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Electorial Candidates Unite Against the Wall

1. Human Rights Workers: IDF Claims a “Zero Tolerance” for Violent Settlers, But Not in Tel Rumeida
2. Despite Injunction from Israeli Supreme Court – Illegal Construction in Metityahu Mizrah Continues
3. Electoral candidates unite against the Apartheid Wall
4. Sharon, a Man of Peace or a Man of Pacification
5. Pissing on the Graves of Civil Rights Heroes
6. What Is Holy Here?
7. In the Spirit of Revolution
8. Documentaries from occupied Palestine

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1. Human Rights Workers: IDF Claims a “Zero Tolerance” for Violent Settlers, But Not in Tel Rumeida

January 17th, 2006
TEL RUMEIDA, HEBRON — Despite the Israeli government’s claim of a “zero tolerance” policy against settler violence in Hebron, Human Rights Workers report that settlers have continued their violence against Palestinians with almost full impunity. The IDF’s and Police’s main response to settler lawlessness continues to be criminal indifference. Though they have increased their numbers, Israeli Security Forces continue to order Palestinian residents and Human Rights Workers to go home, rather than stopping settler attacks against them. As the media focuses on the impending evacuation of eight settler families from the wholesale market in Hebron’s Old City, Human Rights Workers report that the increase of settler violence in Tel Rumeida, in the midst of the neighborhood’s ongoing climate of violence and humiliation, continues to go largely unreported by the media and unrestrained by the Israeli Security Forces. Human Rights Workers in Tel Rumeida have documented the settlers’ unrelenting violence in the neighborhood since August 2005 and report that the unrestrained settler violence against Palestinians, Human Rights Workers, and the Israeli Security Forces in Tel Rumeida can only mean that the Israeli government is criminally negligent in its refusal to apply the law to settlers.

Early Thursday afternoon, on the 12th of January, a group of forty Israeli girls, many wearing black balaclava ski masks, marched through Tel Rumeida, throwing stones at Palestinians and Palestinian homes. David Parsons is a Canadian human rights worker (HRW) who lives in Tel Rumeida and works with the International Solidarity Movement and Tel Rumeida Project documenting and attempting to prevent settler attacks. “I was attacked right in front of four soldiers,” Parsons said, explaining that the group of girls surrounded him when they saw him filming as they threw stones at Palestinians. “They kicked and punched me, and tried repeatedly to steal my video camera. Four soldiers were standing nearby and watching, but they did nothing to help me or Palestinians as we were attacked.”

In another incident, witnessed by a Palestinian resident of Tel Rumeida, Baruch Marzel, a notorious settler leader, and other settlers attacked a Palestinian woman. The witness called out to soldiers stationed nearby to help her. The soldiers did not arrive. Instead, more than three hours later, a group of soldiers knocked on the witness’ door, with guns pointed, to ask him what he wanted. Life for Tel Rumeida’s Palestinian residents, sandwiched between the Beit Hadassah and Tel Rumeida settlements, is characterized by the daily threat of violence from one of the West Bank’s most fanatical settler populations. Palestinian schoolchildren are regularly attacked with eggs and stones as they walk to and from school, and Palestinians of all ages face daily attacks.

The Tel Rumeida project and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) live in Tel Rumeida where they support palestinian families by documenting and intervening in settler violence.
For more information: www.telrumeidaproject.org

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2. Despite Injunction from Israeli Supreme Court – Illegal Construction in Metityahu Mizrah Continues
January 16th 2006|
At 10-00AM today the villagers of Bil’in noticed construction work being carried out at the illegal out post of Metityahu Mizrah, built on there land despite an injunction from January 13th issued by Judge Ayala Prokachya forbidding all building whatsoever in the Matityahu East compound in the settlement Modi’in Illit.

The villagers called the police who arrived on the scene only to stand by and do nothing to stop the illegal construction. The military that arrived shortly after also ignored the illegal construction and demanded that the villagers leave the area. At 13:15 hours the workers left the area of their own accord.

At 13:30 A civil administration Jeep arrived on patrol to monitor the Palestinian one room building that constitutes the “Palestinian outpost” dubbed Bil’in West. The Civil Administration conveniently failed to notice any illegal activity in the Israeli outpost across the hill. In stark contrast to the treatment of Matityahu Mizrah, the civil administration and Police have recently confiscated building material from inside the Palestinian outpost and forced it’s residents to take down the Palestinian flag that decorated the structure.

