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Militant Settlers Attack 79 Year Old Human Rights Worker in Hebron

1. Militant Settlers Attack 79 Year Old Human Rights Worker in Hebron
2. Apartheid “Closed Military Zone” In Hebron
3. Stanford Daily: “Activists describe West Bank violence”
4. Mansour’s Journal: Yesterday I was denied entry to my village Biddu
5. Jenka’s Journal: The City of Jenin
6. New House Occupations in Nablus
7. ISM Interview on Pacifica Radio Flashpoints
8. Robert Novak: Palestinian Christians Threatened In Aboud
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1. Militant Settlers Attack 79 Year Old Human Rights Worker in Hebron
April 20th, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Militant supporters of the illegal settlers of Hebron attacked Human Rights Workers (HRWs), Palestinian teachers and children at approximately 7:40 this morning.

The small team of HRWs were on the street this morning ready to protect Palestinian children on their way to school. Attacks on Palestinian children are common, and tension in the area has been high during the Passover holiday period, when the settlers receive thousands of visitors who support their extreme militant actions.

While the HRW team waited for the children, a bus from Jerusalem full of young settler supporters arrived at the end of the street. About 15, aged in their late teens or early twenties got off the bus and gathered at the end of the street. Within minutes they walked up the street, heading for the HRWs and some Palestinian teachers and children.

They started to throw stones, and yelled “We’re going to kill you!” A Danish camerman from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) started to film, and immediately became a target for the settler group. The cameraman ran away. The settler group then attacked the other human rights workers, including Sister Anne Montgomery (who will be 80 in November) a member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). She was stoned, as were Tore (29) from Norway, and Karien (46) from Germany. Soldiers from the Israeli Army watched the entire incident and made no attempt to intervene.

Despite being attacked, the HRWs managed to protect two Palestinian teachers and three children who were on their way to the nearby school, which is next door to the settlement. The Palestinians were able to shelter on the first floor of a nearby building.

The attack finally stopped when the police arrived, and the attackers ran back to the settlement. All the HRWs have bruises from kicks, punches, and stones. Anna (21) a Swedish woman from the ISM was wounded by a stone. The HRWs have reported the incident to the police, but if past experience is a guide, the police are unlikely to take effective action against this unprovoked attack.

For more information:

Anna (ISM witness): 054-3045205
ISM Media Office: 02-2971824

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2. Apartheid “Closed Military Zone” In Hebron
April 19th, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Over Passover holiday, under the guise of a “Closed Military Zone” (CMZ) the Israeli authorities in Hebron have been excluding Palestinians and international Human Rights Workers (HRWs) from the streets of the Old City and Tel Rumeida areas.

The CMZ order has been selectively applied against Palestinians and HRWs since the Passover holidays started, while Israeli settlers in the area and thousands of Israelis visiting the settlements in the Old City and Tel Rumeida areas have been allowed to walk freely around the H2 area without being subject to the military closure, making the CMZ in effect an apartheid order.

From the rooftop of their enforced confinement in their apartment in the Tel Rumeida area, HRWs have witnessed soldiers pointing their rifles at Palestinian children to drive them indoors, when they had come outside to play football. Palestinians in general have been largely forced off the streets.

Two days ago, HRWs had been physically removed from the Tel Rumeida by the military as they cleared the street for the settler-supporting Israeli visitors. At 7am on th 19th of April, the order was said by the military to have been extended until an undisclosed date. However, soldiers have yet to produce a copy of this alleged new order.

For a copy of the previously issued CMZ order, see palsolidarity.org

For more information:

Anna: 054 304 5205
ISM media office: 02 297 1824 or 057 572 0754

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3. Stanford Daily: “Activists describe West Bank violence”
April 20th, 2006

For photos see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/04/20/stanford-daily-activists-describe-west-bank-violence/

By Katherine Cox
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
from The Stanford Daily (http://daily.stanford.edu/tempo?page=content&id=20094&repository=0001_article)

Two young human rights activists spoke last night about the Palestinian population of Tel Rumeida, Hebron, a West Bank neighborhood that also contains some of what were considered the most fanatical Israeli settlements. The event’s sponsor, Stanford’s Coalition for Justice in the Middle East (CJME), brought the co-founders of a fledgling human rights project stationed in Tel Rumeida, 24-year-old Chelli Stanley and 35-year-old John Harmer, to campus as the group observes Palestinian Awareness Month.

