Week 1,983 of occupation
By Daniel Breslau
Government turns Jerusalem Day into a celebration of Judaification
Jerusalem day, Sunday, June 5, was the occasion for a series of aggressive speeches calling for permanent Jewish hegemony and Israeli rule over the entire city, in effect calling for continued violation of international law.
On the same day, the government approved a new `Plan for the Development and Advancement of Jerusalem` with a budget of 280 million shekels (64 million US dollars) largely for subsidies and inducements for businesses and residents to locate in the city. The website of the Prime Minister`s Office states that the plan combines goals of economic development with the political goal of `strengthening our hold` on the city. The plan includes a grant of 20 thousand shekels to young couples who buy an apartment in the city. College students who make a commitment to live in Jerusalem for at least three years after graduating, will receive an 80% reduction in their college tuition. The incentives make no distinction between West and East Jerusalem, between an ordinary urban development plan and the illegal settling of Israeli citizens in occupied territory.
M.K. Yosef Lapid, head of the Shinui faction and chair of the Knesset opposition, proposed a new apartheid plan as a `solution` for the problem of Jerusalem. According to this plan, the mayor of Jerusalem could only be Jewish, while a new deputy mayor position would be reserved for a Palestinian, who would be responsible for the Palestinian areas of the city.
On Monday, Arab MKs boycotted a special meeting of the Knesset plenum held to mark “Jerusalem day”. MK Abdulmalik Dahamshe (United Arab List) said `Jerusalem Day is fictitious. Jerusalem is not united but occupied and this occupation must end.`
Sasson report - three months later
In a lecture at Ben Gurion University on Sunday, June 6, State Prosecutor Talia Sasson reported that nothing has been done to halt the systematic breaking of state law, with the active participation of staff of government ministries, that is behind the construction of outposts in the occupied West Bank. A newly released appendix to Sasson`s report, revealed in Ha`aretz, shows that the Ministry of Housing had allocated over 70 million shekels (roughly 20 million US dollars) to the illegal outposts during the Netanyahu (1996-1999) and Sharon (2001-2004) governments, and that most of the outposts are built on privately owned Palestinian land.
For example, the Migron outpost, set up in May 2001, lies entirely on land belonging to the adjacent Palestinian villages of Ein Yabrud and Burka. The Housing Ministry spent more than NIS 3.5 million on infrastructure and NIS 800,000 on public buildings for Migron.
As construction of the wall spreads, so does the nonviolent resistance
Of the many villages that are harmed by the construction of the annexation wall, several have become sites of continual nonviolent resistance. While the movement is spreading, and has had some successes in publicizing the danger of the wall, the IDF has become more determined to prevent these protests, gradually stepping up the violence of its response.
Beit Surik: Located northwest of Jerusalem, near the settlements of Har Adar and Har Shmuel, Beit Surik will be surrounded on 270 degrees by the wall. Since Sunday, May 29, the residents of the village have staged daily protests against the wall, which is being built on their farmlands. They have been met by soldiers, border police, and infiltrators disguised as Arabs. Lands within the village have been declared closed military zones only as a way to prevent the villagers` demonstrations. On June 5, infiltrators arrested three boys from the village, who were within the yard of one of the houses, accusing them of throwing stones. This was on a day on which there had been no stone-throwing.
Marda: This village, just north of the large settlement of Ariel, was seen much of its land confiscated in the past for the construction of bypass roads. As the wall is being constructed between Marda and Ariel, over 1000 olive trees belonging to the village have already been uprooted. On June 4, protesters managed to temporarily block the the main bypass road: the highway from Israel to the Ariel settlement. Subsequent daily demonstrations were met with tear gas and sound grenades. On the morning of June 8, soldiers entered the village and imposed a curfew, clearly intended to prevent the villagers` nonviolent protests.
Bil`in is located directly west of Ramallah. For months it has been the site of frequent nonviolent protests with the participation of Israeli and international activists. On Friday, June, 3, soldiers stopped a car carrying Samir Burnat, an organizer of the protests, and took him into detention. His location remains unknown.
On Wednesday, June 8, a nonviolent demonstration of handicapped civilians who had been injured by the IDF over the years. The army immediately responded with tear gas , threatening to impose a curfew on the entire village if the demonstration continued.
The occupation grinds on
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reported 23 IDF incursions in to Palestinian area, in which 34 Palestinians were arrested. On Tuesday, June 7, the IDF killed Marwah Kamil, an alleged leader of the Islamic Jihad, in the village of Qabatya, near Jenin. IDF sources and the Israeli media reported that the killing took place in the course of a gun battle between the IDF forces that had surrounded the house where Kamil was staying, and fighters inside the house. Palestinian sources and eyewitnesses have called the incident an extra-judicial killing, reporting that IDF forces, backed by helicopters and accompanied by two bulldozers, surrounded the house around 3:00 AM on Tuesday. After ordering those inside the house to come out, the forces opened fire on the house for several hours, and then demolished it. Kamil`s body was later found in the remains of the house.
While on June 2, Israel fulfilled a commitment made in early February to release 400 of the 8000 Palestinian prisoners it holds, the siege conditions and restrictions on movement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip remain in force. As the planned evacuation of settlers and military forces from the Gaza Strip nears, villages near the settlements continue to exist as enclaves cut off by fences and checkpoints that are routinely closed and arbitrarily refuse passage to those who have not received prior permission.
Sources: Ha`aretz, International Middle East Media Center, Palestinian Center for Human Rights, International Solidarity Movement, Israel Independent Media Center.