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3. Electoral candidates unite against the Apartheid Wall

January 18th, 2006
Bil’in Village
Candidates from all Palestinian political parties and factions, including Hamas, Fatah, Al Mubadara and others will join the villagers of Bil’in on Friday the 20th of January at 12;00 AM in a march to the construction site of the annexation barrier on their land. Members of the Israeli Knesset and Israeli and international activists will also participate in the protest.

When asked about Hamas participating in nonviolent demonstrations that are supported by Israeli activists, Hamas’s spokesperson Hassan Youssef told the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz that if they see that this kind of demonstration can end Israel’s occupation, then they will do it.

The people of Bil’in have built an “outpost” adjacent to the illegal Jewish settlement outpost Matityahu Mizrah currently being constructed on the villages land. That has been rendered inaccessible to the villagers by the annexation barrier.

The Israeli authorities efforts to remove and halt the expansion of the Palestinian outpost is in stark contrast to their support for the illegal expansion of Modi’in Elite.

The route of the wall in Bil’in was determined in order to allow for the unauthorised expansion of the Modi’in Elite settlement and the de-facto annexation of over half of the villages land. An appeal by the villagers will be heard in the Israeli Supreme Court on February first.

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4. Sharon, a Man of Peace or a Man of Pacification

January 18th, 2006
by: Hedy Epstein
Before I arouse the wrath of those who do not agree with my views on the Israeli/Palestinian situation, let me say that I wish Prime Minister Sharon full recovery and peace of mind.

As Mr. Sharon now lies in his hospital bed, writers all over the world are busy preparing articles remembering this man. No matter what happens, Sharon will be remembered. Remembered by whom? Remembered for what? Therein lies the difference. Some will remember him as a great soldier; as architect of the Likud Party, and more recently as the founder of a new political party – Kadima; as the father of the settlements; as the man who unilaterally withdrew from Gaza, and, and, and……

Still others will remember and laud him as a “Man of Peace.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Sharon’s goal and the Israeli government’s goal under Sharon’s leadership has not been peace, but pacification. What is the difference between peace and pacification? Peace is the absence of violence, destruction and war. Pacification, according to my Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is “the act of being subdued to a submissive state; the act of bringing under control.” Peace, according to the same dictionary, is “a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity.”

A true peacemaker does not build a 25 foot high wall (twice the height of the infamous Berlin Wall) which in most places does not separate Israelis from Palestinians for the alleged purpose of security for Israel, but separates Palestinians from Palestinians. If Israel truly believes a wall is necessary to provide security for its people, Israel has every right to do so, but should build it on its own land, along the 1967 borders, and not encroach on Palestinian land, and in the process destroy Palestinian homes, olive groves and hothouses, preventing Palestinians from contact with families, friends, reaching places of work, hospitals, schools and water resources — in other words, destroying the economic and social life of Palestinians, reducing them to live in Bantustan-like situations, reminiscent of life in South Africa, not so long ago. The land that has been, and continues to be lost to the construction of the wall, is some of the very best Palestinian farmland. The International Court of Justice nearly unanimously declared the current path of the wall illegal. Even the Israeli Supreme Court declared in the summer of 2004 that the wall needs to be relocated in some areas to abate the hardship it causes the Palestinians. Reluctantly, this happened in a few places, but in the process, more Palestinian land was confiscated.

Much has been made of the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza a few months ago. But little is said about Israel’s continued administrative control over Gaza, meaning control over land, air and sea access; about ongoing, frequent machine gun, tank and rocket fire by Israel in response to some home-made rockets or stones being thrown at Israeli tanks by Palestinians. While the withdrawal from Gaza was hailed by the media, construction of new settlements and addition to existing ones in the West Bank was carried out with a great furor. Just like the wall, they are another land grab, illegal and in violation of international law and the Geneva Convention.

What about the many checkpoints and roadblocks? They are but another method of humiliating and harassing Palestinians and all of this with the approval and direction of Sharon, the so called “Man of Peace.” There is only one good name for all of this, “pacification,” the act of subduing Palestinians into a submissive state, of bringing them under control.

