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Int. Solidarity Movement Seeks Volunteers


Int. Solidarity Movement Seeks Volunteers

1) Right to Education Campaign March 14 – April 30, 2003

The International Solidarity Movement is urgently trying to get international volunteers to come to the Occupied Palestinian Territories to stand with Palestinians against attacks on their very existence. If you can arrange to be with us, please consider our upcoming campaign – Right to Education:

Throughout the current intifada school age children have suffered from increasing exposure to violence, trauma and poverty as well as from confinement and a lack of educational, social and cultural outlets due to the closures and curfews. Palestinians' right to education has been violated through Israeli military curfews and closures, which prevent students and teachers from reaching their schools as well as the destruction and closure of some schools by the Israeli military. School children have been attacked by the Israeli army and illegal Jewish settlers while traveling to and from their places of study.

Between September 2000 and 2 January 2003: * Israeli forces killed 239 Palestinian schoolchildren and wounded over 2500 on their way to or from school * 166 students and 75 teachers were arrested * 1289 Palestinian schools were temporarily closed * 197 schools were damaged, 11 schools completely destroyed, and 9 vandalized * 25 schools have been taken over by the Israeli Occupation Forces for use as army barracks and detention centers * 185 schools were shelled by Israeli defense forces

Sources: Grassroots International, Defense for Children International and The Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute.

International volunteers will be asked to accompany children to school to deter attacks on them, join Palestinians in breaking/defying military curfews, demonstrating for the right to education and more….

Training dates for the Right to Education Campaign will be:

Friday / Saturday March 14/15 Friday / Saturday March 21/22 Friday / Saturday March 28/29 Friday / Saturday April 4/5 Friday / Saturday April 11/12 Tuesday/Wed April 15/16 Tuesday/Wed April 22/23

Please see our website for more information and registration – www.palsolidarity.org ==================== 2) HEBRON: The Ladder Lady February 4, 2003 Author: Art Gish Area: Hebron

I went on school patrol with three other Christian Peacemaker Team members in Hebron this morning, something we do each morning to protect Palestinian children from Israeli settlers who often harass them as they go to school, and to help get the children past Israeli soldiers who often prevent them from getting to school. This morning, as we started on our way, settler children threw stones at us. One of the soldiers who watched the attack cursed us and told us to leave. A settler cursed us and another settler greeted us with his middle finger. This is normal life here in Hebron. Then I met the "ladder lady." I had heard so much about her. Each morning she puts down a crude homemade ladder from a rooftop of the old city to let between 20 and 30 children from her neighborhood get out of the old city so they can go to school. The Israeli military has put up gates to prevent them from leaving the old city.

The children climb over the roofs to get to the ladder lady's home. The ladder lady is waiting with her ladder when the children come home from school. Because of curfew and being locked in the old city, the roofs also are now where children play. Kristin and I helped set up the ladder, and watched the beautiful little girls scramble down the ladder. They are quite good at it. This morning there were only girls, because we gave a message to the ladder lady that the Israeli military did not allow the boys' school to open once again today. I was overwhelmed with emotion as I walked with the girls to their school. I felt I was on holy ground and given a sacred privilege of accompanying them to school. I felt unworthy to even walk beside these girls, their smiling faces so full of hope and expectation. I also felt a deep disgust that anyone could be so perverse as to threaten young girls on their way to school or try to prevent them from going to school, and that my government supports these obscenities. The children, however, have not yet lost hope. They are determined to go to school, no matter what. They walk past the settlers and soldiers. They even walk through the tear gas that is so common here recently.

Christian Peacemaker Teams is an ecumenical initiative to support violence reduction efforts around the world. To learn more about CPT's peacemaking work, please visit our website at http://www.cpt.org. Photos of our projects may be viewed at http://www.clubphoto.com. Login as cptheb@palnet.com =========================== 3) Detained at Asiera Shamalia Date: February 1, 2003 Author: Maria Area: Nablus Today we received information about a large group of people being detained at Asiera Shamalia. Asiera is a village located in the northwest of Nablus and it is completely cut off from the city by a small number of soldiers. These soldiers control the village and its surroundings by hiding in the mountains and catching people traveling on donkey trails in and out of the area.

