Home / South Bethlehem farmers resist Apartheid Wall

South Bethlehem farmers resist Apartheid Wall

1. IOF attack South Bethlehem farmers, 3 arrested
2. Six activists arrested for blocking work on Wall
3. South Bethlehem villagers appeal for solidarity in resistance to Wall
4. Rampaging settlers given immunity by Hebron Police on Sabbath
5. Anniversary Demo of Mosque Massacre in Hebron
6. Hebron settler spokesman attacks Italian film crew
7. Nablus Old City siege by IOF: Turkish bath invaded, human shield updates, hospital restriction, man in coma from tear gas
8. Video: The Israeli military in Nablus
9. Twelve-year old undergoing surgery after being shot in the head at Bil’in
10. IOF human rights violations in Nablus

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1. IOF attack South Bethlehem farmers, 3 arrested

by the ISM media team, February 27th

UDPATE March 1st – Rashid remains in detention in Etzion military detention centre. Rashid was abducted for assaulting a soldier after being beaten by the IOF.

UPDATE and CORRECTION February 28th – Mahmoud, who is the Village Council Head, was released last night but Rashid, his son, remains in detention.

UPDATE 6.30PM – Mahmoud and Adil Zaqatka have been released but Village Council Head Rashid Zaqatka remains in captivity at Gush Etzion police station.

This morning Israeli military bulldozers started razing the farmland of Umm Salamuna village south of Bethlehem for the route of the Apartheid Wall. The bulldozers uprooted hundreds of grape vines and apricot trees belonging to villagers. When the mostly elderly farmers tried to resist by blocking the bulldozers they were beaten and attacked with concussion grenades and tear gas. Two elderly farmers were injured, one of whom was taken to hospital with a broken arm.

Head of Umm Salamuna Village Council, Rashid Zaqatka, and his son Mahmoud Zaqatka were abducted and taken to an unknown destination. Another family member Adil Zaqatka was later abducted. They all remain in captivity.

After bulldozers withdrew from the area the army detained all the villagers on the land for two hours and searched everyone, claiming they had lost some binoculars. Before leaving the army threatened the villagers not to come to their land again or there would be ’serious consequences’.

Israel plans to annex 700 dunums and confiscate 270 dunums of agricultural land for the route of the Wall in Umm Salamuna. Although the villagers are challenging the route of the Wall in the Israeli Supreme Court, a Court order freezing work was lifted last week and the bulldozers have recommenced razing the village’s agricultural land.

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2. Six activists arrested for blocking work on Wall

UPDATE 3PM – all the activists have been released after being made to sign conditions saying they wouldn’t return to the site of their arrest for 15 days

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Six activists have just been arrested for trying to stop work on the annexation barrier in the South Bethlehem area. The four Israelis, American and Japanese activist were attempting to stop bulldozers razing the agricultural land of Umm Salamuna village, south of Bethlehem, which is being confiscated for the route of the annexation barrier around Efrat settlement.

The activists blocked the bulldozers for two hours this morning before a special unit of the riot police arrived to remove them. The activists have been taken to Gush Etzion police station.

Yesterday three Palestinians from Umm Salamuna were arrested for protesting the annexation of their agricultural land, including the Village Council Head Mahmoud Zaqatka. His son, Rashid remains in detention.

Israel plans to annex 700 dunums and confiscate 270 dunums of agricultural land for the route of the Wall in Umm Salamuna. Although the villagers are challenging the route of the Wall in the Israeli Supreme Court, a Court order freezing work was lifted last week and the bulldozers have recommenced razing the village’s agricultural land.

For photos visit:
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/28/umsal-bulldozer-arrests/

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3. South Bethlehem villagers appeal for solidarity in resistance to Wall

by the ISM media team, March 2nd

South Bethlehem villagers today gathered on the land of Umm Salamuna to appeal for international solidarity in their struggle against the Apartheid Wall being built across their land. Speeches were given by local representatives and head of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Barghouti. International solidarity activists were urged to join the villagers’ struggle and to tell their home countries about the theft of land in this region. The villages of Wadi Rahhal, Um Salamuna, Al Ma’sara and Wadi Al Niss stand to lose most from the Wall.

