Palestine

Following the near-complete seizure of military control of the Gaza Strip on June 14 by armed supporters of the Hamas party, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, who is also the leader of the rival Fatah party, issued a decree dissolving the PA Hamas-Fatah “national unity” government, dismissing Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh and declaring a “state of emergency” in both the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
More than 30 delegates from around the world attended the Jerusalem Initiative conference held in occupied East Jerusalem to call for an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The three-day conference from June 2-4 was organised by the Palestinian People’s Party and the Communist Party of Israel and was attended by representatives from European, Scandanvian and Australian socialist parties as well as members of the international peace movement, trade unions and women’s organisations from around the world.
On June 5, thousands of Palestinians and international solidarity activists throughout Palestine marked the 40th anniversary of al Naksa (the calamity), the beginning of the 1967 war and the illegal seizure of the Palestinian territories.
June 5 marks the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War, during which Israel attacked and defeated the armies of Egypt, Jordan and Syria, seizing the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria, and the West Bank from Jordan.
Israeli military death squads assassinated two members of the Fatah-aligned Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Ramallah and Jenin on May 29. The public executions, which resulted in at least seven Palestinian civilians injured in Ramallah, were part of Israel’s escalating campaign of assassinations and military assaults in the West Bank and Gaza.
Between May 16 and 24, almost 100 Palestinians died and more than 340 have were injured in Gaza through a combination of renewed Israeli military attacks and fighting between Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah.
Thousands of Palestinians joined rallies on May 15 throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories to mark the 59th anniversary of al Nakba (“The Catastrophe”) — the establishment of the State of Israel and the consequent expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes — as renewed fighting took place between Fatah and Hamas.
According to a report by the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens Rights, between September 2000 (the beginning of the Al Aqsa Intifada) and July 2006, 68 pregnant women were forced to give birth at Israeli checkpoints in the Occupied Territories after Israeli soldiers barred them from crossing the road blocks to access hospitals and medical centres. Thirty-four infants and four pregnant women died at these checkpoints.
The 19th Arab League (AL) summit, held in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh on March 28-29, voted to re-affirm support for the “Arab peace initiative” proposed by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah five years ago.
Hanan Aruri, a Palestinian woman from Ramallah, became involved in the fight against the Israeli occupation as a teenager during the 1987 intifada (uprising). Today she is an activist in the international campaign to boycott Israel, and is also involved in campaigns for women’s rights. She was a guest at the Socialist Alternative’s March 30-April 1 Marxism Today conference. Aruri spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Emma Clancy about the current dynamics in Palestinian politics and the struggle against the Israeli occupation.
Hanan Aruri, a Palestinian woman from Ramallah, became involved in the fight against the Israeli occupation as a teenager in the 1987 intifada. Today she is an activist in the international campaign to boycott Israel, and is also involved in campaigns for women’s rights. She is a guest at the Marxism Today conference, organised by Socialist Alternative, being held in Melbourne from March 30-April 1. Aruri spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Emma Clancy about the current dynamics in Palestinian politics and the struggle against the Israeli occupation. [This interview will be published in GLW #705.]
On March 17, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) approved the formation of a new Hamas-Fatah “national unity” government by 83 votes in favour and three against. The formation of the new government followed agreements reached in Mecca last month between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, of Fatah, and Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, of Hamas.
On March 8, 300 people protested the Israeli military invasion of Nablus at the Huwwara checkpoint. Organised by a wide coalition of groups including the Popular Committee Against the Closure of Nablus and the General Women's Union, demonstrators chanted and carried Palestinian flags, signs, and photographs of loved ones who have been killed and arrested by Israeli occupation forces. Once at the checkpoint, several women leaders made speeches condemning the Israeli invasion of Nablus. The protest tried to pass through the checkpoint but was confronted by soldiers and border police. Demonstrators resisted when the Israeli soldiers and police created a barricade and prevented demonstrators from getting through the checkpoint. The Huwwara checkpoint was closed for one-and-a-half hours.
The Israeli military and security forces have killed more than 5000 Palestinians since the beginning of the Al Asqa intifada in September 2000, according to the Palestinian National Information Centre (PNIC).
The Israeli army continued to terrorise residents of the West Bank city of Nablus, the Palestinian National Authority’s International Press Centre (IRC) reported on February 28. IPC reported that at 2.30am that day, an Israeli occupation contingent of 120 armoured vehicles, jeeps and bulldozers stormed into the city for a second time, and began conducting house-to-house raids, removing dozens of residents for interrogation.
After months of internecine fighting that has resulted in more than 90 Palestinian deaths, Fatah and Hamas signed a deal on February 8 to form a new unity government. The deal, brokered by Saudi Arabia, was signed after a two-day emergency meeting in Mecca.

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