July 12, 2011

Rachel Corrie’s family claim Israel hid evidence of Rachel’s death

Posted in General Gaza Updates tagged , , , , , , , at 10:54 am by Alexia

The Guardian has a piece of the latest information coming from the civil suit that the Corrie family are pursuing in Israel.  The family claim that evidence has been withheld and misleading information was provided to the US officials at the time of her death.  The hearing has been taking place since March 2010 and finally completed last weekend.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/11/corries-accuse-israelis-death

In March last year the Corrie family launched a civil case, accusing the military of either unlawfully or intentionally killing Rachel or of gross negligence. Hearings in the case ended on Sunday and a verdict is due to be delivered next April.

“After more than a year of hearings, we are at this moment in much the same place as we were when they began – up against a wall of Israeli officials determined to protect the state at all costs, including at the expense of truth,” said Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother.

“We came seeking accountability. We demand justice,” said Craig Corrie

 Right up to the end of the hearings, the Israeli military sought to discredit the work of the volunteers there trying to prevent the human rights abuses being perpetrated by the Israeli military. 

 The final witness in the case, Colonel Pinhas Zuaretz, told the court in Haifa that Rafah was a war zone in 2003 and “reasonable people would not be there unless they had aims of attacking our forces”. Members of the International Solidarity Movement, such as Rachel Corrie, were aiding “Palestinian terrorists”, he said.

because of course an unarmed civillian with nothing more than a finger to wag or a camera to document the attacks on civillians is obviously a grievous threat to those heavily armoured tanks the military were permanently ensconced in and those “Palestinian terrorists” who were actually the unarmed homeowners who suffered sustained attacks on their homes by members of the military which usually led to the household abandoning the home and becoming refugees, then the military subsequently demolishing it were also grievous threats.

As the Israeli government has recently shown with its open pressuring of foreign governments to stop the flotilla and tacitly supporting at least one group that behaved in criminal behaviour to try to stop some of the flotilla boats leaving in Greece, it is unlikely that this will cause them to display integrity and admit responsibility for the behaviour of its armed forces.  Will the courts see it differently and judge that the military did distort the truth to hide its culpability in the death of Rachel?  We’ll know next April.

 

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June 29, 2011

Why do unarmed civillian protesters scare Israel so much?

Posted in General Gaza Updates tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:27 am by Alexia

The boats involved in the Freedom Flotilla II have started to set sail for Gaza.  Last year this peaceful protest against Israel’s behaviour in Palestine resulted in the deaths of 9 civillians after Israel illegally boarded the ships in international waters.  This year Israel is trying more insidious means to stop the flotilla before it physically stops them.

This time, as Freedom Flotilla II sets sail over the next week, with 10 ships carrying many of the same activists who travelled last year, including Swedish writer Henning Mankell, American human rights campaigner Hedy Epstein, and writer and academic Alice Walker, the Israeli government’s response will be closely watched.

This week Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, wrote a letter saying: “Israel calls on the international community to do everything in their ability in order to prevent the flotilla and warn citizens … of the risks of participating in this type of provocation.” The purpose of the flotilla, he said, is “to provoke and aid a radical political agenda”. He later added: “We are very determined to defend ourselves and to assert our right to a naval blockade on Gaza.”

“The threats of violence won’t deter us,” says Huwaida Arraf, one of the flotilla organisers. “Nobody is going in to this lightly, but we feel it has to be done. Israel has to realise its violence against us is not going to stop our growing civilian effort to challenge its illegal policies. The size of this flotilla, the number of people involved in organising it, even after Israel killed nine of our colleagues last year, is testament to that.”

She says half a million people applied for the few hundred places: depending on how many of the 10 boats are seaworthy in time, there should be around 400 people on the flotilla.

Israel started with the letter to the UN, since then it has threatened any journalist who joins the flotilla with deportation and a 10 year ban from israel which was only revoked after an international outcry and now an Israeli group has now resorted to attempting to delay the sailings through a group in Greece by complaining to the greek authorities that boats are not seaworthy which then requires the authorities to hold the boats and investigate.  There has also been an allegation of sabotage against the boats in Greece, a claim that is not being denied by the Israeli authorities

Israel and its allies have been working hard to head off the planned flotilla, which is hoping to enter the waters off Gazain the next week. Col.. (ret) Ann Wright, who’s organizing a US vessel named the Audacity of Hope for the flotilla, says her ship has been detained in Athens on spurious charges that it’s not seaworthy. She says that charge was made by an Israeli legal group.

Now the Juliano is held up. Mikael Löfgren, a spokesman for Ship to Gaza Sweden, says the damage was discovered at 6:30 in the eveningAthens time today, and that divers probably cut the propeller in the past 24 hours.

“The reports I’m receiving is that it’s certain that it was sabotage,” says Mr. Löfgren, reached by phone inSweden. “The propeller and [propeller shaft] has been cut and we have divers that have filmed the damages. Experts have said there’s no doubt” that the damage was deliberate.

He says that repairing the damage will take a few days. As to who is responsible, he declined to speculate. “We simply don’t know who did it, but it’s obviously a hostile act,” says Löfgren.

So how can a couple of  hundred people who are unarmed and carrying supplies through international waters be such a threat? Perhaps because shining a light to expose the truth of the brutality of Israel towards the people of the land they have occupied and to those who try to support them may finally trigger an outcry that will force Israel to loosen its stranglehold on the people of Palestine.

We can only hope.

Below is an approximate list of the Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human participants

Spain- Gernicka, 30 passengers

France – Louise Michel, 24 passengers, 6 journalists

France- Dignity, 10 passengers, 1 journalist

Australia/Belgium/Canada/Denmark/Germany – Tahrir, 48 passengers, 9 journalists

Italy/Netherlands/Germany/Switzerland/Malaysia – Stefano Chiarim, 65 passengers, 5 journalists

Ireland- Saoirse, 20 passengers, 2 journalists

European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza- Freedom for All, 15 passengers

Greece/Sweden/Norway – Juliano, 25 passengers, 4 journalists

Greece/Sweden/Norway – Methimus #2 cargo boat, 15 passengers

United States- The Audacity of Hope, 40 passengers, 10 journalists

For more information on the flotilla and its progress you can read about it at freegaza.org or at Witnessgaza.com, Tahrir.ca and FreedomFlotilla.eu and join them on twitter and Facebook or donate to help.

April 26, 2011

ISM COMMITTED TO STAYING IN GAZA

Posted in ISM Updates tagged , , at 3:29 pm by Alexia

PRESS RELEASE: ISM COMMITTED TO STAYING IN GAZA

ISM GAZA

Following the murder of our comrade and friend Vittorio, we, activists
of the International Solidarity Movement, reiterate our commitment to
remaining in Gaza.  We will continue to work with and live among the
Palestinian population as we continue the work to which Vik was so
committed.

In these days of mourning, Palestinians have organized numerous
memorials for Vik; they constantly remind us how sorry they are to
have lost him, of how they loved him, his closeness, his affection,
and his indignation at what is happening here in Gaza.  We know that
the group that perpetrated this horrible crime does not in any way
represent Palestinian society.  The Palestinians of Gaza are our
friends, our colleagues, and our reason for being here; we will
continue to stand by their side.

As we had done when Vittorio was with us, we will continue to stand
alongside the Palestinian people, we will continue to struggle against
the occupation, we will continue to accompany farmers to their lands
along the border, we will continue to participate in demonstrations,
and we will continue to tell the world what happens here in the Gaza
Strip, Palestine.  We think that Vik would agree with Che Guevara when
he said, “Don’t cry for me if I die, do what I was doing and I will
live on in you.”  The best way to honor Vik is to continue the work
that he was doing.  In particular we will soon begin crewing a boat
whose mission is to monitor the violation of human rights in
Palestinian waters.  This boat will have its maiden voyage on April
20: Vik had strongly backed this project and he had enthusiastically
participated in its realization.

Vik has been an inspiration to all of us, we all hope to live up to
his example.  In a documentary about him, Vik said he would have liked
to be remembered by Nelson Mandela’s quote; “A victor is merely a
dreamer who never stops dreaming.”  Your dreams are our dreams; we
will never forget you, Vik.

 

 


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April 15, 2011

ISM Activist Killed

Posted in ISM Updates tagged , , , at 1:34 pm by Alexia

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/15/italian-peace-activist-murdered-gaza

Arrigoni’s death comes just over a week after a gunman shot dead Juliano Mer-Khamis, an Israeli actor who ran a theatre in the West Bank city of Jenin. It is not clear why Mer-Khamis was shot but his views about freedom of expression had generated some opposition in Jenin.

Arrigoni, known as Vik, lived in an apartment that he rented separately from his fellow volunteers for the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). The first anyone knew of his abduction was when video was posted on YouTube in which Arrigoni appeared blindfolded with a bruised face.

The accompanying Arabic text said: “The Italian hostage entered our land only to spread corruption.” It described Italy as “the infidel state”.

On the day he was abducted, Arrigoni had written three posts on his Guerilla Radio blog: a report on the deaths of four men in the south of Gaza in a collapsed tunnel and comments on Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, and Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president.

He was last seen at a Gaza City gym on Wednesday and from there he ordered food by telephone but never arrived at the restaurant to pick it up.

Nathan Stuckey, a volunteer from the United States, said Arrigoni spent most of his time working as a journalist but was also involved in promoting the rights of Gazan fishermen to fish freely without hindrance from the Israeli navy.

“At the moment, he was particularly focused on the launch of our new boat, which we will use to monitor the navy’s violations of the rights of the fishermen. He often said that he now felt more at home in Gaza than in Italy and he was strongly committed to the Palestinian cause,” Stuckey said.

Foreigners and outsiders are normally warmly welcomed in Palestinian communities, who regard them as allies against Israel. Previously the greatest risk for foreigners was seen to be from the Israeli army. Rachel Corrie from the US and Tom Hurndall from London were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza in 2003 and 2004 while volunteering for the ISM.

Here’s a video report.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2011/apr/15/italian-activist-vittorio-arrigoni-gaza-video

My thoughts are with his family and all those who are affected by this.

April 2, 2011

ISM calling for experienced activists to come to Gaza

Posted in ISM Updates tagged , , , , , at 12:12 am by Alexia

**please circulate widely**

The International Solidarity Movement is appealing for activists to join our team in the besieged Gaza Strip.

In recent months numerous people have managed to cross into Gaza through Egypt, so at present, there is a small window of opportunity to enter. ISM Gaza was reinstated in August 2008, when volunteers traveled aboard the historic, siege-breaking voyage of the first FreeGaza Movement boat. ISM has maintained a constant presence in Gaza since that time, for over two years of Israel’s crippling siege. ISM volunteers refused to leave when Israel began bombing Gaza in December 2009. During the devastating 23-day assault, activists accompanied ambulances and provided vital testimony to the international media.

Daily life in Gaza is a harrowing struggle. Israel’s siege has made rebuilding bombed structures virtually impossible, and thousands of Gazans continue to live in tents. The siege deeply restricts Gaza’s food supply, but Israel also prohibits Gazans from producing their own food. In stark violation of international law, Israel enforces a three-nautical-mile fishing blockade. The Israeli-imposed ‘buffer zone’ swallows up a third of Gaza’s farmland, which lies along the Israeli border. Farmers are routinely shot and killed simply for working their land well inside Gaza’s borders.

ISM Gaza volunteers accompany farmers and demonstrators in the ‘buffer zone’, as well as working to strengthen the link between Gazan students and the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Visit http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/category/gaza/  to watch videos and read reports by ISM Gaza. As the international community becomes more critical of Israel’s policies, it is vital to have individuals on the ground that can attest to the conditions inside the open-air prison of Gaza. Their voices lend strength to efforts abroad, as BDS campaigns gain momentum and freedom flotillas become pandemic.

Those interested in joining the ISM Gaza team are required to attend a preliminary training in their home country and have communicate with the volunteers in Gaza prior to arrival. Entering Gaza is an arduous process that requires some time to be spent in Egypt.

Also recommended:

– Previous experience with organizing/ activism, preferably in the Middle-East

– A historical understanding of the Palestine and some knowledge of the current political situation

– Arabic language skills – respect for Palestinian traditions and values

– Ability to stay in Gaza for an extended period of time (over a month)

For more information about where to attend a preliminary training or other questions, please email gazaism@gmail.com

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February 9, 2010

Court Victory for ISM Activists

Posted in ISM Updates tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:19 pm by Alexia

APPEAL Such legal challenges are important for the Palestinian non-violent resistance as it can determine whether or not Israeli occupation forces continue to use particular oppressive practices. But legal work is also quite expensive.

The ISM is asking its supporters to throw fund-raising events to raise money to support the work of the ISM’s solidarity with the Palestinian movement against apartheid. You can donate by check, or online (via Paypal) see http://palsolidarity.org/donate for details.

