Israeli forces suppress Nakba march and arrest coordinator of the Popular Campaign in Bethlehem
15-5-2013 Yesterday Israeli forces arrested Mazen al-Azzeh, coordinator of the Popular Campaign against the Wall and settlements in Bethlehem. This took place while he participated in a march in Bethlehem to mark 65 years of the Nakba (catastrophe). The presence of heavily armed military occupation forces at the beginning of the march surprised the participants; this presence soon turned to suppression of the demonstration and prosecution and assaults on citizens when participants reached the so-called “checkpoint 60”.
The march began in front of Dheisheh refugee camp and proceeded in the direction of the territories that were occupied in 1948. Dozens of local citizens and representatives of national powers participated, along with the Committee for Right to Return. The right to return to the lands that were confiscated from Palestinians in 1948 is considered a sacred right and those involved in the march were there to assert and emphasize this.
Thousands also gathered in Bethlehem’s Manger Square on Tuesday to hold a series of commemoration events. The director of Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Najwa Darwish, inaugurated the event and said the "Nakba has always been the deepest wound in our modern history as more than 70 percent of our people are still identified as refugees, either in camps or in the Diaspora".
During the march a number of citizens were injured, including paramedics and medical relief workers, as a result of tear gas, sound bombs and metal bullets fired by the soldiers. One person was hit in the jaw and many suffered from suffocation due to tear gas.
Mazen al-Azzeh was dragged off by Israeli soldiers to the Gush Etzion camp, located between Hebron and Bethlehem, and was arrested on fabrication of charges of stone throwing and attacking Israeli soldiers. He will be detained until Thursday (16/5/13) when his first trial will take place. It is worth noting that this is the fourth time Mazen al-Azzeh has been arrested this year. Two days ago he was also deliberately hit by a sound bomb fired by occupation soldiers.
Salah al-Khawaja, the leader of the Palestinian Initiative and the Popular Resistance, said that “The continued policy of arrests and intentional injuries to activists will not deter us. We will not only continue our popular activities and combative actions against the separation wall but we will organize more advanced methods of confronting the occupation policy”.
This event takes place within the framework of national and popular events organized in memory of the Nakba, on Wednesday 15th May. This day will be a day of anger and protests throughout the Palestinian territories.
On Wednesday morning (24/4/13) Israeli occupation forces, accompanied by bulldozers and the so-called Civil Administration, demolished 3 houses under construction in the Ganieh region, northwest of al-Arrub refugee camp, north of Hebron. When Hazem Abdel Fattah Al Jabri returned to his home the occupation forces had demolished a room 35m square and a concrete wall 120m long and 2m high – costing him about two hundred thousand shekels. Jacob Mohamed Gad Allah Abu reported that an area 140m square of a building under construction had been demolished and Omar Younis Rashid Moheisen said the IOF demolished two rooms in his house as well as destroying the water tanks and leveling land that was planted with dozens of olive and almond trees.
The occupation forces declared the area a closed military zone during the demolition process and prevented the approach of citizens and homeowners. According to the owners of the destroyed houses they received no notifications of the demolition and were surprised that the process was initiated without warning in an area that is far from any settlements or roads used by settlers.
In Jerusalem, the IOF also demolished a house belonging to Kayed Jaradat located in the Mount Sinai area due to lack of a license; leaving the 25 member s of the Jaradat family homeless. This “license” is required for Palestinians to have permission to build on their own land; however this permission is never granted. The Jaradat family confirmed that the bulldozers came to the area without an advance warning and the family had no time to prepare to leave the house.
The IOF yesterday also demolished houses and farm areas housing livestock in al-Maleh and the Bedouin areas due to lack of license. This means the number of establishments that have been demolished since the beginning of the year has now reached 80.
Israeli occupation forces have also announced they will demolish a water tank that is currently being built in the municipality of Idna. They have threatened to confiscate equipment and arrest any workers who continue to work there. The tank serves agricultural land and livestock farmers in the western region and 20,000 dollars has been spent on its creation.
It is also worth noting that on Tuesday, the occupation forces uprooted more than 1,300 olive trees in the Susia area east of Yatta in the Hebron district. The trees belonged to 11 families in total and again, there was no prior warning of the uprooting and destruction that was about to take place. A group of settlers from the "Karmi Tsur" settlement also uprooted 30 olive trees east of the town of Halhul.
On the 17th April Palestinians gathered in the occupied territories to commemorate the 39th Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. This day was first commemorated by the Palestinian National Council, under the authority of the PLO, in 1974. On this date the Palestinian prisoner, Mahmoud Bakr Hijazi, was released in the first exchange between Palestinians and the Israeli occupation.
The current report by the Ministry of Prisoners states that there are 4900 Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons; this includes 235 children and 14 women. Amongst these detainees are former ministers, dozens of political leaders and journalists. The report also states there are 168 detainees held without charge or trial. The data indicates that 523 of the prisoners are sentenced to life imprisonment, and figures at the end of March this year showed there were 1,200 patient prisoners in need of treatment; 85 suffering from various disabilities and 25 with cancer. The number of martyrs who have died in prison, including recently Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh who had cancer, is 204.
Sit-ins, demonstrations and rallies were organized across the West Bank and Gaza to commemorate the Prisoners’ Day, show solidarity and unite efforts for their release. In Jerusalem many Jerusalemites gathered in front of Damascus Gate, holding photos of prisoners from their city (of which there are 265) and in particular pictures of the prisoner Samer al-Issawi who has been on hunger strike for 271 days. The father of prisoner Bilal Abu Hussein, stressed the particular need to do something about the old and sick prisoners. He said: “We miss our prisoners every day of the year and not only on the Palestinian Prisoners' Day. We are concerned for them because of the occupation policies towards them that lead to other illness due to deliberate medical negligence and even to death”.
In Jericho and the Jordan Valley a protest was carried out in front of the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Speakers from the Ministry of Prisoners and Prisoners' Club stressed the necessity of continuing events in solidarity with prisoners in Israeli jails and uniting all official and popular efforts for their release.
In Ramallah many gathered around Yasser Arafat roundabout (Sa’a Square) holding Palestinian flags and slogans calling for the world, the UN and human rights organizations to intervene for the release of prisoners and an end to their suffering.
In Nablus hundreds participated in a march from a compound in the east of the city towards Martyr square. The mothers of prisoners called on the international community, especially the European Union, to pressure Israel and work for the unconditional release of all the prisoners. A group of the families of various prisoners left messages for their loved ones written in blood on white banners as an expression of their support for the struggle of the prisoners.
In Salfit, the governor Salfit Isam Abu Bakr said in a speech during the festival to mark Prisoners’ Day that: “this occasion was an opportunity to remember the great suffering and pain that has and is still being inflicted on many prisoners who represent the elite and the best sons of the Palestinian people”. He added that the “response to the arrogance of the occupation is unity and the rejection of any dispute, calling for a strategy and a national approach based on overall national unity”.
The secretary general of Fatah in Salfit, Abdul Sattar Awad, added that “the month of April held many painful memories due to events that have occurred and impacted our people; especially the anniversary of the martyrdom of Abu Jihad Khalil al-Wazir”. The festival included a mass rally in which the governor participated, events and poetic readings, and the lighting of the flame of solidarity which announced the start of the Prisoners' Day.
Palestinian boycott activists are calling on the Netherlands’ Prince Willem to reconsider his decision to lend his name to a water project undertaken by the Jewish National Fund Netherlands in the Naqab/Negev desert in the south of present-day Israel. The project is in honor of the prince’s inauguration as king later this month. Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human rights activist and a founder of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, told The Electronic Intifada: “The [JNF] has played a key role in the dispossession of the Palestinians and in colonizing their lands. Today, [the JNF] continues its explicitly racist practices against Palestinians and rejects any notion of equal rights for all. Palestinian civil society appreciates the prominence that equality and non-discrimination have in the Dutch constitution and based on this, appeal to Prince Willem to reconsider his decision to lend his name to a project of the JNF.”
Jamal Juma’, director of the Stop the Wall campaign, commented in an email to The Electronic Intifada: “For Palestinians, the JNF is not only one of the key material agents that implement Israeli policies of discrimination and dispossession on either side of the Green Line. The JNF is one of the most striding symbols of apartheid and the Israeli ideology of racial supremacy. The King of the Netherlands accepting as a gift a ‘civilizing’ project by a colonial agency in a country that is not his brings us back to the darkest days of colonialism when the white people where convinced they could dispose of territories and the people living there at their whim and pleasure. I urge the Netherlands to instead valorize the tradition of tolerance, equality and respect for human rights they are known for today and to ensure this gift will be rejected.”
The Service and Research Center Palestine (docP), an organization which supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement in the Netherlands, wrote to The Electronic Intifada that it supports the call on the prince to not lend his name to the water project.
A press release from the Jewish National Fund-Netherlands falsely claims that the JNF-NL’s core business is the development of the land of Israel and making it habitable for the benefit of all its inhabitants. In reality, the organization’s work contributes to the dispossession of the Palestinian people and the entrenchment of Israel’s apartheid system. The JNF-NL charter mentions the Jewish people as the beneficiary of its aim and activities, explicitly excluding the indigenous Palestinian population, which makes up 20 percent of the total population in present-day Israel.
In 1992, the JNF-NL adopted a new charter which shows it operates as a branch of JNF Israel, also known as Keren Kavemeth LeIsrael (KKL). The Electronic Intifada obtained a copy of this charter, which is written in Dutch. It is still valid because no changes were registered by the Chamber of Commerce while foundations have the duty to report changes in their governance to this body.
