HAVANA TIMES — Welcome to This Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for August 10th to the 16th, 2013.
While Palestinian-Israeli negotiation teams met in Jerusalem this week, Israeli army and settler attacks targeting Palestinian communities escalated. These stories and more, coming up.
The Nonviolence Report
Let’s begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities organized in the West Bank. Four people were arrested, and many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly protests organized in the villages of al Nabi Saleh, Bil’in, Nil’in, central West Bank and Al Ma’ssara village in southern West Bank.
At the village of al Nabi Saleh, Israeli soldiers used tear gas to suppress the villagers and their supporters before even leaving the village. later troops invaded the village and fired tear gas bombs into residents homes. As a result many residents were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In the nearby villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin villagers and their supporters, managed to reach the Israeli wall built on local farmers lands.
Israeli troops stationed there fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel at the unarmed protesters. As a result many civilians were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In southern West Bank Israeli soldiers arrested two Italian supporters and two villagers. Israeli troops attacked the protest before leaving the village and used rifle buts and batons to force people back into the village. a number of residents sustained light wounds by the soldiers attack. Soldiers also detained a local journalist and did not allow him to film the attack on the residents.
The Political Report
Palestinian-Israeli negotiations kicked off in Jerusalem this week as United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki-Moon visited the region. Meanwhile, President Mahmoud Abbas pushed for Palestinian conciliation with the ruling Hamas party in Gaza.
In a meeting with United Nations’ Secretary General, Ban-Ki-Moon in Ramallah, Palestinian president , Mahmoud Abbas said that the Palestinian Authority will make sure all Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails are released. The president revealed that current round of negotiations with Israel involves a number of outstanding issues including prisoners, Jerusalem, borders, security, settlements construction and prisoners.
On the internal situation, President Abbas dispatched a special delegation to the Gaza Strip to figure out ways to reconcile with the Islamist party over there. Abbas is keen to reach conciliation with Hamas to boost current negotiations with Israel.
Hamas in Gaza had earlier responded to resumed peace talks by reiterating position that negotiations are aimless and that resistance against the Israeli occupation is the means to achieve Palestinian aspirations for a statehood.
United Nations’ Ban-Ki-Moon shared Abbas the same concerns , especially the prisoners issue and concililation. The UN high-ranking official believed that current Israeli settlements construction on occupied Palestinian lands is counterproductive to peace and would block a two-state solution.
Ki-Moon also believed that both Gaza and the West Bank should reach a unity deal that would end Israeli siege of Gaza and get life back to normal in the coastal enclave.
In the meantime, both Hamas and Fatah have recently traded accusations of blocking a unity deal between the two sides. Fatah’s chief negotiator for talks with Hamas, Azzam Alahmad, was quoted as warning of consequences for reaching no deal.
Alahmad made clear that his Fatah part will take some sort of tough steps soon, unless Hamas commits itself to August14, 2013’s deadline.
Three months ago, both parties agreed in Cairo to reaching an understanding that might involve holding general elections in the occupied territories.
By middle of this week, Israel released the first batch of Palestinian prisoners, more than 20, of those who were imprisoned prior to the signing of Oslo Accords of 1993. Israel will continue releasing such prisoners as negotiations between the two sides advance. According to recent Israeli-Palestinian understandings, under Washington’s auspices, more than 100 prisoners will be released.
The West Bank and Gaza Report
This week Israeli army forces conducted at least 62 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza. During these attacks, soldiers injured a number of civilians and kidnapped at least 54 Palestinians, including 4 children and 2 photojournalists. IMEMC’s Graison Hensley reports:
Invasions and home searches were mainly focused this week in the cities of Jenin and Nablus in the northern west Ban, Ramallah city in the central West Bank and Hebron in the south.
Israeli soldiers also clashed with local youth during these invasions. Troops used rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas to attack residents.
On Monday clashes were reported in Nablus, Jenin and Hebron. Soldiers used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets against the unarmed youth. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation, local sources reported.
On Wednesday clashes erupted on during Israeli invasions targeting Jenin city and refugee camp.
Local youths hurled stones and empty bottles at the invading soldiers who fired flares, gas bombs, concussion grenades, and rounds of live ammunition. Medical sources have reported that dozens of residents have been treated for the effects of teargas inhalation.
This week Israeli settlers also conducted a number of targeted attacks on Palestinian farmers. On Monday a group of Israeli settlers took over farm lands owned by residents of Al Khader town, near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem.
Local sources announced that a settlers group called Women in Green arrived at the villagers farm land, took it over, then planted it with olive trees and installed a water system.
On Thursday Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian farm lands near the village of Al Towani near Hebron city in southern West Bank. Villagers said that the settlers attacked farmers who were working on their lands, uprooted 10 mature olive trees owned by local farmers, then left the area.
Al Towani and other villages in the southern Hebron hells are subjected to daily attacks by armed Israeli settlers living in illegal settlements nearby.
In the Gaza Strip, On Sunday Israeli soldiers manning a military site across the border east of Gaza city, fired rounds of live ammunition at Palestinian lands and homes, wounding one Palestinian civilian. The man was shot in his right foot, and was moved to the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza for moderate injuries.
On Saturday night Israeli troops shoot and killed a Palestinian civilian who came close to the Gaza-Israeli borders in central Gaza.
Later in the week the Israeli Air Force fired, on Wednesday at dawn, a number of missiles targeted different areas in the Gaza Strip. The army claimed that the Israeli strike came a few hours after the missile was fired into Israel, and that the Israeli attack targeted a group behind the incident; no casualties have been reported.
And that’s all for today from This Week in Palestine. This was the Weekly report for August 10th to the 16th 2013 from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. For more news and updates please keep visiting our website at www.imemc.org. Today’s report has been brought to you by Ghassan Bannoura, and me, Shamus Slaunwhite.