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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for August 13th to the 19th 2011.
18 killed as tension escalates in the occupied territories and Israeli, meanwhile Palestinian leaders believe that ongoing Israeli settlement construction hampers peace efforts, these stories and more are coming up, stay tuned
The Nonviolence Report
Let’s begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in the West Bank villages. A man and a child were reported injured as Israeli troops attacked anti-wall protests organized in a number of West Bank communities in solidarity with Gaza this week.
Protests on Friday were reported in the central West Bank villages of al-Nabi Salleh, Bil’in, and Nil’in in addition to al-Ma’ssara in the southern West Bank and Kufer Qadum in the north. Since Thursday Israeli attacks has left nine Palestinians killed in Gaza.
One child was wounded as Israeli troops attacked the weekly anti wall protest at the village of al-Ma’sara, southern West Bank. As soon as people marched to the land where Israel is building the wall troops attacked people with rifle buts and batons injuring Mohamed Zawahra, 15 years old.
On man was injured, many treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when soldiers attacked the weekly anti wall protest at the village of Bil’in, central West Bank.
In the nearby village of Nil’in villagers marched along with their international and Israeli supporters. As soon as people reached the wall built of villagers lands troops fired tear gas; many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Also on Friday in central West Bank many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation as Israeli troops attacked the anti-wall and settlements protests in the village of al-Nabi Salleh. Villagers and their Israeli and international supporters marched to local farm lands were Israel had taken to build a new settlement. Troops attacked protesters with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Then soldiers forced people back into the village and fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas.
In southern west Bank, the villagers of Kufer Qadum, near Qalqilia city, protest on Friday the Israeli army closer of the main road leading to their village. As soon as villagers reached the road block soldiers fired tear gas at them. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
The Political Report
Palestinian UN Observer says ongoing Israeli settlement construction jeopardizes peace efforts, Israel-Egypt relations in danger following the Eilat Attack, IMEMC’s George Rishmawi with the details
Palestinian Permanent Observer to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, said the ongoing construction and expanding of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied territories jeopardizes all efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East.
Mansour said that peace must be based on a full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories, including occupied East Jerusalem.
He also sent a letter to the UN Secretary General, the head of the UN Security Council and the head of the General Assembly, stating that Israel recently announced a new plan to build 2500 units for Jewish settlers in two illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.
Israel does not recognize the West Bank as occupied territories, although international law does, thus, Israel is concerned that the legal status of the settlements in the West Bank will be confirmed as illegal has the UN approves a Palestinian state in September.
In the meantime, Israel is currently under pressure of an internal unrest over increasing prices of housing and major living expenses. There is also external pressure due to the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN September meeting.
Israel has escalated attacks on the Gaza Strip following the deadly coordinated attack which claimed the lives of 8 Israelis and 7 of the attackers on Thursday, near the coastal city of Eilat.
The Israeli army admitted they have received several warnings at least two weeks before the attack and more in the last few days.
Palestinian Political Analyst, Talal Okal in the Gaza Strip says Israel sees Eilat attack as an escape from its crises.
‘The escalation stared before the Eilat attack, what important here is that Israel was waiting for such attack or firing of rockets to use as an excuse to attack Gaza escaping the internal and external crisis Netanyahu’s government is facing.’
The swift Israeli retaliatory attacks on the Gaza Strip stirred a wave of anger among Palestinians and also Egyptian demonstrators who called on Friday for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador in Cairo and raised a Palestinian flag on the building of the Israeli embassy.
Israeli political analysts say that this latest attack has damaged peace with Egypt. Three Egyptian soldiers have been killed by Israeli forces who were chasing the fighter across the borders on Egyptian soil.
For IMEMC.ORG, this is George Rishmawi
The Israeli Attacks
10 Palestinians killed this week, as Israeli military escalates attacks in the Gaza Strip more intensively after the Eilat deadly attack and Israel approves more settlement units in the West Bank, IMEMC’s Carmen Rodriguez reports
Seven Palestinians have been killed and over twenty were wounded in a number of Israeli airstrikes that targeted the Gaza Strip.
