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  Israel in Action on Good Friday:

Colleague Arrested, Car Windshield Smashed

By Mazin Qumsiyeh

Al-Jazeerah,, April 5, 2010

Israeli occupation forces finally released our 10 friends yesterday from Israeli jails on bail pending “trial”. Those kidnapped from the peaceful march in Bethlehem area on Palm Sunday attended a press conference in Ramallah and passed by Beit Sahour late last night.

Each is to appear in front of a military judge later this month. Yet, the Friday regular demonstration in Al-Ma’sara was large and daring. Speeches were given at the site where soldiers had stretched barbed wire blocking the road. Internationals (including Israelis) participated with Palestinians.

The Israeli occupation forces decided to end the demonstration early with a barrage of concussion/stun grenades. Two reporters and two demonstrators were injured by the soldiers as they tried to arrest some people in a violent way. They managed to arrest our deaf Italian colleague.

The soldiers also shot directly at my car smashing one concussion grenade into the windshield from a distance of over 100 meters (replacement and clean-up will cost $250-300). Video at Similar repression occured in other towns in teh West Bank. Israel also shelled a number of places in Gaza including a dairy products factory.

 Huwwara Checkpoint land day event: nonviolent resistance met by violence again and again

Al-Jazeerah English shows our land day activities in Beit Sahour

 BART Art Commemorates Palestine Land Day in San Francisco

Support the Maia Project: Bringing clean water to children in Palestine

Some of my talk in Pittsburgh made it to this radio show and you can listen to it at

Video of my talk in Stamford, CT is now posted at

US Department of Justice Asked to Regulate AIPAC as a Foreign Agent of the Israeli Government

Actions speak louder than words.. both ways good and bad Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home

Popular Committee to Resist the Apartheid Wall and Settlements-Beit Sahour Professor, Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities Chairman of the Board, Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People,                                      


Inspiring images of resistance to apartheid

We now have three videos up on youtube for  the historic march that breached the apartheid walls on Palm Sunday insisting on right of freedom of movement for Palestinians.  Ten people of the original 16 are still held by the occupation forces (as were the donkey and horse used in the event! ) 

Since then, the Israeli authorities are trying to punish the town by preventing even those few with permits from crossing between Bethlehem and Jerusalem (again a war crime to do collective punishment). But the people will not succumb and in Bethlehem area we had other events in the days that followed.  It also happened that Tuesday was land Day and hundreds of demonstrations, vigils, and other events were held not only in Palestine but throughout the world. 

I will start with our own event in Beit Sahour.  Land day events were appropriately held at Ush Ghrab (threatened area of the Bethlehem district) and despite an Israeli military presence at the site, the events involved participation from over 1000 individuals from throughout the district (several towns and villages represented).  Over 300 women and their very young kids participated (also a belated celebration of International Women’s day).  Six high schools sent buses.  We also had volunteers and activists of all walks of life.  See story at
and video at
and photos at : 

The main action this year was in the town of Sakhnin in areas occupied since 1948.  Over 10,000 attended the events from throughout historic Palestine. See pictures here (scroll to bottom, truly inspiring),1,2.html
and Haaretz story here
It is a shame the this event is covered widely throughout the region but not in many western media outlets.

In other areas, the Israeli troops attacked demonstrators (e.g. in Budrus where several civilians were injured including a TV reporter, and in several locations in Gaza near the borders were Israeli troops opened fire on demonstrators killing a youth and injuring many). Actions were also held outside of Palestine on Land Day (which is also International Day of Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions against Israeli
Apartheid).  An example of action from over 400 events world-wide is shown in this video (again illustrating what a few individuals can do to make a huge impact)

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home    
Popular Committee to Resist the Apartheid Wall and Settlements-Beit Sahour
Professor, Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities
Chairman of the Board, Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People,


The apartheid walls of Jerusalem breached on Palm Sunday


Wow, what a day: over 100 native Palestinian Christians and Muslims and internationals including Israelis, breached the tight security separating the Palestinian cities of Bethlehem from the occupied city of Jerusalem.  Donkeys and people arrested!  

