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Welcome to Palestine Today a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, for Thursday June 23rd, 2011

The International Red Cross has demanded that Hamas prove that captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is still alive given a two year absence of proof regarding his continued health. ICRC Director-General, Yves Daccord, said in the statement that ‘the total absence of information concerning Mr Shalit is completely unacceptable’ and reminded Hamas that ‘the Shalit families have the right under international humanitarian law to be in contact with their son’. Shalit was captured during a cross border raid by Palestinian groups from Gaza, including Hamas, in 2006 and is the only Israeli captive of the conflict.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) issued a report warning of the sharp deterioration of the water situation in the besieged Gaza Strip due to the devastated infrastructure in Gaza resulting from Israel attacks, and the establishment of wastewater treatment plants on top of fresh water reservoirs. The OIC said that it is essential to establish plants to desalinate seawater in order to compensate for the sharp need of fresh water in Gaza. The group called for halting the drilling of new water wells as they undermine and drain the underground water reservoir.

In an advertisment posted in Haaretz on Friday 17th June 300 Israeli academics from around Israel have signed their name to a letter supporting actions taken by the Israeli womens group ‘Civil Disobediance’ that break Israel’s laws of entry by taking Palestinian women and children from Palestine to Israel for the day. The advertisment called on the Israeli public to support the Civil Disobediance group by actively collaborating with actions to take Palestinian women and children from the occupied territories to Israeli beaches for a day of recreation.

The Freedom Flotilla 2 is due to set sail in the coming days from ports around Europe in an attempt to break the Israeli siege of Gaza. The flotilla will include an American ship which will have one quarter Jewish participation. The flotilla aim to bring humanitarian supplies to the Palestinian territory which has been badly hit by shortages in essentials such as medical supplies due to the Israeli blockade imposed in 2006. Israel has said that it will forcibly prevent the flotilla from reaching Gaza. Nine people were killed last year when the first Freedom Flotilla was attacked by Israeli forces.

A plan to build 2,500 Arab housing units in East Jerusalem was stopped by right-wing pressure groups and Haredi city council members on the grounds that it was a ‘politically dangerous’ and ‘poorly conceived’. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat had proposed a construction plan for 2,500 houses on private land in southern East Jerusalem. The vote was canceled on Monday because it was clear that it had no chance of passing. The designated land in the village of Sawahara is privately owned.

The technology firms, Apple have removed an application called “The Third Palestinian Intifada” for purchase for Mac, and iPhone users. The action was taken after Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, Israeli Minister for Public Affairs and Immigrant Absorption, mailed a letter to the Apple Corporation requesting the “immediate removal” of the application. Edelstein wrote that the app was “anti-Israel and anti-Zionist” and calls for an immediate Palestinian uprising against the state of Israel. The app, developed in Dubai, notified users of protests and events related to Palestinian actions against the Israeli occupation.

Thats all for today from the IMEMC. This was the Thursday 23rd 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