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The Third Annual Apartheid Week

1.The Third Annual Apartheid Week
2. Arbitrary Arrest of Two Boys in Tel Rumeida
3. Nkwenkwezi Bil’in: The Star of Bil’in
4. Despite Promises, Israel Continues to Deny Foreign Nationals Entry to the Occupied Palestinian Territories
5. IOF invades PA controlled Hebron
6. Boycott Israeli Apartheid Vigil in Los Angeles
7. Update from the South Hebron Hills
8. Old City invasion in Hebron
9. Sound bomb dropped on Bil’in villager’s foot
10. Freedom demo in Tel Rumeida as IOF invade downtown Hebron for third day

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1. The Third Annual Apartheid Week

The 3rd annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) will take place in New York City from February 10-17 2007. It will be a week-long series of events organized by a coalition of different groups in the city and will feature lectures, film screenings, and cultural activities. Concurrent events are being held in Canada and the United Kingdom.

“This week of events, being held in New York for the first time, adds to the growing international chorus of opposition to Israeli apartheid that includes voices of Palestinians, Israelis, South Africans, and many others who stand for justice,” says Ryvka Bar Zohar, an organizer of the week.

The aim of IAW is to push forward the analysis of Israel as an apartheid state and to gather support for the international boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign called for by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations in 2005. The events of the week are organized around the three demands outlined in this call: full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, an end to the occupation and colonization of the West Bank and Gaza, and the implementation of the right of return and compensation for Palestinian refugees pursuant to UN resolution 194.

“Israeli apartheid has created a system where Palestinians live either as second-class citizens in Israel, as occupied subjects in the West Bank or as refugees denied the right to return to their homes” said Ahmad Shokr, another organizer of IAW. Shokr adds that “by supporting the boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign the international community can isolate the apartheid regime and work toward a future where all inhabitants of the land can live in dignity as equals.”

For more details please go to http://www.endisraeliapartheid.net/

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2. Arbitrary Arrest of Two Boys in Tel Rumeida

by ISM Hebron, February 4th

On February 2nd human rights workers (HRWs) received a call from neighbours at 9pm to say that two boys had been arrested and were being mistreated by soldiers in Tel Rumeida. The HRWs went immediately to the checkpoint at the top of Tel Rumeida St. where they saw two young teenage boys standing facing the wall on opposite sides of the road, blindfolded and with their hands cuffed behind their backs.

After about 5 minutes the soldiers ordered one boy to the other side of the street so they stood shoulder to shoulder. At around 9.30pm a military jeep arrived and drove the boys towards the Jewish cemetery and Tel Rumeida settlement.

The soldiers at the check point told us that the boys had been arrested for ‘throwing stones in the street’, but they didn’t tell us where the stone throwing happened and there are no witnesses to confirm it. The boys were released two hours later without charge.

This is just the latest example of the IOF trying to instill fear into the local Palestinian population and imposing an effective curfew in the evening. The message is clear: if we see you on the street in the eveining you can expect to be arrested.

For photo visit: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/04/tr-arrest-two-boys/

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3. Nkwenkwezi Bil’in: The Star of Bil’in

by Abdullah Abu Rahme, Coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in. Translated By Nasir Samara, February 3rd

Throughout the history of the occupation, Palestinians have sought every means to resist, to make their voices heard to the world, and to raise international support for the Palestinian struggle for freedom and independence. One of these means includes promoting solidarity with Palestine through international volunteers, whom we consider as ambassadors for our struggle in their own countries.

Yet the lives of these volunteers also bring inspiration to us. Take the story of Anna Wicks, 30, as an example. Anna fought against discrimination in her native South Africa, and came to Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement on five occasions to stand with the Palestinian people in their struggle against the occupation and the Apartheid Wall, one of the most visible forms of open discrimination in the world, one which separates citizens from their lands and which prevents them from moving freely in their own homeland.

