Click on Link to download or play MP3 file || 5 m 07s || 4.69 MB ||

Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, for Tuesday 22nd May 2012.

Further news of Jerusalem Day; a conference on water resources; and a new law in the Israeli Knesset which allows organisations making donations to support settlements to claim tax relief. All this and more stay tuned!

In further news on Jerusalem Day on Sunday, for the second straight year young Israeli marchers celebrating the annexation of East Jerusalem chanted anti-Arab slogans. The march started in downtown Jerusalem, entered the Old City through Damascus Gate, continued into the Muslim Quarter and ended at the Western Wall. Palestinian protesters gathered at Damascus Gate to protest the holding of the march in Arab neighbourhoods and hundreds of young Israelis spent hours shouting at them. Police separated the protesters from the marchers before the confrontations could escalate. Organizers of the march had pledged that unlike last year, participants would not shout incendiary statements.

The water crisis in the West Bank is a consequence of Israel’s control and use of water resources, PA Prime Minister Salem Fayyad said at a Conference on Monday. A UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs report released in March said ‘Since the beginning of its occupation in 1967, Israel has established and maintained a system of direct control over the exploitation and distribution of West Bank water resources.’ Jewish settlers had seized dozens of natural springs in the West Bank, barring Palestinians or limiting their access to scarce water sources. Meanwhile, around 300,000 Palestinians in the West Bank are vulnerable to water scarcity, the report adds. Palestinians consume on average around 70 liters a day, while settlers consume 300 liters a day. Furthermore, settlers use the water resources to irrigate and produce agricultural goods for export while families in the West Bank are finding it hard to feed their own families from their own agriculture.

On Monday the Knesset passed a bill, 33 votes to 11, to give tax credits on contributions to public institutions which encourage settlement activity throughout the land of Israel. In welcoming passage of the measure, Chairman Ze’ev Elkin of the ruling coalition and the Likud faction said, ‘To encourage settlement is not a dirty word and it is important that the state of Israel pass a law benefiting those who donate to settlement activity. “Calls for Israel to be held responsible by the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court for its settlement crimes on Palestinian land were voiced by Taysir Khalid, a member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Fatah and Hamas officials have reported an agreement that Legislative Council elections should be held in approximately 6 months to form a new power sharing deal between them. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip have had divided political leadership following Hamas’ Legislative Council election victory in 2006 and the subsequent boycott by Israel and the international community. A unity deal was reached earlier this year but disagreements over whether Abbas should head an interim government that prepares for elections have held up implementation.

A recent decision by the minister for trade and industry in South Africa to remove “Made in Israel” tags on products that are actually made in the West Bank may be also adopted in Denmark. Minister Rob Davies said he would “require traders in SA not to incorrectly label products that originate from the Occupied Palestinian Territory as products of Israel” adding, “Consumers in SA should not be misled into believing products originating from occupied territories are products originating from Israel. The burden of proving where the products originate will lie with the traders.” It now seems that Denmark is likely soon to follow South Africa’s lead in legislation requiring labeling that distinguishes products from the West Bank from those made in Israel..

And that’s all today from IMEMC News. This was the Tuesday 22nd 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.