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"When the soldiers came" and other ISM reports


"When the soldiers came" and other ISM reports

1) It's murder, but it's OK, they're just Arabs - journal from Biddu 2) Umm Tareq: "When the soldiers came…" - report from Zawata village 3) Buy olive oil / Help rebuild water wells. Grassroots support of Jayyous resistance - TAKE ACTION!

1) It's murder, but it's OK, they're just Arabs By: Jeff April 19, 2004

Sunday the 18th, in Biddu, after noon prayers and memorial for Rantissi; bulldozers and soldiers showed up and started working on the Wall. A couple hundred villagers went to the work site. About 20 adult Palestinians and 7 Internationals headed into the olive groves coming within 100m of the work site. The Israeli forces fired tear gas and then attacked the demonstrators with horses and infantry. The mounted police ran down two Palestinians, arresting one after knocking him down with horse and baton. An ISM woman was arrested on the spot as well,

Other Palestinians came to the rescue, pelting the police with stones and driving them back. The remainder of the international crew went to the hill about 450m from the work site and soldiers. There they sat with many Palestinians and observed the stone, rubber bullet and teargas fight. About one hour later live bullets started to whiz by our heads. No shots were heard. The firing continued and we realized that a unseen sniper was using a silencer. Everyone quickly moved to the other side of the hill, out of harms way.

At this time, about 30 demonstrators, with many village leaders were heading toward the dozers again. Unaware of the sniper, they heard the bullets go by but, since there were no gun shots heard, they did not know that they were being fired on. 23 year old Deya’ Eldin Abdel Karim adu Eid was shot in the chest; the bullet caused extreme damage to the area, exiting his back. He died at Al Maqassed Hospital in Jerusalem hours later. He was much loved in the community and was due to be married in three months. He is the 5th person to be killed in Biddu at anti Wall demonstration in less than a month.

A few hours later, a 19 year old was shot in the leg with a live round. The police stayed in Biddu, and searched houses in Beit Ijza, threatening many villagers. One soldier was quoted as saying: “Do you want a teargas grenade in your house or us to f#%$ your daughters.”

Work on the Wall continued into the night with the use of spot lights and encamped police,

===============

2) Umm Tareq: "When the soldiers came…"

Israeli Military Abuses in Zawata Village

By: Kole (ISM/Nablus)

April 20, 2004

Umm Tareq is remarkably calm considering what she and the other members of the Rowssan family have been through in the past month. She is comfortably seated on a chair opposite us, her work worn hands in her lap, having just served us some rich, dark, Arabic coffee.

ARREST

As Umm Tareq tells it, the 'troubles' for the Rowssan family began slightly over a month ago. On the morning of March 14th, Israeli soldiers entered the 1st floor living space the family had been renting for years, and arrested her nineteen year-old son Tareq (who's in his first year of studies at An-Najah University in Nablus). Instead of worrying about his studies, like most young men his age, Tareq now has to face six months of 'administrative detention' in Megido prison.

As for Umm Tareq, she's had to become acquainted with the frustrating process of dealing with the regulations of the occupation authority's Kafkaesque District Coordinating Office (DCO), all the while tracking the whereabouts of her son through the Red Cross. "Because of their 'emergency' regulations all the military needs is one person to inform on my son, without any evidence given, and the military can hold him for renewable periods of six months," she explains.

HOUSE OCCUPATION

Ten days later, on March 24th, the 'jaysh' (army) returned to the house. This time for good. Their neighbors on the second floor - the 5 members of the Moussa family, who are the owners of the house the Rowssan's were renting – had left for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) until the situation in Palestine calmed down. The Israeli military used their absence to move into their second story flat with a contingent of at least 30 soldiers. A hummer, two jeeps, and an imposing APC mounted with a sniper turret - which was still visible in the front yard of the occupied house during our visit today - are all parked near the house and are being used to patrol the streets of the village.

The Rowssans, living on the first floor, were initially told that they could stay by the military, but as the eldest daughter notes, the chronicle of abuse, humiliations, harassment and annoyances the family had to endure created pressure for them to leave. She lists the abuses one by one, in a calm voice, with Umm Tareq adding an occasional detail here and there:

1 "It was like a prison, we couldn't leave and come home when we wanted to. The soldiers could deny us anything and determine when we could go out and when we couldn't."

2 "When my younger brother had to go to school or come back, all his things were searched and the soldiers who'd frisked him in the morning pretended not to recognize him at night. So they put him through the same interrogation routines each time."

3 "We were prevented from obtaining water, from going outside and pumping our wells to get our water into the tank on the roof. The water in the houses in Zawata comes from these wells, it is very important."

