1. A Call From Hebron.
2. Gaza, Elections, and Democracy.
3. Close Encounter of a Settler Kind.
4. Poems against the Occupation.
5. Palestinians Unite Again to Appeal for the Release of the Peace Activists held Hostage in Iraq.
6.Bili’n on the streets of Tel Aviv.
7.High Court Wants Answers from the State; Bil’in Decision Coming Soon…
8.Palestine Solidarity Activist Fined; Pie in the Face Humor not Appreciated
1. A Call From Hebron
February 1st, 2006
A Call from Hebron to the Israeli government to respect Israeli commitments
toward Palestinians in Hebron on January 17th, 1997.
“Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron”
Since Hammas won in the Palestinian elections the entire world is putting
conditions for dealing with the Hammas government. Here in Hebron we want to
know why no one puts conditions on dealing with the Israeli Likud
I am sending this letter to the world to ask you to put pressure on Israel
to respect their commitment towards the Palestinians in Hebron and open the
wholesale market and open Al-Shuhada street which connects the two part of
the city (H1& H2), and let Palestinians to use the area to get to their
houses, schools, hospitals, shops and to let the customers to shop freely in
The people in Hebron are just looking to:
1. Live in dignity and peace in old city and Tel Rumeida;
2. Open AL-SHUHADA street;
3. Open all the shops in the old city and Tel Rumeida;
4. Remove all the check points (obstruction points) from old city and Tel Rumeida;
5. Remove the three electronic detectors from the entrance of Al Haram Al
6. Remove the electronic check point from Tel Rumeida area;
7. Open Tel Rumeida main street;
8. Let the students to study freely in the old city schools ;
9. Let the girls in Qurtoba School to enter their school from the main entrance and to let them feel that they are safe in their school;
10. Open the main entrance of Soniah mosque near the old vegetable market;
11. Remove all the ironic gates from the entrances of the old city;
12. Stop the settlers from the daily attacking and harassing the Palestinians in the old city and Tel Rumeida;
I am asking all the activists in the world to come to Hebron and see the real picture on the ground and to put pressure on the Israeli army and police to stop the settlers’ violence.
(see ”Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron January 17th, 1997″)
2. Gaza, Elections, and Democracy
January 29th, 2006
Finally, after several years of wanting to go to Gaza, Dunya and I managed
to spend two days there under the auspices of election observation. It
didn’t take very long for Dunya to observe that the elections in Gaza City
were far cleaner than those in Ohio in 2004, where she was working at the
time. Lack of democracy is not Palestine’s problem.
We stayed in Gaza City with Khaled Nasrallah and his family, one of the two
families who had been living in the house in Rafah that Rachel Corrie was
killed defending in March 2003. They now live in an apartment in Gaza City
while a new house is being built, with the help of the ‘Building Alliance’.
Most of the people in Gaza who have been displaced by home demolition have
been displaced at least once before – in 1948 – and some of them more than
once. They’ve lived in a constant state of terror for the past five years,
and according to some, it got worse after the “disengagement”. Israeli
shelling is not uncommon, not to mention the sonic booms that only started
since the settlers have left. A 9-year-old girl was shot and killed by the
Israeli army on Thursday in Gaza, probably just a few miles from where we
The Gaza International Airport is really something else, like any other
airport, but with more beautiful design. And it is deserted. The control
towers have been bombed by Israeli Apaches. The runways have been bulldozed
every couple hundred meters. According to security at the airport, the only
employees currently working, it was opened in 2000, and was forced by Israel
to close early in 2001. Israel still forbids Palestinians from even
beginning to reconstruct the runway. Palestinian Airlines only flies now
between Egypt and Amman.
