By: Daniel Breslau
Week 1,991 of occupation
Omitted from last week`s summary: Wednesday, July 27, 2005: a dark day for human rights in Israel and Palestine
On Wednesday, July 27, the Knesset approved an amendment to the Citizenship Law which prevents family unification between Israeli citizens and their spouses who are residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinians who live in those territories will no longer be allowed to live in Israel or East Jerusalem with their legal spouses. Palestinian men over the age of 35 and Palestinian women over the age of 25 will be allowed to apply for family reunification. The blatant racist character of the law is underscored by the fact that family unification is granted to spouses of Israeli citizens from anywhere else in the world.
The law also prevents family unification between residents of East Jerusalem and Palestinian residents of the West Bank or Gaza, although under international law these areas are all occupied territory. In effect, Palestinians are denied family unification even within their own lands.
On the same day, the Knesset approved an ammendment to the Civil Wrongs Law that denies compensation to Palestinians injured by Israel forces in any area declared by Israel to be a `zone of conflict.` As long as the perpetrator is not convicted of a crime in an Israeli court, victims of looting, abuse, negligence, or any improper use of force will have no right to request compensation. The ammendment was intended to prevent claims arising from the current conflict, and therefore was written to apply retroactively, begining in September, 2000.
Palestinians in the Northern West Bank are suffering the consequences of `disengagement`
The northern West Bank has been the site of intensifying incursions, roadblocks, and closures by the IDF. In preparation for the evacuation of four small settlements in the Northern West Bank, the IDF has imposed closures on many Palestinian villages in the area. Checkpoints have been springing up on the Nablus-Tulkarm road.
On Tuesday, August 2, the IDF entered the villages of Illar and Saida, near Tulkarm, and placed roadblocks on main roads, preventing all vehicles from passing. On the same day a new checkpoint was set up in the Rafidia neighborhood of Nablus.
Another assassination under cover of `arrest operations`?
Undercover border police surrounded the home of Mo`eir Musa in the village of Izbat Shufa, and called on all its occupants to come out. A police dog located Musa in the house, but one of the policemen opened fire on the unarmed Musa before he had a chance to surrender. Musa`s killing follows a pattern of killings of Palestinians, of highly suspect killings, possible extrajudicial assassinations, carried out under the cover of what the IDF claims are `arrest operations.` The soldiers carrying out the operation would have known that there would almost certainly be no consequences were they to assassinate Musa. In 2004, according to B`Tselem, at least 89 Palestinians were killed in the course of such operations.
Harsher tactics against stone-throwers
The IDF is taking actions against stone-throwing youths in the occupied West Bank that harken back to the first Intifada, in the late 1980s. On Tuesday, 2 August, IDF soldiers entered the village of Marda and conducted a house-to-house search, rounding up 15 teenage boys for interrogation. The International Women`s Peace Service reports that the boys were taken, blindfolded and handcuffed, and interrogated individually in a jeep. After several hours, the soldiers arrested four of the boys, who they said had confessed to throwing stones.
Nonviolent activist released
Abdullah Abu Rahme, the Coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Apartheid Wall was released on Monday, August 1, after being imprisoned for 15 days. Abu Rahme had been arrested during a protest against the wall in the village of Bil`in and was falsely accused of assaulting an IDF soldier, despite video and eyewitness testimony to the contrary. On July 26, a judge denied his bail, with the argument that he was `too dangerous` to be released. He is now released on bail, under the condition that he stop demonstrating against the wall.
Teagas cannisters as weapons
As they have done many times before, IDF soldiers used crowd control as an excuse to fire metal tear gas canisters directly at non-violente protesters. On 1 August, soldiers attacked a march in the village of Kifl Haris and aimed many tear gas canisters directly at the protesters, rather than firing them in an arc above the crowd as required by IDF regulations. The International Solidarity Movement reports that Ahmad Al Shakur, a Palestinian resident of the village, was hit in the mouth with a canister, which then struck his niece in the head. Al Shakur was treated for injuries including a shattered jaw and lost teeth. Another demonstrator was hit in the chest with a canister and suffered broken ribs.
Naveh proposes new neighborhood in area E-1
Israeli Health Minister Danny Naveh (Likud) has submitted a proposal for the construction of a Jewish neighborhood in the E-1 area in the occupied West Bank. Naveh requested that his proposal be discussed alongside the government`s deliberations on the implementation of the evacuation of Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip. The E-1 area links the Jewish areas of East Jerusalem with the large settlement of Ma`ale Adumim, creating a continuous area of settlement that almost completely cuts the West Bank in half. Naveh argued that the development of new settlements in E-1 would prevent a `Palestinian choke hold` around Jerusalem.
Sources: Wafa, Ha`aretz, ISM, IMEMC, Palestine Centre for Human Rights, International Women`s Peace Service, B`tselem.