Welcome to This Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for October 3rd to 9th, 2009
As Israeli attacks this week were reported in both Gaza and the West Bank, internal Palestinian controversy rises over the UN Goldstone report about war crimes in Gaza. These stories, and more, coming up, stay tuned.
Let's begin our weekly report with the nonviolent activities in the West Bank with IMEMC's George Rishmawi:
Scores suffered tear gas inhalation on Friday as the Israeli military attacked the weekly protest against the Israeli wall in the village of Bil'in in the central West Bank.
As has been the case for the past four years, villagers along with their international and Israeli supporters started the protest after the midday prayers.
As soon as people arrived at the gate of the wall that separates the village from its lands Israeli troops fired tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets. Dozens were treated for effects of tear gas inhalation.
This Friday people march in solidarity with the Palestinians of Jerusalem as Israeli police continues to lock down the city after several days of clashes in and outside of the old city.
Protesting for the same issue, also in the central West Bank, scores of civilians were injured when Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly protest against the Wall in the village of Nil'in on Friday.
Villagers joined by international and Israeli supporters held the midday prayers at the lands owned by local farmers where Israel is building the Wall.
Israeli Soldiers showered the protesters with tear gas and water mixed with chemicals. Scores of people suffered tear gas inhalation and nausea. At least a dozen protesters were treated for the effect of tear gas inhalation.
For IMEMC.org this is George Rishmawi.
As internal Palestinian controversy rises over the UN Goldstone report about war crimes in Gaza, the ruling Hamas party in Gaza considers conciliation talks with Fatah in Cairo on October 26th; IMEMC’s Jessica Hulsey has the story:
Several Palestinian bodies called on Arab and Islamic nations to formulate a stance against what they termed a deliberate Israel offensive against the Islamic al Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem.
Appeals by Hamas in Gaza, Fatah in the West Bank, came amidst increased presence of Israeli troops and settlers within the boundaries of the old city.
Today Friday, Israeli police prevented access of young Muslim worshipers as Jewish worshippers, are set to perform some rituals inside the al Aqsa mosque compound. The heightened situation in Jerusalem is linked to a series of Israeli actions, that Arabs consider to be violating Muslims' rights to the holy city .
In the meantime, a national unity dialogue between Hamas and Fatah is said to be in peril as Hamas has hinted at postponing a scheduled conciliation meeting in Cairo by the end of October.
Hamas's position came after the Ramallah-based government , led by President Mahmoud Abbas, decided to defer the debate over a UN report that accuses Israel of war crimes in Gaza in January of this year.
Also, a number of Hamas officials including the police command in the coastal territory, warned of bringing to justice those who prove to be behind the deferral of that report.
The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority has refuted Hamas claims, saying that Hamas only wants to delay the conciliation talks. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, is expected to deliver a speech upon returning from an international trip, in which he would reveal a number of facts behind the deferral of Goldstone's UN report.
Hulsey Jessica is isth org.For IMEMC
The Gaza Report
Lead: as Israel continued to besiege the Gaza Strip, military attacks to several parts of the coastal region were reported this week, from Gaza IMEMC’s Rami Al Meghari reports.
On Tuesday Israeli tanks and bulldozers invaded areas in the southern Gaza Strip close to the border with Israel.
Local sources said that tanks opened fire at nearby homes as bulldozers uprooted trees and destroyed farm lands owned by Palestinian farmers.
Local sources said that similar attacks have been taking place daily since the start of this week.
Elsewhere Israeli tanks and bulldozers invaded border areas close to Gaza City on Wednesday.
Local sources announced that bulldozers destroyed farm lands, while tanks shelled a nearby local school, causing damage to classrooms and the school library.
The school has been attacked three times in the past three years. The Israeli military also detained 5 Palestinian fishermen for several hours off the Gaza city shores.
The Palestinian center for human rights reported this week that the poverty rate stands at approximately 80 % and unemployment rates are around 60% in the Gaza Strip.
In addition the center added that Israel continued to prevent the entry of spare parts for water networks and sewage systems. Losses incurred to this sector are estimated at 6 million US dollar.
For IMEMC.org this is Rami Al Meghari in Gaza.
The West Bank report
This week the Israeli military conducted at least 23 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Troops kidnapped 46 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children. IMEMC’s Katharine Orwell reports:
This week’s incursions were focused on the cities of Jenin, Qalqilia, in addition to Hebron and Bethlehem. Back in June of this year the military promised to stop invading all four cites however attacks and kidnap operations in those cities have not stopped.
Also this week tension was high in the city of Jerusalem. On Monday police began to lock down the Old City , which lasted until Tuesday. During the lock down the Israeli authorities would not allow Muslim men under the age of 50 to enter the Al Aqsa mosque as thousands of Jews of all ages gathered at the nearby Western Wall for prayers marking a week-long Jewish holiday.
2, 000 police officers were deployed in Jerusalem's old city on Monday following Sunday's clashes with Palestinians.
The clashes on Sunday erupted between Palestinians who had gathered at the Al Aqsa mosque and Israeli police. Palestinians feared that right-wing Jewish groups would try to enter the compound. In similar clashes last week Israeli police injured 17 Palestinians and kidnapped 50 others.
Ziad Al Hamuri, the director of the Jerusalem Center of Economic and Social rights, said the attacks are part of a larger plan:
"Those actions are aimed at creating new facts and history on the ground in addition to giving Jerusalem a Jewish nature by force… using all means possible"
Right-wing Jewish groups claim the al Aqsa Mosque, the second holiest place for Moslems world wide , is built over the ruins of the King Suleiman Temple and they want to demolish the Mosque to build the temple once again
For IMEMC.org this is Katharine Orwell
And that's just some of the news from This Week in Palestine. For regular updates, please visit our website at www.IMEMC.org. Thank you for joining us from Occupied Bethlehem. This week's report has been brought to you by Dina Awwad.