Posts Tagged ‘hebron’

During Demonstrations Demanding the Opening of Shuhada Street and Commemorating the Ibrihimi Mosque Massacre, a Number of Participants are Injured or Arrested
Hebron–Dozens of were injured Friday 2/25 when Israeli forces threw sound bombs and assaulted demonstrators at a large peaceful protest commemorating the Ibrihimi Mosque massacre, calling for the opening of Shuhada Street, and criticizing the American veto of the Palestinian call for UN Security Council condemnation of and a halt to settlement activity.

The protest was organized by Youth Against Settlements. Thousands of Palestinians and dozens of Israeli and foreign activists along with a number of Palestinian leaders (among them the Governor of Hebron Governorate Kamel Hamid, member of the Fatah Central Leadership Committee Jamal Mahsin, Head of the Palestinian initiative Mustafa Barghouthi,) participated in the demonstration after Friday prayers. The demonstration proceeded from the area of Sheikh Ali Al-Baka Mosque in the city toward the direction of Shuhada Street in the center of Hebron.

Occupation forces tried to prevent the demonstrators from reaching the eastern entrance to Shuhada Street, near the old municipality, by creating a large human chain of individuals from Special Forces. However, a large number of demonstrators managed to cross into Shuhada Street, where a number of demonstrators sat on the ground and in front of the tires of military jeeps. Soldiers attacked them, began to hit them with their hands and with the butts of their guns, pulled them away, and arrested a number of them, according to Youth Against Settlements Coordinator Issa Amro
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The protesters split up to try to enter Shuhada Street through alleyways and smaller streets. They confronted occupation forces who used excessive force against them.

Occupation forces fired gas and sound bombs and rubber bullets at demonstrators, leading to injuries. About 20 demonstrators were taken to Hebron Governmental Hospital.

According to Amro, the demonstrators chanted slogans and carried signs in Arabic, English, and Hebrew demanding from the occupying authorities the opening of Shuhada Street, which has been closed for many years. Demonstrators’ slogans praised the popular revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, and criticized the American veto of the UN Security Council condemnation of settlement activities.

Hebron Governor Kamel Hamid spoke to those in attendance, confirming the Arab nature of the city of Hebron and the opposition to the policy of settlement and discrimination practiced by the occupation in the city. He called for supporting and strengthening popular resistance to the occupation. He condemned the US veto in the Security Council. Jamal Mahsin spoke also, praising the steadfastness of the residents of Hebron, and emphasizing the necessity of national unity and the end of internal divisions.

The Israeli occupation forces closed Shuhada Street to Palestinian vehicles in 1994, after the Ibrihimi Mosque massacre, then forbade Palestinian residents to walk there in 2000, in order to provide security for the 600 Israeli settlers occupying the center of Hebron.

More than 500 stores were closed by military order in the center of Hebron, and more than a thousand store owners were forced to close their shops due to checkpoints and closures. At the same time, illegal settlers enjoy freedom of movement in the closed streets and are protected by occupation forces.

The activities of the occupation and its settlers in the city of Hebron have turned the lives of 200,000 Palestinians in Hebron into a living hell and expelled thousands from their homes.

On 25 February 2011 activists and organizations from around the world will join together in solidarity with the Palestinian residents of Hebron/ al Khaleel, through local protests that demand for the opening of Shuhada Street to Palestinians and an End to the Occupation! For more info or to organize a protest in your city please contact openshuhadastreet@gmail.com

Want to get involved? Click here for more information

Open Shuhada Street Pamphlet 2011

Open Shuhada Street – 25 Feb 2011 – Global Day of Action from Joseph Dana on Vimeo.

Shuhada Street used to be the principal street for Palestinians residents, businesses and a very active market place in the Palestinian city of Hebron/ al Khaleel. Today, because Shuhada Street runs through the Jewish settlement of Hebron, the street is closed to Palestinian movement and looks like a virtual ghost street which only Israelis and tourists are allowed to access. Hate graffiti has been sprayed across the closed Palestinian shops and Palestinians living on the street have to enter and exit their houses through their back doors or, even sometimes by climbing over neighbor’s roofs.

