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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for April 16th to 22nd 2011
Conference on Popular Resistance in the West Bank as Israeli settlers continue attempts to evict Palestinian residents of Jerusalem from their homes. These stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
Lets us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
On Friday 16 civilians were injured and four arrested as Israeli troops attacked the weekly anti-wall protests in the villages of Bilâ€™in, Nilâ€™in and al-Nabi Saleh, in central West Bank as well as the village of al-Maâ€™ssra, in the south.
In Bilâ€™in, 15 protesters were injured when troops attacked the weekly march. This weekâ€™s protest in Bilâ€™in ended the three day conference on popular struggle in Palestine. On Wednesday the Sixth International Conference on the Palestinian Popular Struggle started which was dedicated this year to the Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni who was killed last Friday allegedly by a Salafist group in Gaza.
The conference was aimed at providing opportunities to build and strengthen ties between Palestinian, Israeli and international activists working against Israeli military occupation in Palestine. The conference was attended by a number of Palestinian officials in addition to Members of the European Parliament, and hundreds of International and local peace and human rights activists.
International and Israeli activists joined the villagers and marched towards the wall built on farmers lands after the midday prayers. Soldiers stopped protesters before they reach the wall and fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at them to force them back, 15 civilians were injured including a journalist and three international supporters. The marchers continued forward and reached to the gate of the wall as they have done on every Friday since early 2005.
Later soldiers forced people back into the village and stormed it firing tear gas at people houses. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In 2009 the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled in favor of Bilâ€™in residents and ordered the military to reroute the wall giving back the village half of the land originally expropriated to build the wall. The military has still not adhered to the court order.
In the nearby village of Nilâ€™in, many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation also on Friday during the anti wall protest. Troops attack the villagers using tear gas as soon as they reached the gate of the wall which separates the farmers from their agricultural lands.
In the meantime, two locals and two internationals were arrested when troops attacked the weekly protest against the wall and settlements in the village of an-Nabi Saleh. Palestinians, together with international and Israeli supporters, marched to their lands, where Israel is presently trying to build a new settlement. Troops fired tear gas at them to force them back into the village.
In southern West Bank, the villagers of al-Maâ€™ssara, along with their international and Israeli supporters, protested the Israeli wall being built on local farmers lands. Israeli soldiers attacked the protesters before leaving the village using tear gas; many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In the Gaza Strip, a new initiative by the non-violent activists of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) was launched on Wednesday, by sailing a fishing boat in the Gazan waters to monitor attacks by Israeli forces on Palestinian fishermen. The activists resolved to continue their human rights work despite the kidnapping and murder last week of Vittorio Arrigoni, who was a member of the ISM.
Attacks on Palestinian fishermen are commonplace on the Gaza coast, with 53 fishermen having been injured in the last year by live ammunition fired by Israeli naval forces. In addition, 17 fishing boats have been confiscated indefinitely, thus depriving the Palestinian fishermen of their only source of livelihood.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says France is supporting a declaration of a Palestinian state on 1967 border lines. This comes as Israel tries to block such a declaration expected at the United Nations soon.,IMEMC’s Rami Al-Meghari has more.
In a time the Palestinian leadership is preparing for declaring a Palestinian state on 1967 borders, garnering international backing to such a move, Israeli officials including Prime Minister, Benjamine Natanyahou, expressed rejection, as Washington said it would consider Veto against a possible declaration.
Israeli position comes in the backdrop of demonstrations in Tel-Aviv, calling on the Israeli government to allow the establishment of a Palestinian state along side Israel, rather than leading the region to what demonstrators believed further instability in the region.
Washington, from its part, said it has been preparing a new peace plan that is based on the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and guarantee of Israeli’s security. Yet, the plan does not refer to the Palestinian people’s right to return to homeland, in accordance with the UN’s General Assembley resolution 194.
Neither Palestinian, nor Israeli officials have responded yet to the U.S plan.
In Europe, a meeting of the Quartet committee for middle east peace will be held soon to discuss the Palestinian Authority’s intention to demand a UN recognition of a Palestinian state.
During a meeting of the UN’s Security Council on Thursday, France understood the PA’s demand for a recognition of a Palestinian state.
On the internal Palestinian level, efforts are underway to bridge the gab between the rival Fatah and Hamas parties. Independent Palestinian bodies in Gaza met this week with the Hamas leadership. No breakthrough was reported.
Such a meeting comes as Hamas’s officials said that the division with Fatah can come to an end if President Abbas answers few Hamas’s questions including the political partnerships and the political prisoners profile.
Last month, Abbbas offered visiting the Hamas-ruled Gaza, based on forming an autocratic government that would prepare for presidential and legislative elections, yet Hamas refused. Terms of Abbas and Hamas in power came to an end almost two years ago.
