By International Middle East Media Center

Photo: Judy Webb-Pullman

HAVANA TIMES, Feb 20 — Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for February 11th to 17th 2012.

Despite diplomatic efforts, Israel refuses to release Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, who has been on hunger strike for 63 days, and a tragic traffic accident rocks the Palestinian Territories, 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. This week Israeli troops used tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets to suppress anti wall protests organized in a number of West Bank communities. This week protests demanded the immediate release of Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan who has been on hunger strike for 63. IMEMC’s Ghassan Bannoura Reports:

In central West Bank, the villages of Bil’in, Nil’in and al Nabi Saleh organized their weekly protests against the Israeli wall and settlements built on their lands. Israeli and international supporters joined villagers after the midday prayers at all three locations.

This week Bil’in village marked the 7th anniversary of the weekly protests against the Israeli wall. last July and after six years of popular struggle the Israeli army rerouted the wall around Bil’in giving the villagers half of the 2000 donoms of lands taken. This Friday protesters reached the new wall and demanded the return of the rest of their land. Troops fired tear gas at protesters , many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.

At the village of Nil’in, soldiers attacked the protest as soon as it reached the Israeli wall and fired tear gas at them, no injuries were reported but many suffered effects of tear gas inhalation. moreover at the village of al Nabi Saleh, soldiers attacked the weekly protest before it left the village with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Scores were slightly injured by tear gas.

Elsewhere in northern West Bank, an Israeli supporter was injured with a rubber-coated steel bullet and many treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when soldiers attacked the weekly anti wall protest at the village of Kufer Kadom on Friday.

While at the village of Al Ma’ssara, in southern West Bank, The protest started after midday prayers. Israeli soldiers stopped protesters at the village entrance before they reached lands owned by local farmers that Israel is building the wall on. Later troops forced people back into the village using tear gas and rifle buts. No injuries were reported.

For IMEMC News this is Ghassan Bannoura.

Political Report 

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas called on some world leaders to intervene immediately to help release prisoner Khader Adnan from an Israeli jail. Meanwhile, protests continued over the weekend against the detention of Adnan , who has gone in a hunger strike for two consecutive months.. IMEMC;s Rami al Meghari has more:

Abbas phoned presidents of China and France for intervention to pressure Israel release Khader Adnan, who has been in Israeli custody since the end of 2011. Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have been demanding the release of Adnan, calling his detention unfair.

Adnan has been held in Israeli custody without charges of trial. Last week, an Israeli military court refused to grant the fasting prisoner an early release. Also, some international bodies including the United Nations called on Israel to ensure safety of the 33-year-old prisoner, who declared he will continue his fasting until he is freed from the prison.

In other news, President Mahmoud Abbas held a series of meetings with the Palestinian leadership, ahead of submitting profile of stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to the Arab league’s follow up committee.

Also, Abbas discussed recent agreement with Hamas’s leader Khaled Mash’al in Doha. The agreement stated implementing a unity deal that was signed in Cairo in May 2011.
In the meantime, Palestinian Prime Minister of Hamas, Ismail Haniya, returned back to Gaza this week, after concluding an outside trip to some countries. Spokesperson for the Hamas-led government in Gaza, Taher Alnouno, maintained that the visit was successful and that new prospects of political work have shown up.

Haniya took part on Friday in a large rally in support of fasting prisoner, Khader Adnan from the West Bank. The rally included other factional leaders in the Gaza Strip and large crowds of residents.

For IMEMC.org, I am Rami Almeghari in Gaza.

West Bank and Gaza report 

During the week, Israeli forces conducted over 70 incursions into West Bank areas kidnapping some 26 Palestinians most of them are youth from Nablus, Hebron and Jenin.

Israeli military forces invaded the offices and homes of three Palestinian members of Parliament and confiscated their computers and cell phones in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Israeli troops broke into the house and office of Ibrahim Dahbour, Khaled Suleiman and Khaled Yahia in the West Bank city of Jenin and were interrogated by Israeli intelligence officer.

Also this week, a tragic accident claimed the lives of six Palestinians, five of them were children and their teacher and wounded 39 others when a bus collided with a truck loaded with sand near the West Bank city of Ramallah Thursday morning.

Apparently the bus was carrying students going on a day-trip when it was hit with the truck that slide because of the bad weather conditions. The vehicle overturned on impact and burst into flames, which caused death and serious injuries among the passengers. There are fears the death toll may rise. The Palestinian Authority formed an investigation committee and declared three-day mourning, Friday to Sunday and set the flag half mast.

Some local observers believe the road quality is one of the factors the caused the accident. The road is under total Israeli control, but it is designated for Palestinian use only. The Israeli military does not allow Israelis to drive on this road.

In the Gaza Strip, two Palestinians were killed and ten were injured during the week.

71-year-old Abdul Karim al-Zaytoona was killed, and two residents were wounded, one of them is his son Mohammad, when the Israeli Air Force fired several missiles into an area east of Az-Zeitoun neighborhood, in Gaza City. Meanwhile, two Palestinians were wounded in an explosion that took place in Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the coastal enclave.

Six Palestinian civilians have been wounded in two air strikes by the Israeli air force in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The first strike hit a center allegedly used by al-Aqsa brigade, the armed wing of the Islamic Hamas movement, in at-Tuffah neighborhood in east of Gaza city.

The second strike hit a location said to be a center for al-Quds brigade, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine, in the Nusseirat area in the central Gaza Strip causing damage to property but no injuries.

In the meantime, the Salah Ed-Deen Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, reported that one of its fighters was killed on Sunday evening during a training accident in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Also in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Navy abducted four Palestinian fishermen on Monday morning, after attacking their boats in Palestinian waters north of the Gaza Strip, and near the Gaza Port.

Palestinian fishermen are constantly subject to harassment by the Israeli navy and their boats are attacked frequently.

The fishermen sometimes are unable to sail which prevents them from securing their daily income, which is in most of the cases the only income to the fishermen’s families.

Conclusion 

That was just some of the news from This Week in Palestine, for more updates; please visit our website at www.imemc.org. Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem, This report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and me George Rishmawi


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