Anna stood with farmers and citizens of the villages of Nas’ha, Budrus, Jayyous and Bil’in. She participated in demonstrations and direct actions against the Wall, and accompanied students in Hebron in order to help them reach their schools. She stayed awake with the Bedouins living in caves in Khirbat Qawawis in South Hebron in order to protect them from settler attacks. She also acted as a human shield to protect civilians from Israeli military attacks. When the Israeli army tried to arrest one Palestinian youth, she and her friends exerted all their physical energy to secure his release. Her life was endangered many times in this way, and she herself was injured and arrested in Bil’in, and eventually deported from the village by the Israeli military and prevented from returning.

The last time she came here was one year ago. Israeli immigration authorities tried to deny her entry at Ben Gurion airport until she presented them with documentation proving that her visit was not political, but humanitarian in nature: Anna had come to donate one of her kidneys to a three-year-old Palestinian girl, Lina Fareed T’aem Allah, from the village of Qiri.

She was allowed to enter only under the condition that she did not return to Bil’in. The transplant was carried out successfully and Anna’s act of generosity has saved Lina’s life.

A few days ago, Anna gave birth to a little girl whom she named Nkwenkwezi Bil’in, “the star of Bil’in.” So while she cannot physically be with us in Palestine, Palestine will always be with Anna in the form of little Nkwenkwezi Bil’in.

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4. Despite Promises, Israel Continues to Deny Foreign Nationals Entry to the Occupied Palestinian Territories

by the Campaign for the Right of Entry, February 6th
http://www.righttoenter.ps/

Despite a written announcement by the Israeli military Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (CoGAT) on December 28, 2006 that Israel has changed its policy of denying entry to foreign nationals traveling to the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), the Campaign for the Right of Entry/Re-entry continues to receive information from foreign nationals being denied entry on a regular basis. For every case that contacts the Campaign, numerous others remain undocumented. The following indicative cases are the tip of the iceberg:

• Mahmmoud M. Alie, 70, US national from Chicago, has been trying to enter the West Bank for nine months to be with his 70-year-old wife. He was last denied entry at the Jordanian border on 20 January. He was told that the reason was that “he was on a list on the computer.” (Tel. Chicago: 001-4147593558)
• Nader Rahwan Hadallah, 43, US national from Florida, went to Amman with his Palestinian wife and was denied entry when they tried to return on 18 January. (Tel. Dubai: 00971-508250067)
• Dr. Dirgham Abu Ramadan, a German national, has been working as one of the few open-heart surgeons in the occupied West Bank since 2001. He was denied a visa extension on 15 January and 25 January and threatened with deportation. After legal intervention he received a three-month visa, instead of the long-term permission to stay he requested. (Tel.: 0599-412274)
• Suzy Salamy, US national from New York who came to do a documentary on Jewish American peace activists, was denied entry and deported from Ben Gurion airport on 5 January. (Tel. New York: 001-6462494435 // Email: [email protected])
• Abdel Jamal Wadoud Ali, 67, and his wife Kuthar Khuri Ali, 52, both US nationals from Florida, came to visit their daughters and to care for Kuthar’s 80-year-old mother. They were held for seven days at Ben Gurion airport and then deported to Jordan on 16 January. (Tel. Amman: 00962-53990934)
• Mrs. A. and her two-year-old daughter, US nationals, have tried to reunite with her husband six times over the past year with no success. They were last denied entry on 8 January with no reason given.
• Riad Sharma, US national from Georgia who has two daughters living in al-Bireh, in the West Bank, was last denied entry on 3 January 2007. He spent in total about NIS 40,000 hiring a Israeli lawyer and paying court fees including a NIS 25,000 deposit that will only be paid back if/when Mr. Sharma leaves the country, just to be allowed in for two weeks. After another costly legal procedure he obtained a last-minute visa extension for two and a half months.(Tel. West Bank: 972-2-2403551;email: [email protected] )

In their response to a recent CoGAT presentation presented to the international community which restated Israel’s supposed change in policy of access for foreign citizens, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem noted:

