ISM: Update From Palestine
1) ACTION ALERT: "Boys in Marda abducted by Israeli soldiers"
by Dorothy, Aug 4
2) "Israel deports peace"
by Mansour Mansour, Aug 1
3) "ISM defeats military court"
by WAFA, Aug. 2
4) "This much I can say is true,"
an ISM media coordinator's blog, Aug. 4
5) "Nonviolent resistance presents Israel with toughest hurdle"
by Marcy Newman, Aug. 2
6) "Snake Vs. Dove in Bil'in"
by ISM media Group, Aug. 4
7) "Nonviolent Action set for Deir Ballut Checkpoint"
by ISM Media Group, Aug. 4
1. BOYS IN MARDA ABDUCTED BY ISRAELI SOLDIERS: A CALL FOR ACTION
Thursday, August 4
International Women's Peace Service
The Israeli army invaded the village of Marda on the night of Tuesday, Aug. 2, searched homes and abducted about 15 boys. They arrested four of the boys. IWPS will do its best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action. following this article, there is a call for action. You can help these boys.
At approximately 9 p.m. on August 2, about 6 Israeli army jeeps entered the village of Marda. Soldiers spread out on foot throughout the village and the surrounding olive groves. For about two hours, the soldiers searched houses. Residents reported that the soldiers seized teenage boys from several homes. By 11:30 p.m., the soldiers gathered about 15 boys and kept them blindfolded and handcuffed at the main entrance to the village, with four jeeps and about 20 soldiers on site. Some of the boys appeared to be as young as 13. The soldiers claimed that they were looking for boys who threw stones in the area of the road earlier that day, breaking a car window.
For several hours, the boys were kept sitting or standing, blindfolded and handcuffed. Soldiers took them one by one into a jeep for questioning; sounds of yelling could be heard coming from the jeep. The boys' parents gathered near the entrance and tried to speak to the soldiers - one father explained that his son had been home all evening studying with a friend. The soldiers ordered the parents away from the site, and they moved further down the road. International observers were allowed to remain on site, but not to speak to the boys.
At 1:30 a.m., about 12 boys were released. At 2 a.m., soldiers said that the remaining four boys had confessed to throwing stones. One of the boys was 15; two others appeared to be 13 or 14. The boys were loaded into a jeep and driven away. When IWPS volunteers left the village at about 8 a.m., the four boys had not been returned to the village, and two army jeeps were still patrolling the main road.
(Some specific identifying information relating to some individuals withheld for their own safety)
UPDATE AND CALL FOR ACTION:
Dorothy of IWPS writes: Now, at 10:45 AM Palestine/Israel time, three of the youngsters taken by Israeli soldiers in Marda are still in confinement. I don't have their IDs, unfortunately, but their names are as follows: Nabhan Ahmed Suliman ( age 14); Amir Wadal Khufash
(age 14); Asad Gazi Khufash ( age 15).
Imagine that these were your sons or grandsons or sons of friends, or whatever! How would you feel if the military came in the night and pulled a youngster from your home? Please make strong appeals, as if these were your own! Call the phone numbers listed below and insist on having these children released IMMEDIATELY!
Israeli DCL Qalqilya/Salfit
>From abroad : 972-9-775-9219
Locally : 09-775-9219 ; 09-792-2359
Qedumim Military Prison
>From abroad : 972-9-775-9333
>From abroad : 972-3-608-0340/1
Ophir Pines – Minister of Internal Affairs
>From abroad: 972-2-675-3754 or 972-2-675-3953
Locally: 02-675-3754 or 02-675-3953
Local Fax: 02-649-6171
2. ISRAEL DEPORTS PEACE WITH EACH INTERNATIONAL SENT HOME
by Mansour Mansour
A few days ago, a Swedish human rights activist named Shora Esamilan was denied entry into Israel and deported from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Before being forced back on an airplane home, Israeli intelligence agents offered her a deal: They would let her stay in exchange for names and information about the people whom she would work with in the West Bank village of Biddu. Upon refusing to sell out her fellow peace activists, Shora was beaten and put on a plane for home.
Last January, Israeli intelligence agents stopped a car and arrested a U.S. peace activist named Patrick after he had participated in a demonstration against the destruction of olive groves in Biddu by helping villagers there plant trees. He also was sent home.
Incidents like these are many. More and more frequently, internationals coming to visit Palestine, are being denied entry by the Israeli government, or are being deported after only a short time here, Why is this?
We Palestinians see that Israel is trying to hide from the world the brutal reality of the military occupation of our lands. Foreign activists come here and see it with their own eyes and are able to share what they see with people back home. So, there is a new strategy forming in the Israeli government to keep awareness of the situation as limited as possible. That's the reason on this end.
But here's another question: Why aren't the governments of the countries of these deported people seeking better information about why their own citizens are being targeted? Why don't they seek more detailed information, not only from their own citizens, but from the Israeli government as well.
