Nonviolent Israeli-Palestinian Protests against Wall

Reports by Activists & Haaretz, 1/2/2005

A) Jayyous Reclaims its Land
B) Protest Against the Wall in Bil'in
D) Ha'aretz Daily: U.S. peace activist in prison facing second deportation

A) Jayyous Reclaims Its Land

December 31, 2004

Despite a large Israeli military presence, the people of Jayyous and Israeli and international activists today planted olive seedlings on Jayyous' bulldozed land. 75% of Jayyous land was been cut off from the village by Israel's Apartheid Wall. Now the Israeli government is attempting to expand the illegal settlement of Zufim on Jayyous' land which is isolated between the Apartheid Wall and the Green Line. Over the last weeks Israeli contractors have bulldozed over 600 olive trees for the expansion of Zufim. The International Court of Justice recently affirmed that Israeli settlements are a violate international law.

Twenty farmers from Jayyous who had permits to pass through gates in the Apartheid Wall and reach their farmland took part in the replanting. They were by joined by 15 international activists and 150 Israeli activists from Gush Shalom and Ta'ayush who walked to Jayyous'land from the Israeli side. Eighteen Israeli military vehicles followed the peaceful protesters as they planted 50 seedlings on the bulldozed land. From there the protesters marched towards the gate in the Wall. Soldiers tried to stop the protester as they approached the Wall, but they continued. Eventually, Jayyou farmer Sharif Omar and two Ta'ayush activists were allowed to pa through the gate in the Wall carrying an olive seedling that had been uprooted by Israeli bulldozers. They then passed the olive seedling to the protesters on the other side of the fence.

From the other side of the Wall, residents of Jayyous without permits to pass through the Wall to their land had marched from Jayyous' main mosque to the gate in the Wall. They were joined by twenty ISMers and twelve Israeli activists from Anarchists Against the Wall. When the group of 200 reached the Wall they were met by 50 Israeli soldiers and border police who attempted to aggressively move them back from the gate. The group held their ground until they were joined by the three protesters carrying the olive seedling from the other side. Following speeches, the protesters returned to the village.

The days activities symbolized Palestinian, Israeli and international rejection of Israel's illegal settlement policy in Jayyous and the West Bank, and the determination of activists from all three communities to prevent the loss of Jayyous'land.


B) Demonstration Against the Wall in Bil'in

Monday 27th December 2004

The most recent demonstration against the wall in Bil'in (Tuesday Decmber 14th) facilitated a two-week stay of construction.

The local community organized a march to take place on the expiration date of this order and invited members of the Knesset, Palestinians in public office, ISMers and other internationals to join them.

At 12.30 in the afternoon on Monday 27th December approximately 200 villagers from Bil'in accompanied by 13 international activists, Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Abed Al Jawad Saleh, Minister Kadura Fares, and Presidential candidate Mustafa Bhargouti walked together towards the site where the Wall is being constructed.

At 1:00 in the afternoon, the march stopped to hear a presentation on the route of the Wall and the projected growth of the nearby settlements. This presentation was followed by speeches from those mentioned by name above and Iede Morrar the Anti Apartheid Wall co- coordinator for the Ramallah region.

After a brief visit to the construction site, the group returned to the village at 2:00. Construction is expected to recommence on the Wall soon. The Bil'in community has expressed interest in protesting this construction and has asked for international support in resisting the Wall in Bil'in.




Decenber 30, 2004

An Israeli judge has agreed to a January 16 hearing on Jewish, lesbian activist Kate Raphael Bender's appeal of her deportation from Israel. The judge's decision comes at the same time that Israel's Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra has said, "We will not prevent them (Jews) from entering even if we know they are coming to resist the (disengagement) plan. There are people coming for worse causes such as to break down the security fence and participate in ISM and radical left-wing activities."

Raphael Bender says that: "Ezra's statement makes it clear that Israel is determined to continue to flagrantly violate international law. My appeal will challenge this double standard on decisions of who to accept and who expel from Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories."

The December 28 court decision came on Raphael Bender's 15th day of incarceration. She was detained during a non-violent protest against Israel's Apartheid Wall in the West Bank village of Bil'in. Raphael Bender, a San Francisco-based activist, has spent twelve of the last sixteen months in the Occupied Palestinian Territories with the International Women's Peace Service (IWPS).

Raphael Bender expects that she will be held in Tsochar prison in Sde Nitsan until the January 16 hearing where she will be represent herself. She argues that it is illegal for the Israeli government to prevent her from helping to implement the decision the world' highest legal body, the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ ruled in June that Israel must cease construction and remove the Wall where it has been built on Palestinian land.

The Israeli Ministry of Interior based its deportation order on the charges that Raphael Bender was participating in "a violent demonstration", and that she was arrested and ordered expelled from Israel one year ago. However, videotapes of the December 14 protest in Bil'in show that the Israeli army was the only party that used violence. Raphael Bender also argues that previous order to expel her is illegitimate because the Israeli army has no jurisdiction in the Palestinian Territories that it occupies illegally.

Raphael Bender explained that, "I am a Jew protecting the Jewish people by insisting that those acting in our name respect international law. Jews would not have said that the German government had a right to deport foreign citizens for resisting the Nuremberg laws in 1935."

Media Contacts:

Kate Raphael Bender: 972-(0)54-7870198 Lisa Belenky: 415-863-8604 (USA) ISM Media Office: 972-(0)59-676782


D) U.S. peace activist in prison facing second deportation

Ha'aretz Daily By Daphna Berman

Kate Raphael Bender hadn't planned on spending New Year's Eve in an Israeli prison, but the Jewish American peace activist from San Francisco doesn't seem to mind it all that much either. After all, she was in an Israeli detention facility last New Year's Eve a well.

Raphael Bender, 45, who was arrested earlier this month during a protest against the separation fence in the West Bank village of Bil'in, is awaiting her January 16 court date to appeal the Interior Ministry's deportation order against her. It her second deportation order in less than a year.

"The idea of another three weeks or so in a prison is not what I wa hoping for," she said Wednesday from the immigration police's Tzohar detention facility in the Negev.

Raphael Bender, who was raised in a traditional Zionist family in Virginia, is one of the founders of Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!) and has been volunteering for the International Women's Peace Service (IWPS) in Salfit since 2002. She was first arrested a year ago for her participation in a demonstration in Boudrus and was released on condition that she leave Israel. She returned to San Francisco, where she had her name officially changed from Katherine Raphael to Kate Bender, taking on her mother's family name.

Raphael Bender, as she is now known, would not comment on the reasons for the name change.

She has briefly considered applying for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return, but said that she needed a "really overpowering reason to assert [her] right to live here as a Jew" before doing so.

"I realize that deportation means I won't be able to come back to Israel and Palestine for a long time, if ever," she said. "It will be hard because I've had a life here for quite some time."

A graduate of the Conservative Movement's USY youth program, Raphael Bender is hoping that a victory next month will enable her to return here and lead groups of American Jews on tours of the West Bank. "The Jewish community wants to isolate and insulate themselve from what's going on here," she said.

The Immigration Police refused several requests to interview Raphael Bender at their detention facility in the Negev.

A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry said that Raphael Bender' deportation order was issued because of her interference with Israel Defense Forces activity and because she entered the country under a false identity.