Wednesday, March 28, 2007

La vie au camp de Aida- charlot s'invite

(c) Anne Paq/
samedi 24 mars, projection au camp de Aida/ Projection of Charly Chaplin's movie Modern Times at Al-Rowwad, Aida Refugee camp

Samedi 24 mars ;

Au camp de Aida, au centre Al-Rowwad, nous avons commencé à faire des projections régulières dans le cadre du nouveau programme Images for life.

Pascale, une cinéaste française nous a fait un beau cadeau en nous amenant l’eternel et indémodable Les Temps modernes de Charlie Chaplin. J’imagine deja charlot passer un checkpoint, offrir une petite fleur aux soldats, se melanger les pattes et atterir dans la machine à rayon X…

Seance annoncée à 16h, mais evidemment tout le monde arrive en retard. les tapis de moquette ont été deployés pour faire asseoir les petits devant, et un drap a été placésur le mur en guise d’écran. Apres une presentation du film ; nous eteignons la lumiere et la magie opère. Les premiers eclats de rire sont un regal et s’enchaîne. Les enfants continuent à arriver, au plus fort, nous etions une bonne centaine. Un peu de douceur dans ce monde de brutes. Apres la projection, petite discussion avec les jeunes. Ils sont encore sous le charme, nous aussi.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

from Tel Aviv to Um salamoneh

Samedi 24 mars

Drole de journée de vendredi, en passant de Tel aviv, la plage ; à une manifestation contre le Mur à Um Salamoneh. A une centaine de kilometres différentes réalités, inextricablement liées. A Um Salamoneh, les terres disparaissent derriere le Mur. En signe de protestation, les habitants vont prier dignement devant la construction du Mur, théâtre d’une pièce tragique qui se joue quotidiennement partout en Palestine. Sur la plage, rien ne paraît. Les Palestiniens ne sont pas jetés à la mer mais étouffés petit à petit. Est-ce un sort plus enviable ?

What a strange Friday….I went through Tel Aviv, the beach to a demonstration in the West Bank village of Um Salamoneh. Both are only 100 kilometers away but it always feels like there are different planets, or rather two different realities, inextricably linked. In Um Salamoneh; the lands of the Palestinians are disappearing under and behind the construction of the Wall. To protest; the inhabitants of the surrounded villages go to pray in front of the Wall and the settlement. With dignity. It seems that the same tragic play is playing over and over in Palestine. On the beach, nothing appears. The Palestinians are not thrown to the sea but asphyxiate slowly but surely. is it better?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Bikes vs.Bombs- the army stopped a peaceful bikeride

Bikes vs. Bombs

March 23rd, 2007 | Posted in Press Releases, Journals, Ramallah Region, Jericho Region

Bikes vs. Bombs
by Martinez

It started out to be a magnificent afternoon here in Ramallah.

Being an avid bicyclist back home in Pittsburgh and San Francisco,

biking against oil wars, my eyes lit up like a small child

in a sparkling candy store when I read the following announcement:

“The East Jerusalem-YMCA’s “Youth to Youth Initiative” is organizing

the Palestine International Bike Race, aimed at promoting peace and tolerance

among ethnic, religious and national groups in the region.

The idea stemmed from the increasing need to stop violating human rights

and lift the movement restrictions and blocks

which prevent the Palestinians to move freely.

Participants from the Palestinian Territories, Israel and

different international identities will join the event.”

The race was projected to be the longest international sport event

to protest against human rights violations, Israeli checkpoints,

and restrictions on freedom of movement.

Ashrav and I arrived at the Playground in Al Bireh around 8:45 am

to see 350 bicyclists ready to put the fun

between their legs and pedal the 30-some downhill miles to Jericho, near the Dead Sea.

Ash and I registered, received our numbers (191 and 192 respectively),

put on the YMCA issued T-shirts,

and chose from hundreds of bikes before lining up for blast-off.

There were many nationalities represented.

