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This Week in Palestine, July 13th, 2012
Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, http://www.imemc.org, for July 7th to 13th 2012.
The Palestinian Authority under financial pressure to resume peace talks, civil servants received partial salary this week amidst and increasing Israeli settler and military violence, these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
The Nonviolence Report:
Let’s begin our weekly report with the nonviolent activities in the West Bank. Israeli troops used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets to suppress anti wall protests organized in a number of West Bank communities this week. IMEMC’s Jack Muir.with the details
A Dutch national sustained a head injury after being hit by a tear gas canister and dozens of others suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation as Israeli troops attacked demonstrators at the separation wall near Bil’in
About 80 people, both Palestinian and Internationals, took part in the weekly protest in the small village of Bil’in this afternoon. The weekly protest is aimed at halting the construction of the illegal separation wall being erected by Israel inside the occupied West Bank.
Villagers from Bil’in were joined by about 25 internationals who then marched from the village to the wall, chanting slogans denouncing the illegal occupation.
The Israeli army responded by firing salvos of tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. One international activist was struck in the back of the head causing serious injury. Dozens of others suffered from the effects of tear gas inhalation.
The Israeli army fired dozens of tear gas canisters towards the demonstrators despite the fact that many children were present.
In the village of Nabi Saleh, northwest of Ramallah, a demonstration resulted in arrests and use waste water by the occupation forces. The march began in Martyr’s Square are continued throughout the streets until reaching Shahid Mustafa al-Tamimi Street where soldiers and patrolmen were waiting. The soldiers and patrolmen then began to spray the demonstration’s participants with waste water.
In the southern west bank city of al Ma’sara, the Israeli army forced demonstrators into the village after they had attempted to march to the separation barrier to protest the illegal land grabs by Israeli settlers.
For IMEMC News this is Jack Muir
The Political Report
The United States Threatens to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority who is already in a serious financial crisis, the details and more with IMEMC’s Elina Jonson
Khaled Mesmar, head of the Political Committee of the Palestinian National Council, said that an official statement issued by Washington had been received demanding that if another membership bid was put to the United Nations, then all financial aid to the Palestinian Authority would be cut.
Mesmar stated that the threat was issued officially via the American administration envoy who visited Ramallah recently and met with the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
The initial bid for membership was blocked in September 2011 when the UN Security Council was put under pressure by the American delegation not to vote for it.
Mesmar reported that the Palestinian leadership would withhold its UN bid for statehood if Israel stopped building settlements and released the Palestinian prisoners that were detained before the Oslo's agreement of the 1993.
The Israeli settlements have been the major obstacle to all negotiations. Despite settlements being illegal under the fourth Geneva convention and being in defiance of UN resolutions and the world court, Israel refuses to halt their construction, making negotiations impossible.
The importance of a fresh UN bid has taken on huge significance since last October, when UNESCO voted to admit Palestine as its newest member. The US immediately cut off all aid to UNESCO . The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee referred to vote which passed with a 107 to 14 majority, as “reckless and anti-Israel”.
In the meantime, the Palestinian Authority paid part of the June salaries to the Palestinian civil servants this week. Salaries, which are usually paid on the 7th of each month, have not been paid due to aid to the PA being delayed.
Nabeel Qassis of the PA Ministry of Finance stated that 60% of nearly 160 thousand employee salaries would be transferred to their bank accounts today.
Qassis stated that the PA is facing its worst crisis in recent years due to a lack of promised funds being delivered. To date, the PA has received only US$ 466 million of US$ 1.2 billion promised this year.
The US, which had pledged US$ 200million, failed to deliver in June as promised. Saudi Arabia had promised US$ 95 million, but as yet, this has not been received. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to visit Saudi Arabia in the coming days to discuss the crisis.
Secretary-General of the PLO, Yasser Abed Rabbo explained that Abbas had chosen to visit Saudi Arabia as "it has always been supportive to the PA at all levels."
Also this week, the Palestinian Authority has agreed to the exhumation of late president Yasser Arafat's body following the recent exposé by the al-Jazeera network.
The recent al-Jazeera broadcast showed findings by the Institute of Radiation Physics, in Switzerland, that suggested that Arafat had been poisoned with polonium-210 following tests on the late president's clothing.
While the findings of the Institute of Radiation Physics could not conclusively prove that Arafat was killed by poisoning, tests on his remains would give a final conclusion with regards to his death.
Since his death in 2004, it has been widely speculated that Arafat was poisoned after he fell gravely ill and died one month later.
For IMEMC News this is Elina Jonson
The West Bank & Gaza Report
Israeli settler and military violence escalate against the Palestinian Population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with more than 60 incursions into Palestinian communities, the details and more IMEMC's. Kelly Joiner
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) released its weekly report on the West Bank and Gaza today. They reported that the Israeli military continued to use force to disperse peaceful protesters resulting in injuries to 4 Palestinians including 1 child.
Israeli forces also carried out widespread abductions. 2 Palestinian civilians and 3 human rights defenders were kidnapped during non-violent protests. 26 Palestinians including 7 children were abducted during incursions into the West Bank by the Israeli military. There were 63 reported incursions this week alone.
In Hebron, after two separate incidents involving Israeli military and settler violence, the Israeli army shut down the Old City. A teenage girl and a French citizen were wounded in successive days by Israeli fire.
In Jerusalem, an Eritrean family lost their home and suffered smoke inhalation after an arson attack that was motivated by racism. Many African migrants have been targeted in Israel lately by right-wing extremist groups who want Israel to be a Jewish only state.
In related news, Israeli settlers were responsible for the destruction of 120 olive trees south of Nablus, the confiscation of a 5 dunum area in al-Khader village south of Bethlehem, and in Nabi Younis north of Hebron, settlers attacked Palestinian civilians in their vehicles.
In Gaza, Israeli warplanes launched renewed airstrikes and an incursion into Khan Younis, as well as firing on Palestinians inside Gaza. Mahmoud al Haiji was killed by an Israeli airstrike on Thursday that also leveled large portions of Palestinian land. One Palestinian man was shot by Israeli forces while picking up scrap for recycling. Israel has continued its total closure of both land and water borders in Gaza as well.
Also in Gaza, 5 children were injured by an unexploded ordinance (UXO) according to a United Nations (UN) report. Since the beginning of 2012, 17 other children have been wounded by UXOs in Gaza and an additional 9 Palestinians were also injured. These injuries resulted in at least one death.
In addition, one man was abducted at Erez crossing while attempting to cross into Israel to seek medical attention. While en route to hospital, the Palestinian patient was detained and abducted at Beit Hanoun.
The artistic director of The Freedom Theatre in Jenin began a hunger strike this week to protest his administrative detention by the Israeli military. He is one of an estimated 320 Palestinians currently in prison without charges under Israeli military administrative detention orders. There are currently 4700 Palestinians in Israeli military prisons, which includes 185 children.
Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak was released this week after a hunger strike of 96 days protesting his administrative detention. After being detained while attempting to attend a football match, he lost nearly half of his body weight on his hunger strike.
For IMEMC News this is Kelly Joiner.
That was just some of the news from This Week in Palestine, for more updates; please visit our website at http://www.imemc.org. Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem, This report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and me George Rishmawi.