The aim of the JNF-NL is to “bring the land into Israel inalienable property of the Jewish people and enabling the development and afforestation of land in Israel in the interests of the Jewish people” (Article 2).
The charter shows that KKL actually controls the governance of the JNF-NL. KKL headquarters needs to approve the nomination of the members of the Dutch board of directors and will appoint new members when the board has no members. Furthermore, the JNF-NL board has to consult with KKL on the appointment, dismissal and salary of the director, and the JNF-NL board needs the approval of KKL if it wants to change its charter. All revenues of the JNF-NL will be transferred to KKL, unless otherwise has been expressly stipulated.
The Jewish National Fund was founded in 1901 with the primary objective to “purchase, take on lease, or in exchange, or receive on lease or otherwise lands” in Palestine and the surrounding areas for the purpose of “settling Jews on such lands.”
Following war and the establishment of Israel in 1948, the JNF took control of most of the land which had been confiscated from Palestinian refugees. In the 1950s, the JNF became a quasi state organization when Israel formally linked the private fund to the state under the World Zionist Organization – Jewish Agency (Status) Law and the Keren Keyemeth LeIsrael Law. With these laws, the Israeli government decided that the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency and their affiliates, including the JNF, were to be treated as part of the State of Israel, and as institutions empowered to carry out public functions. Subsequently, the JNF joined the Israel Lands Administration (later renamed Israel Lands Authority), which is the public authority managing approximately 93 percent of all land in Israel.
According to Ilan Pappé, the JNF directly owns 13 percent of the land, and through its influential position in the Israel Lands Authority has a stronghold over 93 percent of all land in Israel.
According to the JNF charter and the “Basic Law: Israel Lands,” the JNF may exchange and lease land only to Jewish legal persons, to the state and the government-controlled Development Authority, writes Palestinian refugee rights organization Badil.
The funds collected by the JNF-NL are transferred to and spent by the Israeli para-state organization JNF-KKL.
In 2004, the rights group Adalah in Haifa challenged at the Israeli high court the Israel Lands Authority’s policy to open tenders for JNF lands only to Jews. Adalah demanded that the ILA, as a public agency, respect the principles of equality, just distribution and fairness, and cease acting as a sub-contractor for discrimination on the basis of nationality. In its response to the high court, the JNF underscored its special role “as the owner of an eternal possession of the Jewish people.” It argued that the allocation of JNF lands to non-Jews will be “extreme damaging, retroactively, to the rights of the JNF and of the Jewish people.” JNF writes:
Israel’s Knesset and Israeli society have expressed their view that the distinction between Jews and non-Jews that is the basis for the Zionist vision is a distinction that is permitted and is not discriminatory, at least in regard to resources held by the Zionist movement. [Emphasis added in original letter]
The JNF’s response reveals a determination to continue its discriminatory marketing of land, stating the “JNF is not a public body which acts on behalf of all the citizens of the state. Its loyalty is to the Jewish people and its responsibility is to it alone.”
The JNF’s discriminatory practices against 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel were addressed by several UN bodies. In 2007, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged Israel to ensure that the JNF is bound by the principle of non-discrimination in the exercise of its functions.
In 1998, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights noted with grave concern that the JNF is “chartered to benefit Jews exclusively” and called on Israel to remedy the problem.
In 2007, the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) rejected the JNF-USA’s application for consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council. The JNF-KKL’s violations of the principles of the UN Charter, which emphasize respect for human rights and equality, was one of the main reasons for the rejection, according to Adalah. Furthermore, the committee was unable to distinguish between the activities of the JNF-USA and JNF-KKL, contrary to the JNF-USA’s claim it was an independent non-governmental organization.
Citizens expect their king to show respect for the core values as laid down in the kingdom’s constitution. The principle of non-discrimination is crucial in Dutch values as it is the very first article of the Constitution of the Netherlands. However, JNF-NL operates as a branch of the JNF-KKL, an Israeli para-state organization that carries out essential government functions and discriminates on the basis of religion and ethnicity at the expense of the rights of the indigenous Palestinian population.
Source: The Electronic Intifada 18/04/13 http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/adri-nieuwhof/palestine-activists-call-netherlands-prince-disassociate-jnf-water-project
Al-Ma’sara: Israeli occupation forces suppressed the weekly march against the separation wall in Ma’sara. The IOF intercepted the march and attacked demonstrators, beating them, preventing them from reaching the wall and injuring a number of them.
Beit Ummar: Three demonstrators were hit by rubber-coated metal bullets fired by the IOF at the entrance to the village of Beit Ummar and dozens of citizens suffered the effects of tear gas and smoke bombs.
Kafr Kadum: On Friday IOF forces attacked protestors during the weekly anti-settlement march in Kafr Kadum demanding the opening of the main street of the village. Local sources reported Israeli soldiers fired stun grenades and tear gas towards the participants as they reached the iron gate which closes the main street of the village. Many were injured and required treatment in the field.
Nabi Saleh: Israeli soldiers fired metal bullets, stun grenades and gas towards participants in the weekly march in the village of Nabi Saleh. A foreign activist demonstrating in solidarity with Palestine was shot three times in various parts of the body and was transferred to Yasser Arafat Hospital in Salfit. Another foreign activist was also injured and dozens suffered from the suffocating effects of tear gas.
Bil'in: Israeli soldiers fired metal bullets, stun grenades and tear gas at participants when they arrived at the “Abu Lemon” land near the Wall. This led to the injury of Ahmed Abdul Fattah Bernat (20 years) and Mohamed Ahmed Hamad (22 years).
Hebron: The IOF pumped skunk water and tear gas toward the homes of Palestinians and at demonstrators demanding the opening of an important road into the city of Hebron. The demonstrations are organized every week by the Committee for the Defense of Hebron and joined by many activists from STW and also abroad. Protestors raised Palestinian flags and pictures of the prisoner Samer al-Issawi (who is on long-term hunger strike) and the recent martyr Abu Hamdiyeh and chanted slogans calling for the freedom of Palestinian prisoners and the lifting of the road barriers. Murad Jabari, an activist from the Committee for the Defense of Hebron, added that the IOF began firing tear gas at protestors as soon as the demonstration began and this hasty violence provoked Palestinians to respond with stone throwing.
On Thursday (11/4/13) Israeli settlers attacked a 60 year old man as he worked on his land near Ramallah. The settlers beat Ahmad al-Zir, who used to be a Palestinian judge, round the head with an iron rod until he lost consciousness and was taken to Ramallah Government Hospital.
This assault sparked clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces as residents of Silwad headed to al-Asour area to confront the settlers. Israeli forces responded by firing tear gas and plastic coated bullets at protestors and a 16 year old Palestinian was shot in the chest. The teenager was also taken to Ramallah Government Hospital.
Several Palestinian groups announced they would hold Friday prayers at an outpost near the site of the attack, which is built on land which belongs to Palestinians in Silwad and Deir Jarir.
This is a video of the Silwad Protest:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzsyPljZUVM At the end of the video is an account of the attack on Ahamd al-Zir.
Demonstrators from the BDS campaign in Brazil (boycotts, divestments and sanctions) showed their solidarity with Palestine last week when they staged protests at the LAAD Fair. The LAAD fair (The Latin American Aerospace and Defence Exhibition) took place at the RioCentro in Rio de Janeiro from the 9 – 12 April and had been dubbed by activists the "Fair of Death".
A group armed only with BDS T-shirts and Keffiyehs (Palestinian scarves) first staged a protest at the entrance to the fair; opening a large Palestinian flag and banners with slogans such as “Military Embargo on Israel now!” and “President Rousseff, stop buying weapons from Israel”. The group represents The Front for the Defence of the Palestinian People which is a collection of dozens of Brazilian civil society organizations. Brazil is one of the top five Israeli arms importers, a fact emphasized by the presence of over 30 Israeli companies that occupied the RioCentro at the fair. The "Israel" stall had consequently conquered a position covering the biggest exposition area in the entire fairground.
It is disheartening to note that the vice-president of Brazil, Michel Temer, and Defence Minister, Celso Amorim, were both addressing the opening of an event which has Israeli technology of war and repression at its heart and which has turned into a major platform to strengthen Israeli control over Brazil's defence industry. This squarely contradicts fundamental Brazilian political commitments and legal obligations.
The second protest occurred inside the fair where demonstrators walked through the entire fair, speaking out against the occupation of Palestine. However, amazingly, as they tried to get close to the stalls of the Israeli war industry they were stopped and asked for their passports by the Israeli Security Service; as if an Israeli checkpoint had been established in Rio de Janeiro! The area of the LAAD appeared to have been occupied under the noses of state and federal governments and attempts made to deny the citizens of Brazil their democratic right to freedom of expression and demonstration.
Despite attempts to intimidate "unwanted" visitors in the inner area of the fair, demonstrators were able to confirm the presence of weapons of apartheid and various Israeli military technologies which have been tested on Palestinians; for example, the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) which has been used in recent attacks on Gaza in the occupied territory.
