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International Solidarity Movement Report & Updates

International Solidarity Movement Report and Updates November 5, 2004

1. Ramadan Karim is the greeting in Palestine during the holy month. It means "generous Ramadan." It is rarely so under occupation.

2. Collective Punishment: Home Demolition in Askar Camp, Near Nablus

3. At-Tuwani Villagers Meet For First Time With Senior Occupation Official

4. Residents of Kufr Thulth to March in Non-violent Protest of Construction of Illegal Settlements and Military Occupation of Their Land


1. Ramadan Karim is the greeting in Palestine during the holy month. It means "generous Ramadan." It is rarely so under occupation.

Abu Ali is a really nice man. I sat with him in his shop in Jenin for three hours one day and he recounted story after story after story about Jewish families that he knew or that his father had known.

He told me about the day when a Jewish family's car broke down near Jenin and people towed it to the mechanic shop that he used to own. The family was nervous and the necessary parts wouldn't arrive until the next day. Abu Ali took the family to Jenin camp, to his home, and they ate dinner together and sang songs and the children played games. He still has the family's address in case he is ever allowed to go back to Haifa, where he is from and where they live now.

Both of Abu Ali's daughters are being held as political prisoners in Israeli jails. The young husband of his oldest daughter was involved in some armed resistance groups and was arrested several years ago. The Israelis came for his wife a months later, her younger sister nearly seven months ago.

The judge in the military court ruled that her detention was illegal and declared that she be let free due to lack of evidence. Military intelligence declared her a security risk, the sister-in-law of a man in prison, and immediately put her in "administrative detention." Abu Ali told me he collapsed in court and they had to carry him out. He carries with him, daily, the 5000 shekels the judge told him he had to pay to see her released.

Last night, just before the Israeli military pulled out of the camp and set up along the outskirts of town, they came for his son, Ali. I have talked and joked with Ali many times. He works the small shop his father owns at night and on weekends. He likes candy and falafal sandwiches. He's a really nice kid, about 17, or 18 years old.

Tonight I am in another town and I am getting ready to travel around more tomorrow. I will sit in some meetings and talk about how I can help support Palestinian nonviolence. Tonight, somewhere in an Israeli military jail, Ali is, most likely, being interrogated. He may have a dirty sack, drenched in animal urine, over his head. He may be tied to a small chair with its front legs shorter than the back ones so that he sits in an uncomfortable position for hours on end. His interrogators may be beating him. They may be threatening the life of his sister. They may beat her in front of him or beat him in front of her.

It would indeed be a generous Ramadan if Abu Ali and his wife, Umm Ali, saw their children return home. Inshallah.

Dave www.davereed.org

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2. Collective Punishment; Home Demolition in Askar Camp, near Nablus

On Monday morning a suicide bombing killed 4 in Tel Aviv. The bomber was 16 year old Amer Al-Far from Askar Refugee Camp. The standard response of the Israeli army is to punish the bomber's family by demolishing their house and often arresting members of the family. In opposition to this form of illegal collective punishment, on Monday night a team of five ISM activists offered to go the house with two main objectives: to protect the family members from arrest or beatings; and to help remove all of the family's furniture. We felt that at such late notice and with so little preparation time the house could not be protected.

The group of 5 internationals arrived at the house at around 11pm to find that all the furniture had been taken out and only the father remained in the house. The man wanted us to leave with him when the soldiers came, not to try and protect the house. At 3:10am soldiers arrived at the house, pointing guns at us through the door. They said that we must leave immediately and we replied that we would wait for the owner of the house to collect his things and then we would leave. The soldiers tried to take the father away but the activists placed themselves in between the father and the soldiers, blocking the soldiers attempts to take him away. After several attempts the soldiers ordered us to get against the wall and demanded that we let the father go with them. Again we refused and formed a defensive shield around the man.

At gunpoint the soldiers took mobile phones from two of the ISMers. They became increasingly aggressive with both the activists and the boy's father and at one point held a gun to one of the activists' heads. At around 4am they relented and we were guarded by a soldier to prevent our movement as they set about placing explosives in the house. We stood with the father as he listened to the army drilling holes for the explosives, about to lose his home just hours after he had heard that his child was dead. We moved around the corner with the father to be away from the explosion and at 5:30am his house was gone. Homeless. If the family rebuilds the house, the Israeli army will destroy it again. As he cried into his jacket, the ISMers offered what little moral support they could. His boy, who had told him that he was going to find work in Israel, was dead. His father had learned about his 16 year old son's death from a TV report.

