Click on Link to download or play MP3 file || 14 m 45s || 13.05 MB ||
Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for May 22 through June 3rd , 2011.
The week has a series of important political and other events. There were a series of attacks on non violent demonstrators, French Foreign Minister set out his governments peace plan for the Middle East and there were prpeperations on both sides for Naksa Day on Sunday, 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
Six civilians were injured on Friday and many more were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli troops attacked the weekly anti-wall protests in a number of West Bank communities. This week, protests were reported in the villages of al-Nabi Salleh, Bil’in, and Nil’in in the central West Bank, as well as al-Ma’ssara in the south.
One man was injured in the leg and two dozen were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation as troops attacked the weekly protest in the village of al-Nabi Salleh, central West Bank. On Friday morning, villagers and their international and Israeli supporters gathered near land where Israel plans to build a new settlement. Troops attacked villages as soon as they left, and later invaded the village and fired tear gas into people homes.
Later, after the midday prayers, protestors marched again to the settlement construction site, where troops attacked them with tear gas before leaving the village. One man was hit with a tear gas bomb, injuring his hand. Troops later invaded the village and took over homes, including the house of Bassem al-Tamimi, a local activist who has been detained by the Israeli military for the past six months.
Similarly, in Bil’in village, a journalist was injured and many more were treated for tear gas inhalation after troops attacked the protest. Residents of Bil’in have been protesting at the wall for the past six years. International and Israeli supporters joined the villagers after the midday prayers. As soon as people reached the gate of the wall separating villagers from their lands, troops fired tear gas and sound bombs. Khalid Sabarnah, 45, a local journalist, was injured when a tear gas bomb hit him in his hand.
Further protests were held in the nearby village of Nil’in, where the residents and their Israeli and international supporters held the Friday midday prayers near the Israeli wall. The protestors then marched up to the wall, marking the third year of their resistance against it. Troops fired tear gas and live rounds at protesters, causing minor injuries to four. Furthermore, troops fired tear gas at nearby olive orchards, where a number of olive trees caught fire.
Elsewhere on the same day, villagers and their international and Israeli supporters protested against the wall and settlements in al-Ma’sara village in the southern West Bank. Israeli troops stopped villagers from reaching the construction side of the wall, and pushed people back into the village, where the protest ended without any further clashes.
As Palestinian-Israeli peace process is going through the hardest times ever, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Israeli counterpart, Shimon Peres, discussed this week possibilities to advance peace Rami Almeghari has more.
The meeting between the two leaders came on the sideline of a celebration ceremony in Rome on the 150 anniversary of the reunification of Italy. Both presidents were reported to have discussed the stalled peace away from media outlets. Shimon Peres said this week that the Palestinian Authority would likely gain a recognition of a Palestinian state by September of this year at the United Nations.
Meanwhile, other Israeli leaders including Prime Minister, Benjamine Natanyahou, believed that a UN recognition of a Palestinian state on 1967 borders would not help the Palestinians, unless such a declaration comes out of direct negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian sides.
Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas along with his negotiating team have been boycotting the Israeli side over what Palestinians contend continued Israeli settlement activities on occupied Palestinian lands, mainly in East Jerusalem, which Israeli PM said this week, would remain the united capital of Israel.
Palestinians have repeatedly demanded a freeze of all settlement activities in order to pave the way for a two-state solution based on 1967 borders, including West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
At the internal Palestinian level, the major Palestinian parties, Fatah and Hamas, signaled this week possibility for forming an a technocratic government that would prepare for elections to select a unity government between them , in a period of two weeks. Ghazi Hammad is deputy-foreign minister of the ruling Hamas party in Gaza.
Actuality “ In English”
“ I think it is now the time to have a new platform or strategy; to work together, it is not the program of Hamas, Fatah or that of the Islamic Jihad, and we have to work for a national platform or a national program”
In other news, Israeli and Palestinian sources denied Egyptian media reports, suggesting that a prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas has been reached recently. The Cairo-based Almisriyoun or Egyptians newspaper quoted former Egyptian ambassador to Tel-Aviv, Mohammad Basyouni, as saying that Cairo concluded the deal that would see the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in return for captured Israeli soldier, Gila’d Shalit, who Hamas has been capturing in Gaza for four years now. Basyouni also refuted those reports.