REPORT A legal victory for ISM activists On Monday, February 8, 2010, the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the release on bail of the two activists who were arrested on Sunday during a pre-dawn raid on the Ramallah media office of the International Solidarity Movement. Ariadna Jove Marti, a Spanish journalist, and Bridgette Chappell, an Australian student at Beir Zeit university have now been banned from the occupied territories. During the hearing for Ariadna and Bridget, the State Prosecutor admitted that it was illegal for the Immigration Police to receive custody of the two in the Occupied Territories, where it has no legal authority.

The illegality of the detention of Marti and Chappell by the Immigration Police is now undisputed. According to Marti and Chappell, they were questioned primarily about their overstayed visas. The Army, however, alleges that their arrests were security driven, despite the fact that the State Prosecutor could provide no evidence to support this claim. The judges have ordered the state to file depositions, if any exist, implicating the two as security threats for a review of the legality of their detention. In response to the accusation that she is a “security risk, Chappell said, “Our ‘weapons’ were not like the ones the Israeli soldiers waved about wildly after barging into our apartment, they were our cameras. These let the world see the violence that the occupiers visit upon the Palestinians and they were quite dangerous to Israel’s institutionalized domination.” “I hope that our presence makes the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine that much more difficult. In light of the illegal raid that led to our incarceration, it seems that the ‘security’ of the Israeli army means that their injustices are securely hidden from the world,” said Marti.

The Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO clearly forbid any Israeli incursion into Area A, which includes the major Palestinian cities in the West Bank, for reasons not directly and urgently related to security, even in “hot pursuit.” In practice however the Israeli military continues to exercise full control on the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip. The overall legality of the raid (under Israeli law) remains contested and should be reviewed by the Supreme Court in the continuation of the court case.

In the mean time the court has ordered the release of the two on a NIS 3,000 bail each, and on the condition that they will not enter the Occupied Territories pending final decision in the case.

The latest raids are part of a recent crackdown on the growing non-violent Palestinian movement of resistance to Israeli apartheid. Leaders of the popular Palestinian struggle are being taken from their homes in night military raids. Abdullah Abu Rahme coordinator of the Bil’in popular committee, Wa’el Faqueeh the coordinator of the Nablus popular committee, and Ibrahim Amiraa coordinator of the Naalin popular committee, all arrested from their homes, remain incarcerated.

In addition dozens of Palestinian activists who have participated in the demonstrations are in prison. Mohammed Khatib, coordinator of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said, “The popular struggle is spreading. More and more Palestinians are turning to nonviolent resistance, the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement is growing here and internationally and Israeli war criminals are being challenged by courts around the world. These night raids show that Israel has panicked, deluding itself that by arresting Palestinian and international activists it can stop the movement and hide its crimes from the world.” Khatib was also arrested recently in a military raid at his home, and is now free on bail.

The raids are continuing. On Monday, February 8, 2010,Israeli soldiers raided the Ramallah offices of Stop the Wall and the Peoples Party stole computers, media equipment and documents from the office. Jamal Juma, the coordinator of Stop the Wall, a Palestinian campaign at the forefront of the global movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli apartheid, and Mohammad Othman, a Stop the Wall activist, were recently released with no charges after being imprisoned by Israeli forces.

Israel is also targeting the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), arresting ISM activists working in support of the popular campaign against the wall. Over the last ten months, the “Oz” immigration unit illegally arrested and attempted to deport four other international activists.

Eva Nováková, a Czech national and ISM media coordinator, was arrested in Ramallah on January 11, 2010, and deported the next day, before the deportation could be appealed. She too was arrested by the Immigration Police. Nováková’s lawyer is currently in the process of preparing an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court to challenge the legality of her arrest.

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June 8, 2009

ISM Updates Digest 9th June 2009

Posted in ISM Updates tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:49 am by Alexia

1.      Palestinian protester killed during Na’alin rally
2.     Settlers attack Palestinian vehicle with rocks, wounding four, and set fire to land in Qalqiliya district
3.     Infant dies as Israel prevents him from leaving Gaza Strip to undergo medical treatment in East Jerusalem
4.     Israeli piracy continues unabated – six more fishermen abducted
5.      Israeli forces kidnap 4 Palestinian residents of Ni’lin
6.      Playground for bombed kindergartens in Gaza
7.     Prevent Alstom from building the Haramain Express Railway
8.     War crimes in Gaza: Palestinian lawyers take on Israel
9.      Left-wing activists evacuated from tent built opposite outpost
____________________

1.      Palestinian protester killed during Na’alin rally

Avi Issacharoff, Anshel Pfeffer & Reuters | Ha’aretz

5 June 2009

Palestinian officials reported on Friday that a Palestinians demonstrator had been killed during the weekly anti-separation fence rally near the West Bank town of Na’alin. Palestinian medical officials said 36-year-old Yusuf Srour had been killed by Israeli forces. Medics said Srour was hit in the chest by a live bullet and another protester was wounded when soldiers fired at protesters.

Srour died minutes later, Mohammed Shahwan, a doctor on the ambulance called to the scene, told Reuters.

An Israeli military spokesman said troops had opened fire when protesters threw stones at them in the village, but denied that the troops had used live ammunition. However, an IDF spokesman said, an investigation has been launched into the incident.

Na’alin is the scene of weekly protests against the continuing construction of an Israeli barrier that has cut through the village.

Israel says the barrier it has built along its boundary with the West Bank is needed to keep bombers from infiltrating its towns.

Palestinians denounce the network of fencing and concrete walls which cut deeply into the West Bank in spots such as Na’alin, as a land grab that denies them territory they want for a future state.

Meanwhile, five demonstrators were injured in confrontations with security forces in the anti-separation fence rally in Bil’in. Two months ago, Ibrahim abu-Rakhma was killed during a separation fence rally in Bil’in after suffering a tear-gas grenade hit to his chest, which witnesses said was launched some 30 meters away by security forces.

The Israel Defense Force issued a response following the incident, stating that approximately 100 protesters had attempted to tear down part of the separation fence while hurling rocks at security forces. IDF troops responded to the mayhem by employing demonstration dispersal devices.

Another incident occurred four months ago, in which American citizen Tristan Anderson, in his thirties, sustained critical wounds during an anti-separation fence protest in Na’alin. Peace activists with the International Solidarity Movement of the Oakland, Calif. area, said Anderson was struck in the head with a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops.

Article: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1090697.html

2. Settlers attack Palestinian vehicle with rocks, wounding four, and set fire to land in Qalqiliya district

International Women’s Peace Service 1 June 2009

On Monday, June 1st, settlers from the Havat Gilad settler outpost in the Qalqiliya district of the West Bank reportedly attacked a minibus transporting 17 Palestinians to their jobs in Israel, critically injuring one. The settlers later burned an estimated 100 dunams of Palestinian land, leaving scorched earth and trees.

At approximately 4:30 a.m. on Monday a busload of 17 Palestinian men, mostly young and all with Israeli work permits, was stopped on the road near the entrance to Qedumim settlement by an estimated 50 settlers, who proceeded to throw rocks at the vehicle. Four workers were injured, one critically, and he remains in hospital.

The workers said Israeli soldiers were just 50 metres away from the settlers at the time of the attack. However, they reported, the soldiers did nothing to stop the settlers, nor did they take subsequent action. One uninjured worker asked soldiers to call an ambulance, but, he reported, they refused and even threatened to shoot him if he did not leave the area, which they had declared a closed military zone.

At around midday the settlers proceeded to burn Palestinian farmland, estimated by Nasser Sedda, the mayor of Jit, to cover 100 dunams and belong to eleven local families. Some of the land was planted with olive trees and with wheat, and an estimated 100 trees were destroyed in the fire. The Israeli army prevented farmers from reaching their land after the fires were set, the mayor reported, and consequently they were not able to extinguish the flames until between 4 and 5 p.m., by which time the damage was extensive.

One farmer with land near the neighbouring village of Immatin said that during last autumn’s olive harvest settlers from Havat Gilad burnt trees on his land. Four dunams of land had also been taken from the 17 dunams he owns for the construction of the outpost, and olive trees destroyed.

3. Infant dies as Israel prevents him from leaving Gaza Strip to undergo medical treatment in East Jerusalem

Al Mezan 5 June 2009

Infant Dies as Israel Prevents Him from Leaving Gaza Strip to Undergo Medical Treatment in East Jerusalem, Al Mezan Calls for Immediate Lifting of the Siege on Gaza

At around 7.30am on 3 June 2009, seven-month-old Zein Ad-Din Mohammed Zu’rob died in the intensive care unit at European Gaza Hospital in Khan Younis. Medical sources at the hospital reported to Al Mezan that he died as a result of respiratory system and heart failure. According to Al Mezan investigations, Zein’s family obtained a medical referral for him to undergo medical treatment at Al-Maqasid Charity Hospital in East Jerusalem for 30 days starting from 18 May 2009.

On 20 May 2009, Zein’s family went to Al Mezan’s office in Rafah where they authorized Al Mezan to pursue the case and assist with efforts to secure a permit for the child and his family to travel to Jerusalem. The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) did not respond to the requests made regarding this matter until 3 June 2009.

Medical reports show that Zein was suffering from a severe lung infection which resulted in bronchial asthma and general weakness in his growth. Doctors at European Gaza Hospital said that the main cause of the deterioration in the child’s condition was an infection with a pancreatic cyst. They explained that hospitals in the Gaza Strip do not have the ability to conduct the necessary tests and that he was therefore referred to Al-Maqasid hospital in Jerusalem for tests and treatment.

Al Mezan Center has followed up this case with the victim’s family in cooperation with Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I), which contacted the Israeli District Coordination Office (IDCO) at Erez Crossing. The IDCO’s answer was that they had not received an application for permission for the child to cross Erez to Jerusalem. Al Mezan Center contacted the Palestinian District Coordination Office staff in Gaza, who reported that they had sent an application for the child on 25 May 2009.

This is indicative of the serious problem of the complex bureaucracy faced by Gazans who need to leave Gaza seeking healthcare in Israel or the West Bank. They have to leave Gaza via Erez Crossing. Only severe cases who suffer from conditions that are incurable in Gaza are allowed to apply for permission. Nevertheless, the application and processing of their request take long times and lack an effective follow-up mechanism. Many patients die while waiting for a response to their requests for permission to exit Gaza.

According to Al Mezan’s monitoring, many of the sick persons who applied for permits to leave the Gaza Strip through Erez crossing were informed that they had not applied, even though the Palestinian Liaison Office had sent the applications days or weeks previously. Patients therefore have to wait even longer to receive a response, change their appointment at the hospital outside of Gaza, and then apply again for a permit thereby losing precious time waiting for a response which may be positive or negative. Al Mezan documentation also demonstrates that the receipt of a permit to exit Gaza through Erez crossing does not necessarily mean that patients will be allowed to leave. The IOF obstructs many patients who have been issued with permits, searching and interrogating them, and exploiting their need to travel for reasons of ill-health to pressurize them into collaborating and providing information about the activities of the resistance in the Gaza Strip. Many Palestinian patients have died after being ordered by the IOF to return to the Gaza Strip after refusing to collaborate.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns in the strongest possible terms Israel’s siege on the Gaza Strip and its prevention of Palestinians from travelling to undergo medical treatment which is unavailable in Gaza. Al Mezan holds Israel responsible for the deaths of over 35 sick persons in the Gaza Strip who died as a result of Israel’s refusal to allow them to leave Gaza, and dozens of other persons who have died in Gaza’s hospitals as a result of the blockade, closures, the lack of treatment, and the lack of electricity and fuel.

Al Mezan asserts that Israel, as the Occupying Power in effective control of the Gaza Strip and its crossings, bears legal responsibility to ensure that Gaza residents can access adequate medical care, in a time which enables them to receive appropriate treatment without delay. Further, Israel has a clear responsibility toward the population of the Gaza Strip to enjoy their fundamental right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health in accordance with its obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This obligation includes ensuring the availability of appropriate healthcare and the ability of each individual to access it.

http://www.mezan.org/en/details.php?id=8807&ddname=crossings&id2=9&id_dept=9&p=center

4. Israeli piracy continues unabated – six more fishermen abducted

ISM Gaza | Fishing Under Fire 4 June 2009

Gazan territorial waters – At around 9 am, six Palestinian fishermen were abducted by the Israeli Navy whilst fishing in Palestinian territorial waters. The fishermen are reported as being; Adham Al – Habil 21, Mohammed Al – Habil 20, Ahmed Al – Habil, Maher Abu Sultan 25, Mohammed Al – Arayshi, and Sadam Bakar.

