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Welcome to This Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for August 3rd to the 9th, 2013.
This week, a date was set for the new round of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, while Israeli attacks targeting Palestinian communities leave a number of civilians injured. 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. On Friday, many civilians were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation as Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly protests organized at a number of West Bank communities. IMEMC’s Eman Abed Rabo-Bannoura has the story:
Anti wall and settlements protests were organized this week at the villages of al Nabi Saleh, Bil’in, Nil’in, central West Bank and Al Ma’ssara village in southern West Bank.
At the village of al Nabi Saleh, Israeli soldiers used tear gas to suppress the villagers and their supporters before even leaving the village. Shortly afterward, Israeli soldiers stormed the village at fired tear gas at residents’ homes. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Meanwhile in the nearby villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, residents and their international and Israeli supporters managed to reach the wall. Israeli soldiers stationed there fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel at the unarmed protesters. As a result many civilians were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Elsewhere Israeli soldiers attacked the residents of al Ma’ssara and their supporters at the village entrance. Troops used rifle butts and batons to force people back into the village. No injuries were reported.
For IMEMC News this is Eman Abed Rabo-
The Political Report
A date has been set this week for the second round of Palestinian – Israeli peace talks, meanwhile the Israeli government announced a timetable to release political prisoners ahead of those talks. IMEMC’s Ghassan Bannoura has more:
US Foreign Secretary, Jennifer Psaki, stated on Thursday of this week that the next round of direct Palestinian-Israeli talks will be held on August 14 in Jerusalem, then in the West Bank city of Jericho.
Psaki added that this second round of direct talks would be held under direct supervision of U.S.
Special Middle East Envoy, Martin Indyk, and added that Secretary of State, John Kerry, will not be giving any statements after the meeting.
Direct talks started under American mediation when Israeli Chief Negotiator, Tzipi Livni, met with her Palestinian counterpart, Dr. Saeb Erekat, on July 29 and 30. Kerry supervised the talks that started after he visited the region six times starting in March this year.
Earlier in the week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stated the Palestinians will not abandon their legitimate rights, and their right to declare occupied Arab Jerusalem as the capital of their state. His statements came after he placed roses on the grave of the late President, Yasser Arafat, as the Muslim nation started the Al-Fitir Holy Feast celebration, marking the end of the Holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
Meanwhile the Israeli Government has officially announced this week a timeframe for the release of 104 Palestinian detainees, imprisoned since before the first Oslo peace accord was signed in 1993, and said that the detainees will be released in four stages, starting next week, and ending after eight months of direct talks.
The Israeli Radio has reported that the first group of detainees will be released next week, then four months later, the second group will be released “depending on the progress of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) in the West Bank.”
The talks started with the intent to reach a final status agreement in nine months despite enormous obstacles that could topple them, including Israel’s ongoing invasions into Palestinian communities, and its ongoing assaults, in addition to its ongoing illegal settlements construction and expansion activities in the occupied West Bank, including in occupied East Jerusalem.
Israel also refuses to hold talks on borders, natural resources, and refuses to recognize the internationally guaranteed Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees.
Internally Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, stated during his speech of Al-Fitir Holy Feast celebration this week that internal divisions and conflicts are a disgrace, and stressed the importance to finally achieve national unity and comprehensive reconciliation.
Hamas’s member of political office, Mousa Abu Marzok, said that Hamas wants to achieve national unity and end the split between the Hamas controlled Gaza strip and the West Bank that is controlled by Fatah.
However, Abu Marzok held President Abbas responsible for not implementing the agreements between Fatah and Hamas to achieve national unity.
From IMEMC News this is Ghassan Bannoura.
The West Bank and Gaza Report
This week Israeli forces conducted at least 40 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza. During these attacks, Israeli troops injured at least eight civilians and kidnapped at least 26 others, including 5 children. IMEMC’s Grayson Henslee reports:
A number of Palestinian civilians were injured on Monday when Israeli troops invaded Al Khader town near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem.
Local sources reported that Israeli soldiers invaded Al Khader around 1:00 a.m., searched homes, then fired tear gas at residents who were leaving the football field after watching a game there.
Many residents were moved to the local clinic suffering from tear gas inhalation. The Israeli army gave no reason for attacking the residents of Al Khader.
On Tuesday of this week several armored Israeli military vehicles and military bulldozers carried out a limited morning invasion into the Al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza, and uprooted farmlands.
Local sources said that six military bulldozers, accompanied by several jeeps, invaded the area, and fired several rounds of live ammunition before uprooting the lands. The bulldozers and armored vehicles also invaded an area close to the nearby village of Juhr Ed-Deen.
The army carries out nearby daily limited invasions into different areas of the coastal region, especially border areas in the northern and eastern parts of the Gaza Strip. Dozens of casualties have been reported due to army fire during these invasions.
The invasions are direct violations of the Egypt-mediated ceasefire agreement signed in November of last year between the resistance in Gaza and Tel Aviv.
Later in the week five people were injured and two children kidnapped on Wednesday at dawn when dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded Beit Ummar town, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
Violent clashes took place in the town as local youths hurled stones at the invading soldiers. The army fired gas bombs and dozens of rubber-coated steel bullets.
Two of the injured sustained critical wounds, while three more Palestinians suffered mild injuries and were treated after being hit by rubber-coated steel bullets; their injuries did not require hospitalization. Furthermore, Red Crescent medics provided treatment to a number of residents who suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.
For IMEMC News this is Grayson Henslee
And that’s all for today from This Week in Palestine. This was the Weekly report for July 27th to August 2nd 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 George Rishmawi, and me, Shamus Slaunwhite.