Sunday, May 31, 2009

demo against the Wall in Al Masara / Manif contre le Mur a Al Masara, 29.05.2009

(c) Anne Paq/, Al Ma'sara, 29.05.2009.

Al-Masara demonstration continues to gain strength
Latest News, Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, May 30th, 2009

Yesterday, like every Friday at al-Ma'sara, the weekly protest in this village near Bethlehem was met by armed soldiers who had blocked the village exit road with razor wire, denying the people their right to access their land.

This week around 80 people marched to show their support for al-Ma'sara�s struggle against the Wall. Locals were joined by Israelis and internationals, among them a French group of elected members of town councils in Normandy.

The organisors of the protest, the al-Ma'sara Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, held speeches calling for an immediate end to the colonization of Palestinian land and an end to the occupation. Other speeches were held in Arabic, Hebrew and English, in addition to a powerful speech given in French by a member of a mission from Normandy visiting Palestine. The mission aims to promote cooperation between local town councils in France and their Palestinian counterparts.

Men and women, young and old, both villagers and people coming from different parts of the world joined the cheering and chanting for a free Palestine. During the protest, two Palestinian women managed to cross the razor wire military obstacle while others were holding it down. Waving the Palestinian flag they walked down the road for which they should have the inevitable right to do so.

Israeli attack on Culture: Palestine literature banned in Jerusalem / Attaque contre la culture: le festival de litterature interdit a Jerusalem

(c) Anne Paq/, Jerusalem, 28.05.2009

The Israeli authorities banned the closing ceremony of the Palestine Festival of literature in the Palestinian national theater on 28.05.2009, in Jerusalem. The Israelis authorities claimed that the festival is linked to the Palestinian authority, which is refuted by the organizers of the festival. The British Council proposed to host the event as an alternative.
The festival gathers many known writers from all over the world. The opening night was also canceled at the theater and had to be held in the French Cultural center of Jerusalem. The motto of the festival was: "the power of culture over the culture of power".

Les autorités israéliennes ont interdit la cérémonie de clôture du Festival de la Palestine de la littérature dans le théâtre national palestinien le 28/05/2009, à Jérusalem. Les autorités ont affirmé que le festival etant lie a l'autorite palestinienne, il ne pouvait avoir lieu a Jerusalem. Les organisateures ont quant a eux affirme que le festival n'est pas lie a l'Autorité palestinienne. Le British Council a proposé d'accueillir l'événement comme alternative.
Le festival rassemble de nombreux écrivains connus de tous les coins du monde. La soirée d'ouverture avait également été annulée au théâtre et s'est deroulee au Centre Culturel Français de Jérusalem. Le mot d'ordre du festival etait: "la force de la culture contre la culture de la force

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More and more as a fascist state?


Israeli lawmakers approve jail terms for 'Jewish state' denial

Date: 27 / 05 / 2009 Time: 15:53

Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, gave preliminary approval to a bill that would mandate year jail term for anyone who speaks against Israel’s status as a Jewish state on Wednesday morning.

The bill, which still needs final approval before coming law, passed after a heated debate with a vote of 47 to 34 and one abstention. The measure was originally introduced by Zevulun Orlev, a member of a right-wing religious nationalist party, Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home).

The bill’s passage comes three days after lawmakers advanced a bill that would ban all commemorations of Nakba Day, on which Palestinians, including those who are Israeli citizens, remember their expulsion of 1948.

According to news reports, a Palestinian member of the Knesset, Jamal Zahalka, was removed from the auditorium during an argument after the vote.

During the debate preceding the vote, Chaim Oron, the chair of the left-wing Zionist party Meretz, decried the bill, according to the Ynet news agency: “Have you lost your confidence in the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state? This crazy government – what exactly are you doing? Thought Police? Have you lost it?”

Jamal Zahalka said, also according to Ynet’s report, “Many intellectuals in the academia who talk about a country belonging to all its citizens belong in prison, according to MK Orlev. Arab and Jewish leaders who seek real democracy in Israel also belong in jail, according to Orlev… He wants to put anyone who doesn’t agree with him in jail.”

Another week of settlers' terror in Hebron

Weekly Report [Hebron]
Period: From Sunday 10 May 2009 to Saturday 23 May 2009

10.05.09 Sunday****************************
*Settlers stole some wooden doors from gold market.
Settlers threw stones toward Seder Family in shallaleh street

11.05.09 Monday****************************

Settlers had fire on Palestinians land in Tell-Rumeida for Lag Ba’omer Holyday
The wood was stolen from Palestinians shops and houses.

Settlers attacked a Palestinians kid from Sharabati Family near Biet Hadasa

12.05.09 Tuesday **************************

Settlers uprooted 4 trees from Issa Amro’s house .

The Israeli army closed Shuhada street checkpoint for 3 H (15:00 -18:00)

The army forced Abed Alkareem Jaabari to get out of his land , and was threat to be arrested if he gets inside it again

13.05.09 Wednesday*****************************
Soldiers tried to force abed alkaremm Jabari to get out of his land but after Human Rights Defender intervened the soldiers went a way

15.05.09 Friday**********************************
Israeli Army and police attacked a group of Palestinians and Israel and international who were helping abed Alkareem Jaabari to harvest his crops .

The boarder police tried to arrest the land owner and they declared the area as close military zone therefore the settlers stayed in the land dancing. Jaabari Area

17.05.09 Saturday*********************************
Settlers threw stones toward Palestinians shops , soldier saw what happened but did nothing to stop them.

18.05.09 Sunday************************************
Border police invaded a Palestinian house from muhtaseb family and they searched the house and forced all the family members to go outside the house and to stay near a checkpoint for 3 hours , kids and women and old men were detained too .

18.05.09 Monday**********************************
Settlers were planning to get in to H1 the area which is under the Palestinians control, but the army didn’t let them.
Many Palestinians protested against settlers plan to visit H1

19.05.09 Tuesday***********************************
Settlers threw fire balls toward Shallaleh street shops, and they sprayed dirty water on the customers.

20.05.09 Wednesday*******************************
Settlers put electricity bulls in Al-buerieh on Palestinians land, to connect the outpost with the electricity Al-Buerieh

22.05.09 Friday*************************************
Palestinians and international had protest near the new outpost in al-buerieh , the army and the police declared the area as a close military zone , and the settlers attacked the demonstrator .the army applied the order only on the Palestinians and the internationals. Al-Buerieh

23.05.09 Saturday *****************************
Settlers threw stones toward Bassam Jaabari shop ,soldiers saw what happened but did nothing to stop them.

Youth Against Settlements
Issa Amro

Badia Dwaik

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

more settlers violence


Settlers beat Palestinian woman near Nablus

Date: 26 / 05 / 2009 Time: 13:14

Nablus – Ma’an – An Israeli settler assaulted a Palestinian woman near the Tappuah (Za’atara) checkpoint south of the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday morning.

According to Palestinian security sources, the settler stopped his car near the checkpoint, got out and beat Thamina Khalil Abed Al-Hak, 21, from the village of Qusra, south of Nablus.

Al-Hak, a student at Al-Quds Open University, was treated at Yasser Arafat Hospital, where her condition was reported to be stable.

Earlier on Tuesday a mob of more than 20 Israeli settlers attacked two Palestinian shepherds with clubs south of the West Bank city of Hebron.

The settler movement is reported to be mobilizing against the Israeli government’s decision to dismantle 26 unauthorized West Bank “outposts” in a gesture to the US.

