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The arrest of Nariman & more on Budrus


The arrest of Nariman & more on Budrus

1) The arrest of Nariman_Andrew in Jenin 2) Resisting the Apartheid Wall_CKUT Radio interview 3) Reflections from Palestine_S'ra 4) The peaceful way works best_Gideon Levy, Haaretz

1) The Arrest of Nariman Thursday 12th February 2004 Jenin

I am in the family home of Nariman Mohammed Sadiq Hasses, a 21 year old woman from Jenin's old city. The public room is filled with her female relatives and friends. They sit in a circle wrapped in blankets, some have been weeping.

The atmosphere is subdued expect for the smiles and outreached hands of the three small children who wander in and out. Yesterday at 3.30am this house was invaded by Israeli soldiers who seized and arrested Nariman.

The people in the room are still absorbing the shock of this intrusion and the unexpected absence of a daughter, sister and friend. Nariman's mother describes what happened. Her anguish clear from her voice even before her words are translated.

The household had been awoken just before 3.30 am yesterday by the sound of loud banging on their neighbours door. She had looked from her first floor window to see what was happening and had seen that there were soldiers attempting to break into the next door house.

Seeing her looking from the window the soldiers then started to attempt to breakdown the door to her own home, she responded by shouting "wait a minute, I will open it". The soldiers continued to beat at the door. Her daughter Nariman went downstairs to open it. As she did so soldiers flooded the house, seizing Nariman and detaining her outside the house.

Her mother describes how her son's children screamed and wept in terror as soldiers searched the house shouting "Keep quiet, keep quiet" their guns directed at herself and her relatives. The family, 4 children, 4 woman and 1 man were ordered outside and forced to stand in the rain as soldiers made their way through the home. Unlike previous raids on house in Jenin there was no damage to the house and no property was taken. The soldiers then announced that they were arresting Nariman.

Her mother recounts that she begged the soldiers for an explanation as to why her daughter was being arrested, they refused to say. She begged her daughter for an explanation but Nariman insisted that she had no idea as to why she was being taken away. Next she tried to persuade the soldiers to let her go with her daughter, they refused. Nariman's brother Aiman asked to accompany his sister and finally they relented, agreeing that he could accompany his sister.

The family was also allowed to give Nariman some additional clothes and shoes after she had been out in the rain for over an hour. After this the force of around 40 soldiers drove of in their armoured jeeps. The women in the room nod in encouragement and support as she speaks. We are joined by her son, Aiman who accompanied Nariman for the first few hours of her arrest. He takes up the story.

They were first taken to the nearby military base of Dotan before traveling to base and prison at Salem at the northern tip of the West Bank. Here she was shackled and had a hood placed over her head. Aiman looks angry and perhaps ashamed as he describes his inability to stop this humiliation of his sister. He tried to intervene but was held back by soldiers.

Nariman was then taken away, the soldiers informing Aiman that she was being transferred to Jalamah interrogation centre near Haifa. Our translator interjects "that is a bad place". Since then the family have heard no more. All they know is that she has been taken away for interrogation by the Israeli intelligence service, the Shabak.

They have no idea how long this process will take. They have no idea of what treatment she will receive. They have no idea what she is accused of.

They have no idea when next they will be able to communicate with her. They have no idea when next they will see her again. Above of all they have no idea why she was taken in the first place. Her mother states that her daughter was not politically active though she was a social activist working with the Union of Psychology and Social Work Associations and volunteering with the Palestinian Ministry of Social Affairs.

Nariman did not feel at threat of arrest, "would she have opened the door if she had a fear of being taken away?" her mother asks. Just before I leave Nariman's mother says that she blames herself for her daughters arrest, "if only I had not looked out of the window, maybe they would have passed this house." A local journalist tells me later that around 80 people have been arrested in the Jenin area in the past month. Amongst them ordinary men and woman, TV journalists, community activists, politicians as well as members of armed Palestinian resistance groups. For every arrest, a home is violated by soldiers and a family left shocked and uncertain as to their relatives fate. The prisoners should not expect due process or a fair hearing. They may be interrogated within a system where "moderate physical pressure" is legal, torture commonplace and defendants have no right to see the evidence that is presented against them in the military tribunal that tries them. Each one faces the possibility of extended periods of imprisonment under the Israeli policy of administrative detention (imprisonment without charge). No one in Nariman's family knows what will happen. They are aware of Israeli's record when it comes to the treatment of prisoners. They can only hope that Nariman escapes the worst that her captors are capable of. They can only hope that she will be home soon.