The question they could ask is this: What right does Israel have to deny entry to people coming to Palestinian lands, either Gaza or the West Bank? Who gave them the right to decide who can visit us? Who gave them the right to decide what people can and can't do outside of Israel? Who said they represent us?
The Israeli government's propaganda is aimed at vilifying the Palestinian people. It only works if that government can keep actual firsthand witnesses in Palestine to a minimum. They seek to separate us from the world. From our friends. By inviting people to visit us here in Palestine, we seek to counter that tactic of the Israeli government,
We here in Palestine have a message for freedom we want to deliver to the governments of world. We believe in liberty, in the human rights, and in peace and coexistence for all people.
The Israeli government, through its deportations denial of entries works against peaceful coexistence. By trying keep Palestinians separate from the rest of the world, Israel works against peace. Until Palestinians are allowed to freely interact with the international community, peaceful coexistence will remain elusive.
— your friend, Mansour
3. ISM DEFEATS ISRAELI MILITARY COURT,
PALESTINIAN PEACE ACTIVIST RELEASED
From WAFA (the Palestinian Authority's media office)
After fifteen days of defending, supported by the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) released, on Monday, the Coordinator of the Public Committee against the Apartheid Wall, Abdullah Abu Rahme 34-year-old.
During the Israeli military court hearings, the Israeli intelligence tried to present fabricated stories against Abu Rahme, and an Israeli soldier claimed that Abu Rahme attacked him.
But witnesses from the ISM, and pictures they took during Abu Rahme's arrest, defeated the Israeli claims.
Abu Rahme was arrested, by the IOF, on Friday, July 15, 2005, when Israeli soldiers attacked a peaceful rally against the Apartheid Wall organized in the village of Bil'in, near Ramallah.
In a previous hearing, a judge at the military base ordered that Abu Rahme should remain jailed until the end of court proceedings, ISM said in a press release.
The decision was made on the acceptance of the prosecution's claim that Abu Rahme 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 NIS6,000 (Israeli currency) and an Israeli friend signed third-party bail for the sum of NIS10,000.
The latter sum will have to be paid if Abu Rahme breaks his conditions. All of this money paid, and these conditions, are absurd. Abu Rahme did nothing more than walk to his village's land, ISM said.
In a statement, issued recently, ISM revealed that Abu Rahme was in a nonviolent protest on July 15, 2005.
"The Judge at Ofer military base on Tuesday, July 26, ruled that Abu Rahme was "too dangerous" to be released on bail and that he will be held until the end of the proceeding against him", ISM said.
The press release (called him a "Palestinian Gandhi") said that when Abdullah was arrested, he was inside a large prop constructed to look like a bridge, along with Israeli and foreign peace activists that carried a banner which read "peace needs bridges not walls" .
ISM added that he was arrested shortly after making the statement "I'm not leaving, this is my home. You go back to Tel Aviv." ISM said that the central theme of the demonstration was that peace requires bridges, not walls, and that the Apartheid Wall must come down in order to build a better future and construct a bridge of peace.
4. THIS MUCH I CAN SAY IS TRUE
It was such a strange cocktail of relief and anxiety I was trying to balance at Abdullah Abu Rahme's coming-home party in the village of Bil'in on Monday night. He'd just been released from a military prison cell for having participated in a nonviolent protest against this big-ass wall being built by a foreign government through his village. Meanwhile, there's a guy who's sitting in Nablus with a shattered jaw and missing many a bunch of his teeth after being hit in the face by a tear gas canister at close range....
When not doing coordination work for International Solidarity Movement's office in Ramallah, one of ISM's media coordinators dashes off quick dispatches home about Occupied Palestine, activism, media, lunch, etc at http://thismuchicansayistrue.blogspot.com. He often writes this late at night, so, sometimes, it's not pretty. -- Andrew
5. NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE PRESENTS ISRAEL WITH TOUGHEST HURDLE
by Marcy Newman
Nonviolent demonstrations in Palestine are a direct threat to Israel's occupation of Palestine. Far more than Hamas. While conflicts between the Israeli anti-disengagement protesters in Gaza and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and between Palestinians in Gaza persist, there is vital non-violent resistance movement in West Bank villages and towns. These towns are under siege as a consequence of their nonviolence activities. I am spending my summer participating in this movement with the International Solidarity Movement, an organization that the Israeli government identifies as a "terrorist" organization.
In fact, our group of Palestinians, Israelis, Swedish, Danish, English, Japanese, Basque, and Americans models its work on the actions of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Just as Gandhi and King were considered threats to their respective states in their non-violent human rights struggles,so,too, are we.
