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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for September 16th to 23rd 2011.
This week Israeli settlers and military intensified assaults against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza as the Palestinians head to the United Nations to demand full UN membership, these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
The Nonviolence Report Let’s begin our weekly report with the nonviolent activities in the West Bank with. IMEMC’s Saher Al-sous:
Dozens of nonviolent protests suffered effects of gas inhalation in the weekly nonviolent anti-wall protest in the village of N’ilin near the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday.
The villagers of N’ilin marched Friday in support of the Palestinian bid for full UN membership. The marchers also chanted slogans condemning the speech made by the US President Barack Obama at the United Nations’ General Assembly meeting on Wednesday, accusing him of ignoring 60 years of the suffering of the Palestinian people.
As protesters arrived at the metal gate of the wall, Israeli troops fired a number of gas and sound bombs which cause dozens to choke.
Dozens suffered asphyxiation as a result of inhaling gas fired by Israeli soldiers against nonviolent protesters in the village of Bil’in near the West Bank city of Ramallah Friday.
The villagers of Bil’in together with International and Israeli peace activists joined a nonviolent demonstration in support of the Palestinian statehood bid. The demonstration was organized by the popular committee against the wall and settlements.
The march started following the Friday prayer and headed to the lands that have been recently retrieved by an Israeli court ruling, carrying Palestinian flags with the number 194 printed on them, marking the number of the anticipated Palestinian state in if approved by UN.
Protesters also carried an American flag with the word Veto printed on it, and flew kites carrying Palestinian flags. Protesters then burned the American flag and put it on the fence separating them from their lands.
As protesters attempted to go through the fence to reach their confiscated land, Israeli troops operating their showered them with concussion grenades, tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets which caused dozens to choke. The wounded were treated by field medics of the Palestinian Red Crescent. The intensive use of gas bombs and concussion grenades set fire to the nearby olive trees, however the villagers managed to put it out.
In related news, tens of thousands of Palestinians rallied in numerous West Bank locations in support of the Palestinian bid for full UN membership and cheered for the Palestinian President for submitting the application to the UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon prior to his speech to the General Assembly in New York, where he called upon all the members of the General Assembly and the security council to approve the application.
For IMEMC.org this is Saher al-Sous
The Political Report In a televised speech at the United Nations, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas held Israel responsible for failure of peace talks and voiced out the PA’s willingness to submit the bid for a recognition of a statehood IMEMC’s Rami Almeghari has more:
On Friday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced officially the Palestinians bid for a statehood recognition during a televised speech at the UN General Assembly in New York.
Abbas have submitted the application of a full UN membership to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and asked him to submit it to the UN security council for a vote.
Palestinians have asked the UN to recognize a –Palestinian state on the 1967 border lines including the Occupied Gaza Strip, West Bank and east Jerusalem. World countries are divided on the Palestinian move.
US President Barak Obama said this week that he envisioned a Palestinian state on 1967 borders last year but he did emphasized on the need to finalize a peace deal through bilateral negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.
Obama’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said that the bid at the Security Council will take weeks before it is either accepted or refused by the member states including the US itself. Nevertheless , the state department has stated outright it would Veto any UN recognition of such a Palestinian state.
Also, more than 30 lawmakers in the US have called for cutting off aid to the Palestinian Authority, saying such a bid would pose a threat to Israel’s security.
European Union moved this week in a last-minute effort to urge the PA not to submit the bid. The EU has passed a number of proposals but none has been agreed upon by the PA.
Israel from it’s part insists that any future Palestinian state should be declared within bilateral negotiations with Palestinians. Israel has also accelerated settlement building on occupied Palestinian territories since peace talks stalled last September.
Addressing the UN General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel took a number of steps for peace, by withdrawing from Lebanon and Gaza, but that did not help peace efforts.
Meanwhile, Israel’s opposition leader, Tzipi Livni, described Netanyahu’s policies as counterproductive at the level of diplomacy worldwide. Livni said that the Prime Minister’s policies would lead to further isolation of Israel, internationally.
In the West Bank, Palestinian masses took to streets in support of the bid , while in the Gaza Strip , such demos were banned by orders of the ruling Hamas party.
For IMEMC.org, this is Rami Almeghari in Gaza.
West Bank & Gaza
Two Palestinian died in the Gazs strip, and the West Bank witnesses more tension as Israeli military and settlers stormed a number of Palestinian cities and villages, the details are in the following report.
A Palestinian young man was killed and another was seriously injured by Israeli army gunfire in the West Bank on Friday.
35-year-old Essam Badran, has been shot dead by the Israeli military in the village of Qasra, near Nablus. It has been reported that Badran was shot in the neck following clashes between Palestinian residents of Qasra and Israeli settlers.
According to Associated Press reporters the incident following an attack by upwards of 200 settlers who attacked the village and destroyed olive trees belonging to the villagers.
Earlier in the day, Israeli police arrested five Palestinians on Friday in occupied East Jerusalem. Israel has increased its military and police presence in the old city and prevented Palestinian males under the age of 50 to enter the city.
An eight year old Palestinian boy Taleb Jaber, has been struck down, in an hit and run incident, by a car driven by Israeli settlers, in Baqaa village near the Southern West Bank city of Hebron.
This follows a similar hit and run incident, on Sunday, when a Palestinian child was injured by a settler vehicle near the village of Burin, near Nablus.
Also in Hebron, Palestinian medical sources reported Wednesday that Intisar Al Rajabi, 44 was hospitalized after being attacked by extremist Israeli settlers in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. She was assaulted by the settlers as she was walking in the old city.
Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank organized a number of marches of what they dubbed as “Sovereignty Marches” in the Palestinian territories.
Extremist settler leader, Itamar Ben-Gvir stated that “the settlers will be taking off to the streets to show the Palestinians who really owns this land”, and add that the settlers “will not wait while the Palestinians get close to the borders of the settlements”.
He also said that the settles will be marching towards Palestinian towns and villages.
A number of other incidents of cutting and burning olive trees in various Palestinian locations have been reported during the past week.
In the Gaza Strip, Khaled Kaware’, 43, a member of Hamas from Khan Younis, died of a wound he had sustained during the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip in 2008. According to a report by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza, Kaware’ was wounded when an Israeli drone fired a missile directly at him in January 2009, wounding him and 3 others. His legs were amputated and he entered in a coma one month later until he died this week.
In the meantime, 14-year-old Ibrahim al-Zaza died of wounds he sustained last August when an Israeli drone fired a missile at a crowd of resistance fighters near al-Wafaa’ hospital in Gaza city wounding him and another child. Medical sources said that despite intensive care and medication, al-Zaza died of his wounds on September 19.
Meanwhile, Israel has continued to impose a siege on the Gaza Strip, preventing access to the outside world.
For approximately four consecutive years, Israeli forces have continued to ban the delivery of construction materials to Gaza. Israeli forces approved the delivery of limited quantities of construction materials for a number of international organizations.
Israel has continued to close Beit Hanoun crossing for Palestinian civilians from the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces only allow the movement of limited groups amidst severe restrictions, including long hours of waiting in most of cases.
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 Hussam Qassis and me George Rishmawi