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Arson, Raids, Beatings

1. Arson at the Outpost in Bil’in

2. Occupation Forces Continue Raids on Budrus Village

3. Settler Attacks on International volunteers in Tel Rumeida, Hebron

4. IMEMC: “Five Palestinians, including three teens, killed by Israeli artillery shells in the Gaza Strip”

5. Non-Violent Demonstration in Bil’in Deliberately Targeted by Israeli Soldiers

6. Palestinian Buildings Destroyed by IOF in Beit Ummar

7. Buildings demolished in Qalqiliya district, 26 more to be demolished

8. Q: What if you live in Tel Rumeida and you have a heart attack ?

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1. Arson at the Outpost in Bil’in
May 28th, 2006

At 5pm today, May 28, 2006, Palestinian workers from the nearby settlement of Modi’in Illit called Abdullah Abu Rahme, from Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements of Bil’in, to tell him there was huge fire at the outpost. Abdullah went quickly to the outpost and found the army, the police, ambulance, and a fire truck there. He found one of the structures at the outpost burned down.

The outpost is two structures built by the people of Bil’in on their land that is separated from them by the Annexation Barrier and is near the settlement of Matityahu Mizrakh. It is an important site for the non-violent joint struggle between Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals. The people of Bil’in with Israeli and international peace activists have maintained a 24 hour presence at the outpost for the past few months. Today while Palestinian and international activists went to get food, the outpost was attacked.

The workers did not see who started the fire, but people in Bil’in suspect that settlers started it because last week people of Bil’in were harassed as they attempted to talk with settlers. The settlers were moving in to Matityahu Mizrakh settlement despite the Supreme Court injunction forbidding it. And three months ago, settlers attacked people with stones when they attempted a conversation with the settlers about the illegality of their presence in the settlement.
The police filed a report of the arson and said they will begin an investigation.

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2. Occupation Forces Continue Raids on Budrus Village
May 28th, 2006

Report by Shai E. and Matan. Translated by Rann B.
For pictures see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/05/28/occupation-forces-continue-raids-on-budrus-village-2/

On Friday the 26th of May 2006, about six jeeps belonging to the border police unit and gunner unit that is currently serving in the Macabim division drove around the village of Budrus firing in every direction. The forces fired tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and sound bombs. Almost every point in the village received a gas attack and there was nowhere to escape to.
We and an international friend were on the roof of a building visiting some friends.

After a few failed attempts to communicate with the Ramallah area District Coordinating Office (DCO), Matan called Dov Chanin, a Knesset member from the Hadash party. Eventually, a decision was made by the commander of Macabim division to remove the forces from the village.

As the forces were on their way out they shot two tear gas canisters into the house we were in. We sat in a small room with around five children, aged 2-10. The house was dense with tear gas and the children were crying. It was very difficult to breathe.

The father of the family decided to take the children outside. He, his wife, and a family friend went outside with the children.
The soldiers shouted to us “Get out of the house or we will blow it up!”. We went down the stairs – everyone who went was beaten by the commander (a Druze Border Police officer) and thrown against the wall with his or her back to the soldiers. We were forced to our knees and ordered to put our heads down. “You will be humiliated this evening,” they said to us, “came to say a Sabbath blessing in the village? We will say a mourning prayer over you”. Matan was recognized as the guy from Beit Sira who had been shot in the eye with a rubber-coated steel bullet (one soldier even apologized to him a little), and I as a participant of demonstrations in Bil’in. To our non-Israeli friend, they claimed I throw stones in Bil’in.
Our IDs were checked. The international was interrogated in English and at one stage a rifle was aimed at his head, with a canister containing a number of rubber-coated steel bullets that fire simultaneously. I shouted at them that they should point the rifle away and got another beating.

They asked us if our mothers know what we’re doing. I asked them the same and they said “of course!”. I said that she probably isn’t very proud. They asked “who?” and I said “your mother”. I got kicked twice and they shouted at me not to talk about their mothers.

When Matan told them there was an order from the commander of Macabim division that they exit the village, they got very angry and pushed his head against the concrete wall of the house, at a point with barbed wire.
Throughout the entire incident, the soldiers refused to identify themselves. After about half an hour they got into their jeeps and drove off. They left the village at about 9pm.

The trauma suffered by the children of the village is clearly visible on their faces and is evident by their nightly crying. These are innocent children whose streets are flooded every few days with dozens of soldiers who turn their village into a war zone.
The so-called IDF is a terrorist organization.

