Report: Wall construction, settlement expansion and nonviolent resistance in 2007
According to a new report released by the Popular Campaign Against the Wall, during the past year, the Israeli government has continued its construction of the illegal annexation Wall in the occupied West Bank, and confiscated thousands of Dunams in addition to uprooting hundreds of trees and demolishing dozens of houses, especially in the Jerusalem area.
Translated by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC
The Popular Campaign Against the Annexation Wall, a grassroots campaign in the occupied West Bank, stated that Israel has stepped up its settlement activities and continued its policies of aggression against the Palestinian people and their land during the year 2007.
The report explained how Israel has continued its unjust siege over the Palestinian territories and continued closure of the international crossings, the military roadblocks and checkpoint on the entrances of Palestinian towns, cities and refugee camps in addition to major roads linking between different parts of the occupied West Bank.
The Popular Campaign stated in its report that the Israeli occupation forces continued the expansion of settlements and the Annexation Wall in direct violation of all international laws and regulations, especially the advisory resolution of the International Court of Justice in the Hague which clearly stated that the Annexation Wall is illegal since it is built on Palestinian lands and separates the Palestinians from each other and from their orchards and farmlands.
Israel also stepped up its illegal settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and annexed more land in order to expand these settlements.
According to the report, in 2007 Israel completed 6% of the wall, which is equivalent to 48 km of the original planned route which will be 790 km long. 80 kilometers are currently under construction. Over the past five years, Israel has constructed 56% of the planned route of the Wall -- over 450 kilometers, including 120 kilometers constructed in 2006.
The Israeli authorities have released information that they have revised the route of the Wall, and that these modifications will be implemented in 2009. The modifications include sections of the Wall in Jenin district, in the northern part of the West Bank. These modifications, in fact, which increase the length of the Wall to 790 kilometers instead of the 630 earlier announced by the Israeli government. This will mean annexing more orchards from villages in the Jenin district.
The Popular Campaign also reported that Israel has started the construction of alternative roads which connect southern and central West Bank areas with Jericho, and has totally annexed and isolated main Palestinian roads and lands, especially the historic Jericho-Jerusalem road.
The Campaign stated that the segregation roads, tunnels and blockades aim at further weakening the Palestinian economy to make it always dependent on Israel.
During the past year, Israeli authorities announced that they intend to build three huge settlements on Palestinian lands around Jerusalem. The plan includes constructing 30,000 houses for Jewish settlers, 10,000 in each settlement. The three huge settlements are intended to be built on annexed Palestinian lands in Qalandia, north of Jerusalem, Atarot – north west of Jerusalem, and the third settlement will be in south west Jerusalem.
The Israeli government also stated that it plans to construct 1100 settler homes in Maali Adumim settlement, east of Jerusalem, and Abu Ghneim (Har Homa) in Bethlehem. Israel also approved the construction of a settlement neighborhood in “Matityaho Mizrah” area, which is part of the illegal settlement of Modi’in Elite, constructed on lands annexed from the Palestinian village of Bil’in, west of Ramallah. The new “neighborhood” will include nearly 1500 settler houses which will be built in several stages.
According to the report, the number of settlements is now 148, including 78 which will be on the western section of the Wall. 369.280 settlers are living in illegal settlement which will be located on the western side of the Wall, and 42750 settlers will be living on the eastern side of the Wall. All are living on Palestinian lands which were illegal annexed in direct violation to the international law.
Israel was planning to complete the construction of the Wall by the end of 2008, but recently the Israeli government stated that the construction of the Wall was extended until the end of 2010. The Wall was ratified by the Israeli government in 2002 and was planned to be full constructed by the end of 2008.
During the past year, Israel confiscated nearly 3143 Dunums of Palestinians lands in order to construct the Wall and settlements, especially in Jerusalem area. More than 3000 Dunums of orchards were razed and more than 2480 trees were uprooted, which led to significant losses for the Palestinian agricultural sector. Also, the Israeli authorities demolished at least 165 Palestinians houses in 2007, and demolished dozens of stores, in addition to dozens of trade facilities and agricultural compounds and hothouses. Out of the 165 demolished houses, 137 houses where demolished in Jerusalem and its surrounding villages.
Attacks against Bedouin areas
The Israeli government also continued its attacks against the Bedouins and made at least 263 residents homeless after forcing them out of their areas and homes in order to use these lands as “military zones”.
The siege on Gaza
The siege imposed on the Gaza Strip led to the death of 60 residents after they were barred from leaving the coastal region for medical treatment. While in the West Bank, 13 residents died at military roadblocks after the army prevented ambulances from reaching hospitals. One of the casualties was a child who was shot by a concussion grenade in the back of her head.
National nonviolent resistance, the International Solidarity Movement
Popular nonviolent resistance increased in Palestinian villages and cities, and the weekly nonviolent protests against the Wall and settlements continued in dozens of villages in Ramallah, Bethlehem and other Palestinian areas.
Some of the most significant examples of nonviolent resistance against the Wall and settlement are the protests in Bil’in and Bodros villages, near Ramallah, in participation with Israeli and international peace activists, who protest weekly in peaceful protests against the Wall and settlements and are always met with brutal violence by the Israeli forces.
The nonviolent protesters also marked the Land Day on March 30, and the fifty-ninth anniversary of the Nakba (cataclysm), accompanied by several national and Islamic institutions, non-governmental organizations, the Coalition for Defending the Rights of the Refugees.
In addition, the Popular Committee Against the Wall and several other committees continued their nonviolent protests against the Wall and settlements and organized unified protests on a weekly basis with the support of international and Israeli peace activists.
The First National Conference to boycott Israel was held in 2007 as a strategy of civil and popular resistance against the Israeli occupation, while the Popular Committee Against the Wall and the Network of Palestinian Nongovernmental Organizations organized an Academic boycott against Israel and organized an initiative to defend the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and the Golan Heights.
The Palestinian National Workers Union also declared a boycott campaign against Israel on February 11, 2007, and voiced an appeal to international workers unions in Arab and Foreign Countries to boycott Israel.
On the international level, the French-Palestinian Solidarity Institution filed a lawsuit in France against Velia and Alstom French companies for their involvement in the construction of the Annexation Wall in the occupied West Bank, and their involvement in a train track project which will pass through Palestinian villages near Jerusalem and link Jerusalem with illegal settlements south and southwest of the city.
Moreover, the Association of British Lecturers decided to carry out an Academic boycott against Israel due to Israel's continued occupation and racism against the Palestinian people.
UNISON, the biggest trade union in Britain, representing people who work in public services, voluntary and private sectors, also decided to impose an economic boycott against Israel. The British Transport Workers Union implemented a boycott on goods and products produced by the Israel, and organized a solidarity campaign called “Palestine – Britain”, a campaign to boycott Israeli products imported into Britain. Friends of the Far British international campaign called for the expulsion of the Israeli team and the suspension of their participation in the World Cup sporting events in Europe.
The Palestine-Britain Solidarity Campaign organized a campaign against Israeli products in the UK, and the Friends of Al Aqsa Foundation in Britain demanded a total boycott of all Israeli products in addition to boycotting Israel in the European sports activities.
Moreover, the Justice in The Middle East coalition - New York organized a campaign to boycott the Israeli businessman and diamond merchant Lev Leviev (known as Israel's richest man) for his involvement and heavy financial support to illegal Israeli settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The Canadian Labor Party called for a boycott of Israel for its illegal occupation of Palestinian land.
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