And then there’s Rafah. The row of houses along the border of Gaza and
Egypt, are shot up thousands and thousands of times. That is, the houses
that are still standing. More of them are in rubble. With bullet holes
through the windows, doors and walls… it looks more like war than anything
I’ve ever seen. Our hosts described to us some of the terror of their last
two years in Rafah: never knowing which rooms were safe to be in, Israeli
bullets flying through their windows at all hours, the young daughters
waking up in the middle of the night and screaming. The girls are still
affected, their mother Samah told us.
The oldest, now five years old, remembers a story from Rafah. The family had
been sleeping in the garden because it was safer than the house. At one
point they were all in different places, someone in the garden, someone in
the house, someone on the stairs. The shooting started, and young Mariam
remembers the bullets flying towards their house, hitting a tree, and
watching a guava fall off a tree and hit her father on the head. Her mother
told the story laughing, saying “alhamdulillah” – thank god we weren’t hurt
any more than we were.
Hope looks different, too, as Dunya pointed out during our visit to the
former settlements. At every turn our driver explained that the Israelis
used to be here, and here, and here. This is where this person was killed,
this is a school that was bombed, this is an old checkpoint. And then we
entered the old settlement of Netzarim. The scene looked remarkably similar
to me to demolished Palestinian homes.
The Israelis are good at destroying things, we joked to each other. They
destroy Palestinian homes, and they also destroyed the settlers’ homes. This
is hope, I suppose. Can rubble be hopeful?
Gaza City is bustling. We arrived our first evening, met the family, ate
dinner, and then Khaled asked, “Do you want to walk around the city?” We
were shocked that he would go out at night, especially with two female
internationals, but it was completely normal to him. The shops were open,
everyone was buying ice cream at the local ice cream parlor, last minute
campaigning was subtle (campaigning is banned for 24 hours before election
day, but nobody can be prevented from driving their cars, vegetable trucks,
or donkeys with party flags on them).
Apparently Gaza City is the Ramallah of Gaza, a thriving city where poverty
is somewhat less apparent than other parts of Gaza. Gaza is beautiful. I’ve
heard about it being the most crowded place on earth, so I wasn’t prepared
for the open space, the parks of palm trees, the plazas with monuments and
wide roads that are pedestrian friendly. In contrast, while driving south
along the road with the Mediterranean to the right, we could look left and
see refugee camps that look more like I expected refugee camps to look
before coming to Palestine. The camps in the West Bank have slightly
narrower streets than cities and villages, and a few more visible signs of
poverty. Some of these camps in Gaza are different, and with their tiny
buildings and narrowest of streets they certainly look like they could be
described as the most crowded places on earth.
You couldn’t be in Palestine and not be doing some sort of “election
observing” during these past couple weeks. In an American context where
civic engagement is among the lowest in the world, it excites me to be
somewhere where even with such difficulty living under occupation, at least
75% of eligible voters voted. I know too that 8,000 Palestinian political
prisoners can’t vote from Israeli prisons, that the Israeli government only
permitted 6% of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem to vote in the
Palestinian elections, and that the 2/3 of the Palestinian population that
lives outside of Palestine, do not have any say in who will be representing
them and potentially negotiating away their right to return to their land.
Not that negotiations will be happening any time soon here, since Israel
refuses to negotiate with a Hamas that doesn’t disarm. I wish Hamas would
refuse to negotiate with an Israel that doesn’t disarm. The most common joke
I’ve heard made in the past couple days, if it can be called a joke, is that
I’ll have to start covering myself fully. A man joked today that he’s
already starting to grow his beard. I was in Dheisheh refugee camp yesterday
where the kids were discussing the election, and the teenage girls
unanimously decided they would never wear hijab, even if Hamas legislated
for it. We had a vote on the title of the exhibit that we’re putting
together with the children about the trips we took them on, with suggestions
like “Life Within Two Days,” “New Life”, and “Destroyed Villages”. At the
end of the voting one of the kids suggested, “Hamas won!”.
