By: Daniel Breslau
Week 1,994 of occupation
18 August 2005 - 24 August 2005
Annexation Under cover of `disengagement`
On Tuesday, 23 August, the Israeli Government announced plans to proceed with construction of the illegal annexation wall around the settlement of Ma`ale Adumim, after the route of the wall was approved by Attorney General Menahem Mazoz. Israel issued land confiscation orders to the Palestinian owners of 350 acres of land that will be seized for the wall`s construction. In addition to the private land to be taken, the wall will enclose over 10,000 acres of Palestinian open lands on the `Israeli` side of the barrier. The wall around Ma`ale Adumim will extend deep into the West Bank, half the distance from the Jerusalem city limits to the Dead Sea. It will permanently destroy the continguity between Ramallah, East Jerusalem, and Bethelehem, and further damages the viability of a future independent Palestinian State.
The wall will also surround the Jerusalem-area villages of Al Izariya and Abu Dis on three sides, and will force residents of those areas to travel roughly 45 kilometers to reach the city of Ramallah, which is only 10 kilometers to the North.
While Israel has agreed to postpone the planned construction of 3,500 housing units in the `E-1` area between East Jerusalem and Ma`ale Adumim, under pressure from the U.S. administration, it is going ahead witht he construction of a new police station in the area.
A new urban outpost
On Monday, 22 August, a planning board in Jerusalem approved the municipality`s plan to build 21 Jewish-only apartments in the Muslim quarter of the Old City. Even violating the city`s own rules against construction close to the Old City wall, the neighborhood is not built on purchased land, but on public lands seized by Israel. As no country on earth, nor the UN, has ever recognized Israel`s unilateral annexation of the Old City, the new construction has the same status as any illegal settlement in the occupied territory. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon also owns a house in the Muslim quarter, which he does not use.
Tul Karm: Truth is the first victim
Undercover Israeli `duvdevan` commandos entered the city of Tul Karm in the Northern West Bank late Wednesday, 24 August, to carry out what they later termed an `arrest operation.` Five Palestinians were killed, including an Islamic Jihad activist Adel Al Gawi. The Israeli media, including Ha`aretz relied strictly on the official IDF sources. According to those sources, which included the operation`s commander, Colonel Roni Numa, the undercover soldiers fired into the air when they approached the house where Al Gawi was staying. Then Palestinians in the courtyard of the house opened fire on the soldiers, hurling a bomb and molotov cocktails. Only then, according ot the IDF, did the duvdevan soldiers return fire, fatally wounding Al-Gawi and the four others. Numa insisted that none of those killed were `innocent bystanders.`
Palestinian sources who investigated the incident concluded that the five victims were unarmed, and that the attack was an assassination operation against Al Gawi. Eyewitnesses reported that the Israeli force did not come under fire. The Israeli media made no effort to independently verify the conflicting reports.
The incident is certain to increase tensions in the region, to further undermine the fragile rule of Palestinian Authority President Abu Mazen, and to provoke an attack from Palestinian militant organizations.
The Shiloh killings were part of a wave of settler violence
Leading up to the evacuation of extremist infiltrators from the nearly-abandoned settlements of Sa Nur and Homesh, in the Northern West Bank, other settler activists from the area carried out numerous attacks against Palestinian civilians and property. The following incidents were reported by the Palestine Centre for Human Rights:
- On Thursday evening, 18 May, a number of Israeli settlers from the Kdumim settlement threw stones at Palestinian shops and civilian cars near Kufr Qaddoum settlement, east of Qalqilya.
- Also on Thursday evening, dozens of Israeli settlers from Sa Nur and Homesh raided al-`Asa`sa village, south of Jenin. They surrounded a house belonging to Rushdi Ahmed `Abdullah and attempted to break into it.
- On Saturday evening, 20 August, a number of Israeli settlers from Homesh raided the neighboring Burqa village. According to eyewitnesses, about 50 armed Israeli settlers moved into the village and threw stones at Palestinian houses.
- On Sunday noon, about 50 armed settlers from Sa Nur attacked a number of Palestinian houses in the neighbouring `Ejja village. Palestinian civilians left their houses fearing that their houses would be burnt by settlers.
- At approximately 8:00 AM on Monday, 22 August, dozens of armed settlers from Homesh raided the neighboring Seilat al-Zaher village. They seized the roofs of a number of houses.
- At approximately 8:00 AM on Tuesday, 23 August, a number of settlers from Kdumim violently beat Mohammed Ayoub Hassan, 20, when he was waiting for a taxi at Jeet crossroads to travel to Nablus. The settlers also threatened Palestinian civilians who were in the area not to intervene to save Hassan, who was later evacuated to a hospital in Qalqilya.
- At approximately 7:00 PM on Sunday, 21 August, an Israeli settler who was riding a motorcycle on Habla road, south of Qalqilya , fired at a number of Palestinian workers who were in an agricultural nursery. One of the workers, Tahseen Sharif Yousef Shuraim, 43, was wounded by a live bullet to the left shoulder.
Sources: Wafa, Ha`aretz, ISM, Palestine Centre for Human Rights, AP Wire.