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al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades Issues Press Release

1. Press Release from al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades
2. Israel Denies Work Permits to Protesting Villages
3. Beit Sira Demonstrates Despite Threats from Israeli Civil Administration
4. Hebron Anticipates Escalating Violence over Passover
5. Just another Gaza Friday
6. ‘Bite’ Activist Arrested
7. Farmers in Nablus Prevented from Working their Land by Both Settlers and Military
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1. Press Release from al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades
April 9, 2006

For a PDF of the Arabic Version see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/04/09/a-press-release-from-al-aqsa-martyer-troops/

Translation:
From the Koran: “Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just.”

To the great Palestinian people in whose blood is written the symbol of steadfastness and resistance. You who have broken the conspiracies with the stone of your steadfastness. You who have been a thorn in the side of the occupation and a dagger in the chest of the spies and collaborators. While the Israeli attacks continue against our people as does the criminal planning in the region and the politics of facts on the ground by building the separation apartheid wall, confiscating more and more land to expand the settlements, and separating the Palestinian people into 3 cantons. Our people in Bil’in, Beit Sira, Abud, and other Palestinian communities face this oppression by continuing a peaceful popular Intifada against the occupation. The occupier uses violence and every kind of weapon to stop these demonstrations. Here our friends from all over the world standing in solidarity with our people. To stop the crimes of the oppressor they participate in the popular demonstrations. They send our message to their people and tell them what is happening to the Palestinian people.

We in the al- Aqsa Martyr Brigades issue these points:

1- We give our support to the international solidarity and the peace activists, and we are taking care that they are not affected in anyway or by anyone.
2- We call the Danish people to continue their solidarity with our people and call on their government to apologize to the Muslims.
3- We call all the countries around the world to stand by their responsibilities by taking effective steps to force Israel to implement international law and by preventing Israel’s criminal planning in the region.

The general leadership of the al-Aqsa Brigades in Palestine.

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2. Israel Denies Work Permits to Protesting Villages
April 9th, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Israeli Civil Administration has threatened to deny workers in West Bank villages permits to work in Israel if their demonstrations against the occupation continue. Workers in Bil’in, Beit Sira, Beit Likya, and Harbata have received threats, but the villages have continued their demonstrations regardless.

Last week a member of the Civil Administration calling himself “Samir”, phoned Mahmud Samara Abu Ala, a 60 year-old merchant from Bil’in, and told him “not to bother” trying to renew his work permit. Mahmud asked if the Civil Administration was systematically denying permits to people in the village and Samir replied that they would continue to deny permits as long as the demonstrations continue.

Before the Friday, April 8th demonstration in Beit Sira, a member of the Civil Administration called the head of the village council, Ali Hassan Mahmud Abu Safeya, in to tell him that the Administration would stop giving permission to villagers to work in Israel. Thirty families are at least partially supported by locals who work in Israel.

This threat of systematic denial is consistent with the army’s practice of collective punishment. Israel, as an occupying power, is subject to the Geneva Convention, which states that collective punishments are a war crime. Article 33 of the Fourth Convention states that “collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.” By threatening the villages with the denial of work permits, Israel is attempting to intimidate the villages into stopping the demonstrations.

According to Israel’s Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya’alon, the overriding goal of such permit denials is to phase out Palestinian workers from Israel. “The goal is to stop Palestinians from working in Israel by 2008” he said on March 10th 2006.

As Palestinians are increasingly being denied work permits, Israel is continuing to make it harder for a Palestinian state to be economically viable. The apartheid wall is annexing Palestinian land from farmers, making it impossible for some to access their land. Recently, Israeli banks have cut ties with Palestinian banks in a further attempt to harm the Palestinian economy.

Each month since the elections, Israel refuses to give back $50 million of Palestinian tax funds they withhold. International governments have also been cutting off funds to the Hamas led Palestinian government in what Prime Minster Ismail Haniyeh is calling “blackmail”.

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3. Beit Sira Demonstrates Despite Threats from Israeli Civil Administration
April 9th, 2006

At 1:30 this past Friday, the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in the Palestinian village of Beit Sira, just west of Ramallah held a demonstration against the apartheid barrier being constructed on the village’s land. This was all despite recent threats from the Israeli civil administration to withdraw permits to work in Israel from villagers if demonstrations continue.

The march of about 100, was held by villagers and accompanied by Israeli and international supporters. It marched through the village and down a road adjacent to the nearby illegal Jewish settlement of Makkabim, singing and chanting. All along the road we could see olive trees that had been cut down to stumps and replanted there by the military. They had previously been uprooted from another part of the village land where they plan to build the annexation barrier.

At the head of the demonstration, Palestinian and Israeli activists symbolically chained themselves together as an illustration of the imprisonment of the villagers due to the wall and settlement. About 15 minutes after they had set off they met a solid line of Israeli Border Police in Riot Gear blocking the road and preventing the demonstration from proceeding. The Palestinians reacted to this in a completely non-violent fashion. They sat down in the road and held some speeches and some interviews with the press. Some of the border Police tried to provoke the youth of the demonstration by moving around the small peaceful crowd armed, as usual, with fully-automatic machine guns.

Their provocation failed to provoke the response that meant they would have been allowed under Israeli military rule to open fire with rubber-coated bullets. Instead, when the interviews and speeches were over, the villagers calmly ended the demonstration, walking hand-in-hand to bring the demonstration to a close without being attacked by the Israeli soldiers, as has happened in past demonstrations.

For photos see:
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/04/09/beit-sira-demonstrates-despite-threats-from-israeli-civil-administration/

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4. Hebron Anticipates Escalating Violence over Passover
April 8th, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fears that settler violence against Palestinian residents will increase over the Jewish holidays came to a head as Israeli settlers took over a Palestinian house on Thursday. The army has refused to remove them until the squatting has been challenged in the High Court and IDF soldiers have been stationed near the house to protect the settlers.

