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Occupation magazine - Weekly summary
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The Weekly Summary 14-20 April 2005
By Adi Dagan
Based on the pchrgaza website, the Palestinian campaign against apartheid walls, Gush Shalom and the Haaretz newspaper
This week, after the return of PM Ariel Sharon from his visit with US president Bush, Israel agreed to renewed talks with the Palestinian Authority. The US asked Israel to act to strengthen the Authority Chairman, Mahmud Abbas, and in return asked the Authority to agree to coordinate with the disengagement in the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria [in the northern West Bank]. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmud Abbas said that the Authority is ready and willing to coordinate with Israel on the planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria, but it must know where they are headed and what it will lead to and if the plan is linked to the Road Map and if the withdrawal from Gaza will be a full withdrawal. The PM’s advisor, Dov Weisglas, will meet with his Palestinian counterpart Saeb Araekat. The Security [War] Minister, Shaul Mofaz, will meet with Muhammad Dahlan, for discussions on coordinating the disengagement from the Gaza Strip. The meetings are taking place against the background of the arrival in the region of emissaries from the [US] American Administration, Eliott Abrams and David Walsh, who are to evaluate the situation and prepare for the visit to Washington of the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority. According to political sources in Jerusalem, the two sides are now interested in demonstrating “good behaviour” to the [US] Americans.
This week in the Territories “Palestinian Prisoner’s Day” was observed. The security detainees in the prisons of Israel announced a one-day hunger strike to mark the occasion. Similarly, in towns in the Territories there were processions and demonstrations to call attention to the subject of the prisoners in the context of the negotiations that are expected to resume between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Sources in the Palestinian Authority and in the opposition factions explained that the lack of progress on the prisoners issue will lead to the collapse of the quiet security situation. Meanwhile the government authorized the release of nine Jordanian security prisoners in Israeli jails, as a gesture to the Jordanian authorities.
The peace activist Tali Fahima won the appeal to take her out of solitary confinement in which she has been held for eight months in prison. Fahima can meet with other prisoners two hours a day, and she can meet with her mother without a glass partition. Further discussion of the Fahima case will take place at the end of June, when her request to use a telephone will be considered.
Killed and wounded:
From the beginning of the Intifada on 29 September 2000 to 31 December 2004, 3,101 Palestinians were killed in the Occupied Territories, of whom 614 were under age 18. At least 1,684 of the killed were not taking part in armed hostilities when they were killed. For more information see the Betselem report (Hebrew):
On 14 April 2005 an army unit executed Ibrahim Hashshash, 24, from the Balata refugee camp near Nablus. Hashshash was wanted for belonging to the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades. It was the second liquidation since the ceasefire was announced. Ten Palestinian citizens were wounded by the army, four of them children. One of the wounded, Muhammad Wahdan, was shot in the legs by an officer at the Beit Iba checkpoint near Nablus, in the course of an argument that developed between him and the soldiers at the checkpoint. On 14 April 2005 soldiers severely beat Shahar Abu-Issa in the centre of Hebron when he tried to prevent settlers from throwing stones at Palestinian children. An IDF soldier and an Israeli civilian were wounded by Palestinian sniper fire in the Philadelphi Corridor near Rafah.
Raids and arrests:
In the course of the week the army carried out 17 raids on Palestinian communities in the West Bank. The raids included searches of houses and shooting at civilians. 22 people, including 5 children, were arrested. Activists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine were arrested on suspicion of planning to assassinate the Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the leader of the Shas movement [a religious party of Jews from Islamic countries].
The siege continued on the Occupied Territories, as did the surprise checkpoints and the roadblocks. The crossings into the Gaza Strip remained closed or partly opened and restrictions on movement within the Strip continued. For example, only 30 patients suffering from serious afflictions are permitted to enter Israel from the Gaza Strip every day and that is after they are forced to wait for hours for inspection at the checkpoint. Only some of them have been allowed to proceed in ambulances and the remainder must go in taxis. Serious restrictions continue on the movement of commercial products through the Karni checkpoint. The slowness of the inspections causes great damage to products that spoil quickly. For more comprehensive information on restrictions of movement see:
Construction of the separation wall, demolition orders and land confiscations:
Construction of the wall resumed in northwest Jerusalem. Paving was begun on the road that will link Neve Yaakov with the Jewish settlements to the north, east and south of Jerusalem (the outer ring of settlements). When construction is completed in this area, the neighbourhood of Dahiyat al-Barid next to A-Ram will be an enclave cut off on all sides from its surroundings. On 19 April 2005 the High Court of Justice permitted the construction of part of the wall that will cross the lands of the villages of Nu’man and al-Hass, southeast of Jerusalem. They will thus lose a substantial part of their lands.
