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Eleven Children Held Captive by Israeli Army (Digest)

1. Eleven Children Held Captive by Israeli Army
2. Balata invasion journal Part 1
3. Bil’in Demonstration Remembers Twelfth Death Caused by Wall
4. Separation wall ‘drowns’ Palestinian
5. Everyday resistance
6. The hope for a peaceful solution?
7. Palestinian civilians pay with their lives for IDF’s refusal to publish open-fire regulations
8. Activist’s Journal

1. Eleven Children Held Captive by Israeli Army
April 8th, 2006

Nablus, Palestine

Eleven children have been held captive by the Israeli army since 5am yesterday morning. They are being held in an apartment on the 8th floor of a building the army has turned into a sniper nest. A young boy, the only captive medical volunteers have been allowed to contact, reported that the families are hungry and without food. The army is preventing any food from being brought into the building.

The army forced Amjad Aodah’s family from their apartment on a lower floor of the building and are holding them and the family of Abu Amare Al Hajd Hamd hostage. The fourteen people, aged between three and seventy, are in a single room on the 8th floor. Internationals and medics have attempted to gain access, but have repeatedly been denied.

For more information call:
Lee 0547 385 754
Mohammad 0546 218 759
ISM media office 022 971 824


2. Balata invasion journal Part 1
April 8th, 2006
By Jane

On the morning of April 6th I had a call saying the Israeli military have invaded Nablus, would I join 3 others and go? During military invasions the role of ISM is to go with medical teams, try to approach houses the military have occupied to speak with the families held there, bring them food and medicines.

We were not allowed to pass the checkpoint into Nablus so we walked over the mountain, a wonderful hour and a half walk thru beautiful hills. By the time we arrived the military operation was over. It left 12 injured. We went to the hospital to get the details of the injuries. Crumbling plaster work, half unpacked boxes, people on sat waiting on the stairwell, sad faces, a young man crying. A 17 year old boy was critically injured by a rubber bullet which hit his head. Two were injured running from jeeps. One 45 year old woman had shrapnel in her leg, one 25 year old was shot by a live bullet in the abdomen. The others were hit by rubber bullets in the legs and back.

Mohammed A., the ISM Co-ordinator told us that arrests are intensifying and he thinks another big invasion, such as the one a month and a half ago is about to happen. Two women were arrested 3 nights ago. The Neighbors said that they were bought out of their house naked, beaten in the street and taken to a military base. Listening to Mohammed speak about Nablus and Balata refugee camp is hard. What can you say to someone who shows you photos of his friend, head half missing, guts spewing out, corpse blackened by the explosion?

During the night there were two explosions and gun fire. At 8am in the morning the mosque load speaker system announced the death of the young man killed in the previous days violence.



3. Bil’in Demonstration Remembers Twelfth Death Caused by Wall
April 8th, 2006

Friday’s Bil’in demonstration was a memorial for the twelfth victim of the apartheid wall. Eyad Taha Salame Taha, a 28 year-old man from Beit Annan, was drowned in a flood caused by the wall in Bil’in on Sunday, April 2, 2006.

Eyad and his brother, Raad, were traveling to work when flood waters swept their car away. They got out of the car and were washed towards the barrier by strong currents. Raad was rescued by villagers, but Eyad was found unconscious, entangled in the razor wire of the apartheid barrier.

Local Bil’in activists, joined by Israelis and internationals, held their weekly peaceful demonstration by the wall next to the village. Two people from the village were arrested, including Mohammed Khatib from the Bil’in popular committee against the wall. As long as international activists were filming, the soldiers treated them well, but when the cameras were gone, the soldiers beat them up. They were both released after the demonstration.

After demonstrating at the usual site, the activists marched to the place where Eyad was drowned. The villagers put up a beautiful monument with posters and lavender to honor Eyad. Speeches were given about this horrible loss and about the effect the wall had on this atrocity. The activists charged that the Israeli government should be held completely responsible for this death.

Eyad’s tragic death highlights the reality of the destructive effects of the wall on the lives of Palestinians in Bil’in and all along the wall.

