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ISM Update: Repression Settler Violence Resistance

ISM Update: Repression Settler Violence Non-violent Resistance

1. Four More Arrests in Bil'in; Further Arrests Resisted by Villagers 2. Israeli Soldiers, Police and Settlers Block Olive Harvest In Yanoun, Nablus Region 3. Bil'in Prisoner Solidarity Demonstration Report 4. Settler Violence Against Human Rights Observers and Palestinians in Hebron


1. Four More Arrests in Bil'in; Further Arrests Resisted by Villagers

Israeli soldiers invaded Bil'in last night for the fourth time in six days. A group of about 20 Border Police arrived in jeeps and arrested four non-violent Palestinian activists who they accused of damaging the fence, including an expectant father, two brothers and a 16 year old boy. Afterwards, a group of regular military came in mostly on foot. The soldiers said they had pictures of further Palestinians who they wanted to arrest, but a group of at least 30 villagers came out on the streets singing and chanting, in reaction to which the soldiers left. For the second night in three days, non-violent resistance was successfully used to oppose an Israeli military invasion of Bil'in.

The names of the new arrestees are:

Basem Ahmed Issa Yaseen, 28 (an expectant father, with two children) Khalid Shokat alKatib, 20 Baasil Shokat alKatib, 21 (brothers) Mohammend Abdel Fateh Burnat, 16

These four arrests are in addition to the previous arrests of eleven Palestinian non-violent activists, including a sixteen year old child and three brothers from one family. Only one of them, who had been arrested by the soldiers in order to pressure his brother to turn himself in, has been released so far.

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On the 21st of October, in an act of non violent resistance villagers from Bil'in began to implement 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. The Israeli military reacted to this act with arrests and distribution of a text in Arabic warning people not to take part in direct action against the wall. In the Arabic text the army 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 firing on non-violent demonstrators with tear gas and rubber bullets. The text concluded with the threat that "the acts of the people 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, and met by violence from the Israeli army. Israel designed the current route of the barrier to annex 60% of Bil'in's agricultural land, and expand the settlement of Modi'in Elite. Plans for Modi'in Elite's expansion have yet to be approved by the Israeli government.


2. Israeli Soldiers, Police and Settlers Block Olive Harvest In Yanoun, Nablus Region

October 29th, 2005

by two ISM activists in Nablus

Our experience of the harvest started in Yanoun village, Nablus region at 7am on the 26th of October. We accompanied two old Palestinian women in a field just down the hill from the Itamar settlement.

Half an hour after we started, a settler came and tried to get rid of us. He was very aggressive and called the army as well as a settler friend. When the soldiers came they told us to go away too. During the discussion, a second settler came and shouted at us. He also tried to steal a bag of the Palestinian's olives.

At this point, a lot more people arrived: more soldiers, policemen, border police, some kind of civil co-ordinators and two more settlers armed with an M16 rifle and a camera.

The heated discussions went back and forth - no one was quite sure who was allowed to be in which places. The Israeli group Rabbis For Human Rights arrived and joined in the debate. A small group of Palestinians quietly returned to picking olives while the soldiers and police were distracted.

Permission from the DCO did not arrive and we decided with the two Palestinian women to try again the next day.

The next day, we returned to the same field to make sure that the Palestinians there were not picking alone. Again, we found the police, the army and the Border Police. In the same place, a settler was also stealing olives, picking them for himself. The police stopped him and said to us that we could not be here today and that they would arrest anyone that tried to harvest for the whole day. They left together with the settler, perhaps to drink coffee together in the settlement.

We continued the harvest in other Yanoun fields.


3 Bil'in Prisoner Solidarity Demonstration Report based on a report by IMEMC

Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and rubber coated bullets at a non-violent protest against the Separation Wall in Bil'in village, near the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday. The protest started midday Friday after dozens of residents, peace activists and representatives of Physicians without Borders, marched towards a construction site of the Separation Wall while wearing mock handcuffs in a creative protest that symbolized the captivity of the Bil'in residents who have been arrested in recent military invasions of the village.

