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Occupation magazine - Weekly summary

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The Weekly summary 6 - 12 February, 2005
By V. Buch
6 - 12 February, 2005

This week, front pages of newspapers announced the end of hostilities in the Sharm el-Sheikh summit, which was attended by PM Sharon, President Abbas, President Mubarak and King Abdullah. Images from Sharm showed Sharon and Abbas smiling and shaking hands. The cordiality went as far as an exchange of invitations: Abbas was invited to the Sharon`s Negev farm, and Sharon to Ramallah. Danny Rubinstein noted in Haaretz : `Abbas was the only one of the three summit speakers to mention the real issues: Jerusalem, settlements, the fence and the dispute over the prisoners` However Robert Fisk of the Independent commented: `...at no point did anyone mention occupation. Like sex, `occupation` had to be censored out of the historical narrative. As usual - as in Oslo - the real issues were put back to a later date. Refugees, the `right of return`, East Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital: let`s deal with them later.`

We also read in Haaretz that `Ariel Sharon went back to Egypt yesterday after 23 years, and was received as a leader for peace...Sabra and Chatila was erased; everyone focused on the future.` However in the same article (Feb. 10) it was noted: `One of the veteran Israeli delegates who has seen many a summit and peace conference did say `the circus is repeating itself`. Which also happens to be the opinion of the author of this summary.

Apparently at the beginning of the week there were fears in Jerusalem that Condoleezza Rice might take the show too seriously and exert some real pressure on the Israeli government. However, the fears were dispelled: `U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice`s calculated absence from the Sharm el-Sheikh summit clearly demonstrates the new American policy... The U.S. administration is making it clear that it is there to assist and accompany, but that it is standing on the sidelines and not on the playing field itself.` (Haaretz, Feb. 8). Thus, for example, removal of `illegal settlement outposts` was delegated to some unspecified future, after the supposed pullout, without serious opposition from the US.

Abbas is expected to prevent anti-Israeli activity by the Palestinian armed guerrillas, in exchange for reduction of Israeli military attacks on Palestinians. In addition, Israel graciously offered familiar `good-will gestures` - easing of the closure, and the like. MachsomWatch women encountered such gestures in the past - they are executed minimally, and are easily revoked.

The general clamor in praise of Peace did not include any indication of changes in the Separation Fence construction plans. The increasingly hermetic locking of West Bank Palestinians in ghettos and reservations and separating them from their land does not appear contradictory to Sharon`s concept of Peace. Quite to the contrary:

We read in Haaretz:

`The state prosecution plans to inform the High Court of Justice next week that the opinion of the International Court of Justice at the Hague on the separation fence is irrelevant.`


Concerning the Fence and the settlements, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reported the following in their last weekly report:
http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/W_report/English/2005/10-02-2005.htm

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`On Friday noon, 4 February 2005, dozens of Palestinian civilians organized a peaceful demonstration in protest of the confiscation of hundreds of dunams of land in Kharas village, west of Hebron, for the purpose of the construction of the wall. IOF fired tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. As a result, 4 demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation.`

`The heavy rain and resulting floods cause severe damage to Palestinian residential and agricultural areas located near the annexation wall in the north of the West Bank. According to sources in the Qalqilya Municipality,300 - 400 dunams of agricultural land were flooded as the pipes for rain water disposal located under the wall were closed. The floods also covered a number of houses and animal and chicken farms. According to eyewitnesses, many people were trapped inside their houses and many animals and at least 6000 birds were killed. According to eyewitnesses, the floods affected the villages of Beit Amin, Sneeria, Flamia and Jayous near Qaliqlya. IOF had already established part of the wall 8 -meters-high to the west of Qalqilya.`

`Floods also trapped at least 200 Palestinian civilians in Zabbouba village, west of Jenin. According to the local council of the village, 33 houses, where at least 200 civilians live, were cut off on Sunday, 6 February 2005, between al-Ghar Valley and the annexation wall. These houses were isolated from the rest of the village as the valley crosses through the center of the village.`

`On Tuesday, 8 February 2005 , the Israeli High Court issued two decisions regarding the construction of the wall. According to the first decision, the construction of the wall to the northwest of Jerusalem will be resumed. This new decision canceled a court ruling that was issued 3 weeks ago stopping the construction of the wall in the area. In the second decision, the court obligated Palestinian civilians from Kherbat al-No`man village, northeast of Bethlehem, to negotiate the route of the wall to the east of the village with IOF.`


`On Saturday morning, 5 February 2005 , dozens of armed Israeli settlers from `Afar` settlement, northeast of Hebron, seized nearly 1000 dunams of Palestinian agricultural land near the settlement. They took tents and other equipment to the land and planted olive trees after having surrounded the land with barbed wire. The settlers also chased and threatened Palestinian farmers and prevented them from reaching their land.`

PCHR reported also that on Sunday, a military jeep ran down a 15-year old boy in Dura, near Hebron, during an incursion. On Feb. 8, el-Khader secondary school near Bethlehem was raided by the army. Ten Palestinians were arrested: two people in Qeffin village, north of Tulkarm; six in the Israeli-controlled al-Mawasi area in Khan Yunis, and two at a checkpoint near Jenin.

Thus, the Occupation machine grinds as usual, except for reduced slaughter statistics. Since Sunday, the army killed `only` two Palestinians, one in the West Bank, another in the Gaza Strip. According to PCHR, 20 year old Gazan Ibrahim Fathi Abu Jazar, was wounded when military posts in the vicinity of `Rafah Yam` settlement, northwest of Rafah, opened fire at Palestinian houses in Tal al-Sultan neighborhood and Bader camp. The man died in the hospital. In retaliation, Palestinian guerrillas shelled Gush-Katif settlements; there were no injuries. (Haaretz, Feb. 11).

And finally, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights B`Tselem published on Feb. 7 a report entitled `IDF grants impunity when soldiers kill civilians`. The report states: `Since the beginning of the al-Aqsa intifada, the IDF has opened only 90 Military Police investigations into incidents in which Palestinians were killed and injured, although soldiers have killed at least 1,694 Palestinians who did not take part in hostilities, including 536 minors. These investigations led to the filing of only 29 indictments. Only one soldier has been convicted of `causing the death` of a Palestinian.`
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