Home / Israeli army forces Palestinians to be human shields, IOF officer suspended

Israeli army forces Palestinians to be human shields, IOF officer suspended

1) Israeli army forces Palestinians to be human shields
2) Second Annual Bil’in International Conference
3) Israeli army abducts shepherds in At-Tuwani
4) 13 Nations Unite to Spray a Message of Freedom
5) Turning the other cheek near Bethlehem
6) ISM at Alfred Univeresity
7) IOF Soldier suspended after forcing Palestinians to act as human shields
8) Israeli army shoots 15 at Prisoner’s Day demonstration in Bil’in
9) Rachel’s Words Silenced Again
10) VIDEO- IOF demolishes Palestinian homes in South Hebron
11) For 2 hours, Palestinian teachers detained at checkpoint in Tel Rumeida
12) Dying for Peace: The Tom Hurndall Story

1) Israeli army forces Palestinians to be human shields
from Research Journalism Initiative 11 April 2007

video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiO0GYsyR4A

Cooperation between Research Journalism Initiative and the International Solidarity Movement in publicizing video footage of Israeli soldiers forcing Palestinians to be human shields leads to a rare case of action against IDF officer

YNet: IDF soldiers use Nablus youths as ‘human shield’
by Ali Waked 12 April 2007

VIDEO – Despite repeated promises by the Israel Defense Forces not to make use of Palestinian civilians as ‘human shields’ during its activity in the territories, troops operating in Nablus were filmed ordering two Palestinian youths to stand in front of their vehicle to protect it from stones thrown by locals.

The act, which was also in violation of a Supreme Court decision from 2005, was filmed by a foreign activist on Wednesday in Nablus’ Sheikh Munis neighborhood, where the soldiers encircled the home of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades member Abed el-Qadr.

During the operation the IDF forces demolished the house, but it later turned out that el-Qadr was not on the premises.

Meanwhile, a number of Palestinian youths threw stones at an IDF Hummer that was securing the soldiers encircling the house. According to foreign peace activists at the scene, the soldiers then ordered two youths who happened to pass by to stand in front of the vehicle in order to stop the stone-throwing.

The peace activist who filmed the act told Ynet, “The soldier closest to me said they were only asking the youths to tell their friends to stop throwing stones.”

He said he eventually stopped filming so as not top upset the soldiers, but added that the incident continued for “several more minutes.”

The activist said this is the first time he had seen soldiers ordering Palestinians to serve as human shields for army vehicles, but added that in the past few months he had witnessed a number of incidents in which soldiers used Palestinian civilians during their activity.

Research Journalism Initiative filmed the incident.
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2) Second Annual Bil’in International Conference
16 April 2007

From Wednesday, April 18 to Friday, April 20, the Palestinian village of Bil’in will hold their 2nd Annual International Conference, highlighting the non-violent struggle against the Israeli Occupation. Palestinian leaders along with Israeli and international spokespersons will reunite in the West Bank to relay a message of international solidarity and non-violent resistance.

Members of the Bil’in Popular Committee have sent out the call and are expecting a huge turnout of registrants. On the first day of the conference, participants will hear from speakers from all over the world, including: Mohammad Khatib and members of the Bil’in Popular Committee; Dr. Ilan Pappe, Israeli author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine; Dr. Azmi Bishara, Palestinian Israeli Knesset member; Stéphane Hessel, former French Ambassador; Amira Hass, author and journalist for Ha’aretz; Sam Bahour, Palestinian activist and entrepreneur; Palestine Information Minister Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, and many more.

Day 2 of the Bil’in Conference will focus on workshops, with a spotlight on non-violent resistance strategies to oppose oppression. Such workshops include: Boycott, divestment and sanctions; Media advocacy; and Direct action—to be led by Palestinian, Israeli, and international volunteers. Additional workshops will be led by Jeff Halper from the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions; George Rishmawi, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement; Uri Avnery, Israeli journalist; and more. Scattered throughout the first two days will also be cultural activities, including dabka, films, and fun.

On the 3rd Day of the Conference, Palestinians from Bil’in will manifest the previous two days into a major non-violent, direct action against Israel’s Apartheid Wall, which has been built in the village. Last Friday, Israeli Forces shot 15 activists with rubber-coated steel bullets at the weekly demonstration. The Wall separates Palestinians in Bil’in from their land, stealing 60% of the land and placing it on the other side of the Wall. Since February 2005, Palestinians have been joined by Israeli and international solidarity activists who have been non-violently opposing this illegal confiscation.

