2) Resisting the Apartheid Wall_CKUT Radio interview
3) Reflections from Palestine_S'ra
4) The peaceful way works best_Gideon Levy, Haaretz
1) The Arrest of Nariman
Thursday 12th February 2004
I am in the family home of Nariman Mohammed Sadiq Hasses, a 21 year old
woman from Jenin's old city. The public room is filled with her female
relatives and friends. They sit in a circle wrapped in blankets, some
been weeping. The atmosphere is subdued expect for the smiles and
outreached hands of the three small children who wander in and out.
Yesterday at 3.30am this house was invaded by Israeli soldiers who
and arrested Nariman. The people in the room are still absorbing the
of this intrusion and the unexpected absence of a daughter, sister and
Nariman's mother describes what happened. Her anguish clear from her
even before her words are translated. The household had been awoken
before 3.30 am yesterday by the sound of loud banging on their
door. She had looked from her first floor window to see what was
and had seen that there were soldiers attempting to break into the next
house. Seeing her looking from the window the soldiers then started to
attempt to breakdown the door to her own home, she responded by
"wait a minute, I will open it". The soldiers continued to beat at the
Her daughter Nariman went downstairs to open it. As she did so soldiers
flooded the house, seizing Nariman and detaining her outside the house.
mother describes how her son's children screamed and wept in terror as
soldiers searched the house shouting "Keep quiet, keep quiet" their
directed at herself and her relatives.
The family, 4 children, 4 woman and 1 man were ordered outside and
stand in the rain as soldiers made their way through the home. Unlike
previous raids on house in Jenin there was no damage to the house and
property was taken. The soldiers then announced that they were
Nariman. Her mother recounts that she begged the soldiers for an
as to why her daughter was being arrested, they refused to say. She
her daughter for an explanation but Nariman insisted that she had no
to why she was being taken away. Next she tried to persuade the
let her go with her daughter, they refused. Nariman's brother Aiman
accompany his sister and finally they relented, agreeing that he could
accompany his sister. The family was also allowed to give Nariman some
additional clothes and shoes after she had been out in the rain for
hour. After this the force of around 40 soldiers drove of in their
The women in the room nod in encouragement and support as she speaks.
joined by her son, Aiman who accompanied Nariman for the first few
her arrest. He takes up the story. They were first taken to the nearby
military base of Dotan before traveling to base and prison at Salem at
northern tip of the West Bank. Here she was shackled and had a hood
over her head. Aiman looks angry and perhaps ashamed as he describes
inability to stop this humiliation of his sister. He tried to intervene
was held back by soldiers. Nariman was then taken away, the soldiers
informing Aiman that she was being transferred to Jalamah interrogation
centre near Haifa. Our translator interjects "that is a bad place".
Since then the family have heard no more. All they know is that she has
taken away for interrogation by the Israeli intelligence service, the
Shabak. They have no idea how long this process will take. They have no
of what treatment she will receive. They have no idea what she is
of. They have no idea when next they will be able to communicate with
They have no idea when next they will see her again. Above of all they
no idea why she was taken in the first place. Her mother states that
daughter was not politically active though she was a social activist
with the Union of Psychology and Social Work Associations and
with the Palestinian Ministry of Social Affairs. Nariman did not feel
threat of arrest, "would she have opened the door if she had a fear of
taken away?" her mother asks.
Just before I leave Nariman's mother says that she blames herself for
daughters arrest, "if only I had not looked out of the window, maybe
would have passed this house."
A local journalist tells me later that around 80 people have been
in the Jenin area in the past month. Amongst them ordinary men and
journalists, community activists, politicians as well as members of
Palestinian resistance groups. For every arrest, a home is violated by
soldiers and a family left shocked and uncertain as to their relatives
The prisoners should not expect due process or a fair hearing. They may
interrogated within a system where "moderate physical pressure" is
torture commonplace and defendants have no right to see the evidence
presented against them in the military tribunal that tries them. Each
faces the possibility of extended periods of imprisonment under the
policy of administrative detention (imprisonment without charge).
