International Solidarity Movement http://palsolidarity.org Nonviolence. Justice. Freedom. Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:20:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Protest against forced eviction pushes Israeli forces from the areahttp://palsolidarity.org/2014/09/protest-against-forced-eviction-pushes-israeli-forces-from-the-area/ http://palsolidarity.org/2014/09/protest-against-forced-eviction-pushes-israeli-forces-from-the-area/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:20:04 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=40665 22nd September 2013 | International Solidarity Movement | Ezaryah, Occupied Palestine

Today at 10:00, approximately 40 Palestinians and internationals marched together on a demonstration in the Ezaryah area east of Jerusalem. The demonstration was called to protest the forceful eviction of Palestinian Bedouin families in the Ras al-Baba area, close to Jerusalem.

Photo by ISM

Photo by ISM

The civil administration is planning to build a village for the Bedouin community on top of a rubbish site, this plan includes completely clearing the outskirts of Jerusalem, which would mean forcibly removing around 12,500 Bedouins from many areas for illegal settlement expansion.

Israeli border police were pushing the demonstrators and at one point nearly arrested a Palestinian man holding a sign as he attempted to place the Palestinian flag on an Israeli military jeep.

Photo by ISM

The Palestinian activists vowed to return to the area for more non-violent resistance over the coming days. The demonstration lasted around one hour; the civil administration, contractors and Israeli border police were left with no choice but to leave the area whilst demonstrators cheered.

Photo by ISM

Photo by ISM

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The Israeli offensive on Gaza caused full or partial damages to 75 kindergartens and day-care centershttp://palsolidarity.org/2014/09/the-israeli-offensive-on-gaza-caused-full-or-partial-damages-to-75-kindergartens-and-day-care-centers/ http://palsolidarity.org/2014/09/the-israeli-offensive-on-gaza-caused-full-or-partial-damages-to-75-kindergartens-and-day-care-centers/#comments Sun, 21 Sep 2014 16:51:48 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=40656 21st September 2013 | Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center in Palestine | Gaza, Occupied Palestine

The Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center field teams have documented full or partial damages to 75 kindergartens and day-care centers caused during the 51 day Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip this summer.

DWRC’s field workers conducted field visits to all the kindergartens that suffered damages and collected information through filling questionnaires and affidavits from kindergarten owners in the five Gaza governorates, with a particular focus on eastern areas, where these damages were concentrated.

Among the 75 kindergartens and day-care centers that suffered damages, 12 were fully destroyed and 63 partially damaged by shelling and bombing. They are distributed as follows: 10 are located in the North Gaza governorate, 17 in the Gaza governorate, 17 in the Middle Gaza governorate, 21 in Khan Younis governorate, and 10 in Rafah governorate. These kindergartens employ 629 female workers, including educators, administrators and cleaning agents, and they used to care for and provide pre-school education to 12,671 children.

Photo by Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center in Palestine

Photo by Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center in Palestine

The owners of some of the kindergartens have undertaken repairs at their own cost in order to reopen them and others have relocated to alternative premises near their original location, while a third group has been unable to open their kindergartens or day-care centers to this day.

The Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center strongly condemns Israeli attacks on educational institutions and  calls upon the international community to hold the Israeli occupying power accountable for crimes committed during its latest military offensive against the Gaza Strip. The Center stresses the need ensure special care and protection for children under all circumstances as stipulated in international human rights law and humanitarian law, and declarations on the rights of the child. DWRC also emphasizes the urgent need to rehabilitate damaged kindergartens and day-care centers, and compensate their owners as soon as possible due to the society’s need for their essential services.

Early childhood education in the occupied Palestinian territory is provided by private sector or NGOs, and receives no subsidies from the government. 99% of the workers in the sector are women, most of them paid well below the monthly minimum wage of 1450 NIS. It is a sector that has already suffered greatly from high poverty and unemployment rates, particularly in the Gaza Strip, since it largely depends on the capacity of families to pay for its services.

For further information or to access detailed data about the damages incurred by kindergartens and day-care centers, please contact us at extr@dwrc.org

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Palestinian school set on firehttp://palsolidarity.org/2014/09/palestinian-school-set-on-fire/ http://palsolidarity.org/2014/09/palestinian-school-set-on-fire/#comments Sun, 21 Sep 2014 07:45:57 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=40648 21st September 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Nablus team |As-Sawia, Occupied Palestine

On the evening of the 10th September, unknown assailants broke into the As-Sawia Secondary School, forced open the door and set the school on fire. Bedouins living close to the school saw the fire and alerted the fire brigade. By the time it was put out, the principal’s office and teachers’ rooms were completely burned.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“We lost six computers, four printers, all the teachers’ books and materials, but most of all, the administrative documents and files of the students and about the school situation over the past years. The whole damage is around 140,000 shekels,” the principle Adnan Hussein told ISM. The school was closed for three days after the arson attack.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As in many schools in the occupied West Bank, the students and staff of As-Sawia Secondary School suffer from constant settler and military harassment. Three days before the arson, armed settlers who called themselves “security” from one of the nearby hilltop illegal settlements stood at the school gates. When the principal spoke to them, they claimed that children threw stones at the settler cars on their way to school.

The school is located by Road 90, which was paved in 1944 and runs across the West Bank. The road is used by Palestinians and by illegal settlers. The children have to walk alongside it to get to school in the mornings and to go home after school.

“Our school is suffering both for the settlers and the army,” explained Hussein. “We constantly have the army at our gates, checking ID’s and bothering children”

On the 3 September, armed settlers stopped in a car marked as the illegal settlement Eli’s “security” at the gate of the school. One of the settlers came out of the car, jumped over the fence and started following some of the children, who have finished their classes and were leaving for home. The principle approached the settler and told him that he is not allowed in the school with weapons, and the settler responded that he was looking for a child who threw stones and shouted at the settler car earlier.

After agreeing to move outside the school gate at the head teacher’s insistence, the settler with the machine gun was joined by another settler and they insisted that the boy in the red T-shirt was brought to them. They also wanted the head teacher’s mobile phone number so that they could call him in the future.

“I had a bad feeling that something horrible will happen and that they will start shooting,” related Hussien. “I left some teachers with the settlers and with other teachers went to escort children through another gate and send them home, when three soldiers appeared. I went to speak to them. I told them that they cannot be in school with their weapons and in their uniforms but they insisted that they wanted to speak to a boy in the red T-shirt for 10 minutes.”

The principal and staff stood between the soldiers and settlers and the pupils to protect them while they were leaving the school. By this time worried parents were at the gate and they took the children away.

Throughout 2013, the army entered the As-Sawiya 51 times and children and the staff had to put up with teargas, sound bombs and arrests of pupils.

Hussein explained, “It is a constant worry that the settlers and the army will come. It is hard enough to control 350 teenagers even in the countries where there is no occupation. It is not easy and we do what we can to try to do our best keep the education for our children going. We have no problem with Jewish people and I can say that many of them are nice and honest, but settlers are generally dangerous people. I know that people should be able to choose where they live, but that does not include taking someone else’s land without permission.”

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Israeli settlers and soldiers invade Balata refugee camphttp://palsolidarity.org/2014/09/israeli-settlers-and-soldiers-invade-balata-refugee-camp/ http://palsolidarity.org/2014/09/israeli-settlers-and-soldiers-invade-balata-refugee-camp/#comments Sat, 20 Sep 2014 10:25:09 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=40642 20th September 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Nablus team | Occupied Palestine

On the 17th of September, under heavy Israeli army protection, Israeli settlers from nearby illegal settlements entered Nablus with the aim of praying at Joseph’s tomb in Balata refugee camp.

Just after midnight, the Israeli army closed the district that surrounds the monument, blocking all the streets leading to the tomb and preventing anyone from passing nearby, either by foot or by car.

Around 1am, between eight and 10 buses full with hundreds of settlers invaded the area.

Photo by ISM

Clashes began in the area, particularly in the junction just in front of the entry to Balata refugee camp.

Youths threw stones for more then two hours against the army vehicles, that were moving up on the hill and back, seemingly in order to keep them busy and far from the large groups of Zionist settlers. Military trucks also tried several times to run over the Palestinian youths while they were throwing stones.

The Israeli army fired many stun grenades, and the road blockades were kept in place until the settlers left the area.

Photo by ISM

Clashes around Balata occur almost weekly, any time that the settlers decide to invade the area for praying. The settlers claim this monument belongs to the Biblical patriarch Joseph, while most of the Palestinians believe that the religious guide Sheikh Yusef Dweikat was buried there, according to Islamic tradition. Though Joseph is a sacred figure as well in Muslim, Christian and Samaritan religion, Muslims are not allowed to pray there.

Labeling their own actions as “security measures”, the army can easily shoot down a whole neighborhood and guarantee the Israeli settlers the freedom to move and pray wherever they wish, even in a site which is deeply inside Area A, which is supposed under Palestinian civil and security control. On the other side, most of the Palestinian living in the West Bank are not allowed to pray in their holy places, starting from this Joseph´s tomb to the biggest example of Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem.

These evidently different treatments intensify the inequality in rights between Palestinians and illegal Israeli settlers and make the life under occupation more and more unbearable.

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Tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and arrestshttp://palsolidarity.org/2014/09/tear-gas-rubber-coated-steel-bullets-and-arrests/ http://palsolidarity.org/2014/09/tear-gas-rubber-coated-steel-bullets-and-arrests/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:37:58 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=40632 19th September 2013 | International Solidarity Movement | Occupied Palestine

Every week, several villages across the West Bank demonstrate against the Israeli occupation of Palestine. This week, ISM activists attended protests in the villages of Bil’in, Ni’lin, and Nabi Saleh.

During the demonstration in Bil’in, Israeli soldiers shot mass amounts of tear gas at peaceful protesters. Many Palestinians and internationals suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation. An Israeli activist, and a Labour Party Councillor traveling withChi Onwurah, the British Member of Parliament for Newcastle, were arrested. 

In Ni’lin, north of Ramallah, the Israeli military shot tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters. The army began shooting unprovoked at Palestinians and internationals as soon as the Friday prayer had finished and people and children as young as five year olds were walking in the area. Several Palestinians were still praying when the military attacked.

The Israeli military shot approximately ten tear gas canisters at a time and also fired rubber coated steel bullets and stun grenades. No one was injured in the demonstration today. For the past weeks the military has moved closer to the residential area of the village, locals have raised concerns that the army will soon enter the village during a demonstration.

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During the Nabi Saleh demonstration protesters attempted to reach the gate at the entrance to the village which Israeli forces use to close the village off from the rest of the West Bank. Israeli forces fired many rubber-coated steel bullets at demonstrators and used excessive amounts of tear gas. Several people were injured by rubber coated steel bullets. Many protesters also suffered from the effects of the tear gas, which resulted in a Palestinian women being taken to hospital for tear gas inhalation, she was later released.

Photo from Tamimi Press

Photo from Tamimi Press

Photo from Tamimi Press

Photo from Tamimi Press

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Final journal from Gazahttp://palsolidarity.org/2014/09/final-journal-from-gaza/ http://palsolidarity.org/2014/09/final-journal-from-gaza/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:14:39 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=40623 17th September | Charlie Andreasson | Gaza, Occupied Palestine

This is what seems to be the last thing I will write from Gaza. Not that there is nothing more to tell, there lies a new story under every stone, but because I will soon leave this small coastal strip where there is so much to be found.

Photo by Charlie Andreasson

Photo by Charlie Andreasson

Suffering, deprivation, death, dismemberment, despair, shattered homes, and lives without a future. But also so much love, so much kindness, smiling faces and playing children with catching laughter. And this curiosity and immediate acceptance of me as a stranger, so very distant from my soon-to-be home in Europe.

Photo by Charlie Andreasson

Photo by Charlie Andreasson

This will be my thanks and goodbye. A sincere thank you for giving me the opportunity to publish my thoughts, reflections, and observations. A humble thanks to all of you who wanted to read them. And a little special thanks to those of you who have contacted me because of my stories and articles; it has sometimes made ​​me slightly embarrassed, but also made me, secretly, of course – proud.

It has driven me to continue to write, and given me this urge to improve, to make the necessary contacts in order to write another story to keep describing Gaza for those who want to read it.

There is so much more to write and report on. There are already many orphans in Gaza, and the recent war has ripped away another 1,500 children their parents. Not all of these children will be placed in an orphanage, most will probably be taken in by relatives. This is just one of hundreds of stories that will remain on my mind, after I have left Gaza.

There is a farming season approaching, but many farmers have had their houses and fields destroyed. Tanks and bulldozers have already penetrated into the Gaza Strip in violation of the ceasefire. Fishermen have been shot at several times, six have been arrested, and a boat has been seized. This also in violation of the ceasefire.

Photo by Charlie Andreasson

Photo by Charlie Andreasson

There are 100 shelters that have been erected, donated by the United Arab Emirates. This is a good start, but not even ten thousand such barracks would be enough, and soon winter and rain will arrive.

There is so much still to write about.

There are not many days left until I shall try to leave, and I will spend my time finishing projects, not beginning new ones. Al-Mazan, an organization working closely with the UN and HRW, has asked for copies of my photographic evidence of war crimes, my role in the Ark-project is over. After a lot of struggling, we have finally started to move forward on the issue of our presence among the fishermen on a far more regular basis. This is a project I will not see completed before I leave. It came to a temporary stop when the war began, and it has tentatively started to continue once again.

It stings a little in me that I cannot be on that journey, and it is pointless trying to hide that. If I did not have to go home, that project alone would be worth staying another year for. Instead, I will focus on cleaning out my apartment, trying to get an afternoon for myself and Moby Dick at a beach cafe, trying to get out for a last night with the fishermen at the sea, to say goodbye to the friends I have found and to thank them for everything, and complete this text, the last one.

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15th September | Operation Dove | At Tuwani

On September 14th, two Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian shepherd and two international near the Israeli outpost of Mitzpe Yair, in the South Hebron Hills area. During the aggression, the settlers stole video cameras from the internationals and broke one of their phones. Israeli police detained the Palestinian shepherd and one of the internationals for six hours. There were no consequences for the settlers.

Photo by Operation Dove

Photo by Operation Dove

At about 9:00 a.m. four Palestinian shepherds from the South Hebron Hills village of Qawawis were grazing their flocks accompanied by two internationals, on Palestinian owned land nearby the Israeli outpost. Two settlers from Mitzpe Yair crossed a closed area (where the access is forbidden to everyone else) in order to attack one Palestinian shepherd, starting to chase away his flock. The two internationals present taped the scene.

Afterwards the settlers assaulted the internationals: at first they grabbed one by the neck and knocked him down, they snatched his camera and broke his phone; subsequently the settlers attacked the other one twisting her arm and also seizing her camera. The settlers ran back to the outpost holding the stolen cameras, and the Palestinian and the internationals went to Qawawis village.

The Israeli police came to the Palestinian village and asked the shepherd and internationals to follow them to the Israeli Police station in Kiryat Arba settlement, due to one settler claiming that they threw stones at him. The Police officers detained both of them for six hours and questioned them about the incident. Israeli police released them at 5:00 p.m. without consequences.

The South Hebron hills area has suffered from the presence of Israeli settlers’ since the 70’s. Eight Israeli settlements and outposts (among which Mitzpe Yair is one) almost completely isolate 16 Palestinian villages from the rest of West Bank. The settlers’ violence includes overt violent attacks on Palestinians and their animals, damages to private properties, and limitations to freedom of movement with many consequences on their daily life. Since the beginning of 2014, Operation Dove registered the arrests of 15 Palestinians, included minors, because they were on lands near the settlements. During the same period there were no consequences for Israeli settlers involved in the incidents occurring in the area.

In spite of the violence suffered by the Palestinians from the South Hebron Hills area, they keep on grazing and farming on their lands, resisting in a non-violent way to the Israeli occupation.

Operation Dove has maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and the South Hebron Hills since 2004.

[Note: According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Hague Regulations, the International Court of Justice, and several United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements and outposts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal. Most settlement outposts, including Havat Ma'on (Hill 833), are considered illegal also under Israeli law.]

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Israel army cuts electricity to Kufr Qaddum, six villagers dependant on oxygen machines evacuated to hospitalhttp://palsolidarity.org/2014/09/israel-army-cuts-electricity-to-kufr-qaddum-six-villagers-dependant-on-oxygen-machines-evacuated-to-hospital/ http://palsolidarity.org/2014/09/israel-army-cuts-electricity-to-kufr-qaddum-six-villagers-dependant-on-oxygen-machines-evacuated-to-hospital/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 17:04:37 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=40608 14th September 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Nablus Team | Kufr Qaddum, Occupied Palestine

 

Kufr Qaddum was without the electricity since 11pm on Thursday night. Six villagers who are dependant on oxygen machines have been evacuated to the nearby hospital in Nablus. The following morning, at the Friday village demonstration, a young man was hit in the head by a gas canister and was taken to the hospital as well.

Boys and men of Kufr Qadum set out to the weekly Friday demonstration. (Photo by ISM)

Boys and men of Kufr Qadum set out to the weekly Friday demonstration. (Photo by ISM)

The deliberate power cut was an added rage to the weekly Friday demonstration in Kufr Qaddum. A resident explained that the village electricity comes form the illegal Qedumim settlement and that “somebody decided to press the button and cut the supply to the whole village.”

Since 2011, villagers from Kufr Qaddum demonstrate each Friday against the Israeli military. The village of Kufr Qaddum has had much land stolen by the nearby illegal settlement of Qedumim and in 2003 the main road connecting Kufr Qaddum to city of Nablus was closed to Palestinians. “Protests would not stop until the main Kufr Qaddum road, currently usurped by the illegal Qedumim settlers, is returned to us,” the resident added.

The military bulldozer was already at work attempting to clear the rocks demonstrators had placed on the road to prevent the army vehicles from entering the village. As the demonstrators attempted to repel the bulldozer, a group of soldiers tried to keep the protestors away from the bulldozer with continuous barrage of tear gas, frequently fired directly at the protestors, a practice which is against the army’s own regulations, as it turns the “less-lethal” crowd dispersal means into a small rocket.

Early on in the demonstration, a young man was hit in the head by a tar gas canister and was taken to the hospital where he was treated and later released. The army withdrew at around 3pm.

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Gaza beach massacre commemorated by child survivorshttp://palsolidarity.org/2014/09/gaza-beach-massacre-commemorated-by-child-survivors/ http://palsolidarity.org/2014/09/gaza-beach-massacre-commemorated-by-child-survivors/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 19:30:31 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=40602 10th September | Joe Catron | Gaza, Occupied Palestine

On Sunday evening, as the sun slipped behind the Mediterranean Sea, members of the Bakr family, a sprawling clan of fishermen in Gaza City’s Beach refugee camp, gathered with hundreds of supporters on the beach next to the Gaza seaport.

Young relatives of four children killed by Israeli shelling while playing football on a beach in July play their game that was violently cut short, 7 September (Joe Catron)

Young relatives of four children killed by Israeli shelling while playing football on a beach in July play their game that was violently cut short, 7 September (Joe Catron)

Their assembly commemorated the lives of nine-year-old Ismail Muhammad Subhi Bakr, ten-year-old Ahed Atef Ahed Bakr, ten-year-old Zakariya Ahed Subhi Bakr and eleven-year-old Muhammad Ramez Ezzat Bakr.

All four were killed in Israeli strikes as they played football on the beach on 16 July. The first blast killed Ismail as he ran to retrieve a ball. Ahed, Zakariya and Muhammad died in the second explosion.

The Israeli munitions that ended their lives struck the beach directly behind a row of hotels which, in mid-July, housed many of the foreign reporters then present in Gaza.

Along with statements by members of their family and the painting of colorful murals at the site of the boys’ killings, the event also included a football match, intended to complete the one interrupted by the lethal blasts almost two months ago.

“It was never finished,” Bayan al-Zumaili of the Safadi Group, the youth organization that worked with the Bakr family to organize the event, told The Electronic Intifada. “So we decided to complete it with the survivors of the massacre.”

Al-Zumaili, a physician who graduated from the Islamic University of Gaza’s medical school two months ago, volunteered in the surgical department at al-Shifa hospital during Israel’s 51-day offensive against the Gaza Strip, which ended in an indefinite ceasefire on 26 August.

Witnessed by journalists 

By 25 August, Israeli attacks had killed at least at least 2,168 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including 521 children, according to Gaza’s al-Mezan Center for Human Rights.

The number of child fatalities has risen to at least 523 with the deaths of Ziyad al-Reefi, age nine, on 1 September, and Rahfat Abu Jame, age five, on Tuesday. Both died of injuries from Israeli attacks.

The killings of the Bakr boys in July drew broad attention not only because a single incident caused the deaths of four young relatives — a scenario repeated numerous times throughout the onslaught — but also because it took place so near to where so many journalists were staying.

Eyewitness accounts of the massacre by journalists like Sara Hussein of AFP, Peter Beaumont of The GuardianTyler Hicks of The New York Times, and William Booth of The Washington Post reached much larger audiences than first-hand reports of similar mass killings elsewhere.

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On twitter

NBC briefly pulled from the Gaza Strip its correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin, who tweeted: “Minutes before they were killed by our hotel, I was kicking a ball with them.” NBC’s removal of their star foreign correspondent was attributed by many to his blunt coverage of Palestinian deaths on social media and was widely criticized by other journalists.

While many reporters witnessed the killings, some also helped evacuated three survivors from the beach and gave them first aid inside al-Deira hotel.

“They targeted us knowing that we were children, playing a game of football on the beach,” one survivor of Israel’s missile strikes, eleven-year-old Motasem Bakr, said Sunday. “The [armed] resistance was on the frontiers fighting them, not here playing football.”

“An Israeli officer did not like the idea of children playing,” he added.

In place of the martyrs 

According to Defence for Children International – Palestine, Ismail, Ahed, Zakariya and Muhammad were pronounced dead upon their arrival at al-Shifa hospital.

“Israeli forces continue to target and kill children and civilians on a daily basis, making Israeli military statements claiming that these deaths are tragic mistakes simply meaningless,” DCI-Palestine executive director Rifat Kassis said in a statement the next day. “The death toll among children now stands at its highest point in five years.”

Along with two other survivors of the attack, Motasem joined three other boys from the Bakr family and six others from the devastated Shujaiya neighborhood, on the eastern edge of Gaza City, to complete the football match they had never finished on 16 July.

“In the place of the martyrs who couldn’t attend, we brought survivors of the Shujaiya massacre to complete the match for them,” al-Zumaili said.

Dozens of Palestinians died over the course of days of Israeli shelling, airstrikes,and gunfire in Shujaiya in mid-July. The bombings reduced much of the neighborhood to rubble.

Since the 26 August ceasefire, hard-hit areas like Shujaiya, Beit Hanoun and Khuzaa have at times resembled army encampments; their streets thick with tents erected by grieving families to host mourners and those offering their condolences.

As families mourn their losses, and injured Palestinians succumb to their injuries, Gaza’s ongoing process of collective grieving will also continue, sometimes in the somber reflection of mourning tents, sometimes in the simple joy of an evening football match on the beach.

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The arrest of Burin activist Ghassan Najjar http://palsolidarity.org/2014/09/the-arrest-of-burin-activist-ghassan-najjar/ http://palsolidarity.org/2014/09/the-arrest-of-burin-activist-ghassan-najjar/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:36:47 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=40593 10th September 2014 | International Solidarity Movement, Nablus team | Burin, Occupied Palestine

The prominent activist from the West Bank village of Burin, and member of Solidarity Movement for Free Palestine, Ghassan Najjar, was taken by the Israeli army from his home in the early hours of the morning on the 27th August. He was transferred to the notorious interrogation facility, Petah Tikva.

The before he was arrested, Ghassan, alongside a group of a villagers from Burin, tried to prevent Israeli soldiers from entering the girls’ classroom of the local school.

Staff from the Israeli Human Rights organisation BT’selem, who was filming the attempted school incursion, was also detained, but released shortly after.

Ghassan was arrested for allegedly throwing stones and hitting a soldier.

On 31th August he appeared briefly before a secret court and a Military Judge agreed to his detention for a further seven days. The second court hearing, which took place on 7th September, was also brief because the soldier witness did not turn up and Ghassan’s detention was extended for eight more days.

Ghassan’s friends and family showed ISM, during a recent visit to Burin, a video of the army attack on the school and saw no evidence that Ghassan did anything other than peacefully protest with the others against the school raid.

When asked if the video would be useful for Ghassan’s defense, a friend of Ghassan said, “It would be in a democratic country, but all the Israelis care about is their security.”

Another of Ghassan’s friends told ISM he had received many threats at different checkpoints, preceding his recent arrest. “Once a soldier told Ghassan that they did not want to arrest him directly at the checkpoint, because they wanted to come to his house, destroy everything and make his mother suffer.”

Photo by a member of the Najjar family

Photo by a member of the Najjar family

When the occupying army came to arrest Ghassan, the unit captain instructed the soldiers to “destroy everything,” a soldier turned to Ghassan’s mother and stated, “we will wreck your house.”

Photo by a member of the Najjar family

Photo by a member of the Najjar family

They did as promised. Everything that could be broken was broken and slashed. They even broke pots with houseplants, and cut bottoms from the armchairs. The vandalism lasted from 2am to 4.30am.

Photo by a member of the Najjar family

Photo by a member of the Najjar family

Ghassan was taken away, handcuffed and blindfolded. Only after the soldiers left, did his mother allow herself to cry.

“Our resistance is peaceful. Ghassan never did anything violent, but we worry because we know Israeli military justice. To give you an example, to this day both Ghassan’s lawyer and the International Committee of Red Cross have been denied access to him,” A friend of the family stated.

For a number of years, the Palestinian West Bank village of Burin, located seven kilometers south of Nablus, has been under constant attack by both the Israeli occupying army, and the zionist settlers from some of the most extreme illegal settlement colonies, such as Yitzhar and Bracha, covering the hilltops around it.

A villager told ISM that the army invades the village almost nightly. Soldiers enter houses and the whole families with children and older people are forced to stay outside in the middle of the night, for long periods of time.

Frequently the army erects checkpoints at the entrance and in the center of the village, near to the boys’ school and the Mosque.

“Things are going to get even worse,” Another villager stated, “The olive harvest is around the corner and that is when settler attacks intensify. Olive harvest used to be a festival, a time of joy, and now it is a nightmare.”

Since the start of the Israeli occupation in 1967, much of Burin’s land and water has been taken away and handed over to the Zionist settlers or to the occupying Israeli army, for military bases.

“About 25 to 30 dunums (one dunum is 1000m) of land belong to our village and we have free access only to seven dunums and even that is limited to some parts of the year,” said a local man.

Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights organization, reports that in 2013, Burin lost more olive trees due to settler vandalism than any other West Bank village. In the first months of the last year alone, 7714 Palestinian owned trees were damaged.

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