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This Week in Palestine – Week 25 2007

IMEMC - Audio Dept. | 22.06.2007 17:31 | Palestine | World

This Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center,, for June 16 through 22, 2007.

This Week in Palestine – Week 25 2007 - mp3 10M

Hamas and Fatah trade accusations as the Palestinian president accuses Hamas of attempting to assassinate him, meanwhile Israel continue to close Gaza border crossings, as Abbas and Olmert prepare to meet. These stories and more coming up, stay tuned.

Nonviolent Resistance in Palestine

Let's begin our weekly report with the nonviolent actions in Palestine against the wall and settlements.

Non-violence Report

Umm Salamoneh

Around 50 residents of the village of Umm Salamoneh, located to the south of Bethlehem in the West Bank, joined by international and Israeli peace activists, marched on Friday against confiscation of land by Israel for the purposes of the construction of the illegal wall.

This week, the aim of the demonstration was to plant a number of olive trees on the land planned for confiscation.

As is the case each week, protestors were pushed, kicked and assaulted by the Israeli military, who prevented them from planting any trees on the land.

Sami Awad, the director of the Holy Land Trust organization and one of the protestors at Um Salamoneh today, stated:

A short scuffle took place between Israeli forces and demonstrators, leading to the arrest of two Israeli activists.

Medical sources in Bethlehem reported no injuries at the demonstration.


As is the case each week, the people of Bil’in, located near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, joined by international and Israeli peace activists, conducted their weekly protest against the construction of the illegal wall that will cut the village from its rightfully-owned land.

The Israeli army blocked the road leading to the gate of the wall and as soon as the protestors arrived at the barricade, they were fired upon with rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and sound bombs, leading to the injury of five people, among them two internationals.

Also during the protest, two members of the Popular Committee Against Constriction of the Wall and Settlements were kidnapped by Israeli forces. While one was later released, the other was moved to a nearby detention camp.

Fatah-Hamas Crisis deepens as both trade accusations

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert are scheduled to hold a meeting in the Sharm Al-Sheikh resort in the Sinai desert in Egypt on Sunday under Egyptian-Jordanian auspices.

Egyptian officials say that Monday’s summit will boost Abbas and isolate Hamas.

The summit comes shortly after Hamas took control over the Gaza Strip after fierce fights with the Palestinian National Security Forces and the Al-Aqsa Brigades, Fatah’s armed wing, which lasted for five days, leaving at least 180 dead and as many as 600 injured.

Following the Gaza incidents, Abbas decided to dismiss the National Unity Government, declared a state of emergency and formed an interim government to implement emergency rules.

Immediately after Abbas’ declaration, the United States and the European Union declared that they would resume direct aid to the new Palestinian Government formed by the Minister of Finance in the former Unity Government Dr. Salam Fayyad. Many other world and Arab leaders expressed satisfaction with Abbas’ decision.

Israel, for its part, said it would release the money it has been holding since March of 2006, which, according to the Oslo accords, is due to the Palestinian authority.

However, the conflict between Fatah and Hamas has escalated and both traded accusations and insults through the media, especially following Abbas’ speech to the Central Council of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

In his speech, Abbas ruled out talks with Hamas and accused the Al-Qassam brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, of attempting to assassinate him and of carrying out a coup in Gaza Strip against the Palestinian Authority. Abbas, for the first time, publicly described Hamas as a “Murderous, terrorist” movement.

In response, Hamas called his remarks "disgusting", describing Abbas and several other Fatah leaders as slaves to the Zionists. Meanwhile, thousands of Hamas supporters took to the streets of Gaza on Thursday denouncing Abbas and Dr. Khalil Abu Lilah, Hamas leader in Gaza, rejected Abbas’ accusations,

"This is totally a false accusation; if the Qassam brigades of Hamas activists wanted to assassinate Abbas they could have easily done it."

Meanwhile, Israel cut fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip and threatened to cut electricity and water supplies by closing all the entrances to the strip. Such a move would create a humanitarian crisis in the region.

The United Nations issued a report on Wednesday stating that unless Israeli allows basic supplies to enter the Gaza strip, the costal region would run out of those supplies in less than one month.

Late on Wednesday night, the Israeli army evacuated to Egypt dozens of Palestinian Gaza residents who had spent days at the Erez border crossing in the northern Gaza strip.