For more information please contact:

Jonson - + 972 547 621529 ISM Media office - +972 2277 4602 __________________________________________________________________

3. At-Tuwani Villagers Meet For First Time With Senior Occupation Official November 1, 2004

CPTers were present in at-Tuwani Sunday morning when village leaders met with an Israeli official, who said he is the head of the Israeli Civil (Military) Administration for the southern West Bank. One of the villagers present at the hour long meeting said that the official asked to be told of "your needs." The villagers listed these concerns:

*Water: Villagers must gather it in buckets from a small spring that only provides enough for drinking and cooking. Poorer quality rainwater trapped in cisterns is used for washing. The Ma'on settlement's water line passes only sixty meters from the village. The village wants to tap into it.

*Clinic: The village wants to finish building their clinic, currently under an occupation stop-work order.

*Safe passage to the at-Tuwani primary school for the children of Tuba: The children are afraid to use the direct one-mile path because settlers from Ma 'on have been attacking them and the accompanying internationals; so they are forced to follow a circuitous hilly five mile route.

*Electricity: The Ma'on settlement's power comes from a grid, while at-Tuwani must get its power from a diesel generator, which it can only afford to run for a few hours each evening. At-Tuwani wants to connect to the grid.

*Road access to Karmil: The villagers want the Israeli military to remove three dirt barricades blocking the road from at-Tuwani to the larger Palestinian population centers of Karmil, Yatta and Hebron. These barricades prevent access to the hospital, secondary schools and stores located there.

*Improvement of the road to al-Mufakra and villages to the south: Residents of small villages south of Tuwani must travel through it by a very rough path in order to reach those larger Palestinian centers described above. Five years ago, Israeli authorities said, "No" to villager requests to improve the path.

Describing their complaints, a village leader said, "These are humanitarian needs [which] under occupation, the Israelis are responsible for." Continuing, he said, "the civil administrator asked us to provide engineering drawings for connecting our village to water and electricity. He told us to go ahead and build the clinic, but," the leader added, "We still don't have a permit in writing."

The leaders said that they were also told that the questions about the roads would be studied, and Israeli soldiers would be assigned to accompany the school children.

The leader also told CPT that the visit by such a high ranking occupation official has never happened before in at-Tuwani. "This meeting today didn't just happen. We have had these problems, and many attacks by settlers for years, but no one outside knew. Thank you for being here, you have brought us attention. Please thank all the people who have helped us, the media, the US consular officials who visited, and the Israeli and international peace groups. Your help made this visit happen."

CPT intends to remain in at-Tuwani monitoring the situation.

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4. Residents of Kufr Thulth to March in Non-violent Protest of Construction of Illegal Settlements and Military Occupation of Their Lands

Will Present a List of Demands Joined by Internationals, Israelis

SUNDAY, 7 NOVEMBER Time: 10 am

Meeting point: Baladiyye (Village Council), Kufr Thulth (approx 20 minutes north of Biddia)

March to Palestinian Lands and then to Israeli Military Base

Kufr Thulth invites all Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals who oppose the building of illegal settlements and the military occupation of Palestinians lands to participate in a non-violent act of resistance on Sunday, November 7.

You are invited to assembly at the village council (Baladiyye) and then move to the Palestinian fields, where we will then march towards the Israeli military base where the village will present a set of demands.

THE VILLAGE OF KUFR THULTH DEMANDS THE FOLLOWING:

•Close the road that passes through the Palestinian lands, carrying out the Israeli court orders.

•Stop the cutting and uprooting trees by the settlers.

•Stop the stealing of Palestinian lands by settlers

•Secure the right of the Palestinian farmers to work in and grow their lands

•Remove all the settler houses and other buildings from the Palestinian lands

Kufr Thulth, a village of 4000, in the Sulfit region north of Mas'Ha, is surrounded by 4 illegal Israeli settlements. In 2001, settlers began to establish another outpost on the land owned by villagers from Kufr Thulth, by placing empty caravans on the land.

In 2003, settlers began to regularly visit the caravans on weekends. Two roads were established for settler use, while Palestinian roads were blocked or destroyed. The Israeli Army established a watchtower in the area. The village took the case to the Israeli courts and won an injunction to close the settler roads. In response, the Israeli Army declared the roads for military use only and have since prevented Palestinians access to the area.

In mid-2004, settlers raided Palestinian lands and uprooted and cut around 150 almond and olive trees. The Israeli police refused to accept complaints from the village. In October, settlers once again raided the Palestinian fields and cut more trees with the protection of the Israeli Army and the Israeli District Coordinating Liaison (DCL).

Since October 2004, settlers have started to live and establish housing infrastructure on the land, all of which has been done under the protection of the Israeli Army. Palestinian farmers have been attacked, shot at, prevented from reaching their land and more trees have been cut, again all under the protection of the Israeli Army.

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