By: Daniel Breslau
Week 2,026 of occupation
23 March 2006 - 29 March 2006
A victory for the land-grab party
Media around the world have portrayed the new Israeli ruling party, Kadima, as a centrist party intent on withdrawing from additional areas of the West Bank. Thus the party and its plan is seen from an entirely Israeli perspective, in terms of the internal conflict over removing settlements. There is little or no mention of the fact that the plan of Kadima and its leader, the likely new Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, calls for unilateral and permanent annexation of large areas of the West Bank. The land of the existing and planned expansion of settlement blocs, as well as the Jordan Valley, will be enclosed by the "final borders" that Olmert plans to establish unilaterally. Any mention of negotiations with the Palestinians is an empty pretense, since the Palestinians will not accept borders that eliminate any possibility of a viable state.
Elements of the Sharon-Olmert plan are already being implemented on the ground, with the gradual transformation of the "separation fence" into an international border between Israel and the occupied territories. On Monday, 27 March, the IDF declared that the Qalandiya checkpoint, through which anyone from the Ramallah area must pass to reach Jerusalem, was now a border crossing between Israel and the West Bank. This means that anyone who is not a resident of Israel will need a special permit to cross at Qalandiya. The move is seen by Palestinians to be the first step in turning all of the gates and checkpoints along the "separation fence" into order crossings, as the route of the fence is turned into Israel`s border, according to the announced plan of likely Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert.
Meanwhile, the occupation continues with the brutality that has characterized it from the start, almost 39 years ago. On Tuesday, 28 March, IDF soldiers shot and killed Samer Fureihat while conducting an incursion or "arrest operation" in the village of al Yamoun, near Jenin. Fureihat was unarmed, and was not a wanted suspect, but was shot dead when he fled a house when IDF soldiers came to search it. According to Palestinian medical sources, he was hit by several live bullets to the abdomen, the back and the left thigh.
Does the IDF have orders to shoot anything that moves near the Gaza border? Two events this week suggested that this might as well be the case, despite repeated denials from within the army. Late Saturday or early Sunday morning, an unarmed Palestinian was shot and killed as he crawled toward the security fence. The Palestinian Interior Ministry said that the youth, 16-year-old Hamad Hamdan, was probably trying to cross the border in search of work.
Meanwhile, Ha`aretz reports that the soldier who was accused and acquitted of the 2004 killing of 13-year-old Iman Al Hams, in Rafah, was awarded compensation of $15,000 and was promoted to the rank of major. The court concluded that the officer had not acted improperly when he shot Al Hams and then fired many shots into her at close range in order to "confirm the kill." On the tape-recorded communications from the incident, the officer was heard to say "anything that moves in this zone, even if a three year old should be killed.”
The IDF also announced this week that it has ordered an investigation of the killing of a Palestinian woman, 25-year-old Nafia Abu Musaid, who was gunned down on 13 February this year as she tended her sheep near the Gaza border.
Sources: Ha`aretz, IMEMC, Palestine Centre for Human Rights, Palestine Media Center.