By: Daniel Breslau
Week 2,004 of occupation
27 October 2005 - 2 November 2005
Seven Palestinians, including at least four civilians, killed in Gaza assassination
On Thursday, 27 October, Israel responded to the previous day`s attack in Hadera, where an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber killed four others, by assassinating an Islamic Jihad "operative," Shadi Mahaneh, in the crowded Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. A missile was fired, apparently from an Israeli Air Force drone, at Mahaneh`s car, killing him and three other passengers, two of whom were civilian hitchhikers. Three bystanders, all teenage boys, were also killed, and 19 bystanders were injured.
Another assassination in Jabalya
On Wednesday, 2 November, an Israeli Air Force plane fired a missile at a car in the Jablya refugee camp, killing the two Palestinian militants inside. The assassination`s target was Hassan al-Madhoun, a leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in the northern Gaza Strip. Israel alleges that Madhoun was involved in firing Qassam rockets at Israel, and planning several bombing attacks in Israel. The other passenger in the car was identified as Fawzi Abul al-Qarea, a Hamas activist. Hamas, which has refrained from attacking Israel from the Gaza Strip for the past month, has vowed to avenge the attack.
The outposts game
On Thursday, IDF soldiers evacuated five new outposts that settlers had established in the West Bank the day before. At one outpost, near the settlement of Elon Moreh, settler youth attacked the soldiers and slashed tires on military vehicles. Some of those arrested destroyed the van in which they were detained, later escaping when the van was opened. Settlers have reportedly returned to the site.
In Hebron, the militant settlers attacked local Palestinians, stoning houses and beating residents. Soldiers also clashed with settlers at Kedumim and Efrat. Among those arrested were well-known settlement leaders Nadia Matar and Daniella Weiss.
The settlers had apparently been trying to take advantage of the recent escalation of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian militant groups to expand their presence in the West Bank. It is also likely that this land grab had been coordinated with the Defense Ministry and other government officials, as no effort was made to preempt it. It has allowed Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to appear as though he is taking a hard line against the outposts. In fact, Mofaz has continued to tolerate existing illegal outposts, and failed to implement cabinet decisions to prevent the establishment of more outposts. Israel has not dismantled the more than 60 outposts that have been established since 2001, as it agreed two more than two years ago under the "road map" for peace.
West Bank is divided
Israel is constructing a large and permanent checkpoint at the Zaatara interchange, just South of Nablus, that will make it possible to completely sever the northern part of the West Bank.
Arrests in Bil`in
The army has adopted a new strategy in an attempt to stop the nonviolent protests in the village of Bil`in. Rather than use harsh tactics against the Friday demonstrations against the annexation wall, the IDF has been conducting frequent raids, harrassing the village and arresting anyone suspected of having a role in organizing the protests.
Sources: IMEMC, Ha`aretz, Palestine Centre for Human Rights, International Solidarity Movement.