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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for June 25th through 1rt of July, 2011.
This week the Palestinian Authority has pledged to continue with efforts to gain UN recognition for a Palestinian state irrespective of US and Israeli pressure. Israel has also been accused by organizers of sabotaging ships participating in the Freedom Flotilla 2. 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 the details with Danny Johnes
Dozens were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation on Friday as Israeli troops attacked the weekly anti-wall protests in a number of West Bank communities. This week, protests were reported in the villages of al-Nabi Salleh, Bil’in, and Nil’in in the central West Bank, as well as al-Ma’ssara in the south.
This week the village of Bil’in celebrated the removal of the wall on local farmers’ lands. International and Israeli supporters joined the villages and held the midday prayers at the lands that Israeli returned to the farmers. Later a small festival was held by the villagers and local men and women preformed the Palestinian folklore dance, Dabka. As part of the new form of struggle villagers decided to build one house on the freed lands to encourage village to start a new section of the village there.
Residents of Bil’in started to organize a weekly nonviolent protest against the Israeli wall six and half years ago. In September 2007 the villagers continued protesting; and the legal proceedings managed to get to the Israeli Supreme Court of Justice, to order a halt to the wall construction. The court ruled for a re-routing of the section of wall built on Bil’in’s land. Due to the ruling, the villagers got back 275 of the 600 acres Israel took for the wall and the nearby settlement of Modi’in Illit. In 2004 the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled the Israeli wall illegal.
In February of last year, after two years of stalling, the Israeli army began rerouting the wall by constructing a new one. Last week the new wall was finished and army bulldozers started to remove the old one away; a scene that Bil’in villagers are not accustomed to.
Even with the peaceful nature of the Bil’in protests the army faced it with violence, leading to death. In January 2010 Jawaher Abu Rahmah was killed due to severe tear gas inhalation. Her brother Bassem was killed as well when an Israel soldier shot him in the chest with a tear gas bomb in April of 2009. Locals estimate that 1400 people were injured by the army fire in Bil’in protests since they started and as many as 140 people arrested.
Near Bil’in one medic and one journalist were injured on Friday as troops attacked the weekly protest at the village of al-Nabi Salleh. After the midday prayers, protestors marched to the settlement construction site, where troops attacked them with tear gas before leaving the village. One medic was hit with a gas bomb in his leg and an Israeli journalist in his arm. Troops later surrounded the village and searched cars leaving al-Nabi Salleh.
Also in central west Bank on Friday an anti wall protest was held in the nearby village of Nil’in, where the residents and their Israeli and international supporters held the Friday midday prayers near the Israeli wall. The protestors then marched up to the wall, marking the third year of their resistance against it. Troops fired tear gas at protesters causing many to suffer from tear gas inhalation.
In southern west Bank on Friday, villagers and their international and Israeli supporters protested against the wall and settlements in al-Ma’sara village near Bethlehem. Israeli troops stopped villagers from reaching the construction side of the wall, and fired tear gas at them to force them back into the village. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
For IMEMC.org this is Danny Johnes
Palestinian Authority said it would go ahead with the UN move to gain international recognition of a Palestinian state by September2001. Meanwhile, some media leaks suggested that Washington is keen to prevent this from occurring. .IMEMC’s Rami Al Meghari has the more
Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, said during a tour in some countries that his authority is determined to ask for an international recognition of a Palestinian state on 1967 borders unless Israel freezes all settlement activities on occupied Palestinian territories.
The PA’s determination comes on the heels of some Israeli media leaks this week, suggesting that U.S is highly concerned about blocking the move at the UN. Israeli Maareef newspaper, Hebrew version, reported that Washington’s representative to the last meeting of the Quartet committee for middle east peace, passed a document to the meeting , outlining Washington’s parameters for current stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The document indicates that Washington would push forward resumption of the peace talks, based on President Barak Obama’s address in May19, in which the U.S president voiced backing to a Palestinian state of 1967 borders based on possible land swap between Israel and the PA.
