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Daniel Dworsky View Drop Down
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    Posted: 28 July 2006 at 7:05am
Have a look folks

International Solidarity Movement Digest
7-24-2006 to 7-26-2006

1) Palestinians Open Checkpoint by Laying down on Settler Road
2) Qalqilya: Palestinian Grandfather Killed by Israeli Checkpoint
3) Maria Nikiforou Was Illegaly Deported
4) Court Victory for Bil'in
5) Rice Not Welcome in Ramallah!
6) Settlers Burn Farmer's Roof; ISM Rebuilds Despite Intimidation
7) Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals Rebuild Homes Demolished by
Occupation Forces
8) Tel Rumeida Birthday Circus
9) Israeli Incursions to Ramallah Continue


1) Palestinians Open Checkpoint by Laying down on Settler Road

by Ali Omar and Raad

Today, July 26th, at 5pm, the IOF closed Yesthar checkpoint (west of
Nablus) in all directions for all Palestinian and settlers passing on the
road. They re-opened it at 7pm for just the settlers, while there were
dozens of Palestinians waiting to go back to their homes.

Previously the road was only for settler use, but was opened for
Palestinians in 2004 after it was closed since the beginning of the

Opening the checkpoint just for the settlers made the Palestinians very
angry and they responded by having a completely non-violent direct
action by lying down on the road and closing it with their bodies. The
army responded with excessive violence by beating the people and
throwing sound grenades at the crowd. This violence wasn't helpful to
evacuate the crowd who continued chanting songs of the Intifada and
refusing to move.

After the failure of the IOF troops to open the way for the settlers who
were stuck waiting, the settlers began threatening the Palestinians with
their machine guns, waving them at their faces. The soldiers did nothing
to stop the settler's threats.

The army failed to evacuate the Palestinians who occupied the checkpoint
from 7pm until 9pm and so the army was forced to open the checkpoint
for all.


2) Qalqilya: Palestinian Grandfather Killed by Israeli Checkpoint


Today, July 26th at 8:30pm at Azzun checkpoint near Qalqilya, Palestinian
Grandfather Mahmood Ahmed Sumha, 68 years old from the village of
Jayyous died from complications resulting from heart disease. He was on
his way to hospital when the ambulance he was in was stopped by the
Israeli army at one of their checkpoints. Contrary to international law,
soldiers at the checkpoint refused to let the ambulance pass.

According to official Israeli army policy, "the checkpoint commander will
allow a person to cross the checkpoint (including entry into Israel) to
obtain medical treatment, even if the individual does not have the
requisite approval, if an urgent medical emergency is involved." See
B'Tselem website, "Infringement of the Right to Medical Treatment" (1)
Mahmood's ID number was 929535110.

Mahmood was placed on a stretcher and those with him attempted to
cross the checkpoint on foot. Once again, they were blocked from doing
so by soldiers.

Mahmood died shortly afterwards.



3) Maria Nikiforou Was Illegaly Deported


On 24th July 2006, Maria Nikiforou was forcibly sent back to Greece from
Tel Aviv airport, despite the decision of the appeal court.

The judge had intialy issued a stay on her deportation order. After
reviewing secret evidence provided by the Israeli "General Security
Services" (Shabak/Shin Beit), he then reversed his previous decision
without explanation. Upon hearing of the reversal, Maria's lawyer Leah
Tsemel immediately filed an appeal. The appeal judge then granted an
indefinate stay of deportation. When Tsemel came to see her client on July
26th, she was stunned to find that she had been deported anyway,
against the orders of the appeal court.

The right to a fair trial is guaranteed by international law. Israel's use of
secret evidence in cases involving Palestinian and international activists
contravenes international legal standards. In the name of 'security', Israel
regularly imprisons and deports Palestinian and international activists
without a fair hearing, on the basis of 'secret evidence' provided by the
Shabak, which the defense does not get a chance to review.


4) Court Victory for Bil'in


A victory for the Palestinian villagers of Bil'in came down from the Israeli
High Court of Justice yesterday. In HCJ 143/06 the Court ruled that while
the Court is considering the legality of the Matityahu East settlement,
being constructed on Bil'in land, the ban on new construction and new
residents moving in must remain in effect. This decision, by fully
enforcing the ban, solidifies the remarkable status of Bil'in activists, who
have now successfully prevented planned settlement construction for 7
months – a singular feat in the Israeli-Occupied West Bank.