And there is still occupation. I was able to meet my friend Fatima’s mother
in Rafah, who hasn’t seen her daughter since 1997 because people in Gaza
can’t get out and people in the West Bank can’t get to Gaza. A 20-year-old
man we spent some time with in Gaza did not go an hour without saying, “Take
me with you to the West Bank.” He’s never been there. Our crossing out of
Gaza showed us firsthand for the first time what can only be described as
indentured servitude. Thousands of Palestinian workers – those lucky enough
to have permits – were standing shoulder to shoulder, waiting for hours to
be allowed to cross back home to Gaza after a long day at work in the fields
or building construction.
The occupation and injustice goes on in all of Palestine, regardless of its
status. In Gaza, in the West Bank, and in Israel, Palestinians do not have
equal rights. Someone tried to convince us yesterday that while Palestinians
inside Israel don’t have equal rights, at least they have some rights.
Unequal rights are not rights, Dunya pointed out. I know the Gaza
“disengagement” caused people around the world to start thinking that
occupation is over and everything is okay but Palestine still needs all the
support it can get.
Photos from my trip to Gaza:
3. Close Encounter of a Settler Kind
see photos at
Qawawis is a village in the south Hebron Hills, very close to the green
line, and surrounded by settlements and settlement outposts. In Qawawis are
about 5-6 families, all of whom have roughly 10 kids (the kids, however, are
scattered about the region depending on their age & schooling; some are
close to home, some in Yatta or Al-Khalil/Hebron). They have been tending
their sheep and goats their for generations, carving and digging from the
rocks of the hills caves & wells, which they use for shelter and sustenance
for both themselves and their flocks. Some of them, such as my dear friends
Hajj Khalil have built small homes for themselves, and Hajj Mahmoud has a
clay walled home.
But Hajj Ibrahim, he lives in one of the caves, which is a great place; the
light almost always seems to be filling the cave, no matter what time of
day. And aside from their kindness and hospitality, the people of Qawawis
are renowned for their sweet tea; and oh so much of it! I have never drank
so much tea in my life!
Within the last two years the people of Qawawis were evicted from their
lands and homes, only to return after a year due to an Israeli court ruling
& the support they received from organizations such as Taayush and the ISM.
Since their return, we have tried to keep a near constant presence of
internationals in the village due to the presence of numerous violent and
unpredictable settlers in the region. On my last visit, December 12th, we
found that 6-7 olive trees had been cut down in the night by settlers. The
most basic tactic of Zionism, at just about every stage of the colonization
of Palestine, is to acquire as much territory as possible with as few
Palestinians as possible. One sees this pattern very clearly in the South
Hebron hills, with small villages such as Qawawis being surrounded by
expanding settlement blocs while being terrorized and harassed by the
presence and impunity of the settlers and the army.
So, despite what has been weeks of either bitter cold or rain (or both), I
went to Qawawis via Al-Khalil/Hebron, along with a new ISM volunteer from
the bay area. We did the usual, packed up with food & essentials such as
candles for the required nighttime reading once the lights go out, and off
we went. To get there, one takes a service/bus from Al-Khalil to Yatta
first, but this time we had to take a different route. Previously, we had
been able to pass through the Al-Fawwar refugee camp, but that route, most
likely due to the elections, has been closed, so instead you now take a bus
about 15 minutes down the road until you reach a truly ridiculous
Israeli-made assemblage of large rocks, dirt and concrete. Its only purpose
is to block direct transit between Al Khalil and Yatta, making life just
that more difficult for Palestinians.
So, we cross the wasteland barrier of sorts, get another service ride, and
luckily, this one takes us all the way to Yatta & beyond the next town of
Al-Karmil, which is cut off to the east by a settler highway. We go down the
hill, cross the highway, and that’s it, we are back in Qawawis!
