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ISM Update From Palestine

1. The Power of Aboud

2. Resistance Continues in Aboud, Despite Israeli Violence

3. A brief list of numbers from today's demo in Aboud

4. Human Rights Worker Refuses Deportation, Put in Solitary Confinement in Tzohar Detention Center, Israel

5. Scotish TV: "Scottish activist to be deported from Israel"

6. Scotish Press: "Israel Ready to Deport Peace Activist Scot for Second Time"

7. Narrative Of a Typical Settler Holiday in Tel Rumeida

8. Kiriat Arba Police arrest one Human Rights Worker; IDF assault Human Rights Workers and steal cameras and passport in Tel Rumeida, Hebron

9. Non-Violent Demonstration in Bil'in Attacked by Israeli Military Once Again

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1. The Power of Aboud

by Mansour

The villagers of Aboud have taken up a campaign of nonviolent resistance against the Israeli Aphartied wall which will steal agricultural land, olive trees and water resources. On the second demonstration there, we touched the core of Palestinian popular resistance. The whole village decided that the popular movements that lead the first Palestinian Intifada, they will express their resistance through the power of the people. They decided to fight for their freedom without weapons, to resist armed only with their faith and spirit.

When the demo began, I wondered how we would even begin to approach the bulldozers, I was answered by the entire group walking through the Israeli soldier's lines without stopping.

After crossing four more Israeli military barriers, the farmers of Aboud stood on their land and started singing. They said simply: "Today we prove that soldiers, weapons, walls, fences, and brutality won't be able to stop our struggle for justice." When the demo ended, the farmers thanked their Israeli and International supporters and promised to continue their nonviolent resistance until they tear the wall down!

With happiness at their achievement apparent on these great simple farmers' faces, they told us: "We need you here with us, we need you to help us continue to uncover the Israeli government's violence against our peaceful resistance. We need more of you to share in our struggle and our joy when we stop the bulldozers. We need more of you to share our struggle and our joy when we stop bulldozers and save olive trees and hope from being uprooted."

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2. Resistance Continues in Aboud, Despite Israeli Violence

Accompanied by dozens of internationals, between 150 and 200 Palestinian demonstrators arrived at the construction site of the annexation barrier in Aboud which will illegally claim much of the village's land. This is the third such demonstration against the illegal barrier in this Christian-Muslim village where the people have heroically resisted the theft of their land.

The demonstrators arrived at noon and went immediately to the construction site where they've been protesting the construction for the last two weeks. This time the occupation forces did not try to stop the demonstrators as they approached the razor wire barrier that had been set up across the road. The demonstrators were aware that there would be considerable violence on the part of the occupation forces in comparison to the previous two weeks.

There were roughly 60 soldiers as well as a number of border police and special police forces (Yasim) surrounding the razor wire barricade that blocked the road to the construction site. The demonstrators peacefully approached the wire that separated them from the soldiers without provoking any violence.

Almost all the soldiers were armed with batons and one of the officers in charge had 4 sound bombs prominently displayed on his chest.

At the demonstration was the Knesset member Abdulmalik Dehamshe, who sharply criticized the Wall during an introductory speech and was shoved by the Israeli Police during the demonstration.

Without provocation, the soldiers began using their batons, beating some of the Israeli activists who were in the front lines of the demonstration. As in the past, non-violent resistance was met with violence by the occupation forces.

Within 10 minutes the occupation forces had begun assaulting the peaceful demonstration with sound bombs (aproximately 8 within 3 minutes) while the police forces rushed the crowd and grabbing and beating some demonstrators.

Rubber-coated metal bullets were fired into the crowd from extremely close range causing multiple injuries. An ISMer that was being treated by a medic after being injuried by a police baton witnessed two Palestinian men who had been shot multiple times by rubber-coated metal bullets at close range.

During the attack by the occupation forces, two Israeli demonstrators were detained and arrested, and others were injured in the process. After the initial assault by the police many demonstrators dispersed from the immediate area, but many of them were able to maintain their presence and did not leave the area until about 2pm. Shortly before the demonstrators departed, a Palestinian woman suffered a twisted ankle during a scuffle and was evacuated by the Palestinian Red Crescent who were present for the demonstration.

