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Some Palestinian reactions to the suicide bombing

1. Some Palestinian reactions to the suicide bombing
2. The Party Line: ‘Palestinians attack, Israelis respond’
3. Palestinians commemorate Prisoners Day, as all hell breaks loose
4. Update on Occupied Home in Nablus
5. Journalists, medical volunteers and bystanders targeted, Palestinian bystander shot in the neck by Israeli sniper
6. The Surreal Story of Qawawis Continues
7. Settler Attacks and House Occupations in Hebron
8. Jab’a Ploughs its Land
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1. Some Palestinian reactions to the suicide bombing
April 18th, 2006

From Sa’eed Yakin, the coordinator of the Popular Committee in the northwest Jerusalem area:
“The first thing I would like to say is that we are categorically against the killing of civilians on both sides. The second thing is that this suicide bombing came as a result of the Israeli policy, especially that of the last two months. The third point is that murdering innocent people is an egregious crime when it is acted by a formal state like the Israeli government. They have been doing this and other violence in Gaza Strip, Nablus, and all around for over two months, by invasions, inflicting poverty on the people, the one sided racial separation, the wall, demolitions of houses, etc. The last two months more than 16 people were killed in Gaza Strip by the Israeli occupation forces.”

From Mohammed Issa Abadia, Jenin District popular committee against the wall, settlements, and occupation:
“This kind of resistance [the suicide bombing] doesn’t lead to any positive result, but the reason behind it is that there is nobody and no state in the world really supporting the Palestinian Popular struggle. So that is the reason, the frustration and the need to bring attention to the situation here.”

From Fatma al Khaldi, member of the Popular Resistance in Salfit District:
“Insulting people all the time in checkpoints, humiliating them in many other situations; this led to this thing. Israel in particular, and the whole world in general, bear the responsibility for what happened today. What do they expect from us? If you plant violence, as Israel does, then you will harvest violence. We will never surrender, and we won’t allow the Israeli government to slaughter us like sheep. They are fighting us even in our daily food and basic living resources.”

From Ahmad Hassan Awad, Palestine Scientists Forum (Islamic Scholars Org.):
“We are people seeking peace, but the occupation refuses our offer and insists on not working for peace. The occupation completely bears responsibility for what’s going on right now. This is a natural reaction against the crimes of the occupation.”

From anonymous from Al Araqa, which is the village where the bomber came from:
“Most of the people here are against all kinds of violence, but violence generates violence. This [bombing] came as a result of the Israeli’s brutal acts against the Palestinian citizens.”
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2. The Party Line: ‘Palestinians attack, Israelis respond’
April 17th, 2006
by Asa

For links to facts within article and additional information see http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/04/17/the-party-line-palestinians-attack-israelis-respond/

In an attempt to disguise the current Israeli military operations in Nablus as a response to the suicide bombing in Tel-Aviv, the Israeli media are either directly lying that the military entered Nablus “in response to the terror attack” (Jerusalem Post) or strongly implying the same by saying the army is there “in [the] wake of [the] Tel Aviv blast” (Ha’aretz).

In actual fact, house occupations and shootings of Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers in Nablus were underway well before the bombing. Furthermore, the military have been in and out of Nablus almost constantly over the last week. The Ha’aretz news timeline today directly contradicts the claim by the Jerusalem Post and even the strong implication that it was a “response” in the headline of their own story. At 12:34, the timeline refers to an AP wire report covering the military operations in Nablus: “Palestinian youth shot by Israeli troops during W. Bank protest” (note that there is no mention of the Tel-Aviv bombing in this story). The bombing does not appear in the Ha’aretz site’s timeline until over an hour after the Nablus story was filed: 13:43.

It is possible that the military operation intensified in Nablus after the Tel-Aviv bombing. But the Israeli media were ignoring the story about Israeli jeeps rolling into Nablus before it became possible for them to re-cast the incursion as a ‘response to terrorism’. A response to what is often characterised as ‘irrational, unprovoked, fanatical terrorism’. All this despite the fact that the Israeli army has been shelling civilian areas in Gaza for the past 12 days killing at least eighteen people, including at least two children with many more injured. We in the general public might be niave enough to think that terrorism is the deliberate targeting of civilians, regardless of their natonality, but it would seem that the major media defines Israeli bombing of Palestinians as “counter-terrorism” almost by definition.

Before the bombing in Tel-Aviv, the story about Nablus was all but ignored by the Israeli media. This currently remains the the policy of the western media, despite the fact that the army continues to occupy as many as five houses in Nablus using them as sniper posts, and have injured at least four Palestinian young people with live rounds and rubber-coated bullets.