Unfortunately, his is not the first life lost as a result of the wall. Eleven others lost their lives in demonstrations against the illegal annexation barrier, including five children under the age of 16.

Mohammad Fadel Hashem Rayan, age 25, from Beit Duko was killed in Beit Ijza on February 26, 2004 by live ammunition shot at him by border police during a demonstration against the wall.

Zakaria MaHmud Salem, age 28, from Beit Ijza was killed in Beit Ijza on February 26, 2004 by live ammunition shot at him by border police during a demonstration against the wall.

Abdal Rahman Abu Eid, age 62, from Bidu was killed in Bidu on February 26, 2004 from a heart attack after his house was tear gassed.

Mohammad Daud Badwan, age 21, from Bidu was shot by border police snipers during a demonstration in Biddu on March 26, 2004 and died April 3, 2004.

Diaa Abdel Karim Abu Eid, age 24, from Bidu was killed in Bidu by live ammunition shot at him during a demonstration against the wall on April 4, 2004.

Hussain mahmud Awwad Aliyan, age 17, from Budrus, was killed in Beitunia on April 16, 2004 at a demonstration against the wall, after live ammunition was shot at demonstrators.

Islam Hashem Rizik Zhahran, age 14, from Deir Abu Mashal was shot with a rubber coated metal bullet in Deir Anu Mashal on April 18, 2004 and died April 28, 2004.

Alaa Mohammad Abdel Rahman Khalil, age 14, from Betunia was killed in Betunia February 15, 2005 by live ammunition shot by a security guard while throwing stones at a wall security jeep.

Jamal Jaber Ibrahim Assi, age 15, from Beit Likya was killed in Beit Likya on May 4, 2005 by live ammunition shot in his pelvis while throwing stones in a demonstration against the wall.

Odai Mofeed Mahmud Assi, age 14, from Beit Likya was killed in Beit Likya on May 4, 2005 by live ammunition shot in his chest while throwing stones in a demonstration against the wall.

Mahayub Nimer Assi, age 15, from Beit Likya was killed in Beit Likya on June 8, 2005 by live ammunition shot by a security guard while he was at his family’s orchards, about 200 meters from the bulldozers parking lot.

It is the hope of activists, as we continue our protests and demonstrations, that these lives will not have been lost in vain. It is in their memory that we protest tomorrow and every day thereafter.


4. Separation wall ‘drowns’ Palestinian
April 4th, 2006
By Laila El-Haddad
From AlJazeera.net

A Palestinian man has drowned in the West Bank after getting entangled in the separation barrier’s barbed wire during flash floods, medical officials and witnesses say.

According to witnesses, heavy rains followed by flash foods washed away two brothers, Eyad and Raad Taher, in the West Bank village of Bil’in early on Sunday morning.

The two men, from the village of Bait Annan in the West Bank, were passing through Bil’in on their way to Ram Allah via an Israeli-built road connecting the two areas, when they were washed away by the flood waters, witnesses said.

They got out of their vehicle, but were swept by the strong current in the direction of the barrier.

Raad Taher was rescued by villagers, but his brother Eyad, 26, was found unconscious, caught in the razor-wire of the barrier that separates Bil’in from nearby Jewish settlements.

Poor roads

Palestinians blamed the Israelis for poor road planning. The road runs through a valley between two mountains.

Palestinians say the road is aimed at serving the expansion of the nearby settlement of Beitar Illit without taking into consideration the possibility of flooding.

The earthworks of the barrier, whose route was ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice in July 2004, acted as a dam, flooding the poorly built road between the villages of Bil’in and Safa, west of Ram Allah, villagers said.

“We asked the army to allow us to drain the water, but they refused, saying they were worried the fence would collapse”

Mohammad Khatib, a member of the Popular Committee Against the Separation Fence in Bil’in, said: “Placing the road here in such a low area with no drains caused the water to pile up so high that it covered 15m of our olive trees.”

Villagers also blamed the Israeli army, who they say prevented their search party from using their equipment to try to drain the flooded area.