ISM pictures:

ISM Images

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3. A brief list of numbers from today's demo in Aboud

by David

Inspired by my friend Chris - whose blog can be seen at http://standardlinedelivery.blogspot.com - I offer this brief list of numbers from today's demonstration in Aboud.

62: number of soldiers I counted (not including police and special police)

150: my estimate of number of demonstrators present

2: number of israelis arrested

0: number of stones thrown by palestinian youth during the protest

0: number of tear gas grenades thrown/shot by israeli police/soldiers during the protest

8: approximate number of sound bombs thrown in a period of two or three minutes by israeli soldiers and police

3: number of foreigners I personally saw beaten with wooden clubs by special police

2: number of journalists I saw complaining about wounds they suffered at the hands of soldiers/police

1: number of arms my friend henry had in a sling due to beating by special police

2: number of people I heard afterwards describing the protest as generally "peaceful"

1: number of minutes of silence witnessed in memory of palestinians killed by israel

25.5: number of hours I have been away from tel rumeida so far

3: number of hours until I estimate I will return in tel rumeida

ISM picture:

ISM Image

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4. Human Rights Worker Refuses Deportation, Put in Solitary Confinement in Tzohar Detention Center, Israel

December 5th, 2005

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Andrew Macdonald, a Human Rights Worker from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), is still being held in solitary confinement at the Tzohar Detention Center in Israel. Even though he has been threatened by the Prison Commander, he maintains that "deporting people from Palestine is a matter for Palestinians to decide, not for Israelis."

"You are making me nervous "“ I have not been nervous for 3 years. But I can make you nervous too. You are playing games with me, but I can play games with you to." These were the words of the Prison Commander Yuvral just before he threatened to take Andrews cell phone away from him. This is not the first time Andrew has been threatened; the Israeli Authorities have repeatedly used intimidation to try to pressure him to leave the country. Previously, a police officer from the Special Operations Unit threatened to drug him if he did not comply.

Before his arrest, Andrew worked in Tel Rumeida, Hebron, where ISM and the Tel Rumeida Project provides an international presence to support the daily Palestinian non-violent struggle against attacks from Hebron's violent settler community. During the last 3 months, The IDF and the Police in the area have repeatedly been trying to get the Human Rights Workers out of Tel Rumeida, by arresting them without reason, issuing false Closed Military Zone Orders and trying to break in to their apartment without a warrant.

Andrew Macdonald has been in custody for 10 days since his arrest on 24th of November 2005, and in solitary confinement for 3 days since his arrival to Tzohar Detention Center this Thursday at 21:30. He is kept in a 2 - 2 meter cell and is not allowed to see other prisoners. Last night the prison staff kept the light in his cell on until 2 AM, depriving him of his sleep.

Tel Rumeida Project: www.telrumeidaproject.org

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5. Scotish TV: "Scottish activist to be deported from Israel"

Scotland Today's video about Scottish activist Andrew McDonald currently in Israeli detention awaiting deportation is worth watching. Their internet article, on the other hand erroneously refers to "Israel's West Bank" and states that "The involvement of foreigners trying to help the Israelis and Palestinians live together is welcomed by officials in Tel Aviv."

Scotland Today

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6. Scotish Press: "Israel Ready to Deport Peace Activist Scot for Second Time"

by Billy Briggs

Originally published in The Herald

http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/51950.html

A Scottish peace activist is facing deportation from Israel for the second time.

Andrew MacDonald, 31, from Spean Bridge, Lochaber, near Fort William, is currently being held in a detention centre near the Gaza Strip, but is resisting his removal.

He was arrested by Israeli police in Hebron in the West Bank on November 24.

His father, John Muncie, said yesterday that Israeli police had threatened that Mr MacDonald could be drugged and put on a plane back to the UK.

Mr Muncie said: "His refusal is a protest against the state of Israel's policy of deporting human rights workers from the occupied territories of Palestine. Andrew was in Palestine for 15 weeks before his arrest.

"He spent most of his time in Tel Rumeida, an area of Hebron where the Palestinians live in virtual hell. They suffer from the daily abuse of the 500 or so Israeli settlers who established an illegal enclave there a few years ago. Countless instances of daily brutality to the dwindling Palestinian population were recorded and photographed by Andrew and his colleagues, who lived in an apartment in Tel Rumeida.

"They daily escorted Palestinian children to and from school to try to protect them from the assaults of settlers."

