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Palestine: A Non-Violent Victory

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  • World View
    1. A Non-Violent Victory, January 3rd, 2006 2. Harassment of Political Leaders by the Only Democracy in the Middle East , Jan 3rd 3. Beit Iba Checkpoint
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 13, 2006
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      1. A Non-Violent Victory, January 3rd, 2006
      2. Harassment of Political Leaders by the "Only Democracy in the
      Middle East", Jan 3rd
      3. Beit Iba Checkpoint Occupied by Peace, December 31st, 2005
      4. Steadfastness and Solidarity in Bil'in, December 31st, 2005
      5. The Tale of Two Outposts- A story of Israeli Apartheid, December
      29th, 2005
      6. Bil'in: Land Grab thanks to the Wall, December 29th, 2005


      ******************

      1. A Non-Violent Victory
      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

      As a result of the village of Bil'in's ongoing campaign of non-violent
      direct action and protest, an unprecedented action was taken today by
      the Civil Administration in regards to the illegal settlement outpost
      of Matityahu Mizrah, which is being built on Bil'in's land. The Civil
      Administration issued a stop work order, thus sending away the
      construction workers at the outpost, a rare act by the Civil
      Administration in regards to settlement construction. Despite this,
      the illegal work is still being allowed to continue on buildings where
      tenants have already moved in.

      This unusual event follows an investigatory report in Israeli daily
      "Haaretz," written recently by Akiva Eldar, The Real Organized Crime,
      and Documents reveal illegal West Bank building project
      (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArtVty.jhtml?sw=Akiva+Eldar&itemNo=665422
      and http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/665425.html)

      All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. However,
      the article exposes that the Israeli Civil Administration has done
      nothing to stop or restrain the settlement of Mod'iin Illit's
      continuing construction and expansion, despite admitting that even by
      Israeli standards, illegal construction has been taking place on a
      massive scale.

      The article also shows how the Civil Administration serves as a tool
      for laundering land taken illegally from it's Palestinian owners,
      mainly by announcing it to be state land and then transferring it to
      private hands. Specifically in the case Of Bil'in, attorney Moshe
      Glick, who is known to be involved with other similar real estate
      scandals, signed in the stead of the Bil'in village Muhktar,
      testifying that the land belonging to a resident of Bil'in was paid
      for by the settlers.

      Mr. Glick justified signing in the stead of the Muhktar because "any
      Jew entering Bil'in will be killed" and because he claimed there was a
      military order forbidding Israelis from entering Area "B". Both
      statements are, of course, totally false, seeing how Israelis legally
      and safely visit Bil'in (located in Area B) every day. Clearly, there
      is no way that Mr. Glick could know to whom the land that his clients
      were interested in belongs, having never been to Bil'in. Yet the Civil
      Administration has claimed that the supposed land sale was legitimate.

      The villagers of Bil'in have been protesting the theft of their land
      by the annexation barrier, which allows for the expansion of the
      Mod'iin Illit settlement, and for the last ten months the protests
      there have become a symbol for the Palestinian non-violent resistance
      and joint struggle with Israeli and international activists. The route
      of the wall runs meters from the last houses of Bil'in and thousands
      of meters away from the last houses in the expanding illegal
      settlement, thus allowing for further settlement expansion.

      In a recent non violent direct action, the people of Bil'in built a
      Palestinian outpost on their own land across from the settlement, and
      on the Israeli side of the annexation barrier. The Israeli authorities
      responded by forcefully removing two caravans and immediately issuing
      a stop work order for the latest structure that the Palestinians
      erected. The Palestinian `outpost' has since been under 24 hour
      surveillance by the Israeli Military in order to insure that no
      further building takes place. The contrast between the quick concrete
      action taken to stop Bil'in villagers from building on their own land,
      with the lack of action taken against the quickly expanding settlement
      has put the Israeli civil administration in an embarrassing position.

      This is a clear example of how the non-violent actions of the
      villagers and their many supporters have finally forced the Israeli
      Authorities to take concrete action and curb its illegal settlement
      expansion in order to save face. But the real victory is yet to be had
      on Feb 1st 2006, when the Israeli Supreme Court will hear a petition
      filed by villagers against the route of the wall on their land.

