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Repression and Resistance

1. Human Rights Observer to be Deported from Palestine by Israel
2. Mohammed Mansour’s trial update
3. Pastoral Calm Faces Military Might
4. Settlement Expansion Under the Guise of Security
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1. Human Rights Observer to be Deported from Palestine by Israel

November 24th, 2005

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A Human Rights Observer (HRO) from the UK was arrested in Tel Rumeida, Hebron earlier today. He had just finished escorting Palestinian children to school and was walking home on Shuhaddah street when he was stopped by an armed Border Police unit in a targeted arrest.

He was informed that his visa had expired but explained that he had been given an appointment with the Ministy of the Interior (MoI) for renewal. He had applied for this renewal before his visa had expired and was given an appointment in three weeks time, as is the usual practice of the MoI. He produced documents to prove this appointment. These documents were refused and he alone was put into a Border Police van and taken to Abrahim Avinu police station.

He has had an immediate hearing tonight with the MoI, not attended by any lawyer or independent witnesses. The MoI. decided on his deportation without hearing any representation from him or his lawyer. He now waits in the Ramleh Deportation Centre near Tel Aviv to be sent home.

This HRO has been working in Tel Rumeida for a number of months. His primary role has been in escorting Palestinian children to and from Qurtuba Primary School as they are subjected to stoning and physical assault by settlers from the Tel Rumeida and Beit Haddassa settlements on a daily basis. This area of Hebron has seen some of the worst settler violence against local Palestinians. The police have been at best apathetic toward this violence and at worst, have accommodated it. He and other HROs are regularly harassed and threatened with arrest by police.

Only last week, this HRO met with members of the Israeli Knesset to discuss the security situation with settlers and the difficulties with the Civil and Border Police in Tel Rumeida. HROs have been stoned, spat at and had their life threatened on numerous occasions by settlers communities for the work they do. The absence of HRO’s would give settlers carte blanche to do as they wish to Palestinians and their land without any international witnesses.

For more information please call :

ISM Media office: +972 2 297.1824
Gabi laski (attorney): +972 544.418.988

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2. Mohammed Mansour’s trial update

On the 22nd of November during the most recent Hearing of Palestinian nonviolent organiser Mohammed Mansour from Biddu, court case the prosecution finally gave up on getting Mohammed Mansour to agree to stop participating in demonstrations for the next two years and pay a 3,500 shekel fine of his own free will.

“I would prefer to go to jail than pay one shekel to the Occupation. It is not I, but those that build the wall that are the criminals” said Mohammed.

In the next session, set for the 10th of January the Judge will begin hearing witnesses. Mohammed was initially arrested in June 2004 at a nonviolent demonstration in Al Ram. Undercover Israeli agents stormed the crowd and many, including Mohammed and a Palestinian photographer for “Yediot Ahronot,” a large Israeli newspaper, were severely beaten. Mohammed was hospitalised and then held for a week before his release on bail together with another three Palestinians, including two minors, who were arrested at the Al Ram demonstration. Five Israeli peace activists, also arrested at the demonstration, were released a few hours following their arrest.

Mohammed is being charged with assaulting a police officer, throwing stones and presiding illegally in an “Israeli area.”

Mohammed’s trail is taking place while sixteen nonviolent activists from the village of Bil’in are currently in jail in an attempt to crush the nonviolent resistance in the village.

The International Solidarity Movement condemns the Israeli legal system defense of war crimes committed by the Israeli military and settlers and its criminalization of nonviolent protest against the Occupation and Apartheid wall.

Picture here:
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2005/11/24/mohammed-mansours-trial-update/