Furthermore, the Court ruled that demolition of settlement constructions
can proceed in certain enclaves of Matityahu East in an attempt to return
the land to its pre-settlement, vegetated state. This is significant because
not only have Bil'in activists succeeded in halting the settlement
construction, but, even more, they have forced the state of Israel to
demolish structures in recognition of the fact that the land on which the
settlement is built was illegally annexed.

This victory is the result of years of dedicated non-violent activism on the
part of the villagers of Bil'in and their international and Israeli allies.
Resistance to the Israeli confiscation of Bil'in land began when in 1991
the State of Israel appropriated around 1100 dunums (275 acres) of Bil'in
farmers' land. At the time, the confiscation was justified by reference to
an old Ottoman-era law allowing for confiscation of unused land. Much
later, it was revealed that in order to demonstrate that the coveted land
was "unused," the State made use of photos of seasonal crop farm land
taken when the crops were not yet in season. More than a decade after
the confiscation, settlements began to be built, following a typical pattern
of settlement expansion, whereby, first, Palestinian land is declared State
property and then eventually given out to Israelis. As a consequence,
weekly non-violent demonstrations began in Bil'in. These
demonstrations, in existence weekly since January !
2005, garnered international attention and support, making a protracted
legal campaign challenging the settlement's legality a possibility.
Tuesday's decision, while by no means the end of the struggle for justice
in Bil'in or countless places elsewhere in the West Bank, is a testament to
the power of this creative direct action.


5) Rice Not Welcome in Ramallah!

by Signifier
For photos see the ISM website: h/

July 26th: Taking part in a national day of protest against the West Bank
arrival of US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, residents of Ramallah,
the site of Ms. Rice's visit, shut down shop and took to the streets
yesterday. The usually bustling downtown lay dormant, as store owners
heeded the call for a one day strike across the Israeli-Occupied
Palestinian Territories, the second in as many weeks.

At noon, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the city center to voice
their opposition to American political and military support for Israel's
bombing of Gaza and Lebanon and the continued Israeli occupation of
Gaza and the West Bank. On July 13th, the United States vetoed a UN
Security Council resolution demanding an immediate halt to Israel's
bombing of Gaza and the killing of civilians. On Saturday, the New York
Times reported that, per Israeli request, the US is rushing a shipment of
precision-guided bombs to Israel as it expands its aerial assault on the
population of Lebanon. Groups representing the spectrum of Palestinian
political parties and resistance took part in the Ramallah protest. Joining
them was a group of forty internationals in Palestine, including ISM
activists and students from nearby Ber Zeit University, who came to show
their disgust with the West's sanction of Israel's actions.

Conflict erupted as demonstrators marched to the Muqkatah Compound,
where Ms. Rice was in meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas. En route, a cordon of a hundred-plus armed Palestinian Authority
(PA) security forces blocked the demonstrators. The PA security forces
were charged with the unenviable task of protecting Ms. Rice in Ramallah,
a woman who garners near universal Palestinian animosity and whom the
PA men themselves likely despise, but whose security, if endangered,
would spell grave consequences for all of Palestine. As the demonstrators
attempted to push their way closer to the Muqkatah, the security forces
reacted violently, beating demonstrators with truncheons and forcing a
fearful stampede in retreat.

Shortly thereafter, demonstrators massed up again at the police line. A
group of Palestinian women made it past the PA cordon and got to the
Muqkatah doors. One woman carried a framed photo of four of her loved
ones killed by Israel which she wanted to show to Ms. Rice. "What are you
doing in that uniform?" another woman asked a PA security force man.
"You should take it off and go join us over there. How can you hit your
brothers like that? You should be ashamed!" When she sat down in front
of the Muqkatah gates, security officials asked her to move. "What do you
think," she demanded "that Ms. Rice has more right to be here than me, a


6) Settlers Burn Farmer's Roof; ISM Rebuilds Despite Intimidation

by Harry Pockets

For photos see the ISM website:

On 22nd July, ISM activists and Israeli activists joined locals from Suseya
to rebuild the roof of a farmer's home that had been burned by
neighbouring Israeli colonists. Suseya, an agricultural village located in
the South Hebron hills, repeatedly has come under attack by Israeli
colonists in the nearby settlement of the same name.