Two children and five operatives of the Salah Eddin Brigade the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees were killed in the shelling.
The seven were killed when Israeli airforce gunships fired a number of missiles at residential areas in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Israeli airforce also bombarded training site for Al-Qassam brigade, the armed wing of Hamas, and tunnels between Rafah and Egypt, however, no casualties were reported.
Palestinian resistance groups in the Gaza Strip said they will strike back if Israel attacks the Gaza Strip. Shortly after the airstrikes, resistance fighters launched several attacks on Israel targets with around 20 home-made shells and Grad rockets.
Israeli media sources said that most of the shells fell in open areas and did not cause damage or injuries, but one of them hit a building in an Ashdod industrial park, wounding six people, one of them seriously.
The attacks on the coastal region followed an unprecedented deadly attack carried by around 20 fighters armed with rifles hand grenades, anti-tank missiles and explosive devices.
The coordinated attack, which took place in the southern part of Israel 20 Kilometres north of Eilat, resulted in the death of eight Israelis mostly soldiers and seven of the fighters, two of them were killed by Egyptian troops operating at the Egypt-Israel borders.
Media and Security sources said the assailants infiltrated the borders form Egypt and attacked the first bus, then waited for military enforcements and attacked them. Later they attacked another private vehicle with anti-tank missile killing its four passengers. The sources added that one of the fighters detonated explosive device he was carrying on his body near the bus.
Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported, on Tuesday at dawn, that one resident was killed and seven others were wounded in a series of air strikes carried out by the Israeli Air force targeting several areas in the coastal region. The seven wounded residents, including a child, suffered moderate-to-severe injuries.
Palestinian sources reported that Palestinian fighters fired, on Sunday at night, a number of shells at Israeli armoured vehicles invading Al Shujae’ya, east of Gaza City.
The Al Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, reported that its fighters fired three mortars at the invading forces and exchanged fire with them; no injuries were reported.
Last week, the Israeli military killed a Palestinian child from al-Nussairat refugee camp, east of Deir al-Balah in the central part of the Gaza Strip. The boy suffered mental disability and was 400 close to the fence Israel built around the Gaza Strip.
Medical sources said that the boy received 10 bullets to his head and chest and was left on the ground for several hours before an ambulance managed to recover his body.
In the West Bank, Israeli settlers torched dozens of acres of farmlands near the Homesh former settlement, north of Nablus city, in the northern part of the West Bank.
Ghassan Douglas, a Palestinian official in charge of settlements file in the northern part of the West Bank, stated that the settlers set ablaze all trees planted around the evacuated settlement and that the fire consumed hundreds of almond trees and evergreens.
Israel evacuated Homesh settlement in 2005, as part of the unilateral disengagement plan however, the area remained under Israel control and settlers frequently go there.
In the meantime, the Israeli government approved the construction of additional 227 units for Jewish settlers in Ariel illegal settlement, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
The government approved the construction by the end of last week, and that the plan includes 100 units for settlers who were evacuated from the Nitzarim former settlement, in the Gaza Strip when Israel evacuated all settlements in the Gaza Strip under the disengagement plan in 2005.
The Ariel illegal settlement is considered the biggest settlement in the occupied West Bank; it also contains a university and an industrial zone.
Last week, Israel announced a plan to construct additional 1600 units in another illegal settlement, in occupied East Jerusalem.
A Palestinian pedestrian died of wounds overnight when an Israeli border police jeep hit him in an East Jerusalem suburb.
The victim, identified as Amin Dabash 38, was hit Tuesday night by an Israeli police vehicle near the Israeli settlement of Har Homa north of Bethlehem.
For IMEMC.org this is Carmen Rodriguez
Conclusion 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 Ghassan Bannoura and Hussam Qassis.