For more info regarding registration and accommodation, visit: www.bilin-village.org
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3) Israeli army abducts shepherds in At-Tuwani
from Christian Peacemaker Teams 15 April 2007

Israeli Defense Force soldiers abducted two Palestinian shepherds from their fields today near the Israeli settlement outpost Avigail.

The shepherds, Usef Ibrahim Abed Mur, of Imneizel, and Muhammed Jihad Halil Abu Aram, of Qawawis, were grazing on Palestinian land. The arrests occurred after Yacov Dalia, a settler from the area invited soldiers onto the land and argued that the land is owned by the State of Israel.

Soldiers arrested Ibrahim at approximately 11:00 am, and Jihad at 3:30 PM. The soldiers blindfolded and took the shepherds without warning, and without allowing them time to secure their flocks. Ibrahim was grazing by himself, and a shepherd from the Palestinian village of Jinba collected his sheep for him. Both detainees were released at 7:00 am Sunday night from the military base at Susiya.

On Sunday, April 14, IDF soldiers detained seven-year-old Maher Ahmed Moussa Ibnes and his cousin, sixteen year old Ndal Samir Moussa Ibnes in nearby Imneizel. At approximately 9:00 am Maher Ahmed Moussa Ibnes was grazing sheep on Palestinian land near the Israeli settlement of Beit Yatir when a stone he threw to move the sheep hit the settlement fence.

At approximately 9:00 am Israeli Defense Forces arrived at the boy’s home. They informed the family that they had surveillance video of the boy throwing a stone at the settlement and insisted on taking him into custody. His cousin, Nadal Samir was allowed to accompany him in the military jeep, which took both boys to the checkpoint at Beit Yatir. The boys’ families, and members of the community of Imneizel, followed on foot to the checkpoint. IDF soldiers informed the family that they would release seven-year-old Ndal Samir, but would arrest his cousin, Nadal Samir, who was not present at the alleged incident, and did not appear on the surveillance tape.

IDF soldiers then blindfolded Nadal Samir and transported him to the military base at Susiya. He was released about two and a half hours later in response to calls from a representative of the Red Cross.

The first such incident in recent days took place on March 18, when soldiers detained five shepherds at Beit Yatir. Soldier took the shepherds, Jihad Ibrahim Mor, Mohamed Halil Suliman Rashid, Ahmed Mohamed Halil Rashid, Ezhaq Ahmed Ali Hrezat and Samir Ahmed Mohamed Hrezat, to the army base at Susiya and released them in the early evening.
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4) 13 Nations Unite to Spray a Message of Freedom
by Martinez

Members of the Campaign to Free Marwan Barghouti and All Prisoners were joined by Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals at Israel’s Apartheid Wall near Qalandya checkpoint today. A large stencil of Marwan Barghouti was pre-sliced as were thirteen additional stencils reading,”Patience Marwan,” all in different languages. The action was held in honor of Palestine’s upcoming Prisoner’s Day, to be held on Tuesday, April 17.

Nearly 40 people arrived for the action. First, prisoner solidarity activists climbed the ladders and spray painted the spliced wood, soon to reveal a silhouette of a familiar image:

Then, thirteen nations were represented as they spray painted “Patience Marwan” in the Palestinian colors. A Palestinian held the stencil for an Israeli as she climbed to the highest peak on the ladder and she held the stencil for him as the black paint attached itself to the Apartheid Wall.

Then residents of South Korea, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Holland, the United States, Japan, Norway, and elsewhere, took their turns, spraying in solidarity a message of freedom– to release Marwan and all of Palestine’s Political Prisoners, currently being held behind bars in Israeli jails.

An Israeli soldier yelled at the spray painters from the Apartheid Tower, but the soldiers remained huddled inside the Wall, and the action continued.
for photos: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/04/15/marwan-on-the-wall/

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About Marwan Barghouti’s Case:

In apprehending, detaining and torturing Marwan Barghouti, Israel has violated a number of provisions of international law, not to mention fundamental human rights. The following are the most significant breaches:

Arrest or Abduction
Marwan Barghouti was apprehended in Ramallah, in what is known as ‘Area A,’ which according to the Oslo Accords – signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1993 – falls under Palestinian legal jurisdiction; it is therefore a blatant breach of those Accords.

