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This week in Palestine – A service of the International Middle East Media Center IMEMC.Org for the week of Friday, September 9th to Thursday, September15th.
After the completing its unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli government is planning to expand its settlements in the West Bank in spite of US objection, and has also vowed to continue with the construction of the separation wall. Palestinians continued with weekly demonstrations against the separation wall. Meanwhile, Israeli military violence against Palestinians has continued, resulting in killing, injuries, and arrests. During the week settler attacks on Palestinians have also escalated.
Completion of the Disengagement from Gaza
The Israeli army completed the withdrawal of its forces from the Gaza Strip on Monday morning marking the end of 38 years of military rule in the Strip. In a celebration in the Gaza Strip Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that while the Israeli Army has left the Gaza Strip, is not enough, as the occupation is not over.
Meanwhile, Israel is planning to reinforce its grab on the West Bank land. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the Newsweek Magazine that he is committed to enlarging settlements in spite of US objection. Furthermore, his Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said the government’s agenda will be to develop settlements in the West Bank.
An extended nine-judge panel of the Israeli High Court of justice unanimously ruled that Israel should reroute the Separation Wall in the Qalqilia area, however authorized Israel to continue the construction the Wall in the Palestinian territories.
The decision was made after a petition, based on The Hague ruling, was filed by the Association For Civil Rights in Israel, on behalf of residents of five Palestinian villages which will be isolated by the wall which is planned to surround Alfe Menashe settlement, north of the West Bank. However, the nine- judge panel said that their decision was not based on the ruling of the International High court of Justice.
Israel is attempting to make the Separation Wall the official maker of the border between Israel and the Palestinian territories by creating Ã¢â‚¬Å“civil border crossingsÃ¢â‚¬Â between Israel and the West Bank. There are currently 44 petitions regarding the separation wall pending at the Israeli High Court of Justice and the court has ordered a freeze of the construction of the wall in several areas. Most of the areas affected by the construction of the Separation Wall are villages surrounding Qalqilia.
Annexing Land for the Separation Wall
A report published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz recognized that the proposed route of the separation wall in the southern part of the West Bank will result in the annexation of large areas of land containing natural resources to Israel. In this part of the West Bank the wall will be built on the green line, the internationally recognized border of the West Bank since 1948, however, it will in some areas be beyond the green line annexing land from the West Bank. According to the Haaretz report, the wall will reach the Dead Sea on the eastern side of the West Bank, resulting in Israel controlling natural resources between Khald Mount and the Dead Sea. The wall will also annex the Gush Etzion settlement and other surrounding small outposts and settlements including them into Israel.
Mr. Jamal Talab Director of the Land Research Department in Hebron commented that Israel’s unilateral actions prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.
‘Needed elements of the state are not available, given this situation.
The West Bank is in a shape that would not allow the establishment of a viable sovereign state. Therefore establishing a Palestinian state is very difficult because of the unilateral measures taken by Israel’
Non Violent Protests in Bilien
At least 40 demonstrators were hurt and 52 were arrested in a nonviolent protest against the separation wall in the village of BilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢in near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Israeli troops invaded the village in the early hours of Friday morning and attempted to arrest the internationals who were in the village and imposed a curfew in an attempt to foil the demonstration.
As the demonstrators attempted to reach the construction site of the separation wall, troops opened fire with rubber bullets and tear gas, and children responded by throwing stones. A high number of injuries were reported, including two journalists and three children. At least 50 international and Israeli peace activists were arrested. Two Palestinians, Khaled Amr, 22 and Abdullah Abu Rahma, head of the Popular Committee to resist the wall in the village, were also arrested.
Gretta Berlin described what happened there.
Israeli soldiers arrested seven residents, including a father and his son, in Hebron and several surrounding villages after invading the villages and breaking into dozens of homes. In a separate incident at dawn on Thursday, Israeli soldiers arrested three residents from Yatta village.
Israeli soldiers invaded Tafoah village near the West Bank city of Hebron, killing 19 year old Waleed Suleiman Khamaisa, and injuring six others. The invasion was carried out after Israeli Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, gave direct orders for soldiers Ã¢â‚¬Å“not to have mercy on checkpointsÃ¢â‚¬Â and to intensify their activities in the West Bank.
Settler Attacks on Palestinians
Attacks by extremist settler groups on Palestinian areas have continued during and after the Israeli disengagement and evacuation of settlers from the Gaza Strip.
In the Hebron area settler attacks against Palestinian residents continued with several homes and vehicles attacked on Wednesday evening and Thursday. Israeli soldiers failed to attend the scene of these attacks until the settlers had already left the area.
A local source in the Al Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, also reported that settlers hurled stones at three Palestinian cars driving on the main Hebron-Jerusalem road, close to the camp. In the south of Hebron on Thursday, a group of extremist settlers from the Sweisa settlement hurled stones at dozens of residents of Al SammoaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ village, while they were working in their farmlands, in an attempt to force them off their land.
In another incident, ten young settlers of Keryat ArbaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ settlement, in Hebron, closed a main street leading into the city and hurled stones at dozens of Palestinian vehicles; damaging three cars.
From the International Middle East Media Center IMEMC. Org in Beit Sahour, Palestine. This is Dina Awad.