The lecture, entitled “Tel Rumeida: Life Under the Occupation,” was the first in a series of related events extending into early May. Yesterday’s lecture — which also featured footage captured by project volunteers in the neighborhood — precedes a second lecture on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. by Palestine’s Deputy Ambassador to the U.N. Riyad Mansour in Cubberley Auditorium.

Stanley, originally from Maine, is a sociologist whose vision to establish the first permanent international presence in the neighborhood coincided with that of artist John Harmer. Harmer’s previous work examined the military industrial complex through sculpture.

Yesterday’s joint lecture, accompanied by a slide presentation, enumerated the ways in which the speakers said Palestinian residents of Tel Rumeida were terrorized — witnessed and documented by the speakers — by two bordering settler communities. The speakers related anecdotes of torture and abuse.
“One morning, a Palestinian boy was leaving to go to school and was surrounded by five adult male settlers, one of which put a battery operated power drill to his chest,” Stanley said. “This is a tactic they’ve been using against the children in the neighborhood.”

The boy survived and was not hospitalized, but the psychological impact of the act, Stanley suggested, breeds fear in the neighborhood’s dwindling Palestinian population.

Another story detailed the abuse of a small child.

“A female Israeli settler used a rock to pry open a young Palestinian boy’s mouth. She used the rock to grind down the child’s molars,” Stanley said.

The speakers named what they called the settlers’ other staple methods of abuse. They allegedly included stoning, arson, beatings, destruction of property and violence inflicted by even young Israeli children.

“Israeli settlers have found a loophole in the law that states that no one under the age of 12 can be held responsible for their actions. The attacks that appear in the most visible areas are often initiated by very young boys and girls,” Harmer said.

He explained that though many of the attacks are executed by children who are exempt from the law, violence perpetrated by adult men and women settlers is common and is in no way impeded by the local Israeli police and military.

In fact — the speakers suggested — the oppression Palestinians face in Tel Rumeida is exacerbated by the favoritism of the local Israeli military presence. The activist group reports that, though soldiers are bound by law to protect every individual in the neighborhood, violence against Palestinian residents is apparently openly tolerated.

To illustrate this point, Stanley related a tragedy in which a Palestinian woman lost two unborn twins during an attack by settlers. According to Stanley, the woman shouted repeatedly for help to nearby soldiers to no avail, and finally resorted to calling the Israeli police. Her son was attacked while the police refused to come to her home. Finally, after hearing the death threats screamed over the phone, the police arrived after a long delay. The woman later miscarried both of her twins and was forced to take a long detour around hostile settlements to reach a hospital.

Harmer claimed that the Israeli police in this area — who have come under fire from Israeli officials for their discrimination of Palestinians — often hang up on Arabic callers before their complaints or emergencies are relayed.

Both speakers began visiting Tel Rumeida in 2005, where they were immediately exposed to the daily life of local Palestinians. The speakers believed their observations warranted documenting, so throughout 2005 the activists filmed incidents of violence which will be compiled into a documentary in two to three months. Many of the clips are available on the Project’s Web site, which allows viewers to download the materially freely.

During their stay in Tel Rumeida, Stanley, Harmer and other international human rights workers acted as human shields against assailants, accompanying Palestinians through the streets and attempting to ward off attacks.

“We get in between the settler and the person being attacked. We scream at them and videotape the attack. With these settlers we know that we’re not going to stop the violence so we just try to redirect the attacks on ourselves,” Stanley said.

Stanford was just one stop along a circuit of destinations for Stanley and Harmer, who are touring the United States to raise funds for the Tel Rumeida Project and recruit new volunteers. The project seeks to raise $20,000 in the United States, which will be matched by a human rights agency. Most of the funds will go toward buying new video cameras for the project.

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4. Mansour’s Journal: Yesterday I was denied entry to my village Biddu
April 19th, 2006

Where should we go then?

After twenty days of being away from my family, I decided to go and spend two days with them. (By the way, my work is in Ramallah city and my village is 30 minutes away to the south of it)

A few weeks ago, the Israeli government closed Qalandia check point in the face of West Bank Palestinians.

Now we have to seek alternative roads to our homes and families.

I went by a road that passes through Al Jib village. Four Israeli border police stopped me on my way and asked for my ID, but after that I would have to go through two gates to reach the services that only carry the Israeli plates.

I showed the soldiers my ID and they started their interrogation: What’s your name? Where are you going? What were you doing in Ramallah? etc. At the end they gave me my ID, and they asked me IF I HAVE A PERMISSION to my village, which I don’t have because I spent time in prison 3 years ago.

