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Another small victory against sharon

pete brackenridge | 05.05.2002 22:42

Just as our group have been let loose in
Ramallah, 10 of our activists from ISM and a
journalist from the LA Times, entered the
nativity church in Bethlehem, laden with bags
of food for the starving people inside.

Just as our group have been let loose in
Ramallah, 10 of our activists from ISM and a
journalist from the LA Times, entered the
nativity church in Bethlehem, laden with bags
of food for the starving people inside. 11
others, including one of our chief coordinators
were arrested. Reports we have had are that
the men are in prison, and the women, about 5
were detained. They were shackled hand to
foot, and had all their money, mobile phones,
and other materials confiscated. Then, at 2
am they began dropping the women off
around Nablus,on their own, without money or
phones, the first they dropped off was a
Swedish girl. Our coordinator saw what they
were doing and protested. She was then hit
across the face. She then coordinated, prior
to the remaining being released in various
locations, a place to meet later on.
Unfortunately for the Swedish woman, it was
too late to receive this information, and noone
has heard from her since. They were told to
meet with the Isrealis the next day, to see
what they would do with them, but I have
heard nothing since.
The direct action on the church was an
amazing victory. We had tried when I was in
Bethlehem without success, and these people
are very hungry and some unwell. The night
before 2 activists on a march to the church
were shot dead by the Israeli army. Two more
have apparently been killed inside the church
by snipers. Sharon is very very angry, as he
was when we had entered Maqataa. The latter
action he was so angry he set up a committee
to find out how we managed to get in! and
head rolled, and reactive retaliatory behaviour
was carried out.
I have revisited the compound several times,
the last joining a demonstration against
occupation. President Arafat appeared giving
the victory sign, resistance songs sung, and I
was able to see friends, soldiers, who are still
protecting the compound. One cannot trust
the Israelis, and a surprise attack could
happen at any time. Leaving there with a
friend, a Palestinian writer and activist, we
passed a demolished car on the way in to
central Ramallah. “There is my car, look”. He
looked on, upset yet laughing. This is the way,
so much tragedy here, yet the spirit of the
people remains strong, and that cannot be
broken. The Israelis are continuing their
pointless carnage, going into Nablus again
today and killing a Palestinian policeman, and
unsure what else. They are not a good army,
but good at mass destruction and the killing of
many civilians along the way, more thugs and
juvenile delinquents than soldiers. They are no
match for the Palestinian soldiers, who have
few weapons in comparison, no planes, no
tanks, no bulldozers, no helicopters. Just a
gun. The resistance to occupation will never
end and neither should it, until the Isrealis
grant the Palestinians a viable state. Not one
like in the Camp David agreement, which was
just pockets of state surrounded by Israeli
land. That can never be accepted and never
should have been by Arafat, and has never
been by the Palestinian people, but Arafat has
had to give up so much to end up with so little.
The only viable state is based on resolution
pre 1967 borders, and until the Israelis agree
to this there will be no peace. How can Sharon
want peace when he, even today, is
confiscated land and houses, the most recent
was in occupied East Jerusalem 2 days ago,
confiscating houses, forcibly removing the
Palestinian residents.
I have Israeli friends in Tel Aviv, who are
active as they can be in the peace movement.
Speaking with them a few days ago, on my
last night in Moqataa, they told me how hard it
is to get any information from Palestine, and
how hard it is in Isreal for activists. They were
very supportive of my actions, and have asked
me to stay with them, and also one of my
friends’ parents in Jerusalem, saying how
happy they would be to have me as a guest in
their home. Her father was a conscientious
objector, refusing to go the army , was
inprsisoned for a few months. During this
crisis there have been around 400 Israelis
who have refused to serve the army, and one
helicoptor pilot in Jenin refused to shell
housing as he knew it was full of civilians. He
is now in prison. Isrealis have risked their
lives to bring aid to Jenin. Do you ever hear
about these people in your media? To anyone
reading this from the jewish faith and blind
support for Sharon , I ask you, do you know
any of these people, or do you believe that
Isrealis are all behind the fascist Sharon. And
he is a fascist, wanting to destroy another
race, to take their land, to loot their homes
and destroy their property, kill their people,
destroy there government, ministries, banks
(and loot them), universities, and, without
charges, round up thousands of young men
and place them in a concentration camp in the
Negev desert, with little to eat, in appalling
conditions, including snakes and scorpions.
My Isreali friend who was in Moqattaa with me
said she had a friend there, he was held
without charge for 18 months, and came out
emaciated. Does any of this sound familiar? Is
this not fascism? How can you compare the
tens of lives lost in Israel by suicide bombing
by the desperate attempts of those who have
so much to greive and have lost so much, to
the thousands of lives lost, thousands
wounded, and thousands locked away without
charges in Palestine. How do you call one
‘terrorists’ and the other, well whatever you
want to call them . I call them fascists, and it
is time everyone, including jews, especially
jews, looked at who they were supporting,
and what are you if you do.
I am going underground, to avoid arrest, to
avoid being beaten and shackled, denied food
and water and a lawyer and diplomatic
assistance in an Israeli gaol for commiting no
crime. Oh yes, under Israeli law I have,
entering a closed military zone, one by an
army on foreign soil who has no right to be
there. I need to avoid that, and hope, when I do
reach (enshallah) Ben Gorion airport in Tel
Aviv to leave, that I am only interrogated for a
few hours by the secret police,and then
deported and not dragged off to Ramla prison
and denied by rights under international law.
And how privileged I will be to go home to a
safe and normal life, and not incarcerated
indefinitely. I urge anyone who wants to help
fight the occupation to do so on any level they
can, even if it is donating money, to the many
NGO’s who are working hard to change
things. Few else are helping on a government
level, so it is up to us. Anyone willing to donate
their time can come here and help, this
struggle is far from over, and I especially
invite anyone who doesn’t believe me to come
and see for themselves. Then, I promise you,
you will know the truth.
Last night we were congratulated by the
French consulate for our actions, and also by
the head of the NGO’s in Palestine, and that
our actions had prevented a bloodbath in
Moqataa, and also the assination of a
President. A small step for the Palestinian
cause, and a symbolic victory for its people.
The nativity church action was another. We
were also told how important grassroots
peace activism is, and the need to inform the
world what they are not seeing and hearing
about, the continued human rights abuses,
and destruction of a people. I visited by
wounded Palestinian friend today in hospital,
who I had been trying to help in Moqataa, and
he is doing well now reveiving the treatment
he has been denied by the Israeli regime. His
suffering, yet determination is a symbol of
strength in spirit of a people who, if enough
help them internationally, can live in peace.
But time is running out. The Palestinians do
not have time as more and more land and
property is either destroyed or confiscated by
the occupying army. Soon, there will be
nothing left for the rightful owners of this land.
Let us hope that the International community
can act and control Sharon and his friends,
before it is too late.
Finally I would like to thank everyone,
especially the Fran, Frank, Dan and the rest of
the Byron Bay chapter who have helped in the
struggle and given me so much support.. You
are all loved and thanked by the Palestinian
people and myself, they really do appreciate
what you are all doing to help them.

pete brackenridge
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