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Letters to George, Jaber Delaney, More from Bil'in

Letters to George, Jaber Delaney and More from Bil'in

1. Peace Comes Through Work, written by Mansur
2. Letter to George Bush, written by Bili'n residents
3. Update on Jaber Dalany –May 23, 2005 written by IWPS
4. Half-blind, 15 Year Old Boy Released On Bail
5. My name is Nathan, I am from Bilin – A Goodbye Speech from an ISM Activist to the People of Bil'in

1. Peace Comes Through Work
written by Mansur

After the February 2005 Sharm El Sheikh Summit between Palestinian President Abu Mazen, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and other leaders, many people understood that peace had come to the region, that there were no obstacles and no occupation. But in fact, everything remains the same.

The number of checkpoints, roadblocks and soldiers in the West Bank has increased. Israeli invasions continue. While the Israeli army withdrew from West Bank town of Tulkarem, they placed checkpoints at all of Tulkarem's entrances so that it is like a big prison. Israel continues assassinations, and has only released a small number of Palestinian prisoners. Though now there are no Palestinian attacks, bombings, or shootings, Israeli soldiers still harass Palestinians.

Sharon has delayed the withdrawal of settlers from Gaza, but even if they do withdraw the settlers from the Gaza Strip, they will be resettled in illegal West Bank settlements, especially around Jerusalem. The Israeli government plans to enlarge one of the biggest West Bank settlements near Jerusalem, Maaleh Adumim. A line of settlements from Jerusalem to Jericho will cut the West Bank in half. Settlement construction is increasing everywhere. In Tulkarem region new Israeli settlements are being built on the other side of the Wall, on Palestinian land.

The Wall is one of the most urgent issues for Palestinians. The Israeli government is turning the West Bank's towns into ghettoes, and cutting the West Bank into eight prisons. Where the Wall has been built, Israeli authorities often don't give farmers permits to reach their land.

The Wall's construction targets farmland because Israel wants to destroy Palestinian agriculture and take our land. We live from our olive trees, fruits and vegetables. When they confiscate that, we will have nothing left.

Wall construction on my village's land in northwestern Jerusalem began in February, 2004. Our village of Biddu has about 7000 residents living on 1600 acres of land. When we learned that this apartheid Wall would confiscate 875 acres of our land, we began peacefully protesting. The first day of construction we sat on our land in front of the bulldozers, but 30 Israeli soldiers started beating everyone. They broke bones, arrested six people and used teargas and bullets. The next day the soldiers killed three Palestinian protesters and wounded a fourth who died later. A few weeks later Israeli soldiers shot and killed a fifth protester from Biddu.

Despite all of this, we still succeeded in mobilizing the whole village for peaceful protests. We explained to the soldiers that we did not come to confront them, just to protect our land and sit in front of the bulldozers. And we were not alone. International and Israeli peace activists were with us, side by side.

I don't think that peace just comes through words. Peace comes through work. We the Palestinian people, despite all the violence used against us, see non-violent resistance as a powerful strategy. We will continue our non-violent resistance throughout the West Bank and never give up hope. If I find that just a single Israeli believes in peace, I am ready to work with that person, even if the two of us must stand alone.

Peace and security must be for both people. Security won't be built by walls, but instead by returning to the negotiating table and withdrawing from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Before the elections many Israeli soldiers said to us, go and elect Abu Mazen. We elected Abu Mazen because we want peace, and we thought Abu Mazen would bring peace for us. But since Abu Mazen's election, Israel has not taken a single positive step. Yet the international community remains silent.

We want President Bush to recognize that Abu Mazen has taken important steps towards peace and reforming the Palestinian Authority. The next steps for peace must come from Sharon's government.

We want Abu Mazen to talk with President Bush about the Wall, because the Wall completely destroys the possibility of a Palestinian state. Peace with the Wall is impossible. The Wall is turning the West Bank into eight big prisons, confiscating what remains of our land, and destroying our economy.

President Bush must tell the Israeli government to stop building the Wall on our land and through our fields. If Israel wants a Wall, they must build it on their land. If you want security, you build a wall around your house, not around other people's homes.

Mansour is a farmer from the West Bank village of Biddu and a grassroots, non-violent organizer with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). _____________________________________________________________________

2, Letter to George Bush written by Bil'in residents

-On the eve of Palestinian President Abu Mazen's visit to the White House, the people of the West Bank village Bil'in drafted a letter to be delivered to President Bush.

President George W. Bush The White House Pennsylvania Ave. Washington, DC U.S.A.

Bil'in, West Bank-Palestine Monday, May 23, 2005

Dear Mr. President, Greetings mixed with pain and agony. Greetings that refuse oppression and discrimination. Greetings full of confidence in freedom. Greetings from the bottom of the sea of Palestinian blood. We send this letter to you, President of the Free World, and ask you to stand by our side in our nonviolent struggle for justice and freedom. We send this letter from Bil'in, a small Palestinian village that is being killed by the Wall that the entire world condemns. Located 2 ? miles east of the Green Line, our 1,600 residents depend on our ability to farm and harvest our olive trees to sustain our livelihood. More than 575 acres of Bil'in's 1,000 acres are being taken for the construction of Israel's Wall in order for Israel to annex five settlements and another one that is under construction. The settlements surrounding Bil'in consume most of the available water in the area, leaving very little for Bil'in residents- barely one cubic meter per person per month.