We have been covering this story here in the ISM Media office since 10am this morning, and have watched the hypocrisy and subservience to establishment interests of the Israeli media explicitly illustrated before our own eyes. Apparently, Palestinian lives are only of use to the propaganda system. It could be argued, however, that this position is morally superior to the position of western media agencies such as the BBC on whose radar the attacks in Nablus do not even register.
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3. Palestinians commemorate Prisoners Day, as all hell breaks loose
April 18th, 2006
By Laila el-Haddad (http://a-mother-from-gaza.blogspot.com/)
Posted by her on Monday, April 17, 2006

I’m very tired so instead of posting something on how all hells break loose here between one second and the next, and how just when you say to yourself-well how about that, only 20 shells today! and no gunbattles between bickering testosterone charged gunmen with nothing better to do! and no suicide bombings!…well..needless to say, things have a way of turning very bad, very quickly here. 9 killed in Tel Aviv, another Palestinian boy killed in Beit Lahiya by Israeli shelling (that makes 16 since the start of the year)… and I just heard an explosion near my house…

so..

instead, I’m going to talk about commemorations of Palestinian Prisoners Day (yes, we have so many “days”), and then go to sleep, because God knows we ALL need sleep

Thousands of Palestinians-mothers, sisters, daughters, sons-from all different factions filled the streets of Gaza City today to commemorate Palestinian Prisoner’s Day-April 17.

Palestinians marched through the streets of Gaza to the Palestinian Legislative Council, carrying pictures of their imprisoned family members and in some cases symbolically tying their hands together with chains. They called on Palestinian parliament members and ministers, human rights organizations and the world community to make the release of the prisoners a top priority.

The parliament convened a special session to address the plight of the prisoners today.

One of the demonstrators, 27-year-old Leila Dabbagh, had not seen her fiancé who is being held in an Israeli jail, for 5 years. They got legally married, but had not yet consumated the marriage, at the time of his imprisonment.

Others are able to see their detained loved ones through the Red Cross, only by glass partitions. Extended family members cannot go however. One women wept as she told me she had not seen her only nephew in 18 years. Most of those detained are very young. Children grow up without ever really knowing their fathers.

The issue of the prisoners is a uniting factor, a common denominator amongst Palestinians.

Some 8000 Palestinians are being held in Israeli prisons or detention centers by the Israeli army, including 370 minors and 103 Palestinian women, according to the Palestinian prisoner’s rights and support group, Addammeer.

Over 750 are held without charge or trial.

The overwhelming majority of Palestinian prisoners are regarded as political captives who have been arbitrarily imprisoned or detained under the broad banner of “security”, according to the Israeli human rights group B’tselem.

“If these same standards were applied inside Israel, half of the Likud party would be in administrative detention,” noted the group in a report.

Palestinians have been subjected to the highest rate of incarceration in the world-since the beginning of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in 1967, over 650,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel-constituting some 20% of the total Palestinian population, and 40% of all Palestinian men.

According to Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, and Btselem, their conditions of detention are extremely poor, with many prisoners suffering from medical negligence, routine beatings, position torture and strip searches.
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4. Update on Occupied Home in Nablus
April 17th, 2006

The Israeli army has withdrawn from one of the homes occupied earlier today in Nablus, although as many as five other houses remain occupied.

The twelve soldiers left the Mushara home at 3pm, after having occupied it since 3:30am Monday. The family, four children between the ages of six and twelve, their father, and their four months pregnant mother, were held in the kitchen for the entire time. The mother has now been evacuated to a hospital.

Bassam Mushara, the father of the home, reported that their cell phones were confiscated, and that they were told that if they made any noise the soldiers would kill them. When their neighbors knocked on the door this morning, to pick the children up for school as usual, the soldiers responded by firing shots at the ceiling.

The neighbors realized that the army must have occupied the house, now for the second time this week. Word of the house’s occupation spread, and soon a crowd of about 200 youth gathered outside the house, some of whom threw stones at soldiers through the windows.

In response soldiers fired live ammunition into the crowd, which included journalists and international human rights workers. A 13 year-old boy was hit in the neck while “standing next to the wall doing nothing,” according to Chilean activist Ana Maria who witnessed the shooting. ISM volunteers saw another four people in the crowd be injured, at least one by shrapnel.

When the soldiers left at 3pm, internationals went inside the house to survey the situation. They reported that the house was completely trashed. All of the windows were broken, shells from the soldiers firing were seen under every window, and pieces of the house, including a door, were torn apart to be used as shields in front of the window. The house was filled with rocks and rubble.

