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Welcome to Palestine Today a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, for Monday May 23rd, 2011

There has been mixed reactions to US President Barrack Obama’s speeches, relating to the Middle East and the Israeli Palestinian peace process, among political leaders in the region. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who initially reacted angrily to Obama’s initial speech on Friday, has welcomed Obama’s clarification that he was not, in fact, demanding Israel return to its 1967 borders in his speech to AIPAC. Similarly the speech has been welcomed by Likud Party members and Israeli opposition parties.

In contrast, the Fatah leadership has remained largely quiet about Obama’s talks bar emphasizing their belief that Hamas was an inherent part of Palestinian society and that they must be part of any peace negotiations. Hamas has come out in strong opposition of Obama’s position, which was highly critical of Hamas, stating that the speech was a “disaster”.

There is concern a planned incursion, reported by PNN, by the Israeli military and settlers into Josephs Tomb near the West Bank city of Nablus, tomorrow, will lead to clashes with Palestinian protesters. While visits have been conducted by Israeli’s to the tomb with the coordination of the PA, who has authority over the area, tomorrow’s event has not been discussed in advance. The incursion is said to be in response to an incident last month in which an Israeli was shot by Palestinian police after entering the area without permission.

British PM David Cameron has condemned the announcement by Israeli planning officials of plans to build a further 1,500 Jewish only housing units in Israeli occupied East Jerusalem. The announcement was made last Friday on the same day as Obama’s speech on the region in which he called on Israel to desist from building further illegal settlements. Following Cameron’s announcement Israeli group Peace Now reported that a further 294 settlement houses were to be built in the West Bank town of Beitar Ilit.

Maan news agency has reported that the sports centre under construction in Hebron’s Old City is to be completed in June. The centre which will provide gym, swimming and wrestling facilities to Hebron’s 5,000 men and women living in the Old City on 1,000 square foot sight. The centre will be a welcome development for the Palestinian population living in Hebron who have been forced from their shops and homes in order to accommodate the 700 Israeli settlers living in the area under the protection of 1,500 Israeli soldiers. The centre has been built with support of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron and the French Sporting Federation.

Thats all for today from the IMEMC. This was the Monday 23rd 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 Husam Qassis and me Kevin Murphy