All aspects of Israel’s policies with regard to the Palestinian civilian population have been characterized by arbitrariness and a complete lack of transparency. The COGAT presentation does not mention any mechanisms that will be established to ensure that even the limited improvements presented will be implemented. Such mechanisms are crucial to ensure that the Palestinian population benefits from the measures described…. Today tens of thousands of families remain forcibly separated, and cannot even get short-term visitors permits.
Israel continues its grave violations of International and Humanitarian Law by prohibiting families remaining together and thus forcing them to relocate. The policy of obstructing foreign nationals from reaching the oPt is causing extreme damage to all sectors of Palestinian society, namely education, business and civil society.

*The CoGAT letter and presentation, Btselem’s response and details of cases denied entry are available on request

For more information: (c) +970-(0)59-817-3953,or (c) + 970-(0)59-378-278 (email) [email protected]

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5. IOF invades PA controlled Hebron

by ISM Hebron, 7th February

During the afternoon a demonstration took place in the market area of Bab-al-Zawiya in central Hebron to protest against the excavations at the al-Aqsa mosque taking place in Jerusalem. The market, which is in the PA controlled H1 zone of Hebron, was partly closed down as a result of this.

At around 4pm human rights workers (HRWs) heard gunshots and screams coming from this area, which is beside the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood. The HRWs heard some sound bombs exploding and decided to investigate. The Tel Rumeida checkpoint had been closed so the HRWs had to take a longer route to reach the market.

Seven IOF jeeps, both army and Border Police had invaded the market. There were about 30 soldiers in the immediate area. One building had been occupied by the military. Four soldiers had occupied a roof overlooking Bab-al-Zawiya. Two Palestinian youth had been arrested by the IOF and were standing blindfolded and handcuffed in front of the checkpoint into Tel Rumeida.

Suddenly about six soldiers ran forward and entered a block of houses. The HRWs observed them throwing sound grenades at a crowd of Palestinian youth. Teargas was also used to disperse the crowd. Stones were thrown at the soldiers by groups of youth, and a small barricade was set on fire.

Meanwhile in Tel Rumeida, four soldiers occupied the roof of the international house where HRWs were observing the situation. One soldier asked them what they were doing, whilst another grabbed a video camera to look at what had been taped. It was then returned.

Back in Bab-al-Zawiya Palestinian youth started throwing stones again at the soldiers.

Again the soldiers advanced, this time in the direction of King Faisal Street. The soldiers stopped and randomly arrested two other Palestinian youth standing on the pavement. The soldiers had no answer when questioned about these arrests. They were also blindfolded and taken back to the jeeps in front of the checkpoint. During this last operation, live ammunition in the soldiers’ guns was replaced by rubber bullets, which were shot at the resisting youth.

The four boys who were arrested were taken through the checkpoint and handed to the police, around 6 pm. One of the boys was taken away by the police before the others. The names of the men who were arrested were not disclosed.

The HRWs maintained a visible presence in the market area and the Tel Rumeida district. Apart from tear gas inhalation and concussion from sound bombs no injuries were reported.

For photos visit: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/08/hebron-alaqsa-demo/

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6. Boycott Israeli Apartheid Vigil in Los Angeles

by Women in Black Los Angeles, February 5th
http://www.wib-la.org/

In the hour and a half before Monday’s Los Angeles performance of the Israel Philharmonic at Disney Hall, candlelight illuminated more than 60 black-clad protestors standing silently in front of downtown’s Disney Hall with signs saying “End Israeli Apartheid in Palestine and Boycott Israel Philharmonic”.

With the parking garage closed, the entire audience had to walk by the protestors, and, while most ignored the leaflet offered by one of the organizers, none was able to ignore the protestors’ message.

In the week before the performance, the L.A. Philharmonic had tried to move the protest away from Disney Hall. They even asked for, and got a resolution from the Los Angeles City Council, closing the sidewalk in front of Disney Hall. But once attorneys Jim Lafferty and Carol Smith from the National Lawyer’s Guild-Los Angeles Chapter made it clear that they would sue on constitutional grounds, Disney Hall agreed that the protestors could use the public sidewalk. And use it we did, to great effect.