The LAAD was officially sponsored by Embraer (Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica), who maintains close links with the state of Israel and has contracts with Israeli Elbit Systems (another company exhibiting at the fair that operates in the area of military technology and built the famous UAV). It is also one of 12 companies involved in the construction of the apartheid wall in the West Bank in occupied Palestine. Through the company Ares Aerospace, Elbit recently won two new very lucrative contracts with the Brazilian Army. The government of Rio Grande do Sul also intends to expand its presence in Brazil, with an aerospace center design based on the AEL in Porto Alegre. With this, the state capital might become the hub of the most important Israeli military research abroad. This project, funded by public money, also gives advantages to businesses based on the crimes committed by Israel.
In order to end these military relationships with Israel a manifesto has been sent to the Brazilian authorities by the BDS campaign which rejects the presence of Israel in the LAAD. This manifesto points out the close link between the importation of these military technologies and the repression of the young, poor and black populations in the buying countries. The manifesto has been signed and supported by more than 30 organizations.
Below is a copy of the manifesto and a list of the signatories:
We Say No to Complicity with Israeli Apartheid!
From April 9 -12, in Rio de Janeiro, close to 30 Israeli companies, complicit in occupation and apartheid in Palestine, will be among the exhibitors at the LAAD Fair (The Latin American Aerospace and Defense Exhibition), referred to by social justice groups as the “Death Fair”. In recent years, Brazil has become one of the five largest importers of so-called Israeli security and defense technologies: a billion-dollar industry for the occupying power. The LAAD Fair is a major opportunity for the Israeli apartheid regime to further increase its profits and is an affront to human rights.
Embraer (Brazilian Aircraft Manufacturer), LAAD’s official sponsor, maintains contracts with the Israeli company, Elbit Systems, one of the fair’s exhibitors. Elbit acts in the ar ea of military technology, manufacturing VANTS (unmanned aerial vehicles/drones) which were used in recent attacks on Gaza. Elbit is one of the 12 companies involved in the construction of the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank in Occupied Palestine. In October of 2012, during the UN General Assembly, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights, Richard Falk, called for the boycotting of Elbit Systems. Present in Brazil for the last 15 years, Elbit operates through its subsidiaries AEL, Periscópio Equipamentos Optrônicos S/A (Periscope Optronics Equipment) and Ares Aeroespacial e Defesa (Ares Aerospace and Defense). Through Ares Aeroespacial, Elbit recently acquired two million-dollar contracts with the Brazilian Army. In hopes of facilitating business relations with Israeli co mpanies, the Brazilian Armed Forces has maintained an office in Tel Aviv since 2003. Concerning Elbit, the government of Rio Grande do Sul (southern Brazilian state) is planning on expanding its presence in Brazil, facilitating the denationalization of industry. Brazil’s complicity further increases with an aeropace outpost project housed within Elbit subsidiary, AEL, in Porto Alegre (city in Rio Grande do Sul.) With this project, the southern state capital could become Israel’s most important foreign military research outpost. Such a project, financed with public money, also provides benefits for business transactions which are linked to Israel’s crimes and human rights violations.
Another LAAD exhibitor and Brazilian Armed Forces supplier, Israel Aircraft Industries, produces equipment for the Israeli occupation forces, the Apartheid Wall and the illegal settlements. In Brazil, Grupo Sinergy and Israeli Aircraft Industries subsidiary, Bedek, formed a joint venture named “EAE Soluções Aeroespacias” (EAE Aerospace Solutions). This joint venture utilizes TAP M&E Brasil’s production and maintenance centers in Rio De Janeiro and Porto Alegre. With sights set on contracts involving the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics (to be held in Brazil), delegation trips between the two countries have become a common occurrence. According to media reports, the Brazilian government plans to invest R$1,17 billion (one point one seven billion Brazilian Reals) in security contracts for the World Cup. Israel would like to acquire as many of these contracts as possible. The LAAD fair, one of the sector’s most important events in all of Latin America, actively faciliates such negotiations. Rio de Janeiro, the events host city, recently bought eight new armored vehicles (referred to as “caveirões” in Portuguese) to be employed by the Military Police in the overall repression of the state’s population of poor black youth.
Civil society organizations comprising Frente em Defesa do Povo Palestino-SP (Front in Defense of the Palestinian People- São Paulo) and the BDS Brasil campaign (Brazilian campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) denounce the “Death Fair” along with the presence in Brazil of companies complicit in apartheid and occupation imposed upon the Palestinian people. We demand an immediate end to military contracts and agreements with Israel, which are a violation of Brazil’s obligations under international law.
BDS Brazil Campaign
Frente em Defesa do Povo Palestino-SP
Centro Cultural Árabe-Palestino do Rio Grande do Sul
Comitê Brasileiro de Defesa dos Direitos do Povo Palestino
Comitê Catarinense de Solidariedade ao Povo Palestino
Comitê de Solidariedade à Luta do Povo Palestino do Rio de Janeiro
Frente Palestina da USP (Universidade de São Paulo)
Anel - Assembleia Nacional dos Estudantes - Livre!
Apropuc-SP – Associação dos Professores da PUC-SP (Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo)
CAS – Coletivo de Artistas Socialistas
Ciranda Internacional de Comunicação Compartilhada
Coletivo de Mulheres Ana Montenegro
Coletivo Periferia, Nossa Faixa de Gaza
Comitê Indígena Revolucionário
CSP-Conlutas – Central Sindical e Popular
CUT – Central Única dos Trabalhadores
DCE Livre da USP “Alexandre Vannucchi Leme”
Frente de Defesa aos Ameaçados de Morte
MML – Movimento Mulheres em Luta
MMM - Marcha Mundial das Mulheres
Mopat – Movimento Palestina para Tod@s
Movimento Mães de Maio
MST – Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra
PCB – Partido Comunista Brasileiro
PSTU - Partido Socialista dos Trabalhadores Unificado
Sindicato dos Metalúrgicos de São José dos Campos
Stop the Wall
Tribunal Popular da Terra
Tribunal Popular: o Estado brasileiro no banco dos réus
União da Juventude Pró-Palestina do Brasil
Settlers from the settlement of Beit Ayin, northwest of Beit Ummar in Hebron, cut and destroyed dozens of trees on the land of farmer Hamad Abdul Hamid Jaber, on Thursday morning. This sabotage left 55 grape vines, 1 quince tree and 45 olive trees destroyed. Two olive trees were more than 30 years old. The settlers also wrote slogans calling for a “price to be paid” and “death to the Arabs”.
Settler hurled insults and death threats in Arabic at the farmer, Hamad, which were captured on camera. Hamad was working on his land this morning when the surprise attack and stones thrown by the settlers forced him retreat. Once the settlers left, he returned to his land to view the damage and the huge losses he had sustained.
It is important to point out that this is the fifth time this year and second time in two weeks that settlers from Beit Ein have attacked Hamad’s land. He is 78 years old and forced to leave his land and suffer these attacks regularly while settlers continue their annexation and seizure of land for settlements. Hamad continues to appeal to all official and governmental institutions and human rights organizations; but it appears no one is listening.
Beitillu is a village located to the northwest of Ramallah, 19 km from the city. Beitillu is bordered to the east by Birzeit and the farm village, Almazra'a and to the west by the Green Line. To the north it’s bordered by Nabi Saleh and to the south by Ras Karkar and Al-Janbeh. Beitillu contains about 103 water springs.
According to the administrative borders the village covers about 18000 acres; 5825 acres are irrigated areas, and 2,500 acres constitute olive groves. It has a population of 4500 people. The village is known for its cultivation of olives, almonds, figs and citrus fruits; and there are more than two thousand acres of land suitable for agriculture. According to the Oslo agreement 35% of village lands, which are very important for agriculture, are classified as area ''C''. Beitillu is located within the union municipality along with the villages of Jalamah and Deir Ammar.
Settlement Reality Surrounding the Village
The building of the “Nhlael” settlement began in the village of Beitillu in 1984 when 50 acres of land were confiscated from the eastern side of the village of Beitillu. The settlement then expanded gradually and along with other settlements surrounding the village, such as "Hallamish" which is located to the north of village and the settlements of "Nariyah" and "Dolph" to the south, a further 2,500 acres of land were confiscated. Thus, Beitillu is surrounded by settlements from all sides. The village witnesses expansive work on a daily basis, which includes bulldozing and confiscation of land for the surrounding settlements; in particular the "Nhlael” settlement.
618 olive trees were cut down by the settlers in the village during 2012, along with approximately 400 trees that have been burned. Many more have not been counted.
Like the majority of the Palestinian villages, which are exposed to settlers' terrorism and who are protected by occupation forces, the village of Beitillu is exposed to continuous attacks. Attacks are especially common from the "Nhlael" settlement, such as burning village houses and vehicles and beating farmers and residents. In addition to the cutting, burning and stealing of the crops from the olive trees, acts of sabotage on the irrigation pipes and equipment used by the people in the surrounding areas where water springs are found are common. Some of these areas have been transformed by residents into farmland to prevent settlers from getting it. Settlers are also prone to make up events and religious ceremonies in order to go to the springs and convert them into holy places.
Mustafa Badr owns 50 acres of olive trees, some of which are 60 years old. Bader says: "I had to reconstruct my land which cost $10000 after the settlers completely destroyed it, however, I will continue to visit my land for the rest of my life." The settlers are destroying and vandalizing any lands that the Palestinians have worked hard to take good care of. It is clear that today settlers are becoming more harmful and violent toward Palestinian citizens.
