Israeli forces continue demolishing houses in Gaza; Qrei calls on Europe to strongly interfere in the wall issue
Palestine-Israel, Military, 1/21/2004
The Palestinian prime minister Ahmad Qurei' called on the European countries to express its views, in writing; before the end of the current month in the deliberations of the International Court of Justice over the separation wall in the West Bank. He also urged the European governments to take part in the verbal arguments of the court which will start in the Hague on February 23rd.
Qurei' demanded the representatives of the European countries in their meeting with him in Ramullah for a European intervention to prevent Israel from continuing building of the Apartheid wall. He explained that the wall gives no way for founding a Palestinian state, adding that the wall is built to destroy "the option of two states living side by side, Palestine and Israel." The Palestinian prime minister considered that the UN has to follow up the views which will be issued by the International Court of Justice concerning the legitimacy of the wall.
A diplomatic source who attended the meeting said that without the support of the USA, the international community will not be able to halt the building of the wall or get changes in its path. The source which asked to be anonymous explained that the Americans, despite their reservations on the path of the wall, they consider that Israel has the right to build it.
The Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, has announced that his government might amend the path of the wall in the West Bank. But he said before the security and foreign affairs committee in the Israeli Knesset that any amendment will not be made in response to the demands of the Palestinians and the UN, rather will be "governed by the Israeli interests only." Israeli officials said that the amendments might include building bridges and tunnels for the passage of the Palestinians and amending the path of the wall. They added that a committee will discuss the path of the wall and means of developing the freedom of the movement for the Palestinians.
Meantime, the Israeli occupation forces carried out yesterday a campaign of arrest on Monday evening and arrested 34 Palestinians in various parts of the West Bank. The campaign, in particular, concentrated in the areas of Ramullah, Nablus, Jenin, and Sourif village to the west of Bethlehem, and targeted activities in the movements of Fatah, the Islamic resistance, Hamas , and the Islamic Jihad.
Meanwhile, the governor of the city of Rafah, to the south of Gaza, Majid al-Agha, said that the Israeli occupation forces yesterday demolished 30 Palestinian houses in the city and the Israeli forces are demolishing the area to the east of Salah Eddine Gate. The forces also demolished a mosque after it was partially demolished several days earlier.
An Israeli military spokesman admitted the demolishing operations but did not define the number of houses included by the operation. The spokesman alleged that the incursion came in retaliation to attacks against the occupation forces from one house in Rafah camp, near the Egyptian borders, claiming that the houses were deserted.
Since the eruption of the Palestinian Intifada, the Israeli forces demolished 1500 houses under the pretext that the houses provide a cover for the weapons smuggling operations and the Palestinian resistance men through tunnels dug under these houses.
Palestinians say that the occupation forces have been since one and a half year building an iron wall along the border strip separating the Egyptian - Palestinian borders in Rafah.
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