Monday, May 25, 2009

More attack on culture: Opening of Festival litterature closed by the Israeli authorities


In occupied Jerusalem, Lit Fest can’t avoid politics

Date: 24 / 05 / 2009 Time: 18:20

Jerusalem – Ma’an – On its opening day, Israeli soldiers walked past piles of books for sale and commemorative PalFest’09 tote bags into the Palestine National Theatre to tell the owner that the Palestine Festival of Literature was an event organized by the Palestinian Authority and therefore illegal.

Writers, poets, diplomats and artists were herded onto the street. The event to foster discussion about literary themes and techniques was off to an ominous start.

“The PA has nothing to do with PalFest,” said local organizer Omar Hamilton following the forcible eviction. The event is sponsored by the British Council, UNRWA, the AM Qattan Foundation and the Sigrid Rausing Charitable Fund. It is hosting 20 authors, 17 from abroad, in a six-day traveling literary workshop.

The authors are a diverse group, including Kenya born, Tanzaniya-raised Canadian immigrant and winner of the Giller Prize, M.G. Vassanji, and British writer and actor Michael Palin, best known for his work on the Monty Python films and his latest novel, Hemmingway’s Chair. Most have never been to Palestine before, and are meant to discuss literature and literary themes to groups of literati and university students across the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

“You’d be wrong to think that in each session people were discussing politics, it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t come up at all,” said festival organizer Victoria Brittain an hour before armed soldiers told her to evacuate the Palestine National Theatre. “[Politics] is separate from the talks, precisely because everybody is talking about literature.”

'We don’t talk about politics, but our presence is political'

There is a political dimension to the event, however, explained participating author Jamal Mahjoub. “The fact that you have writers coming from all over the world…all of this is somehow in its self a political statement, because you are saying, ‘This is what we want;’ we want to be able to address Palestinians in cultural terms and that is political.”

Suheir Hammad, who was also set to be interviewed before the opening events, was too harrowed from her five-hour interrogation at the Allenby Bridge to sit down and discuss literature.

The festival seems on both sides of the line between literature and politics, as is often unavoidable in Palestine. Honoring Al-Quds Capital of Culture 2009, the group chose to begin and end their tour of Palestine in Jerusalem. Another political feature of the tour is that it travels to Palestinians, because most cannot travel to them; the political and geographical fragmentation of the West Bank means most young men have a difficult time traveling from the north to the central West Bank, or the south to the north, etc.

"The thing that was striking [to me about] last year," said Mahjoub, who is the only returning author from last year's festival, "was that it was about literature, and not politics." That, he emphasized, "is what created the bond between the audiences and the writers, particularly at the universities."

Literature binds Palestinians to a world they are cut off from

When authors from Africa, India, the UK, Canada, Australia and the Middle East all talk about “departure” as a theme in a work or in various works, explained Mahjoub, it “creates that bridge to allow the Palestinian experience to come out through a cultural dimension, through cultural expression - not political.” This festival offers, he explains, “a sense of recognition between the authors and the audiences…the fact that your experience is not unique to you… a recognition that these authors are talking to you about things you understand.”

That is what literature does, he said.

As the presenters and audience members from the opening night panels got comfortable at the French Cultural Center, a few blocks away from the Palestinian National Theatre, theatre owner Jamal Ghosheh stood up to speak.

“If the occupation is afraid of a literature festival,” he said, addressing the elephant in the room of literature buffs and the culturally inclined, “than they are very fragile indeed.”

Ghosheh then addressed another central, and also political, reason for the importance of the festival and its return to the area. “We need you,” he said to the authors and organizers, “we need you because we do not want the occupation to succeed in sealing our minds,” like it had already sealed off the West Bank and Gaza, was the implicit undertone.

But the workshops themselves are not political, all insist.

“The idea is not to come and present a platform for political debate but to give space for the Palestinian culture aspect to meet the cultural lives of these authors who come from very diverse backgrounds; that is creating a space in which a part of the Palestinian experience that is not reflected normally in the media can come out; and for me that’s the main point,” said Mahjoub.

Back to the books

Organizers said they hoped the workshops, which will continue in Ramallah on Sunday, Jenin on Monday, Bethlehem on Tuesday, Hebron on Wednesday and back to Jerusalem Thursday, will go off with less drama of the political sort.

“Nobody’s stopped us from going on the walk through the hills,” organizer Hamilton said over the phone. The group was set to follow the steps of Rajah Shehadeh, who wrote Palestine Walks, and is participating in the 2009 festival.

Shehadeh will also present his work during the panel discussion on “Registering Change: Landscape and Architecture” at the Sakikini center Sunday evening. Shehadeh’s observations of the changes wrought on the Palestinian landscape since his boyhood will be discussed alongside Palin’s novel about a small-town postal worker whose life is shaken up when a new and modernizing manager is brought into the mix. Well known Palestinian author Suad Amiry will join the conversation with her book on her coming of age under occupation and her changing landscape of exile between Amman, Damascus, Beirut and Cairo.

It is the hope of festival organizers that discussion will once again be on expression and literature, on creativity and humanity and not on themes relating to Palestinian politics. “The theme of every meeting is around the texts,” explained Brittain, “We did not choose these because they are relevant to the Palestinian issue; we absolutely didn’t.”

Themes of change, of relocation, distance, departure and travel, it seems, are prominent not just in the Palestinian case.

Indeed, the politics of PalFest’09 as well as the literature being presented have a humanist and universal element that speaks to the modern age and many of the issues that people the world over grapple with.

Mahjoub put it best when he spoke of his own work around conflict in Darfur. “Emotionally we understand things better through fiction,” he said. “Fiction allows you to describe conflict in a way that is at once more simple than the reality and more complete than reportage, than the news. Because you create it within a human emotional context, a landscape that you created with families and people.” His next project, however, is a non-fiction work on the genocide that country witnessed in recent years, which will grapple with the facts, not the emotions of the story.

The artists at PalFest’09, as fiction and non-fiction writers, poets and filmmakers, bind the emotional with the factual in an event that speaks to both, and of the impossibility of separating the two.

The events schedule for the festival can be found at

Sunday, May 24, 2009

demo against the Wall in Al Masara / Manif contre le Mur a Al Masara, 22.05.2009.

(c) Anne Paq/, Al Ma'sara, 22.05.2009.

Imprisonment of activists fails to stop al-Ma'sara protests
Latest News, Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, May 23rd, 2009

Some 100 people protested in al-Ma’sara on Friday against the construction of the Wall on their lands and demanded the release of the activists from the village popular committee still held in Occupation jails. The Ma’sara demonstrations have inspired similar actions in the nearby village of Artas, where villagers planted trees this week in defiance of confiscation orders.

Around 50 villagers, supported by dozens of Israeli and international activists, participated in the weekly march against the Apartheid Wall, organized by the Al-Ma'sara Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements.

The march started after the midday prayer in al-Ma'sara and moved towards the land that will be affected by the construction of the Wall. Protestors were halted by razor wire laid out by the Occupation forces at the exit road of the village and blocked from crossing the settlers' road, which separates the villages from their land where the Wall is going to be built.

The protestors sat down in front of the razor wire and the military and chanted, accompanied by drums and percussion instruments. Speeches against the Apartheid Wall and the settlements where made. The speakers called for the release of Hassan Brajiya and Mohammad Brajiya, both members of the Al-Ma’sara Popular Committee arrested on the May 1st demonstration. They are being held, still without charges, with the explicit aim of discouraging further protests. The trials of the two have been once again postponed until Tuesday.

