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Date posted: February 16, 2013
By MIFTAH

On February 10, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that discussing peace talks with the Palestinians during US President Barack Obamaís visit to the West Bank and Israel is one of the three main issues he wishes to tackle, along with the instability in Syria and Iranís attempt to acquire a nuclear weapon.

On the same day, Palestinian politicians met in Cairo in order to discuss the reforming of the PLO so that it includes members of other factions such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. However, no agreement was reached on the formation of a unity government.

The health workersí union announced that they will escalate their strike action next week by making it six days of the week, leaving only one day to carry out their responsibilities to the people.

The Israeli government granted Beit El settlement final validation on February 10 to build 90 new units as part of Netanyahuís previous plan to compensate for settlers who were evicted from the Ulpana neighborhood last August.

February 11 was the first day voters were able to register in Gaza since 2005 and the Central Elections Commission declared that 257 registration centers have been opened there. Another 347 centers are to be opened in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem. The registration process is expected to be finished by February 18, hopefully followed by an election three months later.

The Palestinian ambassador to Syria and a PLO delegation met with Syriaís deputy foreign minister on February 11 in Damascus, to discuss ways in which Palestinians living in Syrian refugee camps can be kept out of the ongoing fighting. Around 600 Palestinians refugee have been announced dead as of November 2012 due to the Syrian conflict.

Israeli military forces captured an under-construction property in Yabad village near Jenin on February 12, belonging to Amin Abu Baker. A dispute took place between the workers on the site and Israeli forces, before the soldiers threatened to use violence. The property will be used as an Israeli military base instead.

A lawyer for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fadi Abedat, visited Samer Al-Issawi on February 12, now over 200 days of being on hunger strike. He said his condition is very critical; he has serious chest, head, kidney and leg pain as well as slow pulse. Issawi told Abedat that the hunger strikers have been isolated and separated from each other by the Israeli Prison Service, who regularly raid the prisonersí cells.

On February 13, chief Palestinians negotiator, Saeb Erekat, condemned Israelís finance minister for continuing to seize taxes and stated that Israel does not wish for Palestinians to attain reconciliation and that the Arab countries must understand that.

UN Special rapporteur Richard Falk called for Issawiís immediate release on February 13, as well as Tareq Qaadan and Jafar Ezzidine who have been on hunger strike for 81 days, protesting their illegal administrative detention that took place without charge or trial.

On the same day, 100 Israeli forces attacked Beit Duqqu village, northwest of Jerusalem. They inspected many homes and detained 10 residents. An Israeli army representative reported that a total of 18 Palestinians were arrested overnight; three in Ramallah, three in Hebron, one in Bethlehem, one in Qalqiliya and 10 in Beit Duqqu.

Fatah leader, Azzam Al-Ahmed met with Spanish envoy Alfonso VŠzquez on February 14 and discussed the financial crisis the Palestinian Authority is facing as well as Israelís ďpiracyĒ of Palestinians tax revenues. Al-Ahmad called on the international community, Europe and Spain to interfere and put pressure on Israel to continue the transfer of Palestinian taxes.

On February 14, Hamas deputy politburo chief Mosa Abu-Marzouq asked al-Ahmad to postpone the reconciliation meeting until February 27 rather than this upcoming Monday.

Clashes took place between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces in Nablus on Al-Quds (Jerusalem) street on February 15, as part of a demonstration against Israelís inhumane treatment of Palestinian prisoners, and in solidarity with Samer Al-Issawi. The young protestors lit tires in the street and were showered with tear gas grenades.

Three officials from Hamasí parliamentary party, the Change and Reform Bloc, announced in a statement on February 15, that Bulgarian security officials had ordered them to leave the country upon their arrival on the 14th and that Israeli pressure was behind this decision. The Bulgarian government quickly clarified that the bloc was asked to leave because they had not been officially invited and therefore cannot meet with government officials. The Gaza government highly condemned the action of the Bulgarian government to expel the Hamas bloc and considered it kowtowing to Zionist pressure. The Bulgarian security raided the hotel rooms of the Hamas officials, commanding them to leave. Their act was considered to be against all diplomatic norms.

A 25-year old Palestinian was stabbed to death on February 15 near Tel Aviv. He was an illegal construction worker from the West Bank. He was brought to Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, his chest covered with knife wounds and passed away on the operating table. Israeli police spokesman said he was unfamiliar with the incident.

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