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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, for Thursday August 11th, 2011.

Israel approves more settlement units in the West Bank and Netayahu says the September bid for Palestinian state diminishes chances for peace, these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.

One Palestinian was killed in an explosion in his house in the Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip n Wednesday shortly before midnight.

Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, reported that the dead is one of its fighters and identified him as Ali Al-Hajj 20 from Yibna refugee camp.

The Al Qassam brigades stated on its website that the fighter was killed by accident, apparently while preparing explosives to use against the Israeli army across the border with the besieged Gaza Strip. The security forces of the deposed Hamas-led government in Gaza initiated an investigation into the incident.

In the meantime, the Israeli government decided to start the construction of additional 1600 apartments for Jewish settlers in occupied East Jerusalem, and is expected to approve additional 2700 units in the coming few days.

Few days ago, Israel approved the construction of 930 new settlement units in the settlement built on Jabal Eddik hill, known as Har Homa C.

While the Palestinian Authority is heading to the UN in September to request recognition of an independent Palestinian State on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Israel continues to build more settlements in the West Bank and more specifically around Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the chances of reaching a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians will diminish should the United Nations approve the Palestinian demand on international recognition of an independent state this September.

Netanyahu made his statement following a meeting on Wednesday meeting with 26 U.S. Congress members in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu added that the only way to reach a peace treaty with the Palestinians is through direct negotiations. The Palestinian Authority conditioned the restart of peace talks with a complete halt of settlement activities, a request that Israel strongly rejects.

In other news, Iran named one of the streets in Tehran after Rachel Corrie, an American activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer in the Gaza Strip in 2003.

Corrie came to Palestine in february 2003 as part of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and was killed in March as she was trying to prevent an Israeli military bulldozer from demolishing the house she inhabited with a Palestinian family in Rafah.

Until this moment Israel refuses to run a police investigation into Corrie’s death and is satisfied with the military probe that suggests that she was killed when a concrete wall fell on her.

That’s all for today, you have been listening to Palestine Today from the International Middle East Media Center. For more updates, please visit our website at This report has been brought to you from Occupied Bethlehem by Husam Qassis and me George Rishmawi.