Mahmoud Zawahreh, head of the al-Mas'ara Popular Committee, emphasized that "despite the Israeli violence shown during the last protests, we will keep demonstrating until the rights of the Palestinian people will be fully recognized."

The ongoing popular resistance in Al-Ma’sara is inspiring momentum for the entire district and people have started organizing weekly events and protests in Artas village, southwest of Bethlehem. This week, and in defiance of impending confiscation orders, the people in the village organized the planting of trees to cultivate land that is to be taken by the Wall. Land reclamation and planting of trees reaffirm the Palestinian claim to their land and can in certain cases delay or complicate confiscation.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Jerusalem day - Palestinian protest in Damascus gate

(c) Anne Paq/, Jerusalem 21.05.2007.

Hundreds participated to the protest: "Wake Up from the Fantasy: Is Jerusalem United?"
The demonstration took on the same day of the Jerusalem Day
Procession, which marks 42 years to the "unification of the city", in order
to send out a clear message: The city is not united. East Jerusalem had been
annexed by Israel against the will of its residents, who have since been
suffering discrimination, neglect and abuse in all walks of life.
The demonstration is organized by East Jerusalem neighborhood committees and
residents, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Shomrei
Mishpat – Rabbis for Human Rights, and The Israeli Committee Against House

Des centaines de personnes ont participé à la protestation: «Réveillez-vous de votre Fantaisie: Jerusalem est-elle vraiment unifiee?"
La manifestation a eu lieu le même jour que la procession de la Journée de Jérusalem
, qui marque les 42 ans de "l'unification de la ville", afin
d'envoyer un message clair: La ville n'est pas unie. Jérusalem-Est a été
annexée par Israël contre la volonté de ses habitants, qui souffrent depuis
de discrimination, de négligence et des abus dans tous les aspects de leur vie.
La manifestation etait organisée par des comités de quartier à Jérusalem-Est et
résidents, l'Association pour les droits civils en Israël (ACRI), Shomrei
Mishpat - Rabbins pour les droits de l'homme, et le Comité israélien contre les demolitions de maisons.

Jerusalem day

(c) Anne Paq/, Jerusalem, 21.05.2009

Some Israelis celebrated "jerusalem day" on 21.05.2009. The “celebrations” mark the Israeli occupation of the Eastern part of Jerusalem on the 1967 war. East Jerusalem is still considered as occupied under international law, but never mind the Israelis consider Jerusalem as "united". I started the day by following an extremist Jewish group called "Temple Mount and Land of Israel faithful movement". They decided to walk through Jerusalem with a truck carrying two enormous stones- "the cornerstones of the Third temple". The group walked through Sheih Jarrah and the Old City. They then entered the Temple mount (the Muslim holy site where they want to build the third temple) but without their flags and banners, and of course the truck could not enter the Old city. But a women from the group told me: "No problem, the stones will come through helicopters"!

There was then a huge march planned from King george (West Jerusalem) to the Old city. I went to the gathering. There were thousands of Jewish Israelis with many flags. I could not stay until the moment they walked to the Old city, but they marched through it under high protection from the Israeli police. And while the Palestinians were not even allowed to move, Israelis who marched shouted "death to the Arabs" and on the way attacked some demonstrators, and some shops.

Certains Israéliens ont célèbré la «Journée de Jérusalem" sur 21.05.2009. Les "célébrations" marquent l'occupation israélienne de la partie Est Jérusalem, conquise lors de la guerre de 1967. Les Israeliens pretendent que Jerusalem est reunie mais Jérusalem-Est est toujours considérée comme étant occupée selon le droit international.
J'ai commencé la journée en suivant un groupe extrémiste juif appelé " Le mouvement pour le Mont du Temple et la Terre d'Israël". Ils ont décidé de traverser Jerusalem y compris des quartiens palestiniens avec un camion transportant deux énormes pierres, "les pierres angulaires du troisième temple". Le groupe a parcouru Sheih Jarrah et la vieille ville. Ils sont ensuite entrés dans l'esplanade des Mosquees (la ou ils veulent construire leur Troisieme Temples), mais sans leurs drapeaux et leur banderoles, et, bien sûr, le camion n'a pa pu entrer dans la vieille ville. Mais une des femmes du groupe m'a dit: «Pas de problème, les pierres viendront par hélicoptères"!

Il y avait aussi un immense marche prévue de la rue King George (Jérusalem-Ouest) à la vieille ville. Il y avait des milliers d'Israéliens juifs avec de nombreux drapeaux israeliens. Je ne pouvais pas rester jusqu' au moment ou ils sont rentres dans la Vieille Ville. Mais d'apres les articles, ils ont traverse la vieille ville sous haute protection policiere. Les Palestiniens ne pouvaient pas se déplacer tandis que les Israeliens chantaient «mort aux Arabes» et certains ont meme attaqué quelques manifestants et des commerces.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Interview with MAHMOUD ZWAHRE, the Mayor of Ma’sara, member of the al-Ma’sara Popular Committee

(c) Anne Paq/Activestills, 01.05.2009. Arrest of Mahmoud Zwahre during the weekly non-violent demonstration against the Wall

Interview with Mahmud Zwahre, Head of the al-Ma'sara Popular Committee

Mahmoud Zwahre (center with hand on child), at the May 1 demonstration against the Wall, during which he and several other Palestinians, Israelis and internationals were arrested.

The al-Ma’sara Committee against the Wall and Settlements has been organizing demonstrations against the confiscation of their land for the past two and a half years. During the demonstration on 1 May 2009, the Israeli army arrested Hasan Bergia, Mohammad Bergia, Mahmoud Zwahre (members of the popular committee), Mustafa Fuara, Azmi Ash-Shyukhi, Haggai Matar (Israeli activist) and Tom Stocker (British volunteer). The last two were released the same day on 1,500 NIS bail with conditions of not entering the West Bank for two weeks. Azmi Ash-Shyukhi, Mustafa Fuara and Mahmoud Zwahre were released on bail (50,000 NIS all together) on 13 May, after being held in military prison for almost two weeks.

Hassan Bergia and Mohammad Bergia are still being held.

Interview with MAHMOUD ZWAHRE, the Mayor of Ma’sara, member of the al-Ma’sara Popular Committee, and director of the joint council of nine villages South of Bethlehem.

How did al-Ma’sara nonviolent movement start?

We started in June 2006 to build a nonviolent resistance movement against the settlement and the Wall: we held meetings with farmers, with associations in the nearby villages and with the local councils. At that time, Israel started to confiscate land in the village of Umm Salomona. When we witnessed what was happening to our neighbors, we formed a committee of 13 persons coming from nine different villages (9.000 people) South of Bethlehem, which was later able to gather 100 persons.

Why does Al-Ma’sara play a key role in the movement?

Actually al-Ma’sara (1,000 persons) is the village less affected by the Wall, but it counts the highest percentage of educated population of the area, therefore the most active people of the committee come from there. Even if we have not been directly affected by the Wall and the settlements, we understand the importance of raising our voices against the violence and injustices Palestinians are suffering. Unluckily now, the villagers from al-Ma’sara are the only ones attending the demonstrations, but even if we are few, we stand firmly and we believe in the importance of keeping protesting.

Why don’t people from other villages join your action?

