Home / Press Releases / Arrests, Human Shields and Non-violent Resistance

Arrests, Human Shields and Non-violent Resistance

1. Three More Night-time Arrests in Bil’in; Soldiers Use Human Shield
2. More Settler Attacks in Hebron, While Soldiers and Police Watch
3. “The Nonviolent Option” An Article about US Tour by Palestinian and Israeli Non-Violent Activists Ayed Morrar and Jonathan Pollack
4. Round-up of Recent Events in Qawawis
5. Prisoner Solidarity and Anti-Wall Protest to Continue in Bil’in on Friday in the Face of Continued Military Suppression


1. Three More Night-time Arrests in Bil’in; Soldiers Use Human Shield
November 1st, 2005


Israeli soldiers invaded Bil’in last night and made three more arrests of young men and boys. Three jeeps of Border Police arrived about 1:30 am and went into several houses to make arrests for alleged stone throwing during demonstrations. Once again, the people of the village came out on the street to resist further arrests, and drive the military out. A group of about 50 Palestinians came out chanting and clapping in another act of non-violent resistance.

ISM activists witnessed and caught on film the usage of human shields by the Israeli military last night, which has been ruled illegal under Israeli law (footage available on request).

The names of the new arrestees are:

Abdullah Ahmed Yassin, 14
Nour Mahmoud Yassin, 19 (cousins)
Nayes Gazzi alKatib, 18

These three arrests are in addition to the previous arrests of fifteen Palestinian non-violent activists, including a sixteen year old child and three brothers from one family. Only one of them, who had been arrested by the soldiers in order to pressure his brother to turn himself in, has been released so far.

On the 21st of October, in an act of non violent resistance villagers from Bil’in began to implement the decision of the International Court of Justice that Israel’s illegal wall should be dismantled and removed metal posts meant to serve as foundation for the wall on Bil’in land. The Israeli military reacted to this act with arrests and distribution of a text in Arabic warning people not to take part in direct action against the wall. In the Arabic text the army claimed that “every Friday for the last six months, the IDF has allowed the people of the village to conduct non-violent protests against the construction of the wall on their lands”, despite regularly firing on non-violent demonstrators with tear gas and rubber bullets. The text concluded with the threat that “the acts of the people violating the law will disturb your daily lives”.

For the last ten months, Bil’in has launched an ongoing non-violent campaign against the annexation barrier supported by hundreds of Israeli and International activists, and met by violence from the Israeli army. Israel designed the current route of the barrier to annex 60% of Bil’in’s agricultural land, and expand the settlement of Modi’in Elite. Plans for Modi’in Elite’s expansion have yet to be approved by the Israeli government.


2. More Settler Attacks in Hebron, While Soldiers and Police Watch
October 30th, 2005

by Andrew

At around 1.20pm on Thursday the 27th of October I received a phone call from one of the three internationals who had come to the aid of a Palestinian schoolgirl near Qurtuba School, and who were now under attack from a mob of settlers.

I made my way quickly to the end of Shuhada Street, stopping at the soldiers’ post there. All the buildings immediately beyond this post on the left are the Beit Hadassah settlement buildings. On the right, a narrow stone staircase leads up to a hillside path which leads to Qurtuba School. By this time the three internationals and the Palestinian child had been removed from the area by the police and army.

I stayed on Shuhada Street and began walking with the Palestinians to the end of the street, waiting at the bottom of the stone staircase until they had reached the apparent safety of the hillside path. On one occasion during the next hour four settler children followed me back along Shuhada Street, throwing stones at me. I was also spat at and shoved in the chest by two 18 year old settler males. I was told by the soldiers who were standing on the street that the Israeli Army were unable to ensure my safety.

At 2.30pm I walked with three Palestinian women to the bottom of the staircase, waiting until they had reached the top before I left. Seconds after I turned to leave, I heard several loud crashes and screams from the top of the staircase. I turned to see at least two teenage settler girls who had jumped up from behind a wall next to the path the Palestinian women were now on, throwing bottles and stones at them. The women retreated several metres to the top of the staircase, but were now effectively stranded there as four or five settler men (one of whom was brandishing a power drill) had now approached the bottom of the staircase.

