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(en) Israel-Paleastine - the joint struggle force the subject to the public agenda

Date Mon, 04 Jul 2005 17:21:45 +0300


The morning started early for 30 persons - Anarchists Against The
Wall people and few sympathizers when we came to the district court
for the contest of lower court rule. About a month ago a lowest
level court judge banned Jonathan Polak - the most active person
in the struggle against the wall, from visiting the occupied
territories. The judge annulled the garbage of the lowest level court
judge, but as a compromise gave another week of "rest" to Jonathan
(instead of the additional 8 of the "promised" "rest").
The media (Haaretz daily) dedicated a whole news page to the struggle
against the Wall/fence. Following three articles with Editor Notes []

-----------------------------------

Allegations against Bili'in protest crumble in court By Meron Rapaport

[In the Hebrew printed edition the header was:
"demonstrations against the fence - version vs. version
POLICEMAN LIED IN HIS TESTIMONY AGAINST PALESTINIAN DEMONSTRATOR
JUDGE: THE BEHAVIOR OF THE POLICEMEN OF THE FORCE MUST BE CHECKED"]

Are the demonstrations in Bili'in against the separation fence
really non-violent, as claimed by their Palestinian and Israeli
organizers, or are they in fact violent protests involving the
throwing of stones, as charged by the Israel Defense Forces?

As expected, ever since the demonstrations there began, both
sides have offered conflicting versions on the issue. Last week,
however, a military court ruled that at least in the case before
it, IDF soldiers had opened fire while Palestinians and Israelis
were demonstrating in a non-violent manner and had not
thrown stones. Military Judge Captain Daniel Zamir called for
an examination of "the actions of the troops at the scene and
the use of the force at its disposal."

[The stone throwing attrition war between the state forces and
the village youngsters never start before the forces stop the
demonstration and start to harass the participants]

In recent months, the demonstrations in Bili'in have become
the focal point of clashes between the IDF and Palestinians
over the separation fence. Last Friday saw one such
demonstration, with the IDF reporting that one soldier was
moderately hurt and the demonstrators reporting 16 injuries,
including four Israelis and one disabled individual, by IDF
gunfire. A month or so ago, soldier Michael Schwartzman was
struck by a rock during a demonstration in Bili'in, resulting in
the loss of sight in one eye.

Last Friday, as usual, the Palestinians charged that the
shooting started without any provocation on the part of the
demonstrators, while the IDF claimed that the shooting began
"only after the demonstrators continued to throw stones at the
troops despite efforts to end the incident in non-violent ways."

Some three weeks ago, on June 17, a very similar incident took
place in Bili'in. A few hundred Palestinians and Israelis began
a march toward the route of the separation fence, which passes
through village property and leaves some 2,000 dunams
(around half the village's land) outside the fence. The Bili'in
residents, who claim to be inspired by Gandhi's methods,
declared the march a non-violent demonstration. The
marchers were stopped by soldiers and Border Police a few
hundred meters from the route of the fence.

The demonstration ended with the security forces deploying
riot-dispersal means and in the arrest of a number of
protesters, including Abdallah Abu-Rahma, one of the leaders
of Bili'in's Popular Committee, and his brother, Ratab, a
lecturer at the Al-Quds University and a member of the Seeds
of Peace organization.

The indictment against Ratab Abu-Rahma was based primarily
on testimony from Wahil Sabit, a border policeman present
during the demonstration. Sabit testified that demonstrators
started throwing stones at the security forces immediately after
the area was declared a closed military zone. Sabit said he saw
Abu-Rahma throw stones at the soldiers and then shot him
with a sponge bullet.

Sabit was the only policeman who claimed to have seen
Abu-Rahma throwing stones.

Abu-Rahma's attorneys, Tamar Peleg and Gabi Lasky,
presented the court with video clips that were filmed during the
incident and that show Abu-Rahma asking the demonstrators
to walk "slowly, slowly." Two of the clips show the
demonstrators moving the barbed wire barrier set up by the
security forces, but not crossing it, only lying down on the road
in quiet protest. Immediately thereafter, the soldiers are seen
throwing stun grenades and tear-gas canisters toward the
demonstrators, without the latter having thrown a single stone.

[As I have been lying down on the asphalt road next to Ratab and
Abdallah "covered" with imitation of grave stones, I just wonder
how absurd the the lies of the authorities tend to be. Even a
jogger would not be able to throw stones in such position.]

