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2007 USA Speaking Tour

1. 2007 USA Speaking Tour
2. Residents demand freedom of movement at Tel Rumeida checkpoint
3. Nine Year Old Boy Arrested for Chasing Ball in Hebron
4. This is what democracy looks like
5. “They’re the army. They’re always right”
6. Soldier ‘attacked’ by HRWs in Hebron – soldier: “this is fun”
7. Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians Continues in Jordan Valley
8. Occupation Police Benevolence in the Jordan Valley
9. Local Residents Rally Against Occupation in Tel Rumeida
10. Protesters Caught in Crossfire in Bil’in

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1. 2007 USA Speaking Tour

Grassroots, Nonviolent Resistance to Israeli Apartheid
Feryal Abu Haikal from Tel Rumeida, Hebron &
Mohammed Khatib from Bil’in

US Speaking Tour: February 1 – March 7, 2007
Maine – Vermont – New York State – Michigan – Indiana – Chicago – San Fransisco/Bay Area – Los Angeles – Arizona – Portland

Mohammed Khatib and Feryal Abu Haikal both live in West Bank communities that are immediately threatened with destruction due to actions of the Israeli military and settlers. From February 1 – March 7, they will be speaking in 23 cities around the US about their personal experiences with Israeli efforts to seize Palestinian land and violently expel Palestinians from their homes and communities, as well as Palestinian efforts to mobilize to nonviolently resist those measures. Largely unreported by the media, thousands of Palestinians and hundreds of Israelis are waging a grassroots, nonviolent campaign of resistance to Israel’s apartheid system of military occupation and discrimination against Palestinians.

Mohammed Khatib is a leading member of Bil’in’s Popular Committee Against the Wall and the Secretary of Bil’in’s Village Council. He has been a principle organizer of Bil’in’s two year long, creative, nonviolent struggle to prevent the construction of Israel’s Wall on Bil’in’s land and to block the expansion of neighboring illegal Israeli settlements. Mr. Khatib has frequently been arrested and injured by the Israeli military for participating in nonviolent protests. He is quoted frequently in the Palestinian, Israeli and international media.
Published articles:
International Herald Tribune
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Feryal Abu Haikal, an educator and 60 year old mother of 11 children, recently retired after 11 years as the headmistress at the Qurtuba School in the heart of Hebron’s old city. The Qurtuba school serves 100 Palestinian children in grades 1- 10. Some of the most extreme Israeli settlers have taken up residence in Hebron’s old city. They regularly attack Palestinian residents, including children, in an effort to expel them from their community. By continuing to function despite Israeli attacks on students and staff, the Qurtuba School has served as a model of nonviolent resistance. Feryal Abu Haikal and her family also remain in their home in nearby Tel Rumeida despite continual Israeli attacks.
US TOUR SCHEDULE

Maine: February 1-2
Information: [email protected]

Thursday February 1: Lewiston, Maine
8 pm, Muskie Archives, 70 Campus Avenue, Bates College

Friday February 2: Portland, Maine
7 pm, Sacred Heart/St. Dominic Church Hall, Sherman and Mellen Streets

Vermont: February 3-4
Information: (802) 324-3073

Saturday February 3: Montpelier, Vermont
The Unitarian Universalist Church
130 Main St.
6-8 pm

Sunday February 4: Burlington, Vermont
The First Congregational Church
38 South Winooski Ave.
6-8 pm

New York State: February 5-10
[email protected]

Monday February 5 Syracuse, NY
Tuesday February 6: Ithaca, NY
Thursday February 8: Binghamton, NY

Friday February 9: New Paltz NY
The New Paltz United Methodist Church on the corner of Grove and
Main Streets, 1 Grove St.
[email protected]

Saturday February 10: New York City
Hunter College in Manhattan
67th/68th & Lexington
Hunter West building
4th floor, room HW415

Michigan: February 11-15

Sunday February 11:
Lansing, Michigan

Monday February 12: Michigan
Lansing, Michigan

Wednesday February 14: Michigan
Thursday February 15: Michigan

Indiana: February 16-17

Friday February 16: Indianapolis
6 pm at Irvington Friends Meeting
831 N. Edmondson Ave

Saturday February 17: Indiana

Chicago: February 18-22
Information: [email protected]