Residents say they were not allowed to dig a ditch next to the fence in order to drain water.

Khatib, said: “We asked the army to allow us to drain the water, and even the Israeli rescue services agreed but the army refused, saying they were worried the fence would collapse.”

Eido Minkovsky, an Israeli army spokesperson, said: “All the claims that we didn’t allow the forces to act are incorrect.”

Fence at fault

Khatib said: “Because of the planned route of the fence, which is being built according to the expansion plans of nearby Jewish settlements, this man was killed.

“There was a humanitarian situation and lives at stake, and they refused to let us through. So how will it be when the fence is completed? We hold the occupation completely responsible for this.”

Bil’in is a small Palestinian farming village 4km east of the 1949 Armistice Line.

The planned route of the West Bank barrier comes within four metres of the last house in Bil’in and is set to take more than half of the village’s land to make room for settlement expansion.

A report published by human rights group B’tselem recently stated that the wall’s route through the village was not chosen based on correct security claims, but rather was politically motivated and designed to incorporate illegal expansion of nearby settlements.


5. Everyday resistance
April 5th, 2006
by: Alys a member of IWPS (The International Womens Peace Service) Epilogue By ISM media

Hebron, a city in the southern part of the West Bank, is unique in that the settlements, inhabited by fanatical Zionists, are located right within Palestinian neighborhoods. The proximity of the settlements and the often violent and abusive behavior of the settlers, makes life extremely difficult for the Palestinians whose homes now fall into H2, the Israeli-controlled area.

The population of Tel Rumeida settlement, along with the three other settlements located in the Old City (Beit Hadassa, Avraham Avinu and Beit Romano), totals around 500, yet results in approximately 4,000 soldiers being stationed there. The daily lives of Palestinians are severely disrupted by both the settlers and the military.

Tel Rumeida settlement, which began in 1984 with six mobile homes/caravans occupying Palestinian land, has continued to expand, with the settlers using any means necessary in their attempts to drive the Palestinians away from their homes and land. In 1998 the Israeli government officially approved the settlement and in 2001 the Israeli Defence Ministry gave a permit to build 16 housing units. Without the support — financial and military — of the Israeli government, it would be hard, if not impossible, for the settlement to continue.

The settlers are extremely hostile, on many occasions violent and abusive. The forms of violence include throwing stones and rocks, spitting and physically attacking Palestinians, sometimes resulting in broken bones. The settlers are free to wander the streets with guns slung over their backs. Their armed presence and near impunity before the law means they wield great power.

For the Palestinian families whose homes are now spitting distance — literally — from the settlements, their refusal to move, to be driven out, is a daily form of resistance. It is a resistance which takes courage,determination, and strength.

Shabbat. A beautiful spring day. Two teenage boys walking casually down the deserted main street. In another place, in another life, maybe a different story. But here they are armed settlers. Teenage boys, indoctrinated with fanatical religious beliefs, guns slung over their backs. A street that had formally been a thriving, bustling market. Now not a single shop remains open and only a handful of Palestinian families remain living there.

And for the Palestinians there is much to negotiate. For the families who now have the settlers living right next to them, on their land, even leaving the house is an ordeal. Not only risking being attacked, spat at, verbally abused, but also some are no longer free to walk down the street to reach their house.

Three small girls on their way home from school help each other climb over razor wire which blocks their way home. No longer able to walk down the street, the only route left to them — a narrow, rough track cut into the hills — is now blocked by razor wire.

I was shocked walking through the deserted Old City, once a thriving Palestinian market area, now a ghost of its former self. Wire meshing above my head. A net strung across the alleyway to catch the rubbish thrown by the settlers — toilet paper, rotting vegetables, lumps of concrete.

The journey to school not only involves negotiating the checkpoints, but also the settlers. Internationals are involved in the ’school patrols,’ strategically positioned along the route to school (and indeed some remaining in the school itself) intervening when necessary. Getting between the settlers and the Palestinian children they are throwing stones at. Hopefully helping the journey to school be less of an ordeal. And throughout the afternoon being a visible presence on the streets, complete with video cameras. The camera not only documenting, but also acting as a deterrent.

