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Israeli Activists Face Charges For Protesting

Israeli Activists Face Charges For Protesting the Destruction of Palestinian Olive Trees

Today Israeli activists Neta Golan and Shelley Nativ faced charges in an Israeli court in Kfar Saba for chaining themselves to olive trees that were being bulldozed by the Israeli army in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in April 2001.

They are being charged with: disobeying a legal order (refusing to leave a 'Closed Military Area'); disturbing a policeman in his work; and disturbing a public worker (bulldozer operator).

Major Yoram Loredo, now Operations Officer in the Gaza Strip, testified in court that the reason he announced a Closed Military Area was that, "The behavior of the locals created a situation that was dangerous to my soldiers and the people in the area."

When asked by the defendants' attorney, Gabi Laski if any of the Palestinians had thrown stones or otherwise harmed the soldiers, he replied "No." Neta Golan testified that the villagers of Deir Istia had held a peaceful prayer vigil in front of the bulldozers and that the excuse of 'security' was again being used to silence legitimate protest. Golan stated, "the suppression by force of non-violent resistance encourages the use of violent resistance... I have the right to protest the unjust destruction of the property of innocent people". The International Solidarity Movement condemns the Israeli legal system criminalization of non-violent protest against the Occupation.

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