Last week the hacking group Anonymous launched a cyber-attack campaign dubbed #OpIsrael replacing Israeli homepage messages with anti-Israel slogans and causing massive disruption to government, academic and private sites. The attach reached its peak on Sunday with high-profile government systems such as the Foreign Ministry, the Bank of Jerusalem, the Israeli Occupation Ministry, the IOF blog and the Israeli President's official website all being hacked. Israeli finance minister Yuval Steinitz said the government was now waging war on "a second front of cyber attacks against Israel." Haaretz newspaper also said almost 19,000 Israeli Facebook accounts had been attacked by hackers affiliated with Anonymous.
The hackers, who stand for "human rights, justice, and universal equality for the citizens of every nation", started their #OpIsrael campaign because of a threat by Israel to sever telecommunications in and out of Gaza. Hackers from across the Middle East (Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Palestine) and also from Indonesia, The United States, France, Spain and Britain all joined together in this campaign to show solidarity with Palestine.
A message hosted on the website Anonpaste (an alternative to Pastebin used by the hacktivist collective) explained: "The reasons for Anonymous intervention through #OpIsrael should be abundantly clear: What is happening in Palestine is oppression. They have no navy, no army, or air force. There is no war in Gaza. There is only the continuous application of military force by Israel in an attempt to push every last person out of the Palestinian state, despite international laws that make these efforts illegal." Their video addressing the Israeli government further explains their aims and grievances.
Urgent Appeal for Action
6 April 2013
Stop Israeli construction of a new illegal settlement highway in occupied Palestinian territory
Halt Israeli destruction and forcible displacement of the Palestinian community of Beit Safafa in occupied East Jerusalem
A public appeal by the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem submitted to the special attention of:
Heads of diplomatic missions in the OPT
UNSCO Special Coordinator, Robert Serry
UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the OPT, Richard Falk
UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, Raquel Rolnik
The Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem and the Ministry of Transport are currently undertaking large-scale construction work in Beit Safafa, occupied East Jerusalem, in order to complete a highway (“Begin Highway”) that will serve the expansion of Israel’s the illegal settlements in and around the southern part of occupied East Jerusalem and expedite the annexation de facto of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc. The occupied Palestinian population of Beit Safafa does not benefit from this highway. They have not been consulted, and their livelihoods and community are being destroyed. Together with the people of Beit Safafa, the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, a coalition of 25 Palestinian human rights and development organizations, calls upon all States, the United Nations and the EU to intervene as a matter of urgency in order to ensure that:
· Israel and the responsible executive entities, in particular the Israeli Ministry of Transport, the Jerusalem Municipality and its Moriah Jerusalem Development Company, immediately cease construction of the new illegal settlement highway in Beit Safafa and make full reparation for losses and damages already caused to the occupied Palestinian population;
· No international recognition is granted to the unlawful situation resulting from the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise of which this highway is part, and no public or private funds or business activities contribute to the construction of the illegal highway.
In light of the persistence of Israeli settlement expansion, we urge the international community, including local authorities and business companies, to suspend cooperation and business with the Israeli authorities and companies responsible for the construction of the illegal highway in occupied Beit Safafa.
Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, Dahiet al Barid, Abu Khalaf Bldg., Tel. 02-2343929, www.civiccoalition-jerusalem.org
Practical and effective measures for the above must be implemented immediately in order to prevent further entrenchment and expansion of the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise, and more damage to the human rights and livelihoods of the occupied Palestinian people, in particular the inhabitants of Beit Safafa. In light of the strong international concern and condemnation of the illegal Israeli settlement activity, and based on the legal obligations of third parties affirmed by the ICJ Advisory Opinion of 2004 and the recent report of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Israeli settlements, we urge and expect all States, the UN and the EU “to assume their responsibilities vis-à-vis Israel as a State breaching peremptory norms of international law”,  and to adopt the necessary measures, including sanctions, in order to halt the construction of the illegal settlement highway in Beit Safafa. We also urge and expect private companies to respect international law and the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and to take “all necessary steps – including by terminating their business interests in the settlements – to ensure that they do not have an adverse impact on the human rights of the Palestinian people.”
Facts and background
Location and specifications of the Israeli road project
The construction site extends from the Israeli (Teddy Kolleg) football stadium and (Malha) Mall in the area of the 1948 depopulated Palestinian village of al Malha, West Jerusalem, to the Israeli Gilo settlement in the south of 1967 occupied East Jerusalem. The projected road is approximately 1.5 km long and almost entirely located in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, specifically in Beit Safafa, a Palestinian community with approximately 9,300 in habitants. In Beit Safafa, the road is being constructed as a 6-lane highway, with as many as 10-11 lanes in some parts. Construction started in September 2012 and is scheduled to be completed in October 2015.
Purpose and function of the Israeli highway through occupied Beit Safafa
The highway currently under construction in Beit Safafa is an extension of the already existing “Begin Highway” and has been designated alternatingly as Road No. 4 or Road No. 50 by the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality. The Begin Highway is the western Jerusalem ring road that expedites travel between the south and the north of the city . It constitutes a core component of the road network that serves Israel’s “greater Jerusalem” settlement metropolis in the occupied West Bank and ties it into Israeli territory. Partially constructed in occupied Palestinian territory, the Begin Highway links in the north into Road 443 to the settlement bloc of Givat Ze’ev in the occupied West Bank and onward to Tel Aviv. In the south, the Begin Highway currently ends in the Malha neighborhood, West Jerusalem; it does not yet have a direct connection with Road 60 (the “Tunnel Road”) which serves Israeli movement to and from the settlements in the southern West Bank.
The short section of highway currently under construction in Beit Safafa will close the gap between the Begin Highway and Road 60 (Tunnel Road). Construction of the highway section coincides with increased Israeli settlement activity in the area, including the expansion of the existing settlements of Gilo and Har Homa and the establishment of the new settlement of Givat Hamatos in occupied East Jerusalem, and the ongoing construction of the settlement of Har Gilo in the adjacent occupied West Bank. Although propagated as an “internal” Jerusalem road by the Israeli authorities, the highway through Beit Safafa will substantially upgrade the network of Israeli settlement roads. It will accommodate the increased Israeli traffic from these settlements, and it will create one continuous piece of highway for Israeli traffic from the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the southern West Bank (Road 60), through West and East Jerusalem (Begin Highway), to the Ma’ale Adumim settlement bloc and the E1 area in the east (Road 1), and to the Givat Ze’ev settlement bloc near Ramallah and onward to Tel Aviv (Road 443).
Alone and in combination with similar Israeli transport infrastructure projects in various stages of planning or construction, such as the Jerusalem Light Rail, the Eastern Ring Road and the A1 Train, the section of the Begin Highway through Beit Safafa will boost Israel’s “greater Jerusalem” settlement enterprise, consolidate Israeli domination, and expedite the annexation de facto of the central area of the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
Courtesy of ARIJ.
Who is involved in the construction of the settlement highway in Beit Safafa?
Responsible for the implementation of the road project are the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality and the Ministry of Transport. Construction is led by the Moriah Jerusalem Development Company, the executive arm of the Municipality for infrastructure projects. The implementing contractor is D.Y. Barazani Ltd., an Israeli construction company regularly performing development and infrastructure maintenance work for the Jerusalem Municipality, including in occupied East Jerusalem. (See billboard below.) Earth moving equipment of Volvo (Sweden), CAT (USA), Hyundai (South Korea) and JCB (U.K.) is being used for the construction.
Impacts and consequences for the occupied Palestinian population of Beit Safafa
The occupied Palestinian population of Beit Safafa does not benefit from this highway which is being imposed on them against their express will. Although the highway is being built on land confiscated in the past from members of the community and passes through its center, no access road onto the highway will be available for the local Palestinian residents. Moreover, the highway is causing grave losses and damages to individuals and the community of Beit Safafa.
For Palestinian owners of land and homes along the route of the highway through Beit Safafa, construction of the highway is resulting in serious infringements against their property and housing rights::
· Loss of the right to use and develop property: under Israeli planning law, no construction is permitted within 150m from both sides of highways of the type under construction in Beit Safafa. Moreover, as the local population was unaware of the Israeli road plan and able to obtain permits to build homes in the past, many homes are today located within this 300m periphery, including some in extreme vicinity to the new highway. These homes are now effectively rendered illegal under Israeli planning law, and no permits will be available in the future for their repair or extension.
· Loss of value of property: due to the above, as well as the extreme exposure to noise, pollution and related hazards resulting from the ongoing construction work and future traffic, Palestinian homes in vicinity of the highway have lost approximately 37% of their market value.
In addition, all inhabitants of Beit Safafa are affected by:
· Risks to health and adequate standard of living due to the degradation of the environment;
· Loss of freedom of movement and access to essential services: since the establishment of the Gilo settlement in the 1970s, Beit Safafa has been bifurcated north-south by the 4-6 lane road (Dov Yosef Road) connecting the settlement with West Jerusalem. The extension of the Begin Highway currently under construction will cut through the community from west to east; it will cross the Gilo settlement road underneath a bridge and result in the division of Beit Safafa into four disconnected parts. The new highway will cut off local internal roads and obstruct access to kindergartens, schools, the health clinic and places of work and worship. For many residents, these will no longer be accessible by foot but require travel by car on two new internal roads across bridges planned for local use.
· Serious infringement against the collective right to maintain and develop the community: as a result of the fragmentation of the village and the losses and damages caused to the Palestinian inhabitants.
In the longer term, the Begin Highway alone and in combination with the additional Israeli settlement activities planned in the area will result in the destruction of Beit Safafa as a community and in the forced displacement of (part of) its members.
