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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for January 28 to February 4th 2011.
Nonviolence Lets us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in West Bank with IMEMC’s Ramona M.
Scores of Palestinians joined by Israeli and international supporters marched on Friday against the Israeli wall in different locations in the West Bank. This week protesters stood in solidarity with the Egyptian demonstrators who are demanding an end to President Mubarak 30 year regime, and have been doing so for ten days.
In Wadi Rahal and al-Ma’ssara villages near Bethlehem, southern West Bank, people marched after the midday prayers. In Wadi Rahal, Israeli troops threw tear gas canisters as protesters marched to the wall. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation One international supporter was arrested by soldiers.
Israeli troops stopped al Ma’ssara protesters from reaching Wadi Rahal and forced them back.
At the central West Bank village of Nil’in, villagers joined by Israeli and international supporters marched after the midday prayer to the Wall. As soon as people reached the wall Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at them. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In the village of Bil’in, international and Israeli supporters joined the demonstration. As they reached the gate of the wall separating local farmers form their lands, they were met by Israeli soldiers. Troops used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets against the unarmed civilians. Local journalist Haytham Al Khateeb was injured in the hand; many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Also in the central West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, similar actions took place as protesters marched from the village center towards their lands were Israel is building settlements. Troops used tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation. Three international protesters were arrested by Israeli troops
For IMEMC.org this is Ramona M
More countries recognize the Palestinian State and unrest in Egypt reflects on the Palestinian Authority’s internal politics, more in the following report.
Cyprus announced Sunday that it recognizes a Palestinian State in the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. Cyprus is the first European Union member country that officially recognizes the Palestinian right to statehood. Cyprus also stated that it will not recognize any Israeli changes to the geography and demography of the occupied Palestinian territories, including in occupied East Jerusalem. Recently, nine countries in south America also recognized the Palestinian right to statehood.
Hamas criticized, this week, the Israeli arrest of legislator Sheikh Mohammad al-Natsha of its Change and Reform Bloc. The legislator was abducted by the Israeli army on Monday at dawn, after Israeli soldiers broke into his home in Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank. He is one of eleven elected legislators who are still imprisoned by Israel. Eight of them are members of Hamas, two are members of the rival Fateh faction, and one is from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Mike Huckabee, Republican Party US presidential frontrunner, visited the Israeli Knesset on Monday as part of a tour of Israel and the occupied West Bank. Addressing a group of MKs he said that, ‘Good Israeli-U.S. relations are not just an option, they are rather a necessity for both sides, and an obligation upon all of us in the American government.” He went on to say he would continue to work to preserve the Nation of Israel’s historic right to live in the Land of Israel. MK Yulia Shamalov-Berkovitz praised Huckabee for having spoken ‘very Zionistically,’ adding that there are some Israelis who could learn from him.
In a move to improve Israel’s deteriorating image in the world, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has decided to make an unprecedented move by hiring a network of European public relations firms to conduct the state’s PR campaign throughout the continent. The Israeli government is increasingly alarmed by reports from its embassies abroad, particularly from the UK and some Scandinavian countries, where boycotts of Israeli products are on the rise, with successful chains in Britain refusing to sell products made in settlements and often all Israeli products as well.
Following the civil unrest in Egypt, and other Middle Eastern States, the Palestinian Authority has announced that they will hold municipal elections. The announcement, made on Tuesday, included statements by Prime Minister in the West Bank, Salam Fayyed, saying that the date for elections will be announced next week, and expressing his hope that these elections will happen in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Following this announcement the P.A. has proceeded to ban, what it has called, ‘unlicensed gatherings’ in the West Bank. They claim this move aims to preserve order. This follows, on Wednesday, PA security forces shutting down a rally in Ramallah, using batons to push demonstrators back and detaining at least two protesters. PA forces also banned a similar gathering in central Ramallah on Thursday, and have come in for sharp criticism from human rights organizations, both in the Occupied Territories and internationally. Sarah Leah Whitson, Human Rights Watch’s Mideast chief, stated ‘The Palestinian Authority should immediately make clear that its ‘state-building’ training of security forces does not include beating peaceful demonstrators.’
West Bank and Gaza The Israeli military continue to raid Palestinian homes in Silwan and a Human Rights’ report indicates that 15 Palestinians have been killed in January, the details with IMEMC’s Circarre Parrhesia
Israeli Special Forces raided homes in Silwan, on Monday at dawn, including that of banished al-Bustan Popular Committee member, Adna Gheith. During these attacks the Israeli police attempted to arrest his son.
Following the pre-dawn raids, Silwan activists were arrested by Israeli forces during the day, and a pregnant woman was taken to hospital for treatment due to tear gas inhalation. The tear gas canister was fired into a local store.
Israeli sources reported, on Monday at night, that three ‘Grad’ rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into the Western Negev. In response, Israeli planes bombarded tunnels on the Egyptian border, south of Rafah.
The Israeli army informed the Beit Ummar Municipality, North of the West Bank city of Hebron, on Wednesday that it has decided to confiscate 600 dunums of Palestinian land in order to use them for the expansion of the illegal settlement of Gush Etzion. An educational facility for the settlement will be built.
Israeli soldiers kidnapped on Wednesday three Palestinian children in Bil’in village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, after claiming that they were standing near the annexation fence. Bil’in has seen scores of injuries to residents, and a number of casualties; the most recent being Jawaher Abu Rahme.
In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 27 Jan. – 02 Feb. 2011, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that two Palestinian civilians were killed and a third one was wounded by Israeli settlers in Nablus and Hebron. In addition, a Palestinian child was killed in the Gaza Strip by the explosion of a mysterious object apparently left by Israeli forces.
Additionally, the International Solidarity Institution For Human Rights issued a report revealing that Israeli soldiers shot and killed 15 Palestinians, including three children, and kidnapped more than 200 others during the month of January. The Higher Committee for Emergency Services in the Gaza Strip reported that seven Palestinians were killed during Israeli military attacks against the coastal region in January. At least twenty residents were wounded.
For imemc.org, this is Circarre Parrhesia
And that was just some of the news from this week in Palestine, for more updates; please visit our website at www.imemc.org. Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem, This report has been brought to you by Hussam Qassis and George Rishmawi