A peace activist injured by an Israeli bullet
JENIN, West Bank, July 28 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) – Five foreign peace activists were wounded when Israeli forces used live ammunition to disperse protestors against Israel’s security fence in northern West Bank Monday, July 28.
The army opened fire when a crowd of some 500 Palestinians led by a group of 100 activists from the International solidarity Movement (ISM) tore down a gate in the fence near the village of Aneen, a spokesman for the activists told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The gate was built into the fence in order to allow farmers whose villages have been severed from their land to work on their crops, but it has always remained locked, the spokesman explained.
The Monday protests came as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is to hold talks with U.S. President George W. Bush at the white House, at which the visiting official is unlikely to compromise on the route of the wall, despite U.S. pressure, the BBC News reported.
The fence construction drew world-wide criticism, with Bush calling it a “problem” makes confidence between the two conflicting sides “difficult”.
However, Israel challenged Bush’s call, calling the building of the fence a “necessity“
The ISM has been leading an aggressive campaign in recent weeks to protest against the fence as well as roadblocks hampering freedom of movement in the West Bank.
Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old U.S. peace activist, was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer in the Gaza Strip town of Rafah in March and Briton Tom Hurndall was declared clinically dead after being shot by the army in the same area a month later.
The group was recently blacklisted by the Israeli authorities and foreigners wishing to enter the Gaza Strip must certify they do not belong to the movement and will not disrupt Israeli army activities.
The ISM said July 17 that Israeli authorities were to deport eight peace activists they deemed “a security threat” after they peacefully protested against the fence construction.
The fence has angered many Palestinians, particularly as its construction has resulted in the expropriation of large tracts of land which they fear will end up as part of Israel in a future peace settlement.
The Palestinians accuse Israel of using the fence to unilaterally determine the borders of a future Palestinian state and of wanting to “ethnically cleanse” the West Bank with a de facto annexation of its most fertile regions.
Missing Soldier Found Dead
Peace activists have been leading a campaign to denounce the fence
In the meanwhile, the body of an Israeli soldier who went missing a week ago was found Monday buried in an olive grove in northern Israel, police said.
The body of Oleg Shayhat, 20, was unearthed in the grove between the Arab villages of Kfar Kana and Mashad, near the city of Nazareth, police sources added.
There was no claim for the killing but Israeli security services suspect that Shayhat, who went missing July 21 after leaving his base, was abducted by a Palestinian resistance group or an Israeli Arab cell with links to such groups.
Hundreds of security forces had been combing the area for the past several days and his military beret was found Sunday.
“Israeli military scouts then found traces of blood which led them to the olive grove where the soldier was buried. He was no longer carrying his weapon,” northern Israel police chief Yaacov Borosky told public radio.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, present at a search coordination center, told the radio that Israel would decide “what measures to take after having studied all the details of the case” from the security services.