For more information, contact Andrew in Jenin: +972-(0)67-943-926

========== Amnesty Internationals 2003 Report on Israel and the Occupied Territories states: Mass arrests, detention and torture or ill-treatment of Palestinians

The IDF arrested thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of minors, throughout the Occupied Territories. Most were released without charge and many without having been questioned. Ill-treatment was widespread during arrest and interrogation, and there were numerous reports of torture in detention. Detainees reported various forms of torture and ill-treatment, including beatings, being handcuffed and tied in uncomfortable positions for prolonged periods, threats to the detainee and their relatives, and sleep deprivation. At least one detainee died in custody after he was beaten.

More than 1,900 of those arrested were held in administrative detention for up to one year. They were not charged with any offence and were held on the basis of "secret evidence", which neither they nor their lawyers were allowed to see or to challenge in court. Around 1,000 other people who were arrested were charged with involvement in attacks against Israelis and more than 3,800 were tried by military courts in trials that fell short of international fair trial standards.

Most Palestinian detainees were not allowed to receive visits from their relatives, even when, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the relatives fulfilled the necessary security requirements." http://web.amnesty.org/report2003/Isr-summary-eng

================== 2) CKUT Radio: Budrus Palestine - Resisting the Apartheid Wall

Listen to an interview with S'ra - a social justice activist and organic farmer in Burlington Vermont. S'ra is currently in Budrus Palestine a rural village in the West Bank, which is currently fighting for its existence against the Israeli military and the planned construction path of the Apartheid Wall. The wall, deemed a "security measure" by the Israeli state, is clearly an effort to steal more Palestinian land.

The Palestinian Environmental NGO Network has estimated that upwards of 50 per cent of the West Bank land will be plundered by the completion of the wall, which is not being built on or near the 1967 Green Line and at points reaches 16km deep into the heart of the West Bank. Budrus is a community actively resisting the construction of the Apartheid Wall with weekly demonstrations being held, which represent a living face of Palestine civil resistance to the brutal and illegal Israeli military occupation.

To listen to the interview with S'ra visit: http://www.radio4all.net/proginfo.php?id=8591

To read reports written by S'ra from Palestine visit: http://www.vtjp.org/action/reportsfrompalestine.htm

For more information on the International Solidarity Movement visit: http://www.palsolidarity.org ================================

3) Reflections from Palestine February 11, 2004

Hello dear friends and family,

I hope you all received the email from me yesterday about the military incursion into Budrus. Today was pretty quite in Budrus, the military entered a couple of times, but no incidences occurred as far as I know. You should all rest assured that I am safe and well and falling in love with the beautiful people and landscape of Budrus.

I will be in Budrus until I leave Palestine on March 2. I hope to make mini trips to Qalqilia and Jenin from Budrus. We will have to see what the situation is in Budrus, if construction of the wall starts or not. On February 23 there will demonstrations against the wall in many major cities in Palestine. This is the day the International Court of Justice commences hearings about the wall. Tomorrow there is another demo planned for Budrus and also on February 21. Either Sunday or Monday we are planning a demonstration at the Erez checkpoint in Gaza to bring attention to all the atrocities that are happening in Gaza.

We now have a computer in the international house in Budrus, but no internet connection. There is one family in the village that has dial-up, so I hope to be able to continue to send updates. We have had media outlets from several parts of the world visit Budrus in the last few weeks. Budrus is becoming internationally known!! For its brave resistance.

