Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Resistance Continues for Palestine:
Four Videos on Al-Wallajah and Gaza
By Mazin Qumsiyeh
Al-Jazeerah, ccun.org, May 10, 2010
A poll reveals that a majority of Israeli's are willing to see the
banning of human rights organization in the 'Jewish state' and a bill was
introduced in the Knesset to outlaw any Israeli human rights organization
which exposes Israeli war crimes.
Yesterday, one peaceful protester hurt and 6 detained in Bilin weekly
protest against the apartheid wall (itself declared a war crime in violation
of the 4th Geneva convention).
Those arrested include our friends Ashraf Abu Rahma (28, who was
videotaped at another event as he was blindfolded and shot, brother of
martyr Bassem killed at peaceful protest), Abed Al-Fattah Burnat (Committee
member, 53), Haitham Al-Khatib (34, Photographer), Roy Vackner, and Uri
Baytman (Israelis), and a 27 year old US citizen Stormy. And Israeli secret
agents arrested a Palestinian leader in Haifa (head of Ittijah organization,
Ameer Makhoul) on secret evidence and puts a gag order on the media.
And the Israeli government will 'legalize'
outposts in the West Bank (that is how most of settlements came to get
Israeli government recognition even if they are illegal per International
law). And settlers continue to harass Palestinians. Thus, we
descend further into fascism in this apartheid racist state even as the
Israeli propaganda machine still babbles about 'the only democracy in the
Middle East'. But the demonstrations yesterday in Bil'in, Ni'lin, and
elsewhere went on successfully.
In Al-Ma'sara demonstration, something unusual happened. As always,
village people walked towards their lands and the soldiers blocked the road
with razor wire and armed jeeps. But after a while and some negotiations,
the officers allowed the marchers to march along the main road to their
lands. Something new happens here every day.
Our arrests in Al-Walaja
Former Yale professor among 4 detained in Walaja
to all who inquired, made phone calls, and had us in his/her thoughts and
prayers while we were arrested. This youtube shows our arrest as we
blocked bulldozers in Al-Walaja Thursday 6 May 2010
And below is description of what
happened to us.
Our ten hour ordeal with the occupation forces started at 8:30 AM as we
gathered in the small village of Al-Wallaja. A tiny store with an elderly
women who insisted on making me coffee and not charging me. Idyllic
setting except for the heavy bulldozers now carving the hills to separate
the remaining people from their lands via an apartheid wall that is planned
to completely ring the village. This village that already lost much of
its lands is in the unfortunate position of being near the Green line
sitting on rich agricultural lands and the Israelis want the land but do not
want the people that come with the land. Israeli military has already
demolished homes in eth village (most were rebuilt) and fined others for
building without permits (which are not issued in this village). The
heroic villagers inspired so many including Internationals and Israelis to
join them in their popular resistance. Earlier, I shared with you many
videos of the actions. Today’s even started as we came through the
woods and sat in front of the bulldozer.
As the soldiers
gathered their forces around us, you could feel the soldiers preparing
themselves for attack. We remained calm and peaceful. They
dragged us one by one forcefully from the bulldozed lands. They picked
the four of us for arrest for no obvious reason. George from Canada,
me from Beit Sahour, and two brothers from Al-Walaja (Dia’ and Nafez).
They were particularly brutal with the two brothers using pepper spray
repeatedly, hits with clubs (twice), and once with the rifle butt especially
on Dia’. Dia’ could not see for a long time. They took us down the hill
with full military escort and demanded our ID cards on the way (I and Nafez
had them, Dia’ and George did not carry them). At the bottom of the
hill sits a checkpoint for cars (mostly settlers) crossing into Jerusalem
(from the illegal settlements of Har Gilo, Gilo, and Gush Etzion complex of
settlements). There we were told to sit and wait as two private
security guards were brought to supplement the four soldiers guarding us.
Half an hour, an hour, two hours passed by. We spend time talking to
soldiers explaining why they are wrong to punish people trying to defend
their lands. I finally asked to go to the bathroom. They
refused. I insisted and finally they escorted me to an outhouse
(portable type). Other followed. Time passed. Officers came and
said for us to sign a paper claiming all it said was that in our detention
we were not beaten or mistreated. We refuse to sign. Finally, they
receive the green light to arrest us officially so we are driven
through Jerusalem and on to the investigation offices near Qubbit Raheel
(Rachel’s tomb). Along the way, Dia’a nd Nafez comment that this is
unusual for them to enter Jerusalem (forbidden to them since the Oslo
accords). Al-Walaja is in the area of the area that they consider
Israeli territory (the Gush Etzion complex of colonial settlements). Al-Walaja
sits even partially on land annexed to Jerusalem, yet its residents are
given Greed ID cards like me meaning West Bank Palestinians not allowed into
We arrive at our destination and are locked up in
a metal container. Two more hours pass by. Only some time
soldiers come in and we talk to them. In all three we talk to three
Arab soldiers including Marzouq and Madi (I nicknamed them M&M of the
Israeli occupation army), three Ashkenazis, one Sephardic women who never
smiled and seemed out of place, and one Ethiopian. Some are cold and
distant, others argumentative but not knowing much, and yet others slightly
more open and listen to what we had to tell them. I was proud of the
Al-Walaja brothers using calm logic to explain: what would you do if some
came and uprooted trees that your grandparents planted for you? How
would you react if your source of life and livelihood is taken? But
most of the nearly 40 soldiers and police officers we encountered along the
way only uttered few words of orders and refused to engage with us. To
them it seemed like a routine job. As they hauled us from one place to
another, they would be chatting or texting on their mobile phones or joking
with each other about things (I really have to take Hebrew classes).
