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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for February 25th to March 2 2012
While Palestinian leaders announced that the PLO is considering halt of security coordination with Israel, Political detainees continued to protest Israel’s administrative detention while Gaza power plant goes offline this week. 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 many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation as soldiers suppressed anti wall protests organized in a number of West Bank villages. IMEMC’s Vika Awad Reports:
In central West Bank, troops attacked the weekly anti wall protests organized at the villages of Bil’in, Nil’in and al Nabi Saleh. Israeli and international supporters joined villagers after the midday prayers at all three locations. This week the protests were in solidarity with political detainee in Israeli Jails Hana Ash-Shalabi, who is on hunger strike for 16 days in protest of her captivity.
Soldiers fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters in al Nabi Saleh before they left the village, moreover troops invaded the village and fired tear gas at residents homes, many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Meanwhile at the nearby Bil’in and Nil’in, Israeli soldiers attacked protesters as soon as they reached the wall with tear gas. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation at both locations.
In southern West Bank also on Friday villagers of Al Ma’ssara, along woth their international and Israeli supporters protest the Israeli wall. Troops stopped protesters at the village entrance before they reached lands owned by local farmers that Israel took over to build the wall on. Later troops forced people back into the village using rifle buts. No injuries were reported.
For IMEMC News this is Vika Awad.
The Political Report
The Palestine Liberation Organization is considering halt of security coordination with Israel, and Fatah demands Hamas to allow the Election Committee to function in the Gaza Strip, the details with IMEMC’s George Rishmawi
Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), Yasser Abed Rabbo, said this week that the Palestinian Authority is considering halting security and economic coordination with Israel in response to the ongoing settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Abed Rabbo told the London based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper that “everything is subject to reevaluation, but there is no final decision made yet.”
The Palestinian-Israeli security and economic coordination was set during the Oslo accords hammered 1993. Recently Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, expressed dissatisfaction and frustration over Israeli plans to build more settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
The Palestinians set the halt of all settlement activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a preconditions to resume peace talks with Israel. Series of meetings in the Jordanian capital of Amman couple of months ago, ended with no progress made, as Israel refused to halt settlement construction.
In other news, despite of the positive atmosphere of the internal Palestinian meeting in Cairo two weeks ago, the Palestinians did not form the unity government, although most of the cabinet members are defined and approved by Fatah, Hamas and the rest of the political factions.
The upcoming unity government is going to be temporary until General elections of a new parliament will take place in both, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The Fatah movement demanded that the Palestinian elections committee be allowed to conduct the necessary work in the Gaza Strip in preparation for the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.
Fatah Spokesperson, Fayez Abu Ayita, stated in a press statement that the “Palestinian Presidential, Parliamentary and National Council elections are meant to end the internal divisions, and are the shortest way to national reconciliation and unity.”
Earlier in February, Abbas and Hamas’s exiled leader Khaled Masha’al, agreed in Cairo on implementing the pending unity deal between Hamas and Fatah. The two leaders stressed the need for holding elections within the coming few months.
Some Hamas leaders voiced objections regarding Abbas heading the government and being a president saying it is unlawful.
On his part, the Prime Minister of the deposed government in Gaza Ismael Haniyeh, invited all Palestinian leaders to meet in Gaza saying that all Palestinians have the right to visit Gaza as part of an undivided Palestine. Nabil Shaath, member of the central committee of Fatah welcomed the invitation and said this is a positive step on the way of reconciliation.
For IMEMC News, this is George Rishmawi
The West Bank and Gaza
Palestinian Political Detainees in Israeli jails continued their protest as prisoner Hana Ash-Shalabi entered her 16th day of hunger strike this week. Meanwhile army attacks continued to target Palestinian Communities in both the West Bank and Gaza. IMEMC’s Carmen Rodriguez has the latest:
The Palestinian center for human rights announced that the Israeli military conducted at least 58 invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they arrested 40 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children. Also Israeli troops raided the offices of al-Watan and al-Quds local TV channel this week. Before withdrawing, the military confiscated equipment from the offices of the two TV channels.
Meanwhile this week The Palestinian Minister of Detainees, Issa Qaraqie, announced that his ministry is organizing an international campaign against administrative detention and the ill-treatment of Palestinian political detainees in Israeli jails.
Meanwhile Palestinian Political prisoners said they are going to boycott Israeli military courts in protest. Three hundred of the 4500 political prisoners currently being held by Israel are under administrative detention.
The recent developments come as former political detainee Hana Ash-Shalabi entered her 15th day of hunger strike. Last October, Israel released her as part of a prisoner swap, but then authorities arrested her again in February. Ash-Shalabi is following in the footsteps Adnan Khader, who nearly died after 66 days of hunger strike in Israeli prison. Khader ended his strike last month after Israel pledged to release him in April.
In the Gaza Strip, the only power plant there ran out of fuel on Monday of this week, leaving residents with no electricity for more than half every day. This is the second time in two weeks the Gaza power plant went offline due to lack of fuel. According to the Energy Authority, residents will get 6 hours of electricity, followed by 13 hours of darkness.
Without the 80 Mega Watts generated each day by the Gaza plant,l the region is left with less that half of what it need for a normal operations. What little it does get, 120 Mega Watts, comes from Eygpt and Israel. The electricity outages hampers water services and sewage filtration and according to Gazan Dr.Baker Hassan, the fuel crises will leave Gaza’s hospitals unable to provide services.
The fuel crises escalated in recent weeks when Egypt began a crackdown on border tunnels. Since Israel started its blockade on Gaza in 2007, those tunnels have been one of the main sources of fuel to the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the coastal enclave. This week Egyptian security stopped 7,000 litters of fuel in route to Gaza via those underground tunnels.
For IMEMC News, this is Carmen Rodriguez.
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 Ghassan Bannoura