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Justice?

Justice?

1. Update from Balata: Noor Njam,14 Died of his wounds
2. Another Child- Update from Balata, 7 July 2005 ISM NAblus
3. Update on Ramzi Yasin, 10 July 2005
4. Justice? - 9th July 2005 By Marcie
5. Demonstration against the wall in Azzun, 10 July 2005 By IMEMC
6. Qawawis- End of June 2005 Written BY M.
7. Five boys from Marda village held by army, still not released
8. Israeli army invades West Bank village using a 16 year old boy as human shield and beating 2 women, including one 8 months pregnant : July 10, 2005 By IWPS

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1. Update from Balata:
July 10th 2005

Noor Njam,14, Who was shot in the head during the Israeli incursion on July 6th Died of his wounds today.

2. Another Child- Update from Balata,
7 July 2005
ISM Nablus

I'm tired. Not just from sleep deprivation -- the Israeli occupation forces have entered several nights this week -- although that is some part of it, or the anaemia I've now succumbed to. I'm tired by the frustration and heartbreak of being 50 metres away again when the Israeli army shot another Palestinian child, 16 years old Khalid Mohammed Msyme, the brother of a friend of ours.

A friend once described our role here as babysitting, watching the eighteen year old Israeli boys with guns so they don't think they can shoot Palestinian children in the homes with impunity. I fear the truth is they do act with impunity. I've lost count of the outraged reports I've read of children being killed by an invading Israeli army in Palestinian towns. I've lost count of the number of times we've reported invasions, arrests and killings in breach of the Sharm Al Sheikh agreement and I've lost count of how many times I've hoped this breach will be the one the world notices at last.

Before the army came tonight a Palestinian friend was telling me about all the killings and atrocities he's witnessed. Occasionally he thinks of the smell of charred flesh or of the feeling of what he called "meat from their bodies" in his hands but mostly these graphic memories don't trouble him. He says it was shocking at first but it's normal for him now. I hope I never get to that point. Seeing the army murder should never be normal. When I called to tell him what happened tonight he sensed my frustration and guilt. I didn't say anything, I knew it wasn't right to but somehow I wanted to apologize for not stopping them shooting the boy. When I told him wearily they killed another boy, he said gently "It's alright." In that moment I was overwhelmed with resentment for everything he's been through and utterly humbled that he wants to protect and reassure me. Why should he have to live through all that and then take care of a stupid foreigner too?

It's light now, I haven't slept; my emotions are still too high. Angry, frustrated, resentful, disappointed. The Israeli Army was in streets of Balata Camp again. In the heart of the West Bank of Palestine. The residents are refugees, people already displaced by Israel once. The children are continually under attack in this refugee camp, their home. I was never optimistic about Sharm but I'm still desperately disappointed. I'm frustrated, sad and weary that another child died. We were a few metres too far away. I wish this would never happen again but part of me wishes everyone there would have this experience. If everyone felt this sadness and frustration you would all pressure our governments and corporations to stop funding Israel's occupation of Palestine.

The mosque was broadcasting noise all night. I don't know if it was a coincidental malfunction or a tactic of the army. At the call for the pre-dawn prayer I could still hear jeeps and a woman crying. Then ethereal echoes of more distant mosques, the unified broadcast muezzin rebounding off the hills. Finally the Balata mosque joined in after 4am. It was comforting.

At 7:25 the mosque announced the death of another boy, 16 year old fighter Khalid Mohammed Msyme. He died in a clash with the army during the night. The first boy, Noor Njam,14, although shot with a live bullet in the head, is not yet dead but not expected to live. A third boy, also 16, from Sanegre family, is critically injured too, having been shot in the stomach.

