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Welcome to Palestine Today a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, for Tuesday May 24th, 2011

Protesters held a number of events over the weekend to challenge the annual meeting of the largest Zionist lobby in the US, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). A group called ‘Move Over AIPAC’, supported by over 100 civil society organizations, organized the largest protests to date against the Zionist lobby in Washington DC.

The protests included a mock checkpoint and Wall set up at the entrance to the AIPAC conference, to emphasize the imprisonment and humiliation of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers in Palestine; a singing and dancing ‘flash mob’ to raise awareness of AIPAC’s influence in Washington DC, and a ‘die in’ staged by progressive Rabbis and other members of the Jewish community to oppose Israeli killings of Palestinian civilians.

One protester was arrested as the presidential motorcade entered the Convention Center. Brian Van Slyke, a 23 year old student from Chicago, was detained after unintentionally entering the street as the motorcade passed. Witnesses claim he was roughed up by police officers during the arrest.

The group “Move over AIPAC” also interrupted Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s talk to AIPAC, according to the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz. Netanyahu was speaking to AIPAC as part of his trip to the US.

Sources report that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has suffered heart problems whilst visiting the US. Fayyad was visiting the United States in order to attend his son’s graduation from a US college. He was taken to Seton Medical Center in Texas due to ‘severe pains in the chest’ according to a spokesperson.

Fayyad allegedly suffered a heart attack whilst in hospital where tests indicated a blockage in a coronary artery. A catheterization was performed in order to unblock the artery. Fayyad is a heavy smoker, which may have contributed to his illness. He has been Palestinian PM since 2007, although his political future is unclear in light of the recent Palestinian unity deal.
The International Solidarity Committee, the international activist organisation for Palestine, has called for solidarity marches around the world with upcoming “Naksa” events in the Middle East.
The group, which maintains a large international activist presence in the West Bank, has called on global demonstrations to Israeli embassies around the world on June 5th, “Naksa Day”, to show solidarity with refugee’s seeking a return to their homes.

Naksa, meaning “setback”, marks the forced exodus of 300,000 Palestinians during the 1967 Six Day War between Israel and the Arab states. While it is normally marked on Nakba Day (May 15th), this year the group for the “Third Palestinian Intifada” has called on Palestinian refugees to mark the day by repeating actions taken during this year’s Nakba Day when they marched to the Israeli border in Lebanon, Syria, and in the Gaza Strip.

The International Solidarity Committee engages in peaceful protest and civil disobedience in solidarity with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The group’s notable members have included Rachel Corrie, the American activists crushed under an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in 2000, and Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian activist who was killed by Salafist elements in Gaza this year.

The day will be a litmus test as to what extent rumours of a third Palestinian uprising, or Intifada, are based on a reality on the ground. It will also shine a light on the question as to whether the recent events in the region, fuelled by social networking technology, have spread to Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and more broadly.

Thats all for today from the IMEMC. This was the Tuesday 24th 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 David Steele