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Relato de brigadista detenido por fuerzas de ocupacion israeli
24 ago 2004
we were in the nablus old city when we got a call from balaata saying
that the army were active there. already that morning we had seen
border police shoot a six year old boy shot in the neck from their
jeep with a potentialy lethal plastic coated steel bullet (i'm
unaware of what his condition is now, but his injury was serious). he
had been throwing stones(as is his right under international law),
but even so, the response from the police was totally
disproportionate as his stones could have done nothing to harm the
jeep or its occupants. in what seemed like deliberate acts of
provocation, army and border police jeeps had been roaming the
streets of the new city all morning, totally impervious to the rocks
and stones of the shabab (young men and boys), but nonetheless
frequently responding with these plastic / steel bullets.

ambulances and palestinian medical relief teams accompanied by
ISMers, waited nearby to attend to casualties and to accompany women
and children through the fighting. in the midst of this violence,
ordinary nablusians attemped to go about their daily business,
seemingly as used to the harrassment and the violence of the
occupation force as we're used to bad weather in britain.

in the narrow, twisting streets of the old city, groups of
internationals were monitoring army activity. groups of seven or more
paratroopers stalked from house to house, detaining the owners,
vandalising their property and setting up sniper positions in the
upper floors. we saw evidence of the mindless and cruel damage that
these soldiers do to the houses they occupy; smashing furniture,
defacing walls and even scratching the LPs in the record collection
of one householder we met. one group of soldiers exploded a bomb in
the living room of one house, devastating it completely. so much i
have witnessed here; from the detainment of innocent civilians for
days at checkpoints, to the shooting of children, is testament to the
policy of harrassment, spite and incitement that the occupation
forces seem to abide by.

we got to balaata refugee camp near nablus and were told that the
army had occupied two houses there. in one of the houses, a man had
been shot through the knee but was not allowed to leave to get
medical care.

a group of seven ISMers and one palestian medical relief (PMR) worker
knocked loudly on the door of the first house, repeatedly shouting
that we were internationals and that we wanted to check on the
welfare of the family. after a few minutes without recieving a reply
we managed to open the door. three internationals (aaron US, Franz
AUSTRIA, and myself; tom UK) and the PMR worker, S, went slowly up
the stairs, continuing to shout our status and intention. on the
fourth (top) floor, we rounded the corner of the stair case and were
confronted by a paratrooper pointing his rifle at us. again we
restated our intentions and were waved in. we were pulled into the
flat and pushed, punched and kicked into the swelteringly hot room
where the family (five adults and eight or nine terrified children)
who owned the house were being detained. the women and children cried
as our hands were tied behind our backs with bands of plastic. we
were told to sit and our phones were stolen. the father told us that
this illegal detention of his family in their own home happened
frequently. soldiers often stay in the houses they occupy for days,
imprisoning the owners without food water or access to medical care.

although we were shouted at and threatened ('if you make noise i will
kick your face so hard it will be like wall') it was incredible to
see how differently the palestinian PMR worker, S, was treated. the
biggest soldier crouched in front of him, pushing his face right up
close to his, snarling at him in arabic, his face so full of hatred
and threat and intimidation.

the other eight soldiers in the next room aimed their rifles out of
the windows, continuously firing shots down onto the street. another
international (Uwer, GER) came to check on us and was threatened at
gunpoint and pulled into the flat. 'do you think this is a game?' the
furious, frightened soldiers screamed at him and punched him.

a soldier put T-shirts over our heads, effectively blindfolding us.
we sat for about an hour hearing gunshots and explosions, until the
T-shirts were pulled off and we were forced to our feet. the family
thanked us profusely and apologised for our treatment in their home.
we had hardly even been able to inquire about their welfare, but our
presence did seem to have shortened the time the soldiers were able
to spend there.