All of that was okay to me, but the strange thing is that their answer was that I am forbidden to cross to my village. I was denied entry to my village. That’s what I never expected to happen to us. They confiscate our land, imprison us with their Apartheid wall, and now deny us entry to our own homes and village.

Where should we go?

-Mansour Mansour

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5. Jenka’s Journal: The City of Jenin
April 20th, 2006

I woke up two days ago to the news that a Palestinian had blown himself up in Tel Aviv, killing eight Israelis and himself, at the bus station. I thought, as I always do, of the victims…..limbs torn apart, the children crying, ambulances rushing to the scene….so terrible, terrible, terrible…….

It reminded me of a similar scene in Gaza last week, a family bombed in their home by an Israeli air strike….a little girl’s body in pieces, the rest of the family with limbs blown off……

The only difference is: that attack never made the American news.

Israeli writer Gideon Levy wrote a powerful article about it:
www.imemc.org/content/view/18108/1/

He says: “The continuing imprisonment of besieged Gaza is precisely the opposite policy that should be applied to serve Israeli interests. The current policy only strengthens support for the Hamas, just like the terror attacks within Israel always strengthen the Israeli right. A nation under siege, its leadership boycotted, will have far more determination and resolve to fight to its last drop of blood. It is impossible to break the spirit of a desperate people. Only a nation that sees a light at the end of its desperation will change its ways.”

As long as there are young men and boys who see no reason for living, and who see no future for themselves in the prison that has been made of their country, there will be bombers willing to give their lives to avenge the injustices they see every day living in Occupied Palestine.

When I saw the picture of the kid who did the bombing yesterday on the television- so young, so terribly young….he looked no more than 16. Then I heard that he was from the city of Jenin. The irony just struck me, as the words of a song by folk singer David Rovics entered my head….it is a song, ironically enough, about a suicide bomber from the city of Jenin — the site of a massive Israeli assault that lasted two months in March and April of 2002, and resulted in nearly 800 deaths, and the complete flattening of a vast portion of the city. Here are the lyrics of the song:

Jenin
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Oh, child, what will you remember
When you recall your sixteenth year
The horrid sound of helicopter gunships
The rumble of the tanks as they drew near

As the world went about it’s business
And I burned another tank of gasoline
The Dow Jones lost a couple points that day
While you were crying in the City of Jenin

Did they even give your parents warning
Before they blew the windows out with shells
While you hid inside the high school basement
Amidst the ringing of church bells

As you watched your teacher crumble by the doorway
And in England they were toasting to the Queen
You were so far from the thoughts of so many
Huddled in the City of Jenin

Were you thinking of the taunting of the soldiers
Or of the shit they smeared upon the walls
Were you thinking of your cousin after torture
Or Tel Aviv and it’s glittering shopping malls

When the fat men in their mansions say that you don’t want peace
Did you wonder what they mean
As you sat amidst the stench inside the darkness
In the shattered City of Jenin

What went through your mind on that day
At the site of your mother’s vacant eyes
As she lay still among the rubble
Beneath the blue Middle Eastern skies

As you stood upon this bulldozed building
Beside the settlements and their hills so green
As your tears gave way to grim determination
Among the ruins of the City of Jenin

And why should anybody wonder
As you stepped on board
The crowded bus across the Green Line
And you reached inside your jacket for the cord

Were you thinking of your neighbors buried bodies
As you made the stage for this scene
As you set off the explosives that were strapped around your waist
Were you thinking of the City of Jenin

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you can listen to the song here:
www.soundclick.com/util/DownloadSong.cfm?ID=756970&ref=2
————-

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6. New House Occupations in Nablus
April 18th, 2006
By Linda

For photos see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/04/18/new-house-occupations-in-nablus/

Today, the Israeli army has occupied three more buildings in Nablus that we are aware of. One of them is a brand new shopping mall which has not yet opened. The local youth are outside burning tyres in protest. This will have little effect on the soldiers who are at least 10 stories up. Despite this they are firing live ammunition. Yesterday’s woundings of two boys has not deterred them in the least.

I need to stress this further: the soldiers are recklessly and randomly firing live ammunition down onto an area crowded with market traders, women, children and workers. This is madness – it utterly disgusts me. Some locals may have learned to live with these army invasions – what choice do they have after all?