A snap shot from a promotional video clip disseminated on youtube by the Moriah Jerusalem Development Company showing a model of the Begin Highway in Beit Safafa when completed. The picture shows the highway crossing the Gilo settlement road (Dov Yosef Road) underneath a bridge and leading into West Jerusalem (on the top). It also shows how Beit Safafa is sliced into four parts, and the two bridges across the highway planned for local use.
The full promotion clip can be viewed at:
Previous history of forced dispossession and forced displacement – a context of systematic Israeli violation of IHL and international human rights law
Israel’s construction of the Begin Highway and the consequences for the occupied Palestinian population should be assessed in the context of previous Israeli policies and practices applied to Beit Safafa (and neighboring Palestinian communities). Until 1967, Beit Safafa was divided by the armistice line between Israel and Jordan that had resulted from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Although the village has since been reunited as a result of the Israeli occupation and annexation of East Jerusalem, a substantial portion of its population continues to be forcibly displaced. This includes (descendants of) Palestinian refugees who had found shelter in the Jordanian-controlled part of Beit Safafa after their expulsion by Israel in 1948, as well as (descendants of) original villagers displaced during the two Arab-Israeli wars and in the ongoing Israeli occupation. Israel has prevented the return of the displaced and confiscated their land, as well as land of the remaining inhabitants of Beit Safafa, by means of laws that discriminate against the indigenous Palestinian population, such as the Absentees’ Property Law (1950) and the Land Ordinance (Acquisition for Public Purposes) of 1943. Israel has used this land for the development of Jewish neighborhoods and infrastructure in West Jerusalem, and Jewish settlements, roads and military installations in occupied East Jerusalem.
"Whoever thinks that the Arabs have it so good here is simply wrong... Take Beit Safafa as an example. Some of their land was taken for Katamon, some of their land was taken for `Itri', some for Gilo, some for the road that traverses that neighborhood, and for Patt... I could tell you the same story about every village." - Teddy Kollek, then-mayor of Jerusalem.
Israel’s illegal annexation of Beit Safafa and the subsequent systematic and discriminatory Israeli policy land confiscation and urban planning have resulted in a situation where Beit Safafans have already lost approximately one-third of their land, and the area available for the development of the community has shrunk from 3,057 dunams under the British Mandate in 1947 to 2,354 dunams under Israeli control today. Together with neighboring Palestinian communities in the OPT, Beit Safafa is affected, for example, by two large-scale Israeli land confiscations undertaken for alleged “public purpose” in 1970 and 1991. Israel has used the expropriated Palestinian land for the development of the Jewish settlements of Gilo (1971) and Givat Hamatos (about to be constructed). Also confiscated from Beit Safafans in the past were the 234 dunams of land for the construction of the Begin Highway extension.
Wider impact of the Begin Highway in Beit Safafa on Palestinians
Since the Begin Highway through Beit Safafa will, once completed, contribute to the consolidation and annexation of Israeli “greater Jerusalem” in the central area of the occupied Palestinian West Bank, this highway will, ipso facto, undermine the ability of the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and independence in the OPT, including East Jerusalem. Moreover, the local Palestinian population will not benefit from this highway because, a) use of the Israeli settlement-highway network is restricted for most Palestinians from the occupied West Bank, who do not have Israeli permission for travel in Israeli territory and occupied East Jerusalem, and b) these highways by-pass local Palestinian communities and are not easily accessible for Palestinians.
The exclusion of the Palestinian population from the Israeli planning process
Despite the severe impacts of the Begin Highway currently under construction, the local Palestinian population, including the residents of Beit Safafa, has never been consulted by the responsible Israeli authorities. Based on information provided by the residents’ lawyer and the NGO Ir Amim, the Jerusalem Municipality has never submitted a detailed plan of the highway for public review and objections, although this is required by Israeli law and was done for other segments of Begin Highway.
The people of Beit Safafa became aware of the highway project only when construction started in September 2012. Public concern and protest was initially directed to the local liaison office of the Jerusalem Municipality in Beit Safafa. The latter confirmed that construction work had been started without the required permit and requested that Beit Safafans be patient and wait until the problem is solved. When construction had not ceased by December, a group of 20 residents challenged the road project in the Jerusalem District Court. The petitioners requested the Court to issue an order for the Jerusalem Municipality to stop construction, and to present a detailed plan for public review and objection.
In court, the Jerusalem Municipality argued that it had presented the required plan, and that Beit Safafans have forfeited their right to compensation because they did not object to the highway in time. The Municipality based its argument on a plan (local outline plan no. 2371) for Beit Safafa which was submitted for public review and approved in 1991. This plan does, in fact, feature a road in the site where the highway is being constructed. However, it does not provide specifications regarding the type and size of the road, it does not show the connections with the Begin Highway and Road No. 60 (which did not yet exist in 1991 in their current form), and it doesn’t include a number of homes which have since been built, with official authorization, in the area adjacent to the route of the road. The people of Beit Safafa argued on this basis that the old plan was outdated and not a valid planning document for the construction of the extension of the Begin Highway. The Jerusalem District Court, however, ruled that the plan from 1990 was valid and that construction could proceed.
The residents of Beit Safafa have filed an appeal against the decision of the District Court with the Israeli High Court. With the appeal, the residents also submitted a request for an immediate stop-of-work order until their appeal would be heard. This request was rejected on 20 March 2013. The High Court accepted the position of the Jerusalem Municipality that the request came “too late”, and that the damage caused for the State of Israel by a halt of construction would amount to approximately NIS 20 million per month and would, thus, be larger than the damage caused to the people of Beit Safafa by the construction of the highway in their community.
In the meantime, therefore, construction of the Begin Highway - and destruction of Beit Safafa - continues unabated. The hearing of the appeal in the Israeli High Court has been tentatively scheduled for 26 June, and the Israeli NGO Bimkom has joined the appeal with new information about losses and damages caused to the community and inhabitants of Beit Safafa. Deeply concerned about the rapid pace of construction/destruction, the people of Beit Safafa maintain permanent public protest activities in their village and are calling for effective international solidarity and intervention.
The status of the Begin Highway in Beit Safafa under international law
Under international law, the Begin Highway currently under construction in Beit Safafa is illegal. Among others, Israel violates its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention by constructing a highway in the OPT which serves the permanent settlement of Israeli citizens in the OPT, and which does not benefit the occupied Palestinian population but rather the interests of its own citizens, including those in the illegal settlements. Moreover, since the section of the highway under construction in occupied Beit Safafa is part and parcel of Israel’s illegal settlement activity in the OPT, Israel, with the construction of this highway, is responsible for the serious breaches of international humanitarian and human rights law already analyzed in the ICJ Advisory Opinion of 2004 on the Israeli Wall in occupied Palestinian territory, including the permanent acquisition of territory by force, violation of the Palestinian right to self-determination, forced population transfer, unlawful expropriation and destruction of Palestinian property and gross and systematic infringements against the human rights of the occupied Palestinian population. Based on the ICJ Advisory Opinion and the recent UN Fact Finding Mission on the Israeli settlements, therefore, Israel with its Begin Highway extension in Beit Safafa is responsible for serious breaches of peremptory norms of international law which trigger the responsibility of all States, and for war crimes which give rise to individual responsibility.
For further information, please contact:
Zakaria Odeh, executive director
Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem
O2 2343929 and 054 307 59 31
 See, for example, UN Security Council Resolutions 252 (1968(, 298 (1971), 446 (1979) and 465 (1980). See also , EU Council of Foreign Affairs. Conclusions of 14 May 2012: http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/israel/documents/press_corner/20120514_01_en.pdf
 See, para 116 of the Report of the Independent International Fact-finding Mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (A/HRC/22/63) adopted by the Human Rights Council on 19 March 2013 (A/HRC/22/L.45).
 Ibid, para 117.
 Israeli settlement plans in the area were fast-tracked and approved in December 2012 and include 1,000 additional housing units in Gilo and 2,610 units in Givat Hamatos (stage A of a total of 4,000 projected). http://peacenow.org/entries/972_settlement_round-up_thousands_new_homes_planned_for_east_jerusalem_west_bank#more
 Based on the preliminary assessment of damages presented by the residents of Beit Safafa in their petition to the Jerusalem District Court in December 2012. Source: Atty Kais Nasser, representing the residents in this case.
 Minutes of Jerusalem Municipal Council meeting, 27 December 1987, Report 64, p. 18. in B’tselem, A Policy of Discrimination: Land Expropriation, Planning and Building in East Jerusalem, May 1995.
 Source: Arab Studies Society/Map and GIS Department, based on British Mandate survey (1947) and the Israeli outline plan for Beit Safafa (2317) of 1991.
 2,700 dunams confiscated for Gilo on 30 August 1970; Official Gazette (in Hebrew) 1656 (1970), p. 2808.
 600 dunams confiscated for Givat Hamatos on 16 May 1991; Official Gazette (in Hebrew) 3877 (1991), p. 2479.
 See, ARIJ fact sheet at: http://www.poica.org/editor/case_studies/view.php?recordID=5783
 See also, Ir Amim, Fact Sheet “Tearing a neighbourhood into two. The Begin Highway in Beit Safafa”:
 Zafrir Rinat, “Israel's High Court rejects Arab village's bid to stop construction of highway. Justices say there is more proof that the state would suffer if construction were delayed”, in Ha’aretz, 20 March 2013:
 See, ICJ Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in Occupied Palestinian Territory of 9 July 2004: http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?p1=3&p2=4&k=5a&case=131&code=mwp&p3=4
 See footnote 1. See also, Al Haq, Legal Memorandum on State Responsibility relating to Israel’s Illegal Settlement Enterprise:
The Occupation suppresses the weekly demonstrations against the wall and settlements and demonstrations condemning the martyrdom of captive Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh
Events on Friday 5th April
Hebron: Occupation Forces used tear gas and water cannons to suppress the weekly demonstration demanding freedom of movement in Hebron and the re-opening of the street connecting the city and the towns to the south; which have been closed for about 12 years.
