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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for March 16th to 22 2013
U.S. President barack Obama visits Palestine and Israel confirms US commitment to the Jewish State and to a viable Palestinian State, in the meantime, Israeli military continue assaults against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and kidnapped dozens, these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
The Nonviolence Report
Let’s begin our weekly report with nonviolent activities organized in the West Bank. the Israeli army this week attacked ‘Ahfad Younis, the village Palestinian activists erected to counter the Israeli ongoing settlement activity around Jerusalem. Moreover Israeli soldiers used force to suppress the weekly anti wall protests organized in West Bank villages. IMEMC’s Salam Qumsiyeh with the story:
On Friday afternoon Israeli forces invaded the village of Ahfad Younis that was erected by Palestinians activists near the Israeli illegal settlement of Ma’ala Adomim just outside occupied East Jerusalem.
The village was erected on Monday of this week in the same location of Bab al Shams protest village set up by Palestinian nonviolent protesters in January of this year.
In January Israeli troops attacked Bab al Shams removed all the tents and arrested all villagers and released them later near the central West Bank city of Ramallah.
Elsewhere on Friday of this week, anti-wall protests were organized at the village of Bil’in, Nil’in, and Al Nabi Saleh, central West Bank, the village of Kufer Qadum in northern West Bank in addition to AL Ma’ssara village in the south.
Israeli soldiers suppressed the nonviolent protesters with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In Bil’in and Nil’in protesters managed to reach the Israeli wall before they got attacked by soldiers. But in Nabi Saleh, al Ma’ssara and Kufer Qadum troops attacked unarmed protesters before leaving the villages.
For IMEMC News this is Salam Qumsiyeh
The Political Report
U.S. President Barack Obama visits Israel and Palestine, focuses on U.S. – Israel friendship and calls on both Palestinians and Israelis to resume peace talks, the details with IMEMC’s Ghassan Bannoura.
On his final day in Palestine and Israel, U.S. President Barack Obama visited the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, on Friday and urged action against racism and anti-Semitism.
In his only public remarks on Friday, Obama said we have a collective ‘obligation not just to bear witness but to act’ against racism ‘and especially anti-Semitism.’
During the visit, which lasted less than half an hour, a heavy security measures were taken in the Bethlehem area, and only Israeli Channel 2 was allowed to take footage of the visit. Palestinian official TV station was not allowed into the church of Nativity and even the outside square.
In Israel Obama visited three of the Israel’s most powerful national sites including the Holocaust memorial Yad Va Shem, as well as the graves of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, and assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
On Thursday, Obama addressed Israeli youth in a speech in Jerusalem and urged for a negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians. He said ‘the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine.’
Palestinians on the other hand, were largely disappointed with his short visit to the West Bank. Many were put off by Obama’s frequent use of Hebrew and stressing the ‘eternal friendship’ between the United States and Israel.
On Thursday, President Obama met with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and held a press conference, during which Abbas affirmed the right of the Palestinian people to an independent state on the pre-1967 borders with Jerusalem its capital along side with Israel.
Obama on the other hand affirmed the United States commitment to the establishment of a viable state of Palestine. However, Obama’s suggestion that a freeze on the illegal construction of Jewish settlement in the West Bank need not be a prerequisite for peace talks was frustrating to Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority had conditioned the resumption of peace talks by complete freeze of settlement building in the West Bank including east Jerusalem.
On the grass roots level, a group of Palestinian activists and leaders started an initiative they called “Obama Ahlain” [Welcome] and requested to meet with the President in a letter sent to the White House shortly after the visit was confirmed.
The group said in a press release that no just and lasting political settlement to the Palestinian –Israeli conflict will be possible without addressing the rights of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in the United Nations resolution 194. The group also stressed the importance of ending the Israeli colonization of the Arab-Palestinian land occupied in June 1967, including any facts and measures related to and following the Israeli belligerence, with the purpose of giving the Palestinian people their right to self-determination.
The Obama Ahlain campaign has also criticised the way Obama’s visit was organized, claiming that it was not coordinated with the Palestinians. They said, “Obama met with non-official Israelis including students from different Israeli universities while he refused to meet with non-official Palestinians who include refugees, prisoners’ parents and relatives, and victims of Israeli hostilities.
The West Bank and Gaza Report
This week the Israeli forces conducted at least 52 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these invasions Israeli troops arrested at least 67 Palestinians, including 41 children. IMEMC’s Eman Batjali has more
This week the Israeli forces conducted at least 52 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these invasions Israeli troops arrested at least 67 Palestinians, including 41 children. IMEMC’s Eman Batjali has more:
Dozens of residents were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation on Monday during clashes that erupted between local youth and Israeli troops at Al Aroub refugee camp to the north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
Local sources reported that Israeli soldiers stormed the entrance of the camp and fired tear gas at residents then local youth responded by hurling stones at them.
Medical sources said that dozens of residents received treatments for the effects of tear gas inhalation. Last week Israeli troops shot and killed a local journalist during clashes at Al Aroub refugee camp.
Later in the week Extreme right wing Israeli settlers attacked on Tuesday Palestinian cars near the northern West Bank city of Nablus casing damage.
Witnesses said that settlers from the nearby illegal settlement of Yetshar hurled stones at Palestinian cars casing damage to 18 cars. No injuries among Palestinians were reported.
On Wednesday morning in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, a Palestinian child was injured after he was rammed by an Israeli settler car.
Witnesses said that the boy 4 years old was playing near his home when a settler hit him with his car and fled the scene. Doctors in Hebron city hospital said that boy sustained moderate wounds.
Elsewhere on Thursday morning Israeli sources reported that two rocket shells were fired from Gaza and hit Israeli areas near the costal enclave.
One of the shells landed near the backyard of a house casing damage but no injuries while the other one landed in open land casing neither damage nor injuries.
For IMEMC News this is Eman Batjali
And that’s all for today from This Week in Palestine this was the Weekly report for March 16th to 22 , 2013 from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. For more news and updates please keep visiting our website at www.imemc.org. Today’s report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and me, George Rishmawi