International Supporter Being Arrested During a Recent Protest in Hebron. Photo: Activestills.org

In 1994, following the massacre of 29 Muslims at prayer by America-Israeli settler Dr Baruch Goldstein, shops on Shuhada Street were closed and vehicular traffic prohibited on the street. Despite a court case and an admission by the Israeli government that it is illegal, the street is still closed to Palestinians 16 years later. We are focusing on Shuhada Street as a symbol of the settlement issue, the policy of separation in Hebron/al Khaleel and the entire West Bank, the lack of freedom of movement, and the occupation at large. Check back to this page for more updates regarding how you can get involved. For more background information and FAQ’s click here.


The Beit Ayn settlement outpost near Hebron

WRITTEN BY Khalid Amayreh in al-Khalil

8 April, 2009

 

Religious Jewish terrorists on Thursday attacked a small Arab village north of al Khalil (Hebron), shooting randomly on civilians and vandalizing homes and businesses.

Eyewitnesses said as many as a hundred settler terrorists descended on the small village of Safa, 10 kilometers north west of al-Khalil, with the purpose of carrying out a pogrom against local inhabitants.

 

The terrorists were escorted by several Israeli army soldiers who reportedly made no effort to stop the terrorists who were shouting “death to the Arabs.”

 

The Palestinians, fearing for their lives, hurled stones at the rampaging  settlers to prevent them from setting fire to Palestinian property, prompting Israeli soldiers to open fire at the Palestinians.

 

At least 28 people were reportedly wounded with live ammunition, including a boy who was shot in the chest.

 

Medical sources said Thaer Nasser Adi, 17, was in serious but stable condition at the Ahli hospital in al–Khalil.

 

The mayor of the nearby town of Beit Ummar, Nasri Sabarna, described the settler rampage as “an unprovoked criminal act against innocent and peaceable people.”

 

Sabarna said the settlers wanted to terrorize the Palestinian villagers in order to take over their land and property.

 

He accused the right-wing Israeli government of giving Jewish terrorists a green light to attack Palestinians and vandalize their property.

 

“The present government is a government of settlers, by the settlers, for the settlers. I believe there is a full coordination between the settlers and the army.”

 

Muhammed, a local villager, called the settlers “savages and Nazis.”

 

“These people go to their religious Talmudic schools in the morning, and in the afternoon they come here to attack us, terrorize our women and children  and sabotage our property. What kind of religion are they following?”

 

Muhammed called on the international community to provide protection against “these barbarians who want to kill us and expel us from our land.”

 

He lashed out at the Israeli army for its “connivance and collusion” with the settlers, saying that the army and the settlers were “two sides of the same coin.”

 

Al-Khalil Governor Hussein al Araj, who arrived at the village soon after the disturbances, accused the Israeli army of failing to protect Palestinians from the settlers.

 

“I believe the settlers wouldn’t dare attack the village without at least a tacit approval from the Israeli army.”

 

Al-Araj held the Israeli army fully responsible for this “pogrom,” saying that Palestinians in the occupied territories needed international protection.

 

He added that settler attacks and terror would continue as long as “these criminal squatters remain here.”

 

The small settlement outpost, known as Beit Ayn, is home to extremist settlers who are indoctrinated in Jewish supremacy.

 

A few years ago, some of the settlers from Beit Ayn were caught implanting a large explosive charge at a Palestinian school near Jerusalem.

 

The explosion would have killed and injured dozens of Palestinian children.

 

Last week, a settler was killed, ostensibly in retaliation for the murder  of Palestinians by settler terrorists.

 

Normally, the Israeli justice system deals extremely lightly with settlers who murder Palestinians.