The activist Bassam Shweiki of the Committee for the Defense of Hebron said that dozens of Palestinian militants from different sites in Hebron and a number of international activists demonstrated near the iron gate. This gate closes the main road leading to the towns to the south of Hebron in the area near the Haggai settlement. He explained that the army began firing tear gas among the demonstrators if they approached the gate. Dozens of soldiers and border guards also gathered and beat demonstrators before starting to pump water at them from a truck.
Yousef Abu Maria, an activist for Stop the Wall (STW) in the south said that demonstrators carried Palestinian flags and banners written in Arabic and English condemning the closures and calling for the release of prisoners. They also chanted slogans calling for an end to the occupation and the closures.
Another activist for STW, Murad Al-Jabari said that the activity today is part of a program of events and activities organized by the committees and the public to achieve freedom of movement in and around the city.
Extensive use of tear gas led to the injury and suffocation of dozens of protesters and residents in nearby houses, including a member of the Political Bureau of the People's Party Fahmi Shahin, who suffered a severe state of suffocation when gas canisters were set off in an adjacent field. He required first aid as youths responded by throwing stones at the Israeli forces.
Activist Izhak al-Absi from the Fuwwar refugee camp said that “we aim to unite our people behind a popular resistance. These events are proving successful and the resistance is steadily moving forward on the road to defeat the occupation and exercise our sovereignty over the territory”.
The demonstrators will continue their weekly demonstrations demanding the reopening of the road which forces about 150 residents in the south to travel an extra 12 miles to reach the city of Hebron.
Issawiya: Israeli Occupation Forces injured eight youths with rubber-coated metal bullets and arrested three others during clashes on Friday in Issawiya, a town in the north of occupied Jerusalem.
The clashes erupted after the undercover unit of the Israeli Occupation Army stormed the village, provoking citizens already angry about the martyrdom of Abu Hamdiyeh, and the deterioration of the health status of prisoner of Samer al-Issawi who has been on hunger strike for the 258 days.
Nablus: Several citizens were wounded by live ammunition fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes at the southern entrance to the city of Nablus during demonstrations to condemn the martyrdom of captive Abu Hamdiyeh.
Nabi Saleh: Again, the weekly demonstration here was suppressed by the IOF as they showed their solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, denounced the killing of Abu Hamdiyeh and commemorated Palestinian Child Day. The Israeli soldiers fired live bullets, stun grenades, tear gas and waste water at the participants wounding and suffocating dozens of demonstrators.
The Popular Resistnace Committee of Nabi Saleh said “the international community is responsible for the suffering of the children of Palestine under the Israeli occupation, which carries out killings and arrests against them and robs them of their most basic rights to liberty and life”.
It also called for the “international community with all its legal institutions to take a serious stance to protect our children, by putting a stop to the violations of the occupation, and to help them to live like other children of the world”.
Bil'in: The IOF suppressed the weekly demonstration in Bil’in, which became known as the “Friday of Rage”, and citizens as well as foreigners showing solidarity were injured in the clashes.
Al-Khadr: Renewed clashes in the area of al-Khadr village, south of Bethlehem left several people suffering from the effects of tear gas and one young man dead. He was shot in the chest.
Al-Masra: The weekly demonstration in Al-Masra condemning the Annexation Wall and settlement expansion was also suppressed by the IOF. The spokesman for Stop the Wall in Bethlehem, Muhammad Briggah, said “Israeli soldiers assaulted the participants, who were beaten with hands and rifle butts and prevented the march from reaching the wall”. He added that “the march today was also to commemorate World Children's Day as well as to protest against the policy of the occupation towards our prisoners”. After the march a speech was made denouncing the management of prisons by the occupation and demanding that the international community and human rights organizations intervene to secure the release and save the lives of sick prisoners.
Kafr Kadum: Several foreigners who demonstrated in solidarity with Palestine suffered breathing difficulties and even fainted after the IOF used tear gas at the weekly anti-settlement demonstration in Qalqilya. Israeli soldiers also fired stun grenades and gas at the participants injuring a number of citizens who needed to be treated in the field.
A march, which was entitled “victory for Palestinian blood”, took place to commemorate Abu Hamdiyeh and martyrs from the village of Anabta. It began after Friday prayers and hundreds of citizens and peace activists chanted slogans against the occupation and its policy of terrorism against the Palestinian people and its prisoners.
Various events were held throughout the Occupied Territories in the West Bank to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the glorious Land Day. Stop the Wall has implemented a number of group activities in these territories; such as the lands which are threatened by confiscation and which are subject to continuous attacks by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF).
In Nablus the grassroots campaign organize a central activity on land threatened by confiscation near the Shavei Shomron settlement which was erected on the land of the villages of Sabastia, Amuriyah, Burka and Deir Sharaf, northeast of Nablus. These villages are continuously subjected to settler attacks on farmers and land is often contaminated with sewage. Hundreds of people from Sebastia and nearby villages marched to this area before they were besieged by the large forces of the Israeli army and dispersed by force. Dozens of people were injured and suffocated as soldiers let off a large number of gas canisters and one citizen was wounded in the hand by a rubber bullet. Some young demonstrators were also involved in a fight with Israeli soldiers and two young men were detained until the other demonstrators were able to liberate them.
In the Ya’bud area, west of Jenin, the national movement and Stop the Wall (STW) organized a march to the wall and confiscated lands to support the people on Land Day and in solidarity with the prisoners on hunger strike. The march started from the village of Umm Dar and Al-Khuljan “Village Council Al Rayyan”, and went along the wall of annexation to the villages. The people raised Palestinian flags, images of prisoners on hunger strike, placards and banners condemning the wall and settlement policy. Dozens of olive trees were also planted in areas close to the apartheid wall (which constitutes more than ten thousand acres of village land) with the participation of Anin village council, STW and village organizations.
In Salfit, STW implemented a voluntary activity to plant trees in the villages of Bruqin and Wade Qana, adjacent to the village land confiscated for the benefit of the Ariel settlement. However, they were prevented from reaching this land where the tree planting was scheduled by the occupation army. The village Bruqin, in the Salfit district, has been turned into a waste dump for the settlements Burkan and Ariel, which are linked by a sewage network and dump waste water into the village lands.
In Bethlehem the IOF suppressed a demonstration by dozens of Palestinians at the checkpoint located in the north of the city by firing tear gas and sound bombs to disperse the demonstrators. Similarly in Hebron, the occupation forces suppressed a demonstration to demand that the road between Hebron and the southern cities and towns be re-opened.
On Friday the 29th of March the IOF used tear gas and water cannons to suppress the weekly demonstration in Hebron to demand freedom of movement and the opening of the street connecting the city and the towns of Samu’, Adahriya and Fawwar refugee camp which has been closed by Israeli occupation for the last 12 years.
Dozens of Palestinian militants from different sites in Hebron and a number of international activists have performed Friday prayers and marched near the iron gate that closes off the main road leading to the towns south of Hebron in the area near the settlement of Haggai, to south of the city. The army began firing tear gas among protesters in case they approached the gate that blocks off the road and dozens of soldiers and border guards gathered to spray the protesters with stinking water.
The coordinator of STW in Hebron, Yusef Tmeyza said: “We declare that today marks Land Day and every day we stick to our land and our right to live in freedom and dignity. The repressive policies for dealing with aggressive occupation will not deter us nor will the settler’s aims to close the streets, confiscate our land and dump their waste water on our farmland.”
Izhak Al-Absi, an activist of the National Committee to Raise Barriers, said: “The protesters carried Palestinian flags and banners written in Arabic and English that declare our commitment to our land and condemn the closures. They chanted slogans about ending the occupation and the closure.”
The demonstrators announced they will continue their activities in the region every week until the road (that has been closed for about 12 years) is re-opened. This road closure has forced about 150 thousand residents of the south of Hebron to travel at least an extra 12 miles to reach their destinations inside the city.
In the same vein, on the 28th March the STW participated in events on the ground in Hebron. Dozens of activists planted trees and cleaned the cemetery on Shuhada Street, which was closed by the Israeli occupation after the massacre of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron in 1994. Yusef Tmeyza said they will continue to expand events and increase efforts to resist the occupation and its expansionist policies.
In the village of Aqaba, Tubas district, STW organized an activity to revive the Land Day with the participation of tens of Palestinian youths. The head of the village council, Haj Sami Sadiq, received a solidarity delegation and explained to them the suffering of the village and the scale of the challenges and legal struggle faced by the residents to stop the ongoing Israeli attacks on the ground and the rights in this region.
Aqaba is considered a distinctive and successful model of Popular Resistance, especially after this tender submitted by the Haj Sami Sadiq, and although it has been hindered this village has been able to grow and develop in its struggle against the occupation. The village now contains a school and kindergarten, a mosque, a factory for packaging herbs, a feminist foundation, a study centre, a residence for foreigners and a charity concerned with the affairs of displaced people.