No one in Nariman's family knows what will happen. They are aware of
Israeli's record when it comes to the treatment of prisoners. They can
hope that Nariman escapes the worst that her captors are capable of.
can only hope that she will be home soon.
For more information, contact Andrew in Jenin: +972-(0)67-943-926
Amnesty Internationals 2003 Report on Israel and the Occupied
Mass arrests, detention and torture or ill-treatment of Palestinians
The IDF arrested thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of
throughout the Occupied Territories. Most were released without charge
many without having been questioned. Ill-treatment was widespread
arrest and interrogation, and there were numerous reports of torture in
detention. Detainees reported various forms of torture and
including beatings, being handcuffed and tied in uncomfortable
prolonged periods, threats to the detainee and their relatives, and
deprivation. At least one detainee died in custody after he was beaten.
More than 1,900 of those arrested were held in administrative detention
up to one year. They were not charged with any offence and were held on
basis of "secret evidence", which neither they nor their lawyers were
allowed to see or to challenge in court. Around 1,000 other people who
arrested were charged with involvement in attacks against Israelis and
than 3,800 were tried by military courts in trials that fell short of
international fair trial standards.
Most Palestinian detainees were not allowed to receive visits from
relatives, even when, according to the International Committee of the
Cross, the relatives fulfilled the necessary security requirements."
2) CKUT Radio: Budrus Palestine - Resisting the Apartheid Wall
Listen to an interview with S'ra - a social justice activist and
organic farmer in Burlington Vermont. S'ra is currently in Budrus
Palestine a rural village in the West Bank, which is currently fighting
for its existence against the Israeli military and the planned
construction path of the Apartheid Wall. The wall, deemed a "security
measure" by the Israeli state, is clearly an effort to steal more
The Palestinian Environmental NGO Network has estimated that upwards of
per cent of the West Bank land will be plundered by the completion of
wall, which is not being built on or near the 1967 Green Line and at
points reaches 16km deep into the heart of the West Bank. Budrus is a
community actively resisting the construction of the Apartheid Wall
weekly demonstrations being held, which represent a living face of
Palestine civil resistance to the brutal and illegal Israeli military
To listen to the interview with S'ra visit:
To read reports written by S'ra from Palestine visit:
For more information on the International Solidarity Movement visit:
3) Reflections from Palestine
February 11, 2004
Hello dear friends and family,
I hope you all received the email from me yesterday about the military
incursion into Budrus. Today was pretty quite in Budrus, the military
entered a couple of times, but no incidences occurred as far as I know.
should all rest assured that I am safe and well and falling in love
beautiful people and landscape of Budrus.
I will be in Budrus until I leave Palestine on March 2. I hope to make
trips to Qalqilia and Jenin from Budrus. We will have to see what the
situation is in Budrus, if construction of the wall starts or not. On
February 23 there will demonstrations against the wall in many major
in Palestine. This is the day the International Court of Justice
hearings about the wall. Tomorrow there is another demo planned for
and also on February 21. Either Sunday or Monday we are planning a
demonstration at the Erez checkpoint in Gaza to bring attention to all
atrocities that are happening in Gaza.
We now have a computer in the international house in Budrus, but no
connection. There is one family in the village that has dial-up, so I
to be able to continue to send updates. We have had media outlets from
several parts of the world visit Budrus in the last few weeks. Budrus
becoming internationally known!! For its brave resistance.
Sending my love and solidarity
Hoping the wall will fall
February 8, 2004 - Another Budrus Demonstration
Last Friday I took part in another protest against the wall in Budrus,
small village in the West Bank where I have been staying. The Israeli
government informed Budrus last Thursday that the construction of the
will commence any day now. Each morning everyone in the village, both
Palestinians and internationals, wake up early to see if trees are
or the wall being constructed. It is psychological warfare, the
waiting for your community to be imprisoned. The village does not even
yet exactly where the wall will be built and if it will be concrete
fence (electric or not).
