HAVANA TIMES — Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for May 3rd to the 9th, 2014.
This week the Israeli army and settlers escalated attacks against Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza, meanwhile the Palestinian President reiterated his willingness to continue the peace talks.
The Nonviolence Report
Let’s begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities organized in the West Bank. One international supporter was injured many other civilians were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation on Friday when Israeli soldiers attacked the nonviolent protests organized in West Bank villages.
In central West Bank, anti-wall and settlements protests were organized on Friday at the villages of Bil’in, Ni’lin, and Al Nabi Saleh.
Israeli soldiers attacked the protesters as soon as they reached the gate in the wall that separates local farmers from their lands. In Bil’in, a French supporter was injured after being hit with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his foot and many other protesters suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation and were treated by field medics.
At the nearby 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. Moreover Israeli troops fired tear gas at residential areas causing damage to the houses as some of the tear gas canisters went through the windows inside the villagers’ homes.
In Al-Ma’asara village, Israeli troops stopped villagers and their supporters at the entrance of the village and forced them back, however, no injuries were reported.
This week protests were organized in support of Palestinian political detainees held by the Israeli army.
The prisoners went on hunger strike earlier this month in protest of ill treatment by their captives and the use of Administrative detention against them.
The Political Report
Washington has not given up efforts to get Palestinians and Israelis into agreement. Meanwhile, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas this week announced that he still wants peace talks with Israel to resume. Internally, Palestinians expect a technocrat government in few weeks.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas says that Israel had unilaterally halted peace negotiations and that he wants those negotiations to resume, provided that Israel releases the fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners, agreed upon since last June.
The president adds that he also wants Israel to halt settlement activities for a period of three months, and that borders are defined, yet Israel has refused.
In Washington, reports suggested that Suzan Rice, US’s National Security Advisor, is visiting the region this week, within US efforts to bridge the gap between the two sides.
Israel has recently halted peace talks with the Palestinians over an internal Palestinian unity deal between Fatah party of president Abbas and the ruling Hamas party, which does not recognize Israel.
Abbas reaffirmed this week his stance that the Palestine Liberation Organization, which recognized Israel back in 1993, will continue the peace track.
The president said that if Israel wants a new recognition by Palestinians that Israel is a Jewish state, Israel itself can go to United Nations to change it’s status.
This week, seventeen right groups including Amnesty International, urged the Palestinian Authority to join the International Court of Justice, therefore, the PA could file charges against Israel over violations of human rights.
At the internal Palestinian level, discussions are underway to come out with a national consensus technocrat government in few weeks. Such a government will be in charge of administering lives of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank and prepare for general presidential and legislative elections, expected in January,2015
The West Bank and Gaza Report
This week Hundreds of Palestinian political detainees continued their hunger strike, meanwhile Israeli settlers and army attacks escalated in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian political detainees held by Israel continued their hunger strike in protest of being held under administrative Detention this week. Israel uses administrative Detention to hold Palestinians for longer time without charges or trial.
The detainees started their strike on April 24 after the Israeli Prison Authority unilaterally rescinded and voided previously reached agreements with the detainees, including reconsidering and reevaluating its Administrative Detention policies against them.
On Tuesday 15 Palestinians were injured and three others were detained in Jerusalem during clashes which broke out in the vicinity of Old City. Israeli Police fired stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets, injuring 15 people who gathered near Bab Hatta (Hatta Gate), leading to al-Aqsa mosque, after being denied entry. Three people were taken to a hospital, while others were treated on site. According to local sources the closer took effect on Monday night.
Moreover two children were injured on Tuesday, in two separate attacks carried out by Israeli soldiers in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.
In other news, Israeli settlers continued their attacks targeting Palestinian communities in the West Bank.
On Tuesday hundreds of Israeli settlers stormed an agricultural area in the village of Nahhaleen, to the west of Bethlehem, city in southern west Bank. The settlers sabotaged agricultural property owned by local residents, in addition to performing religious rituals and preventing farmers from reaching their own land.
Earlier on Monday morning, a number of Israeli settlers invaded a Palestinian olive orchard, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and uprooted more than 51 olive saplings. According to local sources, the attack is the second against the same orchard in two weeks.
in the Gaza Strip this week, two Palestinian fishermen were injured on Wednesday after Israeli Navy boats chased Palestinian fishing boats in territorial waters, west of Gaza city. Local sources said that the two fishermen, of the Bakr family, suffered mild-to-moderate wounds, and were moved to the Shifa Medical Center.
Under the Oslo accords of the mid-nineties, the Palestinians are supposed to be allowed to fish within 20 nautical miles off the Gaza shore, but Tel Aviv has constantly violated the agreement.
Also on Wednesday the Hamas run Gaza authorities have executed two men after finding them guilty of collaboration with the Israeli military.
Later in the week, Israeli tanks invaded farm lands in southern and northern parts of the Gaza strip on Friday. Army bulldozers uprooted trees while army tanks opened fire at residents’ homes. Damage was reported but no injuries.
And that’s all for today from This Week in Palestine. This was the Weekly report for May 3rd to the 9th, 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 George Rishmawi, and Ghassan Bannoura.