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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for March 23rd to 29th 2013
The Arab League starts a fund to support the Islamic and Arabic presence in Jerusalem, meanwhile, Israeli invasions into the West Bank and Gaza Strip this week mount to 37, these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
The Nonviolence Report
Let’s begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities organized in the West Bank. This week many protesters were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli troops used tear gas to attack anti wall and settlement protests at a number of west Bank communities. IMEMC’s Salam Qumsiyeh with the story:
In central West Bank protests were organized at the village of of Bil’in, Nil’in and Al Nabi saleh. Also protests were organized in southern West Bank, and the village of Al Ma’ssara near Bethlehem and another one in the nearby city of Hebron.
Israeli soldiers attacked anti wall and settlements protesters in Al Nabi saleh before even leaving the village , troops later invaded the village and fired tear gas at residents homes. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In the nearby Bil’in, and Nil’in, residents and their Israeli and international supporters reached the Israeli wall built on lands taken from local famers before soldiers stationed their showered them with tear gas and chemical water that generate bad smell. Also there many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Elsewhere, at al Ma’ssara village, Israeli troops stopped the villagers and their supporters at village entrance then forced them back using rifle buts and batons to bush people back, no injuries were reported.
In Hebron city, residents and their supporters marched to one of the city entrances blocked by the Israeli army since 10 year. Troops used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets against the unarmed protesters; many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
For IMEMC News this is Salam Qumsiyeh.
The Political Report
A summit meeting of the Arab League in Doha pledged a financial support to the Alaqsa mosque of Jerusalem. The meeting also emphasized on the need for internal Palestinian reconciliation Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority denied Israeli reports on peace talks with Israel the details with IMEMC’s Rami Al Mgehari.
The state of Qatar, host for a recent regular Arab states summit meeting, called for a mini-summit for Arab states in Cairo in an attempt to end political rift between Palestinian Fatah and Hamas parties.
Palestinian officials from Fatah and Hamas alike , welcomed the Qatari call and expressed readiness to end current division.
Palestinian Prime Minister of Hamas , Ismail Haniya, said in Gaza that his party welcomes the call on basis of legitimacy and the Palestinian people’s right to resist the Israeli occupation.
Haniya warned of what he termed Israel and American intervention into internal Palestinian politics, saying to crowds of prayers in the coastal city that ‘ we can not accept a conciliation being influenced by American finance’.
In the meantime, officials in the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, stressed on what they called legitimacy of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah as being the president of all Palestinian people and that elections is the basis for any upcoming reconciliation.
Abbas is a western-backed president , while Hamas is being sidelined by most western governments including the United States. Western countries have long ago demanded Hamas to renounce violence, recognizes Israel and accept past-signed peace agreements with Israel before Hamas wins international recognition.
In other news, top Palestinian negotiator , Saeb Eriqat , denied this week some Israeli media reports that both Palestinian and Israeli negotiators would meet in the West Bank city of Jericho to find out ways out of current deadlocked peace process between the two parties.
The Palestinian Authority has boycotted peace talks with Israel over what the PA considers Israel’s persistence on building new settlements on occupied Palestinian territories , mainly in the West Bank and the Arab city of East Jerusalem.
In New York, United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, branded ongoing Israeli settlements as illegal, given the fact that they lie in lands that Israel occupied in 1967.
Last November, United Nations upgraded Palestine status at the UN as a non-member state within the borders of 1967 including West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
For IMEMC.org, I am Rami Almeghari in Gaza
The West Bank and Gaza Report
This week the Israeli army conducted at least 37 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and another two limited invasions targeting the Gaza Israeli borders. Moreover, two Palestinians were killed in siege busting- tunnels accident at the Gaza Egypt borders, IMEMC’s Ghassan Bannoura reports:
In Gaza this week The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, reported Tuesday that one of its fighters was killed and two others were injured in a tunnel collapse accident in the Az-Zeitoun neighborhood, east of Gaza city.
On Thursday of this week another man was killed and two others injured when a runnel collapsed on them at the Gaza Strip borders with Egypt.
At least 232 Palestinians have been killed in similar accidents since the Israeli siege was imposed on Gaza in June of 2007.
Also in Gaza this week Israeli naval forces continued to attack Palestinian fishermen. This week Israeli gunboats attacked fishing boats in four separate incidents.
Palestinian fishermen were forced back to shore, no damage or injuries were reported.
In the West Bank this week, Israeli army Invasions were focused in the city of Bethlehem, and Hebron, southern West Bank, and in Nablus city, northern West Bank.
According to the Palestinian center for human rights PCHR the Israeli army has arrested at least 26 Palestinians, including 6 children during this week’s invasions.
Also in the west Bank Israeli settlers attacked on Monday afternoon Palestinian shop owners in Hebron old city part.
Witnesses said that armed Israeli settlers from illegal settlements in the old city attacked Palestinian shops and forced them to close.
For IMEMC News this is Ghassan Bannoura
And that’s all for today from This Week in Palestine this was the Weekly report for March 23rd to 29th , 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