The last demonstration in Budrus of 200-300 Palestinians, Israelis, and
internationals was particularly amazing. In protests here, men and
march separately into the olive grove; men first, followed by the women
children. When the women arrived down to the grove the military and
were already in a stand off. Three young women marched right in front
the soldiers, as the other women followed chanting passionately. The
soldiers seemed taken a back by their courage. The women stood between
men and the soldiers and refused to move back when the soldiers
The soldiers were armed with tear gas, rubber bullets and live
They gave a five-minute warning and the women still would not leave the
olive grove or back away. The men of Budrus had to persuade the women
they were willing to ascend up the hill and back to the village. On
walk up a couple of young boys threw a few stones down the hill towards
soldiers (none actually came anywhere near the soldiers), which
massive dispersal of tear gas from the Israeli soldiers. I saw many
and children on the ground coughing and gasping from the tear gas.
The demonstration was a success; the women made their voices loud and
"Do not take our land away." One particular woman, a 15-year old and
friend of mine, impressed me immensely. She walked right up to the
and lead beautiful call and response chants.
Unfortunately the days ahead will most likely only bring the same type
response from the Israeli soldiers. The village is committed to taking
non-violent direct action against the construction of the wall and
the uprooting of more of their trees. The community is braced for a
struggle; maybe they will be the first community to succeed in stopping
wall. In'shallah (hopefully).
February 8, 2004 -- The Wall in Abu Dis
On Saturday about 3000 people marched against the wall in Abu Dis, a
neighborhood in East Jerusalem. I had the pleasure of marching with my
friend from Aida Refugee Camp. He thought me some chants in Arabic.
of my other writings have focused on the affects the wall will have on
farmers but the wall in Abu Dis will have the largest consequences on
healthcare and education services. The 25' wall is built right down
middle of the main street in Abu Dis, which now is cut off from other
of Jerusalem. The wall is not completed there yet and places still
where you can jump over it. However this will not last long.
After the wall is completed many students and teachers will not be able
reach their schools which lay on either side of the wall. Many
attend Al-Quds, Bethlehem, Abu Dis or Birzeit Universities will have an
incredibly difficult time getting around the wall to attend their
Primary and secondary schools will also be greatly affected and will
able to reach both the UN and the Palestinian Authority-managed
According to the United Nations, 190 students and 74 teachers will have
exit through the "security barrier" to get to their schools and 70
and 12 teachers will have to try to enter Jerusalem to go to school.
figures just represent the UN-run schools, not the PA or private
Many of the children that will be most affected are refugees. Ability
pass the wall is completely at the whim of the Israeli military.
Access to UN, PA and private clinics, hospitals, and doctors will be
impeded. Doctors, nurses, other staff and patients will have to pass
gate in the wall after receiving permission from the Israeli
which often does not occur. People who have jobs on either sides of
wall may not be able to get to work. Of course these problems related
the wall mentioned above exist everywhere the wall is constructed.
to healthcare, education and employment is a basic human right, which
being systematically stolen from the Palestinians from the illegal
occupation and the Apartheid wall.
February 10, 2004 - A Little Reflection
When we were in Qalqilia, Hilary and I, visited a zoo with a
family on the first day of Eid, a Muslim holiday. I am morally opposed
zoos but I decided to go because the children of the family were so
I found the whole experience ironic and symbolic. Qalqilia, which has
turned into prison by the wall, houses a prison for animals. All the
animals in the zoo looked sick and emaciated. The entire zoo was
and decrypted. The children's play area had not been cleaned of trash
weeks if not months and the rides were mere skeletons. The whole place
depressing. Even though I view zoos as inhumane I found myself
with sadness that the fun park for kids was in such a horrible
thought this zoo was symbolic for the state of childhood in Palestine.
