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ISM Update From Palestine

1. Human Barrels block annexations wall 2. Urgent Appeal from Jayyous written by Abdul-Latif 3. Palestinian Families from Tel Rumedia, Hebron Welcome Israelis for an Urgent Solidarity Visit written by CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams) 4. Thoughts on "Israeli independence" and the "Palestinian Nakba" written by Hanna Mermelstein

1. Human Barrels block annexations wall

For pictures of the event see: At 6am this morning Israeli forces that were securing the building of the annexation wall in the west bank village of Bil'in found five human barrels blocking the construction route.

As part of a joint Palestinian/Israeli/international non-violent direct action four Israelis and one Swede barricaded themselves inside metal barrels placed on the route of the annexation wall that is to annex 50% of Bil'in farm land. Other Palestinians and internationals were demonstrating along the route of the wall.

The military announced that the area was a closed military zone and arrested five Israelis and one international using metal cutters to pry the peace activists out of the barrels.

Before his arrest Johan Persson from Sweden explained why he was in a barrel on the route of the annexation wall "It is the responsibility of the international community to enforce international law. Since our governments and the UN are allowing Israel to continue committing war crimes with impunity it has become the responsibility of citizens like myself to do what we can to stop them."

Johan has been handed over to the ministry of interior by the police and is likely to have a deportation order issued tomorrow. He is currently still in Givaat Zeev Police station and will be kept in custody over night. The arrested Israeli activists were released after several hours on the condition that they stay away from the village of Bil'in for seven days.

2. Urgent Appeal from Jayyous written by Abdul-Latif We call you to do something to help the farmers in Jayyous who couldn't reach their land for 5 days continuously. Everyday the farmers go to gate number 25 and wait at the gate to open but no way. The farmers and their families wait under the hot sun looking for this gate to open, but the hope disappears. The source of living for 300 families in Jayyous is through this gate. Who is responsible to feed the kids of these families? Who is responsible for the trees and vegetables which will die if this situation will continue? If this wall is built for security then who should be responsible for the life of 300 families in Jayyous?

Let us raise our voices "open the gate and let the farmers go to their land". Abdul-Latif , Jayyous

3. Palestinian Families from Tel Rumedia, Hebron Welcome Israelis for an Urgent Solidarity Visit written by CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams)

Palestinian families near the Tel Rumeida settlement in Hebron are in a crisis situation. Families are living like virtual prisoners, enduring violence and harassment every day. Children are stoned, their school is blocked, and access to their homes is dangerous and extremely difficult.

Only approximately 30 – 50 settlers live in Tel Rumeida, but their presence and violence subject Palestinian families to constant terror.

Palestinian families welcome Israelis to visit their homes, witness their living conditions, hear their stories first hand and lend support to their struggle against settler violence and land theft. In addition, Israelis will be able to walk the path of the proposed new settler road connecting Tel Rumeida settlement with Beit Romano and Avraham Avinu settlements.

The proposed road will cut through a Muslim cemetery and olive trees and confiscate more Palestinian land. Media will be invited and we encourage those who attend to invite any media contacts they may have.

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), based in Hebron, supports this urgently needed solidarity visit. CPT calls on Israelis to engage settlers in their Tel Rumeida stronghold where, with the protection of the Israeli military, they operate with almost complete impunity.

Visit Date: Saturday, May 21 at 4:00 PM

4. Thoughts on "Israeli independence" and the "Palestinian Nakba" written by Hanna Mermelstein May 13, 2005

For photos from this week, visit (last 3 pictures on that page, and the next page). The photos show and tell more about demonstrations and other events this week than this report does.

There is always too much and too little to write. Everything here is extraordinary, and nothing is new. This week Israelis commemorated the Holocaust and their fallen soldiers, and celebrated "Independence Day."

This week Palestinians lived another week under occupation, with an eye towards "Al Nakba" (the catastrophe), a commemoration of the tragedy that 1948 was for the Palestinian people. This week my Israeli friends were beaten and arrested by Israeli police officers in Tel Aviv while protesting the Israeli army killing of two Palestinian boys the previous day. This week I stood in support of Palestinian villagers in Assira who opened the roadblocks that the Israeli army had placed to block them from going to Nablus on this road for the past 5 years. This week a friend in Dheisheh asked my advice on whether he should accept money for his organization from US AID, which requires a signature on an "anti-terror" statement ("I'm against terror," my friend told me, "but by my definition, not theirs. I'm against killing of Palestinian children and Israeli children...").

This week I asked the same friend what he thought of Jewish solidarity activists using Israel's discriminatory immigration laws in order to stay here and do this work. He told me what many Palestinians have said: you and hundreds of other like-minded people should get Israeli citizenship and vote the bastards out (paraphrased).

But isn't that a bit like the soldiers at checkpoints who tell me, "I'm serving in the army in order to humanize it. I'm the good soldier"? You can't humanize a checkpoint, you can't humanize the occupation, and you can't humanize a state that was founded on someone else's land (like the US, I realize, but I was born in the US and my citizenship there was not a choice), and whose existence is based on the concept of rights for only a small group of people. There is a larger number of non-Jews in Israel than non- Christians in the United States. What if the US were declared a Christian country? Some may argue that our current leadership is bringing us closer to that, but Bush would never dare say that non- Christians cannot buy land, or build additions to their houses, or enjoy other rights of citizenship granted to the ever-shrinking majority population.

I am increasingly frustrated by "left-wing Zionists," people who believe in an end to the 1967 occupation and in the creation of two states, but who don't question the character of those two states; people who admit to me that they're not quite sure how Zionism and democracy can coexist, but that there has to be some way, and besides, their "bottom line" is that Jews need a state. They are not willing to take their thoughts to their logical conclusions. They simply end with their "bottom line," while millions of Palestinians live in refugee camps all over the world waiting for that bottom line to change.

The uncomfortable truth I've come to is that Zionism and democracy are incompatible. This is not to say that Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth. This is simply to say that you can't have a democratic state and a Jewish state at the same time. You can't have a democratic nationalism that is based on religion and ethnicity instead of geography. I've heard people say Israel can be a "Jewish state" if it embodies Jewish values of justice and humanity. Fine, then let Israel be that kind of Jewish state, which will also make it a Muslim state, a Christian state, a Buddhist state, a secular-humanist state...

Israel has been pushing and pushing at the borders, expanding and expanding, cantonizing the Palestinian population and essentially making a two-state solution impossible. So some of the progressive thinkers on both sides may end up being right, and may find themselves living in the one state they've been calling for so long. I think this is a likely scenario for the far future, that all of historic Palestine will be one state (whether it's called Israel, Palestine, or something else), and that everyone in that state will have equal rights, at least under law. I don't see a viable long-term alternative. This is an end to Zionism. The question is, how long will it take until people come to terms with this necessity?

How long will it take until people realize that Zionism is only a pit stop in the history of the Jewish people? And, perhaps most importantly, how many People willlose their land, their homes, and their lives in the meantime?

© Scoop Media

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