According to the Oslo Accords – Annex III (PROTOCOL CONCERNING LEGAL MATTERS), Article I:
(item 1) The criminal jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority covers all offenses committed in the areas under its territorial jurisdiction.

(item 5) In the case of an offense committed in the Territory by a
non-Israeli against Israel or an Israeli, the Palestinian Authority shall take measures to investigate and prosecute the case, and shall report to Israel on the result of the investigation and any legal proceedings.
So, even if Israeli is accusing Marwan Barghouti of an offense committed while he is living in Ramallah, it has no legal jurisdiction over him. In view of this, some legal experts view Israel’s apprehension of Barghouti as an act of hostage-taking, or abduction, both illegal under international law.
Furthermore, Barghouti is an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (parliament), and is therefore entitled to parliamentary immunity, which Israel infringed upon in this case.

Torture:
Barghouti was moved to the Israeli detention center, ‘Russian Compound’ (Moscobiya), in Jerusalem, where he was subjected at the hands of his interrogators (from the Israeli General Security Service – GSS) to physical and psychological abuse.

In particular, he has been subjected to sleep deprivation, position abuse (known in Arabic as ’shabeh’ – for more on this, refer to the Israeli Public Committee Against Torture , and intimidating threats, all of which constitute methods of torture and ill-treatment, which are categorically prohibited by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -Article 5 UNDHR the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 7) and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Israel is a signatory to these key human rights covenants, and is therefore legally bound by their prohibitions.

Although Israeli law now prohibits torture and the introduction into evidence of tainted confessions, and despite the fact that it provides that public servants who use or direct the use of force against persons for the purpose of extorting a confession of an offense or information relating to an offense are liable to imprisonment, Israeli GSS interrogators still frequently resort to various methods of torture, like those used against Marwan Barghouti, with considerable impunity.

Transfer to Territory of the Occupying State:
On Sunday May 26, 2002, the Israeli authorities transferred Marwan Barghouti to the Petah Tikva Detention Center in Israel proper. This is in clear contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which precisely proscribes the transfer of people under occupation to the territory of the occupier. Article 49 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War Article 49 states that:

Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.

Detention Without Trial:
Despite profuse media reports that Israel has set up a team of twenty legal, intelligence and political experts to prepare an official list of charges against Barghouti, the defense team has yet to be officially notified of any such charges. Effectively, Barghouti has been held since April 15th, 2002, without trial and without charge. This is yet another violation of international law that Israel has committed in this troubling case.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Article 10:

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

While Article 11(2) states that:

Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
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About Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israeli Jails (from Mustafa Barghouti’s recent press conference):

In the run-up to Palestinian Prisoners Day on 17 April, Dr. Barghouthi also focused on the fate of the 10,400 Palestinians currently being held in Israeli jails in contravention of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. [4] Of these:

– 86 percent are from the West Bank
– 7 percent are from the Gaza Strip
– 7 percent are from Jerusalem

– 4,430 (44 percent) have been sentenced by Israeli military tribunals
– 611 (14 percent) have been sentenced to 50 years or more in prison
– 4,575 (46 percent) have not undergone trial
– 950 (10 percent) are being held in administrative detention
– 7 (0.7 percent) have spent more than 25 years in prison; 3 have spent 29 years or more in prison
– 376 are children under the age of 18
– 5,000 children have been arrested since 2000
– 600 are women who have been arrested since 2000
– 118 women prisoners are currently in Israeli jails
– 40 are members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), including the Head of the PLC
– 95 percent of Palestinian prisoners have reported being subjected to various forms of torture
– 183 Palestinians have died in prison
– 69 died due to torture
– 42 died due to medical negligence
– 1,000 are suffering from chronic diseases
– 200 suffering from serious health conditions
– 72 Palestinians were assassinated following their arrest
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5) Turning the other cheek near Bethlehem
by Kobi Snitz

The first visible achievement of the non-violent resistance of the Ma’asara villages was visible even before the demonstration began. When people began preparing for the demonstration they noticed that, unlike previous Fridays, there was no construction today. The bulldozers were parked far away in their fenced lot and the security guards were nowhere in site. However many soldiers were waiting on the opposite hill to the demonstrators, assuming that the demonstrators would just leave.

