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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, from October 29th to November 4th 2011.
Israeli attacks on Palestinian communities escalated this week with 12 killed by those attacks. While the Palestinian Authority announced that it will focus on the efforts to secure full statehood status at the United Nations. These stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
The Nonviolence Report
Lets begin our weekly report with the nonviolent activities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
On Friday evening, the Israel naval forces intercepted the two Free Gaza boats and led them to Ashdod port in northern Israel without any resistance from those on board.
The two boats set sail on Thursday en-route to the besieged Gaza Strip carrying 27 International and Palestinian peace and human rights activists. The Irish boat Saoirse [Seer Sha], meaning Freedom in Gaelic, and the Canadian boat Tahrir, meaning Liberty in Arabic, left from Turkey with a mission to break the siege on the Gaza Strip.
On May 30, 2010 Israeli naval forces killed nine Turkish and one American activist on Mavi Marmara boat heading to the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile in the West Bank protests were organized against the wall at a number of villages on Friday midday. At least 12 people among them five children were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli troops suppressed the weekly protest in the village of Kafr Qaddoum, northern West Bank. Protesters were demanding the opening of the village entrance blocked by the army since 10 years.
In central West Bank anti wall protests were organized in the villages of Bil’in and Nil’in. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when troops used tear gas to move people away from the wall at the two villages.
Meanwhile villagers of Al-Ma’sara, southern West Bank, protested the wall on Friday as well. The protest stared at midday but Israeli troops did not allow people to reach their lands where Israel is building the wall and used rifle-buts and batons to force people back into the village. No injuries were reported this week
The Political Report
The Palestinian Authority says that it will not be filing for any new bids at any United Nations agency at this time, and will only focus on the efforts to secure full statehood status at the UN. IMEMC’s George Rishmawi has the update.
The Palestinian Foreign Minister, Dr. Riyad Al-Malki stated this week that the Palestinian Authority would not file new bids for membership at any United Nations agency.
Al-Malki’s statement comes shortly after the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) approved Palestine as a full member of the UN Agency. He added that “President Mahmoud Abbas wants to focus on the filed UN membership bid submitted on September 23rd”.
Israeli sources reported that the Palestinian decision comes due to American and Israeli pressures and the cutting of Israeli and American financial support to the P.A. and the UNESCO, in addition to Israeli threats to isolate Palestinian Authority.
Israel and the US decided to boycott UNESCO for approving Palestine’s membership and the US said it will cut funding for the UN agency.
Israel has also decided to withhold the tax revenue money due to the Palestinian Authority on monthly basis.
Tel Aviv collects approximately $100 Million in customs, income taxes and frees collected, on behalf of the Palestinians, on border terminals as the Palestinian Authority has no control over border terminals in the West Bank.
The money is usually transferred in the first three days of every month so that the P.A can pay salaries and other expenses.
The 194 member countries voted this week on Palestine membership with 107 votes in favor, 14 against and 52 abstentions. Among the countries who voted against were, the USA, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands. Meanwhile, the UK, Japan, Italy and Denmark abstained.
France, On the other hand, was in favor of Palestine’s membership at the UNESCO however, it said it would abstain if it had to vote on Palestine’s full membership at the UN Security Council. This is the first time a French official sources release such statement.
French Foreign Ministry sources said while the Palestinian UN bid for statehood is legitimate, it will not have a chance to pass the Security Council because the Unites States have said it will veto the Palestinian request.
At the same time, the sources added that voting against the Palestinian statehood request is expected to unleash a violent reaction in the Palestinian territories.
For IMEMC News, this is George Rishmawi
The West Bank and Gaza report
This week saw escalated attacks by the Israeli military on the Gaza Strip. Israeli warplanes launched 17 air strikes against various targets. As a result of these attacks, 12 Palestinian were killed 8 others were wounded including a child. IMEMC’s Majd Qumsiyeh reports:
On Saturday, five fighters were killed as Israeli warplanes bombarded a training site of the al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad movement in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. In a separate attack on the same day two fighters were killed when an Israeli jet-fighter fired a missile at two activists of the Al-Quds Brigades also in Rafah.
Meanwhile in central Gaza Strip, a fighter and a child were wounded when an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a number of activists of the Al-Quds Brigades in the central Gaza Strip.
Later in the day On Saturday an Israeli warplane fired a missile at two activists of al-Quds Brigades in Gaza City. The two activists were killed bringing the death toll on Saturday to nine.
On Sunday one fighter was killed, another seriously wounded, when an Israeli warplane fired a missile at two activists of the National Resistance Brigades, the armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, in Rafah city in the Gaza Strip.
Another two activists were killed on Sunday when Israeli jet-fighters fired 3 missiles at a group of fighters from Al-Ansar Brigades, the armed wing of Al-Ahrar Movement, in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis.
During the week Israeli warplanes bombarded a number of civilian targets in the Gaza Strip as well. As a result of these strikes, a country house and tow containers were destroyed and a number of houses, shops and farms were damaged.
Meanwhile in the West Bank this week the Israeli military conducted at least 56 military incursions into Palestinian communities, during which they arrested 8 civilians.
In one incident on Friday evening Israeli troops used a dog to attack a Palestinian civilian in Beit Umar town, southern West Bank. The civilian was injured and then taken by Israeli soldiers.
For IMEMC.org Majd Qumsiye
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 Banoura and Husam Qassis