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International Activists Stand with Lebanon and Gaza

1) International Activists Stand with Lebanon and Gaza
2) On Shabbat, Settlers Escalate Attacks on Palestinians and Internationals
3) Musa Abu Mariya Released from Prison
4) Greek Activist Celebrates Birthday in Detention
5) Road Block Removed in Village of Izbat Tabib
6) Campaign for Solidarity with Palestine Launched in Stockholm
7) Palestinian Activists Wed in the Shadow of the Wall at Bil’in

1) International Activists Stand with Lebanon and Gaza

On Friday July 14th, 100 Stockholm-based ‘Campaign for Solidarity with Palestine’ activists blocked the entrance to the Foreign Ministry building in the Swedish capital. They formed a human chain at the front gate for 2 hours, and delivered a letter of protest to a representative of the Ministry. Police tried to break them up by means of violent pushes, pepper spray and dogs. The next day, the group established a mock Israeli checkpoint in the same city, and simulated the racist process of allowing Israelis to pass and preventing Palestinians from crossing.
On Sunday July 16, 600 people joined together in Tel-Aviv to protest the war in Lebanon. The demonstration included veterans, young people, refuseniks, and various Israeli and international peace groups. Groups represented include Gush Shalom, Yesh Gvul, Anarchists Against Walls, Ta’ayush, Women’s Coalition for Peace, Courage to Refuse, Hadash, Balad, The Committee Against House Demolitions and The Center for Alternative Information. The demonstrators marched through the streets of Tel-Aviv until they were stopped by riot police. Some of the demonstrators broke away and continued their protest in the neighboring streets.
On Monday July 17, over 200 Palestinians and internationals marched through the center of Ramallah to protest Israel’s actions in Lebanon and Gaza. Various speakers delivered words from the lion statues in al-Manara, and following the speeches, the crowd waved flags and marched together through busy Ramallah traffic.

Also on Monday, English protesters blockaded EDO MBM Technologies Ltd, a Brighton-based company that produces electrical components for Israeli weapons. The action was designed to prevent the production of Israeli weapons for use in Lebanon and Gaza. Early Monday morning, protesters erected two roadblocks outside each gate of EDO MBM Technology, preventing vehicle access to the factory. Activists locked themselves to barrels filled with cement in front of the gates to create immoveable human obstructions.
In addition to these demonstrations, in the last two days there were actions in New York, Sydney, Montreal and San Francisco.

2) On Shabbat, Settlers Escalate Attacks on Palestinians and Internationals

By Joe Skillet
Israeli settlers in the Tel Rumeida section of Al-Khalil (Hebron) celebrated the shabbat yesterday by attacking several Palestinian children and international supporters.
During the attacks, one 15 year old Palestinian was kicked, one 13 year old was punched in the face, and a 7 year old was kicked. This assault occured when the three Palestinian boys were sitting peacefully, chatting with two international human rights workers (HRW), then two passing settler boys, aged about 13 and 11, stopped in front of the group and glowered. After the attack the settler boys ran away.
HRWs provided first aid to Moussa and summoned observers from the international monitoring group TIPH (Temporary International Presence in Hebron), who photographed the boys and wrote up the incident. The HRWs also called the police, who came and took a statement at the scene from the boys.
After the HRWs had left an older settler kicked a seven-year-old Palestinian boy, Hamdan, several times in the back and buttocks. His mother called the police, who again took a report on the incident.
Several hours later two human rights workers were attacked by settlers on Shuhadda Street. The HRWs had been practicing on the street for their weekly circus performance when they were kicked and stoned by a group of settler men.
At 4:30 PM, one of the five settler men, between the ages of 20 and 25, conjured up a mouthful of phlegm and spit it at one of the HRWs as they passed on the street. The HRW’s escorted a Palestinian boy, approximately 10 years old, to his home passed the settlers. The soldier at the post, too, entered the street. The settlers followed behind and, after the boy entered his home safely, one of the settlers kicked a HRW behind his left knee, almost knocking him to the ground.
The other HRW shouted, “Don’t you hit him!” and began to run towards the door. At this point, the same settler kicked the HRW again in the same spot on his back leg as the other settlers hovered around.

