Weekly Report from Palestinian Popular Resistant Movement. 15/05/2010

Nakba
The Nakba Day, 14 May 1948, the date the state of Israel was declared. However, it was not the beginning of the Nakba (catastrophe) nor its end for the Palestinians. Over 200 villages were ethnically cleansed in the six months before 14 May 1948.
After that date, the wave of ethnic cleansing was being done in a name of a nation-state established by and for Jews from Europe and not just the terrorist underground Jewish militias. The ethnic cleansing accompanying the foundation of this apartheid Jewish state and its maintenance meant the destruction of 530 villages and towns and meant that in the past 9 years alone over 10,000 homes were destroyed in the West Bank (including occupied Jerusalem), Gaza, and the Negev.
Current situation
Today 7 million of the 11 million Palestinians around the world are refugees or displaced people. The Israeli population according to the Israeli central bureau of statistics is 7,510,000 of which 5,984,500 are “Jews and others” (presumably the others are Druze, Russian non-Jews, and similar categories) and 1,525,500 Palestinian Arabs (1). The population of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is 4 million allowed to live on areas A & B, small parts of the 22% of Palestine occupied since 1967 (2). The total area allowed for Palestinian use is 2.5% of the area of pre-1967 Israel (3) plus areas A & B of the West Bank. In total this comes to 2.5% of 78% and 29% of the 22% that is the West Bank and Gaza (4). The total geographic access to all remaining Palestinians(5.525 million) is thus 1.95%+6.38%=8.33% while the Jewish and other population (Zionist preferred) consists of 5.5 million with access to the remaining lands comprising 91.67% of historic Palestine. What this means is that the Jewish population (most of it new immigrants) has access to about 9 times more land per person than the remaining native Palestinians. If we add the Palestinian refugees outside the country (total Palestinian population per PCBS is 10.9 million), the disparity only gets more pronounced. When you consider that before the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948, 93% of the land was used by Palestinian natives and now only 8.3%, you can see the colossal level of land theft.
Sources: Mazen Qomsiyeh.

Nabi Saleh, 14th May 2010: Around 50 Nabi Saleh residents, other Palestinians, international and Israeli supporters participated in this week’s demonstration against the strangulating occupation and the Halamish settlement. Soon enough clashes erupted, despite the peaceful nature of the march, and the army’s tear gas grenades set fire throughout the area. Tear gas and sound grenades were also thrown on and around houses that are located on the village’s hill top.

Around 15:00 the army entered the main road and fired tear gas to more populated village’s areas. During that time, 2 Israeli protesters were apprehended and detained by soldiers, one of them dragged on the road. The army retreated then. The protester who was dragged, was also beaten in the car while in custody, and had her head bleeding. The protesters were released around 19:00, while clashes were still taking place.

In Biddu/Beit Ijza, 14th May 2010: A demonstration composed of about 100 Palestinians and some 10 Israelis, was organized against the confiscation of their lands and the Apartheid Wall. Speeches were made in Hebrew and Arabic, and at some point the demonstrators’ enthusiasm led to breaking the lock on the outer gate and taking it off its hinges. The demonstrators sat tensely and quietly between the fence’s gates until the soldiers decided to take action. They came through the gate and abducted two demonstrators. Some youth reacted by throwing stones, while an Israeli soldier launched gas on the demonstrators.

The negotiations began following the restoration of calm between demonstrators and occupation forces, allowing the locals to explain their plight to the soldiers. The hostages were released, after putting the gate back on its hinges and the disbanding of the demonstration. It is important to remind the readers that farmers in Beit Ijza, have not been denied entry to their own lands the last three months.

Ma’assara, 14th of May 2010: A nakba memorial art festival was held at Ma’assara. It was preceded by a march which amounted around 200 people. Members of popular committee made speeches in Arabic and English to commemorate the Nakba and the memory of lost villages. In addition to this the Palestinian minister of culture made a speech and commended the steadfastness of the village. The famous Palestinian singer Reem Banna sang several songs and two debka troupes danced, as well as The Tel Aviv drumming group played during the march. .

In the background of the demonstration, three tents representing three villages from over 530 destroyed towns and villages were depicted. The local popular committee had a brilliant event in support of the right of return even though the Israeli army had invaded the village the night before and threatened organizers Mohammed and Hasan Breijiya and others.
Interestingly enough, an Israeli who was called up for reserve service with the military unit assigned to Ma’assara refused to serve and instead came to the demonstration. He will start a 20 day jail term on Sunday and was warmly applauded by the audience.
The soldiers were not even visible for the most part and only showed up at the very end when the stage was being taken apart and shot some tear gas at people who retaliated with stones.
( Sources: anarchist against the wall and Mazen Qomsiyeh)

See following video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ezoe_k5FgY

East Jerusalem, 14/05/2010: Three hundred Palestinians Israeli demonstrated against the settlements in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah after the call of the political party  Al Balad.
East Jerusalem, 13/05/2010: In Sheikh Jarrah, hundreds of protesters including Israelis with Rabbis for human rights congregated and protested the evictions of Palestinians from occupied East-Jerusalem. The occupation forces dragged many away and arrested others.