19 people were injured in Nablus today during the invasion, according to Palestinian news sources. Most of the injuries occurred in the center of town, where there were not any occupied houses. The army was seen driving through the center of Nablus for no apparent reason. When children threw stones at the army vehicles, soldiers responded with live ammunition.
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5. Journalists, medical volunteers and bystanders targeted, Palestinian bystander shot in the neck by Israeli sniper
April 17th, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Israeli snipers shot live ammunition at journalists, international medical volunteers and unarmed Palestinians gathered outside of a house occupied by the army. A crowd of over a hundred was gathered in protest of this house occupation. Palestinian youth threw stones at wooden planks that the soldiers placed on the window of the house.

According to international medical volunteers from the United States, England, Germany, Chile, and Denmark, eighteen year old Islam Aktshot was shot with live ammunition in the neck while he was watching the events at 11:45 Monday morning. “He was standing next to the wall doing nothing when suddenly he put his hands to his neck. When he put his hand down large amounts of blood poured out,” said Danish volunteer Anamaria. “We, the medical volunteers and the journalists were standing together when the soldiers fired in our direction. A bullet whistled five centimeters away from me. ”

At 12:05pm Basam Balbali 15 years old with shot with live ammunition in the leg.

The house, which is situated on the eastern edge of the old city of Nablus, was occupied Sunday night. The Israeli military is currently occupying at least five homes in Nablus.

The practice of occupying a tactically important home and holding the occupants incommunicado is known in the Israeli Army as a “Straw Widow” operation. The army uses the occupied home as an observation post and sniper position. Such homes are often reoccupied several times.

For more information call:
In Nablus, Mohammad : 0522 223 374
Ism media office 02-2971824
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6. The Surreal Story of Qawawis Continues
April 18th, 2006

For photos see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/04/18/the-surreal-story-of-qawawis-continues-2/

Take a trip to Qawawis and you step back in time, yet remain in a surreal and frightening present.

It’s an extraordinary place of stark beauty, situated at the extreme southern tip of the Occupied West Bank. Most of the people live in ancient limestone cave dwellings, variously enlarged and improved over the centuries. Yet each is swept spotlessly clean, belying first impressions that an ancient lifestyle means dirt and squalor.

Qawawis itself is tiny, home to just five Palestinian families. The population varies depending on who’s brother, sister, aunt or other relative happens to be around, but it is usually between 15 to 50 people. The permanent residents earn a skilful but hard living shepherding goats and growing crops in a harsh semi-desert landscape.

The survival of Qawawis as a living community is a minor miracle, quite apart from the climate, and the day to day hazards and uncertainties of subsistence farming. Over the past few years two illegal Israeli settlement outposts, founded by militant and very dangerous settlers, have been established on nearby land. Since the settlers arrived, they’ve constantly harassed, threatened, and sometimes physically attacked the people.

They’ve ruined wells and poisoned livestock. Three years ago, their tactics paid off and they managed to chase the families away from Qawawis. A single settler moved in, vandalized homes, and added a building of his own. Then in a biazarre twist it turned out that Israeli Army has it’s own designs on Qawawis, wanting to turn the area into a training/security zone. The army evicted the settler, and bulldozed rubble in front of the cave dwellings, hoping to seal them off forever.

The army’s action was premature. The people of Qawawis, with the help of international and Israeli human rights groups fought back with a court case that went all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court. The people won, and court found that Palestinians, not settlers or the army had the rights to Qawawis.

Unfortunately the judgment had a catch. The people were welcome to return, but on condition that no new buildings were constructed. So they returned, and they cleared the rubble, repaired their homes, shepherded their goats and sheep, planted their crops, and repaired their free-standing bread oven and outhouse. Both these structures are essential to the standard of living, which at best is very low.

Then they made a mistake; they added a simple tent-like canvas awning to both oven and outhouse to keep out the winter rains and the summer sun.

In the blinkered eyes of the Israeli administrators, these rudimentary and sensible improvements make both structures “new.” On the 27th March 2006 they served an order giving the people a month to demolish them, or the authorities would do the job themselves. So once again, there will be a court case, this time on the 27th April 2006, in Beit El near Ramallah, where lawyers will argue over the meaning of the word “new.”

Building of a very different kind has also been going on in Qawawis area. Despite the fact that the two settlements closest to the hamlet are illegal (all settlements are illegal under International Law, but these ones are also illegal under Israeli law), the authorities have been kind enough to provide the law-breakers with electricity, telephone lines, piped water, and a couple of new roads.

One of these new roads runs very close to Qawawis, and the Israeli Army, for ‘security reasons,’ has imposed a 100 meter ‘security zone’ on each side where no Palestinian is allowed to go. This means in some Qawawis homes, taking a few steps from your front door means you are in a military exclusion zone.

More trouble has come from the main road about 1km (2/3 mile) away. The Israelis have recently started building a “mini-wall” along the edge of the northern carriageway. Made of concrete blocks precisely 82cm high and built along the curb, they prevent vehicles from leaving the road and heading into the semi-desert beyond. They are also just high enough to prevent a sheep or a donkey leaden with supplies from crossing.