      ****************

      2. Routine Harassment of Palestinian Political Leaders by the "Only
      Democracy in the Middle East"
      January 3rd, 2006

      Today, Tuesday January 3rd 2006 the third, is the official opening day
      of the election campaign for the Palestinian Legislative Council. In
      spite of Israel's reputation as the "only democracy in the middle
      east," Palestinian political leaders still face harasement and arrest
      by the Israeli Police and Military.

      At an election rally held by electoral candidate Hannan Ashwari in
      Occupied East Jerusalem today, Israeli Police demanded that a banner
      promoting "The Third Way " be removed. Hannan Ashrawi refused to
      remove it, so the banner was confiscated by the police and Mrs.
      Ashrawi's assistant was arrested. The rally was forcefully dispersed
      by the Israeli police, and four Jerusalem residents participating in
      the rally were arrested for waving Palestinian flags (referred to by
      Ynet as PLO flags), which is still an illegal offense in Occupied East
      Jerusalem.

      On the night of the January 2nd, the Israeli police in occupied east
      Jerusalem arrested two residents of the city for displaying posters of
      electoral candidates. The two were released after being interrogated.
      The Israeli military also prevented Candidate Neda Taweer from Tul
      Karem from crossing a checkpoint on her way to the site of the
      annexation Wall at Dir Al Soon.

      At noon today, January 3rd, Candidate Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, head of
      the Independent Palestine coalition list, was arrested in East
      Jerusalem whilst on a tour of the Old City as part of the his election
      campaign of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Dr. Barghouthi was
      approached by six undercover Israeli security agents, arrested, and
      taken to the Russian Compound jail. He was released at the Al Ram
      checkpoint three hours later.

      ***************

      3. Beit Iba Checkpoint Occupied by Peace
      December 31st, 2005
      For pictures see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2005/12/31/613/
      |
      Palestinian, Israeli and international activists from ISM and IWPS
      celebrated the new year and their continuous determination to jointly
      fight the occupation by peacefully taking over Beit Iba checkpoint,
      north of Nablus. Following a call of local activists from Nablus over
      one hundred Palestinian, Israeli and international activists, many of
      them dressed up as clowns and Santa Clauses, marched to the checkpoint
      from both sides chanting and playing drums and trumpets.

      They succeeded to join each other in the middle of the checkpoint and
      to deliver their demand for freedom and to end the occupation to the
      Israeli soldiers on the spot. Activists, including one dressed as
      Santa Claus, handed out chocolates to the Soldiers, calling on them to
      drop their guns and join the peaceful struggle against the occupation.

      Beit Iba is one of several checkpoints isolating the city of Nablus
      and its 200,000 inhabitants from the surrounding villages and the rest
      of the West Bank, and is notorious for daily harassment and other
      abuses faced by Palestinians. As a result of the continuous siege of
      Nablus since the beginning of the Intifada, all aspects of live in the
      area are severely interrupted: teachers and students face daily
      difficulties on their way to school and universities, patients are
      delayed or stopped on their to hospitals and doctors and farmers are
      often unable to bring their products to the market. Recently Nablus
      residents under the age of 35 are denied their right to leave the
      city, but depending on what the Israeli army calls the ìsecurity
      situationsî this can also apply to all Nablus residents regardless of
      their age.

      By taking over the checkpoint and crossing it without showing their
      ID-cards to the soldiers, the activists confirmed the right of all
      Palestinians for freedom of movement, without being at the mercy of
      the Israeli military and its illegal occupation. In an attempt to
      regain control of the checkpoint the soldiers started closing the
      checkpoint with barbed wire and pushing the activists, separating them
      from each other, and prevented many activists from Nablus from coming
      back into the city.

      Two Palestinian activists were detained and arrested by the Israeli
      military; one is a Palestinian citizen of Israel, the other a
      Palestinian man from the Nablus region. They were released after
      paying bail in the amount of 2000 shekels and were accused of having
      assaulted a soldier, despite the fact that the demonstration was
      peaceful and non-violent.

      ***************

      4. Steadfastness and Solidarity in Bil'in
      December 31st, 2005
      By Anna and Henry

      For pictures see:
      http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2005/12/31/village-of-bilin-continues-its-struggle-against-israeli-apartheid/

      On 12.30.05 the establishment of Western Bil'in was celebrated in
      defiance of Israeli apartheid policies which are demanding its
      removal. Last week Palestinians from Bil'in, with their Israeli and
      international supporters, established the Palestinian "outpost" of
      "West Bil'in" which they are calling "The Center for Joint Struggle.

