Israel uses 'stun shells' to break up crowds
- Israelis herd Palestinians into school compound during Nablus raid
Agence France Presse
24 August 2004
NABLUS, West Bank Aug 24--Hundreds of Palestinians were rounded
up by Israeli forces Tuesday during a large-scale operation at a
refugee camp in the northern West Bank city of Nablus,
Palestinian security sources said.
Around 300 men were herded into a school in the Askar refugee
camp in the east of the city after some 30 jeeps and armoured
vehicles entered at around 7:00 am (0400 GMT), the sources said.
Troops then proceeded to carry out house-to-house searches as
they imposed a curfew and ordered all males aged between 16 and
40 into the school compound.
There were no immediate reports of clashes breaking out or
details on the number of arrests.
There was no immediate comment on the operation by the Israeli
Meanwhile in the southern West Bank town of Bethlehem, two
members of the radical Palestinian al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades were
detained during an operation near the local maternity hospital,
Palestinian security sources said.
An Israeli military source said that a "pinpointed operation
targetting the terrorist infrastructure" was taking place in the
area but said that troops had not entered the hospital itself.
Israel to utilize 'stun shells' to break up crowds
The Kansas City Star
24 August 2004
JERUSALEM -- The Israeli army will begin using nonlethal shells
in its tanks, a defense official said Monday, three months after
conventional tank fire killed eight Palestinian demonstrators.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the new
"stun shells" would disintegrate in the air, generating a huge
noise in an effort to disperse crowds.
Made of fiberglass, the shells are produced by state-owned Israel
Military Industries and are to be in use within several months.
A company spokesman said the stun shells were unique to Israel.
Police and soldiers long have used stun grenades to disperse
On May 19, tank fire killed eight Palestinians who were
demonstrating against an Israeli military operation in the Gaza
town of Rafah.
Israel Adds to Plans for More Housing Units in Settlements
By Steven Erlanger
The New York Times
24 August 2004
JERUSALEM, Aug. 24- Israel plans to rezone land within existing
settlements to allow for the construction of 533 more housing
units, most of them close to Jerusalem, Israeli officials said
The announcement came a week after the government issued tenders
for the construction of 1,001 new housing units on the West Bank
and said it was planning to issue tenders for another 633 units,
though it has not yet done so. Together with the new units from
rezoning, this would amount to 2,167 permits to build dwellings
beyond Israel's 1967 boundaries.
By comparison, 908 new units were offered for sale in those areas
in 2003, 647 were offered in 2002 and 917 in 2001, the year Ariel
Sharon became prime minister, according to the daily Yediot
The announcements came after the United States signaled that it
would accept housing growth within the boundaries of existing
settlements. The Palestinian Authority and the Arab League say
such expansion would be a direct violation of Israel's agreement
in 2001 to freeze all settlement activity, including "natural
Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian spokesman, said, "If this land grab
continues, the question that is asked is where will the
Palestinian state be established?"
The Palestinian Authority and the Arab League have said the
United States, by turning a blind eye to settlement activity that
breaks Israel's own promises, is destroying the "road map" to
peace originally worked out by the United States, Russia, the
European Union and the United Nations and agreed to by Israel and
the Palestinians last year.
The Israeli side contends that the road map is tattered, partly
because of Palestinian support for the violence of the intifada.
American officials say they are trying to help Mr. Sharon out of
a difficult political spot, given that his own Likud Party is
badly split over his plan to withdraw unilaterally from the Gaza
Strip and to dismantle settlements there, as well as four small
settlements in the West Bank.
The announcements about new settlement activity appear to be an
effort by Mr. Sharon to retain the support of Likud, but even
some settlers question whether he is sincere about moving ahead
with so much construction.
Mr. Sharon appears to be willing to give up Gaza as too costly to
Israel - only 8,000 settlers live there in any case - as a way of
achieving strengthened Israeli control over strategic parts of
the West Bank, where a vast majority of Israeli settlers live.
More than 230,000 settlers live there, though the number is more
than 430,000 if it includes Israelis who moved into East
Jerusalem, which Israel has annexed.
The 533 new units would be distributed among Har Gilo, where
bulldozers were already at work on Monday, and Har Adar, which
have become upper-class suburbs of Jerusalem, as well as two
other settlements, Adam and Emmanuel.
The construction would extend Jerusalem southward and eastward.
Final approval from the government is expected, but Housing
Ministry officials said construction in Adam and Emmanuel might
not go ahead.
Mr. Sharon's chief of staff, Dov Weisglass, is to travel to
Washington on Sept. 9 to discuss the Gaza withdrawal, settlement
issues and Israel's progress on dismantling illegal outposts
built by settlers after March 2001. The United States has
criticized Israel for going slowly on the dismantling, another
promise made in the negotiations over the peace plan.
Baruch Speigel, a senior adviser to Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz,
told Parliament on Monday that 84 of 104 illegal outposts built
since 2001 had been dismantled, and that the last 20 had been
held up by legal challenges. A Defense Ministry spokeswoman said
59 outposts had been built before 2001 and had also not been
But a dovish member of Parliament, Ran Cohen, disputed the
figures. "This seems absolutely false," he said. "If indeed 84
illegal outposts would have been evacuated, one can only imagine
the immense uprising that would have surely followed. I have
toured the settlements with Peace Now and have seen them with my
own eyes. The illegal outposts which have been there for two
years have doubled and tripled in size."
