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The Weekly Summary 31 March to 7 April
By Meir Margalit
31st March to 7th April
The week started with an `administrative attack`. On Tuesday 5 April we learned that the government of Israel was about to tighten the rules for granting Israeli citizenship to Palestinians married to Israeli Arabs. The Prime Minister said explicitly that the reason was `to preserve the Jewish majority of the State and we shouldn`t hide behind security pretexts, and we shouldn`t be ashamed of it.` But Mr. Prime Minister, we are ashamed. In the enlightened world this action is called racism, and so we are ashamed and cannot tolerate the shame.
Meanwhile the violent raids of IDF forces continued in Arab villages. This week the PCHR recorded about 24 raids in which 18 Palestinians were arrested. The actions took place in Halhoul, Beit Omar, Azzoun, Beit Or, Toubas and other places.
In Walajeh village near Beit Jalla about 200 olive trees were uprooted in an area where the Israel Lands Administration claims ownership, in order to build the new neighbourhood of Giv’at Yael. Meanwhile preparations continue for the erection of the fence and when it is complete the entire village will be surrounded by a wall, the only exit at their disposal being an underground road that will link them to Beit Jalla.
Meanwhile the destruction of houses continues. On Monday 4 April the Jerusalem Municipality demolished three buildings in Beit Hanina, one of them two stories tall. A fourth was saved after all the furniture was taken out, thanks to a last-minute injunction. On Wednesday 6 April the Civil Administration destroyed a four-storey house in al-Zaim village near the checkpoint leading to Maale Adumim, for reasons related to the erection of the separation fence. The house belonged to Farah Zaatari and had already been inhabited for four years. It was the sixth house to be destroyed in the area due to the fence. On the same day another house was destroyed in Bir Naballah and Wadi Rahil, and south of Bethlehem five houses were destroyed, also because of the separation fence.
Meanwhile the government continues to advance its plans in the E1 area between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim. Construction in such a sensitive area, by sabotaging any possibility of reaching a peace accord with the Palestinians and cutting off the Arab part of Jerusalem – which is supposed to become the capital of Palestine – from the rest of the West Bank, harms the territorial contiguity between the north and south of the West Bank, has far-reaching implications for the continuation of the conflict.
Protests continue against the construction of the fence and the army responds with great violence. On Tuesday five Palestinians and an Israeli youth were wounded in the course of a curfew that was imposed on the village of Bil’in, near Modi’in. The Israeli victim was Jonathan Pollack, one of the leaders of the “Anarchists Against the Fence” movement. He was wounded on the head by a tear gas canister that IDF soldiers fired in his direction. The next day, on Wednesday 6 April, a Palestinian was seriously injured by shots fired by fence security guards near Rantis village, near the Beit Aryeh settlement north-west of Ramallah. Two other Palestinians were slightly wounded.
Towards the end of the week the IDF killed three youths in the Rafah area: Ashraf Musa, Khaled Ghanam and Ahmad al-Jazzar, all age 14. The shooting of the three youths is not only a blatant violation of the unofficial understandings with the Palestinian Authority, but it is also playing with fire that is likely to put an end to the relative calm that prevails in our area for the past month. The IDF`s pretext was that the youths were smugglers. It is hard to believe an IDF spokesman, but even if they really were smugglers, that does not require their deaths. As the father of two boys the same age I know that teenage boys sometimes behave recklessly and maybe they did go into a forbidden area. And as the father of boys that age, I felt deep pain and my soul`s eyes saw the parents of the youths and I could understand how their world has been devastated. The intolerable casualness with which the IDF pulls the trigger constitutes cold-blooded murder. And just as we opened the present survey with an unequivocal declaration of our shame at the persecution of Palestinians married to Israelis, thus we conclude with great pain over the deaths of the three youths in Rafah.
Translated from Hebrew by Mark Marshall
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