The fishermen embarked from Gaza port at 8 am, in a trawling vessel owned by Abu Adham. At around 9 am when they were 3 miles from shore, and 0.5 km south of the “K” area (a designated no-fishing area in the Oslo Accords), they reported that an Israeli gun boat had approached, fired at them, and demanded that they turn of the boats engine. Communication with the fishermen was then lost.

It is believed that all of the fishermen have been abducted, and that their boat has been seized. Several fishermen that were recently abducted in similar circumstances, but have now been released, had reported that at the time of their abduction, the Israeli Navy threatened that “If we see Abu Adham’s boat in the sea again, we’ll seize it and arrest all the fishermen.” In the last few months, the Israeli Navy have escalated their campaign of persecution against the Palestinian fishermen. Of particular note is the recent spate of abductions. Since the declaration of a cease- fire in January of this year, and prior to today, 40 abductions of fishermen have been reported, and 17 fishing boats have been seized or stolen. About 10 of these boats have been returned but with damages and equipment missing.

Abu Adham’s trawling boat was one of three boats seized by the Israeli Navy in November 2008. 15 of the fishermen aboard along with three members of the International Solidarity Movement were also abducted. Following a court case filed by PCHR, Al Mezan, and the ISM the 3 vessels were returned – although damaged and with equipment missing. On the 7th May 2009, one of these boats (belonging to Abu Rami) was again seized by the Israeli Navy and its crew abducted. Israel is refusing to return this boat. Along with Abu Adham’s vessel, it now appears that two of the trawlers stolen by the Israeli Navy in November 2008, are again in Israeli hands.

Link: http://fishingunderfire.blogspot.com/2009/06/israeli-piracy-continues-unabated-six.html

5.  Israeli forces kidnap 4 Palestinian residents of Ni’lin

2 June 2009

Israeli forces invaded the town of Ni’lin at 2 am on Wednesday,  2nd of June. The army forcefully entered five homes and siezed four residents, Sa’dat Ibrahim Mustafa Ameerah (19), Mahmod Abdallah Ameerah (26), Ibrahim Khalil Ad-Dik Srour (18) and Hamada Abdel Raziq Khawaja (28). All of them are suspected in taking part of the popular resistance against the Annexation Wall. The arrested were taken to Ofer Prisoner Camp, a tent prison. A fifth person the army was looking for, Hassan Nimer Khawaja (22), was not captured since he was not at home when the Israeli army came. His family was given a paper ordering Hassan and his father to come to Ofer Prison Camp on 2 June at 2pm.

More than 100 soldiers came by foot, entering the village through the fields and surrounding the homes of the five persons they were aiming to arrest. Shortly thereafter, dozens of jeeps entered the village.

Hassan Khawaja, who was given an order to come to Ofer, chose to turn himself in because of frequent harassment of his family from Israeli soldiers.

Ibrahim Srour (18) was taken from a local bakery in Ni’lin, where he had started to work 2 weeks ago. According to Ibrahim’s colleagues, about 10 soldiers entered the bakery at 2am and arrested Ibrahim. Simultaneously,  soldiers entered Srour’s home and went straight upstairs to search his room for evidence in connection with the popular resistance but nothing was found. The Israeli forces did not give a reason for the invasion of the Srour home. After the soldiers left, Ibrahim’s work colleague called his family to explain that Ibrahim had been handcuffed, blindfolded and taken to the Israeli road block at the entrance of the village. Ibrahim’s father Khalil took one of his daughters with him and went to the entrance to try to bring Ibrahim back home or give him some extra clothes since he was only wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I went to the roadblocks to bring back my son. When I came there I saw him sitting on the ground with his eyes blindfolded and his hands tied behind his back. I asked the soldiers if I could talk to him but they screamed at me to go back and at the same time I heard my son’s voice telling me to go back home. He wanted to protect me and I had to return back without him or giving him anything”

At 2am, Israeli soldiers with the commander in charge, “Captain Foad”, entered the house of Hamada Khawaja. Soldiers has previously harassed the neighbors while searching for Hamada’s house. Hamada’s entire family was woken by the soldiers, including his 2 children, ages 2 and 4 years old. According to Hamada’s brother,  “Captain Foad” made jokes, asking the family who they thought he had come to take. Hamada and his brother were both taken downstairs and then Hamada was arrested and taken away. The family must now rely solely on the income of Hamada’s brother, whose family lives with Hamada.

At 2.10 am, Israeli forces knocked on the door of Mahmod Ameerah, calling his name. According to his wife, the whole family was asleep at the time. Mahmod went up to open the door and three soldiers entered the house. The soldiers remained inside Mahmod’s home, until the commander, “Captain Foad” came at 4am and arrested Mahmod. Mahmod provides the sole income for the family and is the father of 2 daughters, aged 1 and 2. Mahmod is the second son in the family that has been imprisoned on a suspicion of involvment with the popular resistance against the Wall.

Soldiers surrounded the home of Sa’dat Ameerah and entered at 2:15am. The family of ten were all put into one room except for the mother and 2 youngest children. The soldiers asked for the IDs of the 3 oldest sons.  Around 3:15am, “Captain Foad” came to the home and Sa´dat was arrested, blindfolded, handcuffed and taken to a jeep.

Sadat’s father, Ibrahim, a member of the Popular Committee of Ni’lin, was also arrested during a night invasion on the 14th of August. He was imprisoned and interrogated on a daily basis until his release 16 days later. Subsequently, Ibrahim Ameerah lost his permit to work in Israel proper. Additionally, Sa’dats younger brother was arrested on the 22nd of December 2008 and released in April.

Israeli forces regularly invade Ni’lin to arrest residents believed to be active in the popular resistance against the Annexation Wall. Since the start of the construction of the Annexation Wall in May 2008, more than 70 villagers have been arrested. Six of the arrested were children under the age of 18; Mohammad Ata Mousa (14), Ibrahim Khalqel (16), Yazed Hussam Mousa (16), Majed Hisham Nafea (17), Sufyan Khawaja (17), Saeed Ibrahim Amireh (17), and Mohammed Daoud Khawaja (17). These children have had their educations interrupted and several missed a school term.

Night invasions, a tool of the Israeli occupation forces to arrest suspected participants in the resistance to the illegal Annexation Wall, are ongoing. The village of Ni’lin will lose another 2,500 dunums of land after the construction of the Wall. A village that was 57,000 dunums before 1948, Ni’lin will have only 7,500 dunums left. Residents, alongside international and Israeli solidarity activists, have participated in demonstrations against the land confiscation since May 2008.

6.      Playground for bombed kindergartens in Gaza

For Immediate Release:

Sunday 7th June, 10:00, Erez checkpoint

More than 750,000 children are incarcerated without a trial in Gaza ­ the largest prison in the world. It is forbidden to send toys and playground equipment into Gaza.

The Israeli authorities define even paper and crayons a “Security Hazard”. In defiance of this obituary and cruel regulation, a delegation of Israeli and American feminists, residents of neighboring towns, the clownish doctor Patch Adams and the Israeli Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (ICIRCA), will travel on Sunday to the Erez Checkpoint. We will come to the sealed crossing armed with Slides, Swings, Kites, Magic castles and similar deadly weapons, in order to pass them through to the besieged and bombed kindergartens in Gaza.

The action is organized by the Coalition of Women for Peace (Israel) and Code Pink (USA). The Code Pink activists have already achieved the construction of one kindergarten playground in Gaza, and staged a rally during President Obama’s speech in Cairo, demanding the president put his money where his mouth is, and cut the US funding of the siege on Gaza.

Patch Adams, the protagonist of the 1998 Robin Williams film, will stage a border-line clown show deflating the ballooning cruelty and arrogance of the siege and highlighting the absurdities robbing the children of Gaza of their right to a life of safety, freedom, and laughter. The Clown Army will be aiding and abetting.

Code Pink will attempt to traffic the playgrounds through the border. If apprehended by the Israeli army, insistent on denying the children of Gaza – hundreds of whom have been killed and thousands orphaned in the long years of siege – the fundamental right of PLAY, the Playgrounds will be erected on the border.

7. Prevent Alstom from building the Haramain Express Railway

Saudi Arabia awarded French company Alstom a multi-million dollar contract for the construction of Haramain Express Railway, to link the holy cities of Makkah and Madina. Alstom is in violation of international law for its part in the construction of the Jerusalem Light Rail, which will link illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (including East Jerusalem) with the city of Jerusalem. The construction of the light rail is part of a wider Israeli policy to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians from Jerusalem and turn permanent the illegal occupation of the city.

The decision by the Saudi Arabian authorities is in violation of its own international commitments. The Arab League barred member states from dealing with companies involved in the construction of Jerusalem Light Rail project. The Saudi contract sends a signal of approval for Alstom’s actions in Jerusalem and highlights the lack of integrity of the Haramain project: the Saudi Arabian government has chosen to link two of Islam’s holiest cities by sponsoring the colonization of another.

Across the world a divestment campaign is taking pace against Alstom and its partner company Veolia, with victories in Sweden and France. In 2006, Dutch ASN Bank took the responsible decision to divest from the project. Alstom and Veolia are accused by Palestinian civil society, represented by the BDS National Committee, BNC, of complicity in grave violation of international law and Palestinian rights for their role in the JLR project. Despite the pressure, the two companies have refused to end their participation in the project. With construction at an advanced stage, Alstom and Veolia are guilty of actively colluding with Israeli apartheid.

1.      Write to the Saudi Railway Organization and to the Saudi Arabian diplomatic representation in your country demanding immediate cancellation of the contract with Alstom.

o      Saudi Railway Organisation contact details (http://tiny.cc/llcfC) karni@saudirailways.org (Vice President) shafqatrabbani@sro.org.sa (Project Manager) salim@sro.org.sa (Project Manager) sohail@sro.org.sa (Project Engineer) o        Saudi Arabian diplomatic representations worldwide: http://tiny.cc/NvtOd Please bcc us on your correspondence: saudialstomdivestment@gmail.com

2.      Sign the petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/BDSaudi/petition.html

3.      Write about this issue in your local media. Discuss it in your local mosque and community centers. Participate in actions for boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel.

Find Out More!

The Case Against Veolia and Alstrom: GulfNews: Company in Saudi rail project linked to Israel: http://www.gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi_arabia/10318520.html

Divestment campaign gains momentum in Europe: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10418.shtml

Veolia looses 3.5 billion EUR contract in Sweden: http://www.diakonia.se/sa/node.asp?node=2807

PLO takes Veolia Transport and Alstom to court in France: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9104.shtml

Legal action in France against Veolia and Anstrom: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6674.shtml

Time to hold Veolia to account: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10295.shtml

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians From Jerusalem: Ethnic Cleansing in East Jerusalem: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10381.shtml

Civic Coalition to Defend Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem: http://www.ccdprj.ps

Israeli House Demolitions in Jerusalem Slideshow: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2009/mar/06/israel-palestinian-territories

Policy of Residency Revocation of Palestinians in Jerusalem: http://www.btselem.org/English/Jerusalem/Revocation_of_Residency.asp

Global Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel: http://www.bdsmovement.net/ ____________________

8. War crimes in Gaza: Palestinian lawyers take on Israel

Juliane von Mittelstaedt | Der Spiegel

5 June 2009

Four months after the war in Gaza, Palestinian lawyers have prepared 936 lawsuits against the Israeli military over alleged war crimes. Some of the cases could soon be tried at Spain’s National Court under universal jurisdiction.

When Iyad al-Alami wants to survey the fallout of the Gaza war, he simply has to step out of his office and walk up the stairs to the top floor of the building where he works. There, piles of shrapnel, twisted missile shells and massive armor-piercing shells are stored. New material is added every day, filling the boxes that cover the floor and are stacked along the walls. For Al-Alami, the debris is evidence of Israeli army war crimes. He hopes the weapons can be used again — but this time in a courtroom.

Al-Alami is the man behind efforts to assemble the biggest ever wave of lawsuits against Israel. He heads the legal department of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza City. From his windowless office, the taciturn lawyer is trying to convince courts around the world to take up his cause. Al-Alami is 45 years old, and he bears a slight resemblance to former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, whose image is hanging on Al-Alami’s wall. Although he is by no means a propagandist, Al-Alami refers to “Israeli war crimes” as if he were discussing a self-evident fact. But he sees himself as neutral, or at least as neutral as a Palestinian in the Gaza Strip can be. He has defended Hamas members in Fatah prisons and Fatah members in Hamas prisons. He has represented hundreds, perhaps even thousands, against the Israeli army since he co-founded the PCHR 14 years ago. In the best outcomes, Israel paid compensation for victims or convicted its soldiers of theft. But the center’s victories have all been minor. “We live in a system of impunity,” says Al-Alami.

