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Update: 'Anin Advisory / Hebron / Balata

Update: 'Anin Advisory / Hebron / Balata

Contents for this issue: 1) Press Advisory: "Don't Take a Fence" -- Joint Action Saturday 2) Report on student takeover of Hebron Polytechnic 3) Report on house demolition in Balata

PRESS ADVISORY for AUGUST 16, 2003 INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT

DON'T TAKE A FENCE PALESTINIANS, ISRAELIS & INTERNATIONALS UNITE IN DIRECT ACTION AGAINST SHARON'S DIVISIVE GOVERNMENT

When: Saturday, 16th August 2003, 9:30 am Where: `Anin village, near Jenin (meet at `Arara village, near Uhm alFahm) Who: Ta'ayush, Israeli anti-occupation activists, and the ISM What: To prevent the villagers of `Anin from losing their land, we will farm it for them. To prevent hope from being lost, we will reach across the barrier.

For more information, contact: Greta (local 067 981 126 international +972 67 981 126) – English Hisham (local 058 817 723 international +972 58 817 723) – Arabic/Hebrew

The Apartheid Wall has separated the people of `Anin from most of their land. Despite the claim of Sharon's government, that the "fence" is a security device, it is a system of Apartheid walls that will cause more oppression, hunger, and the permanence of the illegal settlements in Occupied Palestine. Frustration will lead to hate in face of a political situation being brutally imposed.

`Anin tried once to reach the land that belongs to it. It was met with a hail of bullets by the IOF. Activists from Ta'ayush and other Israeli groups, rather than allow Sharon's Apartheid Wall to separate them from the Palestinians, have agreed to farm the land that the villagers cannot reach, in their name.

The International Solidarity Movement and Ta'ayush Arab-Jewish Cooperation are willing to fight for the villagers of `Anin one more time. We will not let tear gas, bullets, any of the other weapons of the Occupation stop us.

Ta'ayush 058-817723, 04-8622932 International Solidarity Movement 02-277-4602 ### ************************************************** ************************* YES TO EDUCATION, NO TO OCCUPATION:

Hebon - August 14 2003 Report - ISM flying squadron

On Wednesday the 13th a group of 17 ISMers from Denmark,Italy, Spain, and the United States, joined students of the Hebron Polytechnic University as they continued their occupation of the main university building. The ISM was invited by the student groups and the Christian Peacemaker Teams, who have a continuing presence in Hebron.

In January the Israeli army closed the school and welded shut its doors, and for the past 7 months the buildings have been vacant. Two days prior to our arrival, the University students, frustrated that promises to reopen the school had been repeatedly broken, tore down the gates to the school and began the process of reclaiming their school.

They started by cleaning it; the Israeli soldiers had strewn files throughout administration offices, allowed food to rot for months in the cafeteria, and beaten down doors. According to the students, computers containing student records were taken, as well as specialized computers and equipment used for engineering and surveying.

The students have spent the last 7 months attending classes in local primary schools, but without access to the laboratories and equipment at locked in the university, many are unable to complete their courses and obtain their degrees. Surprisingly, the faculty and administration are not yet supporting the students efforts to reclaim their right to an education, and in fact, the administration has threatened some students with expulsion should they attempt to reopen additional buildings.

Today, despite this threats (and the ever-present possibility of violence from the army) the students decided unanimously to continue in their struggle. Individual students suggested they might\ possibly begin by teaching the classes themselves, if necessary, or that they might bring in outside teachers. The ISM has pledged to support their resistance.

On Thursday morning the students had planned to open Building B, but changed their plans when they learned, to their dismay that a former student had been killed early that morning by Israeli soldiers. The student, Mohamed Seder, had been a leader while at the university, was a member of Jamaat Al-Islami, and according to those that knew him, had been arrested, released, and then gone into hiding for a period of years.

On Saturday, the students plan to hold a demonstration at the management offices of the University in downtown Hebron that will combine a memorial for their assassinated colleague with their demands that they be allowed to resume their studies. The demonstration will start at 9:00 AM on Saturday the 16th.

For more information, please contact the ISM Media Office.

-Jonas, Warren, Elisabetta **************************************************************

night of Thursday 14th/ Friday 15th August 2003, Balata Camp, Nablus At around 2am, we were woken by loud banging on the front door. The family were already awake and one of the sons went to open the door. Steve and I followed him to the door. There were several soldiers there that I could see, and more in the passage leading out to the door onto the alley.

They demanded our IDs, and then ordered everyone out of the house into the passage. Soldiers went into the house, appearing to be searching.

We asked what they were doing, but got little response. They asked us what we were doing there, and whether we were "volunteers". We asked if one of the daughters could go back in to pick up her school books, but they told us to wait 5 minutes. I then tried to use my phone, but the soldiers saw and ordered me to turn the phone off or they would take it. After going round the house and upstairs for some time, the soldiers said that the family had ten minutes to collect their things. A few members of the family were then allowed in. I was then allowed in too, and helped to take out some of the family's belongings. Then the soldiers said that we all had to get out.

I tried to go back, saying I'd left my water. At that stage, the soldiers seemed very tense and although they allowed me to approach and stay near the door to the house for a few minutes, they then told me to go back to the family or I would be arrested.

However, a few minutes later, Steve and I agreed that I should try to get back inside the house so as to buy some time, while he stayed with the family. I went back up the passage and said I thought I had left something inside. They told me I had one minute to find it. I went in and started pretending to search in the women's room.

At first the soldiers were trying to hurry me out, but then some of them started chatting to me, and I decided to encourage this to try to use it as a delaying tactic. Around this time, I had a phone call from other ISMers, and it was a relief to know that people now knew what was happening. By this time, maybe around 3.30am, the soldiers seemed to have relaxed, and did not seem bothered by the phone call. They continued to chat to me, and only made half-hearted attempts to get me to leave. About ten of them were now lounging around in the main living area, smoking, while several more were drilling upstairs.

When I asked them why they were doing this, why they were punishing the whole family, they told me that this was the same as what Britain had done fighting the IRA; that the Israeli military was the most humane army in the world; that only a few Palestinians had been living here before the state of Israel had been created and that the others had come here from Jordan after Israel had been created and God had blessed the land.

The ones who spoke to me were generally trying to justify their behaviour as legitimate and reasonable, and said they wanted peace. But when I asked what form peace would take, an American Israeli soldier behind me muttered "the final solution".

The soldier I was directly talking to immediately claimed this was a joke.

I said I didn't find it funny.

I left the house, got past some of the soldiers in the street, and then met with Steve and the family along with many other people in a sidestreet. Steve and I then went with the family to a nearby house and waited.

The explosion came at around 4.30am, just as the call to prayer rang out through the darkness. -Jen

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