Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Demolition in Az-Za'ayyem, 29.11.2011

(c) Anne Paq/; Az-Za'ayyem, 29.11.2011

4 homes and 4 animal shelters were demolished by the Israeli authorities in a Bedouin community in the West bank village of Az-Za'ayyem, located at the periphery of East Jerusalem, on 29.11.2011.

There was absolutely no article in media about this demolition which left four families homeless. These demolitions are ongoing and likely to be increased soon.
2000 Bedouins are likely to be forcibly displaced from the area aroud Male Adumim settlement to a site near a garbage dump at the beginning of 2012.


4 maisons et 4 abris pour animaux ont été démolis par les autorités israéliennes dans une communauté bédouine dans le village de Cisjordanie d'Az-Za'ayyem, situé à la périphérie de Jérusalem-Est, le 29/11/2011.

Il n'y eu absolument aucun article dans les médias sur cette démolition qui a laissé quatre familles sans abri. Ces démolitions représentent un phénomène continu et risquent d'augmenter rapidement.2000 Bédouins sont sous la menace d'être déplacés de force de la zone autour de la colonie Male Adumim sur un site près d'une décharge au début de 2012.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

NEW VIDEO Nabi Saleh- confronting the Israeli soldiers with words

(c) Anne Paq/, Nabi Sameh, 25.11.2011 Linah Alsaafin argues with Israeli soldiers

Blogs » Linah Alsaafin's blog

An Israeli Soldier Cares For My Safety
Submitted by Linah Alsaafin on Sat, 11/26/2011 - 17:31

The following took place Friday, November 25th in the village of Nabi Saleh during its weekly protest against the Israeli occupation. A group of protesters managed to reach the hill, where a few hundred meters below was the village spring the illegal settlement of Halamish took by force. If you’re not an Israeli settler (or their ilk), you are prevented from getting even close to the spring.

“Watch out. You might get hit by a stone.”

For a split second, various images flitted through my mind. One was me throwing my head back, convulsing and positively howling at a full moon in a deserted forest. Another was a perverse natal instinct to hug the soldier, before throttling him into seeing reason. The third was a kaleidoscope of colors. It wasn’t a full scale explosion, but my mouth became unhinged with “dignified” fury.

“You dare to stand in front me, and pretend that you care about my safety? You’re pretending to be worried if a rock hits me? How dare you, when you come here every week—and not just on Fridays but throughout the week— and terrorize this village by spraying them with skunk water, firing tear gas and rubber bullets and live ammunition at their children, at the women, the men! How many children have you arrested? How many houses have you raided? How many have suffocated from the tear gas fired deliberately in their homes, how many kids have you fired at? You don’t care about any of that!”

His little comment solicited the same reaction from the other sabaya/young women around me. We were shouting over each other, then pausing to listen, then picking up on each other’s sentences with added vitriol.

“Anyway,” I added, more calmly. “These stones have a special homing device built into them; they only hit occupiers.”

Two rocks then crashed into the protective shield of one soldier standing to my right. The one in front of me was completely flummoxed.

“Where are you from?” I asked. “Brooklyn?”

“Fuck Brooklyn.” His muddy green eyes were shocked. At that moment, it hit me. I felt so sorry for him.

The commander then marched up. “Go back ten meters,” he barked.

We stayed where we are. If we were guys, there would have been pushing, shoving, anything to provoke us and for them to justify firing from close range. But we were four Palestinian women with a few other Israeli and international activists. Never underestimate the regal wrath of Palestinian women. We will go batshit crazy on you.

“Please go back ten meters.”

Ah, the order turned into a request, which brought about another stab of the kaleidoscope colors.

“You go back! This is Palestinian land, you are the ones encroaching upon this land, and you are the ones perpetuating the colonization of an indigenous people, so you get off this land!”

The commander stared.

My sister and her friend were enjoying themselves a bit too much with their directed banter at them:

“Do you bleed differently from me? We bleed the same blood!”

“Free your minds! Zionism has imprisoned you!”

“You are a victim of your own government’s policies!”

“Put down your gun, we are protesting peacefully!”

A couple of teenagers baffling the Israeli soldiers in front of us by tearing into their state-fed propaganda. I was thoroughly amused, to say the least. I turned to another soldier.

“Isn’t this much better than firing tear gas canisters at us? Look, we’re having a dialogue! We’re talking. We’re not negotiating, since that would imply two equal parties, but we’re conversing!”

One of the girls pointed to another soldier’s face.

“You’re bleeding,” she said.

“From the rocks you throw at us.”

Kids with guns. This was a new unit. A young, scared unit who broke their own rules by replying back.

It was such a ridiculous situation. I touched his submachine gun. “Look at you, decked out like you’re about to face an army. You’re wearing a helmet, knee pads, bulletproof vest, and this gun of yours that shoots sound bombs and tear gas and bullets. We are armed with nothing. Do you realize how stupid you look?”

“You are armed with rocks.” The eyes shifted, the feet shuffled.

Mr Muddy Green Eyes. I felt so sorry for him.

Demonstration in Nabi Salih, 25.11.2011

(c) Anne Paq/Acivestills, Nabi Salih, 25.11.2011

report by the Anarchists against the Wall:
November 25, 2011
Dozens participated in this week's demonstration in Nabi Saleh against the theft of its lands and spring by the Halamish Israeli settlement and the Israeli occupation that sustains it. Nabi Saleh residents, other Palestinians, and international and Israeli supporters marched peacefully from the center of the village.
This demonstration followed days of Israeli complete siege over the village and a massive night raid, resulting in the arrest of three people from the village.
As always, a peaceful demonstration met with Israeli army attack. Volleys of tear gas canisters were shot on the entire demonstration from a cannon installed on Israeli military jeeps. Sole canisters were also shoot by Israeli soldiers directly at people, in violation of their army's own regulations. Israeli forces used their “skunk” track, carrying a foul-smelling water cannon. This time the “skunk” wondered around the village and sprayed houses in a blatant unlawful repressive measure.
Few people also threw stones to ward off the Israeli army's incursion. A group of people managed to approach the soldiers, despite threats of arrests.
One youth was injured in the forehead by Israeli rubber coated bullet. He was helped into an ambulance that took him to hospital.


Pour se rendre à la manifestation dans le village de Nabi Salih, situé au Sud Ouest de Ramallah, il vaut mieux s'y prendre tôt. L'armée israélienne a en effet repris sa politique de bloquer l'entrée du village afin d'empêcher les activistes de rejoindre la manifestation, en pretextant que le village se situe dans une "zone militaire fermée". Il m'a donc fallu sauter du service (taxi collectif) après l'entrée du village et courir avec quelques autres jeunes Palestiniens pour grimper la colline avant que les soldats ne nous voient.
La manifestation était importante car l'armée israélienne a repris aussi sa politique des raids nocturnes dans le village. Les soldats israéliens sont rentrés dans le village en plein milieu de la nuit, ont pris des photos en particulier des jeunes et enfants et ont arrêté trois jeunes du village. Voir la photo édifiante prise dans la maison de Nariman Tamimi où un de ses fils fait le signe de la victoire dans son lit alors que la maison est envahie de soldats.

Une centaine de manifestants se sont retrouvés et ont participé à la manifestation afin de montrer que les tactiques d'intimidation ne marchent pas. Le niveau d’énergie était cependant un peu plus bas que d'habitude. Il est très difficile à la longue de maintenir un haut niveau de mobilisation, semaine après semaine, pour ces manifestations. Comme lors des dernières manifestations, nous nous sommes dirigés en direction de l'entrée du village, et alors même que nous étions encore loin des soldats israéliens; nous avons dû partir en courant face au "skunk", un liquide infâme répandu par un camion et une volée de grenades lacrymogènes, suivies après par des balles en caoutchouc. Les jeunes du village ont alors envoyé des pierres pour prévenir une invasion militaire du village.

Le groupe s'est alors divisé, une partie a essayé de se rendre à la source d'eau spoliée par les colons en passant par un autre chemin, mais ont été vite bloquée par les soldats israéliens qui sont toujours en poste à différent endroits autour du village. Le face à face a duré assez longtemps. Des jeunes Palestiniens, à quelques centimètres des soldats; n'ont pas hésité à les confronter en mettant devant leur yeux un drapeau palestinien, afin de leur rappeler, si besoin qu'ils étaient bien dans un village palestinien. Des jeunes femmes palestiniennes ont essayer d'interloquer des soldats en leur parlant, notamment en leur rappelant qu'ils sont complices de crime de guerre, qu'ils se font manipuler par leur gouvernement et qu'ils avaient bien le choix: ils peuvent à tout moment démissionner et poser leurs armes. Difficile de savoir ce qui se passait dans la tête de ces jeunes soldats face à ces jeunes femmes éloquentes. En fait ils n'ont pas répondu; et tout le temps ils essayaient de détourner la tête et de ne pas les regarder dans les yeux. Ce sont leurs consignes: il leur est interdit de commencer un dialogue avec les manifestants. Il ne faut surtout pas personnaliser et humaniser l'autre afin de ne pas développer des sentiments qui leur empêcheraient d'agir contre ces manifestants. Ceux-ci doivent rester des cibles et des terroristes en puissance, non des personnes qui demandent simplement à se faire entendre et au respect de leurs droits. En tout cas, les soldats semblaient être très gênés. Il est surement plus facile de voir les manifestants de loin et de leur tirer dessus que de près.

