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Welcome to Palestine Today a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, for Wednesday June 22, 2011

The Israeli army started on Tuesday evening to shift a section of the illegal Separation Wall built on lands that belong to the residents of Bil’in village, west of the central West bank city of Ramallah.

The act came in implementation of a ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court issued on September 4, 2007. The ruling states that the wall is illegal and illegitimate as it was built on lands privately owned by the villagers. The army started removing segments of the wall in the western part of Bil’in; the Wall in that area is supposed to be fully dismantled by mid-July.

If the ruling is fully implemented, the villagers will regain 1200 Dunams out of 2300 Dunams illegally annexed by Israel for settlement and wall constructions. The total size of Bil’in is 4000 Dunams. Rateb Abu Rahma, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall stated that dismantling sections of this illegal Wall comes as a result of persistent and ongoing popular nonviolent resistance carried out by the residents and their Israeli and international supporters.

The giant Apple Company decided to allow the publishing of a new App for the IPhone carrying the name “Third Intifada” despite Israeli pressures on the company to ban the app.

The Israeli air force attacked an underground tunnel running from the Gaza strip into Israel. According to military officials the strike was in response from a rocket fired from the Gaza strip into the Negev. Neither incident caused death or injury.

The incident was the first since March when Hamas fired a rocket at an Israeli school bus killing one. I9sraeli responded with air and ground strikes that killed 19 Palestinians. Since Israel imposed its siege on Gaza in 2006 secret tunnels running from Gaza into Egypt and Israel have become necessary for transporting essential supplies into Gaza including medicine, food and construction material.

A visit to Hebron, in the southern West Bank, by the Archbishop of Jerusalem, Fuad Twal, was cut short on Monday when Israeli forces stopped the Archbishop from entering the central city.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been displaced in the Hebron area, where the central city has been taken over by Israeli settlers over the past 20 years. Although 250,000 Palestinians live in the Hebron district, an estimated 700 Israeli settlers and 1,500 Israeli soldiers have control over two-thirds of the area. The formerly bustling market on Al-Shuhada Street is now empty and under military control, a move which has had a devastating impact on the economy of Hebron.

Jordan’s Prime Minister Marouf al Bakheet and the UNRWA’s Commissioner General Filippo Grandi appealed for monetary aid to appeal for finances to fund the UNWRA’s work among Palestinian refugees. In a speech to the UNRWA’s advisory council the two warned of instability if services to the region’s 3.6 million Palestinian refugees were not continued.
On Wendsday morning four Palestininan towns: Beit Sahour, Hebron, Jenin and Nablus were invaded by the Israeli military. In Beit Sahour two flying checkpoints were setup, stopping cars and checking IDs. Three armed Israeli military vehicles surrounded Al-Qudes Open University, but left with our making any arrests. Israeli military forces prevented a Palestinian journalist from taking photographs during the raid. In addition Hebron, however, one Palestinian civilian was abducted after the town was invaded.

Current Palestinian Authority Prime Minister, Sallem Fayyed, has said that he will not stand in the way of national reconciliation but declined to say that he would step down from the position of PM in the new interim government in order to achieve consensus between Fatah and Hamas.

Israeli human rights organization BT Selem has released figures showing a steep rise in the number of Israeli housing demolitions in the West Bank compared to 2010 and 2009. According to BT Selem 103 residential structures in Area C, most of them tents, huts, and tin shacks, in which 706 persons lived (including 341 minors) were demolished by the Israeli army already in 2011. In comparison during the same period in 2010 there were 86 residential demolitions and in 2009 there were 28.

In the last week alone 33 residential structure were demolished; home to 238 persons, 129 of them minors. many of the demolitions, according to the organization, were in Israeli classified firing zones in which officially no construction is allowed to take place yet Israeli settlers are often allowed build on irrespectively. Almost half of Israeli controlled area C is classified as “firing zones”. Such demolitions are illegal under international law, except due to ‘absolute military necessity’.

The Ma’an News Agency reports that ten workshops have been destroyed by Israeli forces in Barta’a ash-Sharqiya near Jenin. The workshops are located in the West Bank but are on the Israeli side of the separation wall. Significant quantities of machinery were confiscated at the same time. The demolition began at approximately six o’clock on Wednesday morning.

The damage caused by the action is estimated at tens of millions of shekels and allegedly due to complaints by nearby settlers about smoke from the workshops. As a result of the demolitions, fires started on the property and continued for some hours, until Palestinian fire-crews were allowed onto the property. Two tractors, belonging to Jamal Sharif Amarnah and Yasser Uthman Qabha were also confiscated.

Thats all for today from the IMEMC. This was the Wednesday 22 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