As it turned out, work was performed at the site after all. A little role play game: the demonstrators turned into a demolition crew. They broke cement foundations laid down for the wall, filled holes dug for posts and also broke and torched wooden frames used to lay more foundations. This was the most constructive work on the part of the army that was done at the site since construction started. Palestinians were literally breaking the cages which were being built to jail them in. However, they army could not let a good deed go unpunished. The non-violent demonstrators were attacked by paramilitary units, injuring 10 of them with blows to the face and body.

In addition, Palestine Solidarity Project organizer Yusef Abu Maria was arrested and will likely spend days in jail before he or his lawyer will even be told what he is accused of. Abu Maria stands out at the demonstrations as a determined activist who inspires others with his fearless willingness to face army brutality.

Throughout much of the demonstration, Abu Maria and others chained their hands together to symbolize the damage that the wall will cause to their lives and to demonstrate their non-violent nature. Indeed, even as they were repeatedly kicked and punched by Occupation Forces, none of the demonstrators raised a hand to harm their attackers. Instead, as could have been seen in several press photographs, Abu Maria raised his right hand defiantly to signal a V as he was being beaten.

for photos:
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/04/13/turn-cheek-bethlehem/
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6) Evening Tribune: ISM at Alfred Univeresity
by Ryan Westerdahl, The Evening Tribune 12 April 2007

ALFRED – For Huwaida Arraf, a young woman who has stared down armed soldiers, a speaking engagement at Alfred University presented a different challenge – persuasion.

Arraf, who spoke for more than an hour in AU’s Nevins Theater Wednesday, is co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a civilian movement dedicated to non-violent resistance against the Israeli presence in Palestine. She began her speech with an appeal to her audience for open-mindedness.

“I would hope that what I have to say is not controversial,” she said.

Arraf is a Palestinian-American whose parents were born in Palestine, and a third-year student at American University’s Washington College of Law. She divides her time between America and Israel/Palestine, studying and organizing resistance. Arraf said that Palestinians under Israeli governance are deprived of basic freedoms.

“We were treated like second and third-class citizens,” she said.

Arraf began her career in activism working with Seeds of Peace, an organization that brings Palestinian and Israeli young people together to create dialogue and bridge perceived differences between the groups. She said the children discovered that they shared common ground.

“The same likes and dislikes, hopes and aspirations,” she said.

While working for Seeds of Peace, Arraf met her future husband and co-founder of the ISM, Adam Shapiro. The couple started the ISM in 2001, and have dedicated themselves to expanding and promoting the movement. Palestinians have a history of non-violent resistance that often goes unnoticed amidst reports of terrorism, according to Arraf. She described tying cans to cats’ tails to confuse Israeli soldiers trying to impose a curfew, and resisting Israeli control in the town where her mother was born.

“We organized a tax boycott,” Arraf said.

Arraf encouraged her audience to get involved with the ISM, adding that international support for the Palestinian cause is vital. She described the difficulty of finding major news outlets to publish detailed accounts of Palestinian civilian deaths.

“Palestinians feel completely abandoned by the international community,” Arraf said.

While the ISM is predicated on non-violence, it has been accused of supporting violent resistance – such as suicide bombing – behind the scenes. Arraf denied that the ISM supports violence, but she said that Palestinians have the right to engage in violent resistance directed at military targets.

“If you make the decision to resist, then you have to choose how to resist,” Arraf said. “Personally, I believe we should all live together.”

Arraf encouraged the audience to research the conflict, form their own opinions, and get involved with finding a solution.

“We need that little bit of hope,” she said.
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7) IOF Soldier suspended after forcing Palestinians to act as human shields
April 13th, 2007

Cooperation between Research Journalism Initiative and the International Solidarity Movement in publicizing video footage of Israeli soldiers forcing Palestinians to be human shields leads to a rare case of action against IOF officer

IDF suspends officer over troops’ use of Palestinians as human shields
By The Associated Press 13 April 2007

The Israel Defense Forces has suspended the commander of an operation in which troops ordered two Palestinian youths in the West Bank to stand in front of their vehicle to protect it from stones thrown by locals, the army spokesman’s office said Friday.

Following the incident in which IDF soldiers apparently made prohibited use of civilians, GOC Central Command Yair Naveh ordered the suspension of the commander of the mission from all operational activity, in addition to the ongoing investigation into the matter, the IDF statement said.

Additionally, the chief military counsel has ordered a military police investigation into the incident, the statement said.