Israeli leaders including PM Benjamin Netanyahu, reaffirmed this week Israel’s refusal to the PA’s efforts with the UN, demanding an unconditional return to the negotiations table. From its part, the PA rejected that demand and conditioned halt of all settlements building on occupied Palestinian territories.
Also, Israeli PM is reported to have been facing some external pressure, mainly from Washington’s politician and congressmen in order for the latter to offer some concessions that would prevent the PA from reaching the UN’s General Assembly by September 2001.
On the internal Palestinian level, Hamas’s senior Gaza leader , Dr. Mahmoud Alzahar said this week that current Hamas-Fatah dialogue over naming PM of an upcoming temporary Palestinian government, has reached a deadlock.
Alzahar’s remarks went with some Arab and Palestinian media reports that hinted at both parties’ inability to conclude an agreement, one month after they signed a unity deal in Cairo. Their last deal was based on forming a new technocratic cabinet that is void of leaders from both parties. The would-be cabinet would prepare for general and legislative elections in a period of one year.
Rami Almehari. IMEMC.org, Gaza
The Israeli Attacks Report This week the Israeli military has attacked and arrested peaceful demonstrators and continued extensive abductions against elected Palestinian representatives, human rights workers and civilians. Organizers of the Freedom Flotilla 2 have held Israel responsible for sabotage on 2 of the participating ships, an act they claim was attempted murder.
Israeli forces conducted 31 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they abducted 21 Palestinian civilians, including 7 children, a Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, a human rights defender and a journalist.
On Saturday June 25, about 50 Palestinian, Israeli and international activists gathered in Beit Ommar to demonstrate against the Israeli Karmei Tsur settlement, which has annexed hundreds of dunams of Palestinian land. The Israeli military violently attacked the demonstration arresting one Palestinian and two international were arrested.
Israeli soldiers kidnapped on Sunday at dawn three Palestinian children in Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, and took them to unknown destinations. Local sources reported that soldiers invaded Al Arroub Refugee Camp, in Hebron, broke into and searched several homes before kidnapping Ibrahim Khaled Al Balaty, 16, and Mohammad Salama Al Jundy, 16. Troops also invaded Sair town, east of Hebron, and kidnapped Mohammad Bajes Jaradat, 16.
On Monday, June 27th, the Israeli army invaded West Bank communities and destroyed 72,000 metres of plastic irrigation networks in two seperate instances near Hebron. Over the past years, Israeli forces have taken a series of measures against Palestinian civilians living in the area in an attempt to force them out of it. The area is one of the most fertile in the West Bank.
On 28 June 2011, at approximately 11:00, Israeli soldiers stationed on observation towers along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east of Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire near a number of Palestinian civilians and international solidarity activists who were demonstrating in the east of Beit Hanoun town.
Hundreds of acres of olive orchards in Al Mazra’a al Gharbiya village were taken over by Israeli troops on Tuesday, who claimed that the area was a ‘closed military zone’ and that the land was being confiscated for military use.
Israeli soldiers kidnapped on Tuesday at dawn a Palestinian legislator, the head of a center that defends the rights of Palestinian detainees as well as a Journalist. 11 Palestinians were kidnapped across the occupied West Bank during dawn raids. In Salfit, in the central part of the West Bank, soldiers abducted Dr. Nasser Abdul-Jawad of the Hamas Change and Reform Parliamentarian Bloc after breaking into his home.
According to activists on the Freedom Flotilla of aid ships to Gaza, a second boat has been severely damaged by unknown saboteurs who dove under the boat to damage the propeller shaft. The boat’s captain said that the way the boat was sabotaged was extremely dangerous, as it would have caused the propellor to cut through the boat’s hull and make the engine room to fill with water, thus sinking the boat while en route to Gaza. Earlier this week, another of the Flotilla’s boats – a joint Norwegian-Swedish-Greek effort named ‘Juliano’ after assassinated Israeli peace activist Juliano Mer-Khamis – was sabotaged in the same way while preparing for departure from a Greek port.
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 Kevin Murphy