Palestine

According to a report issued by the Palestinian National Information Centre (PNIC), during the month of June, Israel occupation forces killed 49 Palestinians and wounded a further 147. During the same period, Israel abducted and arrested 383 Palestinians and carried out 765 invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and committed a total of 2380 human rights violations against the civilian Palestinian population.

In the two weeks following the Sharm el Sheikh Summit on June 25, at which Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promised to release 250 Fatah-affiliated prisoners from Israeli jails, Israel abducted more than 300 members of Fatah in the West Bank.

Renewed Israeli airstrikes and ground incursion into the densely populated Gaza Strip have resulted in at least 13 Palestinians, including three children, being killed and more than 44 injured.

In a June 19 joint press conference in Washington with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, US President George Bush said: “It’s interesting that extremists attack democracies around the Middle East, whether it be the Iraq democracy, the Lebanese democracy, or a potential Palestinian democracy.” He was referring specifically to the popularly elected Hamas-led government of the Palestinian people taking action in Gaza to prevent a bloody coup by their defeated rivals, Fatah, which since the January 2006 elections has been armed, funded and trained by Israel and the US.

Addressing Palestinians for the first time since he declared a state of emergency a week earlier, in a nationallly televised speech on June 21, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas denounced Hamas’ leaders as “murderous terrorists” who had carried out a “coup” in the Gaza Strip.

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.

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