Palestine for the Week: June 23-29

Husam Qassis and George Rishmawi for IMEMC News

Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

HAVANA TIMES — Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center,, for June 23th to 29th 2012.

The Palestinian unity government seems to face obstacles, meanwhile Palestinian President is preparing to meet with Israeli deputy Prime Minister in Ramallah, 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. One teenager was injured, and many protesters suffered effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli forces attacked anti wall protests organized in a number of West Bank communities this week. IMEMC’s Ghassan Bannoura with the details.

One teenager was injured and many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation at the village of Bil’in, in central West Bank.

Residents and their international and Israeli supporters reached the wall this week but soldiers used tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets against them.

Ahmad Burnat was hit with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his leg while tear gas bombs that landed near trees set fire to a number of olive trees causing damage.

At the nearby Nil’in and Al Nabi Saleh, many protesters were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation fired by Israeli troops at anti wall protesters on Friday.

Elsewhere in southern West Bank this Friday, Al Ma’sara villagers organized their weekly anti wall and settlements protest. Soldiers forced people back into the village using rifle buts and batons. No injuries were reported.

The Political Report

Palestinian Authority says a meeting between President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Deputy-prime minister is slated for next week. Meanwhile, an internal Palestinian unity seems to be far from reaching soon.. IMEMC Rami Al Meghari has more.

Activists on Facebook or Twitters called this week for boycotting an expected visit to the West Bank city of Bethlehem by Israeli deputy-prime minister, Shaol Mofaz. Messages circulated on such social networking websites read ‘ Mofaz is the killer of late Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat’, ‘ Mofaz is the bomber of Gaza’.

Meanwhile, PA’s long-time negotiator with Israel, Sa’eb Eriqat, downplayed the visit, confirming that the upcoming meeting between Mofaz and the PA’s president Mahmoud Abbas will not be tackling negotiation-related issues.

The PA welcomed the visit in a time it is under international pressure to resume peace talks with Israel. Also, Israel is facing the same pressure.

This week, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, paid a rare visit to both Israel and the West Bank. He encouraged both sides to get back to the negotiations table. This comes amidst stalemate of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians for a long time now.

Also this week, in reaction to assuming to power by an Islamist candidate in recent Egyptian presidential elections, PA hoped that the wheel of reconciliation between the Islamist Hamas in Gaza and the ruling Fatah party in the West Bank will move forward.

In Gaza, crowds of Hamas supporters in the Hamas-ruled territory chanted slogans in support of Mohammad Mursi, the new Egyptian president who is affiliated with the Islamic brotherhood, the Egyptian twin for the Palestinian Islamic brotherhood, represented by Hamas.

In the meantime, some commentators believed that internal Palestinian unity between Hamas and Fatah is far from reaching soon due to current regional developments. Some of them believe that Hamas will prefer to wait until the Egyptian president’s foreign policy is clear.

Hamas hopes that the Israeli blockade of Gaza as well as the international boycott for the party will come to an end , given the regime change in Egypt. Former deposed Egyptian president Husni Mubarak used to be United Statse’s main ally in the region.

Hamas’s standing could be boosted up vis-à-vis Fatah party of the western-backed Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, political analysts told local media outlets.

The West Bank & Gaza Report

Israeli military kidnaps several Palestinians from the West Bank and Israeli settlement guards shoot and wound a Palestinian man near Maale Adumim, the details and more IMEMC’s Seah Mohan.

Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that 19 Palestinians were wounded in a series of renewed Israeli air strikes targeting the Gaza Strip. The attacks come after two Palestinians were killed on Friday, and several other residents were wounded.

Sources stated that the army began bombarding the as-Saraya Security Compound in the ar-Remal neighborhood of Gaza City at 2am local time. Adham Abu Salmiyya, spokesperson of the Medical and Emergency Services in Gaza said that the 10 of the 19 wounded residents, including one woman, were injured when the army bombarded a center for the Al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

The recent wave of attacks comes after the army killed two Palestinians on Friday, and wounded several others, in two separate Israeli air strikes targeting Gaza.

Israeli soldiers invaded the town of Beit Ummar, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron, on Sunday at dawn and kidnapped one child. Clashes were reported after the army abducted the child during a search of his home.

Local sources reported that soldiers broke into the home of Omar Jobrael as-Sleiby, and kidnapped his son Eyad, 14.Dozens of residents clashed with the soldiers, and hurled stones at them; the army fired concussion grenades and gas bombs.

The army went there to invade the home of Ahmad Khalil Abu Hisham and confiscated the ID card of his son Yousef, 20. Yousef is a former political prisoner who was released nearly three months ago.

On Monday June 25 Israeli soldiers demolished several sheds used by Bedouins in Wadi al-Maleh in the northern plains of the West Bank. They confiscated several water tanks used by the residents, in an attempt to force them to relocate and leave the area.

Local sources reported the several Israeli military Caterpillar bulldozers removed tents, sheds and tin houses in the area without allowing the residents to remove their belongings from the sheds, and told them that they should leave the area.

Furthermore, the soldiers confiscated several water tanks and took them to a nearby military base; the water tanks are used for drinking and for fulfilling the daily needs of the residents.

On Sunday, the army handed two residents in al-Aqaba, in the northern plains area, military orders informing them that their homes will be demolished under the pretext of being built “without construction permits”.

Media sources in Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank, reported that the army invaded the nearby towns of Kufr Ra’ey, Sielet Al-Harithiyya and Al-Yamoun, kidnapped two residents, and interrogated several others. The sources stated that residents Mohammad Jamil Tahaiyna, 22, and Mohammad Barakat Zyoud, 20, were kidnaped and interrogated at a nearby military base for several hours before they were released later on.

Also on Wednesday a Palestinian Man was shot near the Maale Adumim Settlement. Israeli media sources reported that Israeli settlement guards shot and wounded a Palestinian man near Maale Adumim settlement east of Jerusalem Wednesday afternoon.

The wounded man, whose name remains unknown, was shot in the stomach and was taken by Israeli ambulance to the hospital for treatment. Israeli police claim the man rammed his car into a police squad car about 100 meters from the guard’s booth. The police also said he was shot while trying to take the weapon of one of the guards.

Israeli soldiers conducted military training on Friday at dawn inside the Palestinian village of Al-Aqaba, east of the West Bank city of Tubas, using live ammunition in the village’s streets and neighborhoods. Sami Sadeq, head of the Al-Aqaba village council, reported that dozens of soldiers invaded the village, as part of their military training, and started firing at random using rounds of live ammunition.

He added the army previously held several drills in the village, but added that, this time, the army even violated an Israeli court ruling preventing the soldiers from holding military trainings in the village.