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Legal Update, Small Victories, Demolitions, Op-Ed

ISM: Legal Update, Small Victories, Demolitions, Op-Ed USA Today

Contents:

1) Legal Update

2) \"Small Victories\" report from Jenin roadblock removal

3) ICAHD Report on Bet Hanina house demolitions, w/photos (ISM report to be posted tomorrow)

4) Op-ed in USA Today from Sharif Omar

Legal Update on Balata 2:

The ISM Media Office has been informed that Andreas Koninek and Andrew Muncie have expressed the desire to resist the deportation orders that have been already handed down. Communication with the two is difficult, since their cell phones were confiscated and pay phone cards were only delivered Sunday afternoon after some effort by the Nablus ISM team.

However, Andreas\' family has communicated to Swedish ISM, from a phone call conversation, that the two are physically well and report no problems so far.

More information will be posted when it becomes available.

Contact: ISM Media Office (++972)2 277 4602

Feel free to also contact the appropriate numbers and let them know that two internationals will be deported for attempting to peacefully stop Israel from breaking international law. We ask all UK and Swedish citizens to demand that their respective governments protest against the unjust deportation orders of Andrew and Andreas. Both men were in the house as invited guests and have done nothing to warrant their detention. Under international law, it is the Israeli state which is clearly in the wrong.

The UK Foreign Office number is: 0870-606-0290

Jack Straw, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs: 020-7219-5070

The Swedish Foreign Office number is: 08-405-1000

e-mail address registrator@foreignministry.se

Please also telephone and e-mail each country\'s respective Israeli embassy to protest at the state\'s recurring war crimes and disregard for international law.

In Sweden: 08-661-3309

e-mail address stockholm@israel.org

In the United Kingdom: 020-7957-9500

e-mail address info-assist@london.mfa.gov.il

Please consider contributing to the ISM legal fund, so we can continue to fight for Andreas and Andrew.

Sometimes There are Small Victories

Jenin 19 Aug 03 Greta

In Berqeen, a small village just outside of Jenin the Israeli army has pushed two 10-foot mounds of dirt and rocks across the road, forcing villagers to travel an n hour down back roads to Jenin, a town that was only 10 minutes away. To remove the two roadblocks, we had handtools, water, cameras, and a passion to get to the other side. One lookout stood in the hills above the roadway to watch for errant Israeli patrols. With a small contingent of Palestinian men and l4 internationals, the day was going to be long, hot and tedious. Suddenly, a huge roar bounced off the sides of the canyon where we were working, and around the corner came the most beautiful yellow bulldozer any of us had ever seen. Leon and I volunteered to protect the bulldozer driver and his passenger by riding on the sideboards. Snipers would have to shoot us first. We rode that bulldozer for an hour, cheering and shouting, \"Free...free... Palestine!\"

Of course, the TV cameras had a field day. Over and over the bulldozer stuck its snout into the pile, bucking up and down, giving Leon and me the ride of our lives, as it smoothed out the roadblock and squished the dirt back down into a serviceable road. When the first car passed the open road, everyone cheered, Leon and I climbed down from the cab of the bulldozer, the internationals and Palestinians picked up the shovels and hoes, and we rode the first two cars into Jenin. A ten minute drive. It was a good victory, a small victory over these dreadful occupiers. For we know that they will come back and fill in the roadblock, because they can and have in the past. But for today, we have a small victory. Since two ISM people have been arrested, a home blown up and more Palestinians killed and wounded over the past day, our victory has been bittersweet. Greta

>From the ICAHD Website (ISM Report to Be Posted Tomorrow)

A Day Of Demolitions

. . .The bulldozers then proceeded to the home of the Jabari family in Beit Hanina, home to nine persons, where Israeli and international activists have met daily in anticipation of the demolition. Although the Jabari home was built in an area zoned for building – where the Municipality claims it does not demolish – it was demolished nevertheless.

Khader Jabari and his brother threatened to commit suicide if the house was destroyed, and they both cut themselves severely before stopped by the police. Jeff Halper and Linda Livni were arrested resisting the demolition; it remains to be seen if charges will be pressed.

ICAHD calls on the international community to intervene to prevent house demolitions – in the Occupied Territories (including \"east\" Jerusalem), as well as within Israel itself where the demolition of the homes of Palestinian and Bedouin citizens of Israel has reached epidemic proportions. We ask you to call your representatives, your civic leaders and religious leaders and your local media so that they may raise their voices against this unjust and tragic policy.