The vigil, organized by Women in Black-Los Angeles, was the culmination of four months of organizing that began with a letter to the musicians of the Israel Philharmonic asking them to take a public stand against Israel’s 40-year occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, following the example of famed Isaeli conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim.

The letter was signed by more than 1,000 supporters worldwide, but their plea was not honored with a reply from the musicians. A written request to the L.A. Philharmonic management asking them to either cancel the Isareli group’s perfomances or make an announcement in opposition to the occupation before each performance met with refusal, so the organizers began their protest in January with silent vigils at matinee performances of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. On
Tuesday, Feb. 6th, 20 protestors returned for a second night of silent vigil.

In addition, six brave souls in New York held a vigil during the January 3oth performance at Carnegie Hall, and people attending couldn’t miss them. Despite some insults from the crowd, they stood in silence with their signs and the letter to the Philharmonic in their hands. One of the vigilers said, “We will not remain silent as long as there is so much injustice in the world.”

For the letters visit: http://www.wib-la.org/

In addition to Women in Black-Los Angeles, the vigil was supported by the ANSWER Coalition, Middle East Fellowship and Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid.

For photos visit: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/08/la-wib-vigil/

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7. Update from the South Hebron Hills

from reports by Operation Dove, February 8th
http://www.operationdove.org/

Two Palestinian families near Mnser attacked by a colonist

On the morning of Saturday 20th January about twelve Israeli activists came to accompany farmers plowing their fields near Israeli colonies. Two human rights workers (HRWs) and the Israeli activists went first to Mufagara and then to Kharuba where villagers plowed with four donkeys while soldiers were up by the Ma’on outpost. They saw a few colonists, but there were no problems.

Others went to a small village near Mnser where a colonist attacked the two families living there. Soldiers came and threatened the Israelis who were confronting the colonists. When a ten-year old tried to leave, a soldier fired warning shots into the air and ordered people to stay. The police came and took an Israeli activist’s ID and then went to the Kiryat Arba police station to file a complaint against him. The Israeli activist had his ID returned and was released at 6:30pm.

IOF harrassment in Al Birki

On the night of Monday 22nd January soldiers invaded the home of a family in Al Birki, handcuffed and blindfolded the father and three sons, and dropped them off at 3:30am in the morning near Al Fawwar, about 10 miles away. On the morning of Wednesday 24th the family received a call from a DCO Captain (District Coordination Office – the civilian administration wing of the Israeli military in the West Bank), who claimed to be head of intelligence for Shabbak in the Hebron district, demanding that twelve members of the family report to the DCO within half an hour or “I will come with my soldiers and it will be very violent.” Two internationals spent the night with the family, which passed without incident. On Friday 26th the family received another threatening phone call saying that the Red Cross, the journalists, and the foreigners will be of no help to her, that he must bring his entire family immediately to the DCO or there will be big problems.

Palestinian shepherds attacked by colonists near At Tuwani village

On Saturday 3rd February at around 10:30am a Palestinian shepherd on the north side of highway 317 near the colony of Ma’on called for HRWs. There was a gathering of about eight Palestinian men, women and children on the hill opposite Ma’on who recounted the following:

Two young shepherds were herding the flocks of three families when four settlers whose faces were covered, came and began herding the sheep towards the colony. When more family members approached, the colonists threw rocks at them and threatened them with sticks. An IOF jeep came and separated the colonists from the shepherds and their sheep. The colonists returned to Ma’on.

Returning to At Tuwani the HRWs met Israeli police who were passing on the road. The story was reported to the police who asked if anyone was injured and said to call them if there were further problems.

