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.

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