The same settler who initiated the violence then picked up a large rock, and threw it at the other HRW. She was hit on her right thigh, causing much pain.
The soldier from the post yelled at the settlers to stop. The two additional HRWs showed up and the police were called. The settlers continued to throw stones, hitting one of the additional HRWs in the leg.

A police car happened to be driving by at this point. The settlers retreated into Beit Hadassah settlement, not to be seen again. The soldier admitted to the policeman that he saw a rock hit the HRW, but denied seeing the settler kick the other twice.

After arriving at the police station to file a report, the HRW with the rock/leg injury began to feel more pain radiating from the injury and began to limp. The policemen were insistent that the HRWs wait there until the Israeli solider-paramedic arrived to assess the situation.
After 25 minutes or so, the medic arrived. He took the blood pressure of the rock-injured HRW and the other HRW took her pulse. He then said he was finished. The HRW still required medical attention from a doctor. Merely taking her vital signs was, as projected, not enough.

After another 15-20 minutes, a police car arrived and drove the HRWs back to their home in H2. Because her pain was increasing, the injured HRW went directly to the hospital and the other HRW went home to tend to his injury. The police report has been put on hold.
3) Musa Abu Mariya Released from Prison

July 16th, 2006: After nine days of imprisonment, on July 12, 2006 Musa Abu Mariya, a peace activist from Beit Ummar, was released from prison after a “military court for petitions in Judea and Sumaria regions” ruled that he should be released.

Musa was arrested on July 4th when he and international volunteers were walking on Palestinian land that was being bulldozed to build a wall around the settlement of Karme Tzur. He committed no crime other than a commitment to non-violent resistance against the wall and settlement expansion.

Although he was released and the prosecution provided no evidence, the judge banned him from protests on Palestinian land near the wall being built and allowed the prosecution to continue to interrogate him. The judge agreed to release him on bail of 3000 shekels with conditions. He must go to the police station in Gush Etzion each week for more questioning. He must live more than 3km from the construction site of the wall and not be closer than 1km from the wall, preventing him from going to other demonstrations.

He was charged with “participating in an illegal demonstration against the separation fence in which he broke the order of a closed military zone and brought other people with him to that demonstration who broke that order. And he attacked IDF soldiers when they tried to arrest him.”

The judge acquitted him of all these charges because a video tape provided by his defense that shows “that Musa did not use any kind of violence with IDF soldiers” and “the prosecution does not have any proof that he violated any laws”.

Musa was interrogated by the Israeli security, Shin Bet, for three days in the Gush Etzion prison, then transferred to Orfer prison near Ramallah for the remaining 5 days. Eight days is the maximum legal number of days that Palestinians can be held in prison without being charged or without due process. On the eighth day he was allowed to see his lawyer, Gabi Laski, for the first time, and on the nineth day he was released.
4) Greek Activist Celebrates Birthday in Detention

For pictures see the link below


Today, July 18, 2006, Maria Nikiforou will celebrate her thirty-fourth birthday in isolation in the Ben Gurion detention center. Israeli security put Maria in isolated detention on July 14th and is denying her entry, saying that she is a security threat to Israel. Yesterday the authorities took away her cell phone, even though it is allowed for detainees to have their cell phones in this facility.

This is the second international in the last two months that has been denied entry to Israel because of their affiliations with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). The ISM is a Palestinian-led movement supporting Palestinian non-violent resistance to the occupation and Apartheid Wall. Their activities include demonstrations, accompaniment to farmers’ land, and documentation of human right’s abuses.

Maria’s lawyers filed an appeal on her behalf, and the state has responded saying that the reason that she is denied entry is because she is a member of the ISM, and she didn’t state that upon entry to the airport. The judge is expected to set a court date within the next few days.
Israel continues to control all the border crossings in and out of the West Bank plus the border crossings for use of internationals in and out of Gaza. Israel has denied entry to thousands of peace activists in the past three years and completely denies foreign nationals the right to visit Gaza, except those with permits that are very difficult to obtain.

Israel has also begun a new policy of barring Palestinians carrying foreign passports, including those married to a Palestinian spouse, from re-entering the West Bank and Gaza. The new measures also affect long-time foreigners residing in the West Bank such as college professors, NGO employees, religious figures and naturalized spouses of Palestinian residents in the West Bank.