Pendant ce temps; le camion qui répand le liquide chimique et des jeeps envahissaient le village. Un jeune du village a pris une balle en caoutchouc dans la tête et a été conduit à l’hôpital. Des maisons ont été aspergées par le liquide puant. L'armée israélienne est partie au bout d'un moment, sous des volées de pierres qui lui rappelle qu'elle reste un envahisseur qui n'est pas le bienvenue en Palestine.

video by: Israel Putermam

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Human area! ", Qalqiliya checkpoint; 5 to 7 am, 22.11.2011 Palestinian workers cross checkpoint / de 5h à 7 heures du matin-

(c) Anne Paq/, Qalqiliya, West Bank, 22.11.2011.

Thousands of Palestinian workers go through Eyal checkpoint; located north of Qalqiliya to reach their workplace in Israel. They have to go through different security checks; some very humiliating. The crossing can take between 30mn to 2 hours. Palestinians start to be at the checkpoint from 3am onwards. Average transportation cost would be around 70 Nis a day, thats about one third on what they will make in the day. It's cold at 4 in the morning. Palestinians try to warm up as they can- coffee, tea or gathering around a fire. There is a kind of waiting area before the checkpoint that is quite lively. Under the neon lights, several stalls line up offering falafel and other sandwiches. A mosque has been improvised between a falafel and a coffee shop . Some Palestinians hang out there and talk a little while others rush to the checkpoint. They must first follow a corridor, with as a depressing backdrop the concrete Wall and an Israeli military tower which dominates coldly the crowed. It's a steady stream of silhouettes swallowed by the night and the system of occupation that I photograph. This is the daily humiliation that we do not talk enough about, the one that slowly but surely eat the souls. I cannot get into the checkpoint, I can only accompany them to the first door with a turnstile and a sign " defense to photograph", but the military tower has not even barked at me yet so I continue to photograph. Photographing the humiliation is not an easy task. I have to repeat myself all the tim that it is important- to document in order to expose, challenge and fight the oppression and injustice. I will be able to answer to people who tell me that the Palestinians have nothing to complain about as they have shopping mall and restaurants. Most of these people, after just going one time through a checkpoint like Eyal that some Palestinians have to cross everyday day would go mental and come out with rage, and rightly with the impression of having being treated like cattle.

After two hours, the military tower finally wakes up and barks at me, of course in Hebrew: "This is a military zone, it is forbidden to take pictures!" Unfortunately I have no megaphone to respond: "This is an human area! it is strictly forbidden to treat humans like animals!"


Des milliers de travailleurs palestiniens passent par le checkpoint "Eyal", situé au nord de Qalqiliya pour atteindre leur lieu de travail en Israël. Ils doivent passer par différents contrôles de sécurité, certains très humiliants, comme les fouilles corporelles. La traversée peut prendre entre 30mn et 2 heures. Les Palestiniens commencent à être au checkpoint à partir de trois heures. La moyenne des coûts de transport est autour de 70 Nis par jour, c'est à peu près un tiers de ce qu'ils gagneront dans la journée.

Il fait froid à 4 heures du mat. Les Palestiniens se réchauffent comme ils peuvent à coup de cafés, de thés ou en se rassemblant autour d'un feu. Le hall est assez animé. Sous les néons, plusieurs échoppes s'alignent proposant falafel et autre sandwich. Une mosquée s'est improvisé sous la tôle. Des Palestiniens trainent un peu là et discutent tandis que d'autre se pressent vers le checkpoint. Ils doivent d'abord suivre un couloir, avec un toile de fond assez déprimant le Mur, ici en béton et une tour militaire qui les domine froidement. C'est un flot ininterrompu de silhouettes avalées par la nuit et le système d'occupation que je photographie. C'est l'humiliation quotidienne dont on ne parle pas assez, celle qui vous ronge les âmes.

Je ne peux pas rentrer dans le checkpoint; je ne peux que les accompagner à la première porte grillagée avec un tourniquet et un panneau "défense de photographier", mais la tour militaire ne m'a pas encore aboyer dessus alors je continue de photographier. Photographier l'humiliation n'est pas une chose facile. Je dois me redire sans cesse et me convaincre que c'est important- de documenter pour mieux dénoncer, interpeler et combattre l'oppression et l'injustice. Je peux répondre à des personnes qui m'expliqueront que non les Palestiniens ne sont pas à plaindre car ils ont des shoppings mall et des restaurants. La plupart de ces personnes, après un seul passage par un des checkpoints comme celui de Eyal; qu'empruntent quotidiennement les Palestiniens, en sortiraient avec une révolte et une rage, et l'impression d'avoir été traité comme du bétail.

Après deux heures, la tour militaire s'est réveillée et m'a aboyée dessus, en hébreu évidemment: "ceci est une zone militaire, il est interdit de prendre des photos!"
Je n'ai malheureusement pas de mégaphone pour répondre: "Ceci est une zone humaine- il est interdit de traiter les humains comme des animaux!".

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tough questions on the Freeedom Rides

Are the Freedom Rides a detour for the struggle?
Linah Alsaafin
The Electronic Intifada
23 November 2011

Last week, six courageous Palestinians attempted to defy racism, segregation and apartheid by boarding Jewish settler-only buses in the hopes of reaching Jerusalem, a city off limits to Palestinians in the West Bank.

Activists and bloggers, intellectuals and independent journalists all supported the Palestinian Freedom Riders for their US civil rights movement-inspired act. Emotions ran high as it was clearly emphasized that racial supremacy still exists in this day and age, and highlighted were the harrowing parallels between oppression in the Jim Crow US South and in Palestine.

But crucial differences remain — for one thing, the indigenous population of Palestine is occupied by a colonial settler population; for another, there are two separate and completely different systems for Palestinians and Israelis, such as military and civilian courts, respectively, rather than a two-tiered system.

However, the symbolic, media-friendly act — and its debatable relevance to the average Palestinian — begs some important questions.

There is no doubt that what the six Freedom Riders set out to achieve was of significance. They challenged Israel’s arbitrary regime of exclusive settler-only networks that serve the illegal settlements throughout the West Bank; they highlighted the human rights abusing complicity of two companies, Veolia and Egged, which operate dozens of the segregated bus lines; and they fought for an essential basic right: freedom of movement. Apartheid is very much alive in occupied Palestine. It is our reality that we breathe through our congested lungs every minute of our waking lives.

Anti-colonial vs civil rights struggle

The Freedom Rides were intended as an anti-colonial act mirroring a previous and successful civil rights one. But our struggle is not a civil rights one. It is a struggle against a foreign occupation. We must be calling for the liberation of an indigenous population under a devastating settler-colonial rule, one that has continued to ethnically cleanse, commit large scale massacres, impose collective punishment, imprison and restrict the movement of Palestinians for decades.

The intentions of the Freedom Rides were transparent and clear, as stated by the second press release in which they stated that they do not seek to desegregate the settler buses, as the “presence of these colonizers and the infrastructure that serves them is illegal and must be dismantled” (“Palestinian Freedom Riders to ride settler buses to Jerusalem,” 13 November 2011).

But by using a tactic specific to the US civil rights movement, one risks the interpretation that Palestinians are asking for the same rights as settlers.

As one young activist critical of the Freedom Rides commented to me: “Do you obstruct settlements by demanding to get on a bus? What you are demanding when you attempt to ride a bus is the right to ride it, not the right to say I don’t want this bus here to start with. You don’t ask to ride the bus if you don’t want the bus in your neighborhood.”

She added, “There is an illegal railway in Jerusalem constructed on [illegally-occupied] territory that endangers children as [trains] pass by in residential areas … if I were to object to this train’s existence, do I make a protest and ask to ride on the train or do I sleep on the train tracks to stop it from coming to my area?”

Indeed, many Palestinians take issue with settlers factoring in a key role in the Freedom Rides event, saying that it blurs the lines of normalization of occupation and apartheid.

The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement defines normalization as “the participation in any project, initiative or activity, in Palestine or internationally, that aims (implicitly or explicitly) to bring together Palestinians (and/or Arabs) and Israelis (people or institutions) without placing as its goal resistance to and exposure of the Israeli occupation and all forms of discrimination and oppression against the Palestinian people” (“ Israel’s Exceptionalism: Normalizing the Abnormal,” the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Boycott of Israel, 31 October 2011).