Abdullah Abu Rahme, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, told the IMEMC that this protest was carried out to express the rejection of residents and international peace activists to the recent attacks and invasions carried out by the army against the village, and to protest against the construction of the Separation Wall.

The Popular Committee in Bil'in reported that the main aim of the demonstration this week was to protest the Israeli invasions of the village. It also aimed to draw attention to the arrests which aim to scare the residents and the activists from taking action against the Wall.

Abu Rahme also said that soldiers carried lists which included names of dozens of residents from the village. Soldiers claim that those residents are wanted by Israeli security for their activities in the protests against the Wall.

The protestors carried banners which read "we are all wanted, from 1 - 2600", the number of 2600 symbolizes the number of residents living in Bil'in.

The protestors also carried banners in Arabic, Hebrew and English, reading: "Date 20-2-2005, penalty; uprooting thee trees, arrest and injuring the residents, night invasions, curfew and siege". The date refers to the date when Israel started bulldozing the residents' orchards in order to construct the Separation Wall.

One Israeli peace activist was detained by the soldiers on Friday; two Israeli protestors and one Palestinian were injured after the army fired rubber-coated bullets. Dozens of residents and activists suffered the effects of inhaling tear-gas fired by the army.

Abu Rahme reported that soldiers and under-cover units of the Israeli army have recently been invading the village on an almost daily basis, and breaking into dozens of homes in an attempt to intimidate the residents.

Dozens of residents were arrested in the village since it started conducting its peaceful protests against the Wall. Last Wednesday, Israeli soldiers invaded the village after midnight and forced dozens of families out of their homes after breaking into them. "Today's protest was also in support of the detainees who were arrested in the village during the military raids", Abu Rahme said.

Earlier on Friday, Israeli soldiers barred reporters and students of Bier Zeit University from entering the village to participate in the protest.

The residents aided several journalists in crossing into the village after the army closed all of its entrances; the journalists were escorted through the orchards and hills.

Also, protestors carried the names of the eleven residents who were arrested last week in the village, and demanded that the army release them.

Soldiers closed the three entrances of the village and installed military roadblocks early in the morning,. The three entrances link the village with Kharbatah Bani Hareth village, Saffa village, and the village if Kafer Ni'ma.


4. Settler Violence Against Human Rights Observers and Palestinians in Hebron

25 September 2005 (about 1:30pm) Tel Rumeida, Incident Report by Sarah

After the main group of settlers had passed us on the hill, Moran and I followed the rest of them up to the intersection at the top of the hill where many of them were milling around.

We wondered where Eva and Sarah were. We later found out that they had been forced into the shop by the crowd of settlers chanting "death to the arabs" and by the soldiers. The store keepers had bolted the door and showed them the back way out and they had made their way to the stairs of the apartment.

Moran and I observed about 10 small settler boys (of varying ages between 6 and 12) throwing stones up toward our apartment and yelling (although we could not understand what). We thought they knew it was the internationals' apartment and were just generally showing hostility, but we realised later they had seen Eva and Sarah and that is who they were yelling at.

An apparently senior member of the settler group with a long beard and prayer shawl aged about 50 was shooing the boys away, and three police officers were also scattering the boys.

After less than 5 minutes one of the police approached us and spoke Hebrew to Moran: they told us to get out of here for our safety.

We returned a short way back past the soldier station down the hill and watched until the group dispersed in both directions (towards the tombs and Tel Remeida settlement).

Generally it was a very intimidating day with settlers haranguing us and the boys spitting on us (I got big green ones on 3 different occasions during the day). I also witnessed Galit intervene to stop a settler girl (around 15 years old) from touching a Palestinian child, and the girl slapped her. She was walking with a family group consisting of parents, baby carriage, a small boy and 2 teenage girls. Settler parents of often actively encourage their children to assault Palestinians and stand with them as they stone Palestinian children.

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