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Welcome to Palestine Today a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org for Thursday July 7th, 2011.
A group of Spanish activists have occupied their country’s embassy in Greece, calling for the release of an aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip. The Greek government decided last week to prevent the departure of a flotilla of ten ships and 500 activists to the Gaza Strip, after diplomatic pressure by Israel. The Spanish activists stormed their embassy in Athens on Tuesday, and have remained in the embassy since that time. Their key demand is that the Spanish government pressure Greece to allow the flotilla to sail to Gaza.
Israeli security services have prepared a strategy to block activists seeking to travel to the Occupied Palestinian Territories from Ben Gurian airport as part of the Welcome to Palestine initiative. The military and police will either isolate planes with potential activists on board or process all potential activists through a separate terminal. Organizers expect hundred of activists made up of men, women and children to arrive at Ben Gurian from tomorrow onwards. Activists will be taking part in a week of activities designed to show solidarity with Palestinians in the region.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas has removed immunity from several government ministers giving the go ahead to investigators to investigate charges of corruption. The Palestinian anti corruption commission is perusing cases involving the theft of public funds as well as administrative corruption. The anti corruption law was enacted in June 2010 in response to a series of corruption scandals that rocked the PA earlier that year.
Nasser Shaer, 37, from the Druze town of Majdal Shams in the Occupied Golan has been given an eight month jail sentence by the Israeli Nazareth Magistrates’ Court for throwing rocks that allegedly injured an Israeli policeman during Naksa Day disturbances this year near the Syrian border. Syrian state media sources claim that 22 people died when Israel opened live fire on Palestinian protesters as they attempted to cross into Israeli held territory to mark their right of return to their homes in what is now Israel.
Colonel Pinhas Zuaretz is scheduled to testify on Sunday July 10, 2011 as the final witness for the case involving the killing of Rachel Corrie. Corrie was an American activist for the ISM who was killed by a bulldozer when acting as a human shield to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip in 2003. Colonel Zuaretz was the commander of Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade during Corrie’s death. He is possibly the highest-ranking officer to face a “cross examination” involving abuses of civilians in Gaza during the Second Intifada, The trial will take place on Sunday July 10, 2011 at 12pm in the Judge Oded Gershon courtroom in Haifa, Israel.
The US has once again set out its position against the PA seeking recognition of Palestinian statehood in September at the United Nations. The US’s standing envoy to the Middle East David Hale and senior US diplomat Dennis Ross have set out US objections to the move with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat according to department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. The US House of Representative’s is set to overwhelmingly pass a resolution warning the PA of a cut in US funding if they continue with their current plans for recognition following a similar resolution in the US Senate last week.
The resolutions also call on US President Obama to suspend funds to the Palestinian Authority pending investigations into the nature of the recent unity deal between Hamas and Fatah.
That’s all for Today from the IMEMC News. This was the Thursday 7th of July daily roundup of news from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We hope you will join us again tomorrow. This report was brought to you by Husam Qassis and me Kevin Murphy