Palestine Report for March 17-22

by Husam Qassis and Ghassan Bannoura for IMEMC News*

International Women's Day in Gaza and the demand to free Hana Ash-Shalabi. Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

HAVANA TIMES, March 23 — Israel rebuffed this week a ruling by the UN against West Bank settlements, while more political detainees join hunger strike in protests of administrative detention and ill-treatment by their Israeli captives. These stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.

The Nonviolence report

Let’s begin our weekly report with the nonviolent activities in the West Bank. This week two civilians were injured, one seriously and Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation as Israeli soldiers suppressed anti wall protests in a number of West Bank villages. IMEMC’s Vika Awad with the details:

At the village of al Nabi Saleh, central West Bank, two teenagers were injured, one critically, when soldiers attacked the weekly anti wall protest on Friday. This week protest was organized under the title of “continued resistance” in response to the Israeli military campaign targeting the villagers to stop the weekly activity in al Nabi Saleh.

Soldiers stopped the villagers along with their international and Israeli supporters at the village entrance and attacked them using rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas. The military also used chemical water as well to force people back into the village. Two 16 year old boys from the village were hit with rubber-coated steel bullets, one in the face.

This week Israeli troops invaded the village of al Nabi saleh at a number of occasions. Soldiers stormed The media office of the Nonviolent Resistance Committee in Nabi Saleh and confiscated a computer, in addition to confiscating three computers from the home of Basem At-Tamimi, who is currently in an Israeli prison for his nonviolent activities against the Wall and settlements.

Troops threatened further invasions and attacks if popular nonviolent resistance continued. Attallah Al-Tamimi is with the Nonviolent Resistance Committee in Nabi Saleh:

“We called our protest today continued resistance, as a response to the Israeli occupation campaign. Tto tell them that attacks and oppression does not scare us and that we will continue our popular resistance.”

Also in central West Bank, many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli troops attacked the weekly anti wall protests at the village of Bil’in and Nil’in.

In southern West Bank also on Friday, villagers of Al Ma’ssara, along with their international and Israeli supporters protested the Israeli wall. Troops stopped protesters at the village entrance before they reached lands owned by local farmers which Israel confiscated to build the wall on. Later troops forced people back into the village using rifle-butts. No injuries were reported.

The Political Report

Israel rebuffed this week a ruling by the UN Council for Human Rights that deems holding investigations into current Israeli settlement activities on the occupied Palestinian territories. Meanwhile, as a fuel crisis is looming in Gaza, Hamas accuses the Palestinian Authority, Israel and some other Arab countries of creating the crisis. IMEMC’s Rami Al Meghari has the story:

Some Hamas leaders in the Hamas-ruled Gaza accused Friday the Palestinian Authorities in Ramallah of further tightening the Israeli blockade of the territory by plotting current fuel crisis that has forced Gaza into prolonged blackouts.

Speaking to Hamas supporters in northern Gaza, Hamas MP, Mosheer Almasry was quoted as saying that his party is certain that the PA and Israel have been working closely on ways to further tighten the Israeli blockade of the territory in order to make the Islamist Hamas succumb by recognizing Israel.

The fuel crisis in the territory has been persistent for several weeks now. Egypt has offered to send fuel to Gaza through the Israeli Kerem Shalom crossing, yet Hamas insists that the fuel be sent through the Rafah crossing terminal. Hamas hoped to break the Israeli blockade of the coastal enclave, in place for five years now.

According to the 2005’s operation agreement of the Rafah crossing terminal, brokered by Washington, the terminal is for the movement of people not goods.

In other news, Israeli officials reacted this week to a ruling by the UN’s Council for Human Rights, stipulating that an investigation into existing Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands, be carried out.

Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman , was quoted as saying that the UN’s Human Rights Council proves to be unfair and that Israel will reconsider cutting off ties with such a council.

The UN’s decision comes as Israel continues settlements building on lands, dubbed by the international community including the UN as occupied Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian Authority and Israel have stopped peace talks after the Palestinian Authority has insisted that Israel halts all forms of what the PA calls illegal settlements building on the occupied West Bank and the Eastern Arab city of Jerusalem.

The West Bank and Gaza Report

This Week, more Palestinian political prisoners joined Hana Ash-Shalabi’s hunger strike and promised further escalation in April. Meanwhile the Israeli military conducted at least 56 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank this week. During which they arrested 8 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children. IMEMC’s Jina Johns:

This week Israeli invasions targeting Palestinian West Bank communities were focused in northern cities of Jenin and Salfit as well as the central West Bank city of Ramallah and Hebron in the south.

In other news 50 prisoners joined Hana Ash-Shalabi’s hunger strike this week. Officials moved Ash-Shalabi to an Israeli hospital on Monday after a sharp deterioration in her health. By this week end Ash-Shalabi will have been on hunger strike for 37 days. She’s protesting ill-treatment and the Israeli use of administrative detention, which allows prisoners to be detained without charges for many years. Her lawyers said the doctors had to wait three hours before being allowed to see their patient. Furthermore her family has not been allowed to visit. Omer is Ash-Shalabi’s brother:

Ash-Shalabi was released last October during the Egyptian mediated swap deal between Israel and Palestinian groups. She was rearrested last month, along with 6 others who had also been released in the deal. Palestinian Prisoners will start a general hunger strike and plan to boycott the military court system.

Human right groups are concerned about Israeli reprisals against political detainees. 15 Palestinian political detainees were injured on Thursday at the military detention facility of Jalbua. Troops stormed prisoners’ rooms to force a DNA test. Prisoners have previously protested the DNA tests. Ayman Karaja is a researcher with the Adamier Association for Prisoners Affairs:

In other news three civilians were injured in Gaza this week in two separate incidents. On Monday at dawn two Palestinian civilians were injured in an accident at a Tunnel in Rafah city near the Gaza-Egypt border. Sources in Gaza said that the two men were injured after having fallen inside the tunnel. The third victim, a 6-year-old child, was wounded by a bullet to the right thigh when his home at the southern Gaza borders with Israel came under Israeli military fire.

 (*) A service of the International Middle East Media Center

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