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This Week in Palestine, May 20th, 2011
Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, http://www.imemc.org, for May 14th to 20, 2011.
Major stories this week have been the Israeli attacks on Palestinian protesters during Nakba as well as US President Obama's speech on the Middle East. These stories and more are coming up, stay tuned.
Lets us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in the West Bank
On Friday Israeli troops attacked the weekly anti-wall protests in a number of West Bank communities injuring three civilians and arresting seven. This week protests were reported in Bil’in, Nil’in, al-Nabi Salleh villages in central West Bank, as well as al-Ma’ssara village in the south.
One civilian was injured in the leg, two dozen treated for the effects of tear gas on Friday when Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly protest in the village of al-Nabi Salleh, central West Ban. International and Israeli supporters after the midday prayers and marched up to the land where Israeli plans to build a new settlement. Troops attacked villages as soon as they left. Later troops invaded the village and fired tear gas into people homes.
In Bil’in village, two men were injured when Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly protests there. After the midday prayers at the local mosque international and Israeli supporters joined the villagers after the midday prayers and marched up to the gate of the wall separating local farmers from their lands.
Upon arriving at the gate of the wall, soldiers stationed there fired tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets at protesters. Ibraheem Burnat, 29, and Mohamed Yaseen were lightly wounded as many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Also in central West Bank, Israeli and international supporters joined the villagers of Nalin and marched up to the wall after conducting the midday prayers on lands near the wall. Soldiers fired tear gas and sound bombs at them. Many were treated for effects of tear gas.
At al-Ma’sara village, in southern West Bank on Friday, villagers and their international and Israeli supporters protested against the wall and settlements there. Israeli troops stopped villagers from reaching the construction-side of the wall and used rifle butts and batons to push people back into the village. Israeli soldiers arrested seven protesters, three from the local committee against the wall and settlements and four international supporters.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is set to hold talks with Palestinian and Arab concerned parties over recent U.S President Barak Obama’s speech on Middle East Peace. Meanwhile, Israeli diplomats rejected Obama’s speech as a disregard to Israel’s interests. IMEMC's Rami Al-Meghari has more
President Barak Obama believes that both Israel and the Palestinians should go back to negotiations based on a Palestinian state on 1967 border lines. The U.S President expected that such a solution is viable if it involves agreed-upon arrangements between Palestinians and Israelis.
The new Obama’s suggestion is said to have been accepted by Palestinian Authority and rejected by Israel. In Ramallah, PA sources said Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas would hold meetings with Arab and Palestinian officials over possibilities to move forward with peace in light of Obama’s remarks.
In the Gaza Strip, a number of political parties including the ruling Hamas, dubbed the American administration’s wish for Mideast peace as merely ‘redundant rhetoric’ that bears no significance. The parties called on Washington to rather take concrete steps including stopping Israel’s settlement activities on 1967 Palestinian territories.
Israeli officials including Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, expressed resentment towards the remarks as shortfall. Israel rejects a Palestinian state on what it terms ‘indefensible 1967 borders’. Israel has wanted to keep large settlement blocs within 1967 borders, something that would make any future Palestinian state dismembered.
Concurrently, Israeli media reports said that Israel would soon embark on building about 1500 settlement units across the occupied West Bank. Some political analysts believe that Obama’s speech on Middeast peace on Thursday meant to encourage the Palestinian Authority to retreat request to the UN for a recognition of a Palestinian state by September of this year.
At the internal Palestinian level, sources in Cairo revealed that both Hamas and Fatah parties agreed this week on forming a technocratic government that would prepare for general presidential and legislative elections.
Earlier this month, the two parties signed a unity deal in the Egyptian capital, ending a four-year-long division.
Rami Almeghari. IMEMC.ORG. GAZA
The Israeli Attacks Report
Israeli soldiers and settlers attacked a number of Palestinians during demonstrations and isolated incidents leading to deaths and injuries, the details with IMEMC's David Steele
22 were wounded, one critically, in protests against the wall and settlements in Nabi Saleh on Friday May 13th. On the same day, 3 were injured in Bil'in. Roads were blocked to activists travelling Friday to the weekly anti-wall protest in the town of Bil'in. The Israeli military blocked all roads going into the town as a means of minimising turnout for the protest.
In protests against Israeli settlement expansion in the Silwan and Ras al-Amud neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, Israeli police assaulted demonstrators with rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas, abducting 34 and shooting a 17-year old with live ammunition.
Palestinian medical sources in Jerusalem reported Saturday that Milad Sa’id Ayyash, 17, died of wounds suffered Friday during clashes with the Israeli police in Silwan town, in occupied East Jerusalem. The bullet was fired by a settler of an illegal outpost in the area. The West Bank was closed for 24 hours on Sunday.
Israel Police Superintendent, Luba Samri, stated Saturday that the police detained twenty Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem following clashes with the army and the police in several areas of the occupied city. Several Palestinians and a number of police officers were injured.
An estimated four people were killed Sunday on the Syria-Israel border, five killed on the Lebanon-Israel border, 52 injured in Gaza, and at least 24 injured in the West Bank as Israeli forces attacked Palestinian refugees trying to re-enter their former homes in what is now Israel. The day of protests was a commemoration of the ‘Nakba’ or ‘Catastrophe’ of Palestinian dispossession in 1948.
A total of 11 peace activists and reporters were detained Sunday by the Israeli military as they attempted to march to the old village of al Wallaja, near the West Bank town of Bethlehem. Those detained included leading activist Dr Mazin Qumsiyeh, Chairman of Board of the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement Between People (parent organization of the IMEMC).
Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that a Palestinian youth was killed and at least 172 were wounded on Sunday due to Israeli military excessive use of force against the “Return Protests” in different parts of the coastal region.
Palestinian medical forces reported Sunday that at least 150 Palestinians were injured by Israeli military fire, while dozens of residents were kidnapped as the army opened fire at the “Return Protests” in Ramallah and Al Biereh on Sunday.
Israeli settlers invaded the village of Tuba in the South Hebron Hills late Sunday night, 15 May. They damaged property and killed and stole livestock belonging to the Ali Awad family. Palestinians of Tuba reported that they counted seven masked settlers, who entered and left the village on foot, and saw two cars at the outskirts of Tuba, near the chicken barns of Ma'on settlement.
The UN Agency for Palestinian refugees has stated that Israel has displaced 149 children, through housing demolitions, in the West Bank so far this year. The figures show a stark increase on numbers displaced and housing units demolished for the same period last year.
The Israeli military carried out incursions into the West Bank Tuesday and arrested 11 as part of the crackdown in the aftermath of Nakba commemorations held throughout Palestine and bordering states on Sunday.
Residents of the Salfit township, in the north-central West Bank, reported Wednesday that scores of Israeli soldiers had deployed in the area since Tuesday and declared it a 'closed military zone' – preventing residents from leaving their homes or going to work or school.
Israeli soldiers invaded on Thursday at night that Madama village, south of the northern West Bank of Nablus, and imposes curfew placing all residents under house arrest. For IMEMC.org this is David Steele
And 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 Kevin Murphy.