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"Palestinian Ghandi" Still in Jail, Balin Protests

Palestinian Ghandi Still in Jail, Balin Protests to Continue


In this digest:

1. "Palestinian Ghandi" Still in Jail, Bal'in Protests to Continue
2. Imneizel Villagers Bring Bulldozers To Standstill
3. Israeli Army prevents villagers from feeding livestock
4. A chat with the Shabak
5. Snipers with children in their sights
6. Verdict on Killing of Tom Hurndall – By ISM London
7. Israeli soldier is convicted of killing British student
8. Hurndalls' fight for justice goes on
9. On the spot: Tom Hurndall verdict

1 "Palestinian Ghandi" Still in Jail, Bal'in Protests to Continue Friday

This day, June 29th, Rateb Abu Rahma, "the Palestinian Ghandi," - a non-violent peace activist from Bil'in remains in custody after the prosecution appealed against his release on bail yesterday.

Gaby Lasksi, Rateb's lawyer, has filed an urgent appeal for his immediate release. The hearing will take place tomorrow at Ofer military base at 1:30pm.

Rateb, 40, married with children, was arrested whilst he lay on the ground holding a fake tombstone. The tombstone represents the death of Bil'in due to the illegal separation barrier being built close to the village.

Rateb was injured by a sound grenade thrown at him while he lay on the ground. He was then arrested, and refused medical treatment. Israeli peace demonstrators videoed everything and their tape proves Rateb is innocent. Since his arrest on June 17th, he has remained in custody charged throwing stones.

Protests Outside Bil'in Set to Continue

A non-violent protest against the building of the illegal separation barrier near Bil'in will be held at 1:00pm on Friday July 1st. Residents will be joined by Israeli and International peace activists in the latest of a series of protests against the building of the barrier that have occurred near Bal'in.

2. Imneizel Villagers Bring Occupation Bulldozers To Standstill

Palestinian flags adorned the bulldozers which have razed 400 dunums of land here in the last week as villagers took back their confiscated land. Two Palestinians were injured as the Occupation Forces spent several hours pushing and beating demonstrators back. Water shortages are becoming an increasingly dire problem in Hebron district as the Wall's route has been planned to isolate many of the local natural water resources.

http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/948.shtml

3. Israeli Army prevents villagers from feeding livestock, prevents them from walking more than two meters in direction of illegal settlement.

This Tuesday, June 28th, Palestinian villagers of Arab as Suweitat were prevented from feeding their livestock. Three villagers were detained when they attempted to carry bundles of hay close to the fence of the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Kadeem. The settlement is located a short distance south of the Jenin refugee camp, deep inside Palestinian Authority territory.

Kadeem settlement's boundary fence is located less than 50 meters from the village and encloses large parts of the village's land. The fence restricts access to the remaining grazing land. The three villagers detained were released after a short time, but the entire village has been warned not to go more than two meters from their houses in the direction of the settlement fence.

(ISM Media Press Release)

4. A Chat with the Shabak – by Rann

Around a week ago, I got a call from the Giv'at Ze'ev police, asking me to come in to `clarify some technical details' about my arrest at a demonstration in the village of Bil'in a few weeks ago. By the time I showed up at the police station, on Sunday, June 26th, I had figured out that that interview would have nothing to do with the police. The shabak (Israel's equivalent of the FBI) wanted to `have a chat'. That was, in fact, the exact phrase they used: `This is not an interrogation. We just wanted to have a chat and pass you a message'.

When I arrived at the police station, I was put in an interview room with a non-uniformed man, who stated his name was El'ad. After the usual body search, my phone and bag were taken away, though I was (generously) allowed to keep a drink I had bought earlier. Another non-uniformed man arrived and `El'ad' passed him a note.

`El'ad' proceeded to tell me that they know I am associated with the ISM and that I am in touch with `extremist' Israelis, internationals, and Palestinians. He asked me for a response, and I stated that I am indeed an activist, but that I do not associate with any particular group. Apparently, the super-geniuses at the shabak had googled my name and found out otherwise. I was suitably impressed.

I was then informed that I was `on the brink of an abyss' (later corrected to `you have one foot half-way down the abyss'), and that I was on the border of becoming a `danger to state security'. They seemed to think that I would soon be carrying bombs and ferrying wanted men into Israel. They brought up a case from 1986 when a woman was given a bomb by her Palestinian boyfriend. I was six years old at the time...

At one point, the other man in the room shouted at me for a while, more or less repeating what `El'ad' had said, though in a much louder voice. He then proceeded to stare at me for the rest of the interview. While the effect was meant to be intimidating, I found it rather amusing. The entire `good-cop/bad-cop' routine was entertainingly predictable. I seemed to throw the `bad-cop' off a little when I asked for his name, which he gave as Eyal.

I was told that they were now taking me very seriously, that I am no longer an `ordinary activist', that I had `gone up a couple of steps', that I had `a large spotlight' pointed at me, that not every activist gets invited to a shabak `chat', that up to now I had been toying with the law, but they would no longer allow that. They advised me to `go to the beach for a while'.

The entire process took less than twenty minutes. I was shown out of the police station by a rather nervous-looking `El'ad'. I didn't head to the beach…

5. Snipers with children in their sights

The army said the two were blown up by a Palestinian bomb planted to kill soldiers. The corpses offered a different account. In Rafah's morgue, Asma lay with a single bullet hole through her temple; her 13-year-old brother had a lone shot to his forehead. There were no other injuries, certainly none consistent with a blast.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1516362,00.html

6. Verdict on Killing of Tom Hurndall

Regardless of the outcome of today's verdict on the killing of Tom Hurndall, the International Solidarity Movement, London maintains that justice cannot been served while the culture of impunity in the Israeli army remains intact. Tom was one of hundreds of civilians killed in Rafah alone in the past four years. He was shot whilst trying to get children out of the line of Israeli army gunfire. As he bent down to pick up a young boy, he was shot in the head.

