HAVANA TIMES — Welcome to This Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, for July 27th to August 2nd 2013.
Both Palestinians and Israelis resumed this week stalled peace talks, while Israeli attacks targeting Palestinian communities in both Gaza and the West Bank, leave civilians injured. 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. On Friday, 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.
This week Israeli soldiers used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets to attack the nonviolent anti wall and settlement protests organized in a number of West Bank communities.
At the village of al Nabi Saleh, Israeli soldiers used tear gas to suppress the villagers and their supporters before even leaving the village.
Moreover troops stormed the village and fired tear gas at residents’ homes. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
At the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, also in the central West Bank, residents and their international and Israeli supporters managed to reach the wall.
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 used rifle buts and batons to force the residents of al Ma’ssara and their supporters back into the village. A number of residents sustained light wounds by the soldiers attack.
The Political Report
Both Palestinians and Israelis resumed this week stalled peace talks amidst speculations such talks would lead to a genuine peace agreement between the two sides.
Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Eriqat and his Israeli counterpart, Israeli minister, Tzibi Livni, headed this week the first round of peace talks in Washington.
Israeli and Palestinian delegations agreed on addressing a number of contentious issues such as borders of Palestinian future Palestinian state, status of Jerusalem , refugees and security arrangements.
In the opening session, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, hailed the meeting as the first step towards a political settlement within a time frame of 9 months. Both sides will be meeting in a couple of weeks whether in Ramallah or in Israel, for a follow up discussions.
Meanwhile, some Palestinian officials cast their speculations over possible success of such long-waited talks. Former Palestinian negotiator and co-initiator of Geneva peace initiative for peace between Israel and Palestinians, said that the parties have a long time ahead to achieve a concrete progress.
In the West Bank cities and towns, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in protest of the resumption of talks. Palestinian Authority, headed by president Mahmud Abbas, had been insisting on a main demand; Israel should renounce settlements construction on occupied Palestinian lands before any peace negotiations are resumed.
Negotiations stopped back in 2010, after Israel further embarked on illegal settlements building in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are UN-recognized boundaries of a recently-installed UN non-member Palestinian state.
In a related news, Israel agreed on releasing more than 100 veteran Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, so that the Palestinian Authority would have agreed to resuming peace talks. Those would-be freed prisoners were arrested before the Oslo peace accord was signed, in 1993.
In another news, both Fatah party of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and the Islamist Hamas party in Gaza, traded this week a number of accusations including blocking a unity deal.
Fatah said Hamas is expected to agree on ending a political split by early August,2013, a deadline set three months ago in Cairo. Instead, Fatah argues, that Hamas had created some false allegations against the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in Ramallah that the latter had conspired against Hamas by disrupting Hamas-Egypt relations.
This coincided with Egypt’s prosecution accusing recently-deposed Islamist President Mohammad Morsi of collaborating with the Islamist Hamas party in Gaza.
The West Bank and Gaza Report
This week the Israeli army conducted at least 51 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza. During these attacks Israeli troops left at least a dozen civilians injured and kidnapped at least 26 Palestinians.
This week Israeli soldiers’ invasions were focused in the southern West Bank city of Hebron and nearby villages as well as the cities of Jenin and Nablus in northern West Bank. Among those kidnapped by the army this week there were eight children.
On Tuesday, seven Palestinian civilians were injured by Israeli troops’ gunfire as soldiers invaded Jenin Refugee camp located in the northern West Bank city of Jenin. Local youth clashed with the invading soldiers; as a result, seven were injured and were moved to a local hospital for treatment. Doctors said that all injuries were moderate. Moreover, a number of residents were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Also this week Israeli settlers escalated their attacks targeting Palestinian villagers and farmers. On Monday, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian farmers near the village of Sanour and also attacked Palestinian cars driving on the Nablus-Jenin road.
Meanwhile on Tuesday of this week Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian shepherds near Akraba village, in northern West Bank. Local sources said that the settlers managed to kill two sheep owned by local famers and destroyed some property before leaving the area.
Later in the week Israeli settlers attacked on Wednesday Palestinian residents of Assira al Qiplyia village near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Witnesses said that armed settlers attacked a construction site at the edge of the village and tried to set it on fire when residents rushed to the scene and forced them out.
Moreover a number of civilians were injured and another man kidnapped when Israeli troops and settlers attacked on Thursday the village of Beit Omer near the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
The attack started when Israeli armed settlers attacked village residents as they were taking part in a funeral. Later Israeli troops invaded the village and attacked residents alongside the settlers, witnesses told local news sources.
During the attack Israeli soldiers attacked and beat up a Palestinian journalist, Nayif Al Hashlamoun as he was taking photos of the settlers and army attack.
In the Gaza Strip this week Israeli soldiers shot on Saturday a 25-year-old Palestinian man east of Bureij refugee camp. Doctors said that the victim suffered multiple gunshot wounds after Israeli soldiers opened fire shortly before Iftar, and they described the man’s condition as moderate.
The Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza is located near the so called access restricted area illegally established by Israel along the perimeter fence that separates Gaza from Israel.
And that’s all for today from This Week in Palestine. This was the Weekly report for July 27th to August 2nd 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 Ghassam Bannoura, and me Shamus Slaunwhite.