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Welcome to Palestine Today a service of the International Middle East Media Center, for Thursday May 12, 2011

B’t selem’s report into Israeli human rights conduct in the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea shore area of the West Bank highlighted a number of areas of concern. The report, released today, stated that Palestinians were excluded from 77.5% of the area through Israeli legal designation of the areas as “state lands”, “nature reserves” and “military firing zones”. The report particularly criticized the discriminatory policy of diverting Palestinian water reserves to Israeli settlements giving individual Israeli settlers considerably more access to water. The groups research also noted the illegal exploitation of other natural resources in the area by Israeli companies such as the Dead Sea minerals by cosmetics company Ahava as well as Israeli control of tourist sites in the area.

The report concluded that “Israel has instituted in this area a regime that intensively exploits its resources, to an extent greater than elsewhere in the West Bank, and which demonstrates its intention, the de facto annexation of the Jordan Valley and the Northern Dead Sea area to the state of Israel”.

According to the Jerusalem Post, top Fatah official Abbas Zaki has warned that Palestinians may launch a 3rd Intifada on the upcoming the Nakba Day on May 15th. Zaki warned that Palestinians may be inspired by the events that have recently rocked the Middle East to launch a 3rd mass campaign against the Israeli occupation in the event they have become disillusioned with peace talks.

However Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas has claimed that the 2nd Intifada was a disaster for the Palestinian nation and he would not accept a third one. The Israel military has increased its presence across the West Bank in anticipation of the al Nakba commemoration.

The Israeli military has given the go ahead to demolish the homes of seven Palestinian families in the West Bank town of Al Walaja. The statements delivered to the families say the homes will be demolished within 48 hours as they do not have official construction permits from Israel. Al Walaja town will soon be entirely annexed from much of its farmland and from the Palestinian Territories with the Israeli separation barrier in the area. Al-Walaja village was illegally annexed by Israel in 1949 but the residents were not regarding as Jerusalem residents and were never granted Jerusalem ID’s, while the military does not grants the residents construction permits for homes and their facilities.

Maan news agency has reported that Mahmoud Abbas will head the new interim untiy government in the run up to fresh elections in 2012. The position of Prime Ministership was said to be a controversial issue between Fatah and Hamas in their reconciliation talks. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyye is said to share the vice presidential position with another Fatah member. Delegations from both parties are said to meeting in Gaza next week to discuss means of implementing the new unity deal.

Turkey has come out in support of the new Hamas-Fatah unity government and the creation of an independent state of Palestine and said that it will extend financial support to the Palestinian Authority. In a television interview on Wednesday night Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that he did not believe Hamas were a terrorist organisation or a hindrance to peace in the Middle East. He added that Hamas “is a resistance movement trying to protect its country under occupation.’

Thats all for today from the IMEMC. This was the Thursday 112th of May’s daily roundup of news from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We hope you will join us again tomorrow. This was brought to you by me, Kevin Murphy, and Hussam Qassis.