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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for January 15 to 21 2011.
The Israeli military kills two Palestinians and a High ranking French diplomat visits the besieged Gaza Strip, and the United States clearly objects a Palestinian UN-bill against the West Bank settlements, these stories and more are coming up, stay tuned.
Nonviolence Lets us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in West Bank
One child was injured; many protesters suffered effects of tear gas on Friday when Israeli soldiers attacked the anti-wall protests in the villages of Bil’in, Nil’in, and Nabi Saleh central West Bank in addition to Al Ma’ssara in the south.
This week protests were in solidarity with the Israeli activist Jonathan Polack, 28, who is serving three month in Israeli jail for his solidarity work in West Bank villages.
One child was injured, other protesters treated of the effects of tear gas inhalation during the weekly protest at the village of Nabi Saleh. This week protesters gathered at the nearby village of Beit Rima and marched to the village of Nabi saleh. Every week the Israeli army close the village to stop local, Israeli and international supporters from joining the villagers of Nabi Saleh in their weekly protest. This week protesters managed to go through and reached the village.
Later people marched to the lands Israel want to takeover to build settlements. Soldiers fired tear gas at the protesters. Ala Barghouthi, 12, sustained light wounds when a soldier sprayed his eyes with pepper-spray. The protest ended with clashes between local you and Israeli soldiers.
In Bil’in village, as is the case every Friday for the past five years, Israeli and international supporters joined the village after the midday prayers and marched to the Israeli wall built on lands taken from local farmers. As soon as marchers reached the gate of the wall, separating local farmers from their lands, Israeli troops stationed their fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at them. A number of protesters suffered the effect of tear gas inhalation.
In the nearby Nil’in village Israeli soldiers attacked the protest as soon as they reached the wall. The protest started shortly after midday prayers which was held on lands owned by local farmers near the Israeli built wall.
Local sources said that soldiers fired tear gas at them; many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Israeli soldiers arrested on Friday an international supporter during the weekly anti wall protest in the village of al-Ma’ssara near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem. Villagers along with their international and Israeli supporters marched after the frieday prayers. Israeli troops prevented them from leaving the village and attacked some protester with rifle-buts
Political French foreign minister Michele Alliot-Marie , called on Israel to lift the Gaza blockade. Marie’s remarks came during first visit to the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, Washington say it objects to Palestinian move at the UN to condemn Israeli settlement activities IMEMC’s Rami Al-Meghari has the story.
During a visit to the Gaza Strip, French foreign minister, Michele Alliot-Marie, called on Israel to lift the four-year-old blockade and hoped that smooth movement of people and goods from and to the Gaza Strip will be allowed soon.
Yet, Marie’s visit was unwelcome by the residents of Gaza as many protesters, mainly families of Palestinian prisoners, attempted to block the minister’s convoy upon arrival in Gaza today morning.
Representatives for thousands of Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails as well as the ruling Hamas party in Gaza, criticized Marie’s remarks over continued Hamas’s capture of Israeli soldier Gil’ad Shalit. Marie was quoted as saying that such a capture constitutes a war crime from the part of Hamas.
Noteworthy, the French high-ranking official would not meet up with the Hamas government and would rather meet with UNRWA officials in the region along with some NGO representatives.
In the meantime, U.S Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, voiced her country’s rejection to an expected Palestinian bill in the UN against Israeli settlement activities. Clinton believes that the issue of settlements can be resolved through bilateral negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.
On a related note, British foreign minister, Elister Bert, confirmed that his country would back a UN move against Israeli settlement activities on the occupied Palestinian territories.
Yet, the British official maintained that Britain would not recognize a Palestinian state within 1967 borders. Bert was quoted as saying ‘we can not recognize a state without specific borders’ in reference to unresolved Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Nevertheless, he believed that a Palestinian state living side by side with Israeli can be realized by political negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
At the internal Palestinian level, Gaza-based resistance factions including the ruling Hamas party, the Islamic Jihad group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, agreed this week on a unilateral ceasefire with Israel, based on what these parties say the Palestinian national interests.
The Hamas-enforced ceasefire came following the failure of similar declaration for the past two years. Concurrently, the Hamas government launched a reconstruction project aimed at rebuilding one thousand homes, destroyed by the Israeli war on Gaza a couple of years ago.
On the Israeli track, Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak formed a new party and four members of the new party were given ministerial portfolios.
Rami Almeghari. IMEMC.org. Gaza
West Bank and Gaza The Israeli military kills two Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza, one civilian and one fighter, and wounds eights others including two internationals and one child and Palestinian prisoners punished for organizing a hunger strike, the details with IMEMC’s Ramon M.
On Saturday, two political prisoners were placed in solitary confinement for organizing a hunger strike in protest of poor prison conditions. The political prisoners are, Ahmad Sa’adat, the general secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Jamal Abu Al-Haija , a leader of Hamas in the West Bank.
Israeli bulldozers demolished 11 structures in the ‘unrecognized’ village of al-Arakib for the ninth time on Sunday
Also on Sunday, violent clashes erupted in the district of Baten al-Hawa, in Silwan, East Jerusalem following an Israeli police raid on a residential home.
On Tuesday morning, the homes of three men in the southern West Bank towns of Beit Ummar and Adh-Dhahiriya were raided and searched by Israeli forces, resulting in the men’s detention.
Israeli soldiers kidnapped on Wednesday more than 14 Palestinian youths, all under the age of 21, for their affiliation with the Fatah movement and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Medical sources reported on Wednesday that dozens of Palestinian residents were injured in clashes that took place in the Silwan neighborhood, Ras Al Amoud, and the Shu’fat Refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem. 13 residents, including 4 pregnant women, were wounded. Most of the injuries resulted from inhaling gas fired by the army, and rubber-coated bullets.
Also on Wednesday, Israeli soldiers invaded “Khirbit at-Taweel”, a small village near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and handed the residents military orders to demolish their homes by Thursday. The village is has been demolished six times so far.
The Israeli Army reported Wednesday that the soldier, who repeatedly shot a 65-year-old Palestinian man in Hebron, while he slept in his bed on January 7th, has been exonerated. The soldier will not be facing any charges.
On Thursday, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian youth near the Dotan military roadblock, near the West Bank city of Jenin. The slain youth was said to have opened fire on Israeli forces manning the roadblock
The Israeli army issued a report claiming that Jawaher Abu Rahmah, who was killed by the army more than two weeks ago during a nonviolent protest against the Wall in Bil’in village, died due to a previous health condition. Urgent care reports at a local medical center stated otherwise.
The Al Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, reported that one of its fighters was killed on Thursday afternoon during clashes with Israeli soldiers invading Jenin.
On Thursday night, Israeli soldiers critically wounded an Israeli Arab who had approached a military checkpoint near the West Bank city of Hebron.
A young Palestinian was wounded by Israeli forces, on Sunday morning, in the northern Gaza Strip. The victim, who is 21 years old, was shot in his left leg while collecting gravel from destroyed buildings in Beit Lahiya, north of the Gaza Strip.
On Tuesday evening one resident was killed and two children were wounded after the Israeli army bombarded an area in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.
On Wednesday, The Israeli Navy kidnapped and attacked a Palestinian fishing boat in Palestinian territorial waters, near Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, and kidnapped four fishermen.
With IMEMC.org this is Ramon M
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, This report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and George Rishmawi