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ISM Update From Palestine

1. Bil'in villagers implement International Law

2. Israeli Military Raids Bil'in, Arrests Eleven Non Violent Activists

3. Palestinians, ISMers Stand Down Israeli Military; Harvest Olives

4. Urgent Call to Action: Release Birzeit University Student Walid Hanatche

5. The Gaza Strip Is Still Occupied

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1. Bil'in villagers implement International Law Friday, October 21, 2005.

Palestinian villagers from Bil'in held a nonviolent protest against Israel's planned annexation wall, currently under construction on Bil'in's land.

Joined by Israeli activists and international activists from the International Solidarity Movement, Bil'in villagers marched to the wall site with a giant Palestinian flag personified with people's heads. Meanwhile a figure in black, holding giant scissors cut up the flag, demonstrating how Israel's wall is cutting up Palestine.

Later that day, in an act of non violent resistance villagers from Bil'in implemented the decision of the International Court of Justice that Israel's illegal wall should be dismantled and removed metal posts meant to serve as foundation for the wall on Bil'in land.

For pictures from the demonstration see:

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/051023/ids_photos_wl/r3363766926.jpg

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/051023/photos_wl_me_afp/05102313461325bqn21a_photo0

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2. Israeli Military Raids Bil'in, Arrests Eleven Non Violent Activists

Monday, October 24th, 2005.

In two consecutive nightly raids Israeli soldiers have arrested non-violent activists in Bil'in and accused them of damaging the foundation of annexation barrier.

Saturday, around midnight, Israeli troops invaded the village of Bil'in and performed house to house searches. They carried photographs and demanded to know the whereabouts of specific youth known to participate in non-violent demonstrations against the barrier. Israeli soldiers took nine villagers from their homes, including one child and three brothers from one family, and arrested them.

Three other youths the military was searching for were not found at home. The soldiers claimed that all the arrested villagers are being accused of damaging the metal posts intended to serve as the foundation for the annexation barrier.

Members of the Abu-Rahme family said that Israeli soldiers entered their home searching for 24 year old Ashraf Abu Rahme, a well known non-violent activist (sometimes known as "The Bear"). When the soldiers found that he was not home, they took his 21 year old brother Adham instead. According to the family, the soldiers said that if Ashraf turns himself in at the Nahalin checkpoint today at noon, the soldiers will release his brother, Adham, near the Barrier in Bil'in.

Villagers Arrested by Israeli Soldiers on Saturday night raid are:

Wajdi Al Khatib 16 Three bothers from the Yaseen family- Farj Awad yaseen 18 Hasan Awad yaseen 26 Fadil Awad yaseen 23 Adham AbuRahme 21 (Taken instead of his brother Ashraf) Abdullah Abid, Halim AbuRahme 28 Mohammed AbuRahme 21 Jawad Al Khatib 20 Mohammed Omran Khatib 23

Sunday night Bil'in village residents suffered another sleepless night when the Israeli army invaded the village the second time. Soldiers arrested another two Palestinians Hamza Samara, 22 and Asrar Samara, 23.

On Mon Adham Abu Rahme, who was taken instead of his brother Ashraf in an attempt to pressure Ashraf to turn himself in, has been released. The other ten activists remain incarcerated.

Israeli soldiers distributed a text in Arabic warning people not to take part in direct action against the wall, which they consider to be "violence against security property." The text claimed that "every Friday for the last six months, the IDF has allowed the people of the village to conduct non-violent protests against the construction of the wall on their lands," despite regularly arresting and beating demonstrators and firing on them with tear gas and rubber coated metal bullets. The leaflet concluded with the threat that "the acts of the people who are violating the law will disturb your daily lives."