After a dialogue with the President of the village council and a visit to the village institutions the young people from the delegation planted 37 olive seedlings to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the Land Day. The seedlings were a donation from the Agricultural Relief Society. Furthermore, they also put up posters to remember the martyrs who were killed in 1976 in occupied Palestine (1948 borders).
Funeral of Abu Hamdiyeh attended by thousands while clashes throughout the Occupied West Bank continue
The funeral of prisoner Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh in Hebron today was attended by thousands of mourners who lined the streets as the funeral procession set off from al-Ahli hospital towards al-Shuhada cemetery where the body will be buried.
Abu Hamdiyeh died of throat cancer on Tuesday, shackled to his bed in Israeli custody, after finally being transferred from prison to Sokora hospital. Demonstrations have been staged across the Occupied West Bank to campaign against the medical negligence of Israel which lead to Abu Hamdiyeh’s death.
Two Palestinian teenagers were also killed in clashes with Israeli Forces last night and their funerals will be held today in Tulkarem.
These killings have prompted further unrest across the territory and a general strike was observed in East Jerusalem, Hebron and Nablus. Much of the activity has been centered around Hebron where protests have taken place in Bab al-Azawiya, al-Arub refugee camp, and Beit Umar. Israeli Forces have responded with tear gas and rubber bullets resulting in several injuries. Alongside the clashes around Hebron there have been eruptions around Qalandia checkpoint and the villages of Burin and Salfit in the north.
Late on Wednesday night clashes erupted at Einab checkpoint, east of Tulkarem in the Occupied West Bank, resulting in the death of two Palestinian teenagers. Security officials confirmed that Israeli soldiers opened fire with live bullets killing Amer Nassar , 17, instantly when several bullets hit him in the chest. His body was held by the Israeli Occupation Forces for several hours before finally being returned to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
Later, another 18 year old Palestinian teenager Naji Balbesi, also died from his injuries sustained when the IOF opened fire and three others were injured.
This comes amidst widespread demonstrations throughout the Occupied West Bank following the death of 64 year old Palestinian prisoner Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh on Tuesday. Abu Hamdiyeh was diagnosed with throat cancer after he began to complain of throat problems nine months ago; after serving roughly 10 years of his prison sentence. Though the prison service attempted to secure his release on compassionate grounds this was denied and he was not transferred to a hospital until just two days before his death.
Photos of Abu Hamdiyeh shackled to his hospital bed caused many to condemn the actions of the Israelis including Issa Karakeh, the Palestinian prisoner affairs minister. He stated that Abu Hamdiyeh’s death was due to Israel’s “stalling over giving him the right to be treated following a late cancer diagnosis” and that it constituted a “vicious crime”.
Today, Thursday the 4th April, is the date of Abu Hamdiyeh’s funeral in his hometown of Hebron. The previously calm situation in this area has now become more volatile due to the violent actions of the IOF and it remains to be seen what further violence may occur.
Linah Alsaafin, from Electronic Intifada - US President Barack Obama arrived in Ramallah by helicopter yesterday and gave yet another insipid speech. The Palestinian Authority’s security forces, collaborating with US forces, designated a huge security perimeter with the PA compound — the Muqataa — in the middle. Some of the city’s busiest streets were closed off and inaccessible to those not living there. As helicopters filled the skies from the morning up until late afternoon, I was stuck at home working during the nine-hour lockdown, all too aware of the soldiers stationed on the rooftops around my building.
Protestors tried to march from Manara Square in the city center to the Muqataa yet again yesterday morning, but were stopped by hundreds of policemen and riot guards. The speech Obama gave at the compound was not littered with Arabic phrases (a speech he delivered the previous day was littered with Hebrew phrases) and gave the usual empty and irrational rhetoric of the US supporting an independent sovereign Palestinian state alongside a Jewish state that will only come into fruition through direct negotiations with Israel.
He also tried to play down the Jewish-only settlements by mentioning that the US does not consider them as “constructive” or “appropriate” for the advancement of peace, but refused to call for their dismantlement or use strong language to call out their illegal nature, which prompted Mahmoud Abbas to uncharacteristically interject and describe them as illegitimate and more than an obstacle to peace.
Obama’s next stop was at the Jerusalem International Convention Center, where he gave a long-winded sycophantic speech to over a thousand Israeli students and academics from different universities. It was during this speech that Obama laid out his formula for peace: Palestinians, who have shown a willingness to renounce violence — as if violence is inherent to Arabs — should accept Israel, their colonizer and occupier, as a democratic and Jewish state. In return, Israel should halt its illegal settlement building.
Twenty-five-year-old Rabeea Eid, a student activist and member of the National Democratic Assembly, had heard and had enough. He stood up in the middle of Obama’s speech and called him out on three issues that summarized the flaccid nature and flagrant inefficacy of Obama’s visit to occupied Palestine.
“Did you really come here for peace or to give Israel more weapons to kill and destroy the Palestinian people? Did you happen to see the apartheid wall on your way here?”
What is the point of Obama’s visit? It is to bribe the PA to maintain its repression of Palestinian protests and “unrest” to uphold Israel’s security and to pressure it to re-enter bilateral negotiations with Israel without any pre-conditions?
The unnecessary bit is the Israeli side to the question. Obama wants to fall short from supplicating himself fully on the ground to an extremist government, in which the defense minister has likened Palestinians to cancer and the housing minister has pledged to construct more settlements and the minister of trade, industry and labor wants to annex over half of the West Bank. US foreign policy has always favored and strongly supported the Israeli occupation and rewarded it with billions of dollars in military aid annually — that is nothing new. From 1949 until the present day, the US has given Israel more than $115 billion.
The level of groveling, the cringe-worthy speeches and recycled propaganda and lies of depicting Israel as a small pioneering country that started off with its back against the wall amid a sea of hostile enemies alternates between tedium and sarcastic amusement. Even David Ben Gurion recognized that Israel is a colonial enterprise, nothing more and nothing less. Is it necessary to out-Zionize even the most ardent Zionists just to reaffirm support for Israel?
Of course, Obama didn’t see the apartheid wall on his way from Ramallah to Jerusalem, he was too busy reveling in orgasmic pleasure at Israel’s innovative technology (with bases set up on occupied lands), its vibrant ancient history, and the mighty brave “Israeli Defense Forces” (who by the way arrested 30 schoolchildren on Wednesday in the old city of Hebron.) Eid continued:
“There are Palestinians sitting in this hall. This state should be for all of its citizens, not a Jewish state only.”
Ah, the conundrum of being Jewish and democratic. Twenty percent of Israel’s population, more than 1.5 million Palestinians, are citizens of Israel. Where exactly do they fit? Surely not as third class citizens battling an institutionalized racist and discriminatory society on a daily basis, or the more than 60 laws issued by Israel since 1949 that discriminate against Palestinians in the education, public services, and civil rights sectors, to name a few. Eid also said:
“Who killed Rachel Corrie? Rachel Corrie was killed by your money and weapons!”
Not a word
Some could say this is the nub of the relationship between Israel and the US. Rachel Corrie, an American citizen, was killed ten years ago by a bulldozer as she tried to protect a Palestinian family’s home from being demolished in Rafah, Gaza. Nine years after her murder, an Israeli court ruled that she was to blame for her own death. The US administration didn’t say a word.
Does the US allow Israel to continue with its impunity and grave violations of human rights and give it unconditional support because three thousand years ago, Jews were exiled from the holy land? Or — as Obama correctly noted in his opening speech on Tuesday — because of the similarities between the US and Israel: both colonizing entities that committed (in Israel’s case, continues to commit) massacres and ethnic cleansing of the population indigenous to the land they settled on?
“I couldn’t stand listening to the speech any more,” Rabeea Eid, who writes for the Arabs48 website, said. “It was a very Zionist speech that made other speeches by Zionist figures pale in comparison.”
Rabeea was dragged out of the hall by security guards, who handed him over to the police. They handcuffed him, threatened him, and attempted to intimidate him. They told him he was under arrest. A Fox News journalist had followed the security guards outside and wanted to know what Rabeea had said to Obama. Soon afterwards, other journalists and reporters followed suit, asking him questions.
“You can say that the media circus is what got me released,” Rabeea told The Electronic Intifada a few hours later. “I felt it was important to show Palestinian voices within the ’48 territories do not welcome Obama.
“[Obama’s visit] in its entirety clearly shows the bias the US has towards Israel. I obviously wasn’t expecting Obama to talk about the Palestinian citizens of Israel and the discrimination against them. Yet I’m baffled that even after his pro-Israel speeches, the Palestinian leadership continues to welcome him, thus supporting the US hegemony in the Middle East and its policies around the world.”
(Speaking of bafflement, Mahmoud Abbas presented Obama with a painting of Abraham Lincoln and Obama. Was it a cunning message that Obama wouldn’t be where he is today if Lincoln didn’t “free all the slaves” back then?)
In response to Rabeea’s interruption of his speech, Obama laughed and made fun of the situation, to raucous applause and standing ovations from the audience.
“No, no — this is part of the lively debate that we talked about,” he joked. “This is good. You know, I have to say we actually arranged for that, because it made me feel at home. I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I didn’t have at least one heckler.”
“A friend showed me a clip of what he said after I was taken outside,” Rabeea said. “It wasn’t very clear because the video was on a cell phone, but it tells you a lot about how Obama decided to make fun after I mentioned Rachel Corrie, the contradiction of being a Jewish and democratic state, and the weapons the US funds Israel with.”