At the morgue boys not as high as my elbow jostled to see Khalid's body. Khalid's teenage friends sat outside in silence, dazed and shocked. An older friend tried to offer comfort but he was shaking with emotion himself. Khalid was a fighter and a martyr at just sixteen years old. Men lead the funeral procession back to the camp, praising the child as a hero. Meanwhile the women waited near his mother's home. One of her sons died before the intifada, another has been imprisoned by Israeli for the last three years. In that time a second brother died and today Kahlid. His mother has lost three sons now.

During the funeral service we sat in silence, exhausted. New visitors were exhausted and shocked. Palestinian friends were silent in their grief. For myself I am just very weary. The futility of all this death is heartbreaking. The deaths of yet more children in a so- called ceasefire is devastating. I'm not hopeful the killing will stop anytime soon.
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3. Update on Ramzi Yasin
10 July 2005

24 year old Ramzi Yasin remains in critical condition. He was shot with a rubber bullet to the head during Fridays demonstration against the Wall in Bil'in. Ramzy has been moved to Muqassed hospital in Jerusalem due to deterioration in his condition.

4. Anniversary Protest in Bil'in met with military violence 8 July 2005 BY A. To mark the one year anniversary of the International Court of Justice decision that the annexation barrier being built by Israel is illegal, hundreds of villagers, Palestinians from surrounding villages, internationals, and Israelis demonstrated in Bil'in on Friday.

The people of Bil'in constructed a three-meter high scale, with Israel on one side and the rest of the world on the other side, "Israel" weighing much more than the "world." The scale represented the symbolic scales of justice and had a US American flag at the top, giving the message that the USA sees justice as what Israel wants rather than for all peoples from all countries.

Carrying the scale, as well as posters and Palestinian flags, we marched toward the route of the wall chanting in Arabic and enjoying the music from the taxi that accompanied us along our route. Hundreds of meters form the route of the wall we were met by Israeli soldiers and border police we were waiting for us behind a roadblock they had set up with concrete blocks and barbed wire.

The soldiers had also posted documents near the barrier to show us that the area beyond the roadblock was a closed military zone. Upon reaching the roadblock we chanted in English, Arabic, and Hebrew, and then stopped for the midday prayer.

Following the prayer there was some negotiating between the villagers and the Israeli army commander, and the demonstrators removed the barded wire that was lying across the road to the wall. A few moments later the soldiers and police began shooting tear gas, sound bombs, and rubber bullets into the crowd of demonstrators as some of the young Palestinians began to throw stones toward the soldiers.

The demonstration was dispersed into the village at this point, and the soldiers followed the demonstrators, ruthlessly continuing to shoot rubber bullets and some live ammunition. I was standing next to one young Palestinian man who was handing out water to the demonstrators when he was suddenly shot by a rubber bullet in the side of his head. He immediately collapsed, blood rushing from his head, and several people rushed to get him into an ambulance.

When I saw this man shot by an Israeli soldier, my realization of how brutal the occupation is reached a new level. This man was simply offering water to his friends and guests to his village when he was wounded. Being Palestinian it seems is reason enough for the Israeli military to shoot deadly weapons at a person.

At least four other Palestinians were wounded at this demonstration, and two, including the man shot in the head, had to stay overnight in the hospital. The last word I received about him, one day later, was that he was in intensive care, experiencing internal bleeding, and unconscious as a result of his injury.

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4. Justice?
9th July 2005
Written By Marcie

Yesterday I woke up early and headed for a small village in the West Bank, outside of Ramallah, called Bil'in. I arrived earlier than I had expected so I wandered around trying to see where the new portion of the Apartheid Wall will be built to encircle this town and imprison its inhabitants. I asked a small boy to show me the Annexation Wall and he took me up to the roof of his home to photograph it. Afterwards his mother came out and asked me to sit down in their courtyard so she could make me breakfast. She brought out an enormous steel bowl of dough and proceeded to make fresh bread on their tabun outside. I finally understood why the pita bread is so fantastic here. The tabun is a big stove with stones in it and they place the dough directly on the stones. She brought out some zaatar and I had a lovely meal—stuffed beyond belief.