 

During the al-Qsa intifada,  the Israeli army and paramilitary Jewish terrorists killed thousands of Palestinians, the vast majority of whom innocent civilians, to suppress Palestinian aspirations for freedom from decades of the Nazi-like Israeli military occupation.

 

According to an Israeli human rights organization, only a handful of cases of murder were investigated.

UPDATE! FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE ARREST WRITTEN BY KHALID AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST! With friends like these – WRITTEN BY SHERINE BAHAA

KHALED AMAYREH, the Al-Ahram Weekly correspondent in the West Bank was arrested Sunday evening by the Preventive Security Forces (PSF) in Hebron. He was released after two days. Amayreh, 52, lives in Dura, 12 miles southwest of Hebron and has worked as the Weekly correspondent since 1997, as well as for a number of other media outlets.

 

He has a BA in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an MA in journalism from the University of Southern Illinois. For a long time, he suffered, as do all Palestinians in the occupied territories, being confined by the occupation to his home village.

 

Not long ago, he was prohibited by Israeli forces from leaving Hebron at an Israeli checkpoint, detained and released only after being threatened for his courageous articles documenting Israeli crimes in the Weekly.

 

Surprisingly though, this time, Amayreh was not arrested by the Israelis, he was detained by the PSF; the PA police apparatus. This was the fourth time that Amayreh was arrested by the PSF. But this time why was he arrested? He was not in a demonstration, nor was he smuggling weapons to his fellow Palestinians being killed by Israelis on a daily basis.

 

His crime was explaining, during an interview with the Beirut based Al-Quds satellite TV, why there are only a few demonstrations in the West Bank in support of the people of Gaza. Amayreh frankly said that the PA did not allow such demonstrations. Amayreh did not mean to undermine the PA but he said, “the PA has certain commitments towards Israel and they (PA) do not want things to get out of their hands.” Amayreh also said the Israelis do not respect the PA and view the PA as a kind of “servant” to Israeli interests.

 

For the PSF, this was defamation. Amayreh speaking to the Weekly immediately after his release, explained that he only spoke of how Palestinian officials were prevented from moving freely and how Israel added more checkpoints to try to cordon Palestinians in closed areas. In short, they did not like the tone of the interview.

 

“They interrogated me for six hours, then they locked me in a dark cell for two days, where I could not tell day from night.”

 

“I think they released me because of the media and public pressure,” Amayreh said. According to Amayreh, around 15 journalists have been arrested over the past few months and some of them are still in jail.

 

Amayreh, father of nine, was taken from his family home to the headquarters of the PSF in Hebron. His family were denied any access to him.

 

The International Society for Translators and Linguists issued a statement condemning his arrest and asking for his immediate release. “These police units do not represent anything for Palestine except murder, destruction, corruption and chaos,” the statement said. “This apparatus is a disgrace to the history of the Palestinian Authority. Khaled Amayreh has helped the Palestinian cause much more than those people have,” the statement added.

 

In the past three weeks, dozens of Hamas supporters have either been detained or summoned for investigation by the PA’s much-feared Preventive Security Forces and General Intelligence Service. Coordination between the PA police forces and the Israeli occupation forces and Shin Beth has continued even as Gaza is being destroyed, in pursuit of their common goal of uprooting Hamas in the West Bank.

 

Five months ago, Amayreh was invited to attend a media conference in Germany and was granted a visa from the German representative office in Ramallah, the main stipulation being that he had never been arrested or detained by Israeli authorities. In spite of this, the Israeli military authorities refused to give him a permit to leave the West Bank and he was unable to travel. But be it the Israelis or the PA Security apparatus, it is evidently clear that Palestinians are continuously having their civil rights violated.

