Whilst Israel’s war of extermination against Hamas and its leading militants in the Gaza strip continues unabated, the IDF now also seem to have turned their attention to Palestinian Left-wing organizations who oppose the so called peace process that grew out of the Oslo Accords. After a memorial for the death of the founder of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, George Habash, in Bethlehem’s Church of Nativity on Sunday morning, Israeli forces stormed the city in the early hours of Monday last, and arrested eight members of the PFLP. In a large incursion,* Israeli forces stormed the West Bank City from all directions. Twenty military machines hit Deheisha Refugee Camp, raiding a number of homes, tearing them apart in invasive searches. Six citizens were blindfolded, bound and taken away, including 53 year old journalist Hassan Abdel Jawad who is a member of the board of the Palestinian Journalists Trade Union.
Also arrested in Deheisha were 40 year old Naim Abu Akr, 33 year old Shabab Mezher, and 34 year old Mohammed Fawzi Al Sadjadi. In the town of Beit Sahour, to the southeast of Bethlehem, Israeli forces arrested 44 year old Yousef Hiat, and then in Al Doha Village closer to Deheisha Camp the Israeli’s conducted a raid and took a 36 year old government school teacher.
Eyewitnesses reported that Israeli soldiers began the incursion and arrests on Monday morning at approximately 2:00 am and left at 5:00 am. Some 40 of the soldiers were dressed in civilian clothes and all entrances and exits to Bethlehem were closed, with flying checkpoints imposed throughout the governorate. Sources report that all the detainees are members of the PFLP and worked voluntarily in leading positions in the cultural community. This was seen as a political sweep of influential leftists who oppose the Oslo accords, etc.
None of those arrested come from the Gaza strip or were members of Hamas, all are residents of the part of the West Bank the western media have been proclaiming that the Israeli’s withdrew from long ago. Almost all of them are at the heart of the emergent Palestine civil society, in which the Palestinian left have become such a prominent part.
The aforementioned and similar IDF incursions into Nablus, which also took place this week, makes a farce of US and Israeli claims that if only Hamas would stop firing rockets into Israel, peace and an Israeli withdraw from the occupied territories would follow swiftly. It is increasingly clear that Israel has no intention of withdrawing from the West Bank and Gaza, as only last Sunday Israel announced plans to build hundreds of new homes in the Jewish settlement of Givat Ze’evin which is situated in the occupied West Bank. Housing Ministry officials said 200 partially constructed units would now be completed. In addition according to his spokesman Mark Regev, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert himself authorized building another 330 new homes in the area.
It has been clear since the Oslo Accords were first introduced into the equation that the only thing which could force Israel to withdraw to its 1967 borders as demanded by the UN would be if the White House threatened to withdraw all US economic and military support. As this will not happened on this US Presidents watch, it is impossible not to conclude that the recent incursions by the IDF into Gaza and the West Bank are designed to remove all Palestinians who oppose politically the compliant regime of Mahmoud Abbas, thus we can expect more of these criminal IDF raids in the future.**
* As reported by PA security sources and eyewitnesses.
Additional information from Tony Greenstein.
** The Photo’s above are
1. IDF soldiers arresting a Palestinian.
2. Members of the journalist trade union protesting the arrest of Hassan Abdel Jawad
3. The illegal settlement of Givat Ze’evin