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Israel Tunes Out: Denies entrance to piano tuner

1- Israel Tunes Out: Denies entrance to piano tuner from California

2- Toronto Sun: "Protesting against Israeli apartheid"

3- Visiting Your Neighbours in Tel Rumeida

4- Villagers in South Hebron Hills Win "Battle of the Gap"

Israel Tunes Out: Denies entrance to piano tuner from California

June 5th, 2006

For pictures please click on the link below

ISM MEDIA GROUP -"This is something small I can do to make life under occupation just a little more bearable for people, so I do it." Paul Larudee, Ph.D, a 60-year-old piano tuner from El Cerrito, California travels with the tools of his trade and had twenty piano-tuning engagements scheduled around the occupied West Bank.

However, when he got off the plane in Tel Aviv Sunday night, Israeli authorities pulled him from the line, interrogated him about his political beliefs, not about his ability to tune pianos, and took him to an immigration detention center at Ben Gurion Airport. They intend to put him back on a plane today.

Dr. Larudee has visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories four times and has lived in the region. He has a PhD in linguistics from Georgetown University. Although never arrested or detained in the past, Israeli authorities have now decided to deport him based on his outspoken support for the work of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and the Palestinians' right to nonviolently resist occupation.

Israeli attorney Gabi Lasky stated: "The policy of blacklisting a nonviolent peace activist as persona-non-grata, then denying them access to the Occupied Territories because of their non-violent activities raises questions regarding Israel's intentions to resolve the conflict through dialogue and nonviolent means".

While airport officials routinely forbid entry to anyone involved with ISM, such denials run counter to Israeli policy. The Ministry of the Interior openly states that it does not seek to stop those involved with ISM from entering the country.

Dr. Larudee will refuse to get on a plane to be deported against his will, while attorney Lasky is appealing the deportation order on his behalf. His family and friends are concerned for his health while he's in detention, since he is diabetic and has specific dietary and medical needs.

The International Solidarity Movement calls on Israel's Department of the Interior to honor its stated policies and not discriminate against peaceful individuals such as Sr. Larudee on the basis of their beliefs.

Toronto Sun: "Protesting against Israeli apartheid"

June 6th, 2006

By Sid Ryan, Toronto Sun. June 2, 2006

Last weekend, amid resolutions on health care, pensions, social services, education and matters of social justice, CUPE Ontario delegates attending our annual convention in Ottawa voted overwhelmingly to support a global campaign against Israel's apartheid-like policies until that state recognizes "the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination."

The conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories have been likened to the apartheid system in South Africa. This was the official government policy of racial segregation that divided people by the colour of their skin.

Blacks were segregated into so-called homelands, or Bantustans, with their own institutions and voting procedures. Non-whites were forced to carry passes to travel outside the Bantustans. Checkpoints were set up to police this racist policy. Blacks living in white South Africa were treated as less than citizens and only held rights in their far-away designated "homeland." In effect, they became aliens in their own land.

As the famous Jewish South African cabinet minister, Ronnie Kasrils, who fought against the apartheid South African regime, said on a visit to Jerusalem, "Apartheid was an extension of the colonial project to dispossess people of their land. That is exactly what has happened in Israel and the occupied territories; the use of force and the law to take the land. That is what apartheid and Israel have in common."

There are two groups of Palestinians living under Israeli rule. One group is in the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank. The others are

Israeli citizens, but even so with fewer rights than Jewish citizens of Israel regarding where they can live.

Those living in the occupied territories have no Israeli citizenship, yet are subject to the military might and laws of Israel and need the permission of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to move about, thus restricting their ability to go to school, work or even get health care. Israel has allowed Israeli settlers to grab prime pieces of land and set-up settlements for Israelis only. The Palestinians are forced to use inferior quality roads that take hours longer to travel. The network of roads combined with the labyrinth of checkpoints has carved up Palestinian communities and created long and humiliating waiting periods at the checkpoints.

