The Renewed Israeli Occupation
2 million Palestinians under curfew for 61 days!
While Mr Barghouti waits for his trial to start, two other powerful voices have been raised to haunt the Israeli authorities. The first is that of Nelson Mandela, who says he will be closely following the trial proceedings. His involvement is a reminder of the similarities between the bantustans for South African black people under apartheid, and the occupied territories in the West Bank and Gaza. The other voice was that of Marek Edelman, who was deputy commander of the historic Warsaw ghetto uprising of the Jews against the Nazis in 1943.
Now in his 80s, Mr Edelman wrote a letter early this month to Palestinian leaders. Though the letter criticised the suicide bombers, its tone infuriated the Israeli government and its press. He wrote in a spirit of solidarity from a fellow resistance fighter, as a former leader of a Jewish uprising not dissimilar in desperation to the Palestinian uprising in the occupied territories. He addressed his letter to "commanders of the Palestinian military, paramilitary and partisan operations - to all the soldiers of the Palestinian fighting organisations". [read more]
by Amira Hass
The more the army leaves the cities, the more the Civil Administration authorities will encounter requests for passes. "But it's an administrative disaster," said one foreign diplomat following the process of reforms in the PA. Just to implement a reformation of the legal system requires freedom of movement for judges, prosecutors, attorneys, witnesses and accused between the various districts. To revive the Palestinian financial sector so salaries and pensions can be paid - and so the work of the security forces can be renewed, as the gradual cease-fire plan says - requires economic activity, which requires freedom of movement.
An election will require freedom of movement for candidates and their activists. "The Civil Administration will need 50,000 new clerks just to issue travel passes for two million people within a reasonable period of time and in a routine manner," said the diplomat. [read more]
Nablus: LAW warns of health and environmental crisis
Tomorrow Tuesday, August 20, 2002, Nablus and four refugee camps, in addition to five surrounding villages, will enter its third months under complete occupation. Israel's siege on the 200,000 residents of this area has not been eased and causes severe social, economic, environmental and health problems.
The consistent use of violence and intimidation during the course of the curfew, and the widescale interference with humanitarian relief which has maximised the deleterious effect, the main thrust behind this isolation policy has been to collectively punish the civilian population in order to wear down its resistance to the occupation.
The Fourth Geneva Convention provides obligations to the Occupying Power:
(1) to ensure the normal supply and to facilitate the distribution of foodstuffs, medical supplies, and other essential items, and to ensure the normal functioning of medical personnel, services, and institutions;
(2) to supplement the provision and distribution of the above goods and services, and the maintenance of the above institutions;
(3) to unconditionally refrain from interference in any of the above, especially with respect to relief consignments.
First and foremost, collective punishment is not a valid rationale, and in fact a flagrantly illegitimate one, for their imposition. Secondly, any valid security considerations that exist for forcibly confining civilian populations to their homes are explicitly limited by the
occupation authorities' duty to ensure the maintenance of normal public life. Their use is therefore to be kept to a minimum both in terms of frequency and duration. Finally, curfews may never be used as a pretext to deny civilians the right to essential goods and services. Under no circumstances may the occupation authorities invoke reasons of security to justify the general suspension of all humanitarian activities in an occupied territory. [read more]
Israeli Air Force chief urges trials for leftist Gush Shalom activists