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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for October 8th to the 14th 2011.
While Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails continue their open-ended hunger strike, Palestinians and Israelis reach a prisoner-swap deal after years of negotiations, meanwhile Israeli settlers continue their attacks against Palestinian communities, these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
The Nonviolence Report
Lets begin our weekly report with the nonviolent activities in the West Bank. Four injured and many treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation this week when Israeli troops attacked anti wall protests organized at a number of West Bank villages. IMEMCâ€™s Ghassan Bannoura has more:
Four civilians including a 12 year old boy were slightly wounded by Israeli troops fire in the village of al-Nabi Saleh, in central West Bank.
Troops attacked the weekly protest there before it left the village and fired tear gas at villages and their international supporters. Moreover soldiers invaded the village and fired tear gas at residentsâ€™ homes; many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In the nearby by Bilâ€™in, and Nilâ€™in villages many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when troops fired tear gas at them as they protest at the Israeli wall built on local farmers lands there.
In southern West Bank villages of al-Maâ€™sara, , Beit Omer, Yatta and Beit Ola, protested the wall on Friday. Friday protests were in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners on hunger Strike since two weeks.
In Beit Ola troops attacked the protest and injured one man after hitting him with a tear gas bomb in the abdomen. Another man was injured in Beit Omer by troopsâ€™ tear gas.
No injuries were reported in Yatta village but residents said that troops did not allow them to reach their lands where Israel is building the wall. In al-Maâ€™sara Israeli soldiers did not allow the protest to leave the village and used rifle buts and batons to force people back into the village.
For IMEMC.org this is Ghassan Bannoura.
The Political Report
This week, Palestinians and Israelis reached long-pending prisoners swap deal. The deal has been welcomed widely by the population in Gaza. IMEMC’s Rami Al-Meghari has the details:
Palestinian Authority and Hamas welcome the deal as key breakthrough in long-pending swap deal. Palestinian masses in Gaza took to streets to hail the agreement , while Hamas’s senior leaders spoke in loud speakers to the cheerful crowds.
In the Gaza Strip, Dr. Salah Elbardaweel told IMEMC that his party is calling on the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah to stop what he termed security coordination with Israel. Abardaweel believes that cutting off contacts with Israel would enable the PA to improve conditions of negotiations over the prisoners profile.
Also in Gaza, human rights groups protested what it termed Israeli maltreatment of Palestinian prisoners. Deputy director for the Palestinian human rights center in Gaza, Mr. Jabr Wshah, called on Israel to resort what he called rationalism and wisdom.
He maintained that the suffering of soldier Gil’ad Shalit is exactly the same of the suffering of thousands of Palestinian mothers, wives and children , who belong to thousands of other prisoners, still in Israeli jails.
The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah welcomed the deal. Palestinain prime minister of Hamas, Ismail Haniya, phoned Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to brief the latter on details of the latest swap deal.
According to the deal, Israel is expected to release 1027 Palestinian prisoners from various Israeli jails. The would-be released include dozens of women and minor detainees. In return, Hamas agreed to free soldier Gil’ad Shalit , who was captured by the ruling Hamas party in June 2006.
For IMEMC.org, I am Rami Almeghari in Gaza
The Israeli Attacks Report
Two mosques were vandalized this week in separate incidents and staff and students in Qurtuba school in Hebron protest excessive security at their school. For IMEMCâ€™s William Gibson reports:
Early Monday morning, dozens of extremist Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians tending their olive trees, in the village of â€˜Azmoot, east of Nablus, in the groves near the illegal settlement of Elon Moreh.
After half an hour of verbal exchanges, a fight ensued, before the Israeli Army arrived on the scene to disperse the crowds.
Hours before dawn on Monday morning, the mosque in the Upper-Galilee village of Tuba Zingerah was put to the torch, in an attack which left countless holy books destroyed, and severely damaged the interior.
Several hours after the attack, two people were arrested regarding the incident. The main suspect, reported to be a Jewish youth of 18 years of age, is due to be released on Sunday. Judge Nitza Maimon Shashua has extended his remand until then, to provide the police with the opportunity to find solid evidence. If none is discovered, then the young man will be released without charge.
Another mosque was destroyed on Tuesday, in the north Jordan Valley village of Wadi El-Maleh, only this destruction was sanctioned by the Israeli government. The mosque was built without a construction permit, a document of incredible rarity in this valley, and has now been reported to have been destroyed numerous times over the last year.
Beit Ummar has had a busy week, starting with the military incursion on Tuesday morning, which saw the Secretary of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements within the town, Ahmad Abu Hasham, arrested, along with his eighteen year old son, Youseff.
After ransacking his house with military hounds, and reportedly beating his other sons, the two were taken into custody at an undisclosed location, before being released hours later.
Residents of the town clashed with the soldiers in protest, before being dispersed.
Thursday morning saw more Israeli soldiers invested in Beit Ummar, as three residents were arrested during an early raid.
Clashes broke out across the village, after the residents announced a solidarity strike, to show their support for the striking detainees. Several residents suffered tear gas inhalation, after the gas was used to disperse the crowd.
Seperately, eyewitnesses reported seeing Beit Ummar youth, Ameer Sabarneh, being shot in the shoulder by an Israeli soldier, before being beaten and taken away in the back of an army vehicle.
Similar arrests took place across the West Bank, with three men in their twenties being arrested in the northern West Bank town of Jenin on Thursday, along with American University of Jenin student, Aâ€™la Mohammad Qalawlehm on Tuesday morning.
Two youth in the village of Al-Basha were arrested and taken to Salem military base on Tuesday morning, before being released shortly after.
Ongoing harassment and violence has been launched by settlers and soldiers at the students of the Qurtuba school in Hebron. The faculty and pupils have been protesting the use of the electronic gate, scanners and physical searches as they make their way to the school.
After several days of abuse by the soldiers over the protest, staff and students held a class outside of the school on an unused concrete Israeli road block on Thursday, where they were soon pelted with stones and glass bottles by extremist Israeli settlers.
Earlier today, on Friday, hundreds of settlers invaded the neighbourhoods in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. They arrived in droves through a nearby village, setting up base in Shaâ€™ab Salman and al-Nahleh neighbourhoods, in the village of Iâ€™rtas.
This is not the first, and by no means the last settler incursion in the area, in their attempt to take over Abu Zaid mountain for the sake of expanding the illegal settlement of â€˜Eâ€™frat. According to the settlers website, the building of a new settlement in the Alnahleh neighbourhood is in the air.
Seeking to end the surge in violent attacks across the occupied territories, Ruport Colville, the spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that Israel has a legal obligation â€œto protect Palestinian civilians and property in the occupied Palestinian territory.â€
IMEMC.org this is William Gibson
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 Husam Qassis and me George Rishmawi