1) Prison beating _Tarek Loubani 2) Farmers, fences, guards and bullets_Joe P and John P 3) Protest camp / roadblock removal in Jenin_Jordan 4) Rafah: We will not give up our struggle_Liz W
17 Jul 03 Tarek Loubani
(The following was scribbled on a piece of paper by Tarek and passed to Huwaida via a lawyer during court proceedings for the deportation of 8 international peace activists on July 17. The hunger protest referred to was begun on the evening on July 15.)
I had forgotten what love was. My world was one of anger, rage and hate. As the 5 or 6 police officers each took a turn hitting me, all I cold think of was hate. There could be nothing else. All of this started when Captain Ya’kov (Yoki) Golan came into our room and asked if we were on hunger strike. “We’re not eating” we replied. A few police thugs swarmed the room and started to take anything. Capt. Ya’kov started to talk about how we were nothing, to which I replied, “shut the hell up and don’t you dare talk to us like that. You can’t break me. You can’t break any of us.” “I’m not just going to break you; I’m going to destroy you.” We all laughed.
We were strip searched 3 times in the next hour and then they came for me.
”Where are you taking him?” The other seven protested on my behalf. They cared more about me than I did. I came to terms with the fact that I was going into solitary, and finally approached the police. “I’m ready.” I declared melodramatically. That’s when the first hand came. They grabbed my shirt and pulled me to the ground in front of the cell. I did nothing. Even if I wanted to, I had lost track of all my appendages. All I knew was that they were all limp. The hitting started, and I filled the halls with screams of pain.
As I was up against the wall, with one man stomping on my leg, another bending my arm and another two or three pulling and hitting elsewhere, I caught a glimpse of the faces and entered that other world.
I can’t do anything now. The guards who were involved all smile when they pass our cell. And all of this over the only act of resistance we can do: going hungry. One thing hasn’t changed though: none of us will be broken.
Farmers, fences, guards and bullets
Qalqilia 17 Jul 03 Joe P and John P
Jayyous report, July 16 and 17 July 16 At 4:00 pm we were informed by local residents that a family which lives on the other side of the separation fence was unable to travel home due to the construction of barbed-wire fencing stretching across the road. The separation fence at this location is still incomplete and the family had walked across it in the morning to purchase food and go to a doctor. Because the fence cuts just in front of the family’s home and the only other way that they would have access to the house would require an hour walk over very difficult terrain, the Israeli government promised to make a special gate for the family. Unfortuantely the family discovered no such gate has been installed. Ben, Michael R., and John P. went to investigate the matter. As we approached the new barbed wire fence we noticed that some children (under 10 years old) were pulling up stakes to the fence. The construction workers later noticed this and called in their special security guards to deal with the situation. As we were leaving the area, along with most of the children engaged in that activity, we began to hear gun shots from the direction of the fence toward the village. We began heading back to the area to find a number of small children running away toward us. One of the children of the family, a young man of about 16 years old, stopped us in our tracks and told us not to continue. He said that he did not want us to be at risk and that because of this new incident it is he \"who wants to die\". Gun shots rang out for a few minutes longer then later faded. No injuries were reported The military evidently showed up some time later and told local residents that a palestinian from the village had fired upon the security guards. We strongly disagree with that statement as we were only a block away from the incident and heard no shooting from our direction. However, the military did use the excuse to shoot over one family’s house on the northeast permiter of the wall around 7:30 pm.. The house sits immediately along the wall and the soldiers attempt to keep the family away from it. Meanwhile Joe P., Renae, and Michael D. were escorting a farmer to his land on the other side of the fence. He had not visited or worked on this land since October out of fear of beatings and detention from the private civilian security company which have become common. Upon arriving on the land and viewing the scarred landscape that the security wall created the man wept. July 17: At 6:15 am, Joe P. and John P., along with a palestinian friend, met at the gate for our morning watch. We observe the gate for a few hours every morning to monitor that people are able to cross to their farmlands without harrassment, detainment, or beatings. We noticed that the contstruction company was beginning to do work immediately in front of the gate causing concern amongst us that travel would be restricted. We approached one of the workers and he informed us that the work would only take 30 to 60 minutes and that travel would then be able to resume as \"normal\". We became increasingly concerned upon seeing that a mound of dirt and rock growing in front of the road and that a very deep ditch was also being made on the other side. Several farmers with donkeys were \"allowed\" through the gate after much difficult navigation. At one point an Israeli vehicle (workers with the Around 10:00 am, to our surprise, WGBH of boston showed up on the scene. They were evidently driving through the area doing a story about the security fence and happened to come down the road where we were. They jumped out of their car and went to the fence and began questioning the security guards about why the gate was closed. The security guards were thier usual obnoxious seleves and began yelling at them to leave the area. The reporters interviewed a number of the farmers waiting to cross with their tractors, as well as joe and john. Shortly afterwards we notified Sharif, the local coordinator of the Land Defence Commitee in the Qalqilya district about the closure of the gate. He contacted captain Ramy Qaroat, the local military commander of the Israeli military and he agreed to meet him at the gate to see what was going on. Apparently the military did not give the construction company orders to close the gate. Ramy told Sharif that the gate would be open by morning. Ramy further promised to \"look into the matter\" of a gate not being installed for the family on the other side of the wall.
