Russian President Putin visited Israel, followed by a visit by Turkish PM Erdogan. Israel and the US rejected Putin’s suggestion of an international conference on the Israel/Palestine question. During Erdogan’s visit Israel and Turkey signed an agreement related to military and security cooperation. It was seen as a return to normal after a period of tension in Israel-Turkish relations following Israel’s assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin. Erdogan also visited Palestinian PM Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen) in Ramallah. Israel rejected Turkey’s offer to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians. On 3 May it was reported that the Israeli government had agreed to Gaza settlers’ demands to relocate in the Nitzanim area, in four new communities to be built there, and also that the settlers would be allowed to retain an independent regional council there to replace the disbanded Gaza regional council. Natan Sharansky resigned from the Israeli cabinet in protest against the planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government announced plans to convert the “College of Judea and Samaria” in the West Bank settlement of Ariel into a university. On 2 May Israel’s War Minister Shaul Mofaz announced that Israel would suspend the handover of West Bank towns to Palestinian security responsibility until the PA disarmed Palestinian militant groups. Israel’s FM Silvan Shalom announced on 3 May that Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip would be delayed until 15 August.
An Israeli soldier, Dan Talasnikov, 20, was killed on Mon 2 May in a shootout in Saida, near Tul Karem, in the West Bank. In the same incident a Palestinian Islamic Jihad member, Shafiq Abd al-Ghani, was also killed. On Wed 4 May two boys were killed by an Israeli soldier at the village of Beit Liqya, near Ramallah, during a demonstration against the fence. They were Jamal Jaber Ibrahim Assi, 15, and his cousin Udai Mufid Mahmoud Assi, 14.
ASSAULTS AND INJURIES
Thursday 28 April: Ma`moun Ta`ma Abu Rumaila, 20, was beaten by settlers in
Hebron. Adham Zahda, 13, sustained fractures in his hand when he was beaten by soldiers in Hebron. Ahmed Warasna, 24, was severely beaten by soldiers at a checkpoint near Hebron.
Friday 29 April: Wadha Mohammed al-Nawaja`a, 60, was beaten by settlers in Sousia village, south of Hebron.
Saturday 30 April: in Fawar camp near Hebron, the following were injured by Israeli army fire: Mohammed Ahmed Abu Sil, age 16; Sayaf Kamal Abu Tu’aima, age 13; Fares Mohammed Tubasi, age 23; Sameer Ahmed Tubasi, age 21 and Nour Abd al-Hadi al’Anani, age 4. On the same occasion 8-year-old Ibrahim Mohammed al-Sarahna suffered from tear gas inhalation, and 14-year-old Mahmoud Khalil Rabee` was beaten by soldiers.
Monday 2 May: Nidal `Abdul Latif Hanani, 22; Murad `Abdul Latif Hanani, 25; and Mai Hanani, 18, Murad`s fiancée, were beaten at Beit Fourik checkpoint near Nablus (Nidal and Murad were also arrested). Mo`tassem Zaidan `Abdul Ghani, 19, and Tariq Adeeb Raddad, 17, were injured by Israeli army gunfire in Saida village near Tul Karem (Shafiq Abd al-Ghani was killed on the same occasion).
Tuesday 3 May: Tayseer Abu `Eisha, 42, suffered bruises when settlers threw stones and bottles at a house in Hebron.
Thursday 28 April: Nidal al-Huziabi, 45, and his nephew Firas Mohammed al-Huzaibi, 29, at a checkpoint near Bethlehem. Riyad Barnat and Aliyan Abu Rahma in Bil’in. Mohammed Tawfiq al-Riahai, 25, at his home in Balata camp, near Nablus. Musallam Nayef Nasrallah, 27, in Zahiriya near Hebron.
Saturday 30 April: Ahmed Mustafa al-Najjar in al-Fawar camp near Hebron.
Sunday 1 May: `Abdul Rahman Mohammed Hamada, 27, at a checkpoint near the Ofra settlement near Ramallah.
Monday 2 May: Nidal `Abdul Latif Hanani, 22; Murad `Abdul Latif Hanani, 25, at the Beit Fourik checkpoint near Nablus. Abd al-Fattah Raddad, 25, in Saida near Tul Karem. Mohammed Jamal Ghanem, 19, in Tul Karem. Fadi Mohammed al-Rujbi, 19, in Hebron. Ussama Hussein Shahin, 25, in Marrish, near Hebron. Samer Mohammed Sabatin, 17; Khalil Mohammed `Olayan, 17; and Mohammed `Eissa Sabatin, 17, in Housan near Bethlehem. Yasser Mahmoud al-Weraidat, 32, and Mohammed Mahmoud `Amaira, 28, at a checkpoint near al-Fawar camp, south of Hebron.
Tuesday 3 May: Zaki Mansour, 17, at Safa near Ramallah.
On Thursday 28 April in Bilin, a large peaceful joint demonstration of Israelis and Palestinians was infiltrated by members of a special unit of the Israeli Prisons Service, called Masada, disguised as Palestinian civilians. They tried to provoke violence by throwing stones, and when local Palestinians tried to stop them they drew pistols and arrested two Palestinians, Riyad Barnat and Aliyan Abu Rahma. At the same demonstration several demonstrators were shot with salt pellets.
Wednesday 4 May: 16 people chained themselves to olive trees in a non-violent protest against the wall at Bil’in, near Ramallah. 11 protesters were arrested, of whom 6 are foreigners who faced deportation hearings.
DEMOLITIONS/CONFISCATIONS/ATTACKS ON PROPERTY
Friday 29 April: settlers in Hebron threw stones, bottles and garbage at Palestinian homes and tried to enter Mohammed Hamed Abu `Eisha`s house by force.
Monday 2 May: Two houses were demolished in Sur Baher and Jabal Mukaber in East Jerusalem. The houses belonged to Rami Muhammad Dibsh and Muhammad Aref Bashir.
Tuesday 3 May: The Israeli army destroyed residential shacks and livestock shelters outside Tamoun village, near Jenin.
Saturday 30 April: villagers in the northern West Bank won a prolongation of the Israeli High Court of Justice order to suspend work on the separation fence pending resolution of local landowners’ claims against the Israeli government. The affected areas are Amatin, Deir Istya, Salfit, Iskaka, Awda, Kifl Harith, Azzoun and Kufr Thulth.
[Sources: The Alternative Information Center, al-Ayyam, BBC, daralhayat.com, Haaretz, Hagada Hasmalit (The Left Bank), The International Solidarity Movement, al-Quds, Reuters]