Sending my love and solidarity Hoping the wall will fall S'ra

February 8, 2004 - Another Budrus Demonstration

Last Friday I took part in another protest against the wall in Budrus, the small village in the West Bank where I have been staying. The Israeli government informed Budrus last Thursday that the construction of the wall will commence any day now. Each morning everyone in the village, both Palestinians and internationals, wake up early to see if trees are being cut or the wall being constructed. It is psychological warfare, the torture of waiting for your community to be imprisoned. The village does not even know yet exactly where the wall will be built and if it will be concrete wall or fence (electric or not).

The last demonstration in Budrus of 200-300 Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals was particularly amazing. In protests here, men and women march separately into the olive grove; men first, followed by the women and children. When the women arrived down to the grove the military and the men were already in a stand off. Three young women marched right in front of the soldiers, as the other women followed chanting passionately. The soldiers seemed taken a back by their courage. The women stood between the men and the soldiers and refused to move back when the soldiers insisted. The soldiers were armed with tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition. They gave a five-minute warning and the women still would not leave the olive grove or back away. The men of Budrus had to persuade the women before they were willing to ascend up the hill and back to the village. On the walk up a couple of young boys threw a few stones down the hill towards the soldiers (none actually came anywhere near the soldiers), which resulted in massive dispersal of tear gas from the Israeli soldiers. I saw many women and children on the ground coughing and gasping from the tear gas.

The demonstration was a success; the women made their voices loud and clear, "Do not take our land away." One particular woman, a 15-year old and dear friend of mine, impressed me immensely. She walked right up to the soldiers and lead beautiful call and response chants.

Unfortunately the days ahead will most likely only bring the same type of response from the Israeli soldiers. The village is committed to taking non-violent direct action against the construction of the wall and against the uprooting of more of their trees. The community is braced for a long struggle; maybe they will be the first community to succeed in stopping the wall. In'shallah (hopefully).

February 8, 2004 -- The Wall in Abu Dis

On Saturday about 3000 people marched against the wall in Abu Dis, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem. I had the pleasure of marching with my friend from Aida Refugee Camp. He thought me some chants in Arabic. Most of my other writings have focused on the affects the wall will have on farmers but the wall in Abu Dis will have the largest consequences on healthcare and education services. The 25' wall is built right down the middle of the main street in Abu Dis, which now is cut off from other parts of Jerusalem. The wall is not completed there yet and places still exist where you can jump over it. However this will not last long.

After the wall is completed many students and teachers will not be able to reach their schools which lay on either side of the wall. Many students who attend Al-Quds, Bethlehem, Abu Dis or Birzeit Universities will have an incredibly difficult time getting around the wall to attend their classes. Primary and secondary schools will also be greatly affected and will not be able to reach both the UN and the Palestinian Authority-managed schools. According to the United Nations, 190 students and 74 teachers will have to exit through the "security barrier" to get to their schools and 70 students and 12 teachers will have to try to enter Jerusalem to go to school. These figures just represent the UN-run schools, not the PA or private schools. Many of the children that will be most affected are refugees. Ability to pass the wall is completely at the whim of the Israeli military.

Access to UN, PA and private clinics, hospitals, and doctors will be impeded. Doctors, nurses, other staff and patients will have to pass the gate in the wall after receiving permission from the Israeli government, which often does not occur. People who have jobs on either sides of the wall may not be able to get to work. Of course these problems related to the wall mentioned above exist everywhere the wall is constructed. Access to healthcare, education and employment is a basic human right, which are being systematically stolen from the Palestinians from the illegal Israeli occupation and the Apartheid wall.

February 10, 2004 - A Little Reflection

When we were in Qalqilia, Hilary and I, visited a zoo with a Palestinian family on the first day of Eid, a Muslim holiday. I am morally opposed to zoos but I decided to go because the children of the family were so excited. I found the whole experience ironic and symbolic. Qalqilia, which has been turned into prison by the wall, houses a prison for animals. All the animals in the zoo looked sick and emaciated. The entire zoo was decaying and decrypted. The children's play area had not been cleaned of trash for weeks if not months and the rides were mere skeletons. The whole place was depressing. Even though I view zoos as inhumane I found myself overwhelmed with sadness that the fun park for kids was in such a horrible condition. I thought this zoo was symbolic for the state of childhood in Palestine. Children do not have many opportunities for fun and recreation. Instead they see their family members imprisoned and killed and their hills for playing in destroyed for the construction of settlements and the wall.