The footage was filmed by a foreign activist in the course of a raid on the home of a wanted militant in Nablus. During the operation, troops damaged the house, but the fugitive was not inside.

Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti denounced the suspension as window-dressing.

“They are treating it as an isolated incident,” he said. “The problem is
systematic and … they (troops) continued the practice despite the court order,” he said.

Human rights groups say the use of civilians in military operations has dropped sharply since the Supreme Court banned it outright in 2005, but has not ceased altogether.

The landmark Supreme Court ruling was prompted by an outcry over the army’s widespread practice, in a 2002 West Bank offensive, of forcing Palestinian civilians to approach fugitives’ hideouts.

The army, which launched the offensive following a rash of suicide bombings, defended the practice at the time, saying it kept civilians out of harm’s way and encouraged militants to surrender peacefully. And it says it never allowed troops to use civilians for cover during battles.

But in August 2002, a 19-year-old Palestinian student was killed in a gunfight that erupted after he was forced to knock on the door of a building where a fugitive was hiding.
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8) Israeli army shoots 15 at Prisoner’s Day demonstration in Bil’in
by the ISM Media Team13 April 2007

At least 15 demonstrators were injured today in the village of Bil’in. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at a crowd of Palestinian, Israeli, and internationals, who were non-violently resisting Israel’s Apartheid Wall and Occupation of Palestinian land.

Every Friday for the past 26 months, Palestinians and their Israeli and international colleagues have been meeting in Bil’in and demonstrating against the Apartheid Wall. Today, in commemoration of Palestinian Prisoner’s Week, a portable “jail cell” was carried along the march towards the Wall. Palestinians, with their hands tied, resembling prisoners, marched inside the cell. Photos of Marwan Barghouti and other political prisoners were seen throughout the march.

Israeli forces were waiting inside of the Wall, however, preventing the demonstrators from reaching their destination. A high-powered water tank was also inside the Wall, waiting to be used on the demonstrators. Instead, the army started propelling tear gas at the peaceful demonstration. As people began to scatter in various directions, soldiers fired indiscriminately into the trees.

When the demonstrators regrouped and began their march to the Wall again, the army began using an excessive amount of tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Martin, an American solidarity activist, explained, “Just as people cleared the smoke from the tear gas they had to start dodging rubber bullets. Even the demonstrators who were retreating back to the village were at risk. I even saw a medic from the Red Crescent being carried away.”

“Every time I turned around I saw another person being carried away. I have never seen the army this aggressive in Bil’in,” said Miriam, a Palestinian activist.

Although the army would not let even one demonstrator reach the Wall, firing tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets continuously, the demonstrators persisted for two hours on trying to reach the Wall.

Another Palestinian activist explained, “Just like our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Israeli jails, we too are in a jail here in Bil’in. But our prison here has no ceiling.”

According to Stop the Wall, of the 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners being held captive by Israel, 450 are children and teenagers, 125 are women. Held in “administrative detention” are 1,050 Palestinians, which means they have not been charged with any crime and can be jailed for up to 6 months with the detention renewable indefinitely. 186 Palestinians have died in the 27 Israeli-run prisons.

for photos: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/04/13/bilin-15-injured/
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9) Rachel’s Words Silenced Again
by Tom Wallace 12 April 2007

Once again the play “My Name is Rachel Corrie” has been cancelled, this time in South Florida.

In New York and Toronto the play was cancelled due to pressure from the Jewish community or those that claim to speak for the Jewish Community. The play was successfully staged in NYC at the Minetta Lane theater. It is currently enjoying an extraordinary run at the Seattle Repertory Theater and many more are planned.

Wherever it has been staged, there has been support from the Jewish community as well as criticism. The Jewish community is not monolithic and no-one speaks for “it,” though many claim to.

Much has been written about the play and though theater critics have mostly given glowing reviews, some have been luke warm, and a scant few have even been negative. That is how theater works.

Unfortunately, the power behind the movement to silence Rachel remains nameless and faceless.

They work in the background by using blackmail and other forms of pressure on theater managers and owners. They do not have to justify their stance and we never get to know who “they” are.

I experienced this silencing first hand while volunteering in Bethlehem as the media coordinator for the International Solidarity Movement immediately after Rachel’s death, and as British activist Tom Hurndall was mortally wounded, and as American activist Brian Avery was seriously injured. I saw that US journalists, under extraordinary pressure, pulled their punches while the British media helped push for the truth.