Abu-Rahma is seen getting to his feet and then immediately
being hit with a sponge bullet. Contrary to border policeman
Sabit's testimony, Abu-Rahma is not arrested there and then,
but only some time later, after the security forces apprehend
his brother and begin beating him. Ratab Abu-Rahma is seen
intervening in an effort to help his sibling, and also takes blows
from the soldiers.

Judge Zamir upheld all the arguments of the defense, ruling
that the demonstration was quiet, that no stone-throwing was
seen on the videotapes, and that Abu-Rahma took a blow to
his stomach without any provocation on his part. "There was
no reason for the defendant's arrest; there was no reason for
the shooting that wounded him or the blows he received from
the soldier," concluded the judge, adding that the reality was
"strangely different, to put it mildly, from the testimony of the
prosecution witnesses."

Zamir ordered Abu-Rahma released on bail and advised the
prosecution to reconsider its actions against him. The
prosecution, however, did not capitulate, and appealed the
judge's decision in a hearing on Thursday. The appeal was
rejected.

It emerged during the appeal, however, that a border
policeman also filmed the events. This tape has yet to be seen
by the prosecution. Until such time, Abu-Rahma remains free.

[Probably the the said military court judge will not recalled
again to his reserve service as military court judge....]
------------------------------------

IDF officer arrests Israeli cameraman By Meron Rapaport

An Israel Defense Forces deputy brigade commander
confiscated the Government Press Office-issued press card of
an Israeli journalist, informing him that he was revoking his
card and ordering that he be arrested for terming him
"insolent." The director of the Association of Israeli
Journalists, Yossi Bar-Moha, defined the incident as severe,
and as one that "can only take place in totalitarian states."

The incident occurred last Friday during a demonstration in the
Palestinian village of Bili'in and involved cameraman Shai
Carmeli Pollack, who is filming a documentary for Channel 8
on the protests against the fence. During the course of the
demonstration, Pollack exchanged words with IDF officers
about the way in which the security forces were dealing with
the protesters and their demand that he refrain from filming
the event.

Brigade deputy commander Shai Malka then asked Pollack if
he was a journalist. On receiving an affirmative response,
Malka said, "I am revoking your press card." Malka then
ordered that Pollack be arrested, and seized his credentials,
accusing him also of insulting a public official.

This was Pollack's third arrest during demonstrations against
the fence.

"Clearly the IDF doesn't want coverage of what is happening
there," said Adi Arbel, program director for Channel 8.

[Few months ago, when the journalist/press card of his (that gives
him some freedom of movement needed renewal, they took long weeks
of stalling till renewal.]

---------------------------------------

Border Policeman dies during anti-fence rally By Jonathan Lis

A Border Policeman died yesterday after suddenly collapsing
while policing the separation fence near Har Adar, outside
Jerusalem.

Police initially said that Natan Yasais, 21, of Lod had been hit
by a rock thrown by a Palestinian. However, hospital officials
said they saw no signs of him having been hit by anything.
They said that he arrived with a high fever and apparently died
either of an existing illness or of dehydration. They added that
he was in critical condition upon arrival and died very shortly
afterward.

Police said they would investigate the incident to determine
whether Yasais' commanders were guilty of negligence.

Police officials said they initially assumed Yasais had been hit
by a rock because when he died, he was helping to disperse a
violent demonstration against the fence that involved dozens of
rock-throwing Palestinians. The demonstrators were
eventually dispersed by means of shock grenades, the police
reported.

Anarchists Against the Fence, which is involved in many
anti-fence demonstrations, insisted that there was no
demonstration at all in the Har Adar area yesterday, either by
Israelis or by local Palestinians. They accused the police of
deliberately spreading misinformation in order to "delegitimize
the nonviolent demonstrations that take place in this area" - a
charge that the police termed "a gross lie."

[The main radio station reported on the case - including interview
of the commander of the border police of Jerusalem region. As he could
not continue with the lie that the border police person died of a
stone thrown on him an admit it was an accident, he took the
opportunity to blame the Anarchists Against The Wall/Fence initiative
for inciting the Palestinians. As if our presence is not just a limited
"policy" against harsher means of suppression - used when only
Palestinians are around. The state forces still remember how the
Israeli public opinion - which do not care much when Palestinian
demonstrators are killed, responded to a shooting of the Israeli
Gill Naamaty. Public opinion even forced the highest army commander
to visit Gill in hospital and apologize.

It is a well known that the state repression forces have
a different routine of suppression when Israelis are present
and when we are not present in a demonstration of Palestinians.]



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