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News ::
distressing report from west bank
28 Jul 2002
We're saturated with editorializing and dramatic coverage of each palestinian attack on israel, but NOTHING in 'our' papers about this horrific murder spree perpetrated by (often teenage) israeli soldiers occupying palestinian towns in the west bank. The Globe, Herald, Metro, radio, TV, all of them- are complicit.
>Qalqilia, West Bank Update
>by Qalqilia IMC € Friday July 26, 2002 at 03:36 PM
>
>This is an update on the five people killed this past week in the town of Qalqilia, as well as the overall situation in the town under the occupation.
>
>Qalqilia, West Bank, Palestine
>July 26, 2002 Report
>The Israeli army has been occupying this town of 40,000 for over four months continuously. During that time, there has been a closure of the city and a 24-hour curfew (imprisonment in the home). The closure means that there is
>only one entrance to the city, with a checkpoint that is controlled by the Israeli army. The curfew means that no one is allowed to leave their homes, under penalty of death. Every few days, this curfew is lifted and people are
>allowed to leave their homes for a few hours. This curfew has made it absolutely impossible for anyone to work in their jobs or farm their fields during these four months. The entire life of the city had to come to an abrupt halt when the army invaded in April and began to occupy the town.
>Since then, no one has been able to conduct their business, and the population's entire focus has become how to get food for the next day. The army does not announce in advance when they will lift the curfew, and so it is impossible to plan in advance for anything. Everyone is huddled inside their homes, waiting for word that the curfew is lifted so that they can go outside. Tanks, armed personnel carriers, bulldozers and dozens of jeeps roll into town every day, and have managed to destroy the pavement of most of the streets, the curbs, and the shades over the sidewalks. They frighten the citizenry by shooting at them with M16s, bazookas and tanks.
About 20 people have been killed by the army in this town since the April invasion, 60 cars have been flattened by tanks, 30 homes have been completely destroyed by Israeli bombs or bulldozers, and hundreds of homes have been
>entered and their residents harassed and property damaged by Israeli soldiers. In contrast, during this same time period, six Israeli colonizers living on Palestinian land in the West Bank have been killed by Palestinians.
>
>Qalqilia is a farming town, with many residents dependent on agricultural production for their livelihood. The Israeli government has decided to build a wall completely surrounding the town, and construction of the wall is well
>on its way. Every day we see Israeli construction workers putting up another section of the 20-foot high cement wall. It looks a lot like the Berlin wall, but with an added component: guard towers, much like those you see in
>a prison. The towers are being installed every few hundred feet, to be staffed by Israeli soldiers (most of which are young men aged 18-22) with surveillance equipment and guns. This will give the Israeli army the power
>to peer out over all parts of the city, viewing the inside of people's homes (including the bedrooms) and shoot at will. The one entrance to the city will be strictly controlled by the Israeli army, and the gate will be closed
>at the whim of the officers in charge.
>
>Construction of this wall will have many devastating effects on a town already suffering a great deal due to the occupation. Farmers will be forbidden from farming on their own land if it is located outside the city limits, workers will be unable to reach their jobs (both those who
commute in to Qalqilia and those who live in the town and work outside of it). In essence, the prison-like conditions created by the curfew will be made concrete by the completion of the prison wall. The worst effects,
however, will be environmental, as much of the water supply of the city comes from winter flows from the nearby mountains. This water will be dammed by the wall and flood huge amounts of farmland both in Israel and the West
Bank.
>The effects of the damming of the water supply will include
contamination with waste water (leading to diarrhea, dysentery, etc.). It will affect Israelis as well as Palestinians.
>
>Here are some recent incidents that reflect everyday occurrences in Qalqilia during the current occupation.
>
July 10 ­ Chukri Fayik Dawoud, 10 years old, was outside his
family's home when he was shot by an Israeli soldier. Two other children were injured by
>bullets. The curfew was off at the time, which meant that people were free
>to be outside of their homes. The army gave no warning that they were going to attack, they simply rolled into town with tanks and armored vehicles and
>began to shoot. The army gave no explanation for killing this boy, who was the youngest child in a family of four children. His father had recently undergone heart surgery, and Chukri and his 14 year old brother were always
>helping their father in the shop he owned. Chukri was running an errand for his father when he was shot. His 13-year old sister saw him get killed.