I was slightly nervous about our reception there, because it has been
difficult to keep every place we have committed to covered with an
international presence, and Qawawis has been on its own lately. This is a
truly critical area that is obviously coveted by the Israeli settlers and
government; the first wall route planned cut off almost all the villages
east of the settler road, annexing numerous settlements and outposts into
Israel (for a great map and report on the area, go to
http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Index.asp ). Qawawis is hemmed
in by the road, and a number of settlements, such as Suseya, Mizpe Yair and
Avigayil; seriously, you can stand in front of Hajj Khalil’s house and see
all three of them, and the road.
But, with their usual hospitality and welcome, I was home again with no
worries. They did relate to me some incidents, mostly having to do with
being too close to the road and the army yelling at them, but no one had
been hurt and no property had been damaged, so all was good. There are three
brothers that rule the roost, and they are Hajj Khalil, Hajj Mahmoud, and
Hajj Ibrahim (and of course, along with their spouses, the Hajjas; Hajja
Aime, Hajja Fatmi, and Hajja Aeshia). Then there and the sons, the
daughters, just so so many kids! While we were there, the kids of Ibrahim
and Aime (different Ibrahim) were there, tending the goats, making meals,
playing marbles, you know the usual.
Yes, I’m back in Qawawis, drinking insane amounts of sweet tea and getting
up at the crack of dawn to take out the goats and sheep for some walking and
eating. The land seems more green since I was last there, possibly due to
the fact that we haven’t been around as much, so they haven’t taken them out
much for grazing. With the loss of so much land due to settlements and
roads, they have to bring in food for them to eat.
The first night back, we are in our room but cannot sleep; from the nearby
settlements we can hear the sound of rifles firing, and loud noises and
people speaking. I’ve heard similar things there before, but the shooting,
that is something new in my experience of this area.
So, the first morning, I am up at around 6 am, I take a few pictures, talk
with Hajj Khalil, drink some tea, and then wander over to the house of
Ibrahim, who is taking his goats out at that moment. But, in the distance I
see Hajj Khalil taking his sheep up the hill, right near the settler highway
leading to Mizpe Yair. Being an area prone to confrontation with settlers, I
asked the other ISMer to stay with the other sheep in the village while I
catch up with Khalil.
So off I run, trying not to twist my ankles (again), and I reach Hajj
Khalil. We take the sheep up the hill, and he does his usual combinations of
clicks, whistles, commands and grunts to tell them where to go; and when
that doesn’t work, just throw a rock at them, no problem!
While we are walking with the sheep, we can hear more of the rifle noises we
heard the night before, this time coming from Mizpe Yair. After about nine-o
clock, I noticed a white van sitting at the intersection, which is closer to
Suseya settlement, but didn’t think anything of it. A little later, I saw a
person slowly walking up the road from the intersection, on his own, and
walking very slowly. He was heading in our direction, but at that point, I
had no idea what to expect. Then, I noticed that Mahmoud was bringing his
goats near to where we were, and the other ISMer was with them as well. I
was really hoping that the man would pass up harassing them, which he did,
but then he started to get close to where I was. He immediately turned off
the road and headed straight for Khalil’s sheep, yelling at them and kicking
them. He had a kipa on, so he was obviously a settler, but thankfully he had
no weapons. So I did what I thought was best, I moved between him and the
sheep stating calmly “sir, this is not your home, please leave, this is not
right,” and such. He screamed at me “Go back to Europe!” and shoved me a
couple of times with his shoulder.
Being a bit bigger than me, I was knocked about a few times, but not hurt,
and the sheep were able to take care of themselves. But then the man turned
from me and headed straight for Hajj Khalil, who is about 80 years old. He
got right in his face, screaming at him, while Hajj Khalil simply replied
“Marhabah, Ahlen Whasalen,” that is, hello, welcome. It was a remarkable
sight that I wish could have been photographed; this young, unstable, angry
bully face to face with a man old enough to be his father’s grandfather,
that stood his ground, not moving an inch, and returned his insults with
nothing but kindness and a firm rootedness in his place, his home… his
So, without thinking, I rushed over and got myself in between the two of
them; one body check to Khalil and he could be seriously hurt. So I got
shoved a again, at which point I repeated the things that I had already been
saying, along with “I am calling the police.” I don’t know if that worked,
but then the man turned back towards the road, where there was a white car
waiting for him.