People do not attend protests and sometimes even complain about them because they are afraid: they fear that they can get arrested, injured or even killed, like what happened in Bil’in. Nevertheless, the attendance at protests is further compromised by some influential collaborators who keep discouraging people from attending protests in order to maintain their “special relationship” with the Israeli authorities. Despite these opponents, in 2006, Muhammad Bergia and I won the nine-village local council elections, but our victory made our position even worse. We exposed ourselves, and the result was that we got arrested on the last 1 May, during the weekly nonviolent demonstration.

Why do you think the Israeli military is becoming more aggressive against nonviolent movements?

The Israeli military is now working hard to stop nonviolent resistance movements because our protests clearly show that Palestinians are trying to fight for their rights through peaceful means, which are not only accepted, but even encouraged by the international community. Through nonviolent demonstrations, we prevent Israeli government from portraying Palestinians as violent terrorists who threaten Israel’s security and safety. We put Israel in the uncomfortable position of not being able any longer to put a mask on its armed attacks against unarmed civilians. They are trying to repress our peaceful struggle against their illegal acts. This is the reason why they are mainly targeting people who lead these resistance movements and this is the reason why they arrested us.

Tell us about the day of your arrest

At the May 1st demonstration, a speech concerning the effects of the Wall on workers’ life was held. After that the protesters stood in front of the soldiers and Muhammad Bergia was in the frontline. Suddenly they caught him and dragged him away. Hasan Bergia, Mustafa Fuara, Azmi Ash-Shyukhi, an Israeli solidarity activist and Tom Stocker, a British volunteer, tried to release him, but got arrested as well. Then the launch of tear gas began in order to break up the crowd. I later decided to go and talk to the soldiers, trying to discuss the release of my comrades, but I got arrested too.

The soldiers took us, hands tied, to the detention center in the Gush Etzion settlement and threatened us, saying: “now we’ll see how you will be able to protect yourselves without journalists and cameras.” Then the police border officer started to beat Muhammad right in front of us and tried to choke him. We have pictures of this officer and we will denounce him with the support of B’Tselem. After signing a document with our names and IDs numbers, we went to the doctor, but despite our health problems, he refused to give us the proper medical treatments. Then the soldiers released the Israeli and the British and took us to the jail, also in Gush Etzion. Before entering the prison, the police officers registered Muhammad with the wrong name and this mistake made by the police officer was later used in the process as evidence against him, accusing him of giving wrong information. Then they made us wear prison uniforms, forced us to kneel down with tied hands and ankles, and prevented us from walking while holding our heads high. That was to humiliate us. The next morning they came into the cell to count us, but to do that we were forced to kneel down and look at the floor while saying our names and we had to remain in that position for half an hour. Then a breakfast of one tomato and one yogurt came for me and the other eight persons. I decided to talk to the jail director, asking him “Why are you treating us in this way? Above all, we are human beings and there are international laws protecting prisoners that you are not respecting.” He just answered: “for security reasons!” When we asked for a lighter to smoke, we were told: “Shalit is not allowed to smoke!,” so we couldn’t. I remained in this jail for 12 days.

How about the process?

The first trial was after three days of detention, on 4 May. The DVD of the demonstration was shown to the judge, who decided that there was no reason for detaining us because we did nothing illegal that could represent a danger for the State security, so he asked for our release with a bail of 5,000 NIS. But the military replied that it needed more time to complete the investigation and obtained a first appeal, postponing the process until 7 May. The military appealed a second time, stating the investigation was not yet completed and we still could represent a potential danger for the security of the state. Then the judge doubled the bail to 10,000 NIS. However, they did not release us because the military was given three further days to find evidence against us. On 10 May, the military appealed once again and the process was fixed on 11 May. On Monday the 11th, our lawyer, who was provided by Anarchists against the Wall and the Bil’in Committee, pointed out there had been a different behavior towards Palestinians from one side and Israelis and foreigners from the other, but “it was Shabbat and the police couldn’t detain too many people,” was the excuse.

On 9 June the final court will be held, but in order to be released on 11 May, Hazmi and I had to pay 20,000 NIS each bail and Mustafa 10,000 NIS. We were also prevented from taking part in any demonstration until the court case will be resolved. We were able to pay the bail money thanks to the help of some friends, the Bil’in Committee, Israeli associations and activists. Unluckily, the situation is more complicated and difficult for Muhammad and Hassan, who are still in jail.

What will be your next actions?

We have to keep demonstrating. We don’t have to give up even if things are getting worse and harder. We need the help of Israeli activists and internationals, we need them to join our struggle and help us in spreading what is happening here. But above all, we have to raise awareness among Palestinians, who are the ones meant to be active on the frontline against what they are suffering.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

For Mohammad, arrested during a non-violent demonstration, please write / pour Mohammad, arrete durant une manifestation non-violente

(c) Anne Paq/, Al Ma'sara, 01.05.2009.
First Picture: An Israeli soldier tried to catch Mohammmad Bergia
Second picture: Violent arrest of Mohammad Bergia.

1ere photo: Un soldat israelien essaye d'attraper Mohammad Bergia
2eme photo: Mohammad est violemment arrete.

The Al-Ma’sara Committee against the Wall and Settlements has been organizing and participating in demonstrations against the confiscation of their land for the past two and a half years. Participants and committee members are known for their strict adherence to non-violent tactics in demonstrations. While the protesters maintained their usual tactics on 1 May 2009, Israeli forces escalated their attempt to suppress the non-violent resistance by arresting several demonstrators. A new military commander, stationed in the area two months prior, had announced his intentions to end the resistance and implemented tactics such as night invasions of organizer’s homes, destruction of property and threats.

During the demonstration on 1 May 2009, the Israeli army arrested three members of the Al-Ma’sara Committee against the Wall and Settlements; Hasan Bergia, Mohammad Bergia and Mahmoud Sawahre. Additionally, Israeli forces arrested Mustafa Fuara; a resident of Al-Ma’sara, Azmi Ash-Shyukhi; a resident of Hebron, Haggai Matar; an Israeli solidarity activist and Tom Stocker, a British national volunteering with the Holy Land Trust.

The army alleged that the arrested demonstrators were involved in rioting, interfering with police work, assault of soldiers and policemen, and the destruction of military property.

The Israeli activist Matar and British volunteer Stocker, were released the same day on 1,500 NIS bail with conditions of not entering the West Bank for two weeks. Azmi Ash-Shyukhi; Mustafa Fuara; and Mahmoud Sawahre, were released on bail (50,000 NIS all together) after being held in military prison for almost two weeks on 13 May 2009.

Hassan Bergia and Mohammad Bergia, members of the Al-Ma’sara Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, are still being held.

Mohammad Bergia’s lawyer will appeal for his release and letters of support can help shed light on the injustice of his arrest. Show support for Mohammad Bergia and help apply pressure for his release by signing and sending the sample letter below to

Additionally, help is needed to cover the cost of the bail and defense of the Palestinian activists. Donations can be made at, with a note that the donation is meant for the al-Ma'sara Committee members.


To Whom It May Concern,

I was disturbed to learn that Mr. Muhamad Bergia, a member of the Popular Committee of the village of Al-Maasara in the West Bank, was arrested for peacefully demonstrating against Israel's separation fence on May 1st, 2009 and is still being held in prison. Over the past two and a half years Mr. Bergia and his associates have displayed an unshakable commitment to non-violence and to dignified action.

