INDEPENDENT NEWS

Update on Zabda Action and Journals from Rafah

Published: Mon 24 Nov 2003 10:05 AM
Update on Zabda Action and Journals from Rafah...
1. Zabda action, Nov.22, Jenin ISM 2. Normal Life in Rafah 3. Chasing after Birds, Finding the Sky
1. Zabda action, Nov.22, Jenin ISM
Jenin Ben J. 22 Nov 03
Today there was a demonstration against the illegal Israeli Apartheid Wall near Zabda, a village east of Jenin. Despite the concerted efforts of the Israeli military to squash our collective stand against the Wall, around 70 human beings came together to defend humanity and human rights. The demo was the result of much work by Jenin PARC {Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee}, The National Defense Council, other Palestinian groups and NGOs, as well as Jenin ISM. The planned action was to involve several hundred farmers, peace activists and others marching to the Wall in a non-violent demonstration aimed at raising awareness about the Wall and its horrific effects on Palestinian civilians. The original plan was to have a few hundred Palestinians, 200 Israeli activists, Jenin ISM and the media march together. Unfortunately, many of the Israelis cancelled, and all but two of the rest were denied entry by their "own" soldiers and were unable to make it. More importantly, almost all of the Palestinians hoping to participate were physically prevented from accessing the Zabda area. The Israeli army heard about the demo and closed the gates thru which the Palestinians needed to pass, thus preventing hundreds from attending their own demonstration, in their community.
Despite this, we proceeded energetically marching towards the Wall until we came to a long span of razor wire blocking the road, with a large and heavily armed contingent of Israeli soldiers and Border Police behind it, blocking us from the Wall. The PARC representatives decided that they did not want the march to pass the blockade and that we should remain at the blockade and continue the demo there. Jenin ISM respected the wishes of our Palestinian hosts and formed a protective fan around the demonstration in hopes that the Palestinians would be able to peacefully express their opposition. The soldiers spread out until they had the crowd 3/4 surrounded, and then assumed firing positions in ditches, behind trees, etc. We continued our protective role as our hosts chanted, sang and spoke out their opposition to the Wall. None of the demo participants were attacked, and we left after an hour. Participants came from several Palestinian villages, Italy, Sweden, America, Canada, Australia, Pakistan and Israel.
2. Normal Life in Rafah Gaza Melissa 22 Nov 03
Most of the time life in Rafah seems normal. A bustling city - taxis honking and speeding through the crowded streets, schoolchildren in their uniforms on their way to and from school, merchants of all types with their colorful wares lining the streets - fruits, clothes, household items - the perfume of life filling the air. Everywhere things seem normal, then all of a sudden something will happen and the façade of normalcy will disappear, and the ugliness of the reality will show through. To read the full report, please see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/reports/writings/22Nov03_13_23_04GazaMelissa.htm
3. Chasing after Birds, Finding the Sky Gaza Laura G. 22 Nov 03
Mahmood al-Qaed, shaheed at 13.
Ali’s fourteen-year-old eyes are wide brown almonds, a near perfect copy of his father’s, which shine like mirrors through the hair that covers his face like a tangled vine. Ali’s younger brother Mahmood stares back at them from the poster on the wall, his eyes finely crafted by identical genes, his small face a mirror for his brother’s, his thin arms tangling with his brother’s arms in bed at night.
Since Mahmood was killed, there isn’t anything his parents can do to convince Ali to sleep in his bed where he and his brother used to share dreams. Mostly the family doesn’t sleep at all anyway. It’s Ramadan, and the fear of dreaming chases their eyelids open until it’s 5am and the’ve eaten the pre-fast meal and the men have come back from the mosque. To read the full report, please see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/reports/writings/22Nov03_06_32_58GazaLauraG.htm

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