Hundreds of Palestinians, thirty or so Israelis, Danish, American, Spanish, Canadian,

all coming together in the intellectual center of Palestine to bike in solidarity

against Israel’s current system of Apartheid.

My heart was pounding and I may have been sporting a slight grin

as I rounded the corner, 30 bikers from the frontlines.

Palestinian police did their best to keep traffic to the side.

They couldn’t help the fact that the track on which we were racing is littered with ditches.

(I refrain from using the word “potholes” where, in Pittsburgh,

though they are many, they are no where in comparison to the holes on this road).

“Why,” do you ask, “is this specific road so battered?”

The road is disheveled because the Israeli government will not allow

Palestinian construction workers maintain this road.

Although this road is in Ramallah (in the West Bank),

the Israeli government considers it part of the Jerusalem municipality

and, thus, part of Israel…

So, dodging the potholes, I made my way past the atrocious Qalandya checkpoint.

This checkpoint is one of the biggest in the West Bank.

Built by the Israeli army, the Machsom (in Hebrew), looks more

like a fortress styled terminal, equipped with an 8-meter high wall,

sniper towers, and is manned and womanned by Israeli soldiers,

24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Machsom separates Palestinian towns from Palestinian villages,

and prevents access to Jerusalem, the economic, social, and spiritual center of Palestinian life—which is 10 minutes away from the Israeli-controlled fortress. In order to get around the checkpoint, Palestinians must take a time-consuming route through rugged terrain to reach hospitals, schools, and family members—destinations otherwise reached in a matter of minutes.

Making a slight turn onto the road to Jericho, I was filled with a sense of joy and freedom via the bike ride against Apartheid, the Tour du Freedom. The fresh spring weather hitting my face, the rocky cliffs and bright green grass on either side of me, Palestinians at crossroads cheering us on.

Those wheels of justice came to a screeching halt further down the road.

The Israeli army was stopping the freedom racers further down the track. Israeli flags were waving above army jeeps and police vehicles. Along with the bike race impasse, Israeli soldiers were refusing passage to Palestinian traffic.

As the rest of the 330 bikers accumulated there at the checkpoint, so did the traffic, for miles it seemed. But the army wasn’t budging. Apparently, a bunch of Palestinian, Israeli, and international bicyclists were too much a threat to the army. Bikes vs. Bombs. And the match was being had right there on the road to Jericho.

An illegal Israeli settlement could be seen in the distance. And the continuation of Israel’s Wall of Apartheid could be seen on the left, and felt in the stomach, a nauseating presence that just won’t go away (yet).

The Israeli soldiers called for back up. They revved their army engines. We straddled our bikes. The soldiers pulled some caution tape from their trunks and sealed us into a makeshift sty, like pigs on bikes. Some negotiating between Palestinians and the army ensued.

But the army wasn’t budging. Then Israeli bikers tried to negotiate.

Still, Israel’s Occupation Forces would not budge.

For over an hour, the pedal revolutionaries, visions of Jericho in mind, were forced to stand at the side of the road. The soldiers opened the road for traffic, but not for two-wheelers.

The energy was starting to bubble over. A woman from Holland had enough with waiting.

She crossed the line, so to speak, and started heading to Jericho.

She was approached by the soldiers, however, who began to push her around.

Majd, a Palestinian journalist for This Week in Palestine,

biked on over to the woman to and protect her.

The army, instead, decided to rough him up and detain him.

A spokesperson from the YMCA arrived.

The army handed him a bullhorn and the race was officially declared finished.

No trophy ceremony, as was planned when we reached Jericho. No speeches to the Palestinian and international press about how tens of nationalities came together to bike towards freedom. Instead, the scene was filled with anger, despair, and hundreds of empty bikes lying at the side of the road.

The adrenaline that was overflowing just 2 hours before now evaporated. All that was left was the stench of Apartheid. Several bikers tried to rally a contingent to pedal themselves around the roadblock. But as more soldiers arrived, so did the fear of retaliation by the Occupation Forces.