At this point, with the threat of violence subsiding, I took some pictures,
as did the woman driving the car; she also screamed at me “Nazi,” Nazi dog!”
As I got closer, I noticed two small children in the back seat. Hmmm… is
this a settler family outing?
After getting into the car, they drove away towards Suseya, while I spoke to
the police. They came back, stopped the car for a minute, and then drove to
Mizpe Yair. Then after five minutes, a police jeep shows up, with 2 men in
the front and 1 in the back. I walk over to them, as they declined to get
out of their jeep, and I described the incident. I showed them the pictures,
2 of which had the car’s license plate on it. In an incredible display of
unprofessional police work, they looked up the number on their computer in
front of me and said out loud the name it was registered to. After that,
they told me “you must go to the Kiryat Arba police station and file a
report.” I said, “ok, maybe I can go tomorrow, it is far from here,” to
which they replied “NO, you must go TODAY!” Ummm… ok! Even worse, the
police inform me that the land of that area “belongs to the people there,”
as he pointed to the settlements, which of course are all illegal under
Now, just stop and think about this for a moment. I was attacked, and Hajj
Khalil was threatened with violence by a settler that is only there because
the Israeli government subsidizes his residence and provides the military
force to make it possible. But when this person is to be reported for an act
of violence (as if his presence in itself is not enough violence; road
construction, land confiscation, occupation, etc), one must go to the
police, who happen to be located in one of the most extreme, racist, and
violent settlements in Palestine. Sometimes, when confronted by such ugly
realities, I think that Kafka and Orwell must be either laughing or weeping
in their graves; probably both.
The police leave, and I talk with my fellow ISMer and the others, but as
soon as they leave the army arrives! Yes, a humvee and about 7 soldiers or
so arrive and could not care in the slightest about the settler attack. All
they want to do is enforce some arcane military order which says that the
sheep must be 200 meters from the road, end of story. So, I talk to them,
try to stall them, keep the situation de-escalated, while calling anyone and
everyone I can. I’ve already called Hamoked (human rights group), so I call
Ezra fro Taayush (Israeli/Palestinian anti-occupation group) to see if he
knows what to do next; although the settlers are more unpredictable than the
army, the army can arrest people, and a lot more too. Ezra answers the phone
saying, to my surprise, “I’ll be there in a few minutes.” Oh, this is going
to get good!
Ezra arrives just in time, as more soldiers and other military functionaries
have arrived, and he does what Israeli peace activists do best; scream and
yell at the army in Hebrew!
It is really just a joy to watch, and it allows me to be the good cop and
stay cool, because there isn’t really much I can do at this point. If they
want us back from the road, we’ll probably do it, but we will put up a fuss.
The minutes ensue with either Hajj Mahmoud arguing with the soldiers in
Arabic, along with Ezra, who tells me in front of the soldiers “You should
be here every day by the road, make them work, hell, make them arrest you if
they want!” Hmmmm… ok, Ezra, I’ll see you at my deportation hearing!
After the scene begins to settle, I query a few soldiers as to why they need
large guns to deal with the oh-so dangerous sheep of Qawawis. Then I get a
ride from Ezra north to the Kiryat Arba police station… or at least close
to it. We stop once in Tuwani, another village in a similar situation, and
then they leave me at a checkpoint where I take a taxi through the
I am left at what I assume is a building, although hidden behind blocks of
concrete, fencing, and walls. There is a phone to call in, but the
instructions are in Hebrew, and there is a water fountain turned towards the
fence; but the fence makes it impossible to use, unless one shoots out the
water into one’s hand, and then slurps it from there. When I get there, a
Palestinian man and woman are already there, to get information about a
friend who has been arrested. When another man leaves the police station, he
explains to me that he was there to sign a statement swearing that he has no
intention to kill a certain settler… who had filed a complaint saying that
this man was going to kill him… ahh, it’s good to be the king! (sarcasm
alert, part II) He asks me why I am trying to get in, and I tell him the
story; he waves his hand and says to me “don’t bother, these people (the
settlers) are above the law.”
