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Welcome to Palestine Today a service of the International Middle East Media Center, for Wednesday May 11, 2011
Documents released to the Centre for the Defence of the Individual under a freedom of information request have shown that Israel removed the residency rights of 140,000 Palestinians between 1967 and 1994. Individuals travelling abroad for work or study who overstayed their exit visa were prevented from returning to their homes without any prior warning. Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat has slated the practise as tantamount to war crimes. The documents will fuel criticism that Israeli policy has been to alter the demographics of Israel and the Occupied Territories in favor of Jewish Israeli’s

Hamas has said in an interview with Ma’an news agency that it would be willing to accept a Palestinian state on pre 1967 borders but said it will continue to refuse to recognise Israel. The position is a break of previous policy which called for the establishment of the state of Palestine from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] Sea. The party leader, Mahmoud az Zahhar, stated any recognition of Israel would “cancel the right of the next generation to liberate the lands”.

The Palestinian news network has reported that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has told the the Fatah revolutionary council that he will not seek another term in the 2012 elections. He also called on Fatah members expelled from the Gaza strip during fighting in 2007 to return to rebuild the party there. The elections will re form a Gaza and West Bank unity government since the rift between Fatah and Hamas in 2007.

In a related development, Maan news agency has reported that Fatah member Nabil Shaath has stated that a new interim government will be announced in ten days but no decisions have yet been made as to who will be the next Prime Minister. Hamas will likely oppose the appointment of Fatah Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on the grounds of his crack down on Hamas in the West Bank and the PA’s security collaboration with Israel. The interim government will prepare the way for fresh elections in 2012.

In a victory for the Boycott Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement rail company Deutsch Bahn have pulled out of a project to build a rail connection between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv that would cut through significant sections of the Occupied West Bank. Many Palestinian villagers have already lost their land to the project. The German government had actively criticized the German companies’ involvement in the project stating that the project was “problematic from a foreign policy point of view and potentially breached international law”.

Thank you for joining us here at the International Middle East Media Center. This was the daily round up of news and events from Beit Sahour in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. You can access further discussion of today’s news at www.Imemc .org. This was brought to you by Hussam Qassis and me Kevin Murphy