For more information:
ISM media office 02 297 1824

5) Road Block Removed in Izbat Tabib

July 15th, 2006: Today in Izbat Tabib, in the Qalqiliya region, over 250 Palestinian, Israeli and international activists successfully removed a land mound road block in order to open a crossing for commercial and pedestrian traffic. Despite the military and border police’s excessive use of tear gas and sound grenades, activists were successful in holding a non violent demonstration, and worked in solidarity to remove the concrete blocks, boulders and gravel with their hands.
Izbat Tabib is a small village of 300 inhabitants near Qalqiliya. It was established in 1920 and in 1948 it received an influx of refugees from Tubsur, which stood where Raánana is now. The residents of the village are all recognized as refugees (by UNRWA), but the village is not recognized as a refugee camp by Israel. The Israeli government has issued demolition orders for most of the buildings in the village which has motivated the community to organize.
Around 11am, residents of Izbat Tabib and supporters met for a rally which was disturbed when two Israeli border police armored jeeps drove through the area provoking the crowd. Following the rally, the attendees marched through the village towards the road block, and though several tear gas rounds were fired into the village, after a brief pause the marchers proceeded peacefully. Despite the Israeli military’s attempts to prevent activists from reaching the action through the use of ‘flying’ checkpoints, many Palestinian supporters were able to reach the action.
The marches reached the earth mound road block and quickly began dismantling the site. Some used hoes to chop rocks and move dirt, while others used small rocks to dig and shovel. While some were digging, others attached straps to the hefty concrete barriers and joined together in large groups to pull the barriers down. Though it took several hours to clear the large concrete blocks, they were successfully dragged away through the strength of many. The demonstrators worked together for hours to remove the rocks, shovel the dirt and drag the concrete blocks until the road block was opened large enough to allow for car traffic. When they were finished, several cars triumphantly drove through the road block.

During the action, approximately 30 Israeli soldiers and police stood watch and occasionally harassed the crowd. In order to prevent military violence a large team of internationals formed a human wall between the soldiers and the road block. This helped to prevent the soldiers from firing into the crowd in order to disperse the demonstrators.

After the road block had been removed, the soldiers began to move quickly towards the workers and opened fire with sound bombs and live ammunition. The soldiers attempted to frighten the demonstrators by aiming some machine guns at the demonstrators while other shot into the air. Despite their efforts, the demonstrators remained steadfast and slowly returned back to the village having accomplished their goal. During the military assault, one international activist was injured when shrapnel from a sound grenade struck him.

Approximately 90 minutes after the demonstrators had left the road block, the Israeli military used bulldozers to reestablish the obstruction and closed the entire crossing. When news of this reached the village, international supporters returned to the crossing and forced the military to allow pedestrian traffic through the crossing through negotiation, observation and accompaniment.
6) Campaign for Solidarity with Palestine launched in Stockholm: activists shut down foreign

ministry and setup checkpoint in Stockholm’s central square.
On Friday July 14th, the Stockholm-based Campaign for Solidarity with Palestine launched its first action by blocking the entrance to the Foreign Ministry building in the Swedish capital. 100 activists formed a human chain at the front gate for 2 hours, and delivered a letter of protest to a representative of the Ministry. Police tried to break them up by means of violent pushes, pepper spray and dogs. One activist was lightly injured by spray to his eyes and another one arrested.
After two hours of blocking and chanting, with considerable media attention, the Swedish Foreign Minister himself, Mr. Jan Eliasson, came out and spoke with Shora Esmailian, media spokesperson for the Campaign. Mr Eliasson addressed the crowd, but was met by hoots and chants, and retreated to the building.

The Campaign for Solidarity with Palestine is made up of numerous activist groups in Stockholm including International Solidarity Movement, Anti-Fascist Action and the Swedish section of the Fourth International. The Campaign demands an immediate reversal of hypocritical Swedish policies that support the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine, and calls for an end to all military and diplomatic relations with the state of Israel until its wars of aggression in Gaza and Lebanon cease.