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3. Pastoral Calm Faces Military Might

by Asa and Sarah
At 11am on Tuesday the 22nd of November residents of the Tubas area held a dignified demonstration against the Israeli checkpoint near Tayasir village. Around 100 Palestinians were joined by about 25 Israeli and international supporters. The shebab (youth) of the region were mostly in school at the time, so the demonstration was mostly made up of mature, respected men of the community as well as several local women.
Protesters marched towards the checkpoint where they significantly outnumbered the IOF presence. It would have been relatively easy for the group to occupy the checkpoint non-violently, which must have been clear to the soldiers too. However, the organisers of the demonstration had decided beforehand on a non-confrontational approach. For around an hour the protesters stood facing the soldiers holding banners and signs with slogans such as “Yes to the application of international law” (in Arabic), and “Checkpoint = Chokepoint” (in English). The protest included a time of prayer for the Muslim men who were in attendance.
During the quiet assembly, the checkpoint guard continued to increase in number, presumably in anticipation of a checkpoint breach. Also two snipers assumed position on a roof in the military compound and maintained constant sight on the group. The soldiers were to be frustrated that they did not provoke a violent reaction, and the only activity at the checkpoint was the arrival of the Israeli activists who refused to show their IDs while joining the group assembled on the western entrance. There were intervals of chanting and the sound of an F16 and two helicopters flying in the vicinity but otherwise all was calm.
At the signal of the the Palestinian leadership, the assembly dispersed quietly.
The Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC) in Tubas organised the demonstration to draw attention to the nature of the occupation in the isolated Tubas region. Over the last year the checkpoint has cut Palestinian villages in the area off from each other and Palestinians from their agricultural land.
The villages of Bardala, Ein Al Beda, Cardala and Wadi Al Malech are in an enclave in the Jordan Valley, the only entry and exit point to which is the Tayasir checkpoint. Anyone who is not registered on their I.D. card as being from these villages or has a time limited permit is forbidden to enter by the Israeli military. In order to be allowed to move freely many residents of this village have registered there addresses in Tubas itself. Now, if they leave their villages they are forbidden to return.
Tayaseer and Aqaba are in an area considered a “Military Zone”. Occupation officials have made no secret of their opinion that Aqaba “just should not be there”. Recently the military confiscated villagers sheep and burnt there grazing grounds. According to Ha’aretz (26th March 1999), 8 villagers from the village were killed and 43 wounded by the Israeli military between 1967 when they “adopted” it as a training facility and September 2000 when they were forced to pull out after the village brought a successful case against the them to the Israeli high court. More recently, the military declared all the village homes to be “illegally built” and threatened to demolish the whole village, issuing demolition orders in the village. These efforts were defeated by international protests.
Although one village in the area removed the military through legal action, it was clear to us that the region is still very much used by the IOF as a training grounds. The military presence in the air and on the ground during the protest was in stark contrast to the calm face of the locals and the action they orgainsed.
Pictures here:
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2005/11/23/pastoral-calm-faces-military-might/

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4. Settlement Expansion Under the Guise of Security

CORRECTION: both demonstrations start at 12pm tomorrow, and not 1pm as previously stated.

Two villages rise up against the wall tomorrow

[Ramallah District] The West Bank villages if Bil’in and Abud will both march to the construction sites of the Annexation Wall on their land Friday, November 25 at 12:00 PM. The Abud and Bil’in protest marches are part of the ongoing efforts of Palestinians to stop the destruction of their land and the ghettoization of their communities. Palestinians, joined by Israelis and internationals, have conducted almost weekly protests, marches, direct actions and other forms of civil resistance and disobedience since the beginning of the construction of the wall in 2002.

Abud, a village of approximately 2200 Christian and Muslim Palestinians, will lose over 4,000 dunams (about a 1,000 acres) of its land due to the route of the barrier. The route of the wall around Abud is designed to enable the unapproved planned expansion of the Ofarim and Beit Arye settlements. Both of these settlements are illegal under international law.

The village of Bil’in, now a symbol of persistent community organizing and cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis in the struggle against the wall, is losing over 60% of its agricultural land to the construction of the barrier. The route of the wall in Bil’in will de-facto annex the village’s farmland for the planned expansion of the illegal Modi’in Elite settlement.

Abud and Bil’in are not alone. According to a report from Israeli human rights organization B’tselem, “ the currently approved route of the Barrier leaves fifty-five settlements, twelve of them in East Jerusalem, separated from the rest of the West Bank and contiguous with the State of Israel. Study of a map of the route indicates that in most of the cases… the Barrier’s route was set hundreds, and even thousands, of meters from the houses at the edge of the settlements.”

The B’tselem report also shows that not only were security-related reasons of secondary importance to the Israeli government in certain locations, but that in cases where security concerns conflicted with settlement expansion, the planners opted to enable expansion at the expense of security.

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