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News :: Human Rights : International
Update From the Struggle Against the Apartheid Wall
07 Apr 2010
On Friday, April 2nd. just before 1 am, Israeli armed forces entered Bil'in in order to arrest 18 year old Yaser Mahir, who was not in his place at this time. It had been two and a half weeks since the last night raid, in which Bil'in was declared a closed military area and Israeli and international activists were prohibited from entering the village.

On Sunday April 4th, 2010, the village of Bil'in was raided by the Israeli army once again. Just before 1 am, armed forces entered the village. Four army jeeps surrounded the house of 27 year old Yaser Awad Yaseen and his family. The soldiers presented Yaser with a document ordering him to go to the Shabak office. Yaser was not informed what the purpose of his visit to the Shabak office would be. But should Yaser not comply he will be arrested.
Before the recent night raid, Gandhi, Indian leader grandson visited Bil'in to meet the people and the popular committee and to hear about the village's tradition of peaceful resistance to the occupation.




2-At two o'clock this morning, the Israeli Occupation Army (forcefully entered a house in Howarah Town , South of Nablus. The house, which was empty at the time, is used as an office for the Michigan Peace Team.

http://www.michiganpeaceteam.org



According to some neighbors, who were watching the scene from their windows during the raid, tens of Israeli soldiers forcefully broke the garden gate and the main door and entered the house using sound bombs. The soldiers caused damage to the furniture of the house and confiscated pro-Palestinian banners and posters.



The raid tonight follows the recent Israeli campaign to end Palestinian nonviolent popular resistance, which takes the form of raids, arrest of local activists and organizers, such as Adeeb and Abdullah Abu Rahmah, as well as arrest and deportation of international activists, involved with Palestinian popular resistance, such as the recent unlawful detention/deportation of Eva Nováková, a Czech citizen, Ariadna Jove Marti, a Spanish journalist, and Bridgette Chappell, an Australian student in the Beir Zeit university.



Nael Al-Ahmad, a resident of Howarah, described the unjustified raid as a failed attempt to crash the grassroots movement against the Occupation and to hide and bar access to information from the international community about the Israeli inexplicable crimes against the Palestinian people.




3-Weekly Popular Struggle Demonstration Reports
29.3.10 – 4.3.10


Bethlehem – Qarawat Bani Hassan – Budrus – Bitunya – Bil’in – Al Masara

An Nabi Saleh – Nil’in – Deir Istiya - Sheik Jarrah – Beit Ummar







29.3.10 – Monday



Racial Discrimination By Israeli Police: Bethlehem Peaceful Protesters Still Detained

Popularstruggle.org



While the Israeli and international protesters detained in Bethlehem yesterday have been released, the police extended the arrest of the ten Palestinians, including PLO Executive Committee Member, Abbas Zaki, by 96 hours under military law. A demonstration held in Bethlehem today in support of the arrestees was dispersed by the Army.



Fifteen demonstrators have been arrested yesterday by Israeli forces during a peaceful demonstration near Rachel's Tomb protesting Israeli violations of Palestinian freedom of religion and lack of access to Jerusalem. The demonstrators marked Palm Sunday and demanded to exercise the centuries old Christian tradition of pilgrimage to Jerusalem on that day. In a clear act of racial discrimination, the Israelis and international were released with a slap on the wrist that same night, while the police extended the arrest of all ten Palestinians by 96 hours.



After soldiers tried to stop the procession at a checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem near Rachel's Tomb, demonstrators overwhelmed the few soldiers positioned there with their numbers, and peacefully continued to march towards Jerusalem. They were, however, stopped by a large contingent of Israeli Police officers a few hundred meters into Jerusalem. When the crowed could not advance farther, a number of Palestinian dignitaries held speeches, after which the protesters began retreating back towards Bethlehem.



It was at that point, that the police began its unprovoked assault at the demonstrators, making fifteen arrests, including those of Abbas Zaki of the PLO Executive Committee, four members of local popular committees and an AP photographer. Abbas Zaki is one of the most prominent Palestinian leaders to have been arrested in grassroots demonstrations in recent years. His arrest has stirred vocal protest by PA officials in this already tense period.



