HAVANA TIMES — Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for April 5th to the 11th, 2014.
While Israeli attacks targeting the West Bank and Gaza leave four injure this week, the Palestinian President formally signed up to the Geneva Conventions this week.
The Nonviolence Report
Let’s begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities organized in the West Bank. Three civilians were injured and seven were kidnapped on Friday, as Israeli soldiers attacked the non-violent protests organized in West Bank villages.
Protests were organized on Friday in the village of Kufer Qadoum in the northern West Bank, the villages of al Nabi Saleh, Bil’in, Nil’in, both in the central West Bank, and Al Ma’ssara village in southern west Bank.
Two civilians were kidnapped and many others suffered effects of tear gas inhalation when troops attacked the weekly anti-wall and anti-settlements protest at the village of Kufer Qadoum.
Local residents said that troops attacked protesters before leaving the village and fired tear gas into nearby residents’ homes causing damage.
In the central West Bank, Israeli troops used tear gas and sound bombs as well as chemical water to attack the weekly anti-wall and anti-settlements protests at villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, and the nearby village of al Nabi Saleh.
In Bil’in and Ni’lin, Israeli soldiers attacked the protesters as soon as they reached the gate of the wall that separates local farmers from their lands. Many protesters were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation at both locations.
Meanwhile seven residents were kidnapped and one international supporter was injured at the village of Al Nabi Saleh. Troops attacked the unarmed protesters before even leaving the village. Later soldiers stormed the village and fired tear gas into residents’ homes causing damage.
Meanwhile Israeli troops attacked the villagers of al Ma’ssara and their supporters at the village entrance. The soldiers then forced them back using rifle butts and batons. No injuries were reported.
The Political Report
The Palestinian Authority has signed up formally to the Geneva Conventions, which set down the rules of warfare and humanitarian operations in conflict zones, the treaties’ guardian Switzerland confirmed this week.
Swiss foreign ministry spokesman Pierre-Alain Eltschinger said this week that the Palestinian Authority had declared itself party to the conventions on April 2. He added that this was registered formally by Switzerland on Thursday.
The step is part of a new diplomatic drive by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, coming as peace talks with Israel are close to collapse.
Abbas said he had received a letter from the Swiss president confirming the registration, and praised it as “a historic day for the Palestinian people.”
The Palestinians had pledged to freeze all moves to seek membership in UN organizations and international conventions during the talks in return for Israel’s release of veteran Palestinian prisoners.
Israel has meanwhile made a new bid to expand settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and threatened to impose sanctions on the Palestinian Authority that include a withhold of the tax revenue due to the Palestinians and restrictions on the mobility of Palestinian officials and business men into the Israeli controlled parts of the West Bank, and a freeze of the privileges businessmen and Palestinian Authority leaders have on the borders.
The Palestinians have submitted requests to the United Nations to join 13 other international conventions and treaties in response to Israel’s failure to release the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners as agreed with the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry who is fostering the peace talks.
The treaties include the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, the convention on the rights of the child, the convention against torture and an anti-corruption accord.
The original Geneva Conventions were crafted in the 19th century under the auspices of the Swiss-based International Committee of the Red Cross, and recast after World War II.
Over the subsequent decades, optional protocols were added to take into account the developing realities of war and its impact on civilians.
The West Bank and Gaza Report
This week the Israeli army carried out 62 invasions in the West Bank, and 3 limited invasions into the Gaza Strip. Troops kidnapped 22 Palestinians during invasions targeting West Bank communities meanwhile jetfighters carried out nine air strikes targeting the besieged Gaza Strip.
Earlier in the week, Ashraf Abu al-Huda, 35, was shot and injured then kidnapped late on Sunday night by Israeli troops in the town of Huwarra, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Abu al-Huda was shot several times by Israeli border police after he allegedly hurled a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli military jeep, near the village of Huwarra.
Allam Abu al-Huda said his brother — who is married and a father of five children — regularly leaves for work in the evening in order to sneak through Israel’s separation wall.
Also on Monday Israeli forces demolished an industrial facility, as well as notified to demolish two others, in the villages of Barta’a and Dahr Al-Abed to the southwest of Jenin, according to local sources.
Later on Tuesday, Israeli bulldozers demolished agricultural structures and leveled fields owned by Palestinian farmers near Hebron city.
Witnesses said bulldozers, escorted by Israeli troops, entered private Palestinian fields in the Farsh al-Hawa neighborhood and tore down four buildings used for agricultural purposes. Bulldozers also destroyed almond and grape vine fields in the area.
Later in the week, Israeli authorities, on Thursday morning, announced a decision to confiscate about 1,000 dunams (250 acres) of private Palestinian land in the town of al-Khader, near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem.
In the Gaza Strip this week, Three Palestinians were injured on Thursday after being shot by Israeli forces near Erez crossing north of the Gaza Strip.
Witnesses said that soldiers stationed at a military watch tower opened fire at workers collecting small stones from fields to be used for making concrete, injuring three. Local sources said that two of the injured sustained serious injuries, all three men were moved to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Earlier, Israeli forces fired an artillery shell at an open area in the northern Gaza Strip. The tank shell landed in an open area near Erez crossing. Moreover Israeli forces on Thursday afternoon fired three shells at areas in al Qarara village, east of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip. Damage was reported but no injuries.
And that’s all for today from This Week in Palestine. This was the Weekly report for April 5th to the 11th 2014 from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. For more news and updates please visit our website at www.imemc.org. This week’s report has been brought to you by Samir Jaber and Ghassan Bannoura.