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Hebrew University
[Hebrew University] Amiel Vardi and Amos Goldberg were arrested by Israeli police for entering closed military zone

Amiel Vardi, Classics, Hebrew Univerisity http://pluto.huji.ac.il/~donna/classics_doc_rtf.html

Amos Goldberg, The Institute of Contemporary Jewry http://icj.huji.ac.il/Amos%20Goldberg.asp

 

 The article below is taken from a Palestinian website:

http://www.eappi.org/en/news-events/ea-reports/r/article/4566/piece-by-piece-the-land-i.html

11.05.09 10:06

Piece by piece the land is being stolen

By: Simphiwe Pato, EA in Hebron

 

Earlier this week we learnt about an illegal outpost that had been erected approximately one and a half months ago in the Al-Buera area on a portion of the Jaber family's land and within 200 metres of their house. The Kharsina settlement is the closest Israeli settlement to the Jaber family's land and is a "neighbourhood" of the Kiryat Arba settlement which was built in Hebron in 1968 following Israel's occupation of the West Bank in 1967, and is today occupied by 7000–7500 settlers. The settlers from Kharsina have been reported to have continuously threatened the Jaber family with violent attacks and provocation, particularly the settler youths. This Palestinian family has owned this land for generations and the concern expressed by the members of the organisations who planned today's protest, is that the illegal outpost could be the first step in settlers and the state claiming more and eventually all of the Jaber family's land in time to come.

 

Today's protest action drew approximately 30 internationals and Palestinians as well as a television crew from Al-Jazeera. I spoke to the organisers of the protest before getting involved and they explained to me that the purpose of the action is twofold and that it was firstly to document the illegal occupation of the Jaber family's land by the settlers, and secondly to document the on-going bias displayed by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) in favour of these illegal occupants of the Jaber family's land.

 

We arrived at the Jaber family's house on Friday morning at 10:15am. While the Jaber family looked on from their balcony, the group consisting of members from the ISM, Youth against Settlements, Ta'ayush and Sons of Abraham prepared to hike to the top of the hill behind the Jaber family's house where the illegal outpost had been built a month and a half earlier. The protestors were accompanied by Issa Jaber who is the father of the family and with his permission and presence they planned to erect a structure of their own along side the one built by the settlers. As I found out later this was crucial in providing evidence of the biased actions of the IDF and local Police who continue to protect the settlers who built and occupy this outpost, by removing any Palestinians including members of the Jaber family from the site each time they attempt to go near it and allowing the settlers to remain there. The IDF and the Police do this under the guise that the area is a "closed military zone" and therefore prohibits anyone who isn't of a Military or Police designation from being in that area at all times apart from the "residents" of that particular area, who in this case the IDF and Police consider to be the settlers. However the term "residents" in this context is being used very loosely as these so called residents are actually illegal occupants of the land that legally belongs to the Jaber family, thus the actions of the Police and IDF in protecting these illegal occupants is biased and unjust.

 

The protest was very well organised and the group gathered quickly on the hilltop to set about erecting the new structure. There was a group of 10 to 15 settlers already on the hill top at the outpost by the time the protest group arrived and a number of settler youths were amongst them. These younger settlers immediately began to interfere with the protest group's action and positioned themselves between members of the protest group to prevent them from erecting the new structure. Some of the older settlers had cameras with them and began filming the action whilst I saw others making phone calls which were most likely to the Police who arrived on the hill top at 11:30am.

 

The organisations involved in this protest subscribe to non-violent resistence and did indeed conduct their actions in a manner of non-violence. This principle was really tested by the settlers who began to physically engage the protest group. Settlers were recorded spitting on the group, pushing members of the group and even punching an ISM member. The violence broke out after four IDF soldiers had arrived on the scene and the soldiers tried to manoeuvre themselves between the two groups but did little to actually prevent the settlers from striking members of the protest group. Whilst this happened, other members of the protest group continued the construction of the wooden structure and successfully completed it before placing a Palestinian flag on its roof. Shortly after the structure was finished a settler man threw a burning piece of wood onto the roof of the structure in an attempt to damage it and a Palestinian male quickly climbed onto the roof to remove it and threw it to safety.  

 

The Police and more soldiers arrived at 11:30am and the soldiers were quickly ordered to seal off all possible exits from the hill top immediately, giving me the impression that arrests were about to be made. I wasn't too far off as what happened next was that the IDF declared that the area was a "closed military zone," and began to push (physically and through verbal orders) the protest group back down the hill towards the Jaber house through one bottlenecked exit between overgrown bushes and trees. A sound bomb was launched over the group probably in an attempt to hasten the retreat and the group responded as such. 

 

There were six members of the Israeli anti-occupation organisations, Ta'ayush and Sons of Abraham, who refused to retreat with the group and remained at the outpost site in the "closed military zone," and the Police responded by arresting the six Israelis. These six were Yehuda Agos (Ta'ayush), Amos Goldmen (Sons of Abraham), Miriam (Ta'ayush), Dorit Gadmen (Ta'ayush), Omar Sheri (Ta'ayush) & Amiel Vardi (Ta'ayush). A Palestinian man, Wael Al-Zater, was also briefly detained for unknown reasons but was released within the hour. At the time this article was written it was uncertain whether the six Israelis were charged or had been released.

 

Concern has been expressed about the safety of the Jaber family living so close to violent settlers and with increasing anti-settlement activity which is viewed as 'leftist provocation' by the settlers. The Hebron EAPPI team will be visiting the family in the coming week to follow up.

 

 

 

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