Beit Hanoun and a Report from Maya Rosenfeld :
Beit Hanoun, in the aftermath of the two-month long Israeli re-occupation -is now a disaster zone:
Al-Ayyam daily reported this week (Tuesday, July 1st, and Thursday, July 3rd) on the scope of death and destruction brought about by the two-months long Israeli invasion of Beit Hanoun and adjacent locales in the northern Gaza Strip:
25 residents of Beit Hanoun and environs were killed during the re-occupation period and 280 were wounded.
40 houses were completely demolished (bulldozed or dynamited)
550 houses were partially destroyed (some beyond repair).
Dozens of industrial workshops and a large factory were demolished.
Urban infrastructure destroyed or heavily damaged includes the main road connecting Beit Hanun to the central Strip, side roads, the electricity, water and telephone networks.
According to the evaluation of the Palestinian ministry of agriculture, between May 15th and June 30th:
3,683 dunams of agricultural land was razed by the IDF in Beit Hanoun.
120,000 citrus trees
3800 olive trees,
15,000 fruit trees
50 palm trees were uprooted/razed
430 bee-hives were destroyed.
The army also destroyed eight water wells, irrigation systems, hot-houses, cattle farms, and lands planted with vegetables.
Report From Maya Rosenfeld and her team: Chaya , Lauren, and Tamar
Etzion Checkpoint,Halhul Eastern Roadblocks and al-Khader Roadblocks
Dear Watchers and Friends,
General: This week (Sunday June 29th, through Saturday, July 5th) saw the enforcement in Gaza Strip and in zone A of the Bethlehem district of the Israeli-Palestinian agreement regarding the redeployment of the IDF, cessation of IDF incursions/operations and transfer of control to PNA security forces. At the same time, the inter-Palestinian agreement to cease armed attacks inside the green line and in the Occupied Territories, which was adopted last week was respected by all the involved factions/organizations.
Whereas the Israeli redeployment in the Gaza Strip carried in its wake significant implications for Palestinian everyday life, consequences of the redeployment in Bethlehem for residents of the district are minor, let alone the impact on the West Bank as a whole, which is virtually non-existent. The reason for this difference can be easily traced. The Israeli withdrawal from the northern Gaza Strip (Beit Hanoun and other locales re-occupied more than two months ago), together with the reopening of the Strip's major longitudinal road (Salah-a-Din road) and major crossing-points to Palestinian movement, and - most important - the cessation of Israeli incursions, assassinations, house demolitions and land razing, brought about immediate relief. This 'relief' - no residents of the Strip killed by the IDF this week, no demolitions carried out - is ever more conspicuous given the unprecedented scope of Israeli aggression to which residents of the Strip were subjected over the last 33 months, and especially over the last seven months or so (resulting in unparalleled loss of human lives, destruction and damage). The Palestinian press reported, however, that the IDF withdrawal to the pre- Sept 28 2000 positions is by no means complete: while the longitudinal road has been re-opened, and while PNA security forces resumed control, major IDF posts (overlooking central junctions) have been relocated (but not dismantled), exposing Palestinian passengers to ongoing threat/danger. Also, settlers continue to enjoy "Palestinian free" transverse roads ( (al-Ayyam, July 3rd). The mass destruction the Israeli forces left behind them is another issue at stake (see details below).
On the other hand, in the Bethlehem district redeployment of the Israeli military is confined to "zone A" (the urban complex including Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahour, the refugee camps of Dheisheh, al-'Azza and al-'Aida + the village of Irtas), whereas IDF presence around zone A and throughout the rural region of the district, including connecting roads and the major Bethlehem-Hebron road, remains unchanged. The siege has not been lifted and that the closure policy stays intact. A resident of Bethlehem who needs to travel to any other region in the West Bank today faces similar difficulties to those he/she experienced over the last months/years. The recent tightening of the closure imposed on the adjacent Hebron district (see details in below report from checkpoints) further demonstrates the absurdity and deception. Other districts of the West Bank witnessed the continuation of IDF arrest operations (at the time when the release of prisoners (currently more than 6000) is the next issue on the political agenda), several IDF incursions into residential neighborhoods, one apparent incident of assassination/targeted killing (32 years old Mahmoud Shawur, a Fatah activist from Qalqilya, lethally shot inside his home by a special unit on the night between July 2nd and 3rd (al-Ayyam, July 3rd)), and the killing of a Palestinian youth at a military checkpoint (19 years old Nemer Jayousi from Tulkarem, shot dead on Tuesday morning, July 1st, near checkpoint south of Tulkarem).
Israeli officials refused the Palestinian demand that redeployment in the Bethlehem district include the rural region and the connecting roads, and declared that the next redeployment - not scheduled until at least three more weeks - will be confined to one additional Palestinian city (e.g. Ramallah). The Israeli conception of 'redeployment' in the West Bank, then, is to return to the pre- "Defense Shield" situation and not to the pre-Sept 28 2000 one, that is, withdrawing forces from the cities re-occupied during that operation, and retaining full occupation over the entire territory (and even the progression of this caricature of redeployment is conditioned upon Palestinian "good behavior"). It is unclear how long this "interpretation" (in itself a gross violation of the current stage of "Road Map") will be tolerated by Road Map mentors, though ample past experience (see Mitchell plan) suggests that this is precisely the point/issue where international intervention fails to come through/establish itself. What is clear, however, is that as long as the siege/closure policy is imposed the situation on the ground will remain not only unbearable but also volatile (the way the Israeli policy-makers want it).
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