At least three injunctions from the High Court of Justice, that were issued after an appeal against the construction of the fence in the Ariel and Emmanuel area, brought all work to a halt in recent weeks. One injunction prevents continuation of work that already started next to Askaka village, southeast of Ariel, and also next to Salfit, south of the settlement. Another injunction prevents work next to Emmanuel, Shavei Shomron and Kedumim. In this area thousands of dunams have already been confiscated for construction of the fence, but work has not yet started. A third injunction blocks work next to the villages of Marda and Kifl Hares, near the Trans-Samaria Highway west of Ariel. According to the route of the fence in the area – which is called the “claws” of Ariel, Ariel, Emmanuel, Shavei Shomron and Kedumim are on the “Israeli” side of the fence. In a document that was submitted to the High Court of Justice in reply to one of the appeals, the State admits that the erection of the fence will require the uprooting of hundreds of olive trees that are located on Palestinian lands, and that most of the affected area is under private Palestinian ownership. The fence south of Ariel will also separate hundreds of dunams of lands of the village of Salfit from residents of the village. Whereas work has stopped in the Ariel area, work continues along the fence route in the area of the villages of Deir Balout, Zawiya and Rafat. In those villages an enclave was originally planned, that was supposed to separate them from the West Bank, but it was cancelled following an appeal by the Association for Civil Rights. Nevertheless, broad swathes of agricultural land have been confiscated from the three villages and they are being used for construction of the fence, which is encroaching on the territory of the West Bank. Work is also continuing in the area of Budrus and Bil’in villages, near Route 443. Palestinians and fence planners are eagerly anticipating 9 May, when the High Court of Justice will rule on a joint appeal of the Association for Civil Rights and the lawyer Muhammad Dahla, who represents Palestinians in most of the appeals against the fence. The appeal relates to the illegality of erecting the wall in the A-Ram neighbourhood, on the border of the municipal territory of Jerusalem. Moreover the appeal requests the removal of the wall along several kilometres where it was erected despite the appeals, and divides the neighbourhood in two. The appellants raised the question of using the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem as the fence route, and the judges’ ruling is expected to determine the future of the fence in the entire area of the Jerusalem envelope.
Occupation forces issued confiscation orders in the villages of Samua and Daheriyya in the southern Hebron area, in order to execute the final stage of the wall. According to sources in the Samua municipality, confiscation orders were issued for 10,200 dunams of land. 3,500 of them will be taken from the village of Samua, which constitute 5% of the area of the village, and the remaining 6,700 will be taken from Daheriyya, northeast of the village, between Daheriyya and Yatta. The planned path of the wall will pass east of Samua, near the Bedouin community of Arab Ramadin, in the southwestern corner of the West Bank. The path of the wall will cut north, up to ten kilometres inside the West Bank, in order to annex the Jewish settlements of Sham’a and Otniel. This segment of the apartheid wall is a continuation of the construction west of Hebron, where the wall starts in Sureif and continues south to the lands of the villages of Idna, Beit Awa, Deir al-Asal, Beit a-Rush and al-Burj. The lands that have been confiscated in Samua include the neighbourhoods of Khirbet Jawan, al-Atiriya and Marret al-Qunbur. These lands belong to many families, and they are known for their fertile soils that produce wheat and barley. The destruction and uprooting in these areas means the loss of the principle source of livelihood for tens of families in the area.
The army continues to break up by force non-violent demonstrations against the wall and arrested two international activists and two Palestinian farmers. The Gush Shalom movement published an announcement according to which a representative of the “Civil Administration” went to the small village of Aqaba northeast of Nablus and gave an eviction notice to 27 residents of the village, who were asked to leave within 72 hours, otherwise they would be evicted by force and their flocks confiscated. The order was justified by the claim that the village of Aqaba constituted a “closed military zone”. The army issued land-confiscation orders to the village of Sa’ir next to Hebron, in order to expand settlements. 19 demolition orders were issued for buildings next to Yatta, in the South Hebron Hills, in order to expand the settlement of Carmel. The army gave three Palestinian families north of Hebron notice to evacuate 90 dunams of agricultural land for the sake of the settlement of Giv’at Harsina. Two outposts were erected by settlers – one next to Elon Moreh and the other in Giborim in the Hebron area. The State issued tenders for the construction of 50 housing units in the Elkana settlement.
Settler attacks on Palestinians and on property:
On 15 April 2005 a settler from Shavei Shomron threw stones at Palestinian cars and broke the windshield of one. Settlers from Ramat Yishai in Hebron attacked several houses in the Tal Rumeida neighbourhood. The army did not intervene despite the complaints of residents. On Saturday 16 April a settler car struck and injured Nida Ali Suleiman and left the scene. On Monday 18 April about a dozen armed settlers from Kiryat Arba blocked the Worshippers’ Route in Hebron and burned tires. They threw stones and damaged six houses and uprooted several olive and fruit trees. The High Court of Justice suggested to the IDF to consider paying compensation to Palestinian owners of shops on “Small Shalala” street in Hebron, that are located in the vicinity of “Hadassah House” in view of the decision to bar the opening of the shops for security reasons, in order to protect the settlers living nearby. In its judgement, in which the High Court of Justice dismissed the petition of the shop-owners that was submitted through the Association for Civil Rights, the Court accepted the opinion of the IDF commander in Hebron, to the effect that the opening of the nine shops in the “Hadassah House” vicinity would result in “serious security danger to the lives of the residents.”
Translated from Hebrew by Mark Marshall
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