Israeli army attacks disabled demonstrators
June 9 2005
2) Salfit has been
announced a closed military zone
3) Villagers mounted bulldozer in AL Ramadin
4) The Caves of Last Resort
Yesterday, Wednesday June 8, the Israeli army's conduct reached an unprecedented low when Israeli soldiers attacked a demonstration of Palestinians who had been disabled by past Israeli army attacks. The procession included ten people in wheelchairs, several people on crutches, and a number of blind people.
As soon as they came into view, the disabled demonstrators were attacked by the Israeli army with tear gas. A few fainted, and when other demonstrators tried to help them they were arrested. In total, four Palestinians, including Mohammed Al Khatib and other leaders of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, and one disabled demonstrator were detained.
Three Israelis, including journalist Shai Pollakk, were arrested. After attacking the demonstration, the army proceeded to invade the village and provoke an hour-long confrontation that resulted in many more Palestinian injuries.
Continuing their non-violent resistance of the last four months, this Friday the people of Bil'in will again demonstrate against the construction of the wall on their land. They will be joined by international and Israeli supporters. It is hoped that the presence of international and Israeli activists will reduce the level of violence used by the army. If there was any doubt about the army's violent tactics, the matter was clarified in court recently by a border police officer and a soldier who testified that in joint demonstrations (where both Palestinian and Israeli civilians are present) the military aims to remove the Israeli civilians from the line of fire so that they can shoot rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians.
The past week has seen an escalation of the Israeli army's tactics of abuse, intimidation, and violence against the village of Bil'in. On Sunday June 5th, a member of Bil'in's Popular Committee was stopped at a checkpoint, held for several hours and then beaten by a group of soldiers. On the night of Tuesday June 7 the army invaded the village at night and entered the homes of other Committee members. Their only crime is their insistence on their right to resist the crimes committed against them by the army.
Those who think that such tactics will break the spirit of the people of Bil'in should come and see for themselves on Friday.
What: A demonstration against the Israeli Annexation Wall and settlement expansion When: 1 PM, Friday June 10 Where: Bil'in, Ramallah district, Palestine
2)Salfit has been announced a closed military zone
Yesterday, Wednesday June 8th, curfew was imposed on the village of Marda at 5:30 AM, and the entire area of Marda, Iskaka, and Salfit was declared a closed military zone. The Civil Administration informed Israeli activist Laiser Peles from Tel Aviv, who protested the curfew, that the village was being punished because some residents had thrown stones. Soldiers and border police repeatedly entered the village from 5.30 AM onward, throwing sound bombs and firing tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition into the air and into a home, breaking its window. Approximately 20 Palestinians were treated for tear gas inhalation, among them a Red Crescent ambulance worker who was injured when a tear gas canister was fired at an ambulance. In addition, a 25-year-old Palestinian was arrested.
Two days ago the military dispatched hundreds of soldiers in the area and fired approximately 200 canisters of tear gas in two hours to prevent protestors from coming near the site of their uprooted trees. One farmer was taken to Rafidiya hospital and two Red Crescent ambulances treated 20 Palestinians.
Today Thursday June 9 a hundred people began to march in the direction of the construction site of the Annexation Barrier Wall in Salfit. They were still at the outskirts of the village when the Israeli military fired large amounts of tear gas and sound bombs at them. Soldiers arrived and announced the area a “Closed Military Zone.” When Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak responded that the area was “An Open Palestinian Zone,” he was arrested. Five Palestinians required medical treatment for tear gas inhalation and three Palestinians were beaten until they lost consciousness. They were taken to the hospital by Red Crescent ambulances. In addition, one international and one elderly Israeli activist have been arrested. If the Wall is completed as planned, the town of Salfit will lose 6,500 dunums (1625 acres), more than 25% of its land.
Tomorrow, Friday June 10th, villagers and supporters will meet at 10:30 am in the center of Marda to walk to the land where their olive trees are being uprooted. The farmers of Marda will attempt to hold prayer service on their land. Marda has seen at least 1000 trees cut and an unknown number uprooted in the past week to make way for the Ariel loop of the Annexation Wall, 20 kilometers (12.2 miles) east of the Green Line.
3) Villagers mounted bulldozer in AL Ramadin
The people of the village of Al Ramadin in South Hebron staged a protest two days ago against the Israeli annexation wall. The wall is being built on land stolen from the village and will cut the population off from all except 12% of the West Bank.
On Wednesday around 200 villagers assembled and marched along the main road that leads to the wall construction site. When confronted by a large group of Israeli soldiers, the villagers veered off the road and headed over the hills to the work site. Israeli occupation forces fired live ammunition in the air, but, undeterred, the villagers got over the hill and reached the bulldozer which was plowing destruction for the path of the wall.
The villagers mounted the bulldozer, chanting and waving flags. After being dispersed by a combination of sound bombs and rubber bullets, the villagers prayed beside the bulldozer before dispersing. One journalist and one Palestinian were injured. Two Palestinians were detained and later released.
On Friday at 11:00 AM the village will again attempt to stop the construction of the Wall on their land.
4)The Caves of Last Resort The Stories of Quawawis and Massafer Yatta
On Tuesday, June 8, the Israeli civil administration told the villagers of Quawawis to remove the roofless structures built in front of the caves where they are living. If they don't tear the structures down themselves, the civil administration will bulldoze them into the ground. Last week, Israeli authorities bulldozed structures in the Massafer Yatta area, a place similar to Qawawis.
It is quite possible that a campaign to remove these people from their land has been put into place so that outposts, which are considered illegal by Israeli Authorities, are flourishing in this area, in direct defiance of the 2001 Road Map.
The story below illustrates the destruction wrought by Israeli Occupation Forces as they continue to force families out of their homes, after which their homes are demolished.
Illegal demolition of 4 Houses in Massafer Yatta area, the poorest zone in the West Bank South of Hebron Written by Operation Dove 22 May 2005
At 9.30am on the 22nd of May in the small village of Halt-El Thabit, three IOF jeeps and two bulldozers destroyed the only remaining house in the village. No demolition order had been delivered to the family, who were ordered to leave in five minutes. The 11-member family tried to take as many of their belongings as they could, then stood helplessly as they witnessed the Israeli military demolish their house.
It had been built in 1998 next to the cave where they had previously lived. Now, the occupation forces have given them no choice but to return to the cave.
The military took about 15 minutes to tear down the house, then left, and proceeded to the nearby village of Sarourah, where they destroyed three more Palestinian homes.
Several illegal Israeli settlements have also sprung up in the area, populated by extremist settlers who have frequently attacked the local Palestinians. When international volunteers have accompanied shepherds to their pastures or Palestinian children from the small village of Tuba to their school in Al Tuwani, these same extremist settlers have often attacked and wounded them as well.
All access roads to the Massafer Yatta area have been closed since the beginning of the current Intifada. In order to enter or leave the area, Palestinian residents must sneak onto the settler-only roads, risking reprisals from the military.
The Israeli Ministry of Defense has already drawn up a plan, called Firezone 918, to forcibly displace about 1300 Palestinians and create a military zone for maneuvers. These plans are already being carried out despite the presence of the villages, because Israel insists that the area was given to them in the Oslo agreements.
According to OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs),the Massafer Yatta area is the poorest in the West Bank. People have no choice but to live in caves, because they can't get authorization to build from the Israeli administration, which has total control of the area. Living in these caves has become the choice of last resort for many of the families who refuse to leave their land.