Beit Ummar, Beit Jala, Bil'in, Court solidarity, Hebron, Ma'asara, Nabi Salih, Ni'ilin, wallaje, Sheikh Jarrah - the number of locations of persistent popular unarmed joint struggle against the separation fence and other aspects of occupation increase. State forces are inconsistent in their means of repression. They state lot of threats that are seldom applied even symbolically. Some time they use harsher means and sometimes leniency. This Friday it was expressed in relative leniency in the Friday demos in Ma'asara and the beginning of that of Bil'in. The harsher means were expressed in the "hunt" and arrest of 6 demonstrators in Bil'in at the end of the demo when most participants were nearly back in the village, and the about 10 detainees in Nabi Salih or on the way to the demo.
In Beit Jala on Sunday a minister visit shortened the demo into 10 minutes of speeches and some burning of Israeli products' empty packages on a barbed wire in front of the soldiers that guarded the way to the wall's construction. The burning of the packages was done in honor of the Palestinian campaign for a boycott of Israeli goods. Some minor clashes between the army and stone throwers followed the demo, but the stone throwers were soon pushed away by Palestinian police.
Over 20 Israelis and a similar number of internationals joined the Palestinian residents of Bil'in for the weekly demonstration against the fence, land theft, and apartheid. The demonstration was opened with an enactment of a burial procession to remind us of the situation of Palestinian refugees. When demonstrators reached the fence the heat had already taken its toll, and the demonstration wasn't very energetic. But then the shabab tried to disperse the soldiers with stones, and the gas came a-pouring. Since the demonstration was smaller than those of the last couple of weeks (May Day and the Bil'in conference), a larger number of soldiers invaded the village trying to arrest demonstrators, and reached deeper into the village. As usual, those arrested were the ones who didn't run fast enough: a couple of photographers, a medic, a non violent demonstrator with special needs who was brutally knocked down, a farmer living near the site of the arrests who tried to persuade the soldiers to leave alone the one brutally knocked down, an Israeli who tried to intervene, and a guy who tried to help put to extinguish a bush fire caused by the army's grenades. Three of detainees (two Israelis and an international) were released Friday tonight. The three Palestinians, as befitting an apartheid regime, were transferred to Ofer concentration camp without as much as a Police interrogation.
"There will be several court dates at the Ofer military court (and concentration camp) this Wednesday. Including another "hearing" of the case of Abdallah Abu Rahme and other people many of you might know. If you can come to court to support them please send me your name and ID numbers by tomorrow."
Report of previous Saturday demo
Report from 2st Weekly Saturday Protest in Hebron - May 1st, 2010
A group of approximately 50 Palestinian, Israeli, and International activists gathered in Hebron next to the checkpoint gate separating Shuhada Street in H2 from the Casbah in H1. This time the settlers tricked us and started their tour 4 hours earlier, so we missed them. But this didn't stop us, and the demonstration proceeded according to the plan. The protestors stood in front of the gate, holding signs and chanting slogans in Arabic, Hebrew, and English. Soldiers and Israeli police looked onto and videotaped the protest from pillboxes and rooftops nearby. After about an hour of protesting at the gate, a march began, through the old city streets to the other side. On the way, settlers attacked the protestors, spraying water on them from rooftops. Luckily, this was anticipated and by walking near the walls nobody got wet. A bold protester used a loud speaker to tell the settlers what we think of them. All in good taste, of course, as much as the circumstances permit. The protest ended shortly afterwards, with a promise to return next week. At the ending point we encountered a group of men preparing to celebrate a wedding. One of the elders gave a spontaneous speech in support of peace but in opposition of protest. He was bit unclear, but we invited him to join us next week and judge it up close. This is the second week in a series of protests that will continue until racism and separation will be abolished in Hebron and all of Palestine.
For more information, enter the website of the local organization: http://www.youthagainstsettlements.org/
In Hebron on Saturday a 40 people demo included some chanting of slogans in front of the closed gates of a settlers controlled street closed to movement of Palestinians, to the eyes of settlers and soldiers. It followed by a march through the old city, and at a certain points settlers through water buckets from above at the chanting protesters who told them in their place what they think of their choice of residence. The demo ended quietly after an hour.
A rare achievement for the popular struggle in Ma'asara: for the first time in two years demonstrators have succeeded reaching the agricultural lands on the route of the wall.