And lastly, much of this has been and continues to be paid for by American tax dollars.

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Hedy Epstein is a Holocaust survivor and a Board member of Deir Yassin Remembered. She has visited Palestine three times between December 2003 and August 2005, witnessing much of what she describes above.

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5. Pissing on the Graves of Civil Rights Heroes
by Gabriel Ash
January 15, 2006
http://www.dissidentvoice.org
Andrew Goodman was a 21-year-old Jewish anthropology student from New York who went to Mississippi in 1964 to help register black voters. He joined thousands of activists in Freedom Summer, a non-violent challenge to the institutionalized racism of the U.S. South. Goodman was one of the many people who helped bring King’s dream one step closer to reality. But Goodman’s idealism and dedication to justice cost him his life. He was murdered by a white supremacist mob in Philadelphia, Mississippi together with two other activists, the black Mississippian James Chaney (age 21) and a second white New-Yorker, Michael Schwerner (age 24).

Last Thursday, Goodman’s mother received a Civil Rights Award from the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism. Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke at the event, which commemorated Martin Luther King Jr.

But not all is well. A few years ago I participated in another non-violent challenge to institutionalized racism, also called Freedom Summer in recognition of that inspiring historical moment. The new Freedom Summer was organized by the http://www.palsolidarity.org International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and took us to occupied Palestine, where we sought to stand shoulder to shoulder with Palestinians organizing non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation, and to bear witness to their struggle for justice and freedom.

Like any serious challenge to racism, the International Solidarity Movement’s campaigns are not without danger. An American ISM volunteer, http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/category/rachel-corrie/ Rachel Corrie, 22, was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer while protecting a Palestinian home from demolition. A British volunteer, http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/category/tom-hurndall/ Tom Hurndall, 21, died after being shot in the head by a sniper while trying to escort Palestinian children to safety in Rafah. Israeli protesters Gil Na’amati, Itai Levinsky, and Jonathan Pollak have been seriously wounded by Israeli soldiers during demonstrations. Many have suffered gunshot wounds, beatings and arrests.
Jews like Goodman played an important role in a Civil Rights movement of the ’60s, one that has been told many times. Although I don’t have statistics, I can attest that our Freedom Summer was attended by a significant number of American Jews as well. If Goodman were alive today, I have no doubt that he too would be going to Palestine, to stand for the same values he stood for in Mississippi in 1964.

Yet the award was presented to Goodman’s mother in a peculiar place — Israel’s embassy in Washington.

Goodman’s commitment to voting rights was honored at the embassy of the state that, on that very day, arrested Palestinians trying to hang campaign posters in http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/category/jerusalem Jerusalem (Haaretz, January 12, 2006) Goodman’s commitment to civil rights was honored by a state that disallows inter-religious marriages, refuses residence to foreign spouses of Arab citizens, and reserves development budgets overwhelmingly for its Jewish citizens.

Goodman’s commitment to fight racism was honored by a state that considers 20% of its mothers “a demographic threat.”
Goodman’s commitment to fight for freedom was honored by a state where an Arab must be vetted by the security services before he or she can teach in an Arab high school.

Goodman’s sacrifice was honored by the representative of the state responsible for killing Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall.
Goodman’s commitment to non-violence was honored by a state that defines non-violence as a “security threat” and routinely deports Americans suspected of committing it.

That’s a perk; Palestinian non-violent activists are treated far worse. Israeli forces fire tear gas, rubber and live bullets and concussion grenades at unarmed protestors. Israeli undercover agents have been caught on tape throwing rocks at Israeli forces to create excuses to firing on protestors (Haaretz, April 29, 2005; see also “The Palestinian Gandhi,” by Ran HaCohen) Israeli forces kill non-violent protesters. For example, during a non-violent protest in Bidu in February 2004, in which the ISM participated, Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinian protesters, Zacharia Mahmoud Eid, 26, Mohamed Rayan, 26, and Mohamed Saleh Bedwan. 70 year old Abu Nabil Abu Eid also died from a heart attack after inhaling excessive tear-gas. Israel’s security forces have wounded hundreds of protesters, harassed and collectively punished villages such as http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/category/budrus-village/ Budrus and http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/category/bilin/ Bilin that dared to protest non-violently, and arrested hundreds of protesters, including nonviolent protest leaders. Muhammed Awad from Budrus is an example. He was deemed a security threat and put in administrative detention (the Israeli version of legal limbo). He explained the threat he poses to the state better than anyone: “Instead of the fence, my friends and I managed to establish bridges of trust between us and the Jews,” he said to Judge Agassi. “We let the world understand that there can be coexistence between us and the Jews.” (Haas in Haaretz, November 10, 2004)

This is the state that Jackson agreed to honor and to associate with the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. by accepting to participate and speak at this award ceremony.

What is the role of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism in this disgrace? No great mystery here. This is an organization that sees, hears and speaks no evil with regards to Israel. Their general commitment to social justice and “action” is at best limited to the safely uncontroversial. On its website you can find various “issue packets”. On the crisis in Argentina, for example, their package contains information exclusively about Jews. I guess all the other struggles that are taking place in Argentina are just out of luck. What business has this parochial group to honor deeds of the sort it neither advocates nor apparently cares about? Is it because Goodman was Jewish? This “Action Center” is using Goodman’s name, hoping that Goodman’s anti-racist halo would rub off on them, and on Israel, thanks to Goodman’s Jewish ancestry. They should be told that Jewish participation in solidarity against racism is not a credit line they can now freely tap. Those who are today defending the cause of racism and discrimination should not bask in the unearned glow of the sacrifices made by heroes such as Andrew Goodman. They have little in common with him.

But who will tell them that? Not Jesse Jackson, who is now merchandizing the struggle for civil rights. Jackson is today allowing that anti-racist legacy to be used to legitimize institutionalized racism and violence. Thus he ingratiates himself with the Zionist movers and shakers who dispense campaign money and respectability in the Democratic Party.

Shame!

Gabriel Ash is an activist and writer who writes because the pen is sometimes mightier than the sword and sometimes not. He welcome comments at: [email protected]

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6. What Is Holy Here?
January 15th, 2006 |
by Marjorie, of http://www.birthrightunplugged.org/ Birthright Unplugged, Boston USA
I’m overwhelmed by the desire to share what I’ve learned this week in Palestine, but also overwhelmed by the size of that task. We completed the Birthright Unplugged tour last night, and it’s hard to believe it was only a week long. The amazing people I was blessed to meet, the horrific abuses I was forced to see, the institutional violence I was part of witnessing, the challenges I began to understand, the hope and courage I had the privilege of honoring…so much to tell you…

Too Many Walls

The Wall is called the Separation Wall, the Apartheid Wall, misnamed the security fence. It’s misnamed for both the security and the fence; 3-stories high, permanent concrete blocks wedged shoulder to shoulder, with watchtowers spaced throughout. It is not an overstatement to say that the Wall is creating a prison out of the West Bank.

Security

Most people think that the Wall follows the Green Line (the armistice line of the war of 1948 that forms the de facto Israel/Palestine border and which, under international law, separates Israel from the occupied territories). Let there be no confusion. It does not. The path of the Wall steals 10% of West Bank land into Israel. Though still only partially built, it snakes around the West Bank, carving once-contiguous areas into separate regions, unable to access each other. Its path runs around illegal settlements, de facto annexing them and the land they are on into Israel.

The policy is clear – the most land with the fewest Palestinians is seized. Once the Wall is completed (its planned completion route is public information), the entire West Bank will be carved into non-contiguous “bantustans” that can only be connected by road through illegal Israeli settlement territory.

Roads

There is also an infrastructure of roads that cuts through the remaining connected parts of the West Bank, allowing easy access between Jerusalam and all its “suburbs” (settlements). At its deepest point, the Wall cuts into the West Bank 22 kilometers (13 miles). This is all Palestinian land.

I walked through the Bethlehem checkpoint, now called a “terminal.” That’s very much what it looks like, a massive structure, wedged between the Wall on either side. It’s a sterile building compared to an airport terminal, yet more like a prison with a system of electronic doorways, metal detectors, and soldiers behind bulletproof glass. Above is a platform where at least one soldier stands with his gun pointed down. At the entrance is a banner the height of the Wall: “Peace Be With You” in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. It’s pink, green, and purple, with Israeli Department of Tourism at the bottom.

