Activists close entrance to illegal Israeli settlement

On May 13, as some 2000 Palestinian prisoners were in their 27th day of hunger-striking, Palestinian and solidarity activists blocked the entrance to one of the largest Israeli colonies in the West Bank.

Around 50 activists arrived at the entrance of the illegal Jewish-only settlement of Ma’ale Adumim and were successful in blocking traffic for at least 20 minutes. Israeli forces arrived quickly and detained two Palestinian men from the crowd, taking them to the nearby police station. As the activists left the area, they climbed to a nearby hill overlooking the same street and raised Palestinian flags. Israeli soldiers climbed the hill and forced them to descend. The activists then climbed an adjacent hill, prompting the same reaction from Israeli soldiers. The action was successful in its goal of civil disturbance.

The following day, the mass hunger strike of Palestinians in Israeli prisons reached a deal and the strike was finished. Many human rights groups have since criticized Israel for not maintaining parts of the agreement.

The importance of perseverance and creativity in the popular struggle cannot be stressed enough. As Palestinians battle normalization and apathy from several years of repetitive resistance and little gains, new ideas and forms of struggle are needed to keep the passion and dedication alive.

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Permission to enter their own lands: Kufr Qaddoum rampaged again by military

International Solidarity Movement, West Bank

In the village of Kufr Qaddoum the people held a demonstration for the 17th Friday in a row. The demonstration started around 11:30 AM in the center of the village and consisted of approximately 80 people. The procession only made it to a barbed wire that blocked the road although it stood within the infamous “red line” that outlines Kufr Qaddoum and separates it from the nearby illegal settlement of Qadumim.

With border police and Israeli military present, the protesters were immediately fired at with tear gas. The soldiers directly targeted the protesters from a distance of approximately 50 meters. One young man was hit by a tear gas canister on his thigh by one of the very first shots before the protesters pulled back into the village. They soon returned and were again violently attacked with tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets by the Israeli army.

At around 12 PM the army passed their own barbed wire blockade and entered the village in military vehicles. Sound bombs and tear gas was fired in large amounts. Civilians who were not taking part in the demonstration were also affected, including one elderly woman who was seen falling over when running for her life outside the mosque in the middle of the village.

One ISM activist was nearly arrested during the military rampage on Kufr Qaddoum, but managed to escape from the soldier chasing him. Two Palestinian activists were injured and taken inside the mosque for treatment from the Red Crescent, and several people were seriously affected by tear gas inhalation.

The demonstration ended just before 1 PM when the army withdrew from the village. The soldiers  later announced in loud speakers that all villagers had to leave their lands and none were allowed to continue the olive harvest during the rest of Friday and Saturday, though the villagers have permission already from Israeli authorities to enter their lands on Friday and Saturday.Four days before the protest Israeli soldiers entered the village during the night and arrested nine people. They are all still being held.The weekly demonstrations in Kufr Qaddoum are arranged by the Popular Committee of Kufr Qaddoum and held in protest against the closure of the main road entering the village. The road was closed in 2003, and the case was taken to the Israeli High Court. After years of waiting the people were allowed access to the road. The court ruled that the villagers could not use the road until 2012 after Israeli claims of the road not being “suitable” or “safe.” The main road leads from Kufr Qaddoum out to the main road to Nablus and passes the nearby illegal settlement of Qadumim, which was established in 1976.

House Demolition: Jab’a resident insists he will rebuild again

[We visited Jab’a on hint of a house demolition, and found the house already demolished. The people of the village are close to the green line so they have a lot of problems, and rarely see media come or anyone show an interest. We contacted Sheikh Nasrideen and met up with him for this interview.]

10th October 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank.

On 10th October 2011 at 5am Israeli forces demolished a family home in the village of Al Jab’a, about 15 km southwest of Bethlehem.

The owner, Sheikh Nasri, was farming his land at the time of the demolition. Nasri, 50, had been constructing the house for his family of ten children whilst living in a nearby rented property. He had applied for a building permit, which was still pending. Villagers reported that a Demolition Order had not been presented.

Al Jab’a has a population of around 800 and is near the illegal Israeli settlements of Batayim and Nahal Gebaot. In an interview with ISM volunteers, Sheikh Nasri explained that the location of his village is a cause for daily struggle; they are refused access to much of their farm land by the military and endure prolonged assaults from the settler community. When Shieikh Nasri’s 15 year old son attempted to farm their land, soldiers arrested him, and he was detained in an Israeli prison for over 6 months. On another occasion soldiers refused to allow Sheikh Nasri and his pregnant wife to pass through a check point to get to the local hospital – she was forced to have her baby at home without medical care.

 When asked what he plans to do next, Shiekh Nasri remains defiant:

I will build it again, and if they take it down again, I will do it again. And I will do it again. If I die, my son will do it. If my son dies, his son will do it. Until we all die. That’s what I’m planning to do… To stay here, plant the land, build houses and die here. We have no other place to live.

The Israeli wall plan will result in Al Jab’a being besieged by the wall from the north, east and west and bypass road number 367 from the south, effectively isolating it from the rest of the West Bank. Villagers reported that 10 other houses are currently at risk of demolition.

Israel announces 1100 new settlements in occupied East Jerusalem

EU officially criticizes Israeli settlement plan by the Associated Press

Settlement plan draws world’s ire by the National Post

Unhelpful acts of provocation in the Mideast by the Montreal Gazette

Britain condemns new Israeli settlements by the Huffington Post

World condemns Israel over new settlement plan by the Tehran Times

Um Khamel

Created by my mother, Rehab Nazzal. This is a short but moving interview with Um Khamel, a woman who was expelled from her home in Jerusalem where ethnic cleansing is a common practice