By: Daniel Breslau
Week 1,990 of occupation
Tensions in Hebron
The city of Hebron and its surroundings continues to be a flashpoint of violence involving IDF soldiers, settlers, Palestinian fighters, and many civilians. On Friday, 22 July, a Palestinian fighter opened fire on Israeli soldiers guarding the Jewish enclave in the city. While pursuing him, soldiers shot and killed Ihsan Abu Hamdiya, 18, an unarmed civilian who happened to be near the shooting.
On Sunday, after Israeli jeeps entered the village of Sa`ir, northeast of Hebron, soldiers shot rubber-coated bullets at children who were throwing stones. One boy, Ma`ath al Faroukh, 14, was shot in the head by a rubber-coated metal bullet. Eyewitnesses said that al Faroukh had not been throwing stones.
On Tuesday, 26 July, a 14-year-old Palestinian boy, Mousa Jamal al Alamah, was killed when a car driven by a settler struck him. Eyewitnesses reported that the car was speeding on the Hebron-Jerusalem road, near the Karmi Tzur settlement, when it hit the child.
Following these clashes, the IDF closed many of the roads leading from Hebron to the surrounding villages. The villages can now be reached only on foot. Roadblocks were set up in central Hebron, separating the western quarters from the rest of the city, while conducted continual house-to-house searches of the old city.
Sharon continues to stress permanence of West Bank settlements
With a population of roughly 40,000 the Ariel settlement bloc, in the northern West Bank, makes up one of the largest of the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. The settlements, and the highway that links them to Israel, effectively sever the northern part of the West Bank from the central region and the cities of Ramallah and Jerusalem. This was precisely the intention of the settlement`s location, extending more than 20 kilometers east of the `green line.`
On Thursday, 21 July, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited Ariel and declared that the city and bloc would be enlarged and strengthened, and would permanently remain part of Israel (although no government in the world, including the Israeli courts, consider the settlements to be part of Israel). During his visit, Sharon also reiterated his position on a `united` Jerusalem, stating that he will not negotiate the status of the city with the Palestinians.
Deadly Jenin incursion
On Wednesday, 27 July, Yosef al Hasif, 18, was killed during a massive IDF incursion into the city of Jenin. Between 20 and 30 armored vehicles entered the city of Jenin in the early afternoon. Eyewitnesses report Hashes was among a group of youth who were throwing stones at the soldiers as they were preparing to bulldoze a home in an attack on local leaders of the Islamic Jihad. The IDF has claimed that he was armed. He was hit by live gunfire to the head and died of his wounds later that evening. At least six other civilians were injured in the same incident, by shrapnel and live bullets.
The camera as witness in Bil`in
Knesset member Mohammad Barakeh, of the Hadash-Ta`al alliance, was summoned to Binyamin police station in the occupied territories for questioning concerning accusations that he assaulted a police officer in a demonstration in the village of Bil`in in late April. As has been the case in numerous recent events, the accusations are contradicted by videotaped evidence. Several courts have already reprimanded the border police for arresting nonviolent demonstrators on false charges, and using such charges as a justification for their own use of excessive force.
On Friday, 22 July, police were compelled to drop false assault charges against demonstrators, when presented with videotaped evidence that contradicted the arresting officers` claims.
Sources: Ha`aretz, ISM, B`tselem, Palestine Centre for Human Rights, Wafa, Imemc