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Welcome to Palestine Today a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, for Wednesday June 8, 2011

The border between Gaza and Egypt at Rafah has reopened according to Gaza border official Ayyoub Abu Sha’ar. The border had been closed by Hamas in protest at closures, delays and limits enforced by Egyptian authorities that were not discussed with Hamas.

Dozens of Palestinians stormed the Egyptian terminal on Saturday after Egypt unexpectedly closed its side of the border. The border was reopened to foot passengers however Hamas complained that elderly and sick passengers could still not cross. The border will reopen under an agreement that allows for 400 pre agreed individuals to cross each day.

The UNRWA has released a report undermining recent media reports that the West Bank economy was booming under the PA and Israeli occupation, according to research author Salem Ajluni. According to UNRWA’s findings, the real unemployment rate in the West Bank stood at 25 percent in the second half of 2010, up from 23.5 percent in 2009. The rate of unemployment among refugees was up 1% to 27.9%.

The Palestine News Network reports that on Wednesday afternoon, extremist settlers set fire to crops owned by Palestinian farmers near Hebron. It is alleged that the settlers came from the settlement of Kiryat Arba. The wheat crops and land they were planted on are owned by Palestinians from the village of Bani Naim. The crops were entirely destroyed.

Local sources report that a number of Jewish settlers broke into the al-Aqsa compound and began drinking wine and smashing bottles on the floor. Consumption of alcohol is forbidden in Islam and such acts are considered desecration. The group allegedly broke through a gate near the Western Wall and were protected by Israeli police. Police only intervened to ensure that angry worshippers from the mosque were kept separate from the settlers.

The al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock are considered the third holiest site in Islam. The act of desecration was allegedly a result of calls to celebrate the Shavuot holiday at the site. Tensions have been particularly high in East Jerusalem recently as a result of inflammatory marches on ‘Jerusalem day’ last week and Israeli MK Michael Ben-Ari’s tour of the mosque with a group of settlers on Tuesday.

Thats all for today from the IMEMC. This was the Wednesday 8 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