I shouted to the soldiers to do something and went to join the women who were still trapped at the top of the stairs, but out of range of the missiles which continued to fly in their direction. The soldiers remained standing on the street with the settler men.

Five Palestinian kids had now arrived at the bottom of the stairs, and were being prevented from passing by the soldiers and settlers there. As I made my way back down the stairs to join the kids, the settler with the power drill began waving it in the air, shouting. He then charged at the kids, chasing them away. The soldiers continued to stand on the street.

Two police officers then arrived who despite requests to assist the stranded women continued to do nothing for 10 minutes until the settler girls who were throwing the rocks and bottles had left. They then went up to the women to escort them along the path. The soldiers continued to stand on the street.


3. “The Nonviolent Option” Article about US Tour by Palestinian and Israeli Non-Violent Activists Ayed Morrar and Jonathan Pollack

November 2nd, 2005

“When Pollack arrived, the people of the village said the construction of the wall meant the end of Jayyous..”

By Sonia Nettnin, PalestineChronicle.com

CHICAGO – Palestinian Ayed Morrar and Israeli Jonathan Pollack spoke about the nonviolent, resistance movement against the Israeli military occupation.

On their U.S. tour, Morrar and Pollack talked about the thousands of Palestinians and hundreds of Israelis who have been waging a campaign against Israel’s military occupation and the construction of the wall in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

“We are asking all the people to reduce our suffering, the terror,” Morrar said. “The killing is the sign of the hopeless and the disappointed but also we ask you…those people who are looking for real peace people between human to human, not peace between slave to master.”

Morrar is from the Palestinian village of Budrus located in the West Bank, northwest of Ramallah. In November 2003, Israeli forces declared over 1200 dunams of Budrus land for construction of the wall. In response, Morrar led the Budrus community in a peaceful campaign of 55 protest demonstrations to save the land from confiscation.

Throughout these protest marches, Israeli forces killed one 17-year-old, injured 300 Palestinians with rubber bullets and rubber-coated, steel bullets, and arrested 33 people. In the end the people served time in prison and the village lost 14 dunums of land. Although Morrar has not committed any violence, he has been shot, wounded and tortured while in an Israeli prison for seven years.

“We choose the nonviolent way,” he said. “We are against killing from both sides.”

Morrar and Pollack showed footage of protests that took place at Zbuba, Beit Likia, Budrus, and Biddu. In every protest, the demonstrators did not have any weapons. They stood by olive trees allegedly slated to be uprooted for the wall. Israeli soldiers threw tear gas grenades at the demonstrators. When the people ran from the white smoke, the soldiers stood behind trees and fired at the people with semi-automatic weapons. In some instances, they shoved, kicked, clubbed, and pulled at some of the protestors. When it appeared two soldiers were going to kick a Palestinian man in the head, two Palestinian women rushed their bodies on soldiers. From the demonstrators’ point of view they were defending their agricultural land – their means for survival – with their lives.

During a demonstration in Biddu, an ambulance came to retrieve injured people. Suddenly, an M-16 projectile landed in the front of the ambulance and tear gas exploded. The injured and the paramedics rushed out of the ambulance’s back doors and ran away.

Pollack explained that it was not an isolated incident and in many cases the paramedics are targeted by Israeli forces. “The more experience you have the scarier it gets,” he said. “It’s like some ritual you’re going to march down the village and you’re going to be shot at.”

In 2002, several months after the beginning of the wall’s construction Pollack began participating in demonstrations to show Israeli-support of Palestinian-led campaigns. Thus far, he has participated in over 200 West Bank protests and he has mobilized hundreds of Israelis to join the nonviolent, resistance movement. He has served time in prison for his prominent role in mobilizing the resistance.

“It was clear to me that segregation that building a wall is no sort of solution,” he said. “I used to frequent the West Bank the extent it’s hurting the Palestinians and civil society in every day life…no one was thinking it was building on Palestinian land.”

In December 2002 Pollack visited the village of Jayyous, where 75 per cent of Palestinian farmland was on the Israeli side of the wall. “I was shocked I was completely amazed because who knew it was absolutely contradictive to what we were taught about this wall.”

