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This Week in Palestine – Week 28 2007

Audio Dept. | 13.07.2007 16:48 | Palestine | World

This Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center,, for July 7th through July 13th, 2007.

This Week in Palestine – Week 28 2007 - mp3 17M

This week marks the 3rd anniversary of the international court of justice's ruling of the illegality of the Israeli wall. In other news, the Israeli army continued this week to attack Palestinian communities. These stories and more coming up. Stay tuned.

Nonviolent Resistance in Palestine

Let's begin our weekly report with the nonviolent actions in Palestine against the wall and settlements.

Monday July 9th, 2007 marks the three-year anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s ruling that declared the illegality of the Israeli wall. The ICJ called on the state of Israel to demolish the Wall immediately and pay reparations to all those affected by the construction of the illegal structure.

As it has done with many international and United Nations resolutions, Israel ignored the decision of the ICJ and continued to build the illegal wall and confiscate many hundreds-of-thousands of acres of Palestinian-owned land in the process.

Sarret Michaeli the communication coordinator of the Israeli human right group of B'Tselem affirmed the illegality and illegitimacy of the Wall:

The Wall's total length will be some 730 km. The Wall is not being built on, or in most cases near the 1967 Green Line, but rather cuts deep into the West Bank, expanding Israel's grab of Palestinian land and resources. When completed, the Wall will de facto annex some 47% of the West Bank, isolating communities into Bantustans, ghettos and "military zones".

The Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including almost 1.5 million refugees, will be living on only 12% of mandate Palestine. Some 12% of Palestinians in the West Bank will be "outside" the Wall in the de facto annexed areas by Israel and in unbearable living conditions - the loss of land, markets, movement and livelihoods - and faced with expulsion. 98% of the settler population will be included in the de facto annexed areas.

Dr. Jad Isaac, Director of the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem, specialists in geopolitical research, highlighted the intentions behind the Wall’s construction:

Currently, the Wall is being built in the districts of Qalqiliya, Tulkarem, Jenin, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron. The Jordan Valley is almost completely isolated from the rest of the West Bank.


Approximately 60 Palestinian villagers from Wad el-Neiss, located to the south of Bethlehem in the southern West Bank, side-by side with Israeli and international supporters, protested today against the confiscation of land for the construction of the illegal Israeli wall.

Friday’s non-violent action was organized by the Local Popular Committee of Land Defense as part of a set of non-violent actions commemorating the third anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s ruling that the Israeli wall is an illegal structure that should be demolished and those affected by it compensated.

On Friday, the villagers of Wad el-Neiss marched from the village towards the construction site of the Wall located on illegally annexed lands that are owned by the village farmers. Upon arrival, the protesters were met by a massive number of Israeli soldiers who ambushed and attacked demonstrators. No injuries were reported. Witnesses told IMEMC that, during the short scuffle that took place, one Palestinian farmer was kidnapped by the army and taken to an unknown location.

After one hour of protesting in Wad el-Neiss, protestors moved to the nearby village of Artass where they conducted another march. The protestors attempted to reach land set to be confiscated in order to build a sewage system for an illegal Israeli settlement, destroying hundreds of dunums of land owned by local villagers. Once again, the army was waiting for the protestors and denied them access to the villagers' land. After a short standoff, Palestinian organizers of the protest decided to end it.


Commemorating the third anniversary of the ICJ’s ruling that the Israeli wall is illegal, residents of the village of Bil’in, located near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, held their weekly demonstration as they have done for the past two years.

Internationals, Palestinians and Israelis marched together towards the construction site of the wall. Speeches were delivered during the protest from the local organizers, Palestinian activists, organizations involved in non-violent action and international volunteers.

Upon arrival at the construction site, Israeli soldiers fired upon the demonstration with rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs and tear-gas. Local sources reported that 3 protestors were injured, among them one French citizen.

