Thursday, April 23, 2009

Clash between Israelis and Palestinians at Aida Refugee Camp

There has been a clash of sorts between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian workers involved in preparing the Aida Refugee Camp for Pope Benedict's visit. The Palestine News Network describes "an invasion of Israeli forces":
Some five military patrols stormed the area and sealed it. They stopped all work and began photographing and using video cameras. The Israelis demanded to see “who is responsible for the work.”

Camp director on the subject, Ibrahim Abu Sorour oversees any project, construction or renovation.

However, the Israelis today claimed northern Bethlehem’s Aida Refugee Camp, which is now blocked on one side by the Wall, as Area C, meaning in Oslo terms “under Israeli civil and military control.” Israeli forces said therefore, Palestinians in the refugee camp must obtain an Israeli license before doing any work. ...

According to the Maan News Agency conveys the account of press officer for the official Palestinian committee to welcome the Pope to the camp, Munjid Jado:
[F]ive soldiers entered the camp and stopped the committee from working, questioning them and videotaping them. ...

Camp official Ibrahim Abu Srur then arrived at the scene. He was told by the soldiers that Aida camp lies in Area C of the West Bank, under Israeli military jurisdiction, and that the committee would therefore need a special permit for its activities.

Following this, another Israeli official arrived and attempted to distribute a written order to stop work. The committee workers refused to accept the paper, at which time soldiers posted the order on the walls of buildings near the square where the pope is to be received.

The Palestine News Network cites Bethlehem Governer Salah Ta’mari as responding:

“The Israeli practices are clear evidence pointing to Israel's quest to create obstacles for the visit of His Holiness the Pope to Bethlehem and Aida Refugee Camp. [The Israelis] want to prevent exposure of their repressive practices against the Palestinian people.”

“To this day the Palestinian people face various kinds of repression and torture, which is reflected in Aida Refugee Camp. Murder and displacement are noticeable.”

“Israel is attempting to disrupt the completion of the site which will be the story of the Palestinian people to the world during the visit of His Holiness to Bethlehem, which will include much of the western media.”

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