 

KHALID AMAYREH’S ACCOUNT OF HIS ORDEAL

Source: Islamonline 
http://www.islamonline.net:80/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1232976490385&pagename=Zone-English-Muslim_Affairs%2FMAELayout 

“Five Minutes” With the PA Interrogators
Muzzling Freedom of Expression in Palestine

By  Khalid Amayreh : Journalist – Occupied Palestine

When the Beirut-based Al-Quds satellite television interviewed me last week on the recent genocidal Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip, it never occurred to me that the few sound bites I uttered would land me in a slimy prison cell at the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Preventive Security Apparatus (PSA) in Hebron.

During that interview, I was asked why the American-backed regime in Ramallah was not allowing large protests in solidarity with the Gaza Strip. I answered that the PA didn’t want things to get out of control and that it didn’t wish to antagonize Israel.

Interestingly, Israel itself had allowed a massive demonstration against the war on Gaza to take place in the Israeli Arab town of Sakhnin where as many as 150,000 people, including some Jewish peace activists, took to the streets to protest the nauseating killings and bombings of civilian targets all over the coastal enclave.

I further pointed out that Israel didn’t really respect the PA and was effectively treating it as a subservient entity serving  Israeli interests.
I  did think, and I still, that I was stating the obvious. However, the PA security establishment had a different idea.

Proverbial Cup of Coffee 
 
I was immediately locked up inside a small room and my mobile phone was confiscated.On Jan. 18, shortly afternoon, someone from the local PSA center invited me to drink a cup of coffee with the head of office for five minutes. Eventually, the “five minutes” were stretched into 55 hours of nightmarish experience.  

I knew they wanted to arrest me since most Palestinians have come to associate the onerous telephone call with imminent arrest by any of the security agencies.

When I arrived there, I was neither asked to meet with the local security chief nor offered the proverbial cup of coffee. Instead, I was immediately locked up inside a small room and my mobile phone was confiscated.

My watch and shoe laces were also taken from me. They must have been awfully worried about my safety!

Half an hour later, I was taken to the PSA headquarters in Hebron, 14 kilometers away. There, I was scolded for “besmirching and distorting the PA image,” “sowing discontent,” and “indulging in incitement.”

I was subjected to four sessions of interrogation which covered a whole set of issues and subjects from the Iranian strategy in the Middle East to the receding chances for the creation of a Palestinian state.

I told my interrogators that what they were doing was against the law, since the Palestinian law stated that “the security apparatus has no right to question, interrogate or detain a journalist in connection to his or her work.”
When I uttered these words, one operative scoffed at me, saying that “we are in Palestine, not in Sweden.”

Small, Semi-dark, Rancid-smelling Room

The interrogators didn’t really abuse me neither physically nor verbally. However, I was thrown into a small, semi-dark, rancid-smelling room with two other inmates, one a political prisoner and the other a common-law prisoner. That in itself was a humiliating form of mistreatment.

Getting dumped inside a slimy cell, with an exposed water circuit, was not exactly the right way to treat a journalist who has spent a lifetime defending the just Palestinian cause in face of Israeli propaganda and lies. But, then, they were probably right in a certain sense. The West Bank is not Sweden, and the PA regime is not the government of Sweden.

On Monday evening, Jan. 20, I was asked to meet with the PSA Chief, Abu Al-Fateh, who explained to me that the overall situation facing the PA was sensitive and delicate and that journalists had to be careful and cautious about what they say and write.

I generally concurred with him. However, I did forcefully argue that suppressing freedom of expression, especially press freedom, was a very harmful idea. I further  explained that when people are made to fear the government, it means that that the government is undemocratic and had a lot of things to hid from the people.

At the end of the conversation, I was told I could go home.

My latest encounter with the PSA is not the first time I am hounded by the PA security establishment. Last year I was subjected to intensive interrogation by the PA Mukhabarat (or general intelligence), also in connection with my professional work.

In 1998, I was arrested and briefly imprisoned for reporting on the prevalence of torture in some PA interrogation centers. I was also interrogated by both the Palestinian and Israeli security apparatuses over an article I had written on the  centrality of the right of return for Palestinian refugees uprooted from their ancestral homeland in what is now Israel.
These days, most Palestinians arrested by either Israel or the PA are rearrested by the other side after their release.