The 4,747 Palestinian deaths which, according to the Israel human rights organization B’Tselem, resulted during the second intifada the Palestinian uprising that began in September 2000 — led to 30 criminal charges against Israeli soldiers, five convictions and only one longer jail term. According to the PCHR, 1,417 people died in Israel’s most recent war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and many of the dead were civilians. This must not happen again, says Al-Alami. His dream is to see an international tribunal for Gaza, equipped with his files and evidence. And it seems as if his vision could soon come true, at least in part.

Dozens of attorneys around the world — in Norway, Britain, New Zealand, Spain and the Netherlands — are working on the Gaza lawsuits. In a globalized world, justice is also global: The basis for the initiative is the principle of universal jurisdiction in international law, which makes it possible to file suits worldwide for war crimes, genocide, torture and crimes against humanity.

In Norway, six attorneys have filed a lawsuit for human rights violations against Israel. They are seeking a European warrant for the arrest of senior Israel officials — including former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

In London, Daniel Machover and Kate Maynard, attorneys with the law firm of Hickman & Rose Solicitors, are waiting for one of the people responsible for the war on the Israeli side to travel abroad. If the official travels to a country where it is legally possible to file charges for war crimes, a local attorney will immediately petition in that country for the arrest of the Israeli official in question.

Four years ago, the two lawyers secured a warrant for the arrest of Doron Almog who, as head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Southern Command, ordered so-called targeted killings. Almog, after receiving advance warning, escaped arrest at London’s Heathrow Airport by refusing to leave his plane and flying back to Israel. Since then, senior Israeli military officials, and even some politicians, are no longer willing to risk travel to Britain.

Al-Alami is currently pinning his hopes on Spain’s National Court in Madrid, which has become something of an unofficial world court. The National Court issued the arrest warrant against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, and it is now investigating allegations of detainee torture at Guantanamo. One of the court’s judges is investigating three Chinese cabinet ministers and other high-ranking Communist Party officials for their role in suppressing the Tibetan uprising in 2008.

And now the court is also investigating charges against the leadership of Israel, a democratic country and the only party to the war that can be sued. Meanwhile, Hamas remains unpunished for its acts of terror.

The basis for the Spanish court’s actions is a lawsuit filed in January against seven high-ranking Israeli military officials and politicians for the targeted killing of Hamas militia leader Sheik Salah Shehadeh in 2008, an attack that also claimed the lives of 14 civilians. The case could be suspended, but to prevent this from happening, Spanish attorney Gonzalo Boyé plans to expand the suit to include a total of 13 cases compiled by the PCHR. The cases, which involve disappearances, torture and killings, go back to 1983, although most are from January 2009. Boyé’s goal is to demonstrate that Israel systematically committed crimes, which is why the victims of the Gaza campaign are the focus of the lawsuit. “One case is a war crime,” says Boyé, “but 10 cases? That’s something else.” The new charges involve crimes against humanity. And if it becomes necessary, perhaps because the Spanish government, under pressure from abroad, is currently trying to limit the universal claims of its courts, Boyé is prepared to introduce a victim with ties to Spain: a Palestinian with relatives in Barcelona.

So far Israel has refused to cooperate with any systematic investigations. It rejects the International Criminal Court (ICC) and is not cooperating with Richard Goldstone, the head of a United Nations Human Rights Council fact-finding mission to Gaza. There have also been no criminal investigations into charges, brought by the Red Cross and human rights organizations, that the wounded could not be evacuated during the Gaza war, ambulances were shot at and civilians and refugees were attacked.

The only Israeli investigation to date addressed reports by soldiers claiming to have witnessed indiscriminate shootings of Palestinian civilians. After spending 11 days investigating the allegations, a commission concluded that the alleged killings were nothing but rumors. The Israeli army has now completed an internal review of the Gaza war, and has concluded that its soldiers made mistakes in only a “very small number of incidents.” These incidents “were unavoidable” and of the sort that “occur in all combat situations.”

Systematic war crimes, of the kind which Al-Alami accuses the Israelis of carrying out, are not easy to prove. The attorneys must demonstrate that the Israel military attacked civilians without reason, perhaps even deliberately. They must prove that these attacks were not part of the conduct of war against Hamas fighters, and that they were not simply cases of technical or human error, but the senseless taking of human life. But who is to decide whether such killings were accidental or intentional and if they show carelessness or cruelty?

On the other hand, no war has ever been as well-documented as the Gaza conflict, despite the Israeli ban on journalists. The Gaza Strip is small, witnesses are unable to leave, and evidence is preserved. Keeping this in mind, Iyad al-Alami and his team of eight attorneys, helped by dozens of volunteers, began questioning witnesses during the bombings. They collected shrapnel, took photographs, made videos and recorded the damage, often risking their lives to do so. “We had to collect evidence as quickly as possible before it was gone, before witnesses disappeared, victims died and the dead were buried,” says al- Alami.

In this way, they reconstructed the war, day-by-day and bomb-by-bomb. They compared the statements of eyewitnesses with the course of the war and with media reports. International weapons experts prepared analyses, and Palestinian doctors certified causes of death. The team even went to cemeteries to determine whether the graves matched the dead. “We have to be sure that everything is right,” says al-Alami.

The PCHR has recorded 936 cases, which represents the most comprehensive documentation of this war. They include alleged incidents of children shot at close range, women burned by white phosphorus shells and entire families buried under their houses.

Winning a case, just one, would be enough,” says al-Alami. “Then I would retire immediately, because I would have achieved everything.” Just one out of 936 cases. Al-Alami needs the perfect case.

The perfect case would have certain characteristics. The dead must be civilians. Credible witnesses are needed. Hamas fighters must not have been in the area, as they might have abused local residents as human shields. And the identities of those who gave the orders and those who did the killing must be clear.

Al-Alami refers again and again to the 13 blue ring binders stacked on his desk. Each binder represents one of 13 cases, and together the cases represent more than 100 dead. They are the worst cases, the cases for global justice, and Spanish attorney Gonzalo Boyé will use some as evidence to support his case of crimes against humanity. There is one ring binder for the 48 members of the Samuni family killed in the Gaza offensive, and another for the six members of the Abu Halima family burned by white phosphorus shells. There is one for the 11 members of the family of Hamas leader Nizar Rayan, whose house was destroyed by an Israeli air strike. There is one folder for those killed at the Arafat police academy. And there is one for the family of Amer al-Dayah.

Amer al-Dayah, 28, is the only member of a family of 23 who survived the bombardment of his parents’ house. The dead included his parents, three brothers, three sisters-in-law, two sisters and 12 nieces and nephews. Al-Alami shows some of the photos in the files. One depicts a child’s head in the rubble, eyes wide open, limbs severed. There was nothing left of nine of the victims, and al-Dayah found parts of his mother’s body as far as 100 meters (328 feet) away. “My family was simply gone,” says al-Dayah, a stout man with a boyish face.

The fate of his family is one of the first cases Gonzalo Boyé plans to submit in Madrid. Al-Dayah, the sole survivor, is pinning his hopes on the European court. He also knows that it could be years — if ever before a verdict is pronounced.

In its final report, the Israel army commented on the death of al- Dayah’s family. The pilot, the report reads, had erroneously received incorrect coordinates. Instead of the intended target, a warehouse, the bomb hit the al-Dayahs. In other words, it was a “professional mistake,” nothing more.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

9. Left-wing activists evacuated from tent built opposite outpost

Anat Shalev | YNet News

6 June 2009

IDF troops forcibly removed dozens of left-wing and Palestinian activists who were trying to erect a tent in South Mt. Hebron with a Palestinian family claiming ownership of the land. The family says that it owns the land near the Susya settlement on which an illegal outpost has been built. Settlers called the outpost Givat Hadegel.

The activists, members of Combatants for Peace, were successful in erecting their tent but were removed from the area a short time later by IDF troops alerted to the scene. A confrontation ensued between the two sides, culminating in the dismantling of the tent. The outpost still stands.

Ofra Ben Porat, a member of Combatants for Peace: “We came here in cooperation with Palestinian residents of Susya to protest the establishment of the outpost called Givat Hadegel, near Susya. This is a specific example of the reality in South Mt. Hebron. Week after week the settlers steal more and more lands, suffocating the Palestinians and their livelihoods, restricting their movement to the absurd point where their flocks can’t graze in the pastures they own. We came to the hill where the outpost was built and decided to build a tent on the Palestinians’ territory to assert their presence.”

Ben Porat accused the military of declaring areas claimed by the settlers as closed military zones and blocking entry to left-wing activists and Palestinians.

The soldiers cleared us, 200 people, aggressively. There’s no law, everything is done according to the soldiers’ will. We know that even filing a complaint with the police won’t accomplish anything. When Peace Now turned to the military about this outpost, they were told that this outpost isn’t recognized. The policy is deliberately fuzzy, the soldiers set the policies and there’s complete lawlessness when it comes to the Palestinians,” she said.

The IDF has yet to respond to the protestors claims.

Link: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3727046,00.html

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April 8, 2009

ISM Digest: April 5, 2009

Posted in ISM Updates tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:02 pm by Alexia

1. Israeli forces impose collective punishment on Saffa village following attack on settler youth
2. Land Day Demonstration in Halhul, Hebron District
3. Warmth and support
4. The Lentils Did Ok Today
5. Thousands of dunums confiscated for Israeli settler road near Nablus
6. Israeli exports hit by European boycotts after attacks on Gaza
7. Israeli settlers take over Palestinian residence in Jerusalem’s old city
8. They Will Not Go Down: Celebrating Life and Land Day
9. Gazan fishermen protest against Israeli Navy attacks
10. Israeli authorities confiscate land from Deir Sharaf to build new checkpoint
11. Beit Liqya commemorates Land Day by planting trees near martyr’s graves
12. Gazan farmers continue their work despite army shooting
13. Land Day demonstration in Ni’lin
14. Congresswoman Lee makes statement regarding Tristan Anderson

1. Israeli forces impose collective punishment on Saffa village following attack on settler youth

2 April 2008

Israeli forces imposed collective punishment on the village of Saffa, following an axe attack in a nearby settlement that left a Settler child dead and another injured. At around 1:30pm, dozens of soldiers entered the village, declaring a 24-hour curfew and preventing residents from leaving their homes. Israeli authorities have said that the military operation was in response to the attack on the settler children, which occurred in the settlement of Bet Ayn, located adjacent to Saffa. However, the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits acts of collective punishment against civilian populations.

After the curfew was declared in Saffa, Israeli forces began conducting several house-to-house searches. Hundreds of men, and boys over the age of 15, were forced into the village mosque where they were questioned by Israeli intelligence officers and had their ID cards checked. At this time, at least three villagers were placed under formal arrest and taken away in army jeeps.

Several of the men detained in the mosque also had parts of their identification papers confiscated by soldiers, who never returned the documents. Israeli jeeps periodically drove through Saffa and the nearby village of Beit Omar, firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Dozens of Palestinian youth resisted the army incursion, at times responding to the invasion by throwing stones at the jeeps.

The army also took up position in three village residences, in two cases forcing their inhabitants to leave the house altogether without their possessions. Israeli flags were planted on the roofs of these houses. Several interiors of houses were damaged during the house searches. Soldiers occupying the houses told residents that they were positioning themselves in the village to protect Saffa from settler reprisals. Yet the curfew, road closures, arrests, house occupations, and military presence were clearly meant to punish the entire village for what happened to the two settler boys.

The Israeli army also used military bulldozers to close the roads leading into Saffa in at least three places. The villages of Beit Omar and Surif also experienced closures on their main roads in the form of earth mounds. The military gate at the entrance to Beit Omar remained closed for more than 24 hours. The closing of roads in these three villages affected around 30,000 residents. Additionally, several hours after the attack on the settlement, a checkpoint was installed on the main road between Bethlehem and Hebron, just in front of the village of Halhul. Traffic quickly backed up as hundreds of cars had to undergo security checks.

On the following day of 3 April, a large military presence still remained in Saffa, and most roads in the area continue to be closed. At around 9am, villagers removed an army earth mound between Beit Omar and Saffa. The army returned to build the roadblock again, only to clear the road a few hours later and build a new roadblock on another street. All three houses continued to be occupied by soldiers, though the residents who have been forced to leave their homes have been allowed to retrieve some of their personal belongings. Two taxi drivers in Beit Omar also had the keys to their cars taken by the military and not returned.

Photos: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/5848

2. Land Day Demonstration in Halhul, Hebron District

At mid day on the 4th of April, around forty Palestinians from Halhul and the surrounding villages set off to cultivate land near the illegal settlement of Karmi Zur.  Halhul is a village in the Hebron district of the southern West Bank.  Demonstrators were also joined by Israeli and international solidarity activists.

