Update from Jaggi Singh in Israel/Palestine (fwd)

Tony Tracy tony at tao.ca
Fri Dec 20 00:50:12 MST 2002


Over the past week, Lou P. posted an article about Jaggi Singh being
detained by the Israeli state upon arrival in that country. Jaggi is
presently free (almost) to travel in Israel but is presently legally
barred from travel to the occupied territories.

In any case, I thought I would forward this article that Jaggi wrote over
the past day...

- Tony Tracy

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jaggi Singh <jaggi at tao.ca>

[Hi again everyone -- Below is an article I just wrote up. I'm working on
a second about the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Spent most of
yesterday interviewing Palestinian and international activists by phone
all over the occupied territories. Just need to find a couple of free
hours in front of a computer to put the article together.

Feel free to re-post the article below (if you're with a publication that
can offer $, I need the money; if you have no $, no worries, this is
copyleft). Just be sure to include all the info at the bottom of the
article. Also, I'd really appreciate it if you can re-format the article
if the margins, apostrophes, etc are garbled. S'il y a qqn qui pourrait
traduire l'article ci-dessous en francais, ca sera tres apprecie aussi.

Still continuing to do regular radio reports for community stations in
Canada. Have talked to CKUT (Montreal), CKLN (Toronto) and COOP Radio
(Vancouver). Will try to compile the audio links soon (although, if
someone out there can send me the links themselves, that would be cool).
Will be filing updates for CKUT, et aussi pour Radio-Centre Ville en
francais, aujourd'hui. Thanks to Gretchen, Stefan and Roberto in Montreal
for helping set this up.

Ok, that's it for now. Will stay in touch. -- Jaggi (East Jerusalem,
December 19, 2002, 9:10am)]

----------

"A slow process of ethnic cleansing"
by Jaggi Singh

JERSUALEM, December 19, 2002 -- Today, in Tel Aviv District Court, a
Palestinian worker, Jihad Abu Id, will be demanding his release from an
Israeli prison. Abu Id has been detained for the last six months, ever
since he was arrested for working in Israel without a permit.

Abu Id comes from a village called Bidu, located near Ramallah in the
Israeli-occupied West Bank. The normal process to deal with "illegal"
Palestinian workers in Israel is to detain them for no more than a day,
and then remove them to their village of origin in the occupied
territories.

However, in the case of Abu Id, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior is
trying to deport him to Jordan. The excuse: he's married to a Jordanian
woman. According to Sharon Bavli, the state attorney at the Israeli
Interior Ministry that is attempting to force the removal of Abu Id, his
marriage to a Jordanian forfeits his rights to reside in Palestine itself.

Abu Id has been jailed for the last six months in Israel's Maasiyahu
Prison, a special facility for deportees which, according to Israeli human
rights lawyer Shamai Leibowitz, includes a whole section of Palestinians
in similar situations to Abu Id.

Abu Id's is resisting his deportation by petitioning both the Tel Aviv
District Court today, as well as at the Israeli Supreme Court in the
coming weeks. At the latter tribunal, he will fight to re-establish his
status as a Palestinian. Today in Tel Aviv, his lawyer, Leah Tsemel, will
simply ask for his release on bail.

The decision in Tel Aviv today is crucial, according to Leibowitz. If Abu
Id is released, and returns to Bidu in the West Bank, it will be difficult
for the Israeli authorities to go in and grab him, due to the attention
that will bring within the village, and perhaps beyond.

In Leibowitz's words, "This is about diluting the Palestinian population
without attacting media attention". Abu Id's continued imprisonment is the
only way the Israeli government might succeed in expelling him to Jordan.

Abu Id's family situation also speaks to the nature of the process of
dispossession, and the long, quiet struggle for many Palestinians to
establish their identity and basic right to reside in their own villages
and towns.

Abu Id's father was illegally deported from Bidu to Jordan in 1970 by an
Israeli military commander who issued a deportation order in territories
that were illegally occupied after the Six Day War in 1967. That
deportation was eventually determined to be illegal, more than a two
decades later, and the family returned to Bidu in 1994, where Abu Id has
lived for the past eight years.

According to government documents read by Leibowitz, the Israeli state
attorney's office estimates between 50-60,000 Palestinians who they deem
to be deportable from the occupied territories, for reasons similar to Abu
Id.

To engage in a mass search and expulsion of these thousands of so-called
"illegal" Palestinians is not feasible on both a logistical and public
relations level (although some in the Israeli right, which is becoming the
mainstream, would forcibly "tranfer" all Palestinians tomorrow if they had
their way). Instead, deportations happen quiety, one-by-one, in
circumstances like Abu Id's. It's what Leibowitz has no hesitation calling
"a slow process of ethnic cleansing".

Leibowitz also doesn't hesitate to underline the complicity of the Israeli
courts in the expulsion policy of the Israeli goverment, calling the
judicial branch "just a long arm of the political branch ... they all
collaborate together."

A decision about Abu Id's release is expected later today in Tel Aviv.

-- Reported by Jaggi Singh in East Jersualem.

[For more info about the case of Jihad Abu Id and other Palestinian
deportees, please contact Shamai Leibowitz in Tel Aviv at +972 3 670 4170.
Jaggi Singh (jaggi at tao.ca) is a member of the International Soldarity
Movement (ISM): www.palsolidarity.org. He is a writer and social justice
activist based in Montreal, and a member of the No One Is Illegal
campaign, an immigrant and refugee rights movement in Canada
(nooneisillegal at tao.ca).]


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