>
>July 15 ­ The Israeli army launched an assault on a plastics factory that produced car seat covers and accessories in Qalqilia. 40 workers were inside the building when the assault began at 8:00 in the morning, as well as two families who lived in apartments above the factory. The Israeli soldiers threw fire bombs into the building, which immediately ignited the highly flammable materials in the factory. The soldiers gave no warning, and
>offered no reason for the assault. They surrounded the building, and refused to let the local fire department enter to put out the fire. Despite this fact, most of the workers and the families with their twelve children
>managed to escape. One man, Mahmoud Helal, was stuck on the second floor and burned to death. His friends and co-workers tried repeatedly to tell the soldiers he was trapped inside, and begging them to allow the firefighters
inside to rescue him, but the soldiers refused. According to one friend of Mahmoud's, when he told a soldier that his friend was trapped inside, the soldier laughed and threw another firebomb inside the building, telling Mahmoud's friend, "I will kill you next". Mahmoud was 23 years old,
and was working at the factory to save money for his university studies. His family was devastated by the loss, as his death was a particularly painful one ­and completely unexpected. He was a completely innocent man whose only crime was going to work on the day that the army decided to attack his factory.
>The army gave no explanation for the attack, which displaced two families from their homes, destroyed the jobs of 60 people and caused 2.5 million dollars worth of damage to the company.
>
>July 18 ­ Fathi Hassan Sweedan, 40 years old, was shot in the head while picking olives from an olive tree on his land in the village of Azoun near Qalqilia. The army gave no warning that they were going to shoot, and gave
>no explanation for the attack.
>
>July 20 ­ Anis Albe was killed near Qalqilia when he was crossing a road to go to work in the town of Farsaba.
>
>July 24 ­ Ghaleb Nazal was driving his car in the evening when the Israeli army rolled into town with its entourage of tanks and armored vehicles. Ghaleb requested permission to pass in order to reach his home, and the commanding officer gave him permission to pass. As he was driving, a
tank rolled up and rolled over his car. He managed to escape with only relatively
>minor injuries, but his car was completely flattened by the tank.
>
>July 25 ­ Three men were arrested, forced to kneel, blindfolded, for five hours in the hot sun as their homes were destroyed by bulldozers. One was Ahmed Hazza, 52 years old, who spent 21 years of his life as a political
>prisoner in Israel (1968 ­ 1989) and suffered from many internal injuries from that time. He was the General Secretary for the Fatah political organization in this area and very active in working for peace. He was recognized as a patient negotiator and willing participant in the
political process. According to local sources, his arrest will obstruct the peace process. The other two men arrested were his nephew, Ehad Hazza, 27 years old, and a neighbor, Jawad Barham, 30 years old, who lived in the house behind. Jawad's family is quite poor, and his mother has had a very
>difficult time raising her eight children after her husband left her when Jawad was young. His mother and his sister are both quite sick, and have had to resort to begging in the marketplace for money for medicine and
food. Now they have lost their home, and the soldiers gave no reason for arresting the men or destroying the homes.
>
>Also, Jamal Shekar Ge'ada was shot in the stomach by Israeli soldiers in Qalqilia with no warning. There was a child looking out of a second-story window in the house behind where Jamal was standing. The soldiers sprayed a
round of bullets toward the window, barely missing the four-year old child and his one-year old brother who lay sleeping near the window. As Jamal tried to make his way to a nearby home to get help for his injury, he was
>shot 3 more times in his legs and his side. The Israeli soldiers refused to allow an ambulance to retrieve the injured man, and after about 30 minutes took him in an armored vehicle to an Israeli hospital where he
remains in critical condition today (July 26). A ten-year old child who witnessed the attack was standing nearby with a shocked look on his face, repeating "They were smoking" (ie. The Israeli soldiers were smoking cigarettes when
they
>shot this unarmed man).
>
>July 26 ­ At about midnight on the morning of the 26th, the Israeli army began attacking a neighborhood in Qalqilia without warning or explanation.
They gathered about 200 people in groups and made them stand on the street for 13 hours, until 1:00 this afternoon. The soldiers went through each home on the street (close to fifty homes), using a resident from the home as a human shield as they went through the homes opening cabinets, overturning furniture, and shooting bullets through walls, doors and furniture. The soldiers said they were looking for guns, but they found none. They
were looking for no particular person, but merely searching randomly for guns.
>Some children were isolated from the others and interrogated for 13 hours, with soldiers continually asking him, "Where are the guns hidden?".
The Israeli army destroyed 2 cars, a van, a water tank, and farm equipment as they smashed through a yard with their armored bulldozer tank. They also arrested at least one man, Hassam Daod, age 30.
>
>At about 9:30 am, on a nearby street, a 35-year old man named Zeyad Taisir Ahmad Hajj Hassan was preparing breakfast for his family in this kitchen on the second floor of his home. Israeli soldiers shot a number of
bullets through the window. He was shot in the head while holding a pot of coffee.
>He was brought to the local hospital and was being transferred to another hospital when he died at about 11:00 am. His wife and brother-in-law both went into shock and had to be hospitalized. His four children,
ranging in
>age from 1 to 6 years old, also witnessed the event. The Israeli
army gave
>no explanation for the attack.

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