Report from Palestine: 10/28/00

Gary gary at
Mon Oct 30 06:51:25 MST 2000

International Action Center Palestine Journal, Saturday, Oct 28, 2000


[The following is a report from a four-person delegation from the
International Action Center from their humanitarian and fact-finding
mission to Palestine during what is being called the Al Aqsa Intifada,
or uprising. The delegation aims to bring back a first-hand report
documenting the repression inflicted by the Israeli army and to bring
medical supplies for Palestinian hospitals, which have been declared a
state of medical emergency. The Emergency is caused by the dual
problem of the heavy casualties inflicted by the Israeli repression and
the inability of sick and wounded people to pass through Israeli
checkpoints on their way to the hospital.]

On Saturday, Oct 28, 2000, the International Action Center delegation
landed in Tel Aviv and after a delay by security forces at the airport,
finally arrived in East Jerusalem.

Just today two more Palestinians died in hospitals, raising the official
total to at least 137, all but eight of them Palestinians. At four funerals
there were further clashes with Israeli police and troops, who fired on
and wounded hundreds of people. There are reports four more people
were killed.

The night before, Israeli officials claim there was firing from a
Palestinian village of Beit Jala on the settlement of Gilo on the
outskirts of Jerusalem. The Israelis fired rockets from helicopters and
shells from tanks into the Arab village.

There was more shelling tonight near East Jerusalem, apparently from
Gilo, and reports of more shelling in Bethlehem. It is no wonder that
these repeated attacks from the Israeli occupation forces have aroused
a struggle that seems unquenchable.

Ali Jeddah, a long time activist and many years a political prisoner,
described to the IAC delegation the resistance mood of all levels of
Palestinian society. "The young people especially," he said, "are in a
mood for struggle and defense of their people that cannot be quelled.
All day they seem to practice with slingshots. Then after the funerals
they head to the checkpoints, armed only with their rocks."

The delegation also interviewed Sergio Yahni, director of the Alternative
Information Center, which helped establish Ambulances for Human
Rights, a project organized by both  Palestinians and anti-Zionist
Israelis to come to the defense of Palestinians under mob attack in
Jerusalem. They have sent mobile car units to try to go to the
assistance of the Palestinians wounded by Israeli gunfire. This is still a
small but significant effort.

Yahni described the settler mobs that have been attacking, bashing,
and beating isolated Palestinians in Jerusalem along the edges of
Israeli neighborhoods. And this hasn't been limited to these areas
within Jerusalem.

"In the past month," Yahni said, "Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians
in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have increased dramatically."

The larger problem is the growing violence of settler attacks on
Palestinians, which has reached new levels everywhere.


Today is the one-month anniversary of Israeli General Ariel Sharon's
provocative visit to the Dome of the Rock -- Al Aqsa Mosque with more
than a thousand armed Israeli troops.

Sharon's visit was a clear provocation since he was the Israeli military
leader responsible for the slaughter of thousands of Palestinians at the
Sabra and Shatila camps outside Beirut during Israel's 1982 invasion of

But just as clear is the fact that Sharon's "visit" was not an individual
act, since he was accompanied by thousands of Israeli troops and he
was granted official police permission to stage the provocation.
Sharon's invasion of the mosque area known as the Haram Al-Sharif
was the last straw for Palestinians outraged by seven years of
negotiations which have failed to produce a just peace.

Since that visit there has been one month of unprecedented Israeli
violence against Palestinian civilians and Palestinian resistance to this
armed assault.

>From the first steps of the IAC delegation at the airport, Israeli
made the racist character of their state apparent. In the United States,
we have a lot of experience with racial profiling. It is equally blatant

Of the four members of the IAC delegation only the young Palestinian
woman who was born in the United States and holds a U.S. passport
was stopped by security, interrogated, searched and insulted.


It is now the season for harvesting olives. Many Palestinian families
and whole villages are totally dependent on the harvest. It is then
devastating that Israeli settler mobs have attacked Palestinian farmers
in the fields and Israeli military blockades have confiscated the picked

These attacks are part of the continuing effort to drive the Palestinians
living in villages out of the area and clear it for Israeli settlement,
is in violation of the so-called peace process and all the earlier

These settlers have generally acted with impunity, as the Israeli
military and court system historically have been reluctant to arrest, try,
and punish settlers for violence they commit against Palestinian
civilians. As a result, settlers are virtually free to carry out
assault of body and property, and even murder against the Palestinian

Earlier in October settlers from Kfar Oreh, which is near the Palestinian
city of Ramallah, schemed with the settlement's guards to stop
farmers of Um Safa village from picking their olive harvest. Villager
Mousa Mohammed stated in al-Quds daily newspaper on Oct. 20 that
"while dozens of other farmers from the village and I were in our fields,
the settlers came and put their weapons in our faces, calling us to
leave the area, telling us they would shoot us otherwise."

Reports on many of these incidents can be found on the web sites of
the Alternative Information Center, or at the Al
Addameer site at

That these attacks have taken place so frequently shows that they are
not isolated incidents or the actions of individuals, but rather a carefully
organized campaign carried out by the settlers to drive out the
Palestinian farmers.

It is clear from all our discussions that the Israelis have used the past
seven years of peace talks to reinforce access roads and place Israeli
settlements on the West Bank in now heavily fortified hilltops, like the
Gilo settlement.

Now Israeli troops are using the excuse of the uprising to level acres of
land in Gaza and in the West Bank and to reinforce all their military

With a demonstration planned Oct. 29 in Bethlehem, the IAC
delegation is uncertain if it will reach its destination with the medical
equipment, as the Israeli forces threaten to block the roads there.
There are new land confiscations in Bethlehem the excuse is to
reinforce Israeli checkpoints and military presence.

The IAC delegation includes Richard Becker, Sara Flounders, Randa
Jamal and Preston Wood.


To send a donation in support of the delegation, go to or send checks to the International Action
Center (write to "Peoples Rights Fund/Medical Aid").

If you would like to arrange for a speaker from the delegation at your
school or in your community, email iacenter at

International Action Center
39 West 14th Street, Room 206
New York, NY 10011
email: iacenter at
phone: 212 633-6646
fax:   212 633-2889

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