Human rights activist, Raphael Cohen (39), who was with Tom on the day of the shooting said, "On the very street where Tom was shot, two children had been shot just days before. This is why he and the rest of the group went to that spot, to protest against the shooting of children as they played outside their homes. There has never been any investigation into the shootings of those children."

Last month, two Palestinian teenagers were shot dead by Israeli soldiers in the village of Biet Liqya near Ramallah. Adi Asi, 15 years old and Jamal Asi, 14 years old, were killed as the soldiers who were guarding the Apartheid Wall surrounding the village shot at the group of children. They were killed with live bullets to the chest and abdomen. Witnesses said they were playing football.

Recent Human Rights watch Report

As Human Rights Watch state in their recent report, Promoting Impunity, The Israeli Military's Failure to Investigate Wrongdoing, "Pressure for a proper investigation rises every time a high-profile killing takes place, but Israeli authorities have taken no serious steps to improve the accountability of the armed forces, create an independent investigation system, or reform the military justice system."

According to the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, between the beginning of the intifada and the end of November 2004, 3,040 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces, including 606 children. According to Human Rights Watch, "The number of official investigations into alleged wrongful use of lethal force equals just two percent of the total number killed and only 15 percent of the number of children killed, despite the fact that many deaths occurred in non-combat circumstances and the extreme unlikelihood that many of the children killed were legitimate targets."

The investigation into Tom's killing was the result of a long hard process by his family and supporters to pressurise the Israeli government into providing answers. Without the family's unrelenting efforts and personal investigations, this trial would not have happened.

No Human Rights for Palestinians

Israel has no national human rights institution, nor any independent commissioner for complaints about human rights violations committed by the army. Meanwhile, the government of Israel continues to deny entry to human rights activists, witnesses and journalists and deports those who take part in non-violent demonstrations against the seizure of Palestinian land and destruction of homes.

We, at ISM London, are calling to the people of Britain to do what our government refuses to do, to demand justice for the Palestinians. Britain continues to supply military equipment to Israel to be used in its campaign against the civilian Palestinian population. We urge people to put pressure on the government and people of Israel via economic boycott, to end the killings, withdraw the settlements, end the occupation and allow the people of Palestine and Israel to have a peaceful and prosperous future. This will be impossible while the occupation continues. Without justice there can be no peace.

For the ISM London website, see:

www.ism-london.co.uk

7. Israeli soldier is convicted of killing British student

By Eric Silver in Jerusalem

28 June 2005

A former Israeli soldier has been found guilty by a military court of shooting dead the British student Tom Hurndall while he acted as a human shield for Palestinian children amid gunfire in the Gaza Strip.

Anthony Hurndall, Tom's father, welcomed the outcome, but said he was disappointed the Israeli judges had not investigated higher up the chain of command.

Tom, 22, a photography student, was shot in the head with a single round in April 2003. The three judges convicted former sergeant Wahid Taysir on all counts: manslaughter; obstructing justice; submitting and obtaining false testimony and unbecoming behaviour.

For the full story, see:

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=e0184

8. Hurndalls' fight for justice goes on

Family of young activist look higher up chain of command after Israeli soldier convicted of killing

Chris McGreal in Jerusalem Tuesday June 28, 2005 The Guardian

For Tom Hurndall's parents, the real criminal is not the Israeli soldier convicted yesterday of shooting their son in the head as he shepherded young children to safety from gunfire in the Gaza Strip.

The 22-year-old photography student and pro-Palestinian activist from Tufnell Park, north London, remained in a persistent vegetative state for nine months until he died in London in January 2004.

But long before that, the Hurndalls had concluded from a bitter struggle to discover the truth about the shooting of their son that responsibility for his death runs much higher in a military that the family says encourages the shooting of civilians.

For the full story, see:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1516097,00.html

9. On the spot: Tom Hurndall verdict.

Stephen Farrell Middle East Correspondent of The Times, says that it seems unlikely the Israeli Government or military will learn any lessons from today's guilty verdicts in the killing of British peace activist Tom Hurndall.

"Mr Hurndall's father Anthony stood outside the court after the verdicts and said that this soldier [Wahid Taysir] had been a scapegoat laid on the sacrificial altar of the Israeli system, and that the fault lay much further up the chain of command.

"But judging by the comments from both political and military spokesmen afterwards, it doesn't seem as though they accept that there is a fault in the system in the way that Mr Hurndall alleged.

"In fact, a government spokesman said that the fact that someone had been prosecuted showed that the Israeli system worked. And the military prosecutor said that this wasn't a case of an Israeli soldier following the rules of engagement, as critics of the Israelis believe: it was a case of a soldier breaking the rules of engagement and lying about it afterwards, and when he was found out, being prosecuted.

"The Hurndall family has called for further changes to the system and for the military and government to take a close look at themselves and at the way their soldiers treat unarmed civilians.

"We will have to wait until August to see whether this soldier is sentenced to more than 20 months, which we believe is the most any Israeli soldier has ever been sentenced to in similar circumstances. The maximum term available is 20 years, and the prosecution has said that they are going to ask for a very severe sentence.

"I think he will get more than 20 months. Wahid Taysir claims that he has been a scapegoat because he is a Bedouin Arab, rather than a Jew, and because the victim was British. He says that if he had not been a Bedouin this prosecution would probably never have been brought."

ENDS

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