Although the boycott call has been endorsed by nearly 200 Palestinian civil society organizations and political parties, the working definition of normalization of the boycott movement differs from many Palestinians’ personal definitions of normalization. Some view any association with settlers as normalization, others a bit more nuanced but still don’t like the idea, and still others consider it within the specific context in question. The reactions like that of the young activist I mentioned exemplify this concern.

Honor Palestinian resistance

The positive coverage in the Western corporate media shows that the Freedom Rides action appealed to foreign consumption. But it’s not up to Palestinian resistance to appease the tastes of Western audiences. We have our own lively and proud history of resistance stretching back to the days of British Mandate rule, exemplified by popular strikes, boycotts and demonstrations.

Moreover, tactics tailored to western tastes and reactions distract from mobilizing Palestinians on the ground into an effective popular resistance movement. The first Palestinian intifada was a true popular uprising in every sense. Palestinian society collectively organized strikes and rallied together. The level of cooperation was present in families hiding resistance fighters, and in mosques and private organizations hosting educational studies after the universities and schools were shut down.

Today, activism and popular resistance isn’t centralized but, rather, is scattered throughout particular villages and parts of cities. For an act that carries huge potential and holds meaningful implications by connecting the current reality of Palestinians to the history of other oppressed societies, there should have been more awareness on the Palestinian street of its occurrence.

The Freedom Rides event was very exclusive. This is in stark contrast to the recent Freedom Waves mini flotilla campaign, where activists were directly involved with producing, translating, revising and distributing fact sheets and press releases and statements for the UN and mobilizing people on the street and engaging with the media. It was a microcosm of popular resistance as activists from throughout historic Palestine all worked together efficiently to send the message of ending the blockade on Gaza and demanding protection for the passengers, and this message was directed not only at the West and foreign press but to Palestinians as well.

Any act of civil resistance should be inclusive of many sectors of Palestinians. The same efforts that the Freedom Riders took to coordinate with organizations in the US and elsewhere should have also happened in Palestine.

And while the history of other oppressed peoples unquestionably offers its lessons to us as an occupied population, we should be well aware of our own unique history of resistance, and the need for our movement to encompass all sectors of Palestinian society and the historic demands of our anti-colonial struggle.

Linah Alsaafin is a recent graduate of Birzeit University in the West Bank. She was born in Cardiff, Wales and was raised in England, the United States and Palestine. Her website is

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Settlers' tour in Old City of hebron / Tour des colons dans la vieille ville d'Hebron, 19.11.2011

(c) Anne Paq/, Hebron, West Bank, 19.11.2011

Activists Document Settler March in Hebron, Seven Arrested Print E-mail
20.11.11 - 00:51


In the southern West Bank city of Hebron, seven activists from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) were arrested documenting a citywide march by hundreds of Israeli settlers who inhabit the small, illegal settlement inside the old city.

The names of the arrested were not yet released, but five were arrested and released in the morning and two in the afternoon. The five initially arrested activists were banned from the city of Hebron for two weeks, according to sources reporting to PNN.

The settlers of Hebron, who number about 600 in a city of nearly 200,000 Palestinians, were guarded by Israeli army and police units as they chanted songs and held banners. They did not confine their march to the old city, but toured several neighborhoods around the area in smaller armed groups.

At least one settler child spat on a Palestinian, according to a PNN reporter, and items in a Hebron shop were damaged. The Ibrahimi Mosque, the burial site of the biblical patriarch Abraham which is also holy to Jews and known in Jewish tradition as the Cave of the Patriarchs, was closed to Palestinians.

Marches by the Hebron settler community, which is held to be among the most radical of those in the West Bank, are not uncommon occurrences. The last instance, however, was over a month ago.


Ce samedi 19.11.2011, des centaines de colons ont effectué un tour dans la vieille ville de Hebron, sous haute protection de l'armée et de la police israélienne. ils se sont deplacés par groupe, leur tour a donc duré toute l'après midi. L'accès à la mosquée d'Ibrahim était pendant tout ce temps interdit pour les Palestiniens. Les colons, dont certains étaient armés, ont défilé en chantant des chants nationalistes à la gloire d'Israël. Des produits d'un magasin ont été cassés. Des enfants colons ont aussi craché sur des jeunes Palestiniens. Un colon est rentré dans une maison palestinienne.

Quelques jeunes Palestiniens qui étaient courageusement restés dans la rue ont répondu aux chants des colons par des chants palestiniens, et ont disposé une banderole de drapeaux palestiniens qui traversait la rue, de telle façon que les colons étaient obligés de passer dessus. les policiers israéliens ont harcelé les internationaux présents. 7 membres de l'International Solidarity movement (ISM) ont été arrêtés pendant la journée, alors qu'ils ne faisaient que prendre des photos.

les colons de Hebron, connus pour être parmi les plus extrémistes, étaient accompagnés de colons venus de toute la Cisjordanie pour célébrer une fête juive.

Friday, November 18, 2011

VIDEO Villagers from Al-Walaja walk on settlers road / Les habitants de Al Walaja marchent sur la route des colons; 18.11.2011

Just days after Freedomrides, Al Walaja villagers protest building the Wall, dispossession and apartheid by marching on road for settlers.

Juste quelques jours après l'action Freedom rides; les habitants de Al Walaja ont protester contre la construction du Mur; la dépossession et l'apartheid en marchant sur la route construite pour les colons.

Villagers from Al-Walaja walk on settlers road / Les habitants de Al Walaja marchent sur la route des colons; 18.11.2011

(c) Anne Paq/, 18.11.2011.

Despite the rain, protesters in Al-Walaja walked down towards the route of the Wall which is going to surround totally he village and will dispossess the inhabitants for many lands, as part of a demonstration against the building of the Wall, on 18.11.2011. The protest took totally the Israeli army by surprise so the protesters could walk all the way to the bypass road used by settlers, a road that was also built on the lands of the village. The Israeli army tried to prevent the march to continue by pushing some Palestinians but failed. The villagers walked all the way back to the entrance of the village, making victory signs to the settlers passing by with their cars and chanting slogans. By reclaiming the right to walk on lands which remain theirs but have now become out of reach, the villagers of Al-Walaja proved that they will not accept the continuation of dispossession and land grab; under the pretext of "security".


Malgré la pluie, les manifestants à Al-Walaja sont descendus jusqu'au tracé du Mur qui va entourer totalement le village et déposséder les habitants de nombreuses terres, lors d'une manifestation contre la construction du Mur, le 18/11/2011 . La manifestation a totalement pris l'armée israélienne par surprise et les manifestants ont pu marcher jusqu'à la route de contournement utilisée par les colons, une route qui a également été construite sur les terres du village.

L'armée israélienne a tenté d'empêcher la marche de continuer en poussant des Palestiniens, mais a échoué. Les villageois ont continué résolument leur marche jusqu'à l'entrée du village, faisant des signes de victoire aux colons qui passaient en voiture et en scandant des slogans.

En exigeant leur droit de marcher sur les terres qui restent les leurs, mais sont devenues inaccessibles, les villageois de Al-Walaja ont prouvé qu'ils n'accepteront pas la poursuite de leur dépossession et l'accaparement de leur terres; sous la pretexte de "sécurité".

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

VIDEO message from a freedom rider being arrested / VIDEO un message d'un freedom rider lors de son arrestation, 15.11.2011

Make the connection

Palestinians embark on series of civil disobedience protests against 'demographic segregation'
'We have the right to reach Jerusalem. Why doesn't a settler need an entry permit? We do not obey apartheid rules. We're Palestinian, and this is Palestine,' protesters insisted.
By Amira Hass Tags: Palestinians IDF Jerusalem

Quite a large number of people awaited the no. 148 Egged bus that stopped in Kokhav Ya'akov junction on Tuesday afternoon. One could immediately recognize that these weren't the regular passengers from the neighboring settlements.

"You can't believe what's going on here," whispered one religious man into his cellular phone, "it's unbelievable." The man was obviously referring to the mob of journalists - with their multi-sized cameras, microphones and notepads - surrounding five men and a woman who were waiting at the station.

These were six Palestinians who decided to ride to Jerusalem on an Egged bus, that usually carries mostly settlers, without the required permits, and through the Hizmeh checkpoint, which is altogether off-limits for West Bank Palestinians.

This was the first in a series of civil disobedience actions planned to protest what the organizers call "demographic segregation," which forbids Palestinians from reaching East Jerusalem, while allowing a two-tier transportation system in the West Bank: one for Israelis and one for Palestinians. The protestors were inspired by the American Civil Rights Movement's Freedom Riders, who boarded buses fifty years ago to protest segregation in the southern states.

"We're part of the common human history of struggling for freedom," said Basel al-Araj, a pharmacist from al-Wallaja. He was arrested six times during the demonstrations against the separation barrier which disconnects his village from its lands and neighboring Palestinian towns.