Finally I am let inside the compound (after calling a few times) and I wait
a bit until I am called in to file my report. I could list the dails of
this, but the important thing is that it was so surreal. The ( I assume)
detective, had no idea what or where Qawawis is or was, or the name of the
smaller settler outpost Mizpe Yair, or even what I could possibly be doing
there. The whole recounting of the event was dealt with as if I was
describing my latest foray into the jungles of the Congo. But it was right
in his backyard, I mean, he’s the police, shouldn’t he know that?! That,
however, is just part of the apartheid reality of this place; many different
peoples and communities, all of the living in close proximity, but according
to very different rules, with the threads of connection between them
tenuous, if there at all.
So, after writing many facts down, they ask for my pictures of the man. I
show them, and then they want to take my camera to copy them, which I
decline to do. After some haggling, it turns out they don’t have the right
connections to hook up my camera anyway, so another police man says, “come
back tomorrow with the pictures.” The last thing I want to do is take all
day to come back to this place when I could be drinking tea with my dear
friends in Qawawis, so I leave the station trying to think of what to do.
After a bit of walking, I realize that I am very close to Baba Zawya, in
Hebron, and I know a great photo store there that could probably burn the
pictures to disc. Soon enough, I am there, getting the pictures copied and
burned, seeing some friends, eating a bit, and heading back to the station.
I get there, and to my dismay, the same Palestinian couple that were there
hours earlier are still waiting outside the fortress of gates, fences &
disembodied voices. When my cop comes to let me in, I say to him, “could you
please see that these people get some help, they have been here all day.”
They talked a bit, and then we went inside. I have no idea if I helped them
at all, but it is so excruciating to see just how thoroughly degraded and
humiliated a Palestinian can be by just about every facet of the occupation.
I, on the other hand, have white skin, speak English, have one of those
Euro-american passports, and can pass for the Chosen People, which makes all
Back in the station, they fill out more paperwork, and I am asked at least
12 times if all 6 pictures are on the 1 disc. Yes, they are I say…again.
Then they have me look at a book of pictures to see if I can id the man.
While waiting, I find myself looking at the display of pictures behind the
desk of another cop. There is the usual combination of friends and family,
along with other ones of a quasi-military nature. One of them I can still
remember; there he is, in a t-shirt, green army pants, and wearing
sunglasses. In the background are sheep, and slung around his shoulder is a
large rifle. I still wonder whose sheep they are, where he was & what he was
doing. Could it be his friend’s kibbutz in Israel? Or maybe he was in one of
the many Palestinian villages and stopped for a photo op. Was he in the
army? Or as a policeman? Or, dare I ask, policing the natives on his own
So they put the book of Jewish Israeli settler felons in front of me and I
peruse. I really don’t think that I have seen such a collection of
maladjusted, freaked out & scruffy people in my life. Half of them were
staring into the camera with a confused malaise of anger in their eyes; of
just wanting, needing, to let loose and project some serious violence. The
other half smile like it’s their yearbook picture, kind of “look at me mom,
it’s my first arrest! I’m a real settler now!” After looking through 2 books
of these pictures, I had had enough, and more importantly, I could not
identify the settler.
So, that was that. There was a brief discussion of getting Hajj Khalil to
come and testify, but that was just ridiculous. I told them, why don’t you
just drive your shinny jeeps 30 minutes down your settler highway and talk
to him yourselves? I also was unwilling to put him through the humiliation
of the Kirayat Arba police station, all in regards to a complaint that won’t
be followed up by the police anyway. At one point, a cop was talking to me
and seemed surprised when it was clear that I didn’t think they would do
anything to follow up my complaint. He said to me “Do you think that we just
take our salaries?” No comment, sir (sarcasm alert, part III, in 3-D).