Children do not have many opportunities for fun and recreation.
they see their family members imprisoned and killed and their hills for
playing in destroyed for the construction of settlements and the wall.
February 11, 2004 -- Commentary on Current Events in Palestine and
I just wanted to make a few comments about current events in Palestine
Israel. Sharon announced last week that some Israeli settlements will
dismantled in Gaza Strip in the near future. This plan is a complete
because Sharon plans to relocate these settlements to the West Bank
Israel is under a major campaign to confiscate land. Israel is
trying to annex much of the West Bank from the Palestinians through the
continual construction of the wall, Israeli-only access roads, and
settlements (especially around Jerusalem and Bethlehem).
The Israeli government is trying to completely surround Jerusalem with
settlements and Israeli access roads. Every day it is becoming more
difficult for Palestinians that live within Jerusalem to leave and
Palestinians who live outside to enter. For either, Palestinians must
permission from the Israeli government. This permission may be for one
a week or a few months. After the time is expired they must reapply, a
Sharon's government also announced that the path of the wall would be
downed to cause less hindrance to the Palestinians and that the line
more closely follow the Green Line (the 1948 border between the West
and Israel). This again is a complete farce. One of the supposed
to the wall will be the construction of an underground tunnel from the
of Qalqilia to the town of Habla. Even if there is an underground
road/tunnel, the fact remains that Qalqilia is a city that is
prison, since it is completely surrounded by the wall, which is
by the Israeli military. This tunnel is what Sharon considers as
concessions to the Palestinians.
Already 200 of the 705 kilometers of the wall have been completed.
kilometer of wall costs approximately 10.5 million shekels to build.
people globally who follow the news may think that the wall is just a
of fence that is only separating the West Bank from Israel. This is
case. The wall strays far from the Green Line and already surrounds
villages and whole cities, like Qalqilia. Budrus and eight other
will be completely encircled by the wall with only one exit/entrance.
of these areas that will be or already are completed surrounded
huge swaths of land for the Israelis. If you look at the map, you will
notice that the Palestinian areas that are being completely isolated by
wall neighbor enclaves of existing settlements. The winding layers of
wall that sometimes have two of three separate fences will also allow
the construction of more settlements as more land is grabbed from the
4) 'The peaceful way works best'
By Gideon Levy
There's a remote little village in the West Bank that decided to behave
differently. A village whose residents decided not to lament and not to
themselves up. They chose another way between violence and surrender.
residents of the village of Budrus, west of Ramallah and close to the
Line, chose to wage a nonviolent struggle against the separation fence
is being built on its land. The whole village has pitched in - the
Fatah members, the old and the young, men and women, and for three
they have been going down by the hundreds to their olive groves every
to demonstrate against the uprooting of their trees and the encircling
The IDF and the Border Police have been faced with an unfamiliar
phenomenon: What are they supposed to do about hundreds of unarmed,
nonviolent residents slowly descending toward the bulldozers, with
children leading the pack, and a handful of Israeli and international
volunteers sprinkled among them, approaching to within touching
the armed soldiers? Should they shoot to kill? Shoot to injure?
So far, the IDF has fired, but less - no one has been killed, and about
people have been injured, most of them lightly, in the course of about
demonstrations over a two-month period. Most of the injuries were from
batons and rubber bullets, like in the old days. Twelve villagers have
arrested, and nine of them are still in jail, for participating in
nonviolent demonstrations. This, too, is a violation of the IDF's
one military judge noted when he refused to send one of the leaders of
pacifist revolt to administrative detention. The arrested man's
however, was sent straight to administrative detention by another
judge. But the most important point is that the construction work on
fence near the village has been stopped, for now.