It seems that the security forces had no prior information about the event. A military jeep showed up after 20 minutes, before the Border Control, police and what seemed to be a settlement security vehicle arrived.

The Palestinian Freedom Riders assumed that the settlers would be violent. Badee' Dwak, a social worker from Hebron, was the first to express his bewilderment, claiming that "the settlers here [near Ramallah] are quiet, not like ours in Hebron."

Of the six, only Fadi Qurun - one of the Palestinian March 15th movement leaders - had never been arrested, except for a detention of several hours after a Nabi Saleh demonstration. "Being arrested is an integral part of our existence as Palestinians under Israeli occupation," they said as they boarded the bus followed by an army of reporters, "We're not special."

The 15-minute ride until the Hizmeh checkpoint passed quietly. After they revealed a flag and some placards, one of the passengers swore at them. Dwak retorted, "You're religious, you should be ashamed of yourself."

A foreign reporter asked a passenger from Ofra for his opinion. He answered that Arabs could ride anywhere in the country, but Jews can't drive to Ramallah. Other journalists explained to her that the speaker was Hagai Segal, who was part of the infamous Jewish Underground in the eighties.

At Hizmeh checkpoint policemen demanded that two of the riders get off the bus, but they refused. The next effort came after the settlers descended, in a parking lot. Policeman dragged Dwak to the steps of the bus, but then left without him. Police officers, of different ranks came and went. Some of them threatened the six, and others pleaded with them.

Huwaida Arraf, a lawyer and one of the six Freedom Riders on the bus, offered the officers the "honorary passport" she received from the Palestinians for taking part in the Gaza flotilla last year. They didn't know they were arresting an Israeli and U.S. citizen.

Up until they were arrested and dragged away, the the Freedom Riders insisted: "We have the right to reach Jerusalem. Why doesn't a settler need an entry permit? We do not obey apartheid rules. We're Palestinian, and this is Palestine."

Palestine freedom rides- Defying Apartheid and occupation- / Les Freedom riders qui ont défié le régime d'apartheid ont été arrêtés, 15.11.2011

(c) Anne Paq/, 15.11.2011

UPDATE: All are getting released !

7 arrested after boarding Israeli bus
Published today (updated) 15/11/2011 18:05

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Palestinian activists boarded Israeli settler buses Tuesday in an action inspired by the American civil rights movement which resulted in several arrests.

The activists headed toward the Kohav Yakov and Psagot settlement bus stops and boarded a bus for Jerusalem. Israeli forces stopped the bus on the Hizma checkpoint and prevented it from entering Jerusalem.

Settlers left the bus while it was searched and the activists were removed and arrested. As many as seven were reported to have been arrested by late Tuesday.

The detainees were identified by organizers as Nadeem al-Sharbate, Badee Dwak, Huwaida Arraf, Basel al-Araj, Fadi Quran, Mazin Qumsiyeh, and Fajr Harb.

"We launch this campaign in the belief that we will not achieve freedom, justice, and self-determination unless we make the Israeli occupation pay, economically and politically, for its daily violations of our rights and dignity," a campaign statement said.

The campaign aims to "deepen the people's involvement in the popular resistance, in tandem with the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel."

The activists said they would continue to defy Israeli forces by boarding Egged and Veolia buses, which are used by settlers, in an action inspired by the US civil rights movement.

They will continue to "express our firm opposition to the illegitimate colonial entity on Palestinian land, all apartheid practices, human rights violations, land confiscation, the wall, and the refusal to let refugee return to their homeland."


6 activistes Palestiniens ont été aujourd'hui arrêtés pour avoir participé à une action visant à denoncer le régime d'apartheid dont ils sont les victimes, y compris l'absence de liberté de circulation entre la Cisjordanie et Jérusalem : ils sont montés dans un bus destiné aux colons israéliens, une action inspirée par le mouvements pour les droits civils aux Etats-Unis.
Le bus a été arrêté à un des checkpoints à une des entrées de jérusalem et les activistes ont été violemment trainés en dehors du bus et ont été emmenés dans une prison israélienne. Un des Palestiniens a répondu à une officier de police qui lui demandait son autorisation d'entrée à jérusalem lui a retorqué qu'il n'avait pas demandé une telle permission aux colons, et qu'en tant que Palestinien il devrait avoir le droit de se rendre à Jérusalem.

Au nom de leur conviction, ils risquent de payer un prix fort. L'action, très courageuse, car ils risquaient aussi d'être attaqués par les colons dans le bus; a suscité l'attention des médias et des activistes à l'international, des actions en soutien des freedom riders ont eu lieu dans différents pays. Maintenant il est à espérer qu'une mobilisation importante permette leur libération rapide.

Mise à jour: ils sont en train d'être libérés.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Representative of the French Consulate in Gaza hurt in Israeli Attack / Le Responsable de l’antenne consulaire française à Gaza blessé à Gaza

The French Consul and his Family in Gaza were Wounded in an Israeli Attack on a Palestinian Navy Site in the Northern Gaza Strip PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 November 2011 18:45

Ref: 113/2011

On Monday, 14 November 2011, the French Consul in the Gaza Strip, Majdi Jameel Yaseen Shaqqoura, 44, and his two children were wounded in an Israeli attack on the Palestinian Navy site in the southwest of Beit Lahia, located in northern Gaza. They were in their home when they were injured by shrapnel. Additionally, as a result of the same attack the consul's wife suffered from hemorrhage that led to a miscarriage.

According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) Majdi Shaqqoura was in his home, located behind al-Nawras Resort in al-Soudaniya area, southwest of Beit Lahia, at the time of the attack. Shaqqoura was watching TV in the house’s sitting room which is surrounded by large windows, together with his relative and three children: Arwa, 9, Rawan, 13, and Mohammed, 8. At 2:00 in the morning they suddenly heard an explosion that rocked the house. In his testimony to PCHR, Shaqqoura said that windows of the sitting room broke in the blast. Him and his relative rushed to protect the children. Then a second explosion took place which broke all the windows, and resulted in shrapnel injuries to Shaqqoura’s leg and Rawan’s hand and back. Shaqqoura added that, at the same time, his wife Majda Shaqqoura, 42, and her brother were on their way to the home in her car. They were 150 meters away from the bombardment site. As a result, Majda suffered from a hemorrhage injury. Her brother transported her to al-Awda Hospital, where she miscarried, being in the second month of her pregnancy.

At approximately 01:55 on Monday, 14 November 2011, the Israeli warplanes launched four missiles at a Palestinian Navy site located at the beach, in front of al-Nawras Resort, in the al-Soudaniya area. This area is located in the southwest of Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip. The attack resulted in the killing of first sergeant Mohammed Zaher Zaki al-Kilani, 22, from Beit Lahia, whose body was torn into pieces. The Civil Defense found al-Kilani's body buried under the rubble after approximately one hour of searching for him. Five other members were wounded, one of whom sustained serious wounds. The attack resulted in the full destruction of the Navy's site, which is has an approximate surface of 2,000 square meters. The building consists of an operation office, bedroom, place for prayer, administration office, office of the site's chief, and five additional offices for meetings and detention. Besides, a blue Magnum jeep and a motorbike were destroyed.

Additionally, two other civilians were wounded by glass shrapnel throughout their bodies and were transported to the hospital for treatment.

PCHR reiterates its condemnation of these crimes, and:

1. Stresses that these crimes form part of systematic violations perpetrated in the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly the Gaza Strip, which reflects Israeli forces’ disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians;

2. Warns of further escalation in hostilities, which may result in the targeting of civilians and their property, in light of statements made by Israeli politicians and military leaders; and

3. Calls upon the international community to immediately take an action to stop such crimes and reiterates its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1 which stipulates "the High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances," and their obligations under Article 146 which requires that the Contracting Parties prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and under Protocol I Additional to Geneva Conventions.


D'après un rapport du Centre Palestinien pour les droits de l'homme, le "Responsable de l’antenne consulaire" à Gaza et sa famille ont été blesssés lors d'un bombardement israélien le lundi 14 november au nord de la bande de Gaza. Ils auraient été blessés par des éclats d'obus et sa femme aurait eu une fausse couche à la suite de l'attaque..

Un responsable du Consulat français est blessé dans un bombardement israélien..;et SILENCE DANS LES MEDIAS FRANCAIS. POURQUOI?

Voila la depeche de l'AFP:

Le chef d'antenne consulaire français à Gaza blessé lors d'un raid israélien

GAZA (Territoires palestiniens), 14 nov 2011 (AFP) - Le chef d'antenne consulaire français à Gaza, Majdi Shakoura, a été légèrement blessé, ainsi que son épouse et une de ses filles, lors d'un raid aérien israélien dans la nuit de dimanche à lundi, a-t-il indiqué à l'AFP.