Soon enough, they were done with me and I was on my way back to Qawawis via
Al-Khalil. This time, the service driver from Yatta got some bad directions
from my fellow travelers, and I was dropped off near the village of Tuwani.
Now, as the crow flies, it’s not far from Qawawis, but the sun was going
down, and the terrain is very tricky. I had to manage walking near the
highway, but not too near so the army jeeps driving down wouldn’t notice me.
Also, I had to make sure to give a wide berth to the outpost of Avigayil, so
they wouldn’t see me, and keep an eye out so that any Palestinians I would
see would not think that I was a settler going out for a night time stroll.
All in all, a great time and place for a relaxing walk!(sarcasm alert, part
IV, the Final Chapter)
After making it through, I was back in Qawawis, exhausted, physically and
mentally, but missed by the village. But finally I was back, and the day’s
ordeal, which really wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, was over.
The next few days at Qawawis were calm, no problems or events to report.
I’ve been away for a little while now, but I am already feeling the need for
some sweet tea and the company of Hajj Khalil… and his sheep & goats, of
course! See you soon, Qawawis inshalah, inshallah.
4. Poems against the Occupation
February 1st, 2006
By A, an ISMer and birthright Israel participant
Tour of Old Jerusalem
The gate of Mercy
Only the Messiah can open these doors
Rolling the bones
I remember Zion?
The Gate of Mercy
Only the Chosen can pass through these doors
The rolling bones
I remember Zion?
Only when we are all
Will these gates open
Oh remember, Zion?
Walls riddled with the wings of bullets
Oh remember, Zion? we are all your Chosen?
First sight of the Apartheid Wall
On the building of walls
The separation of things
on the physicality
of what we feel
cold hard stone
Early Morn Jerusalem
Jerusalem in the early morn
Shafts of biblical light
A hillside of graves
Footsteps on stone
(Grant us peace)
5. Palestinians United Again to Appeal for the Release of Peace
Activists held Hostage in Iraq
January 30th, 2006
Following the recent release of new video footage of the four Christian
Peacemaker Team (CPT) members being held hostage in Iraq, Palestinian
leaders united again to appeal for their release.
With the election behind them, representatives of Fatah and Hamas, along
with religious leaders, have come together to appeal for the release of the
hostages, political prisoners and all those working for Justice. The two
Hamas representatives, in calling for their release, refered to them as
friends of the Palestinians, stating that “These people support us against
the occupation,” and named each one of them; Harmeet Sodeen and James Loney
from Canada, Tom Fox from the USA, and Norman Kember from the UK.
CPT have been working for peace in Palestine for many years and are much
valued by the Palestinian communities they support. The speakers emphasized
Islam as a religon of peace, even in such difficult times. They spoke of the
suffering of the Palestinian and Iraqi people, and that they should release
those who work with them under occupation in Iraq.
1) Dr. Mahmoud Rahmahi, newly elected member of the legislative council
2) Azam Al Ahmad, newly elected member of the legislative council
representing Fatah and previously Palestinian Ambassador to Iraq;
3) Abdel Aziz Ahmad, newly elected member of the legislative council
4) Abu Hassan, representing the Muslim scientists (Rabata Olama Al
They were also joined by Jerry Levin a current CPT delegate who himself was
held hostage for a year by Hezbollah in Lebanon. He said, ” We are all under
one god, Allah, so please, let our brothers go, let your brothers go.”
Tyseer Tamimi, Imam of the Al Aqsa Mosque, was unable to attend due to being
delayed for 2 hours at an Israeli checkpoint near Maale Adummim. He has
attended numerous other press conferences for the kidnapped CPTers, as well
as many non-violent demonstrations against the Apartheid Wall and Israeli
Occupation, such as at the villages of Aboud and Bil’in.
