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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for June 4th to the 10th, 2011.
Political tension heats up as September approaches, signs of US rejection to recognizing a Palestinian state within 1967 border seem to be clearer, meanwhile Israeli military continues to harass Palestinian communities and kidnap civilians, 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 with IMEMC’s David Steele
In the village of Bil’in today, dozens suffered from the effects of tear gas inhalation during clashes between protesters and the Israeli army. Palestinians and international peace activists were involved in non-violent demonstrations against the encroachment of the wall on Bil’in’s lands and against nearby settlements.
The provisional Palestinian Ambassador to Argentina was amongst those who took part in the demonstrations, which are organised weekly by the Popular Committee Against the Wall. Horacio Wamba, the Argentine Ambassador to Palestine and Cecilia Marchan, who is head of an Argantine parliamentary delegation also took part.
Mr Wamba stated that he as ‘very proud’ to stand with the demonstrations and that said that non-violent resistance of this sort has the potential to be productive in efforts to end the occupation. He said that he will convey details of what he saw in Bil’in to the Argentinian government.
Demonstrators marched from the village towards the wall chanting slogans calling for national unity, the release of all political prisoners and freedom for Palestine. As they approached the wall, where a large number of Israeli soldiers were stationed, they were sprayed with so-called ‘skunk water’ and were attacked with tear-gas and rubber coated steel bullets.
In al-Ma’sara village in the southern West Bank, protesters also marched against the wall and settlement construction. They were joined by the Secretary-General of the Fida party delegation, Zahira Kamal. A number of party members and peace activists were also present at the march, which began a the center of the village.
Demonstrators marched towards the wall, chanting slogans calling for an end to occupation and racism, an end to the wall and against the settlements. Further complaints are the regular closure of roads to Palestinians, arbitrary arrest and the killing of civilians, particularly children. A number of soldiers stationed at the barrier prevented the march from continuing and injured four of the demonstrators, who suffered bruises.
For IMEMC.org this is David Steele
U.S. Congress is considering backing an Israeli tendency not to withdraw beyond the 1967 borders. Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says the Palestinian Authority would consider backing off a U.N. move to gain recognition of a Palestinian state, if Israel agrees to a state on 1967 border lines.with IMEMC Rami Al Meghari has more.
30 U.S Congressmen say they back Israeli tendency not to accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. The latest Congress’s view comes against the backdrop of U.S-led efforts to bring back the Palestinian-Israeli peace process back to its track.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hinted at the possibility that the Palestinian Authority would not go ahead with endeavors to win UN recognition of a Palestinian state on the 1967 border lines by September 2011. Abbas conditioned this with an Israeli acceptance of a solution based on the 1967 lines.
Such a position comes while Israel declared a series of settlement buildings on the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem and further made clear it would object to a 1967-based peaceful settlement.
Mokhaimar Abu Se’da is a Gaza-based political analyst:
Actuality “In English”.
“Israel is behaving as a country above international law and basically negates the Palestinians’ right to have a state of their own on these occupied territories. It seems to me that there will be no solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict without ending the Israeli occupation of those territories, putting an end to the Israeli settlement expansion and withdrawal of Israeli settlers from the West Bank and East Jerusalem”.
On the internal Palestinian level, both Hamas and Fatah parties are yet to achieve a national unity government that would be assigned with preparing for general elections in a period of six months. In the meantime, Palestinian independent bodies called on both parties to accelerate concluding something soon to harvest fruits of last month’s reconciliation agreement.
Rami Almeghari. IMEMC.org. Gaza
The Israeli Attacks Report
This week the Israeli military conducted 38 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank kidnapping 14 civilians, including two children and two Palestinian Parliament members, the details and more with IMEMC’s Kevin Murphy.
On Naksa Day Israeli military forces attacked Naksa demonstrations in the West Bank town of Qalandiya and on the Syria-Golan border. In Qalandiya the military used tear gas, sound bombs and batton rounds to disperse a protest while in the Golan, Syrian media have reported 22 killed and hundreds injured due to Israeli live fire. Both marches were calling for a right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homes in what is now Israel. Israeli military claims that casualties were grossly inflated by Syrian state media sources.
Three men were arrested in the Druze town of Majdal Shams in the Israeli Occupied Golan Heights on Tuesday as part of the crackdown on protest. Israel declared the area a closed military zone and dispersed protesters protesting the events of Naksa Day on June 5th
Israeli soldiers abducted Hamas legislature, Sheikh Ahmed Al Haj, during dawn raids on the Al Maajeen area, east of Nablus. Al Haj, 72, and 13 other Palestinians were taken during similar raids on Tuesday morning.
In the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian civilian was wounded on 07 June 2011. The incident happened when Israeli forces positioned on observation towers at the border near Beit Hanoun ‘Erez’ crossing, opened intensive fire at a group of Palestinian and international demonstrators positioned 300 meters from the border fence.
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.
Maan news agency reported that five Palestinian men, including minors, were abducted during over night raids on West Bank towns and villages by the Israeli military on Thursday morning. Israeli soldiers raided the towns of Tammun, Tuqu and Azzun overnight and detained five, damaged property and confiscated the camera of a journalist documenting the raids, according to witnesses. In the village of Taqu four brothers, two of whom were minors, were arrested on charges of throwing stones.
Israeli soldiers detained on Friday at dawn former Minister of Detainees, Wasfi Qabha, after breaking into his home in the northern West Bank town of Jenin. Qabha, 50, was kidnapped by the army in 2007 and was imprisoned for three years under an “administrative detention” order without any charges filed against him.
For IMEMC.org this is Kevin Murphy
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 George rishmawi