February 11, 2004 -- Commentary on Current Events in Palestine and Israel

I just wanted to make a few comments about current events in Palestine and Israel. Sharon announced last week that some Israeli settlements will be dismantled in Gaza Strip in the near future. This plan is a complete farce because Sharon plans to relocate these settlements to the West Bank where Israel is under a major campaign to confiscate land. Israel is actively trying to annex much of the West Bank from the Palestinians through the continual construction of the wall, Israeli-only access roads, and illegal settlements (especially around Jerusalem and Bethlehem).

The Israeli government is trying to completely surround Jerusalem with settlements and Israeli access roads. Every day it is becoming more difficult for Palestinians that live within Jerusalem to leave and Palestinians who live outside to enter. For either, Palestinians must have permission from the Israeli government. This permission may be for one day, a week or a few months. After the time is expired they must reapply, a long bureacratic process.

Sharon's government also announced that the path of the wall would be scale downed to cause less hindrance to the Palestinians and that the line will more closely follow the Green Line (the 1948 border between the West Bank and Israel). This again is a complete farce. One of the supposed changes to the wall will be the construction of an underground tunnel from the city of Qalqilia to the town of Habla. Even if there is an underground road/tunnel, the fact remains that Qalqilia is a city that is essentially a prison, since it is completely surrounded by the wall, which is controlled by the Israeli military. This tunnel is what Sharon considers as making concessions to the Palestinians.

Already 200 of the 705 kilometers of the wall have been completed. Each kilometer of wall costs approximately 10.5 million shekels to build. Many people globally who follow the news may think that the wall is just a line of fence that is only separating the West Bank from Israel. This is not the case. The wall strays far from the Green Line and already surrounds small villages and whole cities, like Qalqilia. Budrus and eight other villages will be completely encircled by the wall with only one exit/entrance. Many of these areas that will be or already are completed surrounded confiscate huge swaths of land for the Israelis. If you look at the map, you will notice that the Palestinian areas that are being completely isolated by the wall neighbor enclaves of existing settlements. The winding layers of the wall that sometimes have two of three separate fences will also allow for the construction of more settlements as more land is grabbed from the Palestinians. =================================

4) 'The peaceful way works best' By Gideon Levy http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/393347.html

There's a remote little village in the West Bank that decided to behave differently. A village whose residents decided not to lament and not to blow themselves up. They chose another way between violence and surrender. The residents of the village of Budrus, west of Ramallah and close to the Green Line, chose to wage a nonviolent struggle against the separation fence that is being built on its land. The whole village has pitched in - the Hamas and Fatah members, the old and the young, men and women, and for three months they have been going down by the hundreds to their olive groves every week, to demonstrate against the uprooting of their trees and the encircling of the residents.

The IDF and the Border Police have been faced with an unfamiliar phenomenon: What are they supposed to do about hundreds of unarmed, nonviolent residents slowly descending toward the bulldozers, with women and children leading the pack, and a handful of Israeli and international volunteers sprinkled among them, approaching to within touching distance of the armed soldiers? Should they shoot to kill? Shoot to injure?

So far, the IDF has fired, but less - no one has been killed, and about 100 people have been injured, most of them lightly, in the course of about 25 demonstrations over a two-month period. Most of the injuries were from batons and rubber bullets, like in the old days. Twelve villagers have been arrested, and nine of them are still in jail, for participating in clearly nonviolent demonstrations. This, too, is a violation of the IDF's rules, as one military judge noted when he refused to send one of the leaders of this pacifist revolt to administrative detention. The arrested man's brother, however, was sent straight to administrative detention by another military judge. But the most important point is that the construction work on the fence near the village has been stopped, for now.

Budrus against the occupation. Budrus against the separation fence, which will encircle the village on all sides and cut it off, like eight other villages slated to be enclosed in fenced-in enclaves opposite Ben-Gurion Airport. The fence could have been built along the Green Line, several hundred meters from the present route, but Israel had other ideas - about the vineyards, about the olives, about life. Today, or tomorrow, the quarrying and paving work will resume, and so will the protest demonstrations.

Will this remote village become a milestone in the struggle over the fence? Will the residents of Budrus herald a change to nonviolence in the Palestinian struggle against the occupation? Or, in a week or two, will the separation fence cut off life in this village, too, and show that nonviolence doesn't pay, with the scene in Budrus soon becoming a forgotten episode?

Cacti wherever you look. Old stone houses standing alongside half-built ones that will never be completed. Things look promising as you enter the village, but the further inside you go, the more the reality hits you. After the last house, from within the olive groves, is the sight that is frightening the residents: the rising orange of the bulldozers, blotches of color in the wadi cutting into the rock, digging up and scarring, and after them the steamrollers and the heavy trucks. Olive trees whose tops have been cut off stand in mute testimony to the work of the bulldozers so far.

This is where the fence will pass. Through these olive groves. One fence to the west of them and another to the east of them, leaving them stuck, imprisoned in the middle. Why? Because.

"If the fence were on the mountain, it would give more security," ventures Iyad Ahmed Murar, a leader of the protest in Budrus, whose two brothers are in administrative detention. "But they want a fence in the wadi. Common sense says that if you want a security fence, put it on the mountain and not in the wadi. But they want to destroy the land and the olives. What difference would it make if they moved 200 meters toward the Green Line?"

Before 1948, Budrus had approximately 25,000 dunams. Of that, 20,000 went to Israel and the village was left with about 5,000. Now, according to Murar's calculations, about another 1,000 dunams will be stolen. The construction work near the groves has stopped for now, but is continuing not far away, toward the neighboring village of Qibiya. But it's not just the fate of the land that is worrying the village, which hasn't had a resident killed since 1993. What's more worrisome is how the fence will effectively choke off the village.

Murar: "The fence will be around nine villages. Ramallah is our mother and only one gate will lead to it. And what if the soldier is on a coffee break? Or off smoking a cigarette? Maybe he'll lock the gate so he can go to the bathroom. Maybe there will be a problem in Tel Aviv and they'll close the gate. And then you won't be able to get to the university, to the hospital or to work, and in the end, people will start to live where they work. If someone gives me a job, and I come one day and not the next, in the end he'll tell me to stay there where the job is or be fired. People will start thinking about having to stay where their job is. And the student and the sick person will start thinking the same way."

This is what the village is the most afraid of - a "willing" transfer; of life being made so difficult that they'll be compelled to move east. A 1,000-year-old village. That's why the fence is here. In Budrus, they're convinced that Prime Minister Sharon is continuing what Captain Sharon began: In Qibiya, he tried it with dynamite, now he's trying it with a fence. The objective is the same: to move them away from the Green Line, especially in the vicinity of Ben-Gurion airport. What can they do? "Demonstrate in a peaceful manner," says Murar the rebel.

It all began on November 9, when construction work first started here. Since then, they've been demonstrating and demonstrating, always in a peaceful manner. Sometimes once a week, sometimes every day; sometimes the entire village; sometimes only the women and children. They walk down through the groves toward the route of the fence and get as close as possible to the soldiers and Border Police officers. Murar likes to describe the little rebellion, stage after stage, almost hour after hour. How they once stood there for a whole day, how they brought lunch and ate in front of the soldiers, how they were beaten with batons and rifle butts.

He records every detail: During one demonstration in December, he counted 15 humvees, six Border Police jjeeps, two blue police jeeps and another two military jeeps inside the village, 25 jeeps altogether. At another demonstration, the officer declared the area a closed military zone.

Murar: "They had a letter in Hebrew - maybe about this area, maybe about the whole village, maybe about the whole world, declaring a closed military zone. They said they'd impose a curfew if we did anything." He also talks about how they managed to go out to the land despite the curfew and to demonstrate in front of the bulldozers.