About an hour later, after speaking with her neighbors and children, the rest of the crew from ISM (International Solidarity Movement) and various Israeli groups such as Gush Shalom (http://zope.gush- shalom.org/home/en) and Taayush (http://www.taayush.org/) arrived and many of the villagers we congregated at the town's main mosque to walk as a group to the site of the demonstration. The people in the community created an enormous justice scale with a coffin beneath stating "Rest in Peace." On the heavy side of the scale was a globe wrapped in an Israeli flag and on the lighter side was just a globe, symbolizing Israel's continued practice of thumbing its nose at international law. We walked down the hill to the site where the Annexation Wall will be built--there were around 100-150 people present, including media like Al Jazeera) most of whom were equally Israeli and Palestinian non-violent protesters. The demonstration began with the Muslims in the group praying and then we spent 1 1/2 hours chanting peaceful slogans in English, Arabic, and Hebrew. When we arrived at the bottom of this hill we were met by the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) who were in full riot gear in a line in front of us. They had their weapons pointed at us and there were also quite a few filming us and photographing us. This protest in Bil'in is a weekly occurance, but because today is the 1st anniversary of the International Court of Justice's ruling that this Apartheid Wall is illegal, there were many more people and it lasted much longer than normal. (See my editorial in today's Idaho Statesman for more on the legalities of this ruling and what you can do about it: http://www.idahostatesman.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID==/20050709/ NEWS0503/507090310/1055). After about 1 1/2 hour of a non-violent protest, in the blazing hot sun, the demonstration became violent. The IDF states that one of the protesters threw a molotov cocktail at them: this is entirely unfounded. Even soldiers there who knew some of the Israelis we were protesting with received calls confirming this lie. Nevertheless, the entire time it was clear that the IDF was looking for an excuse to attack us. The next thing I remember was loud blasts, fires, and smoke all around me. The tear gas made it impossible for me to see and the sound grenades (which were strong enough to set off fires all around us) made it impossible to hear. As I began running away back to the town, I found lost my shoe (stupidly I wore flip flops) and had to run back into the line of rubber bullets. I tried running without my shoe, but the dry grass here is prickly and there are too many stones. Someone finally handed me an onion, which is used to combat the tear gas, s o I could try to open my

After the demonstration there was a discussion between the Israelis and Palestinians. It lasted for 2 hours and was fascinating--the desire to collaborate on future non violent protests, the desire to bring more Israelis to see the reality of the Occupation up close. But one of the main issues that some Israelis had was the fear of the youths throwing stones. There are some who say some youths off to the side of our group began throwing stones and this is why they began to fire at us. However, I was in the front and did not see any stone throwing until later in the day. But the Israelis made a good point: the stone throwing keeps some Israelis from joining in and also it takes to focus off of why we are here: to protest the Annexation Wall. Because there was a violent clash, the stories in the media became stories about the clash and not what we were doing there and why we were there. Moreover, as one ISMer observed, the youth throw stones, the IDF film them, and then the IDF uses that footage to hunt down and jail those kids. It perpetuates this endless cylce of imprisonment and violence. All of the Israelis admitted that they understood why the stones are used, but they worry that it will keep this movement from growing and from being a non-violent movement, as well as the stories that will be altered as a result.

The day left me really debilitated and traumatized. I saw Ramzi Yasin, and in fact filmed, him as he was wounded and taken away in the ambulance. It is not clear if he will survive. For the first time I witnessed with my own eyes the aggressiveness of the Israeli military Occupying a land that they have no legal right to be on.

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5. Demonstration against the wall in Azzun,
By IMEMC
10 July 2005

Dozens of residents from Azun Village together with Israeli and international peace activists protestors chanted slogans against the Wall, settlements and Israeli polices of land grab and annexation, and demanded Israeli to implement the international resolutions and the decisions of the International High Court of Justice during a demonstration in Qalqilia district

Saturday evening, a medical source in Qalqilia reported that protetors suffocated after inhaling gas fired by the army, The WAFA news agency reported that soldiers fired gas bombs, and rubber coated bullets while the protestors were attempting to reach a gate installed between the villages of Azzoun and Kafer Thuluth, east of Qalqilia.

