Israeli Forces Bulldoze West Bank Villages

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ISRAELI occupation forces demolished four houses, razed land and arrested Palestinians in the West Bank last Wednesday.

They demolished one house that was still under construction, in the village of Lubban in the southeast of Nablus Governorate.

The homes were destroyed under the pretext that they were constructed without permits and 20 Palestinians were made homeless as a result.

The Israeli forces also demolished another residential building in the village of Al-Sawiyah, causing damage to nearby houses.

Troops also forced around 25 people to leave their homes in the Ayn al-Baydah area, north of Jericho, after conducting a wide search campaign in the area.

In Hebron, a number of people taking part in a protest against the construction of Israel’s Apartheid Wall of separation suffered suffocation, wounds and fractures when they were assaulted by the Israeli occupation forces around the town of Yatta.

The Israelis arrested five people, including reporters, after assaulting them.

On the same day, they also completely sealed off Beit Hanoun in Hebron, setting up military barriers that isolated the town from its northern surroundings.

They also razed wide expanses of Palestinian land in several towns north-west of occupied Jerusalem to build new parts of the Apartheid Wall.

They also razed 4,000 donums of land belonging to a Palestinian farmer east of the Governorate of Qalqilyah, in order to build a new part of the wall in that area.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mufaz has issued instructions on the establishment of an administration for dealing with the issue of routes linking the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as the question of travel through the airspace and sea ports of the occupied Palestinian territories.

A Voice of Israel military affairs correspondent reported last Wednesday that the cost of establishing these routes and crossing points was estimated by the Israelis to be hundreds of millions of dollars.

The international community is supposed to finance this cost, said the reporter, adding that Mofaz proposed to define work being carried out at the border crossing points as ‘preferred work’, in order to recruit workers.

Meanwhile, armed resistance to Israel’s occupation of Palestine continues.

The Izz-al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, said they had fired eight Qassam rockets at an illegal Zionist settlement, Kfar Darom, in Gaza.

In two separate statements, copies of which were received by the Palestinian Information Centre, the Brigades said that they shelled the settlement at 0740 on Wednesday July 6.

They said that the operation was a continuation of retaliation against the repeated Zionist assaults on the Palestinians, the latest of which was the wounding of nine Palestinians when a Zionist settler ran them over with his car.

l The Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei has said that some progress has been made in the Palestinian-Israeli security meetings which were held last Tuesday, to coordinate anticipated Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

But Qurei added that what had been achieved was not enough.

At a meeting with representatives of the Arab media at the prime ministry in Ramallah, Qurei said last Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority (PNA) would continue its endeavours to obtain the necessary information to make it ready for the day that follows the expected Israeli withdrawal.

Qurei stressed that the occupation forces should remove the barrier they are erecting in the Wadi al-Nar area, so that the Israeli withdrawal from Bethlehem would be complete and to make sure that Bethlehem Governorate remains connected to other governorates.

He also stressed the need for the Israeli withdrawal from the northern parts of the West Bank to place the entire area of Jenin under full Palestinian control.

On another issue, Qurei renewed his plea for the formation of a ‘national unity government’, maintaining that PNA leaders had no preconditions for participation in the government.

Qurei, also known as Abu-Ala, called on all factions and national forces to ‘shoulder their responsibilities’ and work for the success of the anticipated Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank.

Presiding over the PNA’s 20th cabinet session at the authority’s Ramallah headquarters in the West Bank, Abu-Ala said the government would continue its efforts to form a national unity government and reach an understanding that satisfied all parties.

He said the call for a ‘national unity government’ was a call for strategic and serious work.

It was a call, he said, which stemmed from the national duty of ensuring the success of Israeli withdrawal.

He said: ‘The upcoming event is important and extremely serious.

‘If we can benefit from this event, this will be a real progress.

‘If we fail, this will lead to grave consequences.’

He added: ‘We are at a crossroads and there are serious dangers.’

Qurei called on all the national forces and factions to participate in a national unity government.

He said Palestinian Authority leaders had open hearts and minds, were willing to cooperate with everyone and would do so very seriously and transparently, without any preconditions, to ensure the success of the ‘withdrawal operation’.

Despite the decision made by Hamas and Islamic Jihad not to participate in such a government with the PNA leaders, Qurei said the PNA was renewing its call on all national forces and factions to participate.

He added that the government would be fully responsible for all that pertains to the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank.

He said the PNA wanted to ensure a calm and organised withdrawal and a good management of affairs during the process of withdrawal.

The success of this task would be an accomplishment for the Palestinian people and the PNA, said Qurei.

Palestinian resistance movements have said they will not give up the right to resist Israel while the Israeli armed forces continue to launch their daily attacks on the population of Gaza and the West Bank.