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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org for Monday January 16th, 2012.

An aid convoy reaches the Gaza strip, and protesting Israeli Jews are arrested in Beit Shemesh, these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.

Over the weekend, the eighth in a series of aid conveys, named the Miles of Smiles Eight, arrived in Gaza. Forty eight European and Arab activists participated in the convoy consisting of numerous vehicles, including; ambulances, modified vehicles for the disabled and electric scooters.

The cars were held up in Egypt for several weeks due to the elections, but were finally, allowed to enter via Rafah crossings after the Egyptian authorities granted them permission.

The organizers state that they will continue with these convoys so long as the Gaza Strip is subjected to a blockade. The official aid flowing into Gaza has restrictions placed upon it, and numerous vital goods are prohibited. So whilst two tons is small compared to the monthly aid which flows into Gaza (nearly 150,000 tons in November), the aid brought in is much needed.

Also over the weekend, clashes took place between Israeli police and ultra-Orthodox Haredi jews, in the town of Beit Shemesh, just west of Jerusalem.

Tensions have been rising due to the rapid influx of orthodox Jews over the past decade into the relatively moderate and secular city. Tempers flared several weeks ago after the abuse and harassment of young girls by Haredi men as they walked to school was aired on a national documentary, resulting in a mass protest which drew in thousands.

Several members of the Haredi community were arrested for tax fraud and money laundering, leading Jewish youth to set up barricades and throw rocks at police officers. Four youth were arrested, and clashes were also reported in Jerusalem.

Today, Monday, it was reported that settlers torched the car of a Palestinian Authority Intelligence officer, Mohammad Ghannam. The attack occurred in the West Bank city of Ramallah, in front of Ghannam’s home.

In other news a Palestinian protesting the peace talks in Amman, between Dr. Saeb Erekat and Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molcho, was arrested in Ramallah after security forces dispersed the non-violent demonstration.

Said Al-Edreesy, aged 22, was taken by Palestinian security officials and was repeatedly beaten, and held for two hours before being released. The Ad-Dameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association issued a press release denouncing the security forces.

That’s all for today from the IMEMC News, this was the Monday January 16th daily roundup of news from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We hope you will join us again tomorrow. This was brought to you by Husam Qassis, and me, William Gibson.

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