Following the arson, the family living there temporarily moved out of fear
of continued harassment and physical attacks by the colonists. ISM and
international human rights workers gathered with the villagers to replace
the burnt roof with plastic sheets in order to return the home to a liveable
condition. As the group began to lay the tarp over the home, fully-
masked settlers approached the group demanding that the internationals
leave settler "Holy Land" (picture above). The colonists engaged in
physical and verbal intimidation, characteristic of settler interactions with
Palestinians and internationals in the West Bank. In the ensuing encounter
the colonists, who would not identify themselves, assaulted a female ISM
member who was videotaping the incident.

Shortly thereafter the IOF arrived, called by the settlers who frequently
enlist the help of the army because of the tacit and active support they
receive from them. Following a dialogue led by Israeli activists, the
situation calmed. The group of villagers and internationals were able to
successfully replace the roof with the tarp, clear away charred remains of
the house interior, and assist in watering the farmers' plants.

At the request of the farmers in the area, ISM activists are now living with
the families who fear further attacks, including arson and assault.


7) Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals Rebuild Homes Demolished by
the Occupation Forces

by Ernesto

For photos see the ISM website:

July 27th: The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) has
been instrumental in challenging one of the most nefarious features of
the Israeli occupation of Palestine - the demolition of Palestinian homes.
ISM'ers have begun to pitch in and lend a helping hand with ICAHD's
summer rebuilding camps when not supporting non-violent direct action
against the occupation in other regions of the West Bank. ICAHD is
currently constructing a home in the Anata community, which nebulously
falls under East Jerusalem and West Bank designations. This is the fourth
summer in a row that ICAHD has organized a house construction summer
work camp for internationals volunteers.

As bombs and rockets are launched on Gaza and Lebanon, internationals
and Palestinians are working under the radar to reconstruct a Palestinian
home that was demolished by the Israeli Army. What Israel destroys,
Palestinians rebuild with the help of allies. Many Palestinian homes are
subjected to military demolition every year. Four main reasons guide this
destructive activity: Palestinian homes are demolished to assassinate
alleged terrorists, as collective punishment for family members of alleged
terrorists, to clear a path for the Apartheid Wall, or because the houses
are deemed illegal under Israel's Apartheid laws.

The reality is that many homes have been demolished for these or
apparently no reasons by the Israeli military and dozens others have been
destroyed by settlers in an effort to terrorize Palestinians into leaving
their homes, community, and land.

In order to struggle against this injustice ICAHD organizes direct action to
block the demolition of homes and it also take on the task of rebuilding,
not just homes but also relationships between Palestinians, Israelis, and
internationals through shared work. This is a form of active non-violent
direct action against the occupation; the very act of building homes for
Palestinians is illegal in this racist power structure.

In the Anata community, entire sections have been demolished as part of
the ethnic cleansing of "Greater Jerusalem". The ICAHD project currently
underway is a challenge to this institutional violence. In just a few days a
Palestinian family will receive keys to their newly rebuilt home. The
community council has selected this family among dozens to receive this
gift of solidarity and as the work camps continue, more families will be
able to reclaim their homes.

Salim is a member of ICAHD and an example of Palestinian summoud,
steadfastness; his family's home has been demolished four times by the
Israeli military and each time ICAHD has rebuilt. Now, in its fifth
reconstruction, Salim has named the home Beit Arabeia and dedicated it
as a center in memoriam to Rachel Corrie and Noha Sweeden. This is the
base camp for internationals who work arduous hours building. This is
also where folks convene to sharpen their analysis of the occupation and
meet other activists involved in local struggles such as Ta'ayush,
Anarchists Against the Wall, Bustan, Active Stills, and the Bio-Falha
Budrus Project.


8) Tel Rumeida Birthday Circus

by Shlomo Bloom

For photos see the ISM website: /

July 24th: Today was the 16th birthday of two girls in the Abu Haykal
family who live at the end of Tel Rumeida street, surrounded by the
extremist Jewish settlers of Hebron. This Palestinian family is constantly
under attack either by the settlers directly or though intimidation by
Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) soldiers. The family was recently informed
that they are not allowed to use the paved road to their house, instead
they must walk up a long, rocky dirt path that leads to the back of their

A birthday party was organized by members of CPT (Christian Peacemaker
Teams) and Breaking the Silence (a group of Israeli ex-soldiers) which
included members of ISM, ICAHD (Israeli Committee Against Housing
Demolitions) and other Israeli and international activists. Altogether,
there were over 30 activists and with Yehuda of Breaking the Silence
leading them up Tel Rumeida hill, the marchers proceeded past the
soldiers' station, through the Tel Rumeida settlement to the Abu Haykal
house at the end of the road. The soldiers panicked and attempted to
stop the group. Yehuda, with a balloon in hand, explained the purpose of
the visit, and refuted the soldiers in Hebrew when they tried to prevent
the group from passing. There were just too many people to stop, and
while the soldiers scrambled, the activists made it all the way to the Abu
Haykal's gate where they came upon a disgusting barrier blocking the

Settlers had piled a large heap of random garbage and razor wire in front
of the gate to the house, preventing safe passage. The activists had to
move some of it aside, and climb over the rest in order to pass though.