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3. More Settler Attacks on International volunteers in Tel Rumeida, Hebron
May 27th, 2006

Youth from the Tel Rumeida settlement spat on, beat, assaulted, and stoned human rights workers from Canada, Denmark and Sweden yesterday (May 27, 2006). In three separate attacks on internationals and Palestinians the kids were encouraged by adults of the religious extremist Jewish community. Israeli soldiers and police refused to do anything to stop the violence. These attacks occur almost daily in Hebron but on Shabbat they are more frequent and in the last few weeks have become more violent, sending more than two internationals to the hospital.

Yesterday afternoon, on Shuhada Street in the H2 area of Hebron, Jewish Canadian human rights workers Peter Trainor, of Toronto, and Canadian Chris Johnston were filming settlers throwing stones at the Palestinian Qurtuba Girls School. Two women, about 18 years of age, then tried unsuccessfully to rip Peter’s video camera out of his hands. About 10 boys, aged between 8 and 18, threw stones as well as kicking and hitting them. The soldier posted nearby, who was just a few meters away, did nothing to stop the stone throwing despite Peter’s calls for help. Instead he left the scene completely. An adult settler with an assault rifle approached and encouraged the children to keep stoning them.

At about the same time, Danish human rights worker BJ Lund was harassed and spat on at the top of Shuhada Street. The soldiers watched the event and agreed that it wasn’t OK, but when BJ asked why they had not intervened, they gave no answer.
Later that day Anna Svenson from Sweden, Chris, and Peter were attacked by a group of about ten male youth between the ages of 8-15 as they walked down Shuhada Street. The youth spat on them, hit Anna in the face, and taunted the soldiers who reprimanded the youth for spitting. A group of soldiers stood between the internationals and the youth, but the youth just threw the stones over their heads. When the police arrived, they threatened to arrest Anna and Peter if they didn’t leave the area.
Human rights workers are stationed in Hebron to make sure that Palestinian children are safe as they go to and from school past the Tel Rumeida settlement. The settlers regularly throw rocks at the children as they walk past and have told soldiers to put razor wire across the beginning of a path that leads to Palestinian homes. The children have to move the wire out of the way every day. There is an Israeli Supreme Court order that allows the children to use this path but soldiers on duty nearby rarely know this and often refuse to help the children get home safely.

Tel Rumeida is a Palestinian neighborhood in the center of Hebron that the most violent and extremist elements of the Israeli settler movement occupy. Soldiers tell the human rights workers that they feel there is nothing they can do to stop the children from throwing stones or hitting the international volunteers. In an article of the Jerusalem Post on Jan 16th, a senior Hebron Police officer Dep.-Cmdr., Shlomo Efrati, explained their lack of power in the area. “[The police] have been suffering from the settlers for years. The government needs to decide to fortify the police and army in Hebron on a permanent basis since even if we evacuate them they will just go back and take over new homes. It is up to the government to decide if it wants this minority to continue running the city or not.”

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4. IMEMC: “Five Palestinians, including three teens, killed by Israeli artillery shells in the Gaza Strip”
May 27th, 2006
Saed Bannoura, IMEMC & Agencies

As the Israeli army continued its shelling of Palestinian neighborhoods in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday night, five Palestinians, including three teens – two of them members of the same family, were killed when their home was hit by artillery shells and caught fire, and seven others were injured.

A Palestinian medical source reported that one resident was killed near the Kissufim Crossing after the army fired with heavy artillery at the area.
Also on Friday, two members of the same family were killed and four other residents were injured after the army shelled Izbit Fad’ous, in Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

Eyewitnesses reported that one of the Israeli artillery shells landed near a house that belongs to Qassem family, catching the house on fire in a blaze that killed three and injured four others.

The deceased were identified as Mohammad Yousef Qassem, Mustafa Shihada Qassem, and Arafa Zarandah. Seven other residents were hospitalized, one is in serious condition.

The residents were sitting in front of their house when an artillery shell hit them and the house.
A medical source at Kamal Adwan Hospital, in the Jabalia refugee camp, reported that the bodies of the three residents killed in the attack were severely mutilated.

Meanwhile, an Israeli military source denied shelling the area and claimed that the three residents were attempting to dismantle an old shell apparently fired by the army in previous incident.
Earlier on Friday, one resident identified as Omar Abu Warda, 54, died after the Israeli army shelled Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

Abu Warda suffered shell fragmentations in his back and abdomen while working in his farmland.
One resident was also severely injured on Friday as the army continued firing shells at areas in the northern and eastern parts pf the Gaza Strip.

