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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for December 24th to the 30th 2011
Palestinians commemorate the third anniversary of the war on Gaza which claimed the lives of more than 1500 Palestinians as Israeli settlers and military step up attacks in the West Bank and especially in Gaza, 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..
A number of Palestinian and international solidarity activists were wounded, and several others were detained in numerous anti-wall protests taking part in a number of West Bank villages.
In their weekly protest, the villagers of Kufr Qaddum, near the West Bank city of Nablus, organized a march joined by hundreds of residents and international supporters. Israeli soldiers suppressed the protest by firing a number of tear gas canisters and concussion grenades at them.
Several were wounded as a result of this, and were treated by field medics. Protestors raised Palestinian and Fatah party flags to commemorate the forty seventh anniversary of the establishment of the Fatah party.
In the village of Al-Ma’asara, near Bethlehem, Israeli troops detained Irene Nasser, aged 35, from Nazareth, in addition to an international supporter who was at the protest.
Likewise in Kufur Qaddum, protesters celebrated the forty seventh anniversary of Fatah. Protestors also chanted slogans calling on the United Nations Security Council to approve the Palestinian bid of statehood submitted last September.
In the meantime, in the village of Bil’in, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, one resident was wounded and dozens suffered tear gas inhalation, after the gas was fired by the Israeli military to suppress the protest.
Hundreds of local, international and Israeli protestors joined the march and chanted slogans commemorating the third anniversary of the Israeli war on Gaza (2008-2009) during which around 1,500 people were killed in the 21-day assault against the besieged costal strip.
Mohammad al-Khatib, aged 19, was wounded when a rubber-coated steel bullet struck in his neck; he was transferred to the hospital for treatment.
Some protestor wore Santa Claus costumes, and sent Christmas Greeting’s to those celebrating Christmas in Palestine and the rest of the world.
At the town of Qalandia, near Ramallah, the Fatah party organized a march to commemorate its forty-seventh anniversary, where protestors chanted slogans and waved Palestinian flags. Israeli troops fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at the protestors, causing dozens to choke.
Later, an Israeli military unit invaded the village looking for protesters, however no arrests were reported.
Israel imposes more restrictions on Arab members of Knesset and the US to resume funding of the PA for the year 2012, IMEMC’s Doris Norrito Reports
On Tuesday, Likud Party Member of Knesset, Danny Danon, presented a draft of a new legislation that calls for the firing of any member of Knesset who refuses to recognize Israel as a “Democratic Jewish State”, or supports organizations that are considered “hostile and terrorist”.
The Knesset had also passed “Acceptance Committees” legislation that allows Jewish communities in Israel to pick and choose who lives there. The legislation mainly targets the presence of Arabs, especially in the Negev and the Galilee. It also targets single-parent families and same-sex couples.
Also on Tuesday, Israeli authorities said it will open the Karm Abu Salem, also known as Kerem Shalom, crossing to allow some basic material to enter into the beseiged Gaza Strip, Palestinian Media Sources reported Thursday.
The Milad News Agency reported on Tuesday that the head of the Political Bureau of the Hamas movement, Khaled Mashal, stated that the Hamas supports the Syrian President, Bashar Assad. Mashal commented, “As he supported the Palestinian resistance and the Palestinian people in every possible way.’
On Wednesday, December 28, the Israeli municipal government for the city of Jerusalem approved the construction of an additional 130 units in Gilo settlement, near Bethlehem. This action follows the previous approval of over 1,000 new settlement buildings in the West Bank, and 650 in East Jerusalem.
A report on Thursday stated that as Palestinians commemorated the third anniversary of a massive Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the Palestinian Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, called on the Arab League nations to show support for the people of Gaza and push for an end to the five-year long siege that has devastated the Gazan economy.
In the mean time, the US congress passed a bill to continue the financial support the Palestinian Authority for the year 2012. A statement by the US Department of State said that the US would resume funding to the PA to avoid the collapse of the Palestinian security apparatus, which, according to the statement, will reflect negatively on the security of Israel.
In a previous statement, the US Congress passed a bill to freeze $200 million US dollars in direct aid to the PA; however, they released these funds with a pre-condition that the Palestinians do not apply for membership at other UN organizations.
The US also said this week that it will impose sanctions on Palestine if it passes the vote for full UN membership at the UN Security Council.
For IMEMC News this is Doris Norrito
West Bank and Gaza report
Dozens have been arrested across the West Bank, including four children and a University professor, and the third anniversary of the invasion of Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, is marked by airstrikes and attacks in the Gaza strip, which has resulted in two deaths and scores of injuries. IMEMC’s William Gibson with the details.
Friday 23, just two days before Christmas day, saw another round of protests and attacks in the village of Bil’in, whereby Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals came together to protest the Israeli Annexation wall and settlements around the village. Protesters carried Palestinians flags, and two dressed as Santa Claus, ringing small bells, in honour of Palestinian Christians. Baton rounds stun grenades and tear gas were used to disperse the crowds.
On Tuesday, Mohammad Al-Talibani, aged 13, was injured after being struck in the foot by a live round. Earlier on in the day, the Salah Ed-Deen Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, engaged the Israeli army after they had moved into the area. Later, Mohammad was struck by a bullet fired by an Israeli soldier, and moved to the al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital.
Later that same day, one Palestinian was killed, and eleven were wounded after Israel launched two separate strikes, only hours apart. A jeep was hit, with the Israeli army stating that the intended targets were resistance fighters, and motor-cyclist was hit in Jabalia, who was a member of Islamic Jihad.
Israeli police discovered that those responsible for the attack on the Israeli military base on December 12. Students at the Merca Harav Yeshiva school and were led by a West Bank settler on a hired bus. They picked up old tires and gasoline en-route, and proceeded to break into the base, lighting fires and vandalizing buildings.
On Wednesday, an Israeli naval ship attacked the Oliva boat, which hosted a group of International Observers, and the Palestinian captain of the Civil Peace Service Gaza. The Naval ship sailed around them, causing waves which threatened to capsize their small vessel. Despite being protested to stop, the Israeli ship passed just metres away, with the resulting wave ejecting the captain into the sea, where he suffered an injury to his leg. The Israeli ship left after 20minutes.
On Thursday morning, Israeli fighter-jets shelled two locations, which the Israeli Air Force claims were sights used by Palestinian fighters to train and fire into Israel. Prior to the airstrikes, four Palestinian home-made shells were fired into the Western Negev; no injuries were reported in either incident.
Israeli Security Forces arrested prominent right-wing Jewish activists in a West Bank settlement on Thursday, over allegations of monitoring the movements of Israeli soldiers in the area. Administrative detention was approved by the Israeli PM, and is being imposed on the settlers, in a step to combat the increased number of attacks on Israeli soldiers, but he rejected a recommendation to label them a “terror group.”
This morning, Friday 30, one Palestinian was killed and five were injured after the Israeli army shelled an area east of Gaza city. The wounded men, who were farmers working their land, have been taken to a nearby hospital. The deceased, confirmed as Mo’min Abu Daff, is reportedly a member of an Islamic Salafist group, Jund Ansar Assuna.
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, we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in 2012 This report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and me George Rishmawi