The Bethlehem terminal is well into the West Bank. Perhaps the department of tourism is confused. I pass through without incident, and turn back to get close to the Wall. I stand up right against the hard concrete, look up, concrete to the sky; look right, left, concrete to both horizons; cry, kick, yell. Silence. I don’t know what to do. I have never been in a ghetto before…

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7. In the Spirit of Revolution
January 18th, 2006
Salfit Region
By Hanna
I’ve been traveling for the past two weeks with groups of people who enjoy more privilege here than perhaps any other group – American Jews. We can relatively easily pass through walls, fences, gates, checkpoints, “terminals” and other obstacles, moving from Jerusalem to Bethlehem to Ramallah to Haifa and back to Jerusalem without a second thought. Unless we think. Unless we call our Palestinian friends on the phone and try to explain what we’re doing. Unless they ask us, “Where are you?” and we debate whether to lie or to tell them we’re in their capital city that they haven’t been able to reach for the past 5 years.

Last week my host family was looking at some of Dunya’s pictures of the terminal and the Wall, and my 11-year-old host brother looked at one photo and asked, “That’s the Wall?” “You haven’t seen it?” I asked incredulously. “Once or twice,” was the reply, “but not recently.” Freedom of movement is so limited that people who don’t have the permits to leave their ghetto have no reason to even approach its walls.

A couple days ago I asked the International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS) landlord if he is still able to drive to work in Salfit from Hares, a village separated from Salfit by the settlement of Ariel and roadblocks and checkpoints. For now, he told me, he can drive there, but the checkpoint at Zatara is being made bigger. I said, “Yes, I know, it will be like the new checkpoints at Bethlehem and Kalandia.” “No,” he said, “the Bethlehem checkpoint is easy to get through.” Instantly I realized that he hasn’t seen the new terminals, because he isn’t allowed on one side of each of them. So he goes around the long way, through a huge valley that steers clear of Jerusalem, and ends up back in Bethlehem, in order to attend a conference on nonviolence. And the checkpoint in the valley, he says, isn’t so bad. He’s a well-connected man with ties to the Palestinian government, and still I know more about the institutionalization of the checkpoint structures than he does, at least on the physical level of having seen and experienced them. If you separate an entire population into small disconnected enclaves, it makes it difficult for people to organize against the magnitude of the system. This is not a new concept for the Israeli government. This is not coincidental.

And then there’s the less visible, or, for internationals like myself, invisible. I’ve been traveling north and south and all over the place for the past two weeks, and I found out only two days ago that nobody from the northern West Bank has been allowed south of Zatara checkpoint (in the center of the northern West Bank) for the past several weeks. 800,000 people in Jenin, Tulkarem, and Nablus cannot travel to Ramallah because of this Israeli closure. People like me can travel without knowing this, because our taxi drivers from Ramallah or Jerusalem can come north and bring us south. We never have to know, but the same is not true of my Israeli friend who is married to a Palestinian from Nablus. They were traveling back from Nablus to Ramallah after Eid Al-Adha, one of the biggest Muslim holidays of the year, and they split at the checkpoint so my friend could come meet our group in Ramallah while her husband twisted and turned through unpaved dirt roads to try to get home without being turned back at checkpoints. Or another man I know from Jenin who works at a human rights organization in Ramallah. He had gone home for the holiday, and it took him more than 5 hours to return to Ramallah. It should have taken about 2 hours, and that’s already taking into account the separation of land and roads due to settlement expansion. I asked him about his father, who I know is sick, and he told me the family has moved him to a hospital in Jericho, though none of them live there, because it’s the only place that different family members can go check up on him without too much hassle.

The division of the West Bank into tiny disconnected cantons is the most recent method of separation the Israeli government has employed, beginning in 1967 and intensifying continuously until today. But I’ve also been especially conscious these weeks of the more existential separation that still haunts people to this day – the loss of 78% of Palestine in 1948, the expulsion of more than two thirds of the Palestinian population, and the separation of families that have never been reunited. I’m not sure I’ve ever met a Palestinian who is able to have regular family get-togethers. Some of them are in the West Bank or Gaza, some in Lebanon, some in Syria, some in Jordan, Bahrain, Dubai, Russia, Venezuela, London, Montreal, Chicago, Houston… Everywhere but together.