The protestors headed up the road to the fields around that village that have restricted access to Palestinian farmers.  The Israeli military restricts these lands due to their proximity to the illegal Israeli settlement of Karme Zur.  These fields are also dangerous for Palestinian farmers to cultivate because of attacks and harassment fom settlers.

Soldiers in two jeeps arrived and escorted the demonstators up the road as settlers came to the security fence around Karme Zur.  The soldiers then stopped the protestors from continuing any further but one Palestinian farmer headed out to his fields and started cultivating his land.  The crowd followed, helping the famer to clear rocks, dig the soil and plant crops. There was singing and a festive atmosphere to the crowd as a dozen soldiers lined up between the protestors and the settlement and made a failed attempt to detain a Palestinian man.

Thirty minutes later, around 30 more soldiers and border police arrived and issued an order declaring the area a closed military zone, demanding that everyone leave the land.  Israeli forces then began to break up the demonstration. The army began to push people off the land, using sound grenades to disperse the crowd.  The demonstrators attempted to hold their ground, and two Israeli activists were arrested.

In December 2007, owners of grape fields surrounding the settlement of Karme Zur presented a complaint to the Israeli official responsible for the lands surrounding the settlement. The complaint described the damage to the grape fields due to the military injunctions that limit the access of farmers to their land in order to provide “security for the settlers.”

Throughout Palestine for the past week, people have been commemorating Land Day. The protest in Halhul is amongst the last of around 50 such markings across Palestine.  Land Day marks the date of the Palestinian demonstration that occurred in the Galilee in 1976 against the planned confiscation of around 21,000 dunams (21km) of land from Palestinian farmers in Israel and the subsequent assault by Israeli forces on the demonstrators that resulted in 6 Palestinian deaths, 96 people injured and 300 arrests.

Photos: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/5863

3. Warmth and support

Eva Bartlett (see blog at http://ingaza.wordpress.com)

4 April 2009

I met Ramadan and Sabrine Shamali at a Sheyjayee market a couple of days ago. They were going to buy new blankets, mattresses, and other essentials, including clothing, to replace what was lost when their house was attacked by the invading Israeli army during Israel’s war on Gaza. They were using money sent from those outside of Gaza in solidarity with Palestinians.

Ramadan knew the best place for blankets, a small store in the district, with blankets mostly brought in through sporadically-opened borders or, more likely, the tunnels. I was told that immediately after the war, when people were scrambling to replace burned and destroyed blankets, there were nearly none to be had, with the borders closed since November 4 and the tunnels out of order.

We eyed the different weights and got a run-down of the prices: a 7 kg blanket goes for 270 shekels (~$65), a 5 kg for170 shekels (~$40), and a children’s for 75 shekels (~$18). The mattresses were 170 shekels, pillows 25 shekels, and a large, woven floor mat 170 shekels.

Just replacing these items ended up costing the couple 1500 shekels, or about $365. While the days have gotten warmer, nights still merit good blankets, particularly in a missile-hole-riddled house.

Needless to say, Sabrine and Ramadan were pleased to finally replace them, 2 months after their losses.

From there we headed to a clothing market in the same region, where items like underwear for the kids and sports pants, t-shirts, and other children’s needs were added to the bill.

They’ll still be living in a house most would consider not fit, not safe, for habitation. But such is the dilemma of so many here, where cement is on the banned list, held at bay by Israeli authorities from the Palestinians here who so desperately need it.

Photos: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/5841

4. The Lentils did Ok Today

Sharon Lock (see blog at http://talestotell.wordpress.com)

31 March 2009

Today we accompanied farmers in the Latamat area on the outskirts of Khoza’a. The last time we were out farming in Khoza’a the shooting was the closest I’d experienced, and from the video footage it looked like the Israelis were aiming to shoot my college J in the leg. Since later that same day Wafa was shot in the kneecap, and not too long before that farmer Mohammed was shot in the foot while we were with him, the ISM group had been taking stock of our role. We decided that Gaza ISM had to hold meetings with any farmers that wanted our accompaniment and be absolutely sure they understood that our presence protects them only mildly if in fact it protects them at all.

My personal feeling was that as long as they are clear on that, then if they still want us we should still go, but then I have to leave Gaza soon. In the Khoza’a meeting (this included showing our video footage of the Faraheen shooting of Mohammed and telling them about Tristan’s shooting and the past killings of ISMers) the farmers replied “Ok, maybe they shoot at us when you are with us, well we’re used to that because they shoot at us when you are not with us. So it’s normal. But if you are with us when it happens – at least you can tell the world about it.”

So we met the mostly women farmers at 7am (often women work the most dangerous areas in the hope the soldiers will shoot less) and walked to the fields which were about 4-500 metres from the border. Today’s crop was lentils. I have never seen a lentil plant before, and I certainly hope no-one has to shell the lentils individually cos that would really be some job.

The farmers told us they had been shot at the day before in this same field. Several of us had had bad dreams the night before, and I’d written a quick will with various keepsakes for Gaza friends. In the van, E and I exchanged computer passwords and emergency contact numbers. (Actually, I’ve noticed her looking speculatively at me sometimes, since I told her she gets my laptop if something happens to me here.) She also informed me that for her martyr poster if she died, she wanted a picture of her with a donkey. So it was with somewhat of a sense of doom we walked down the track among golden wheatfields. And when explosions started shaking the ground, we wondered if we should even keep going. We rang our friend J in Faraheen, since they seemed to be coming from his direction.

But he told us that actually what we could hear was a fight between Palestinian resistance, and Israeli occupation forces, in Maghazi camp (where Dr Halid – who is a nurse not a doctor – and his family live) which was a lot further north. So the lentil picking got underway and we tried to feel reassured by the fact that the F16s and Apaches flying overhead, and the distant roaring, were not directed at us. But I couldn’t help imagining what it must be like to be a resistance fighter on the ground facing those Apaches and F16s.

Anyway, it wasn’t long before two jeeps turned up at the border, and Israeli soldiers got out. We waited for the inevitable, and it came – a short burst of shooting only broadly in our general direction. The women working on the ground tensed up and waited. But that turned out to be it. The soldiers got back in the jeeps, and the jeeps drove off again. Some hours later, lots of lentils were picked, the sun was high, everyone was relaxed, and the morning was a success.

You can see my colleage G’s Youtube footage of the brief shooting, which he has cheekily finished with a minute or two of me and E entertaining ourselves with some of the dubke dance steps we’ve learnt. You can also find a report of the day and archived articles and videos at the new blog Gaza ISMers have created to support the campaign to protect Gaza farmers, at http://farmingunderfire.blogspot.com/. Please tell your friends.

Later we heard that in Maghazi camp, two fighters were killed, 2 injured, and an Israeli soldier was injured and an Israeli jeep destroyed. I texted Dr Halid and asked how the little girls were. “My children are used to bombing now”, he replied resignedly. I can’t help but feel like the resistance fighters took the fire for us today. If Israel hadn’t been busy shooting at them, from past experience it seems a sure thing they would have stuck round to shoot at us, like they had at the same farmers in the same place the day before. I guess that’s why the resistance is called the resistance.

Later that afternoon, V and I were sitting smoking shisha, looking out at the sea, and gunfire got our attention again. Squinting, we spotted another Israeli gunship, tormenting another Palestinian fishing boat. The gunboat alternated tightly circling the fishing boat with drive-by shooting; we could see the spray as the bullets hit the water. It reminded me of nothing more than a cat playing with a mouse. This was still going on several hours later when we left.

Today, E heard that yesterday a woman she visited in Al Shifa hospital, Ghada, the 21 year old mum of two little girls, finally died in an Egyptian hospital of her horrendous white phosphorous burns. Before she was sent out to Egypt she gave her testimony to my friend M, one of the Al Quds Red Crescent workers, and it is posted here on the B’T Selem website. Please read it. It’s the least we can do.

Oh…and Israel dropped its internal investigation into possible war crimes by the Israeli army in the Dec/Jan attacks.

Photo: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/5830

5. Thousands of dunums confiscated for Israeli settler road near Nablus

Ma’an News Agency  2 April 2009

Israeli authorities issued orders to confiscate more than one thousand dunums of Palestinian lands of the village of Qaryut south of Nablus, head of the villages and municipal affairs office in Nablus Ghassan Daghlas said on Thursday.

On the land a road will be constructed linking the three illegal settlements, He noted that “this decision aims at to construct a three kilometer road to link the Israeli illegal settlement of Shilo, and the illegal settlement outposts of Hayovel and a second known locally as the “Qaryut” outpost.

Daghlas noted that Israeli bulldozers had been surveying the area for days, and that there seemed to be a coordinated effort between soldiers and settlers, who constructed a road barrier near the village of Der Sharaf, while military crews expanded the Yitzhar road after confiscating Palestinian lands adjacent to it. The village representative also mentioned that several home demolition orders were served in the past weeks in the nearby villages of Tana and At-Tawila, both south of Nablus.

Head of the village council of Qaryot, Abed An-Naser Badawi, told Ma’an that “the settlers along with the soldiers blocked the southern entrance of the village and began to confiscate the land.” The day before he said settlers distributed written orders saying the land would be confiscated. Qaryot village has a population of more than 2700 people is surrounded with a number of Israeli settlements.

Photos:  http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/5819

6. Israeli exports hit by European boycotts after attacks on Gaza

Rachel Shabi | The Guardian

3 April 2009

Israeli companies are feeling the impact of boycott moves in Europe, according to surveys, amid growing concern within the Israeli business sector over organised campaigns following the recent attack on Gaza.

Last week, the Israel Manufacturers Association reported that 21% of 90 local exporters who were questioned had felt a drop in demand due to boycotts, mostly from the UK and Scandinavian countries. Last month, a report from the Israel Export Institute reported that 10% of 400 polled exporters received order cancellation notices this year, because of Israel’s assault on Gaza.

There is no doubt that a red light has been switched on,” Dan Katrivas, head of the foreign trade department at the Israel Manufacturers Association, told Maariv newspaper this week.

We are closely following what’s happening with exporters who are running into problems with boycotts.” He added that in Britain there exists “a special problem regarding the export of agricultural produce from Israel”.

The problem, said Katrivas, is in part the discussion in the UK over how to label goods that come from Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. Last week British government officials met with food industry representatives to discuss the issue.

In recent months, the Israeli financial press has reported the impact of mounting calls to boycott goods from the Jewish state. Writing in the daily finance paper, the Marker, economics journalist Nehemia Stressler berated then trade and industry minister Eli Yishai for telling the Israeli army to “destroy one hundred homes” in Gaza for every rocket fired into Israel.

The minister, wrote Stressler, did not understand “how much the operation in Gaza is hurting the economy”.

Stressler added: “The horrific images on TV and the statements of politicians in Europe and Turkey are changing the behaviour of consumers, businessmen and potential investors. Many European consumers boycott Israeli products in practice.”

He quoted a pepper grower who spoke of “a concealed boycott of Israeli products in Europe”. In February, another article in the Marker, titled “Now heads are lowered as we wait for the storm to blow over”, reported that Israelis with major business interests in Turkey hoped to remain anonymous to avoid arousing the attention of pro-boycott groups.

The paper said that, while trade difficulties with Turkey during the Gaza assault received more media attention, Britain was in reality of greater concern.

Gil Erez, Israel’s commercial attache in London, told the paper: Organisations are bombarding [British] retailers with letters, asking that they remove Israeli merchandise from the shelves.” Finance journalists have reported that Israeli hi-tech, food and agribusiness companies suffered adverse consequences following Israel’s three-week assault on Gaza, and called for government intervention to protect businesses from a growing boycott.

However, analysts stressed that the impact of a boycott on local exporters was difficult to discern amidst a global economic crisis and that such effects could be exaggerated.

If there was something serious, I would have heard about it,” said Avi Tempkin, from Globes, the Israeli business daily.

Israeli companies are thought to be wary of giving credence to boycott efforts by talking openly about their effect, preferring to resolve problems through diplomatic channels.

Consumer boycotts in Europe have targeted food produce such as Israeli oranges, avocados and herbs, while in Turkey the focus has been on agribusiness products such as pesticides and fertilisers.

The bulk of Israeli export is in components, especially hi-tech products such as Intel chips and flashcards for mobile phones. It is thought that the consumer goods targeted by boycott campaigns represent around 3% to 5% of the Israeli export economy.

http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/5815

7. Israeli settlers take over Palestinian residence in Jerusalem’s old city

On the 2nd of April at 2am, at least seven armed Israeli settlers took over a Palestinian residence on al-Malwiyeh Street in Jerusalem’s old city.  The house’s owner, Nasser Jaber, was away for four nights while the building was being renovated.  The settlers arrived in the early morning, breaking open the door and changing the locks.  A neighbor called Nasser to tell him that his house was being invaded, and Nasser called the police.