A couple of weeks ago, one of the leaders of the nonviolent movement in Bil'in, Abdullah Abu Rahme, was arrested at one such protest. This protest featured a sign that said peace requires bridges, not walls, and that the Annexation Wall must come down in order to build a better future. Seven people, including Abdullah Abu Rahme, were in the front row, marching inside a bridge made from the same materials that the Apartheid Wall is being built with. Abdullah was violently pulled out of the mock bridge, beaten, and arrested. Ironically, he was the one charged with assaulting a soldier.
As is always the case in our weekly protests in Bil'in, when we reach the road where the Apartheid Wall is being erected, we are met with soldiers in full-riot gear informing us that we have entered a Closed Military Zone (CMZ). Deciding that a place is a CMZ is erratic. The IDF chooses to do this just like the irrational laws used in the U.S. under de jure segregation. As follows, and as was the case with Civil Rights protests in the U.S., nonviolent demonstrators are met with violence; some are beaten and some are detained. In fact, I was arrested at a Bil'in demonstration two weeks ago. In this particular situation Abdullah continued to be detained until his release yesterday.
Abdullah has worked with the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI). He has undergone their training in dialogue and peace education and implements this knowledge in his work with the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall. In his last arrest, in June, the Military Judge Captain Daniel Zamir, after viewing video footage of the Bil'in demonstration, that conflicted with the IDF soldier reports of the events stated: "There was no reason for the defendant's arrest; there was no reason for the shooting that wounded him or the blows he received from the soldier," adding that the reality was "strangely different, to put it mildly, from the testimony of the prosecution witnesses."
These arrests and the IDF violence are not unique. The way that nonviolent protesters in Palestine are treated is always violent. I have been shot at by the IDF. I have seen friends hit with tear gas grenades which bruise entire limbs and all the muscles inside. This is an everyday occurrence in Palestine. Yet the typical depiction in the U.S. media is the Palestinian as terrorist. From my first six weeks here I can tell you that the IDF constitute the only terrorists I've seen here. The irony in all this is that the U.S. media focuses only on the stories from a particular Israeli perspective. Bearing witness to the reality of Israeli violence gives one an entirely different perspective.
Dr. Marcy Newman is assistant professor of English at Boise State University. She is the legislative coordinator for the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation for Idaho District 2. You can follow her travels in the Occupied Territories at bodyontheline.blogspot.com/
6. SNAKE VS.DOVE IN BIL'IN
by ISM Media Group
Villagers from Bil'in, along with Israelis and internationals will participate in a nonviolent demonstration against the Annexation Wall and newly constructed illegal Israeli settlements in Bil'in this Friday.
The demonstration will feature a large snake eating a dove. The snake represents the way that the Barrier is snaking around Palestinian land and annexing Palestinian villages in its path. The snake will be eating a dove to symbolize the way that the Annexation Wall is eating any prospect of peace.
The Annexation Wall in Bil'in not only separates Palestinian villages; it also confiscates 60% of Bil'in's land for illegal Israeli settlements to enlarge the Mod'in Illit Settlement. The new illegal settlement being erected behind the route of the Wall in Bil'in, Matitiyahu Mizrah, will be built on 2,300 dunams of land that belongs to the village of Bil'in.
At these weekly nonviolent demonstrations in Bil'in, nonviolent activists have been shot at with rubber bullets, sound bombs, and tear gas. Last Friday, nonviolent demonstrators built a settler house out of plastic, wrapped in an orange ribbon, symbolizing the reality of the Gaza pullout — that settlements are being removed from Gaza and erected in the West Bank. Soldiers arrested three Israelis and one international. Five Palestinians were injured, four by rubber bullets, and one was hit by a tear-gas canister.
7. NONVIOLENT ACTION AT DEIR BALLUT CHECKPOINT
by ISM Media Group
Villagers affected by the "Ariel Loop" of the Annexation Barrier, joined Thursday by Israeli activists and internationals from the International Women's Peace Service and International Solidarity Movement, will march from the municipality building to the checkpoint in Deir Ballut where they will hold a nonviolent action. This action will highlight the fact that people from Deir Ballut are continuing to organize and participate in nonviolent direct actions in spite of continued violence from the Israeli soldiers.
The nonviolent demonstration will also march to the site of a partially constructed school in Deir Ballut. The Israeli army has halted construction on the school since June 2003 and will not allow the village to complete the school.
In recent nonviolent actions in the Salfit district, Israeli soldiers approached activists early in their walk to the nonviolent demonstration and fired tear gas before they could reach the settler-only road project near the Ariel Settlement. Three Palestinian nonviolent demonstrators were struck directly by tear gas canisters fired by soldiers. The canisters caused injuries to one seven-year-old girl's head, broke bones in another's nonviolent protester's jaw, and broke the rib bones of yet another nonviolent Palestinian demonstrator.
Firing tear gas canisters directly at individuals or a crowd is forbidden under Israeli military regulations and general protocol for the use of these weapons. 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 allegedly non-lethal weapons in more dangerous and potentially deadly ways.