Rami Almeghari. IMEMC.org
The Israeli Attacks Report
Attacks by Israeli settlers against West Bank residents, and military attacks continue to target fishermen in the Gaza Strip, the details and more with IMEMC’s David Steele.
The Israeli Attacks Report
The Israeli Police arrested on Sunday evening Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in the 1948 territories.
On Monday at dawn, Israeli soldiers abducted six Palestinians in several parts of the occupied West Bank, and took them to interrogation centers. The six Palestinians were detained after the army broke into their homes in Hebron, Bethlehem, Nablus and Ramallah. On Sunday, Israeli soldiers abducted two Palestinians near Bethlehem and Hebron. The army conducts daily invasions into the occupied territories, including areas that are under the â€ścontrolâ€ť of the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian sources in the southern West Bank city of Hebron reported Tuesday morning that Israeli soldiers broke into and occupied a number of homes and used them as monitoring towers. The homes in question are located near settler-only roads leading to illegal Israeli settlements.
Sources stated that soldiers occupied the home of Issa Al Froukh, located near Beit Einoun-Sair Junction, overlooking settlement road number 60. The soldiers placed their gear on top of the home and prevented the family from moving freely in their own property. Soldiers also broke into the home of Omar Shabana, at the entrance of Bani Neim town, also overlooking a settlement road, and used its rooftop as a monitoring tower.
Furthermore, troops occupied rooftops of several homes near the Keryat Arbaâ€™ illegal settlement, in Hebron, and restricted the movement of the residents.
The army stated that the measure was conducted in order to provide security for the settlers during the Jewish Pesach feast.
Palestinian medical sources in Iraq-Burin village, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, reported on Tuesday evening that one resident was shot and wounded after a group of extremist Israeli settlers attacked the village and broke into his home.
Israeli sources reported that the Police arrested in recent weeks four Arab lawyers from the north of the country on suspicion that they delivered messages from detained Islamic Jihad detainees to the movementâ€™s representatives in the Gaza Strip and the other way around.
The Palestine News Network reports that extremist settlers handed out eviction notices to a further 10 families living in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem on Tuesday. A group of settlers from the Moskovich and Chibi Ali organizations allegedly delivered the eviction notices to the families, claiming that their homes belong to the settlers. Residents claim that settlers forcibly entered one of the houses in question, taking photographs of the interior, before the owners managed to expel them.
The Wadi Hilwa Information Center in Bir Ayyoub area, in Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem, reported on Wednesday at night that a Palestinian youth was shot in the face by a rubber-coated bullet fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes that took place in Silwan.
The Center said that the twenty-year-old resident suffered severe wounds as he was shot directly in the face, including a serious wound to his lips leading to massive bleeding. The wounded youth was moved to the Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem.
The clashes spread to other parts of East Jerusalem while clashes also took place in the nearby Al Thoury neighborhood as the army violently attacked the protestors. Furthermore, soldiers fired teargas canisters and rubber-coated bullets at the protest tent in Silwan as dozens of Palestinians, Israeli and international activists were holding an education seminar.
The soldiers tried to kidnap several children in Bir Ayyoub and Al Bustan, but the protesting youth prevented them from conducting the illegal arrests.
Soldiers and policemen managed to reach the protest tent, that was installed to protest the ongoing Israeli violations, takeover of Palestinian homes by extremist settlers and home demolition. The police forced Palestinian, Israeli and International peace activists to evacuate. The tent in Al Bustan became a symbol for nonviolent resistance in Jerusalem while the army and police are ongoing with their attacks against the residents and their property.
Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported on Thursday evening that a Palestinian farmer was shot and wounded by Israeli army fire, north of Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. The 45-year-old farmer suffered moderate wounds in his abdomen, and was moved to a local hospital for treatment. The Israeli army considers all border areas in the Gaza Strip as â€śclosed military zonesâ€ť and prevents the farmers from working in their own lands.
Israeli soldiers driving, armoured vehicles and armoured bulldozers, invaded on Thursday an area east of the Gaza Strip and demolished Palestinian factories in the industrial zone near the Al Mintar(Karni) Crossing. After bulldozing the Palestinian factories, the army continue to bulldoze and uproot agricultural lands, and also destroyed electricity transformer stations. Local sources reported that the soldiers also opened fire indiscriminately at nearby residential areas; damage was reported, no injuries.
Palestinian medical sources reported on Friday morning that three residents were wounded when the Israeli army fired artillery shells at warehouses that were previously bombarded, near the Karni Commercial terminal, east of Gaza city. Adham Abu Salmiyya, media spokesperson of Emergency Services in Gaza, stated that the three suffered mild-to-moderate wounds, and were moved to Al Shifa Hospital. The three were only identified by their initials while their ages are 48, 41, and 31.They work at a local factory. For imemc.org, this is David Steele
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 me George Rishmawi.