Activists Demonstrate in Hebron against AIPAC Conference

Ma'an News MARCH 26, 2017 10:57 P.M. (UPDATED: MARCH 27, 2017 11:42 A.M.)

HEBRON (Ma’an) -- The National Campaign to Lift the Closure of Hebron organized a protest in the southern occupied West Bank city on Sunday to denounce the policies of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), as the lobby held its annual policy conference in the United States.Protesters held Palestinian flags and signs calling for the dismantlement of AIPAC and condemning its activities in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, while Israeli forces stationed in the area fired sound bombs towards the demonstrators.  Read more..

Human Rights Defenders in Palestine posts video on demonstration against AIPAC Conference view

Marwan Barghouti Speaks for Palestinian Prisoner Strikers, published in New York Times, April 16, 2017

Arrested Four Activists Anan Dana, Badee Dweik, Younes Arar and Ishaq Al-Khteeb.​

From Badee Dweik, Human Rights Defender:

March 30, 2017, marked the 41st anniversary of Land Day, a symbolic reminder of the countless human rights violations, land confiscation and settlement expansion that have been ongoing against Palestinians for several decades.  Watch video 

 This past Thursday’s events were nothing short of this. In commemoration of Land Day, activists gathered to participate in a non-violent direct action in planting olive trees in Wadi al-Hussein, a valley east of Hebron that connects the KiryatArba settlement with the Israeli-controlled H2 area of Hebron. Four leading Palestinian human rights activists were arrested and detained: YounesArar, director of The Palestinian Commission Against The Wall (PCAW); BadeeDwaik, co-founder of the Human Rights Defenders (HRD); Anan Daana of the Hebron Defense Committee (HDC); and activist, Ishaq al-Khateeb. Each of the activists is alsoa participant of the “Dismantle the Ghetto” campaign, a national campaigndemanding to lift the closure of Hebron and the right of movement.

 The afternoon of March 30,Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) soldiers confronted the nearly fifty activists and attempted to disassemble the gathering, commandingthem to get off the street. As the human rights activists were leaving, settlers blocked the way and uttered numerous insults and threats at them. One settler repeatedly threatened BadeeDwaik by saying, “Your days are coming soon that you will be underground.”

 As the Palestinian activists were standing on a hillside, which overlooked the street, the IOF soldiers stopped YounesArar as he was peacefully walking away. After repeatedly telling the IOF soldiers that he had done nothing wrong, the soldiers handcuffed Arar and walked him back down the hill.BadeeDwaik was walking behind the IOF soldiers that were accompanying Arar, while holding a “Dismantle the Ghetto” campaign sign and chanting. Immediately, the IOF soldiers aggressively slammed Dwaik, Arar, and al-Khateeb to the ground and handcuffed them. Anan Daanawas peacefully standing off of the street and was also handcuffed by the IOF soldiers.Zionist settlers continued to taunt the four Palestinian human rights activists even as they were being hauled off to the IOF vehicle.

The activists were taken to the Israeli police station in Hebron where they were interrogated for three hours, accused and charged with(1) participating in an illegal demonstration, (2) being in a closed military zone, (3) blocking the street, (4) refusal to obey the orders of the soldiers, (5) resisting arrest, and (6) disturbing the peace of the area. The activists were told to sign a document (written only in Hebrew) that they agree and comply with the charges held against them. All four activists refused to sign this specific document. They were detained at the police station for a total of seven hours. Afterwards, all four activists were sent to the KiryatArba military detention center for medical testing.

After medical testing, YounesArar and Ishaq al-Khateeb were taken to theEtzion military detention jail, north of Hebron. Due to health issues and after the refusal of the IOF and Israeli police to provide medical care to BadeeDwaik and Anan Daana, they were sent to a hospital in Jerusalem. After given medical treatment, Anan Daana and BadeeDwaik were sent to the Etzion military detention center. After a spending a few hours there, they were then moved to Ofer military detention jail near Ramallah.

Upon entrance to the military detention camp, the activists were forced to take their clothing off, including their undergarments. According to BadeaDwaik who has been arrested numerous times in the past for participating in non-violent resistance actions, this was the first time that the IOF soldiers had commanded him to strip down completely naked. Dwaik refused to have his clothes and his dignity stripped from him. He stated, “The soldiers make you take all your clothes off, stand faced towards a wall with legs spread, and jump many times. They were verbally abusing us to try to break us down psychologically.” Dwaik continued to describe the horrible and inhumaneconditions of the detention center, “The rooms were dirty. There were no mattresses provided. We had to sleep on a metal frame. Also, we were given the leftover food of the soldiers to eat, and denied our medications.”

 The police refused to release the activists until their hearing on Sunday, April 2, 2017.

 On Sunday, April 2, 2017, the four human rights activists were brought for a hearing at the Israeli military court in Ofer Military Base, west of Ramallah.A representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR), James Heenan, and a few journalists, attended the hearing.

 According to Dwaik, their defense attorney asked the military prosecutor if the activists hurt anyone. The prosecutor’s response was a request for a five-day extension to investigate the activists further. The prosecutor had a thick file folder in hand and said that they had a “secret file” against them. The judge extended the hearing twenty-four hours. The hearing reconvened on Monday, April 3, 2017, where they were subjected to release on bail for 3,500 shekels, or $1,000 US dollars, each. Family, friends, and activists donated money for the release of all four activists on that same day.

Although, the four human rights activists have been released, the allegations against them have not been dropped. They are still being investigated and are awaiting trial, which has not yet been scheduled.

 The Human Rights Defenders (HRD), The Palestinian Commission Against The Wall (PCAW), and the Hebron Defense Committee (HDC), call for the support of the local and global community to continue to fight for the charges to be dropped against the four activists.   

From Mondeweiss:

#AlKhalil4: Israel arrests four Palestinian leaders for planting olive trees during Land Day commemoration  ​by Sheren Khalel on April 4, 2017

Four Palestinian leaders and activists from Hebron were held in Israeli prison for five days over the weekend, their crime — planting olive trees on private Palestinian land at risk of being confiscated by the Israeli government.

Around 50 activists gathered for the commemoration of Land Day last Thursday to plant olive trees on Palestinian land near the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba in Hebron. The tree planting was a symbolic form of non-violent resistance to commemorate Land Day, a day in 1976, when the Israeli government annexed 20,000 dunams (5,000 acres) of land, killed 6 Palestinians and wounded around 100 protesters.  Read more...

Support for Palestinian Prisoners Strike

Contact your ambassador to Israel:  Go to Call to Action for contact information.

Badee Dwaik, one of the jailed activist, tells his experience in prison.  Video shows treatment of Palestinians when arrested.  

Video of Hebron March of Anger for the Prisoners Day in Hebron

Press Release of International Commission to Support Palestinian People's  Rights in English about the arrest of the #alKhalil4

The International Commission to Support the Palestinian Rights (ICSPR) Condemn the arrest of four human rights defenders.

The International Commission to Support the Palestinian Rights (ICSPR) condemns in the strongest terms the arrest of four Palestinian human rights defenders during their participation in a non-violent activity, planting olive trees in lands endangered with confiscation in the vicinity of Kiryat Arba settlement east of Hebron, on the occasion of the 41st anniversary of the Land Day. Read more

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