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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, for Thursday 17th May 2012.

A summary of Israeli Army activities in the West Bank and Gaza this last week; news of a BBC poll of how nations including Israel are seen by people around the world; and a date set for the ruling on Rachel Corrie’s killing in 2003. These stories and more stay tuned!

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights based in Gaza issued its weekly report for May 10 – 16 on Israeli violations in the occupied Palestinian Territories, revealing that Israeli soldiers shot and wounded 46 Palestinians, including 4 children and 6 reporters, and carried out more than 41 invasions. The army continued to use excessive force against nonviolent protesters. And settlers have been active, too. A number of extremist Israeli settlers from Yitzhar illegal settlement entered a village near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and torched a Palestinian car. Local residents chased the settlers out of the village and no clashes or injuries were reported.

In Gaza Israeli soldiers kidnapped two fishermen, later released, and confiscated their boats. Seven Palestinians were wounded on Thursday when Israeli soldiers fired several artillery shells into the Al-Shujaeyya neighborhood, after the army carried out two invasions in the Gaza Strip. Two of the seven wounded residents suffered serious injuries; the remaining five suffered moderate wounds.

The verdict in the civil lawsuit against the State of Israel for the killing of peace activist Rachel Corrie in Gaza in 2003 will be announced on August 28, 2012, at the Haifa District Court. Rachel Corrie was killed by a bulldozer as she tried to prevent the demolition of Palestinian house.

Israel’s foreign and domestic policy seems to have tarnished its image on the world stage as measured by an annual international BBC poll assessing the positive and negative influences of major countries. The poll asked which states were perceived to have had the most negative influence on the world. Iran and Pakistan took first and second place respectively, with Israel judged by 50% of respondents to have a “mostly negative” influence sharing third place with North Korea. Respondents from various European countries have high and increasingly negative perceptions of Israel, but opinion in the USA is moving the other way.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has reshuffled his cabinet and appointed 9 new Ministers including several women. He reminded the new cabinet that it is merely a transitional one, meant to fill an administrative gap until reconciliation with Hamas is achieved. Abbas said that the first task of the government was to prepare for municipal elections in all parts of the land “where possible” — a reference to Jerusalem, where Israel will prevent elections from taking place, and the Gaza Strip, where Hamas said it would not allow elections to go forward. Hamas took a negative view of this reshuffle.

It was reported yesterday that Muhammad Rashid, a former adviser to the late President Yasser Arafat, has been accused of embezzling tens of millions of dollars from the Palestine Investment Fund by the PA Anti-Corruption Commission. The Head of the Commission is seeking an international arrest warrant for him after he failed to respond to an earlier summons.

The Finance Committee of the Knesset approved on Tuesday the allocation of NIS 44 million to support settlements in the West Bank, but cut NIS 17 million from support for settlement outposts.

And that’s all today from IMEMC News. This was the Thursday 17th 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.