No More Food

When Pollack arrived in Jayyous, the people of the village said the construction of the wall meant the end of Jayyous. The food would be gone, they told him. Without access to their farmland and the nine groundwater wells to irrigate their farmland approximately 300 families could not irrigate and harvest their olive and citrus groves. Thousands of trees died of thirst.

Throughout 20 demonstrations in Jayyous people tried to stop the bulldozers with their own bodies. Throughout the West Bank nine people have died in protests.

For Pollack and other Israeli protestors, it was the first time they moved from protest to resistance. Instead of holding a sign in front of Israel’s Ministry of Defense the Israeli activists were in the West Bank with Palestinians, trying to save Palestinian land from destruction and confiscation. “It was the first opportunities for us as Israeli activist to create relationship with Palestinians that can overcome based on solidarity, not normalizing relations under occupation,” he said.

Eventually the protests in Mas’ha stopped because of overwhelming violence. One Israeli, Gil Nama’ati was seriously wounded in Mas’ha and he nearly died.

On December 27, 2003 media covered the demonstration in Mas’ha that showed Israelis, Palestinians and international activists standing together. According to Pollack, that day marked the eruption of the struggle in almost every Palestinian village there was construction of the wall.

Pollack shared that the wall is 385 miles long and snakes deep into the West Bank. Construction of the wall and Israeli settlements disregards recognition of the 1967 borders established by international law. Almost 500,000 Palestinians in 92 communities are affected by the wall directly. People experience restricted movement because they have to have permits to travel through checkpoints. For example in the village of Qaffin, which has a population of 8000 – 9000 people, only 20 people have permits.

In 50 communities approximately 244,000 people live on the Palestinian side of the wall, but they are surrounded by the wall on three sides. In the city of Qalqilya there was a population of 50,000 – 60,000 people, and an unemployment rate of 18 per cent. Now, 10,000 people have left Qalqilya. There is one gate in and out of the town and Israeli soldiers lock the gate at sunset.

In May 2005, Israeli forces closed Jayyous’ gate 25 for several days. Palestinian farmers worried their trees and crops would die from lack of irrigation. Eventually, Israeli forces reopened gate 25, but the Palestinian farmers needed permits for their farming equipment. They spent the summer purchasing water and transporting it with water trucks to irrigate their farmland. When they harvested their crops, Israeli forces prevented farmers from traveling to larger municipalities, where they could sell their crops in city markets. For the farmers who had permits the travel times between checkpoints caused crops to perish by the time they reached their destination. As a result, most tomatoes and lemons “dropped to the ground,” and the farmers gave them to local villagers for free.

The Olive Tree

“The Palestinian life live strongly to the olive tree,” Morrar said. “The Palestinian people believe olive tree is holy tree as written in the Qur’an and the holy Bible for Christians the holy Torah the holy book of the Jews.”

According to Morrar Palestinian culture teaches that any person who uproots an olive tree will be d—– twenty times. Although Palestinians have planted hundreds of thousands of Palestinian trees the Israeli settlements and the wall have uprooted hundreds of thousands also. The oldest olive tree is in Jenin, a village in the West Bank, and it is 5,000 years-old.

Near Budrus is a church that has olive trees in front of it over 2,000 years-old. Morrar said that as a child Jesus played under these trees.

When trees are uprooted, people are torn with agony and despair because the trees are an integral part of their lives. For these reasons, the people continue in their struggle against the occupation.

“There’s no price on freedom,” Pollack said. “We tried to give a new meaning to this phrase. Freedom and equality…we’re going to fight for our freedom and other peoples’ freedom and nothing they can do deter us.”

Morrar talked about Muslim women and how the West perceives that Palestinian women have no rights. “We discovered that the women don’t want to stay in the kitchen to wait for the heroes to come back from the battle…we just open the doors heroes we discover many heroes in Budrus.” As prominent figures in the nonviolent struggle against Israel’s military occupation, Morrar and Pollack are friends also.

Although Morrar described his command of the English language as meek, he said: “I still believe by the law which Martin Luther King spoke he spoke the rights cannot be given but taken… our aim is freedom as any people in the world freedom from the occupation… we are human and we have right to struggle to achieve the freedom.”


4. Round-up of Recent Events in Qawawis

November 2nd, 2005

ISM volunteers have been maintaining a presence as Human Rights Observers (HROs) in the tiny Palestinian village of Qawawis (population approx. fifteen), as requested by locals. The vunerable village is often subject to attack and harrassment from nearby Israeli settlers. The following is a brief summary of recent events.

