Home | Friday 13th May 2011 | Issue 771
STAY ALIVE DONT' DRIVE 55
Three ISM activists violently arrested last Sunday (1st) as 60 Israeli soldiers evicted a protest tent in the way of a planned fence through the village of Izbet al-Tabib. They were accused of being in a closed military zone - although no evidence was ever produced and the charges were then dropped as they were released from prison last Tuesday (3rd). Several other protesters were also injured, including a 60 year-old American women who suffered a head injury that will require surgery.
Izbet al-Tabib is right next to highway 55 which connects illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The Israelis say they are erecting the fence to prevent stones being thrown on to the highway, but it is being built a long way from the road and will annex a portion of the village’s agricultural land.
Villagers and international activists have been peacefully protesting its construction. The village has already lost 45% of their land due to the construction of Israel’s Separation Barrier.
Effectively the Israelis are stealing more Palestinian land on the pretext of defending an illegally built road which serves illegal settlements built on the rich water aquifer of the West Bank. By getting beaten and arrested the activists have ensured this act is newsworthy (if only barely) to the wider world. But this type of imperial creep continues every day, backed up by the Israeli state and courts.
No wonder the political stand-off continues with Israel refusing to countenance dealing with any combined Fatah and Hamas union. For more see palsolidarity.org and jordanvalleysolidarity.org
* In other Palestinian news, the Israeli army fired on Palestinian and international activists at Erez Crossing in Beit Hanoun, Gaza on Tuesday (11th). They had been protesting against the ‘buffer zone’ but were forced to retreat by machine-gun fire. Although no one was injured, local resident Saber Al Zaaneen said that the Israelis “opened fire directly at the demonstrators”. The ‘buffer zone’ is the distance Palestinians are allowed to be from the border - 50 metres in theory, but actually over a mile in many areas and, according to the United Nations, it “eats up 30% arable land”.