Sunday February 18:
2PM Islamic Foundation (basement meeting room)
300 West Highridge Road, Villa Park, IL

6-8 PM at the United Methodist Church in Logan Square

Wednesday February 21: Chicago
Evanston Public Library 7-8:45PM in Evanston

Thursday February 22: Chicago

Milwaukee: February 23
Information: [email protected]
Bucketworks: 6PM
1319 North Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

San Francisco Bay Area: February 23-28
Saturday February 24: SF Bay Area
Monday February 26: SF Bay Area
Tuesday February 27: SF Bay Area
Wednesday February 28: SF Bay Area

Los Angeles: March 1
Thursday March 1: Los Angeles

Arizona: US/Mexico Border: March 2-3
Friday March 2: Arizona
Saturday March 3: Arizona

Washington State: March 5-6

Monday March 5: Washington
Tuesday March 6: Washington

Portland, Oregon: March 7

Wednesday March 7: Portland, Oregon
7-9 p.m, Vollum Lecture Hall
Reed College

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2. Residents demand freedom of movement at Tel Rumeida checkpoint

by ISM Hebron, January 20th

Today, at 13:00, internationals and local residents gathered at the main checkpoint into Tel Rumeida, known as the 56 checkpoint, to protest against settler violence and the continued closure of Shuhada Street to Palestinians. Children held signs in front of the checkpoint saying, “No to settlements. Yes to peace.”, “Freedom, Justice, Equality, Peace.” and “American tax dollars at work.”

The protest was entirely peaceful, though the IOF decided it was necessary to close the checkpoint, as well as Tel Rumeida St, hampering even further the Palestinian residents’ ability to move around their own home town. The IOF also posted soldiers on the roofs of surrounding buildings and brought an additional ten to fifteen soldiers and police officers along with their accompanying jeeps to ‘protect’ the Jewish-only colonies from placards demanding social justice.

Shuhada street, which cuts through the centre of Hebron and leads to the Ibrahimi mosque, has been closed to Palestinians since 1994 when settler-colonist Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Palestinians in the mosque.

For photos visit: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/01/20/tr-checkpoint-demo/

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3. Nine Year Old Boy Arrested for Chasing Ball in Hebron

by ISM Hebron, January 23rd

Today in Hebron a young boy, nine years old, from the Haded family was playing with his ball near the Jewish cemetery off Tel Rumeida Street when his ball rolled onto the cemetery grounds.

Soldiers near the area saw the boy chase after his ball and decided this was an arrestable offense. The boy’s friends reported to locals immediately that he had been arrested by the IOF for playing with his ball. After arresting the boy and detaining him for an hour in the cold he was released to his family.

This is merely the latest incident to show that all Palestinians, regardless of age, face severe restrictions of movement in the Tel Rumeida district of Hebron. Both at play and at home the lives of Palestinians are not their own in Tel Rumeida. On Sunday 21st January the IOF invaded the Abu Heikel home in Tel Rumeida, forcing the family to stand outside in the cold for half an hour, while they searched the house, without giving any reason for doing so.

On Thursday at 2pm Hebronites will come together at a rally at the Tel Rumeida checkpoint to denounce settler violence and the closure of the main road through the city centre, Shuhada Street.

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4. This is what democracy looks like

Eoin Murray writing from Gaza City, Electronic Intifada
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6404.shtml

We left Dublin airport last Friday evening. This time it was harder to leave. Perhaps because each time I travel to the Occupied Palestinian Territory the situation has deteriorated in some unexpected way and I become more depressed about the lives of friends and colleagues.

Perhaps it was just because there was a taste of something lingering that I didn’t want to leave behind. Anyway, some suprise, then, when I arrived in Gaza. It took us (myself and Aine Bhreathnach, Middle East Emergency Programme Officer) two days to reach Gaza.

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5. “They’re the army. They’re always right”

by Yifat Appelbaum, January 24th

A. made some fried squash tonight at the office. He looked a little more serious than he usually looks. As we were eating, he told me a story.

“Today I was at Qalandia,” he started, “Some army jeeps started going down the road towards Ramallah. And there were some kids.”

(pause)(nod) Ok, I think I know where this is heading..

He continued, “And they started throwing rocks.”