Yossi Sarid, another dovish member, called the figures a "cock
and bull" story. He suggested that one outpost might have been
dismantled "just for the record, but if one was evacuated, two
were built instead."
Another member of Parliament, Uri Uriel, a settler leader on the
far right, was also critical of Mr. Mofaz, telling the Israeli
radio that "the high number was reached to begin with because
they counted absurd locations - for instance, if someone stuck
two barrels and a flag somewhere, someone else declared it as an
Mr. Mofaz also said 12 changes had been approved in the route of
the separation barrier Israel is building that would bring it
much closer to the 1967 boundaries, which are based on 1949
Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, for his part continued to
move politically on Monday to try to bring disaffected reformers
back under his authority while avoiding concrete, public promises
to take action.
He finally met with Muhammad Dahlan, who has been a symbol of
disaffection with the inefficiency and corruption of the
Palestinian Authority, but did so in a group, over lunch. Mr.
Arafat has also moved to bring his first prime minister, Mahmoud
Abbas, back into an important role as his representative to work
with Egypt, which is trying to encourage Palestinians to come up
with a consensus over the Israeli withdrawal plans for Gaza.
After Mr. Abbas contacted Mr. Arafat, the current Palestinian
prime minister, Ahmed Qurei, went to Amman, Jordan, to meet with
Mr. Abbas, Palestinian officials said, and the two men had a
second meeting in Ramallah on Sunday before meeting with Mr.
They said Mr. Arafat wanted to show that Mr. Dahlan and Mr. Abbas
recognized his authority before he took any concrete steps to
change or reform the Palestinian administration.
Web: www.iap.org - email: iapinfo@...
Proudly Serving Palestine and Al Quds
Britain in split with US on West Bank homes
By Conal Urquhart in Ma'ale Adumim and Ewen MacAskill
24 August 2004
A significant gap opened up between the British and US
governments on Middle East policy yesterday when Downing Street
expressed its continued opposition to any expansion of Jewish
settlements in the Palestinian West Bank.
Fuelling the controversy, the Israeli government announced plans
to build another 533 homes in settlements in the West Bank, in
addition to the 1,000 construction tenders approved by the prime
minister, Ariel Sharon, last week.
The British government, in a rare departure from Washington,
positioned itself alongside its European Union partners on the
issue. The EU, unlike Washington, is critical of Israeli
behaviour in the West Bank and Gaza.
The US administration signalled at the weekend that it was
abandoning its long-term call for a freeze on all settlement
activity and would back some limited expansion.
But a Downing Street spokesman said yesterday: "Our position is
consistent with the statement put out by the European Union last
week, and our view is that the Israelis should freeze all
The EU had expressed its dismay over new construction in the
The Palestinians claim the presence of the 120-150 Jewish
colonies, home to about 200,000 people, makes the creation of a
viable Palestinian state impossible in the West Bank.
The total number of permits to build settlement homes in the West
Bank this year is 2,167 - more than in the previous three years
However, analysts of Israeli expansion claim the latest
construction tenders are the tip of the iceberg, and that surveys
of infrastructure work and local plans suggest that Israel plans
Dror Etkes, the coordinator of Settlement Watch, said: "This is
all part of something much bigger. There are dozens of
settlements where the land has been bulldozed and roads have been
built where the government is just waiting for the right moment
to begin house construction.
"This is about redesigning Israel and moving the bulk of it
eastwards on to the land on which the Palestinians want to build
their state. It is a continuation of a process that has been
going on for 40 years."
The boom in the settlement expansion appears to have the tacit
endorsement of US president George Bush's administration. In
return, Mr Sharon has promised to withdraw from the much smaller
number of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip.
The scale of building in the West Bank can be seen by the scores
of heavy lorries, laden with building materials, which daily
progress up from Israel's coastal plain to east Jerusalem and the
West Bank. Some are destined for Ma'ale Adumim, an established
settlement near Jerusalem with a population of 30,000.
There is large-scale construction going on, despite the apparent
existing housing glut: many of the newer neighbourhoods in the
settlement appear sparsely populated, while others are empty.
Hoardings advertise new developments, even on sites where nothing
has been built. Dual carriageways and service roads loop into
areas where the earth has been flattened, but no foundations
The architect-designed houses and lush lawns of Ma'ale Adumim are
in stark contrast to the ugly apartment blocks and dusty streets
that mark the nearby Arab neighbourhoods.
According to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, a married
Israeli couple who have completed military service and have one
child would receive a #25,000 subsidised loan to buy a home in
the West Bank, compared with #19,250 in the Negev and #10,875 in
Jeff Halper, a veteran Israeli campaigner against the settlement
expansion, argues in his book, Obstacles to Peace, that Israel's
long-term strategy is to move the centre of gravity of the
country from the coastal plain by encouraging more people to live
in the West Bank.
This policy also entails the hemming of the Palestinian
population into small cantons which have no direct contact with
other Palestinian cantons, making a viable state impossible.
. The army has agreed to make changes to the route of Israel's
separation barrier in 12 areas, Dany Tirza, an official of the
Israeli defence ministry said yesterday. The supreme court ruled
this summer that the barrier violated the human rights of
The route will be moved towards the "green line," the 1967 border
between Israel and the West Bank, Mr Tirza said. The changes will
prevent the confiscation of more than 4,000 acres (1,620
hectares) of Palestinian land, he added.
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