Rami Almeghari. IMEMC.org.Gaza
The Israeli Attacks Report
The week was marked with a series of arrests, housing demolitions, assaults and military incursions , the details with IMEMC’s David Steele
On the afternoon of Friday 27th May, the Israeli Police attacked Israeli and Palestinian activists as they held a nonviolent protest in front of “Har Hazeiteem”, an illegal Israeli settlement in Ras Al Amoud neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem, and abducted one Palestinian protester.
An elderly Palestinian shepherd, Hamad al-Kett, 67, was admitted to the hospital on the same day with a fractured skull, internal bleeding, and bruising throughout his body, after he was attacked and beaten by a group of 12 Israeli settlers south of Nablus.
The incident took place in Madama village, near the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank. According to eyewitnesses, the settlers came by foot from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar, a small outpost established by extreme right-wing Israeli settlers in the middle of several Palestinian populated areas and far east of the 1967 armistice line between Israel and Palestine. Al-Kett was found by relatives and taken to the hospital in Nablus, where he remains in critical condition.
on Saturday evening Israeli soldiers detained three international peace activists, and one Palestinian, as the army attacked the weekly nonviolent protest in Iraq-Burin village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Soldiers fire gas bombs and rubber-coated bullets at the protesters leading to several injuries.
A group of extremist Israeli settlers, living at the Beit Ayin illegal settlement built on Palestinian lands the belong to Beit Ummar village, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, attacked on Saturday Palestinian orchards, and uprooted twenty Olive trees. The attacked lands belong to members of the Abu-Jaber Esleiby family. Eyewitnesses said that Israeli soldiers were present in the area, but did not stop the settlers. The soldiers prevented the residents from reaching their vineyards and olive orchards.
Israeli soldiers prevented university lecturer, Dr. Farid Abu Dheir, from traveling to Jordan as he was trying to cross the Allenby bridge to be with his son who has surgery scheduled at a Jordanian hospital. Abu Dheir teaches at the Al Najah University in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
On Saturday evening, Israeli soldiers detained five Palestinians, including women and children, and kidnapped an international peace activist near Safa village, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The residents were working in their farmlands before extremist settlers of the Bait Ayin illegal settlement attacked them and uprooted olive trees and vineyard. Israeli soldiers arrived at the scene and, declared a closed military zone, a pretext often used to arrest and intimidate Palestinian farmers and their supporters. The claimed military zone is the agricultural lands owned by the residents of the villerge.
Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that Israeli soldiers shot and injured a Palestinian man, on Sunday at dawn, east of Al Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City. The wounded resident suffered moderate wounds and is currently in a stable condition. The shots came from soldiers stationed at an Israeli military tower in the Malaka military base, east of Al Zeitoun.
Israeli authorities forced Mahmoud Aramin to demolish his house in East Jerusalem Sunday, or risk having it destroyed by an Israeli bulldozer, which would have resulted in an exorbitant fine. Aramin had already paid thousands of dollars in fines to the Jerusalem municipality in monthly instalments, for having built an ‘unlicensed’ house in East Jerusalem. Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem have not been granted building permits since 1967, and face frequent demolitions of their homes by Israeli authorities. Under article 53 of the 4th Geneva convention, home demolition by an occupying power is strictly illegal unless rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.
The Palestinian Journalists Forum in Gaza issued a statement denouncing the Israeli police for attacking Palestinian journalists reporting on clashes that took place in Ras Al Amoud neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem.
Between 200 and 300 Israeli settlers infiltrated Nablus and called for the Israeli military to re-establish control in the area after they broke free from the Israeli security forces accompanying them. The group was part of some 1,500 Israeli who were visiting nearby Joseph’s Tomb.