Mr. Bergia in particular is well known for his commitment to the struggle for peace through non-violent means and for his willingness to work in partnership with Israelis. He is a respected member of the community; Bergia is the secretary of the local council village and a teacher in the village. I am impressed with his honesty and commitment to non-violence. My understanding of Israeli law is that the right to demonstrate peacefully is protected. Mr. Bergia should be commended and not punished for his efforts.

I was in attendance of the 4th Bil'in International Conference on Popular Nonviolent Resistance, where Mr. Bergia was a participant. His participation in a conference to promote justice for Palestinians is a mark of his commitment to nonviolence.

I hope and trust that Mr. Bergia will be allowed to return to his family, including his young daughter, and community without further delay and that his name be cleared of all accusations.


Gaza ghetto

Last update - 08:05 17/05/2009
Amira Hass / Israel bans books, music and clothes from entering Gaza
By Amira Hass

Israel allows only food, medicine and detergent into the Gaza Strip. Thousands of items, including vital products for everyday activity, are forbidden.

Altogether only 30 to 40 select commercial items are now allowed into the Gaza Strip, compared to 4,000 that had been approved before the closure Israel imposed on Gaza following the abduction of Gilad Shalit, according to merchants and human rights activists.

The number of items changes according to what is determined by The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. COGAT has refused the PA representative's request for an updated list of the items permitted into Gaza in writing, and passes the information only via the telephone.

Gaza merchants are forbidden to import canned goods, plastic sheeting, toys and books, although the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and other aid organizations are permitted to bring them into the strip.

The few items merchants are allowed to trade in are divided into three categories: food, medicine and detergent. Everything else is forbidden - including building materials (which are necessary to rehabilitate Gaza's ruins and rebuild its infrastructure), electric appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines, spare machine and car parts, fabrics, threads, needles, light bulbs, candles, matches, books, musical instruments, crayons, clothing, shoes, mattresses, sheets, blankets, cutlery, crockery, cups, glasses and animals. Many of the banned products are imported through the tunnels and can be found in Gaza's markets.

Pasta, which had been forbidden in the past, is now allowed, after U.S. Senator John Kerry expressed his astonishment at the ban during a visit to Gaza in February. But tea, coffee, sausages, semolina, milk products in large packages and most baking products are forbidden. So are industrial commodities for manufacturing food products, chocolate, sesame seeds and nuts. Israel does allow importing fruit, milk products in small packages and frozen food products as well as limited amounts of industrial fuel.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that during the first week of May, 2.2 million liters of industrial fuel - some 70 percent of the weekly supply required to operate the power station - was allowed into Gaza. UNRWA receives petrol and diesel supplies separately. A daily 270-300 tons of cooking gas - 54 percent of the required amount - is allowed.

Petrol and diesel for private cars and public transportation have not been imported from Israel since November 2, 2008, except for a small amount for UNRWA. The union of Gaza's gas station owners estimates that some 100,000 liters of diesel and 70,000 liters of petrol are brought through the tunnels daily.

Egypt, which in the past two months has been restricting the trade movement through the tunnels, does not limit the supply of gas and fuel. But since Egyptian fuel is heavier than Israeli fuel, it damages the newer cars in Gaza and causes malfunctions.

In the past, Israel allowed wood for home furnishings to be brought into Gaza for some time, but not wood for windows and doors. Now Israel has resumed the ban on wood for furniture.

The ban on toilet paper, diapers and sanitary napkins was lifted three months ago. A little more than a month ago, following a long ban, Israel permitted the import of detergents and soaps into Gaza. Even shampoo was allowed. But one merchant discovered that the bottles of shampoo he had ordered were sent back because they included conditioner, which was not on the list.

Five weeks ago Israel allowed margarine, salt and artificial sweetener to be brought into Gaza. Legumes have been allowed for the past two months and yeast for the past two weeks. Contrary to rumors, Israel has not banned sugar.

COGAT commented that, "The policy of bringing commodities derives from and is coordinated with Israel's policy toward the Gaza Strip, as determined by the cabinet decision on September 19, 2007."

A COGAT forum convenes with representatives of international organizations weekly to address special requests of the international community regarding humanitarian equipment and the changing needs of the Palestinian population, the statement says.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Pope in Bethlehem and in Aida refugee camp- from the journalists circus / Le Pape a Betheem, vue du cote du cirque journalistique

(c) Anne Paq/, Bethlehem, Aida refugee camp, 13 May 2009.
A day of chasing of the Pope.

So the Pope came to bethlehem and left. It was quite an exhausing experience I might say, but kind of funny.
The best way to convey it is to give you a detailed account of the day...I was taking pictures, not really for commercial reasons, but more to be part of this historical event and the journalists circus. I managed to get a press pass from the good media agency IMEMC through my friend Ghassan.
The day before I managed to borrow a 200 zoom from a friend.

Day before the visit of the Pope:

6.30pm with Ghassan we met to see the locations, discussed where we should try to place ourselves and who should try to go where. We went up to the roof of one big building in the nativity church location, the building belongs to a certain Iyad. Ghassan joked with him and managed to get us some room on the roof. From there we can see all the place where the Pope will give his open-air mass. This is the perfect location.
We also went to Aida camp. We were shown where the journalists can stand (inside the school)....on a very tiny balcony and the stairs. The best spot should be the corner of the balcony.
We finally decide that I will try to go to Rachel's tomb to try to take pictures of the Pope and the Wall (he should change cars there) and Ghassan will go up at 6am to Manger square to go up into the building and be sure to have a place there. The main objective of the day: get the Pope with the Wall behind!

The day of the Pope.

5am waking up and preparing all the gear for the day, including sunscreen, book, something to write, battery charger, bananas, water. I know it is going to be an hell of a ;long day.

