Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Palestinian Intifada - 4th Anniversary

Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi Director HDIP
Monday, September 27, 2004

Dr Mustafa Barghouthi began today's press conference with a summary
of recent trends and statistics. The second Intifada, now entering
its 5th year, has seen the World distracted by events in Iraq
enabling Israel to continue violating Palestinians' Human Rights
with complete immunity. The International media remains more
accessible to the Israeli side and thus allows Israel to push
forward their preferred narrative. Furthermore, these past years
have witnessed a significant deterioration in international support
and involvement with the peace process, many becoming disheartened
and reluctant having supported the now dead Oslo Peace Process.
However, the Intifada has also witnessed the emergence of a new
democratic opposition movement, born within the Palestinian
Territories , together with a consolidation in support for
pioneering, modern Palestinian leaders.
In the years since 1948, the Palestinians have witnessed a
consistent decrease in their promised State - now just 11% of
historic Palestine (as according to Sharon 's plan). What we are
looking at now is not a future Palestinian State , but a series of
Bantustans .

Death and Injury

In the four years since Sharon 's famous visit to the Haram Al Sharif
we have seen 4,342 Palestinians and Israelis killed. Of those 1,008
were Israeli and 3,334 Palestinian. 82% of Palestinians killed were

Two to three Palestinians are killed by Israeli soldiers, police or
settlers per day. Whilst this number may appear to be low, if this
death rate were to be applied to the UK it would be equivalent to 35
being killed per day, and in the US this would be 157 per day.

Since the start of the Intifada on the 28th of September 2000 , 621
Palestinian children below the age of 17 have been killed by the
Israeli occupation forces. Of this figure 411 were shot with live
ammunition and 200 were shot in the head, face or neck. 331 were
from the Gaza Strip. 10,000 Palestinian children have been injured.
Dr Barghouthi insisted that there is absolutely no excuse to justify
the killing of such a huge number of children. What is equally
disturbing is the telling figures of injuries received to the head –
Israeli forces were obviously shooting to kill. In fact the majority
of Palestinians killed have suffered injuries to the head and upper

424 Palestinians have died in extra judicial executions
(assassinations). 186 of those were bystanders or "unintended"
victims, killed as they were near the victim. 39 bystanders were
children 26 were women. With regards to extra judicial
assassinations, in Gaza whilst 72 Palestinians died in targeted
killings, a shocking 118 bystanders were additionally killed in
these attacks.

Palestinian Prisoners

Israel continues to make use of an old emergency law that dates back
to the British Mandate. This Law allows Israel to arrest and detain
anyone for an unlimited time without charging them. There are
currently 78 Palestinian children in administrative detention.

There are also currently 100 Palestinian women and 377 children in
Israeli prisons. 80% of the children are routinely tortured or
harassed and 31% suffer from disease.


30% of Palestinian children suffer from chronic malnutrition. The
number of pregnant women unable to receive any medical attention
during their pregnancy is now five times higher than figures before
September 2000.


More than one billion dollars worth of Palestinian infrastructure
has been destroyed by Israeli forces and more than 200 million
dollars of this has been donor financed. Since the start of the
Intifada the Palestinian GDP has decreased by 50% and agricultural
losses have amounted to more than one million dollars.


Israeli forces have shelled or broken into 298 Palestinian schools.
4 young children were shot in the head in UNRWA run schools in Gaza ,
in 2004 alone.

Water & the Evolution of Apartheid

Since September 2000, the price of water in the Palestinian
Territories has increased from $2.5 per cubic meter to $7.5 per
cubic meter. And only a shocking 70 litres per person per day is
consumed in the West Bank for domestic, urban AND industrial use.
200 Palestinian communities have no access to a clean water supply.

In the Gaza Strip we can no longer forecast a disaster because it
has already begun. There is no water supply in Gaza that is fit for

Every Israeli citizen consumes five times more water than the
Palestinians. Illegal settlers living in the West Bank consume
twenty times more water than the Palestinians living there.

Movement Restrictions

There are currently 703 movement restrictions in the West Bank
alone. As an example of the effects on Palestinian everyday life
that this has caused, whilst a journey from Ramallah to Hebron
should take around one hour, it has taken up to twelve hours for
many Palestinians.

