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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, for Wednesday 9th May 2012.

Prime minster Benjamin Netanyahu Considers How To Prevent Demolition of Ulpanah Neighbourhood in Beit El; the U.S. Congress has granted Israel one billion dollars to develop additional “Iron Dome” missile interception systems; and a large protest about hunger striking detainees was held outside the UN offices in Ramallah. All this and more stay tuned.

The implications of Tuesday’s new Likud-Kadima Coalition for future government policy are being discussed. The most immediate questions are what the Government will do about the Israeli High Court judgements to evacuate the Migron and Ulpanah outposts, and how to replace the law which exempts religious Jews from National Service.

In an effort to avoid removal of the Ulpanah outpost, close to the settlement of Beit El, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has asked his ministers to think again about the legal consequences of Monday’s Supreme Court decision that it should be removed within 60 days. ‘Ulpanah’ was built on private Palestinian land and is more of a settlement neighbourhood than an outpost.

The U.S. Congress has granted Israel one billion dollars to develop additional “Iron Dome” missile interception systems. Although small in relation to the US Ministry of Defence budget of $680 billion in 2010, it is sizeable in relation to the $3.6 billion that the United States provides Israel in annual aid. This figure does not included hundreds of millions of dollars collected by lobbies, and direct donations many of which are tax deductible in the USA.

Hundreds of Palestinian residents, mainly youths and families of political prisoners, held a massive protest in front of the United Nations office in the central West Bank city of Ramallah yesterday, and chanted slogans in support of Palestinian detainees held by Israel and conducting open-ended hunger-strikes. They surrounded the building and prevented UN employees from entering it, and demanded that the United Nations take serious measures to save the lives of the detainees. The protesters also closed the main entrance of the Red Cross.

In further news on the hunger-strikers, Fuad Al Khoffash of the Ahrar Center for Detainee Studies stated that the Israeli Prison Administration has started a new method of what he called “cheap bargaining” this week by offering to release detainees who have served two-thirds of their prison sentence in return for ending their hunger-strike. He said the cases of prisoners who have served two thirds of their sentences are reviewed anyway, but almost none is released. And many prisoners on hunger strike are, of course, under Administrative Detention and have never even been charged.

And that’s all today from IMEMC News. This was the Wednesday 9th May daily roundup of news from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. For more news and updates please visit our website at Today’s report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and me William Temple.