’s security interests.
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 Colin Bell.