Fifty of the same group barricaded themselves into the religious site and refused to leave. The group stayed into dawn and clashed with Israeli military forces that tried to remove them. One military driver sustained injuries during the clashes. The PA is to bring legal proceedings due to property damage caused by the settlers during the incident.
All such visits should be agreed with the PA in advance according to the Oslo accords which established PA civic and security control of Ramallah and Nablus. The visit had not been coordinated with the PA according to PA spokes people.
Israeli forces raided the West Bank city of Jenin and nearby villages detaining 12 Islamic Jihad forces and closing a charity. The raids, which took place between 3 and 4 am, targeted Islamic Jihad members who Israel accuses of coordinating and financing planned terrorist attacks.
As part of the raid the military took computers and documents from a charitable organisation called “The Muslim Girl”. Israel officials claim the charity, belonging to university lecturer Muna Qi’dan, has links with the Islamic Jihad organisation. Qi dan was also detained during the raid.
On Wednesday at dawn Israeli soldiers attacked “Khirbit Yizra” village in the Jordan Valley of the occupied West Bank, and displaced its residents under the claim that the area is a “closed military zone”. Local sources reported that the soldiers displaced more than 200 shepherds living in the area after surrounding and isolating it. Mokhlis Masaeed, head of the Khirbit Yizra village Council, noted that there are already three Israeli military bases in the area, and that several residents have been killed and wounded by stray bullets.
On Tuesday, the army demolished 13 structures owned by Arab Bedouins in the Al-Farisiyya and Al-Meita areas, in Wadi Al Maleh, in the northern Jordan Valley. Eight homes were demolished in the Al Meita area in the upper Wadi Al Maleh, home to hundreds of Bedouins, although the homes are far away from the Israeli military camps. Six more homes were leveled in the nearby Al-Farisiyya area. The attack is one of several similar attacks carried out by the army in the same area in the last few months.
On Wednesday, at dawn, Israeli soldiers abducted three children in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and took them to an unknown destination. Troops installed roadblocks in the Hebron district, invaded several nearby villages and towns, broke into and searched several homes causing damage.
Furthermore, soldiers invaded the nearby towns and villages of Ithna, Yatta and Beit Anoun, and installed roadblocks leading to Halhoul, Ithna and Beit Awwa in addition to the As-Sihla and Tal’at Abu Hadeed areas.
Also, soldiers invaded Beit Amra area, north of Yatta in the Hebron district, and imposed curfew before breaking into several homes and searching them causing damage to their property. Resident, Ala’ Mohammad Deis, 25, said that soldiers violently attacked his 55-year-old father while searching his home and destroying its property. Deis added that soldiers also destroyed some of the walls in his father’s home and the home of one of their relatives, and searched several nearby homes.
Also on Wednesday, a Palestinian worker from Bethlehem suffered bruises and concussions after being violently attacked and beaten by Israeli soldiers and police officers as he was working at a construction site in East Jerusalem. The resident, Eyad Obeyyat, 30, was working in Sur Baher village, east of Jerusalem, when the soldiers kidnapped him and took him to a different location where he was violently assaulted before he was released. He was moved to the Beit Jala governmental hospital suffering serious injuries.
On Wednesday evening, Israeli soldiers invaded Kafr Al Lubbad village, east of the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, broke into a school construction site, and interrogated several residents. Local sources reported that after breaking into the site, it was searched with military dogs, and that the surrounding areas were similarly searched.
On Thursday, a group of extremist settlers of the Yitzhar illegal settlement, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, attacked Madama Palestinian village, and torched Palestinian fields, planted with wheat. Following the attack, the police arrived at the scene and fired gas bombs at local Palestinians who clashed with the settlers; no injuries were reported.
In another incident, on the same day, settlers allegedly blocked a road between Nablus & Qalqiliya and prevented Palestinians from using it. As’ad At-Taweel, 15, Adnan At-Taweel, 35, and Awad At-Taweel, 40, were all taken to hospital with what are described as ‘moderate’ injuries. Under international law, all settlements in the occupied territories, including in occupied East Jerusalem, are illegal.
For IMEMC.org this is David Steele
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 Kevin Murphy.