After the speeches the around 300 protesters marched to a nearby settler-only road which they blocked. The Israeli army arrived at the scene, and pushed people off the road but no injuries were reported. The demonstration then returned back to the village, where it ended.

Today’s demo comes at a critical time for the South Bethlehem villagers as work on the Wall has just restarted and is continuing every day. Last Tuesday farmers were beaten and arrested for resisting the razing of their land and on Wednesday international and Israeli activists managed to stop the bulldozers for two hours.

For photos visit:
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/03/02/umsal-02-03-07/

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4. Rampaging settlers given immunity by Hebron Police on Sabbath

by ISM Hebron, February 25th

At 11 am as Palestinian schoolchildren were leaving Qorduba School in Tel Rumeida, two Jewish settler teenage girls began to throw eggs at them from the roof beside the synagogue of the Beit Hadassah settlement. The children ran away and no one was hit. Human Rights Workers (HRWs) began to film them and take photographs. Settler adults shouted abuse at the HRWs telling them to stop filming on the Sabbath. The settlers continued to harass the HRWs until they moved back, even though the settler teenagers were still on the roof. Six soldiers were there but they refused to protect anyone or to stop the teenagers from throwing eggs. They also refused to call the police.

At around 2pm one of the Abu Haikal family noticed that there were several Jewish settlers in their almond orchard. She stopped a police jeep and asked them to clear the settlers from the land. An HRW began to film and to take still photographs. The settlers were going up and down the stairs to the military observation post. They were also entering the observation post. The HRW asked one of the soldiers on duty by the Crossing (the military post at the junction below the flat where internationals live) to stop the trespassing. He called two other soldiers who went up the stairs. The police drove round to the top of the hill and entered the Abu Haikal land from there. Together the police and soldiers cleared all of the settlers from the Palestinian land.

Just after 2 pm a visiting tourist to Hebron noticed a female teenaged settler approaching an older, female Palestinian on Shuhada street near the Tel Rumeida checkpoint. The Palestinian woman turned out to be a resident of Tel Rumeida. The teenaged settler began following the older woman down Shuhada Street, yelling at the woman and attempting to grab her.

The tourist approached the Palestinian and the teenaged settler and asked whether there was a problem. The settler girl replied that the older woman had hit her— and then continued to yell at the woman, while trying to grab her. The tourist had witnessed the entire interaction between the settler girl and the older woman from the start, and he did not see the older woman hit the settler girl at any point in time. Nonetheless, the tourist suggested to the settler girl that she could voice her concerns to one of the soldiers, if in fact the older woman had hit her. The girl refused to acknowledge the suggestion, and continued to pursue the woman down Shuhada street, yelling threats and attempting to physically confront the woman.

The older woman was visibly frightened, and as soon as she reached the doorway of the nearest household on Shuhada street, she quickly ran inside. The settler girl then attempted to follow the woman into the building, and the tourist called to the soldiers in the area—asking them to help ensure the safety of the Palestinian woman inside the doorway. The tourist then stood in the doorway of the household, between the older Palestinian woman and the settler girl outside.

On hearing the tourist’s cry for help, a crowd of young settler boys (approx. between the ages of 12-14) from the Beit Hadassah settlement came running to the doorway. Soldiers followed, but kept their distance. The teenage settler girl and several young settler boys then proceeded to kick and punch the tourist, injuring him in the groin and legs. The tourist continued to appeal to the nearby soldiers for help, but the soldiers did not respond.

An Israeli police vehicle ultimately arrived, and the police officers dispersed the crowd. The police admonished the soldiers for not ‘being smart’ and ‘defusing the situation’. The officers then accompanied the tourist toward the Beit Hadassah settlement so that he could identify the teenagers that had attacked him. The tourist identified the female teenaged settler who had chased the older Tel Rumeida resident indoors, as well as a male teenaged settler who had initiated the attack on the him. Citing the Jewish Sabbath holiday, police said they were unable to arrest, detain, or question either of the settlers. The teenage settler girl, after being identified, was simply asked by police whether she wanted to file a formal complaint against the older Tel Rumeida resident. The settler girl refused to give police any personal information, and refrained from submitting a complaint despite telling everyone she had been assaulted. She claimed she could not give a statement on the Sabbath.

