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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center,, for Thursday October 20th, 2011

Hamas gives a press conderence confirming details of the second phase of the prisoner swap, along with confirming the agenda for the Hamas-Fateh meeting, these stories and more coming up; so stay tuned.

Abu Obaida, spokesperson of the Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, stated that the second phase of the prisoner-swap deal will include the release of detainees who are old and sick, in addition to several of whom have been sentenced to 20 years or more.

The second phase of the prisoner-swap deal would include the release of 550 detainees and is due to begin within the next two months.

So far, 27 female prisoners have been released, with nine still held by Israel. They are still interned because they were not included in the original list, having been arrested after the talks started. However, Obaida has confirmed that they will be released in the coming days.

Egypt has affirmed their commitment to be an intermediary in the deal, and has enacted guarantees regarding the implementation of phase two. Egypt has been credited with securing the release of the aforementioned nine female detainees.

Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouq, Deputy Head of the Hamas Political Bureau, confirmed that Israel will choose the names of the remaining 550 prisoners to be released, and will pick those who are not identified as ‘dangerous’.

Marzouq stated that the siege of Gaza must be eased, and the border terminals opened, now that Gilad Shalit has been freed.

Abu Marzouq also confirmed the up coming Hamas-Fatah meeting, stating that it will focus on three areas: the national agenda, a strategy for unified action, and the full implementation of the reconciliation agreement.

A man has been arrested in Hebron, whilst on the way to the Israeli Liaison Office. His name and his whereabouts are as of yet unconfirmed.

In other occupation news, media sources claim that the Israeli Army erected road blocks on the main route between Bethlehem and Hebron. They searched vehicles and checked Identity cards.

Soldier also made an incursion into the Em Rukba neighbourhood, in the village of Al Khader in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

The troops reportedly ransacked several homes, taking photographs inside and out, before finally leaving.

Former British Prime Minister and now Middle East Quartet envoy, Tony Blair, has called on both sides to prepare their view and show their plans, regarding the delicate issues of security and borders.

The Quartet is arranging separate meetings with the Israelis and Palestinians, set to take place in Jerusalem next week. Mr. Blair hopes that by offering their honest and practical suggestions, the Quartet can then touch on the differences between the two.

Progress for the meeting is already behind schedule, after the Quartet announced on the 23rd September, that they would hold joint talks within 30 days.

Mr. Blair and the Quartet remain optimistic; believing that if they can reach a point within three months, of knowing the suggestions of each side and addressing them, that is would be ‘be a great progress’ in the opinion of Tony Blair.

That was just some of the news from Palestine Today, for more updates; please visit our website at Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem. This report has been brought to you by Hussam Qassis and me William Gibson.