– see video at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwEubxCsnGc

Bil’in, 14th May 2010: The popular committee reported from Bil’in that “Representatives from the Fatah, Hamas, and PFLP movements, along with members of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, marched carrying a giant key to represent the rightful return of the refugees. The demonstration was visited by Handala, the Palestinian symbol who was created to represent the children who left their homelands and were forced to settle in refugee camps. Demonstrators processed to the site of the Wall and endured large amounts of tear gas as Israeli soldiers tried to force them to retreat. A Palestinian TV journalist was arrested when the soldiers crossed the fence. The fields around the Wall quickly caught fire due to the high afternoon heat and the tear gas canisters, and demonstrators tried to extinguish the flames with olive branches. ..”

– See flickr.com/photos/activestills for pictures

Bi’lin, 12th May 201. At 12am, early Wednesday morning, the Israeli military invaded Bil’in village looking for Ashraf Abu Rahme. Ashraf had been arrested along with six other Palestinian, Israeli, and International activists (including Bil’in residents Haitham Al Katib and Waji Burnat) at a demonstration in Bil’in Friday afternoon. After searching three houses including his mother’s home and the unfinished house of his brother Bassem Abu Rahme (who was killed during a demonstration last year), they were unable to find Ashraf. On the same day B’tzelem camera man Haitham Al Katib and Waji Burnat were released from Ofer Military Prison where they had been taken on Friday night after being arrested in Bil’in. The Israeli and International activists had been released the same day as the arrest.

– Here is a video of last week’s arrest in Bil’in, when Israeli soldiers arrested Ashraf, Wagie, the cameraman Haitham, two Israelis and an international.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHMmB1vqwRc

Wad Rachal (North of Maasara), 12th May 2010: In the village, the ongoing process of land confiscation is clearly obvious as concrete foundations, which will be used for the future Wall, are placed beside the houses and separate them from their lands in order to allow the expansion of the settlement Efrat. Around 40 Palestinians, 5 internationals, and 4 Israelis gathered to protest against the occupation. A short march along with flags and singing led the demonstrators over the concrete foundations in front of police and military jeeps. The demonstration stopped in front of the soldiers, and some short speeches in Arabic and English we made. The demonstrators then came back to the village.

Mazra’a alSharqiya (east of Ramallah) 12th May 2010: Aysar Yasser alZaben, a 16 years old young man, was shot dead. According to initial reports, he was throwing stones and was shot by a settler near route 60.

Hebron 15.05.2010: The demonstration amounted around 150 Palestinians and 50 Israelis/Internationals for the opening of the Shuhada street and commemorating also Al-Nakba day. Protesters held signs, flags and balloons, spoke, sang and chanted slogans. The army did storm and beat a protester who painted an “Open Shuhada Street” sign on a cement army post.  A Palestinian who attempted rescuing him was arrested. Protestors then marched in the old city, which attracted more attention from local Hebronites. The march was once again attacked by settlers throwing notably stones from rooftops, all under the army’s supervision.

Gaza, 14th May 2010: About 4,000 demonstrators marched from the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) to the representation of the United Nations, all Palestinian factions participated in this demonstration, including Fatah President’s Authority Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas. The demonstrators handed a letter signed by all the movements asking the Secretary-General of the UN Ban Ki-Moon “to act as much as possible to lift the injustice against the Palestinian people,” said Zakaria al- Agha, a senior Fatah.

Other information :
Mr. Iyad Burnat, the head of the local Popular Committee to Resist the Settlements and Apartheid Wall in Bilin, deniyed travel by the Israeli state. He was invited for a tour in Italy and Switzerland on the topic of Palestinian nonviolent resistance. The Israeli authorities refused to let Mr. Burnat cross the bridge to Jordan on 1 May 2010. The Israeli authorities made Mr. Burnat wait for 3 hours before telling him he is forbidden from exiting the country.
This Israeli action is part of a pattern of intimidation and harassment to end the civic non violent resistance campaign. This policy aims to ensure that only Israeli propaganda is available in Western media and to sever any links between the Palestinian people and people around the world.

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