Thursday, July 19, 2007

Israel’s “good will gestures": The distance between reality and rhetoric

For the past month, Israeli and international media has been lauding Olmert’s for his “good will gestures” which include the proposed release 250 Fatah aligned Palestinian Prisoners. While the news of the yet-to-be released Palestinian prisoners is all over the international news, barely a word has been said about the fact that Israeli has arrested more than 300 Palestinians, the majority from Abbas’ Fatah party, in the two weeks period after Olmert and Israel began touting their good will gestures. According to Palestinian News Agency, Ma’an, the figures were released by Fatah’s information office on July 10 reveal that Israel has continued to target and illegal abduct Palestinians.

This week, the PA run Palestinian National Information Centre also released its monthly statistics on the Israeli occupation. According to the PNIC, during the month of June, Israel occupation forces killed 49 Palestinians and wounded a further 147. During the same period, the Israel abducted and arrested 383 Palestinians and carried out 765 invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and committed a total of 2,380 human rights violations against the civilian Palestinian population.

In their weekly report on Israeli human rights violations the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights noted that in the week of 5 July to 11 July:

•IOF killed 11 Palestinians, including 3 civilians, in the Gaza Strip and a 12th one on the West Bank.
•The victims in the Gaza Strip were killed during an IOF incursion into al-Boreij refugee camp.
•The victim in the West Bank was extra-judicially executed by IOF.
•30 Palestinians, including 25 civilians, were wounded by IOF gunfire in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
•24 of these Palestinians, including 20 civilians, were wounded during an IOF incursion into al-Boreij refugee camp.
•IOF arrested 2 of the wounded in the West Bank.
•IOF conducted 36 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and 2 incursions into the Gaza Strip.
•IOF razed at least 200 donums of agricultural land in the Gaza Strip.
•IOF damaged some public and private property.
•IOF arrested 69 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, and 10 others in the Gaza Strip.
•IOF have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT.
•IOF have isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world and a humanitarian crisis is likely to emerge.
•At least 6,000 Palestinians have been stuck at the Egyptian side of Rafah International Crossing Point, and the number of deaths among them has mounted to 14.
•IOF positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank arrested 3 Palestinian civilians.

So while the Bush and the EU laud Olmert for his (yet to be actually given) “generous gift” of 250 Fatah aligned prisoners and Abbas seeks to undemocratically retain control of the PA, another 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners languish in Israel’s jails. The road blocks Israel promised to remove still remain in place, as do the checkpoints and 380 prisoners take the place of the ones who are supposedly going to be released and the Israeli occupation continues ...


Bhumika Ghimire said...

i have read news reports that the prisoner release does not mean anything because their place have already been new palestinian prisoners..

middle east desk,the newsroom

Kim said...

Hi bhumika,
Yes,you are correct. As the deputy PFLP leader, Mallouh said after his release Israel has a "revolving door policy". There is now in fact abducted more in the last month then they have released, so in fact the number of Palestinan Prisoners is now higher then it was a month ago, even with the release of the 255.