M. Shakoura, 44 ans, de nationalité franco-palestinienne, a indiqué que sa femme avait fait une fausse couche à la suite de la frappe israélienne qui a endommagé son domicile, soufflant notamment les vitres de la maison.

"Ma femme, enceinte de deux mois, a perdu son bébé", a-t-il dit.

Le diplomate franco-palestinien a été blessé à la jambe gauche par des éclats de vitre.

Sa femme Majida, 42 ans, et une de ses filles, âgée de 13 ans, ont également été touchées par du verre brisé, a-t-il précisé.

Dans la nuit de dimanche à lundi, l'aviation israélienne a détruit, à l'ouest de la ville de Gaza, un poste de la police navale du mouvement palestinien Hamas, situé à proximité de la maison du diplomate.

Un policier palestinien a été tué dans cette frappe survenue après le tir d'une roquette de Gaza dimanche soir contre le sud d'Israël qui n'a fait ni victime, ni dégât.

Six autres Palestiniens ont été blessés, dont deux policiers, selon Adham Abou Selmiya, le porte-parole des services d'urgence dans la bande de Gaza.



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Villagers attacked when resisting building of the Wall / Les habitants de from Al Walaja attaqués pour leur action de résistance, Al Walaja, 13.11.

(c) Anne Paq/

Today in Al-Walaja, the inhabitants together with internationals attempted to prevent the use of explosives by the Israeli Occupying forces for enlarging the route of the Wall. When I arrived at the scene, one injured Palestinian was already carried away to an ambulance. He was beaten by Israeli soldiers when arguing against the use of explosives in the village close to houses. More Palestinians were on the route of the Wall, arguing with the Israeli soldiers and requesting them to show a written order to carry out the explosion. The last few weeks some explosions already took place, causing damages to nearby houses and terrorizing children.

During the verbal exchanges, one thing which was really disgusting was the attitude of the Israeli private contractors who were all the time either laughing or insulting the Palestinians who did not keep quiet and answered back at them. One soldier declared that this was "Israel" obviously ignoring basics of geography or international law.

As the Palestinians were resolute in staying at the site, the Israeli soldiers arrested one Palestinian, Mahmoud, who was refusing to back off.
Soon more people from the village, media and internationals arrived at the scene. The wife of Mahmoud refused to move until her husband would be released. After some time, Mahmoud was brought back. Some people still argued with the Israeli soldiers and refused to back off.

The Israeli soldiers began to lose their patience and violently attacked the people, used pepper spray in the face of several activists, including Shereen al-Araj, one the main community organizer and activist from the village, and pushed people further back. In the commotion, Mustapha Odeh fell from the route of wall into an olive grove terrace when the Israeli soldiers tried to grab him. he was then pepper sprayed and is still in detention. Shortly after the Israeli soldiers arrested Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Palestinian-American professor and activist who was filming the demonstration.
One Palestinian woman fainted and had to be carried away. The Israeli soldiers continued to push people until the site was clear for the explosion.

Despite this fierce spontaneous action of resistance by the villagers who managed to postpone the explosion for three hours by refusing to leave the site, the explosion took place, and altered the landscape of Al Walaja forever.
This is all happening when there is still a pending case at the Court.
One Israeli soldier declared that would be the last explosion; but- even if it is true- the building of the Wall will continue in Al Walaja which will be soon totally surrounded, and being turned into an open-air prison.

Below see call for action for Mazen:

UPDATE: Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh was released, Mustapha is still arrested.


Aujourd'hui à Al-Walaja, les habitants avec les internationaux ont tenté d'empêcher l'utilisation d'explosifs pour l'élargissement du tracé du Mur par les forces d'occupation israéliennes . Quand je suis arrivée sur les lieux, un blessé palestinien était déjà emporté vers une ambulance. Il a été battu par des soldats israéliens lorsqu'il essayait de protester contre l'utilisation d'explosifs dans le village près des maisons. D'autres Palestiniens étaient toujours présent sur le tracé du Mur, à discuter avec les soldats israéliens et en leur réclamant de montrer un ordre écrit d'autorisation pour utiliser des explosions. Ces dernières semaines, quelques explosions ont déjà eu lieu, causant des dommages aux maisons et terrorisant les enfants.

Pendant les echanges verbaux, une des choses les plus révoltantes était l'attitude des employés de la companie privée israélienne qui travaille sur le site et qui n'arrêtaient pas de se moquer ou d'insulter les Palestiniens qui heureusement ont de la répartie et ne se sont pas laissés faire. Un soldat a déclaré que cela était "Israël" manifestement ignorant rudiments de géographie ou de droit international.

Constatant que les Palestiniens étaient déterminés à rester, les soldats israéliens ont arrêté un Palestinien, Mahmoud, qui avait refusé de partir.
Mais au grand désarroi des soldats, davantage de personnes du village, ainsi des médias et des internationaux sont arrivés sur les lieux. L'épouse de Mahmoud est arrivée et a crié qu'elle refusait de partir tant que son mari n'était pas libéré. Après quelque temps, Mahmoud a été ramené. Mais la plupart des personnes présentes ont refusé de partir. Les soldats israéliens ont alors attaqué violemment le groupe, en les attaquant notamment avec spray poivré dans le visage de plusieurs activistes, y compris Shereen al-Araj , l'une des principales activiste du village, membre du conseil local et du comité de résistance contre le Mur, et en les poussant violemment. Dans l'agitation, alors que les soldats tentaient de l'arrêter, Mustapha Odeh est tombé en contrebas de la route du Mur. Il a ensuite été aspergé de spray poivré et il est à cette heure toujours en détention et n'a pas reçu de soins medicaux malgré sa chute.
Peu après l'arrestation de Mustapha, les soldats israéliens ont arrêté Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, un professeur américano-palestinien et activiste qui filmait la manifestation. Une femme palestinienne s'est évanouie et a dû être emportée à l'hopital. Les soldats israéliens ont continué à pousser les gens jusqu'à ce que le site soit dégagé pour l'explosion.

Malgré cette action spontanée de résistance acharnée par les villageois qui ont réussi à retarder l'explosion pendant plus de trois heures en refusant de quitter le site, l'explosion a eu lieu, et a modifié le paysage de Al Walaja pour toujours et pour le pire.
Tout cela se passe alors que le cas à la Cour israélienne est toujours en cours.
Un soldat israélien a déclaré que ce serait la dernière explosion, mais, même si c'est vrai, la construction du Mur va continuer à Al Walaja, qui sera bientôt complètement entouré, et transformé en une prison à ciel ouvert.

MISE A JOUR: Mazen a été relaché mais Mustapha est toujours emprisonné

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Palestine freedom rides- UPDATED PRESS RELEASE

Media Advisory

Monday, 7 November 2011

Palestinian Freedom Riders to Ride Settler Buses to Jerusalem
Sunday, November 13, 2011
For Immediate Release

Palestinian Freedom Riders to Ride Settler Buses to Jerusalem
Inspired by the Freedom Rides of the US Civil Rights Movement Palestinian activists will attempt to board segregated Israeli settler buses to occupied East Jerusalem

[Ramallah] Groups of Palestinian Freedom Riders will attempt to board segregated settler buses heading to Jerusalem through the occupied West Bank this Tuesday November 15, in an act of civil disobedience that takes its inspiration from the US Civil Rights Movement Freedom Riders aim to challenge Israel’s apartheid policies, the ban on Palestinians’ access to Jerusalem, and the overall segregated reality created by a military and settler occupation that is the cornerstone of Israel’s colonial regime. While parallels exist between occupied Palestine and the segregated U.S. South in terms of the underlying racism and the humiliating treatment suffered then by blacks and now by Palestinians, there are also significant differences. In the 1960s U.S. South, black people had to sit in the back of the bus; in occupied Palestine, Palestinians are not even allowed ON the bus nor on the roads that the buses travel on, which are built on stolen Palestinian land.
In undertaking this action Palestinians do not seek the desegregation of settler buses, as the presence of these colonizers and the infrastructure that serves them is illegal and must be dismantled. As part of their struggle for freedom, justice and dignity, Palestinians demand the ability to be able to travel freely on their own roads, on their own land, including the right to travel to Jerusalem.
Palestinian activists also aim to expose two of the companies that profit from Israel’s apartheid policies and encourage global boycott of and divestment from them. The Israeli Egged and French Veolia bus companies operate dozens of segregated lines that run through the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, many of them subsidized by the state. Both companies are also involved in the Jerusalem Light Rail, a train project that links illegal settlements in East Jerusalem to the western part of the city. By facilitating population transfer into occupied Palestinian territory, Egged and Veolia are actively and knowingly complicit in Israel’s settlement enterprise, which the International Court of Justice has determined to be a breach of international law, and particularly Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibiting an occupying power from transferring part of its population into occupied territory.