The IOF have occupied a house close to the main road to Nablus which they use as base camp. The family in the house told us about how the soldiers search their house on a daily basis and how they need permission to leave the house. The soldiers also have their own key to the house and they come and go as they please. The living room is sometimes used as interrogation room and people have been questioned their while hanging upside down from the window according to the family.

The children of this family have difficulties both reaching the school and obtaining good grades. The family is facing economical difficulties not only because of the situation in general in Palestine but also because of the amount of people detained every day in their garden whom they support with as much drinks and food as they can provide. At this house the soldiers keep people from early morning by taking their IDs. We arrived today at noon and there were already 47 people detained nearby the house. Many of those were women and at least five people had medical reasons for going to Nablus. We were particularly concerned about an elderly woman with cancer who had been detained on her way to hospital for treatment. There were at least five very old women detained on this hot and sunny day.

We were told of beatings and rude language in front of women while the people were first stopped and detained. We also heard about a man who together with his wife a few months ago had carried their ill two-year-old son through the mountain where they were detained for hours. When the family was allowed to pass it was too late and their child died upon their arrival at the hospital. On their way back they were stopped again and the soldiers would not allow for them to pass without searching the body wrap of the two year old. The parents refused but the soldiers then started to harass the mother and so they were forced to show their sons body.

The soldiers were absent for about two hours but then they came climbing down the mountainside accompanied by at least another 50 detained people. There were two soldiers walking in front of the detained and two soldiers in the end. It is chocking to see how much power four young boys have in Palestine and it looked very much like a war movie. We approached the soldiers and tried to negotiate specifically about the people with medical conditions. The commander listened but said very little. Two of the soldiers seemed to be amused by our presence but the third soldier spoke only in Hebrew and we learned later form the Palestinians that he wanted to hit the female ISM negotiator. The commander finally said that they would release all the women. After that statement he and his soldiers once again took to the mountain to shoot at people trying to pass. After two hours and a lot of phone calls the soldiers returned and they started to release what seemed to be a random selection of people, mostly women. The IDs which were on top of the stack of IDs was returned to the holder so it clearly had nothing to do with the “status” of the individual person. After releasing about 50 they suddenly stopped and they returned to the top of the mountain.

They returned after one hour and forced the remaining people to sit on their knees in front the house. One soldier laid down on the ground aiming his gun at the unarmed civilians sitting down on the ground. After a couple of minutes one of the men received a phone call and he answered the phone. One of the soldiers ran down to the crowd of people and started to beat the man. He stole the man’s phone and refused to return it to the man or the internationals present. After another half an hour they simply handed out all the IDs and everyone was free to go while the soldiers retreated to an olive grove nearby where they watched the people return to their homes. Some of them had then been detained for more than eleven hours. Maria, occupied Nablus ======================= 4) An Everyday Incident Date: February 3, 2003 Author: Linus and Alice Area: Nablus At 1am on the night of the 3rd January the Albadqader family in the village of Beit Iba were woken by stones breaking their windows. Alarmed they cried out "Who's that?" which was replied with "IDF".

All men were ordered to go outside. However the father had been killed by soldiers on 25th May 1999 whilst working for the PA, and one of the other sons, aged 24, had spent the last 10 months in Israeli custody. So there were just two, aged 16 and Yahka, 21, to obey the soldiers' orders.

Yahka was then beaten in the stomach and head with the barrel of a gun.

The rest of the family, consisting of the mother, 54, and two daughters, 13 and 14, were also ordered to stand outside.

Five soldiers entered the house and searched it. This included cutting the upholstery of the furniture. The family was kept outside for an estimated one hour.

Some soldiers climbed onto the roof from whence they threatened to shoot the family if they moved. Yahka was told to lift his shirt and was checked for explosives. He was then ordered into one of the three jeeps and taken away.

The family's mobile phones, some gold jewelry and approximately 2600 shekels were taken.

The entire incident took an hour and a half.

On the request of the mother, we returned to Beit Iba checkpoint and tried to investigate where the mobile phones were. Evading our questions, the commander said that this was an everyday incident, that he'd heard nothing through official channels, knew about it only from the mother, but that the son was a terrorist. The mother was told that she must go to the police about her missing possessions.

Linus and Alice. ISM Nablus. Occupied Palestine. ================= INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT www.palsolidarity.org

=====

Huwaida Arraf INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT www.palsolidarity.org

"If the people lead, the leaders will follow"


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