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Welcome to Palestine Today a service of the International Middle East Media Centre www.imemc.org, for Monday June 6, 2011
On Saturday morning, dozens of Palestinian protesters from the Gaza Strip broke into the Rafah terminal that links between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. The Egyptian authorities had decided to close the terminal without warning or coordination with the Palestinian Authority, according to reports. A source in ruling Hamas party in the Gaza Strip said at least 180 passengers who has been waiting for several hours on the buses to cross to Egypt broke into the gate of the terminal, as they were surprised of this sudden closure.
Former Minister of Detainees, Hamas political official, Wasfi Qabha, stated that there are no real indications of reconciliation in the West Bank as the Palestinian security forces are still interrogating Hamas members and supporters.
Olivia Zemor, a French national, has been summoned to appear before the Paris tribunal for publishing a video on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel on the website of the organisation she is heading. Zemor is expected to appear before the court on June 17.
Calls for boycotting Israel are outlawed by the French government. As a result, a number of activists have been standing trials for calling for boycotting Israel. The BDS movement was launched in July 2005 following the International Court of Justice Ruling in July 2004 that the wall Israel is building in the occupied West Bank is illegal and called for boycotting companies, bodies and groups that directly or indirectly contribute to constructing the illegal wall. Zemor is also involved in calls for Europeans to come to Palestine in July as part of a plan for one week of non-violent actions in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Israeli media sources said few days ago that Israeli government is planning to thwart this event and is expected to deny the activist’s entry to Israel at Ben Gurion airport.
At a march organized by a number of Israeli center-left groups, around 5,000 protesters marched through the streets of down-town Tel Aviv Saturday night calling for a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. Participants in the March and rally included non-governmental organizations Peace Now and Gush Shalom, and political parties Meretz, Labor and the Derech faction of the Kadima party.
Syrian media sources allege that Israeli soldiers shot and killed 24 protesters on Sunday. The protesters gathered on the Syrian side of the border of the Israeli occupied Golan Heights marking the Naksa Day, which commemorates the ‘setback’ of the 1967 war, while at least 350 were injured. Eyewitnesses told media agencies that the Israeli army used live ammunition, gas bombs and and phosphorous munition, and that the soldiers were directly aiming at the protesters leading to a large number of casualties. The Israeli army denies these reports.
In a related protest, a fresh round of violence erupted in the West Bank as Palestinians marched for the right of return to their homes in what is now Israel. The West Bank town of Qandaliyah, near Ramallah, was the scene of clashes between local youth and the Israeli military after the Israeli military attacked a march commemorating Naksa day.
The military rushed the small demonstration of 100 people as it approached the checkpoint in Qalandia, using tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowd. The military broke into local homes using the rooftops as a means to fire tear gas into protesters and stone throwing youth. Israeli forces also fired rubber bullets at head height into crowds of protesters, seriously injuring two. Scores of people were treated for tear gas inhalation according to Red Cross personnel. A small group of men later trickled through military lines and linked arms during a sit down protest in front of the checkpoint. The military pushed the small crowd back using noxious water cannons.
On Monday, as a result of these clashes, the Israeli Army has deployed dozens of extra units at the border with Syria.
A Palestinian worker was killed on Monday at dawn when a tunnel collapsed on him at the Gaza-Egypt border, in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, the Arabs48 news website reported. Adham Abu Salmiyya, media spokesperson of the Emergency and Medical Services in the Gaza Strip, reported that Khan Younis resident Sami Ahmad An-Nadi, 22, suffocated to death after the tunnel collapsed on him.
More than 160 Palestinians were killed in similar tunnel accidents since Israel imposed the siege on Gaza in 2006. Hundreds of tunnels are used to smuggle products into the Gaza Strip, which has been under strict siege for the past 5 years. It is widely believed that the tunnels are used to smuggle weaponry as well as essential products into the Strip. In an indication of the severity of the ongoing siege, nearly 170 medicines, and 140 other medical items, are currently out of stock in the Gaza Strip.
The Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs in Gaza has released a report alleging that 370 people were detained by the Israeli military in the occupied territories during May. Of the 370, a total of 40 were below the age of 15. In related news, the Palestinian Authority claims that guards at an Israeli prison have detained a 13-year old girl who was visiting her father. She has been accused of attempting to smuggle things to her father and is awaiting trial in Be’er Sheva. Visiting rights and access to prisoners, most of whom are political prisoners, are often severely restricted, leaving children as the sole link between prisoners and their families.
Thats all for today from the IMEMC. This was the Monday 6 of June 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.