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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, for Wednesday 16th May 2012.

Further reports of demonstrations on Tuesday, Nakba Day; a Court ruling on what makes a pe3rson a Jew, and a visit to both Washington and the UN in New York by Israeli Military Intelligence Commander Major General Aviv Kochavi. This and more coming up stay tuned!

Dozens of non-violent demonstrations took place on Tuesday in various parts of the West Bank to commemorate the Palestinian Nakba, demand an end to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine, and the release of all Palestinian political prisoners. Israeli soldiers responded in many cases by firing rounds of live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets and gas bombs at many peaceful protesters.

A judge at the Haifa District Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal submitted by Professor Uzzi Ornan who has sought to compel Israel’s Interior Ministry to recognize his citizenship based on the fact that he was born in Israel rather than on the grounds that he is Jewish. Prof Ornan claims no religious faith but was born in what is now Israel. In his ruling on Tuesday, Judge Daniel Fisch said that it is without doubt that the petitioner, Prof Uzzi Ornan, was born to a Jewish mother and is therefore Jewish, which the law of return states is the source of his citizenship.

Tuesday’s court decision brings into question not only the position of Muslim and Arab citizens of Israel but also the Israeli government’s claim that it is both a Jewish and a democratic state. As the plaintiff in the case, Uzzi Ornan, told reporters on Tuesday, “A judge appeals to Jewish law, and the ruling shows that Israel is a Jewish community and not a civilian state.” Orman and others say that this proves that Israel is a Jewish state, and not a democratic one.

It has been reported that the Israel Civil Administration forced closure of a Palestinian elementary school in Khribit Jibna village in the southern part of the West Bank because it is close to a military base despite the fact that it is the only school in the area. In 1999, the Israeli army declared the area a closed military zone, and started using it as a training ground for soldiers after forcing the residents out. However the residents filed an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court which issued a temporary injunction allowing the residents back to their village until a final verdict was reached.

The case has remained at a standstill since then, although the Israeli authorities promised to make a final decision on the case within 30 days. Representing the villagers, Israeli attorney, Shlomo Lecker, stated that the military orders and the order to demolish the school, “serious and direct violations to the Supreme Court ruling”. Three illegal settlement outposts in the area have recently expanded into the live fire military training zone, and the settlers are moving freely in the area without any restrictions imposed on them by the army.

And finally Israeli Military Intelligence Commander Major General Aviv Kochavi visited both Washington and the UN in New York. This visit is one of a number of recent visits to the US by senior Israeli military and political figures. While Iran and its possible nuclear ambitions are believed to have been the central theme for the visit to Washington, it is believed further talks took place with UN Security Council member states about the on-going unrest in Syria and the situation in Lebanon.

And that’s all today from IMEMC News. This was the Wednesday 16th 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 William Temple.