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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for Wednesday, March 23, 2011.
In the most recent wave of Israeli military escalation targeting the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, Palestinian medical sources reported that nine Palestinians, including three children, were killed as the army bombarded the Gaza Strip.
The sources said that the army fired at least five artillery shells at the home of Fayiq al-Hilo, in al-Nazzaz Street east of Gaza City, killing four residents; two children, a young man and an elderly man. Ten Palestinians living nearby were injured in the shelling.
Ismail Haniyya, head of the Palestinian government in the Gaza Strip, demanded that the UN Security Council take serious and fast measures to ensure the protection of the Palestinian people suffering from ongoing Israeli attacks.
In a brief statement to the media on Tuesday evening, Haniyya said that “the Security Council did not hesitate in making and implementing decision to protect the Libyan people, and must act to protect the Palestinians”.
UN Envoy to the Middle East, Robert Serry, issued a statement condemning the attack, and calling on Israel to cease its strikes on densely populated areas in Gaza.
Serry stated that he “condemns the killing of three Palestinian children and their uncle and the wounding of thirteen other civilians by an Israeli tank shell in the Gaza Strip earlier today.”
Serry also condemned the firing of shells by Palestinian resistance fighters, who shot dozens of shells from Gaza into Israel over the weekend. Israeli officials claimed that two Israelis were lightly injured by the shells, most of which landed in deserted areas in the Negev desert.
Fighting between groups in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli army has continued today.
Two ‘Grad’ rockets were fired at the city of Be’er Sheva, and a number of mortars were launched into the western Negev from Gaza. A total of one minor injury and modest damage have been reported from the incident. The group Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for the attacks. In a statement, Islamic Jihad claimed that the rockets had been launched ‘in retaliation for the ongoing Israeli aggression.’
In Israel, Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated that the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas must choose between peace with Israel and peace with the rival Hamas movement.
The Israeli Prime Minister, also claimed that the Palestinians are not willing or interested in reaching a comprehensive peace agreement with Tel Aviv. His statements were made while referring to a planned visit by President Mahmoud Abbas to the Gaza Strip to hold talks with the Hamas leadership.
The Knesset passed, on Tuesday at night, two bills into law. The so-called “Nakba law”, and a bill, deemed “segregation law”.
The Nakba law, once implemented, will make it illegal for public bodies, or agencies that receive funding from the State of Israel, to claim that Israel should not be a Jewish state, and that the practices of the government are not democratic. Furthermore the commemoration of the Nakba has been made illegal.
The passing of the segregation law brings into the Israeli statute books, the ability of towns and cities to form “admission committees” to judge whether a person, or persons, moving to the locality are deemed “suitable”. The law has sparked fears not only in Palestinian persons living in Israel, but also other Jewish minorities in Israel and within the gay community.
Latest reports revealed that one Israeli woman died of serious wounds sustained during a bomb blast the took place in at a bus stop in West Jerusalem, and that 31 Israelis were injured, some seriously. Currently no information is known on the perpetrator of the attack.
Both Palestinian Prime Minister in the West Bank, Dr. Salaam Fayyad, and President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the attack regardless of its background, and expressed his wishes for a full recovery to the wounded.
Israeli Internal Security Minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, said that the explosion resulted from an explosive that was hidden in a bag that was hidden at the bus stop.
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 www.imemc.org. This report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and David Steele.