The weekly demonstration, numbering but 35 Palestinians, Israelis and internationals, proceeded from the heart of the village, arriving at the regular location where soldiers and barbed wire stopped the march. Stating, as usual, that they want to reach the village lands, demonstrators were surprised to see officers actually considering the notion, then allowing the march and asking activists to avoid blocking the road.
And so the march proceeded, going round the wire and on to the lands. Once there, demonstrators carried speeches and sang the International, and after another half hour returned peacefully to the village.
Friday May 7, 2010
Around 50 Nabi Saleh residents, other Palestinians and international and Israeli supporters participated in this week's demonstration against the strangulating occupation and the Halamish settlement. As usual, the demonstration just began and was peaceful as the Israeli army launched much of its aggression on the village's built area, using tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets. Israeli soldiers were also based on a hill that leads to a spring of the village, next to the settlement, but they were warded off by some kids, in a symbolic victory that cheered everyone in the hot sunny day. Some 8 military vehicles were involved in this week's aggression, and for long hours they were all on the village's main junction, soldiers spreading throughout the area, while one jeep had to be towed.
A child and 3 more were arrested, beaten by undercover Israeli soldiers during this Friday Nabi Saleh demonstration; 5 more were arrested on the way
Around 18:00 when the demonstration in Nabi Saleh were in its last clashes with Israeli soldiers, undercover soldiers, backed by an army invasion, came from behind the demonstrators, and grabbed a Palestinian 11 year old child. Two Israeli protesters who witnessed the misdeed were arrested too after pointing out to the soldiers that he is just a small kid. Another Palestinian 19 year old was arrested and beaten by the undercover soldiers, who fired a live ammunition rifle to the air and used stun grenades to keep other protesters at bay. The child, who was beaten by an undercover soldier in the Halamish police station, was released after family intervention and appeal to the army. 4 more Israelis and an International were detained and taken to a police station when riding a car on a road that leads to Nabi Saleh.
In Nebi Salah, the youth clashed with border police officers and soldiers, but by the evening the clashes subsided, that is until an army jeep returned to the village, repeatedly driving up the access road and drawing the village youths toward it. suddenly the shout that soldiers have entered the village was heard, and the protesters began to run away. seconds later it transpired that around seven undercover police were present, and discovered by the villagers. the undercovers proceeded to shoot their hand guns in the air, throw stun grenades and gas grenades, and charged into the crowd, arresting whoever they could get their hands on. their catch included a petrified Palestinian boy aged 11, one youth of 19, and two Israeli activists. all were led away by the undercovers with the backup of around twenty soldiers from a special force. Women from the village, upon hearing that a boy was arrested, ran over to where the soldiers were loading the arrestees on to a jeep, and pleaded to see the arrested boy. border police officers threw tear gas and the women and threatened them with violence. following urgent intervention by protesters, the 11 year old boy was released soon after being taken with the others to the Halamish settlement. he testified that one of the undercover police beat him at the settlement, and was experiencing pain in his arm.
The other arrestees were taken, bound and blindfolded, to the Benyamin police station, where the two Israelis were interrogated for allegedly being in a closed military zone before they were releced. The Palestinian was transferred to Ofer.
The Israelis detained on the way to Nebi Salah were released with out any conditiones.
David Reeb Friday 7.5.2010 video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFnaTMLrXSU
The weekly protest against the wall in Ni'lin left after lunchtime prayers and reached the route of the barrier, with Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals voicing their objection to this land grab. some of the village youth waved a huge Palestinian flag and chanted slogans, while a small number threw stones at the soldiers on the other side of the wall. The soldiers fired tear gas at the demonstration, but brisk winds blew most of it away. After a couple of hours the protesters returned to the village. No injuries were recorded and the only unusual event was the sight of the soldiers accidentally setting fire to a section of land near their firing position.
The Israelis then set off to join the end of the protest in Nebi Salah. On their way, some activists were detained by a military jeep with the flimsy excuse that they were in area A, which Israelis are barred from. They were taken to a military base located inside the Halamish settlement and held unlawfully for more than six hours until the police had to release them with no charge.
Israel Puterman video of Ni'ilin demo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcti-0y5fZg
As usual, few hundreds people converged to the joint Friday demonstration against the transfer of Palestinian from Sheikh Jarrah. A few score vigil - including the drummers circle, which was staged nearer to the confiscated houses was forced to regroup to the allowed square at the main street.