(complete report on ICAHD website, www.icahd.org)

ISM photos at www.palsolidarity.org in ’related photos’ Video footage will be posted tomorrow.

4) Op-Ed in USA Today from Sharif Omar (many thanks to those who pushed USA Today to get this published-- anyone who has been to Jayyous might consider writing a letter to USA Today to support him, as he is sure to get much hate-mail from the Zionist defense squads of letter-writers)

Israel's wall hems in livelihoods — and dreams

By Sharif Omar

JAYYOUS, West Bank — When Prime Minister Ariel Sharon describes the wall Israel is building, he makes it sound harmless. But President Bush deftly cut through that façade when he noted that \"the fence ... kind of meanders around the West Bank, which makes it awfully hard to develop a contiguous state.\" So did Secretary of State Colin Powell when he recently told the Israeli newspaper, Maariv, that he fears \"the fence is developing in a way that will make it very difficult to reach the next stage of the road map.\" In Jayyous, the Palestinian village on the West Bank that is my home, we began living with this problem last September, when a shepherd found a paper hanging from an olive tree. It was a military order instructing us to meet an Israeli army officer to tour the \"separation\" wall\'s path.

Hundreds of area Palestinians turned out. Most farmers expected the wall would be near the Green Line, Israel\'s pre-1967 border with the West Bank. But we learned that the wall would be built almost four miles east of the Green Line, as close as 90 feet from Jayyous\' homes, separating our residential area from our farmland.

People burst into tears. Some fainted. With the wall, Israel is taking 75% of Jayyous\' most fertile land, including all our irrigated farmland, seven wells and 12,000 olive trees. Jayyous\' 3,000 residents depend almost entirely on agricultural income. So this means a loss of our livelihoods, dreams, hopes, future and heritage.

Cut off from land

Jayyous is just one example. The wall is cutting through Palestinian villages all across our fertile Qalqilya region, and causing destruction in dozens of West Bank villages. Thousands of farmers can\'t reach their land. Gates are supposed to provide access to land, but instead they\'ve become places for Israeli soldiers to harass farmers. Thousands of citrus trees have died from lack of water. Many farmers are simply leaving their crops in the fields because the transportation costs would make them unprofitable to market.

Israeli officials have justified the wall\'s construction as necessary for security. However, if it were for security, it would follow the Green Line. Building it four miles inside the Green Line means only one thing: The Israelis are confiscating more Palestinian land and water.

The truth is, many Israelis want the land without the people. The wall is an unwritten order for emigration from Palestine, because people who have no income will have no choice but to leave.

To avoid this, I and many other farmers began building sheds and tents so we can live on our farmland. I\'ve planted 150 citrus trees since they started building the wall, to show other farmers we don\'t have to yield.

Farmers vs. bulldozers

Jayyous farmers, with the assistance of international and Israeli activists, have held many peaceful protests, during which they face the bulldozers destroying their fields as well as armed Israeli soldiers and guards. During one peaceful march, an Israeli military officer explained to me that Sarah, the wife of our common ancestor Abraham, was their mother but not ours, and that because Sarah went to heaven, Jews were entitled to the land. After his lecture, he used tear gas and rubber-coated bullets to break up our protest.

I\'ve chosen peaceful resistance to the wall because, as a father, I feel pain when my children are hurt. I have the same feeling for Israelis. I don\'t want to cause them pain. Peaceful resistance also avoids giving the Israeli military justifications to kill more Palestinians. I hope peaceful protests will leave a positive impact on Israeli soldiers and strengthen our partnership with Israeli peace groups.

The majority of Palestinians are now completely convinced that non-violent resistance is the best choice. The whole idea of the wall is wrong. It will never lead to a just and real peace.

I don\'t even want them to build the wall on the Green Line, because it will truly be an \"apartheid wall,\" preventing the development of understanding between our cultures. It\'s so important for us to find one language — for peace.

>From Jayyous, we call on people from around the world — Americans, Israelis, Arabs and all others — to help us stop this unjust wall.

Sharif Omar, a farmer and community leader, is a member of the Land Defense Committee for the region of Qalqilya.

For the latest information on ISM see http://www.palsolidarity.org

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