|By: Daniel Breslau |
Week 1,995 of occupation
25 August 2005 - 31 August 2005
The wall and the protests
Israeli Defense Ministry Director, Amos Yaron, reported on Monday, 29 August, that the construction of the Annexation Wall in the southern West Bank will be completed by the end of 2005.
The Wall will surround several areas between Hebron and Be`er Sheva, including Yateer village, south of the Hebron Mountain.
Protests against the wall:
- Al Ramadeen, al-Rwais, al-Shoumara and al-Teena villages, south of Hebron, Thursday, 25 August. Dozens of residents and International peace activists participated at the protest, and carried Palestinian flags, while chanting slogans against the Wall and the land annexation policies used by Israel. Local sources reported that soldiers attacked the peaceful demonstration with concussion grenades, gas bombs and rounds of live ammunition, before using their batons against the protestors. The protestors managed to stop the bulldozers and the workers until the soldiers surrounded the area declaring it a closed military zone, and forced the residents and international activists out.
- Bil`in, Friday, Aug 26. The Bil`in demonstration, as usual, included powerful street theater. Protestors managed to stick magnetic signs on the Israeli soldiers` rifles saying, `this weapon kills peace and steals land` in three languages, Arabic, English and Hebrew.
At least 40 protestors were wounded, said Abdullah Abu Rahme, coordinator of the committee to resist the wall in the village, and one of the organizers of the protest which became a weekly tradition. Concussion grenades were used to disperse the crowd, without any provocation.
On 26 August, the old city of Hebron was declared a closed military zone, after a Palestinian reportedly stabbed a member of Israel`s Border Guard. In response the IDF deployed intensively throughout the city. At least 10 checkpoints were set up where civilians were stopped, checked, and interrogated. Then on Sunday, 28 August, the IDF erected a number of checkpoints at the northern, southern and western entrances to Hebron. They stopped and searched Palestinian civilian vehicles, and interrogated a number of Palestinian civilians.
Kerem Shalom crossing
Israel is planning to begin construction next week on a border crossing terminal at Kerem Shalom, in opposition to Egypt and the Palestinian Authority. The crossing, which goes through Israeli territory, would allow Israel to supervise all movement of people and goods between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. The Palestinian Authority has declared that Israel remains the occupying power as long as it controls travel and commerce between the Gaza Strip and the rest of the world.
Keeping the outposts off the agenda
On Sunday, August 28, a group of `Peace Now` activists were prevented from reaching the illegal West Bank outposts of Migron and Harasha by a group of youth from the settlement of Talmon. Israel had already promised to dismantle the outposts, among others. At Migron, soldiers and police prevented the peace activists from reaching the outpost, declaring the area a `closed military zone.` Both the army and the settler`s council stated that publicizing the issue of the outposts, which are illegal by Israeli law and international law, and which Israel has promised to dismantle, would inflame tensions within the Israeli public.
Netanyahu kicks off Likud primary contest
Former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced that he would challenge Ariel Sharon for leadership of the right-wing Likud party. Netanyahu launched his campaign with a visit to the E1 area between East Jerusalem and the settlement of Ma`ale Adumim, arguing that Israel should defy the United States and go ahead with construction of 3500 new housing units in the area.
Sources: IMEMC, Ha`aretz, ISM, Palestine Centre for Human Rights, Palestine Media Center.