The speakers reiterated their calls for releasing the CPT captives, as well
as all political prisoners. They emphasized the solidarity of the CPTers
with the suffering people of Iraq and Palestine, and condemned the
occupations of Iraq and Palestine.
6. Bili’n on the streets of Tel Aviv
February 1st, 2006
Protest art – Now you see it, now they rip it down
by Noa Yachot from Haaretz
The latest art gallery in Tel Aviv is the city itself. Alternately put up –
and ripped down from – a half-dozen city sidewalk locales, is an exhibit of
photographs depicting the weekly struggles between Israeli security forces
and Palestinian, Israeli and international activists protesting the
construction of the separation fence in the Palestinian village of Bil’in in
the West Bank.
To see the entire article please see Haaretz
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7.High Court Wants Answers from the State; Bil’in Decision Coming Soon…
February 2nd, 2006
High Court: State must explain why it won’t move separation fence in Bil’in
By Yuval Yoaz, Haaretz Correspondent
The High Court of Justice on Thursday ordered the state prosecutor to explain why Israel won’t alter the route of the separation fence where it passes over land belonging to the West Bank Palestinian village of Bil’in.
The state was given three weeks to explain why the fence can’t be moved west, toward the Upper Modi’in settlement, so that it won’t pass over Bil’in agricultural lands.
The High Court issued the preliminary injunction at the request of Bil’in residents, who are petitioning the court to order the state to alter the fence route in the area.
On Wednesday, lawyer Michael Sfard told the court the current fence route was not determined by security considerations, as the state maintains. Sfard said the fence route was designed to allow the eastward expansion of Upper Modi’in.
He also said the fence route allows the building of the new Matityahu East neighborhood. As was first published in Haaretz, illegal construction, without any building permits or legal building plan, is currently underway on the neighborhood.
“We had thought that the fence administration was building a fence,” Sfard said. “But now it is clear that the fence administration is building new illegal neighborhoods in settlements.”
The fence separates the village of Bil’in from a large portion of its agricultural lands.
The Matityahu East neighborhood has 750 housing units and another 2,000 are planned. The lands on which the neighborhood is being constructed belong to Bil’in residents. Portions of the land were obtained using documents suspected to have been forged.
8.Palestine Solidarity Activist Fined; Pie in the Face Humor not Appreciated
February 3rd, 2006
Pro-Palestinian activist fined for throwing pie at Sharansky
By The Associated Press
SOUTH BRUNSWICK, New Jersey – A man who threw a pie in the face of then-cabinet minister Natan Sharansky just before he was to speak at a packed Rutgers University lecture hall in 2003 was found guilty Thursday of a disorderly persons offense.
Abe Greenhouse, 27, was fined $200 and ordered to pay $155 in court fees and penalties. The case was heard in South Brunswick Municipal Court by Judge Mary Casey, who found Greenhouse guilty of causing public inconvenience or alarm because of “tumultuous behavior.”
Greenhouse, a pro-Palestinian activist, could have received up to 30 days in jail and stiffer fines. He declined to comment after the hearing but his lawyer, Leon Grauer of Nutley, said his client’s actions were a political act and that the verdict would be appealed.
At the time of the September 18, 2003 incident, Greenhouse was a Rutgers student and leader of Central Jersey Jews Against the Occupation; Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident and political prisoner, was Israel’s minister for Jerusalem and diaspora affairs.
Sharansky, who was on the New Brunswick campus to speak to a crowd of about 500 at an event organized by a Jewish student group, was not hurt. After quickly cleaning himself off, he joked about the “good cakes” available in New Jersey and then gave his speech without further incident.
Israeli security guards grabbed Greenhouse, breaking his nose and giving him a black eye and a swollen lip, according to court records.