All demonstrators were arrested under the exact same circumstances, and on the same suspicions. The four Israelis and one international detained during the incident, were released that same evening. The Palestinians, however, were subjected to much harsher treatment. The police extended the arrest of all ten of them by 96 hours, which are likely to be extended by another 96 hours even before they will be brought before a judge.



While Israelis and internationals are, as a matter of policy, subject to Israeli law, which only allows for a 24 hours detention by the police, Palestinians are subject to Israeli Military Law, which allows for their detention for a period of eight days before being brought in front of a judge. This blunt policy of racial discrimination is applied even in cases where Palestinians and Israelis are arrested together and under the same circumstances, and despite the fact that both Palestinians and Israelis are, in theory, subject to the Israeli Military Law when in the Occupied Territories.



The Army had also used concussion grenades to disperse a demonstration in support of the ten arrestees in Bethlehem today. One demonstrator was lightly injured after a grenade hit his back.


Press Release: 15 Arrested in Bethlehem – 28.3.10

http://popularstruggle.org/content/15-arrested-bethlehem-demo-incl-plo-e





30.3.10 – Tuesday



Salam Fayyad joins protest to mark Land Day

Popularstruggle.org



Several hundred Palestinians and Israelis protest in West Bank village Qarawat Bani Hassan to mark the annual “Land Day”



Today over 200 Israelis, Palestinians and internationals demonstrated near the Ein Entweteg Spring in the West Bank village of Qarawat Bani Hassan to mark the annual Palestinian "Land Day." Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority Salam Fayyad joined the solidarity protest, which started at around 10 AM and lasted until approximated 12:30 PM.



Qarawat Bani Hassan is a Palestinian town in the West Bank Salfit Governorate, located thirty kilometers southwest of Nablus. The town is home to roughly 4,000 people, most of them refugees from Kufr Bara. 89% of the village's land, including the Ein Enwetef spring, is in Area C, under complete Israeli control, and is in constant threat of annexation and settlement expansion.



Israeli settlers have been building the Havat Yaair settlement outpost on a hilltop above the the Ein Enwetef spring since 2003 on land belonging to Palestinians from the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan. The Israeli settlers and military regularly prevent Palestinians from accessing the area and since December 2009 the settlers have made repeated attempts to begin construction at the site of the spring.



The Ein Enwetef spring traditionally served Palestinians residents of Qarawat Bani Hassan and neighboring villages as a source of water for both agriculture and herding. Herding, a major source of livelihood in the Salfit region for decades is threatened with extinction by limited access to traditional water sources, contamination of local springs by raw sewage dumped by Israeli settlements and restrictions on movement in the area.



Ein Enwetef is one of dozens of fresh water springs across the West Bank to which Palestinian access is denied or limited.



Land Day, March 30, is an annual day of commemoration for Palestinians of events in 1976. In response to the Israeli government's announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of dunams of land for security and settlement purposes, a general strike and marches were organized in Arab towns from the Galilee to the Negev. In the ensuing confrontations with the Israeli army and police, six Arab citizens were killed, about one hundred were wounded, and hundreds of others arrested.



30 March 2010 - Tuesday



Over 300 people protested in Budrus, 3 injurred

Popularstruggle.org



To mark Palestinian "Land Day," over 300 people demonstrated in the West Bank village of Budrus. They planted trees along the route of the Separation Barrier but were dispersed by Israeli military who shot tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowd. 3 people were injured by rubber bullets.



Land Day, March 30, is an annual day of commemoration for Palestinians of events in 1976. In response to the Israeli government's announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of dunams of land for security and settlement purposes, a general strike and marches were organized in Arab towns from the Galilee to the Negev. In the ensuing confrontations with the Israeli army and police, six Arab citizens were killed, about one hundred were wounded, and hundreds of others arrested.





