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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for December 3rd to the 9th 2011
An Israeli escalation of attacks against the Gaza Strip leaves a number of Palestinians dead and injured, meanwhile efforts to end Palestinian division continue, 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.
Five civilians were injured, one cortically , and two arrested as Israeli soldiers used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets to suppress anti wall protests organized at a number of West Bank communities on Friday. IMEMC’s Ghassan Bannoura with the story:
In central West Bank, villagers of al Nabi Saleh, Bil’in and Nil’in protested the wall along with their international and Israeli supporters.
Three were injured, one of them arrested, when Israeli soldiers attacked the villagers of al Nabi Saleh and their international and Israeli supporters. Today the village marked the second anniversary of the weekly protest against the Israeli wall and settlements being built on lands owned by local farmers.
Among those three injured were Mustafa Al Tamimmi, 27, who was shot in the head by a gas bomb, troops arrested him and moved him to a military hospital, witnesses reported.
Meanwhile at the village of Bil’in, a Palestinian cameraman was slightly injured and many protesters surfed effects of tear gas inhalation when troops attacked the weekly anti wall protest as soon as it reached the wall. In the nearby Nil’in village troops also attacked villagers and their Israeli and international supporters as soon as they got to the Israeli wall built on local farmers lands. 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
Also on Friday two Palestinians were arrested another two slightly wounded when Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly anti wall protest at the village of al Ma’ssara, in southern West Bank. Troops used rifle buts and batons to attack the weekly anti wall protest at the village entrance.
For IMEMC news this is Ghassan Bannoura.
The Palestinian Authority still determined to peruse full UN recognition as Hamas and Fatah are very close to end division, the details in the following report.
Hamas and Fatah met in the Gaza Strip in order to sort out the final stages of the reconciliation process signed in Cairo two weeks ago. The two parties are to resolve the latest issues regarding the Palestinian National Unity Government and the Presidential and parliamentary elections slated to be held in May 2012.
Hamas has demanded that elections should be held in Jerusalem and that its members to be allowed to participate in the elections. The demand is expected to be rejected by Israel who might get under pressure from the International community as it will be accused of obstructing the democratic process.
In other news, representatives of the Palestinian Authority have announced that they will continue with their attempt to achieve recognition as a state by the United Nations, despite the Security Council’s inability to reach a consensus on Palestinian statehood last month.
Although the statehood bid was one vote short of the nine votes necessary to pass the UN Security Council, the Palestinian Authority was able to get endorsements from 144 of the 192 countries in the United Nations General Assembly.
The Palestinian bid for statehood was submitted to the United Nations Security Council in September, and was sent to the new member committee of the UN Security Council. The statehood bid involved the recognition of Palestine as a state on the 1967 borders with Israel, and East Jerusalem as its capital.
In recent developments, around six home-made Qassam shells and Grad rockets hit open areas near Ashdod on Friday following a deadly Israeli airstrike over night on the Gaza Strip.
In the meantime, Egypt blamed Israel for the latest escalation of Israeli attacks which left a number of Palestinians dead and wounded. The Egyptian Ambassador to Palestine, Yasser Othman stated that Israel is behind the latest wave of violence, and demanded Tel Aviv to stop its assaults, so that Cairo can hold talks to regain clam in the region.
He added that Egypt is heavily involved in the efforts to restore calm, and that Israel needs to stop its military escalation in order for these efforts to succeed.
On the other hand, the Israeli military held Hamas responsible for the death of the Palestinian father and the injury of 17 others including 7 children caused by the latest Israeli airstrike.
A spokesperson of the Israeli army claimed that explosions took place after the army carried out an air strike in Gaza City, adding that side explosions took place following the strike and attributed the explosions to the claim that Hamas and other armed groups stored weapons and explosives near the targeted area.
This escalation comes shortly after a senior Hamas leader stated that the movement will adopt a nonviolent strategy to resist the Israeli occupation.
Dr. Ahmad Yousef, a senior political leader of the Hamas movement, stated last week that the recent meeting between President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas Political Bureau Chief, Khaled Mashal, set the vision of a unified strategy for the struggle against the occupation, adding that the movement is adopting nonviolent resistance as a strategy.
Yousef said that adopting popular, nonviolent resistance will open several gates in front of Hamas, and that nonviolent struggle will not give Israel the opportunity to keep striking the Gaza Strip, he added that “If the enemy decides to attack Gaza, we will defend ourselves.”
West Bank and Gaza report
This week saw daily airstrikes by the Israeli Military in the Gaza Strip, and constant incursions by the Israeli Army took place in the West Bank, whereby over forty Palestinians –including several children- were detained over the week. IMEMC’s William Gibson with the details. Last weekend, the Israeli Army arrested three Palestinian youth, all aged fifteen, as they were picking olive trees near the settlement of Eli, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
On Sunday, a raid of several villages in the Bethlehem area led to the arrest of four men, two of whom were brothers. In Beit Ummar, Hebron, a nineteen year old was also arrested, and had his personal computer confiscated.
On Monday, nine more Palestinians were arrested across the West Bank, in pre-dawn raids in the regions of Hebron, Nablus and Bethlehem, and three teenagers were also arrested in Ad Doho town, west of Bethlehem, as the returned from a sports event in the evening.
In Khan Younis, Gaza, a dawn raid occurred on Tuesday after armoured vehicles entered the area. Shot were heard, with damages being reported to several homes, with no injuries.
At the same time, troops invaded Kufr Qaddoum village, near the northern West Bank town of Qalqilia, and arrested several residents, including Anas Barham, Rif’at Barham, Abdullah Rajab aged 20, and Abdul Anwar, aged 21.
A fighter of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, was killed on Tuesday evening. After clashing with Israeli soldiers just east of Gaza city, Ismael Al-Ar’eer, 23, was shelled in an attack which led to his death, and the wounding of trhee others.
Back in the West Bank, extremist Israeli settlers set fire to the Broqeen Mosque at dawn on Wednesday, at a village near the city of Salfit. Several armed settlers invaded the village to light the fire, but managed to only damage the entrance to the Mosque, and then proceeded to set ablaze several cars.
On Thursday, a separate group of extremist settlers open fire at a group of Palestinian shepherds, in the eastern hills of the West Bank city of Nablus.
Four settlers approached them, near the village of Yanoun, shot at them with automatic fire. The shepherds took shelters from the attack, and none were hit. The settlers also hurled stones at the flock of sheep they were tending.
Over in Gaza, the Israeli Air Force assassinated two fighters of the Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, after firing missile at their car in the centre of Gaza City on Thursday.
The two were identified as Sobhi Al Batsh, 21, and Isam Al Batsh, their bodies were severely mutilated and several bystanders were also wounded.
Another strike occurred this morning at Friday dawn, resulting in the death of one Palestinian, 38 year old Bahjat Az-Za’lin, and the injuring of seventeen others. Many of the wounded were members of his family, including his wife and several children.
For IMEMC News this is William Gibson.
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