Budrus against the occupation. Budrus against the separation fence,
will encircle the village on all sides and cut it off, like eight other
villages slated to be enclosed in fenced-in enclaves opposite
Airport. The fence could have been built along the Green Line, several
hundred meters from the present route, but Israel had other ideas -
the vineyards, about the olives, about life. Today, or tomorrow, the
quarrying and paving work will resume, and so will the protest
Will this remote village become a milestone in the struggle over the
Will the residents of Budrus herald a change to nonviolence in the
Palestinian struggle against the occupation? Or, in a week or two, will
separation fence cut off life in this village, too, and show that
nonviolence doesn't pay, with the scene in Budrus soon becoming a
Cacti wherever you look. Old stone houses standing alongside half-built
that will never be completed. Things look promising as you enter the
village, but the further inside you go, the more the reality hits you.
the last house, from within the olive groves, is the sight that is
frightening the residents: the rising orange of the bulldozers,
color in the wadi cutting into the rock, digging up and scarring, and
them the steamrollers and the heavy trucks. Olive trees whose tops have
cut off stand in mute testimony to the work of the bulldozers so far.
This is where the fence will pass. Through these olive groves. One
the west of them and another to the east of them, leaving them stuck,
imprisoned in the middle. Why? Because.
"If the fence were on the mountain, it would give more security,"
Iyad Ahmed Murar, a leader of the protest in Budrus, whose two brothers
in administrative detention. "But they want a fence in the wadi. Common
sense says that if you want a security fence, put it on the mountain
in the wadi. But they want to destroy the land and the olives. What
difference would it make if they moved 200 meters toward the Green
Before 1948, Budrus had approximately 25,000 dunams. Of that, 20,000
Israel and the village was left with about 5,000. Now, according to
calculations, about another 1,000 dunams will be stolen. The
work near the groves has stopped for now, but is continuing not far
toward the neighboring village of Qibiya. But it's not just the fate of
land that is worrying the village, which hasn't had a resident killed
1993. What's more worrisome is how the fence will effectively choke off
Murar: "The fence will be around nine villages. Ramallah is our mother
only one gate will lead to it. And what if the soldier is on a coffee
Or off smoking a cigarette? Maybe he'll lock the gate so he can go to
bathroom. Maybe there will be a problem in Tel Aviv and they'll close
gate. And then you won't be able to get to the university, to the
or to work, and in the end, people will start to live where they work.
someone gives me a job, and I come one day and not the next, in the end
he'll tell me to stay there where the job is or be fired. People will
thinking about having to stay where their job is. And the student and
sick person will start thinking the same way."
This is what the village is the most afraid of - a "willing" transfer;
life being made so difficult that they'll be compelled to move east. A
1,000-year-old village. That's why the fence is here. In Budrus,
convinced that Prime Minister Sharon is continuing what Captain Sharon
began: In Qibiya, he tried it with dynamite, now he's trying it with a
fence. The objective is the same: to move them away from the Green
especially in the vicinity of Ben-Gurion airport. What can they do?
"Demonstrate in a peaceful manner," says Murar the rebel.
It all began on November 9, when construction work first started here.
then, they've been demonstrating and demonstrating, always in a
manner. Sometimes once a week, sometimes every day; sometimes the
village; sometimes only the women and children. They walk down through
groves toward the route of the fence and get as close as possible to
soldiers and Border Police officers. Murar likes to describe the little
rebellion, stage after stage, almost hour after hour. How they once
there for a whole day, how they brought lunch and ate in front of the
soldiers, how they were beaten with batons and rifle butts.
He records every detail: During one demonstration in December, he
humvees, six Border Police jjeeps, two blue police jeeps and another
military jeeps inside the village, 25 jeeps altogether. At another
demonstration, the officer declared the area a closed military zone.
Murar: "They had a letter in Hebrew - maybe about this area, maybe
whole village, maybe about the whole world, declaring a closed military
zone. They said they'd impose a curfew if we did anything." He also
about how they managed to go out to the land despite the curfew and to
demonstrate in front of the bulldozers.