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8. Old City invasion in Hebron

by ISM Hebron, February 8th

At around 11.30 this morning a group of soldiers went through checkpoint 56 (the main checkpoint into Tel Rumeida) in response to a demonstration in the Bab Al-Zawiye market area against the excavations damaging the foundations of the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

The soldiers went to the top floor of a house overlooking the crowded market and pointed their guns towards the crowded market area. Some Palestinian youth responded by throwing a few small stones at the house. The IOF left the building and chased after them, firing sound bombs and teargas. More soldiers arrived at the scene, now totalling about thirty.

Soldiers yelled at local residents observing the invasion from their windows to go inside. One soldier threatened to arrest a young child for throwing stones but the child replied that he had been playing football.

Some human rights workers (HRWs) followed some soldiers to the top floor of a house but were then prevented from following them onto the roof. The HRWs then observed from a building on the opposite side of King Faisal street. Again the soldiers aimed their guns at the public and soon stones were thrown at them from the street. They reacted by throwing sound grenades down and shot some teargas in the direction of the stone throwers. As the stone throwing continued the IOF on the street then retreated back to checkpoint 56.

Soon after that, another group of 8 soldiers came running from the market area and stopped in front of a building , firing teargas and rubber bullets towards groups of Palestinian youth. Youth on a rooftop began throwing stones and bottles at the arriving soldiers and also threw down a water container.

A group of HRWs then followed the soldiers inside the building from which projectiles were thrown. The public on the street warned the Palestinian youth on the roof the soldiers were coming. As the soldiers were running up the stairs, they tried to prevent the HRWs from following them, but the internationals persisted in documenting the acts of the soldiers. The entrance to the top floor was closed by a steel fence, which the soldiers tried to open by force. They used metal sticks, tried to kick the door open and used their M-16s as crowbars, but they still failed. The soldiers who became quite frustrated went down again. They headed back to checkpoint 56 without making any arrests.

Soldiers continued to patrol the alleyways of the Old City all afternoon, firing sound bombs, tear gas and rubber bullets at local youth.

At around 17:00 two army jeeps were still posted in the Bab-al-Zawiya area. Soldiers were again pelted with stones, and again they shot teargas into the now closed market area. When the HRWs went back through the checkpoint they saw a Palestinian boy of about 14 being detained by the army. He had already been there for about 45 minutes because he had made a remark to the soldiers, according to TIPH (Temporary International Presence in Hebron). Moments later he was released.

Meanwhile in Tel Rumeida, when two HRWs were playing football with young Palestinian children on the street, an Israeli settler woman called Sarah Marzel walked by. Sarah Marzel is notorious for giving orders to soldiers and border police to stop Palestinians reaching their homes on the other side of the street or making false allegations about every little detail in the behavior of Palestinians.

Sarah was walking slowly with her stroller back and forth on the same street where the HRWs were playing with children. She continued in this way for 40-50 minutes, and every time she came close the children stopped playing football and waited for her. Even the soldiers found her behaviour odd and when one soldier followed her she complained that the children had tried to attack her baby. She was speaking loudly and pointing at us and the soldier told her that he would talk to us. Thinking it strange that there was no movement or sound coming from the stroller with all the noise and sound bombs in Bab Al Zawiye, an HRW got close enough to see that there was no baby in the stroller, only one thick blanket.

For photos visit: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/08/bab-zawiye-08-02/

For coverage from Ma’an visit: http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=19363

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9. Sound bomb dropped on Bil’in villager’s foot

by the ISM media team, February 9th

At today’s weekly protest against the Apartheid Wall in Bil’in a soldier dropped a sound bomb on a peaceful protester who was part of group holding a sit-in near the gate to the Wall. The bomb exploded on the foot of Bil’in villager Husam Khatib. Husam received medical treatment on the spot and was able to hobble away afterwards. Two other protesters received injuries from beatings as the IOF violently dispersed those sitting down.

Around 100 Bil’in villagers together with 30 international and Israeli supporters today welcomed the announcement of the Palestinian unity government and condemned the excavation work being done by the Occupation near the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem damaging the foundations of the Muslim holy site.