I’ve been especially conscious of this dispersion these past weeks because Dunya and I are beginning a new project today that I wish wholeheartedly we had no reason to do. We will try to take kids from a refugee camp to their holy sites in Jerusalem, to the sea in Yaffa, and to the villages that their grandparents fled in 1948. We wish they could just go with their parents and grandparents, that they could visit the land, picnic on the land, build a new house on the land if that’s what they chose to do. But they have no choice. So we will go with them for a short visit, though it breaks my heart when people in the older generations ask us to call them on the phone from the villages so we can describe what we see and they can tell us where we are, what houses used to stand there, where the children used to play.

It breaks my heart when we talk about the project to other Palestinian friends and they ask if we can do the same with their children. It breaks my heart when I tell a 17-year-old friend about the project and she says, “I wish I were younger so I could come… But I’m not sure if I wish I were a refugee.” She just wants to come to the beach. Just to see the sea.

Sometimes my work with refugees, my work connecting Palestinians on either side of the Green Line, feels like a sloppy symbolic attempt to sew back together what my people have torn apart. Sometimes if feels like repentance. Except it’s not about me, and most Palestinians don’t particularly care about my identity as a Jew or as an American. It’s about power and trying to dismantle it. It’s about injustice and trying to fix it. It’s about my 17-year-old friend’s response to a question last week about what message Americans can take back to the U.S. from Palestine. “Revolution,” she said. “If all the people in the world overthrow all the governments in the world, we’ll have no problem living with each other in peace.”

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8. What is Holy Here?
Hebron
Al-Khalil by the Arabic name, is a Palestinian city in the West Bank, 35 km from Jerusalem. Throughout the West Bank, most illegal settlements are built either as “suburbs” to Israeli cities, or further east in rural areas (most of which will soon be annexed into Israel de facto by the building of the illegal Wall). But in Al-Khalil, a group of extremist settlers have planted themselves in the middle of the old city, the heart of the city. The daily violence they cause has forced Palestinians to flee the old city, leaving behind abandoned homes and stores that the settlers will soon take over, excavating the area and confiscating land.

In the mean time, the doorways are covered in anti-Arab graffiti. To date, 840 shops have closed. The corridors echo. The Israeli army, which is supposed to have military jurisdiction over only half of the city, currently controls all of Al-Khalil. There are about 200 settlers in the city, and about three soldiers per settler. The main road of the city has been closed off for Palestinians. All of the gates to the old city, except for two, have been walled. Of the two access points, one has an x-ray machine that all Palestinians must pass through, including children. The http://www.hebronrc.org/ Hebron Rehabilitation Commitee (HRC), an amazing Palestinian organization, works to rehabilitate buildings within the Old City to try to encourage Palestinians to return to their homes and shops, so that the settlers will not confiscate their property. They are fighting an uphill battle.

On the tour with Walid Abu-Al-Halaweh of the HRC, we hear of settler violence happening nearby. We go to the place where the settlers have just left, and the ground is covered with rocks, some the size of my finger, some the size of both my fists. We follow Israeli army guards to the noise.

About 20 girls, none looking older than 14 or 15, are screaming, screaming. They are being gently cloistered by the army officers as they continue to scream at the Palestinians around them. The Hebrew is translated for me: “get out of our country, you’re dirt, you’re scum.”

We stand with a group of Palestinian men, women, and children, watching them… or rather, our group is watching them. The Palestinians are mostly waiting to get through the gateway that the girls have effectively blocked now for 20 minutes. Three girls break through the acquiescent army line and race towards us, where another officer holds them.

Grown Palestinian men beside me run backwards. I am shamed for the men, at the humiliation of having to fear a 13-year-old girl, because they know what the soldiers will do to them if they act in self-defense. They are afraid of the girls, with Jewish stars around their necks, screaming filth at their neighbors. The soldiers, who look no older than 19, speak softly with the girls, then turn around to scream and threaten the Palestinian crowd, telling them that if they take one step forward, there will be consequences.

For me, as I watch a people to whom I belong behave worse than any animal on this earth, feet planted, fists clenched, I stare into the eyes of the girls, hoping to communicate to them their own shame. I stare into the eyes of the soldiers, “I am witnessing you, you cannot be held unaccountable.” Finally, the girls are subdued and moved back to the gateway they came from, a gateway that has been built from the ruins of the home of Hashem, our tour guide of the afternoon.

