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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for January 28 through February 3rd 2012
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s visit of the Gaza Strip unwelcomed while Palestinians still far from implementing the reconciliation agreement between the rival Hamas and Fatah parties, and the Israeli military continues with invasions of Palestinian towns and villages, 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. when Israeli troops attacked anti wall protests organized in a number of West Bank villages:
On Friday, in the village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, Israeli forces injured eight people and detained two journalists during the weekly demonstration against Israeli land confiscation and settlements.
Villagers, joined by international and Israeli supporters, marched after the midday prayers. when they reached the land, troops forced people back into the village by firing tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets, and sprayed them with chemical water.
Also on Friday, at the nearby village of Bil’in, residents along with international and Israeli peace activists protested the Israeli Wall on their lands, raising Palestinian flags and pictures of prisoner Ashraf Abu Rahma, and MP Marwan Barghouthi, who is serving five life sentences. Marchers also chanted slogans calling for national unity and support of Palestinian resistance.
In Ni’lin, international peace activists marched along with the villagers after the midday prayers, reaching the gate of the wall separating farmers from their lands. In the subsequent demonstration, protesters chanted slogans to support prisoners and their right to liberty, especially to prisoner Khader Adnan, who has been on hunger strike for almost 50 days and also slogans condemning the wall and the settlements.
Israeli soldiers stationed there fired tear gas and sound bombs at the protestors, and attacked them with their rifle butts.
In the southern West Bank, villagers of al-Ma’sara protested the wall on Friday as well. The protests stared at midday in solidarity with the prisoners on hunger strike in Israel prisons.
They also protested against the building of the wall on their land and demanded the Palestinian political groups to boost the national reconciliation as a needed step to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and establishing an independent Palestinian state. Israeli troops soon arrived and fired tear gas at the protesters; many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Palestinians and Israelis are still unable to reach an understanding on resumption of their peace negotiations as UN’s Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon met with both sides this week, IMEMC Rami Al-Meghari has more
Palestinians insist that any resumption of peace talks should commence only after Israel stops all settlement activities on occupied Palestinian territories. In his meeting with Palestinian officials in Ramallah, UN’s Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, said any peaceful settlement between Israelis and Palestinians should see the light through negotiations.
The UN’s top official also believed that the PA’s move at the UN regarding recognition of a Palestinian State on 1967 border lines can be counterproductive.
Israeli officials told Ki-Moon that Israel will be ready to go back to negotiations table once the Palestinian Authority reconsiders its lon-standing position concerning peace talks. Peace talks between the two sides were stalled in September 2010 amidst continued Israeli settlement activities on occupied East Jerusalem and West Bank.
The PA considers the lands on which settlements are being built as boundaries of the future Palestinian state and that Israel has breached international legitimacy resolutions including resolution 242 of the UN Security Council, drafted in 1967 and demanded Israel to withdraw immediately from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.
From the Gaza Strip, Ki-Moon understood Israel’s need to preserve security of its citizens but refused what he called Israel’s excessive measures against the population of Gaza, mainly the now five-year-blockade on Gaza. The UN’s secretary also called on Palestinians to stop firring homemade rockets onto nearby Israeli areas.
In the Arab Gulf country of Qattar, Palestinian Prime Minister of Hamas, Ismail Haniya, said that Doha has promised to commence reconstruction of the war-torn Gaza. Haniya’s met with the Qattari prince in an effort to garner support for the Palestinian cause.
At the internal level, committees on reconciliation between the rival Hamas and Fatah parties have not yet been able to reach understandings on a number of conciliation-related issues. Both Fatah and Hamas signed a conciliation deal in Cairo in May of 2011. Sources within both parties said recently a meeting between Hamas’s Khaled Mashal and Fatah’s PA president Mahmoud Abbas is likely soon.
For IMEMC News, I am Rami Almeghari in Gaza
West Bank and Gaza report
Over the week, Israeli forces conducted 56 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they arrested twelve Palestinians, including three children. Soldiers also detained four Palestinian civilians, including two children, at various checkpoints across the West Bank. IMEMC’s William Gibson with the details.
On Saturday at dawn, Palestinian local sources reported that an Israeli missile targeted the home Abu Hajjaj in the neighborhood of Ash-Shujaa’eya, east of Gaza. Damage was reported, but no injuries. The strike comes after a Palestinian rocket was fired from Gaza into the Western Negev late on Friday evening, also resulting in no injuries.
An Israeli driver hit a Palestinian teenager at a checkpoint near Jerusalem on Saturday, and then drove off in an apparent hit-and-run attack. Despite the high number of Israeli soldiers who were present at the scene, the drive got away after running directly into 18-year old Suleiman Abu Mahamid. Mahamid was standing just outside the al-Zayyam checkpoint in Abu Dis neighborhood, in East Jerusalem when he was struck by the vehicle, and was taken to a medical facility in Ramallah.
On Saturday night and Sunday dawn, Israeli soldiers arrested three Palestinians in Hebron city in the southern part of the West Bank, and in the nearby town of Beit Ummar. The army arrested Nasr Ikhlayyil, aged 23, along with Mohammad Al-Allami, aged 20, and Farid Al-Oweiwy, 26.
On Monday night, Israeli soldiers arrested two men in the Gaza Strip, Ahmad Hussein Aathra, 19, a member of the National Security Forces in Gaza and son of the advisor of the Gaza-based Minister of Interior, as well as taking Hajjaj As-Soufi, aged 17, who was with him at the time.
A Gazan farmer was shot on Tuesday whilst he worked his land. The farmer crossed into the buffer-zone of the border of the Gaza Strip and Israel, which extends for several hundred metres into Gaza.
Also on Tuesday, Ma’an News Agency and the Palestinian Authority’s news service, WAFA, suffered from repeated attacks by hackers, leading to periods where their news sites were inaccessible. Comments from the agencies to the Associated Press stated that they were unaware as to the source of the attacks, but they do follow recent digital scuffles between Israeli hackers and those that support Palestinians.
Six men have been detained in the West Bank on Tuesday, including a Hamas leader from Jenin, identified as Muhammad as-Sayyed, 50 years old, who is a lecturer at al-Quds Open University and a leader in the Hamas movement.
A report was released by Palestinian researcher Riyadh Al-Ashqar, specialized in detainees’ affair, stating that more than 320 Palestinians in numerous parts of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and occupied East Jerusalem during the month of January. This includes four elected legislators, 53 children, eight women, and one former detainee, including the head of the Legislative Council, Dr. Aziz Dweik.
Palestinian medical sources reported Wednesday that a Palestinian woman was seriously injured after a number of fundamentalist Israeli settlers hurled stones at a vehicle on the Yitzhar-Nablus road, in the northern part of the West Bank. The woman, Maysar Abdul-Majeed, 60 years old, was in a vehicle driving in the area when the settlers hurled stones at the car, causing an injury to her head.
On Thursday an estimated 8 rockets were fired from Gaza into Shaar Hanegev regional council area in southern Israel, resulting in Israel firing shells into an area in the North of the Strip, neither strikes resulting in any injuries.
However on Friday, Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that a Palestinian child and a young man were wounded on Friday at dawn, when the Israeli Air Force bombarded a number of areas in the coastal region. The child has been identified as four year old Hayat Taha; both have been moved to a hospital in Beit Lahia.
For IMEMC News this is William Gibson
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