By: Daniel Breslau
Week 1,997 of occupation
8 September 2005 - 14 September 2005
IDF out of Gaza Strip
On Monday, 12 September, the IDF completed its redeployment from the Gaza Strip. The 1.3 million residents enjoyed freedom of movement within the strip for the first time in 38 years, and after the severe restrictions of the last five years. The ability of the Palestinian Authority to assert its control is hindered by the continuing restrictions on movement of Palestinians in and out of the Gaza Strip, whether to the West Bank, Egypt, or the rest of the world.
The last victim of the Gaza occupation?
On Thursday, 8 September, Israeli soldiers shot and killed an unarmed Palestinian youth, Bashir Soufi, age 20, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The IDF reported that Soufi and others were cutting through the fence surrounding the former settlement of Rafiah Yam. Although Soufi was unarmed, the IDF claimed that shots had been fired at soldiers from the same location earlier in the day.
Another stone-thrower killed
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has ordered intensified military activities in the West Bank, and a policy of `no mercy` at checkpoints.
On Tuesday afternoon, IDF soldiers moved into the village of Taffouh, near Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed Khamaisa, forcing its residents to the first floor and setting up a military post on the fourth floor and roof. While soldiers were interrogating Palestinian civilians outside, a number of boys threw stones at them. The soldiers opened fire, wounding Walid Khamaisa, 19, with a live bullet to the abdomen. He later died of his wounds. According to eyewitnesses, soldiers fired at Khamaisa from a distance of less than 30 meters.
Army uses force to prevent Bil`in protests from taking place
Early Thursday mornng, 8 September, Israeli border police entered the village of Bil`in, imposed a curfew on the entire village, and demanded that all Israelis in the village leave. There was no legal basis for this action. On Friday morning, soldiers surrounded a house where international activists were staying and demanded their surrender. Mohammad Al-Khateb, member of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, reported that 52 Israeli and international peace activists, and two residents, were arrested.
Despite the arrests and curfew, the village residents decided to go ahead with the protest. They were joined by a large number of Israeli and Palestinian officials, including Palestinian Legislative Council members Dr. Ghazi Hanania, Dr. Azmi Al Sho`aiby and Abdul-Jawad Saleh, and Knesset Members Abdul-Malik Dahamsha, and Wasil Taha. Al-Khatib stated that soldiers used excessive violence in dispersing the peaceful protest, and fired rounds of live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets and gas bombs; dozens of protestors fainted after inhaling gas fired by the army, while were injured by live rounds and rubber-coated bullets.
High court legitimizes wall, with adjustments
The Israeli High Court of justice ruled that the route of the annexation wall around the town of Kalkilya should be changed so that five Palestinian villages will not be totally encircled by the wall around the settlement of Alfei Menashe. Responding to a petition filed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel on behalf of the villages, the court unanimously accepted the petitioners` claims and ordered the wall moved.
At the same time, the Court and its president, Judge Aharon Barak, stated its defiance of the International Court of Justice in the Hague, and insisted that the wall built through occupied Palestinian territory was legal. In a remarkable bit of irony, which was lost on the judges themselves, the court bases the right to seize land and construct the wall on the responsibility of the occupier to preserve the public peace in the occupied area.
There are still 44 petitions on behalf of those whose lands are being seized for the wall`s construction. The court has decided to review these on a case-by-case basis, while rejecting any challenges to the wall`s overall legality.
Kiryat Arba settler uses car as a weapon
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reports:
On Sunday evening, 11 September 2005, an Israeli settler from the Kiryat Arba settlement, southeast of Hebron, traveling in a civilian car chased a number of children in al-Ras neighborhood to the west of the settlement. The children were able to escape. Soon, the settler moved towards the roadside and ran down Asmaa` Mohammed al-Ja`bari, 24, and her child, 10-yesr-old Yasmin. The two were injured.
There was no mention of this incident in the Israeli media.
Sources: IMEMC, Ha`aretz, ISM, Palestine Centre for Human Rights.