Last year the International Court of Justice, the world's highest legal body, ruled that the construction of the Wall on Palestinian land in tens of Palestinian villages like Bil'in violated international law, and that the Wall must be removed. Still, the Israeli court system has refused our appeals to prevent the construction of the Wall in Bil'in. Because of this, we, along with Israeli citizens and people from around the world, have been peacefully and nonviolently protesting the confiscation of our land, sending a clear message that we can coexist and live in peace and security. The Israeli occupation does not understand our peaceful resistance and acts against us with terror.

In the past three months since we began our struggle against the Wall, Israeli soldiers have frequently entered homes in our village. A three month old child had to be brought to the hospital after Israeli soldiers threw tear gas into her home. More than 120 people have been injured and over 100 Palestinians, Israelis, and foreign nationals have been arrested in nonviolent acts of resistance in Bil'in.

For example, in a peaceful protest on April 28th, 1000 Palestinian, Israeli and international marchers were attacked by Israeli riot police and military. At the front of the march Palestinian members of the Israeli Knesset and elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council were physically assaulted by the Israeli military. Undercover Israeli agents infiltrated the peaceful protest and began throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers to disrupt the protest. When Palestinians tried to stop them, they were arrested by the undercover agents. Two Palestinian men who were arrested that day are still being held without charge by the Israeli authorities.

Because this injustice is so grave, the Palestinian people have lost faith in the impartiality of the United States. We urge you, Mr. President, to look deeper into the human, social, and economic impacts of the Wall and the ongoing occupation of Palestinian land. We are very proud that Abu Mazen is delivering this letter. We trust and believe in our president's vision, courage and commitment to a peaceful solution to the conflict in our lands. It is our hope and belief that all Palestinians can and will express resistance nonviolently, and we ask you, Mr. President, to make a stand so that we can achieve our freedom by peaceful means.

Sincerely yours, The people of Bil'in


3. Update on Jaber Dalany –May 23, 2005 written by IWPS

Jaber Dalany was arrested on April 21 while on his way home from the hospital in Nablus, where he was diagnosed with viral meningitis.

On Tuesday, May 17, Jaber's detention was once again extended, and he was moved from Salem detention camp to Megiddo prison. On May 18, Jaber appeared in court and was presented with the fallowing three charges, :

1)Membership in an illegal organization 2)Providing food, sleeping arrangements, and cell phones to "wanted" men (namely his brother Jiad who is currently imprisoned in Dimona prison). 3)Planning to take a bomb into Ariel settlement. According to the charges, two years ago Jaber and two others had "planned to introduce an explosive vehicle into the settlement of Ariel, near its movie theater. The plan, however, was not carried out when the defendant and his comrades discovered that Ariel had no movie theater."

Jaber denies belonging to any orginization or planning an attack.

His trial date has been set for June 27 and he is likely to remain in detention until the end of the proceedings.

Jaber still suffers from headaches and fatigue, as he has not been able to fully recover from his meningitis. His medicine ran out last week and he has not been given any new medicine. The food and water in the prison are of poor quality, and doctors are not always available.

Jaber Dalany's family sends thanks to everyone who has made calls on his behalf. If you are able to continue making phone calls, please do.

Israeli Minister of Security: Shaul Mofaz Phone: (972) 3-697-5436 Fax: (972) 3-697-6218 E-mail: sar@...

Israeli Minister of Justice: Tzipi Livni Phone: (972) 2-646-6666 Fax: (972) 2-646-6357 E-mail: sar@...

Israeli army head prosecutor: Fax: (972) 3-569-4370

Public Appeals office of Israeli army: Phone: (972) 3-608-0219

4. Half-blind, 15 Year Old Boy Released On Bail

Zaki Mohammed Mansour (15) of Saffa village, West Ramallah, in the West Bank, Occupied Palestine was released on "bail" of 20 000 shekels (about $4800) two days ago.

This is very unusual in the occupied territories. Most Palestinians including children who are arrested are not given bail but have to remain in prison for months on end awaiting judgement, only to receive a prison sentence at the end of it all.

However, a brief glance at the last two months of Zaki's life reveal a tragic story. Two months ago Zaki was shot in the eye by Israeli Occupation Forces with a rubber coated metal bullet. Zaki was targeted by the soldiers while together with other village youth. He was confronting the Apartheid Wall's bulldozers on his villages land. Zaki lost his left eye and doctors said it was a miracle that the bullet did not enter his brain and kill him.

The shooting of Zaki took place on the 14th day after the Israeli court issued a 21 day injunction against the building of the Wall in Saffa. The purpose of the injunction was to allow the court time to consider the village's application against the Wall and hopefully to change the route of the Wall. However, villagers say that Ariel Sharon and Shaul Mofaz issued an instruction on the 13th day that bulldozing should continue in defiance of the Israeli court ruling. Young boys from the village decided to go directly to the construction area after school the next day to resist and protest the theft of their land and their futures. This is when Zaki was shot in the eye.

