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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center,, for Wednesday, January 19 2011

After publicly announcing his resignation from the Labor Party, Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, announced on Monday the birth of a new party, running under his command, called “Independence Party”.

On Tuesday in the Gaza Strip, one resident was killed and two children were wounded, after the Israeli army bombarded an area in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

In a symbolic move towards the recognition of an independent Palestinian State, the Palestinian mission in Washington raised the Palestinian flag outside its office building.

A number of teachers working in Jewish Schools in Israel stated that more instances of racism are reaching alarming levels as more students are going as far as advocating killing Arabs. The teachers found graffiti witten on school walls and even on exam papers. The most “famous” graffiti was “Death To Arabs”.

On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers kidnapped more than 14 Palestinian youths, all under the age of 21, apparently for their affiliation with the Fateh movement, and the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The kidnappings took place near Nablus.

The World Zionist Organisation’s (WZO) Settlements Division is again under the control of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office after a period of nearly four years with the Agriculture Ministry. One of the first decisions made by the newly-configured coalition government was to return the WZO’s Settlement Division to the Prime Minister’s Office.

According to 2008 data, the average gross salary per household was much lower for Arabs – NIS 8,818, compared to NIS 14,242 for Jews. Yet the data shows that Arab men worked longer hours, 55.6 per week, compared to 51.8 for Jews. Arab women have substantially lower employment rates. Only 22% of Israeli Arab women were employed that year, while 66.6% of Jewish women were working that year.

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 This report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and Ramona M