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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for December 10th to the 16th 2011
Conditional resumption of US funding to the Palestinian Authority, meanwhile settler violence increase especially targeting Mosques, 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.. IMEMC’s Doris Norrito with the story:
Dozens of people in the village of Bil’in, west of Ramallah, suffered the effects of poison gas in the weekly march organized by the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements. International and Israeli peace activists joined Palestinians to act in solidarity with the villagers of Nabi Saleh.
The march began after Friday prayers from the center of Bil’in village. Marchers headed for the land that had been liberated six months ago. Participants raised Palestinian flags and displayed pictures of Shaheed (Mustafa al-Tamimi) who was killed last Friday by a gas canister during the demonstration in his village of Nabi saleh.
The demonstrating participants chanted national slogans calling for the end of occupation and for tearing down the apartheid wall. They called on Palestinians to remain faithful to the objective goals of the Palestinian people and called for the freedom of all Palestinian prisoners.
In the Abu Lemon area, participants removed part of a barbed wire barrier when they first arrived. Soldiers, stationed behind the concrete wall, responded by shooting stun grenades and tear gas at the participants. Dozens of protesters succumbed to injuries, asphyxia and suffocation as a result. They were treated in the field by ambulance crews. Some protesters threw stones at the soldiers situated behind the wall. The Israeli occupation army chased the participants into olive groves and beyond to the outskirts of the village in an attempt to arrest them; none were arrested and the soldiers eventually retreated.
In the nearby village of Nabi Saleh, Israeli forces detained at least 15 people during a protest in the village on Friday. Demonstrators clashed with soldiers at a march to commemorate Mustafa Tamimi, a 28-year-old villager killed by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli soldiers, a week earlier.
The mother Tamimi led in the front line of the procession of marchers, witnesses said.
Witnesses also said that forces fired tear gas at the protesters. internationals, were detained at the entrance of Halamish settlement bordering Nabi Saleh.
The Ramallah-district village hosts weekly protests against land confiscation for the illegal settlement. Israel has cracked down on the village residents by carrying out night raids and arresting accused stone-throwers.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said 15 people, including Palestinians, Israelis and internationals, were detained at the entrance of Halamish settlement bordering Nabi Saleh.
For IMEMC News this is Doris Norrito
Iceland recognizes the Palestinian State and The US congress will resume funding to the Palestinian Authority for next year, the details with IMEMC’s Carmen Rodriguez
On Friday The U.S. Congress proposed to continue the American financial support to the Palestinian Authority (P.A) next year as long as it refrains from filing any other membership applications to United Nations agencies. The proposal that was released on Thursday, also states that the Palestinian representative office in Washington D.C. will remain open as along as Palestine is not accepted as a member in any other U.N. Institution.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister, Salaam Fayyad, stated that raising the Palestinian flag at the UNESCO headquarters is an important step. He claimed that this will be followed by other similar steps, until the Palestinian flag is raised on all mosques and churches in Jerusalem, and in countries around the world.
On Thursday, Iceland recognized Palestine as a state. During a special ceremony at its capital, Reykjavik, Iceland’s Foreign Minister officially informed that his country officially recognized Palestine as a state within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Meanwhile, with regards to this week’s settler’s attacks, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the Army Radio that he considered the recent attacks to be the work of “Jewish terrorists”.
On Saturday it was published that the United Nations General Assembly passed nine resolutions related to Palestine as part of a set of 24 resolutions and two texts related to human rights and decolonization.
Also on Saturday, Palestinian Prime Minister, Dr. Salaam Fayyad, stated that the statements of U.S. Republican Presidential Candidate, Newt Gingrich, are cheap and disgraceful. Gingrich stated on Friday that the Palestinians “are an invented people”.
For IMEMC News this is Carmen Rodriguez
West Bank and Gaza report
This week has seen an increase in violence from Israeli settlers and the army, with two Mosques being torched; a military based being attacked, and 21 Palestinian civilians, including eight children, being wounded. Five were killed in Gaza (two fighters, and a man and his child) and a protester was killed in the West Bank. IMEMC’s William Gibson with the details
Last Friday afternoon, Mustafa Tamimi, a 28 year old Palestinian activist from the village of Nabi Saleh, near the northern West Bank city of Ramallah, was critically injured after an Israeli soldier fired a tear gas canister into his face. Tamimi died the next day, and becomes the first person to die in the weekly protests at the village.
In an official statement, the army have claimed that the solider did not see Mustafa when he fired, and a military official tweet implied that the action was justified because he had a sling shot in his pocket when he was hit.
On Monday, extremist right wing settlers broke into a closed military zone between the West Bank and the Jordanian border. Their protest regarded King Abdullah of Jordan interfering in Israeli affairs. The Israeli army encircled the settlers, and prevented them from invading Jordanian territory. The incident occurred at the Jordan River, on the site believed to be where John the Baptist baptised Jesus.
More settlers attacked an Israeli military base near Qalqilia, whereby fifty settlers broke in, set fires and damaged vehicles.
Other settlers attacked military jeeps, and injured the Brigade Commander along the main road near the settlement of Ramat Gilad. The same settlers also three stones at Palestinian cars.
On Tuesday night, a small group of settlers attempted to burn down a Mosque in Jerusalem. After failing to gain entry, they tried to torch the external walls, and spray painted insulting graffiti.
A second mosque was also attacked, this time in Borqa village, just east of Ramallah. The arson attack damaged the ground floor and the first floor, with graffiti also being sprayed around the building. This is the third mosque to be attack within the last 10 days, and the string of attacks comes as tension mounts over the impending dismantlement of numerous illegal outposts within the West Bank.
The settlers in question claim that Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, is responsible for the escalation, and claimed that Barak “discriminates against the settlers and their settlements.”
On Wednesday evening, clashes occurred in Jerusalem after police attempted to arrest those suspected in several of the recent attacks.
Dozens of settler youth arrived to prevent the police gaining access to the suspect apartment, and clashed with the police and several tires were slashed. The police managed to raid the apartment and made six arrests.
Several were injured over the week in Gaza, including two injured- one of them a child been injury on Tuesday, after an army incursion near the al-Boreij refugee camp. A third person, was shot in the thigh in a separate incident on Wednesday.
Four homes were demolished in Beit Jala, near Bethlehem, earlier on in the week.
The residents in question had been barred from their lands due to its proximity a nearby tunnel linking Jerusalem to a settlement. They claim they received no demolition notices or orders from the Civil Administration.
Ayman Daraghma, has become the 24th elected Palestinian Legislator to be put behind bars, after the Israeli army arrested him from his home in Ramallah on Wednesday. Daraghma, belonging to Hamas run Change and Reform Bloc, was only released from a 20month prison sentence a year ago.
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.
We would like to inform you that IMEMC will not produce ‘This Week in Palestine,’ next week, and we will be back with you December 30.
Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem, This report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and me George Rishmawi