6am going to Nissan hall, where all the journalists were asked to come to go to buses in different locations. The buses must leave at 6.30. lots of soldiers in the empty streets. Lovely morning light. I should wake up early more ofen!
6.10am. At nissan, ohhhh already so many journalists are there..I should have come earlier. I have to put all my bags on the floor so that the bags are checked. And then we have to go through a metal door in front of which there ais a big queue.
6.20Ghassan arrives...tells me it was impossible to go to Manger square without getting into the journalists bus.
6.30finally manage to go through the metal detector. Now confused if we have to register for the buses. Apparently no.
6.35.we all have to go to the buses. I demand to one responsible where is the bus to rachels'tomb. Already gone. Ok will try to go to the building instead. I am one of the firsts to enter the bus to manger square. Ghassan decides to go to the Presidential palace
6.40.The bus leave us close to Manger square, I speed up with all the journalists. At the gates the police told us that it is not possible to enter and that we have to come with the journalists bus, but ok they believe that we took the bus as we are 100 arriving at the same time.
7am I am up on the roof. One of the first to arrive. I spot Iyad, say hello and ask if it is ok that I stay here. He says: “you have the spot”. SThe roof is supposed to be only for big agencies so I keep my head down and cling to my position, (oh come on it is only three hours to wait!). People are arriving in the square. The roof is getting crowed. A phone call from Ghassan: nothing is happening at the Presidential Palace so he is coming over.
7.30. Ghassan arrived. Iyad wants to talk to him. We are kicked out of the roof because he wants some money. Business is business.
7.40. down to manger square. Ghassan knows some photographers on the podium of journalists and photographers so we can have a room. But as small as I am and without a podium, it is impossible that I will be able to get some shots. Decide to go for the tree next to the podium. I will be a monkey photographer today.
8.30.Going around. Time for a coffee. The place is now crowed.
9.10Goinb back up to the roof of the building to take a picture anyway
9.15Back next to teh tree. Nir will give me from time to time his 300 lens so it should be quite good. Pilgrims are beginning to enter from the back and mix themselves with the journalists.
9.20. The Pope arrives with his famous Pope-mobile. Everybody stands up so i cant have good pictures. He soon disappeared in the peace center. Everybody shouts as he was kind of a rock star,
9.30.Change my position to the podium because I manage to get in the front row there.
9.32. The Pope comes back on stage and greets the crowed.
9.35 Ave Maria. The orchestra and chorus are quite good.
9.36. So bloody hot,
10.30 The Pope mades his speech. He starts by expressing solidarity with the people of Gaza, which is good. But then I do not understand a thing.
11.30. I take advantage of the communion during which people are moving to get closer to the stage. Manage to get to around 20 meters. A guy is shouting at the Pope about some politics but I cannot really hear.
11.34. as the Pope leaves the stage I manage to get through and follow him, and try to get a close shot from about 1 meter. Lot of pushing around.
11.40. The Pope leave again the Peace center and walks to the Nativity church. I follow him, pushed around by some men in suits and sunglasses but I think I manage to get other pictures from quite close.
12.20 Running home to send the pictures. Some people are dancing on Manger square, holding hands, and look like they are on drugs.
12.45 sending a rough selection of pictures, my eyes hurt because some sunscreen gets inside.
1.10 running back to the media center to catch the bus to Aida refugee camp. Some lunch is served. I am discussing with some journalist from Switzerland who tells me how better the Palestinians are to handle the journalists. In Jerusalem they did not get lunch. I have to keep my sunglasses on because my eyes are really hurting.
2pm. Walking very fast to get the bus to aida, manage to get first in the bus.
2.30. After some discussion with the Police about how to get to teh school, we have to walk down.
2.35. Waiting in front of the door of the school. The Palestinian special forces are shouting at us that we should get in line.
2.50. One of the first to enter Aida school, again our bags need to be checked.
3pm. Going up to the balcony and I take a very good position,
3. 02 The responsible of public relations tells me that the place is saved for the media from Vatican and that I have to move.
3.05 I move to the corner of the balcony. There is one of the cameramen from Maan that I know. I ask him if I can squizz, basically I have to kneel down next to him and some barbwire. He says yes.
3.20. The balcony is more and more crowed. It is very hot and the music is so loud
3.45. I have access to the discourse of the Pope. The journalists have them in advance. He will say that this is tragic that walls are again erected and he will also say he comes here to show solidarity with the Palestinian refugees. Ok, not bad but not bold.
4.25. My hair gets stuck in the barbwire
4.30The muslim prayer starts, that will be a good timing for the Pope's arrival.
4.40Abu Mazen arrives. Nobody cares so much.
4.45 Il Babaaaaa (the pope). Miss the shot with the Popemobile.
Everybody gets on stage. The series of discourses and performances start.
5.15Why are they shouting? (two girls, reciting a poem)
5.16My battery indicator flashes. Ok I just cut the pictures of Abu Mazen and waits for Pope's discourse.
6pm The Pope speaks. Why he is only looking at his notes.
6.10now he receives some gifts, and I cannot feel my legs any more.
6.30 time to go home. I am so exhausted.
7pm finally at home. But still needs to send the pictures..

Une journée a chasser le Pape.

Ainsi, le Pape est venu à Bethléem. Je l'ai suivi la jourrnee, ce qui ete une experience ereintante mais assez drole,
La meilleure façon de vous faire vivre cela est de vous donner un compte rendu détaillé de la journée ... je prenais des photos, pas vraiment pour des raisons commerciales, mais plus pour faire partie de cet événement historique et observer le grand cirque mediatique. J'ai réussi à obtenir une carte de presse de l'agence de presse IMEMC par l'intermédiaire de mon ami Ghassan.
Jai aussi réussi à emprunter un zoom de 200mm d'une amie a Jerusalem.

Veille de la visite du Pape:

6.30pm avec Ghassan nous nous rencontrons pour reperer les lieux, et preparer notre strategie.
Nous nous rendons sur le toit d'un grand bâtiment de la place de la Nativité. Le bâtiment appartient à une certain Iyad. Ghassan plaisante avec lui et réussit à nous reserver une place sur le toit. De là, nous pouvons voir toute la place où le Pape donnera sa messe en plein air. C'est l'endroit ideal.
Nous allons ensuite au camp de refugies de Aida. Les journalistes ne pourront se tenir que sur un minuscule balcon et l'escalier. Le meilleur endroit doit être le coin du balcon.
Nous avons finalement décider que je vais aller à la tombe de Rachel pour essayer de prendre des photos du Pape et le Mur (il devrait changer de voiture là-bas) et Ghassan se rendra à 6 heures du matin à la place de la nativite pour assurer une place sur le toit.
Le principal objectif de la journée: prendre une photo du Pape avec le Mur!

Journée de la visite du Pape.

5 h. Réveil. Prepare tout le matériel pour la journée, y compris: creme solaire, un livre, quelque chose à écrire, chargeur de batterie, banane, eau. Je sais que cela va être un tres longue journée.

