Friday, December 24, 2010

I won't be able to meet with one of my contacts in Bethlehem. While scrolling through headlines on Mondoweiss I learned that Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh has been arrested by the Israeli military.

Here's the article from Salam News:
Israelis Arrest Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh and Others Again During Peaceful Protest
Mazin was not reachable by phone after that for two hours.

Then I reached him by phone and took down some notes from him during a short conversation.

He said that they are detained outside Bethlehem Checkpoint 300 at the time. An Israeli soldier named Almog Kahalani was very rough with them.

He beat the two young Palestinian men, causing stomach problems for one. The soldiers were very rough with Sheerin, which I could hear in the background while talking with Mazin on the phone.

Three of them had metal handcuffs, he and the rest were tied with plastic handcuffs that was very tight and causing circulation problem. A young men's handcuff was so unbearably tight but Israeli soldiers refused to loosen it.

The soldiers had just untied the plastic ones after about two hours (but kept the metal ones on the other three, Sheerin was one of them) and that's why Mazin was able to use his hand to hold his phone and speak with me.

They were asked to sign on a piece of paper (don't know what's the content but must be in Hebrew that nobody understand). But every one of them refused to sign as advised by a Palestinian lawyer who was present there.

While detained, they tried to speak to the soldiers about international law, but the soldiers were saying that, "they don't give a f--- about international law" and "you people" and they only care about obeying orders.

Mazin reasoned to them that German soldiers were also "obeying orders" during the Nazi regime. The Israeli solders responded by saying that German soldiers would have shot you by now.

Another hour later, I got another update from Mazin that they have been transferred to Atarot (I don't know where is this, but people familiar with this said it is near Ramallah.) They are waiting to appear in front of a judge. They are cold and hungry. The Israeli personnel there sprayed cold water on them, claiming it is an accident.

Mazin said via another call, that three arrested from Jenin joined them, bringing the total number to eleven at Atarot detention.

Mazin asked you all to keep Al-Walaja people and village in your prayers. We should be proud of the villager's nonviolent resistance effort.

Israeli soldiers arresting Shereen Al-Araj, a local activist