2) Anarchy in our souls - personal account from women's demonstration
Monday, April 26, 2004
For Immediate Release
Court decision and increasing violence to silence protesters
[Jerusalem] At approximately 12:00 noon today, French peace activist, Angela Coppin, was released from custody after spending one night in a prison cell in the illegal settlement of Beit El. Israeli police decided not to bring Angela in front of a judge, perhaps due to the pressure brought on by the French media and supporters who heard of Angela’s violent arrest and the brutal way in which the Israeli military and police attacked a group of approximately 55 Palestinian, Israeli and international women demonstrating peacefully against the destruction and ghettoization of Palestinian villages for Israel‘s Apartheid Wall.
Israeli police, did however, bring ISM co-founder and coordinator Huwaida Arraf in front of Judge Raphael Strauss, submitting a request that she remain in jail for 3 days until the police prepare their case to press charges against her. Israeli police are preparing to ask that Huwaida be held in jail until her case is brought before an Israeli court (anywhere from a few months to over a year). The charges against her are:
1) Repeatedly violating closed military zone orders
2) Violating a court order to stay out of Biddu for a period of 21 days
Advocate Yael Berda, representing Huwaida argued that Huwaida was arrested in Beit Ijza and not Biddu and that she was arrested while trying to stop violence from being used against the women’s demonstration. Furthermore, the extreme request of the Israeli police - their push to lock Huwaida up - is merely an attempt to silence an idealistic, law-abiding woman, working for justice and human rights.
The request of the Israeli police to hold Huwaida in jail was rejected by Judge Strauss, commenting that this was unnecessary . He also made a noteworthy remark:
“The court should take care and be ware of those who might use the way of the court to stop or to restrict the right to express oneself , to dissent and to demonstrate. “ Judge Strauss also commented on a point raised by Advocate Berda, that there’s an expressed difference in the way that Jewish settlers who demonstrate in the West Bank are treated by the Israeli military and police as compared to those “one the other side” (i.e. Palestinians or their supporters) who demonstrate. Though he did not elaborate on this further.
Huwaida was released at approximately 5:00PM on NIS 5000 financial guarantee that she would abide by a previous court order to stay out of Biddu until 6 May, 2004. It is expected that the Israeli police will pursue their case against her.
The ISM asks that solidarity groups protest Israel’s increasing violence against unarmed anti-occupation / anti-Wall protesters. On February 26, 2004 Israeli troops shot dead Zacharia Mahmoud Eid, 26 year old from Beit Iksa, Mohamed Rayan, 26 year old from Beit Diqqo and Mohamed Saleh Bedwan, 20 years old from Biddu in a nonviolent demonstration against the Wall in Biddu. Also, Abu Nabil Abu Eid died in the same protest from a heart attack brought on by excessive tear gas inhalation. On April 16 the Israeli military shot and killed 17 year old Hussein Mahmoud Hussein (live bullet to the head) in an anti-Wall protest in Beitunia. Two days later, on April 18, the Israeli military shot and killed De’yaa Abdul Kareem Abu Eid (live bullet to the chest) also in an anti-Wall protest. Scores of other unarmed demonstrators have been beaten and injured by rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition over the past 2 months.
Please contact your respective government officials and members of parliament asking them to raise the issue. Also, please pass along this information to your respective media outlets asking them to pay attention to massive Palestinian unarmed demonstrations and Israel’s violent response to them. Israeli officials to contact:
Minister of Justice Yosef Lapid
29 Salah al-Din Street
Telegram: Justice Minister, Jerusalem
Fax: +972 2 628 5438
Civil Administration Coordinator Peter Lerner
Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz
For pictures of women’s demonstration yesterday, please see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/pictures/PHOTOS_25Apr04_16_26_01JerusalemREUTERSandWarrick.htm
for more information, please call:
Adv Yael Berda: +972-51-959-083
ISM Media Office: +972-2-277-4602
2) Anarchy in our souls
Gila Svirsky writes:
I just spoke to Molly Malekar on her way to Sha'arei Tzedek Hospital in
Jerusalem, and here is what she reported:
"We were about 60 women, only women: roughly 1/3 Israeli, 1/3
Palestinian, and 1/3 internationals. We gathered at Bidu to protest the
construction of the wall in this village. It was a quiet march, with
women carrying signs and walking toward the area where soldiers were
guarding the construction of the fence. At a distance of about 10 meters
(30 feet) from them, we stopped walking because the soldiers turned to
point their rifles directly at us. I called out to them in Hebrew, "Don't
shoot, we're not armed, this is a nonviolent demonstration." Suddenly
there was an onslaught of teargas and stun grenades, falling all around
us, completely out of proportion to the quiet, nonprovocative nature of
our action. The grenades fell right there at our feet and we were
choking, unable to breathe. Most dispersed and ran back. Soldiers
charged toward us and fell upon the women, grabbing some whom they
arrested. By then, there was no demonstration at all, nothing to
disperse. Most of the women had run back, trying to recover from the tear
gas, but I remained as I wanted to talk to the soldiers to prevent the
arrest of the four women. Suddenly out of nowhere four horses charged,
with border police mounted on them. I started to run away, but one of
them ridden by a girl soldier caught up with me and she struck me on my
head with a baton. I fell, and then a second horse charged toward me and
I felt more blows on my head and back. There was no provocation
whatsoever at any point while this was happening."
Molly is the director of Bat Shalom, which is the women's peace
organization that forms the Israeli side of The Jerusalem Link: A Women's
Joint Venture for Peace (the Palestinian side is called the Jerusalem
Center for Women). Molly is the most wonderfully serious and thoughtful
woman you would ever want to have at the head of your organization. Anyone
who has ever met Molly knows that she has never engaged in provocation,
but has only been cautious and respectful. I asked her by cell phone, on
her way to the hospital, how she feels and she said, "A horrible headache,
my ears hurt, and aching from the blows. But let's think about how to
wake people up to what is happening out there. We have to wake people
Wake up, world! Hear O Israel, wake up!! Israeli soldiers have made
brutality a way of life against Palestinians, then they turned their
weapons and death upon international peace activists, and now they are
brutalizing Israelis who express disapproval of their ways. Who will be
the first one killed?
Writes US woman activist Starhawk, who participated in some of these, "The
Israelis who are involved in the day to day resistance ... said to me that
they know it is only a matter of time before there is an Israeli 'shaheed
'- a martyr of the occupation. Being Israeli is no longer a protection
against the violence of the military."
What's worse: Nonviolence is no longer protection against the brutality
of the military, regardless of whether you are Israeli or Palestinian or
international. No one should be assaulted for peacefully demonstrating,
and yet that has become the norm. Today, any single demonstration that
takes place in the territories -- whether by Palestinians or Israelis,
women or men, nonviolent or violent -- is treated to the same brutal
behavior of guns, stun grenades, and clubs. And no one investigates the
incidents in a serious, unbiased manner, and the soldiers learn that they
can be more and more cruel, and no one gives a damn.
What has happened? The occupation has happened. The occupation has
corrupted the soul of Israel. A situation of "Ein din v'ein dayan", as
the Bible says: "No law and no one standing in judgment".
There is anarchy in the soul of Israel today, and it won't be gone until
we uproot the occupation from our land and from our hearts.
INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT