The foreign civilians were protesting Israels policy of restricting the movement of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. The Israeli military frequently uses these roadblocks to close off Palestinian towns and villages, preventing Palestinians from exit or entrance. One British member of the group, Greg Muttitt said, “These roadblocks are a deliberate attempt by the Israeli government to intimidate and marginalize the Palestinian people. We want to see all of these roadblocks removed, and we call for an end to the military occupation of Palestine.” Through the rain and cold, the international delegation, part of the International Solidarity Movement’s December campaign to end occupation, worked for hours, using their hands and other small hand tools to remove mounds of sludge and rock to open a path for Palestinians to get in and out of their villages.
As the internationals were working, a bulldozer was brought in by the Israeli Army to block the group by placing boulders in their way. Sofia, trying to block the advance of the bulldozer was quickly and viciously snatched and dragged away by her hair by three male officers. She was taken to the police compound in the settlement of Ariel where she was held for over five hours, in the cold and charged with “attacking a police officer.”
The international peace campaigners will be working to remove roadblocks again tomorrow. For more information, contact Huwaida at 052-642-709.
Notes to the editor:
1. The roadblocks in Hares and Yassouf villages in the Salfit region near Nablus consisted of rubble, rock and concrete piled six feet high across the road to prevent all traffic from passing.
2. The International Solidarity Movement is made up of Palestinian and international campaigners working to raise awareness of the Palestinian plight for freedom and an end to Israeli occupation. The coalition calls on Israel to immediately implement UN resolutions and abide by international law. It urges the United Nations and governments around the world to take decisive action to ensure Israel’s compliance therewith.
3. Video footage shows that Sofia and the whole group maintained a non-violent nature throughout the entire action. Footage also clearly depicts the violence used by the police officers (including shoving, knocking to the ground, arm twisting and hair pulling) to detain a non-violent activist.
For more information, contact
Huwaida Arraf at 052-642-709
or Neta Golan at 055-213-096 or 052-481-261
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is comprised of local Palestinian and foreign civilians working to raise awareness of the Palestinian plight for freedom and an end to Israeli military occupation. We call on Israel to immediately implement UN Resolutions and abide by international law. We urge the United Nations and our respective governments to take decisive action to ensure Israel’s compliance therewith.