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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for March 6 to 18th 2011.
Following a popular demand to end the internal Palestinian division, President Abbas is set to visit the Gaza Strip soon, meanwhile Israeli military and settlers step up attacks against Palestinian civilians in the wake of the murder of five Israeli settlers in the West Bank, these stories and more coming up, stay tuned.
Lets us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in West Bank with Circarre Parrhesia
Six civilians were injured and two arrested when the Israeli army attacked the weekly anti wall protests organized on Friday in the villages of Bil’in, Nil’in and an-Nabi Saleh, in central West Bank, as well as al-Ma’sara in the south.
In Bil’in, five were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets fired by the Israeli army. International and Israeli supporters joined the villagers after the midday prayers and marched up to the gate of the wall separating villagers from their land.
Soldiers stationed at the gate attacked people with tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets. Israeli troops also sprayed protesters with chemicals, known locally as ‘skunk’. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In the nearby village of Nil’in villagers and their supporters joined villagers and marched up to the gate of the wall separating local farmers from their land. A number of people were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation shot by soldiers at the gate.
In an-Nabi Saleh, also central West Bank, soldiers fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters injuring a 23 old local youth. Early on Friday, soldiers closed all roads leading to the village and did not allow journalists to enter.
During the protest, Israeli troops tried to stop the people from leaving the village. Protesters changed their route and reached lands owned by local farmers that Israeli is planning to take over. Troops forced people back to the village and then announced an-Nabi Saleh a closed military zone and imposed a curfew. This week the protest ended with clashes between local youth and invading soldiers.
Two international supporters were arrested by Israeli troops who attacked the weekly anti wall protest at the village of al-Ma’sara, in southern West Bank. Israeli troops stopped the weekly protest from leaving the village en route to lands taken by the army to build the wall. Soldier used tear gas to force people back into the village. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
For IMEMC.org this is Circarre Parrhesia
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said this week he is ready to visit the Gaza Strip to conclude a reconciliation deal with the ruling Hamas party there. Abbas’s willingness came after thousands or protesters in West Bank and Gaza demanded end internal division in place for four years now. IMEMC’s Rami Al-Meghari has more
In a clear reaction to Palestinian movement for change and towards a national unity, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, voiced in-acceptance of a likely national unity between Gaza and the West Bank. This has been considered by Palestinian sources as interference in Palestinian internal affairs.
The Israeli PM was quoted as saying that a unity between President Abbas and the ruling Hamas party is similar to having partnership with the Islamist global Qaeda group.
Nevertheless, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is determined to go for reconciliation with Hamas in Gaza on basis of a new autocratic government that would prepare the atmosphere for general presidential and legislative elections in a period of six months.
Yet, Hamas has not given final response to Abbas’s initiative but welcomed it principally. Other Palestinian factions and affiliations in Gaza and the West Bank have welcomed the call as a step on the right track.
This week, Palestinian masses in the occupied Palestinian territories packed the streets of several Palestinian cities including Gaza and Ramallah, demanding an end to Hamas-Fatah split.
In the Gaza Strip,, Hamas’s Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya, invited the Fatah party of president Mahmoud Abbas for an immediate dialogue that is based on the Palestinian national interests’.
Hamas and Fatah parties have been divided since Hamas took over Gaza in June 2007, amidst factional fighting with Fatah. Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006, but was boycotted by Israel and the international community until Hamas recognizes Israel, renounces violence and accepts past-signed agreements with Israel.
At the external Palestinian level, the Palestinian Authority says that the Palestinian legitimate demands for a statehood with east Jerusalem as its capital based on 1967 borders , have been continually and widely accepted by some world countries.
PA, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, refuses to resume peace talks with Israel until Israel halts all forms of illegal settlement buildings on occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Rami Almeghari. IMEMC.org, Gaza.
The Israeli Attacks Report
Two Palestinians were killed and five others injured as the Israeli military continued to target Palestinian communities in both the West Bank and Gaza. IMEMC’s David steel reports:
On Tuesday of this week Israeli fighter jets fired 3 missiles at Palestinian National Security Forces location, south of Gaza City. As a result, a guard and a member of the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, were killed.
Two workers of the Palestinian Ministry of Public Works, who were working nearly 20 meters away from the site, were wounded. Additionally, three buildings on the site were also destroyed. On the same day, the Israeli navy wounded a Palestinian fisherman in the northern Gaza Strip.
On Thursday, in the illegal Israeli settlement of Shilo, near Ramallah in central West Bank, a group of settlers assaulted two Palestinian workers with knives and pipes. Thirty-four-year-old Sami Sanoubar was taken to the hospital with injuries to his head and hands, while another unnamed worker was treated at the scene.
Israeli news sources said that a settlement guard tried to stop the assault but was beaten as well, and that police were searching for suspects. Settler attacks have been on the rise since Saturday’s murder of five Jewish settlers in the settlement of Itamar; an attack for which no culprit has yet been found. Israeli officials have widely blamed Palestinians, but no evidence has been released to support the assumption.
Awarta village, which lies east of Itamar, was heavily attacked by the Israeli army following Saturday’s murders. Soldiers arrested 30 men form the village and kept it under curfew for four days.
Meanwhile this week the Israeli army conducted at least 47 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they arrested 66 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children.
In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army conducted a limited incursion into al-Boreij refugee camp, during which they raised areas of Palestinian land.
For IMEMC.org this is David steel.
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 George Rishmawi