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Tightening grip over the West Bank


Behind the smokescreen: tightening grip over the West Bank

Abu Dis--Az-Zawiya--Beit Awa--Bezariya--A-Ram--Settlement extension

Israeli Anarchists arrested after opening roadblocks which strangled Palestinian village

Palestinian and international women resist mass uprooting of olive trees in Az-Zawiya; CALL UPON ISRAELIS TO JOIN! video footage: (IWPS) Hebrew will be sent separately / ðåñç áòáøéú éáåà áîñø ðôøã

Sharon's reported motivation: "To rest easy for another 50 years" Akiva Eldar in Ha'aretz of yesterday

~~~

Behind the smokescreen: tightening grip over the West Bank Abu Dis--Az-Zawiya--Beit Awa--Bezariya--A-Ram--Settlement extension

After a long wrangle, Ariel Sharon got his reluctant cabinet to pass a highly ambiguous resolution concerning Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, supposedly to be implemented within eighteen months (which, in Middle East politics, is tantamount to eternity). This gave some renewed credit to Sharon's claim to be "a peace-maker" and made the international community less observant of what Sharon and his generals are doing in the here-and-now. Sharon used his renewed freedom of manoeuvre for launching an air strike into Lebanon, by far the closest to Beirut that the Israeli Air Force came since the withdrawal from Lebanon four years ago. It is also manifested in a marked tightening of the Israeli grip on the West Bank, of which Sharon has no intention of letting loose (except for the promised token dismantling of four settlements out of more than a hundred). It is expressed in accelerated construction of the Separation Wall/Fence/Barrier everywhere except for the sectors where construction was temporarily halted by injunctions of the Supreme Court (after joint Palestinian-Israeli appeals). In addition, there seems to be a tightening of roadblocks and travel restrictions, as well as of settlement construction.

The following instances,all of which came to our attention in the past few days, is far from exhaustive. Rather, it represents the cases where the Palestinians involved have access either to the Israeli peace movement or the media - which in many places is not the case.

# At Abu-Dis, another Palestinian Suburb of Jerusalem, Israeli army bulldozers invaded the grounds of the campus of Al Quds University and started preparatory work for erection of the Wall - in direct contravention of promises made to the university's president, the well- known Palestinian peace activist Sari Nusseibeh. (Kol Yisrael morning news, 8/6/04).

# At the village of Az-Zawiya, where the Supreme Court last week lifted an earlier injunction and permitted the army to carry out "work which does not cause irreversible damage", the bulldozers arrived in the night between June 6 and 7, and by daylight had already uprooted dozens of olive trees. Work on the Wall and non-violent resistance by the villagers has been going on there for the past two days, and are expected to increase towards the end of the week. (See message by the IWPS women).

# An official of the Palestinian Authority in the Hebron area told us that the army started issuing land confiscation orders in preparation for extending the Wall to this sector. Not only does the hitherto untouched village of Beit Awa stand to lose part of its land, but several small communities in the South Hebron Mount area - already severely harassed in the past years - were told by an officer that they would "have to relocate" in the interest of building the Wall.

# Also in the same area, Israeli settlers at Karmel started to construct ten new houses on the land of their Palestinian neighbors. Upon making an appeal with the help of ACRI (Assoc. for Civil Rights) they were told that their land had become "state land" already in 1982 - except that until now nobody bothered to tell the owners about this amazing change of ownership.

# The villagers of Bezariya had traditionally gone to Nablus for shopping, health sevices and everything else not locally available. In the past year, access to Nablus has become virtually impossible and the villagers turned instead to Tulkarem. In recent months, however, the direction of Tulkarem was cut off as well. Today Israeli anarchists and internationals came and succeeded in removing the blockage, at least for the time being - though later some of them were arrested (see report below).

# During the Israeli-Palestinian demonstration last Saturday at A-Ram, norht of Jerusalem, we heard a chilling analysis from Jamal Juma'a of the the Palestinian environemental NGO Pengon. Among other things, the work starting now in this sector (directly north of Jerusalem) would transform A-Ram from a thriving community of 60,000 and major commercial depot into a completely surrounded and isolated community. Also, a major highway leading from Ramalla eastward would become reserved for settler use only, with high walls erected on both sides to prevent Palestinians from even approaching it. (Details http://www.pengon.org, info@pengon.org).

>From all this follows: Sharon is abusing the credit given him, and in dealing with Israel's present prime minister one must follow an invariable rule: don't listen to what Sharon is saying, look at what he is doing!

