Every Friday for months now, the Palestinian village of Bi'lin in the Israeli-occupied West Bank has been the scene of creative and organized non-violent protests against the illegal construction of Israel's "separation wall,"which will cut off much of the village's farmland. Hundreds of Palestinians, Israeli anarchists, and international activists have taken part in demonstrations brutally repressed by Israeli occupation forces with tear gas, live fire, rubber bullets, experimental weapons like sponge, salt, and sand bullets, and sound weapons. Palestinian Israeli members of the Knesset have attended the protests and been attacked, as well as Muslim clerics, and Palestinian politicians, including one-time presidential candidate Mustafa Barghouthi. On Sept. 2, Israeli soldiers attacked the villagers as they left their mosque after Friday prayers with tear gas, declaring that there would be no demonstration at all. Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz has ordered that the Wall be completed by the end of the year, so a crackdown on the protests is currently under way:
The Jerusalem Post reports another incident of a pious Jew spitting at Christian clergy or symbols in the Israeli-occupied Old City of Jerusalem. According to Holocaust survivor Dr. Israel Shahak, in his book Jewish History, Jewish Religion, this practice has ancient roots and has become increasingly commonplace:
It will certainly be an edifying sight. Instead of Israeli military bulldozers destroying modest Palestinian homes to make way for garish and profligate suburban-style Jewish settlements, it'll be the other way 'round. In the Gaza Strip, the world will witness a small counter-vortex to the general downward spiral of the planet into what some have called Global Apartheid.
A Katyusha rocket fired from Jordan landed near the airport in the Israeli city of Eilat Aug. 19, and at least two more rockets narrowly missed the USS Ashland, a US Navy ship moored at the Jordanian port of Aqaba near a US Navy ship, killing a Jordanian solider. Two US Navy vessels had been on a joint training exercise with the Jordanian navy, and left the area shortly after the attack. An Internet statement took responsibility for the attack in the name of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades.
The Gaza disengagement is being completed, without the armed resistance from settlers that had been feared. Reports AP: "Israeli troops dragged sobbing Jewish settlers out of homes, synagogues and even a nursery school Wednesday and hauled them onto buses in a massive evacuation, fulfilling Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's promise to withdraw from the Gaza Strip after a 38-year occupation." In one apparent effort to derail the disengagement by sparking a general conflagration, a Jewish settler shot dead three Palestinians in the West Bank. The assailant was reportedly a driver who had taken Palestinian workers to jobs in the Jewish settlement of Shiloh. Once there, he snatched a security guard's gun and turned it on his passengers. He was arrested, and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called the attack a "Jewish terror act." Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas branded it "a terrorist incident." Both leaders agreed it was intended to disrupt the pullout from Gaza, home to 1.4 million Palestinians. (AP, Reuters, Aug. 17)
The Jerusalem Post reports Aug. 15 that New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind is among the many infiltrators to have snuck into the Gaza Strip through the IDF roadblocks. "It was very easy to get in," Hikind told the Post as he stood outside the Neveh Dekalim synagogue, saying that he came to bear witness to the "human tragedy" of the removal of the Jewish settlements. Hikind, who represents a heavily Jewish district in Brooklyn, told Newsday columnist Dennis Dugan by telephone from the Strip Aug. 15, "We shouldn't even be calling these places settlements. They are like small villages of the kind you see in Brooklyn and Queens."
A report in Britain's Sunday Times details how one group of orthodox Jewish girls are preparing to possibly kill Israeli troops who by Aug. 17 will come to evacuate Gaza settlements. Dubbed the "Commando Girls," these young militants are led by Nadia Matar, of the anti-Oslo Accord group Women in Green. None of the Commando Girls are native to the Gush Katif settlement bloc, whose leaders have called for resistance to the evacuation to be non-violent in nature. The Commando Girls live in tents like many of the mostly young 4,000 evacuation resistors that have managed to infiltrate the Gaza Strip, often let in by sympathetic Israeli security forces. They are mostly settlers from the West Bank and "New York Jews from a wealthy Messianic sect." An informant said they have access to "inside information from government security forces," and that it was Matar who had earlier tipped off radicals who took up residence in a took up residence in a Gaza hotel that Israeli forces were about to raid the place. Some of the 40-odd girls say they will merely taunt the troops; others are more threatening:
In the Gaza Strip, reality parodies Monty Python.
Avid surfers from several Gush Katif communities are threatening to take their boards out to sea on evacuation day and commit mass suicide by drowning. Settlement secretariats, psychologists and social workers have known about the plans of these young men, aged 16-21, for several weeks.