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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for February 4th to 10th 2012
Main Palestinian rival groups Fatah and Hamas leaders met this week, as Israeli settlers stepped-up their attacks on Palestinians across the West Bank . 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. This week Israeli troops used tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets to suppress anti wall protests organized in a number of West Bank communities, leading to many injuries. IMEMC’s Gorge Rishmawi Reports:
Three journalists were injured and many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli troops attacked the weekly anti wall protest at the village of al Nabi Saleh in central West Bank. International and Israeli supporters joined al Nabi Saleh villagers and marched after the midday prayers.
Marchers carried photos of the Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan who has been on hunger strike for 54 days. Palestinian medical sources said that Adnan, who is currently in Safad hospital, is in critical health condition. The Palestinian leadership is currently making contact with some Arab leaders to mediate his immediate release. An Israeli court session was held at the hospital on Thursday in which the court delayed its decision until Sunday despite of his deteriorating health condition.
Israeli soldiers stopped the march before it left the village heading towards lands taken by the military to build a settlement there. Troops forced people back into the village by firing tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets at them. Witnesses said that three cameramen sustained moderate wounds from the tear gas and many locals suffered effects of tear gas inhalation.
Meanwhile at the nearby villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin organized their weekly anti wall protest. The two protests reached the gate of the wall separating farmers from their lands. Israeli soldiers stationed there fired tear gas and sound bombs at people. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In northern west Bank, villagers of Kufer Kadom and Kufer al Deek also protested the Israeli wall and settlements on Friday. At both locations Israeli soldiers attacked the unarmed protesters were tear gas. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Moreover on Friday in southern West Bank Israeli troops attacked the weekly anti wall protest at the village of Al-Ma’asara. The protest started after midday prayers. Israeli soldiers stopped protesters at the village entrance before they reached lands owned by local farmers that Israel is building the wall on. Later troops forced people back into the village using tear gas and rifle buts. The protest ended shortly after.
For IMEMC News this is George Rishmawi
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and Hamas’s exiled leader Khaled Mashal, agreed in Doha this week on implementing a pending unity deal between Hamas and Fatah. Meanwhile, Israel continued settlement buildings and rebuffed the Hamas-Fatah agreement. IMEMC;s Rami al Meghari has more:
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and Hamas’s exiled leader Khaled Mashal, agreed in Doha this week on implementing a pending unity deal between Hamas and Fatah. Meanwhile, Israel continued settlement buildings and rebuffed the Hamas-Fatah agreement.
A meeting between President Abbas and the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah asserted on the need for holding elections in the course of few months. Yet, some Hamas leaders in Gaza including MPs disagreed with Abbas-Mash’al agreement, saying it contravened Palestinian law and parliamentarian legislations of the Palestinian Authority.
Nevertheless, both parties’ leadership are looking forward implementing the unity deal on fair and democratic basis. The agreement states that the PA president holds the post of prime minister and that a cabinet of non-politically affiliated will be formed ahead of elections, slated for May 2012.
Some observers suggest that such elections will not be held in due time due to disparities among Hamas’s leadership both inside and in the Diaspora.
Meanwhile, Israeli leaders including Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and his foreign minister , Avigdor Liberman, rebuffed the recent Palestinian conciliation drive , blaming PA president Abbas for they termed siding with a ‘ terrorist group’.
In response, the PA announced outright that what has been reached in Doha is fairly a an internal Palestinian affair. The PA sent out messages to key international players, explaining such a Palestinian step. In a phone call with US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, President Mahmoud Abbas, briefed the American administration on the Doha declaration.
On the ground, Israel continued building settlements on the occupied Palestinian territories, the latest of which was a new housing project in the Palestinian town of Hebron. The PA has repeatedly rejected settlements building and demanded an immediate halt of them as a perquisite for resumption of peace talks.
Israel, US and EU have boycotted the Islamist Hamas, since the party has won the 2006 elections. Such bodies consider Hamas as counterproductive to peace unless it renounces violence, accepts peace agreements with Israel and recognizes Israel.
Rami Almeghari. IMEMC. Org, Gaza
West Bank and Gaza report
According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, eleven Palestinians were wounded, including four children. Over the course of the week, the Israeli Army launched forty-seven incursions into the West Bank, and arrested twenty-five civilians. IMEMC’s William Gibson with the details.
On Friday, a group of Israeli settlers Mehola settlement in the Jordan Valley, in the northeastern part of the West Bank, approached a Palestinian shepherd who was tending his sheep and beat him with sticks and clubs. Medical sources reported that 20-year old Mahdi Daraghma was admitted to the Jenin hospital with moderate injuries after he was severely beaten by a group of Israeli settlers.
At dawn on Tuesday, soldiers kidnapped fifteen Palestinians, mainly from the northern West Bank city of Nablus and its nearby villages and towns.
Later in the day, extremist Israeli settlers carried out another “price tag” attack, this time targeting a Christian Monastery in Jerusalem’s Valley of the Cross Monastery. The attack took place despite the fact that the location is close to the Israeli Parliament in the city. Also, “Death to Arabs” graffiti was sprayed on a wall of a school in another part of Jerusalem
Also on Tuesday, a number of armed Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian gas station on Tuesday in Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank, and forced the owners and the residents out. The attacked gas station, Jar Station, is located on the Jenin-Nablus road; no injuries were reported. The settlers also attacked a nearby former settlement outpost that was evacuated by the army.
In related news, soldiers invaded Jalboun village near Jenin on Tuesday evening, and installed a roadblock south of the city.
Near the village of Beit Ummar, north of the southwestern West Bank of Hebron, settlers uprooted nearly 25 newly-planted olive trees that belong to residents of Beit Ummar. Yousef Abu Maria, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar, told al-Quds Press News Agency that dozens of settlers attacked the area and uprooted the trees whilst Israeli soldiers were present in the area.
The land is located in near the illegal settlement of Karmie Tzur, north of Beit Ummar, Abu Maria added that the settlers have also installed a number of mobile homes in the settlement.
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 Ghassan Bannoura. and Husam Qassis