Several Palestinians, mainly Fatah loyalists, fled the Gaza Strip after Hamas assumed control there.

A Palestinian man waiting to flee the Gaza strip was killed and several were wounded when Israeli troops stationed on the border shot at them on Monday.

Thousands of Palestinians remain stranded between Egypt and Gaza on the Rafah crossing, awaiting permission to enter Gaza. Of these people, most were in Egypt for medical treatment. During the week, the Egyptian border police attempted to force them to return to Egypt. Mohamed Al Lubass, one of the Palestinian stuck at the borders, stated:

“We are around 3000 people stuck here, men, women, elderly, and children, we have no more money to stay, we desperately need go back to Gaza. We have been here at the terminal since 51 days. There is no food, or medicine, I am sick, I was in Egypt for treatment and when I came back the terminal was closed. Egyptian police forcefully transported many of us back to Cairo, but the rest are hiding in the nearby farms.”

The Gaza Strip now experiencing a period of relative calm under Hamas’ control. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority continues to partially control parts of the West Bank. Israel however, has not ruled out an invasion of the coastal region, an invasion that would be designed to search for and eliminate those Palestinian resistance fighters who, despite the internal conflict in Gaza, continued to fire home-made shells at Israel.

Israeli attacks

West Bank

During the week, the Israeli army conducted at least 32 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. IMEMC's Ghassan Bannoura has more:

During invasions this week, Israeli troops killed two Palestinian resistance fighters and kidnapped 50 Palestinian civilians. Thus, the number of Palestinians arrested by the IOF in the West Bank since the beginning of this year has mounted to 1,408.

Israeli soldiers shot and killed on Wednesday two Palestinian resistance fighters in Kafer Dan village, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin. The two fighters exchanged fire with the invading forces for more than one hour before they were killed. Eyewitnesses reported that under-cover units of the Israeli army infiltrated the village using three Palestinian-licensed vehicles and occupied several houses after holding the residents hostage.

The forces then occupied the rooftops of the attacked houses and posted their sharpshooters there. Later, ordinary units invaded the village from several directions and surrounded a neighborhood where the fighters were located.

The two exchanged fire with the invading forces for more than one hour, but the soldiers used grenades and a military helicopter fired at least two missiles at the fighters. Medical sources reported that the two fighters bled to death after being hit by several rounds of live ammunitions and missile fragments.

The High Court of Justice rejected a petition by human rights organization Adalah against the military advocate-general on Tuesday. The petition from the legal center for Arab minority rights in Israel called for an investigation into the death of a Palestinian who was killed during Israeli army attack in the West Bank city of Hebron three years ago.

"This was a tragic incident in which the deceased was killed. This was a result of a chain of events and circumstances that led to the deceased being suspected of involvement in hostile activity," the judge said.

For this Ghassan Bannoura

The Gaza strip

In the Gaza Strip the Israeli army conducted two invasions into local communities, killing five Palestinian and injuring at least ten others, IMEMC's John smith has more:

Four Palestinians were killed and at least another four injured as the Israel army invaded Al Karara village, located near Khan Younis city in the southern part of the Gaza strip, on Wednesday morning.

Palestinian sources said all four were resistance fighters who tried to prevent the invasion. Witnesses reported that Israeli tanks and bulldozers stormed the area in the early morning, opening fire at various homes in the area. Witnesses added that a number of Israeli troops also occupied homes and used them as shooting posts. The Israeli army announced that one soldier sustained moderate wounds during the clashes.

During the week, the Israeli army continued to impose a strict siege on the Gaza Strip. The Rafah International Crossing Point has been closed since late June 2006, despite the fact that the Israeli army does not directly control it. This week, following the rise of Hamas to power in the coastal region, the crossing was completely closed, leaving thousands of Palestinian stranded at the borders.

All commercial and border crossings leading in and out of the Gaza strip have been closed for the past week.

A Palestinian man hoping to flee Gaza was killed and several others wounded when Israeli troops stationed on the northern Gaza-Israeli border shot at them on Monday.

The United Nations issued a report on Wednesday stating that unless Israel allows basic supplies to enter the Gaza strip, the costal region will run out of these supplies in approximately 2-4 weeks.

For this John Smith

And that’s just some of the news this week in Palestine. For constant updates, check out our website, Thanks for joining us from Occupied Bethlehem, this is ________________.

IMEMC - Audio Dept.
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