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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for March 24th to the 30th 2012
Palestinians land day commemorations meet with Israeli gunfire in Gaza and the West Bank this week while Many Arab leaders reiterated this week their commitment to the Arab peace initiative of 2002.These stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
The Nonviolent Report:
Let’s begin our weekly report with the nonviolent activities in the West Bank. Thousands of Palestinians marked land day, this week. 100 civilians were injured when Israeli troops attacked protesters in Ramallah and Bethlehem cities. IMEMC’s Vika Awad with the details:
Marking the 36th anniversary of land day, on Friday, Palestinians and their supporters marched for Jerusalem demanding an end to the Israeli occupation of the city. Protests were also organized near the Israeli Lebanese borders as well as the borders with Jordan.
The Land day commemoration started in 1976, when Palestinian residents of the Galilee to the Negev protested Israel’s plan to expropriate thousands of dunams of land for security and settlement purposes. Israeli military and police attacked the protests leaving 6 killed, hundreds injured.
Today After the midday prayers, people marched from Ramallah city, central West Bank, towards Qalandiya checkpoint that is separating Ramallah from Jerusalem. Troops fired tear gas and sound bombs then later used rubber-coated steel bullets. 80 Palestinians were injured. Witnesses told IMEMC that among those injured were two Palestinian medics
In Bethlehem 20 residents were injured, seven were moved to hospitals, when soldiers fired tear gas and sound bombs at land day protesters. Among those injured in Bethlehem was an American activist who was hit with a tear gas canister in his head and was transferred to the hospital for medical treatment. Field medics said his wound is moderate.
Also on Friday, villagers in central and southern West Bank organized their weekly anti wall protests. Protests were organized in the villages of Bil’in, Nil’in, and Nabi Saleh, central West Bank and Al Ma’ssara, in the south. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation fired by Israeli soldiers.
For IMEMC News this is Vika Awad.
The Political Report
Many Arab leaders reiterated this week their commitment to the Arab peace initiative of 2002, which called for a comprehensive peace between Israel and the Arab world. This came during a regular Arab summit meeting in Baghdad , attended by Palestinian Authority’s president Mahmoud Abbas. IMEMC Rami Al Meghari has the story:
President Abbas said that Israeli settlement activities block chances for peace in the Middle East and that any workable solution should be based on United Nations resolutions and the Arab peace initiative.
Abbas also pointed out that the Arab financial support to the Palestinain people , mainly the Arab East Jerusalem is more than needed and that without such a support, the Palestinain Authority can not work efficiently.
Arab leaders, from their part, including the Arab League’s chief, Nabil Alarabi, affirmed their backing to the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights.
Meanwhile, Israel warned recently of cutting off ties with the United Nations Humanitarian Council, over a recent council’s ruling that a probe should be carried out into current Israeli settlement activities on occupied Palestinian lands.
At the internal Palestinian level, the ruling Hamas party and the Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, traded blame this week for stalled implementation of a conciliation agreement between the two parties.
Also, Hamas-linked MPs from Gaza , accused the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah , outright of causing fuel shortage problem across the Gaza Strip. Gaza has been suffering from an unprecedented fuel shortage crisis for over a month now.
The Palestinian Authrity in Ramallah, sent this week, via an Israeli-controlled crossing, few hundreds of thousands of fuel to Gaza in order to run Gaza’s power plant, but the fuel only lasted for two days.
Hamas insists that fuel be sent through the Rafah crossing terminal between Egypt and Gaza, hoping to break Israeli’s blockade on the coastal territory.
For IMEMC News, I am Rami Almeghari in Gaza
The West Bank Gaza Report
This week the Israeli military conducted at least 65 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they arrested 19 Palestinian civilians, including a child, settlers attacks were also reported while Gaza ambulance cars stopped working due to fuel shortage. MEMC’s Jina Johns reports:
Palestinian political prisoner Hana Shalabi has agreed to end her hunger strike after 43 days when Israeli officials agreed to release her from prison on Friday. But her release will not be to her home in the West Bank, but to the Gaza Strip, where she will be forced to live for three years before she can return home.
The deal was negotiated by members of the International Red Cross and Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh, who spoke with Israeli government officials on behalf of the hunger-striking detainee.
Hana Shalabi’s family had expressed grave concern over her health condition, which had severely deteriorated over the last few days. The 30-year old Shalabi began her strike in early February following a 57-day hunger strike by Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan that ended with a deal for his early release on April 17th.
Both Adnan and Shalabi are being held under what Israel calls ‘administrative detention’, which is a method used by the state of Israel to imprison Palestinians without charge for six-month terms that can be extended indefinitely.
In other news, Settlers attacks this week targeting West Bank farmers increased. Two farmers were injured by the settler attacks this week. A Palestinian farmer was injured when Israeli armed settlers attacked a group of farmers near the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Monday. On Sunday one resident was injured after being attacked by a group of fundamentalist Israeli settlers near Yatta, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Settlers also uprooted dozens of olive saplings near Bethlehem on the same day.
In the Gaza Strip, 27 ambulance cars were forced to stop working on Thursday as they do not have fuel, the health ministry in Gaza reported. The ministry announced that it has no fuel to keep the cars running.
The Gaza Strip has been suffering a fuel crisis for two months as a result of Egypt and Israel preventing it from reaching the coastal enclave. Due to fuel shortages Gaza residents face 13 hours of power cuts a day while Gaza based hospitals are warning of their inability to provide services soon.
For IMEMC News this is Jina Johns.
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.