HAVANA TIMES – Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for March 2nd to 8th 2013.
Palestinians react towards the expected visit of the US President Barack Obama to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, in the meantime protests in support of the Palestinian prisoners organized all over the West Bank, 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. Israeli troops used rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas this week to suppress the anti wall and settlements protests organized at West Bank communities.
Three protesters and a journalist were injured on Friday when Israeli troops attacked the anti wall and settlements protests organized at the northern West Bank village of Kufer Qadum, as well as Bil’in, Ni’lin, and Al Nabi Saleh central West Bank and the village of Al Ma’ssara and Hebron city, in the southern part of the West Bank.
In Kufer Kadum, many protesters were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when troops attacked the weekly protest there before even leaving the village.
In the Bil’in and Ni’lin, protesters reached the Israeli wall built on lands taken from local farmers. Troops stationed there used tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets against the unarmed protesters. Two villagers and a journalist were injured in Bil’in village. While in Ni’lin many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In the nearby village of al Nabi Saleh, the unarmed protesters were meat by the Israeli troops force as soon as they reached the entrance of the village. Troops also used tear gas to force people back. Later soldiers invaded the village and fired tear gas at residents homes causing may to suffer from tear gas inhalation.
Also on Friday many protesters were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli soldiers attacked three protests organized at the village of al Ma’ssara the nearby town of Beit Omer and Hebron city.
The Political Report
Some Palestinians downplay an expected visit to the region by US president Barak Obama. Meanwhile, no clues have been received regarding the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, IMEMC’s Rami Al-Meghari with the details
Top Palestinian negotiator , Saeb Eriqat , says that Israel has not yet sent out any signal that it would start releasing Palestinian prisoners from it’s jails. Last month, Palestinian masses took to the streets in the occupied Palestinian territories, warning of a third Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation.
The protests came in the wake passing away of a Palestinian prisoner under mysterious conditions. Reports about possible Israeli release of prisoners went with warnings that a third Intifada ‘ uprising’ will likely blow up chance of peace in the region.
In the Gaza Strip, Palestinian prime minister of Hamas, Ismail Haniya, downplayed an expected visit to the region by US president Barak Obama. The visit is said to have been aimed at exploring chances for resumption of Palestinian-Israeli stalled peace process.
Source in Washington confirmed that President Obama will not offer a new initiative for peace but rather urge both Palestinians and Israel to restart peace talks.
On the ground, crowds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad supporters protested the upcoming visit , given reports that Obama will be touring the Alaqsa mosque of east Jerusalem. The mosque is located in the occupied Arab Palestinian city of East Jerusalem and such a move would sparkle widespread protests.
The West Bank and Gaza Report
This week a Palestinian man dies of wounds he sustained from Israeli gunfire during last week’s solidarity protests with Palestinian political detainees, also this week Israeli troops conduct an arrest campaign targeting west Bank communities and limited invasions in Gaza.
Palestinian medical sources reported on Thursday morning that Mohammad Asfour, 22, from Aboud town, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, died of serious injuries he suffered during clashes that took place when the Israeli army invaded the village two week ago. Asfour, a student of the Al-Quds University, was shot by a live round to the head, and was moved to an Israeli hospital where he died of his serious injuries.
Israeli soldiers shot him during clashes that took place after Palestinian detainee Arafat Jaradat, from the southern West Bank city of Hebron, was tortured to death by Israeli interrogators. Jaradat’s death led to clashes in different parts of the occupied Palestinian territories. during these clashes around 200 Palestinians were injured.
Also this week the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, issued a report calling on Israel to army to halt its harsh treatment OF Palestinian children and youth arrested by the army. An estimated 7000 children have been detained, interrogated, prosecuted and/or imprisoned by Israeli over the last decade according to UNICEF. All though Israeli soldiers are required to notify families when they arrest their children and tell those children that they have the right to a lawyer, this law is often violated.
UNICEF noted the positive development of Israel changing the age of which minors are considered adults from 16 to 18. Yet they are still being handled by military courts AS adults and being detained in military detention centers with adults under the same conditions. Monica Awad, Spokeswoman of UNICEF in Jerusalem:
Palestinian Prisoner support groups and human rights advocates say that the Israeli army’s arrests and detention of children and minors can have long lasting effects. Randa Wahba , is from Addameer Association for Prisoners support and human rights:
On the ground Israeli troops continued this week daily arrests of Palestinians including children. According to the Palestinian center for human rights, Israeli troops arrested 46 Palestinians, including 5 more minors this week during midnight and pre dawn RAIDS targeting West Bank communities.
In the Gaza strip this week, Israeli army tanks and bulldozers implemented two limited invasions in two separate incidents targeting farm lands near the southern and northern Gaza borders with Israel. Bulldozers destroyed farm lands and uprooted trees owned by local farmers, no injuries were reported.
And that’s all for today from This Week in Palestine this was the Weekly report for March 2nd to 8th, 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 Husam Qassis and me, George Rishmawi