HAVANA TIMES — As a new five day ceasefire took effect in Gaza this week, Israeli army violations were reported. In the meantime Israeli attacks in both the West Bank and Gaza left at least a dozen civilians killed.
Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for August 9th to the 15th, 2014.
The Nonviolence Report
Let’s begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities organized in the West Bank. On Friday, scores of civilians were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation as Israeli troops attacked the nonviolent protests organized in West Bank villages.
Israeli soldiers attacked a non-violent protest organized in the northern West Bank village of Kufer Qadoum. According to local sources, residents along with international supporters were protesting near the Israeli installed road block at the main entrance of the village when they were attacked by Israeli soldiers.
The Israeli army closed the main road leading in and out of Kufer Qadoum 13 years ago, claiming that it creates a security risk for the illegal settlement near the village.
In the central West Bank, Israeli troops used tear gas and sound bombs as well as chemical water to attack the weekly anti-wall and anti-settlements protests at villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, and the nearby village of al Nabi Saleh.
In Bil’in and Ni’lin, Israeli soldiers attacked the protesters as soon as they reached the gate of the wall that separates local farmers from their lands. Many protesters were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation at both locations.
Meanwhile at the village of Al Nabi Saleh, troops attacked the unarmed protesters before leaving the village. Later soldiers stormed the village and fired tear gas into residents’ homes causing damage.
Elsewhere, at Al-Ma’asara village, in southern West Bank, Israeli troops stopped villagers and their supporters at the entrance of the village and forced them back, however, no injuries were reported.
The Political Report
Indirect Palestinian-Israeli talks in Cairo resume as a five-day cease-fire is in effect, although no breakthrough, yet there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
As Palestinian and Israeli negotiating teams are holding indirect talks in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, residents of the Gaza Strip went to look for their missing beloved and the ruins of their demolished homes, with the hope that the death of over 1950 Palestinians will not go in vein.
Deputy Secretary-General of the Palestinian faction of the Islamic Jihad, Ziad al-Nakhala, said on Thursday that a long-term ceasefire to include the lifting of the siege on Gaza would be announced soon, stressing that “great progress” had been made in negotiations.
Palestinian media sources said that the announcement comes after Israel reportedly dropped its demand that Palestinian resistance groups inside Gaza disarm, while apparently acceding to demands by the Palestinian delegation that the eight-year long economic blockade of the Strip be lifted.
Azzam Al-Ahmad, head of the Palestinian delegation said an agreement is near, and a meeting in Ramallah to update the Palestinian leadership with the latest progress of the negotiations will be held soon. According to Al-Ahmad, some pre-conditions set by Israel have been dropped, such as disarming the resistance in Gaza. He added that there are few missing issues to finanlize an agreement over the sea port and an airport and the total lift of the siege.
Observers say Israel is under unprecedented pressure due to the high number of Palestinian civilian casualties and the repeated attacks against the UN schools in the Gaza Strip.
After officials in the Obama administration say they were ‘blindsided’ by the shipment of ammunition from the Pentagon to Israel, the administration decided to put a temporary halt on the transfer of a number of hellfire missiles.
The move appears to be a ‘tit for tat’ response to the Israeli purchase of ammunition directly from the Pentagon, according to analysts familiar with U.S.-Israel relations.
President Obama recently gave a speech assuring his administration’s full support for the Israeli offensive in Gaza, and authorized an additional $225 million approved by the U.S. Congress for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system – a system whose effectiveness has been called into question by military experts, in recent weeks.
But, the decision on Thursday to delay the shipment of Hellfire missiles indicates that the Obama administration is, for the first time, hesitating in its previously unrestricted, blanket support for Israel.
An unnamed official within the Obama administration told reporters from the Wall Street Journal that the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza has “persuaded them that Mr. Netanyahu and his national security team are both reckless and untrustworthy.”
The war on Gaza has also created a great impact on the boycott campaign in Palestine. Majority of the Palestinians have stopped purchasing Israeli products, despite the lack of alternatives, a move that would inflict a serious damage on the Israeli economy if lasts for some years, as the Palestinian market is the second external market for Israeli products after the European Union.
The West Bank and Gaza Report
This week at least seven Palestinian were killed in Gaza regardless of the ceasefire deal, in the meantime Israeli soldiers and settlers attacks leave three young men dead.
On Monday, a wounded Palestinian man died at an Egyptian hospital of serious injuries suffered several days ago when the army bombarded Rafah. Remains of two Palestinians located under rubble in Central Gaza.
On Tuesday morning, Israeli navy boats violated the temporary truce with Gaza by opening fire on Palestinian fishing boats near the coast of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Fishermen tried to fish close to the shore, the navy opened fire on them, forcing them to leave.
No injuries were reported. Another attack took place on Wednesday. Moreover Israeli war jets have carried out airstrikes across Gaza early Thursday, shortly after a new ceasefire extension came into effect.
At least six people have been killed and another six seriously injured on Wednesday by an unexploded Israeli missile which blew up in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza, according to the Ministry of Health. Media sources announced that among those killed were Italian journalist and two Palestinian reporters.
According to witnesses, a police engineering team was trying to defuse an Israeli missile which hit near al-Sheikh Zayid towers previously, but did not explode. Also on Wednesday, a Palestinian woman died at a Jordanian hospital of serious injuries suffered in an earlier Israeli bombardment of Gaza.
In the West Bank this week, a young Palestinian man was killed on Monday, at dawn, by an Israeli army shell fired on a home in Qabalan village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. At least eight Palestinians, including five family members, have been injured by Israeli army fire and shells.
Witnesses said that troops surrounded a home in the town as army bulldozers demolished it then soldiers fired shells inside killing Zakariyya al-Aqra’, 24.
Later on Monday, a Palestinian teen has been killed, and his brother was wounded, by an explosive charge dropped by the army near the central West Bank city of Tubas. They were herding their sheep in Palestinian grazing lands in the Northern Plains of the occupied West Bank.
On Thursday of this week, a young Palestinian man was killed after being rammed by a settler’s vehicle near an illegal Israeli settlement, in the central West Bank district of Salfit. Mohammad Abdul-Karim Abu Salim, 23, from Hares village, near Salfit, was struck by the settler’s vehicle as he was trying to cross the road, close to the Borkan illegal settlement.
All week Israeli troops conducted house to house searches targeting West Bank communities including East Jerusalem. On Thursday, Israeli soldiers kidnapped, late at night and on Thursday at dawn, at least 64 Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, and in occupied East Jerusalem. On Wednesday Israeli troops kidnapped more than 50 Palestinians from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem.
And that’s all for today from This Week in Palestine. This was the Weekly report for July 9th to the 15th 2014 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 Samer Jaber, and Ghassan Bannoura.