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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for Thursday November 24, 2011.
In the news today, the Israeli Knesset passes a controversial bill that attacks the right to free speech and the Israeli military has destroyed wells near Hebron, these stories and more coming up; so stay tuned.
The israeli government has passed a bill dubbed the “libel law” which is increases the compensation for the victims of libel violations to NIS 300,000. This is a six-fold increase from the amount payable under the existing libel laws. The bill goes further by saying that any statement that is considered libel and is released internationally without giving the subjects a chance to defend themselves could lead to offenders being order to pay as much as NIS 1.5 million.
Mr Uri Orbach of the Jewish Home Party, voted against the bill saying that the high fines this bill is calling for could make a person “prefer to kill than to slander”. This is in reference to the fact that the fines imposed on those guilty of murder are far less than those proposed in this bill.
President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashall have emerged from their meeting today hailing a new partnership between both parties. ‘We want to assure our people and the Arab and Islamic world that we have turned a major new and real page in partnership on everything do to with the Palestinian nation,’ Mashaal said.
Earlier in the day, the Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said that his government would not be transferring any tax revenue to a Fatah-Hamas Unity Government. During a meeting in Montenegro he was quoted as saying ‘Israel will not recognize it, will not negotiate with it, and will not transfer it even one dime,’ if the Unity government doesn’t accept the principles outlined by the Middle East Peace Quartet. The principles in question state that any Palestinian government respect any past peace agreements and recognise Israel’s right to exist, reports Haaretz.
In recent days Israel has felt pressure from both the United States and the United Nations to release the funds, including being urged by Tony Blair, the Quartet’s envoy to the Middle East. He called on Israel to transfer the money without any further delay saying that withholding the funds benefits “only those who oppose peace.”
Reports coming out of the West Bank have stated that Israeli forces have used a bulldozers to destroy vital infrastructure near Hebron. The Ma’an News agency reported that three rooms of local farmer Abdul Awwad’s house were destroyed in addition to three drinking wells close by.
Over in the village of al-Mafqara, Israeli authorities demolished solar panels and water pipes that were used to supply electricity and drinking water to the local community. Local resident Nasr al-Nawaja told Ma’an “’By cancelling the project, the Israeli occupation is confiscating people’s basic human rights,’
That’s all for today from the IMEMC News, this was the Thursday November 24th daily roundup of news from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We hope you will join us again tomorrow. This was brought to you by Hasam Qassis and myself, Adam Kerry.