Palestinians in Hebron are anxious that settler violence may increase over Passover as settler youths are off school and many people will be visiting the Hebron settlements. There is a trend of increasing attacks on Palestinians over holiday periods.

The house is close to the Avraham Avinu settlement near the Hebron wholesale market. In January 2006 the IDF issued eviction notices to settlers who had been squatting there since 2001. The eviction prompted rioting (see www.telrumeidaproject.org/riots.html) by settlers throughout Tel Rumeida and Hebron’s old city where masked settlers stoned Palestinians, threw paint bombs and looted Palestinian homes in full view of the IDF. Eventually a deal was reached that the shops would be evacuated but that settlers could return after the Hebron municipality’s lease ran out. However, on April 4th the Israeli attorney general ruled that the IDF deal was illegal and the settlers would not be able to reoccupy the market. Local Palestinians fear that this move, combined with Passover, will lead to further violence by settlers.

Today in Tel Rumeida, on the first Shabbat of the Passover school holidays, two Palestinian were assaulted by settlers on Schohada Street. One man was punched by a group of settlers and a man had stones thrown at him while returning to his house.

International volunteers from ISM and the Tel Rumeida Project plan to maintain a presence in the area over Passover.

For more information contact Tom on 0542363265 or ISM Media office on 022971824

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5. Just another Gaza Friday
April 9, 2006
By Laila El-Hadda (http://a-mother-from-gaza.blogspot.com/)

I’ve always loved Fridays in Gaza. In the mornings, save for the lone garbage collector futilely sweeping the abandoned streets and Municipality park, littered with plastic cups, watermelon seeds, and strangled straws from the night before, the hustle and bustle of the city comes to a standstill.

It is a serene if lethargic time, an escape from the sea of chaos, uncertainty and violence that grips our lives each waking day and night. For a few hours, things seem ordinary in a place where ordinary is an illusion. And it doesn’t seem like anything can disrupt those moments, as if some force is saying to the madness that envelopes us: “come back another hour!”

Slowly, the streets come to life again as evening takes hold. This is Yousuf’s favorite time. He likes to go out to the balcony, as we did yesterday, and “people watch”-just take in the incongruent and cacophonous sites and sounds of another Friday in Gaza.

In the park in front of us, children boisterously played football, women licked ice cream cones and chatted, and wedding motorcades ( “zaffit sayyarat”), which, no matter what the season or situation, you can always except to hear on Thursday and Friday evenings like clockwork-made their way to beachside hotels and lounges. They tirelessly honked their horns in sync with live wedding dabke music, blaring out from portable speakers or played by live for-hire bands seated in the back of rented pick-up trucks decorated with carnations.

Boys and relatives clamored for a standing space in the back of the trucks, dancing and clapping feverishly along with the music. Young children chase them down the street to join in the fun. If the wind is just right, the sky becomes a showcase of homemade kites, dancing and flirting with each other, challenging the physical bounds imposed upon this battered area’s residents, reaching to places they can only dream about, allowing them to navigate freedom, no matter how purposeless, for just a little bit.

In the distance, the ubiquitous double-thuds of artillery fire could be heard exploding a few kilometers away, increasing in number and intensity, it seemed, as the evening progressed, only to be drowned out ever-so-slightly by the cacophonous symphony of Friday blitheness, as if to say-“not today! Today, you will not steal our moment.”

The evening passes, the clock strikes midnight, and suddenly, the carriage tranforms into a pumpkin again. The magic dissipates. And 6 people are dead.

Just another Gaza Friday.

posted by Lailaumyousuf @ Saturday, April 08, 2006

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6. ‘Bite’ Activist Arrested
April 9, 2006

Adnan Ahmad Nimer, a 19 year-old activist from Beit Sira, was taken from his home last night at 2am by the Israeli military. Thirty soldiers surrounded the house, his father opened the door and the troops gathered the family into one room. They singled Adnan out, took him outside, handcuffed and blindfolded him and took him away.

Adnan has been active in the nonviolent demonstrations that occur weekly in Beit Sira to protest against the apartheid wall and the continuing annexation of Palestinian land. In the March 24th demonstration, in self defense Adnan bit a soldier’s finger as the soldier beat him to the ground. In response to the bite, soldiers attacked Adnan with clubs, breaking two front teeth.

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7. Farmers in Nablus Prevented from Working their Land by Both Settlers and Military
April 10th, 2006

Farmers in Salem, near Nablus, were joined on Friday the 7th of April by Israeli and international human rights workers to protect against further settler violence. Earlier in the week a 68 year-old villager was beaten by settlers and required hospitalization. Rabbis for Human Rights, members of the Kibbutzim movement, and internationals accompanied the farmers in an effort to enable the farmers to plow their land, tend to their olive trees and graze their sheep free from harm.

Fifty farmers and human rights workers took to the hills mid morning and were met almost immediately by a settler security truck. Two settlers blocked a Palestinian tractor from accessing a nearby field by parking their van on the track. The settlers were refusing to move when about five army vehicles and an Israeli police car arrived (further blocking the road and supporting the settlers). A second tractor arrived and was similarly blocked. When some villagers tried to circumvent the army and settler van in their tractor one of the settlers stood in front of it. Despite the repeated efforts of villagers and their supporters we were unable to get tractor access to the field in order to plow. The two settlers generally harrased the farmers driving through flocks of grazing sheep and continuously arguing. After a few hours (approx 1:30pm) we heard word of house occupations in Nablus and left. Some of the Israeli demonstrators were planning to stay as long as possible to observe army and settlers and help with farm work.