And thus, sadly, after the world’s bike lovers met here on this day in Palestine to pedal in solidarity with the Palestinians against Israel’s system of racial discrimination, against their walls and snipers, tanks and jeeps—the day of Bikes vs. Bombs came to an abrupt end.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The shameful method of the Israeli army

The tale of the dog in Al-Ubeidiya: Israeli army says the dog is innocent
Date: 22 / 03 / 2007 Time: 14:18
تكبير الخط تصغير الخط
Police dog bites Yusra Sbeih Rabay'a
in Al-Ubeidiya Wednesday (MaanImages)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - It appears that the dog which bit a Palestinian woman's hand, during an incursion into a village near Bethlehem on Wednesday, was "innocent", according to the Israeli army.

The Israeli army spokesman failed to give a frank answer about who is responsible for "the dog attack" on the Palestinian citizen of Al-Ubeidiya village, Yusra Sbeih Rabay'a, on Wednesday.

The Israeli army entered Al-Ubeidiya, which is located east of Bethlehem in the south of the occupied West Bank, on Wednesday morning, searching for Yusra's brother, Daoud Sbeih Rabay'a, who is believed to be a member of the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Brigades. With 25 military vehicles and bulldozers, the Israeli army besieged the Rabay'a family houses and demolished part of it.

During the Israeli soldiers' siege, which lasted over seven hours, one of the police dogs attacked Daoud's sister, Yusra.

However, according to the story recounted by the military spokesman for Ma'an, the Israeli soldiers are "innocent" of giving orders to the dog to attack Yusra Sbeih Rabay'a. Rather, Yusra had approached the soldiers and failed to obey their orders.

According to the army's story, "during the operation, the citizen Rabay'a got near to the soldiers and refused to leave the area, which led to the result that she was attacked by the dog, that bit her in her right hand before the soldiers intervened to rescue her from the dog's teeth."

Despite the fact that the soldiers expressed regret for the attack, the content of the story justifies "the dog's action" and clarified that the woman, Yusra Sbeih Rabay'a, is the one responsible, because she was in a place that she should not have been in. Furthermore, the army clears the dog of responsibility because it was 'doing its duty' and defending the soldiers. Consequently, the dog carried out its instructions without obtaining permission.

However, what cannot be denied or proven is whether Yusra is the one who initiated the incident, and forced the dog to bite her hand. Did she really put her hand between the teeth of the "innocent" dog, as would be understood by the incredulous Israeli story of the incident?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Jerusalem, ville assiegée/ Jerusalem under siege

Arrestation a Jerusalem; à la station de bus arabe/ Arrest in Jerusalem in the middle of the Arabic bus station.

Construction et fouilleq contreversées pres de l'esplanade des Mosquées/ Contreversial building and diggings next to Al Aqsa Mosque.

Juifs orthodoxes visitant d'une façon tres provocative l'esplanade des Mosquées/ Orthodox Jews provocally visiting Al-Haram al-Qudsi al-Sharif.

Nouveau checkpoint a Abu Dis, de chaque coté des Palestiniens.../ New checkpoint in Abu Dis, on each side live Palestinians..

All pics (c) Anne Paq/

Ziyad finally released



REF.: 5.2007E

19 March 2007

Al-Haq Fieldworker Released from Administrative Detention

On 18 March 2007, Al-Haq fieldworker and human rights defender, Ziyad Hmeidan, was dropped off by the Israel Prison Service (IPS) at the Dahiriya (Meitar) checkpoint, south of Hebron , at around 14:15, marking the end of almost two years of detention without charge or fair trial. From the checkpoint Ziyad travelled to the village of Sa’ir , where he met briefly with a number of Al-Haq’s staff, before heading on to Bethlehem , where he was reunited with his wife and two young children. Ziyad’s release, similar to the entire process which arbitrarily deprived him of his freedom for 20 months, was marked by obstructions from the Israeli authorities.

