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(ENGLISH) "Saddam, Saddam, drop your chemical weapons on Jenin" (israeli army song)

News from Jenin.Sources: International Solidarity Movement, Palestine Media Center, Red Crescent volunteer

14/10/2003 12:54:09

Jenin (West Bank, Palestine)

Jenin (West Bank, Palestine)

Sept. 1-30, 2003


- International Solidarity Movement......

- Palestine Media Center ................

- Volunteer from Red Crescent in Jenin

September 9, 2003 (Red Crescent)

In first of sep. the israel military increased the focus on Jenin so it become to be isolated area from the surounded viliges. We live during a tragedy situation including curfew and destroying houses for example Shadi Eltobasis home, of course every day the israelian arrestes the men.

Yesterday was the carfew available, and this which still three days and it came suddenly so nobody prepare his home with food or water.

September 16, 2003 (ISM) Israeli Army Demolishes Two Family Homes with Ten Minutes Warning, Threatens 3 Others

At 10am Monday, the Israeli Army demolished two family homes in Suatate, Palestine, a suburb of Jenin near Kadim settlement. The two families were given 10 minutes warning before their houses were demolished, leaving 12 people homeless. Afterward, the army informed families in three neighboring houses that their homes would also be demolished, claiming the houses are "too near the settlement", which is about half a kilometer away. The homes, and approximately 200 dunams (50 acres) of adjacent farmland are far from any Israeli controlled roads or areas, and the families believe that the demolitions may be occurring to make room for illegal expansion of Kadim settlement. Demolishing these three remaining homes would leave a total of 35 people homeless.

At the request of the threatened families - who fear of losing their 3 remaining homes and 200 dunams of farmland - the International Solidarity Movement in Jenin has established a presence in the homes, to show solidarity with and to ensure the safety of the occupants.

September 19... 22, 2003

30 tanks and oher military vehicles enter Jenin, which is under total siege and intermitent curfew for the fourth consecutive day. On 19th four persons have been arrested. The israeli army carries out a raid since then.

September 21, 2003 (ISM)

Outside of Jenin in an area called Kharba Ghanib, on Monday two houses were demolished by the Israeli military, leaving 35 people homeless. Now, the families of this community have been barred from farming their land.

Over the last two years, over 100 dunams (25 acres) of family farmland has been taken by military force, annexed to the nearby Kadim settlement. What remains is unusable, due to harassment by Israeli soldiers and settlers, who claim the families land is "too close to the settlement", situated nearly half a kilometer away.

Gunfire and arson by settlers and indiscriminate machine-gun fire by Israeli soldiers make even plowing or watering crops a life- threatening activity.

Despite everything, even in the face of threats of further demolitions and seizures, the families of this community are determined to stay. Said Hassan Khalif, a farmer and father of five: "Our families land in Haifa was taken in 1948, in 1968 we built these homes; (later) they took some of our land, then in 1980 they took a hundred dunams to build a settlement. Then they tell us we cannot farm on our land, which we have the (legal right) to. Then they killed 3 of our daughters. Then they take our houses. What else is there? Our homes, our children, and our land... what else is there to take?"

Jenin under Curfew - Activist Killed, Two Children Seriously Injured (Red Crescent, Palestine Media Center)

"The Red Crescent confirmed that an unidentified 12-year-old boy, an eight-year old girl Farah Abu Srour and Khalil Abu el-Rubb, 19, were taken to the hospital after being seriously injured .."

For the third consecutive day, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) imposed a curfew on the northern West Bank town of Jenin following a large-scale military incursion on Thursday, which has so far resulted in the serious injury of three Palestinians, including a 12-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl, and the injury of three IOF soldiers, one of them seriously.

Around 30 IOF tanks and jeeps rolled into Jenin and its refugee camp early Thursday at dawn where dozens of IOF soldiers took over several buildings as makeshift observation bases, Palestinian security sources said.

The Palestine Red Crescent confirmed that an unidentified 12-year-old boy, an eight-year old girl Farah Abu Srour and Khalil Abu el-Rubb, 19, were taken to the hospital after being seriously injured by IOF gunfire on Friday.

Early Friday, IOF soldiers demolished on the outskirts of the citys refugee camp the two-storey house of Shadi al-Tubasi, who was killed at a caf bombing he carried out in the Israeli port city of Haifa in March 2002, killing 15 Israelis.

In the eastern Jenin neighbourhood, a 23-year-old man was also critically injured in the head during clashes between stone-throwing youths and IOF troops.