(pause) Yeah I know how this is going to end up and I’m starting to get that sick feeling in my stomach.

“And the soldiers fired one shot.”

(pause)

“It hit them?” I asked.

“Yeah, it was really close, from 5 meters, and live ammo. And then the jeep drove away. I wish I knew who to call to find out if he’s ok, if he’s still alive.”

“Dude that sucks.” was all I could think of to say.

long pause… all kinds of stuff running through my head.. was this the first person he saw get shot ? Of course not. He’s been shot himself, at least three times I think. He’s Palestinian. He’s from
Jenin for christ sakes. Ok, I’ll try not ask any dumb questions.

“How many people have you seen get shot ?” Wait, that’s a dumb question, I bet he’s lost count.

“Well the worst was this time in Jenin. Some kids were let out of school, and some soldiers invaded and occupied a house near the school. I was in Tulkarem at the time and my friend called and said there was a problem so I hurried back.”

“There were some kids throwing rocks. A soldier shot my brother’s friend twice in the stomach. Then he tried to escape, and the soldier got out of the jeep and finished him off. Right there in front of me. He was 15.”

“In the newspaper they said he was carrying a bomb and that’s why they shot him.”

(long pause) Don’t ask him for details.

“Can’t anyone say anything to argue with the army about that ?” I ask. Shit that was a dumb question.

“They’re the army,” he said “They’re always right. You can’t argue with them. They do whatever they want. If they go into Nablus and kill a couple fighters and some kids too, they’ll say they only killed fighters.”

I’ve been here a year now and I still naively think there there is some semblance of justice here. I am so wrong.

For cartoon visit: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/01/24/qalandia-shooting/

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6. Soldier ‘attacked’ by HRWs in Hebron – soldier: “this is fun”

by ISM Hebron, January 24th

Today in Tel Rumeida, at around 1:45, two human rights workers (HRWs) were detained for supposedly attacking a soldier at the main Tel Rumeida checkpoint after the soldier became aggravated over a third HRW refusing to show her passport. The activists were all gathering to celebrate one of their birthdays.

Once put in the police vehicle, the supposed “victim” soldier was actually seated directly across from their “attackers” – clearly the IOF has no concern for the young soldier’s personal well-being. While seated across from the soldier he threatened to strike one activist with his helmet before reaching the police station. After being interrogated the activists learned that they were being accused not only of physically attacking a soldier but also insulting him and demeaning him. While being detained one activist interacted with the “victim” soldier as he hovered around. The soldier smiled and said, “this is fun”, in reference to the detention. The activist then asked, “you prefer being here rather than at your post?” and the soldier smiled and agreed, “yes.”

After being detained for four and a half hours the activists were released without charge. Under Israeli law after three hours the detainee has to be formally arrested or released. A month ago two HRWs were also illegally detained for over three hours at the police station in Hebron.

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7. Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians Continues in Jordan Valley

by the ISM media team, January 25th

On Tuesday 23rd January IOF bulldozers carried out the latest round of home demolitions in the Jordan Valley as part of the ongoing attempt to ethnically cleanse the valley of its indigenous inhabitants.

Six Palestinian homes were destroyed in Al Jiftlik Village, and one home and a reservoir were demolished in the neighbouring village of Furush Beit Dajan. Both villages are located in the middle of the valley near Hamra checkpoint. Around 50 people were made homeless by these demolitions. The homes demolished were shacks constructed out of pieces of wood and metal. Palestinians in the valley as elsewhere in Zone C are never given permission to build houses so erect makeshift homes, knowing they will be demolished at some point. The owners of the demolished homes are:

Bashar Mubarak Yusif Basharat
Basem Mohammed Saleh Musaid
Ali Salim Ahmed Jahalin
Mohammed Hasan Eid Ghaneym
Mohammed Aleyan
Ali Qaibni Ghaneym
Yusif Ibrahim Abu Awad
Yusif Sadiq Shaheen

For photos visit: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/01/25/jv-demolitions/

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8. Occupation Police Benevolence in the Jordan Valley

by Peter, January 25th

Recently, I was able to accompany three Palestinians on a drive through the Jordan Valley. The more scenic aspects aside, a trip through the area revealed the slow, destructive siege of the Valley.

