As the Month of Ramadan starts in Palestine today during which Moslems fast during the daylight and eat after the sunset, Palestinian media sources quoted Israeli reports that the Israeli soldiers, manning the checkpoints in the West Bank have been ordered not to eat or smoke in front of Palestinians passing by the checkpoints. This is the first time soldiers are asked to maintain such behavior during Ramadan.
The number of such roadblocks, which hamper Palestinian movement very grossly, has been estimated at 570, placed in different parts of the occupied West Bank.
In the meantime, the Israeli naval vessels shot and wounded two Palestinian fishermen on board on Gaza shores. The Israeli fire wounded one critically and left the other with shrapnel all over his body.
Earlier in the day, five international human rights activists of the Free Gaza Movement, joined other fishermen on board on Gaza shores on Monday. According to a statement by the movement, delivered to the IMEMC via email, the Israeli naval forces opened fire at the boats, leaving no causalities.
Also in Gaza, other members of the Free Gaza movement condemned today the Egyptian authorities’ denial of their access through the Egyptian Rafah crossing terminal on their way back to destination vial land.
The group of five, including a British journalist, called on the Egyptians to allow them in after the Israeli authorities denied them entry into the Erez checkpoint in northern Gaza.
The Free Gaza movement brought last month a group of 44 internationals via Gaza sea, in solidarity with the besieged coastal territory. Israel, which closes Gaza's crossings for more than 14 months now, left the internationals intact but prevented their entry via land.
On another note, Arab league's chief, Amr Mousa, said yesterday that the notion to bring Arab forces is debatable, awaiting results of underway intra-Palestinian dialogue over national unity.
The ruling Hamas party in Gaza slammed an Egyptian proposal to bring in Arab troops to Gaza, in order to rein in the internal Palestinian situation. Ismael Radwan, a spokesman of Hamas in Gaza, was quoted as saying "if you want to send us troops, send them to liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the West Bank and Palestine; in Gaza we have security and safety".
Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem. You have been listening to Palestine Today from the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org. This report has been brought to you by Rami Al-Meghari and George Rishmawi.