Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, imemc.org, for Thursday December 7th 2006.
Despite ceasefire agreement, Israeli forces fire at Palestinians near Gaza border, injuring two, Five Palestinians abducted and one injured, by Israeli forces during West Bank invasions, these stories and more coming up stay tuned.
The Gaza Update
Israeli soldiers stationed at a military base on the Gaza-Israel border opened fire today at Palestinian farmers in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, injuring two. The attack is a direct violation to the ceasefire agreement made ten days ago between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza. The Israeli army claimed that the men were fired upon for being too close to the â€œsecurity-fenceâ€ separating Gaza from Israel. The army added that soldiers fired â€œwarning-shotsâ€, and when the men did not move away soldiers fired again at them hitting one.
The injured farmers were identified as Ahmad Banat, 23, who sustained a live round in his Pelvis, and Abdullah Banat, 18, who was shot in his leg, and suffered moderate wounds. Both men had been farming on their land when they were shot.
The attack is considered by Palestinians to be a direct violation to the truce which Israel made with Palestinian groups last week. Although Israeli officials say that the truce is only effective in the Gaza Strip, while Palestinian factions argue that any ceasefire should include all of the occupied territories, including both the West Bank and Gaza.
During the ten days of ceasefire, eleven Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in invasions of various parts of the West Bank. Today, at least five Palestinians were taken prisoner, and one was injured by the Israeli army in the West Bank.
An Egyptian security source reported on Thursday that Egyptian border guards uncovered a tunnel from the Egyptian side of the border to Rafah city, in the Gaza Strip. The tunnel allegedly was used for smuggling Palestinian residents and arms from the Gaza Strip into the Sinai Peninsula, Israeli sources reported. The one-meter wide tunnel was reportedly found on Wednesday under the kitchen floor of a house which is only 10 meters away from the border crossing.
The Egyptian official, talking on condition of anonymity, stated that the owner of the house was taken prisoner, and his family members were forced to leave the house as the soldiers sealed the area and initiated searches for additional tunnels. The tunnel was dug in the 1990s, the official said, adding that Egypt was coordinating with the Palestinian Authority in order to close the Palestinian end.
In the southern Gaza strip, Palestinian security sources reported on Thursday morning that the Israeli army closed the Rafah Border Crossing, after just one day of opening. The Rafah crossing, which is the only way for Gaza residents to connect to the world, has been closed 80% of the time since January, according to a recent United Nations report.
The border was officially re-opened on Wednesday morning after having been closed for several months since the last opening.
Although a few Palestinians were able to come home during the one day opening, at least 2000 more are still stuck at the border waiting to pass in or out of Gaza. 99% of those stuck at the border are medical and humanitarian cases, Palestinian sources at the crossing told IMEMC. At least twelve Palestinians have died waiting at the border during the months of closure, some of whom had been returning from receiving medical treatment and surgeries in Egypt.
The West Bank Update
Palestinian sources reported that five Palestinians were taken prisoner by the Israeli army during morning invasions of different parts of the West Bank on Thursday.
Israeli army jeeps and troops attacked Palestinian homes, searching and ransacking them, in Askar refugee camp in Nablus, in the northern West Bank, on Thursday morning, and took Ibrahim Ishtawi, 32, to an unknown location, his family reported.
Also in the northern part of the West Bank, Israeli forces invaded the city of Qalqilia on Thursday morning and took three residents prisoner, as well as injuring one.
Ma’mun Jabir, 24, Rami Al Fara, 25, Iyad Al Fara, 25, were taken when troops attacked and searched their family houses located Kufer Saba neighborhood, Kassem Jabir,55, the father of Ma’mun, was injured when a soldier hit him with a stone during the abduction of his son, he sustained light wounds, medical sources reported.
In the village of Al Walaja, northwest of Bethlehem, in the southern part of the West Bank, Israeli troops sealed the village, preventing anyone from entering or leaving, then surrounded the house of Sha’ban Abu Al Teben, 54, searched his house, then took him away to an unknown location, his family reported. Al Walaja is one of several towns where Israeli Wall construction is currently underway. The village is, at present, completely surrounded by the Israeli Wall and construction, cutting it off from both Israel and Palestine.
Israeli army sources reported on Thursday that the army has taken a total of 15 prisoners during morning invasions to the cities of Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Qalqilia. An army spokesperson claimed that the 15 are all members of Hamas or Fatah armed wings, and all are on what the army calls the Wanted List.