Listen to to the audio from the MP3 Player on the right column. || Click here to Download MP3 file 12.4 MB
This Week in Palestine- a service by the International Middle East Media Center for the week of Friday October 7th to Thursday October 13th.
The Palestinian Authority continues to face a state of lawlessness in the areas under its control. Israeli soldiers and settlers stage up their attacks against the Palestinians, harming civilians and damaging property. The civil resistance movement clings to the hope of halting progress of the Separation Wall. Meanwhile, Palestinian and Israeli top officials fail to reach an understanding prior to the expected summit between Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas. All that and more, on This Week in Palestine. Stay tuned.
Gaza Strip & West Bank Killing
Israeli soldiers shot and killed three unarmed civilians, including two children, in Gaza on Sunday night. The three were killed near the military electric fence, which separates Gaza from Israel.
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Masdar, head of Al-Aqsa Hospital in Gaza, told IMEMC that an ambulance managed to fetch the bodies of the three residents, only after contacting the District Coordination Office, which coordinates actions between Palestinians and Israelis. Israeli soldiers often shoot at Palestinian ambulances, killing ambulance drivers and preventing civilians from reaching medical help.
Also on Sunday at dawn Israeli soldiers killed Hilal Darwish Abu Za’rur,a-24years old an operative in Alaqsa Martyrs Brigades, from Aseera Al Shimaliyya village, near the West Bank city of Nablus.
The Israeli Secret Security services, Shin Bet, has reported uncovering three Hamas resistance cells. Shin Bet arrested 117 people suspected of carrying out attacks in which five Israelis were killed and 70 injured, an Israeli source reported. Shin Bet said that the networks had carried out two the last few months, including the abduction and killing of Sasson Nuriel, an Israeli resident of Pisgat Ze’ev in Jerusalem, and the Be’er Shiva suicide bombing at the end of August.
On the Other Hand Israeli Judge Moshe Drori of the Jerusalem District Court decided on Tuesday to pay Moam Federman a sum on NIS 100.000 for what was described as, (quote), “false arrest for alleged terrorist activity in recent years.” Federman is the leader of the illegal Jewish terrorist organization Kach, which is notorious for its numerous shootings and stabbings of civilians, including the 1994 Hebron Massacre, in which Brooklyn-born Kach member Baruch Goldstein opened fire on a mosque, killing 29 unarmed civilians as they prayed.
Federman, who like Goldstein is a settler from Hebron, has participated in several attacks against Palestinian residents in Hebron. He has undergone eight months of administrative detention and several months of house arrest.
Judge Drori’s decision marks the first time the State of Israel has issued monetary compensation for administrative detention or house arrest.
In the aftermath of the Gaza Pullout, Israeli settlers have a green light from American and Israeli governments to expand their illegal settlements as much as they want, on stolen Palestinian land. New outposts are popping up all over the West Bank and settlements expanding at unprecedented speed.
Settlers moved into Al-Khader village near Bethleham, stealing 5 acres from the farm of Ismail Mousa. They bulldozed part of the farm, preparing to build a new settlement, called Naveh Daniel.
Settlers from another unauthorized outpost called “Al-Qana”, near the West Bank city of Salfit, attacked a Palestinian family who were harvesting olives, forcing them off of their own farm, the Palestinian News Agency WAFA reported this week. The settlers had previously built a fence around the family’s land, in an attempt to annex it to the settlement.
This week marks the beginning of Guava and Tangerine season for Palestinian farmers, but it will not come without its challenges. Settlers from the Zufim and Sur-Igal settlements, near the West Bank city of Qalqilia, have made a practice of diverting settlement wastewater into Palestinian farms at this time each year. The wastewater can make the fruit unsafe to eat, and attracts insects. Farmers are forced to harvest early to save some of their fruits before bugs eat them.
Meanwhile, Bethlehem is under attack. On Wednesday, Dr. Jad Isaac, head of the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, reported Israel’s plan to construct a new Jewish settlement in Beit Sahour, a Christian suburb of Bethlehem. The area that will be confiscated is approximately 75% of Beit Sahour.
Dr. Isaac said this would force Palestinians in this area to leave.
The Israeli army has already built a permanent checkpoint on the eastern entrance of the town and is planning to add a military base. This will effectively enclose Bethlehem on its eastern and northern borders.
Using Palestinians as ‘Human Shields’
Israeli Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz will appeal the Israeli High Court of Justice’s recent ruling to ban the Israeli military from using Palestinian civilians as human shields during military operations.
