1000s of Palestinians Regularly Rendered Homeless
Thousands of Palestinians Regularly Rendered Homeless Kristen
The War Against Teaparties _ Roy Bard
Jenin Raid _ Tobias Karlsson
Hebron: Life in H2 for a Palestinian _ Barbara (CPT)
The Murder of Imad Ali Mabrouk_Maria Stenstrom
1) Thousands of Palestinians Regularly Rendered Homeless
Date: February 13, 2003 Author: Kristen Ess Area: Bethlehem
Last night 30 invading Israeli soldiers tore through a house on the edge of a Bethlehem refugee camp. Arriving in 12 heavily armoured jeeps with blue lights flashing at midnight, they took measurements of the house, home to several units of the same extended family, and the house next door.
That house is small, someone’s grandmother's home. She is sitting in a chair in her leafy garden in front of the house. She is staring to the side, not speaking, not crying. The larger house, which Israeli soldiers will blow up the grandmother's house in order to get to, has a roof that many nights during curfew people meet on, making a barbeque in an old can. It is impossible to meet in cafes or restaurants, most are closed because of curfew and there isn't much money to spend anyway.
In the night after the Israeli soldiers left, people from the camp came out from their houses to help the families carry out their salvageable belongings. A replica of Al Aqsa mosque, a half smashed television, blankets, suitcases, a little girl comes out of the door with a backpack holding hands with a friend. She must find a new place to sleep, as must everyone. Friends from around the camp were shaking hands, one walked up to me and shrugged. The one whose house it is said, "thank you," and "if god wills it." Today women are lined up in chairs across the narrow ally street from the house accepting handshakes and kisses on the cheek from neighbors who come to offer condolences. They are all homeless now.
The Israeli soldiers said they would be back to blow up the houses. Maybe now, maybe later. No one knows as is normal in this campaign of psychological warfare that the Israeli military government is waging against the Palestinian people. They did the same thing in Deheisha camp 4 months ago and the people are still waiting, outside of their house, because at any moment Israeli soldiers might arrive to destroy it.
Israeli soldiers dug up the main road out of Beit Sahour, creating a roadblock higher than two cars atop one another. An old woman there tells me that her flower garden used to be so beautiful, that the stone fence in front of the road was so beautiful. There are tanks in the hill behind and jeeps driving past a road now gone to mud. My friends here keep telling me that tomorrow is Valentine's Day.
2) The War Against Teaparties Date: February 14, 2003 Author: Roy Bard Area: Nablus
As I stepped onto the hill, leading down from the Refugee Camp, I saw him crouch down, aim his gun in my direction, and take aim. The sound of the shot echoed round the valley.
I took my mobile out of my pocket and rang the Consul, explained that I was trying to get to Salim Village to have tea and celebrate Eid with a friend, and that despite the fact I was wearing my high visibility jacket, and had been wearing it around this soldier for a month, he was shooting at me.
Further down the hill and another shot. I yell "International" at the top of my voice and continue down. The Consul talks to me as I pick my way across the impossibly muddy mess that is Azmout Checkpoint (or not as the case may be). At the other side he comes running up to me and pokes me hard in the chest\t with the barrel of his M16. The Consul is still on the line.
"Why are you poking me with your gun?" "Go back or I'll shoot you" "Why are you threatening to shoot me?" "Because you came here, when I told you not to" "I did, I fired warning shots, now go back or I'll shoot you" "I want to go to Salim Village" "You have to go through a checkpoint" "This is a checkpoint!" "No it's not" "Yes it is, and it's the only way to Salim Village" "You have to go through an official checkpoint" "This is an official checkpoint, I've passed here many times after showing my passport" "No it's not. Only humanitarian cases are allowed through here" "That's not true! Many p[people cross here. You and I both know that"
I explain what's going on the Consul. The soldier who wears three stripes is Ariel Ze'ev. He's a crazy man. He leads a group of four soldiers who spend days wandering up and down this road detaining people, obstructing their paths, punishing them, shooting at them. The group of 4 wonder around, without a vehicle, suggesting that they believe they are quite safe.