In the days preceding Ziyad’s scheduled release, his lawyer repeatedly contacted the IPS to find out where Ziyad would be released. Her requests were unsuccessful. After consulting with various organisations that deal with detention issues, Al-Haq was informed that the most likely point for his release was at the Tarqumiya checkpoint, located to the south east of Hebron . Based on this information Al-Haq arranged to have staff members present at the checkpoint from early morning on 18 March. At mid-morning on the day in question, Al-Haq succeeded in contacting the IPS and was informed that Ziyad was still held at Rimon prison, where he was detained, and that he would be released at Tarqumiya checkpoint. A subsequent effort to obtain further information from the IPS failed.

The checkpoint at which Ziyad was finally released was in fact some 30 kilometres from the location Al-Haq had been given. After borrowing a mobile phone from the driver of a shared taxi, Ziyad was able to contact Al-Haq and arrange a meeting point.

When Ziyad arrived at the meeting at around 15:00, he was carrying a largely empty sports bag. He informed Al-Haq that roughly ten days prior to the date of his release, he had asked if he could take the diaries he had kept during his time in prison, and some 50 to 60 letters of support he had received, with him upon his release. He was assured that if he handed over the diaries and letters for a security inspection prior to his release he would be able to take them with him. Accordingly, Ziyad did so. Upon the day of his release he was told he could not take the letters. No justification was provided. Ziyad initially refused to leave without these itmes, but was ordered onto the bus that would carry him to the checkpoint.

In any event, the circumstances of Ziyad’s release pale in significance when compared to the egregious violation of fundamental human rights that was Ziyad’s administrative detention. Neither Ziyad, nor his lawyer, were ever informed of any charges against him, nor the reason for his arrest and detention, thereby violating fundamental due process rights and rendering his entire detention arbitrary and illegal under international law. In addition, his detention conditions failed to meet fundamental human rights standards for the treatment of prisoners. While Al-Haq rejoices at Ziyad’s release and welcomes him back to the Palestinian community of human rights defenders these basic facts must not be forgotten. Nor must it be forgotten that over 700 Palestinians currently remain in administrative detention.

Finally, Al-Haq would like to express its most sincere thanks to all those who involved themselves in Ziyad’s case. Their efforts not only provided Ziyad with much needed support, but also sent a clear message to the Israeli Authorities that Ziyad’s illegal detention in violation of fundamental human rights was not going unnoticed.

- End -

Sunday, March 18, 2007

abusive strip-searching

Humiliation and Child Abuse at Israeli Checkpoints Strip-Searching Children

author Saturday March 17, 2007 00:18author by Alison Weir - If Americans Knewauthor email alisonweir at yahoo dot com Report this post to the editors


Israeli officials have been regularly strip-searching children for decades, some of them American citizens.

While organizations that focus on Israel-Palestine have long been aware that Israeli border officials regularly strip search men and women, If Americans Knew appears to be the first organization that has specifically investigated the policy of strip searching women. In the course of its investigation, If Americans Knew was astonished to learn that Israeli officials have also been strip searching young girls as young as seven and below.

According to interviews with women in the United States, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Israeli border officials periodically force Christian and Muslim females of all ages to remove their clothing and submit to searches. In some cases the children are then "felt" by Israeli officials.

Sometimes mothers and children are strip-searched together, at other times little girls are taken from their parents and strip-searched alone. Women are required to remove sanitary napkins, sometimes with small daughters at their side. Sometimes women are strip searched in the presence of their young sons.

All report deep feelings of humiliation. Many describe weeping at the degradation they felt.

"I remember crying and pleading with my mother," Gaza journalist Laila El-Haddad recalls of an experience when she was 12-years-old, hoping that her mother could convince the Israeli official to allow her to keep her undershirt on. But parents are unable to shield their children, El-Haddad and others report.

"They had machine guns," El-Haddad explains. "We just had to submit." El-Haddad, who holds a Masters degree in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, believes that the intention of the strip searches is to humiliate Palestinians so that they won't return to Palestine.

Oregon attorney Hala Gores remembers being strip-searched at the age of 10. Her family, Palestinian Christians from Nazareth, were leaving Israel because of Israeli discrimination against Christians. Gores has never returned to her family's ancestral home in Nazareth, she says, in part because she does not want to repeat the experience of having no control over what is done to her.