As a result, the Israeli soldier who shot Tom Hurndall was tried and found guilty of manslaughter. In contrast, there has been no pressure from US media or politicians for a thorough and transparent investigation into Rachel Corrie’s killing, though Israeli Prime Minister Sharon promised one to President Bush.

Censorship however, can create a backlash. A small group of people created Rachel’s Words in response to the popular anger over the New York Theater Workshop’s cancellation of the play last year. We ultimately helped bring Rachel’s message to an even wider audience.

“My Name is Rachel Corrie” is a play based on the writings of a twenty three year old American woman from Olympia Washington , who was committed to making a difference. Editors Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner culled the best of Rachel’s writings from the time she was very young until her death. Her life ended tragically while trying to protect the home of a Palestinian pharmacist from demolition by a Caterpilar bulldozer driven by an Israeli soldier.

The play is not about the death of Rachel Corrie, it is about her life – her dreams, her beliefs, her desires, her experiences, her faults and all of her humanness.

It was her humanity which prompted her to travel to Gaza and see for herself what was happening.

She quickly learned some ugly truths about another side of humanity, a little more about US foreign policy, and a lot about people’s ability to survive under obscene circumstances.

She noticed that the weapons carried by Israeli soldiers which kill Palestinian children are “made in USA .” So are the bulldozers that illegally destroy Palestinian homes, the helicopter gun ships and the f16 fighter jets that drop 1 ton bombs on apartment buildings full of Palestinian families.

Of this Rachel wrote “This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don’t think it’s an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop.”

Her writings are based on what she saw. This was her experience and she died for it. The resulting play about her life prompts valuable discussion.

If we had more uncensored discussion on the issue of Israel and Palestine in general, Rachel might be alive today dancing to Pat Benatar.

Rachel represents much of what is best about who we are or like to think we are as Americans.

Those who want to silence her have a right to criticize. They have a right to produce their own play. They even have a right to lie and cheat.

They do not have a right to silence anyone. No one in this country has that right. Some of the gravest errors in US history have resulted from efforts to silence dissenting viewpoints.

By caving to their demands, the Mosaic theater has committed the ultimate crime in the world of theater and arts; that of censorship. They should reconsider their decision lest they lose the right to be called a theater.

Tom Wallace is the editor of American Hummus
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10) VIDEO- IOF demolishes Palestinian homes in South Hebron

Video taken by Tayyush: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6ixQix_Mys

On Wednesday 14th February Israeli Occupation Forces demolished a large number of houses and agricultural structures in four different villages in the South Hebron Hills – Qwawis, M’nezel, Um-Elhe’r and the Abu-Kbeita family near Yatir settlement. The villagers in this area struggle to stay on their land despite ongoing home demolitions, violent attacks and constant settler and military harassment.

Read full story: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/15/cpt-hebron-demolitions/
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11) For 2 hours, Palestinian teachers detained at checkpoint in Tel Rumeida
by ISM Hebron April 2007

TEL RUMEIDA, HEBRON– At 12:40, just as Palestinian school teachers from the Qurtuba Girls’ School were approaching the Israeli checkpoint to go home, two Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint went inside the monitoring post, locked themselves in. The school teachers refuse to pass through the metal detectors in the main body of the checkpoint and so need the soldiers to open the side gate at the checkpoint to let them pass. The teachers have a long-standing agreement with the District Coordinating Office (DCO) that they can pass through the side gate every day, although the teachers often are forced to wait long whiles before the soldiers adhere to this agreement.

The teachers knocked on the door of the monitoring post but the soldiers refused to respond. Human rights workers (HRWs) and members of the Ecumenical Accompagniment Programme for Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) attempted to negotiate with the soldiers through the glass inside the checkpoint. The soldiers pretended to not hear. Numerous phone calls were made by the HRWs to the DCO but the Israeli officers who answered the phones said they did not speak English. The HRWs contacted a member of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) who then also contacted the DCO. According to ACRI, the DCO claimed they had given the soldiers the order to open the gate for the Palestinian teachers.

Soldier exits for food, refuses to unlock gate for Palestinian teachers

The soldiers remained locked inside their monitoring post for approximately 50 minutes, exiting the checkpoint only briefly to collect food from another soldier. The soldiers still operated the main checkpoint doors during this period while the Palestinian teachers continued to wait for the soldiers to open the side gate.