Over 12 IOF soldiers, 10 police, and 6 military police eventually arrived,
and although they had no invitation to the birthday party(!), they entered
the family's porch where they had what appeared to be a discussion on
whether or not this birthday party was legal. Some of the activists made it
though the gate and into the house but the rest were forced by the police
to turn around and walk over a quarter of a mile down the street and
around Tel Rumeida hill to enter the house through the back entrance
(about a 10 minute walk).

Once all of the guests were inside, Hani, the father, thanked everyone and
shared his story about last Saturday, when settlers attacked his home
with rocks and he called the police but they never came. Last week, not
one police officer came when the house was under attack, but this week
they showed up in full force when friends and activists, invited to the
party, used the most convenient road which has been designated a closed
military zone. Only settlers are allowed to use this road because use by
anyone else is said to be a provocation to the settlers.

Cake and punch was served to all, and gifts were given to the girls. Hani
said his home was open to anyone, Muslim, Christian, Jew, whatever their
religion or color, as long as they respected human rights for all, and harm
no one. Hani's sister gave a speech saying that "my family sheltered Jews
in 1929 and we want to do the same now. If anyone from the North [of
Israel, where the threat of rocket attacks continue now], wants to come
here now for shelter I will welcome you again, this is a house of peace." A
man from Haifa said he was afraid to return to his home at the moment,
and that he was glad to be here.

So there we were, Muslims, Christians, and Jews having a birthday party
together for two young women with their whole lives ahead of them. With
tears in their eyes, the family apologized for the difficult entrance to their
home and said they hope we can all return in the future - for another
party, this time without having to go through any gate, and with no
soldiers or police trying to prevent us.

After the party was over and people were filing out, the police were still
waiting outside the house. They escorted the guests down the rocky path
(through the back way this time) and Hani explained that the reason the
police remained was in order to provide protection for the Israelis
activists who the police felt were in danger of being kidnapped by


9) Israeli Incursions to Ramallah Continue

by Rann

For photos see the ISM website: on-2/

Around 10:15pm on Tuesday, July 25th 2006, ISM activists were alerted
to a large army operation taking place in the Ein Omesharayet
neighborhood of Ramallah. Four activists arrived at the scene around 15
minutes later to act as eyewitnesses to the assault.

Israeli special forces had taken position near a six-storey building.
Several jeeps, humvees and an army prison truck were also at the scene
(20 vehicles according to press reports). Local youth were throwing
stones at jeeps, who were intimidating them by driving up and down
surrounding streets. The soldiers did not seem particularly interested in
the international activists.

Spotlight from the Israeli jeep illuminates the windows the soldiers
concentrated their fire on

To the best of the activists' knowledge, the army had told families living
in the building to leave and later put them in a 'safe space' nearby. The
target of the operation, a Gazan owner of an apartment on the fourth
floor of the building, had not left.

Israeli special forces fired at the building using live ammunition. When
this did not seem to affect the situation, they used larger projectile
explosives. From the outside, we could see two windows of the apartment
on the fourth floor blown out. Following a few of these high-explosive
projectiles exploding against or in the building, and a little further small-
arms fire, the area became quieter, save for the revving jeeps still running
youths up and down the streets. At one point, soldiers entered the

Shortly afterwards, the army evacuated the area and activists went into
the building to take pictures and talk to Palestinians in the area. There
were bullet holes all over the apartment's kitchen, furniture scattered and
blown around, remnants of food covered in dust from the walls and so
on, the aftermath of a huge attack on a single person. On the way back
downstairs, activists noted streaks of blood on the wall and the floor.
Presumably the army captured the man they were looking for, though in
what condition is hard to tell.

Additionally, there are reports of at least two injured youth, aged 14 and
15 who were taken to hospital with light to medium injuries.


For more reports, journals and action alerts visit the ISM website at

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