The Israeli policy appears to target only Christian and Muslim children, and is equally applied to those with Israeli citizenship and citizenship in other countries, including native-born Americans. There are no reports of Jewish children being strip-searched.

New Jersey stand-up comedian Maysoon Zayid describes being strip-searched at Ben Gurion Airport when she was "seven, eight, nine years old" on family trips to visit her parents' original home in Palestine. On her most recent trip in July 2006, Maysoon, an American citizen, had her sanitary pad taken by officials in Ben Gurion Airport. When the search was completed, she says, the Israeli official in charge, Inbal Sharon, then refused to return her pad or allow her to get another.

Zayid, who has cerebral palsy and was sitting in a wheelchair, was then forced to bleed publicly for hours while she waited for her flight.

Zayid, a former class president and yearbook editor at New Jersey's Cliffside Park High School known for her irreverent comedy routines and strong personality, describes sobbing uncontrollably. "No one spoke up," she remembers. "There were several women, including the woman who was pushing my wheelchair, none of whom said a word."

When she boarded her flight, Zayid recalls, "The flight attendants looked at me in disgust." She told them what had happened, and the attendants then gave her some of their own clothing to use.

In addition to taking her sanitary napkin, Israeli officials also confiscated medication that Zayid is required to take when flying. As a result, she vomited repeatedly throughout the 12-hour flight.

Zayid, who founded a program for newly disabled Palestinian youths ­ many of them permanently disabled from attacks by Israeli forces ­ was so depressed by her treatment that she determined never to return. "But that's what they want," she says, "They want us to get to the point where we don't go back." She says that she is already planning to return to her volunteer work in the West Bank.

Israeli practices vary and seem to be applied randomly, from elderly women to small children. In some instances women are taken into a room alone and are left sitting naked for hours. At other times they are strip-searched in groups, their clothes thrown in a pile. When they are finally allowed to get dressed, they describe having to rummage through the heap of clothing, naked and barefoot, to find their own garments.

Jewish Holocaust Survivor

While these policies largely target Palestinian and Palestinian-American women and children, some non-Palestinian Americans also report being subjected to strip searches by Israeli officials.

St. Louis resident Hedy Epstein, whose parents and extended family perished in Nazi camps, and whose story is featured in the Academy Award winning documentary "Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport," reports being strip searched three years ago following her participation in nonviolent protests in the West Bank. Epstein, who was 79 at the time, describes being forced to bend over for an Israeli official to search her internally.

The strip searches appear to be illegal under numerous statutes. The Geneva Conventions, to which Israel is a signatory, prohibit: "Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment" and specifically emphasize: "Women shall be especially protected against any attack on their honour"

Article 2 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states: "No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy"

In the US, such policies would appear to violate child abuse statutes. The state of Utah, for example, defines Child Abuse as: "Any form of cruelty to a child's physical, moral or mental well-being." The Encarta Encyclopedia defines child abuse as "Intentional acts that result in physical or emotional harm to children."

While the If Americans Knew investigation focused on practices concerning women, many interviewees reported frequent random strip-searching of males as well; including American citizens, children, and the elderly.

While the practice is widely applied, many people find it too humiliating to speak of. One 68-year-old Christian businessman, who had been stripped naked at Ben Gurion airport in 2006 before being allowed to board his flight to return home, had never revealed his experience to his family until he learned of the If Americans Knew investigation. He then explained to his daughter why he had previously told her that he might never return to his original home, now in the state of Israel.

Christians, a thriving community that made up approximately 15 percent of Palestine's population before Zionist immigration and the creation of Israel (Muslims were 80 percent and Jews 5 percent), have now dwindled under Israeli occupation to approximately two percent of the total population.