86 Palestinians have already died because of movement restrictions,
and this figure includes 30 children. Had these people been allowed
to travel, they would have probably survived. In addition at least
55 women have been forced to give birth at checkpoints with 20
losing their children.

The Wall

The Wall is three times as long and twice as high as the Berlin
Wall. In Qalqilia 40,000 residents are imprisoned within the Wall in
what can only be described as a ghetto. As well as those imprisoned
inside the wall the residents of surrounding villages now placed on
the western (Israeli) side of the wall have been cut of entirely
from schools, jobs, healthcare and family. Many in fact have lost
all access to the outside world is controlled by 11 Israeli manned
gates which are collectively only opened for a total of 55 minutes
per day. Anyone who wishes to enter or leave Qalqilia must have
special permission – even patients and medical services. Qalqilia
residents claim that they can no longer see the sunset.

Whilst there is talk about adjustments to the Wall's route, there
are in fact no changes other than mere cosmetic alterations. What we
are witnessing is not just the building of the Wall it is the
destruction of a two state solution.

Disengagement in Gaza and the Road Map to Peace Sharon only accepted
the Road Map as it was approved by the Israeli Cabinet and this was
with 15 reservations, the first being a refusal to freeze any
settlement building. At the same time whilst Sharon talks about
removing settlements in the West Bank, he is referring to 4 that
exist in the north of the West Bank, that exist on land that can not
be enclaved by the Wall. The other existing settlements will of
course remain because they exist on land that Israel plans to
appropriate through the Wall and enclaves.

Unfortunately, with regards to Sharon 's Gaza Plan most of the
World's media mistakenly continues to refer to it as a "withdrawal".
In fact Sharon never referred to a "withdrawal", what he actually
said was that they would redeploy from Gaza but the military would
still enter at any time they deemed appropriate. In Rafah the
Israeli forces are destroying on average 6 houses per day in order
to clear a passage separating Gaza from Egypt, which will grant them
full border control. So far 2200 homes have been demolished in this
area alone.

Periods of "Relative Calm?

During this last year of the Intifada, there has been a serious rise
in mass popular support for non-violent resistance. This is why
suicide attacks against Israel have significantly depleted, not
because of the Wall. However, this has certainly not encouraged
Israeli forces to stop attacking Palestinians.

Between March 15 and August 31, 2004 , the International media talked
of a period of "relative calm" purely because there were no suicide
attacks against Israel . However, the following days of March saw 45
Palestinians dead with no Israeli casualties; April saw 56
Palestinians dead compared to 3 Israelis; and May saw 116
Palestinians dead (the majority during Israel's "Operation Rainbow"
in Rafah) compared to 19 Israelis. It must be noted that of the
total Israelis killed, 18 were Soldiers, 10 were illegal settlers
and only 3 were civilians. This means that during a period of
practical cease fire on the part of the Palestinians Israel
continued to kill civilians at a rate of 12:1. If Sharon was at all
serious about wanting a peaceful solution, genuine advantage could
have been taken during this period of quiet, instead he proceeded to
kill more Palestinians than at any other time since the beginning of
the Intifada other than the 2002 invasions.

Palestinian Elections and future Democracy?

Israeli forces have closed six election registration offices in
Jerusalem as well as others across the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Dr
Barghouthi stressed that this is totally unacceptable and if the
Palestinians are to achieve reform through democratic process, then
the International community must do more than condemn these recent
actions, they must demand that Israel reopens the offices. Democracy
he insisted is a precondition not only for reform but also for
lasting peace, a peace based on justice.

Dr Barghouthi concluded the press conference by declaring that
unfortunately, he was almost 100% sure he would be greeting the same
audience at a press conference to mark the fifth anniversary of the
Intifada. As of yet, there has been no reason for the Palestinians
to stop resisting – "either we live as slaves under an occupation or
we continue to struggle for freedom", and the latter he insisted is
the path that will be taken.

A breakdown of the statistics for the four years of Intifada quoted
in Dr Barghouthi's presentation is available here.

NOTE: all statistics are based on information available at the time
of calculation.

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