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Security Forces Arrest Jerusalem Peace Activists

Israeli Security Forces Arrest Jerusalem Peace Activists


By Am Johal

As US Secretary of State Condolleeza Rice arrived in Israel to talk about the possibility of a ceasefire, Jerusalem protesters were pushed and shoved away from sight and in to the middle of the street near the Citadel Hotel on King David Street on Monday night.

Khulood Badawi, one of the organizers of the protest and a former chair of the National Union of Arab Students, was arrested and manhandled by security forces within the first ten minutes. Security forces provoked, pushed and detained her before forcing her in to a police car.

All she did was organize a peaceful protest. Only ten minutes before, we were chatting on the street and I was telling her about the complications of graduate school and the ethical dilemma of attempting to do research while a war is going on. The only democracy in the Middle East just took away one of its most articulate human rights activists to put her in to jail. Welcome to Israel. Protesters were herded across the street to a traffic island. Finally, we were pushed all the way across the street, almost out of sight. I got shoved aggressively by a security officer.

I've been to protests at the Separation Wall, in front of Haifa City Hall, in front of the Prime Minister's Residence and the Prime Minister's Office protesting various forms of discriminatory public policy over the years. This was the first time an Israeli officer physically pushed me. I'm going to wear that hit like a badge of honour.

We are pacifists that stand for something – they are meatheads delivering a blunt message from the state that's meant to make us afraid to speak out.

From the bottom of my heart, Fuck Off, Israel. You can't keep doing this to people.

The officers surrounded the 60 protestors with fencing and pushed everyone else away. One of the signs read, "We don't need another American war in the Middle East."

Abir Kopty, Mossawa Center's media spokesperson and one of those involved with the organization 'Women Against the War' was shoved against a metal embankment, pushed to the ground and had her toe stubbed by security forces. She was talking on her cell phone and the security officers wanted her to move to the fenced in location. Luckily, it wasn't broken. The women began chanting, "Condolleeza, Condolleeza, You are not our sister!"

Later, the crowd broke out in to "1-2-3-4, We don't want your fucking war! 5-6-7-8, Israel is a fascist state!"

The bullies all stood there staring out at us. Once again, it was security before human rights – the great mantra of the age.

Later, Leila Mosinzon, another young activist, stood her ground peacefully refusing to move. The security thugs pushed her against the railing, grabbed her arms and legs and shoved her in to a police car. Once again, completely unprovoked, the security officers pushed her away while the rest of the protesters were herded by fencing.

Another middle aged woman was singled out and taken away as well.

Raising any form of public dissent against the bullying apparatus of the state will get you a criminal record, or if you are an international, thrown out of the country.

Until people bring this country to a standstill non-violently, nothing will change and those meatheads get to run the show. Israelis and the West need to wake up from their stupor. Staying silent or uncritically supporting Israel is no longer acceptable.

No one has the right to be a spectator anymore.

ENDS

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