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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for October 22 to the 28 2011.
Palestinian Authority denies reports claiming it will dismantle itself , meanwhile Israeli settlers escalate attacks against Palestinian farmers during the Olive Harvest, these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
The Nonviolence Report
Lets begin our weekly report with the nonviolent activities in the West Bank. IMEMC’s Majd Qumsiyeh has the story:
The Israeli military suppressed Friday’s weekly protests against the wall and settlements throughout the West Bank, using tear gas canisters and rubber bullets that lead to at least four injured Palestinians and one injured international solidarity activist
In the central West Bank village of Bil’in, 42-year-old Issa Abu Rahma was shot in the hand with a tear gas canister and dozens suffered from tear gas inhalation. Villagers and internationals were protesting the erection of a new section of the Israeli wall, to be placed on village land.
In Al-Ma’sara, south of Bethlehem, two Palestinians were injured when Israeli soldiers responded with close quarters assaults. Mahmoud Ala’adin and Mohammed Brijiyeh, the spokesman for the Bethlehem district Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, both suffered heavy bruising.
In Kafr Qadum, in the northern West Bank, protesters focused on the closure of the village’s main road. In the ensuing demonstration, Palestinian News Agency WAFA reported that hundreds of Palestinians were joined by international solidarity activists in an attempt to walk down the road, whereupon they were fired on.
One female international activist and one Palestinian were injured, but neither of their names was released.
In the village of Nabi Saleh, in the central West Bank, protesters clashed with the Israeli army, but no arrests or injuries were reported as of Friday afternoon.
For IMEMC News, this is Majd Qumsiyeh
The Political Report
Israeli Media sources claimed President Abbas has plans to dismantle the Palestinian Authority and transfer security to Israel, however, Palestinian officials deny the claims, the details and more with IMEMC’s Penny Quinton.
The Israeli Hebrew language newspaper, Maariv’s claimed this Friday: that at the request of President Abbas, the Palestinian Authority has developed a plan to dismantle itself within a few months.
The newspaper also alleges that this move will include the transfer of all security responsibilities back to Israel.
Palestinian officials have responded by saying that President Mahmoud Abbas has no plans to dissolve the Palestinian Authority despite the deteriorating political situation.
Mahmoud al-Aloul, member of Fatah central committee told journalists that the Palestinian leadership is seeking solutions to the current crisis but dissolving the Palestinian Authority is not among them.
However many Palestinians and Palestinian institutions are questioning the benefits of maintaining the Palestinian Authority in its’ current state if the political process continues to fail to deliver positive results.
On the 26th October at a meeting in Jerusalem with senior Palestinian and Israeli officials alongside representatives of the Quartet: Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath stated that Israel must cease all settlement activity if peace talks are to resume.
The meeting sought to push forward the peace process by renewing the Peace Talks between Palestinians and Israelis that have been halted for over a year.
Meanwhile: the office of Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdore Liberman sent out letters to foreign embassies describing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as the main obstacle to peace.
The Israeli online newspaper Haaretz reported that this letter was sent to all 27 European embassies as well as to ambassadors from the U.S., Russia, China, India, Japan, Colombia and Quartet envoy Tony Blair.
The letter states that:
‘The unavoidable conclusion is that there will be no agreement as long as (Abbas) is the leader of the Palestinian Authority, especially given the fact that he is sacrificing Palestinian interests for his own personal future.’
The official Palestinian response to Liberman’s letter, says that his comments are life- threatening and a letter of objection has been sent to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
For IMEMC News, this is Penny Quinton
The West Bank and Gaza report
The Israeli military invades the West Bank 58 times this week and Israeli navy boats continue assaults against Palestinian fishermen, the details and more with the following report.
Israeli navy detained two Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip on Thursday at dawn while fishing near Gaza shore.
Nizar Ayesh, head of the Palestinian fishermen trade union told Quds Press that an Israeli navy boat opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat forcing them to stop, then detained them and took them to Ashdud port north of the Gaza Strip..
Ayesh added that Israeli assaults against Palestinian fishermen happens almost on daily basis, which causes a serious problem for fishermen who depend on fishing for their daily income.
Also in the Gaza strip, the Israeli Air Force bombarded, Thursday, four areas in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the coastal region, howver no injuries were reported. Israeli military sources said the attack is in response to a Grad missile that was fired into an area close to Ashdod.
The airstrike targeted an area claimed to be a training center for Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, and another uninhabited area west of Khan Younis.
In a separate incident, Ahmad Rabee’, 29, was killed Tuesday morning when a tunnel collapsed upon him.
The tunnel was located in the Al-Barazil neighborhood, east of the Rafah crossing with Egypt. While the exact cause of the collapse is unknown, nearly two hundred Palestinians (including 10 children) have been killed in collapsing tunnels since 2006, after Israel imposed a tight blockade over the coastal region.
Among other things, tunnels became a main source of trafficking much needed supplies to the besieged strip.
This week the West Bank witnessed 58 Israeli military invasions into various neighborhoods according to the weekly report of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. During these invasions, the military kidnapped 13 Palestinian civilians and destroying Palestinian farmlands for the ongoing construction of the Annexation Wall.
In addition, Israeli settlers assaulted Palestinian farmers while harvesting their olives in several West Bank areas, mainly in Nablus and Salfit, in the northern West Bank.
Armed settlers assaulted Palestinian farmers in Nablus area wounding two Palestinian civilians, as settlers attacked them with stones, sharp tools and sticks. As Israeli soldiers arrived at the scene, they fired tear gas at the crowd. Dozens of farmers and solidarity activists suffered from tear gas inhalation and they were forced to leave the area.
Settlers also assaulted farmers in Kufur Qaddum near Nablus and forced them out of their farmlands and prevented them to harvest their olives.
Israeli soldiers stated to villagers through megaphones that they are banned from harvesting olives until they stop the weekly nonviolent demonstrations they organized against the wall and settlements.
In other news, the Jerusalem municipality announced it will demolish the ramp leading to the historical Al-Mughrabi Gate in the wall of the old city of Jerusalem within a month.
The Mughrabi gate leads to the compound of the Aqsa Mosque and the dome of the Rock in addition to Al-Buraq wall known by the Jewish people as the Western Wall, in order to build a new concrete one.
The Oline Gulf News reported that after demolishing the ramp, Israel intends to build a bigger bridge that allows military vehicles and trucks into the al-Aqsa Mosque area.
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