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(en) Israel-Palestine, The 13 Anarchist Against The Wall are free; Please demand freedom of protest

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 24 Feb 2004 19:02:05 +0100 (CET)


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Feb. 24, 04 The Anarchists Are Once Again Free Dear All,
First of all, the good news: the 13 anarchists arrested yesterday were
released at noon today, after spending a night in jail at Abu Khabir in Jafa.
Secondly: The Israeli government and Israelis in general pride themselves
on Israel being a democratic country. If it were, it would not try to silence
protest. Freedom of speech would be a value not dispensed with and not
restricted to one side. Please write letters to the addresses at the conclusion
of this report demanding that freedom of speech not be squelched.
The events that led up to the arrest of the 13 read like a spy story--the spies
being the Israeli military and police.

It all began yesterday morning, Monday, February 23, in Tel Aviv
at 8:00 AM at Habima (the National Theater). This was the day
that the International Court of Justice at the Hague had begun
deliberations on the legality of the location of the ‘Wall’
(or ‘separation fence’). The Palestinians had dedicated
the day to national mobilization against the wall. Throughout the
West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem Palestinians and
Israelis protested the wall. Several of these protests were to have
been joint Israeli-Palestinian ones. The Anarchists--a movement
of young, principled, highly motivated persons--were headed for
one such.

But even before they got under way others began to thwart their
plans. The bus driver, who arrived at Habima in Tel Aviv about
½ an hour before the time set, was surprised to have a man in
civilian dress approach and ask him about his plans and where he
was headed for. The driver responded evasively, stating that he
had been hired to go somewhere in the north. The interrogator
pressed on for more specific details, but the driver refused to
respond. At this point the inquisitor pulled out his ID, revealing
that he was a policeman, albeit in plain dress. The policeman
advised the driver that he was calling a police van to follow him,
and that he should abandon his plans (whatever they might be)
and to return home.

The Anarchists, upon hearing what had happened, decided on a
second meeting point to board the bus, now at 9:00 AM. From
the time they boarded the bus, till they were stopped on Road 5,
they were followed, first by the plain clothes policeman on his
motorcycle, after by others as they headed for their destination.

Road 5 is a settlers’ road it going east-west. It was built for
settlers, and is used primarily by them. Their cars continued to
whiz by, but the bus was stopped about 20 kilometers over the
so-called green line, even though the bus had Israeli license
plates. The police took the driver’s driver license and also
demanded the keys to the bus. When the driver refused giving up
his keys, stating that he needed then to let the motor cool off, the
police did not argue, but ordered him to turn around and return to
Israel, advising that he was in a closed military area. But all other
vehicles with Israeli license plates continued undisturbed down
the road’; it therefore became readily apparent that the road
was a closed military zone solely for anti-wall and pro peace
activists.

The driver received his license back at the checkpoint near the
green line (near the turn off to Mas’ha); he was advised to
stay out of the Territories.

Following this, the group decided to try to reach their destination
by a different road, but with no greater success than before. Near
Qalqilya the bus was again stopped at the checkpoint. This time
the driver was informed that were he caught again, even one more
time, in the Territories, his license would be taken away for 30
days. All this, mind you, while other cars with Israeli plates
continued to drive by freely. Of course the fact that most of these
were settlers explains why; to the military and the police, at least,
settlers have rights denied to ‘leftists’

The Anarchists finally realized that they would not get to where
they had been headed, and so decided to change plans. If they
could not get into the Occupied Territories, they could
nevertheless demonstrate. They decided to meet in the Kiriya on
Kaplan across the street from the Defense ministry. There they
simulated a wall by blocking the road, sitting on it to stop Israeli
drivers from proceeding. There 13 of them were arrested.

At their hearing, the police agreed to release them on condition
that the 13 be 5 days under house arrest and refrain for the next
30 days to come within a kilometer of the Kiriya, where they had
demonstrated. But their lawyer, Gaby Lasky argued that these
conditions were unreasonable, that they contradicted freedom of
speech. Judge Muki Lansman agreed with Gaby, and released the
13 on the condition that they refrain for 10 days from coming
within 200 meters from the Kiriya and that each sign a guarantee
to that effect, with a 2nd person signing for each within 24 hours.
Thanks to Gaby and the Judge, the Anarchists are once again free
to raise their voices in protest, except that one of them still had to
appear for questioning. If your help is needed, will advise.
D.


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