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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for March 26 through April 1st 2011

Israeli attacks continue to target Palestinians; three killed this week, meanwhile the Palestinian Authority is determined to ask for UN recognition of a Palestinian state on 1967 borders. These stories and more coming up, stay tuned.

Nonviolence
Lets us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in West Bank with Fredrika Källström.

Three villagers were injured on Friaday by Israeli troops as the forcibly suppressed weekly anti-wall protests in several locations across the West Bank. This week protests were reported in Bil’in and Ni’lin villages in central West Bank as well as al-Ma’sara in the south.

Protesters on Friday commemorated Palestinian land day. The first Land Day was held in 1976, when Palestinians inside Israel organized massive popular protests in response to an Israeli government plan to appropriate large tracts of Arab land in the Galilee for security and settlements. Israeli police gunfire on that day left six Palestinians dead.

In the village of Bil’in, where anti wall protests have been organized for the past six years, three men were injured when Israeli troops fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters. After the midday prayers in the local mosque finished, villagers were joined by international and Israeli peace activists and marched up the gate of the wall separating villagers from their lands.

Troops stationed there opened fire at protesters injuring three. The men sustained injuries when soldiers fired tear gas canisters directly at them. Many others were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.

The nearby village of Ni’lin held a similar protest on Friday. After conducting the Friday prayers on lands near the wall, villagers and their supporters marched up to the gate of the wall separating local farmers from their land. Israeli troops used tear gas and sound bombs to force people back. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.

In the southern West Bank village of al-Ma’sara, near Bethlehem, Israeli troops used tear gas to suppress the weekly protest against the wall. Local politicians along with Israeli and international supporters joined the villagers after the midday prays and marched to the lands where Israel is building the wall.

Troops fired tear gas to force people back into the village; many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.

On Wednesday March 30th, Palestinians all over the world marked 35th anniversary of Land Day, which commemorates the effort to defend Palestinian land through wide public participation in non-violent marches, strikes, and demonstrations. In Israel, Palestinians organized a main rally in the Arab town of Arraba in the Galilee, and was joined by villagers from Deir Hanna and Sakhnin. Marches were also reported in the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev, which Israel has demolished 21 times and still refuses to recognize.

Rallies were also reported in major West Bank cities, including Bethlehem and Ramallah, where protesters connected their efforts with the call to ‘end the divisions’ between Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas and forge national unity in the face of the Israeli occupation. Ramallah protesters were stopped by Palestinian security forces from reaching the illegal Beit Eil settlement. Rallies in Gaza were suppressed by the Hamas government, which drew condemnation from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

For IMEMC.org this is Fredrika Källström.

Political
Palestinian Authority is determined to ask for UN recognition of a Palestinian state on 1967 borders, while Israel attempts to thwart a European Intiative to restart stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace process. IMEMC’s Rami Al-Meghari has more.

France, Germany and the UK are set to launch a new initiative aimed at restarting stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. The new proposal would honor a two-state solution that is based on land swap between Israel and the PA, with Jerusalem as the capital of two states.

In an interview with Maan News Agency, envoy for the Quartet Committee for Middle East peace, Tony Bliar said that western countries should consider a solution that would accept the Palestinians as a whole entity; Gaza and the West Bank.

Blair’s remarks came following a meeting with PA’s official, Nabil Sha’ath, in which the two sides discussed possible chances for peace ahead of the Quartet meeting later this month.

Meanwhile, Israel dispatched a senior advisor for Prime Minister, Benjamine Natayahou, to Russia, in an attempt to convince Russia of not agreeing to the initiative of the three said EU countries.

Such a development comes as the Palestinian Authority’s official Nabil Sha’ath confirmed that the PA is set to garner UN backing to a Palestinian state within 1967 borders by September of this year.

Sha’ath maintained that other options are likely including proposing a two-ethnicity state that would give equal rights of its citizens including Palestinians and Israelis.

At the internal Palestinian level, the Gaza-based Fatah official, Ashraf Juma’a, said this week that PA President Mahmoud Abbas will visit Egypt next week upon an invitation from Egyptian foreign minister, Nabil Alarabi.

Juma’a asserted that Abbbas is still committed to ending Palestinian political division, through setting up a new technocrat cabinet that would prepare for general legislative and presidential elections in a period of six months.

In Gaza, Hamas is yet to accept Abbas’s invitation, calling for a new round of dialogue between Hamas and Fatah to come out with an agreement over outstanding issues.

Both Hamas and Fatah have been split over political agendas; Abbas honors peace negotiations with Israel , while Hamas shuns such talks until Israel ends occupation of West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

Rami Almeghari. IMEMC.org. Gaza

The Israeli Attacks Report
Israeli attacks targeting Palestinian communities left 3 dead and more than 100 arrested this week, IMEMC’s Circarre Parrhesia has the details:

Israeli attacks claimed the lives of three residents of the Gaza Sttrip, this week. All three individuals were members of the al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Furthermore, a number of civilians were injured during attacks and damage was reported to the Ship Building in the northern Gaza Strip, 2 schools and 30 homes.

In the West Bank hundreds were detained this week, and several injured in attacks by both the Israeli military and settlers.

On Monday, seven adults and seven children were detained during pre-dawn raids in the town of Beit Ommar, southern West Bank. The military claims that they were cinducting searches for a group that threw stones at settlers last week.

The Israeli military invaded the village of Oriyya, northern West Bank, also Monday, and detained dozens of residents. The event follows the murders of 5 members of a family in the nearby settlement of Itamar.

On Tuesday, 60 residents of the village of Awarta, also northern West Bank, were detained, and forced to give DNA samples to the Israeli military, also in conjunction with the murders in Itamar.

Awarta has been placed under several curfews since the murders, and over 100 people have been detained, despite any evidence given by the Civil Administration of Palestinian involvement.

The Israeli military demolished twelve tents, also Tuesday, belonging to Bedouin families in the South Hebron Hills region of the West Bank. During the attack, seven persons were beaten. The tents housed the twelve families that live in Khirbet Um Neir, a small community of Bedouin farmers, and their livestock.

Finally, on Tuesday, three families from the Jordan Valley have been served eviction notices by the Israeli military. The families live in the Wadi Samra area, and have been informed that if they do not leave the land within three days, the military will demolish their tents and any structures.

A Palestinian woman was attacked on Wednesday at night by a group of Israeli settlers while she was driving her car on the Bir Zeit Road, near Jalazoun refugee camp, in the central West Bank district of Ramallah.

The injured woman was evacuated to the Red Crescent hospital in Ramallah to receive medical treatment after being assaulted by settlers who hurled stones at her and attacked her with batons.

On Thursday, the Israeli military abducted 6 civilians, including two legislators from the Hamas movement. The detentions occurred in the West Bank cities of Hebron and Ramallah.

Near the northern West Bank city of Jenin, also Thursday, settlers threw stones at a number of Palestinian cars. Several residents were injured during the attacks, and damage was to vehicles was reported.

For imemc, 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 Jassen Talhami and Husam Qassis.

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