On the way to the Wall the marchers passed a border police unit standing provocatively on the road inside the village.

At the gate some activists tried to dismantle the razor wire around the gate.

Shortly after, the IOF dispersed the protesters with tear gas and sound bombs. Those who resisted this violence by staying were targetted with further sound bombs and beatings. The IOF remained in the village for several hours after the end of the demonstration, using the village youth as target practice.

For photos visit: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/09/bilin-09-02-07/

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On Thursday there was a hearing in the case of Farhat Burnat who was arrested at the demonstration in Bilin last week. The judge ordered Farhat to be released but as always happens the prosecution asked for a delay in the release for them to file an appeal. This is after he had already been in their custody for 6 days. The IOF can hold Palestinians for up to 8 days before bringing them before a military judge and can them request further detention without charge or trial for 6 month

The judge granted the prosecution request and they have till Sunday at 11 am to appeal. The judge also used harshly condemned the behaviour of the IOF which is quite unusual in a military court.

If the prosecution does not appeal Farhat should be released on NIS 5000 ($1175) bail on Sunday.

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10. Freedom demo in Tel Rumeida as IOF invade downtown Hebron for third day

by ISM Hebron, February 9th

Around 80 people, Israelis, Palestinians and internationals, gathered by the Abu Aisha family house where a local peace activist explained the difficulties faced by Palestinians in Tel Rumeida and thanked the Israeli activists for coming as a sign of the wish for peace on both sides. In the background we could hear the soundbombs thrown in the Palestinian Authority controlled H1 after the IOF had invaded for the third consecutive day.

We all walked down Tel Rumeida and Shuhada street, chanting slogans for peace and against the Occupation in Hebrew and English. The Palestinian children were stopped by soldiers by the settler school in Shuhada street. The rest of the group continued walking but were harrassed by settlers shouting abuse at us. The activists escorted some Palestinian women to their homes.

One settler tried to drive into the demonstration and when a human rights worker (HRW) filmed him he tried to push the camera out of his hand. He didn’t succeed and drove off slowly while making an obscene gesture at the activists.

The protest ended right after the military base, with the sound of rubber bullets still echoing through the Hebron hills.

Around 14:30 the HRWs decided to go down through checkpoint 56 into the Bab-al-Zawiya market area. At least 30 soldiers were present, shooting teargas and rubber bullets towards groups of Palestinian youth. The invading soldiers chased after the protesting youth, driving them back into King Hussein Street and al-Adel street.

On both streets burning barricades were erected by angry youth. Israeli soldiers ran through the small alleys between the streets to try to surprise the demonstrators while shooting rubber bullets at them. From several rooftops, Palestinians pelted stones at them. Soldiers penetrated further into the city as far as Hebron Municipal Hostipal. They stormed inside to look for the resisting youth, but couldn’t find them.

A group of 12 soldiers went down again to King Hussein street and were confronted by a crowd of about 100 protesting youth, who tried to push back the soldiers by throwing stones. Carts were set on fire as more teargas filled the sky and rubber bullets were shot. The IOF went back to checkpoint 56, but now the checkpoint itself was the target of stones being thrown.

On al-Adel street several burning barricades were erected, as soldiers invaded H1 again. Local residents expressed their anger to HRWs, because for a third day the busy market area had been taken over by Israeli soldiers and daily life disrupted yet again.

As the HRWs went back through checkpoint 56, soldiers again fired teargas into the market area and simultaneously closed the checkpoint. Several small children were no longer able to enter H2 and so were choked by the teargas. The HRWs demanded that the checkpoint be opened immediately. After a few minutes the terrified children could get through.

A few HRWs monitoring checkpoint 56 on the Tel Rumeida side witnessed a young Palestinian man being detained by the military. He had been there for half an hour handcuffed with plastic strips. He had a wound on his forehead and according to a local peace activist had been taken from the street for no reason. Two hours later he was taken away in an army jeep.

For photos visit: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/09/hebron-9-2-7/

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