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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for February 12 to 18 2011
Despite calls from the U.S. to halt proceedings with the U.N. calling for an end to Israeil settlement building, the P.A. appears to be continuing regardless. In the West Bank, Israel continued its practice of detention and harassment, and several injuries and deaths were reported in Gaza from live Israeli gun fire. These stories and more are coming up, stay tuned.
Lets us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in West Bank with IMEMC’s Ramona M.
Anti wall protests were organized this Friday in the villages of Bilâ€™in, Nilâ€™in and Nabi Saleh, and al-Maâ€™ssara village. Today, the theme of the protests was national unity among Palestinians.
In Bilâ€™in, protesters marked the sixth anniversary of the weekly anti wall protest. As has been the case every Friday for the past six years, international and Israeli supporters joined the villagers after the midday prayers and marched up to the gate of the wall separating villagers from their lands. Five were injured.
Soldiers sprayed people with â€śSkunkâ€ť water, fired live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas at them. Troops also tried to arrest people after spraying pepper-spray in their eyes, protesters managed to stop the arrest, witnesses told PNN.
Hamza Burant, 18, was critically injured with live rounds, Ahamd Abu Rahma, 16, hit with a tear gas in the hand, while Kifah Manousr, 30, Fadi Omar, 30, Abdullah Yassen, 19, sustained minor injuries. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In 2007 the Israeli high court of justice ruled that the Annexation wall in Bilâ€™in was illegal and should be rerouted giving the villagers half of the lands taken to build the wall. The army still refuses to implement the court order.
In Nabi Saleh, three protesters were injured and seven were arrested. Five of those arrested were Israelis and two Palestinians. The three injured were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets by the army.
In the village of Nilâ€™in. villagers joined by Israeli and international supporters marched after midday prayers to the wall. A number of protesters suffered the ill effects of tear gas inhalation
Near Bethlehem in the southern West Bank, Al Maâ€™ssara villagers marched after the midday prayers and tried to reach the lands where Israel is building the wall. Soldiers stopped the march at the entrance of the village and forced people back using tear gas. Many were treated for the ill effects of tear gas inhalation.
For IMEMC.org this is Ramon M
The Palestinian Authority will decide soon whether it would further proceed with its move at the UN to issue a resolution that would oblige Israel to stop settlement activities. Washington asked the PA this week to retreat the move. IMEMC’s Rami Al-Meghari has the story
The UN’s expected move, submitted by the PA, is aimed at extracting a resolution that condemns Israeli settlement building on occupied Palestinian territories. Washington has asked the PA for backing down move.
Washington, main sponsor for Middle East peace, has wanted the PA to resolve outstanding issues with Israel through direct negotiations. Peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis have been halted since last September over continued Israeli settlement construction on occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
On the internal Palestinian level, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said this week that presidential and parliamentary elections can not be held without Gaza.
The ruling Hamas party in Gaza refused the elections as untimely. Hamas wants an end to division with Fatah that has been in place since Hamas has taken over Gaza amidst factional fighting with Abbas’s Fatah party in June 2007.
On the ground, some Palestinian political factions welcomed the call for elections, while others insisted that the division should first come to and end.
Within efforts to contain the situation, Fatah’s information commissioner, Nabil Sha’ath, expressed his party’s agreement tob Hamas’s reservations to an Egyptian-produced paper.
Hamas, from its part, rejected Fatah’s stance as a maneuver and wanted a genuine willingness towards a national unity.
Rami Almeghari. IMEMC.org. Gaza.
West Bank and Gaza
The Israeli military detained seven Palestinian civilians, wounded six, and killed three in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Israeli soldiers invaded on Saturday at dawn several areas in the West Bank, broke into and searched several homes and kidnapped two residents in Madama village, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
Furthermore, Israeli troops erected new earth mounds blocking the Nablus-Beit Iba road, a road which had been closed by Israeli authorities until international intervention by the Quartet for Mideast Peace, protests and lawsuits led to its opening in 2010.
Palestinian medical sources reported, on Tuesday evening, that a Palestinian youth was shot and wounded by settler gun fire near Jaloud village, south of Nablus, in the northern part of the West Bank. Wael Mahmoud Ayed, 17 years old, was farming his land in Khallit al-Wista near Nablus, when he was shot in the abdomen by Israeli settlers. Ayed was moved to Rafidia Governmental hospital in Nablus suffering mild-to-moderate injuries.
Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian teen in Beit Ummar near Hebron, on Saturday morning. The troops also attacked a woman after she tried to stop them from arresting the young man. Witnesses reported that soldiers fired tear gas in the area to prevent anyone from photographing the raid.
On Sunday morning, the Israeli military abducted two seventeen year old children from the Old City in Hebron, and later that night a group of heavily-armed Israeli settlers stormed the village of Beit Ummar. They harassed villagers but caused no injuries.
According to Mohammed Ayyad Awad, a village official in Beit Ummar, a crowd of settlers rushed through the village late Sunday night, at least two of whom were carrying automatic weapons. The settlers who came into the village on foot were followed by a group of settlers in a car, which drove through the village, harassing the residents, and then headed toward a nearby military outpost.
Following these events, the Israeli military abducted, on Tuesday morning, two young Palestinians after invading their houses in the town of Beit Ummar, and, on Thursday, erected several checkpoints in the district of Hebron and searched several houses. The military stopped vehicles and checked the passenger’s identities, causing severe obstruction to traffic.
Israeli soldiers demolished on Thursday a mosque located in Khirbit Yirza, near the West Bank city of Tubas in the Jordan Valley, and also removed 10 tents used by farmers and shepherds in the area. Local sources reported that several Israeli military jeeps invaded the village and demolished the mosque for the second time in six months.
Undercover forces of the Israeli army broke into the home of Jerusalem Legislator, Ahmad Attoun, on Wednesday, and detained his brother and cousin. Attoun, as well other elected legislators and officials, is threatened with deportation from Jerusalem.
Attoun, affiliated with the Hamas movement in the occupied West Bank, said that the forces also attacked his father’s home, causing damage to both properties.
Israeli bulldozers cleared a tract of Palestinian land in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, on Thursday, belonging to Khalil Abu Taaâ€™. Abu Taa’ has been fighting a legal battle since 1978, and despite having legal deeds from both the Ottoman & Jordanian eras, has found it impossible to convince authorities of his case.
His one dunum of land is the only remaining part of what was originally 33 dunums belonging to several local Palestinian families, the rest of which has all been confiscated for government building construction.
In Gaza, five workers have been injured by live Israeli munitions fire, this week while collecting stone aggregates in the buffer zone with Israel. The material is much needed in the coastal enclave since Israel continues to prohibit the import of construction materials, despite massive destruction to property during its ‘Operation Cast Lead’ attack.
Furthermore, three men were killed, on Thursday, near to Beit Lahiya. News reports have remained conflicted as to the nature of the deaths of these three men, with some outlets claiming the men were fishermen working on their nets, and others claiming that the men were engaged in combat with Israeli military personnel.
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 Husam Qassis and Circarre Parrhesia