By: Daniel Breslau
Week 2,000 of occupation
29 September 2005 - 5 October 2005
Violent clashes between Hamas and Palestinian Security Forces
On Sunday, violence broke out between Hamas militants and Palestinian Security Forces who were attempting to carry out the orders of Palestinian Authority President Abu Mazen to confiscate all publicly displayed weapons. The violence spread int he Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza, eventually leading to exchanges of fire and RPGs, in which a police commander and two civilians were killed and over fifty injured.
The next day, members of Palestinian Authority Security Forces forced their way into the building of the Legislative Authority in Gaza, and fired shots into the air, demanding that the Palestinian Authority cease its relations with Hamas, and take a stronger stance against the Islamic movement`s armed militants.
IDF kills three in Nablus, including an unarmed 13-year-old
The soldiers enter Palestinian areas with the pretext of a sweep to arrest "wanted militants." Anyone they encounter who resists them or who is simply armed is a target. On Friday, 30 September, IDF soldiers entered the Askar refugee camp in Nablus to conduct such a sweep. After encountering some armed resistance, some paratroopers ambushed a group of "armed militants" near the entrance to the Balata camp, killing two of them. Later that day, paratroopers killed an unarmed 13-year-old boy in the Askar camp. Udai Tantawi was more than 100 meters away from a group of paratroopers when he was shot. The army claimed that a soldier thought he saw an armed Palestinian in the distance and opened fire after receiving permission from his commander. The IDF later corrected this version, stating that the soldier, a sniper, had acted without his commander`s authorization.
The only unusual thing about this event was that the soldier`s superiors did not try to cover up the incident, but reported that the shooting was in violation of IDF rules, since the lives of the soldiers were not threatened, and the child was unarmed. The IDF has initiated an investigation.
The investigation, however, is not likely to question the unofficial but well-documented IDF tactic of entering densely populated and hostile Palestinian areas in order to draw fire, and then using their "rules of engagement" as a pretext for the indiscriminate use of force.
Six weeks after disengagement - Gaza Strip still occupied
The Rafah crossing is the only portal for people and goods between the Gaza Strip and the rest of the world. It has been closed since 24 September, except for a brief period on the evening of 3 October. No one is allowed to leave or enter without prior coordination and permission. Israel maintains control over the Gaza coastline and airspace as well.
New report: the wall is choking Jerusalem
The establisment Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, in its recent report on the state of the city, adds to what we already know about the negative impact of the annexation wall on the would-be capital of Israel and Palestine. In addition to the hardships imposed on the Palestinian neighborhoods and villages cut off from each other, from their lands, and from the West Bank, the wall will have a huge detrimental impact on the city as a whole. Of roughly 90,000 Palestinian holders of Israeli identity cards, who now live outside the city`s municipal boundaries, tens of thousands are forced by the wall to return to the city, to continue to receive benefits of residency status. The resulting overcrowding, rapid construction, and spike in real estate prices, will make an already overburdened city less liveable for all its residents.
Bil`in defies the fence to harvest olives
On Friday, 30 September, the usual weekly nonviolent protest agains the annexation wall set out from the village of Bil`in. Unlike previous weeks, the army unit on the site, apparently under a new commander, either was caught by surprise or simply decided not to prevent the protesters to reach the path where the wall is to be built. The protestors, composed of 200 residents of Bil`in and nearby villages, Israeli and international activists, including a visiting delegation from Spain, asserted the villagers` right to free and unrestricted access to their land. The wall`s construction will be a blatant violation of this right.
Sources: IMEMC, Ha`aretz, Palestine Centre for Human Rights, International Solidarity Movement.