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 Israeli Police Raid homes of Israeli Peace Activists

Published today (updated) 05/01/2011 14:11
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an)--

Israeli peace activists who participate in protests against their government's illegal Land-Grab, Apartheid Wall came under state attack on Wednesday, with special forces entering homes in Tel Aviv.

Israeli occupation government special police forces showed up outside one home in central Tel Aviv, shared by a number of left-wing activists. After spending some time outside the residence, forces attempted to enter and conduct a search. Activists said that they were not shown a search permit and refused to submit to the search.

At 11 a.m., three policemen knocked on the door of a second home, the residence of an activist who had been detained at a protest against Israel's Operation Cast Lead in 2009. The police “turned the house upside down,” a witness reported, confiscating computers, pictures, clothing, and other items from the premises.

A source with knowledge of the raids who preferred to remain unidentified said police forces intend to search at least eight more homes throughout the day.

The move comes amidst a general crackdown on left-wing activities. In recent weeks, the Shabak, Israel’s internal security service, has been calling protestors asking them to come in for “friendly chats.” All those who have reported receiving the calls have refused, since by law they are not required to comply with the requests unless they receive an official summons from the police.

Last week, a Tel Aviv court sentenced the prominent left-wing activist Johnathan Pollak to three months in jail for his role in a small, non-violent protest held in Tel Aviv against the Israeli siege on Gaza. Pollak was the only protester who was arrested for the demonstration, which was held in 2008, leading many observers to believe that Pollak is being singled out and punished for his continuing activism, and role as the spokesman for the West Bank's Popular Organizing Committee, which issues news and testimony from the village of Bil'in.

Earlier in December 2010, Matan Cohen, an Israeli who is active in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and is studying in the United States, was detained for several hours in Ben Gurion International Airport upon return to Israel. His luggage was searched and officials told him he was suspected of being involved in “hostile terrorist activities.”

Cohen reported that while he has been questioned briefly upon leaving the country he has never been detained upon arrival.

“This is definitely a step up in the level of political repression against anti-apartheid activists in general, and BDS activists in particular,” Cohen remarked.

Israeli Detainees Released After Protest Against Jawaher’s Death

Tuesday January 04, 2011 19:59 by Alessandra Bajec - IMEMC & Agencies

The Israeli group "Anarchists Against the Wall" announced on Tuesday evening that Israeli activists, who were detained late on Saturday evening for protesting outside the US Ambassador’s home, were finally released.

"Anarchists Against the Wall" had announced that the Israeli activists, who had been arrested in conjunction with Saturday’s protest against the death of Jawaher Abu Rahmah, were all released.

Prior to the announced release, Israeli Web magazine +972 claimed that last Saturday’s demonstration in front of the ambassador’s residence in Tel Aviv had resulted in the arrest of 11 Israeli activists, among them, two women over the age of 65. The demonstrators were summoned on charges of "possession of illegal weapons,’" "resisting arrest," "disturbing public order," and "tossing spent tear gas canisters" over the fence of the US ambassador’s house. Among those arrested were bystanders in the area who were not involved in any protest. After being held in a Tel Aviv-based prison, the 11 activists were reportedly brought before a judge on Tuesday morning.

Another arrest was made, on Monday night, in connection with Saturday’s protest. The Israeli activist, identified only as A.H., was called to a Tel Aviv police station for questioning regarding the protest, and was immediately arrested on the charge of ‘conspiracy to cause criminal damage.’ The activist was due to appear at Tel Aviv Magistrates’ court on Tuesday morning along with the other 11 activists. The independent commentary +972 specified that A.H. was not present at the protest in front of the ambassador’s residence, but was kept captive in a Tel Aviv jail after being arrested in the mass demonstration in front of the Defense Ministry hours before the demonstration began.

On Saturday night, about 25 Israelis were protesting the killing last Friday of Jawaher Abu Rahmah, aged 36, was evacuated to Ramallah hospital, last Friday but died after inhaling massive amounts of tear-gas during the weekly protest in Bil’in: she died Saturday morning.

Demonstrating in front of the residence of the American Ambassador to Israel, the protesters ‘returned’ empty tear gas canisters collected in the village of Bil’in and made noise throughout the ambassador’s neighbourhood informing residents of continued US military aid to Israel being used to kill unarmed and nonviolent demonstrators in weekly protests in the West Bank.

The symbolic action held outside the US Ambassador’s home is regarded as the first time that Israeli activists have demanded accountability from a foreign government instead of directing grievances to the Israeli public. The +972 source anticipates that this type of action could mark the future of targeted ‘BDS-style actions by Israelis who witness the use of US military aid in the West Bank.

The protest at the US ambassador’s house came after a mass demonstration which took place opposite the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv that caused the main street to be blocked for over one hour by hundreds of people. Eight demonstrators were arrested, but were released after five hours with no charges.

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