In August 2003, Mr MacDonald, a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), was deported after trying to stop soldiers blowing up and bulldozing the house of a Palestinian family where he was staying in Nablus.

He subsequently changed his surname from Muncie to MacDonald so he could obtain a new passport and return to Israel.

His father said the family fully supported his decision to go back.

"He had gone out in 2003 to try to support the ordinary Palestinians. The attempt had been cut short. He was still of a mind to help them.

"Andrew MacDonald was the name on his new passport. As Andrew Muncie, he would have been stopped at Tel Aviv airport. This in spite of the fact that Andrew Muncie had committed no crime or offence when he had last been there," Mr Muncie said.

During his latest stay, Mr MacDonald attended peaceful demonstrations against the controversial wall which the Israeli government is constructing in the West Bank.

No-one was available for comment yesterday at the Israeli Embassy in London.

The ISM is a Palestinian-led non-political movement which helps to organise non-violent protests against terror and illegal occupation.

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7. Narrative Of a Typical Settler Holiday in Tel Rumeida

By an ISM-activist

On November 26th, Israeli colonies in the Palestinian city of Hebron held religious gatherings to commemorate the day that Abraham buried Sarah in the Jewish tradition. They were joined by about three thousand settlers and other Israelis from outside Hebron to show their support for the "pioneers of Hebron", as they say in the local idiom. By mid-afternoon a couple hundred settler fanatics staged a riot in the neighborhood of Tel Rumeida that quickly developed into an all-out siege with Palestinians locked inside their houses. Israeli settlers, many of them with automatic weapons and side-arms, had taken over two sections of a street in the Arab neighborhood. They assaulted Palestinians and their property with hundreds of stones, shouted racist slurs and called explicitly for the death of all the Arabs.

The confrontation began with a stand off between Palestinian and Israeli girls when the former was walking home from school. They shouted at each other and one of the settler girls charged at the Palestinians. An international woman got in the way and was knocked over. Israeli children and teenagers began to throw stones at Palestinian boys walking home from school. An international man was escorting them home and witnessed as witnessed settler adults laughing and applauding the stone-throwers and an Israeli soldier standing by passively. A group of settlers positioned themselves next to the checkpoint that separates Tel Rumeida from the rest of Hebron and shouted obscenities at the Palestinians passing through. Settlers started to collect into groups on Tel Rumeida street and walked around trying to provoke Palestinians and international volunteers, shouting "I hope god burns all the Arabs in hell" and "they [the Arabs] are not men, they are dogs".

Around 2:00 the settler harassment escalated into a mob scene when a couple hundred settlers took over the top of Tel Rumeida street. The police detained one settler man who ran down the street and a group of settlers came down and started chanting "death to Arabs". A group of some forty settlers surrounded an international man who was preventing them from going up the stairs leading to Palestinian homes. The settlers threw stones at the international and threatened to kill him if he took a picture. The mob eventually regrouped back on the top of Tel Rumeida Street and threw stones at Palestinians on the ground and on the rooftops. They shouted at them to go inside, "you do not belong here" one settler screamed, "this is a Jewish place". The Israeli authorities had a relatively soft reaction to the settler violence. Police were called to show up over eight times. One international actually held on to a police jeep as it drove off, begging it to stay.

Armed members of the settler militia cornered a young Palestinian man, called him a dog and made obscene comments about his mother. Three internationals escorted this Palestinian student through the mob and they were kicked, shoved and pushed multiple times and given death threats. Settlers also ran around the Tel Rumeida settlement and threw stones at the Palestinian homes. At the same time - internationals were stuck outside the door of the international apartment because of a broken doorhandle. The settlers noticed this and surrounded them outside the door. They were threatened in French, "we hate the Arabs, we will kill them and afterwards we will come to live in your house". Eventually a neighbor noticed this and let the internationals in. A group of French settlers said that they would wait for them to come out and they would kill them. These particular settlers threw stones at the internationals when they were observing and taking pictures from the rooftop. At thi!

s point most of the residents of Tel Rumeida were besieged inside their own houses. Settlers wandered around, banging on the doors of Palestinian homes and shouting racial slurs. Most of the settlers had dispersed around ten in the evening.