Political report

All Hamas legislators in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip boycotted on Wednesday a Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) session called by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Fatah slammed the actions of Hamas, branding them as a willful obstruction of the legislative process. President Abbas issued a decree last week calling for the PLC session in order to mark the beginning of the chamber’s new term.
The Hamas movement, which enjoys a parliamentary majority in the PLC, boycotted the session in protest against the dissolution of the unity government headed by Ismail Haniyeh, considering the emergency government appointed by Abbas as unconstitutional. Hamas currently refuses to recognize the interim government after the movement won the vast majority of the Parliament seats in last year’s elections.

The Palestinian Parliament, which is currently dominated by Hamas, is the only legal authority entitled to vote on any extension of the current interim government which, according to the Palestinian Basic Law, must receive the approval of two-thirds of the legislature if it is to continue to exist.

However, under the terms of the Palestinian constitution, the President is authorized to dissolve the PLC if the political process is ‘willfully obstructed’ by any political movement. Thus, in branding the actions of Hamas in such a fashion, it would seem that Abbas is preparing the way for the dissolution of the PLC, although such a decision has yet to be taken. Hamas, for their part, questioned the right of President Abbas to convene a parliamentary session, with Hamas deputy speaker of the chamber, Dr. Ahmad Bahar, arguing that only a PLC spokesperson had the right to do so.

Reactions to the failure of the whole of the PLC to convene have been varied. Fatah legislator Dr. Hasan Kreisha stated that the council could not convene as Hamas boycotted it, adding that Fatah still believed that there could be an agreement between the two parties so that the session could be held. Azzam Al Ahmad, head of the Fatah bloc, stated that the basic Palestinian law authorizes the president to issue legislative decrees if the PLC continues to be unable to convene, suggesting that Hamas was willfully obstructing the political process. Elsewhere, Fatah lawmaker Issa Qaraqe’ stated that President Abbas had the right to dissolve the Parliament and call for early elections, arguing that it was possible that Abbas might transform the emergency government into a national government headed by the executive committee and the Central Council of the PLO.

Meanwhile, in related news, a group of lawyers, many of whom assisted in the drafting of the Palestinian constitution, accused President Abbas of acting beyond his legal remit in forming the current emergency government. Lawyers including Anis al-Qasem and Eugene Cotran, both of whom helped to draft the constitution more than ten years ago, have stated that while the Basic Law gave Abbas the power to dismiss former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, it did not empower him to appoint a new cabinet in the absence of parliamentary approval.

In other news, following a call for the Palestinian Central Council to convene, Senior Palestinian sources reported on Sunday that Israel will officially decide to allow the secretary-general of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) Nayef Hawatma, and three Fatah leaders, members of the Central Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to return to Palestine.

The sources stated that Israel will issue an official decision in the coming days allowing Hawatma, who opposed the Oslo agreement and the peace agreements that followed, but participated in the second elections, to enter the Palestinian territories. Farouq Qaddoumi, member of the Central Committee of the Fatah movement and head of the political bureau of the PLO, and two other members of Fatah’s central committee will also be granted entry.

Political analysts have been quick to suggest that the move comes at the request of the Fatah movement, the position of which would be greatly bolstered should the four figures be allowed to attend the meeting of the Palestinian Central Council.

Elsewhere, President Abbas on Monday dissolved the Mohammed Dahlan-headed National Security Council, which supervised all security services in the Palestinian territories. While the President did not offer any explanation for his decision, speculation points to the defeat of the Palestinian Security forces, managed by Dahlan, in Gaza last month.

This week also saw President Abbas accuse Hamas of protecting and supporting al-Qaeda in the Gaza Strip, vowing that Fatah would not negotiate with the movement. Hamas, for their part, were quick to respond to the accusations with Sami Abu Zuhri, spokesperson for Hamas in Gaza, suggesting that Abbas was trying to create and spread anti-Hamas sentiment throughout Palestine and beyond.

Abu Zuhri also condemned the continued closure of the Rafah border terminal, suggesting that the Palestinians stranded there were being used as pawns in a political game. Abu Zuhri added that the Palestinian Authority was responsible for the health and humanitarian hardships aggravated by the border closing, and for ensuring harmony with the Israeli occupation at the expense of Palestinians.

