HAVANA TIMES – Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for February 16th to 22nd 2013.
The Palestinian Authority reiterates demands that Israel halts all settlement activities in the West Bank before resuming peace talks with Israel, meanwhile, several protests storm the West Bank in support of the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners, 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. Protests this week were organized at the villages of Bil’in Ni’lin and al Nabi Saleh in central West Bank, as well as Al Ma’ssara village and Hebron old city in southern West Bank in addition to Kufur Kadum, in the north.
Protests this week were organized in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel.
In southern West Bank Israeli troops attacked the protesters in Hebron old city and in al Ma’ssara protesters near Bethlehem with tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets. Palestinians were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In al Ma’ssara village troops attacked the protest before it even left the village. In Hebron the prostest were organized in Al Shuhada’ Street in the old city part.
The Israeli army closed the street and cased Palestinians working there to shot their shops to provide what they call security for settlers living in illegal settlement near the street.
In central West Bank, Israeli soldiers also attacked the anti wall protesters organized on Friday at the villages of Bil’in Ni’lin and al Nabi Saleh. Israeli troops used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets to suppress the three protests as well.
The villagers and their international and Israeli supporters managed to reach the wall in Bil’in and Ni’lin villages. But al Nabi Saleh protesters were attacked by Israeli soldiers at the village entrance.
Elsewhere, in the northern West Bank village of Kufer Kadum, Israeli soldiers attacked the anti wall and settlements protesters with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. According to residents many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
The Political Report
Israeli prime minister says he is considering resumption of peace talks with Palestinians, while PA responds by reaffirming the demand that Israel should halt all settlement activities before talks are resumed. Meanwhile, Palestinian political unity is yet to be restored.
Palestinian Authority says it is not going to return back to negotiations table with Israel unless the latter halts all settlement activities on occupied Palestinian lands. This renewed PA position comes on the heels of Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Natyanhou’s statement that he would consider resuming peace talks with Israel and that he would make sure settlement activities are partially restrained.
Such a political breakthrough comes ahead of an expected visit by US president Barak Obama to the region, in which Obama is expected to push the stalled peace process forward.
In a related news, United Nations is set to release a special report three months after the UN recognized Palestine as a member state of the UN itself. The report is expected to emphasize on a previous stance that Israeli settlements activities on occupied Palestinian lands are illegal and contravene international law and lates UN recognition of a Palestinian state on 1967 border lines including West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
On the internal Palestinian level, Palestinian political unity is yet to be restored or observed on the ground. Both Fatah of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and the Islamist Hamas party in Gaza are still at odds over the implementation of previous understandings.
Palestinian Prime Minister of Hamas in Gaza, Mr. Ismail Haniya, was quoted as saying this week that once there is a genuine will towards reconciliation , the political unity could be observed overnight.
Haniya blamed the Palestinian Authority, led by Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas , for what he termed succumbing to outside parties’ will. He believes that there must be unity on a unified Palestinian agenda that honors resistance against Israeli occupation and believes in peace, alike.
Meanwhile, leader for the Islamic Jihad group, Ramadan Shallah, told Maan News Agency in a televised interview that there needs to be better understanding of circumstantial evidences worldwide and in the region, so that there could be conciliation between Fatah and Hamas.
The West Bank and Gaza Report
More than 150 Palestinians were injured this week when Israeli soldiers attacked protests organized all over the west Bank in solidarity with hunger striking political prisoners held by Israel. Meanwhile Israeli army attacks targeting Gaza residents continued.
The solidarity protests with hunger-striking political detainees held by Israel were organized in the northern West Bank cities of Nablus and Jenin, in addition to Ramallah city, central West Bank as well as Hebron and Bethlehem cities, southern West Bank. Protests tents were also set up also inside main cities by families of prisoners and activists.
The Israeli army mainly used tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets to suppress the protests However at the Ofer military detention center near Ramallah unarmed protesters were met with Israeli army live gunfire. Currently there four prisoners on hunger strike Samer Al-Esawy, on hunger strike for 215 days, Ayman Sharawna on strike for 30 days, and Ja’far Izedeen and Tarik Qadan for 89 days each. They all demand to be freed or they will continue their hunger strike. Mohamed is Ja’far Izedeen’s brother:
Al-Eesawy, was sentenced Thursday by the Israeli District Court in Jerusalem to 8 months imprisonment starting from the date of his arrest on July 7, 2012. Al-Eesawy is still facing the possibility of a long-term imprisonment that could be instated by the Israeli Military Court. Also this week, 800 Palestinian political detainees in three different army detention centers in Israel announced on Tuesday that they are conducting a one day hunger strike in solidarity with Eesawy and his comrades. Political detainee in Israel announced that they will escalate their protest move if their demands are not meet. Abedalfatah Khalil IS from the Palestinian Political Prisoners society in Bethlehem:
In other news in the West Bank, Israeli settlers uprooted 50 olive trees owned by Palestinian farmers near the city of Bethlehem on Sunday. While armed settlers attacked a Palestinian village near Nablus city and set six Palestinian owned cars on fire.
Moreover earlier this week, Rami Al Talib, 29 years old, from Al Jalazon refugee camp near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, died on Wednesday due to wounds he sustained after being shot by the Israeli army in October of 2000. Talib was shot by Israeli soldiers with a live round that hit him in his back leaving him paralyzed from waist down. Doctors in Ramallah city hospital said that Talib was admitted to hospital three days ago due to health complications caused by his injury.
In the Gaza strip, Israeli naval forces attacked Palestinian fishing boats twice this week. One near Gaza city shore on Monday and the other attack took place off the northern Gaza strip coast line. In the two attacks Palestinian fishermen were sailing within the allowed area which is 3 nautical miles of shore.
Later in the week a Palestinian man sustained critical wounds after he set himself on fire on Thursday at the town of Jabaliya in the northern part of the Gaza strip. According to media sources in Gaza, Mohamed Al Namroti, 42 years old, set himself on fire outside the Social Affairs ministry headquarters. Al Namroti is believed to have set himself on fire in protest of the bad economy and unemployment in Gaza.
And that’s all for today from This Week in Palestine this was the Weekly report for February 16th to 22, 2013 from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. For more news and updates please keep visiting our website at www.imemc.org.