For the last ten months, Bil'in has launched an ongoing non-violent campaign against the annexation barrier supported by hundreds of Israeli and international activists. It has been met with brutally violent Israeli repression. Israel designed the current route of the barrier to annex 60% of Bil'in's agricultural land to Israel, and expand the settlement of Modi'in Elite. Plans for Modi'in Elite's expansion have yet to be approved by the Israeli government. ______________

3. Palestinians, ISMers Stand Down Israeli Military; Harvest Olives

October 23rd, 2005 By Asa

On Saturday the 22nd of October, an ISM affinity group went into the fields near Salim village to join locals in the olive harvest. A local family wanted to pick olives in a plot of 100 Dunams of land that they had been unable to harvest for the past five years. A small settler outpost had been built very close to their land, which was already close to the larger Elon More settlement.

As we drew near to the entrance of the relevant plot of land we met the Palestinian family - they were being denied entrance to their land by the Israeli military. At first the soldiers told us to leave or we would be arrested by the Border Police who were about to turn up and that the family would not be allowed to pick today because they had supposedly not organised it with the DCO (District Coordination Office). Their story changed; however, because they also told some of us that it was a closed military zone - of course they could not produce a map of the alleged zone as they are required to do.

The Commander referred to a Jewish ISM activist as "the lost Jew", telling her he was ashamed of her. When challenged on his poor treatment of the Palestinians he responded that "Arabs aren't people."

After about half and hour of waiting and some negotiations, a DCO representative and some Border Police arrived and we were allowed onto the land to pick after everyone was searched. They also watched us while we picked. Due to their enforced neglect over the last five years, the olive trees were not as fruitful as many trees in other plots that we had pick from in Salim the previous day.

For pictures from the olive harvest see: http://www.winstanleys.org/gallery/salim2/DSC02299_001

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4. Urgent Call to Action: Release Birzeit University Student Walid Hanatche

EMHRN press release

18 October 2005

Walid Hanatche, M.A. student in Economics at Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank, has been arbitrarily imprisoned without charge or trial for the last three-and-a-half years. The next few days are critical for Walid as his case comes before a military judicial review. We need your help to put an end to this gross violation of Walid's fundamental human rights and allow him to return to his family, his life and his studies, by writing to the Israeli military authorities to demand his immediate release.

Walid was with his wife and three-year-old daughter when he was arrested outside the gates to Hadassa Hospital in Jerusalem on his way from a hospital appointment, on 19 May 2002. He was apprehended for not having the military permit required by the Israeli authorities for Palestinians from the West Bank to enter Jerusalem. Walid has been in prison ever since. No charges have ever been made against Walid and he has not been to trial. He is one of 18 Birzeit University students currently held in administrative detention, without charge or trial, on the basis of 'secret information' not revealed to the prisoner or their lawyer.

For three-and-a-half years, the Israeli Military Commander of the West Bank has repeatedly and arbitrarily renewed Walid's administrative detention order every few months. However, when the Military Commander attempted to renew Walid's detention order for the thirteenth consecutive time in June 2005, the Israeli military court finally refused, twice ruling that Walid should be released due to the lack of sufficient information against him. In August 2005, the Military Commander appealed to the Israeli High Court of Justice in an effort to overturn the two military court decisions for Walid's release. The High Court agreed to renew Walid's detention one more time but shortened the period from five months to three months, clearly stating that Walid's detention should end on 22 September 2005.

In the latest legal and moral outrage to hit a student of Birzeit University, one week before Walid was due to be released last month, the Military Commander threatened to extend Walid's detention yet again unless he 'voluntarily' agreed to be deported for a minimum of two years. Walid refused to be deported and so he remains in prison. In gross violation of international human rights law, which explicitly states that "no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention", and in direct contradiction of the Israeli High Court of Justice and two military court rulings, the Israeli Military Commander of the West Bank renewed Walid's detention once again. This order is now subject to military judicial review.

Walid Hanatche wants this nightmare to end and to go home to join his wife, who has lately been diagnosed with brain cancer, and their young daughter. Within the next few days the military court will make its decision. We urgently call on all our friends and supporters to write to the Israeli Army's Legal Advisor and Chief Military Attorney to demand Walid Hanatche's immediate and unconditional release.