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8. Kiriat Arba Police arrest one Human Rights Worker; IDF assault Human Rights Workers and steal cameras and passport in Tel Rumeida, Hebron

December 5th, 2005

UPDATE: This morning (6th December), the Tel Rumeida Project HRW was released from Kiriat Arba police station without conditions. He was never brought to Jerusalem as the police had threatened.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

One Human Rights Worker from The Tel Rumeida Project was arrested in Tel Rumeida, Hebron, at 17:10 earlier today. He had been asking soldiers from the Israeli military why they had blocked a Palestinian pathway with barbed wire "“ a pathway that has been opened by an Israeli court order 4 months ago.

The soldier responded by physically assaulting the HRWs, taking their passports, and confiscating two video cameras that were legally being used by the HRWs to document Israeli military's violation of the previous court order. Soldiers were holding one of the HRWs in a headlock as they ripped the camera away from him. The HRWs called the Hebron Police, who immediately arrested one of the HRWs and took him to the Kiriat Arba Police Station. They did not inform him of any accusations against him.

After having deleted the contents of the tape, the soldiers later returned one of the cameras and two of the passports, but kept one video camera and one passport. The HRW without a passport was informed by the police to come and collect her passport and the camera at the Kiriat Arba Police Station. When she got to the police station, the police would not let her in, telling her that the Israeli soldiers had her passport.

At 19:40, soldiers returned the passport and the second video camera to the HRWs in Tel Rumeida, after having deleted that tape as well. The Israeli military specifically deleted the evidence that incriminated the soldiers, the documentation of the assault and the theft. Other recordings were left intact.

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and the Tel Rumeida Project provides an international presence to support the daily Palestinian non-violent struggle against attacks from Hebron's violent settler community. During the last 3 months, The Israeli military and the Police in the area have repeatedly been trying to get the Human Rights Workers out of Tel Rumeida, by arresting them without reason, issuing false Closed Military Zone Orders and trying to break in to their apartment without a warrant.

Another one of the HRWs who was arrested a few weeks ago, and later released without charge, was threatened with deportation by a Police Officer. He said: "We were there last week when you were arrested. That was strike one. This would be strike two. Strike three and you're going back to your home country." Threats with deportation are a common part of the daily harassment that HRWs have to endure in Tel Rumeida from the Hebron Police and the IDF.

Tel Rumeida Project: www.telrumeidaproject.org

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9. Non-Violent Demonstration in Bil'in Attacked by Israeli Military Once Again

by Jesse and Asa

Today the villagers of Bil'in confronted the theft of their land in yet another creative action against the annexation barrier. The villagers carried plastic and styrofoam models of settlement houses which bore the names of various settlements, and took them to the site of the demonstration. When we got to the site of fence, for some reason, the soldiers themselves demolished the main model. Some Palestinian children responded to this by symbolically stomping on its remains.

It was apparent to all that the soldiers were itching to unleash violence on us and hurt someone. As in the past the non-violence of the Palestinians was met with violence as the soldiers attacked us physically by pushing and shoving us over the rocky terrain as well as using their batons to beat and shove Palestinian, Israeli and international activists alike. After a while they used tear gas and sound bombs to try to disperse the demonstration.

The protesters held their ground and refused to be herded away and there was a kind of tug of war for the road leading up to the construction site. The soldiers would push and beat us down the road and then try to go back to their position, telling us to stay back while they continued to fire tear gas at us. But since they are on Bil'in land they had no right to be telling the villagers where to go. None the less they actually pushed us physically up the road and into the edge of the village and continued shooting into the village proper: tear gas (some of which was shot into villager's homes) and rubber coated bullets at children some of whom replied by throwing stones to defend their homes.

The occupation forces arrested two Israeli activists and a Palestinian from the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements. One of the tactics used by the occupation forces is that they will kidnap one of the demonstrators and use them as a hostage to blackmail the villagers into returning to their homes. The demonstrators kept up the pressure until the Palestinian hostage was released, at which point the demonstrators made their way back to the village.

There was a lot of photographers there, some of whom had actually brought gas masks to wear so they would not be overwhelmed by the chemical weapons being used against the non-violent demonstration. Overall it was a very effective statement against the theft of the land that is occurring there in the name of "security" for the illegal Israeli settlements that are built within the West Bank, although it was met with high levels of violence from the Israeli occupation forces.

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