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ISM Update From Palestine


1. Abdullah Abu-Rahme released. 2. Military violence injures five in peaceful protest near Ariel settlement 3. Christian Peacemaker Teams - At-Tuwani: Israeli soldiers chase Palestinian shepherds out of their fields

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1. Abdullah Abu-Rahme released.

Abdullah Abu-Rahme was released from the jail in Ofer Military Base on Monday, Aug.1, at 2.30 pm. Abdullah was arrested July 17 during a nonviolent demonstration against the wall in his home village of Bil'in.

In a previous hearing, a judge at the military base ordered that Abdullah should remain jailed until the end of court proceedings. This could have taken months. The decision was made on the acceptance of the prosecution’s claim that Abdullah was ‘highly dangerous,’ despite an earlier ruling from a military court that he should be released, as he posed no threat.

This time, the court released him on bail, with the conditions that he will stop demonstrating against the wall. He posted a bail of NIS 6,000 and an Israeli friend signed third-party bail for the sum of NIS 10,000. The latter sum will have to be paid if Abdullah breaks his conditions. All of this money paid, and these conditions, are absurd. Abdullah did nothing more than walk to his village’s land.

On July 31, when Abdullah’s hearing began, about 50 people demonstrated against the unfair military court and in solidarity with Abdullah. Now he is back home in Bil'in, celebrating amongst friends and family. His lawyer is going to appeal the conditions.

--------------------------- 2. Military violence injures five in peaceful protest near Ariel settlement

Pictures will shortly be posted on http://www.palsolidarity.org

A nonviolent demonstration meant to take place at the entrance to the West Bank village of Kifl Haris against the destruction of Palestinian olive groves for the construction of an Israeli-only bypass road was attacked in route by Israeli soldiers. Four adults and one child were injured by tear gas canisters that were fired directly at individuals. An Austrian peace activist was arrested.

Palestinians from Kifl Haris and foreign and Israeli activists started peacefully marching at 10 a.m. to the roadblock that cuts off traffic into the entrance to the village, located near the road leading to the Ariel settlement. Soldiers approached activists early on in the march and fired tear gas while marchers were still inside the village.

22-year-old Ahmad Al Shakur, a local Palestinian, was struck directly in the mouth by a tear gas canister fired by soldiers as he stood still inside his village with demonstrators. The canister ricocheted off of the man's face and struck his 7-year-old niece in the head. Ahmad was transported to a hospital in Nablus for serious injuries, including a shattered jaw, several lost teeth and damage to his throat.

Another tear gas canister fired directly into the crowd struck 35-year -old Imad Hammad in the chest, breaking rib bones. He was also taken transported to the Nablus hospital.

60-year-old Abed Zuhdi other suffered from direct exposure to the tear gas and Feras Khofash, 27, was hit in the face with by a tear gas canister that struck that bounced off the ground and hit him in the face.

An Austrian peace activist was arrested by soldiers and shortly after the tear gas was fired. He was transferred to a jail in the Ariel settlement and was later released on condition that he does not go to any area in the West Bank where the wall is being built for fifteen days.

Firing tear gas canisters directly at individuals or a crowd is forbidden under the Israeli army’s firing regulations. Despite this, Israeli soldiers regularly aim and shoot the canisters directly at nonviolent demonstrators causing serious injuries. These incidents are seldom investigated by the military, fostering an atmosphere where soldiers feel free to use ‘non-lethal’ weapons in more dangerous and potentially deadly ways.

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3. Christian Peacemaker Teams - At-Tuwani: Israeli soldiers chase Palestinian shepherds out of their fields

At 7:30AM, 1 August 2005, Israeli soldiers drove up to Palestinian shepherds in their fields in Khoruba, near the Palestinian villages of At-Tuwani and Mufukara, and beside the settlement outpost of Havot Ma'on.

A Palestinian man from At-Tuwani showed the soldiers a map depicting the areas in the region that are closed military zones, where it is forbidden for people to go. The area that the shepherds were grazing their flocks in is not a closed military zone. The map was given to the Palestinian by his lawyer, who received the map from the Israeli military.

The soldiers took the map and went to speak with a Ma'on settler security person. The soldiers then told the Palestinian man to move the sheep from the valley, and the soldiers ran down the valley to chase the sheep, cocking their guns to scare them. The shepherds moved the sheep to the top of the hill. After half an hour the military and settler security vehicles left.

At 9AM the Israeli military commander for the region came back with the map to speak with the shepherds. The commander said: "This map is bull----! It's not signed. It's not from the army. The area is in the courts, until the courts decide what to do it is closed for everyone." The commander then ripped up the map. The shepherds were moving their sheep back to At-Tuwani, but the soldiers continued to chase and scare the sheep.

One Palestinian man from At-Tuwani shouted and tore his shirt in frustration. Three soldiers grabbed him, forced him to the ground, and kicked him in the abdomen and legs.

CPTers Mary Yoder, Diane Janzen and members of Operation Dove (Doves) documented the incident. When Janzen shouted at the soldiers, "Don't use excessive force. I'm taping you; the media will see this," the soldiers released the man.

A Dove went with the Palestinian man to complain to the Israeli police in Kiryat Arba about the soldier's behavior. While at Kiryat Arba the Palestinian man was arrested, with stated conditions of eight days in jail or 2000 NIS in bail. An Israeli friend paid the bail.

There is no formal charge against the Palestinian man. The soldiers are saying that he hit a soldier and tried to take a soldier's gun. The police refused to wait for the video tape of the incident before arresting the Palestinian man.

Photos of the incident are available at: http://www.cpt.org/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=album127

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