Among the demonstrators (mostly from west Jerusalem) were also Palestinians from the neighborhood, activists from Tel Aviv, and few dozens who already participated in the Friday noon demos in Ma'asara, and Bil'in.
"There will be a demo in wallage tomorrow (Thursday). If you can make it please let me know."
And there was such a demo on Thursday in the intensive struggle of the village against the separation fence. "4 were arrested in wallaje this morning and are on their way to court now. If you can make it there by about 3 pm (Thursday) please drop by. Some support would be important. You can contact m. who is on his way there."
Al Walaje Protest Report, Thursday, 06.05.10
About 25 activists, Palestinian, Israeli and International, came to protest against the construction of a huge prison, the Israeli separation wall, around the village of Al-Walaje. Protesters sat in front of the bulldozer and were violently removed by police (Magav soldiers) forces. Three Palestinian protestors were injured from beatings and pepper spray, one of them bleeding seriously following blows on his head from police clubs. The path of the fence which is built at the moment is for pure real-estate considerations, nothing about security - the construction of Giv'at Yael settlement near Gilo. Everybody know this, and EVERYBODY object to this path. The Palestinians, the International Community, the environmentalists, the settlers (!), and even the colonel who drew the maps (!). EVERYBODY. One of the protestors explained to the commander in the area why what he is doing is a war crime. Also he mentioned how all through history many people had the chance to do something different - and only a few chose to do so. Why can't he be on of those few good people? The response at best was "this is what the government tells us to do" or "these are my orders". Police repeatedly tried to prevent the media and photographers from documenting events, but the latter stood on their right to do so, sometimes with help from protestors. TV crews from channel 10 (Ohad Hemo), Palestinian TV as well as foreign, were present.
Video of 6.5.10 demo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfglnJeNUUk - low quality
http://www.youtube.com/user/klamathmedia#p/a/u/0/O6J4h4_icKY - high quality
And photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/activestills
Former Yale professor among 4 detained in Walaja:
Better and shorter videos of arrests in Al-Walaja
And below is a detailed description of what happened that day by Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh
Our ten hour ordeal with the occupation forces started at 8:30 AM as we gathered in the small village of Al-Wallaja. A tiny store with an elderly women who insisted on making me coffee and not charging me. Idyllic setting except for the heavy bulldozers now carving the hills to separate the remaining people from their lands via an apartheid wall that is planned to completely ring the village. This village that already lost much of its lands is in the unfortunate position of being near the Green line sitting on rich agricultural lands and the Israelis want the land but do not want the people that come with the land. Israeli military has already demolished homes in the village (most were rebuilt) and fined others for building without permits (which are not issued in this village). The heroic villagers inspired so many including Internationals and Israelis to join them in their popular resistance. Earlier, I shared with you many videos of the actions. Today’s even started as we came through the woods and sat in front of the bulldozer.
As the soldiers gathered their forces around us, you could feel the soldiers preparing themselves for attack. We remained calm and peaceful. They dragged us one by one forcefully from the bulldozed lands. They picked the four of us for arrest for no obvious reason. George from Canada, me from Beit Sahour, and two brothers from Al-Walaja (Dia’ and Nafez). They were particularly brutal with the two brothers using pepper spray repeatedly, hits with clubs (twice), and once with the rifle butt especially on Dia’. Dia’ could not see for a long time. They took us down the hill with full military escort and demanded our ID cards on the way (I and Nafez had them, Dia’ and George did not carry them). At the bottom of the hill sits a checkpoint for cars (mostly settlers) crossing into Jerusalem (from the illegal settlements of Har Gilo, Gilo, and Gush Etzion complex of settlements). There we were told to sit and wait as two private security guards were brought to supplement the four soldiers guarding us. Half an hour, an hour, two hours passed by. We spend time talking to soldiers explaining why they are wrong to punish people trying to defend their lands. I finally asked to go to the bathroom. They refused. I insisted and finally they escorted me to an outhouse (portable type). Other followed. Time passed. Officers came and said for us to sign a paper claiming all it said was that in our detention we were not beaten or mistreated. We refuse to sign. Finally, they receive the green light to arrest us officially so we are driven through Jerusalem and on to the investigation offices near Qubbit Raheel (Rachel’s tomb). Along the way, Dia’a nd Nafez comment that this is unusual for them to enter Jerusalem (forbidden to them since the Oslo accords). Al-Walaja is in the area of the area that they consider Israeli territory (the Gush Etzion complex of colonial settlements). Al-Walaja sits even partially on land annexed to Jerusalem, yet its residents are given Greed ID cards like me meaning West Bank Palestinians not allowed into Jerusalem.