This Tuesday, Palestinian Freedom Riders will head to Jewish-only bus stops in the West Bank and attempt to board the settler buses. Palestinians understand that this act of nonviolent disobedience may result in violent attacks and even death at the hands of Israeli settlers that are to Israel what the Klu Klux Klan was to the Jim Crow South, or the authorities that protect them. Nonetheless, the Freedom Riders believe that this act of civil resistance is necessary to draw the attention of the world to the immorality of Israel’s occupation and apartheid system as well as to compel justice-loving people to take a stand and divest from Egged, Veolia, and all companies that enable and profit from it.

The Freedom Riders will be joined by activists from all around the world who will stage activities in their cities that highlight the systematic oppression of Palestinians and the need to divest from Egged and Veolia.

For inquiries send an email to

The buses that the Freedom Riders will be boarding are operated by the Egged, the largest Israeli public transportation company, and by the French transnational company Veolia. Both companies are complicit in Israel’s violations of international law due to their involvement in and profiting from Israeli's illegal settlement infrastructure. Palestinian Freedom Riders endorse the call for boycotting both companies, as well as all others involved in Israel’s violations of human rights and international law.[1]

In July 2011, an Egged subsidiary won a public tender to run bus services in the Waterland region of the Netherlands, north of Amsterdam. The company makes money from trampling on the rights of Palestinians and has been a target of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, which is endorsed by an overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society. The Freedom Riders call on the people of the Netherlands to sever all dealings with companies, like Egged, involved in human rights violations.

Veolia, has been a target of an international divestment campaign or running bus lines through the West Bank connecting settlements to Jerusalem and for its involvement in the Jerusalem Light Rail which connects Israel’s illegal settlements in and around occupied East Jerusalem to the western part of the city, thereby directly servicing the settlement enterprise.[2]

Over 42 percent of Palestinian land in the West Bank has been taken over for the building of Jewish settlements and their associated regime[3] (including the wall which was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004), depriving local communities of access to their water resources as well as agricultural lands. Settling Israelis in the occupied Palestinian territory constitutes a war crime according to the Fourth Geneva Convention[4] and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.[5]

The occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip constitute only 22 percent of the Palestinian homeland from which over 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed in 1948 when the state of Israel was created. Since then, Palestinian refugees have been languishing in refugee camps and other places of exile, denied the right to return to their homes.

Settlements' infrastructure includes hundreds of kilometers of segregated roads that are forbidden for Palestinians to use. They carve deep into the West Bank further separating Palestinians and their cities and villages from each other.

[1] Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS, available at:
[3] B’tselem Report: “By Hook and By Crook, Israeli Settlement Policy in the West Bank, July 2010; summary available at:
[4] See “Israel’s settlement policy is a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention,” The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Gaza, highlighting the relevant articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention to support the determination that settlements are a war crime, at; see also “Demolitions, new settlements in East Jerusalem could amount to war crimes – UN expert,” UN News Centre, June 29, 2010, at
[5] Article 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court prohibits “[t]he transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

Facebook: Friends, please like and follow this page for updates from the Palestinian Freedom Rides campaign:

Twitter: @palfreedomrides


Les "Freedom rides" (voyage de la liberté en anglais), lors du mouvement pour les droits civiques aux Etats-Unis contre contre la ségrégation raciale envers les membres de la communauté afro-américaine, ont utilisé des bus inter-états afin de tester l'arrêt de la Cour suprême Boynton v. Virginia qui rendait illégale la ségrégation dans les transports. Lors du premier Freedom Ride, qui partit de Washington DC en mai 1961 pour La Nouvelle-Orléans le 17, les militants furent arrêtés dans les États du Sud sous prétexte de violer les lois locales.

Aujorud'hui inspirés par les freedom riders; des Palestiniens vont tenter d'empruntés les bus reservés aux colons israéliens en Cisjordanie en direction de Jérusalem, ce mardi 15 Novembre. L'action veut mettre en lumière le système d'apartheid qui règne dans les territoires occupés palestiniens où 500.000 colons sont soumis à des lois différentes, mais aussi réclamer la liberté de circulation pour les Palestiniens et notamment d'avoir accès à Jérusalem.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Human rights activists kidnapped by Israeli army / Des defenseurs des droits de l'homme kidnappés par l"armée israeliénne, 05.11.2011

(c) Anne Paq/; ramallah, 04.11.2011
Demonstration in support of the freedom waves flotilla to Gaza, Ramallah, West Bank, 04.11.2011 / Manifestation en soutien à la flotille freedom waves visant à briser le siège de la bande de Gaza; Ramallah, 04.11.2011.

See below an account by one of the activists who was released after having been abducted by the Israeli army at sea.

Captured in international waters en route to Gaza: An eyewitness account
Lina Attalah
Author: Lina Attalah

Lina Attalah, Al-Masry Al-Youm English's managing editor, recently took part in the "Freedom Waves" flotilla carrying aid to Gaza. She was captured at sea by Israeli security forces on Friday along with the rest of the passengers, 27 activists and journalists from around the world. She returned to Egypt safely on Saturday. The two boats, one Irish and one Canadian, were an attempt to draw the world's attention to the Israeli blockade imposed on Gaza since 2007. This is her account.

Inside the Tahrir boat to Gaza Friday morning, as everyone sat opposite computer screens, updating the world about our trip, David Heap, one of the boat's organizers, made a grand entrance to our make-shift media center.

“50! We're 50 miles away from Gaza,” he screamed to applause.

The previous night, we were expecting Israeli intervention at any point. Israel has a record of attacking solidarity boats in international waters as far as 100 nautical miles off Gaza’s shore. But when we woke up to a sunny day and found that our communications system was working, we thought that arrival to Gaza was imminent. Activists on board spent the first half of the day decorating the boat with pro-Gaza flags, signs and artwork.

The enthusiasm, however, didn't eliminate our expectation of Israeli intervention. Activists were working on English and Hebrew signs reading “this is piracy” and “this is kidnapping,” in anticipation of a possible attack in international waters.

We were right to temper our optimism.Towards the early afternoon, we saw three Israeli warships in the horizon. We knew that the moment had come.

At that point, some activists and journalists on board started throwing equipment into the sea, fearing that the information stored on their technology could be used by our potential captors to implicate other activists who were not on the boat.

Soon after, the Israeli presence in the waters around us intensified. We counted at least 15 ships, four of which were warships, and the rest a mix of smaller boats and water cannons. From inside the smaller boats, dozens of Israeli soldiers pointed their machines guns at us. This is when our communications system was jammed and we lost contact with the world.

Our boat's captain started receiving radio messages from the Israeli navy, asking about the organizers and the destination of the trip. Ehab Lotayef, another organizer of the Tahrir boat to Gaza, communicated with the Israeli navy, telling them that our destination was Gaza and that any attempt to arrest us would be illegal. When the navy repeated over the radio, “Tahrir, what is your final destination?” Lotayef, who is a poet, responded, “the betterment of mankind.”

As Israeli naval vessels loomed around our boat, the Israelis made a proposition that they would send one person to inspect for weapons, and if he found nothing, they would let us pass. The proposition was met with skepticism among the activists, although some thought this could really be a way to get to Gaza. The Irish boat, which was sailing with us, staunchly refused the proposition.

As the Israeli ships closed in on us, we found the Irish boat heading into our direction and hitting our boat so aggressively that they damaged their entry point. We speculated that this could be a form of resistance to the forced Israeli boarding, but we couldn't communicate with them to find out.

At this point, the Israelis had withdrawn their proposition and sent radio messages to our boat, asking us to stop sailing because they would board the boat and take us to the Israeli port of Ashdod. When our boat refused to surrender, they aimed their canons at us, showering us with salty water. This came a few minutes after Heap had warned us, “get ready for a shower.” The radio warnings from the Israeli navy continued, asking the boat's members to remove the net surrounding the boat, which we had put in place as a form of protection.

The boat had become highly unstable and panic was in the air. But a beautiful rainbow in the sky caught our attention, and, in what was a surreal moment, we started capturing it with our cameras.

Then we were outmaneuvered. Israeli ships hit our boat and soldiers started boarding. Dozens of masked soldiers screamed “on your knees,” and “hands up.” One soldier filmed the whole process. At the same time, a group of soldiers invaded the boat’s lower level, where we had set up our media center.

After some initial checks, we also found ourselves below deck, where we were seated one next to the other. We learned that the boat was already being steered towards Ashdod. When one of the soldiers asked if we needed anything, Lotayef and Heap said “we need our boat back.” They were ignored.

We were then allowed to go one by one to collect our luggage from the ship’s hold. I found no computers or any other electronics left, and our luggage was dumped in piles, with soldiers lying on the floor in what became a mess. That same area had been our temporary home for the past four days as we worked, ate and slept there. The scene of a dismantled home was quite disturbing.

After two hours we reached Ashdod. Unfortunately, I couldn't see what became of the other passengers because I was called out first. We exchanged painful gazes at each other as I was taken out, wondering when and where next we would meet next.

