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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for August 4th, to 10th 2012
The deadly attack in Sinai directly impacts the besieged Gaza Strip, meanwhile the Palestinian leadership resubmits another application for statehood recognition at the UN, amidst ongoing Israeli military assaults in the West Bank, 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. Two civilians injured, one critically on Friday as Israeli soldiers attacked anti wall protests organized in a number of West Bank communities. IMEMC’s Ghassan Bannoura with the details
On Friday anti wall protests were organized at the village of Kufer Kadum, northern West Bank in addition to Bil’in, Nil’in and Nabi Saleh in central West Bank. The southern West Bank village of Al Ma’ssara also organized a protest against the wall this week as well.
Two civilians were injured on Friday in Kufer Kadum when Israeli troops fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at the villagers and their international supporters.
Soldiers stooped the Kufer Kadum protesters at the entrance of the village then fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at them. One young man was critically injured in the head by a tear gas bomb and another man was injured in his leg by rubber-coated steel bullet. Many others were treated for tear gas inhalation.
In central West Bank, troops also used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets against Bil’in, Nil’in and Nabi Saleh and their international and Israeli supporters. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation at all three locations.
Elsewhere on Friday, in southern West Bank, Al Ma’sara villagers organized their weekly anti wall protest. Israeli forces station there forced people back into the village using rifle-buts and batons. No injuries were reported.
For IMEMC News this is Ghassan Bannoura.
The Political Report
Palestinians deny any involvement in the Sinai deadly attack, meanwhile, the PA resubmits a bid for state recognition at the UN, IMEMC’s Anne Shirley reports.
The Palestinian resistance factions denied any involvement in the deadly attack that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai desert this week.
The attack was carried out by an unknown group who attacked Egyptian soldiers while breaking the fast at their military base. According to the official story, the assailants killed the soldiers, and hijacked two armoured personnel carriers and moved towards the Israeli borders before the Israeli airforce spot them and destroy them killing all their passengers.
Media sources said Israel had intelligence information about a possible operation in the Sinai desert and has demanded all its citizens to leave the Egyptian peninsula immediately, two days before the attack took place.
Some Israeli sources said the Israeli security warned the Egyptians about the operation. Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi, fired the chief of Intelligence and the Governor of Sinai and other security officials and ordered the Military forces to launch a large-scale assault on the terrorist groups in Sinai killing around 60 people within the last 36 hours.
Egypt closed its borders with the Gaza Strip, and a number of Egyptian officials called for immediate action from Egypt’s side to close the tunnels that connect the Gaza Strip with Sinai following reports that some of the assailants received military training by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and asked Hamas to capture the leaders of Islam Army in Gaza and hand them over to Egypt.
Ismael Haniyeh, Prime Minister of the deposed Hamas government in Gaza, has repeatedly denied any Palestinian involvement in the attack which he described as cowardice and said that all evidences and incidents before and after the attack point fingers at Israel.
He added that one of the goals behind such an attack it to create tension on the borders between the Palestinians and the Egyptians to obstruct the efforts to end the siege on Gaza. Haniyeh asked Egypt to reopen the Rafah terminal to allow Palestinians stuck on the Egyptian side to return to Gaza and to ease movement Palestinians from and to Egypt especially during Ramadan.
In other news, the Palestinian Authority is scheduled to submit another bid to the United Nations for a non-member state.
Israeli newspaper Yidioth Ahronot, said officials at the Israeli ministry of Foreign Affairs are not worried about this bid. The newspaper added that most of the influential countries, such as the US, the EU, Japan and Canada do not support the Palestinian request.
The Palestinians have applied for full UN membership in September 2011, however, the application did not have a chance to be voted on at the UN Security Council. A World Bank report published two weeks ago warned that the current economic situation in the Palestinian territories does not qualify for an independent Palestinian state, due to the Israeli military policies on the occupied Palestinian territories.
For IMEMC News, this is Anne Shirley
The West Bank & Gaza Report
Israeli military abducts 17 Palestinians including 4 children in the West Bank, and a plan to split the Aqsa Mosque between Muslims and Jews revealed, IMEMC’s Kelly Joiner has more:
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) released its weekly report on Israeli Human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of August 2-8. This report states that in the last week, Israeli occupation forces conducted 36 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank during which 17 Palestinians were abducted, including 4 children.
In addition the Israeli military also abducted two children at a checkpoint in the Old City of Hebron. Israel also established dozens of new checkpoints in the West Bank and denied freedom of movement to Palestinian citizens.
In Gaza, according to the PCHR, Israeli military aircraft targeted Palestinian resistance fighters in the south of the Gaza Strip, killing one and wounding another. Israeli forces also fired shells at the area surrounding Gaza International Airport and the eastern outskirts of Rafah for two hours this week. Local residents were terrified but no casualties were reported. The PCHR added that the total isolation of Gaza from the outside world continues as Israel continues to enforce the blockade first begun in 2006. It calls the crisis not only an economic and humanitarian one, but one of human dignity.
Illegal Israeli settlers have continued settlement construction and confiscation of Palestinian land for settlement expansion has been ongoing this week, especially in the area near Bethlehem in the village of al-Khader. Settlers also continue to attack Palestinian civilians and property with impunity.
Senior Palestinian political sources reported that the Israeli government agreed to release 123 Palestinian political prisoners, held before the Oslo peace agreement was signed in 1993. The 123 detainees are to be released in several phases starting this coming October and ending in June 2013.
In occupied East Jerusalem this week, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, the Mufti of Jerusalem, spoke about Israeli plans to divide al-Aqsa mosque in order to provide Jews with access to the Muslim holy site. The plan is modelled after the division of the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron, and Sheikh Hussein said in a press release that the escalation of the rhetoric out of Israel relating to al-Aqsa is serious. According to the Palestine News Network, an Israeli Knesset member said that Israelis would be allowed to enter the mosque on certain days with Muslims only allowed to enter on other days. Israel is claiming that Jews should be allowed to visit the mosque on freedom of religion grounds, but they declined to state why a mosque would be a religious site for Jews. According to Israel, freedom of religion however does not apply to Palestinians living in the West Bank most of whom do not have access to their holy sites in Jerusalem, whether they are Muslim or Christian.
And finally, near Hebron this week, a group of European Union (EU) Heads of Mission visited communities facing the threat of demolition and displacement. The goal of the trip was to gather information and reaffirm the EU’s commitment to human rights for Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. There are currently eight villages under demolition orders by the Israeli government which if carried out would entail the forced transfer of up to 1800 people, contrary to Israel’s obligations as the Occupying Power according to the Fourth Geneva Convention. The EU called on Israel to meet its humanitarian obligations to the civilian population living under occupation by “halting forced transfer of population and demolition of Palestinian housing and infrastructure, simplifying administrative procedures to obtain building permits, ensuring access to water and addressing humanitarian needs.” The EU visited the area on Wednesday of this week and on Thursday the Israeli courts reaffirmed the decision to forcibly transfer residents out of the area.
For IMEMC News this is Kelly Joiner.
And that was just some of the news This Week in Palestine, for more news and 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