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Occupation magazine - Weekly summary

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The Weekly Summary - 24 - 30 March 2005
Settler celebrates Purim by attacking Palestinian shepherdsa [photo:ISM]

V. Buch

A week ago, the weekend corresponded to Jewish Purim holidays, and also to the Easter of the Western Christians.

As is usual, the Jewish holidays imply amplified closure on the Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank. No such measures however were taken against the settlers, who celebrated Purim by attacking their Palestinian neighbors. The Army forces which came to the settlement of Yitzhar to stop the rampage had to retreat ignominiously. Appropriately, the right wingers conducted a reading of the Scroll of Esther at Goldstein’s grave.

At the same time, the Palestinian Christians were not indulged by the consideration of their religious needs, despite the usual pious declarations of the Israeli authorities to this effect. PCHR reports: “They denied the access of Palestinian Christians to the holy sites in the city. IOF claimed that they issued thousands of permits to thousands of Christians, but according to churches, the number of permits was only 250.”
Another holiday “experience” of Israeli and international peace activists is described by a Christian participant, M. Carter: (
“We took part in a bizarre and twisted Easter egg hunt.” Instead of hunting for treasure, they were hunting for blue barley grains soaked in rat poison and left in piles by the settlers, under thistles and stones for the sheep of Tuwani in South Hebron hills.

It now appears that the large-scale settlement construction East of Jerusalem, approved recently by the Israeli government will proceed inexorably despite empty protests of the US administration. The only person who could have put a stop to it – President Bush – either does not want to do it, or lacks the political clout. See Jeff Halper’s article on the subject, entitled “E-1: The end of a viable Palestinian state”

One can also cite Benn’s analysis in Haaretz (March 27): “News of renewed building in Ma`aleh Adumim, the Etzion Bloc and the western portions of the northern West Bank arouses little public attention, with disengagement a much sexier issue as far as politicians are concerned.” The disengagement show in fact proceeds to draw attention away from the occupation. This week, the Knesset overwhelmingly voted down the referendum on disengagement, requested by the settlers.

Arab rights’ group Adalah reported discriminatory guidelines of the Israeli Ministry of Education regarding employment of Arabs, including Israeli citizens, in renovations in Israeli educational institutions (Haaretz March 28).

The Palestinian Centre for the Human Rights summarized the the week of 24-30.3 as follows:

- 12 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and 2 brothers, were wounded by IOF.
- Construction of the “Annexation Wall” in the West Bank has continued; more areas of Palestinian land were confiscated for this purpose in Jerusalem, Qalqilya and Bethlehem.
- Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property in the West Bank; 10 Palestinian civilians were severely beaten by Israeli settlers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
- IOF conducted a series of incursions into Palestinian areas in the West Bank.
- Houses were raided and at least 30 Palestinian civilians were arrested.
- A number of houses were transformed by IOF into military sites.
- IOF have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT; IOF have continued to close a number of roads since the beginning of the current Intifada and IOF positioned at checkpoints arrested a number of Palestinian civilians.

I strongly recommend you reading the entire weekly report of PCHR. Please recommend it also to your friends as an antidote against fantasies about the non-existent peace process.

Another recommended reading is the 29 March release of B’Tselem on the Gaza Strip, entitled appropriately “One Big Prison: New Report Warns Against Continued Strangulation of Gaza Strip after the Disengagement”.

The occupation is as strong as ever.
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