On Saturday, July 15th, as bombs fell on Beirut and Gaza, an Israeli checkpoint was set up in Stockholm on the Mynttorget, a central square facing the Parliament. This was one in the series of direct actions constituting the Campaign for Solidarity with Palestine. In the middle of the Saturday afternoon crowd, Swedish activists used political theater to raise awareness about illegal checkpoints and about the Israeli occupation in general. 20 activists acting as Palestinians were “shot” and lay on the ground covered in fake blood. At the same time the Israeli soldiers that were in control of the checkpoint threatened the Palestinians who were still alive. All the bypassers that looked Israeli were allowed to pass through the checkpoint (they were told why), but the ones with an Arab appearance had to go through ID-control, humiliation and abuse from the soldiers. One of the Israeli soldiers was walking around with a megaphone shouting what he thought of the Palestinians.
7) Palestinian Activists Wed in the Shadow of the Wall!
July 14th, 2006: Today in Bil’in over 150 Palestinians, Israelis and internationals gathered in Bil’in to celebrate a wedding ceremony as part of a protest against Israel’s Apartheid Wall at the construction site in the village of Bil’in. Twenty-six Palestinians and international activists were injured, including the bride, when Israeli border police broke up the celebration.

Iman and Mansour had tried to get married in Iman’s home city of Gaza, but were denied entry by the Israeli army. Then the bride, Iman, and groom, Mansour Mansour, organized with the popular committee of Bil’in to hold the wedding ceremony in Bil’in as a demonstration of resistance against restriction of movement. They planned to hold the wedding among the olive trees, but the army stopped them from reaching the site because they were not allowed past the gate in the Wall.

Iman is Palestinian American and has been facing harassment by the border police as a result of her activism. Mansour, from the village of Biddu, is a long-term ISM Coordinator working to stop the apartheid wall. Dressed in a suit and a white wedding dress, the couple followed by their procession made its way down the road to the gate where soldiers waited Drums were played, people clapped and women ululated as men danced around the couple, draped in a Palestinian flag.

The soldiers erupted with excessive violence after a few rocks were thrown at the Border Police jeeps. They threw many sound bombs into the crowd and brutally beat protestors in reach. The bride was hit in the face with a baton and dragged backwards in a choke hold, her dress stained with dirt. A crowd of people surrounded them, sitting down and shielding the couple with their bodies.

Yosi, an Israeli activist, was severely beaten and immobile. He was forced to wait an hour to be evacuated by the ambulance because Border Police blocked the way with their jeeps, not allowing the ambulance to pass.

They invaded the village with three jeeps and chased after retreating protestors firing many rounds of rubber bullets, sound grenades and tear gas directly them and children and villagers who were not participating.

The first round of injuries were from sound bombs:
Fernanado (35, Euskalaria)—bruising to his right thigh
Koldo (32, Euskalaria)—ruptured skin and bruising to his right hip
Rojay Mohammed (press)—beaten after being injured by a sound bomb; afterward the soldiers broke his camera.
Several injuries were sustained from the batons resulting in welts, bruises
and bumps—some several inches long leaving a few with difficulty walking:
Martin (24, Sweden)—bruising on his legs
Ashraf (22, Tulkarem)—bruising to his legs
Sean (20, Ireland)—multiple bruises to his arms and legs
Shees (23, US)—knees and legs beaten
Waji (50, Bil’in)—right arm and hand beaten
Elad (31, Tel Aviv)—knees and hands beaten and bruised
Woody (27, US)—right arm and left leg beaten
Allen (25, Scotland)—severe bruising to his right arm
Mohammed (35, Biddo)—severe bruising to his legs and knees
Amna (US)—legs and arms beaten
Falah Abu Rahma (30, Bil’in)
Megan (23, US)—hit with baton
Yosi (19, Tel Aviv)—knocked unconscious for a brief time
Othman Mansour (45, Bil’in)—needed to be carried to the village.
In addition the soldiers used rubber bullets which hit a few people:
Yasin Farras (14, Bil’in)—in his leg
Ashraf (22, Tulkarem)—in his back
Unnamed woman (36, Europe)—to the back of her head.
This lasted over an hour—the village was invaded and the people staying strong at the gate and inside, not using violence or force. The group of comrades joined back together and assisted the ambulance in reaching the injured only after the local committee announced that the demonstration was over asked us to leave.
Several were taken to the hospital, and those left behind treated their wounds with ice and water.
For more reports, journals and action alerts visit the ISM website at www.palsolidarity.org.

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