ISM Update of 22 March 2003: Jenin
Jenin: Fourth Day of Collective Punishment for Ya'bad; Israeli Army Keeps up Pressure on ISM
Following the killing of a Jewish settler by a member of the Palestinian resistance at about 2 pm on Wednesday afternoon, the Israeli Army of Occupation around Jenin has been taking its revenge upon Ya'bad, a town about 8 kilometres to the west of Jenin, close to the by-pass road upon which the killing took place. (By pass roads are those reserved for the exclusive use of Jews and soldiers).
Half an hour after the killing the Israelis moved into Ya'bad and imposed a strict closure, cutting the town off from the rest of the West Bank and confining its entire population to their homes before systematically destroying the olive trees of the surrounding farms.
Although the curfew has been lifted on an occasional basis since it's implementation, the stores of Ya'bad have almost completely exhausted their food supplies so that this afternoon the Jenin Municipality contacted the ISM with a request to deliver bread from the town's two bakeries to its households tomorrow.
Upon receipt of the request, three ISM activists (from Sweden, Denmark and Mexico) immediately left to investigate the situation and saw first hand the suffering of the people of Ya'bad at the hands of their occupiers. Many of the houses' rainwater tanks had been punctured by Israeli rifle fire and were being forced to endure the closure without water (rain water tanks are essential for all Palestinian homes in the Occupied West Bank because the Israelis divert the water supply away from Palestinian communities to the settlements). All of the houses were without electricity for all but two hours a day because of petrol shortages. (It is common practice for the occupying authorities to limit electricity to Palestinian villages but many Palestinian families and businesses supplement this shortage with petrol-fueled generators.)
The activists found that the area in most desperate need was the town's clinic, the staff of which were unable to get to work because of the curfew and the medicines of which were in danger of becoming ineffective due to a lack of refrigeration. After extensive negotiations with the Jenin area DCO, the activists succeeded in securing permission for the clinic's doctor to travel the town to transport its staff to the hospital and acquire petrol for the clinic's generator.
When two other activists (from Sweden) twice attempted to enter Ya'bad to reinforce their companions they were intercepted by three jeeps full of Israeli troops who dismounted and pointed their rifles at them as they angrily commanded them to go back.
The extreme nature of the threats against the two activists is indicative of the Israel Army's increased willingness to use force against ISM activists even when they are not in breach of any Israeli laws.
The three remaining activists are staying in Ya'bad overnight to deliver bread to the town's population tomorrow.
For further information contact: a.. Lasse on 059 386 896 or b.. Tobias on 057 836 527.
Michael ISM Media Coordinator Beit Sahour Occupied Palestine Phone: +972-2-2774602 Cell: +972-67-862 439 web: http://www.palsolidarity.org