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Scurrilous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 12:52 PM
Original message
IDF aims to keep out harvest 'escorts'

"The Israel Defense Forces is demanding that Palestinian farmers not allow Israeli and foreign sympathizers to escort them during the olive harvest to places where military protection is needed against abusive settlers, Palestinian sources in the Nablus region told Haaretz.

An Israeli security source confirmed the report, saying that IDF officers have been influenced by statements of settlers, who say they are enraged during the harvest by the presence of Israeli leftists who act as provocateurs. A 2005 memo to soldiers from the Civil Administration regarding the olive-picking season states: "Involvement of various entities, Israeli and foreign, is expected, as an 'aid' to the Palestinians in the harvest and as a motive for creating provocations."

On the other hand, the 2006 Olive Harvest Order issued by the Samaria Regional Brigade stated, under "Key lessons from the previous year": "Working axis vis-a-vis leftist organizations: During the harvest season the left appeared largely as a coordinating force and for the most part offered no provocations. The best and most effective axis for maintaining communication is between the implementers and the organizations."

The contradictory policy was evident as the harvest season began last week in the Nablus region. In the village of Burin, for example, Israeli escorts were prohibited, but they were permitted later in the week. In the village of Klil the army allowed women from an international solidarity group to be present during the picking. Last Tuesday, however, soldiers barred farmers from entering their property, necessitating the intercession by phone of activists from Rabbis for Human Rights."
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idontwantaname Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:49 PM
Response to Original message
1. Beaten, harrassed and arrested
this is an email from oct 9th...


Yesterday, International activists from Palestine Solidarity Project joined with Palestinian and Israeli activists to demonstrate against land theft, road closures and economic isolation by bringing two tons of Palestinian grapes to an occupation checkpoint next to the village of Al-Khadr. We wanted to buy these grapes in order to support the struggling farmers, and in a display of civil disobedience akin to the North American Boston Tea Party, we hoped to dump the surplus harvest onto the road.

Al-Khadr is a center for vineyards, as is the Bethlehem area in general. Every year its fertile lands yield 11,000 tons of grapes. Not long ago, these grapes were marketed to the entire West Bank, as well as Jordan, Gaza and Israel. Nowadays, with some roads blocked and others closed, and with new decrees restricting the delivery of grapes, the local produce has no market. The prices have dropped so low that the farmers can no longer earn their living. Many are forced to just leave the fruit to rot on the vines. Soon the Apartheid Wall will reach the site of the demonstration, and the Ghettoization of the area will be complete. Where grapes are the primary source of income and unemployment rates soar, this maneuver will effectively strangulate the already fragile local economy.

When we approached, we were immediately met by what is called the SWAT team. They are a specially trained team of police whose purpose is to arrest you. They are trained to untangle a pile of people and inflict pain without leaving marks. As I was walking with a box of grapes a SWAT officer came from behind me, pushed the grape box out of my hands and shoved me onto the ground. I stood up grabbed some grapes from the side of the road and threw them into the street. He pushed me to the ground again. When I stood this time, I saw a pile of people screaming and police assaulting them. One officer had his fingers in a girls nose, one had hands around someones throat and another was bending someones wrist backwards.

I moved to the pile to help dearrest. I felt someone grab my arm from behind and simultaneously heard his voice say, "You are under arrest." I didnt bother to turn and see his face, but instead started screaming for help. Several activists grabbed me, but so did several SWAT officers. They pulled my legs in separate directions as I struggled to hang on to someones foot. Next thing I knew, I was being drug through grape juice and dirt, by my arms towards a SWAT van. They tried to throw me inside, but only half of my body made it, so they grabbed me with more force and hung me there, while another soldier climbed into the van and drug me into it from the inside.

Once inside the van, I opened the curtains to see what was happening with my friends. The police officer inside said something in Hebrew and then slapped me across the face and closed the curtains. Then he put his finger in my face and shouted some more. I opened the curtains again. Another slap. I opened the curtains again. Another slap.

They brought another activist into the van and placed him between myself and the aggressive officer. I couldnt see anything anyway, so I closed my eyes and tried to breath slowly and stay calm. I was in a lot of pain. My legs were bleeding and I was soaked with grape juice. The soldier shouted at me again. "Open your eyes!" I said, "OK," but kept them closed. He continued to shout at me, but I kept them closed. He continued to harass myself and the other detainees until we arrived at the police station. They had arrested 2 Israelis, myself and seriously beat 2 Palestinians.

