By: Daniel Breslau
Week 1,988 of occupation
55,000 Jerusalem residents to be cut off by the annexation wall
On Sunday, July 10, the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected a petition to halt construction of the annexation wall in East Jerusalem. The petition, on behalf of residents of the Shuafat, Ras Hamis, and Anata areas of the city, claims that the 30,000 residents of these areas are being cut off from the rest of Jerusalem for reasons of demography. Attorney Danny Zeidman, who filed the petition, told the court that Defense Ministry officials had explicitly told him that the rationale for the wall`s route was demographic, with the intention of removing Palestinian residents from the city`s jurisdiction.
In the 10 July meeting of the Israeli cabinet, the government acknowledged that prior decisions on the route of the annexation wall would leave 55,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, holders of Israeli identity cards, on the eastern side of the wall, separated from the city. Although the government promised a full continuation of municipal services to those affected, such assurances have not been honored for others affected by the wall. No gates in the wall have prevented it from being a massive infringement on the rights of those unfortunate enough to live along its route.
Several neighborhoods of East Jerusalem were already slated to be severed from the city by the wall. One area, Kufr Abeq, has received no municipal services since it was cut off from the city. As all of East Jerusalem is occupied territory, any construction of the wall within it, or between East Jerusalem and the West Bank, is in violation of international law.
The demonstrations against the wall continue
On July 9, 2004, by a vote of 14 to 1, the International Court of Justice in the Hague ruled that the construction of the annexation wall was in violation of international humanitarian law, and that it constituted an illegal de facto annexation of occupied territory. The court ruled that in order to comply with the law, Israel must cease construction of the wall in the occupied territories and dismantle all part of the wall already constructed. Despite making small adjustments in the path of the wall, Israel has defied the court and accelarated construction.
This week, to mark the first anniversary of the International Court`s decision, a large demonstration was held in the village of Bil`in. Those who have been participating in weekly protests—Palestinian villagers, Israeli activists, and internationals—were joined by many more supporters. The occasion had no effect on the techniques the Israeli soldiers used to disperse the crowds. A closed military zone was declared, and as soon as marchers crossed a line of barbed wire, the soldiers began firing tear gas cannisters and rubber bullets. After a volley of stones from some of the village youth, the army pursued demonstrators into the village, continuing to fire rubber bullets and some live amunition. One demonstrator was shot in the head with a rubber-coated bullet, and remained unconscious and hospitalized for one week.
Hirbat Tana demolition - demolition under the radar?
Several sources have reported the demolition of the village of Khirbet Tana, which took place on Tuesday, July 5, but was not reported in any media sources until Wednesday, July 13. After giving notice one day in advance, with the claim that the village buildings did not have proper permits, the IDF entered early Tuesday morning and leveled 22 structures, leaving only a mosque and two other buildings left intact. The village, located in the Jordan valley about 10 kilometers east of Nablus, is inhabited by 180 members of farming and shepherding families.
Killings in Nablus, Beit Likya
On Wednesday, July 6, during an IDF incursion into the Balata refugee camp in Nablus, an unarmed 16-year-old boy was shot in the head by IDF soldiers. The boy, Nour Fares Najem, died of his wounds on Sunday. A second resident of the camp, an armed fighter, was also killed early Thursday morning. The IDF said that the fighter, a member of the Al Aksa Martyrs` Brigade in the area, was attempting to attack Jewish settlers on their way to worship at Joseph`s tomb.
On Friday evening, July 8, an Israeli security guard at a construction site on the annexation wall shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy from the village of Beit Likya, West of Ramallah. The boy, Mahyoub al-Asi, was in his family`s fenced-in vinyard, 200 meters from the construction site, when the guard fired at him.
Continued cycle of violence between Israel and the Islamic Jihad
Israel and the Islamic Jihad have been mutually escalating the violent attacks and reprisals. After Israel`s continual incursions, arrests of hundreds of activists, and attacks on the movement`s leadership, including an attempted assassination of a leader of the movement`s military wing on sunday, the Islamic Jihad carried out a suicide attack in the Israeli coastal town of Netanya, killing four Israelis. Israel responded by sending a large force into the West Bank city of Tulkarm, consisting of tanks, paratroopers, elite infantry, undercover border police, backed by helicopters. Five Islamic Jihad members were arrested, and a Palestinian policeman was killed and another critically wounded in what witnesses described as an unprovoked attack. The IDF announced that its forces would remain in Tulkarm.
Sources: Ha`aretz, ISM, B`tselem, Palestine Centre for Human Rights, Wafa