Israeli troops fired on Thursday evening and Friday morning at least 200 shells at the northern and eastern parts of the Gaza Strip.

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5. Non-Violent Demonstration in Bil’in Deliberately Targeted by Israeli Soldiers
May 27th, 2006
For pictures see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/05/27/non-violent-demonstration-in-bilin-deliberately-targeted-by-israeli-soldiers/

At today’s demonstration in Bil’in, on May 26th, Israeli soldiers once again deliberately targeted peaceful demonstrators. As demonstrators attempted to cross razor wire, heading for the Bil’in village land annexed by the Israeli barrier, the soldiers threw sound bombs and tear gas grenades directly at them, causing several injuries. This violence was unprovoked by any stone throwing.

The demonstration had started with about 100 Palestinian, Israeli, and international protesters singing and chanting. They headed towards the gate the Israeli military has installed in the annexation barrier. The theme of the demonstration was a call for unity between the Palestinian factions. A banner carrying the flags of the main Palestinian political factions was carried, with a large Palestinian flag above them all as a message that unity against the Israeli occupation is above political differences. When we go there, the way was blocked by two of the soldier’s jeeps, and a large group of soldiers in riot-gear. Attempts were made to pass, but the soldiers prevented this with their clubs and the jeeps.

After about 10 minutes of trying to get past in this way, the demonstrators started to walk along the fence. When they got to a section in the barbed wire that was less thick than the rest, they started to calmly lay rocks and scrap metal on in so they could pass onto the military road that the military have ripped-up from the land of Bil’in to install. The demonstrators intended to pass to access the stolen village land. This was prevented by several soldiers in riot-gear who arrived quickly. The demonstrators did not have the numbers for another attempt at crossing which may have been successful while the soldiers were busy with the first attempt.

After about 5 minutes of attempting to cross in this way, the soldiers got fed up and started bombarding the demonstrators with sound bombs and tear gas. They were aimed directly at the peaceful protesters, hitting several and causing injuries. They threw so many that it seemed they were going to continue throwing sound bombs and tear gas at the demonstrators until they all left. One Palestinian had been arrested though, so the demonstrators stood firm until he was released.

Three international activists from Germany, Sweden, and the US were injured by soldiers who threw tear-gas canisters directly at them. One was admitted to hospital in Ramallah. At least two Palestinians were shot with rubber bullets – one 17-year old was hit in the head.

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6. Palestinian Buildings Destroyed by IOF in Beit Ummar
May 29th, 2006
For pictures see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/05/29/palestinian-buildings-destroyed-by-iof-in-beit-ummar-2/

Last Thursday, May 24, we visited Beit Ummar, which is a village of 20,000 just south of Bethlehem’s large settlement block that includes Gush Etzion. The main road, route 60 that connects Bethlehem to Hebron and goes right through Beit Ummar. It is not a settler-only road, but because there are settlers near both Hebron and Bethlehem, they also use this road. Despite the illegality of their inhabitancy, the Border Police and Army use their duty to protect them as an excuse for confiscating land along route 60 and destroying property

We visited two groups of people whose livelihoods have been demolished by Israeli military bulldozers the night before. The military has issued demolition notices to all the business and homes 150meters from this road in Beit Ummar, saying that they needed to protect the settlers and these buildings posed a security risk. They also accused them of building without a permit, which in some cases is true because Israel rarely grants permits to Palestinians even on land that they own.

The IDF chose to bulldoze a flower shop with a small grocery and a mechanics shop a day before. At the flower shop, ceramic pots and flowers lay in the midst of rubble from grocery shop while back at the owner’s house, plants that the guy had managed to salvage lay out in the sun wilting for lack of water and cover. Habess Shehdah Adami, the owner of the land and shop lamented, “I see them dying in front of my eyes and I can’t do anything. In 5 hours these will be dead. What can I do? They cost thousands of shekels. I can’t cover them, I can’t irrigate them, I can’t sell them.”

And then he added, “What did I do? I’ve never been arrested. I am a man of peace. I am a romantic man. I love flowers. Even if they can’t make good to me, they should make good to the trees, to the flowers. They are a gift from god!”
Habess had papers proving that he owned the land and had a permit to build. When the bulldozers came in the night, however, and he told the commander of the 60 soldiers who showed up that he had a lawyer, the commander told him, “Let your lawyer sleep” and then proceeded to level the building.