They drove us to the station inside Gush Etsion settlement and about 15 officers stood around staring at us as we sat quietly in separate corners. They smiled at me and taunted me, saying things like, "dont worry, soon you will be deported and we will be rid of you." I smiled back, but refused to talk. They asked my name several times.

"I want to speak with my lawyer," was my only reply.

"Do you think this is some other country? Do you think we will just give you a lawyer?"

I repeated it. They started shouting.

"OK! OK! You dont want to say anything!? We will know your name when we deport you!"

I smiled and tried to hide how sad I actually was, because I believed for certain I would be deported. At this point they brought in one of the head shabak (FBI/CIA) men. He didnt look at me right away. Instead, he asked what my problem was as he flipped through some papers. When I didnt reply, he turned to look at me. He did a double take. He knew exactly who I was, where I was living and who I was living with. I also recognized him. As I said before, there are collaborators everywhere. He smiled a huge smile of satisfaction and walked out of the room.

I stayed in this room for long, I dont know. As I sat there they harassed of me, calling me things like "slut" and winking at me. They said I enjoyed it when they ripped the buttons off my shirt and drug me into the van. After this, they took me to another office where I continued to wait. I sat in a chair facing a wall about 2 feet from my face. The wall was covered in photos of the officers at costume parties, lake houses and ski lodges. I thought about my Palestinian friends and about how they cant even leave their own village without passing through a checkpoint. Theyve never seen a ski lodge or a beautiful waterfall.

An Israeli lawyer for the Israeli peace group decided to defend me. I followed her advice and gave up my passport and my name. Now they harassed me by name. They took me in another office to speak with intelligence officers. They knew a lot about me. Not necessarily things that would show up in a passport scan either.

The officer didnt speak English very well. It is my belief that this was an intentional action with intent to misconstrue my statement. I gave few, vague comments, but he wrote 2 pages worth of statement. Following my interrogation they added a new charge...coincidence? Now, we were being charged with assaulting an officer and endangering human life. The first charge was false and we have video to back this up. The second one isnt even a legal charge. Later they changed it to blocking the street. They lied constantly.

After several hours of this, they had finally made a decision. We were allowed to leave on the condition that we surrender our fingerprints and sign a statement stating that we will not return to the Al-Khadr checkpoint or the Al-Khadr junction for 14 days. For my own reasons, I agreed to the conditions.

You would think I went back to our house and celebrated my non-deportation?

Not in Palestine. Upon my return to the house I learned that a good friend had been murdered by the Israeli occupation forces in Nablus. He was in his 20's. He was a really sweet guy with short, dark curly hair and a big smile. I remember the first night I met him I had begged him to do the moonwalk like Michael Jackson. His friends had told me he practiced this. He was shy, but I was relentless in my request. Finally he did it, and he not only moonwalked, but he broke into this whole Michael Jackson routine. The dance was fabulous! Maybe he was even better than Michael Jackson. We cheered and laughed so hard as we watched his face turn red. His friends called him Skipper. I can see him clearly in my head, standing on this particular street corner smiling and waving. Im in Nablus now. I cant look at that corner without being sick.

Instead of celebrating my release, we all sat in silence and cried as we ate dinner.

Allah Yirhama


Here are some links to coverage of the event. It received a lot of media. Ill try to send some photos if I can. Soon ill finish the Al-Jab'a story. /

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shergald Donating Member (494 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-10-06 08:18 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. As crazy as it seems....
Israel recognizes that nonviolent resistance is considerably more dangerous to its project to annex the West Bank than violent resistance, such as suicide bombings. That 99% of Palestinian resistance to their military occupation is nonviolent is not widely known or publicized in the US, mainly due to media bias. It never gets media attention here. But in Europe and the Arab world it is a widely disseminated fact and daily events such as the recent ISM grape march are reported on TV. People in the US have a highly distorted view of the reality.

See Peace, Propaganda, & The Promised Land at Google Video if you believe that profound media bias is not affecting American's perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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Tom Joad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:52 PM
Response to Original message
2. They want the harvesters to be beaten by settler-terrorists.
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Scurrilous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:59 PM
Response to Original message
4. Police arrest 10 settler youths who beat Palestinians harvesting olives

"Police on Thursday arrested 10 youths from the West Bank settlement of Hashmonaim who are suspected of attacking and beating local Palestinians harvesting olives.

Three Palestinians filed complaints with police after they were attacked while working in orchards adjacent to Hashmonaim, which is located near Modi'in.

Police arrived on the scene and arrested 10 suspects. A search revealed the young settlers were carrying a knife, two saws, two hammers, a hoe and brass knuckles.

The 10 suspects were transferred to the Givat Ze'ev police station for questioning."
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