For more information: Gush Shalom Spokesperson Adam Keller: +972-3-5565804 / +972-56-709603

[] Israeli Anarchists arrested after opening roadblocks which strangled Palestinian village

Today, six Israeli activists of "Anarchists Against Fences" were detained for opening a barrier which effectively strangled the Palestinian vllage of Bezariya. The six had been among several dozen Israeli and international activists which arrived at the spot this morning. Together with the Palestinian villagers, the activists swiftly removed two mounds of earth which the army had piled up and which blocked the villagers' access to both Nablus and Tulkarem. Apparently the army and police were caught napping, and there was no sign of them as the intersection was cleared and the villagers enabled to travel freely for the first time in months. But on their way back, the activists' bus was boarded by plaincloths policemen, who took everybody's I.D's and/or passports, and photographed everybody in the bus. At first, all passengers were told that they were under detention. Later, the police selected six who were evidently considered "ringleaders" who were taken off to the Ariel Police Station, where they are still held at present. Untiring human rights lawyer Gabi Laski took up their case.

For more details as well as photos and video footage: cat@squat.net or call +972-54-6327736/+972-54-5333364/+972-67-981647/+972-3-5283767

[] Palestinian and international women resist mass uprooting of olive trees in Az-Zawiya; CALL UPON ISRAELIS TO JOIN! video footage: http://www.womenspeacepalestine.org/news8junazzawiya.htm (IWPS) Hebrew will be sent separately / ðåñç áòáøéú éáåà áîñø ðôøã

------- Forwarded message follows ------- Send reply to:

Bulldozers are working constantly in the village and the villagers have sent out an appeal for internationals and Israelis to come to AZ-ZAWIYA.

If you are able to go right away, that’s great. Otherwise, tomorrow there is to be a demonstration in AZ-ZAWIYA. Please meet in the village 1 pm.

This Friday, June 11th, 2004 they want to have a huge demonstration with Israeli and international presence. Please come in large numbers to the village.

Directions: Coming West along Highway 5, take the road towards Pdu’el and Alei Zahav. At a roundabout take the direction to Beit Arye. You will eventually come to the Deir Ballut checkpoint. You need to turn right here (involves first turning left because of barriers and then doing a U- turn). The road straight ahead takes you to Rafat and then Az-Zawiya. If you need to take Palestinian transport, go to Qarawat Bani Hassan roadblock and then take a shar ed taxi from there to Az-Zawiya. It is one village south of Mas’ha. If you need more information, please call IWPS at 09 251 6644 or 067 870 198

[we add from yesterday's message:]

video footage: http://www.womenspeacepalestine.org/news8junazzawiya.htm.

[] Sharon's reported motivation: "To rest easy for another 50 years" Akiva Eldar in Ha'aretz of yesterday

A poor man's history

By Akiva Eldar

Mon., June 07, 2004 http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/435918.html

Hebrew: http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/pages/ShArtPE.jhtml?itemNo=435952

According to the newspaper headlines, which are heralding a "historic day," it appears that in Israel, history, too, is no longer what it used to be. The headlines also seem to be amusing the goddess of history, who was longing for a good laugh, and scheduled the "historic" cabinet session on the matter of the disengagement from Gaza precisely 37 years following its occupation.

As if the aforesaid was not enough of a coincidence, news of the compromise reached with regard to delaying the evacuation of settlements broke almost exactly at the same time as the news of the death of former president Ronald Reagan. On September 1, 1982, Reagan published his Middle East peace plan, which proposed autonomy for the Palestinians in the West Bank, as part of a federation with Jordan.

Ariel Sharon was defense minister in Menachem Begin's government, which ripped the Reagan plan to shreds because, among other reasons, of its demand to freeze settlements. Rejection of the plan led, five years later, to a parting gift from the Reagan administration - the first official dialogue between the United States and the Palestine Liberation Organization. From there, it was a short road to the Madrid Conference and the Oslo Accord, the Wye agreement and the road map.

Each of these plans and agreements had a common denominator: All led to implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 242, which calls for an Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in the Six-Day War to secure an d recognized borders.

