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Welcome to Palestine Today a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, for Thursday June 16th, 2011

Palestinian political detainees at the Israeli Eshil detention center torched their mattresses in protest against the detention of a mother of one of them under the pretext of carrying “unpermitted luggage” for her detained son. There are more than 7000 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel including hundreds of children, women and elderly. Hundreds of detainees have been imprisoned by Israel for over 20 years.

The undercover forces of the Israeli Police stated that one of its units managed to apprehend an Israeli settler who shot and killed a Palestinian youth in January this year.

The Israeli Authorities decided to partially open the Kerem Shalom Crossing (Karem Abu Salem) on Thursday in order to allow into the Gaza Strip a limited number of cars, food supplies, and construction materials used by the by the United Nations Work and Relief Agency (UNRWA), and other internationally-funded projects.

On Wednesday at night, a number of armed extremist Israeli settlers torched dozens of olive trees that belong to villagers of Bil’in village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. The trees are located in Palestinian orchards isolated behind the Annexation Wall.

The Committee added that Israeli soldiers stationed in the area obstructed the work of local firefighters trying to reach the burning orchards. The orchards became isolated behind the wall and the firefighters were delayed at the Wall gate. It also stated that dozens of youth gathered near the gate in an attempt to help the firefighters but the army fired gas bombs at them leading to clashes.

On Thursday at dawn, Israeli soldiers abducted Dr. Samir Al Qadi, 55, who is a Palestinian legislator after breaking into his home in Surif town, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and took him to an unknown destination. With the abduction of Al Qadi, the number of Palestinian elected legislators illegally imprisoned by Israel stands now at 17, nine of them are from the Hebron district. Some of the legislators have been repeatedly imprisoned.

Jordan’s King Abdullah has stated in an interview with the Washington Post that he is pessimistic that there will be progress on Israeli Palestinian peace talks in 2011. Abdullah referred to the increasing conservative and hawkish nature of Israeli society and government, citing Israeli opinion polls, as obstacles to peace talks within the year. Israeli society, were ‘beginning to believe the rhetoric of their leaders,’ he said.

Abdullah’s comments came as Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu gave an interview with Haaretz in which he claimed the conflict was “unsolvable”. ‘This is an insoluble conflict because it’s not about territory. It is not that you can give up a kilometer more and solve it. The root of the conflict is in an entirely different place”
Fatah have complained that one of its officials in Gaza, Abu A’itah, was detained in Gaza by Hamas security forces, according to Maan.

The Jerusalem Post reports that Israeli military companies sold a total of $7.2 billion worth of military hardware abroad and a further $2.4 billion to the IDF in 2010, according to the Israeli Defense Ministry. Israel is reputed to be one of the world’s top four arms producers.

The organizers of the “Freedom Flotilla 2” have said they intend to sail irrespective of Turkish organization IHH’s participation, according to Haaretz. The IHH are currently deliberating on whether to participate with the flotilla citing recent events in Syria as well as the easing of the siege through Rafah’s relaxed rules on individuals entry and exit.

Thats all for today from the IMEMC. This was the Thursday 16th 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 Daviud Steele