At least five residents were badly bruised after the soldiers attacked and clubbed them, and were transferred to local clinic in Azzoun.

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6. Qawawis-
End of June 2005
Written by M.

Settlers brought their sheep to graze on land belonging to Qawawis. The villagers called the police who did not seem interested. After about 40 minutes a jeep with 5 soldiers showed up. Some men in the village started to talk with them but the soldiers refused to speak with them. They then asked me to speak with them. I asked them why they had come and what they were doing there. They were not happy to speak with me. They pretended not to know English but two of them did.

They first just answered stupid answers like "we are here because it is nice to be in the sun". Then they said things like "this is Israel, our country, we are here to protect the settlers" and they even said that the people of the village were terrorists.

I've got the feeling that they wanted to show their power to do what they want and their contempt for the villagers. They seemed to enjoy seeing the people of the village worried.

After about 40 minutes two settlers came by car. They had a video camera, and were filming the people and the village the whole time.

I went into the house and took some pictures of the soldiers and settlers from there.

The soldiers left a few minutes after they had arrived, and they said they would come back later, but did not say any reason.
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7. Five boys from Marda village held by army, still not released
Date: July 10, 2005 By IWPS

MARDA VILLAGE, WEST BANK On the afternoon of Monday, July 4, several Israeli army jeeps entered the village of Marda and Israeli soldiers ambushed Palestinian youths as they were descending from the hill above the village, after they had attempted to stop work on the separation fence.

Marda village, home to 2,000 residents, is 22 km to the East of the Green Line, underneath the Israeli settlement of Ariel, population 20,000. Construction of the fence on land belonging to the village began in early June and already over 1,000 trees belonging to village families have been uprooted.

There have been five major nonviolent demonstrations of village residents since work began, and several days out of every week a coordinated group of Marda youth ascends the hill to attempt to stop the work and are frequently met with tear gas and sound bombs from the Israeli army.

On July 4 the army rounded up seven boys and young men ranging in age from 13-22. The residents were detained at the Western entrance of the village in the sun for over an hour before being taken away. One Palestinian boy was reportedly hit in the head and leg with glass by one of the Israeli soldiers. The boys were first taken to Ariel police station and later to Qedumim military prison.

On July 5, two of the boys were released after questioning. One was told he would be fined 3,000 NIS if he didn't appear for a court date. The remaining five, including a 21 year old who is in remission from cancer and needs medication, are still in custody at Qedumim.

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8. Israeli army invades West Bank village using a 16 year old boy as human shield and beating 2 women, including one 8 months pregnant
Date: July 10, 2005
By IWPS

HARES, WEST BANK At approximately 1:00 a.m. on Thursday July 7, an estimated 60 Israeli soldiers entered Hares, a village in the Salfit district of the West Bank, on foot. Beginning at approximately 2:00 a.m. they entered at least 5 houses, breaking windows, firing sound bombs and live ammunition. They forced families including small children to sit outside at gunpoint while they searched the houses using dogs.

At least 13 jeeps and one large military vehicle were observed entering the village. During the operation soldiers used 2 people as human shields, including one 16-year old boy. They also beat several residents, including a woman who is 8 months pregnant. The army captured and took four men. The location and reason for the detentions are unknown. The incursion lasted approximately 5 and one half hours, from 1:00 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.

Soldiers committed several acts that are in contravention to international law including the use of civilians as human shields. Additionally they ordered a Palestinian woman to take off her clothes, but she refused. They threatened to kill her if she didn't tell where her husband was.

In another home a woman reported that the army took a gold ring and over $1,000 Jordanian dinars from her handbag.

ENDS

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