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IDF razing olive trees in nightly operation


IDF razing olive trees in nightly operation of ground & air forces

GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 - www.gush-shalom.org/

International alert (protest letter data after [[]]) June 19, Tel-Aviv

Weekend at Sawiya on the West Bank: IDF razing olive trees in nightly operation of ground & air forces Villagers brutalized at improvised roadblock.

[Yesterday night and this morning there came frentic calls from our Palestinian contact in Sawiya Village (between Nablus and Ramallah). We recorded the following from I. (full name is known to us):]

"Friday the bulldozers came at noon and started working on our land, in the part close to the settlement of Rehelim [to the north of Sawiya - Ed]. We did not dare to go near, because there were soldiers guarding them all around. But also from a distance we saw that they were cutting down our olive trees and throwing them aside. We had gotten no notice or explanation; the owners of the land were not given any kind of confiscation order...

They went on during the evening and also in the night. After sundown, there were helicopters in the air firing flares to give them light.

In the morning on my way to work I passed the spot. There were no bulldozers or army, but you could clearly see where they had worked - from the destroyed trees. It did not look like they did it for the Wall, which is what we thought first. For the Wall, they clear long narrow strips of land. This was more of a square area, it looks like the setters want to place there new mobile homes. [Also from I. a related incident:]

A few kilometres south of us, at Luan A-Sharkiya, there was an army road- block. It is usually there, but never before did it take so long to get through it, we waited for hours and hours. I am every day going through there to work, I don't remember anything like it. Many of us tried to bypass the road-block and go through the tracks on the side, but the soldiers were waiting for us there, too.

With some soldiers you can reason, not with these. A soldier just hit me once in the face, a hard blow, and then let me pass without saying a word. Fortunately, he did not touch my car. Others before and after me got their windshields smashed, or wires ripped out of the engines, or tires cut with a knife. There was a different treatment to each one which they caught, without any logic or explanation."

[ The Gush Shalom infoteam contacted the aide of KM Yossi Sarid and asked for his intervention, and also alerted the MachsomWatch women who specialize in monitoring the army checkpoints and road-blocks. When they arrived at at the spot about 11.00 am they found the soldiers in process in dismantling the improvised road-block and driving away. ] [[]] Protest letter data: [We advise to send (parts of) the preceding report as sample letter, but add in the beginning something like:]

Dear Ministers

Please, use your channels to find out what the IDF is doing during this very weekend on the farm lands of Sawiya Village near the settlement Rehelim (to the north of Sawiya). We turn to you - hoping that like on earlier occasions you will sound a voice of reason from within the Sharon government.

Here follows the report which we got: ...

[We think it is most useful to protest to the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Interior (they are the leaders of the liberal Shinuy Party and should be relatively sensitive to it) + (IMPORTANT!!) make it visible that you send copies to international diplomats and include a copy to the nearest Israeli Embassy.

Please find below collected addresses for easy sending BUT if you can, send your protest ALSO by fax.]

Minister of Justice Yosef Lapid Ministry of Justice 29 Salah al-Din Street Jerusalem 91010, Israel Fax: +972 2 6285438 E-mail: sar@justice.gov.il + other Justice Ministry email addresses: Director Mr. Shlomo Gur mankal@justice.gov.il Spokesperson Mr. Ido Baum dover@justice.gov.il Public Relations Ms. Yehudit Bigun pniot@justice.gov.il

Minister of Interior Avraham Poraz Ministry of Interior 2, Kaplan Street, Jerusalem Fax: +972-2-670-1628 E-mail of the minister: sar@moin.gov.il + other Interior Ministry email addresses: Director Mr. Mordechay Mordechay mankal@moin.gov.il Spokesperson Ms. Tova Ellinson dover@moin.gov.il Public Relations Ms. Nechama Pluga-Zecharia pniot@moin.gov.il

and copies to: Secretary of State Colin Powell Fax: +1-202-261-8577

and to: Kofi Annan ecu@un.org, Mr. Terje Rod Larsen , Mr. Romano Prodi

and/or to the Foreign Minister of your country (for other than US, please find yourself the address)

and to the editors of the daily paper(s)of your choice (please find yourself the address)

For your convenience, here are the combined email addresses we collected (please add your own):

To: sar@justice.gov.il, sar@moin.gov.il Copies to: secretaryofstate@USA.gov, ecu@un.org, unsco@palnet.com, romano.prodi@cec.eu.int, mankal@justice.gov.il, dover@justice.gov.il, pniot@justice.gov.il, mankal@moin.gov.il, dover@moin.gov.il, pniot@moin.gov.il

NB: send your protest also to the nearest Israeli embassy & find the address at: http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/israel1.htm

N.B.: U.S citizens can

-- alert their representatives at: http://www.cflweb.org/congress_merge_.htm a lot of sample letters available re the increased settlement expansion on the West Bank happening RIGHT NOW

-- call the Capital switchboard toll-free: 1-800-839-5276 and ask to be connected to your member of Congress.

-- call or fax the White House White House Comments Line: 202-456-1111 White House Switchboard: 202-456-1414 White House Fax: 202-456-2461

-- approach the State Department Bureau of Public Affairs Comment Line: 202-647-6575

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