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This Week in Palestine, December 9th, 2016
Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, http://www.imemc.org, for December 4, to the 9, 2016.
This week four Palestinian tunnel workers killed in Gaza and one youth killed by Israeli troops in the west Bank meanwhile Israel’s government approves more settlements on occupied Palestinian land. 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. Many residents were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation on Friday, as Israeli troops attacked anti wall and settlements protests organized in West Bank villages. IMEMC’s Majd Batjali with the details:
Protests this week marked the second anniversary of the death of government minister, Ziad Abu Ein. The minister was killed two years ago after being attacked by Israeli troops at anti wall protest near Hebron.
Israeli soldiers used live rounds, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets against the unarmed protesters. Scores others were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation as Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly protest organized in Kufer Kadum village. Troops also fired tear gas into residents’ homes after invading the village.
In Bil’in and Ni’lin, protesters managed to reach the Israeli wall. Meanwhile in al Nabi Saleh village, Israeli troops fired several rounds of rubber-coated steel bullets at the villagers as soon as they reached the village entrance.
Also this week, Israeli authorities prevented Dr. Isabel Perry from entering into the occupied Palestinian territories, claiming she is an activist of the World Council of Churches, which supports the boycott movement against Israel. Perry was going to speak at the Kairos Palestine annual conference in Bethlehem city. Kairos Palestine is Christian Palestinian movement, advocates the ending of the Israeli occupation and achieving a just solution to the conflict.
For IMEMC News this is Majd Batjali
The Political Report
Israel approves in first reading the legalizing of the unauthorized settlement outposts in the West Bank triggering wide criticism. IMEMC’s George Rishmawi has more:
This week, the Israeli Knesset voted in support of a bill to legalize unauthorized outposts in the West Bank in first reading. The legislation passed 58 to 51 with 11 abstains. MK Benny Begin from the Likud party, a member of the ruling coalition, opposed the bill.
The bill would not apply to the unauthorized settlement outpost of Amona, slated for evacuation by December 25. This vote caused a number of reactions by Palestinian and International figures and bodies. Palestinian lawmaker Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi described this vote as a declaration of war.
In a press statement, Barghouthi said the misappropriation of private Palestinian land in favor of illegal settlements amounts to “a death sentence against the longed-for Palestinian State.”
On his part, UN special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov said in a statement on the so-called legalization bill, “If adopted, it will have far reaching legal consequences for Israel, across the occupied West Bank and will greatly diminish the prospect of Arab-Israeli peace.” Mladenov also encouraged Israeli legislators to reconsider the move.
He added “I reiterate that all settlement activities are illegal, under international law, and run counter to the Middle East Quartet position that settlements are one of the main obstacles to peace.” Prior to the vote, in an unprecedented statement, US secretary of State, John Kerry said that Israel has to choose between settlements and the two-state solution, adding that it cannot have both.
In other news, the Israeli authorities released, on Thursday evening, Mohammad and his brother Mahmoud Al-Balboul, who were held under illegal Administrative Detention orders, and went on hunger strike for 82 consecutive days, until reaching an agreement for their freedom.
Mohammad and Mahmoud were welcomed by hundreds of Palestinians in a massive celebration at the Manger Square, in front of the Church of Nativity, in Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank.
There are over 7000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, around 700 of them are under administrative detention, including three Palestinian lawmakers. A number of the administrative detainees are on hunger strike demanding an end to their illegal detention, two of which are on their 76th day of hunger strike.
For IMEMC News, this is George Rishmawi
The West Bank and Gaza Report
Four Palestinian tunnel workers were killed this week in Gaza, meanwhile one youth was shoot dead by Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint. IMEMC’s Ghassan Bannoura reports:
Four Palestinian workers were found dead on Sunday inside a tunnel at the Gaza-Egyptian boarders, Palestinian sources reported. Last week Egyptian troops started flooding the tunnels on the Gaza-Egypt with sea water, four tunnel workers went missing and were found dead on Sunday.
Since Israeli placed the coastal enclave under siege in 2007, the tunnels became the main sources of the much needed food, medicine, and fuel supplies to the 2 million residents of the Gaza Strip. For the past nine years many workers have lost their lives during Israeli attacks targeting those tunnels or work related accidents. Staying in Gaza, Israeli navy ships attacked, earlier on Tuesday, several Palestinian fishing boats, with live gunfire, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, and abducted four fishermen.
In the West Bank this week, A Palestinian youth was shoot and killed on Thursday morning by Israeli troops manning a military checkpoint in northern West Bank. Mohamed Harb, 19, from the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, was killed by Israeli soldiers at the Za’tarra checkpoint, separating northern from central West Bank.
According to the Israeli army, troops used lethal force as Harb was about to attack soldiers with knife. Eyewitnesses and some photos taken by passing by cars show Harb being held by soldiers at gunpoint and creating no threat to the troops at the checkpoint. Following the attack Israeli troops closed the area and did not allow Palestinians to move. Since October 2015, at least 242 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire, most of them under claims of attacking soldiers, five of whom were killed by soldiers at Za’tarra, local sources reported.
Earlier in the week, Israeli soldiers invaded, Tuesday, Fasayel village, north of the West Bank city of Jericho, and demolished several residential sheds. The army claimed that the structures are built without permission. In the meantime, in Jerusalem two Palestinian brothers, along with their wives and children, lost their homes Tuesday when Israeli forces demolished their homes under the pretext of ‘lacking a construction permit’.
Also this week, Israeli forces conducted at least 50 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and in occupied Jerusalem. During these invasions, Israeli troops kidnapped more than 51 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children.
For IMEMC News this is Ghassan Bannoura.
And that’s all for today from This Week in Palestine. This was the Weekly report for December 4, to the 9, 2016. From the Occupied Palestinian Territories. For more news and updates please visit our website at www-dot-imemc-dot-org, This week’s report has been brought to you by Saed Naji and me Eman Abedraboo-Bannoura.