4 "The sewage pipes from the bathroom the soldiers where using [on the second floor] were clogged deliberately. Within a few days the contaminated water was leaking into our home."

5 "Every night the soldiers where shooting, they still do it every night."

By March 27th, Umm Tareq, her two daughters, and her remaining son made a decision many Palestinians families have had to make as a result of Israeli military pressures exerted on them. The Rowssan's moved out of their home and moved in with family members a few streets down.

CURFEW AND HARRASMENT IN THE VILLAGE

The Rowssan's are resigned to the fact that the military won't be leaving anytime soon. Umm Tareq explains: "I saw on Israeli television a few weeks ago how they said that the military had occupied a strategic spot in the region [indeed the occupied building, now outfitted with sandbags and camouflage netting, overlooks the whole village and the valley leading into Nablus]. The Israeli media talked about how the local Palestinians now feel 'safe' that the soldiers are here. They made it seem like we were welcoming the soldiers in this village, but we don't feel safe and nobody wants them here."

There's good reason for these sentiments. In early April, I remembered how a friend from Zawata explained to me that soldiers had set up a 'checkpoint' in the middle of his village and how every night it was like being under curfew now. Undoubtedly it was the Moussa/Rowssan home he was referring to.

Aida, another friend who's just moved into Zawata with her family, explains that every night the soldiers can be heard shooting. Her mother recently saw the soldiers patrolling the streets during the day, and she's seen jeeps and hummers occupying key intersections and preventing the movement of people from within the village.

All signs are pointing to the fact that the Israeli military in the West Bank is increasingly feeling confident that it won't be sanctioned for its abuses. Bush's praise for Sharon's 'brave and courageous' annexationist schemes is translated on the ground into an increased tempo of Israeli military incursions here in the Nablus region. Day-time raids have increased in Nablus city itself over the past few weeks as the Israeli military continues to tighten its noose around Palestinian cities and villages.

=====================

3) BUY OLIVE OIL / HELP REBUILD WATER WELLS Grassroots support of Jayyous resistance

Friends,

The Palestine Children's Welfare Fund (PCWF) has pledged to help the village of Jayyous rebuild and maintain a vital water well in the village, while working to be able to pledge more assistance for other water wells that supply the village of Jayyous and its rich agricltural land.

As many of you may remember, Jayyous was one of the first villages where the bulldozing of land and uprooting of trees began for Israel's Apartheid Wall over 1 1/2 years ago. Jayyous, located in the Qalqiliya region of the West Bank is a village of approximately 3000 persons that have relied almost completely on their land for their sustainance and development. Qalqiliya is the most fertile region in the West Bank, with agricultural production that rivaled that of Israel. Fruits and vegetables from Jayyous used to supply the entire north of the West Bank. Over the past 3 1/2 years Israel has restricted travel for farmers from this region, and farmers from Jayyous are prevented from delivering their goods to even the markets of their mother city, Qalqiliya. Not only have thousands of Jayyous' fruit and olive trees been destroyed for the path of the Wall, but the Wall, which take military watch towers, and an iron gate through which residents have to get permits to enter and exit their farmland, has already been completely built here, severely restricting access to over 75% of Jayyous' farmland. A majority of the villagers have been denied access permits by the Israeli military or are otherwise harassed to the extent that they have all but given up. Israel has made it extremely difficult for farmers to continue farming their land by denying them access; but even for those farmers that can get access, restrictions on travel and delivering goods to market, has made the effort costly. If anywhere it is obvious that Israel's wall is not being built for "security" it is in these areas where the path of the wall has been drawn to incorporate Palestine's most fertile agricultural land and water resources. ISM and PCWF hope that by helping Jayyous with access t In addition, when we can help farmers find a market for their products, we can support their continued survival on their land by the means that they have known for generations.

PCWF has made a very important contribution in this area by helping to market Jayyous' olive oil. Through the sale of olive oil from Jayyous and Palestinian embroidery and other handiwork, they have been able to put the money back into the community and pledge the rebuilding and maintenance of important water wells in the village. Please contribute to the resistance of the people of Jayyous by visiting www.pcwf.org and purchasing Palestinian olive oil and other locally produced items.

Please pass the information on!

In solidarity & struggle, Huwaida

p.s. Over the past few weeks the Israeli military has been entering Jayyous on average of 3 times a day, gassing villagers by tossing dozens of tear gas canisters in and around homes and shops, Samih, and ISM local coordinator and father of 3 young children reports. "We don't know what kind of gas this is, but I doubt it's your average tear gas." We have contacted B'tselem to see if there is anything they can do about analyzing the gas or otherwise trying to stop this harassment and terrorization of Jayyous villagers.

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