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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for October 20 to 26, 2012
At least 12 Palestinians have been killed and dozens wounded in series of Israeli air strikes against Palestinian communities in the Gaza Strip, meanwhile, Egypt is trying to mediate a truce between Israel and Hamas to stop the bloodshed, these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
The Nonviolent Report
Let’s us begin our weekly report with nonviolent activities organized in West Bank. Israeli troops used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets to suppress Friday’s protests. IMEMC’s Salam Qumsiyeh Has more:
In the central West Bank, anti wall protests were organized at the villages of Bilin, Nil’in and al Nabi Saleh.
In Bil’in and Nil’in villagers and their Israeli and international supporters managed to reached the Israeli wall built on lands taken from local famers. Israeli soldiers stationed fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Meanwhile at the village of al Nabi Saleh, Israeli troops attacked the villagers and their supporters before they left the village to get to lands Israeli took to build the wall on.
Also in central West Bank earlier in the week Israeli troops arrested four protesters near the city of Ramallah on Wednesday. A group of Palestinians and international conducted a set-in at the settlers’ super market near Ramallah.
The store belongs to Rami Livi Stores Corporation which market Israeli settlements products for Palestinian consumers. Israeli troops arrived at the scene and used rifle buts and batons to force nonviolent protesters out before arresting two Palestinians and two internationals.
Among the arrested was Bassem Al Tammimi who was badly injured and was moved by Israeli troops to a hospital after they arrested him.
On Friday at the village entrance of Al Ma’ssara, southern West Bank, Israeli troops forced anti wall protesters back into the village using rifle-buts and batons. No injuries were reported.
For IMEMC News this is Salam Qumsiyeh
The West Bank & Gaza Report
Israeli attacks targeting Palestinians in Gaza left seven killed and 12 injured this week, while in the west Bank Israeli forces invaded a number of communities and arrested five civilians. IMEMC’s Ghassan Bannoura has the details:
Israeli bombardment targeting Gaza escalated on Monday and lasted until Wednesday early dawn hours. As a result seven Palestinians were killed and 12 other injured.
On Monday midday local sources said that Israeli unmanned plane fired a missile at a group of people in Abed Al Hameed Street, in the town of Beit Hannon, northern Gaza Strip, killing two men and injuring a third.
Later in the day Israeli fighter jet fired a missile at residents’ homes in Beit Hannon injuring two civilians. Doctors said that one man was critically injured. Local sources said that schools were evacuated in Beit Hannon fearing from the Israeli continued shelling targeting the town.
On Wednesday two Palestinian were killed by Israeli attacks. One man died of wounds he sustained on Monday and the other was killed as fighter jets targeted Rafah city, southern Gaza Strip. On Thursday another man died of wounds sustained on Wednesday during an air raid targeting Rafah city, being the death toll due to Israeli attacks this week to seven.
From its part, Palestinian armed resistance groups fired 70 home-made shells at Israeli targets near the Gaza strip as a response to the Israeli escalated attacks targeting the coastal region. Six Israeli were slightly injured by the Palestinian shell fire, Israeli sources reported.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza reported on Thursday that thirteen Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army since the beginning of the month, and more than 33 were injured.
By Thursday a truce agreement, mediated by Egypt, was reached between Israel and the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian groups announced that they will stop firing homemade shells as long as the Israeli army halts its attacks on Gaza. The Israeli military official stated that ceasefire is a decision that is made by the political leadership in Tel Aviv, and added that the army is always ready for any escalation.
In the West Bank this week Israeli forces conducted 40 incursions into Palestinian communities, during which they abducted 5 Palestinians. Israeli forces established dozens of checkpoints in the West Bank. At least 1 Palestinian was abducted at military checkpoints in the West Bank.
For IMEMC News this is Ghassan Bannoura.
The Political Report
A truce is being mediated between Hamas and Israel by Egypt, and a visit by the Prince of Qattar to the Gaza Strip creates controversy among Palestinians, the details and more with IMEMC’s George Rishmawi
Israeli media sources reported that a truce agreement, mediated by Egypt, was reached between Israel and the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip.
The paper said that the truce came into effect starting Wednesday night at midnight.
Palestinian media sources reported a Palestinian official as saying that Egypt is mediating a truce to avoid further tension in the region, an effort that Hamas honoured.
However, spokesperson of the Popular Resistance Committees, known as Abu Mujahid said the group is not informed of such a deal and that they preserve the right to respond to any Israeli escalation.
Six Palestinians have been killed in a number of Israeli strikes on Gaza Strip and dozens were wounded since Monday.
On his part, senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Ereikat said this week that Israel is responsible for the escalation against the Gaza Strip, adding that the International Community must intervene and “stop Israel’s ongoing massacres against the Palestinian people”, especially in the Gaza Strip.
The controversial visit of the Prince of Qattar, Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, was not welcomed by the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah who saw in the visit as a support to Hamas who took over control of the coastal enclave in 2007 from the Fatah movement, the ruling party in the West Bank.
The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, however downplayed the visit saying that it was of a humanitarian nature and expressed concerns that the situation is moving towards a permanent separation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Abbas also stated that the Palestinian leadership is going again in November to the UN to follow up on the application for Palestine to be a non-member state.
The Palestinian Authority applied in 2011 to the UN for full membership, yet this year the application was downgraded to a non-member state.
In local news, elections of local governments have been concluded in 93 cities, villages and towns in the West Bank on Saturday. The report of the Central Elections Commission described the elections as very discipline and transparent, with an overall voting rate of 55%, with some locations exceeded the 80% margin.
Hamas did not officially participate in the elections which were held in the West Bank only without the Gaza Strip. Thus, the main competition was between Fatah and the leftist parties and some independent candidates.
The elections were held based on the Sainte-Lague voting system, which was seen unfit for local elections where families are integrated in political parties. The system has also to guarantee a quota for women and for religious minorities.
For IMEMC News, this is George Rishmawi
And that’s all for today from This Week in Palestine this was the Weekly report for October 20th to 26 2012 from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. For more news and updates please visit our website at www.imemc.org. Today’s report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and me, Anne Shirley