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  Middle East & Africa
Israel Reroutes Separation Barrier in Jerusalem
As More Palestinian Slaughtered by Its Forces
By Yasser AbuMoailek
Mid East Correspondent
Palestinians carry the bodies of six citizens who were killed by the Israeli forces in Tulkarem, on their way to the cemetery to take the last look on them.
Courtesy Reuters

Gaza City — Israel has decided to map another route for its Separation Barrier, also called by Palestinians as the Apartheid Wall, in compliance with a ruling by its Supreme Court, as the older route violated Palestinian rights there.

The court's ruling came amidst a bloody day for the Palestinians and the largest act of demonstration by the Jewish settlers and rightist supporters to protest Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan.

Palestinian medical sources mentioned that six Palestinians were "executed" by an Israeli undercover unit in the city of Tulkarem of the West Bank.

Eyewitnesses told ST correspondent over the phone that an Israeli undercover unit dressed in civilian clothes infiltrated the city later on Sunday evening and surrounded a house there. The unit then stormed the house and killed six Palestinians who were inside.

Israeli military officials claimed the six killed were members of the Palestinian militant group Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a military offshoot from Fateh movement.

Shortly after the infiltration and execution of the Palestinians, a large Israeli forces raided the city and opened fire at citizens to cover for the unit's retreat, residents said. Six citizens were wounded by the random shooting, three of them were abducted by the Israeli forces while wounded and taken to an undisclosed location.

Meanwhile, an elderly woman was shot dead by Israeli gunfire in Gaza Strip, medical and security sources said.

The sources added that the 55-year-old woman was standing outside her house in the town of Al Qarara, north of Khan Younis City, early today, when the Israeli forces nearby opened heavy gunfire at the houses there, riddling her body with bullets.

Sharon said today that he would not turn from the pullout from Gaza Strip, despite the repeated vote of no-confidence he had survived in the Knesset for his pullout plan.
Courtesy AP

The Israeli military spokesperson refused to give comment on this incident.

On the other hand, Israeli warplanes bombed a house in Gaza City for the second time in less than 12 hours, leveling it with the ground.

Palestinian security sources said that the house, which belonged to the family of Jundiya, was pounded by Israeli helicopters on Sunday noon, causing severe damages and wounding three citizens.

But later in the night, Israeli F-16 jetfighters fired two missiles at the same house, flattening it completely.

Israeli sources said that Palestinian militants hid combat equipment inside the bombed house, and that the first strike did not destroy them completely.

In the meantime, about 150,000 Jewish settlers and rightist supporters formed a human chain from the Gaza Strip till Jerusalem, in the largest sign of protest to Sharon's disengagement plan.

Sharon's plan envisioned a withdrawal from Gaza Strip and dismantling of Jewish settlements there, in addition to four isolated ones in northern West Bank, a move opposed fiercely by the settlers and their supporters inside the Israeli government.

The organizers of the chain said that they have been planning for the chain for months, and that they created a website to enlist people willing to take part in it, dividing the participants on the seven segments of the chain.

This human chain started from the Jewish settlement "Nissanit" in northern Gaza Strip and extended to Jerusalem's Western Wall, as thousands of settlers and their supporters joined hands along the 88-kilometer chain, with only little gaps along it.

Jewish settlers and rightist supporters take part in the 88-kilometer-long human chain to protest Sharon's pullout plan from Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank.
Courtesy AFP

Over in Jerusalem, thousands of Jews and settlers gathered at the Western Wall and sang the Israeli anthem and some patriotic songs, raising Israeli flags and slogans against the pullout plan.

Thousands of Israeli police officers and soldiers were assigned to protect the chain and organize the snarled traffic that resulted from it, as hundreds of buses carried people to various points along the route.

Sharon announced in December that he planned to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and four West Bank settlements by the end of September 2005. Opponents fear that the plan will encourage Palestinian violence and lead to further pullouts in the West Bank, home to vast majority of Israel's 240,000 settlers. About 7,500 Jewish settlers live in the Gaza Strip among 1.3 million Palestinians.

The plan drew such fierce opposition from hard-liners that the prime minister fired two critics in his own Cabinet, costing him the support of his Likud Party, which rejected the plan in a May 2 party referendum.

Now, Sharon is holding negotiations with the left-center opposition party, the Labor, in order to form a coalition government with it that would ensure enough support for the pullout in the Israeli Knesset.

Other Articles by Yasser AbuMoailek
    Korean FM's Visit to Palestine 'Historical'
    Heated Campaigning But Friendly Atmosphere
    Gazan Weapons Dealer Reveals All
    "Reform and Change" Wins Hamas Elections
    Tunneling as a Life in Rafah, Gaza Strip

Yasser AbuMoailek, a journalist and feature writer working for the International Press Center in Gaza Strip. He contributes to many circulations inlcuding the Seoul Times, as well as monitoring the situation in the Middle East, especially the Palestinian territories.






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