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This Week in Palestine, December 16th, 2016
Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, http://www.imemc.org, for December 10, to the 16, 2016.
Israeli army attacks leave a man dead and a child injured this week, in the meantime Israel approved construction of new settlement. 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 as Israeli soldiers attacked nonviolent protests organized in West Bank villages on Friday. IMEMC’s Majd Batjali with the details:
In central West Bank, nonviolent protests were organized in the villages of Bil’in, Ni’lin and Al Nabi Saleh. Troops used tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets against the unarmed protesters. Both Bil’in and Ni’lin villagers, and their international and Israeli supporters, managed to reach the Israeli wall, built on local farmers lands.
In Al Nabi Saleh, the soldiers attacked the protest at the village entrance. Later troops stormed the village and fired tear gas into residents homes.
Elsewhere, Palestinian and Israeli activists from Combatants for peace movement organized a protest in Biet Jala town near Bethlehem in southern West Bank demanding an end to the occupation. Protesters marched along the settlers road 60 and ended their protest at the tunnel checkpoint separating Bethlehem area from Jerusalem.
For IMEMC News this is Majd Batjali.
The Political Report
Following the legalization bill, Israel approved construction of new settlement units this week. At the meantime, US president-elect’s transition team indicated to move the US embassy in Israel to occupied Jerusalem. IMEMC Tian Chenwei has more:
On last Wednesday, the Local Committee for Planning and Building for the Israeli Municipality in Jerusalem approved a plan to build 770 housing units in the Gilo neighborhood, south of the occupied city of Jerusalem. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported, that the committee also approved a new construction stage in the settlement. The municipality stressed that the plan has existed since 2013, adding that it has been waiting on several actions to be approved before the beginning of the building process.
Various associations rejected the plan, saying that it limits the chances of establishing a two-state solution because it keeps only a small space between the Israeli settlement and the Palestinian city of Beit Jala. Last week, Israeli Parliament passed the first reading of the bill to “legalize” illegal settlements.
Recently, the Palestinian Negotiations Affairs Department released a video, titled “East Jerusalem: Israel’s Colonial Project Unraveled,” which declares that Israel’s policy in the city, since the 1967 occupation, is three fold: creating a Jewish majority, reducing Palestinian presence and isolating East Jerusalem and dividing it from its West Bank parts.
According to the Palestinian News Agency, WAFA, the documentary describes the policy as one of “special colonial segregation enforced by Israel’s settlement enterprise.”
“Colonized, impoverished and segregated.” With these words the video concludes its narrative of the future facing occupied East Jerusalem and its Palestinian residents.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly refused to meet with Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallstrom, who visited the country on Thursday. A Foreign Ministry official told Haaretz, that while Wallstrom had reached out to try and arrange meetings with Netanyahu and other ministers, she had been informed that these would not be possible due to schedule considerations.
But the unnamed official added, according to the Palestinian News Network, that the Israelis were simply uninterested in meeting with Wallstrom, due to her government’s positions on the conflict, as well as her own past comments.
The 61-year-old Social Democrat has repeatedly enraged Israel, starting with Sweden’s recognition of a Palestinian state shortly after she became foreign minister, in October of 2014. This Thursday, U．S． President-elect Donald Trump announced his campaign adviser David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer with hard-right views on Israel, as his choice for next US ambassador to the country.
According to CNN, in a statement issued by Trump’s transition team, Friedman said he looked forward to moving the US embassy to “Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.” Friedman has long expressed his hardline, pro-Israel views toward the region. According to the New York Times, he doubts the need for a two-state solution; endorses continued settlements in Palestine territory and even annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank; and accused the Obama administration of anti-Semitism.
For IMEMC News this is Tian Chenwei.
The West Bank and Gaza Report
This week One Palestinian man killed, a child injured by army gunfire in the West Bank, meanwhile in Gaza Israeli troops target farmers. IMEMC’s Ghassan Bannoura reports:
Israeli soldiers shot and killed a young Palestinian man on Wednesday in occupied Jerusalem. Bullet fragments from the Israeli soldiers’ gunfire also injured a Palestinian child in the skull.
Israeli military sources claimed that Hammad Sheikh, 21, stabbed two officers with a screw driver, at the Lion’s Gate, Jerusalem old city, before the soldiers shot him dead.
Eyewitnesses said the soldiers fired many live rounds at Sheikh, and left him bleeding onto the ground for nearly twenty minutes.
A Palestinian doctor, who was in the area, tried to help Sheikh, but the soldiers forced him away, and later allowed the doctor to approach him just before an Israeli ambulance arrived at the scene and moved him to the hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.
Earlier in the week, dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, the Deheishe refugee camp, south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, searched many homes, before shooting and injuring four Palestinians during ensuing clashes.
Moreover, Israeli army bulldozers demolished on Tuesday morning two Palestinian structures and a store at the town of Sur-Baher near Jerusalem. The army claimed that all three structures are too close of the Israeli separation wall built on Palestinian land. Sur-Baher town is under total Palestinian Authority control.
Also this week, Israeli forces conducted at least 66 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and in occupied Jerusalem. During these invasions, Israeli troops kidnaped 76 Palestinian civilians, including 13 children and a journalist.
During this week’s Israeli army invasions into the West Bank troops invaded, on Wednesday at dawn, the Birzeit University Campus, in Birzeit city in central West bank, violently searched several buildings, causing excessive damage, and confiscated computers.
In Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire on Thursday at farmlands east of Khan Yunis in the southern part of the coastal region. The farmers were forced out of their lands fearing from additional army attacks, local sources reported.
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 10, to the 16, 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.