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Occupation magazine - Weekly summary

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The Weekly Summary 20-26 February 2005

by Meir Margalit
20-26 February 2005

The week started with a political process and ended with an attack. Nothing is new in the Middle East.

On Sunday 20 February the government authorized the withdrawal law, and at the same time it authorized the new route of the Separation Wall.

The new route is to a great extent a victory for public protest. It was created after a joint struggle that included appeals to the High Court of Justice, the International Court in The Hague and never-ending demonstrations. It does not satisfy us, because it still annexes Palestinian lands, but we are entitled to feel some satisfaction from the fact that this is one of the few battles in which the sane public won a victory of sorts, and because it restored to us our faith that stubborn public struggle - including Palestinian-Israelis - and international organizations, can change policies. We can assume that one day historians will write about this episode of struggle as one of the most successful that the peace camp has conducted in recent years.

Meanwhile the reality on the ground remains as it was. On 20 February IDF forces shot at buildings in the Rafah area and seriously wounded a resident, Ahmad Dab’as, 29, and wounded another youth, Ahmad Ali Sakinah, 17, near Neve Dekalim. On the same day they penetrated the village of Silwad in the Ramallah area and arrested one of its residents, the Gaza Strip continues to be closed and besieged, and the Karmi crossing and the Erez checkpoint are being operated with deliberate slowness. The media reported that on the same days IDF forces administered hard blows to two residents of the Nablus area, and caused them fractures and serious injuries and it was also reported that soldiers stopped a taxi in the Nablus area, ordered its passengers out and cut its tires for no reason. The construction of the Wall also continued and on 20 February the IDF handed seizure orders for 775 dunams of agricultural land to residents of Wadi Fuqin.

Details on the reality in the Territories can be obtained by consulting the weekly report of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights: <>

In Jerusalem demolition of houses also continued. This week the Municipality established a new record and destroyed the biggest building so far - 7 stories. Two small buildings were also destroyed in Sur Baher.

On 20 February about 500 Palestinian detainees were released, in accordance with the gestures that Israel is doing in order to strengthen Abu Mazen, but the general feeling in the Palestinian street is that Israel is not dealing with the matter in good faith.

We received week’s example of moral deterioration on Friday, when Haaretz reported on a soldier who was convicted of causing the death of a Palestinian by negligence at a checkpoint in the Jenin area and who was sentenced to four and a half months’ in prison! The pretext given by the court for its leniency was that he was a “distinguished soldier”. The chief military prosecutor Col. Avihai Mendelblit reported that since the beginning of the Intifada 28 indictments have been given to soldiers who were involved in shooting incidents, of whom about five have been convicted. The officer added that the punishment received by this soldier is the most serious one compared to the previous trials.

The week concluded with the murderous attack in Tel Aviv in which 5 Israelis were killed. Even if we were not surprised, because we knew that shadowy forces on both sides would try to frustrate the political process that has been stitched together, still we are left stunned. The Palestinian Authority strongly condemned the attack and Israel is showing restraint, but the situation is fragile and on the verge of an explosion. For a moment it looked like Israel was about to bomb Syria and we wondered if the military would demolish the home of the terrorist in contradiction to the new guidelines released by the Chief of Staff, but it appears that so far Israel has changed its habit and is choosing not to taken in by the provocation.

Translated from Hebrew by Mark Marshall
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