The male tourist then went with police to the Kiryat Arba police station to file a physical assault complaint against the settler teenagers. In the interim, both teenage settlers were let go by the police, and they returned to Shuhada St.

Later on, during the evening, the same house on Shuhada St was attacked at night by a mob of 30 settlers who ripped the front door off its hinges and stole it. The family called for help and local resident Issa Amro was detained by soldiers while attempting to photograph the incident. Soldiers alleged falsely that they had seen him on a roof taking photos of a military installation. Issa was released after 90 minutes in detention.

The local Palestinian woman who had been assaulted by the teenaged settler was also detained for two hours in the evening, and so was unable to care for her children.

The settler mob then proceeded up the hill. They threw stones at Palestinians in the shop by the Crossing and at the apartment building where Internationals live. One of the HRWs was assaulted a second time, this time by pushing and with stones. He retreated into the building and all the HRWs were pelted with stones.

The broken front door was returned to the family on Sunday, and they are currently trying to repair it and reattach it.

For photos visit:
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/25/tr-24-02-07/

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5. Anniversary Demo of Mosque Massacre in Hebron

by ISM Hebron, February 25th

Today was the 13th anniversary of the Ibrahim Mosque massacre, in which 29 Palestinians were killed and another 125 injured. The massacre was carried out by Baruch Goldstein, a resident of the nearby Kiryat Arba settlement. Standing in front of the only exit from the cave and positioned to the rear of the Muslim worshippers, he opened fire with the an assault rifle and four magazines of ammunition. The massacre occurred during the overlapping Jewish and Muslim religious holidays of Purim and Ramadan. After the massacre a memorial was erected for Baruch Goldstein at the entrance to Kiryat Arba.

In remembrance of the massacre, Palestinian residents of Hebron held a demonstration this morning outside checkpoint 56, the main checkpoint into the Tel Rumeida district. About 20 people gathered and a local Palestinian gave a brief speech.

Settlers marked the day by dumping rubbish on Shuhada Street and later shovelling it onto the steps leading to a Palestinian home.

For photos visit:
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/25/13yrs-mosque-massacre/

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6. Hebron settler spokesman attacks Italian film crew

by ISM Hebron, February 27th

UPDATE 6.30PM – Raed has now been released on NIS 1500 bail

Hebron settler spokesman, David Wilder, today attacked an Italian film crew making a documentary film about schools in Israel and Palestine. The RAI Cinema TV crew was in the Tel Rumeida district of Hebron filming the Qurtuba school, having already visited schools in Israel.

At around 3pm film director and actress Barbara Cupisti was filming the Palestinian schoolchildren on Shuhada Street when the spokesman for settlers in Hebron, David Wilder, approached her and started taking photos of her. When he persisted Barbara requested that he stop but he continued taking photos of her from a very short distance.

When Palestinian cameraman Raed Alhelo started filming David Wilder, the settler spokesperson grabbed his camera and assaulted him. Hebron police then detained Raed and he currently remains in custody in Kiryat Arba police station.

Barbara Cupisti is most famous outside her native country for her roles in horror films.

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7. Nablus Old City siege by IOF: Turkish bath invaded, human shield updates, hospital restriction, man in coma from tear gas

by IWPS, February 27th

1. Invasion of Turkish Bath, February 25

Israeli forces broke into the Turkish Bath in the Old City of Nablus at 11:00pm and used it as a military base for two days. The soldiers broke the door to the entrance of the baths and searched through everything. Soldiers left one room of the baths in ruins, with broken tiles, open lockers, soap, towels, and sheets thrown on the ground, and light fixtures ripped out of the wall. The stained glass on the ceiling was damaged, the water pipes were taken apart, the wooden ceiling was ripped apart, and the mirror was cracked.

