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Updates on Nablus and Susan Barclay


Updates on Nablus and Susan Barclay

1. Nablus: Activists Defy Israeli Military Checkpoints to Uphold Children's Right to Education

2. Susan Barclay: No Decision Made on Re-Arrest

Nablus: Activists Defy Israeli Military Checkpoints to Uphold Children's Right to Education

At 9.30 this morning about 20 ISM activists (from Sweden, Italy, South Africa, the UK, Denmark, the US, Canada, Switzerland and Occupied Palestine) arrived by in hired cars at the Beit Iba Military Checkpoint north of Nablus to deliver school books to Aseera, a village to which the Israeli Occupation Forces around Nablus have denied educational equipment since the beginning of the school year (September).

When, on a previous occasion, an ISM activist had tried to pass the checkpoint one of the soldiers guarding it had held his rifle to his chest and forced him to retreat to Nablus.

Bewildered by the number of the activists, the soldiers let them through after only a short negotiation, omitting even to examine the ID cards of the Palestinians. The activists then proceeded to the second checkpoint by the Shafi Shamrom Settlement past which very few Palestinian vehicles have been allowed to pass since the start of the Intifada.

When they arrived they again found the soldiers to be totally confounded by their numbers and were allowed through after only a few minutes negotiation. At this point most of the group returned to Nablus while seven others continued onto Aseera. They arrived at the Aseera School for Girls at around noon to the delight of the students and were given coffee by the school's headmistress and staff before having lunch at a restaurant in the village.

At 3 pm the group were preparing to leave when they learned that about 80 villagers were being detained at an Israeli occupied house on the outskirts of the village. (The house is not permanently occupied by the Israelis but they have the key to the door and occupy it on a without warning on a periodic basis.)

When the activists arrived, the soldiers immediately released 40 of the captives but refused to let anyone else pass. As the day wore on more and more residents of Aseera returning from Nablus found themselves detained at the checkpoint, including two men who had been to Nablus for medical conditions and many university students who wore only light clothing and were unprepared for the cold night. The ISM stayed with the civilians to monitor the soldiers' behaviour and make calls to Israeli human rights groups on their behalf. The human rights groups then contacted the Israeli Army Spokesperson to inform him of the situation but were told that there was a terror alert so the closure was necessary (an absurd claim given that the soldiers were making no attempt to search their captives or check their IDs and had immediately released 40 of them on the arrival of the activists).

At 6.20 pm about forty women were released one by one as the soldiers made a painstaking ritual of checking their ID cards and at 7 pm the men were released all together and the ISM activists began the long trek back to Nablus (their rented cars were returned at 5 pm).

Throughout the day, the activists were filmed by the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

Susan Barclay: No Decision Made on Re-Arrest

The hearing concerning the re-arrest of Susan Barclay was held at the Jerusalem District Court this morning at 9 am. At 10.20 am the judge declared that he would pass judgment on her case later in the day.

As Susan left the court with her lawyer and supporters. The police immediately tried to seize her and take her into custody but were prevented from doing so by her supporters until her lawyer got word from the court that she was to go free until the judge pronounced her decision.

By close of business today the judge had still not come to a decision.

The Israeli Interior Ministry is seeking the arrest of Susan Barclay on the grounds that her activities as a non-violent ISM activist in and around Nablus over the past eight months constitute a threat to Israel's security.

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