Please send your letters to the Israeli Army's Legal Advisor, Colonel Yaeer Lutstein and Chief Military Attorney, Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit, by fax at the contact details below. In addition (or alternatively if you don't have access to fax), please copy your letters to the Right to Education Campaign at Birzeit University at right2edu@birzeit.edu.

** Please find below a sample letter which can also be found on the Right to Education website http://right2edu.birzeit.edu

Sample letter:

Colonel Yaeer Lutstein Legal Advisor Bet El Civil Administration West Bank Fax number: +972 2 997 7326

Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit Chief Military Attorney 6 David Elazar Street Tel Aviv Fax: +972 3 569 4370

18 October 2005

Dear Colonel Lutstein / General Brigadier Mandelblit

I am writing to call for the immediate release of Birzeit University student, Walid Hanatche, who has been arbitrarily imprisoned on the basis of an administrative detention order for the last three-and-a-half years.

Walid Hanatche was arrested on 19 May 2002. Since that time, the military court has twice decided to release Walid due to the lack of information against him. In August 2005, the Israeli High Court also ruled that Walid's period of detention should be shortened to end on 22 September 2005.

But one week before Walid was due to be released last month, the Military Commander of the West Bank sent a written letter informing Walid that he intended to extend his detention order unless he 'voluntarily' agreed to be deported for a minimum of two years. Such an ultimatum can only be described as a legal and moral outrage and Walid rightly refused to be deported.

On 22 September 2005, in gross violation of international law and in direct contradiction of the Israeli High Court decision and two military court rulings to release Walid, the Israeli Military Commander of the West Bank renewed Walid's detention order for the fourteenth consecutive time.

I draw your attention to the fact that Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Israel is a State Party, explicitly states, "no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention". In addition, the right to a fair trial is guaranteed under international humanitarian law. Clearly, Walid's treatment does not conform to either of these obligations.

Furthermore, over the course of this period Walid's wife has been diagnosed with brain cancer. For this reason and for the cause of justice alone, I ask you to intervene immediately to ensure that the latest renewal of Walid's administrative detention order - currently under judicial review - is rejected and that Walid is immediately and unconditionally released.

Yours sincerely

CC. Birzeit University Right to Education Campaign Email: right2edu@birzeit.edu Fax: +972 2 298 2059

__________________

5. The Gaza Strip Is Still Occupied

On 5-8 October the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network sent a delegation to visit the Gaza Strip to document the human rights situation in relation to the Israeli "Disengagement Plan".

The mission team concluded that following evacuation of the illegal Israeli settlements Gazans are now able to move within the Gaza Strip and have access the 40 percent land previously occupied by Israel. However the mission team also concludes that:

The Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip remains, and Palestinians' right to freedom of movement is under Israeli control The restrictions on freedom of movement hamper Palestinians' possibilities to work for an improvement of the economy. Unemployment rates are high and the investment environment highly risky, The restrictions on movement separate families that live on different sides of borders. Chances for them to meet depend on Israel's willingness and are thus totally out of their control,

The work of civil society is made more difficult as organizations and individuals cannot move freely to do their work. Work relations are highly dependant on non-physical means of communication.

"Palestinian civilians remain in desperate need of the implementation of international law – an end to the siege imposed on the OPT, the accelerated construction of illegal settlements and of this illegal wall", says Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

"The mere redeployment of the Israeli troops from Gaza does not mean that the economic and social situation in Gaza stops deteriorating", adds Issam Younis, General Director, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights. In December 2003 Israeli Prime Minister Sharon announced a "Disengagement Plan" for the Gaza Strip, and some areas of the West Bank. By 22 August this year, in the course of the plan, all the 21illegal Israeli settlements were evacuated from the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli military redeployed to the borders of the Strip. Since September, all borders (air, sea and land) of the Gaza Strip have been closed, with only minor, temporary lifting.

Neither people, nor goods can enter or exit the Gaza Strip. As an key element of the Israeli "Disengagement Plan", Palestinians are not in control of the land and not of access to and from the Gaza Strip.

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