For Rabeea, he considers the most crucial thing is for Obama’s visit not to go by without further “heckling.”
“The most important part is for this visit not to go on in a normal manner,” he said.
Protestors in Bethlehem already set fire to tires last night and burned the US flags hung at the entrance to town where Obama is expected to pass tomorrow.
See original article from Electronic Intifada: http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/linah-alsaafin/obama-makes-fun-heckler-asking-who-killed-rachel-corrie?utm_source=EI+readers&utm_campaign=6b7df5ed5e-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email
See images from the demonstration in Ramallah (21.03.13): http://www.flickr.com/photos/stopthewall/
In the occasion of the 8th of march, the international Women’s Day, in the village of Qalqiliya 50 to 60 women participated in a protest in front of Habla gate, which divides Qalailiya from much of the rest of the district and crucial farming area. The gate is part of the all encompassing system of control Israel has established to enact its apartheid and is constituted by ever present Walls, checkpoints, gates and Jewish-only roads. This particular gate bars access to the other side for most of the time, allowing Palestinians to pass only 3 days per week in specific hours. The protest was held in cooperation with the woman from Habla and Azzoun villages and was aimed to protest the gate's devastating consequences on the economy and freedom of movement of the people. Women are particularly affected by the control system as humiliation and sexual harassment are part of the treatments on many of those control points. The women demonstrated therefore against the entire control system, including slogans to tear down the apartheid wall and for the immediate release of the Palestinian prisoners.
Also as a celebration of Women`s day, dozens of women participated in an activity held by Stop the Wall in cooperation with the General Union of Palestinian Women and Women Development Center in support for the people of Tana Village. Tana is a small community west of Nablus. People are living without any access to services such as water, electricity or telephone. They are living in tents and sheds that are threatened to with complete demolition by the occupation forces. Several times Israeli military has already handed out eviction orders. The activity’s objective was to show solidarity with the women from the village by providing psychological support sessions and giving clothes and other items of necessity to the children. 30 olive oil trees were also distributed to the families, who received help for planting them to show their determination to stay on the land. This form of solidarity is crucial to ensure social - and with this political - cohesion among the Palestinian people in front of Israeli policies of fragmentation and isolation.
Last Friday, March 8th, Stop the Wall organized a demonstration in cooperation with the local organizations in Sabastiya and in Salfit district to protest against the Shafi Shomron settlement. Shafi Shomron has been making life impossible to the villagers in innumerous aspects. The protesters were repressed by the occupation forces, who shot tear gas and sounds bombs at the crowd.
Shafi Shomron settlement has been built on Palestinian confiscated land and there are often cases of settlers’ violence against the villagers. Not only do the Palestinians suffer from this assaults and attacks, there is also the issue of the untreated waste water from the settlement that reaches the outskirts of the village, turning them into a space full with open sewage. The waste water affects more than 500 dunoms of Palestinian land belonging to Sabastiya and Der Sharaf villages, in Salfit. Sometimes it reaches Palestinian homes.
Sabastiya, located in northern West Bank, 18 km from Nablus city, is known as one of the most important archeological sites in Palestine for having historical heritage from different periods, especially the Roman era. Besides affecting the local tourism and hence a key source of livelihood, another danger that threatens local Palestinians with the spreading of the waste water is the pollution of the land, which turns agriculture unviable. Most of all, the waste water pollutes the underground water well that supplies the entire Nablus area.
This region is one of the key areas currently under attack from settlers and the occupation forces, as are South Hebron, Jordan Valley and the eastern part of Jerusalem, the so-called E1 expansion area.
Dumping waste water from the settlements onto neighboring Palestinian villages is in fact a common policy and it is happening all across the West Bank. This practice is one of the tools used for expanding and building settlements without having to invest into proper infrastructure, but most importantly this way the Israeli racist occupation ensures that the land around the settlements is polluted and impossible to use, isolating the Palestinian farmers and justifying further confiscation of their land. Not only that, forcing people to live amongst the settlers’ waste is a nasty form of harassment and humiliation of Palestinians, and another attempt to make them leave their homes, left to be taken by the settlers.
Another critical point about this practice is that the waste water policy used to expel people is in stark contrast with the Israeli attempt of promoting itself and its companies, like Mekorot, and other water management and agro-business companies, as leaders in the waste and water management and in the "green technology" business.
Before all this, the people of Sabastiya demand to save their land and harvest from destruction and pollution by the settlements and Stop the Wall calls for immediate measures of boycotts and sanctions to be taken against Israeli water and agro-business companies, telling the truth behind Israel’s "environmental" discourse.
On February 22nd, during a protest in support of the hunger strikers in Aboud, 22-year-old student Mohammad Assfour was shot by the Israeli military, becoming the another martyr in the recent prisoners Intifada. The protest gathered 70 Palestinians showing their support and solidarity for the political prisoners who have been in a hunger strike. Since about a year and a half ago, the hunger strikes campaign in Israeli prisons has been bringing new attention to the cause of the Palestinian political prisoners - which include the inhuman living conditions in prisons, tortures during endless interrogations and administrative arrests - and has brought together regular protests all across the West Bank. On the other hand, Israeli repression has been increasingly more violent.
Assfour was shot in the head with a metal bullet and taken to the hospital, where he struggled for days, but did not resist and died on Thursday, March 7th. He was a student at Al Quds University and was supposed to graduate just this month.
Like Assfour, many protesters that attended recent demonstrations were injured in the head, showing how military repression forces are prepared to respond to the Palestinians growing popular pressure. The more constant use of live ammunition and higher rates of injuries and killings are an indicator that Israel is engaged in yet a new wave of increased repression. Since the beginning of the year, Israel has killed six Palestinians with live fire and martyred another one under torture, held without accusations in one of its jails.
Stop the Wall already in previous studies has highlighted the cyclical increase in the use of life bullets and shoot-to-kill policies. This clearly undermines any claim that killings as part of Israeli repression are accidental or "self-defence" . The Israeli military's objective is to threaten activists as a means to weaken the popular resistance and keep the human rights situation of prisoners and the arbitrary arrests off the international radar. However, the popular protest movement has been showing itself capable of growing and spreading throughout the last months and weeks despite the Israeli brutal repression, and the voice of the Palestinian prisoners and fighters like Mohammad Assfour shall not be silenced.
Palestinian youth groups of "Palestinians For Dignity" call to reject US President Obama's visit to the occupied Palestinian territory expected between 20-22 March, and to demonstrate against the possible return to negotiations.
President Obama's visit to the occupied Palestinian territory comes at a time when our prisoners are waging a hunger strike battle in the face of Israeli government obstinacy, and in the face of US silence towards the slow murder these heroes are being subjected to. Most recently Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat died during interrogation inside the Israeli prison of Megiddo. Moreover, the visit comes in light of the continued international isolation of Israel and the ever-increasing boycott campaigns against it.
On one hand, it is simply naive to presume that U.S. policy toward Israel has changed since Obama took office. A March 2012 report by the U.S. Congress discusses a $3.1 billion in military aid for the year 2013 only, including financing the Iron Dome system, and increasing US bilateral support to Israel to $115 billion since 1949. In addition, the US is committed to maintain Israel's security at the expense of the lives, land and livelihood of Palestinians; whether by justifying the massacres against Palestinians in Gaza, or through its silence concerning settlement expansion, destructions of homes, forcible transfer and other Israeli policies.
On the other hand, it is hypocritical and disingenuous that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) disregards the role of the Obama administration in blocking its membership request in 2011 at the Security Council, and its vote against the resolution at the General Assembly in 2012. Furthermore, the US congress has imposed financial sanctions on international institutions recognizing “Palestine”. And to add insult to injury, while the PLO/PA assure Palestinians they consider Jerusalem the Palestinian capital, yet they receive the US President in the Ramallah enclave.
Despite the attempts of the Palestinian “leadership” to ease the atmosphere, with statements about Obama pressuring the Israeli government on the issue of Palestinian political prisoners, or promises of petty US aid, however, the ultimate objectives of the visit are clear.
The visit aims to achieve three goals; first, to relieve the pressure off the Israeli government, which is suffering increased international isolation (albeit with words more than actions). Second, to restrain the frustration of the Palestinian street simmering in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners and finally, to prolong the expected lifetime of the PA, which after 20 years is becoming more and more disconnected from its people.
The Palestinian people will not accept to play a role in achieving these interests, and will not succumb to these pressures. What is required of us as Palestinians is to persue a complete boycott of our occupier on all fronts: security, economical, political, cultural and academic, and to rebuild a representative entity for Palestinians everywhere. Not aid in relieving the pressure on the Israeli government by engaging in a futile process, and allowing it to complete its expansionary policies and annexation through uprooting Palestinians from their land and homes.
Accordingly, we call on the masses of the Palestinian people to change this path and demonstrate against receiving he who considers Israel "the closest ally in the region”, and to refuse the return to futile negotiations. We call for entrenching the sacrifices of the martyrs and prisoners by refusing to surrender and to work with Palestinians everywhere to establish a strategic program of resistance, where political, economic, military, popular and various other forms of resistance and duties are shared each according to their ability.
We invite you to take to the street on the expected day of the visit between the 20-23 of March, close to the day of Al-Karamah (dignity) battle commemoration, to restore part of our dignity and reject Western hegemony, and Zionist colonialism and internal consent.
Palestinians for Dignity
Note: The exact day of the visit will be confirmed, together with and the time/venue for demonstrating, and details about the activities and accompanying events.