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but because of the people who don't do anything about it
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Prof Mazin Qumsiyeh and 7 Others Arrested Today at Al-Walaja
This afternoon [22.12.10]at around 2:30 Mazin said that we have to go to Al-Walaja immediately. He said he just got a call from the villagers that Israeli
bulldozer was clearing an area in a different side of the village (the
villagers were still trying to figure out the legal situation) than the
familiar site where illegal Israel wall construction has been going on for
the past year. We were at his office at Bethlehem University at the time.
We dropped everything we were doing and took off. When we arrived at the
site, the bulldozer was idle with a dozen solders and private security
personnel around. We found out from the 20 some villagers gathered there
that they managed to asked the work to be stopped pending further
instructions. Thirty minutes later, some military spokesperson came to talk
to the villagers in Arabic (which I don`t understand.) He came along with
more armed forces - there were about 50 to 60 by then, more than the number
of the local villagers present. If I understood correctly through Mazin`s
brief translation, Israeli spokesperson was saying that their work was based
on the 2006 order (but that order has expired and currently there is a
supreme court case pending.) So as the bulldozer resumed, and the soldiers spreaded out getting villagers away from the work site and started arresting
people who simply were hanging around there. While I was taking picture of
a Palestinian male being taken away by Israeli soldiers, I suddenly noticed
Mazin was surrounded by soldiers in a lower level terrace from where I was
standing trying to speak to the solders (probably telling them they don`t
have any valid work order and should not resume the bulldozing.) Right at
that moment, they decided to take him away. That was around 3:20 p.m., less
than an hour after we got there. I only remembered to take a picture of him
being taken away from a distance. In rapid succession, Israeli soldiers
snatched more Palestinian villagers - in all eight of them, including an
older gentlemen, two teeagers, three other gentlemen, and Sheerin Al-Araj
whom I knew as the vocal activist from the village.
Mazin was not reachable by phone after that for two hours. Then I reached
him by phone and took down some notes from him during a short conversation.
He said that they are detained outside Bethlehem Checkpoint 300 at the time.
An Israeli soldier named Almog Kahalani was very rough with them. He beat
the two young Palestinian men, causing one with stomach problem. The
soldiers were very rough with Sheerin that I can hear in the background
while talking with Mazin on the phone. Three of them had metal handcuffs, he
and the rest were tied with plastic handcuffs that was very tight and
causing circulation problem. A young men`s handcuff was so unbearably tight
but Israeli soldiers refused to loosening it. The soldiers had just untied
the plastic ones after about two hours (but kept the metal ones on the other
three, Sheerin was one of them) and that`s why Mazin was able to use his
hand to hold his phone and speak with me. They were asked to sign on a
piece of paper (don`t know what`s the content but must be in Hebrew that
nobody understand). But everyone of them refused to sign as advised by a
Palestinian lawyer who was present there. While detained there, they tried
to speak to the soldiers about international law, but the soldiers were
saying that they don`t give a f--- about international law and you people
and they only care about obeying orders. Mazin reasoned to them that German
soldiers were also obeying orders during the Nazi regime. The Israeli
solders responded by saying that German soldiers would have shot you by now.
Another hour later, I got another update from Mazin that they have been
transferred to Atarot (I don`t know where is this, but people familiar with
this said it is near Ramallah.) They are waiting to appear in front of a
judge. They are cold and hungry. The Israeli personnel there sprayed cold
water on them and claiming it is an accident.
More update as I am still composing this -- Mazin said that there were three
arrested from Jenin joining them, so now there are total eleven at Atarot
Mazin asked you all to keep Al-Walaja people and village in your prayer. We
should be proud of the villager`s nonviolent resistance effort.
If you are currently in the Bethlehem area, please join us for a demo set
for this Friday morning December 24, 2010 at 9 a.m. at Al-Walaja, and stay
alert tomorrow all day. I will keep you updated as event unfold.
during Mazin`s absence
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