He says that most settler violence happens on Friday and Saturday, on the Jewish holy days…

To Exist is to Resist

1948, known to Palestinians as Al-Naqba, “the catastrophe,” is not some faraway historical moment for Palestinians. For most people, it is the year their family lost their land.

I stayed with a wonderful Palestinian family in Dheisha refugee camp – Sa’de, Nahade, Amani, Jasmine, Wajde, and Sha’de Alayasa. Their family fled from their village of Zacharia in 1948. Upon returning to their village at the end of the war, they were told they could not longer enter. They had deserted their land. It was now a closed military zone, soon to be occupied and turned into a Jewish Israeli neighborhood. No one in the family has been to the village land since 1972. No member of their family is currently allowed to enter Israel. Two generations later, they continue to identify as coming from Zacharia, though both generations were born into the close-quarters of Dheisha, not far from the Wall.

The story is the same for family after family, some who still keep the key to their front door in their refugee home.
Inside Israel, the story is hardly different. During 1948, while some villagers fled from the war into the West Bank or http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/category/gaza/ Gaza, some further into Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, some also fled to what remains Israeli land. They built new villages, sometimes less than a few miles from their old, now razed or occupied villages. Over 100 of these villages are still “unrecognized.” Since the Israeli government does not recognize them, they do not provide them with water, electricity, or any infrastructure whatsoever, including schools or clinics. Yet, all citizens in the state of Israel have a right to these services.

I had the honor of talking with Mohammed Abu-al-Heja, the original lead organizer of the Unrecognized Arab Villages of Israel. Mohammed, originally of ‘Ayn Hawd village in the North, started organizing for the rights of his people in the 1970s and lives adjacent to his former village. Presently the land and homes of his village are occupied by the Israeli town of Ein Hod and Nir ‘Etziyon. Joined by other unrecognized villages throughout the State, they are slowly getting the Israeli government to recognize their new homes. So far 5 villages have been recognized. Mohammed is a charismatic man, slight in build with fiery eyes. Although well into his 60s, he is not quitting the fight any time soon…

The Israelis say they see no partner for peace, yet the Palestinians see no partner for justice.

The Wall, the checkpoints, the Israeli army at every turn, the fight for basic human services, the number of adult males held in detention or prison at any one time, the refusal to allow access to farm lands; all of these actions, including closures on villages, towns, roads, and homes seized between the wall and barbed-wire fences, increasing unemployment, continued dispossession of land makes it impossible for justice for these occupied people.

The continuous threat of violence…hope, faith, organizing, getting pushed down, getting back up, resisting….

Love and anger and sadness and shame and fire and loss and tears and hope.

Marjorie is a young Jewish-American from Boston on her first trip to the West Bank. She is with Hannah and Dunya of http://www.bcpr.org/b2p/ Boston to Palestine, who have started the separate http://www.birthrightunplugged.org/ Birthright Unplugged organization to give American Jews a chance to witness the occupation.

9. Documentaries from occupied Palestine
January 17th, 2006
The entire world watched “disengagement,” but only a few know about Israel’s ongoing expansion plan in the West Bank and the deteriorating the human right conditions forced on the Palestinians. Below are some documentary videos available at IndyMedia Israel presenting snapshots of truth from the daily lives of Palestinians.

The wall -Jerusalem
http://images.indymedia.org/imc/washingtondc/media/video/12/atthewall.mov
Michal Greenberg, Rona Even, and Yoni Massi; 7 min. Hebrew, Arabic, English

A spontaneous meeting with a Palestinian family, residents of Jerusalem, whose home now lies on the eastern (Palestinian) side of the wall. This is only one of about 50,000 families facing this situation.

Abu Dis Gates
http://images.indymedia.org/imc/washingtondc/media/video/2/abudisgates.mov
Eye2Eye – The Alternative Information Center; 5 min. Hebrew, Arabic, English

Three short films documenting makeshift passages in the wall in Abu Dis where soldiers randomly setup checkpoints. Eye2Eye is a project that seeks to break public preconceptions about current events by producing a variety of videos showing the on-the-ground reality of the occupation.

More videos are available for download and streaming at IMC Israel https://israel.indymedia.org/newswire/display/4064/index.php