When the police arrived around 3am, they protected the settlers and allowed them to complete their takeover unhindered.  Police claim that the settlers will be allowed to stay in the house until an Israeli court has made a decision over whether they are to be evicted.  Nasser and another resident protested the takeover on the street outside of their home, and they were promptly arrested.  Police released the two men after two hours.  Nasser has presented his ownership documents to the Israeli court.  The court says it will reach a decision as to who owns the house on Sunday.  In the afternoon, police were seen giving food and electrical equipment to the settlers inside of Nasser’s house.

This most recent takeover follows months of increased settler activity in occupied East Jerusalem.  Palestinian residents in Jerusalem’s old city, Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, and elsewhere often face eviction, with settlers given ownership of their houses.

Photo: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/5791

8. They Will Not Go Down: Celebrating Life and Land Day

Eva Bartlett (see blog at http://ingaza.wordpress.com)

31 March 2009

Less than two months have passed since the end of Israel’s grisly war on Gaza. Not a house has been re-built (there is no cement; Israel continues to ban its entry into Gaza), thousands are displaced or sheltering in an overcrowded relative’s house or renting a scarcely- available apartment. The aid has stockpiled on the other side of crossings into Gaza, many trucks being sent back or expired. And the pain of loss, let alone of seeing family members -children, siblings, parents-burned by white phosphorous, being murdered or left to bleed to death is still unbearably fresh.

Yet Palestinians are trying to move on, again, while dealing with a siege which has only tightened post-destruction of Gaza. Last week Palestinian youths held a concert in the burnt-out theatre in one of the al Quds hospital buildings, attacked and seriously damaged by Israel during its war on Gaza [more than 14 hospitals and medical centres were bombed and damaged by Israeli army, 2 clinics were destroyed, 44 other damaged, and 23 emergency workers and medics were killed].

Quds Concert

Charred walls as a backdrop, piles of twisted metal, burnt rafters, and the ash of destroyed walls framing the stage, the next generation of Palestinian parents and leaders stood proud last Thursday, saying with their presence, as well as singing, “we will not go down”. The Michael Heart song written during Israel’s 3 weeks of attacks on Gaza caught the spirit of what Palestinians have been saying and living for decades, since the Zionists first began -even before Israel was created on the smoking ruins of Palestinian villages -their assassinations and acts of terrorism designed to frighten and drive out the existing Palestinian population.

On stage, a youth troupe of Dabke dancers held their own, did justice to the art that is Dabke. What was evident more than the skill of the musicians and dancers was Palestinians’ drive to live, to laugh, to show off and share their love of life. Just as with a concert organized by several youths last November to lift the spirits of Palestinians in Gaza living under a suffocating siege, the crowd clearly reveled in the opportunity for joy …after so much tragedy.

Land Day

In Gaza’s northern Beit Hanoun region, Palestinians, led by women, marched to land in the Israel-imposed “buffer zone” to tend the remaining trees and proclaim their right to the land. The area once flourished with olive, lemon, orange, guava and almond trees, in the years before Israeli invasions razed them to the ground, simultaneously razing history and life. Following Israel’s latest bout of destruction upon Gaza, most sources cite 60,000-75,000 dunams (1 dunam is 1,000 square metres) of fertile, cultivable land as having been destroyed by Israeli tanks and bulldozers. In Gaza’s perimeter areas, the “buffer zone” annexes land to Israel, gobbling up rich soil which had served Gaza’s agricultural needs. As of the last attacks on Gaza, as much as 60 % of the agriculture industry has been destroyed by Israel, further rendering Gazans aid-dependent.

Yet, again despite the gravity of the bleak situation Palestinians are facing, all over Palestine, on Land Day their voices were loud in protest, in defiance, and in joy. Organized by Beit Hanoun’s Local Initiative, a group leading agricultural and social projects in the northern region, Land Day celebrants sang, danced Dabke, tended their trees, and celebrated being on their land. On any given normal day, most of the residents would hesitate to go to this border region area due to the Israeli soldiers’ shooting which routinely erupts dangerously close to anyone on the land.

Photos: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/5780

9. Gazan fishermen protest against Israeli Navy attacks

On the 2nd of April, dozens of fishermen from the Salateen area in Beit Lahiya in the far north of Gaza, staged a march towards the coast to protest against recent Israeli naval attacks.  The demonstrators were joined by the Director of the General Syndicate of Marine Fishers, Nizar Ayash, as well as Palestinian activists from the Beit Hanoun Local Initiative. The demonstration was supported by volunteers from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), amongst them two international activists abducted by Israeli naval forces last November.

The Israeli navy has intensely escalated its attacks against Gazan fishermen since the recent onslaught on the Gaza Strip.  In just the past three weeks, at least two fishermen have been injured by gunfire, 16 have been abducted (some of them tortured and later released) and seven fishing boats have been stolen without being returned.  Several other boats have also reportedly been damaged by Israeli gunfire. Most of the fishermen are from the Salateen area, some of whom now face bleak situations ­ in the wake of losing their homes during Israeli bombing raids, they have now lost their sole means of income in an area already greatly impoverished by the continued Israeli siege on Gaza.

Photos:  http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/5773

 

10. Israeli authorities confiscate land from Deir Sharaf to build new checkpoint

Posted: April 2, 2009

Israeli authorities have recently removed Beit Iba checkpoint, north of the city of Nablus, only to build a new checkpoint 2km away on the same road.  This new checkpoint is located west of the village of Deir Sharaf, closer to the illegal Israeli settlement of Shave Shomeron. The new checkpoint is being built on at least 70 dunums of confiscated village land.  Most of this land consists of agricultural fields belonging to 23 families from Deir Sharaf.  Dozens of olive trees are to be cut down or confiscated when the new checkpoint is implemented.

In 2006, when the settlement of Shave Shomeron was built, around 700 dunums of land and more than 700 olive trees were taken from Deir Sharaf village.  The villagers have since been denied access to this land, apart from three days each year during the olive harvest.

A villager from Deir Sharaf speaks about this new confiscation of village lands: “There has already been taken so much land taken from us because of the settlement, why do they need to move the checkpoint? When they confiscated our land and our trees three years ago, we where denied access to it the whole year except three days during the harvest. As every farmer knows, three days to do the harvest is impossible, it is a big joke. When the harvest began, the grass around the trees was a meter high and the trees were in terrible condition due to the lack of careful treatment that the olive fields require. This is injustice, this land belongs to us. We will not accept more land being confiscated.”

http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/5769

11. Beit Liqya commemorates Land Day by planting trees near martyr’s graves

On the 31st of March, at 10:30am, villagers in Beit Liqya marked Land Day by planting trees near the graves of two villagers killed by Israeli forces during demonstrations against the Apartheid Wall in 2005.  Beit Liqya is located in the Ramallah district of the central West Bank.  Around 200 villagers, supported by Israeli and international solidarity activists, moved towards the Apartheid Wall, which is built on village land.

Around 50 boys from the local youth committee beat drums and marched in procession to the graves of two boys killed by Israeli forces. Jamal Jaber, 15 years old, and Uday Mofeed, 14 years old, were shot with live ammunition during nonviolent demonstrations against the construction of the Apartheid Wall in 2005.  Villagers planted trees near their graves, connecting the martyrs’ deaths to the continued brutality of the Israeli occupation and remembering the murder of six Palestinian demonstrators in 1976, which is commemorated every year on Land Day.

After the trees were planted, three Israeli soldiers standing nearby began shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowd and firing live ammunition into the air.  Some of the village youth responded to the soldiers by throwing stones.  One Israeli solidarity activist was hit in his back with a rubber bullet.

Photos: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/5822

12. Gazan farmers continue their work despite army shooting

On the morning of the 1st of April, ISM Gaza Strip activists returned to accompany Palestinian farmers in the area of Khouza’a, east of Khan Younis.  This is the same area where farmers working their fields were almost shot on the 24th of February.  The fields are far away from the Israeli watchtowers and about 400 meters from the Green Line. Despite this, the farmers had problems when they tried to reach their fields on the two previous days because of the shooting from Israeli troops.

The work began at 7:40am and about 25 minutes later, two army jeeps moved along the fence and approached the group of farmers and activists.  The soldiers got out and started watching.   It was obvious that the group was posing no threat to the soldiers.  Most of the Palestinian farmers were middle-aged women.  Many of the international solidarity activists were wearing fluorescent or Red Crescent vests.  But after a few minutes of watching, the Israeli soldiers started shooting.

One of the ISM activists tried to deescalate the situation by talking to the army by megaphone but they still continued shooting.  The farmers resisted the attack by ignoring the fire and continuing their work.   After awhile, the soldiers withdrew and quit their attempt to expel the Palestinian farmers from their land.  Despite the intimidation of the Israeli soldiers, and despite the fact that they could hear the intense battles between Israeli occupation forces and Palestinian resistance fighters (two of them killed and another two injured) east of Al Meshazi camp further north, the farmers stayed and defended their rights to work their land.  Today they won the battle, tomorrow is another day.

Photos and video download: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/5807

13. Land Day demonstration in Ni’lin

On March 30th, about 30 Palestinian villagers from Ni’lin, supported by international and Israeli solidarity activists, held a protest to commemorate Land Day. The nonviolent demonstration was stopped by Israeli forces on the outskirts of the village, far away from the construction site of the wall. Three military jeeps parked in the main street of the village to block the protest, shooting tear gas, sound bombs, and rubber coated steel bullets against the demonstrators.

The demonstration started at the main square of the village and continued towards the field where the Israeli army blocked their path. Several speeches were given and when the demonstrators tried to continue the army claimed that the village fields was a closed military zone. The Israeli commander also argued that villagers in Ni’lin do not have the right to demonstrate.

Demonstrators then tried to enter the field from other spots near the clinic and were subsequently attacked by soldiers with sound bombs, tear gas and rubber coated steal bullets. At the end of the demonstration some protesters managed to reach the illegal Apartheid Wall, damaging a small part of it.

This Land day demonstration remembers the six Palestinans murdered by the Israeli army for protesting against land confiscation in 1976. Ni’lin villagers know well that land confiscation is still a reality in Palestine. Since 1948, Ni´lin residents have lost more than 85% of their land to confiscation from Israeli authorities and illegal settlement building. Since the resistance against the Apartheid Wall began in Ni´lin in May 2008, four youth have been killed by Israeli forces in nonviolent demonstrations. Nineteen people have also been shot with live ammunition and over 600 have been injured by other army weaponry.

Photos: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/5736

14. Congresswoman Barbara Lee makes statement regarding Tristan Anderson

Congresswoman Barbara Lee makes a statement regarding the American citizen, Tristan Anderson, who was shot in the head with a tear-gas projectile on 13 March 2009 by Israeli forces. Anderson, currently in critical condition at Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv, was shot during a demonstration in the West Bank village of Ni’lin.

 

YouTube link:  http://www.youtube.com/user/RepLee

 

http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/5746

 

PLEASE FORWARD THIS UPDATE WIDELY

 

DONATE @ http://palsolidarity.org/donate

 

WEBSITE: http://palsolidarity.org
YOUTUBE: http://youtube.com/user/ISMPalestine
TWITTER: http://twitter.com/ismpalestine
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ISM Update 8 April 09: Funds needed for Tristan Anderson’s medical expenses

Posted in ISM Updates tagged , , , , , at 11:50 am by Alexia

PLEASE FORWARD THIS UPDATE WIDELY
Tristan Anderson, an American citizen, was critically injured during a demonstration in the West Bank village of Ni’lin. Anderson was shot in the head with a tear gas projectile from around 60 meters by Israeli forces on 13 March 2009. (See: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5324 )

Tristan (38), is currently in Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv. To date, he has undergone 3 brain surgeries.  During the first operation, part of Tristan’s right frontal lobe had to be removed, as it was penetrated by bone fragments. A brain fluid leakage was sealed using a tendon from his thigh, and his right eye suffered extensive damage. The long-term scope of Tristan’s injuries is yet unknown.

Tristan has been a social justice activist for many years. He grew up in Oakland, California, where he was introduced to activism at a young age. Over the past years, Tristan has been involved in numerous projects, including Food Not Bombs, a group that cooks for the homeless, and an operation committed to stopping the destruction of tree groves in Berkley California through sit-in demonstrations. He recently traveled to the West Bank to show solidarity with the Palestinian people.

As Tristan has been in intensive care for three weeks, it is certain that his recovery process is accompanied by mounting medical expenses. We ask that supporters around the world donate what they can to help pay for Tristan’s care. He is without medical insurance in the United States and will need substantial financial assistance to continue the long-term treatment that his injuries will require.