As we stood near route 60 on the rubble in his lot brooding and feeling helpless, three army jeeps drove by heralding the approach of about 200 settlers on bicycles. It was the holiday of Jerusalem Day, which is the celebrates the capture of Jerusalem in 1967, and entails parading through Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem wearing Israeli flags. These settlers wanted to do some parading of their own, donning the Israeli flag and something not as accepted in Jerusalem: there were about three of the young guys wearing M-16, army issued, strapped to their backs. Some young women yelled at us and the Palestinians, “You are all donkeys!” and we laughed, because of the way she acted, it seemed obvious and pathetic that she was scared of us even though we just stood there.

The settlers are like a branch of the military, their presence makes it easier for the military to be there and their undercover violence towards Palestinians is unchecked by the military.

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7. Buildings demolished in Qalqiliya district, 26 more to be demolished
May 27th, 2006

IWPS Hares (Salfit)
On the 24.5.06 at approximately 7:45 a.m. the Israeli army came to the village of Funduq, Qalqilya district, with several military vehicles and three bulldozers / drills. Within minutes, they started to demolish one house and several agricultural structures between the villages of Funduq and Hajja.

The house was under construction and planned to house a family. The owner, Salim Odeh, had already spent about 6000 JD on the house. He stopped building after receiving a demolition order and fulfilled all the requirements to get a permit for the house, but he was told there is no way to “legalize” it and his appeal against the demolition order was subsequently rejected by the court.

All structures were on privately owned land, and the owners tried in vain to get permits to build on their own land. The Israeli authorities block the expansion of the villages in the area, which is slated as “Area C” under the Oslo Accords, thus preventing people from earning a living or building houses to ease the crowded living conditions inside the village.
Today’s demolitions are part of a larger campaign of house demolitions in the villages of Funduq, Hajja and Jinsafut. Another 30 houses, including up to 20-year-old houses inhabited by families with children, houses that are still under construction, agricultural barracks and structures, a well, a gas station and work shops, are currently under threat of demolition.
On February 22nd 2006 a house under construction that was planned to contain agricultural facilities as well as several family apartments was demolished. The owner, who had invested about 200 000 NIS, received a demolition order in April 2005 and was in contact with lawyers and the Israeli Military Administration. He was in the process of filing a petition against the
demolition order, but was preempted by the demolition. Some agricultural structures were demolished on the same day.

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8. Q: What if you live in Tel Rumeida and you have a heart attack ?
May 29th, 2006

A: You die.
By Shlomo Bloom

I had a pretty bad case of stomach flu for the last few days and was reluctant to even try to go to the doctor because it meant leaving Tel Rumeida on foot, as Palestinians are not allowed to drive cars here. Not even taxis, buses or ambulances. The entrances to the neighborhood are blocked off by checkpoints and roadblocks. Settlers are, of course allowed to drive cars, buses, taxis, ambulances and can leave the neighborhood through settler-only roads that Palestinians are not even allowed to walk on.

I had decided it might be better to just stay in bed than to try to walk out and catch a taxi but then some friends came over and told me they had a car parked at the roadblock outside Tel Rumeida and would take me to the hospital. It was at night so the temperature outside was not so dreadfully hot and I decided it might be a good idea to at least get some fresh air.
As we were walking to the roadblock, about a quarter of a mile away from where I live, I asked my friend “What happens here when someone is really sick and cannot walk to the checkpoint or to one of the roadblocks ?” He told me that they have tried to call for ambulances to come in here but they are not allowed. Last year his uncle had a heart attack. They had to carry him out to the checkpoint where an ambulance was waiting. But by the time he got to the hospital, he was already dead.
So that was the answer to my question.

Some observations about this Palestinian this hospital:
At first I was reluctant to go at night because it meant going to the emergency and stomach flu was not an emergency and I didn’t want to get in the way of people who were really sick, but my friend said, no it was ok and not to worry. I was expecting to wait like 4 hours like you do when you go to the emergency at night in the United States. What happened when I got there shocked me.

I literally did not even sit down in the waiting room. I was seen immediately but two nurses and a doctor. They did a blood test and gave me an injection. I was in and out in about 40 minutes (the blood test took half an hour to process).
Total cost for an uninsured foreigner ?
$10
This is of course if you can make it out of the Israeli controlled part of Hebron into the Palestinian controlled part without dying first.

So, Americans.. you go to the emergency with no health insurance, get a blood test and an injection.. I think it would be safe to say that you can count on paying minimum $400 for this. This is democracy ! We can give billions of dollars to Israel and spend God knows what on a war in Iraq but we cannot afford to give all our citizen health insurance.

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