This Week in Palestine September 1-7

Husam Qassis & George Rishmawi for IMEMC News

Men arriving at a wedding. Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

HAVANA TIMES — Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, for September 1st, to 7th 2012

Palestinians protest the sharp increase of the cost of living putting the Palestinian government in a political crises, meanwhile Israeli military abducts a number of Palestinians in the West Bank, these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.

The Nonviolence Report:

Let us begin our weekly report with nonviolent activities organized in the villages of Bil’in and Nabi Saleh, near the Palestinian city of Ramallah on Friday, were several protesters suffered wounds as a result of inhaling tear gas and being hit with rubber-coated-steel bullets, the details in the following report.

Dozens of protesters suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli soldiers showered them with a number of tear-gas canisters to stop the weekly anti-wall nonviolent protest in the village of Bil’in Friday afternoon.

The protest is organized by the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in the village and started after the mid-day prayers in an attempt to arrive at the land confiscated by the Israeli military when the wall was built. A number of Israeli and International supporters also joined the protest.

Participants raised Palestinian flags, and they called on Palestinians to continue the peaceful resistance to the Israeli military occupation in the West Bank and the construction of the wall and expansion of settlements.

Protesters also chanted slogans demanding the release of Palestinian Political prisoners, some of which are on hunger strike for over 100 days.

In Nabi Saleh village, also near Ramallah, Palestinian protesters marched after the prayers from the mosque of the village towards the confiscated lands. Israeli troops attempted to stop the protestors, by firing rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters at them causing several of them to faint, but were treated by field medics.

Israeli soldiers also used waste water against the protestors.

Eyewitnesses said Israeli troops abducted 11 International protestors including journalist who were trying to enter the village to participate in the protest. Israeli soldiers surrounded the village and blocked all entrances and exits.

The West Bank & Gaza Report

Protests, strikes, and demonstrations continue across the West Bank as thousands of Palestinians protest the sharp increase of living costs despite the limited income of most residents.

A 20-year old Gazan man killed himself in a public act of protest Sunday, dousing himself with gasoline and setting himself on fire.

Another Palestinian and his daughter were saved in the last moment when some by passers stopped a man in his mid-thirties from setting himself and his 6-year old daughter on fire in the central Palestinian city of Ramallah.

In the following days, hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets to protest the increase of living costs and especially fuel and basic materials.

People demanded the resignation of the Palestinian Prime Minsiter Salam Fayyad and the cancelation of the Paris Economic agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Local observers said the Palestinian Authority is in a financial crisis and is trying to solve it by increasing prices and taxes.

Political economy analyst Samer Jaber suggested an Exit Strategy to the crises:

“The exit strategy for Palestine out of the political and economical impasse -as part of ending the Israeli occupation strategy- is placing the Occupied Palestinian territories under the trusteeship of United Nations and revoke the Palestinian Authority, in parallel with reorganizing PLO based on democratic representation of Palestinian People in every where.”

In other news, in Gaza, three Palestinians were killed when the Israeli Air Force fired missiles into an area east of the Al-Boreij refugee camp on Wednesday. The Minister of Health in Gaza stated that an Israeli drone fired missiles targeting a group of residents, killing three, and seriously wounding another.

Additionally, Israeli soldiers stationed at military towers across the Gazan border, opened automatic fire at Palestinian shepherds killing approximately 30 sheep.

This week witnessed a rash of Palestinian kidnappings by Israeli soldiers across the West bank including one resident from Jenin, five residents from the northern West Bank city of Nablus, a young woman and her 12-year-old brother living in Hebron.

Lieutenant Hisham Ar-Rikh, deputy head of the Palestinian Preventative Security Forces, was shot and killed by unknown gunmen in Jenin. The sources said that Ar-Rikh suffered multiple gunshots to the chest and legs.

Lastly, Administrative detainees Samer al-Barq and Hassan Safadi remain in “imminent danger” after hunger striking for 106 and 76 days respectively.

The Political Report

Amidst stalemate of Palestinian-Israeli peace process and the PA’s inability to sort out a growing financial crisis, Palestinian masses in the West Bank took to streets for protests. In Gaza, the Hamas-led government announced a cabinet reshuffle.

Hamas sources say a recent cabinet reshuffle is meant to tackle the internal situation, including high unemployment rate, poverty, and ways to rebuild the war-torn Gaza.

The sources told media outlets that recent cabinet reshuffle is unintended to further deepen division between Hamas and Fatah of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

They further explained that the reshuffle is meant to tackle a number of internal concerns, mainly working out means to rehabilitate Palestinian economy under a five-year-old Israeli blockade of Gaza and explore ways to rebuild the war-torn territory.

Some political commentators in the coastal enclave considered the move as improper, given continued split between Fatah and Hamas. Both parties have been at loggerheads since 2007, with two separate Palestinian governments, one led by Hamas in Gaza and the other led by the western-backed president Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah.

For the past year, the parties have been divided on the implementation of Cairo-brokered reconciliation agreement, which stipulated holding general legislative and presidential elections in a period of six months.

Hamas contends that reconciliation comes first, while Abbas insists that elections would constitute an end to division , especially both Abbas’s and Hamas’s terms in power have expired already.

Meanwhile, a meeting of foreign Arab ministers in Cairo discussed this week stalemate of Palestinian-Israeli peace process, mainly Israeli intransigency and persistent Israeli settlement activities on occupied Palestinian territories including East Jerusalem, capital for future Palestinian state.

Speaking before Arab foreign ministers, President Abbas warned of a growing PA’s inability to live up with financial commitments, urging Arab countries to abide by sending needed funds to the occupied Palestinian territories.

On the ground, Palestinian masses in different West Bank cities and towns, took to the streets in protest against delay of monthly PA-funded salaries as well as high prices of essential supplies like fuel and bread.

Demonstrators called for the resignation of PA’s Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad. Fayyad responded by saying that the PA is doing it’s utmost and that the US, main patron for Israeli-Palestinian peace process, has pledged providing a financial assistance of 200 million dollars.

The PA premier also said he might resign from his post if this will help resolve the crisis. He added , in a radio interview with Palestine Radio, that the problem doesn’t lie in personalities , but rather in the system.

Since stalemate of peace with Israel in late 2008, the PA has faced frequent financial problems. Israel has repeatedly withheld tax money, due to the Palestinian Authority. These funds constitute one third of PA’s annual budget.

And that’s all for today from This Week in Palestine this was the Weekly report for September 1st to 7th 2012 from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. For more news and updates please visit our website at