On the way out of the boat, I was showered with flashes as Israeli soldiers took pictures. The place we were taken to at Ashdod is a featureless detention facility for “illegal migrants." I was strip-searched and had my flip cam, personal diary, USB stick, mobile phone and voice recorder confiscated. My computer and camera had already been taken by the soldiers on the boat. I tried to negotiate to get my things back - or at least to recuperate my personal diary, where I had compiled minute details of the trip - but failed. I did manage to keep two books they wanted to confiscate.

My thoughts, in the meantime, were with the boat's activists, who pledged to peacefully resist being taken out of the boat. They agreed that they would only leave the boat by being forcibly dragged. As I was searched, I heard Heap screaming inside the facility. “Ehab, can you hear me?,” “Majd, can you hear me?,” “Kit, can you hear me?,” “Karen, can you hear me?,” “Michael, can you hear me?” His calls echoed in the large detention facility, piercing through its noisy corridors. But I heard no responses from fellow activists.

I was brought somewhere else, where I was interrogated by police officers for 30 minutes and where my finger prints and photo were taken. During the interrogation, I was asked about my professional history, the different organizations I worked for and how I knew Freedom Waves, our flotilla to Gaza, and the activists involved. As I was facing the police officer, I saw the reflection of George Klontzas, the boat's captain, in the mirror. His legs were cloaked in metal chain.

“Are you aware that you were heading into a closed military zone?” the police officer asked. I said yes. When he asked why I did that, I told him I was covering an activists' quest to challenge the Gaza blockade. He smiled and let me go.

I was driven by two diplomats from the Egyptian Embassy to the Taba border crossing and crossed over to Egypt, quite smoothly and unharmed.


Right before setting sail, I was sitting with Heap in an office at the Fethiye port in Turkey, sending last minute emails. Amid frantic emailing, I overheard Heap calling his son on Skype and telling him, “I love you, you know that.” I was a little disconcerted. I hadn’t thought to do the same. I asked him, “Do you really think we need to call our folks and tell them we love them before we sail?” He told me, “We have to tell them we love them all the time.” At the time of writing this article, he and Lotayef were still detained in Israel.

One of the two books that escaped confiscation was Mediterranean Crossings by Iain Chambers. As the soldier removed my bookmark, I naively rushed to mark the page by folding it. “The Mediterranean becomes a site for an experiment to a different form of history,” read some of Chambers’ words on that page. Perhaps the line describes the act of appropriating international waters in a quest to change the status quo.
Lina Attalah

Publishing Date:
Sat, 05/11/2011 - 17:07

Piratage en Méditerranée : la marine israélienne attaque deux bateaux en route pour Gaza
samedi 5 novembre 2011 - D’après The Palestine Chronicle

Piratage d’un des navires, pourtant dans les eaux internationales...

Le Tahrir, un bateau avec un équipage composé de militants canadiens, était à environ 35 miles nautiques de la bande de Gaza, avaient fait savoir les militants vendredi après-midi. Le contact avec le bateau a été perdu peu après.

« Nous avons perdu le contact avec le Tahrir et le Saoirse (bateau irlandais) et nous craignons le pire », a déclaré l’organisateur Dylan Penner.

La marine israélienne a pris les bateaux à l’abordage « après toutes les tentatives pour les empêcher de briser le blocus aient échoué », a déclaré Avital Leibovitch, porte-parole de l’armée israélienne d’occupation.

Les bateaux et leurs équipages ont été déportés de force au port israélien d’Ashdod.

Huwaida Arraf, une porte-parole des militants, a déclaré dans un communiqué que « 27 civils dans deux petits bateaux, transportant uniquement des médicaments, ne représentaient aucune menace de sécurité pour l’Etat israélien, » et que la décision de les stopper était une poursuite de la politique israélienne de punition collective [de la population de la bande de Gaza], un crime contre l’humanité.

« En dépit de cette agression israélienne, nous continuerons à venir, vague après vague, par air, mer et terre, pour contester les politiques illégales d’Israël envers Gaza et toute la Palestine », dit-elle.

« Notre mouvement ne s’arrêtera pas et ne pourra être arrêté jusqu’à ce que la Palestine soit libre. »

Une carte en temps réel mise en ligne par le site Internet américain The Electronic Intifada a montré que les bateaux étaient encore dans les eaux internationales lorsque l’armée israélienne les a piratés vendredi après-midi.

Thursday, November 03, 2011


Photo by Anne Paq/; Demonstration against the buffer zone in beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip, 17.08.2010


Ce soir j'ai une nouvelle fois le coeur serré. Je voulais porter à votre attention les objets de mes inquiétudes et de mes révoltes de jour. Deux lieux: Gaza et Walaja, qui font face aux murs de l'indifférence et aux murs concrets qui les etouffent à petit feu.

Je reviens d'Al Walaja où une famille m'a appelé en catastrophe car l'armée israélienne venait de les prevenir d'une explosion imminente, juste à quelques dizaines de mètres de chez eux. L'armée israéelienne utilise des explosifs afn de construire le Mur autour de ce village situé entre Jérusalem et Béthléem. Le Mur n'est pas construit sur la Ligne verte mais sur les terres de ce village qui avait déjà perdu la plupart de ses terres en 1948 et 1967. Le Mur encerclera complement le village qui n'aura qu'une entrée et sortie gardée par les soldats israéliens: une prison, dans la plus grande prison de Cisjordanie. De 18,000 dunums la superficie de Al Walaja passera à 2000 dunums. La construction du Mur a provoqué son lot de manifestations, procès, d'innnombrables articles; de l'intervention des grosses ong...mais rien n'y fait: le Mur avance inoxenablement; detuisant sur son passage arbres et champs cultivés; rêves et espoirs. Aujourd'hui j'ai assisté à une explosion. Les soldats israéliens prenaient cela à la légère. Un officier a même déclaré que les explosions faisaient partie des célébrations de l'Eid al-Adha (fête mulsumane célébrée dans quelques jours)!
L'explosion a provoqué un énorme nuage de poussière qui a peu à peu atteint les maisons de Al Walaja. La semaine dernière les explosions ont provoqué des dommages dans les maisons, avec des fissures visibles. Les enfants sont terrorisés. Al Walaja, un magnifique village; est en train de disparaître en poussière. Je suis cette longue agonie depuis deux ans, en gardant toujours une lueur d'espoir qu'un grain de sable va finir par faire vasciller la machine.
Demain, une autre manifestation est organisée. Une question: pourquoi ne pas construire le Mur sur la ligne verte s'il s'agit vraiment d'une question de sécurité? Une partie de la réponse: Israël prévoit la construction d'une nouvelle colonie sur les terres récupérées avec la construction du Mur.
Voila la vidéo de l'explosion d'aujourd'hui:
et quelques photos.

Depuis la nouvelle surprise hier d'une flotille en route pour la bande de Gaza; mon esprit est aussi à Gaza. Voila près d'un an que je n'y suis pas retournée en dépit de mes demandes répétées par l'intermédiaire d'une grosse ONG auprès des autorités israélienne..Rien n'y fait. La demande est bloquée sans que je sache pourquoi.
Gaza se meurt d'indifférence du monde. Depuis 2007; la bande de Gaza fait l'objet d'un blocus aussi illégal (il revient à une punition collective interdite par le droit international) qu'injuste et immoral. Ce siège a été dénoncé à maintes reprises par la plupart des gouvernements et instances internationales. Mais aucun gouvernement n'agit. Comme dans de nombreux cas dans l'histoire, lorsque les gouvernements manquent à leur devoir, la société civile se mobilise, et c'est exactement ce qu'essayent de faire les deux bateaux (un canadien et un irlandais) actuellement en route pour GAZA: briser le siège et le mur d'indifférence. Il s'agit de la 11eme tentative. Israël pensait avoir triomphé lorsque lors de la dernière tentative; le gouvernement israélien avait même réussi à agir sur d'autres pays afin d'empêcher les bateaux de partir de leur port de départ. Mais les activistes ont montré leur grande détermination en préparant leur départ en grand secret. Ils ne sont que 27 personnes de cinq nationalités différentes, dont un étudiant palestinien de Haifa qui a déclaré:
«Israël a mis en cage les Palestiniens de Gaza et la Cisjordanie, interdisant tout contact physique entre nous. Nous voulons briser le siège israélien imposé à notre peuple. Le fait que nous soyons dans les eaux internationales est déjà une victoire pour le mouvement. Le siège de Gaza par Israël est intenable et c'est une responsabilité morale de mettre un terme à cette injustice. "
Un des organisateurs du bateau canadien, Lotayef précise que «les Palestiniens vivant à Gaza ne veulent pas de la charité mais de la solidarité, et ils affirment sans équivoque au monde entier que ce qu’ils veulent, c’est simplement d’être libres. »

Cette nuit; les bateaux seront sans doute attaqués par l'armée israélienne, qui a déjà fait savoir qu'il n'était pas question de les laisser aller à Gaza, ces dangereux activistes sans armes qui osent réclamer l'application du droit international.
Les médias français n'en font pas grand cas, alors que les quelques roquettes tirées de Gaza sont toujours bien rapportées dans les médias. La résistance non-armée n'est pas aussi « vendeuse ».
Pourtant, quelque part en méditerranée, une lueur d'espoir progresse. Elle existe, elle est tenace, et finira par percer tous les murs d'indifférence.