One of the Likud ministers who has consistently opposed the disengagement plan told Haaretz that Sharon had admitted to him that his decision to sacrifice the settlements in the Gaza Strip was designed to erase all mention of 242. In response to a request from the said minister to hear where Sharon was headed after the evacuation of the settlements, the prime minister responded that following the withdrawal from the Strip and a handful of settlements in northern Samaria, it would be possible to rest easy for another 50 years.

Sharon is therefore taking a gamble on his political future so as to put the brakes on the wheels of history, rather than to propel them forward. He is putting unity of ranks in the government and in his party at risk in order to perpetuate the overall situation and not to change it.

Sharon has chosen to evacuate a few thousand settlers from Gaza out of fear that the alternative will be far more costly. Who can assure him that Bush won't go down the same path taken by his hero, America's 40th presiden t, who passed away? Who can guarantee him that the day after the U.S. elections, his good friend in the White House won't also find a way to show the world that he isn't Sharon's poodle?

Indeed, it is difficult to find a resemblance between the disengagement plan and Bush's vision of the establishment of a Palestinian state, but there is no doubting the fact that Sharon has displayed "maximum effort" to g uide his plan through numerous obstacles, including some (the Likud referendum) that he set up himself.

Thus, with half a promise of a withdrawal that is designed to block initiatives that are the likes of the Geneva understandings, and with the help of the cries of the settlers and their patrons among the extreme right and the rejectionists from home in the Likud, Sharon has turned into the darling of the peace camp.

And in the final analysis - whether he disengages from Gaza or he doesn't - there is, nevertheless, a certain blessing in the actions of the prime minister. He has caused a split between the rational Israeli right and the fundamentalist Israeli right. He has driven a wedge between a camp that has remained stuck on the Land of Israel for security reasons, and even national yearnings, and a camp that is motivated by divine decree and a sense of messianic mission.

Sharon has released the government of Israel from the yoke of former minister Avigdor Lieberman, who dared to threaten more than one million Israeli citizens with deportation. And one hopes that the prime minister's plan will lead to the resignation of Minister Effi Eitam, who is quoted thus in the May 31 edition of The New Yorker: "It is not by chance that the State of Israel got the mission to pave the way for the rest of the world, to militarily get rid of these dark forces."

According to The New Yorker's Jeffrey Goldberg, Eitam told him that there are "innocent men among the Palestinians, but they are collectively guilty," and "we will have to kill them all."

To avoid mistakes, the leader of the National Religious Party added: "I know it's not very diplomatic. I don't mean all the Palestinians, but the ones with evil in their heads - not only blood on their hands, but evil in their heads. They are contaminating the hearts and minds of the next generation of Palestinians."

# Truth against Truth - opposite views on the history of the conflict in 101 steps

Hebrew / òáøéú http://www.gush-shalom.org/Docs/Truth_Heb.pdf

English http://www.gush-shalom.org/Docs/Truth_Eng.pdf

# Boycott List of Settlement Products (newly updated) Hebrew / òáøéú http://gush-shalom.org/Boycott/boycheb.htm

English http://gush-shalom.org/Boycott/boyceng.htm

# Video footage of mass uprooting of olive trees and the women's resistance in Az Zawiya, June 7 (all of it for the construction of the monster Wall) available at:

http://www.womenspeacepalestine.org/news8junazzawiya.htm (International Womens' Peace Service - IWPS)

# For pictures of the ongoing destruction in Rafah: http://www.rafahtoday.org

# Refusniks

Constantly-updated refusniks lists:

English - http://www.yesh-gvul.org/english/prison/ Hebrew / òáøéú - http://www.yesh-gvul.org/prison/

English - http://www.newprofile.org/default.asp?language=en Hebrew / òáøéú - http://www.newprofile.org/

Help us free our children from the military prison! (parents of The Five) For ENGLISH details please click http://www.refuz.org.il/help.html For HEBREW please click http://www.refuz.org.il/hebrew/help.html Homepage with lots of information: http://www.refuz.org.il/

# Eye-witness reports from the Occupied Territories: http://www.machsomwatch.org (Israeli women monitoring the checkpoints) http://www.palsolidarity.org/pressreleases/pressreleases.php (internationals throughout OT)

-- http://www.gush-shalom.org/ (òáøéú/Hebrew) http://www.gush-shalom.org/english/index.html (English) http://www.gush-shalom.org/arabic/index.html (selected articles in Arabic)

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