Israel-Palestine ... in brief

IssueSeptember - November 2004

A UN report released on 30 July found that economic and living conditions in all Palestinian areas had deteriorated, with 63% of Palestinians now living in poverty.

The UN report concluded, “The sustainable option for addressing the current economic and social deprivation lies in lifting the occupation of Palestinian territory.”

ICJ Ruling

In July judges from the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that Israel's separation wall is illegal under International law except where it follows the 1967 Green Line. The ICJ ruled that any sections built inside the occupied territories be removed and Palestinians compensated. The ICJ has no powers to enforce its suggestions.

Roadblock protests

Seventeen protesters were injured on 28 July when the Israeli military threw gas canisters during a peaceful demonstration outside the town of Ya'bod, south of Jenin. The demonstrators, including hundreds of Palestinians and dozens of international peace activists, were protesting against a military roadblock.

Latest on COs

In an “instant trial” lasting just five minutes, Daniel Tsal, aged 19, was sentenced to 28 days' imprisonment for his continuing refusal to enlist. Fellow refusenik Jonathan (Yoni) Ben Artzi went before the Military Court of Appeal on 9 August 2004 to contest his original conviction and sentencing. In July female CO Laura Milo had her appeal for exemption on the grounds of conscience rejected by the Supreme Court.

Rafah Crossing

The Rafah international border crossing reopened on 5 August after three weeks of closure. Approximately 4500 Palestinians were stranded on the Egyptian side with many reliant on the Egyptian authorities and aid groups for basic supplies.