January 19, 2010
Israeli Police arrest protestors who object to the theft of Palestinian land by illegal settlers.
The Israeli Government has now developed a new tack to continue settlements, and, at the same time, reduce the number of protestors over illegal confiscation of Arab land in the West Bank. Midnight raids into homes, and brutal arrests are just the thing to reduce protests by anyone opposed to the continued illegal confiscation of land by a Government that claims to be a democracy.
According to the Washington Post today, Israeli spokesmen say the protests are illegal and they have even arrested many of their own citizens--including the head of the Israeli Civil Rights organization to prove their point.
Since the summer, dozens of Palestinian and Israeli activists have been picked up, including those organizing weekly protests against Israel's West Bank separation barrier as well as others advocating international boycotts of Israeli goods.
Some of the Palestinians were released without charge only after weeks and months of questioning.
The arrests come at a time of shifting tactics in the protests against Israel's occupation of the West Bank and annexation of east Jerusalem, territories the Palestinians want for their future state. Israel captured both from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war.
The violence of the second Palestinian uprising, with mass marches and violent attacks, has given way to carefully calibrated protests and legal action in which Israeli and Palestinian activists now often work together.
The main protest efforts are Friday demonstrations against the West Bank barrier in the Palestinian villages of Bilin and Naalin and vigils in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheik Jarrah, where Palestinians have been evicted.
There appears to be an increased police crackdown on the protests with greater numbers of activists being arrested.
In the West Bank, troops fire tear gas, stun grenades, and live rounds - even midnight arrest raids - to disperse anti-barrier protesters. Israel says the protests are illegal, and the harsh tactics are a response to stone-throwing and violent rioting.
In east Jerusalem, police have arrested some 70 demonstrators during marches in recent months, according to Israeli rights groups. On Friday's protest, police arrested 17 Israelis, including Hagai Elad, head of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post is calling the continued isolation and mistreatment of the citizens in the Gaza Strip "Collective Punishment, pointing out the recent report by Amnesty International on the continuing blockages that are letting few trucks of humanitarian supplies through to the Strip. Israel claims there has been an increase in traffic, which Amnesty International only partially accepts. Gaza presently has an over 40% unemployment rate, due primarily to the intense shelling that left Gaza City nearly destroyed.
What is there to make of a country that claims to be peacefuk--but only if you agree with them and, of course, are not palestinian
Only time will tell.