Israeli spokespeople and sympathizers have bristled in recent months at the title of a book by former President Jimmy Carter, "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid." In reply, Carter has emphasized that the Israeli "apartheid" he is describing is limited to the West Bank and Gaza. Many analysts have disagreed with Carter, providing evidence of pervasive discrimination within Israel itself. The If Americans Knew finding that Israel has been routinely strip-searching non-Jewish citizens of Israel would also indicate a wider policy of Israeli discrimination.

Since American taxpayers give Israel over $8 million per day, the Council for the National Interest, a Washington DC-based lobbying organization, is organizing a campaign to call on Congress to demand that Israel end these policies.

"We are extremely upset to learn that Israel is using American tax money in ways that degrade and humiliate women and children," says CNI President Eugene Bird. "We call on all Americans to help us on this campaign."

The organization urges people to begin contacting their Congressional representatives immediately, and to disseminate the video report by If Americans Knew as widely as possible.

Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew. She can be reached at:

Friday, March 16, 2007

les moments d'attente (serie)/ The waiting moments series

(c) Anne Paq/
Container checkpoint (between Bethlehem and Ramallah), March 2007

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Un homme palestinien battu a mort par la police israelienne/ A Palestinian man beaten to death by Israeli Police

Wael Karawi (MaanImages)

11 mars Jerusalem - Ma'an - On Sunday, Ma'an News Agency discovered that the Palestinian who was beaten to death by the Israeli police on Salah ed-Din street in Jerusalem, Wael Karawi aged 32, was a lieutenant in the Palestinian central intelligence service, which is headed by Tawfiq Tirawi.

Karawi, who was also a taxi driver, was brutally beaten by the Israeli border police until he died on Saturday. The Israeli authorities detained his body at Al-Mascoubiyya interrogation center and when his family arrived at the centre, they were also brutally beaten and abused.

Vast crowds of people participated in the funeral procession of Karawi on Sunday, which was at the location of his birthplace in the At-Tour neighborhood. Clashes erupted between the mourners and the Israeli police during the funeral. The police besieged the funeral and shot rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowds.

Palestinian security sources in the northern West Bank city of Ramallah affirmed to Ma'an that Karawi did not suffer from any illness that could have caused his death. He was killed as a result of being brutally beaten by the Israeli police.

It is not yet clear whether the Israelis deliberately targeted him because they had known that he was a Palestinian intelligence officer or it was one of the many arbitrary assaults on Palestinians.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Israel is a discriminatory state

UN: Israel must stop discrimination against Arabs, Palestinians
By Reuters

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said Israel's security measures to ward off suicide bombings and other attacks must be re-calibrated to avoid discrimination against Arab Israelis or Palestinians living in Israeli-occupied lands such as the West Bank.

The committee specified that Israel should ease roadblocks and other restrictions on Palestinians and put a stop to settler violence and hate speech.

Its 18 independent experts, who examined the records of 13 countries at a four-week meeting in Geneva, also said Israel should cease building a barrier in and around the West Bank and ensure its various checkpoints and road closures do not reinforce segregation.

In its conclusions,

the committee also voiced concern at an unequal distribution of water resources, a disproportionate targeting of Palestinians in house demolitions and the "denial of the right of many Palestinians" to return to their land.

Differing applications of criminal law between Jews and Arabs had caused "harsher punishments for Palestinians for the same offence", said the committee, whose recommendations are not legally binding.

A high number of complaints by Arab Israelis against police officers are not properly investigated and many Arabs suffer discriminatory work practices and high unemployment, it said.

Excavations beneath and around the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's holiest site in Jerusalem, should also be undertaken in a way that will "in no way endanger the mosque and impede access to it", it added.

Israel argues that the UN committee's remit, to ensure compliance with a 1965 international treaty against racial discrimination which the Jewish state has ratified, does not apply to the Palestinian territories it has occupied since 1967. The committee rejects that position.

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Itzhak Levanon, told the committee last month it was crucial to understand the pressing security threats faced by his country.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

quelques rayons de soleil de bethlehem/ a few smiles from Bethlehem

(c) Anne Paq/
Bethlehem and Aida refugee camp, March 2007
le soleil est de retour...the sun is back.