      Palestinians, primarily women, children and whole families, arrived at
      8AM at the center, bringing food and water for the day, including a
      stove for making bread, along with olive oil and zaatar. They were
      also ploughing their land throughout the day and tending to their
      olive trees, which have been either destroyed or damaged in the past
      year due to the construction of the wall.
      By 9AM the center and the surrounding land began to fill with media
      from around the world. The Israeli activists arrived

      by 10 PM, and very soon there were close to 50 activists there from
      groups such as Israeli Anarchists Against the Wall, Gush Shalom, and
      others

      At 11AM Sheikh Tayeer Tammimi, the imam of al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem
      arrived to Western Bil'in, and soon a he led the mid-day prayer for
      the village on the Bil'in land which had been destroyed by the process
      of illegal settlement construction. The village was also joined in the
      prayer by Palestinian political figure Kaddoura Fares.

      At 1200 the parents of Rachel Corrie, along with approximately 40 more
      internationals came to stand in solidarity with the families of the
      village of Bil'in. The Corries and many of activists had been in
      Bethlehem for the past three days attending the Celebrating
      Non-Violence International Conference, and came to Bil'in in order to
      wittness the ongoing construction of the illegal Apartheid Wall, as
      well as the Palestinian-led non-violent movement against it.

      While attending the demonstration they spoke with members of the
      Popular Committee Against the Wall, Sheikh Tayeer Tammimi, and spent
      the rest of the afternoon with the people of the village, enjoying
      their hospitality while being able seeing up close the destruction and
      theft of Bil'in's land.

      On the way to the construction site, the Corries stopped to photograph
      multiple Caterpillar bulldozers and construction vehicles working on
      the wall. It was a Caterpillar built D-9 Bulldozer which killed their
      daughter Rachel Corrie. She was a peace activist with the ISM and
      United States citizen, and was murdered in the city of Rafah, in the
      Gaza Strip, on March 16, 2003 while protesting the demolition of a
      Palestinian home. The D-9 bulldozer is produced by Caterpillar Inc.
      and sold through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales Program (armored
      plating is provided by state-owned Israel Military Industries (IMI)).

      Throughout the day the Israeli military was present in small groups at
      the perimeter of Western Bil'in, in groups of 4 to 7 soldiers,
      numbering from 30 to 40 in total. Despite stopping people a few times
      during the day, there was very little interference by the Israeli
      military on this day. This is in contrast to the nearly year-long
      non-violent struggle of the people of Bil'in which has seen extremely
      violent treatment by the Israeli Military, including beatings,
      shooting of rubber-coated metal bullets and live ammunition, and night
      arrests of boys and young men from the village itself.


      The day was a great success for the people of Bil'in, who with their
      families and friends, were able to join with Israelis and
      Internationals on their land and defy its ongoing destruction by the
      juggernaut of Israeli illegal settlement construction. Israeli
      government efforts to monitor and remove the Palestinian outpost of
      Western Bil'in contrasts starkly with Israeli government support for
      the establishment of hundreds of illegal Israeli settlements and
      outposts throughout the West Bank. The construction of Israel's wall
      in Bil'in and other villages is being used as an excuse to annex
      Palestinian land throughout the West Bank to Israel, in violation of
      International Law.

      ********************

      5. The Tale of Two Outposts- A story of Israeli Apartheid
      December 29th, 2005

      The fallowing is a description of a photograph that you can view at:
      http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2005/12/29/the-tale-of-two-outposts/

      On the left of the photograph is the simple brick room that Bil'in
      villagers have built on their land in an area that they are calling
      "Bil'in west". On the right of the pictures are the massive apartment
      building complexs under construction in the Modi'in Elite settlement
      outpost also known as "Metityahu East".
      The Palestinian structure that houses "the center for Joint struggle"
      has received a "stop work order" from the Israeli civil administration
      and is threatened with demolition.
      The settlement apartment buildings, despite being built without
      permits or plans from the Israeli government on land that belongs to
      the village of Bil'in , have yet to receive such an order.
      The Israeli military have placed the Palestinian house under twenty
      four hour surveillance to insure that no additional construction take
      place.
      By constructing Bil'in west the villagers have effectively Turned the
      Tables on the Occupation. The people of Bil'in are using the symbols
      and language employed by Israel for the theft of Palestinian land in a
      bid to hold onto village land that Israel is attempting to annex for
      the Wall and settlements.