Israeli soldiers routinely use Palestinian civilians as human shields, especially during arrests. Civilians are forced to knock on the door of a given house where soldiers believe a man they want to arrest might live. As the wanted man exits his house, an armed unit tackles and arrests him.
The motion to prohibit the army’s use of Palestinians as human shields was initiated by Attorney Marwan Dalal, who has also represented Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations.
At least 250 residents, joined by 50 Israeli and international peace activists, marched to the Wall in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah.
The protestors marched to the site where the Separation Wall is under construction. They raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the Wall and the illegal annexation of Palestinian farmland. Some attacked the construction materials with stones and pieces of metal.
Israeli soldiers responded with tear gas and concussion grenades. They detained 15 Israeli peace activists, who were later released. However, two Palestinians who were also detained – Mohammad Al-Khateeb, a member of the Popular Committee against the Wall, and a member of the Bil’in village council – remain in Israeli custody.
Gaza & West Bank Kidnapping
A Palestinian security source in Gaza reported that two journalists, one American and one Briton, were abducted on Wednesday in the Gaza Strip by Fatah gunmen. They were released few hours later.
DionÃ‚Â Nissenbaum, American journalist who was kidnapped describes the abduction.
Palestinian Interior Minister Nasser Yousef strongly condemned the abduction, adding that the Palestinian Authority will hunt down and arrest the persons behind it.
Ziad Abu Mustafa, translator for the journalists, said the assailants demand to be employed at the Palestinian Authority:
‘The kidnapers are a small group affiliated Fattah movement, called the ‘Black Panther’ recently became active in Khan Younis area. All members of the group are unemployed. Their main demand was to employ 80 of their member at the Palestinian authority departments including 10 with high ranks.’
Meanwhile, three Hamas leaders were kidnapped on Friday morning, by a group calling itself ‘Al-Farouk Omar Bin El Khattab Group’. The kidnapping is the first public activity for this group, which has not mentioned any affiliation with any Palestinian political factions.
The group issued a statement, saying they had kidnapped the leaders in response to (quote), “Hamas’ disrespect of the Palestinian law.” The group also issued a warning to Hamas against further violations of the law. The three kidnapped were eventually released.
Dr. Riyad Al Ras, one of the kidnapped described what happened as a massage to Hamas
‘They knocked the door, and when I opened, they asked me to go with them. I asked about their identity however, they refused to answer. I refused to go with them. So, they started shooting and broke into my house. They beat me, my wife and my daughter. They managed to cease me and put a mask on my head and took me in a car and headed to the suburbs and stopped there. They dropped me and left me there. Three hours later, another man came and apologized for what happened saying that they only meant to send a massage to Hamas.’
Unsuccessful talks lead to postponing Abbas, Sharon summit
Palestinian chief negotiator, Dr. Saeb Ereikat, met with Sharon’s’ advisor, Dov Weissglass, on Sunday. The meeting was scheduled to resume on Monday in an attempt to settle their differences before the Abbas-Sharon summit. However, on Sunday the two found were at odds on all major issues.
Weissglass reiterated his rejection of Hamas’ participation in the upcoming legislative elections, adding that Israel will enforce a full closure throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories if Hamas is allowed to run.
Weissglass also rejected Palestinian demands for the release of detainees who are being held indefinitely without trial in Israeli jails in violation of international law. He insisted that Israel should simply ‘label’ detainees who may be released in the future at a time of Israel’s choosing.
The questions of further Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, and of transferring security control to the Palestinian Authority in areas marked for evacuation, were also unresolved.
Given the inability to agree on key issues, the Palestinian Authority and Israel agreed to delay the summit, between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, until November, when Abbas is scheduled to return from Washington, DC.
Abbas Qurei Reconciliation
In light of the escalations in kidnappings and shootouts in Palestinian controlled areas, a special parliamentary committee, which had been set up to deal with challenges to security, said that one of the central obstacles to security in the region was the deteriorating lines of communication between President Mahmood Abbas and Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei.
The relationship between the two has been tense for months. However, a Palestinian source reported on Tuesday that Abbas and Qurei had reconciled during a meeting on Monday, and agreed to form a new government, which would serve until the general elections scheduled for January 2006.
For the International Middle East Media Center IMEMC.ORG in Palestine this is Dina Awwad.
IMEMC Audio Team:
Manar Jibrin, George Rishmawi, Dina Awwad, Ghassan Bannoura and for this week, Lora Gordon.