6 h. En route pour Nissan hall, où tous les journalistes ont été invités à prendre des bus pour les different lieux de la visite. Les autobus doivent partir à 6h30. Beaucoup de soldats dans les rues vides. Belle lumière du matin. Je dois me lever tôt plus souvent!
6h10. A Nissan, ohhhh déjà trop de monde .. j'aurais dû venir plus tôt. Je dois mettre tous mes sacs sur le sol de sorte pour qu'ils soient sentis par un chien. Et puis nous devons passer par une porte métallique devant laquelle il y a deja une grande file d'attente.
6h20. Ghassan arrive ... me dit qu'il était impossible d'aller à la place sans arriver par le bus des journalistes.
6.30.Passe par le détecteur de métal. Est ce qu'il faut s' inscrire pour les bus? Apparemment pas.
6.35. On se dirige tous vers les bus. Je demande à un responsable où est le bus pour la tombe de rachels. Déjà parti. Je vais donc aller sur le toit de l'immeuble. Je suis une des premières à entrer dans le bus. Ghassan décide d'aller lui au palais présidentiel.
6.40. Le bus nous laisse à proximité de la place. Tous les photographes et cameramen se precipitent. Aux barrieres, la police nous dit que ce n'est pas possible d'entrer et que nous devons venir avec le bus des journalistes. Ils nous croient comme nous sommes une centaine a arriver en meme temps.
7 heures. Je suis sur le toit. Une des premieres à arriver. Je dis bonjour a Iyad, et lui demande si je peux rester ici. Il me reponds: “vous avez la place". Le toit est censé être seulement pour les grandes agences alors j'essaye de me faire petite et je reste en place ( j'ai seulement trois heures à attendre!). La place comme le toit se remplissent. Coup de téléphone de Ghassan: rien ne se passe au palais présidentiel, il va donc venir me rejoindre,
7.30. Ghassan arrive. Iyad veut lui parler. Nous sommes chassés du toit, parce qu'il veut de l'argent. C'est le business.
7.40. Sur la place de la nativite. Comme Ghassan connait quelques photographes sur le podium ils acceptent de nous faire un peu de place. Mais petite comme je suis, et sans un petit escabeau, il sera impossible d'obtenir des clichés. Je decide de prendre alors possession de l'arbre a cote du podium. Je vais être un singe photographe aujourd'hui.
8.30. Mon sac etant pose dans l'arbre pour le reserver, je peux aller me promener autour de la place et il est grand temps d'un café. La place est maintenant bondée.
9.10 Retour sur le toit de l'immeuble pour prendre une photo generale de la place de toute façon
9.15 Retour à l'arbre. Nir un photographe israelien que je connais va me preter de temps à son objectif 300 mm. Les pèlerins commencent à nous envahir en entrant a l'arrière et en se mélangeant avec les journalistes.
9.20. Le Pape arrive avec sa célèbre Pape-mobile. Tout le monde se lève alors je ne peux avoir des bonnes photos. Il disparait rapidement dans le centre de la paix. Tout le monde crie comme s'il etait une sorte de rock star,
9.30.Change ma position sur le podium parce que j'ai réussi à obtenir quelques centimetres carres dans la première rangée. Meme si j'ai un peu la tete dans des branches, c'est une tres bonne position.
9.32. Le Pape revient sur scène et salue la foule en delire.
9,35 Ave Maria. L'orchestre et le chœur sont plutot pas mal.
9.36. Il fait sacrement chaud, heureusement que j'ai recupere une belle casquette du vatican.
10.30 Le Pape fait son discours. Il commence par l'expression de la solidarité avec les pelerins de Gaza, ce qui est bon. Ensuite, je ne comprends pas grand chose.
11.30. Je profite de la communion au cours de laquelle les gens se déplacent pour se rapprocher de la scène. J'arrive à environ 20 mètres. Un gars crie sur le Pape pendant 10mn mais je ne peux pas vraiment entendre ce qu'il dit.
11.34. Quand le Pape quitte la scène, j'arrive encore a me faufiler et j'arrive a prendre une photo a près de 1 mètre, dans la bousculade.
11.40. Le Pape quitte à nouveau le centre de la paix et se dirige vers l'église de la Nativité. Je le suis poussée sans cesse par ses gardes du corps, en costume et avec les lunettes de soleil mais je pense que j'ai réussi à obtenir d'autres photos de très près.
12.20. Je cours a la maison pour envoyer les photos a une agence photo. Certains pelerins sont encore sur la place et dansent, en se tenant la main, comme ils etaient sous drogue.
12.45 Envoi d'une sélection de photos, mes yeux me brulent atrocement a cause de la crème solaire.
1.10. Je cours au centre de presse pour prendre le bus pour le camp de réfugiés de Aida. Un déjeuner a ete prepare pour les journalistes. Je m'installe et discuste avec une journaliste suisse, qui me dit combien les Palestiniens sont plus accueillants que les Israeliens. A Jérusalem, ils n'ont pas eu droit au déjeuner. Je dois garder mes lunettes de soleil parce que mes yeux sont vraiment mal.
2 heures. Je marche très vite pour aller prendre le bus à Aida, et avec Ghassan nous sommes les premiers dans le bus.
2.35. En attente devant la porte de l'école. Un membre des forces spéciales palestiniennes nous crie dessuspour que nous nous mettions en ligne.
2.50. Je suis une des premieres à entrer dans l'école de Aida, à nouveau nos sacs doivent être vérifiés.
3 heures. Je prends une très bonne position sur le balcon.
3. 02 Le responsable palestinien des relations publiques m'informe que cet emplacement est reservé pour les médias du Vatican et que je dois bouger.
3.05 Je me déplace au coin du balcon occupe par un des cameramen de Maan que je connais. Je lui demande s'il peut me faire une petite place. Je dois me mettre a genoux et des barbeles sont au-dessus de ma tete mais j'ai une excellent vue sur le podium, avec le Mur et la tour militaire en arriere-plan. C'est parfait.
3.20. Le balcon est de plus en plus bondé. Il fait très chaud et la musique est trop forte.
3.45. J'ai accès au discours du pape. Les journalistes ont pu se le procurer à l'avance. Il dira qule Mur est tragique, et qu'il vient ici pour faire preuve de solidarité avec les réfugiés palestiniens. C'est pas mal mais on a l'impression que c'est la situation qui a conduit a la construction du Mur, pas a cause des Israeliens.
4.25. Mes cheveux sont coince dans les barbeles.
4.30 Les musulmans commencent la prière, ce serait un bon moment pour l'arrivée du Pape.
4.40 Abu Mazen arrive mais tout le monde s'en fiche.
4.45 Il Babaaaaa (le pape). Zut j'ai loupe la photo de la pape- mobile.
Tout le monde est installe sur scène. La série des discours et des représentations commencent.
5.15 Pourquoi sont-elles en train de crier? (deux filles, en récitant un poème)
5.16 Mon indicateur de batterie clignote. Ok je vais couper Mhmoud Abbas et me reserver pour le discours du Pape.
6 heures.Le Pape parle. Pourquoi il ne leve jamais la tete de ses notes?
6.10. Le Pape reçoit des cadeaux, et je ne peux plus sentir mes jambes.
6.30 Temps de rentrer à la maison. Je suis épuisée.
7pm Enfin à la maison! Mais il reste encore à envoyer les photos.

Monday, May 11, 2009

pape-mania in Bethlehem

(c) Anne Paq/, Bethlehem, 11.05.2009

Preparations in Aida refugee camp and at the gate of Rachel's tomb for the Pope's visit.
Preparatifs dans le Camp de Aida et a la porte de la tombe de Rachel pour l'arrivee du Pape

Bethlehem prepares for the Pope's visit. The new facilities are everywhere. Even the Wall was painted near the door of Rachel's tomb. The big fuss here will be primarily the Pope's visit in the refugee camp of Aida. The camp where I worked for over a year.
For several weeks, tensions rose between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities.
In short, the Israelis do not want the Pope to stand next to the Wall of shame, and that the world sees that the Wall is of eight meters high and stands only a few meters of the homes of refugees, far from the Green Line.
The Israelis therefore put many pressures under the usual excuses of security reasons. But a Palestinian said "but if the Israelis are so much ashamed of the Wall, they should just remove it!” It seems that the Palestinians at the end agreed that the Pope will talk in the UNRWA school instead, but I went today and they continue to build a stage next to the Wall. It is possible that the Pope begins there and then finish in the girls' school of UNRWA.
The refugees are waiting for strong words of support from the Pope for their cause and a clear condemnation of the Wall. It should be reminded, and I do hope the journalists will, that Palestinian refugees represent the largest group of refugees in the world, and that Israel refuses to even start to discuss their fate, not to even mention recognizing any responsibility.

Bethlehem will be under siege and I must say that I am curious enough to participate in this great journalistic circus. Some 800 journalists are announced! But where will they stand? I managed to get a press pass, and we were asked to come at 5 am at the Church of the Nativity, while the Pope is going to be there at 10 hours! The day will be long and very chaotic.

A Palestinian told me: "After the last visit of the pope, we had the intifada.". Hope this is not a bad omen. Meanwhile, Palestinians sweep in front of the Wall and want to show the world that they are worthy of all the popes. But the Pope himself will he be worthy of the situation? Should it not be among the poor and those who suffer the most and be in Gaza?