The “investigator” finally arrives. We are finally allowed to make the
call to a lawyer. The lawyer advises and we follow his advise. Each
individually is taken to see the investigator. We are asked to sign other
papers and again we refuse (in Hebrew). They force us to put our thumb
on a separate form that merely has our names, ID numbers etc on it.
Handcuffs are added and mobile phones are taken from us. As each one
is returned to the container, we brief each other. We wait. The
handcuffs are hurting. I notice it says on mine ‘Hiatt-Made in
England’. I think to myself this whole mess was made in England
(Balfour declaration and all that). An hour later, we are told they
will take us to court and that each of us is to call a relative or friend to
bring NIS 2500 (about $750) to the court in Jerusalem to use as bail.
The phones are returned to us to make the calls. We are then ordered
to get on the van to go (we presume to court). But then they change their
minds. We don’t know what is going on. We are told not to use the
mobile phones but we do when we are alone. My family manages to
gather the money and as my wife is on the way nearly an hour later, the
lawyer sends a message that we need to wait as they are negotiating with the
judge. Yet another hour. We are then ordered on the van. They
take us to Talpiot police station where they fingerprint and photograph us.
Dragged like criminals with handcuffs in this now rich neighborhood.
Old Jewish woman stares at me on the way out and I wish I am allowed to
speak to her to tell her our stories. On the way in the back of the van, I
tell the fellow inmates that this was an Arab neighborhood before the ethnic
cleansing of 1948. Many Arab houses still stand taken over and
converted into everything from residential villas to bars. We go back to
the container holding pen. The handcuffs still hurting.
was now nearly 5:30 and we were starving (no food and many of us have left
home without breakfast and held since about 9 AM). We had asked for
food on occasions. Finally they bring us some bread, each a slice of
cheese and a small packets of jam (I guess because we have been in handcuffs
for four hours at least and that is formal arrest). We devour it
quickly and wonder whether this is a sign of us staying longer or that we
would be released soon. Another half an hour and we are dragged (this
time together) in front of a new investigator who asked us to sign a release
form that says that we are told to stay away from the wall (yes it says the
wall on official Israeli documents) for 15 days and if we don’t we will be
have to pay each NIS5000 (about $1200). A friend from Al-Walaja was
kind enough to come and cosign to ensure that we will follow the stated
George’s situation was not clear. They insisted on
seeing his passport. A friend finally brought it after George was
threatened with immediate deportation if he did not get the passport.
The lawyer andus tried to persuade them to let him go. They asked me
to translate for him at first that he must reappear at the same place Sunday
and we thought they were releasing him with us. But alas, it was not
to be. I hope he will not be deported anyway (their words are always
not to be trusted).
The three of us were released but the
soldiers did not give us our ID cards. In our jubilation at being
released, we also had forgotten to ask about them (they had them for the 10
hour ordeal). So I came back with my wife and she was allowed into the
checkpoint and an hour later, I had the ID cards. We had visitors from
Jenin staying overnight with us and I was supposed to work with my
technologist at the University today. But here I am way past midnight still
writing this note and uploading a video. Tomorrow (Friday) there will
be a demonstration in Al-Masara and the lettuce festival in Artas and other
work to do. Life goes on in the land of Apartheid. La luta
continua. Stay tuned.
Here is a video from last week in the same village of Al-Walaja of
me explaining to soldiers a bit of the reality.
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
Chairman of the Board
Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People
Author, Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the
shorter videos of our arrests in Al-Walaja
and pictures of popular resistance including in Al-Walaja
Israeli military shoot
dead a Gaza farmer
and attack fishermen
Inspiring event showing how isolated Israel is
becoming (except by spineless government officials who need to be
challenged). Activists disrupt "Israel Technology" event at Boston
Museum of Science (a propaganda effort). Report on event here
ACTION: We need to
act in a last push to stop Israel's accession to the Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development . Read this OECD Bends Rules for Israel
Then act here
Join Palestinians in peaceful expressionand commemoration of Nakba in
Washington DC, Saturday May 15th, 2010 3:30 - 6:00 PM. The boat leaves at
4:00 PM, we will start meeting at 3:30 PM. Washington Harbour, 3000
Mass Ave., NW. at the bottom of 31st St in Georgetown.
The boat ride is 1 hour, we will regroup afterwards around our digital
billboard truck that will be displaying documentary video and pictures of
the Nakba 1948 and the continued ethnic cleansing of Palestinians today.
Bring posters that read: Free Palestine, End the Occupation, Nakba...62
years is enough, Stop U.S. tax Dollars to Israel, End the siege of Gaza.
Please do not deviate from this theme. If you have a boat, please join
our flotilla on the Potomac. If you do not wish to ride the boat, we need
supporters cheering the boat from the Key Bridge; we also need photographers
and videographers to document this event and help us submit a video to the
Gaza Freedom March Nakba competition.
The first prize will be $100 donated to the
Free Gaza Flotilla.
This is a Family Friendly Event, bring your
children for a beautiful ride on the Potomac.
We'll be singing songs from the 60's.
Washington Peace Center,
Gaza Freedom March,
Free Gaza Movement,
US Campaign To End The Occupation.
RSVP and more info: