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100 hours of curfew in Nablus

100 hours of curfew in Nablus

1/ 100 hours of Curfew declared in Nablus_report 2/ Arrested for demonstrating nonviolently, by flo

1/100 Hours of Curfew Declared

Nablus ISM Nablus 3 Apr 04

[Nablus] Today the residents of Nablus were once again confronted by an Israeli military invasion, with a 100 hour curfew imposed on the city. The military presence could be felt in the neighborhoods of Juneyd, Makfiya, Zawata, Rujib, Rafidiya, the Old City, and in the refugee camps of El-Ein, Askar, and Balata.

Nablus TV reported 80 military vehicles deployed throughout the day in and around the city - including armored jeeps, tanks, APCs (some with mounted sniper turrets), and hummers to enforce a 24-hour total curfew on this city of 150,000.

The Israeli army entered a number of houses in early morning raids, arresting over 40 people - including two journalists (one from the Al-Quds newspaper, and one from Nablus TV ).

By 9 am, a large roadblock had been erected in front of the destroyed Mukata building on the main road linking Balata to the rest of the city. This roadblock was removed by Palestinians following the last major invasion of Nablus in late December/early January in which 19 Palestinians, 15 of them civilians, were killed.

For most of the day sporadic clashes between the military and rock- throwing local shebab continued with a number of light injuries reported. Three serious injures were sustained by civilians in the El-Ein camp, two by rubber bullets and one by live fire.

Reports that the Israeli army had entered and occupied the Fatamiya Girl's Middle School were confirmed by ISM volunteers on the scene. Testimonies from sources in the neighboring village of Salem reported Israeli military raids on a local school there as well.

Today's invasion also adversely affected the 9,000 university students who study within Nablus but live in neighboring villages. On Saturdays students typically travel into the city for the beginning of the school week.

Meanwhile, medical personnel have reported some difficulties in moving ambulances and reduced response times due to the invasion. International media was conspicuous by its absence.

[Last-minute update]This report was written last night, as of today however Israeli army forces have withdrawn from the city and life has returned to 'normal', i.e. closure and siege. The threat of reinvasion though still hangs over Nablus and the curfew can be re- imposed at any point

2/Arrested for demonstrating nonviolently

Ramallah flo 31 Mar 04

On the 14th of March 2004, I was arrested for participating in a non- violent demonstration against the Apartheid wall in the Palestinian village of Deir Qaddis. I was charged with single-handedly inciting a violent demonstration and attacking military police.

On the morning of March 14th, a group of volunteers with the ISM, who were staying in the Palestinian village of Budrus, were asked to attend an impromptu demonstration in the village of Deir Qaddis. Deir Qaddis is a small village northwest Ramallah in the West Bank, where the Israeli army is currently building the Apartheid wall no more then 50 meters from the homes of the village. When we arrived in the village, approximately 100 villagers and 6 Israeli activists were standing at a low stone wall watching a D-9 bulldozer cutting a path through the land where the wall is planned to go. We were told that the dozens of Israeli soldiers and border police present on the worksite already used rubber bullets, tear gas and sound grenades to disperse the witnesses. As we joined the crowd, groups of schoolchildren from the village, girls and boys, began to march towards us chanting and singing. When the school kids got to the edge of the village, at least 25 meters away from the soldiers, the troops began firing tear gas canisters directly at them. For several hours, as the villagers and their supporters stood peacefully at the stone wall, soldiers and police repeatedly fired tear gas and sound grenades into the middle of the crowd.

When I first arrived, I noticed that I could identify many of the soldiers and police from my time in Tul Karem. Although this demonstration was quite far from there, I realized that all of the soldiers that I could recognize had been stationed in Tul Karem over the winter. They seemed to have recognized me also. Almost from the first moment I arrived at the site, the soldiers and police seemed to target me. I could see them whispering to each other and pointing at me, and at one point, as I stood in the middle of a large group, the soldiers pushed through the group and attempted to arrest me. They were unsuccessful in that attempt, but seemed to follow me wherever I went, trying to surround and capture me. Although I was aware that the smartest thing for me was to leave in order to avoid arrest, I did not feel comfortable abandoning the Palestinians who had asked us to come and stand with them. So I decided to stay. After the demonstration had been successfully dispersed by the soldiers with their tear gas, a group of women and old men decided to cross the stone wall in an attempt to stop the work of the bulldozer. Most of them seemed very scared and proceeded very slowly to where the bulldozer worked. Despite the continued use of tear gas and rubber bullets, the group, including ISM volunteers, was able to get in the path of the bulldozer and stop the work. The soldiers entered into the crowd and began beating and pushing people out of the way. I was a part of a group of 10 internationals who, with linked arms, were attempting to maintain a presence with the Palestinian men and women. Several border police approached us and starting beating us with their clubs and shoving us backwards over large boulders. As we were very close to the police at this point, with them actually grabbing us by our bodies, many of us were speaking to them, telling them that we were peaceful and asking them to consider what they would do if this was their land. Many police responded that this place was their land, this place was Israel, and the "Arabs" had no right there.

This is when they managed to grab me and take me away from my friends. Some of the Border police – at least twice my size – who had been trying to arrest me throughout the day, finally laid their hands on me. Although many of the internationals attempted to free me from the several policemen that held me, they did not succeed. The police roughly dragged me away and threw me on the ground. One of the policemen had me by the soldiers, while another attempted to handcuff me behind my back, with one of my arms coming up over my shoulder and one arm coming from below. As it felt as if my shoulder would become dislocated, or break, I was yelling to the police that I was willing to cooperate and that they were hurting me. The policeman that was handing me by the shoulder laughed at me and they continued their attempt. At the same time, one of the border police had my glasses in his hand that he was screaming at me to put on my face. I told him that as he had my arms wrenched behind my back, I found it impossible to do as he requested. From the moment they were successful in cuffing me, the cuffs were extremely tight and cut off my circulation within minutes. I was taken to a border police jeep waiting on the periphery of the demonstration, where I waited at least 45 minutes to be taken to the police station.

At the jeep, many of the soldiers and border police screamed at me for standing with the Palestinians, calling me a whore and pushing me around inside the jeep. They also laughed at me that they had caught me and advised that I should have worn a disguise. As they bundled into the jeep in order to leave the site, many of the soldiers threatened to beat me with their batons, making motions in the air with the batons close to my legs and head, laughing. I got scared at this point: I am a small woman and I was alone, handcuffed, stuck in the back of a jeep with soldiers that obviously hated me and wanted to hurt me.

I was first transported off of the site to a settler road, where I was taken out of the jeep and made to kneel on the side of the road. I was kept there, kneeling, still handcuffed behind my back, with soldiers standing in a group around me. One of the soldiers, who had been touching my body and threatening to hit me in the jeep, put his hat on my head and began to take pictures. They talked about the fact that they were going to throw me over the fence alongside the road and send me falling, still handcuffed, into the canyon below. Instead, they took me to a settlement, where I changed vehicles and was sent to Pisgat Ze'ev, a settlement in the Jerusalem region.

At Pisgat Ze'ev, I was interrogated and held for 7 hours. I was told at this point that I was charged with inciting a violent demonstration and attacking the police. I was also told that I was illegal in the country and was going to be deported. For the entire 7 hours that I was held in this station, as I was sitting alone in one of the rooms, policemen, one by one, would enter the room and scream at me about how much they hated the "Arabs" and me for standing with them. After these 7 hours of being the recipient of a pure and violent hatred, the likes of which I have never experienced before, I began to cry. All the emotions and frustration of the demonstration, of my arrest and of all this hatred being thrust at me, came out through tears. For this, the soldiers and border police, who had been screaming at me all day, came into the room with me and spent the next 30 minutes simply sitting across from me and watching me cry.

Close to 11pm that evening, I was transported to the Russian Compound, in Jerusalem. This prison is used for criminal prisoners and as an interrogation center for Palestinians, who are detained for months at a time, being held in subterranean cells and tortured. At the Russian Compound, I was put into a 5 foot by 5 foot cell, with no windows and a cement slab for a bed. 12 hours later, I was taken from this cell to the immigration police station in Talpiot, Jerusalem area. At this station, the screaming process began once again. I was told from my previous arrest in May 2003 (when the ISM media office had been raided by the Israeli army), I had been ordered, upon release from jail to leave the country, and that I was illegal in the country with no visa. Both of these points were false: I was never given a condition to leave the country after my first arrest, and I had applied for a new visa when my original one expired, but was waiting for an answer from the Ministry of Interior. I tried to explain to the officer his error but he told me that even if I had applied for the new visa – which they say I did not – I was denied it that day and so it meant I had been illegal since August 2003. I was told that I was to be deported for this reason, with no opportunity to fight. The officer gave me the option to be deported of my own free will that same day, or go to jail for up to 14 days and then be deported. I chose jail.

On my way to what I was told would be the Hadera jail, I was first taken to the deportation holding cell at Ben Gurion airport. At the airport, security began to search my bags, becoming extremely suspicious and aggressive when they found bus tickets and magazines with Arabic writing. They put me in a corner, and gathered together to pour over my police record (which was full of misinformation, such as the charge of assaulting police officers, etc.). They were whispering, gasping and pointing at me with looks of disgust on their faces. I told them repeatedly that as I was on my way to jail, and not getting on an airplane, they did not need to search my things. I was ordered to be quiet. They told me they were doing their job and they would search my stuff.

After 5 hours I was taken to jail. Up until we reached the city of Hadera, I was told that was where I was being taken. As we passed Hadera though, I realized that we were not stopping there. The officer present told me I was going to the Nazareth deportation jail. My belongings were once again searched when I arrived at the jail, with the same suspicion and aggression when the officers came across items with Arabic writing. I asked everyone who questioned me if it was a crime to carry Arabic writing. I was never given an answer.

More then 30 hours after my original arrest, I was finally deposited in jail. Because there was so much false information in my police record, it took me 11 days to be released from the jail in Nazareth. I was finally released with conditions stipulating that I would pay 20,000 shekels bail, and that I would leave the country by March 30, 2004. This departure is of my own taking and would not be classified as a deportation. I was also told that unless new information arose, this and my previous arrest would not bar me from re-entering the country in the future.


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