Once the soldiers finally emerged from the monitoring post, they still refused to let the teachers through. The soldiers did, however, unlock the gate for a local Palestinian man and his donkey, and also for a Palestinian man in a wheelchair. The soldiers then started checking the bags of the schoolchildren as they passed through the checkpoint.

At 14:20, almost 2 hours after the Palestinian teachers arrived at the checkpoint, soldiers unlocked the gate and allowed the teachers to pass.

photos here: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/04/09/teachers-detained-april7/
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13) Dying for Peace: The Tom Hurndall Story
by Mohammed Al Shafey
9 April 2007

London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Jocelyn finds it painful to recollect her memories when she speaks about the suffering she endured while wandering down the corridors of Beer Sheva’s Soroka hospital in search of her son after he had been shot. She is the mother of Thomas Hurndall, a British peace activist who was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper while trying to get Palestinian children out of the line of gunfire in Rafah, Gaza Strip in April 2003.

“There were many Palestinian women dressed in black inside and outside of the hospital lobbies,” Jocelyn said, “and elderly men who dressed in white.” She said that she had initially thought they had come in search of their children only to find out that they had come to check up on her son, Tom. Tom was shot while attempting to rescue Palestinian children during a demonstration in Rafah, he was felled by a bullet fired at him by a soldier from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

After lying in a coma for nine months in a London hospital Tom lost his struggle for life. His mother said, “I used to look into the faces of the elderly Palestinians around me, sometimes they would speak to me in Arabic or in silence. I would see their eyes brimming with tears and the wrinkles of suffering on their faces; with them I felt that time had stopped.” Today, she feels that Salem, the 9-year-old boy whom her son Tom had lost his life to save, is a member of her own family.

Asharq Al Awsat met with Tom’s mother, Jocelyn, in a quiet street in North West London two days after the publication of her new book ‘Defy the Stars’ which was issued on the fourth anniversary of her son’s accident. Inside the elegant and carefully arranged house are many pictures of Tom throughout the various stages of his life; as a child and a young man, a journalism and photography student at Manchester Metropolitan University and a young activist and member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) dedicated to the Palestinian cause [the ISM is a Palestinian-led group which campaigns against Israeli occupation using non-violence]. The images and memories are spread throughout each of the rooms; his mother said that many of the pictures were taken by his girlfriend Michelle.

Jocelyn talked about the difficult times she went through after Tom was shot and still vividly remembers the moment when Sophie, her daughter, rang her in the school where she works to tell her that Tom had a serious head injury after being shot while using his body as a human shield to protect children in Rafah. She recalled arriving on April 14th, 2003 at Ben Gurion International airport at half past five in the morning and was received by a British diplomat three days after the incident. At one o’clock in the afternoon she stood in front of the hill on which her son had been shot. This is where she saw the Palestinian women who were dressed in black, “I felt that we were suffering the same loss and that our grief was shared. These women lose their children in the resistance on a daily basis. I felt that Tom had become one of their heroes or one of their sons,” she said.

Although she has witnessed the manifestations of racism in South Africa, Jocelyn said it was easy for her to discern the difference and the scale to realize that what the Palestinians are being subjected to on a daily basis are severe human rights violations. At the hospital she had found an Israeli nurse crying bitterly by the door of her son’s room, apologizing for what the Israeli soldiers had done to her son. “Upon my arrival at the hospital, the doctors informed me that Tom only had a few days to live due to the severity of his injury. He was suffering from multiple skull fractures. The bullet had lodged into his brain and left residual traces that caused severe brain damage,” she said and added that, “Our lives were turned upside down after what happened to Tom. I left the school where I had worked and was about to get promoted to the position of school principle. We stayed at Tom’s bedside for two months in the Israeli hospital. Myself, my husband Anthony and my children Sophie, Billy and Freddie would alternate as we waited by his side. We were later able to move him to a hospital in Britain.

But Jocelyn said that she did not try to prevent her son from volunteering in the Palestinian territories as an ISM activist and neither did she prevent him from going to Baghdad to photograph the human shields who had volunteered to protect Iraqi civilians against the threat of the US-British aggression. While in Baghdad Tom heard about Rachel Corrie, a 23-year old American activist and member of the ISM who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer while trying to prevent the demolition of a house in Rafah. Jocelyn explained that her son had had a special gift of foresight so that he knew what his path was in life. She knew that she could never have been able to prevent him from going to Iraq or Palestine and added, “he had control over his future and went towards it according to his own will. If I could go back in time I know I still wouldn’t be able to change anything that was his fate. Since my arrival to the hospital I felt that he might never recover. He died peacefully nine months after the accident,” she affirmed.

