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Notícies :: guerra
Jenin under curfew, 7-12 oct 2003
14 oct 2003
For the past eight days, Jenin has been under near constant curfew, characterised by mass arrests and random shooting
"Give me liberty or give me my death": written on the walls of Jenin refugee camp

Jenin woke up smaller today (07/10/2003), missing 31boys and men, arrested during the early hours of the morning, about 17 from the refugee camp and 14 from the city and outskirts. The tanks and APCs used in the operation retreated at about 6 o'clock, while the men were held in a house in Harat Sharkiyye, later to be taken to Salem military base for interrogation. It was an attack at anyone associated with the politics of Jihad Islami.

Families and friends now grieve for those brutally wrenched from them this morning. Some have gone through this process many times before, having either lost other sons in similar operations or seen the same son be incarcerated and released time and time again, one as many as four times in the last year. Others are left reeling from the shock of having had soldiers in their house, cocking their guns and barking orders at them, telling them to leave the house and go outside in the middle of the night and then taking their sons, brothers, fathers, and husbands with them, mostly young boys 17-20 years old.

One house had five men taken from it, the youngest a boy of fifteen. The soldiers beat him in front of his family and took him away with blood streaming down his head. Two brothers were taken from a family that lost two other sons to Israeli prisons only six months back. Two young wives, 8- and 9 months pregnant respectively, are now left to tend to their scared and sleep-deprived toddlers without help from their husbands. The woman who is nine months pregnant has three other children under the age of five. One of her daughters was so traumatised she couldn't look at me without crying, my foreign-ness reminding her of the soldiers.

Apart from the obvious grief of losing a life-partner and parent, they also fear the financial consequences that this will bring. Maintaining a livelihood under an occupation characterised by its long bouts of crippling curfew and closure is hard enough as it is when the family unit is whole and strong, but imprisonment and killings deal further blows to a fragile situation.

Parents are found sifting through cardboard boxes of photos of their sons, talking about them as if they were dead only hours after their unwarranted and brutal arrests. Others put on a brave face, shrugging as they relate tales of past detainments, kidnappings and beatings that have all ended relatively well.

The family of Sheik Bassam, the political leader of Islamic Jihad arrested only a week ago suffered another loss, when the army came to take Izz, their sixteen year old son. He is not wanted by the Israelis, but the soldiers said that "his father is a terrorist". Izz's mother has already had to endure the deaths of her oldest sons, twins aged 17, who were assassinated outside her house. Her remaining children have had enough trauma but still the soldiers come and take what and who they can.

The next day they were tired with wide eyes, talking quickly about the soldiers taking their brother away. It is likely they want to use Izz to make his father talk. He is anyway, the last male left in the family of arrestable age, though not of killing age as his cousin was killed when he was only a baby.

The next day (the 8th of October 2003) saw the
arrests of twenty five more young men in Jenin, and the day after that brought the arrest toll to 71 in three days.

Today (12/10/2003) is the eighth day of manata jawal (curfew) in a row, with curfew having been lifted for only three or four hours one day last week so people could stock up on supplies. The IOF arrested the wife of Amjad Esa Badi (the Jenin head of Saraya Al Quds- Jihad Islami's military wing), a few days after their home was demolished. Following reports in the Israeli press, the word on the street is that she, along with certain close relatives to other political activists, is now to be exiled to Gaza.

Today has been fairly quiet, and most of the shops are open, but yesterday and the day before the army was actively enforcing curfew. Hummers were chasing around trying to arrest people, and tanks/ APCs were shooting a lot. As far as I am aware, no one was shot yesterday, but Mah'mod, a 14 year old from the refugee camp, climbed onto a tank or APC when a soldier opened the hatch and hit him in the head with his rifle. I was not there, but he now has a big bruise on his head and his family are saying that this is what happened.

The day before that two people were shot, a ten year old boy and the kid who sells coffee on stone throwers' corner in the city centre. He was shot in the knee by an APC. I don't know when and where the ten year old boy was shot, but apparently he will be ok. They have stopped the night time raids on Jihad Islami members as far as I am aware (presumably because there can't be that many men on their list they havn't already taken). There are still 60+ people languishing in Salem though, and it is unsure what will happen to them.

I assume you have already heard the news of at least 9 Palestinians killed in Rafah, Gaza , 70+ injured and 100 house demolitions since the area was invaded on Thursday night. The Israelis are now pulling back from their invasion of Rafah though, or so they claim.

There are already noticeable demographic gaps in the Jenin population, a massive amount of young men having either been arrested or forced into hiding and seclusion by Israeli suspicions. Many keep watch throughout the night, so as not to be caught unawares if or when the soldiers come, and then sleep away half the day. Others no longer stay in their families' houses, preferring to move around in the hope of fooling Israel intelligence services and their Palestinian collaborators.

It's not in any way a long-term sustainable situation, causing great extended trauma to both those in hiding and their loved ones. When a man is wanted, common opinion is that it is not a matter of if but of when he will be caught. Resistance to the occupation will not be tolerated and the propaganda machine manufactures tales of terror to mask what is really going on - the taking and torturing of what are clearly political prisoners. Political prisoners with personal ambitions and dreams now shattered try passing through a checkpoint, boarding an aeroplane, getting a work permit... with an Israeli police record of any kind), and with people who love them now fearing for their lives, thumbing their ID polaroid, talking about them in the past tense.

Their loved ones sit in "cells" too low to stand or kneel in, being interrorgated, beaten, humiliated and threatened. It is the experience of any Palestinian woman who resists the ocupation of her land and every Palestinian man whether he resists or not, because whatever he does, the first lesson he must learn is in exactly whose hands the power lies. And nothing teaches you that better than prison - the most complete theft of a human's liberty possible, next to her death.
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