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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for May 6 to 13, 2011.
Palestinians commemorate 63 years of dispossession meanwhile, Israeli threats to demolish Palestinian homes continue, these stories and more are coming up, stay tuned
Lets us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in the West Bank where 29 civilians were injured when Israeli troops attacked the weekly anti-wall protests on Friday taking place in Bil’in, Nil’in, al-Nabi Saleh, central West Bank, as well as al-Ma’ssara village in the south. This week protesters marked the 63 anniversary of Nakba.
In Nabi Salleh Village 22 civilians, one critically, were injured when troops attacked protesters. International and Israeli supporters joined the villgers after the midday prayers and marched up to the land where Israeli plans to build a new settlement.
Troops attacked marchers as soon as they left the village arrested two local women and two Israeli supporters. Among those injured was one child and an international supporter who sustained critical wounds in the head.
In the nearby village of Bil’in, three civilians were injured as peopel conducted their weekly protest against the wall there. As is the case every Friday since six years, international and Israeli supporters joined the villagers after the midday prayers and marched up to the wall to protest.
Upon arriving at the gate of the wall, soldiers stationed there fired tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets at protesters. Three were lightly wounded and many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In Nalin also central West Bank, villagers along with international supporters, marched up to the wall after conducting the midday prayers on lands near the wall. Soldiers fired tear gas and sound bombs at them. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas Inhalation..
In southern West Bank on Friday Al-Ma’sara villagers and their international and Israeli supporters protested against the wall and settlements. Israeli troops stopped villagers from reaching the construction-side of the wall and used rifle butts and batons to push people back into the village. Israeli soldiers arrested Hassan Brijiyah, from the local committee against the wall.
The Palestinian people inside the Palestinian territories and the Diaspora are marking this week the Palestinian Nakbah of 1948, when Israel displaced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from hundreds of towns and villages in historical Palestine. This year’s 63 anniversary comes as Palestinians are set to get international recognition of a Palestinian state by September this year IMEMC’s Rami Al-Meghari has more
Top Palestinian negotiator of the Palestinian Authority, Saeb Eriqat, called on world countries to pressure the Israeli government to release tax money that Israel has withheld from from the PA , in reaction to a unity deal between the rival Fatah and Hamas party.
Eriqat maintained that Israel does not have the right to withhold that money for it is due to the PA in accordance with the Oslo peace accords of 1993. Israel from its part says that such funds would go to a PA’s government that would invlolve the Islamist Hamas party.
In response to the Israeli decision, Washington considers the move as a pre-mature unless the world sees results of the PA’s unity deal with Hamas, while European countries refuse an Israeli request that the EU freezes funds provided to the PA.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahnoud Abbas told his Fatah party this week to nominate a presidential candidate, saying he is not willing to run for president post in any upcoming elections, joined by Hamas party.
The PA’s president also emphasized on the Palestinian people’s right to garner recognition of a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967. The PA is expected to demand that from the United Nations in September of this year.
In related news, French government proposed holding an international peace conference soon in order to resolve outstanding issues between Israel and the PA, leading to a two-state solution between the two sides.
France pledged this week a financial assistance of 10 million Euros to the PA to help fill in budget gab, left by Israel’s decision to withhold a fund of about 100 million dollars in tax money, due to the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, told reporters in Ramallah earlier that his government can not pay salaries of PA’s employees unless the withheld fund is released immediately.
Rami Almeghari. IMEMC. ORG. Gaza
The Israeli Attacks Report
Israeli settler and military assaults reported against Palestinian civilians in the West Banka and the Gaza Strip, in addition to new demolition orders in Bethlehem, the details with IMEMC’s Kevin Murphy.
The Palestinian Education Ministry has reported an attack on a Palestinian school in the West Bank town of Nablus on Monday by illegal Israeli settlers in the area. The Ministry claimed that the settlers were protected by Israeli soldiers during the attack. Witnesses claim that the settlers daubed racist graffiti on the school inciting the killing of Arabs.
The weekly Palestinian Center for Human Rights Report has confirmed a series of attacks by the Israeli military and settlers during the week. On Saturday, 07 May 2011, Israeli forces used force against dozens of Palestinians, international solidarity activists and human rights defenders in Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, who were participating in the weekly demonstration against settlement activities and confiscation of lands. As a result, 4 demonstrators sustained fractures and bruises.
On 10 May 2011, the report states, Israeli forces positioning on observation towers near Beit Hanoun ‘Erez’ crossing in the north Gaza Strip, opened intensive fire at a group of demonstrators and Palestinian and international solidarity activists who were near the landfill in the north of Beit Hanoun This demonstration was organized in protest against the imposition of the buffer zone in Palestinians’ lands.
The report also claims that on 10 and 11 May 2011, Israeli forces gunboats positioning at sea off al-Waha resort, in the north of the Gaza Strip, intensively fired shells and bullets at Palestinian fishing boats. Palestinian fishermen fled the area in fear of being wounded or abducted. No casualties or damage to fishing boats was reported.
There were several incursions by Israeli military forces into Palestinian Territories on Monday of this week. On Monday morning Israeli forces conducted early morning raids in the town of Beit Sahour and arrested construction worker Assi Qassis as well as his mother and wife. No reason was given as to the reason for the families’ arrests. Similarly in Hebron on Monday soldiers arrested local man Isma’el Jaafra.
The Israeli military has given the go ahead to demolish the homes of seven Palestinian families in the West Bank town of Al Walaja on Wednesday night. The statements delivered to the families say the homes will be demolished 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 du the Israeli separation barrier in the area. The families were given 72 hours to challenge the decision in Israeli courts.
The Huwwara check point near Nablus was yesterday closed due to attacks by settlers. Maan news agency reported that cars were damaged but there were no injuries. Traffic going north was diverted around the city.
And finally there are reports that Israeli troops this morning arrested and detained Hamas official Abu Tabana from his home in Hebron in the West Bank
For IMEMC.org this is Kevin Murphy
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.