Nablus Hunger Strike Against Demolitions

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Residents of a Nablus village announced on Sunday they would start a hunger strike to protest against Israeli demolition orders and confiscation of their land.

Palestinian MP Mustafa Barghouti met with residents of Khirbet al-Tawil on Sunday and called for more support in the residents struggle against land confiscation.

The village is facing a campaign of ethnic cleansing by Israeli forces, Barghouti said.

Israeli forces have confiscated 140 acres of land from the village, which is home to 150 people.

Settlers from the nearby Gittit settlement regularly harass villagers, and farmers are prevented from reaching their land, Barghouti said.

In Bethlehem, meanwhile, Israeli forces have warned they will demolish two Palestinian homes in al-Masara village, and handed four demolition notices to neighbouring village Husan, reports said on Saturday.

Soldiers gave stop work orders to two homes being constructed in al-Masara that are nearing completion, village council head Samir Zawahra told the official Palestinian Authority news agency Wafa.

Forces also handed demolition orders to four buildings in Husan village.

The United Nations humanitarian envoy in the Palestinian territories called on Friday for Israel to stop demolishing Palestinian homes.

Envoy Maxwell Gaylard said: ‘Israel as the Occupying Power has a fundamental responsibility to protect the Palestinian civilian population under its control and to ensure their dignity and well-being.’

He added: ‘The wholesale destruction of their homes and livelihoods is not consistent with that responsibility and humanitarian ideals.’

The UN humanitarian coordinator for Palestine was visiting the north Jerusalem village of Anata, where seven homes were demolished on Tuesday morning, displacing 52 people, including 29 children.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian teenager was struck and injured by an Israeli driver near an East Jerusalem checkpoint on Saturday morning, witnesses said.

Suleiman Abu Mahamid, 18, was waiting to catch a bus near al-Zayyem checkpoint between the West Bank and Jerusalem when a private car hit him and fled the scene.

Onlookers said the assailant was an Israeli settler using a road into the West Bank that is off limits to Palestinians.

Witnesses from the nearby East Jerusalem neighbourhood, Isawiya, took the car number and photos of the incident, they said.

Abu Mahamid was taken to the Medical Compound in Ramallah to treat his bruising.

In a separate incident, Israeli forces clashed with local youth in Yatta on Friday night, after conducting searches of homes in the southern West Bank town.

Young men pelted soldiers with stones, and Israeli forces fired back rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades, as well as shooting in the air, eyewitnesses said. No injuries were reported.

Soldiers had raided the homes of Burhan Ishaq Shreitih and Ratib Salim Mughnim in the Hebron-district town, locals said.

An Israeli army spokesman said the soldiers had entered Yatta for ‘routine activity . . . where they encountered rock hurling by residents and responded with riot dispersal means.’

In Gaza, an Israeli army tank fired an artillery shell at a Palestinian home east of Gaza City on Saturday morning, causing damage but no injuries, locals said.

The shell caused severe damage to the kitchen of Abu Hajjaj home in Shujaiyyeh neighbourhood, according to eyewitnesses.

The family members were all at home, but no injuries have been reported.

Meanwhile, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said it had fired four mortar shells towards the Nahal Oz military crossing east of Gaza city late Friday.

The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades said it was responding to Israeli military forces who crossed into the area.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said a projectile landed in the Negev on Friday, without causing injuries or damage. She said she was not familiar with the Israeli tank fire on Shujaiyyeh.

l A meeting was held Sunday afternoon between the chief of Hamas’ politburo, Khaled Mishaal, and King Abdullah II of Jordan at the Raghadan Palace in Amman.

Mishaal arrived in the Jordanian capital earlier Sunday along with the Qatari heir to the throne Sheikh Tamim Ben Hamad Al Thani.

They were received at Marka airport by Jordan’s crown prince Hussein Ben Abdullah, along with prince Ali Ben Hussein.

According to Hamas, Mishaal met first with king Abdullah and Sheikh Tamim before they were joined by Hamas’ delegation.

The delegation included Mousa Abu Marzouq, Sami Khatir, Izzat Ar-Rishiq, Muhammad Nazzal and Muhammad Nasr.

Mishaal, meanwhile, has effectively abandoned his headquarters in Damascus, diplomatic and intelligence sources said on Friday.

l Nimr Hammad, political adviser to President Abbas, said on Saturday that the outcome of the Israeli-Palestinian exploratory meetings held in the Jordanian capital Amman proved to the brothers in Jordan and the parties of the international Quartet that the obstacle facing peace is the Israeli position.

He told Palestinian news agency WAFA that he believes that there are various international parties that appreciate the responsible and clear position of President Mahmud Abbas and the Palestinian delegation which participated in these meetings.

Hammad added: ‘The Palestinian leadership will assess and discuss what took place (in the Amman meetings) with the Arab brothers in the Arab Peace Initiative Committee, which will be held early next month, and we are well aware that there have been several international attempts to stress the importance and need not to stop these meetings, and this is what we hear from various parties.’

Hammad said: ‘I believe that those parties that speak are required to make a clarification.

‘As we listened to the official US spokesperson speak of the need for these meetings to continue, we expect these parties, led by the United States, to announce where the obstacle was and who was responsible.’

Hammad continued: ‘If this does not happen, Netanyahu and his government will continue their procrastination and settlement activity, and thus these meetings, no matter what they are called, will become useless and of no outcome.’

The political adviser stressed that the Palestinian leadership and President Mahmud Abbas are well aware of and take into account the regional and the international situation, but there is a high Palestinian national interest that requires taking the positions that can serve the interests of the Palestinian people in a complex and difficult state.

Hammad stressed that no action or situation could lead to anything except isolating and exposing the Israeli position, and in light of this, there must be an intensification, of support for the international effort in favour of the Palestinian people, in order to exercise real pressure on the Israeli government.