We were initially some 150 strong and started from the Church of Nativity at 11:45 AM carrying palm leaves an banners asking for freedom of worship and movement (as demanded by international law).  The demonstration included individuals riding 2 donkeys and a horse.  Appropriate since Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey.  Like him, we knew this was not going to be an easy entry but we did believe in the goodness of humanity.  We arrived at the main gate used for tourist buses at around 12:30 and decided to just keep going. The few soldiers and police at the gate tried to close it but we managed to get in and the huge 8 meter high metal gate stopped half way perhaps as a safety mechanisms since there were dozens of people passing and they could be crushed if it continued.  

The Israeli security forces tried to close other fences but we kept going.  As word reached their offices, the Israeli army was mobilizing its forces and soon several army jeeps arrived and blocked the road half way between the gate and Deir Mar Elias (the monastery at the edge of the city). The blocked our way.  Ibrahim Salah riding his donkey was speaking to them in Hebrew and saying why can't we go to Jerusalem.  It is our right to travel.   He was the first to be violently knocked down off his donkey and arrested.  The next was an American girl, then some Palestinians. All violently wrestled to the ground when even many were just peacefully walking back to the gates.  It seemed like a calculated move to punish some of us so that others get the message not to try this again.  

Some 60 of us ended up being rounded up in between a wall, a hill, a gate, and a cordon of police officers.  We expected to be all arrested.  The occupation soldiers instead plucked random people that they thought were the key people.

We had significant local and national and international media coverage (email us if you are a media outlet and want to do a story or receive video and and/or pictures).  The people are willing to pay the price.  Israeli forces released 4 Israelis and the one American student.  They kept 11 Palestinians that they kidnapped and are charging them with "incitement", "participating in an unauthorized demonstration" "entering 'Israel' without a permit (as if occupied Arab East Jerusalem is Israel)", and "interfering in police business".  Lawyers will show that this is all bogus. But in any case, the popular resistance movement is growing and is willing to pay the price for such significant achievement as this.

Oh and yes, a donkey and a horse belonging to Ibrahim were also arrested by the mighty army of apartheid Israel for they too need permits from the Israeli military to get in.  Maybe more arrests will come tonight.  The repression only strengthened our collective will to move forward.  We were all elated at this success.  We know some Israeli officers; maybe the private "security" company that is contracted by the Israeli government to manage these apartheid wall system. Entering Jerusalem beyond the apartheid wall on Palm sunday shoed what popular resistance can achieve.  When I talked to one of the people they kidnapped, he indicated they were all in good spirits and were holding together.

While we hear "Arab leaders" met in Libya and issued more useless declarations, the popular resistance celebrates this victory in Bethlehem and will work to achieve others.  A demonstration will be held on Monday at noon in front of the gate at Bilal's mosque/Rachel's tomb area. Hope to see those of you who can there.


Published stories (in ARabic)

Here are the names of our 11 friends who were kidnapped by the Israeli army for daring to do what every human being on earth is entitled to do (move freely within their own country):

Abbas Zaki, member of the Fatah Central Committee
Ibrahim Salah, from Bethlehem
Mohammad Al-Hubani, from Bethlehem
Mahmoud Zawahreh, Al-Ma’sara
Fadi Hamad, Associated Press photographer from Bethlehem
Hassen Breijeiyah, Al-Ma'sara
Marwan Fararjeh,Bethlehem
Toni Shahwwan, Beit Jala
Ahmad Al-Azza, from Azza Refugee Camp
Shadi Fawaghreh, Wad Rahhal
Marwan Abushaaban

  Palestinian Christians have demanded entry to Jerusalem without the regime of special permits (apartheid system): see We will continue to demand this basic human right for all Palestinians regardless of their religion. The train of freedom is on the march and we are all asked to get on board.

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home   
Popular Committee to Resist the Apartheid Wall and Settlements-Beit Sahour
Professor, Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities
Chairman of the Board, Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People,




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