      The Palestinian "outpost", built on Bil'in's land with a permit issued
      by the Bil'in village councile, sits only a few hundred meters away
      from new Israeli settlement housing units that even the Israeli
      government views as illegal.
      The Center for Joint Struggle in Bil'in West is holding ongoing
      activities including Guided Tours of Bil'in's lands with explanations
      by the village's Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements,
      meetings between Palestinian, Israeli and international peace
      activists, screening of video materials about the joint struggle
      against the annexation barrier and Hanuka candle lighting.

      **************

      6. Bil'in: Land Grab thanks to the Wall
      December 29th, 2005

      Bil'in is a small village located six km east of the green line, west
      of Ramallah. The village rests on 4,000 dunams (about 1,000 acres) and
      is home to 1,700 residents, whose livelihood depends on agriculture
      and work outside the village. Most of the villages land lies between
      two streams (the Modi'in stream in the south and the Dolev stream in
      the north); the western tip of the lands of Bil'in are covered with
      the houses of the Kiryat Sefer section of the Israeli settlement
      Modi'in Illit.

      The barrier Israel is building confiscates about half of the lands of
      the village. According to the Israeli government, 1,700 dunams of
      Bil'in's land will remain west of the wall. In addition, the route
      itself – whose width is between 50 and 150 meters – takes about 250
      dunams. In sum, the wall confiscates from Bil'in at least 1,950 dunams
      (the actual figure is expected to be even higher). It stretches near
      the last house of the village, surrounding it from three sides.

      A Real Estate Wall under the Guise of Security

      The Modi'in Elite settlement outpost is currently under construction
      As in other villages, the Israeli government argues that the route of
      the wall in Bil'in was determined purely for security reasons.
      However, a brief visit to the village shows this to be false. The
      fence is mostly down the hill, in a topographically low point, easily
      allowing shooting above it. It goes six km east of the Green Line and
      1.8 km east of the built and populated area of Modi'in Illit. The
      route crosses two streams, which necessitated complex and very
      expensive engineering work.

      Had the aim of the fence been to defend the residents of Israel, it
      would have been put along the Green Line. Had its aim been to protect
      the present residents of Modi'in Illit, it would have been erected in
      superior topographic conditions near the built and populated area of
      the settlement.

      The only reason for the route chosen is the expansion plans for
      Modi'in Illit. Right now, two new sections are being built in the
      settlement: the Matityahu East (also known as Heftsiba and Green Park)
      area, on 870 dunams of the lands of Bil'in west of the barrier; and
      the Neot Ha'Pisga area, on 560 dunams belonging mostly to the nearby
      Palestinian village Kharbata, but also confiscating some land
      belonging to Bil'in north of the Dolev stream.

      In Matityahu East, 3,008 housing units are being built, while in Neot
      Ha'Pisga, 2,748 flats are planned. According to the plan, the
      Matityahu East section will reach the route of the fence itself so
      that its outermost houses will be located meters from the barrier! A
      master plan prepared by the Israeli Ministry of Housing allocates the
      remaining 600 dunams of the lands of Bil'in west of the fence, between
      Matityahu East and the Dolev stream, for another new section in
      Modi'in Illit, in which 1,200 housing units will be built.

      Hence, the route of the wall in Bil'in was determined in light of the
      various construction plans of the settlement Modi'in Illit. Recently,
      the Israeli Government admitted, in response to a High Court of
      Justice petition, that "the route of the fence on the lands of Bil'in
      was designed, among others, to safeguard two new neighborhoods of
      Modi'in Illit, one which is already in advanced building stages… and
      the other… where building, on the western side, already began." In
      other words, the route of the fence was designed to protect the future
      settlers who will live in the future areas to be built on the
      confiscated lands of Bil'in west of the barrier.