Zaki's uncle said that this was a message to the village of Saffa from the Israeli Occupation Forces. He says the message was "If Saffa residents try to stop the bulldozers, we will take out your eyes or kill you".

However, this is not the end of Zaki's personal tragedy. Zaki was arrested and jailed in his injured condition, by the Israeli Occupation Forces just three weeks after he was shot.

The circumstances that led to Zaki's capture, according to Saffa residents, are as follows: three weeks ago, a man from another village who was owed a small sum of money by a Saffa villager unrelated to Zaki, tired of waiting for his debt to be repaid and decided to exact revenge. He informed the Israeli Occupation Forces that the Saffa villager, Mr X, had loaded up his car with bombs. As a result, 15 jeeps of Israeli Occupation Forces and police, a bomb expert and a vehicle carrier immediately rushed towards Saffa from all directions, closing off all exit roads from the village. Village youth threw stones at the Israeli Occupation Forces in an attempt to keep them out of the village.

The Israeli Occupation Forces went directly to the car, and arrested its owner, Mr X, a machinist in a very small clothing factory in Saffa. They examined the car for three hours using what Saffa residents describe as a robot and found no bombs. Nevertheless, the car was removed by the Israeli Occupation Forces' vehicle carrier and has not been seen since. Mr X was taken to prison but released later that night. The Israeli Occupation Forces then went on a hunt for stone throwing boys who were gathered mainly near the mosque. Zaki, who was wearing a red shirt that day and who lives behind the mosque, was spotted through the window of his house by Israeli Occupation Forces. They invaded his home and arrested him blindfolding his single eye

Zaki spent 20 days in Ofer Military Prison Camp. During that time, he was tied to a chair for several hours and beaten by soldiers and not once did he receive medical attention for his eye, which remained a gaping hole, covered by bandages which were not changed in 20 days. His family spent 3000 shekels on a lawyer who managed to persuade the court to allow Zaki out of prison on 20 000 shekels bail so that he could receive medical treatment and go for fittings for a glass eye.

Zaki, who has been charged with making a roadblock and throwing stones, has lost two months of school this year. There is a strong possibility that when Zaki is called for final judgement in his case in about one month's time, that he will either get a prison sentence or he will have to pay a hefty fine of 5000 or 10 000 shekels, which will be deducted from the 20 000 shekels bail money he has paid. This is a big problem for his family, who went around the whole village borrowing money to make up this huge amount.

Saffa residents say that in any other country the informer or instigator of the bomb threat would have received 10 years in prison for making a false bomb threat. But, in Occupied Palestine, Zaki, the newly released half-blind prisoner faces a further jail sentence and an innocent man's car has been confiscated by the Israeli Occupation Forces.

5. My name is Nathan, I am from Bilin – A Goodbye Speech from an ISM Activist to the People of Bil'in

"Ahlan wa Sahlan. Ismi Nathan. Ana miin Bilin. (Welcome, my name is Nathan, I am from Bilin) I would like to start by thanking the people of Bilin for their unending hospitality and friendship. I would especially like to thank Abdullah for providing us with an apartment and Osama for endless rounds of tea and arghila. My first demonstration in Palestine was in Bilin. It is only fitting that I will spend my last day here with people that have come to mean so much to me.

This is a wonderful, creative and democratic village. The first time I attended a village meeting in Bilin I thought that there was real trouble. Everyone just spoke, usually at the same time. Some People yelled and some people got up and walked out of the room. But in the end an agreement was reached. The two men who seemed to the most angry at each other and in the strongest disagreement drank tea together. They are still friends, which is wonderful.

Bilin is a creative village. When the Israeli military began invading the village at night to frighten the residents and threaten people with arrest, Bilin responded with midnight volleyball. For Land Day the village planted olive trees in the path of the wall. Every demonstration in this village has a goal, whether it is writing "no to the wall" with colored stones on the road or praying on the construction site of the wall, or chaining people to olive trees to protest the destruction of olive groves. The Israeli military fires tear gas and the village of Bilin builds a small mountain out of the canisters to show the world. Today, the Israeli military is sitting on a hill just outside the village. What they don't realize is that today no one will go the construction site. Today, there is a football tournament. Concieved of and brought to life by the people of Bilin. Today there are speakers, movies, and photo exhibitions to educate and inspire the people of the area to struggle against the illegal apartheid wall.

Bilin was one of the first villages to feel the effects of the Intifada. Within days of the outbreak of the Intifada, the Israeli military shot Rani Bernat from Bilin in the neck. He will be paralyzed for life. Last week the Israeli military shot at his younger brother. They missed, but shrapnel from the bullet hit him in the head. Abu Rani still struggles against the wall. The village of Bilin still struggles against the wall.

The Israeli military has used everything against the village of Bilin. They have used clubs, sound bombs, tear gas, rubber bullets, live bullets, made arrests, invaded the village at night and they have even thrown stones. Bilin still resists."


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