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This week in Palestine – a service of the International Middle East Media center IMEMC.Org for the week Friday June 3rd to Thursday June 9th ,2005
On Saturday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a public decree delaying parliamentary elections, slated for July 17, until further notice. PA sources stated that the delay was to allow time to resolve a dispute over proposed amendments to voting law. Hamas denounced Abbas’s move, saying it was a violation of the Cairo understandings between Palestinian factions and the PA.
Al Aqsa Incident
On Monday, dozens of Israeli policemen entered the yard of the al-Aqsa to protect Israeli settlers who broke into the mosque yard to ‘celebrate’ the 37 anniversary of the occupation of Jerusalem. The police clashed with dozens of Palestinian youths who had gathered at the mosque yard. Policemen fired stun grenades, gas canisters and rubber coated metal bullets at the Palestinian protestors who responded by throwing stones at the police.
Amer Zorba, a Palestinian young man who was in the yard of the mosque when the incident took place described what happened.
“Around thirty settlers accompanied by several soldiers entered through Dung Gate into the mosque yard. Several Palestinians were arrested.”
The Invasion of Qabatya
Tuesday morning, Israeli soldiers supported by armored vehicles and military helicopters killed Mroueh Khaled Ikameel a-22 years old, an Islamic Jihad fighter and Nasser Zakarneh, a-23 years old, an unarmed Palestinian policeman after invading the city of Qabatia south of the West Bank city of Jenin.
An eyewitness gave the following description.
Israel soldiers leveled the home after killing Ikameel. Damage was reported to several neighboring homes.
Settlers’ Attacks
The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics has revealed that in the first quarter of 2005, ahead of this year’s slated Israeli disengagement from Gaza, construction in settlements has increased 83% compared to 2004. The Bureau also said that Israel boosted construction in 560 settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, while construction inside Israeli borders dropped 6%.
Last Wednesday, settlers of the Abraham Abino settlement outpost in Hebron damaged a wall of a store in the Hakoret al-Kayyal neighborhood of the old city and set the store on fire. Military orders also forced dozens of stores to shut down in the al-Sihla neighborhood and in the Ibharimi mosque area.
Farmers living near the West Bank city of Qalqilyah report that around 200 of their olive trees have died in the past three years due to contamination of the groves by industrial sewage that is coming from the nearby Israeli illegal settlement of Emanuel. In testimonies submitted by the farmers to Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights organization, the farmers submitted their complaints to the nearby illegal settlement Kedumim police and the Israeli military liaison office in Qalqilya but were told to go to the Israeli Ministry of Environment.
Gaza Air Strike
Wednesday afternoon, Palestinian sources reported that Israeli gun ships fired air-to-land missiles at a car driving on the main road in the southern Gaza Strip. Israeli sources reported that the air strike targeted three men considered to be Hamas activists in Khan Younis. According to witnesses, one of the missiles hit the back of the vehicle but the three men escaped unharmed.
The Israeli military sources said the air strike was a response to Qassam shells attacks carried out against Israeli settlements earlier this week by the Palestinian resistance.
Desecration of the Koran in Majjedo detention center
Palestinian detainees in Majeddo detention center near the West Bank city of Jenin declared a hunger strike last Wednesday to protest the desecration of a Koran by Israeli soldiers. The detainees said that soldiers raided the rooms of the detainees and ripped pages out of the Muslim holy book and stepped on them. The Israeli soldiers attempted to take away the ripped copies of the Koran but the detainees were able to keep them as proof of the desecration of the Koran.
WHO Report
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that since 2000, 69 Palestinian women have given birth at Israeli checkpoint.
The Prisoners Media Center reported that Israeli soldiers arrested 250 Palestinians during the month of May and carried out several invasions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. No arrests were reported in the Gaza Strip. Hebron topped the arrests list at 35 arrests in the city and the surrounding villages. According to the report, the number of detainees in Israeli prisons reached 8814 detainees. The continued arrests and invasions take place in spite of the truce arrived at the Sharm al-Sheik Summit.
Anti -Wall protests
On Sunday, international, Palestinian, and Israeli peace activists, joined by Mustafa al-Barghuthi of the Palestinian National Initiative, held a demonstration against the Separation Wall in the village of Beit Surik northwest of Jerusalem. Israeli troops, backed by border guards and soldiers on horses, clashed with the protesters and fired rubber-coated bullets and gas bombs. Many protesters were injured.
The village of Bil’in, west of Ramallah has been the site of daily protests against the construction of the Wall on the villagers’ privately owned land. Mohammad Al-Khatib, member of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, told IMEMC that at least one thousand Palestinians joined by international and Israeli peace activists and Palestinian leaders including Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi and Palestinian Minister of the Wall Affairs Ahmad Majdalani, demonstrated against the construction of the wall last Friday. Demonstrators marched from the village mosque after the noon prayers to the construction site, where they were attacked by Israeli soldiers using amplified whistles, tear gas, and rubber bullets in order to disperse the protestors. At least 20 protestors were treated for gas inhalation and bruises resulting from rubber bullets. Two Israeli protestors were arrested by the police, and one Israeli soldier was lightly wounded.
Wednesday evening, Israeli soldiers attacked a peaceful protest against the Wall in Bil’in organized by physically challenged residents from several West Bank cities. The WAFA news agency reported that soldiers attacked the protestors and fired gas bombs at them. Four paralyzed protestors were arrested. One of them is identified as Rafeeq Abu Sayfen from Jenin.
Israeli Supreme Court: Pullout Legal
Removing a major obstacle to the planned Gaza pullout, the Supreme Court of Israel on Thursday rejected 12 petitions submitted by settlers and Knesset members calling for a halt of the disengagement. The 11-judge panel decided to uphold the government’s plan to withdraw from Gaza and parts of the West Bank.
The court ruled that that West Bank and the Gaza area are lands seized during warfare and are not part of Israel. The settlers slammed the ruling saying it is irrelevant and that they had no better expectations from the court.
Abbas’s Meetings with the Palestinian factions in Gaza
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and leaders of Palestinian factions agreed to form a ‘high national commission’ to monitor and supervise the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip, which is expected to start on August 15. The factions affirmed commitment to the unofficial truce but vowed to retaliate if Israel resumes attacks against resistance operatives or civilian targets. The affirmed commitment is expected to set an end the latest round of violence, including mortar attacks against Israeli targets.