We decide to go down now toward the route that has already been paved.
remains behind. "If there are too many of us, they'll think it's a
demonstration." The last demonstration was last Friday; tear gas
are still scattered about. The residents know the work is going to
soon. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow. Here are the red markings on the
They have scouts on the balconies of the outer houses of the village,
will report if they see something. The treadmarks left by the
still visible in the mud. From here, the route is supposed to ascend
the olive groves, another four kilometers. The first trees have already
uprooted. Yesterday was Tu Bishvat (Jewish arbor day).
A group of volunteers from the International Solidarity Movement, along
two young Israelis, accompany us through the olive groves, but they do
go down toward the fence route. They are staying in the village now,
preparing for what is to come. Today they're here, tomorrow they'll be
the next village that the fence is approaching. Young dreamers and
who pay 20 shekels a night to stay in a rented apartment in the
Yonatan Pollak of Anarchists Against the Fence, a 21-year-old with blue
eyes, dimples, acne scars, a worldview and a past: Europe is already
to him because of anti-globalization demonstrations he participated in
there. He pulls a black sleeve over the tattoos on his arm. He won't
Israeli soda in the village grocery store. While his contemporaries are
standing at checkpoints and deciding which woman in labor to let pass
which not, he is here, with the Budrus residents, in their struggle.
We return to the village. The Amhassein family's two-story house: the
on the first floor, the chickens on the second. The mother, Suriya,
returned from Mecca and the house has been decorated in her honor. The
children play loudly at recess at the school at the edge of the
fence will pass right behind the border of the school and the border of
nearby cemetery. Mighty Israel is spread out all around: Modi'in,
Shoham, Rosh Ha'ayin - and on a clear day, you can even make out the
Tower in Tel Aviv. And on the other side, to the east, Kiryat Sefer,
Na'aleh. "Tell me, could the fence go into the cemetery?," Murar asks.
A meeting at his home: About 20 women sit in the yard of the attractive
house on the edge of the green valley and plan the exhibition they want
stage here on the 23rd of the month, the first day of hearings on the
in the International Court in The Hague. Half the women came from
half are from the village. They sit in the shade of the banana tree in
Murar's yard and talk about the exhibit of olivewood products they will
present in a tent in the center of the village. Maybe people from all
the world will come to see. A Swedish member of parliament was already
arrested here by the IDF. Murar says that the exhibition will include a
carved out of olivewood. They're also planning a demonstration of
Murar: "We've learned lessons - where we did good and where we did bad.
[the Israelis] have also learned lessons. Maybe they'll strengthen the
curfew more when they're working. But our plan is to defend our land
trees in a peaceful manner. Sometimes among our people there are a lot
ideas about what to do against the occupation. We here have chosen a
different strategy. Our strategy in this small village is that we're
things over. In the north, from Jenin until Budrus, there were Israeli
international demonstrators, supported by Palestinians. But here, we
that it's our problem and that we have to defend our land and do
and the Israelis and international protesters are only supporting us.
the Palestinians, and then the internationals. We are very grateful for
Israeli and international support, but the Palestinians have to make a
stand. We're adopting a special strategy, a peaceful strategy. The
here, too. In the beginning, they walked with their green flags in the
demonstrations. After the first three demonstrations, we only carry the
of Palestine. Everyone together. In a totally peaceful way. We also all
agreed on one thing: We are not against the Israelis and not against
Jews and not against the soldiers. We are only against the occupation.
are against the bulldozers. And we in Budrus believe that killing is
than crying. But just crying over the land isn't enough. A peaceful
demonstration is stronger than killing. If you stand before the Israeli
soldier, right beside him, you'll be stronger.
If someone asks: Why peaceful? I tell him: I've tried all the ways and
peaceful way works best. The worst thing is to kill the innocent.
worst thing in the world. They kill day and night and say that we are
terrorists. But we need all the world to be on our side. I'm against
people. All people, Jews and Arabs. I'm not afraid or ashamed to say
That's why I'm demonstrating peacefully against the fence."
INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT
"For the tyrant has the power to inflict only that which we lack the
strength to resist"... Krishnalal Shridharani