This Week in Palestine July 21-27

By Husam Qassis and George Rishmawi for IMEMC News

Choosing a new mattress. Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

HAVANA TIMES — Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, for July 21st to 27th, 2012.

A world bank report says Palestinian economy is not ready for statehood, meanwhile Israeli settler attempts to grab more Palestinian lands continues, these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.

The Nonviolence Report:

Let’s begin our weekly report with nonviolent activities in the West Bank. Israeli forces attacked anti-wall protests organized in the villages of Bil’in, Nabi Saleh and Al-Masara on Friday. IMEMC’s Anne Shirley with the details

In central West Bank, Palestinians organized anti-wall and settlements protests in the villages of Bil’in, Nil’in and al-Nabi Saleh. Israeli troops used chemical water in addition to tear gas to suppress protesters.

Israeli and international supporters joined villagers after the midday prayers at all three locations. Troops used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets to stop the protests. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation and treated by field medics.

In other news, Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly protest at Al-Nabi Saleh village near Ramallah wounding four people including a 9-year old child.

The villagers marched after the midday prayers towards the confiscated lands, however, Israeli troops stopped them by firing several rounds of rubber-coated steel bullets and a number of tear gas canisters. Nine-year old Mohammad Tamimi was hit in his arm with a tear gas canister and was moved to the hospital for treatment.

Three others were wounded with rubber-coated steel bullets however, their wounds were described as minor.

In northern West Bank, at the village of Kufur Qadduom, villagers accompanied by international supporters were attacked with tear gas as soon as they reached the road block isolating the village form the surrounding villages and towns. Local sources said that several residents were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.

Meanwhile on Friday, in southern West Bank, several residents were also treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli soldiers attacked the villagers of Al Ma’sara as they organized their weekly anti wall and settlements protest which called this week for boycotting Israeli products.

Residents and international supporters marched near the construction site of the wall and were faced with tear gas fired by Israeli troops operating in the area.

In prisoners news, Akram al Rekhawi, a Palestinian prisoner being held in Ramle prison clinic, ended a 102 day hunger strike on Sunday which aimed to increase attention to the plight of ill detainees. Al-Rekhawi, who was arrested in 2004, stated in a letter to the Palestinian Minister of Detainees Affairs, that prisoners languishing in the clinic of Ramle prison have been suffering medical neglect by Israeli prison authorities.

He claims their medical needs are being neglected without regard for international humanitarian law. He also stated that there is an international moral responsibility to end disregard for prisoners’ lives, especially those suffering from serious illnesses and disabilities. Al-Rekhawi suffers from diabetes, asthma and osteoporosis and ended his hunger strike after the Israeli authorities agreed to release him six months early, in January 2013.

The Political Report

Relations between the European Union and Israel are to be upgraded; meanwhile, a World Bank Report said the Palestinian Economy is not good enough for statehood, the details with IMEMCs’ Diana Barry

The European Union said it will upgrade relations with Israel. The upgrade will offer improvements on both trade and diplomatic relations, including upgrades on migration, energy and agriculture. The move follows Israel’s inclusion into the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in late 2010 and is a revival of plans to upgrade relations that were suspended following Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip between December 2008 – January 2009.

On the other hand, the Arab League announced this week that it will unanimously support the Palestinian bid for statehood recognition in the United Nations General Assembly. The upcoming General Assembly vote on September 5 will not give Palestine a seat or a vote at the UN, but it will grant them non-member status as an observer state.

Also this week, the World Bank released a detailed report concluding that the economy of Palestine is unsuitable for statehood and incapable of sustaining itself without foreign aid. The 181-page report concludes that the Palestinian Authority has not done enough to build a prosperous economy despite its success in constructing institutions of government. The World Bank made no attempt to avoid the fact that Israeli policies are primarily responsible for the stagnation of the Palestinian economy, however poor leadership and planning in Ramallah have also taken their toll.

In the meantime, the United Nation’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, stated on Wednesday that no breakthrough has been made in restarting dialogue between Palestinian representatives and Israel. The Palestinian delegation is still refusing to return to talks without a halt to the construction of settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which violates international law. Israel is refusing to return to talks unless no preconditions are set enabling them to continue to build settlements and further annex East Jerusalem, which is occupied territory under international law.

The United Nations Special Committee on Israeli Practices in the Occupied Territories issued a statement against the arrest, detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children by the Israeli military. Ambassador Palitha T.B. Khonoa of Sri Lanka reported on the plight of Palestinian children who are mistreated by Israel from the moment of arrest saying that “Large numbers are routinely detained.

Children’s homes are surrounded by Israeli soldiers late at night, sound grenades are fired into the houses, doors are broken down, live shots are often fired; no warrant is presented. Children are tightly bound, blindfolded and forced into the backs of military vehicles.” Additionally, Kohona noted that families are insulted, intimidated and sometimes physically assaulted during the arrest of their children and are not allowed to accompany them during transport or questioning. Transfers can last for hours and often include stops in Israeli settlements, at checkpoints, or military bases. The Committee’s view is that this is an unacceptable practice, one that Israel must end immediately.

The West Bank & Gaza Report

Israeli settler’s setup mobile houses near Bethlehem and the Israeli military attacks several Palestinian neighbourhoods detaining several West Bank residents, the details and more with IMEMC’s Alex Goodger.

Israeli settlers seized Palestinian land in several areas around the West Bank on Sunday and Monday. On Sunday, near the village of Yatta south of Hebron, Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Susiya seized Palestinian land and placed a power generator there in advance of plans to expand the settlement in the area. This was followed by additional 12 acres of land confiscation in the Jordan Valley and the area south of Bethlehem on Monday.

The Israeli military stepped up its presence and military actions by raiding homes in Hebron. Security sources reported that Israeli forces increased their presence in Durah and Ra’s al-Jourah neighbourhood in Hebron, placing military checkpoints at the entrances of the city. Israeli forces raided several neighborhoods in the areas in and around Hebron on Wednesday, detaining nine Palestinians in the process, while Israeli settlers simultaneously attacked Palestinians according to reports from WAFA and PNN.

Israeli soldiers arrested two Palestinian children in the west bank city of Hebron. 15-year-old Basel Mataryeh was arrested by a large number of Israeli soldiers after they raided his home. He was detained on the pretext of throwing rocks at the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba. Saqer Sweity, 13, was also arrested after a raid on his family’s home in Beit Awa, a village south of Hebron. The PPC told WAFA that the soldiers held his father at gunpoint, ransacked the house, and terrorized the family before taking Sweity away.

A number of Israeli settlers setup mobile houses in the village of al-Khader near the southern Palestinian city of Bethlehem. Ahmad Salah, coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall in al-Khader told IMEMC that a group of Israeli settlers, accompanied by Israeli soldiers, arrived on Tuesday and Wednesday to the Batn al-Ma’asi area in the village and setup 10 mobile houses and electricity poles in a nearby location already occupied by settlers.

That was just some of the news from This Week in Palestine, for more updates; please visit our website at Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem, This report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and me George Rishmawi.