Now he tells me this is his country, he's in charge here and I'm not going to Salim. I'm going back the way I came or he's going to shoot me. It's 9.30 am and I ask the Consul to speak to the IDF for me, and if they refuse permission, to ask them to fax a map and directions of how I can get to the village. I know it's impossible. The army has dug up all the roads and surrounded Salim and two neighbouring villages with a 10km ditch. The only possible route is through another two checkpoints, and then a half hour walk down the settler road, where Palestinians may not walk. Anyone on the road is likely to be hassled by soldiers, or even worse, armed settlers. No ambulances can get into the villages, and already 2 people have died at Azmout waiting for ambulances on the other side.
I tell Ze'ev that I intend to go to Salim, that I have spoken to my Consul (he listened in after all!) and that I'm not leaving till I get permission to go.
So begins the long wait. Shortly after he stops a car, detains the driver at gunpoint, puts him against the wall, and parks the car in the middle of the road to Salim. He shoots at anyone who approaches the checkpoint. His three stooges sit against the wall of a house, looking bored and depressed. It is raining. I make more calls. Three internationals will join me later I hear. The ISM media office prepares a press release to send out. A shepherd is next. He is detained at 10.30 and made to sit against the wall. His sheep are left to their own devices. Later two Internationals will try to retrieve them. They will not be good shepherd material and will be relieved when his brother appears and rounds the sheep up. They do manage to retrieve the donkey and tie it to a tree though. The shepherd is in for a lousy day. At about one Ze'ev will decide he is cheeky, cuff him and make him squat facing the wall. He will join another man who dared to question Ze'evs responsibility.
A Gynecologist will join those who are not cuffed. He was given permission to cross earlier. When he returns to the checkpoint, Ze'ev will fire a shot in his direction and tell him to go back. An International will walk to him and walk back with him. Ze'ev will take his ID and make him sit against the wall. "Why?" the international will ask. "Because he didn't go back when I told him to" Ze'ev will say. I will phone the Israeli Human Rights Group Hammoked, in front of Ze'ev, explain the situation to them and pass the phone to the doctor. After the phone call Ze'ev will threaten the doctor and then give him back his ID and tell him to go.
Every now and then Ze'ev will ask me if I have my official answer. Not yet I will tell him. More phone calls with the Consul. "Where exactly are you?" , "What's your passport number?" She will give it to the Israelis, even after she promises not to!
The three Internationals arrive. It gets chaotic at times and decisions seem arbitrary and strange. Some pass with impunity, some cross without any problem. Others are detained for wanting to go from one village to another. Others are allowed to go. Some are shot at long before they get near, and don't come any closer. Ze'ev will assault at least 8 of the men during the course of the day, kicking, punching, banging heads against the wall. Sometimes Internationals will get between Ze'ev and the detained, sometimes it happens so quickly no one knows it is coming. Ze'evs mood will fluctuate throughout the day, as it does every day. He would be in danger of a Mental Health section in the UK. Here he gets a gun, limitless ammunition and three soldiers and three villages to order around.
Several times he announces loudly that is not human. Time passes. I remind the Consul that all I want to do is visit as friend for a cup of tea. I remind Ze'ev that I am not at war with him, and neither is he at war with me. He's stopped threatening to shoot me now. At one point he wants to discuss where I bought my Doc Martens, and how similar they are to his.
Two-thirty and the Consul rings. The Army spokesman has told her that I am allowed to pass, and that he will clear it with the soldiers. Several times the radio goes and Ze'ev speaks into it. But he says nothing to me. By now I am moving about freely. I go off to show an International where the sheep are.
"Where are you going?" asks one of the soldiers. "To look for sheep" I reply. "Why, am I under arrest?" "No" comes back the reply.
I go to get cigarettes from the shop in Azmout. I meet a man who has grazes and tells me was assaulted by soldiers trying to cross the valley. I ring Hammoked again, and they speak to him and take his details.
4pm and I ring the Consul again. She is surprised to hear from me. They told me that they spoke to the soldiers and you have gone to the village" she says.
