Friday, December 22, 2006

Awake the ire of nations. Let justice be restored.

Some police used military-style ‘pain compliance’ maneuvers, such as applying immense pressure to wrists and other sensitive joints, as well as wrenching back fingers and hands. Activists were thrown, and dragged by their ears, noses, necks and hair, while other police and soldiers forced demonstrators to the ground by leaning their weighted knees onto demonstrators’ heads and necks. Many activists were roughly thrown to the ground and dragged across the asphalt road, ripping their clothes. While attempting to stand up, many were pushed and kicked by the booted IOF police and soldiers.
During the assault, five people were arrested: two Palestinian males, one international female, and two Israeli males. The two Palestinian males, Mohammad Salah, 25, and Ahmed Salah, 30 were detained for carrying boxes of grapes, and while Ahmed was released at the end of the demonstration, Mohammad was not so lucky. Following the demonstration, Mohammad was taken by IOF soldiers to a wooded area near Betar Illit colonial settlement. When the soldiers reached this isolated area, they kicked and beat Mohammad in the head and shoulders. He is currently under care at a Bethlehem-area hospital. The international, an American woman, and the two Israeli men are currently still being held in Israeli custody at Gush Etzion police compound, housed within the colonial settlement of the same name.
Despite the unprovoked and extreme violence from the IOF, the demonstration was a great success. The primarily settler-used roadway of Route 60 was colored green and purple with the crushed remains of grapes and cardboard cartons. Passing settlers were able to witness the violence that their presence “necessitates,” and many reacted by honking their horns, photographing the demonstration, and one man was even seen proudly waving a peace sign. Though the grapes never reached the mouths of consumers, they were purchased from the farmers and given a political purpose on the road-a stretch of route 60 bordering Al-Khadr checkpoint, as well as a currently under-construction terminal checkpoint, and a small length of the Apartheid Wall already built and waiting to be connected to the Bethlehem portion.


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