By: Daniel Breslau
Week 2,019 of occupation
2 February 2006 - 8 February 2006
Israel has launched a campaign of extra-judicial executions against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. The attacks began on Sunday, 5 February, when an Israeli Air Force jet fired missliles at the Fatah-affiliated al-Shams sports club in Gaza City. The club was destroyed, but another missile hit a car carrying three members of the club as they took a wounded member to the hospital. The three were killed instantly, and three bystanders were also injured. Israel claimed the three killed men were members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, though there has been no independent confirmation. One of the injured bystanders died of his wounds on Tuesday.
Later on Sunday, two members of the Islamic Jihad were killed when missiles were fired at their cars, also in Gaza City. These killings were in retaliation for the firing of a Kassam missile at Kibbutz Carmia, in Israel, on Friday, in which an infant suffered head injuries.
On Monday, the Israeli Air Force fired a missile at a minibus containing two local leaders of the Fatah-linked Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. The militants, Rami Hanun and Hassan Asfour, were killed immediately.
Forward (Kadima) to apartheid
Leading figures in the new ruling Kadima party have openly announced the political program that was already evident to anyone paying attention. `Kadima with Sharon` is going forward with Sharon`s plan to avoid peace negotiations and use the `no partner` myth as cover to permanently annex about half of the West Bank to Israel.
Thus, despite any public statements to the contrary in recent years, Israel fully intends to confine the Palestinians in the West Bank to two separate areas, completely surrounded by Israel, and thus with no border with the rest of the world. The model for these fragments of a so-called state is presumably the current status of the Gaza Strip. Israel plans to annex the three large settlement blocs and the Jordan Valley. Unstated is of course Israel`s intention to imprison and kill any Palestinians who resist.
Trees vs. bulldozers
The destruction of Palestinian agricultural property for construction of the annexation wall is proceeding at a rapid pace. On Tuesday, 7 February, the IDF issued orders confiscating 129 dunams of agricultural land of the village of Beit Hanina, near Jersualem. On Wednesday morning, the IDF bulldozed 110 dunams of agricultrual land belonging to the village of al-Walaja, and uprooted at least 500 olive trees.
Also on Tuesday, the IDF started to raze areas of agricultural land and uproot dozens of trees in the area of Jamroura, west of Hebron, including 120 trees belonging to the Shawar family. In the villages around the Ariel section of the wall, where hundreds of olive trees have already been uprooted, work on the wall resumed this week.
Residents of Mash`a, whom the wall has separated from 4000 dunams of their agricultural land, were prevented from reaching their land. They were required to obtain permits in order to pass throught the gates, but IDF refused to issue the permits. In order to receive court approval for the wall`s construction, Israel promised that the wall would not interfere with farmers` rights to cultivate their land. This promise has not been honored.
From uprooting trees to killing sheep
The Palestine Centre for Human rights reports that on Friday, 3 February 2006, a number of Israeli settlers from the settlement Tene, in the mount Hebron area, chased Ed`ais `Abdul Karim Abu Sharekh, 23, and Tha`er Ahmed al-Udarah, 17, while they were grazing animals in the Wad al-Simsem area. According to eyewitnesses, the settlers attacked the two civilians and opened fire at the animals in order to drive them away from the area. The two civilians sustained bruises and injuries throughout the body, and 3 sheep were killed.
No `natural growth` allowed for Palestinian villages
At 7 AM, on 8 February, IDF bulldozers demolished four homes in the village of Shuqba, northwest of Ramalla. The area was blockaded, while teargas and sound grenades were hurled at residents that tried to return to their houses. The houses were in the final stages of construction. They were destroyed under the pretext that they were built without permits, although the Israeli government refuses to grant such permits. The village is completely surrounded, by settlements to the south and east and by the annexation wall to the north and west. The destroyed houses were being built on the last remaining area for expanding the village.
Sources: Ha`aretz, Ynet, IMEMC, Palestine Centre for Human Rights, Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign.