This Week in Palestine April 20-26

by IMEMC News

Baking bread the traditional way.  Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman
Baking bread the traditional way. Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

HAVANA TIMES — Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center,, for April 20th to the 26th 2013.

Palestinian political detainee reaches a deal with the Israeli army after nine months hunger strike and internally efforts are underway to reach a conciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah parties. 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. This week many protesters were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli troops used tear gas and chemical water to attack anti wall and settlement protests organized at a number of west Bank communities.

In central West Bank protests were organized at the village of of Bil’in, Nil’in and Al Nabi saleh. Also protests were organized in southern West Bank, and the village of Al Ma’ssara near Bethlehem.

Israeli soldiers attacked anti wall and settlements protesters in Al Nabi saleh before even leaving the village, troops later invaded the village and fired tear gas at resident’s homes. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.

In the nearby Bil’in, and Nil’in, residents and their Israeli and international supporters reached the Israeli wall built on lands taken from local famers before soldiers stationed their showered them with tear gas and chemical water that generate bad smell. Also there many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.

Earlier in the week dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded the Western Area of the Bil’in village on Wednesday, and took photos of the lands especially where a military monitoring tower was installed, and was removed two years ago after the Annexation Wall was rerouted following an Israeli Court ruling.

The ongoing nonviolent resistance against the Wall and settlements in the village managed to force Israel to return Palestinians lands following eight years of ongoing struggle against the ongoing Israeli violations, mainly the construction of the Wall and expansion of illegal settlements.

Elsewhere, at al Ma’ssara village on Friday , Israeli troops stopped the villagers and their supporters at village entrance then forced them back using rifle buts and batons to bush people back, no injuries were reported.

The Political Report

Turkey says a visit by it’s prime minister to the Gaza Strip is upcoming despite USA’s advice to premier Rajab Tayyeb Urdogan not to pay such a visit. Meanwhile, efforts are underway to reach a conciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah.

Efforts are underway to bring together the Islamist Hamas party and the Fatah party of President Mahmoud Abbas, for a conciliation deal, on democratic basis.

Palestinian prime minister of Hamas, Ismail Haniya, returned this week back from the Doha, after discussing with Qatari officials prospects of reconciliation and Qatari reconstruction efforts across the occupied Gaza Strip.

Qatar had called for holding a minor Arab summit in Cairo that would end current division between the two parties, based on previous understandings. President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the call but said only one representative delegation lead by him should attend.

Meanwhile, some local political leaders suggested this week that both Hamas and Fatah should agree on a temporary cabinet led by president Abbas that would lay the foundations for democratic elections. The suggestion came following resignation of PA’s Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad.

In another news, top Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Eriqat, said that any resumption of stalled peace talks between Israel and Palestinians should be preceded by release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

In a public opinion poll by Palestinian Maan News Agency, more than 80 percent of participants believed that violence is potential in the region if a two-state solution fails. Israel continues to build up new colonial settlements on occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, preempting a final status solution for the conflict.

United States, main patron for peace between the two sides, has not yet intervened heavily, despite recent visits to the region by both US president Barak Obama and his State Department Secretary, John Kerry.

The West Bank and Gaza Report

This week Palestinian political detainee Samer Al Essawi ended his ninth-months hunger strike after reaching a deal with the Israeli army. Meanwhile Israeli forces conducted at least 98 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza this week. During these invasions Israeli soldiers kidnapped at least 52 Palestinians, including 6 children.

This week Israeli homes searches and kidnapping of civilians were focused in the cities of Bethlehem and Hebron in southern West Bank and Jenin and Nablus in the northern part of the West Bank.

On Monday Palestinian political detainee held by Israel Samer Al Essawi ended his hunger strike that lasted for more than nine months.

Two years ago, the Israeli Army released Samer Issawi from a 30 year prison sentence as part of the prisoners swap deal between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza. But last July he was re-arrested at his home in East Jerusalem on charges that he violated the terms of his release by traveling to the West Bank. In protest, he started a hunger hunger strike that has severely deteriorated his health.

According to the Palestinian Ministry for political detainees, the Israeli military and security service agreed to release Issawi in October in return for stopping his hunger strike. The deal was signed in the presence of the Red Cross and Issawi’s lawyer. Shreen, Issawi’s sister spook to FSRN:

Also on Monday Israeli troops uprooted trees and bulldozed farm lands owned by Palestinians at the village of Beit Dajan east of Nablus city in northern West Bank. on Tuesday The Israeli army uprooted 1600 olive trees owned by Palestinian farmers from the villages of Sousiya and Halhul, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron. later in the week on Thursday Israeli settlers and soldiers also uprooted olive trees owned by local farmers from the village of Araba near Jenin.

On Wednesday of this week the Israeli army shot and wounded two Palestinian youths near a “security fence” close to Jenin city, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank. The army alleges that the two Palestinians intended to “infiltrate into Israel”, but did not provide additional information except the fact that they were unarmed.

This week in the Gaza Strip, Israeli Navy boats opened fire at a number of Palestinian fishing boats at the Gaza coast on Wednesday, an issue that forced them back to the shore without being able to fish. Under the Oslo accords in the mid-nineties, the Palestinians are allowed to fish in 20 nautical miles off the Gaza shore, but in 2008, Israel unilaterally reduced the fishing area to three nautical miles.

As part of the ceasefire agreement that ended the Israeli war on Gaza in November 2012, Palestinian fishermen were allowed to fish within six nautical miles off the Gaza coast, but the army continued to attack them in their allotted areas.

And that’s all for today from This Week in Palestine this was the Weekly report for April 20th to the 26th, 2013 from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. For more news and updates please keep visiting our website at