Palestine/Israel News and Information
UPDATE FROM THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA 17 August 2005
EI COVERAGE OF THE GAZA “DISENGAGEMENT” PROCESS electronicintifada.net/bytopic/379.shtml
EI BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE GAZA “DISENGAGEMENT” electronicintifada.net/bytopic/259.shtml
PALESTINIANS UNDER WITHDRAWAL CURFEW Laila El-Haddad, 17 August 2005
Palestinian communities living near Jewish settlements are bracing themselves for a month-long Israeli-imposed closure set to start on Tuesday. Residents of the Maani area of Dair al-Balah, adjacent to the colony of Kfarm Darom in the central Gaza Strip, were lining up in front of the gate to their fenced in community on Monday morning, waiting for Israeli approval to enter ahead of the closure. Abdullah Maani, 34, said residents were allowed out of the village for a few hours to buy food and supplies before the closure would be enforced, adding that they had yet to see any evidence of a withdrawal. “If we weren’t hearing it from the radio and television stations, you would think there is no withdrawal going on.”
SETTLER ATTACKS, ARRESTS AND DENIAL OF ACCESS PCHR, 17 August 2005
The Israeli military has begun to move Israeli settlers from their illegal settlements inside the Gaza Strip. At the same time settlers have attacked Palestinian civilians while the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) continue to arbitrarily arrest and detain Palestinian civilians. The Israeli military have continued to detain Palestinian civilians, imprison them and place communities under siege across the Occupied Palestinian Territory. At the same time they have prevent human rights defenders from gaining access. Settlers have been present near the main roads and have obstructed the movement of vehicles. Palestinian ambulances have not been able to move between the two parts of al-Mawasi area in Khan Yunis and Rafah.
ISRAEL BANS PALESTINIAN JOURNALISTS FROM COVERING GAZA DISENGAGEMENT IFJ, 16 August 2005
The International Federation of Journalists today renewed its appeal to Israel to end the ban on accreditation for Palestinian journalists, which prevents local media from covering the end of the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip. “This is a historic moment for Palestinians,” said Aidan White, General Secretary of the IFJ, as the work to remove settlements in the area began, “but local journalists cannot cover the story because Israel discriminates against Palestinian journalists and refuses to grant them press cards that will give them access to the area.” Only a handful of Palestinian journalists have been granted a card allowing them to cross into Gaza to cover the story.
GAZANS CAUTIOUS, BUT EAGER FOR PULLOUT Laila El-Haddad, 16 August 2005
At the edge of the Khan Yunus refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, crumbling refugee homes face off with the red-roofed seafront villas of the Neve Dekalim settlement. The settlement, one of 21 chosen for evacuation in coming months, has been the source of much grief – and now speculation – for Palestinians here. Abo Ahmed’s home stands directly across from Neve Dekalim, the largest and most ideologically extreme of the Gush Katif settlements, a bloc established in 1970 – three years after Gaza was captured and occupied by Israel. Not far from the settlement is an Israeli sniper tower, stationed along with hundreds of soldiers, to protect the illegal settlers from their Palestinian neighbours and original inhabitants of the land.
WFP STORES FOOD IN GAZA FOR PALESTINIANS AFFECTED BY ISRAELI WITHDRAWAL WFP, 16 August 2005
The United Nations World Food Programme today announced it has stored food supplies in Gaza Strip to sustain tens of thousands of impoverished Palestinians ahead of the Israeli withdrawal which started early Monday. Anticipating possible logistic hurdles and uncertainty, the UN food aid agency in the occupied Palestinian territory pre-positioned 5,800 metric tonnes in 21 warehouses in the Gaza Strip. The food is sufficient to feed the 156,000 Palestinians who benefit from WFP rations until the end of October. In addition, WFP has already provided all beneficiaries in the densely populated Strip with a two-month ration for July and August.
DESPITE ISRAELI DISENGAGEMENT, PALESTINIANS CONTINUE TO ENDURE CLOSURES, ARRESTS AND ATTACKS PCHR, 16 August 2005
Israeli settlers have been given a forty-eight hour grace period (beginning midnight 14th August), within which to leave their illegal settlements in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Meanwhile the IOF is imposing increased closures across the OPT, severely restricting Palestinian civilians’ freedom of movement, while Palestinian civilians are also coming under attack from militant settlers. Israel is removing 8,500 settlers from the Gaza Strip, corresponding to only 2 percent of the total settler population (425,000) currently living in the OPT, including East Jerusalem, and this year alone Israel is building housing for 30,000 more settlers in the West Bank. The removal of settlers from Gaza must be viewed within this broader context of ongoing settler activity in the West Bank.
SPECIAL ENVOY ON DISENGAGEMENT WOLFENSOHM CONCLUDES HIS FOURTH VISIT TO THE REGION LACC, 15 August 2005
James Wolfensohn, Special Envoy for Disengagement, concluded his fourth visit to the region on 10 August since his appointment at the beginning of June 2005. With Disengagement scheduled to begin in a week’s time, all efforts have been focused on resolution of the six joint issues: border crossings and trade corridors, the connection between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, movement in the West Bank, air and sea ports, settlement houses, green houses in the settlements. In addition there are three Palestinian issues: the fiscal crisis, the PA faces a budget shortfall of approximately $400 million; the three year plan for Palestinian development; and a package of quick impact economic programs.
SLICING OFF GAZA IS JUST A DIPLOMATIC NOSE JOB Sharif Hamadeh, 15 August 2005
A teenage soldier in Tapuah, a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, shot to death four Palestinian citizens of Israel and injured several others last Thursday on a bus in Shafa’amr, a quiet Arab town in the north of Israel where I work. Israel’s Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, denounced the shootings as an act of “terrorism” designed to “harm the fabric of relations among all Israeli citizens”, and threaten Israel’s “stability as a democracy”. For Palestinians living in Israel, however, his words were of little comfort.
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