HAVANA TIMES — Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for December 21st to the 27th, 2013.
Israeli new settlements constructions plans risk the stumbling peace talks while Israeli army attack targeting Palestinians leave one child and a man killed this week.
The Nonviolence Report
Let’s begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities organized in the West Bank. many civilians were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly protests organized at 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 bullets at the unarmed protesters. As a result many civilians were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In Al Ma’ssara village Israeli soldiers attacked the protest before leaving the village and used rifle buts and batons to force people back into the village.
Earlier in the week, in Beit Sahour town, southern West Bank, the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between People, the mother organization of IMEMC News, organized a candle-light Procession on Christmas Day under the title “Light a Candle for the Right of Self-Determination for the Palestinian People”.
Over two thousand Palestinians and dozens of Internationals took to the streets and lit candles demanding the international community to stand up to its obligations to grant the Palestinian People the right of Self-Determination. The march ended in the old town with performance by DAM, a prominent Palestinian RAP group.
The candle procession came at the closing of the three-day Shepherds Nights Festival organized by the Rapprochement Centre jointly with the Joint Advocacy Initiative The festival featured prominent Palestinian singers such as Reem Banna and Thaer Barghouthi and others.
The Political Report
While the US is about to present is suggested framework for a peace agreement, Israel is planning to announce new tenders for new settler housing units in the West Bank, jeopardizing all peace efforts.
Mohammad Sbeih, responsible of Palestinian affairs at the Arab League, said US Secretary of State John Kerry will present Palestinian and Israeli leaders with a framework for a peace agreement by the end of the month.
According to Sbeih, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has informed the Arab League of the upcoming proposal, saying that it would contain US suggestions regarding the borders of a future Palestinian state.
Abbas is planning to consult with the Arab league before responding to the American proposal, Sbeih said adding that he would accept a Palestinian state with the entirety of East Jerusalem as its capital, with limited land swaps as long as the lands being traded were of equal value.
Abbas would also accept an incremental withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian land, allowing them up to three years to leave. However, the Palestinian President would reject the idea of any permanent Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley, but would welcome an international peacekeeping presence.
In addition, Abbas would not accept any interim agreement and would call for an immediate final solution instead, and he would not accept an unarmed state; however Palestine will not get involved in an arms race, as Sbeih puts it. The Palestinian position also includes a clear rejection to the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state under any circumstances.
In the meantime, Palestinian Presidential Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rodeina stated, this week, that the Palestinians are not having any kind of “secret talks” with Tel Aviv. His statements came after some Israeli media agencies claimed that Yitzhak Molcho, special envoy and confidante of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been holding talks with an associate of Abbas, in London.
Meanwhile, International media sources said Israel is expected to announce plans for new settlement construction next week, in conjunction with the release of the third group of Palestinian prisoners as part of the peace negotiations. An Israeli official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the AFP that the Israeli government will announce tenders for new construction in the West Bank and in east Jerusalem which will coincide with the release of a third group of Palestinian prisoners.
Palestinian officials said that Israeli settlement plans destroy all efforts to revive the peace process. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Ereikat said, Abbas asked for US intervention to stop the Israeli government from issuing new settlement decisions in order to save the peace process and the American efforts. There are currently more than 500,000 Israeli settlers who live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in direct defiance of international law,
forming a clear obstacle in the process of establishing a viable Palestinian state.
The West Bank and Gaza Report
This week the Israeli army air force bombarded the Gaza strip while troops conducted at least 58 invasions into West Bank communities. The attacks on Gaza left a child and man killed, while soldiers kidnapped 37 Palestinians, including a child from the West Bank.
On Tuesday of this week, The Israeli army has bombarded several areas in the Gaza Strip, killing two Palestinians, including one child, and wounding at least four, one seriously. Two of the wounded are children. Hala Ahmad Al-Boheiry, 3, was killed by an Israeli missile in central Gaza. Al-Boheiry’s mother and two brothers, 3 years old and 6 years old, were among the injured.
Furthermore, a young man was also killed when the Israeli Air Force fired missiles into Beit Lahia town, in northern Gaza. Another Palestinian was moderately wounded in the attack. On Monday a young man, in his twenties, was shot in the stomach and leg, as he was walking in a field northwest of Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.
Later in the week, two Palestinians have been injured, on Thursday night, after the Israeli Air Force carried out several air strikes targeting different parts of the coastal region. Israeli F-16 jets fired missiles into several areas in Gaza city, and other areas, north of the Gaza Strip, in addition to firing missiles into lands, south of the city.
In the West Bank this week, a Palestinian child died of severe injuries sustained after being rammed by an Israeli settler’s car, near Al-Eesawiyya town, north of occupied East Jerusalem. local sources said that Amin Al-Faqeer, 13, lives in a Bedouin community in Anata town, and was riding a donkey when the incident took place. Eyewitnesses said that the settler deliberately rammed the child, and fled the scene.
Another child was injured on Thursday afternoon after he was hit by an Israeli settler car near Salfit city in the northern part of the West Bank. Ibraheem Abu Zied, 11 years old, from Dier Istyia village near Salfit, sustained critical wounds and was moved to an Israeli hospital for treatment. The sources added that the settler hit the child and fled the scene.
On Thursday morning, the Israeli army has destroyed dozens of dunams of agricultural land, south of the West Bank town of Qalqilya, according to witnesses.
The Israeli army uprooted almond, citrus and olives trees in the area, and leveled land in a part of the town adjacent to the segregation wall. The soldiers have prevented farmers and landowners from reaching that area.
Also this week and for the 63rd time, Israeli forces have demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib, in the Negev, on Thursday morning. Local sources said that bulldozers, and police vehicles , raided the village and demolished all of its steel houses. Bedouins say they owen lands, while Israel considers al-Araqib and all Bedouin villages in the Negev illegal. There are 260,000 Bedouin in Israel, mostly living in and around the Negev. More than half live in unrecognized villages without utilities, with many living in extreme poverty.
In related news, on Monday of this week, dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded the al Fasayel area, in the Jordan Valley, demolishing one home and four sheds owned by local farmers.
And that’s all for today from This Week in Palestine. This was the Weekly report for December 21st to the 27th, 2013 from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. For more news and updates please visit our website at www.imemc.org. IMEMC wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. This week’s report has been brought to you by Samer Jaber and me Ghassan Bannoura.