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Nablus: Contrary to how main media is reporting it

Nablus report / Budrus update

1. Nablus: Contrary to how the media is reporting it

2. Update on activists arrested in Budrus

3. Update from Budrus

1) Nablus: Contrary to how the media is reporting it January 4, 2004 Kelly B. Nablus

Yesterday 4 boys were killed in nablus, and one more in critical condition in the hospital.

All within an hour, Rawhi Shuman (19) Amer Arafat (26) and Amjed al-Masri (15) were shot and killed in the downtown Nablus area. Rawhi was hiding behind a taxi, waiting for soldiers to pass so that he could continue down the road. Amer was near a taxi stand, doing business and talking to customers. Friends of mine talked to him 5 minutes before he was shot, they were talking about getting a taxi. After the soldiers shot him, they gathered around the body and demanded to everyone that they show them the gun. There was no gun, or anything that would look like a gun.

Amjed was with a group of young shebab throwing stones at invading IOF jeeps.

Two hours later a shahid march went through the city. During shahid march's people carry the bodies of the deceased to the city center, to the family's home and mosque, and then to the cemetary. Amjed's cousin, Mohammad al-Masri (22) was carrying Amjed's body when he was shot directly in the head. He died shortly after. IOF forces opened fire on the demonstration, killing Mohammad and seriously injuring three more. Mohammad's sister was standing next to me during the march - she was crying but said the grief hadn't completely been realized yet. She lost her cousin and then her brother during the funeral, in a matter of hours.

Most of this is not reported in the news. Ha'aretz reported that four people were killed in the bloodiest confrontations in Nablus in months. They claimed that two of the killed men had pistols, and one had a molotov cocktail. According to eyewitnesses on the scene, including myself and other international colleagues, these claims are all complete fabrications. Haaretz's information is given to them by the IOF.

An AP photo on yahoo news carries the caption "soldier guards another soldier who aids a palestinian medic.." Again, my friends were present at the scene. They were aiding medics who were helping the man who was shot, and the same soldiers who shot the man approached the group. The soldier looked at the body, asked where he was shot (the chest) and replied "good." He then disrupted the volunteers work and began threatening and searching everyone.

A fifth person died today - one of men that was shot during the funeral procession. He was shot in the eye, straight into the head, and died in the hospital today. I don't have words for what is happening - today Nablus continues to be under seige. In a half an hour there will be another shahid march for the two killed during the funeral procession yesterday.


2) Update on Activists Arrested at Budrus

Frederick Batzler (Swedish activist with the ISM) and Katheryn (Kate) Raphael (American activist with the IWPS) are still awaiting a deportation hearing. Frederick is being held in the Ariel Police Station and Kate in the Khadera Police Station.

Their attorney, Gaby Lasky, is currently negotiating with her clients and the state of Israel. The state attorney initiated the negotiations and told Ms. Lasky that Israel wanted to settle the activists' cases out of court.

Gustav Fridolin, a Member of Swedish Parliament and ISM activist, and Kimberley Anne Gray (American - IWPS) were also arrested with Frederick and Kate, but they agreed to return to their home countries after the state of Israel dropped the deportation orders against them. Frederick and Kate continue to challenge these deportation orders.

3) Update from Budrus, Ramallah District

The nonviolent resistance will continue against the Israeli Apartheid Wall.

Since January 1, the Israeli army has continued to send jeeps into and out of the village in order to alert Budrus to its presence and try to frighten the villagers into ending their peaceful demonstrations.

In addition to the 4 villagers, men ranging from ages 16 to 20, arrested on January 1 for unspecified connections to the protests in Budrus, two other men were arrested in the early morning hours of January 3 and 4. The army claimed they were leaders of the village and responsible for organizing the nonviolent resistance. Four other men in the village were arrested one month ago because of their (peaceful) activity in organizing against the Wall.

Construction vehicles again began work on January 4. While no further trees were destroyed, the existing road was smoothed and further prepared for the construction of the Wall. The people of Budrus, along with international and Israeli supporters, again marched peacefully to the proposed site of Wall construction until Israeli border police followed the demonstration into the village and began searching house to house for men to arrest. Rubber bullets were used to disperse the protesters, and at least 10 people were injured by rubber bullets. One British activist and one American activist sustained injuries from rubber bullets. One Palestinian protester sustained serious injuries after being taken into a jeep and beaten by Israeli border police officers.

On January 5, construction workers continued working on the road, again not destroying any more trees. The villagers made a decision to not continue the daily demonstrations unless more trees are destroyed for the construction of the Wall.

The Israeli army continues to harass the people of Budrus and escalate the level of violence in the area. This is all in response to nonviolent resistance that poses no threat to Israeli security. The Wall would capture and surround Budrus and 8 other neighboring villages inside an enclave. These villages would be left without the necessary services for survival and no freedom of movement. They would be separate from the rest of the West Bank, including Ramallah, their main educational, commercial and medical center.

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