Self-censorship

Self-censorship is the ultimate enemy of healthy journalism.I knew that the main aim behind my brief but unjustified incarceration was to make me exercise “self-censorship” and refrain from calling things by their real names.

However, for journalists, “self-censorship” is not an innocuous word. It actually represents the ultimate enemy of healthy journalism. After all, a journalist ought to be responsible first and foremost to his or her conscience within the frame of the law.

Unfortunately, very few people within the Palestinian security establishment understand the language of human rights and civil liberties.

This condition is made even worse by the persistent power struggle between Hamas and Fateh, which is often used as a pretext and justification for the police-state atmosphere prevailing in the West Bank now.

Hence, one would exaggerate very little by saying that the situation of human rights and civil liberties is the West Bank is probably worse today than it ever has been since the establishment of the PA more than 15 years ago.

Rampant Violations

My latest experience pales in comparison to the more serious persecution haunting non-conformist journalists throughout the West Bank.In truth, my latest experience pales in comparison to the more serious persecution haunting non-conformist journalists throughout the West Bank.

Last week, PA security personnel assaulted and severely beat AP correspondent Majdee Ishtayyeh while filming an “unlicensed” demonstration in Ramallah. Ishtayya reportedly was taken to a nearby building where he was badly beaten, causing a severe hemorrhage from his nose.

The 44-year-journalist had to undergo a surgical operation to fix his battered nose at a Nablus hospital.

Some other journalists, photojournalists, and cameramen were violently assaulted and had their equipment broken or confiscated. 

Last year, as many as 20 Palestinian journalists were imprisoned for relatively lengthy periods for reporting news or views the PA regime considers detrimental to their interests or image. Many of these journalists were beaten and even tortured for refusing to abide by the “official line.”
And in nearly all cases, concocted charges were leveled against them, such as  “sowing division, incitement, and endangering national unity.”

Last year, Awad Rajoub, an Al-Jazeera.net correspondent was detained in a PSA prison cell in Hebron in what he described “harsh and humiliating conditions” for 32 days. Rajoub was forced to sleep inside a bare room, without mattresses or blankets, and had to use his own shoes as a pillow.
Rajoub was accused of interviewing critics of the PA.

Carte Blanch for Law Violation

In fact, there is a widespread impression that the security agencies are granted  a virtual carte blanch to violate the law for the sake of punishing and savaging political opponents of the PA regime, particularly people affiliated with the Islamic camp.

During my brief stint at the Hebron jail, I saw several inmates being subjected to the Shabah (hooding) technique where a prisoner is made to sit down in a small room with his hands tied to his back.

At one point, I heard an inmate crying “why are you beating me, why are you beating me.”

The PA government in Ramallah claims that it is doing its utmost to uphold the rule of law. This is its usual response to criticisms voiced by local and international human rights organizations.

However, it is obvious that the status of human rights and civil liberties under the PA   continues to deteriorate, especially with the virtual paralysis of the Palestinian justice system and especially in light of the conspicuous hegemony the security agencies exercises over civil society. This is why Palestinians do hope that the PA government, which many people view as both illegal and illegitimate, will issue clear and unmistakable orders to the security agencies to stop arresting and mistreating journalists and to respect the basic human and civil rights of Palestinian citizens.

Such a step is crucial for the creation of a healthy society based on the rule of law and respect for human dignity. It is also a sine-qua-non for the success of the Palestinian  national struggle for justice and freedom from the shackles of the colonialist Israeli occupation.

Khalid Amayreh is a journalist living in Palestine. He obtained his MA in journalism from the University of Southern Illinois in 1983. Since the 1990s, Mr. Amayreh has been working and writing for several news outlets among which is Aljazeera.net, Al-Ahram Weekly, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), and Middle East International.