Elsewhere, Interim government-appointed Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced on Friday a number of measures designed to improve the economy and security of the West Bank. Fayyad's reform plans reportedly include the development of a Palestinian Authority-administered welfare support system that would compete with Hamas' success in providing services and assistance to needy Palestinians through a network of charities. Fayyad has reportedly been coordinating his plans with Marwan Barghouthi, a popular Fatah leader currently imprisoned by Israel.

Israeli attacks
The West Bank

During the week, the Israeli army conducted at least 36 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During those invasions, Israeli troops kidnapped 69 Palestinian civilians, including four children. Thus, the number of Palestinians kidnapped by the Israeli army in the West Bank since the beginning of this year has mounted to 1,567. IMEMC's Rena Sahouri has more:

Palestinian security and medical sources in Jenin, in the northern West Bank, reported on Sunday that undercover forces of the Israeli army assassinated the leader of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, after ambushing him in Qabatia town, near Jenin. The undercover forces were driving a Palestinian-licensed vehicle when they infiltrated the area, stopped the fighter's car and showered it with live rounds. Medical sources in Jenin reported that the fighter bled to death after the soldiers barred an ambulance from reaching him after detaining it for more than one hour.

Following the assassination, at least twenty military vehicles invaded the area and conducted military searches of homes.

On Monday, a group of Israeli settlers from the settlement of "Hafat Ya'er," located near Yatta village south of Hebron city in the southern West Bank, attacked and damaged Palestinian homes. Witnesses in Yatta, mostly farmers who live there, said that setters using guns and batons attacked residents and damaged a number of homes in the village. No injuries were reported. The witnesses added that, during the attack, settlers chanted racist songs calling for killing the Palestinians and taking over their lands.

On Thursday, Israeli military forces demolished a private home in a village in the Qalqilia district in the northern West Bank, claiming that the house is located in Zone "C" and is therefore illegal. According to the Oslo agreements, the West Bank is divided into three zones -- A, B, and C.

Zone A, is under complete Palestinian control and includes the cities of Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarem, Qalqilia, Ramallah and Bethlehem. Territories in Zone B are subjected to Palestinian control in regards to civil matters, while Israel manages security issues. Israel has full control over lands and inhabitants in Zone C, which also covers uninhabited areas, Jewish settlements and military installations.
During the Israeli invasion of the West Bank in 2002, the Israeli army seized all areas, including Zones A and B. The owner of the house declared that he was in possession of all the required construction documents, which he presented to the Israeli government after receiving the demolition order.

The Al Quds Brigades reported on Thursday evening that one of its fighters was killed in an attack against an Israeli military roadblock east of Tulkarem, in the northern West Bank. The Brigades stated that one of its fighters approached the Ennab military roadblock and fired at the soldiers stationed there.

The fighter exchanged fire with the soldiers and hurled grenades at the Israeli soldiers before he was shot and killed. The fighter was identified as Mohammad Omar Ziad, 24, from Kafer Ra’ey village, near the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

For this is Rena Sahouri.

The Gaza Strip

During the week, the Israeli army conducted at least two invasions into several areas in the Gaza Strip. Israeli army bulldozers razed at least 170 dunums of agricultural land, kidnapped 10 Palestinian civilians and damaged some civilian property. IMEMC's John Smith has more:

One Israeli soldier was killed and two others wounded by a homemade bomb fired by Palestinian resistance fighters as Israeli forces invaded the Al Buriej refugee camp in Gaza City on Thursday morning. Israeli special units, attempting to infiltrate the camp, were ambushed by a group of resistance fighters from the Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, who fired live rounds and hurled homemade bombs at the invading forces.

Israeli army tanks stationed at the southern Gaza-Israeli borders shelled Palestinian homes in Rafah city on Tuesday afternoon. Palestinian sources said the heavy shelling caused a great deal of damage to homes and injured several civilians.

Also on Tuesday morning, the Al Qassam Brigades fired at least 12 homemade mortar shells at an Israeli military post near the Karem Abu Salem crossing, located in the southern coastal region. While some damage was reported, there were no injuries.

For this is John Smith.


And that’s just some of the news this week in Palestine. For constant updates, check out our website, Thanks for joining us from Occupied Bethlehem, this is Beth Thompson and

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