Franz, Uwer and I were pulled down the stairs (ISMers take note; it
seemed they didnt arrest aaron because he didnt have his passport
with him). the soldiers, threw sound bombs out of the door before
running into the narrow alleyway. we were pushed up the alley towards
the main street where an army jeep was waiting in a cloud of tear gas
and smoke. we were pushed onto the floor of the jeep and kicked as
the doors were closed and the jeep sped off. we were blindfolded
again with our own T-shirts.

when we stopped we were taken out (still blindfolded and with our
hands tied behind our backs) and marched to an area where we could
hear several voices, and pop music playing. at no point were we told
that we had been arrested, where we were or what was happening to us.
any questions we asked were met with threats and 'shut ups's.

we sat for two hours, occasionally being threatened, laughed at and
photgraphed. later, when our T-shirts were pulled off and replaced
with proper blindfolds we saw that we were in a barracks recreation
area. soldiers were lazing round in their boxer shorts, smoking
spliffs and chatting etc. we were eventually told 'police will come.'

after a couple more hours, we were given water, and eventually
allowed to use the toilet and smoke. the soldiers became less
threatening, and one or two started to try to talk to us.

eight hours later, settler police came to take us to the Ariel police
station and our hands were untied, and our blindfolds taken off.
(according to israeli law, soldiers arent allowed to arrest
internationals, and are not allowed to detain them for more than six
hours, and i think blindfolding is illegal too under international
law). while the police took statements from the soldiers and prepared
to take us away, i looked around at the young guys who'd been holding
us there.

'you know why i joined the paratroopers?' said one proudly, 'because
one day i was walking in jerusalem and i saw a bus bomb:- bodies
burning and flying through the air. and the next day i join the
paratroops. so why do you come here and why do you take sides with
palestinians against the jews?'.

i tried to explain to him about the wall stealing palestinian land,
cutting families off from families, about illegal detentions and

'we wanted to build the wall on the green line' he said 'but arafat
didnt agree. Arabs, you know, you give them a little and they want
everything'. and quickly he got up and started making a call on his
mobile. he didnt want to talk about it. i think i probably knew more
about the sitation than him, and i know very little.

and that, i am sure, is how he is able to justify to himself the
violence he perpatrates against palestinians when he goes to work.
(we hear countless stories here [nearly all of them varifiable and
>from reputable sources] that dont make it to the news at home about
Israeli assassination squads killing non violent political activists
and protestors, and kids being murdered for throwing stones.)
individuals can only do horrific things to individuals when they are
able to see them not as what they are but as big, evil, nebulous
entities such as the 'joosh' or the 'arabs'.

we were well treated at the police station in the dreaded settlement,
the police even being friendly. one policeman who spoke to me was a
settler himself (the first i have spoken to). although i believe that
what he is doing by living where he does is sick, he was human and
kind to me. i realise that i'm as guilty as anyone for not being able
to see through the entity. i think racism and prejudice are quite
natural to us provided we can hate and fear from afar. i'm not trying
to justify the settler's or the soldier's position in any way, but i
do think that we need to try to understand each other and ourselves
before we can begin to think about possible solutions.

we all gave no comment interviews, and were put in a cell together.
in the morning we were taken to ministry of the interior. we were
detained for nineteen hours altogether before we were allowed to make
to a phone call. in the end we were let out with the only condition
being that we dont enter closed military zones.

i've rambled on for too long about our minimal heroism so i'll stop
now. i guess its an interesting story and it might help other ISMers
to know what to expect from arrest. we made a whole bunch of mistakes
(the biggest being giving our passports to the soldiers. another was
allowing them to arrest us. i dont think they would have been able to
take us down the stairs if we had resisted). i knew they were'nt
going to do anything bad to us because of our international
priviledge. its a totally different story to be palestinian and be
arrested, though.

This work is in the public domain


Re: Relato de brigadista detenido por fuerzas de ocupacion israeli
25 ago 2004
y al final del verano los "turistas de riesgo terrorista" volverán a casa orgullosos y los pobres palestinos seguirán teniendo una valla y el recuerdo de unos estúpidos extranjeros que les fueron a "salvar". FELICES VACACIONES
Re: Relato de brigadista detenido por fuerzas de ocupacion israeli
25 ago 2004
«El no violent davant un conflicte violent no pot ser neutral, ha de declarar-se amic del violent oprimit i enemic del violent opressor.»
Re: Relato de brigadista detenido por fuerzas de ocupacion israeli
25 ago 2004
Como te jode, veraneante, eh?jajajajja. Para contar historietas no te vas a Palestina. Como te jode, como te jode...jajja. Sigue sigue...
Sindicat Terrassa