If they allow their ‘fight or flight’ buttons to be pressed every single time something happens they could not survive. But this is not normal, this is not OK and i can see the stress in people’s faces and an increased urgency in their movements.
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7. ISM Interview on Pacifica Radio Flashpoints
April 19th, 2006

Interview by ISM Volunteer Haley

http://flashpoints.net/index.html#2006-04-18

Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Today on Flashpoints: We hear from one voice among thousands of Iraqis now fleeing the violence in their US-occupied homeland; Israel expands its bloody occupation against Palestine, we’ll have an on-the-ground report; plus, an in-depth look at the forgotten refugees of the Iraq war, imprisoned inside refugee camps on the border between Iraq and Jordan; an interview with the cheif prosecutor of the Human Rights tribunal investigating US and UN-led war crimes in Haiti; and the Knight Report.
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8. Robert Novak: Palestinian Christians Threatened In Aboud
April 19th, 2006

“Palestinian Christians suffer, too”
April 17, 2006
BY ROBERT NOVAK SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST

ABOUD, West Bank — On Good Friday, I stood atop the remnant of the Santa Barbara shrine, destroyed by the Israeli army, and observed the picturesque village of Aboud. I could see properties confiscated to make room for the Israeli security wall, at the cost of centuries-old olive trees. Nearby are two enclosed, heavily guarded Israeli settlements, with four times Aboud’s Palestinian population.

Defenders of Israeli policy claimed my facts were wrong Feb. 16 when I wrote that the wall threatens Israel’s tiny Christian minority [sic. – Aboud is in the Palestinan territories, not Israel] and particularly Aboud’s Christian roots going back two millennia. Coming here for a firsthand look, I found the plight of the village’s Christians worse than I had reported.

But this is no Christian problem. During Easter week, I visited Palestinian territory in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Gaza as well as Aboud. Christians share the harsh fate of Palestinian Muslims in the wake of the disastrous second intifada. The head of Roman Catholic Palestinians, Latin Patriarch Michael Sabbah, told me: “The world has abandoned the Palestinians.”

If the world is uninterested in Palestinians generally, the plight of their co-religionists attracts the attention of Roman Catholics — with Aboud a striking example. Of the village’s 2,200 residents, 418 are Catholics and 375 Greek Orthodox. Thirty Catholic families have moved out, and more are expected to follow. With transportation to Israel for Palestinians cut off, some 100 residents of Aboud who used to work in Tel Aviv have nothing to do. Suhel Fawade, a 31-year-old Catholic, told me he has not had a job for seven years and consequently cannot marry to start his own family.

Foreign Ministry officials assert concern for their country’s Christians. But the Rev. Firas Aridah, the Catholic pastor here, worries his flock is losing its young generation. “They are after our water,” he told me, referring to Aboud supplying 20 percent of the West Bank’s ground water. The bitterness is intense. Israel’s 2001 destruction of 500 olive trees, in reaction to a settler’s murder, left scars. So did the army bomb planted in Santa Barbara’s shrine in 2002 because of suspicions that terrorists were meeting there.

Aboud is paradise compared with Gaza, where 1.2 million people crowd into one of the world’s most densely populated areas. Milk, flour and sugar are in short supply, with unemployment becoming universal. Undisciplined Palestinian militants have ineffectively fired rockets into Israel, which has responded with deadly daily artillery barrages.

Prominent Christians in Gaza told me their friends and relatives, denied access to and from the enclave, want to emigrate. Sami El-Youssef, financial vice president of Bethlehem University, said he believes there is a conscious Israeli policy of getting rid of the Christian minority, whose discomfiture is more politically embarrassing for Israel than Muslim distress.

Holy Week has been particularly difficult for Palestinian Christians. Professors at Bethlehem University were frustrated by government refusal to permit supervised student trips to the Sea of Galilee and Jerusalem. Throughout the West Bank, Christians were denied travel permits to march in Jerusalem’s Palm Sunday procession.

Israeli Foreign Ministry officials asserted to me that Christians in the Holy Land suffer more from Muslims — a position echoed by the Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, head of the Franciscans minding the Holy Land’s religious places. But I could not find another Catholic layman or prelate who complained of anti-Christian bias by Muslims.

Beyond cutting to pieces the promised Palestinian state, the security wall imposes an ugly scar on east Jerusalem and the West Bank. In Bethlehem, where the wall is a barbed wire fence at the Emmanuel Monastery, the sisters there and the brothers from Bethlehem University sadly parade in front of the wall, saying the rosary, once a week.

Israeli government officials argue the wall may not be pretty but saves lives. Retired army officers at the Economic Cooperation Foundation, a Tel Aviv think tank, believe the wall creates a climate of hatred. “I think it may be producing another generation of terrorists,” Brig. Gen. Ilan Paz told me. That is even worse than driving out the Holy Land’s remaining Christians.