beit omar

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Beit Ommar weekly demonstration - April 7th, 2012

Soldiers started throwing sound bombs and beating us with clubs as soon as we arrived. No stones were thrown, and none of the demonstrators did anything to provoke the violence. Nearly all of us were beaten, and I was hit in the ankle so hard that I can hardly move my foot now. A sound bomb also exploded on my leg, leaving burn marks.

Happy Passover, from Israel to us.

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On Saturday, April 21, 2012, Palestinian, Israel and international activists joined together for the weekly demonstration in Beit Ommar. The demonstration took place by the fence between Beit Ommar and Karmei Tsur settlement. The settlement, which is illegal under the 4th Geneva Convention, was built on stolen Palestinian land, and the fence prevents many Beit Ommar farmers from accessing their land. The demonstration was in protest against the settlements, the fence, and the occupation.

During the demonstration, about 25 activists were stopped from reaching the fence by about 50 soldiers, while border police waited nearby. The Israeli soldiers pushed several demonstrators with their shields and their guns, knocking several people to the ground and into the bushes. Soldiers hit Hamza Abu Hashem, age 14, in the head, and kicked an international activist, age 23, in the leg. In total, at least five demonstrators were injured.

24 hours in Israeli custody - the full story

In the three months that I was living in Beit Ommar, only 3 people had been arrested from the weekly demonstration there: a 14-year-old Palestinian boy, an Israeli activist, and a member of the Beit Ommar Popular Committee. In the past month, however, they have been arresting at least one person every week—Israelis, Palestinians and internationals alike. This past Saturday, I was one of three activists arrested, and one of two who were actually taken to jail. I wanted to keep some degree of anonymity on this blog, but here’s the full story anyway.

Keep reading

10 people arrested in Beit Ommar in the past 2 nights

Seven people arrested last night, and three arrested the night before in Beit Ommar. They’re collecting everyone they saw take part in demonstrations on Nakba Day and in solidarity with the hunger strikers. We expect many more night raids before the months is over.

Those arrested in the past two nights:

  • Jowad Muhammad Jameel Za'aqiq, 15 years old
  • Muhannad Mershad Awad, 12 years old
  • Alaa Yousef Mohammad Abu Maria, 14 years old 
  • Alaa Fahmy Za’aqiq, 32 years old 
  • Hamad Ahmad Abu Maria, 20 years old 
  • Jihad Ahmad Abu Maria, 25 years old 
  • Yousef Ali Said Sabarna, 19 years old 
  • Nasr Ali Said Sabarna, 27 years old 
  • Hossam Sabr Zaml Abu Maria, 16 years old 
  • Mohummad Wajee Ahmad Abu Maria, 19 years old

Beit Ommar weekly demonstration, June 23, 2012.

I was arrested and spent Saturday and Sunday in jail. The soldier told me I had two minutes to leave the “closed military area,” and I responded that he had two minutes to leave the Palestinian farmland. I lost that argument. The court ruled that I am not allowed within 10 kilometers of Karmei Tsur settlement (next to Beit Ommar, where the demonstrations take place) for two months.

In jail (I was taken to the prison in Jerusalem where they keep criminal offenders), I was strip-searched, chained on my ankles and wrists, forced to have a pregnancy test without my consent, deprived of sleep (a guard came in every hour telling me to stand up), and was given only a few pieces of stale white bread with a small amount of orange jam to eat.

As horrible and humiliating as it was, as a U.S. citizen, I was treated much better than the Palestinians who are arrested, and was kept in jail for a much shorter amount of time.

Israeli activist released, Palestinian child still in jail

Kobi, the Israeli activist who was arrested during the demonstration in Beit Ommar yesterday, was released from jail late last night. There’s no restriction order (the lawyer thought he might be banned from Beit Ommar for 2 months), and the judge said he has the right to freedom of speech and protest. This is good news, but also a glaring reminder of Israeli privilege, as Palestinians are not granted the same rights.

The 14-year-old boy, Hossein Alalamy, who was arrested a month ago during the same demonstration, is still in jail. He has not been allowed access to a lawyer while he is being interrogated, and he has only been allowed to see or speak to his family in the court. And before anyone accuses the boy of throwing stones (which, as I’ve said before, I have no problem with as a form of resistance against military occupation), I was with the boy the entire time leading up to his arrest, and he did not throw a single stone (although he had the right to).

Same place, same demonstration, same activities. The Israeli activist goes home free with no consequences, and the Palestinian child is locked up. Now try to tell me Zionism isn’t racism!