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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for November 19th to the 25th 2011.
Palestinian rival parties Fatah and Hamas are close to reconciliation, after the leaders met in Cairo, meanwhile Israeli military break into several homes of the recently released Palestinian prisoners. These stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
The Nonviolence Report
Let’s begin our weekly report with the nonviolent activities in the West Bank. 10 Palestinians were injured, one critically, when Israeli soldiers used rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas to suppress anti wall protests in a number of villages on Friday. The details with IMEMC’s Ghassan Bannoura
In central West Bank, Israeli soldiers fired rubber coated steel bullets and tear gas at the villagers of Bil’in, Nilin and al Nabi Saleh who protested the wall along with their international and Israeli supporters.
10 civilians were injured, one critically, when troops attacked the villagers of al Nabi Saleh and their international and Israeli supporters. Troops also attacked the village after the weekly protest and attacked people homes with comical water and tear gas. Three men were arrested this week during night raids targeting the village of al Nabi Saleh as the army attempted to stop the weekly protest from taking place.
Meanwhile in the nearby Bil’in and Nil’in villages, soldiers fired tear gas at protesters as soon as they reached then wall, many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In northern West Bank, villagers of Kufer Kadum along with their international supporters marched against the army closer of the road leading in and out of the village since ten years and the construction of the wall on their lands. Troops fired tear gas at protesters. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation
In southern West Bank; troops used rifle buts and batons to attacked the weekly anti wall protest at the village of al Ma’ssara. Troops attacked protesters at the village entrance. No injuries were reported.
For IMEMC news this is Ghassan Bannoura.
The Political Report
Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Hamas Political Bureau Chief, Khaled Mashal have announced that general and presidential elections will take place in May 2012 while the Israeli government receives international condemnation over its withholding of Palestinian tax money. IMEMC’s Adam Kerry Reports
The meeting in Cairo this week between President Abbas and Khaled Mashal has affirmed the Palestinian Unity agreement and forged a new partnership between the two political parties. After the meeting Abbas told waiting reporters ,“I am pleased to inform the Arab and Islamic Nations that we started a new phase of partnership to best serve the Palestinian people.”
On his part, Mashal also stated that this meeting is considered a new stage of unity, partnership and seriousness in implementing not only all sections of the Unity Agreement, but also ensuring full partnership in dealing with the current situation, and the future.
Egyptian officials, who participated in the meeting said that it was the first step in a series of meetings between the two political movements in order to prepare for the upcoming elections, discuss the reconstruction of Gaza and unifying all institutions of the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
The Israeli government is coming under increasing pressure to release Palestinian tax money it has withheld for over a month. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, received calls early this week from US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Envoy for the Middle East Peace Quartet, Tony Blair also urged Israel to release the funds without any further delay saying that withholding the funds benefits “only those that oppose peace.”
Moreover, French Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Bernard Valero, stated that his government condemns the continued withholding of Palestinian tax revenue, adding that this money is rightfully for the Palestinians, and by withholding them, Israel is violating its own obligations under the 1994 Paris protocol.
Valero said that the Israeli violation is suffocating the Palestinian Authority and making it unable to perform its duties, adding that the Palestinian tax revenue is around $100 Million a month.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad outlined how serious the situation was becoming stating yesterday that the Palestinian Authority was ‘fast approaching the point of being completely incapacitated.’
The funds in question are vital for the Palestinian Authority to pay salaries and pensions as well as develop infrastructure.
For IMEMC News, this is Adam Kerry.
The West Bank and Gaza report
This week saw more attacks by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Dozens of incursions took place, whereby nineteen Palestinians, including four under eighteen, were arrested. Israeli forces have broken into the houses of several recently released detainees from the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, and five Palestinians have been kidnapped at checkpoints across the West Bank. Dores Nerrito with the details.
On Saturday a Palestinian prisoner who suffers from a chronic health condition was given the wrong injection at an Israeli prison hospital, causing his health to deteriorate.
Riyadh Al-Amor, 42, was treated at the Ramle prison hospital for a chronic heart condition. The injection he received caused temporary paralysis, and Al-Amor has had difficulty moving or walking since the injection was given.
In the latest early morning raids carried out by Israeli forces in the West Bank, on Monday, Israeli troops arrested six Palestinians, including one who was released last month from an Israeli prison as part of a prisoner swap deal.
Released prisoner, 59-year-old Sheikh Abdul Rahmad Salah, was interrogated for two hours by Israeli troops on Monday morning at his home in Jenin. During the course of the interrogation, the soldiers told Salah that he was considered to be ‘on probation’.
An Israeli man whose father is a senior officer in the Shin Bet (secret service) was charged with issuing a death threat against members of an Israeli peace group. When the accused was brought before a judge, he requested a ‘gag order’ be issued in the case.
The father of the accused was also present in the courtroom, and shouted at journalists -Quote- “Do you know who I am?”-Unquote-, and told the journalists that they would be imprisoned if they revealed his son’s identity. The judge granted the request.
Israeli soldiers invaded the northern West Bank city of Jenin and the surrounding areas at dawn on Tuesday, and arrested eight members of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Palestinian security sources stated that Israeli soldiers detonated small explosives on the doors during the incursion, causing damage to the properties, and spreading panic among the local residents.
On Tuesday night Israeli war-jets carried out a number of air-strikes in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. They also opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats in Rafah and Khan Younis.
Local sources added that the army fired at least one missile at a former settlement, while Israeli Navy vessels opened up automatic fire at fishing boats in Palestinian territorial waters, also in Khan Younis and Rafah.
Earlier on Tuesday evening, Israeli war-jets bombarded a training centre that belongs to the Salah Ed-Deen Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees in Rafah; damage was reported, no injuries.
Israeli forces have used a bulldozer to destroy three wells and part of a home in the village of al-Bass, west of 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. The wells were located just inside the separation wall, an area where Israel has confiscated water from the natural springs to be used by Israeli citizens.
For IMEMC News this is Doris Norrito
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