Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


Article excerpt

New U.N. Report Highlights Israeli Brutality

A late July report by the U.N.'s Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) stressed the brutality of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to the July 23 Gulf News. Over the two year period (September 2000-September 2002) covered in the 20-page report, Israel killed over 2,500 Palestinians and devastated the economy of the territories it occupies.

During the two major Israeli incursions into the territories in early 2002, over 10,000 Palestinians were arrested, around 4,000 of whom are still believed to be in detention. Furthermore, the report notes, "The Israeli forces escalated their acts of forced eviction, seizure, demolition and closure of Palestinian structures throughout the occupied territories...Israeli forces demolished well over 1,275 Palestinian houses." The demolitions have left more than 23,000 people homeless, a majority of them children.

Israel Approves Gaza Settlement Construction

The Las Vegas Sun reported July 31 that the Israel Lands Authority (ILA) has made available the rights to build 22 new housing units in the Gaza settlement of Neveh Dekalim, violating a stipulation in the U.S.-backed road map calling for a halt to "all settlement activity including natural growth of settlements." Israel's justification for the move was that some building is necessary to accommodate the natural growth of settlements. In addition, the ILA brief authorizing the expansion says that 12 of the 22 plots will be offered to the general Israeli public, thus negating the "natural growth" argument. According to Yariv Oppenheimer of the Israeli settlement monitoring group Peace Now, "This is government building in an ideological settlement-not a city with a housing problem."

Poll: Most Settlers Would Leave for Peace

A poll commissioned by the Israeli group Peace Now revealed that 74 percent of Jewish settlers living in the occupied territories would leave their settlements in exchange for compensation, according to the July 24 Khaleej Times. In addition, 29 percent are ready to leave immediately, 54 percent said they would offer some kind of resistance to evacuation, 9 percent said they would break the law to do so, and only 1 percent of settlers said they may resort to violence. …

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