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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for Wednesday November 16, 2011

In the news today, the six Palestinian Freedom Riders have been released from Israeli custody and Salam Fayyd is still Mahmoud Abbas’s choice to lead the interim government, these stories and more coming up; so stay tuned.

Following their arrest yesterday after trying to ride a ‘Settler-only’ bus to Jerusalem, the Freedom Riders have been released by the Israeli authorities. Huwaida Arraf, one of the activists involved, told the Ma’an News Agency, “We expect this to be the first of many waves. We have many more people who want to ride.’

Also in Jerusalem, the Israeli Authorities stripped the residency rights of Ammar Badriyya and his family after it was deemed his house does not fall within the boundaries of the city. Despite having shown authorities official maps of Jerusalem which had been drawn up by Israel after it occupied the eastern part of the city in 1967.

The Social Security Services have subsequently blocked all services to Badriyya and his family and ordered that they pay back one million Israeli shekels for all the payments and services they had accessed for the past decade.

Israeli Housing Minister, Ariel Atias, will begin entertaining bids for construction of thousands of Jewish settlement units in the West Bank. Permits have been issued for 1,953 new units and once the bids are finalised, construction will begin. Earlier this month, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu issued instructions to speed up settlement projects in the West Bank that would remain in Israeli control following any future peace deal.

Over in the Gaza strip, Israeli aircraft carried out more airstrikes, targeting various regions along the coast. Medical sources confirmed that three people were injured in the attacks that occurred at dawn. Eyewitnesses reported that Israeli helicopters fired flares along coast frightening residents into thinking further attacks were imminent.

Still in Gaza, the Ma’an News Agency has reported that Salam Fayyad is still President Abbas’s choice to lead a caretaker government. The final decision will take place later this month when Abbas meets his Hamas counterpart, Khalid Mashaal, in Cairo. The meeting will also be used to discuss the unity deal as well as the new government and the upcoming elections. The Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) will also be on the agenda.

That’s all for today from the IMEMC News, this was the Wednesday November 16th daily roundup of news from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We hope you will join us again tomorrow. This was brought to you by Hassam Qassis and myself, Adam Kerry.

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