By IMEMC News
HAVANA TIMES — Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for July 13th to the 19th 2013.
US Secretary of State’s visit to the region attempting to kick-off peace talks bears no fruit, as Israeli armed forces continue to attack Palestinian communities. 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. This week protests were 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 villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, residents and their international and Israeli supporters managed to reach the wall.
Soldiers stationed there fired tear gas and chemical “skunk” water that produces a very bad smell on protesters. Many civilians were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation. In Bil’in tear gas bombs caused fire that damaged some nearby olive trees owned by local farmers.
Meanwhile at the nearby village of al Nabi Saleh, Israeli soldiers attacked the villagers and their supporters before leaving the village.
Soldiers used tear gas and chemical water against unarmed protesters. Later troops invaded the village and fired tear gas into residents’ homes. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Elsewhere, at the southern West Bank village of al Ma’ssara near Bethlehem, Israeli troops stopped the villagers and their supporters at village entrance then forced them back using rifle- buts and batons to push people back; no injuries were reported.
The Political Report
U.S secretary of State John Kerry’s four-day visit to the region ended with no clear outcomes and European Union leaders announce that future deals with Israel will not include settlements.
On Tuesday this week U.S secretary of state John Kerry arrived in the Jordanian capital, Amman, and held a series of meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other Arab leaders including Abdullah II, the King of Jordan.
The peace talks have been stalled for years because Israel refuses to freeze construction in West Bank settlements and those in East Jerusalem and also refuses to recognize the borders of the future Palestinian state; these are two demands set forth by President Abbas to resume talks with Israel.
Before heading to Israel for meetings with Israeli leaders, Kerry also meet with Arab League officials this week in an attempt to jump start the stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. President Abbas and other Palestinian leaders of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in Ramallah held a meeting on Thursday to respond to Kerry’s demands.
The PLO said that the offers presented by Kerry to reignite peace talks were insufficient because they did not require an Israeli settlement freeze or that negotiations be based on the 1967 borders, with minor adjustments. They, however, did not close the door on talks and are drafting a formal reply to Kerry requesting specific guarantees, in writing or expressed publicly, including: the 1967 borders as the basis for negotiations, an Israeli settlement freeze over the course of the talks, and a specified time limit for negotiations.
Kerry, however, said that he managed to achieve some progress in his talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, but not sufficient to restart direct talks.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his stance on Thursday that Israel is willing to resume talks but without preconditions set by the Palestinians.
Also this week the European Union issued an official directive forbidding member states from funding or cooperating with organizations or individuals that are from the West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem.
Under this new directive any new deal with Israel will include a clause that confirms that the settlements are not part of Israel and that those agreements do not apply to the settlements. This directive will be implemented on all agreements between the EU and Israel that will be signed between the years of 2014 and 2020.
The Israeli government tried to appeal to EU leaders to not issue the new directive but failed to stop it. Netanyahu said after meeting his Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett that Israeli will not adhere to any demands regarding its borders and that this issue will only be resolved via direct negotiations.
According to international law all Israeli settlements in the west Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal as they are built on lands occupied by Israel in 1967.
The West Bank and Gaza Report
This week the Israeli army conducted at least 17 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza. These attacks left nine civilians injured and Israeli troops kidnapped at least 9 others. IMEMC’s Salam Qumsiya has more:
The Israeli army invasions and kidnappings this week targeting the west Bank were focused in the cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Nablus.
On Tuesday this week Israeli troops invaded the village of al-Nabi Saleh, searched and ransacked homes, then clashed with local youth. Two civilians, an 11 year old boy and a 23 old man sustained moderate wounds by Israeli soldiers’ gun fire during the clashes.
Earlier on Tuesday at dawn Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian homes and cars close to Lions Gate at Jerusalem old city.
Local sources reported that Israeli settlers also attacked a group of Palestinian youth near the old city. Three Palestinian youth sustained light wounds during the attack.
Moreover Six Palestinian journalists were injured on Wednesday after Israeli troops attacked a protest organized by the journalists union at Qalandyia checkpoint between Ramallah city and Jerusalem.
The journalist’s union called for the protest to demand freedom of movement and the halt of attacks committed by the Israeli army against Palestinian journalists.
In the Gaza Strip this week, an 18-year-old teenager sustained moderate wounds on Sunday when Israeli soldiers opened fire at a group of Palestinian workers in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza strip.
The boy was with a group of workers collecting metal pieces in the landfill, 400 meters away from the border fence.
On Monday Israeli tanks and bulldozers invaded farm lands east of Jabalia village, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. Tanks opened fire as bulldozers leveled lands. No casualties were reported.