H2, the Israeli-controlled part of Hebron, is an intense, crazy place. Resistance takes many forms. Refusing to be driven from your home is an act of resistance. Playing football in the street, laughing, having even a fraction of trust in strangers — all these are forms of resistance. I was touched by the strength of the Palestinians as they sought to maintain their day to day lives
and humanity in the face of such hostility and insanity.

On Saturday the 1st of April, Silvana Hogg a Swiss human rights worker with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) was assaulted by an Israeli settler in the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron. This follows on from the previous Saturday when Brian Morgan, an America human rights worker with the Tel Rumeida Project, was attacked by a mob of 20 Jewish settlers while a nearby Israeli soldier ignored repeated pleas for help. Bith required stiches to the head.

Silvana was accompanying Palestinian school children on their way home when the attack happened about 5 meters from a small Israeli army outpost. Three eyewitnesses to the assault went into the Israeli police station wwith a photograph of the settler ofeender and made statements. Silvana herself went to make a statement the next day. The Police are yet to get back to Silvana about the attack.

Both Silvana and Brian regularly work in the Tel Rumeida area accompanying Palestinian school children on the their way to and from classes so that there is less chance that the children will be attacked by the settlers. Attacks on Palestinians and internationals increase on the Sabbath and on holidays when settler youths are not in school and when religious settlers can not use their cars and have to walk home, often harassing Palestinians as they go.


6. The hope for a peaceful solution?
April 6th, 2006

Joel Beinin has written a thought provoking review of Shlomo Ben-Ami’s Scars of War, Wounds of Peace in the April 17th issue of The Nation. It’s well worth reading in full, and Beinin finishes on an optimistic note:

Where, then, is the hope for a peaceful solution to the conflict? I believe that it lies in the young Palestinians, Jewish Israelis and internationals who have been fighting shoulder to shoulder in weekly battles against the Israeli security forces since late 2003 to halt the construction of the separation wall. This struggle has been led by Palestinian villagers in unheralded places like Budrus and Bil’in, organized in the Popular Committee Against the Wall. Although their successes have so far been minor, these actions have demonstrated that trust is built through joint political action and that whether there will eventually be two states or one, coexistence, not separation, is the foundation for peace.


7. Palestinian civilians pay with their lives for IDF’s refusal to publish open-fire regulations
April 6th, 2006

From B’Tselem:

B’Tselem today urged IDF Chief-of-Staff Dan Halutz and Judge Advocate General Avihai Mandelblit to make public immediately the open-fire regulations that have been given to soldiers in the Occupied Territories. The request follows publication of an IDF report that verifies human rights organizations’ repeated claims that the regulations are unclear and can be understood in different ways.

B’Tselem contends that the secrecy enables the senior IDF staff to avoid responsibility for the killing of innocent persons, and to divert the criticism to the soldiers in the field. Since the beginning of the intifada, the IDF has related to the open-fire regulations applying in the Occupied Territories as “confidential information,” which are provided to soldiers verbally, and not in writing, as was previously the case.

The IDF’s internal report, which was published on the Ynet Website, states: “There are units in which the Open-Fire Regulations have been condensed and summarized into a number of sentences, such that ‘the soldiers fail to understand the regulation’s nuances.’” The report also reveals that there are battalion commanders who added their own regulations: “In places in which the unit added ‘a verbal instruction” to the regulations, it was found that the soldiers become confused from the large amount of information.” These findings are consistent with the claims that B’Tselem and other human rights organizations have raised for a number of years.

Secrecy of the Open-Fire Regulations encourages a quick trigger finger. The soldiers are given the regulations in oral briefings, which easily result in distortions, misunderstandings, and hidden messages. The policy has led to the killing of civilians in unprecedented proportion. According to B’Tselem’s figures, from September 2000 to the end of March 2006, IDF soldiers have killed at least 1,816 Palestinians, 593 of whom were minors, who were not participating in the fighting.

