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ISM updates

ISM updates
1) Israeli Forces Snatch, Beat and Arrest ISM Volunteers

2) Update from Jenin

3) Tulkarm Curfew: Day 7

1) Israeli Forces Snatch, Beat and Arrest ISM Volunteers


Radhika Sainath

11 May 03

Osama* and I headed out of our apartment yesterday at approximately 6PM to take personal accounts from refugee families whose houses are frequently occupied by Israeli soldiers. As we walked we heard repeated bursts of live ammunition fire in nearby downtown Tulkaram. Concerned that Israeli Forces or the Border Police were shooting at children—as we have repeatedly witnessed in the past—we called a third ISM volunteer, Charlotte, to the scene to witness and deter any potential human rights violations.

Upon arrival to Tulkaram’s main street we viewed a burning hummer (military jeep) stuck in the middle of the road, and three armored personel carriers (APC) and mulitple jeeps wildly circling the city. However, what most concerned us was a family’s car that included three small children under the age of twelve parked meters away from the burning vehicle. The army had confiscated the car keys and instructed the family to stay inside, effectively using the father and his small children as human shields. The crying children were clearly terrified of being shot so we agreed to stay with the family and try to speak with the soldiers in an attempt to retreive the car keys.

Two local journalists soon joined us and minutes later an army jeep started to back up in our direction. Given the Israeli Army’s recent policy of targeting and shooting internationals, I began to feel concerned for our saftey. Suddenly, the back doors of the jeep opened and soldiers jumped out grabbing Osama and the journalists and shoving Charlotte to the side. Once inside the jeep Osama reported being grabbed by the commander, who beat him in the head, after which the other soldiers threw him on the floor and forced him to cover his face with his T-shirt. While putting their rifle butts on his chest, the soldiers demanded to see his videotape stating, “We will kill anyone we see on this tape.” The journalists were also beaten on their chest and neck.

While the men were in the jeep Charlotte and I spoke to the man being used as a human shield, offering to accompany his children to the hospital. As this was happening an APC approached us and I used our megaphone to ask the soldier to return the family’s car keys, as they had nothing to do with the burning hummer and were being collectively punished. Suddenly an army jeep pulled up to us, the commander opening his door politely asking “What do you want” and “Come closer, I can’t hear you.” Sensing a trap Charlotte and I decided to distance ourselves from the jeep as fast as possible, however the army jeep, joined by a large jeep roared in front of us.

A dozen heavily armed and entirely male army force surrounded us, grabbing for our cameras and violently pushing us to the ground. Several soldiers grabbed Charlotte and I—causing bruises on our arms and legs—and forced on a jeep to the Tulkaram DCO and military base. The jeep carrying Osama and the journalists arrived approximately fifteen minutes later, and Osama dropped to the ground in pain, his leg convulsing in spasms.

While Osama was taken into a military shelter two policemen arrived demanded that we go with them to Ariel. I insisted that we would go nowhere unless accompanied by a female officer as the manner of our detention by several male soldiers had already been conducted illegally. The soldier who grabbed me had said, “you are a very beautiful peace activist” and earlier that day another soldier said, “give me a kiss”, which made me feel threatened. After much debate the policeman agreed to call a female soldier who accompanied us to Ariel police station.

Osama was released, unconscious, to Thabit Thabit hospital from the DCO after an epilepitic fit caused by the Israeli Army’s beatings. The journalists were released this morning. Charlotte and I were released under bail at 6:30PM tonight on the condition we do not return to “Samaria” for fifteen days. We await our deportaion hearing with the Ministry of Interior.

* Osama is a Palestinian volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement and a journalist. He is not involved with any political groups, but has repeatedly been harassed by the Israeli military.