However she feels that justice has not been served despite the fact that the IDF soldier, ex-sergeant Taysir Hayb, has been convicted on charges of manslaughter in June 2003 and was sentenced to eight years in prison. Still, she stated that during the trial the soldier kept repeating the same words over and again: “I was only carrying out orders.” She believes that the real perpetrator responsible for the murder of her son is the Israeli military establishment or the general in charge of training the IDF soldiers stationed in the south. That same general attended the trial and praised the Israeli soldier who had murdered her son, hailing his morals and excellent conduct. It was later revealed that this same soldier was previously imprisoned for drug abuse. She remained dissatisfied with the fact that the soldier was put on trial for the shooting while the senior officials were not subjected to any accusations. “The Israeli politicians and the military officials who trained her son’s killer are the ones who should be in prison,” she said.

Mrs. Hurndall explained that the case is still open at the office of British attorney general Lord Goldsmith pending further details from Israeli forensic medicine reports so as to enable the arrest of others and serve the long-awaited justice. “There were surveillance cameras on the site but they were directed towards the Egyptian side of the Rafah border. If only these cameras were aimed in the other direction we would have been able to find out more details about the shooting,” she said.

“To this day I still wait for British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to condemn the Israeli military establishment but despite my urging it has yet to happen. On one occasion I asked him personally and angrily to condemn the accident but it became clear that he had his own interests to protect in addition to being worried by the strong ‘Jewish Lobby’ in Britain,” she said. On an official level, the British government has not done much. Despite many officials stating that the British government exerted pressure on the Israeli government to bring about the required transparency and impartiality throughout the investigations around her son’s death, she maintains that their promises were not sincere. However, she added that a group of British representatives in the House of Commons stood by her.

After repeatedly trying and failing to meet with one Israeli official, it was on the day before they left Israel that the Hurndall family was summoned to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs building. They were assured that the Israeli soldiers did not see Tom as their view was blocked by buildings they said. Anthony, Tom’s father, protested saying that there was a watchtower and cameras and requested to see the recorded tapes but was told that none existed. Jocelyn continued to say that at the ministry they were given a bounced cheque worth £8,370. And although the sum was meant to cover the expenses of her son’s transfer to the UK and was only a fraction of the aforementioned expense, they still got nothing out of it.

But the Hurndalls continue to receive letters of support from all over the world, including Palestine. Tom is the third member of the ISM to have been killed or injured in the Palestinian territories within the same month. When Anthony Hurndall, a lawyer, tried to write a report comprised of the testimonies of witnesses to indicate the Israeli army’s responsibility in the death, the report issued by Israel was full of falsehoods, conflicting facts and accounts, misinformation and even a claim that it was a Palestinian who had shot his son. One of the accounts said that Tom was the sniper who opened fire. During the Israeli soldier’s trial, the Israeli army referred to a medical expert that blamed British doctors claiming that they had given Hayb a strong dose of morphine. The map included in the report was invalid; the site were Tom was struck down was wrong. There were conflicting reports over the number of bullets fired, all of which were said to have been shot to break up the demonstration.

“Generals turn a blind eye to what happens in Palestinian territories against Arab citizens,” said Jocelyn. Ex-sergeant Taysir Hayb, the soldier imprisoned for shooting her son was a Bedouin Arab whom she said appeared to have been suffering from a learning disability in addition to not being able to speak or read Hebrew. She stressed that it was known that many Bedouin Arabs join the Israeli army to improve their social status. “When the verdict was pronounced, I felt that my son was the victim of another victim because it is the military officials that should be persecuted. Her voice trembles and tears fill her eyes when she recalls the old Palestinian man who rushed to her side when she first arrived for the first time with a British diplomat at the location were Tom was shot, “Time had engraved trenches of suffering on his face. He spoke to me in Arabic and made some gestures with his hands, his eyes overflowing with tears. It was as though he wanted to tell me that we were sharing the same pain and that their sons die everyday. I was so traumatized to see how they were living and suffering such a life under the Israeli occupation. Even the elderly women, although silent, conveyed that here was a Western European family sharing the pain that they have to endure every day and the danger that they have to survive and struggle against. It was a most simple and most poignant message.”