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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center,, for Wednesday February 1st, 2012.

Israel is named as the second most educated country in the world, and the UN Secretary-General arrives for a series of Middle East talks, these stories and more, coming up, so stay tuned.

In a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Israel has been named the second most educated country in the world, with 45% of its population having attained a University or College diploma.

According to the report, the five most educated countries are listed as Canada, Israel, Japan, the United States, and New Zealand.

In other news, Israeli authorities have indicted a West Bank couple who imprisoned the man’s daughter for nearly ten years. The girl Baraa Melhem, aged 20, slept in a bathroom or another room, uncovered and on a blanket, and was only let out at night to do house work.

She was finally rescued last month by Palestinian security forces, who arrested her father Hassan Melhem. The indictment was finally filed to an Israeli court yesterday, and Baraa is currently living with her mother in the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

The current Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has won the internal elections to remain head of the right-wing Likud Party. With 85% of the vote currently in, Netanyahu as attained 74% of the vote, a decisive victory similar to the last vote held in 2007.

Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, started a series of talks with both Israeli and Palestinians officials on Wednesday, by holding a meeting with Israeli President, Shimon Peres, in Jerusalem. He will also be heading to the West Bank city of Ramallah.

His tour aims at convincing both Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to continue the “exploratory talks” that were held in Amman under Jordanian mediation and supervision. The talks did not lead to any breakthrough.

A U.N. official said that the government on Benjamin Netanyahu must conduct what he called “good gestures” so that the meetings can be resumed, and called on the Palestinians to resume the Amman talks.

Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, has proposed to expand the pilot currently programme operating in the Jerusalem district, in which high school students are taken on Heritage tours to see Hebron. He wishes to make the programme available nation-wide, whereby schools can choose to send the students on a trip to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, and see that quote- “A Jewish community has existed in Hebron for so many years, even when the people of Israel were all in exile. According to our faith, Jews will always live in Hebron.” -Unquote.

The Israeli police recently cancelled a government programme which would take high school students on a tour of Hebron, led by the organisation breaking the Silence, a group which dedicates itself to collecting testimonies of solders who served in the West Bank. The programme was cancelled due to pressure from right-wing settler groups.

That’s all for today from the IMEMC News, this was the Wednesday February 1st daily roundup of news from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We hope you will join us again tomorrow. This has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and me, William Gibson.