Bethleem se prepare a la visite du Pape. Les amenagements se font partout. Le Mur a ete peint pres de la porte de Rachel, les chaussees sont regoudronnees. L'evenement est surtout la visite du Pape dans le camp de refugies de Aida. Ce camp dans lequel j'ai travaille pendant plus d'un an.
Depuis plusieurs semaines un bras de fer a eu lieu entre les autorites israeliennes et palestiniennes.
Pour faire court, les Israeliens ne veulent pas que le Pape se tienne devant le Mur de la honte, et que le monde entier voit que ce Mur haut de huit metres se tient a quelques metres seulement des maisons des refugies, bien loin de la Ligne verte,
Les Israeliens ont donc exerce de nombreuses pressions en emettant bien sur des raisons de securite. Mais comme l'a declare un Palestinien: “mais s'ils ont tant honte de ce Mur, qu'ils l'enlevent!”. Il semble que les Palestiniens aient cede, mais je suis passee aujourd'hui et ils continuent a construire la scene pres du Mur. Il est possible que le Pape commence sur la scene et ensuite finisse dans l'ecole des filles de l'UNRWA ou des personnes du camp ont ete conviees.
Les refugies attendent des mots de soutien du Pape pour leur cause et une condamnation claire du Mur. Rappelons au passage qu'ils representent le plus grand groupe de refugies au monde, et que Israel refuse meme de commencer a discuster de leur sort, et encore moins bien sur de reconnaitre aucune responsabilite.

Bethleem va etre prise d'assault et je dois dire que suis assez curieuse de participer a ce grand cirque journalistique. Quelques 800 journalistes sont annonces! Mais ou vont-ils se mettre? J'ai reussi a obtenir un pass de presse, et on nous a demande de venir a 5 heures du matin a l'Eglise de la nativite alors que le Pape va y etre a 10 heures! La journee va etre longue, et tres chaotique.
Esperons que cela ne soit pas d'un mauvais augure. Un Palestinien m'a aussi dit: “Apres la visite du dernier pape, nous avons eu l'Intifada.”. En attendant, les Palestiniens balayent devant le Mur, et veulent montrer au monde qu'ils sont bien dignes de tous les papes. Mais le Pape lui va-t-il etre digne de la situation? Ne devrait-il pas etre aupres des plus demunis, et de ceux qui souffrent le plus et etre a Gaza?

Friday, May 08, 2009

Construction of a Palestinian "outpost" next to the settlers outpost in Hebron / Construction d'un "avant-poste" palestinien de protestation

(c) Anne Paq/Activestills.orh, Hebron, 08.05.2009.

Today there was a very brave and bold action in Hebron. A group of Palestinians, Israelis and internationals built in a few minutes a shack on the lands of the Jabari family in protest of the illegal building of settlements, just next to a new settlers' outpost located close to the settlement of Kyriat Arba on 8.05.2009. The settlers tried to destroy the shack and even attempted put it on fire but they did not manage. They also repeatedly attacked and provoked the group. I was myself kicked above the knee.
The Israeli soldiers and police arrived at the scene and violently pushed the group away while the settlers were allowed to stay. 8 Israelis, 2 Palestinians were detained.

see the video:

and the article:
outh protest against consrtuction of illegal Israeli outpost; settlers throw burning rags at internationals
Date: 08 / 05 / 2009 Time: 14:12
تكبير الخط تصغير الخط
Photos courtesy of
Youth Against Settlements [Ma'anImages]
Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli soldiers detained five Israeli citizens working as peace activists protesting the establishment of an on illegal settlement east of Hebron in the West Bank.

The Israeli activists, along with a dozen international activists and Palestinians were demonstrating near the land of Issa Jaber in the Al-Buwaira area of Hebron.
Protesters built small booth, mirroring a hut constructed on the land last month by Israeli settlers on Palestinian-owned land. According to the group Youth Against Settlements, the settlers are trying to impose a “de facto” situation on the land and create an illegal settler outpost on the area and effectively annex the land.

According to the youth, Israeli soldiers arrived shortly after 10am, when the hut was built. The soldiers took positions around the settlers, who were pelting the protest hut with stones, heavy tools and gas-soaked rags set aflame. The whole incident, said the youth group was “under the leadership of their fundamentalist leader Baroukh Marzel.”

Israeli soldiers told activists they were no longer permitted to use the land and launched sound bombs at the tent. Troops arrested the Israeli activists, under a legal dictate that prohibits Israeli citizens from entering areas of the West Bank under Palestinian Authority control.

In addition to the five Israelis, and three international activists, local resident Wael Azaatari, was also arrested. The rest of the protesters were forcibly removed from the area.

Aujourd'hui, une action tres courageuse et temeraire s'est deroulee à Hébron, pres de la colonie de Kyriat Arba. Un groupe de Palestiniens, Israéliens et internationaux a construit en quelques minutes une construction sur les terres de la famille dans Jabari juste à côté d'un des nouveaux avant-poste construit par les clons il y a quelques semaines. Les colons ont bien entendu essayé de détruire la cabane et même tenté d' mettre le feu mais ils n'ont pas reussi. Ils ont également attaqué à maintes reprise le groupe et ont multiplie les provocation. J'ai moi-même reçu un coup de pied au-dessus du genou.
Les soldats israéliens et la police sont arrivés sur les lieux et ont poussé violemment le groupe tandis que les colons ont été autorisés à rester. 8 Israéliens, 2 Palestiniens ont été arrêtés.

Construction of a Palestinian "outpost" next to the settlers outpost in Hebron / Construction d'un "avant-poste" palestinien de protestation

(c) Anne Paq/, Hebron, 08.05.2009

Sunday, May 03, 2009

demo against the Wall in Al Masara / Manif contre le Mur a Al Masara, 01.05.2009

(c) Anne Paq/, Al Masara, 01.05.2009.

uman Rights Report No. 403

Human Rights Summary: Six arrested during non-violent demonstration against the wall in Al-Ma'sara.

Dates of incidents: 1st May 2009

Place: Al-Ma'sara, Bethlehem

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved. However, we will do our best to furnish you with the information you may require, on request.

Description of Incidents:

Around 50 Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals gathered in al-Ma'sara in a solidarity event to demonstrate against the construction of the Apartheid wall. The demonstration was organized by the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions of the Bethlehem District together with the Popular Committee Against the Wall, in order to mark the International Workers Day.

When the demonstrators arrived, they found around twenty soldiers and five police officers who had placed razor wire in the street in order to deter the demonstration from reaching the site of the apartheid wall. The demonstrators chanted slogans against the wall and the occupation. Then Palestinians attempted to surpass the razor wire and continue the non-violent demonstration further. The soldiers immediately arrested 6 people including an Israeli and an International. Tear gas and sound bombs were then thrown into the demonstrators which resulted in five people needing medical assistance.

The village of Al-Ma'sara has already lost 30% of its land and if the plans to build the wall proceed it will lose another 30%. The land is the major source of employment and income for many families and further annexation of land will also mean an increase in unemployment and destitution. The next planned activity will be tree planting in Artas which will take place next Friday 8th April 2009. For further information please call 0598 305 810.

Report written by: Maria

Date report written on: 1st May 2009

Six personnes (4 Palestiniens, un anglais et un israelien) ont ete arretes lors de la manifestation hebdomadaire au village de al masara, au sud de Bethleem. La manifestation etait dediee aux travailleurs. Quand les manifestants ont avance, marchant avec determination sur le fil barbele que l'armee israelienne avait mis au travers de la route, les soldats ont violemment attaque les manifestants, ont arrete des personnes et ont lance sur la foule des grenades lacrimogenes et des bombes assourdissante. Un des organisateurs de la manifestation, et le maire du village, Mahmoud est revenu pour demander la liberation des palestiniens. Les soldats lui ont saute dessus et l'ont arrete egalement.