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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center,, for Monday July 23, 2012.

Israel issues orders to demolish 8 villages south of Hebron and illegal Israeli settler activity continues; these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday ordered the demolition of 8 Palestinian villages in the hills south of Hebron because the Israeli military needs the land for training exercises. A total of 1500 residents will be evicted from their homes and have their lands confiscated in the villages of Majaz, Tabban, Sfai, Fakheit, Halaweh, Mirkez, Jinba and Kharuba according to Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz.

The mass forcible transfer of protected people in occupied territory by an occupying force is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and in contravention of all established international law. The only exception that is made is when there are hostilities in the area and transfer is necessary for the safety of the people in question.

In related news, Israeli settlers seized Palestinian land in several areas around the West Bank on Sunday and Monday according to WAFA news. Near the village of Yatta south of Hebron, in Al-Maleh near Tubas in the Jordan Valley and in Al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, settlers confiscated land, destroyed property and continued the expansion of illegal settlements.

Hamas official Mahmoud Zahhar stated on Sunday that the Gaza Strip will not break away from the Palestinian Authority and the West Bank in the near future. Zahhar, a senior official with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, denied reports that his party intends to declare a formal separation of Gaza and the West Bank. The announcement was in response to speculation that the Islamist party in Gaza would seek detachment, rather than reconciliation, with the Palestinian Authority, reports Ma’an News.

Ma’an News also reported that the Arab League met in Doha, Qatar on Sunday to discuss Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ planned bid for further UN member recognition. Discussions centered around the desire to present a united front as well as the Palestinian Authority’s need for funding given US plans to pull funding if Abbas continues to seek statehood at the UN.

And that’s all for today from the IMEMC News; this was the Monday July 23th daily news round-up 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, Kelly Joiner.