By: Daniel Breslau
Week 2,006 of occupation
10 November 2005 - 16 November 2005
Failed attempt to cover up a murder
When Samir Dari, of Isawiya, was shot and killed by police officers on November 9, police claimed that Dari had tried to run them over with his car. A police investigation has found that the initial story was a lie intended to cover up a willful killing of Dari, who was unarmed and presented no danger to police, and had already exited his car, when police shot him in the back. Police had also stated that Dari`s passengers had pushed him out of the car, after he was shot, and drove off. But investigators have now established that Dari was not in his car when he was shot. Ha`aretz is reporting that the police officer responsible is expected to be charged with causing death by negligence, without explaining how shooting someone in the back could be a case of negligence.
Some of the Israeli media, however, can be accused of negligence in presenting the lies of the police as fact. While Ha`aretz was careful to specify that `police claimed` that Dari had attempted to run them over, Efrat Weiss, writing in Israel`s largest daily, Yediot Acharonot, simply presented the police`s fabricated version as news.
Residents of Isawiya took to the streets in protest of Dari`s killing, and to show their lack of confidence in the autopsy and policy investigation. They burned tires, threw stones, and set fire to one car. Soldiers responded with concussion grenades, gas bombs and rubber coated bullets.
Noise as a weapon
Israeli Air Force jets have been continually flying low over the Gaza Strip, breaking the sound barrier and causing sonic booms over Palestinian population centers. The state claims that the sonic booms serve to confuse and frighten terrorists, without presenting any evidence that the sounds have any such effect.
The joint Israeli-Palestinian petition filed in the Supreme Court by the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel says that according to international law, `the booms are collective punishment against the civilian population and thus illegal`. The head of the UN Development Programme in the Gaza Strip, Khaled Abdul Shafi, said: `We at the United Nations have already submitted a letter of protest to the Israeli government urging them to stop... the sonic booming and the air raids immediately, because we simply think that this is a violation of basic human rights, especially rights of children to live in peace and to be educated in peace.`
An agreement is reached on the border crossings
The Palestinians now have their own border to the rest of the world, but only after months of wrangling and posturing over details of an agreement, and after the personal intervention of the US Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice. Early Tuesday morning, 15 November, Israel agreed to allow the opening of the Rafah crossing, under conditions that were almost identical to those that were agreed upon months ago. Palestinian and Egyptian officials will control their sides of the crossings, with oversight by European Union monitors. Apparently at US insistence, the Palestinian Authority negotiators ultimately agreed to the placement of surveillance cameras at the crossing, to allow IDF personel to monitor it remotely. The IDF can then request that the Palestinian forces present stop anyone from crossing.
The two sides agreed to initiate bus convoys between Gaza and the West Bank in December. The convoys would be monitored by Israel and therefore do not constitute the `safe passage` that Israel agreed to in the Oslo accords of the 1990s. The agreement, if implemented, will be an improvement for the Palestinians, but will be far from the border control generally accorded to a sovereign state.
Palestinian militants killed in `arrest operations`
Late Saturday, or early Sunday, IDF forces in Jenin killed a member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade who was wounded and unarmed. Soldiers said they shot at three Palestinians, two of them armed, near a checkpoint in Jenin. They injured one of them, Shouja Bilawi, an pursued him as he ran to a nearby yard. After using dogs to locate Bilawi, the soldiers shot and killed him. Bilawi was unarmed when he was killed.
Another Palestinian, Amjad Al-Hinnawi, the leader of the Hamas-affiliated Qassam brigades in Nablus, was killed on Sunday, as he tried to flee from soldiers that had surrounded the house in Nablus where he was staying. Eyewitnessas say that Al-Hinnawi was attacked by IDF trained dogs, and shot while he struggled to break free of them. The witnesses say that he was still alive when the house was bulldozed on top of him.
Bil`in nonviolent demonstrators sentenced to prison
The annexation wall through the occupied territories is illegal, by a ruling of the International Court of Justice. The residents of Bil`in have protested the wall every Friday for the past eight months. Now the IDF has adopted a new tactic in trying to break the nonviolent opposition to the wall. In a series of nighttime sweeps through the village of Bil`in two weeks ago, Israeli soldiers arrested seventeeî boys and young men in Bil`in, and accused them of destroying parts of the wall. Later, the youth were also charged with throwing stones at soldiers. On Friday, 11 November, eight of the arrestees were sentenced to from two to four months in prison and fines of 1000 sheckels.
Sources: IMEMC, Ha`aretz, Palestine Centre for Human Rights, International Solidarity Movement, BBC, Indymedia Isarael.