Tax deductible donations  can be made through the Northern California ISM Chapter.  Please make checks out to ISM Support Group, with Tristan Anderson Fund as the memo line.  Please mail to

ISM Support Group 405 Vista Heights Rd. El Cerrito, CA 94530

OR

visit http://justicefortristan.org/?page_id=10 to donate via paypal

DONATE @ http://palsolidarity.org/donate

 

WEBSITE: http://palsolidarity.org
YOUTUBE: http://youtube.com/user/ISMPalestine
TWITTER: http://twitter.com/ismpalestine
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/pages/International-Solidarity-Movement/56674479144

March 31, 2009

ISM Digest 29 March 2009

Posted in ISM Updates tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:36 pm by Alexia

DIGEST March 29, 2009

1. List of actions in Palestine for Land Day and Global BDS Day
2. Israeli forces violently disperse Hebron demonstration, one German citizen arrested
3. CPT: Palestinian shepherds resist settler violence and disruption
4. Settlers using government transition to step up construction, March 29, 2009
5. IWPS: Army incursion in Haris, over 150 minors and youths arrested, March 27, 2009
6. Palestinian, you are on your own!, March 26, 2009
7. Another two children killed by Israeli explosive in the Gaza Strip, March 24, 2009
8. Guardian article about the press conference for tristans parents March 23
9. Jerusalem Capital of Arab Culture events continue despite ban and heavy police repression in occupied East Jerusalem,
10. EU urges Israel to suspend East Jerusalem evictions

