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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, for Monday August 15th, 2011.

Gilad Sahlit relatives and activists stopped and boarded a bus carrying relatives of Palestinian prisoners visiting their imprisoned relatives, according to Maan news agency. The Schalit activists said that the Palestinian prisoner visits should not be allowed while Schalit is not allowed visits by Hamas. Hamas captured Schlait in 2006 and are holding him in Gaza. The group refuses to allow Schalit visitors for fear it would compromise his location.

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyed praised today the non violent protests against the Israeli annexation wall. Fayyed made the comments during a ceremony in the West Bank town Bil’in which celebrated the role of the media in the fight against the wall. Bil’in was the center of a six year struggle against the wall which annexes large sections of the towns lands. Weekly Friday demonstrations in the town helped secure a court decision forcing the rerouting of the wall and the return of 600 dunams of land back to the village.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barrack has approved 227 new homes in the West Bank settlement of Ariel. The announcement comes days after the announcement that 1,600 new settler homes would be built in East Jerusalem with 2,700 more to be declared in coming weeks and months. Ariel, with 18,000 settlers, is one of the largest settlements in the West Bank. The move has been condemned by Israeli group Peace Now as a cynical move designed to take advantage of Israeli protests movements calling for government housing.

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 Kevin Murphy.