We arrive at our destination and are locked up in a metal container. Two more hours pass by. Only some time soldiers come in and we talk to them. In all three we talk to three Arab soldiers including Marzouq and Madi (I nicknamed them M&M of the Israeli occupation army), three Ashkenazis, one Sephardic women who never smiled and seemed out of place, and one Ethiopian. Some are cold and distant, others argumentative but not knowing much, and yet others slightly more open and listen to what we had to tell them. I was proud of the Al-Walaja brothers using calm logic to explain: what would you do if some came and uprooted trees that your grandparents planted for you? How would you react if your source of life and livelihood is taken? But most of the nearly 40 soldiers and police officers we encountered along the way only uttered few words of orders and refused to engage with us. To them it seemed like a routine job. As they hauled us from one place to another, they would be chatting or texting on their mobile phones or joking with each other about things (I really have to take Hebrew classes).
The “investigator” finally arrives. We are finally allowed to make the call to a lawyer. The lawyer advises and we follow his advise. Each individually is taken to see the investigator. We are asked to sign other papers and again we refuse (in Hebrew). They force us to put our thumb on a separate form that merely has our names, ID numbers etc on it. Handcuffs are added and mobile phones are taken from us. As each one is returned to the container, we brief each other. We wait. The handcuffs are hurting. I notice it says on mine ‘Hiatt-Made in England’. I think to myself this whole mess was made in England (Balfour declaration and all that). An hour later, we are told they will take us to court and that each of us is to call a relative or friend to bring NIS 2500 (about $750) to the court in Jerusalem to use as bail. The phones are returned to us to make the calls. We are then ordered to get on the van to go (we presume to court). But then they change their minds. We don’t know what is going on. We are told not to use the mobile phones but we do when we are alone. My family manages to gather the money and as my wife is on the way nearly an hour later, the lawyer sends a message that we need to wait as they are negotiating with the judge. Yet another hour. We are then ordered on the van. They take us to Talpiot police station where they fingerprint and photograph us. Dragged like criminals with handcuffs in this now rich neighborhood. Old Jewish woman stares at me on the way out and I wish I am allowed to speak to her to tell her our stories. On the way in the back of the van, I tell the fellow inmates that this was an Arab neighborhood before the ethnic cleansing of 1948. Many Arab houses still stand taken over and converted into everything from residential villas to bars. We go back to the container holding pen. The handcuffs still hurting.
It was now nearly 5:30 and we were starving (no food and many of us have left home without breakfast and held since about 9 AM). We had asked for food on occasions. Finally they bring us some bread, each a slice of cheese and a small packets of jam (I guess because we have been in handcuffs for four hours at least and that is formal arrest). We devour it quickly and wonder whether this is a sign of us staying longer or that we would be released soon. Another half an hour and we are dragged (this time together) in front of a new investigator who asked us to sign a release form that says that we are told to stay away from the wall (yes it says the wall on official Israeli documents) for 15 days and if we don’t we will be have to pay each NIS5000 (about $1200). A friend from Al-Walaja was kind enough to come and cosign to ensure that we will follow the stated orders.
George’s situation was not clear. They insisted on seeing his passport. A friend finally brought it after George was threatened with immediate deportation if he did not get the passport. The lawyer andus tried to persuade them to let him go. They asked me to translate for him at first that he must reappear at the same place Sunday and we thought they were releasing him with us. But alas, it was not to be. I hope he will not be deported anyway (their words are always not to be trusted).
The three of us were released but the soldiers did not give us our ID cards. In our jubilation at being released, we also had forgotten to ask about them (they had them for the 10 hour ordeal). So I came back with my wife and she was allowed into the checkpoint and an hour later, I had the ID cards. We had visitors from Jenin staying overnight with us and I was supposed to work with my technologist at the University today. But here I am way past midnight still writing this note and uploading a video. Tomorrow (Friday) there will be a demonstration in Al-Masara and the lettuce festival in Artas and other work to do. Life goes on in the land of Apartheid. La luta continua. Stay tuned.
See Previous reports at: http://ilanisagainstwalls.blogspot.com