The former archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, said after visiting the occupied territories, "I have seen the humiliation of Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about." Israel is now building what has been called the "apartheid wall" because it has led to the expropriation of land, expelled Palestinians from their homes and separated farmers from their livelihood. As NDP foreign affairs critic Alexa McDonough said in a letter last week to Minister Peter MacKay, it is a "685 km barrier - deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in July 2004 - which annexes 8% of the West Bank and places internationalized East Jerusalem firmly within a unilaterally-drawn Israeli border by 2008."

It was this wall that spurred CUPE Ontario delegates to adopt a policy in support of an international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions. Like members of many church congregations, a large number of organizations in Quebec and the 67,000-member union of university lecturers in the United Kingdom, they are frustrated by Israel's lack of response to what has been tried through reason and law with United Nations resolutions and the International Court of Justice. The resolution submitted by several CUPE Ontario locals was designed to draw attention to the lives of ordinary innocent civilians living in horrific conditions in Palestine.

For the record, our members have also decided at a previous national convention to "call for and actively work towards an end to all acts of violence that take the lives of innocent people, whether they be Palestinian or Israeli." We continue to support a negotiated peace process based on equality - and that means the wall must come down.

Ryan is president of CUPE Ontario

Visiting Your Neighbours in Tel Rumeida

June 5th, 2006

by Shlomo Bloom

On June 4th at approximately 3:30 pm a delegation from France came to Tel Rumeida to learn more about the situation here. We met with them at the Tel Rumeida community center and I told them a bit about our work here. After we all talked for a bit, a man who lives directly across the street from the Tel Rumeida settlement invited the delegation of about ten people to visit his house. No one is allowed to even go near this house unless they actually live there (meaning Palestinians or internationals). Settlers, of course are allowed in this area which is about half a block from where I live.

We could have predicted what happened next of course. The soldier on duty at the top of Tel Rumeida hill refused to let the delegation go to the man's house. I kept back and did not intervene because I wanted to give the French people a chance to experience for themselves the ridiculousness of the situation. However I can guess at the reasons the delegation were told why they were not allowed to visit the man at his home:

• security

• provocation to the settlers

• no one is allowed in that area unless they are Jewish

So in the end, even with all the French passport waving and the French insisting that they were politicians and diplomats, the soldier did not give them permission. So I guess they are going to go back to their country now and write about how they got to witness first hand the racism that governs Tel Rumeida. Hopefully this will be more fuel for boycotts and a nail in the coffin for the settlements in Hebron.

Can you imagine not being able to visit your neighbor who lives half a block away because it will provoke the people who live near him?

Villagers in South Hebron Hills Win "Battle of the Gap"

June 4th, 2006

For pictures please click on the link below:

Qawawis, 4th June 2006: About thirty inhabitants of the small Palestinian village of Qawawis and the neighbouring villages of Jatta and Al-Twane gathered in Qawawis this morning at around 9 am. They were joined by three internationals from ISM and CPT as well as several journalists. All were assembled in opposition to the construction of a meter-high wall on the nearby settler-only road that building started on last Wednesday, and was due to be completed this morning. The demonstrator's demand was a gap in this wall, to make it possible to pass through to the village by car and to reach their farming land on the other side.

The group went to the road and positioned itself in the work area, preventing continuation of the building. At that time no army was present, only the workers, so a villager from Qawawis tried to talk to them to convince them to leave their work. After around 15 minutes the first army jeep arrived and the soldiers asked the demonstrators to leave the area. They were not prepared to debate with the villagers and threatened to use violence if the people continued hindering the work.

Over the next half an hour, three more army jeeps and two police cars arrived. The demonstrators held firm in their places while some were trying to negotiate with the soldiers. One soldier and a police man were videotaping those gathered in the demonstration, and police men were taking passports and ID cards of some of those present.

After some time, the responsible officer agreed after negotiating with Moussa Abu Maria, a Palestinian activist in the Hebron region, that there will be an opening left that allows passing through.
Altogether the group hindered the continuation of the construction for about three hours, until around 12am. Afterwards we could see the army jeeps driving around nearby and soldiers harassing people who were on their way back from the demonstration.

© Scoop Media

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