We decide to go down now toward the route that has already been paved. Murar remains behind. "If there are too many of us, they'll think it's a demonstration." The last demonstration was last Friday; tear gas canisters are still scattered about. The residents know the work is going to resume soon. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow. Here are the red markings on the ground. They have scouts on the balconies of the outer houses of the village, who will report if they see something. The treadmarks left by the bulldozers are still visible in the mud. From here, the route is supposed to ascend toward the olive groves, another four kilometers. The first trees have already been uprooted. Yesterday was Tu Bishvat (Jewish arbor day).

A group of volunteers from the International Solidarity Movement, along with two young Israelis, accompany us through the olive groves, but they do not go down toward the fence route. They are staying in the village now, preparing for what is to come. Today they're here, tomorrow they'll be in the next village that the fence is approaching. Young dreamers and fighters who pay 20 shekels a night to stay in a rented apartment in the village. Yonatan Pollak of Anarchists Against the Fence, a 21-year-old with blue eyes, dimples, acne scars, a worldview and a past: Europe is already closed to him because of anti-globalization demonstrations he participated in there. He pulls a black sleeve over the tattoos on his arm. He won't buy an Israeli soda in the village grocery store. While his contemporaries are standing at checkpoints and deciding which woman in labor to let pass and which not, he is here, with the Budrus residents, in their struggle.

We return to the village. The Amhassein family's two-story house: the family on the first floor, the chickens on the second. The mother, Suriya, just returned from Mecca and the house has been decorated in her honor. The children play loudly at recess at the school at the edge of the village. The fence will pass right behind the border of the school and the border of the nearby cemetery. Mighty Israel is spread out all around: Modi'in, Ramle, Shoham, Rosh Ha'ayin - and on a clear day, you can even make out the Shalom Tower in Tel Aviv. And on the other side, to the east, Kiryat Sefer, Nili, Na'aleh. "Tell me, could the fence go into the cemetery?," Murar asks.

A meeting at his home: About 20 women sit in the yard of the attractive house on the edge of the green valley and plan the exhibition they want to stage here on the 23rd of the month, the first day of hearings on the fence in the International Court in The Hague. Half the women came from Salfit and half are from the village. They sit in the shade of the banana tree in Murar's yard and talk about the exhibit of olivewood products they will present in a tent in the center of the village. Maybe people from all over the world will come to see. A Swedish member of parliament was already arrested here by the IDF. Murar says that the exhibition will include a dove carved out of olivewood. They're also planning a demonstration of children soon.

Murar: "We've learned lessons - where we did good and where we did bad. They [the Israelis] have also learned lessons. Maybe they'll strengthen the curfew more when they're working. But our plan is to defend our land and our trees in a peaceful manner. Sometimes among our people there are a lot of ideas about what to do against the occupation. We here have chosen a different strategy. Our strategy in this small village is that we're turning things over. In the north, from Jenin until Budrus, there were Israeli and international demonstrators, supported by Palestinians. But here, we think that it's our problem and that we have to defend our land and do something, and the Israelis and international protesters are only supporting us. First the Palestinians, and then the internationals. We are very grateful for Israeli and international support, but the Palestinians have to make a stand. We're adopting a special strategy, a peaceful strategy. The Hamas here, too. In the beginning, they walked with their green flags in the demonstrations. After the first three demonstrations, we only carry the flag of Palestine. Everyone together. In a totally peaceful way. We also all agreed on one thing: We are not against the Israelis and not against the Jews and not against the soldiers. We are only against the occupation. We are against the bulldozers. And we in Budrus believe that killing is easier than crying. But just crying over the land isn't enough. A peaceful demonstration is stronger than killing. If you stand before the Israeli soldier, right beside him, you'll be stronger.

If someone asks: Why peaceful? I tell him: I've tried all the ways and the peaceful way works best. The worst thing is to kill the innocent. That's the worst thing in the world. They kill day and night and say that we are terrorists. But we need all the world to be on our side. I'm against killing people. All people, Jews and Arabs. I'm not afraid or ashamed to say that. That's why I'm demonstrating peacefully against the fence."

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