The Turkish bath is 400 years old and holds great economic and cultural significance for the people of Nablus. Many people use the baths everyday and several families depend on it economically.

2. Human Shield Update, February 25 and 26

On February 25, at 3 am in the Old City of Nablus, Israeli soldiers invaded the home of a local vegetable vendor from the Yasmin quarter. The soldiers took him out of his home to accompany them while walking around the Old City. The soldiers forced him walk in front of them as a human shield.
On February 26, soldiers returned to the same man’s house and interrogated him about his children. The soldiers ordered the man to help negotiate their way to the location where another local man was recently killed. They took him to another building and interrogated him about two families. The soldiers exploded a bomb in the wall next to him, separating two rooms. Soldiers also used the same man’s home as a base and consumed his food.

3. Hospital Blockade and Restriction, February 25 and 26

On February 25 at 3:30am, Israeli forces invaded Al-Watani Hospital in Nablus. The director arrived at 7am and met the army commander and more than 10 soldiers with their jeeps parked inside the hospital area. The director stated to the army that their presence was illegal according to international law. Soldiers remained at the hospital for two days, checking IDs of all patients, doctors, visitors, and staff in addition to searching every car, handbag, and package. The hospital services remained open, but many patients and staff were afraid to go near the building.
On February 26, soldiers threw tear gas near the hospital, which entered the building.

4. Man in Coma From Tear Gas, February 26

A 47-year-old tailor and father of seven is in critical condition at the Nablus Hospital after going into cardiac arrest. The man inhaled tear gas in his home, which thrown by Israeli soldiers after a confrontation with Palestinian youth. According to a family member, the man told his wife he could not breathe and the family immediately called for medical help. Israeli soldiers prevented an ambulance from reaching the man for one hour. At the same time, IOF forces were detaining twenty-five UPMRC emergency medical volunteers so they could not respond to the call. By the time the man reached the hospital, his condition was severe. According to his doctor, he has no chance of recovery.

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8. Video: The Israeli military in Nablus

The Israeli military invaded Nablus on February 25 in an operation called “Hot Winter.” The following videos were jointly produced by the Research Journalism Initiative (RJI) and the “a-films” film collective.

Day 1 – good quality
http://video.indymedia.org/en/2007/02/739.shtml
Day 1 – low quality

Day 2 – good quality
http://video.indymedia.org/en/2007/02/743.shtml
Day 2 – low quality

Day 3 – good quality
https://video.indymedia.org/en/2007/03/754.shtml
Day 3 – low quality

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9. Twelve-year old undergoing surgery after being shot in the head at Bil’in

by the ISM media team, March 2nd

Twelve-year old Mahmoud Yusef Abu Rahme is undergoing surgery on his skull in Sheikh Zaid hospital in Ramallah after being shot at close range by rubber bullets in Bil’in today. Two other children and one Palestinian adult were hospitalised after being shot at close range with rubber bullets but have been discharged. According to eyewitnesses, 16-year old Fares Abu Ghosh said something to a soldier and walked away. As he was walking away the soldier shot him three times with rubber bullets in his legs and arms from about 10 metres.

After midday prayers the DFLP (Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine) held a rally to celebrate their 38th anniversary with music and speeches which lasted around an hour. Speakers included PLC member and head of the DFLP committee against the Wall Walid Assaf, Amna Arrimawi, and Sayed Abu Saleh from the PLF (Palestine Liberation Front).

A large crowd of around 600 protesters then marched to the gate in the Wall, where their path was blocked by the IOF standing in front of the gate.

Political and anti-occupation slogans were chanted and some protesters climbed on the gate. Isolated incidents of stone-throwing were met with large amounts of tear gas and sound grenades and the shooting of protesters not throwing stones.

As well as the four protesters hospitalised after being shot with rubber bullets 17 others were injured.