This poses a serious problem for Qawawis as this mini-wall will cut it off from Karmel and Yatta. These are the small towns that provide supplies and markets for produce. The mini wall itself is something of a mystery, it doesn’t appear on any publicly available Israeli or UN maps, and enquiries about its design, length, purpose, and on who’s authority it is being built have so far been fruitless. An ISM volunteer spoke to some of the workmen last week, and they said it will run from Karmel to Susya (approximately 10km, 6 miles). As one of the people of Qawawis said “we’re going to be in a prison here.”

Cave dwellings, a road, an outhouse, a bakery, and mysterious wall 82 cm high and six miles long (maybe). Only in the surreal world of the Occupied West Bank would such insignificant structures cause so much trouble.

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7. Settler Attacks and House Occupations in Hebron
April 16th, 2006
by Tom

Settlers attacked Palestinian houses and targeted the Palestinian residents of Tel Rumeida today, the first Shabbat of the Passover period.

A Palestinian boy was attacked at 4.30pm by five settlers on Shuhada Street. The settlers knocked him off his bicycle and attacked him in full view of the IDF.

Later in the afternoon fifteen settlers were seen by Human Rights Workers attempting to break into a Palestinian home near Beit Hadassa settlement, the settlers became aware of the internationals and moved on, crossing into H1. H1 is the Palestinian controlled area of Hebron and settlers are restricted from being there.

Human Rights Workers monitored the settlers as they walked through the Palestinian neighbourhood targeting Palestinian homes. When the settlers became aware that they were being observed they left H1. However, they then attacked the Human Rights Workers, and tried to steal their camera. The internationals were kicked, punched and subjected to threats. Israeli police were nearby but did not pursue the settlers.

At around 8pm the IDF occupied the community centre in Tel Rumeida. The troops unloaded a large truck of equipment and sleeping bags, signifying that they were to stay for a long period of time. They draped an Israeli flag over the roof of the building. Three ISM activists approached the door of the community centre with rackets and ping pong balls, requesting that the army let them in to play ping pong. After the troops refused their request, the activists asked them if it would be possible to enter only the first floor while the troops occupied the roof and until when the troops would be occupying the building. After several minutes of persistent request a local resident approached the commander of the unit and explained to him that the first floor of the building should be made available to people in the community, while the army continued to occupy the other floors. The commander agreed to allow us to enter the first floor and told us that the floor would be kept open to the public for the immediate future.

ISM activists were called to another house in the Abu Sneineh neighbourhood which was being occupied by a unit of soldiers. The flat was home to five people including three children. ISM activists and local residents attempted to negotiate for the soldiers to take the roof of the apartment and leave the flat free for the family. This was refused but the soldiers promised to be sensitive around the children. One Human Rights Worker is staying in the Abu Sneineh neighbourhood tonight in case there are more problems. Two more houses have been occupied by the IDF in Hebron.

The Palestinian residents of Hebron are afraid that further tensions may arise over the Passover period.

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8. Jab’a Ploughs its Land
April 18th, 2006

This morning I travelled to the village of Jab’a, just South of Bethlehem, where local Palestinian farmers have faced intimidation by settlers when trying to access their land. Jab’a is a village of 900 people facing annexation of part of its land by the Apartheid Wall. It is near the Gush Etziyon settlement block and faces frequent problems with settler violence.

This morning about 50 Internationals, Israelis and Palestinians converged at Om Al Jamjoum below the illegal settlement of Beit Ain to plough the land. Settlers watched from the hilltop settlement as Palestinians brought a tractor onto the land for the first time in five years.

The army and border police arrived at about 10.30am and spoke to the activists. There was talk of a closed military zone in the area but Israeli activists convinced soldiers that this would be illegal in light of the Israeli Supreme Court ruling on land disputes.

The Palestinians ploughed the land up to about 200 feet from Beit Ain. Settlers tried to intervene, sitting in front of the tractor and blocking the work on Palestinian land, but were outmaneuvered. The action was very calm, passing with the minimum of confrontation. And the Palestinians successfully accessed their land.

Many of the activists were Israeli, from Ta’ayush, Anarchists Against the Wall and Rabbis for Human Rights, and the settlers tried to convince them in Hebrew that they had been fooled by the Palestinians and that they had no problem with the Palestinians accessing the land. However, the land told a different story, it was completely overgrown and untended to. Settler intimidation and violence had prevented the farmers’ access before today… If we had not had large numbers of activists then the settlers would have behaved very differently.

Overall a very successful and productive act of resistance to the occupation

The Wall Must Fall