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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for Monday, April 4, 2011.
Palestinian-Jewish actor and activist killed in Jenin, meanwhile Israeli military invades Bil’in searching for International peace activists, these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
Palestinian director and actor, Juliano Mer-Khamis aged 53, was found dead in Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank on Monday. Jenin police chief, Mohammed Tayyim, claimed that Mr. Mer-Khamis was shot five times by unknown militants, but police are still investigating the murder.
Mer-Khamis was well known in Palestine, Israel as well as abroad for his acting, in both film and theatre, and was also a director of note. Mer-Khamis was born in Nazareth to a Jewish mother and a Palestinian father and lived most of his life in the Jenin refugee camp. He founded the “Freedom Theater” for Jenin children, a well-known initiative in Palestine.
In other news, 76 buildings were demolished in March, resulting in the displacement of 158 people, including 64 children, according to a report published recently by the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestinian Refugees, UNRWA. This brings the total number of displaced persons in 2011 to 333, including 175 children. UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness claimed that this was “discrimination against one ethnic group”.
Also in the West Bank, a number of Israeli soldiers and policemen invaded on Monday at dawn Bil’in village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, broke into and searched several homes, under the pretext of searching for international peace activists.
The Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, in Bil’in, reported that soldiers invaded the village approximately at 1:30 after midnight and broke into the homes of Ali Burnat and Khamis Abu Rahma. Bil’in village plays a leading role in creative nonviolent resistance against the Wall and settlements.
A committee of the Israeli Jerusalem municipal government began on Monday to implement a plan to expand the illegal settlement of Gilo, located on the land of the Palestinian town of Beit Jala, by new 942 houses. Another illegal settlement, Nofim, received recognition by the Israeli government and will be allowed to proceed with expansion plans.
After a five month recess, the Haifa District Court resumed a hearing on Sunday, April 3, in the civil lawsuit filed by Rachel Corrie’s family against the State of Israel for her unlawful murder in Rafah, Gaza on March 16, 2003. Rachel was an American student activist and human rights defender who was crushed by an Israeli military Caterpillar D9R bulldozer while nonviolently protesting the demolition of Palestinian homes.
In political news, Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdore Lieberman said Monday that the UN recognition of a Palestinian State in September will “destroy everything”. Lieberman told his Argentinian opponent, Hector Timerman, that if the UN recognises a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders out of the framework of the negotiations, it will destroy all the achievements reached so far and will affect Israel’s relations with the Palestinians and the entire region.
Negotiations are stalled as Israel refused to freeze settlement activities in the West Bank as pre-conditioned by the Palestinian Authority to resume peace talks.
That sums up our news for today, thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem. You have been listening to Palestine Today from the 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 me George Rishmawi.