On the 11 of October at 16:35, a car on the settler-only road stoped and a settler took a photo of a villager. At 16:49 an army truck stoped and three soldiers got out. They talked to shepherd and told a HRO that the man had been too close to the settler road.

On the 14th of October at 08:52 an army truck drove into the village via a settler road and approached two shepherds. When a HRO approached the truck with the shepherds a soldier told him to back off because he wanted to talk to the shepherd alone. It seemed that he told the shepherd he is too close to the road and to go nearer the olive trees. The soldier drove away calling the HRO a “fucking faggot”. At 16:00 two army trucks were observed parked on the settler road. After a while they drove off without interfering

On the 15th of October at 07:50 an army truck stoped near a Palestinian shepherd grazing his flock nearby the settler road. A soldier gots out and seems to explain to the shepherd he is too close to the road. A HRO was told “you know they shouldn’t be here?”. The HRO replied that he did not know that. At 10:15 two Israelis drove into village (car licence number was noted). They said they were from a kibbutz and talked to the villagers and the two HROs. They claimed to be organising a tour of the area for their kibbutz. HROs advised that it was not a good idea, as the villagers would think they are settlers. One said “don’t worry, we don’t like the settlers either” and gave the villagers a sack of carrots from “our factory”. One spoke good Arabic and told a villager they had been moved out of Gaza – which would make them settlers too. Their story did not seem to add up. At 13:45 three settlers all of approx. 18 – 20 years of age came into the village. Villagers and two HROs approached them and asked what they were doing. They did not reply and walked around the village in silence. One jumped onto a wall and looked into a garden. At 13:47 one HRO reported the harrassment to the Kyiyat Arba settlement Police. They promised to send first the army and then the police. A few minutes later the settlers left. They were video taped. No military or police ever arrived.

On the 17th of October between 06:00 amd 08:30, several military and police vehicles were observed nearby while shepherds were grazing their flock. Between 10:50 and 11:15 at least 150 cars and 5 busses were obseved heading to Susya settlement. Between 11:00 and 13:00 a watch was kept on the road but no settlers approached.


5. Prisoner Solidarity and Anti-Wall Protest to Continue in Bil’in on Friday in the Face of Continued Military Suppression

November 2nd, 2005


This Friday at 12:00 pm the villagers of Bil’in together with Israeli and International supporters will hold another creative non-violent march to the construction site of the Apartheid Barrier. The main theme of this week’s demonstration will be prisoner solidarity. Due to the recent night-time raids by the Israeli military, seventeen non-violent protestors from the village currently remain in Israeli detention. These arrestees are being accused by the Israeli authorities of damaging the foundations of the barrier and throwing stones.

Over the past eleven days, the Israeli military has conducted a series of arrest raids during the night in Bil’in. Going house to house, they have been rounding up activists known to participate in the non-violent demonstrations, keeping the entire village sleepless and distressed in the process. International Human Rights Observers last Monday night witnessed and filmed the illegal (under Israeli law) use of a Palestinian civilian as a “human shield” by the Israeli military (footage available upon request). One on occasion, the Israeli military distributed a leaflet in Arabic warning the villagers that although they have “allowed the people of the village to conduct non-violent protests against the construction of the wall on their lands” they consider the damaging of the barrier “violence against security property” and warned them that “the daily lives of the villagers will be disrupted as a result of such acts”.

Among the Palestinian non-violent activists arrested are a 14 year old child, a 16 year old child and three brothers from one family. Only one of those arrested -who was taken by the soldiers in order to pressure his brother to turn himself in- has been released so far. Mohammed alKatib, a member of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bil’in said: “they go after the young and vulnerable in order to intimidate them into giving information about other activists in the village”.

In response to the latest invasion on Monday night, Bil’in residents together with a few Israeli and International volunteers again poured out of their houses and confronted the military, singing and chanting. The Israeli force subsequently withdrew from the village.


For more reports, journals and action alerts visit the ISM website at

Please consider supporting the International Solidarity Movement’s
work with a financial contribution. You may donate securely through
our website at www.palsolidarity.org