Reports from Freedom Summer Palestine
Reports from Freedom Summer Palestine
We have been having minor internet problems and have not been able to send out timely reports of the many actions taking place throughout the West Bank as part of Palestine’s Freedom Summer 2004 Campaign. Please accept our apologies and refer to the digest below for reports and photos from the last 3 days of popular organizing and resistance to the Israeli occupation.
There is still time to join us in Palestine for Freedom Summer activities and our Freedom Walk! Please see: www.palsolidarity.org for more information.
In solidarity & struggle, ISM
1) Another martyr in Balata 2) Confrontation Between Villagers and Army in Az-Zawiya Ends Peacefully 3) Community Gathers to Remove Debilitating Military Roadblock in Kafr Labad
4) Another Roadblock Cleared
5) Palestinians Advocate for Prisoners’ Rights
6) Protesters March on Salem Military Base
1) Another martyr in Balata By: Josefin
July 4, 2004 Nablus
Mahmud Saleh Lahueni was killed by the Israeli military forces in Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus yesterday. He was killed by two shots, one to his chest and one to his neck. He was 20 years old.
Mahmud was killed on the same spot as his little brother was, only 20 days ago. Salah Saleh Lahueni was also shot on the street by the Israeli army during an Israeli military incursion into the camp.
Yesterday, 3rd of July, four military jeeps came into Balata at around 5 pm. The soldiers provoked the children to throw stones but no military operations or arrests were made.
Apart from the killing of Mahmud, three young boys were injured by live ammunition fired by Israeli soldiers; one is now in the hospital severely injured.
This was the third time this week that the Israeli military came into Balata and the people of Balata expect more to come.
2) Confrontation Between Villagers and Army in Az Zawiya Ends Peacefully
July 4, 2004 Salfit
More than 200 residents of Az Zawiya village, joined by 10 international supporters, confronted a phalanx of army jeeps and hummers today, as they tried to reach the land near the village school where the Apartheid Wall is being built. Construction on the Wall resumed today, despite last Wednesday's court ruling halting work on the wall in other areas. Under a separate injunction from the High Court, work in Az Zawiya is allowed to continue in areas where olive trees have already been uprooted.
Led by elders of the village, the peaceful marchers sat in front of vehicles and refused to return to the village as they were commanded to do. Though they gave several warnings to the crowd to move back or be dispersed, the army did not fire tear gas or live ammunition as they have done many times over the last three weeks. Protesters remained on the site, about 50 meters from where the bulldozers were working, for almost two hours.
At one point, one of the soldiers seized a megaphone and said, "Listen up for a minute. Your war is not with us. It is with the courts." The assembled men shouted at him, "No, this is different. The court said you have to stop working here."
Az Zawiya is one of three villages in the Salfit region that will be completely enclosed by the Apartheid Wall. When the wall is completed the villagers will lose 90% of their land. They will not be able to access their olive trees, which are now the main source of income for the area.
For more Information contact: The International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS) Office: 09-2516-644 Hannah Mobile: 052 360 241 (English)
Anan Mobile – 064-485-027 (English/Arabic)
3) Community Gathers to Remove Debilitating Military Roadblock in Kafr Labad ISM Tulkarem July 2, 2004 Tulkarem
[Kafr Labad] Today 300 plus villagers from the hilltop village of Kafr Al Labad, near Anabta, achieved a small victory for Freedom, marching out and clearing multiple roadblocks on two of the major routes into the village.
In the mosque beforehand the Sheik preached the non-violent intent of the day: simply, the roadblocks that disrupt their daily life were to be removed. Joined by nearly 50 international peace activists, including Israelis, whose intention it was to provide protection by their presence, the villagers advanced in buoyant spirits toward the first roadblock. This large obstacle comprised of huge boulders prevents road access to 3,000 neighbors in the village of Dhinnaba, and crucially the well that provides the drinking water for the village.
A bulldozer was expected to make the task more feasible, but had not arrived when the party arrived at the first roadblock. However, the men of the village did not hesitate to begin the task by hand, rolling several sizeable rocks away, despite the oppressive heat. Women from the village also participated in the removal, while children collected grapes and gave water to the internationals. Despite fears, Israeli military forces did not materialize, and the timely, jubilant arrival of the bulldozer led to the final and rapid dispatch of the roadblock, with boulders and rubble cast easily aside.
With this success the whole group was encouraged, and proceeded to another principal road, which leads south to Shufa. This highway was more thoroughly blocked, with a succession of three mounds featuring the same large boulders, but by coach, truck, and donkey, the group arrived and began the work again. These several obstacles had been erected in a battle of wills between the village and the Israeli forces, wherein a roadblock would be erected, removed, then replaced two-fold. The JCB devoured these with equal pace, however, as the afternoon wore on.