B’Tselem’s new research illustrates why the regulations must be published immediately. Investigation of the circumstances in which nine unarmed Palestinians were killed near the Gaza perimeter fence raise a suspicion that Israel classified the land next to the fence “killing zones,” that is, areas in which the soldiers are ordered to open fire at any person who enters the area, regardless of the reason of entry. IDF officials, among them Judge Advocate General, Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit, vigorously denied the existence of any such regulation. However, the nine cases, which occurred following the disengagement from Gaza, strengthen the suspicion. Publication of the regulations will eliminate the ambiguity and enable judicial and public review of this important issue.


8. Activist’s Journal
April 4th, 2006

Wednesday was a quiet day in which I caught up with sleep lost to jetlag and fixed my email setup. On Thursday there was a demo in Beit Sira that we went to. It was Land Day, which commemorates a 1976 uprising of Palestinian citizens of Israel. The idea was to plant trees in the land of the village. This was unsuccessful because of the fully tooled up riot squad of Israeli soldiers that blocked our path. The most mild of pushing on their huge plexi-glass shields led to a full-on battering session.

Friday, of course, was the regular Bil’in demonstration. It was great to be back! Spirits were high and there was a good attendance. The Israeli anarchists were there in force as always. Also there were a lot of folk from Gush Shalom this week. The village committee’s plan was to use a large metal frame as a ramp to be able to get over the gate in the fence. A good attempt was made at this, but the soldiers were particularly nasty this week and lashed out almost immediately to stop this bridge building attempt. Can’t let the Palestinians into their own land now can we? The usual beatings and usage of “less lethal” weaponry on unarmed demonstrators ensued.

That night, myself along with two others from ISM stayed overnight in the Bil’in outpost, which was fun. It was a nice camping trip – it’s good to be outdoors in the fresh air! We sat around the fire with guys from the village, learned some Arabic and drank loads of sweet tea. About 7 in the morning we were woken up by the sound of an off-road vehicle pulling away. M. had seen them and said that it was soldiers who peeked in the door of the outpost to watch us sleeping. Furthermore they had apparently done the same thing three times that night!

Raining outside, though weather was warm yesterday. Training for new ISM folk tomorrow.

Must sleep. Bed soon.

The ISM training was yesterday and today. We had about eight new recruits, so it was a pretty good weekend session. At the end of today, we were planning how to spread ourselves around the regions that ISM covers and there was a really good vibe. We have some good activists here now and I am feeling more confident. The majority of us here now are British, I think. Mansour jokes that it is a British occupation of ISM (like there used to be a Swedish occupation).

This morning we went to a legal training session organised by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israeli (PCATI). It was a very useful and interesting session, and folk from ISM (including the new trainees), IWPS, the Tel Rumeida Project and CPT were there amongst others. Two Israeli lawyers gave us briefings on how Israeli military law applies to Palestinians in the occupied territories (the first session) and the rights of us as internationals in the occupied territories (the second session). The two lawyers are brilliant, committed people and they do loads of work for Palestinians and international activists like us supporting them. The main point that came across was that although Israel claims to uphold a fair, equal rule of law that governs the Palestinians in the occupied territories, in reality the military is the law and what they say goes. The Palestinians are subject to a whole slew of military orders, which are only written in Hebrew and are hard for the public to access. It’s a really nightmarish system. And it is an apartheid system too, because the Jewish settlers who live in the occupied territories are not subject to these military orders, rather they are governed by regular Israeli law which is far more lenient and accountable. Just one example of this – Israelis (and internationals) arrested in the occupied territories have to be brought before a judge for the initial hearing within 24 hours, but Palestinians will not see a judge for eight days. Furthermore, since this judge is a uniformed military officer, this hearing is simply a formality in which one part of the military asks another part of the military to extend the arrest. There are lots of examples of things like this, but the whole thing amounts to a system of apartheid, whose main aim is to ultimately to make the Palestinians leave their homes.

I might go to Hebron at some point this week to help the Tel Rumeida Project, as the folk there are very tired by the sound of it.

Must do laundry now.