HAVANA TIMES — Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for February 2 to 8 2013
While Palestinian factions are meeting in Cairo to work out details of implementing the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, Israel conducted around 82 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The Nonviolence Report
Let’s us begin our weekly report with nonviolent activities organized in the West Bank. Protests this week were reported in the villages of Bil’in Ni’lin and al Nabi Saleh in central West Bank, as well as Al Ma’asara village in southern West Bank in addition to Kufur Qaddoum, in the north.
Three Protestes were injured and many more were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation, on Friday, when Israeli troops attacked the weekly anti wall and settlements protest at the village of Kufur Qaddoum.
Residents along with their international and Israeli supporters marched after midday prayers, as soon as they reached the roadblock the Israeli army installed at the village entrance 10 years ago; soldiers stationed there attacked protesters with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets.
Two children and a journalist were hit with tear gas bombs fired by Israeli troops at protesters, the three were moved to a local clinic for treatment.
In central West Bank, Israeli soldiers attacked the anti wall protesters organized also on Friday at the villages of Bil’in Ni’lin and al Nabi Saleh. Israeli troops used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets to suppress the three protests.
In al Nabi Saleh protesters were stopped by Israeli soldiers at the village entrance, while Bil’in and Ni’lin protesters managed to reach the Israeli wall. At the three protests many were treated from the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Elsewhere near Bethlehem, southern West Bank, Israeli troops stopped the weekly anti wall protest at Ma’sara village entrance. Soldiers forced people back into the village using rifle buts and batons to push people back, no injuries were reported.
The Political Report
Palestinian political factions are meeting in Cairo on ways to push Palestinian political conciliation forward.
Representatives for Palestinian political factions from both the Gaza Strip and West Bank headed for Cairo this week to discuss ways out of current political impasse between the rival Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah.
The meeting comes on the heels of a recent breakthrough as the elections committee has begun preparations for an upcoming election, pending Fatah-Hamas conciliation.
Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas , will be holding a series of separate meetings with factions’ representatives, beginning with the Islamic Jihad’s Ramadan Shallah in Cairo.
Spokesperson for the Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Dawood Shehab, told media outlets that the meeting was positive and that his movement reiterates position , it would not be a part of any upcoming elections.
The meetings will also discuss possible elections of the Palestinian National Councils, which invlolves all political excluding the Islamist Hamas party, which runs the Gaza Strip.
Hamas leaders in the occupied Gaza Strip have hinted at the fact that they are willing to reconcile but it is early to talk about elections unless the conciliation is achieved on the ground.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas of the rival Fatah party has long wanted elections to proceed before any conciliations. Some independent political figures said that the representation system is the best choice to sort out current Hamas-Fatah rivalry, WHEN IT COMES TO ELECTIONS.
Both Hamas and Fatah have been at odds since Abbas outlawed Hamas in 2007, following what Abbas called Hamas’s coupe against legitimacy by taking over Gaza and ousting Fatah-linked Palestinian Authority from there.
In 2006 and right after Hamas’s overwhelming victory in elections by then, international community including US, EU and European Union, shunned Hamas unless the party recognizes Israel, accept past-signed peace agreements and renounce violence.
In another , the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah reaffirmed a previous position that any resumption of peace talks with Israel should be preceded by Israeli halt of settlement activities on occupied Palestinian territories including West Bank and East Jerusalem.
This comes as Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is discussing with winner Israeli parties forming a new cabinet.
The West Bank and Gaza Report
This week, two civilians were injured by Israeli soldiers and settlers attacks. Meanwhile Israeli army conducted at least 83 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Israeli troops arrested at least 80 Palestinians.
Israeli invasions this week were focused in Hebron and Bethlehem cities southern West Bank, and Nablus and Jenin, in the north. Three Palestinian law makers Ahmad Attoun, a Jerusalem legislator who was forcibly exiled to Ramallah by Israel two years ago, as well as MPs Hatem Qfesiha and Mohammad At-Till from Hebron and eight children were among those arrested by the Israeli military this week.
Members of the Palestinian Parliament voiced concerns and asked the international community to intervene to stop Israeli violations against elected officials. Fou’ad Kokalieh, is a Palestinian law maker:
“The detention of lawmakers is illegal but the Israelis do not care about international laws and norms, that’s why Israel targets the MPs who only provide services to the people. Israel punishes us by targeting our representatives and our people in general.”
According to the Palestinian Parliament, Israel now detains 15 Palestinian MPs after Monday’s arrests.
Later on Monday night, one youth was moderately injured after being rammed by an Israeli military jeep in Za’atara village, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem. The young man, identified as Khalifa Mohammad Mahameed, 23. He suffered several fractures and bruises to various parts of his body. He was moved by a Palestinian ambulance to the Arab Society Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, in Bethlehem.
Another man was injured on Wednesday by Israeli settlers near the village of Amateen , northern west Bank. The man was herding his sheep when ten armed Israeli settlers from a nearby illegal settlement attacked him and tried to steal his sheep, residents reported. The man was moved to a local hospital in the nearby by city of Qalqilia after sustaining moderate wounds, medical sources reported.
In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military released in Thursday Akram Al Rikhawi from Rafah city in the southern Part of the Gaza Strip. Al Rikhawi was arrested in 2004 by the Israeli military and an army court sentenced him to 9 years. Last year Al Rikhawi did 102 days of hunger strike in protest of his detention and ill treatment by his Israeli captives. On July 22 2012 Akram ended his previous hunger strike after an agreement was reached to release him on January 25 2013, six months prior to his original release date.
In related news, 17 Palestinian residents form the northern West Bank city of Jenin announced on Thursday that they are conducting a hunger strike in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners detained by Israel. There are at least 10 Palestinian Prisoners being held by Israel now on hunger strike. They are demanding Israel to stop its ill-treatment and stop using the administrative detention policy against Palestinian political detainees.
And that’s all for today from This Week in Palestine this was the Weekly report for February 2 to 8, 2013 from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. For more news and updates please keep visiting our website at www.imemc.org.