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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center,, for Thursday, April 5th, 2012.

Israel approves new settlers houses in the West Bank meanwhile, two Palestinian prisoners remain on hunger strike, these stories and more coming up stay tuned.

The Israeli Housing Ministry declared new tenders for the construction of 632 new settler houses in Jabal Abu Ghneim where Israel built an illegal settlement named Har Homa, south of occupied East Jerusalem.

The new units were approved in August 2011 by Israel’s Interior Minister, Eli Yishai. A Separate bid will be issued by the ministry for the remaining planned units at a later stage.

Spokesperson of the Palestinian President, Nabil Abu Rodeina, slammed the Israeli decision to build new settlement units saying that this is another blow to the efforts to resume the stalled peace talks.

Abu Rodeina added that the International Community and the Quartet Committee, comprised of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia, must pressure the Israeli government to stop these provocations as they would only lead to further tension in the region.

In related news, Israeli police evicted 15 Israeli settlers from a house owned by Palestinians that had been taken over by Israeli settlers last week. In Hebron Numerous Israeli legislators and officials, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, criticized the eviction, Lieberman called for the replacement of Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

The house in question is located in the old city of Hebron, southern West Bank, near the Ibrahimi Mosque. The settlers claim they purchased the property by legal means, but the Palestinian owners of the house, who still live in the first floor of the building, denied the claim and challenged it in court.

According to the Israeli police, the eviction took place without incident, and the settlers who were removed from the site were released inside Israel.

Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon was among those who called for Ehud Barak’s replacement after the eviction, saying “Ehud Barak is acting against the government and against the settlements in Judea and Samaria.”

In the northern West Bank, Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday at dawn, the town of Kufr Qaddoum, near Qalqilia and broke into and searched dozens of homes, and kidnapped 20 Palestinians, including two Police officers.

Eyewitnesses reported that dozens of armored military vehicles invaded the town before the soldiers violently broke into dozens of homes, and ransacked them; one resident also accused the soldiers of stealing gold from his home, that is more than 11 thousand dollars worth.

Eyewitnesses also reported that all kidnapped residents were roughed before they were cuffed, blindfolded and taken to an unknown destination.

Two Palestinian prisoners who are on hunger strike are facing serious health conditions. Hasan Safadi and Ja’afar Izziddin, are on hunger strike demanding their immediate release from administrative detention.

Their lawyer Raed Mahameed said after visiting them that Safadi who has been on hunger strike for 31 days passed out and hit a metal bar in prison which caused him a serious hemorrhage, meanwhile prisoner Izziddin who has been on strike for 15 days, has stopped taking water and was punished by placing him in isolation in Al-Jalama prison. Mahameed said the two prisoners decided to remain on hunger strike until they are released.

Few days ago, female prisoner Hana Shalabi ended a 45-day hunger strike after Israel agreed to send her to Gaza for three years.

And that’s all for today from IMEMC News, this was the Thursday, April 5th daily news roundup from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Please Join us again tomorrow. For more news and updates please visit our website at Today’s report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and me George Rishmawi