Palestine

Tens of thousands of Gazans attempted to form a human chain thelength of the Gaza Strip on February 25. The action was a protest against Israel’s illegal collective punishment of the 1.5 million residents of Gaza.

On February 6, Israel once again resumed its air strikes against the population of Gaza, killing nine Hamas affiliated police officers and injuring 13 others. Israel claimed the attack was in retaliation for a suicide bombing on February 4 which claimed the life of one woman and injured six others in the southern Israeli city of Dimona.

Palestinian resistance fighter and founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), George Habash, died on January 26 from a heart attack, aged 81.

On January 23, a series of explosions ripped open the concrete and steel barrier that had sealed off the Gaza Strip from the outside world. The breach in the barrier allowed hundreds of thousands of desperate Palestinians, perhaps a third of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents, to surge into the Egyptian cross-border town of Rafah to buy some of life’s basic necessities — denied them by Israel’s siege of the 10 kilometre wide, 40-kilometre long Palestinian enclave.

Early on January 23 more than 20,000 Palestinians from the besieged Gaza Strip poured into Egyptian territory after Palestinian militants from Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) blew up two sections of the Gaza-Egypt border wall at Rafah.

On January 15, the Israel Defense Forces killed 17 Palestinians during incursions into east Gaza City. The IDF killed nine more in raids over the following two days. The attacks launched a new wave of Israeli violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) following the January 9-16 visit by US President George Bush to Israel, the West Bank city of Ramallah and other centres in the region.

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

By Ilan Pappe

Oneworld Publications, 2006

313 pages, $39.95 (hb)

On November 27, as Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met, with the backing of US President George Bush in Annapolis, Maryland, to discuss a possible peace treaty, Israeli troops invaded a number of West Bank cities and attacked the Gaza Strip, killing at least four people. Abbas’s US-trained Palestinian Security Forces attacked thousands of unarmed demonstrations against the conference in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus, Tulkarem and Hebron.

On November 7, the Israeli High Court of Justice gave Israeli PM Ehud Olmert’s government one week to present data to back up its assertion that its newest economic sanctions against the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip — planned electricity supply cuts in particular — will not cause “unreasonable harm” to its 1.5 million residents.

On October 28, the Israeli defence ministry ordered the cutting of fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, half of whom are children. While Israeli government representatives claimed that they planned to cut supplies by 5-11%, fuel supplies were immediately cut by more than 30%, according to Palestinian officials.

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