      From a Small Settlement into a City

      The story of Modi'in Illit started in 1992, when the small
      ultra-orthodox settlement Kiryat Sefer was established on the lands of
      the villages Kharbata, Deir Qaddis and Ni'lin, as well as on the
      western tip of the lands of Bil'in. In 1996 the name of the settlement
      was changed into Modi'in Illit, and it began to expand. At present
      Modi'in Illit is a 5,800-dunam (more than 1450 acres) settlements, all
      located east of the Green Line.

      According to the master plan prepared by the Ministry of Housing,
      150,000 settlers will live in the area by 2020 – most of them in
      Modi'in Illit itself. The Central Bureau of Statistics reports that in
      September 2005, 29,300 people lived in Modi'in Illit – 12.7 percent
      more than in 2004. Modi'in Illit is the second largest settlement
      (with respect to its population) in the West Bank, following Ma'ale
      Edomim, and will soon become the most densely populated settlement.

      Unlike most settlements, Modi'in Illit is not an ideological one. Its
      ultra-orthodox residents came here only since the Israeli government
      offered them cheap housing. In many respects, the residents of this
      settlement are a victim of the policy of the government, which decided
      to bring them here and to inevitably create a conflict between them
      and the Palestinian land owners. This process was greatly enhanced
      recently, with the expansion eastward of Modi'in Illit, outside the
      boundaries of its built area. This expansion also violates an explicit
      commitment, given by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to U.S.
      President George Bush on December 2003. According to that agreement
      all building outside the already built-up areas of the settlements
      will cease.

      Matityahu East: the Largest Illegal Outpost in the Territories

      In the midst of procedures at the High Court of Justice, it was
      revealed that the Matityahu East section – the main reason for the
      route of the fence in Bil'in – is being constructed in violation of
      Israeli planning laws and without legal permits. In addition, the
      section violates international law in general, and the Fourth Geneva
      Convention that forbids the settlement of the occupying population in
      the occupied areas in particular.

      The Matityahu East section is being built according to plan number
      210/8/1, which was not approved yet by the Israeli planning
      authorities in the West Bank. The section has an approved building
      plan from 1999, plan number 210/8. However, the later allows only
      1,532 housing units to be built (compared with 3,008 according to the
      new plan), and the division of lands therein (public areas, streets
      etc) is different than in the new plan. In reality, the construction
      in Matityahu East is being done according to plan number 210/8/1,
      which has no validity under Israeli law. According to the Israeli
      government, 750 housing units have already been illegally built in
      Matityahu East.

      A letter written by the Comptroller of the Local Council Modi'in Illit
      in March 14, 2005 shows that the Comptroller sent warnings against the
      illegal building in Matityahu East already in January 2004, to both
      Council members and the Ministry of the Interior – but nothing was
      done to stop it. Following the complaints of the Comptroller, the
      local Council decided to fire him rather than address the violations.

      While the authorities allow large-scale illegal building to continue
      in Matityahu East, the Civil Administration was quick to issue a
      warrant against building in the Bil'in Center for the Joint Struggle
      for Peace – a small building, sized seven square meters, which the
      residents of Bil'in and Israeli peace activists erected near Matityahu
      East on December 25th, 2005. Just a few hours after the walls of the
      building were completed, a warrant was delivered to the people of
      Bil'in forbidding any further building there and summoning them to a
      hearing at a planning committee of the Civil Administration. In
      addition, the army forcefully evacuated two caravans put in the place
      – one on December 22nd and the second on December 25th. This is a
      clear example of double standard in the enforcement of the law in the
      West Bank.

      The High Court Petition

      The issue of the fence in Bil'in is now in the High Court of Justice,
      where a hearing on the subject is to be held on February 1st, 2006. A
      petition against the fence was issued in September, by attorney
      Michael Sfard; it includes an extensive discussion of the future
      building plans of Modi'in Illit, some of which were only recently exposed.
      In the petition, attorney Sfard claims that the route of the fence in
      Bil'in was not determined by security considerations, but rather by
      the interests of the settlement and of real estate companies. The
      route carefully follows the existing and future construction plans of
      Modi'in Illit, and was designed to allow unscrupulous real estate
      developers operating in the settlement (among them the companies
      Heftsiba and Green Park) to collect huge profits, on the backs of the
      people of Bil'in, whose lands are being stolen from them before their
      very eyes.

      *********************************************************************

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