Movement restrictions have effectively sealed off the Jordan Valley from the rest of the West Bank. For example, the north of the Jordan Valley in the Tubas region (a two hour drive at minimum from Ramallah) should be 15 minutes from Nablus. However, the Occupation has restricted Palestinian access to this area to those registered in the villages of the Valley; to reach the northern West Bank from the north of the Valley without Jordan Valley ID one must travel down to Ramallah before heading north. This effectively makes what should be a short trip into a day of driving, 8 hours being a conservative estimate, accompanied by an equivalent rise in the cost of petrol. To put things in a more concrete perspective, our own trip from Ramallah to the north of the Valley and back cost around NIS 150 in petrol.

Additionally, harassment of Palestinians at the hands of soldiers and police occurs on a regular basis. “Heightened surveillance” signs mark much of the highway running from Jericho to the the north. Palestinians will be pulled over for driving too quickly (or too slowly) and detained under a number of pretexts. Not only does this further restrict movement, but also it often proves to be very expensive. On our drive, we were pulled over by Occupation police. After being detained for a half hour, we were issued a fine of NIS 250 for not “driving quietly” and failing to wear seatbelts. The driver of our vehicle informed the police that we were in fact all wearing our seatbelts (“driving quietly” is a bit harder to contest, as it makes little logical sense), but this complaint was ignored. Instead, the police informed us that they were in fact exercising restraint; in their benevolence they had only fined us NIS 250 as opposed to a more drastic fine of NIS 1000.

Thus, a day drive into the Jordan Valley cost NIS 400. Compare this with the average income of a family in the valley (NIS 1000 per month), and it should become quite clear that movement is financially impossible for most of the Palestinians trapped in the valley.

see also: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/817008.html

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9. Local Residents Rally Against Occupation in Tel Rumeida

by ISM Hebron, January 25th

Over a hundred local residents attended today’s peaceful demonstration at the Tel Rumeida checkpoint against colonist violence and road closures in Hebron. Members of the local Tel Rumeida community spoke about their struggles dealing with continued colonist aggression, the closure of roads to Palestinians and the inability to drive their vehicles.

Dr. Saher Qawasmeh (Fateh, above) spoke in support of those in the community working to stop the colonists’ continued campaign of aggression against the Palestinian people and human rights worker Mary Baxter spoke to the crowd about her hopes for the future of Tel Rumeida, focusing on an end to road closures and colonist violence.

The crowd assembled peacefully, cheered on the speeches, chanted together against the Occupation and dispersed quietly and without incident. Following this second successful protest in a row in Hebron the local community intends to make them a regular event.

For photos visit: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/01/25/tr-rally-25-01/

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10. Protesters Caught in Crossfire in Bil’in

by the ISM media team, January 26th

Today’s sun-drenched demonstration in Bil’in was marked by the usual Occupation violence as the media and peaceful protesters alike were frequently forced to run for cover and attacked as they were doing so.

The theme of today’s weekly demo was the ongoing annexation of the land around the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem for Israeli colonies. Banners bore messages condemning the takeover of this holy Muslim site. Soon after the marchers reached the gate in the wall and started chanting some children threw stones at the soldiers who responded by shooting rubber bullets at them.

After the stone throwing soon stopped many soldiers came through the gate and attempted to disperse the peaceful demonstrators and media gathered with them. As well as the normal orange sound bombs the IOF experimented with a black metal sound bomb that explodes in the air. An international photographer was deafened by a sound bomb exploding beside him and hadn’t recovered his hearing in one ear by the end of the demo. Children started throwing stones at the soldiers again and one demonstrator was hit in the leg with a stone.

When it was clear the protesters weren’t going to disperse the IOF started grabbing hold of and pushing to the ground villagers telling them to leave. When the demonstration was over the IOF pursued those retreating as usual with sound bombs and tear gas, and forced them to walk through the crossfire of stone throwing and military violence. As in previous weeks the IOF refused to let the protesters walk around out of harm’s way, effectively using them as human shields.

One Palestinian was shot in the head with a sound grenade suffering mild concussion and had his head bandaged. Another Palestinian was shot in the back with a tear gas cannister and was also treated on the spot. Altogether eight people suffered injuries.

For photos visit: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/01/26/bilin-26-01-07/

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