A wariness that the Israeli military might still intervene remained. In the past soldiers have responded to an attempted removal in the village with tear gas, and on a day such as this the fumes would have been particularly potent. However, there was no sign of the military until a late stage when a single Humvee was spotted, but it disappeared as quickly.
With the good fortune of this lack of lack of military molestation, and the successful clearance of all the roadblocks, spirits were very high despite heavy fatigue. The villagers went down their reopened road clapping and cheering. “ISM, ISM,” they chanted, and the internationals responded by opening a round of “free, free Palestine!”
Anim…. Said he was “glad and proud” and the outcome, and when asked what they would do if the soldiers replaced the roadblocks the next day, he said “we will gather together again, and with (the internationals), try to open them.”
To read another personal account of roadblock removal in Kafr Labad, please see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/reports/writings/2Jul04_05_34_41TulkaremGail.htm
For photos, please see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/pictures/PHOTOS_2Jul04_05_28_43TulkaremISMTulkarem.htm
4) Another Roadblock Cleared ISM Tulkarem July 3, 2004 Tulkarem
Today a very formidable roadblock was peacefully removed 4 km outside the village of Nazla Ash Sharqiya. Roughly seventy villagers, with an accompaniment of thirty international and Israeli activists, moved toward the obstacle that severs the route to nearby Baqa al Sharqiya, as well as to the major highway. The much-used road was about to be laid with asphalt when the roadblock was erected more than a year ago, not long after an earlier one had been removed. The previous block had been removed with the aid of a tractor, but this time a privately owned bulldozer would join the dismantling action.
On the road the party was intercepted by a small contingent from the Israeli in a jeep and a Humvee. The Palestinian driver of the bulldozer, who spoke Hebrew, entered into a dialogue with the soldiers, explaining that their purpose was peaceful. The soldier asked if the intention was to clear the roadblock, and hearing that it was, contacted his commanding officer to ascertain if the Israeli military would permit this. Presently a positive answer was delivered and the party progressed to the roadblock to begin work.
The bulldozer began work while the soldiers monitored the action from fifty yards away. The roadblock was composed of some very large boulders- as large as small cars, as well as a great deal of rubble. The bulldozer cleared some of the smaller objects, but was unable to dislodge the principal megaliths. The soldiers in the mean time expressed interest in knowing about the Israelis in the group, but did not speak to any.
Just when it looked as if the party might have to withdraw unsuccessful, a second bulldozer, a more powerful JCB, arrived from the opposite direction and began work. This vehicle was able to break up the larger boulders into manageable pieces, which it began instantly to do. Over the next three hours both bulldozers worked steadily while the soldiers looked on as if they were the bodyguards for the action, and not the original architects of the barrier. The roadblock was completely cleared and the party retired in peaceful satisfaction, with happy activists and Palestinians riding the dozers.
Given the uncharacteristically passive attitude of the Israeli forces, it seems this roadblock may remain open indefinitely, but this is speculation only.
5) Palestinians Advocate for Prisoners’ Rights By: Max July 4, 2004 Tulkarem
As part of Palestine’s Freedom Summer Campaign, a large number of Palestinians gathered this morning to remember their family members and friends who have been locked away in Israeli prisons. They brought pictures of their fathers, brothers, sons, and also their daughters. And while many of the people expressed pain and sorrow for their disappeared loved ones, they also made clear their outrage at the Israeli judicial system.
The demonstrators advocated for basic prisoners rights, including the right to proper health care and the right to communicate with their families. Many families had not heard from their brothers, sons, fathers, and husbands since their arrest, and are prohibited from visiting them to this day.
For photos, please see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/pictures/PHOTOS_4Jul04_06_03_37TulkaremMax.htm
6) Protesters March on Salem Military Base
By: Catherine, ISM Jenin
July 4, 2004 Jenin
Today around 100 demonstrators, a relatively even mix of Palestinian families and international and Israeli activists, held a peaceful demonstration at Salem military base to demand the release of political prisoners. The base at Salem is associated with a detention center for the occupying forces that imprisons hundreds of Palestinian males, some as young as 14 years old. The demonstrators held signs that said "Free Palestinian Political Prisoners" and "Fighting the Occupation Is Not A Crime." Women held large photographs of their sons and husbands, while children in the demonstration showed photos of their fathers, uncles and brothers.
At the military base, the demonstrators were met with five Border Police jeeps whose armed occupants had set up a coil of razor wire across the road to the base. The demonstrators remained behind the line and continued to chant and hold up their signs and photographs. Some of the marchers, including a father whose fourteen-year-old son has been held for two and a half months, gave speeches about the prison and the occupation. When the demonstration ended many of the marchers left their signs and banners in the razor wire. Although the occupation cuts off any contact between Palestinian families and their imprisoned loved ones, the relatives of the Salem prisoners continue to express their support for their family members and their resistance to the occupation.
For photos, please see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/pictures/PHOTOS_4Jul04_06_16_24JeninISMJenin.htm