Merci d'y contribuer en réclamant la fin du siège de la bande de Gaza; et des sanctions contre Israël jusqu'à ce qu'il respecte le droit à l'auto-détermination des Palestiniens.

Plus d'info sur les bateaux:

"AS PART OF EID"-EXPLOSION IN AL WALAJA FOR THE ROUTE OF THE WALL / Pour "commencer les festivités": Explosion à Al Walaja pour la construction du Mur

(c) Anne Paq/Activestills, Al Walaja, West Bank, 03.11.2011 (01.11.3011 for the picture of the crack in an house near the rout of the Wall).

Today the The Israeli army uses explosives near houses in the West Bank village of Al Walaja to make room for the route of the Wall which will totally surround the village. Some villagers argued with the Israeli soldiers and managed to prevent some explosion to an area nearest to the homes and the cemetery, and the Civil administration promised that no explosion will take place in this area but proceeded with an explosion just three hundreds meters away.
Before the explosion, in a shocking statement, an officer from the civil administration declared to the Palestinians that the Israeli army makes explosion in the village as part of the Eid, the Muslim celebration which will take place in a few days.
Some explosions last week caused damages to the houses nearby, including visible cracks. Children of the area are terrorized because of the sounds of the explosions.


Aujourd'hui l'armée israélienne a utilisé des explosifs près des maisons dans le village de Cisjordanie de Al Walaja pour élargir le tracé du Mur, qui encerclera totalement le village. Certains villageois ont fait face aux soldats israéliens et ont réussi à empêcher une explosion dans une zone plus proche des maisons et du cimetière, et l'administration civile israélienne a promis qu'aucune explosion aura lieu dans cette zone, mais a procédé à une explosion un peu plus loin.

Avant l'explosion, lors de propos très choquants, un officier de l'administration civile a déclaré aux Palestiniens présent que l'armée israélienne commençaient ainsi les festivités pour eux dans le cadre de l'Eïd, la fête musulmane qui aura lieu dans quelques jours.
Des explosions la semaine dernière ont causé des dommages aux maisons voisines, notamment des fissures visibles. Les enfants de la zone sont terrorisés par le bruit des explosions et les secousses.

VIDEO: EXPLOSION IN AL WALAJA FOR THE ROUTE OF THE WALL / Explosion à Al Walaja pour la construction du Mur

by Anne Paq/, 03.11.2011

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Israel and the US outsourced the siege of Gaza to Athens last summer by preventing 8 boats in the Freedom Flotilla 2-Stay Human from sailing from Greek ports to Gaza. Despite this we were able to bring world-wide attention to the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Our efforts in Greece only fueled our determination to challenge the imprisonment of the people of Gaza. We said we would continue to sail and so we are!!!

At this moment, two boats are in international waters in the Mediterranean heading to Gaza. One boat, the Saoirse from Ireland, includes parliamentarians among its passengers. The other, the Tahrir, carries representatives from Canada, the U.S., Australia, and Palestine. The U.S. Representative on the Tahrir, Kit Kittredge, was a passenger on the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope mission in Athens in July. A journalist from Democracy Now is on the Tahrir also. Civil society organizations in Gaza await their arrival, and look forward to the delivery of letters collected from thousands of U.S. supporters in the To Gaza With Love campaign.

We need your help to make this mission a success. Please take these actions immediately.

1. Check these websites for updates: US to Gaza, Irish Ship to Gaza and Canadian Boat to Gaza, watch or listen to Democracy Now for live coverage from the Tahrir.. Look for twitter hashtag #Freedomwaves.

2. Spread the word far and wide – send this alert to your contacts.

3. Call the State Department and the White House- demand that they take immediate action to ensure the safe passage of these boats and to put an end to the siege of Gaza.

Call the State Department:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 202-647-5291
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro 011-972-3-519-7575
Office of Israel/Palestinian Affairs Paul Sutphin 202-647-3672
Office of Consular Affairs, Kim Richter 202-647-8308

and the White House: 202-456-1414

email President Obama at

Here are some talking points or suggested messaging:

Gaza has been under siege since mid-2006, depriving 1.6 million people of their liberty and basic human rights. Although the siege has been condemned by the United Nations, the Red Cross, and many national governments, nothing has been done to ease the plight of these civilians. Civil society has had to act where governments would not. Two ships with 27 passengers from 5 countries are sailing to Gaza to confront the Israeli naval blockade, and to bring medical supplies and letters of support.

As Americans we insist that our government (which sends Israel $3 billion in military aid every year), demands that Israel insures the ships’ safe passage and ends its illegal blockade of Gaza. There is absolutely no excuse to subject 1.6 million people to collective punishment. Ask your local press to cover this story. Up-to-date information will be available at, and

FreedomWaves to Gaza!

In the latest attempt to challenge Israel’s heinous, inhumane, and unjustified blockade over the Palestinian Gaza strip, two boats carrying Palestinian and international activists and journalists have set sail towards Gaza. Israel has used filthy tactics to foil last summer’s Gaza-bound flotilla. Israel has blackmailed activists, subdued a government, and sabotaged the ships which were meant to head to Gaza for a humanitarian mission, this is the reason FreedomWaves hasn’t been publicized beforehand and organizers remained quiet in order to avoid a repeat of Flotilla2’s unfortunate events.

The Ships are now sailing in International Waters, the press release is below:

2 November 2011


Palestinian youth join boats set to challenge Israel’s siege of Gaza

  • Irish and Canadian boats in international waters on their way to challenge illegal siege policy
  • Palestinian activists call for end to international complicity in Israel’s crimes
  • Support actions taking place throughout the West Bank and inside Israel

[Ramallah] Two civilian boats, the Canadian Tahrir (Liberation), and the Irish Saoirse (Freedom), carrying 27 people from nine countries (including journalists and crew), are currently in international waters making their way to the beleaguered Gaza Strip to challenge Israel’s ongoing criminal blockade of the territory. A Palestinian youth activist from Haifa has joined this renewed international mission to challenge Israel’s unrelenting stranglehold on Gaza via the sea. The message they carry is one of unity, defiance, and hope, in spite of Israel’s policies that have physically separated Palestinians from each other. The “Freedom Waves to Gaza” organizers chose not to publicize the effort in advance given Israel’s efforts to block and sabotage Freedom Flotilla II last July. The boats, which set sail from Fethiye, Turkey, are expected to arrive in Gaza on Friday afternoon, sailing from international waters straight into Gaza’s territorial waters without entering Israel’s waters. The boats carry symbolic cargo - $30,000 in medicines, along with a diverse group of passengers, all committed to nonviolent defense of the flotilla and Palestinian human rights.

“Israel has caged Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, prohibiting physical contact between us. We want to break the siege Israel has imposed on our people,” said Majd Kayyal, a Palestinian philosophy student from Haifa on board the Tahrir. Kayyal added, “The fact that we’re in international waters is already a victory for the movement. Israel’s siege of Gaza is untenable and it’s a moral responsibility to put an end to this injustice.”

Meanwhile, a statement signed by Palestinian youth urged the international community and the U.N. in particular “to take urgent action to protect this mission as well as to end its compliance with Israel’s criminal blockade of Gaza.” They condemned the U.N. Secretary General’s previous declarations calling for aid to Gaza to go through “legitimate crossings and established channels,” despite the U.N.’s own admission that Israel’s failure to own up to its responsibilities has created an unprecedented crisis of human dignity.

Throughout the week Palestinian activists in the West Bank and inside Israel are organizing solidarity actions with the Freedom Waves mission, including a presence outside the UN compound (Tokyo Street, Ramallah) and rallies across West Bank towns.

This is the 11th attempt to break the siege of Gaza via the sea, with five missions arriving safely in Gaza between August and December 2008 and the remaining violently intercepted by Israel. On May 2010, Israel attacked passengers of the Freedom Flotilla in international waters, killing nine civilians and injuring over 50. Israel’s actions were widely condemned and led to protests around the world. Efforts to bring a second flotilla to Gaza were foiled by the government of Greece last July following pressure by Israel and Western governments, as well as by acts of Israeli sabotage.

Israel has intensified in the past days its aerial bombardments on Gaza, underlining the need for international initiatives of deterrence similar to this one.

For more information contact:

For up to the minute information on the Freedom Waves flotilla:

Twitter: @PalWaves #FreedomWaves