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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for May 12 to 18th 2012
Palestinian prisoners end their hunger strike with most of their demands matched meanwhile, the two main parties in Israel, Likud and Kadima form a coalition to save Netanyahu’s government, these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
The Nonviolence Report:
Let’s begin our weekly report with the nonviolent activities in the West Bank. One child and a young man were injured on Friday when Israeli troops opened fire at protesters during anti-wall and settlements protests at a number of West Bank communities. IMEMC’s Ghassan Bannoura with the details
Protests this week were organized at the villages of Bil’in, Nil’in and Al Nabi Saleh in central West Bank and at al Ma’ssara village in southern West Bank.
A 14 year old boy was injured in the head when soldiers fired rubber coated steel bullets at the villagers of Al Nabi Saleh and their international and Israeli supporters. Troops stopped the protest before leaving the village to the lands taken by Israel to build the settlements and the wall one.
Israeli soldiers then fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas injuring the boy. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation. Later troops invaded the village and fired tear gas at resident’s homes.
Staying in central West Bank, troops fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters in the villages of Bil’in and Nil’in.
According to local sources troops opened fire at protesters as soon as they reached the wall. in Bil’in a 21 year od young man was injured in his leg after a gas bomb hit him there. While in Nil’in many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Elsewhere in Al Ma’ssara village, near Bethlehem city troops stopped the protest at the village entrances and used tear gas to force people back. No injuries were reported.
For IMEMC News this is Ghassan Bannoura
The Political Report
Palestinians mark 64 years of dispossession and political prisoners in Israeli jails end their hunger strike, IMEMC’s William Temple has more.
Tuesday 15 May 2012, marked the 64th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba in 1948 when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were uprooted and evicted from their homeland and from over 400 towns and villages. This was a most brutal ethnic cleansing, and included systematic and deliberate killings and displacement. It culminated in the declaration of the State of Israel on the debris of Palestinian people, lands and villages.
Nakba Day 2012 was marked by non-violent demonstrations all over the West Bank and Gaza. Many were met by attacks by Israeli soldiers. In one incident, over 80 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli forces at Qalandia checkpoint south of Ramallah on Tuesday.
Tuesday 15 May also brought the welcome news that, after 79 days of hunger-strike, Palestinian detainees Tha’er Halahla and Bilal Thiab had signed an agreement with the Israeli Prison Authorities to end their hunger-strike in exchange for their release in June and August respectively. They are being held without charges under so-called “Administrative Detention.”
In other news also on Tuesday Palestinian Minister of Detainees, Issa Qaraqe’, stated that Israel has agreed to most of the legitimate demands of the hunger-striking Palestinian political prisoners. These include ending its illegal solitary confinement policies within 72 hours, allowing visits to Gaza Strip detainees within a month, and handing over the remains of 100 Palestinians buried at the “Numbers Graveyard” a graveyard that Israel repeatedly denied existed.
In other news on Friday last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Prime Minister Netanyahu and his new coalition partners to advance peace talks since. Clinton reportedly told Netanyahu that after his ruling party, Likud, signed an agreement with the Kadima Party to join the coalition government, the expanded government has no reason to stall peace talks. She welcomed a clause in the coalition agreement that the two parties would “advance a reasonable peace process“ and added that the United States is ready to support both sides in an effort to achieve a two state solution.
However on Monday and one month after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had sent a letter to Mr Netanyahu that it was hoped would initiate efforts over frozen peace negotiations, Netanyahu rejected demands to halt Jewish settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories thus putting a stop to any further negotiations.
And Israeli Deputy Prime Minister, Dan Meridor, stated that the Palestinian state will never be established along the 1967 six-day war border. He further said that Israel should freeze all settlement construction in the West Bank but should continue to develop existing settlements because Israel’s international reputation is harmed when the Israeli government builds settlements everywhere, and tells the world that it is seeking peace with the Palestinians. Meridor affirmed that “a settlement freeze does not apply to East Jerusalem, and large settlement blocs in the West Bank that Israel wants to keep under any final-status peace agreement.
On Monday, EU Foreign Ministers issued a statement criticise Israel’s activities in the West Bank. They said that Israeli settlement building and curbs on economic development in the occupied West Bank risk wrecking Palestinian hopes of creating their own state. The statement also criticised Israel’s treatment of Palestinians who live in Area C, and the demolition of facilities and buildings that Europe had financed.
In other news Israel’s foreign and domestic policy seems to have tarnished its image on the world stage as measured by an annual international BBC poll. 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 in third place.
And PA news President Mahmoud Abbas shuffled his cabinet on Wednesday, stressing that this was an interim move until the agreement with Hamas could be implemented and stating as its main task the organisation of municipal elections.
And finally the Head of the PA Anti-Corruption Commission said on Wednesday that Muhammad Rashid, a former adviser to the late President Yasser Arafat, has been accused of embezzling tens of millions of dollars, and that the PA is seeking an international arrest warrant.
For IMEMC News this is William Temple
The West Bank & Gaza Report
This week Israeli army shelling left seven injured in Gaza while troops conducted at least 41 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli troops arrested 13 Palestinian civilians, including two children.
Seven Palestinians were wounded, on Tuesday, when Israeli soldiers fired several artillery shells into Al-Shujaeyya neighborhood, in Gaza city. The shelling came after the army carried out two invasions in the northern and southern parts of the Gaza Strip.
The “Ansar 2” and the “Miles Of Smiles 12” solidarity convoys managed to enter the Gaza Strip, on Thursday evening, via the Rafah border terminal on the Gaza Egypt border, the Quds Net News Agency reported. Convoy members were welcomed at the terminal by delegates of the Palestinian Interior Ministry in Gaza, headed by Ghazi Hamad, and several political and social figures in the coastal region.
Meanwhile in the West Bank this week Israel has unveiled a project to expand the settlement of ‘Ariel’ in the northern West Bank in two phases at the expense of large areas of Palestinian land in the Governorates of Qalqilia and Tulkarem.
This project will expand the settlement of Ariel in two phases. The first phase will be the building of 700 new housing units on large areas of the village of Kafr Laqef located between the towns of Azzoun and Jinsaffut in the governorate of Qalqilia. The second phase of the expansion will be the building of 1400 of new housing units on large areas of several villages in Tulkarem Governorate.
In related news, Israeli settlers’ attacks were reported all over the West Bank this week. About 1500 settlers entered Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus city late Thursday night and early Friday morning, guarded by the Israeli military. The settlers performed prayers in the Tomb until the morning before withdrawing escorted by the army.
Also on Thursday, dozens of Jewish settlers invaded the courtyards of Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and performed ‘religious rituals’ amid tight security by the Israeli police. Earlier on Thursday a number of extremist Israeli settlers invaded Einabous village, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and torched a Palestinian car.
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 George Rishmawi.