1. List of actions in Palestine for Land Day and Global BDS Day
Stop the Wall | Global BDS Movement  30 March 2009
The people in Palestine are mobilizing for the 32nd annual commemoration of Land Day, happening March 30. Land Day marks the date of the Palestinian demonstration that occurred in the Galilee against a wide-scale land confiscation, when Israeli forces killed 6 Palestinians, injured 96 and arrested 300.
Today, the Land Day protests of the people in Palestine and around the world are focused on the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. The call for a global day of action on March 30 came out of the World Social Forum in Belem (Brazil) and aims to promote BDS as the most effective tool to stop Israeli policies of land theft and colonization and the discrimination, massacres and ethnic cleansing that have been carried out against the Palestinian people in pursuit of these goals.
Actions all across historic Palestine tie the ongoing defense of Palestinian land and agriculture from the Wall and settlement project to the call for boycott of Israeli products and institutions. Where farming becomes a form of resistance, choosing Palestinian over Israeli products is an essential part of the Palestinian struggle for justice, freedom, and return. Where a people is besieged, bombed and starved with the complicity of governments around the world, the call for global BDS becomes an essential tool to break the siege.
LIST OF ACTIONS
Galilee (’48 Palestine) – organized by the Higher Follow Up Committee of the Arab citizens of Israel
March 30, Deir Hanna: Demonstration against Israeli racism and fascism. Gathering at 3 pm.
March 30, Kufr Kanna: Demonstration at 10 am
March 30, Sakhnin: Demonstration at 10 am
Jenin
March 30, Rumaneh: Tree planting along with a workshop entitled “Land Day, BDS and the struggle against the Wall”.
Qalqiliya
March 27, Jayyous: Demonstration against the Wall and for the boycott of Israeli products.
March 29, Qalqiliya city: BDS district meeting. Activists, political representatives and students will discuss the boycott strategies in the district to work towards a ‘Qalqiliya district free of Israeli products’.
March 30, Jayyous: Demonstration against the Wall and for BDS along with the planting of olive trees.
March 30, Qalqiliya city: Demonstration against against Israeli occupation and for BDS
April 6 and 7, Qalqiliya city: Workshop in al Quds Open University Qalqiliya on economic and academic boycott as a form of resistance.
Ramallah
March 27, Ni’lin and Bil’in: demonstrations against the Wall and for BDS
March 27, al-Lubban: A day for voluntary work and painting of murals for the children, political workshop on BDS, and a film screening.
March 28, Shuqba: A day for voluntary work and painting of murals for the children as well as political workshop on BDS.
March 28, Sinjil: A day for voluntary work and painting of murals for the children, political workshop on BDS, and a film screening.
March 30, Qalandiya: Demonstration at Qalandiya checkpoint against the isolation of Jerusalem and for BDS.
April 3, Ni’lin and Bil’in: Demonstrations against the Wall and for BDS.
April 4, Beit Liqiya: A day for voluntary work and painting of murals for the children, political workshop on BDS, a film screening, and a dabke festival.
Saffa, April 4: A day of voluntary work, painting of murals for the children and the planting of olive trees.
Bethlehem
March 27, al Ma’sra: Demonstration against the Wall and for BDS.
March 30, Qubbet Rahel (Bethlehem): Women’s demonstration against the Wall and for BDS.
March 30, Beit Sahour: Workshop at the Palestinian Center For Rapprochement Between People covering the topics of communication for western audiences about Palestine and activism on Palestine and abroad, including BDS. (9 am ­ 12am).
April 3, Irtas: Planting olive trees.
April 3, al Ma’sra: Demonstration against the Wall and for BDS.
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5650
2. Israeli forces violently disperse Hebron demonstration, one German citizen arrested
11:30am on Saturday, the 28th of March, Israeli forces violently dispersed a Hebron demonstration, firing tear gas and sound bombs and arresting one German solidarity activist. More than 50 Palestinian residents of Hebron, supported by international and Israeli solidarity activists, were nonviolently rallying against the illegal Israeli settlements inside of Hebron’s old city. The demonstrators gathered near Beit Romano settlement, holding signs against the occupation and chanting, “free, free Palestine!”
Israeli soldiers and police responded by firing sound bombs and tear gas. At this time, the German solidarity activist was arrested and taken to the police station in Kiryat Arba, where he continues to be held.
Knesset member Mohammad Barakeh was also present to speak in support of the demonstration, which was organized by the Youth Against Settlements group. Barakeh was tear gassed and pushed by Israeli forces as the rally was dispersed.
The Hebron demonstration also marked Land Day, which commemorates the massacre of six Palestinian citizens of Israel by Israeli authorities during demonstrations in the Galilee on March 30, 1976. Every year, Land Day is remembered all over Palestine with protests against the Israeli occupation.
Hundreds of illegal settlers are living in Hebron’s old city. Israeli road closures prevent
Palestinian residents from accessing large areas of the old city, which remain under the direct control of the Israeli military.
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5637
3. CPT: Palestinian shepherds resist settler violence and disruption
Christian Peacemaker Teams  29 March 2009
South Hebron Hills, West Bank
[Note: According to the Geneva Conventions, the International Court of Justice in the Hague, and numerous United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal. Most settlement outposts are considered illegal under Israeli law.] In three recent incidents Palestinian shepherds asserted their right to graze their sheep on their own land, despite Israeli settlers attempts to intimidate the Palestinians and disrupt their agricultural work.
Palestinians in the South Hebron hills have responded to recent violence and incursions on their lands with a law suit and a nonviolent grazing action.
The morning of March 22, as shepherds from the village of At-Tuwani grazed their sheep in nearby Humra valley, a settler brought his flock to the area from the Israeli settlement outpost of Havot Ma’on. The settler called the police and army, claiming that one of the Palestinians had thrown a stone at him. When the police arrived, they detained the accused Palestinian and took him to Kiryat Arba police station. Internationals who had been present and videotaped the scene showed the police video and pictures demonstrating that the shepherd had not thrown stones, and the man was released. The following day the Palestinian shepherd returned to the police station with papers proving his ownership of the valley. He has filed a suit against the settler for trespassing.
On March 25, while Palestinian shepherds grazed their sheep on land belonging to the village of Juwayye, twenty Israelis approached from the settlement of Ma’on and shot at the shepherds. Despite the presence of Israeli soldiers and the Ma’on settlement security guard at the time of the shooting, no Israelis were arrested. Palestinian shepherds continued to graze their sheep for two hours after the shooting, but were then forced from the land by soldiers claiming they were too close to road 317.
On March 28 shepherds from Tuwani and other villages in the South Hebron Hills responded to recent harassment by gathering peacefully with their families to graze sheep in Khoruba valley near Tuwani. After they had been in the valley for about an hour four settlers, two with their faces covered, walked out from Havat Ma’on outpost into the flocks and among the shepherds and their children. In response, Palestinian shepherds sat down and refused to remove their sheep from the area. Israeli soldiers, police, and border police arrived but did nothing to prevent the settlers from disrupting the grazing sheep.
Palestinians in Tuwani and the surrounding villages face continued threats of violence and intimidation from setters. With the start of the grazing season, villagers say they expect the actions of the settlers will become increasingly disruptive, but that the villages remain committed to nonviolence as they confront the incursions.
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5654
4. Settlers using government transition to step up construction
Amos Harel | Ha’aretz   29 March 2009
Construction activity on West Bank settlements has increased in the transition period between the February general election and the formation of the new government, Haaretz has learned. One notable example is the extensive earthworks being carried out in preparation for the construction of a road connect the settlement of Eli, north of Ramallah, with the Hayovel outpost Yuval, just south of the Arab city.
The earthworks are being carried out on private land owned by residents of the Palestinian village of Qaryut. The mayor, Abd al- Latif Lavum, plans to submit a petition today to the High Court of Justice today demanding the issuing of a stop order to the Civil Administration to halt the work.
In fact, the Civil Administration, a government body that governs civilian aspects of daily life in the West Bank, has itself already issued an order to stop the work but it has not been enforced. Dror Etkes, Lands Project Coordinator for the nonprofit organization Yesh Din, which is facilitating the High Court petition, said that the organization’s records show the Eli-Hayovel road to be the largest such roadwork project related to the illegal outposts since since the publication of the Sasson Report on activity in the outposts in 2005.
Etkes, who has been monitoring Jewish construction in the West Bank for years, said that the construction began in Eli about two weeks ago. A dirt road was built between the two communities in 2003, but further development of the road was halted.
Etkes said that dozens of trucks brought gravel and earth over the past two weeks for the foundation of the 1,400-meter-long road. The cost of the project is estimated at a few million shekels. More than 90 percent of the road’s course passes through privately owned Palestinian lands.
While public attention was focused on the fighting in Gaza and the election campaign, we have been seeing a renewed effort on the part of settlers in outposts to increase construction,” Etkes said.
He said this renewed effort put an end to a period of relative inactivity that he ascribed to criticism from the United States of construction in the territories combined with tighter enforcement by Israeli authorities.
In addition to the Eli-Hayovel road, Yesh Din has documented recent work at the Havat Gilad outpost, west of Nablus, where settlers built a road to the Nablus bypass road.
The Defense Ministry said in a statement that Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the defense establishment are committed to enforcing law and order in the West Bank and have prevented the creation of new outposts as well as removing people from existing ones.
Minister Barak has instructed law enforcement authorities to act with determination against violations during the transition period as well,” the statement said.
The Yesha Council of Jewish Settlements said the High Court petition was “a legal provocation.”
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5645
5. IWPS: Army incursion in Haris, over 150 minors and youths arrested
International Women’s Peace Service  26 March 2009
A major military operation took place today in Haris between 2am and 5pm. Around 15 jeeps, 2 border police jeeps and vans belonging to Israeli Intelligence Shabak entered Haris and arrested around 150 people including large number of minors.
A number of people reported injury by the soldiers including several cases of beatings of small children and women. Soldiers also destroyed furniture, appliances, walls and various food products in at least 4 houses.
At 4:30pm most of the people who were arrested were released. At present IWPS is aware of 4 youths all aged 16 who have not been released and whose whereabouts is currently unknown. There are strong indications that more people were taken away and we are hoping to have more accurate figures soon.
At 2 am soldiers and jeeps entered Haris in a major military operation which lasted 15 hours. The soldiers raided most houses in Haris, arresting youths and interrogating them about their friends, family members and the layout of the houses. The IWPS has heard from many parents and adults that soldiers gave them a piece of paper with a number and photographed them holding this paper.
All those arrested were blindfolded, handcuffed and taken to the primary school in Haris. Here they were seated in the classrooms and in the playground and interrogated one by one by Shabak and the military. Those released were given a paper so that other soldiers would not re-arrest them as the arrests continued throughout the day.
The IWPS members witnessed several of the arrests and we have managed to secure photographic evidence and statements form a number of victims and their relatives.
IWPS also received a report of a man who suffered a back injury due to excessive use of force by the soldiers. The IWPS called for an ambulance which arrived shortly after but was denied entry into Haris by the soldiers, in spite of being urged by the IWPS and the villagers living near by. The reason given was that if a person was injured it would be army’s responsibility to take care of them and provide the ambulance. However, the Israeli ambulance parked nearby was not called by the soldiers to treat the injured man.
Two photojournalists who managed to enter Haris close to the primary school where shortly after escorted by the border police out of the village. In addition, a TV van and two other journalists were denied entry into Haris.
The army incursion finished around 4.30 and villagers fear that it might continue in the near future.
When questioned about the purpose of the incursion, IWPS members were told by the army that they were updating their database of information of Haris residents. Last Saturday 21st March there was another army incursion into Haris where army jeeps and Shabak vans parked in front of the primary school and took photos of the school.
IWPS is concerned about the current wave of arrests of residents of Haris and especially minors and youths. IWPS is also very concerned about the violent behavior of soldiers during the arrests and the use of primary school for detention and interrogation purposes. In addition the media access has repeatedly been denied and there is limited flow information including about the very serious human right abuses mentioned above.
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5599
6. Palestinian, you are on your own!
Natalie Abou Shakra  (see blog at http://gaza08.blogspot.com)
March 26, 2009
He said, “Your wife is beautiful, I want to sleep with her.” During the interrogation, they would hit us extensively. They prevent us from sleeping, urinating, drinking and eating. During my friend’s interrogation, they brought in his wife. They touched her breasts, her sensitive areas in front of him. They wanted him to admit to their accusations. Imprisonment by the occupation forces is the attempting to murder a resistant spirit… all that we have against their state-of- the-art weaponry .
Gilad Shalit “who turned 22 in captivity, will have been a hostage of Hamas for about 1,000 days,” writes Isabel Kershner on March 8th 2009, in the New York Times . öAround 11,700 Palestinians resisting illegal occupation, including children under the age of 18 and elderly, are held hostage by Apartheid Israel, writes the history of the oppressed. Most of those detained, according to Ali ‘Olwan a lawyer at the Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs in Gaza, have spent more than twenty years in captivity. These prisoners are held under inhumane conditions, says ‘Olwan, in denial of medical examination, no visits by their families and children are allowed, in addition to being subject to various torture techniques. Majdi, who is now 43, hasn’t seen his brother, Bashir, who has been in captivity since 1986, 23 years of age then. “My mother’s wish is to see her son before she dies. It has been 15 years that she last saw his face.”
After collecting information about you, they would break into your house one night. The Shin Bet would arrest you, take you into prison, remove all your clothes off. Sometimes with underwear, sometimes without. Undressing you is a must. Then, they begin the hakirah , which includes extensive interrogation… and hitting. They would then bring you clothes with an acrid smell, and begin to use their torture techniques. Have you heard of the shabeh ? Ihab Bidir, 30, arrested by the IOF on the Mata’hin checkpoint in Gaza six years ago after being accused of affiliation with Hamas, was released on the 27th of January, 2009. Before his release by four days, Bidir, in his testimony, admitted that he was taken into a special division of the Naqab prison, called division 1, which is not under the jurisdiction of the Israeli Prisons Authority, but under the military’s control. He specified being accused as an “enemy combatant” and that the officer investigating his case denied him access to legal representation and an independent and impartial court claiming his file as “top secret” and that this was “not a legal matter, but entirely political.” He was released after spending four nights in division 1, in solitude. Bidir was clueless as to why he got to be placed in, and why he was later released. The chair would be made of metal. A low seated chair, with a low back support. They’d tie your hands to the back, so that your spine would be inclined against the metal low back support. Being seated as such for hours, the pain resulting from the back, and the spine, would be intolerable. And, then, they would ask you to spread your legs wide open, and begin to whack your member- you would go insane!
After the Israeli Occupation Forces claimed withdrawing its troops from Gaza in 2005, while redeploying them, it stopped implementing administrative arrest codes, but begun placing the detained under the category of “enemy combatant.” This category was used by Israel in dealing with Hezbollah detainees. Prof. Peter Jan Honigsberg of the University of San Francisco School of Law writes that “enemy combatant did not and does not exist under international law,” that it was a generic term until February 2002,” and that the US administration created it for the case of its detainees (Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghreib) since it “circumvent[ed] the Geneva Conventions and the international human rights laws,” in addition, he continues, to shelter individual members of the administration from being charged with war crimes.” Since January 18, 2009, after the 22 day genocidal attacks on Gaza, Israel has placed more than 20 Palestinian detainees under the category of “enemy combatant”, says Ali ‘Olwan, and the number is increasing, making each individual placed under this category unprotected by international law.
They would ask if you smoked, and then try to lure you into admitting into their accusations by allowing you a cigarette, or with food, water, or by admitting you to go to the bathroom. If you wet yourself, they would rub your body against the liquid on the floor and strike you. Did I tell you about placing detainees in refrigerators?
The Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War in its 13th, 14th, and 15th articles states that the detainees must be treated humanely, with no violence and “physical mutilation” in cruel treatment and torture, in addition to no offenses upon “personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment”, along with “free of charge medical attention.” In placing prisoners under an internationally unrecognized category such as “enemy combatant,” the state of Israel adds on to the growing list of crimes against humanity yet another heinous violation. Kershner in her article published in the New York Times, states that “in a small country where 18-year-olds are conscripted into the army complete strangers feel intimately connected to the Shalits.” On a land whose non-Jewish natives underwent ethnic cleansing genocidal wars since 1948, it is time for the world to stand in solidarity with and be “intimately connected” to the six million refugees worldwide, the remaining families of martyrs, those men, women and children burnt alive, those who became physically challenged, those who live below the poverty line, those who cannot have an education, those who are racially discriminated against, those who want no help in fighting for their right to live with dignity on their land, those who choose to resist, limited resistance against the largest nuclear power in the region. What Kershner also needs to realize is that Shalit is an illegal occupier, and that the 11,700 detained Palestinians have the legal right to defend themselves, their land against any occupier, or modern-day colonizer.
More than 11,000 of us are in there. Is Shalit-the-occupier more human than us?
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5590
7. Another two children killed by Israeli explosive in the Gaza Strip
(21 March 2009) Mohammed Hiji and Ahmed Ishnayawra, both 14 years old according to medical sources, were killed in Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza city, on Saturday 21st of March by what is suspected to be Israeli ordinance, left unexploded after January’s invasion.
Mohammed was in the store, where he was working to support his family, as his father is handicapped as a result of an accident that caused him the loss of his right hand. Ahmed brought the object to the store where it exploded causing the death of the two boys.
Nobody else was in the store at the time of the explosion, so the details of the incident will never be known. What is sure is that Mohammed and Ahmed are two more innocent victims of a war that Israel has started and is refusing to cease. During the recent onslaught on Gaza alone, at least 313 children have been killed and 1,606 have been injured, according to the PCHR report, updated on the 19th of March.
Photo: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5572
8. Guardian: Parents of critically injured US peace activist demand justice from Israel
Rory McCarthy | The Guardian   March 23, 2009
Peace campaigner was struck in head with teargas grenade during demo in occupied West Bank
The parents of an American peace activist who was severely injured by Israeli forces at a demonstration in the occupied West Bank called on the Israeli government today to take “full responsibility” for the shooting.
Tristan Anderson, 38, was hit in the forehead by a high-velocity teargas canister fired by an Israeli border policeman in the village of Nilin earlier this month. The incident came after a demonstration against Israel’s West Bank barrier, which as elsewhere has cut off a large slice of the village’s agricultural land.
Since last July, four Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in similar demonstrations in the village.
Anderson was rushed to the Tel Hashomer hospital in Israel, where he has already had three operations. He lost the sight in his right eye and doctors had to remove portions of his frontal lobe. It is not clear if he will survive, or how much brain damage he may have suffered.
His parents, Nancy and Michael, who flew out from their home near Sacramento in California to be at his bedside, said he remained in a very critical condition” in a medically induced coma.
We are horrified and overwhelmed,” said Nancy Anderson. “We are scared and really still in shock. To shoot peaceful demonstrators is really horrifying to us. What we want to ask is that the Israeli government publicly take full responsibility for the shooting of our son.”
She said no Israeli official, from either the government or the military, had contacted the couple since their son was hurt. “I don’t carry any negative feelings towards the soldier who shot our son,” she said. “All I feel is love for Tristan and fear for his recovery.”
Tristan Anderson worked in Oakland, California, as part of a crew involved in setting up conventions. He arrived in Israel in February with his girlfriend, and was planning to stay three months before joining his parents in Europe for a holiday.
He had been involved in previous peace demonstrations elsewhere in the world, including in Iraq in 2003, El Salvador and Guatemala. He was at the 2000 demonstration in Prague against the World Bank and IMF.
Tristan has always been interested in how societies that go through conflict are able to resolve their issues,” said his father. “He came to understand for himself what the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was about. It is ironic that the country in which he was shot is a democracy where it is supposed to be a duty for everyone to follow their conscience. We want to know the truth of what happened and we want justice for our son.”
Jonathan Pollack, an Israeli activist who was at the demonstration this month, said Tristan was hit at around 4.30pm inside the village, at least 1km from the barrier, at a time when the demonstration was dispersing. Although, as is often the case, there had been some stone- throwing at the protest, he said Tristan had never thrown any stones or taken any violent action. Pollack said Israeli border police had led an incursion into Nilin that morning.
For hours before he was shot, Tristan was nowhere near the wall,” he said. It is thought he was hit by a high-velocity teargas grenade, a weapon newly being used against West Bank demonstrators. It comes in a black canister labelled in Hebrew “40mm bullet special/long range”, and is silent when fired, according to demonstrators. Tristan was hit from a distance of about 60 metres, they said.
Michael Sfard, an Israeli human rights lawyer acting for the Anderson family, said he had filed an official complaint demanding an independent investigation. He said that evidence from Israeli human rights researchers showed neither the border police nor the barrier itself were under any threat at the time of the shooting.
The incident took place in the village of Nilin when the protesters came back to the village after a peaceful demonstration,” Sfard said. The policemen involved, both the guy who shot and the officers who gave orders, must take the full might of criminal justice.”
The Israeli military described the protest as a “violent riot”, saying that “approximately 400 rioters threw a massive number of rocks at security forces”.
Israel regrets that the Israeli and foreign nationals co-operate with violent rioters against the building of the security fence, whose purpose is saving the lives of Israeli citizens,” it said. “As such, any Israeli, Palestinian, or foreign national who illegally participates in a violent demonstration takes upon himself the risk of personal harm during the dispersal of these disturbances.”
Photo: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5537
9. Jerusalem Capital of Arab Culture events continue despite ban and heavy police repression in occupied East Jerusalem
On the 21st of March, organizers kicked-off the Jerusalem Capital of Arab Culture festival despite an official ban and heavy police repression by the Israeli Authorities.  The festival, which is supposed to continue through 2009, has been banned in occupied East Jerusalem.
Organizers were determined to defy the ban in order to celebrate Palestinian heritage in the city.  20 participants were arrested for taking part in the activities, and dozens more detained. Israeli police and soldiers were heavily deployed in Jerusalem’s old city and in the surrounding neighborhoods.   In the early morning of the 21st, at least two organizations that were hosting events were raided by Israeli forces.   At 1pm, hundreds of balloons with the national colors of Palestine were released over the city.  Several of the balloon releasers were subsequently arrested.
Additionally, children’s games, traditional dabke dancing, and musical acts were conducted near Damascus Gate and in the main streets of the old city.  Israeli police harassed several of these activities, while letting others continue unhindered.  At around 3:30pm, a group of clowns began leading a crowd drummers and celebrators through the old city.  More than two dozen police and soldiers surrounded this group, detaining the clowns along with three international solidarity activists.  After around half an hour in the police station, everyone was released. Palestinian political, cultural, and civil organizations say that activities celebrating Jerusalem as a capital of Arab culture will continue throughout the year in East Jerusalem.  Several other Palestinian cities are also hosting events as part of the festival, including Hebron, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Ramallah.
Photos: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5576
10. EU urges Israel to suspend East Jerusalem evictions
EU business   23 March 2009
The European Union on Monday called on Israel to suspend eviction notices sent to Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, saying they further threaten the chances of peace.
The EU is deeply concerned by the issuing of eviction notices to the al-Rawi and Hanoun families in East Jerusalem,” the EU’s Czech presidency said in a statement on behalf of the 27 member states.
These eviction notices follow other recent orders which adversely affect Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and, combined with the increase in settlement activity in East Jerusalem, further threaten the chances of peace,” the statement added.
Last week the Palestinian Authority accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” after it delivered dozens of eviction orders to residents of annexed, mostly Arab east Jerusalem.
Last month Palestinian officials and residents told AFP that Israel had ordered hundreds of Palestinians to leave their homes in annexed east Jerusalem, warning their houses are illegal. Israel, which considers the whole of Jerusalem its “eternal, undivided” capital, rarely grants building permits to Arab residents of east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want to make the capital of their promised state.
The eviction orders have also triggered United Nations concerns.
The EU presidency said it had “raised our concerns with the Israeli government and call on Israel to suspend these eviction notices immediately”.
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5565
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