"Can I go to Salim?", I ask Ze'ev. He ignores me. I ask a soldier, he asks Ze'ev. "No" comes back the reply. I speak to the Consul again. The man who gave permission left the office at three. "No problem," I tell her, "I'll just come back tomorrow and you can ring him then!" I tell her.
I turn to the soldier. "You guys must really enjoy my company" I say. "I'll be back again tomorrow and then I'll go to Salim. Ze'ev suddenly comes to life, "Go now" he says, pointing to the village.
I have won. His authority has been undermined. His orders have been overturned. Diplomatic pressure has been applied.
Some of the men are detained until 10pm. It is cold and raining. I sleep the night in Salim. People are increasingly worried about the checkpoint, many avoid it, some can't. Arbitrary decisions are made. Arbitrary detentions and assaults take place every day. They don't believe the world will help. They don't know how it will stop. None of the 3 villages has produced a suicide bomber. The only possible explanation I can see for it, is that the Israelis are trying to crush the villages. It may be working. Many villagers have given up and moved into Nablus. The settlers have been down and stolen sheep, wild pigs have appeared on the land inexplicably, wells have been contaminated.
I remember the discussion with the soldier at one point during the day. "Don't you agree that Israel has the most moral army in the world?" he asks. "No" I respond. ===========================
3) Jenin Raid Date: February 13, 2003 Author: Tobias Karlsson Area: Jenin
Today at about 6 am the IOF entered Jenin with six jeeps supported by several tanks and APC's. They declared curfew on the city and took control of an area in the outskirts. They then forcibly entered two building-complexes, housing three different media-offices, the Palestinian Women Business Association and the Jenin Civil- Court Administration office. They searched every office in the building, leaving behind a massive scene of destruction. All the doors in both buildings where entered by force, using explosives or M-16 assault-rifles. Furniture was destroyed and they also ruined the filing-system in the court office. Some sources claims that they also seized documents and computer hard-drives.
The Israelis detained two persons in the incident, among them a 14-year old boy.
This attack is yet another in the pattern of targeting the Palestinian Civil Administration and other important structures such as the media.
Thirteen persons are also reported to have been arrested in other IOF-operations in different villages in the Jenin Governarate today during the morning. In the night till Tuesday three unarmed civilians where arrested in the Jenin refugee camp. Among them a young woman married to Hamas-activist Sheih-Jamal. He was imprisoned some three months ago and by arresting also his wife the Israelis leave their five children without parents.
Tobias Karlsson ISM-Coordinator Jenin area +972 (0)67-437690 Gratis e-mail resten av livet på: www.yahoo.se/mail Busenkelt! ===============================
4) Hebron:Life in H2 for a Palestinian
Reflection on 87 continuous Days of Curfew
February 11, 2003 Author: Barbara Martens Area: Hebron
If you walk out your front door
Onto the "settler only" street - now no longer yours
You might get shot.
If you can't face another day inside, after being confined 87 days
Inside a small apartment, and step our of your door
You might get shot.
If all food has been eaten, since curfew has lasted so long,
And your children are hungry, and you look for an open shop
You might get shot.
If you hear the call to prayer, and break curfew
to go to the mosque
You might get shot.
If you're a youth, and have watched soldiers beat your father,
And had soldiers harass and humiliate you
and if, your anger boiling over, you throw a rock at a tank
You might get shot.
If you hurry down the street during curfew, your little children each
Holding your hand, trying to get them safely to school
You might get shot
If you're a school girl heading home after school is dismissed, and
You might get tear-gassed.
If you're part of a gathering crowd on a street,
Refusing any longer to be squashed down
You might be percussion bombed, and lose your hearing.
If your home is on land wanted for settlement expansion
it might suddenly be demolished.
If you go to sleep one night
Soldiers might bang on your door, beat you and trash your home.
If you bring complaints about soldiers' excesses to higher authorities
You will be ignored.
Reflecting on all this, you say:
"We've told our plight to all the world. All ignore us. No one helps us.
We can trust only in