Protest camp / Roadblock removal in Jenin
Jenin 17 Jul 03 Jordan Flaherty
Yesterday, International volunteers from seven countries returned to the village of Arrabony to set up a protest Camp near the site of last week’s arrest of four international activists from ISM-Jenin. From this location, they will continue to support local protest against the devastation caused by the Apartheid Wall.
Since arriving, activists have continued to document the effects of Wall construction in the area. They have also started an informal summer camp for area youth. Tomorrow, they will join with residents of the Berqin Valley to remove a roadblock from their main road. More roadblock removals and other actions will soon follow.
Yesterday a group from the protest Camp visited the village of Taibeh, where at least 650 Dunums of land (1 Dunum = 1,000 sq. meters) has been confiscated by the Israeli military, and six houses have been destroyed. Three of the homeowners received one weeks notice that their homes would be destroyed, while three received no notice, as the destruction was an \"accidental\" result of explosions related to Wall construction. None of the homeowners internationals met with reported being offered any compensation for the loss of their homes or land. A village cemetary was also forced to relocate as a result of Wall construction.
North of Arrabony, Wall construction has continued through the night. Activists at the protest Camp also found that several homes in Arrabony have been shaken as a result of explosions related to Wall constuction, and will be staying in the area of these homes to attempt to protect them from destruction.
International volunteers also visited the Jenin refugee camp today, where last night at least 12 jeeps and one Armored Personel Carrier entered the camp at 3 am to arrest a 27 year-old teacher. It has also been reported that 10 tanks entered into the village of Al-Yamoon last night, and that early this morning soldiers fired at people crossing the checkpoint at the village of Abaa, east of Jenin.
Rafah: We will not give up our struggle
Gaza 16 Jul 03 Liz Walters
We have joined the wonderful peace and justice work going on here in Rafah, located in the southern most part of Gaza.
The long term coordinators, Mohammed and Laura, have been through a great deal in recent months. They have witnessed the suffering and death of many Palestinians living in Rafah. They have experienced the murder of Rachel C, the journalist James T, and the shooting of Tom H. For them and for us the murder of the internationals must be understood in the context of the daily assault on Palestinians.
Here in Rafah the Iraeli military is omnipresent along the Eygptian border. They have carved out a space for themselves of more than 100 meters of land measured from the new wall which separates Eygpt and Rafah. The space the Israelis have \"claimed\" stretches for miles along the Rafah side of the border.
Never mind that hundreds of family homes, gardens and orchards are on this space! The Israelis say anyone on the space of land they want, must depart.
Every home and tree and plant in the path of this targeted area has been or is scheduled to be demolished. Also, before the June 30, 2003 cease fire, snipers in the watch towers along the border shot civilians. On the street where the demolition is taking place now, 39 Palestinian men women and children have been murdered by snipers. Nearby Tom and James were shot.
The Rafah Governorate notes that since September 28, 2000 the Rafah community has expereienced the worst campaings of Israeli hatred and violence and discrimination. Here are some of the awful statistics:
Murders and maimings in Rafah by the Israeli military and staff: 238 martyrs, 46 of them children 2350 injured 110 disabled
Homes lost: 917 homes demolished -- as a result 1154 families including 6610 people became homeless 380 homes partially destroyed 2576 homes along the border suffering from daily Israeli indescriminate shootings and shellings
Destruction of 154 stores Destruction of two mosques Destruction of two best water wells in Rafah
During our stay here we are priviledged to be able to stay with families living in homes which are next on the Israeli demolition list. Today one family member said to me, \"Everything looks bleak. We are in grave trouble. The Israeli occupation will not end soon. But we will not give up our struggle for freedom and for a Free Palestine.\"
Respectfully submitted, Your sister, Liz