One Year into the Second Intifada
WASHINGTON, DC — Today marks one year since the beginning of the second Palestinian Intifada. Commenting on the anniversary, ADC President Ziad Asali said, “The brutal attacks of September 11 on New York and Washington, DC and their aftermath are rightly preoccupying the whole world. Even during this time of crisis, however, the one-year anniversary of the Palestinian uprising should not be ignored.” He continued, “Now is the time to move towards a just and lasting peace, which means an end to the occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”
The al-Aqsa Intifada was triggered by the provocative visit of Ariel Sharon, who has since become Israels Prime Minister, to al-Haram al-Sharif. Since then, Palestinians have been denied free access to the Holy Places in Jerusalem. In the past year, 692 Palestinians were killed and 15,833 injured by Israeli security forces and settlers. 52 were assassinated (assassinations are considered to be war crimes under the Hague Treaty of 1907). 166 of those killed and 6000 of those injured were under the age of 18. According to reports, 809 Palestinian homes were demolished, including 25 in Jerusalem. At last count, 112,900 olive trees were uprooted from Palestinian land. 1,026 people were arrested or detained, among them 170 children, ten women, and two doctors.
Israel has attacked defenseless Palestinian towns with F-16 jets and used heavy equipment, including tanks, against civilians. The daily loss to the Palestinian economy is estimated at $12.7 million. The unemployment rate is now 50-60%. Two million Palestinians (two-thirds of the total population) are now living below the poverty line. The total economic loss is $6 billion.
The Beit Jala Government Hospital, the Dibs Hospital, the Malta Hospital, and the Yamama Hospital in Bethlehem; the Beit Sahour Medical Center in Beit Sahour; the Alia Hospital in Hebron all received direct hits. In Ramallah, rockets hit the Early Childhood Center and a school for the blind. Several private clinics were fired at with live ammunition. Israeli settlers, using automatic weapons, attacked the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem, wounding the hospital security guard.
The West Bank and Gaza have been cut off from the outside world. The so-called safe passage between Gaza and the West Bank has been closed for the year. Almost all cities and villages are separated from each other. Twenty-nine towns and villages are completely isolated.
The Israeli army illegally seized control of the Orient House on August 10. Israel continues to pursue its demographically motivated exclusive policies toward the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, especially East Jerusalem. Settlement construction is on the rise. Last March, the Israeli government approved 2830 housing units in the Ras Al-Amud and Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa) areas of Jerusalem.