For photos visit:
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/03/02/bilin-02-03-07/

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10. IOF human rights violations in Nablus

by IWPS, March 2nd

Soldiers Raid Student Dormitory in Nablus

March 1, 2007, 4:15-10:30am

At 4:15am on Thursday, March 1, 2007, Israeli jeeps and bulldozers surrounded a student dormitory for Al-Najaa University in Nablus, threw sound bombs, and announced over loud-speakers that everyone should leave the building immediately or the Army would bomb it. According to a couple who own several of the apartments and live in the building with their family, residents hurriedly ran out to the street, where soldiers separated the men from the women and children. Several women were told to return to the building to check if anyone was left inside. They returned to confirm that the building was empty, and were taken with the rest of the women and children (about 30 total) to a small room in a nearby building, where they were enclosed together for six hours. They were allowed to sleep and occasionally use the bathroom, but not to contact their families.

The men who came outside were ordered to raise their hands. All 30 or so men (including boys as young as 14) were handcuffed and led to the basement of the same nearby building. There they were enclosed in two separate rooms, guarded by three soldiers. They were not permitted to speak, nor to lie down or even lean against the wall to sleep. They were denied access to a toilet until they insisted, and soldiers refused to loosen their handcuffs (which were so tight that they left marks on many of the men’s wrists) or let them open a window for fresh air.

Around 10:30am, the Army left the area, leaving the men with their handcuffs (made with strong plastic) still on. Residents returned to their building to find it in ruins. Each flat had been raided. Soldiers used bombs to open several doors, and left the students’ homes in a shambles. Windows were shattered, light fixtures were broken, living and bedrooms were turned upside-down, and the elevator door was blown apart, creating a very dangerous drop into the lift’s cavity. None of the wanted people that the soldiers were looking for were found in the building.

15-year-old Nablus Resident Shot with Rubber Bullet while Trying to Buy Bread

February, 28, 2007, mid-afternoon

On February 28, 2007, a 15-year-old boy from the Amud neighborhood in the Nablus Old City went out to buy bread for his family. According to the boy, just before he reached the shop he saw soldiers aiming at him and he froze. One soldier shot him in the wrist with a rubber bullet.

The Red Crescent Society wanted to take him to the nearest hospitals, but ambulances were being delayed by closure by the Israeli military so instead they took him to a clinic and bandaged him up, unable to even x-ray the injury. The boy says he has no idea why the soldier aimed at him, and fears his wrist is fractured or even broken.

Unarmed 49-year-old Man Killed; Son also Shot and Denied Medical Care

February 26, 2007, around noon

According to 20-year-old Emergency Medical Committee Volunteer Ashraf Tibi, on February 26, 2007 around noon his father Anan Al-Tibi went up to the roof of their home to check on the water source, which was not functioning properly. Ashraf heard that a neighborhood boy was being pursued by the Army, and saw soldiers through one of the windows in his house. He ran up to the roof to warn his father that soldiers were present, and as he was delivering the message he was shot in his right arm, shattering his elbow. With help from his 12-year-old brother who was with him, he started downstairs to call for medical help, and then heard more shooting. When he ran back up the stairs he found his father shot twice (according to medical volunteers in the head and the neck). They were both unarmed.

Ashraf, a medical volunteer, tried to give his father CPR, and immediately called for an ambulance, stressing how dangerous the injury was. Shortly thereafter, soldiers entered his home. One soldier announced that he had shot them both, and demanded whom the third person on the roof had been. He was surprised to see it was Ashraf’s 12-year-old brother and not one of the wanted men. Meanwhile, Ashraf’s father was rapidly losing blood. Eventually, the family was allowed to carry Anan down to an ambulance that was waiting, but soldiers prevented the ambulance from moving for more than one and a half hours by parking jeeps on either side of it. Ashraf was taken into one of the jeeps, given basic first aid, and held for an hour and a half, before being taken in the jeep to a nearby village named Jit, where a Palestinian ambulance met him and brought him to the hospital. Ashraf says the soldier who shot him followed them all the way from Nablus to Jit.

Ashraf’s father died and doctors say Ashraf will need several operations to repair his elbow. They recommend he get them in Jordan, where there are better facilities.

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