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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for January 23, to the 29, 2016.
As Israeli illegal settlement construction continues, a child and two youth were killed this week by Israeli gunfire. 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. an international supporter was injured, scores others treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation on Friday as Israeli forces attacked nonviolent protests organized in West Bank villages. IMEMC’s Majd Batjali with the details:
An international activist was injured in his foot and many other villagers were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when soldiers attacked the weekly protest in the central West Bank village of al Nabi Saleh on Friday.
Troops attacked the protest at the village entrance using live rounds, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Later troops stormed and fired tear gas at residents homes, many residents were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation as a result.
At the nearby villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, Israeli soldiers attacked the protesters as soon as they reached the gate in the wall that separates local farmers from their lands. Many protesters suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation and were treated by field medics at both locations.
In the meantime many civilians were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation as Israeli troops attacked the weekly protest organized by the villagers of Kufer Kadum in northern West Bank.
For IMEMC News this Majd Batjali.
The Political Report
The United States reiterated this week its stance regarding Israeli settlement products sold in its markets, in the meantime illegal settlement construction continues in the West Bank. IMEMC’s George Rishmawi has more.
Following Israeli media furor, the US State Department has clarified that recently announced US guidelines prohibiting settlement products from being labeled ‘Made in Israel’ were not new, but a ‘restatement of existing requirements.’ US State Department spokesman Mark Toner made the clarification following confusion over a statement, released earlier in the week by US Customs and Border Protection, which said that West Bank products may not be labeled ‘Made in Israel.’
“This guidance was simply a restatement of previous requirements,” Toner said. “It in no way supersedes prior rulings or regulations, nor does it impose additional requirements with respect to merchandise imported from the West Bank, Gaza Strip, or Israel.”
Several media outlets reported the move was initiated by the Obama administration, in line with a recent European Union decision that prohibits settlement products — as well as any other goods made in the occupied territories — from being labeled as Israeli. According to Palestinian media sources, the Obama Administration supported the EU decision, but did not take steps toward similarly far-reaching measures.
Toner did not clarify the reason behind the decision by US Customs to publicly restate the guidelines. The US Customs’ guidelines on labeling West Bank products initially originated alongside the Oslo Accords in 1993 and was intended to stimulate growth of the Palestinian economy by differentiating between Israeli and Palestinian products.
The Israeli Ministry of Defense, on Monday, approved plans to build 153 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank. Dozens of settler units have been approved in at least four settlements in the West Bank, in areas that include Jerusalem, southern Bethlehem, and the Jordan Valley area.
According to Peace Now, the move marks the end of an informal construction freeze in the Palestinian territory which lasted 18 months. The rights group said, on December 28th, that Israel was working to revive and extend plans for new settler houses in the contentious area of the occupied West Bank known as E1.
In a report said to be based on government data obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request, the group stated that the housing ministry was seeking to build 55,548 units in the West Bank — including two new settlements — of which more than 8,300 housings would be in E1.
There are an estimated half million settlers who illegally in Palestinian territories identified by the United Nations as illegally occupied by Israel. Thus all the settlement construction in the West Bank, whether recent or old is illegal and violates the International Law. The settlements are swallowing large areas of land that belong to Palestinians, most of which were agricultural land that constitutes a main source of living for many Palestinian farmers.
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled for several reasons, mainly the Palestinian demand to stop all settlements activities in the West Bank, a demand that Israel insists to ignore.
For IMEMC News, this is George Rishmawi
The West Bank and Gaza Report
This week Israeli forces killed three Palestinians during separate attacks in the West Bank, meanwhile seven Palestinian fighter died in a tunnel accident in Gaza. IMEMC’s Ghassan Bannoura reports:
A Palestinian child was killed after being shot by Israeli security guard on Saturday north of Occupied East Jerusalem. Ruqaya Abu Tabeekh, 13, was killed at the entrance of Anatot illegal Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem.
Israeli sources claimed that the girl had a knife and wanted to stab the guards at the gate after having a fight with her family. Abu Tabeekh family said that Ruqaya was killed in cold blood and did not have a knife with her and had no intention of stabbing anyone.
Later in the week, Israeli soldiers shot and killed two Palestinian youth on Monday after stabbing settlers at the illegal settlement of Beit Haron near the central West Bank city of Ramallah.
The two killed youth were identified as Ibrahim Allan 23, from Beit Our al-Tahta, southwest of Ramallah, and Hussein Abu Ghosh 17, from Qalandia refugee camp, north of Jerusalem. An Israeli woman was killed after sustaining critical wounds in the attacks of the two youth.
Also this week, Israeli forces conducted at least 73 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem. During these invasions Israeli troops kidnapped 47 Palestinian civilians, including seven children and a Palestinian lawmaker.
Moreover, Israeli troops demolish two Palestinians homes this week. Israeli soldiers invaded, earlier Wednesday, a Palestinian home in Shu’fat neighborhood, north of occupied Jerusalem, and demolished the property that was built 15 years ago. Also Wednesday, the soldiers demolished an under construction Palestinian home, in Jabal al-Mokabber town, in Jerusalem.
In the Gaza Strip, The al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said seven of its fighters were buried under the rubble when a border tunnel collapsed on them, on Tuesday evening. The Brigades stated that the tunnel collapsed due to heavy rain while the fighters were conducting maintenance work.
Elsewhere, Israeli war jets fired, on Monday at dawn, several missiles targeting two areas in the Gaza strip, causing damage. Israeli attacks comes shortly after a shell was fired from Gaza, on Sunday evening, landed in an open area in the Negev, causing no damage or injuries.
For IMEMC News this is Ghassan Bannoura.
And that’s all for today from This Week in Palestine. This was the Weekly report for January 23, to the 29, 2016. From the Occupied Palestinian Territories. For more news and updates please visit our website at www.imemc.org, This week’s report has been brought to you by Maher Qasiess and me Eman Abedraboo-Bannoura.