31.3.10 - Wednesday



Demonstrators Demand Prisoners' Release

Popularstruggle.org



Hundreds of people gathered at the Bitunya checkpoint near Ofer Military prison to demand the release of ten demonstrators arrested in Bethlehem last Sunday, among them Abbas Zaki of the PLO Executive Committee. Two demonstrators were arrested.



Hundreds of demonstrators, among them Jubril Rajoub, Jamal Muhsein and Mahmoud alAloul of Fatah's Central Committee, gathered today in front of the Bituntya military checkpoint leading to Ofer Prison, where the ten demonstrators who were arrested in Bethlehem last Sunday are held. The demonstrators demanded the immediate release of those arrested in Bethlehem and of all the prisoners of the popular struggle. They also denounced the racial discrimination the ten were subjected to in their arrest, as the Israeli activists arrested with them were released with a slap on the wrist that very same day.



After a few short speeches, the demonstrators intended to continue to the Ofer military court, where the ten's hearings were scheduled to be heard. Once refused passage, protesters tried to topple the fence near the checkpoint in order to get to the court. Border Police officers responded with concussion grenades, tear-gas and rubber-coated bullets. Clashes between officers and local youth continued for about two hours before the demonstration was dispersed.



Two Palestinian protesters were arrested during the demonstration. One of them, a 16 year old, was nabbed from within his father's car, through the window, after Border Police officers broke it using a rifle butt.



The Bethlehem Ten's remand hearing, which was supposed to be held today, did not take place, and was postponed to tomorrow.



Today's demonstration, which was organized jointly by West Bank popular committees and the Fatah movement, follows a press conference held yesterday in Ramallah, in which Fatah announced an escalation in the movement's use of popular struggle strategies.





31.3.10 – Wednesday



Sheikh Jarrah garden reclaimed in Land Day celebration

Palsolidarity.org



Newly planted trees in the al-Kurd yard in celebration of Land Day

In honor of Land Day, an upbeat group of local residents and school children gathered on Wednesday in front of the half-occupied Al Kurd home in Sheikh Jarrah. Neighbors, friends and supporters cleaned up the garden and planted olive trees. The conspicuous and unusual absence of both settlers and police contributed greatly to the positive mood of the day, although the ongoing threat of further evictions looms over the whole neighborhood.



The al-Kurd family live in the back half of their home, but were evicted from the newly built front partition in December 2009. The day’s actions were seen by many present as a sign of defiance against the illegal presence of Israeli settlers in the front part of the house, and against the imminent court proceedings which may be used to force them from the back half.



The day concluded with the usual Wednesday night community dinner, in which international and Israeli supporters join the local families for a shared meal in the street opposite the Gawi family home, which has been illegally occupied by settlers since August 2009.



4.1.10 - Thursday



Military Judge Criticizes Police; Releases the Bethlehem Ten

Popularstruggle.org



Judge Dahan of the Ofer Military Court in the West Bank ordered the release of the ten peaceful demonstrators arrested in Bethlehem last Sunday, among them PLO Executive Committee's Abbas Zaki. The judge criticized the police and prosecution saying that the protest was nonviolent, and that the only force used in it was that used by police to apprehend the demonstrators.



After five long days in an Israeli military prison, the Bethlehem Ten were finally brought in front of a judge today at the Ofer military court. After hearing the arguments of both the military prosecution and the defense, the judge, Amir Dahan, decided to release all ten on bail and without posing restrictive release conditions. The judge also voiced his criticism of the police and prosecution by asserting in his decision that “There is no dispute that the march was not violent, and that no harm was done to anyone or to property, except for the force used by police officers during the arrests”.



The Bethlehem Ten were arrested together with four Israeli activists and an international activist, during a march marking Palm Sunday and the Christian tradition of pilgrimage to Jerusalem on that day last Sunday. Demonstrators hoped to highlight Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement and freedom of religion in Jerusalem. Despite having been arrested under the exact same circumstances and suspicions, the Israelis and international were released that same evening, in a clear example of racial discrimination.



“When referring to the repression of demonstrations, Israel always claims that it is the demonstrators' so-called violence that compels the Army to use such mesures”, said Mohammed Khatib of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee. “But today even their own judge, in what is most clearly the court of the Occupation, acknowledged that any protest, any form of resistance, is met with an iron fist”.