2) Update from Jenin

At approximately 4.30pm today two apache helicopters circled above the Yahiya Aiyash area and shot repeatedly at unspecified targets. People believe it was at fighters speeding to assist their brothers targeted in the Jabbal Abu Dher area up above Jenin, west of the Camp, others think it may have been to lure and distract them from their arrest operation, IOF tanks - approximately six, 2 hummers and three jeeps entered Jenin from Haifa Street and Naser Street. They shot round after round of ammunition and shot 9-year-old Afmad Rahal from the Camp in the leg during clashes between the kids and an APC and Tank. The tanks zoomed around the town centre as people went about their shopping and business in the market. People ran for cover and many flocked to the local hospital.

The targets of the IOF operation were Jihad Islami fighters Mhammad Zaatan, 19, Iyyad Jawadat and Aness Jawadat, both aged 19. Approximately 50 soldier surrounded the house of the Kherri Khalad family in the Jabbal Abu Dher area, entering the surrounding homes - ordering residents out with their hands up - and taking up sniper/atatck positions at the windows and on the roofs. Eyewitnesses reported strong resistance from fighters in the area. The number of injured soldiers, if any, is unknown.

The three wanted men were not injured but when they were stepping into the downstairs apartment they were snatched. The apartment reveals a scene of bullet shattered windows, smashed furniture, shot-up walls, an open and rifled-through fridge and torn mattresses. A 13-year-old boy was with the men at the time. He was unharmed but shaken. The whole operation - from the first thundering Apache missiles impacting on the already tank-smashed streets of Jenin, to the chasing, fist throwing kids attacking APCs and the gun battle between scantily armed fighters for their brothers being shot out of their hiding place - lasted approximately half an hour.

Jenin is quiet now. Below is a report I wrote about the relative calm of the past 10 days or so, ruptured so meticulously and jarringly today.

Jenin aaade

4 days ago the IOF began to ease up restrictions on the movement of Palestinian Citizens of Israel (commonly defined as Aarab Israelis but the term offends many and is seen as yet another tactic of colletive state-propelled amnesia of the enduring Nakba) coming from 1948 zones in Israel. Almost a million (900,000) Palestinians were burned out of their villages and towns in the '48 Nakba. The areas that remain - like Afula and Om el Fahm - are Arab-Israeli towns inside the Isralei side of the Green Line with Palestinian residents having Israeli citizenship but being denied the right to cross over into the further occupied Palestinian Territories. Families saw each other for the first time in two and half years - since the beginning of the intifada. Yellow number plates have been flashing through the streets and I even saw a big dusty battered Israeli bus chugging its way through town. Palestinian vehicles must carry green number-plates to distinguish them from Israeli cars and to facilitate the harassment and targeting of their owners by the Israeli Authorities.

About 5 days ago two shebab from The Al Aaqs Martyrs Brigade hicked up to a settlement behind Jenin Camp and shot a soldier. No one knows where he was injured on his body but the two shebab succeeded in escaping unharmed. People I mentioned the attack to groaned or grimaced with disappointment. Enough is enough seemed to be the sentiment. People didn't want the reprisals, the revenge incursions, the hate-taut tension to rise again.

3) Tulkarm Curfew: Day 7

Tullkarem is its seventh day under the curfew

Yesterday, 10th May the ISM group was conducting an action during heavy shooting by soldiers. The solders were using a family like as human shields in an area where kids had burned a hummer jeep by throwing a molotov cocktail at it.

As soon as we arrived the solders attacked us and arrested me and a Palestinian journalist. They tried to take our cameras but when I refused they hey started beating us in the jeep and threatened to kill us all

They later arrested the other two ISmers in the area, Radihka and Charlotte, when the jeep drove past them. They continue beating me on my head and then covered my head with my T-shirt. Then they sat down on me. They drove wildly while we lay on the floor of the jeep. As soon as we arrived at the DCO detainment facility, my leg started shaking uncontrollably. They told me to go into the holding facility and they gave me an injection. I lost consciousness woke up in the hospital the next morning. The solders had told the ambulance driver that I was to return to the DCO after treatment. The Palestinian journalist has been released. The solders confiscated my two mobile phones and the Palestinian journalists mobile phone and camera.

© Scoop Media

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