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Date posted: January 26, 2013
By MIFTAH

This week, Saudi Arabia bailed the Palestinians out slightly by donating $20 million for January, adding that it will be granting that amount every month. Following President Mahmoud Abbas success in acquiring UN recognition of the state of Palestine Israel has confiscated $100 million of customs taxes which it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority each month. While the Arab League promised to grant the PA $100 million every month, for what is known as the Arab safety net, the funds have yet to be delivered. Saudi Arabia proved to be the first country to contribute to the amount seized by Israel. On January 20th, shortly after Saudi Arabias announcement to contribute, Iraq promised to do so as well, leading foreign minister Riyad al-Malki to say that he expected Qatar and Kuwait to also contribute to the safety net.

Israel continued to expand settlements this week as well. On January 21st, Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defense Minister announced his plans to continue building the separation wall in the E1 zone, in order to close the 3km gap, which will ultimately separate the northern part of the West Bank from the southern. He also plans on constructing a road past al-Zayyem village (which will be completely surrounded by the wall) so that Palestinian citizens will be able to traverse within the West Bank. This plan is awaiting approval from Israels premier Benjamin Netanyahu next week.

In addition, Israeli forces issued orders to demolish three homes in Hebron, as well as a chicken coup, claiming they were unlicensed. The houses belonged to: Abed Abu Zalata, Abdullah Allah and Hussein Allah.

January 21 overnight, Israeli forces arrested five Palestinian citizens in the West Bank. Two of the detainees are from Burqa village, Nablus: Munjed Salah, 22, and Maher Salah, 21. Three others are from Beit Immar, Hebron: Rabee Abu Ayyash, 12, Yazan Ikhlayel, 15, and Ibrahim Abdul-Hamid Ibraghtith, 40. Clashes erupted in the area preceding the arrests, with tear gas and live ammunition fired by Israeli forces.

Britains Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements on January 22nd, insisting that their presence will only hinder the prospect of a peace solution. He warned Israel of losing the support of the international community. He continued to say that both the Israelis and Palestinians must return to the table for negotiations without preconditions.

That same morning, Israeli forces and settlers illegally living in Hallamish, a settlement near the Ramallah-area village of Nabi Saleh, brought in 50 mobile homes using bulldozers and trucks, in order to expand the settlement and annex more land from Nabi Saleh. The Palestinians reacted by throwing rocks at the Israeli forces, lightly injuring one soldier.

On January 22, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Muhammad Naib Abdul Razak, carried out his first visit to the Gaza Strip, where he paid tribute to the Palestinian people for enduring Israels harsh occupation, and calling upon Palestinian groups to unite. Abdul Razak promised to establish several projects in Gaza. Fatah, however, condemned the visit, saying: it enhances division and does not serve Palestinian interests.

On Thursday, January 24th, Israeli forces demolished four homes in the northern Jordan Valley based on the premise that they were built in Area C, without Israeli permission. In Hebron, Lubna al-Hanash, 22, was shot dead by Israeli forces when she was walking on Al-Arrub College campus with Suad Jaara, 28, shot in her hand. The Israeli armys chief of central command made false claims after her death that she was trying to launch a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli vehicle. Jaara labeled him as a criminal who opened fire at us in cold blood.

Also on January 24, Israeli parliamentary elections, which took place on the 22nd were officially concluded. Benjamin Netanyahus right-wing bloc [Likud-Israel Beytenu] lost 11 seats in the elections, only securing 31 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, with Yair Lapids party Yesh Atid winning 19 seats. Following Netanyahus victory, on January 25th, President Abbas announced that he would invite the newly-elected Israeli MKs to Ramallah to discuss the peace talks. Abbas is hoping to carry out the meeting soon before Netanyahu constructs his new coalition government.

In Gaza, on January 25th, Israeli forces fired tear gas bombs at a group of Palestinians, with one high velocity canister hitting the face of 20-year old Adham ad-Dabaji, who is currently being treated at the Kamal Udwan Hospital.

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