The arrest of the Bethlehem Ten, especially that of Abbas Zaki, motivated the Fatah movement to declare an escalation in the use popular struggle strategies during these tense times. It has also brought hundreds of people to demonstrate at the Bitunya checkpoint yesterday, where demonstrators tried to break through the Separation Barrier in order to reach Ofer prison.





Israeli Court Decides Not To File Charges Against Soldier Who Killed Nonviolent Protestor in Bil’in

Imemc.org



Despite a video clearly showing the death of Bassem Abu Rahma, who was shot in the chest by a gas bomb, an Israeli court decided Thursday that the killing that took place during a nonviolent protest against the Annexation Wall in Ni’lin near Ramallah, was not intentional.



The brother of Abu Rahma slammed the decision and said it comes to give the soldiers more chances to continue the killing of innocent, nonviolent protestors.



The soldier will not face any charges, and will be allowed to resume his military service as if nothing happened.



Bassem Abu Rahma, 31, was killed in April of last year. Israeli and International peace activists were also at the scene.



The Israeli army claimed that Abu Rahma and other protestors were throwing stones at the soldiers, yet the video footage clearly shows him shouting at the soldiers asking them not to open fire. “rega, rega, catzin” the Hebrew words Abu Rahma told the soldiers… “officer… officer… wait.. listen..”.



The Israeli court disregarded the facts and decided to close all investigations in the issue, and decided that the gas bomb fired by the army was not intentionally aimed at Abu Rahma.



This decision disregarded the fact that the soldiers did not have to open fire at the protestors to start with as they were not under attack, and the nonviolent protestors were on the other side of a barbed-wire fence installed by the army.



Bil’in in the scene of weekly nonviolent protests against the illegal Israeli Annexation Wall and settlements. Israeli and International peace activists join the residents in their protests in Bil’in and in several other Palestinian villages in the West Bank.



Ashraf, the brother of Bassem, said that the court’s decision does not surprise him, and added that “Israel’s Justice System provides cover for the soldiers to continue their crimes”.



In July of 2008, Ashraf was detained by Israeli soldiers during a nonviolent protest in the nearby village of Ni’lin, and after he was cuffed and blindfolded a soldier, standing next to him, pointed his gun at his leg and shot him with a rubber-coated bullet.



The shooting of Ashraf was also caught on tape by a young Palestinian girl. Israeli soldiers kidnapped her father later on as a punishment just for exposing the crime.



Commenting on his brother’s death, Ashraf said that hundreds witnessed the attack, and heard Bassem call out to the soldier asking him to hold his fire, but the soldier shot him while he was only six meters (nearly 20 feet)away.



Ashraf stated that the family will file an appeal to the Israeli High Court of Justice, and should it also fail to achieve justice, the family would resort to the International Court.



The army insists that the soldiers did not commit any violation, and that the decision was made after examining all related details.



2.4.10 – Friday



Bil’in

Bilin-ffj.org



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryY837CPVRE



Friday 2nd April 2010 -Dozens of people suffered from tear gaz suffocation due to the IOF's violent suppression of today's demonstration. Approximately three weeks ago the Israeli Occupation Army ordered Bil'in to be a closed military zone on Fridays, for Israeli's, internationals and Palestinians. The Popular Committee, the villagers and its international and Israeli supporters challenge this decision by fiercely exercising its right to demonstrate in spite of the IOF's regulations. Today's demonstration commemorated Land Day, which took place on March 30th. It is an annual day for Palestinians to remember the six Palestinians that were killed in 1976 during protest against Israel's announcement to expropriate thousands of dunams of land for "security and settlement purposes". One of the speakers stressed the need to preserve the Palestinian land through cultivation, in hope to prevent it from being stolen by the Israeli State. Events of the past two months have shown Israel's intention judaize Jerusalem and other holy Christian and Muslim sites. The march raised Palestinian flags and echoed chants calling for national unity in the face of Israeli Apartheid schemes. Upon arrival at the Wall, the demonstrators were met with tear gaz, concussion grenades and rubber bullets, causing dozens to suffer tear gaz inhalation.





Al Ma’asara

Al-Ma'sara Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements



Demonstrators gathered today in Al Masara, near Bethlehem, in commemoration of Land Day, marking the anniversary of mass confiscation of Palestinian land in 1976.



Palestinians, Israelis and internationals marched peacefully towards the village’s land. However, Israeli military, police and border police blocked the road with barbed wire, at which point the demonstrators stopped to chant resistance anthems and to hear speeches from representatives of the popular resistance. The soldiers then announced that the area had been declared a Closed Military Zone (CMZ), removed the barbed wire and moved on foot and in jeeps towards the protesters, throwing percussion grenades and tear gas canisters directly at them.

two persons were arrested after asking to see a copy of the CMZ order. taken to a nearby Israeli police station



Last Sunday, a number of men from the village were arrested in Bethlehem when attempting to retrace Jesus’ Palm Sunday route into Jerusalem. The Israeli and International activists arrested with them were released on the same day, but, in a clear act of racial discrimination, the Palestinians were held in prison until Thursday, when they were released on bail to reappear in court on the 18th April. The judge rebuked the police and prosecution, agreeing that it had been an entirely non-violent demonstration.



the members of community who was arrested from Al-Ma'sara village are Mahmoud Zawahre the coordinator of the communittee and Hasan Briejyia a member of the communittee



Al Masara has held a weekly demonstration since November 2006. The villagers are restricted from accessing their land, as it is the area in which the Israeli authorities are continuing to build the illegal separation barrier. When completed, it will run for a total of over 700 km, the large majority of which runs through and annexes Palestinian land.





Nil’in

Imemc.org



Dozens for protesters were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli troops attacked the anti wall protest in the village of Nil’in central West Bank. Villagers along with Israeli and international supporters conducted the midday Friday prayers at villagers lands near the Israeli built wall. Later the crowed marched towards the wall and local youth hanged the Palestinian flag on top of the wall. Troops then fired tear gas and sound bombs at the protesters, dozens were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.







Deir Istiya In Northern West Bank

Imemc.org



Local politicians joined the villagers of Deir Istiya in northern West Bank in their protest against the Israeli wall on Friday. People marched from the village towards their lands Israeli is planning to take over to construct the wall there. Joining the villager was Mustafa Al Barghouthi, a local MP. Soldiers stopped the people before they reached the settlers road nearby. Local organizers delivered speeches demanding the halt of the wall and settlement construction on their lands. The protest ended peacefully shortly thereafter.





An Nabi Saleh



Video clip:

http://www.youtube.com/user/davidreeb#p/a/u/0/ySkUpBKqaxA







Sheik Jarrah

Againstwall



Approximately 200 protesters gathered in Sheikh Jarach to protest the ongoing settlement campaign in East Jerusalem. Protesters carried model homes to simbolize those that were taken from the Palestinian residents twice - in 48' and once again last year. In recent weeks the Israeli government made many announcements of new settlement plans in East Jerusalem, completely ignoring the international community and common sense. Their goal is to settle Jews everywhere as long as it's in the east: Silwan, Shuafat, Gilo, Ramat Shlomo and last but not least, Sheikh Jarach.



Construction plans for hundreds of new housing units have been approved in and around the Sheppard Hotel compound in Sheikh Jarach. It will span both the hotel and the large olive grove on the other side of the street. All Jewish, of course.



Some of the protesters marched up a few hundred meters to protest in front of the hotel, chanting and holding up signs for about half an hour. Nasser Gawi, a local resident whose home been given to extreme settlers and lives today in a protest tent, spoke about the situation and pointed out the areas threatened by construction.



The Israeli government has a clear goal - to make Jews a majority in Sheikh Jarach and seperate it from the rest of East Jerusalem, by all means, legal or not, moral or not. We say - no!







4.3.10 – Saturday



Demonstrations were held in Beit Ummar and Nil’in. Nil’in village was commemorating Land Day by planting olive trees with village youth.

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