An IOF spokesman claimed the troops were "in continuous fighting against the terrorist infrastructure in the city of Jenin. We came under Palestinian gunfire in eastern Jenin and responded." IOF troops briefly clashed with Palestinian gunmen as they entered city and were then met by young crowds of angry stone-throwers. At least five people were detained, among them a local chief of the Islamic Jihads military branch, Palestinian security sources said. An Islamic Jihad source named the man and said his car had been subsequently blown up by the IOF troops.

On Thursday, in the village of Tubas near Jenin, three Palestinians were detained by IOF troops, Palestinian sources said. One of them was identified as the sister of a female bomber who had carried out an attack last May.

Sep 24, 2003 (ISM)

A family is being prevented from farming roughly 1/4 of their land because it is too close to a settlement that was built on another 1/3 of that same land! Simplified, the Israeli government uses Ottoman Law to justify the seizure of lands that (supposedly) havent been farmed for three years. In this familys case, the land theyre being prevented from farming lies in the only possible direction for expansion of the settlement (theres another settlement on the other side), and its been two years since theyve gotten through. The assumption is that, if theyre kept out for another year, the land will be seized (read stolen) to facilitate the settlements expansion.

This same family has suffered unbelievably from the occupation, not to mention the founding of the State of Israel. In 1948, they farmed 600 dunum (150 acres) in Haifa; they fled Haifa to the Jenin area, where they started farming 300 dunum (75 acres) of absolutely miserable, rocky soil. As noted above, about 100 dunum were then seized for a settlement, leaving them with 125 acres. During the Jenin resistance, three of their children were shot and killed while gathering flowers on their own land.

Since that time, two of their five houses have been demolished for building permit violations (briefly, building permits for Palestinians are almost never granted). The family is vehement that none of the adults, or children, have ever participated in, or been accused of, any militant activity, although its hard for me to imagine why. Certainly, the grandmother and her sister, the grandfather, three grown brothers, their wives, and a bunch of children are all still there and going about their business.

In the end, the family was too afraid of being killed by the soldiers who guard the settlement to go through with the planned action, even with our promise to provide a wall of internationals around the old tractor and its driver. The curfew was unexpected, and they feared a more vicious response than usual.

Sept. 25 03 (ISM)

The lockdown continues in Jenin. This means that around 100,000 people dont go out of their houses for an entire week. Maybe 15,000 of these dont go to work (another 15,000 are already unemployed due to the occupation). The average age seems quite low, so lets say that 30,000 dont go to elementary, junior high, and high school.

Perhaps 20,000 dont go shopping. Another 5000, or so, dont go to university; of course, the universities are frequently closed, anyway, and nearly impossible to reach when they are open, but what the heck. And to what end is this large town, or small city, paralyzed? Apparently, so that the Israeli army can arrest four wanted men and imprison them without a trial, without public scrutiny of any kind, and for an indefinite period, and quite likely torture them to get information that will help the army do the same to others.

When the soldiers first seized the house (a large number initially invaded and 11 stayed), they piled much of the familys furniture against walls and windows, and overturned most of the rest (I have extensive photographs, but the files are too large to email). One soldier, who had served during the Jenin invasion, bragged to this Palestinian family, who were his helpless captives, of the six Palestinians he, personally, had killed during the offensive. Another soldier was about to be discharged, and wanted his picture taken with the husband as a memento, a thought that I, at least, find incredibly repellant. At one point, the wife began reading the Koran, but her holy book, along with whatever sense of security it might have brought her, was taken from her without explanation. When the soldiers finally left, they stole a quantity of the childrens clothing (I forgot to ask for details), as well as a number of prepaid phone cards.

At the second house, the father was absent, and the devout Muslim mother was alone with her two (possibly three) young daughters and two young sons (the eldest was 11 years old). Once again, we were told that the furnishings were piled against the walls and windows, although the family had the place shining again by the time we arrived. In this case, the mother was permitted to pray, but felt deeply violated by the presence of so many strange men in her home while her husband was away, little protection though he could have offered. When the soldiers finally released the family and left, we were told that they stole $1000 worth of gold bracelets and necklaces, in addition to some cell phones (possibly phone cards, or SIMs; the translator was unsure).

Sept 28, 2003 (SM)

As of this morning, Jenin is, yet again, locked down tight by the Israeli army. As far as we can tell, the army isnt actually doing anything. The tricky thing about these lockdowns is that theyre even more disruptive than their duration would indicate. That the whole town is frequently paralyzed is bad enough, but the worst part is that the timing is impossible to predict. Its incredibly hard to carry on the regular business of life, or develop civil society, in such circumstances.

There are probably two reasons for the current "curfew", assuming that Rosh Hashanah isnt a factor. First of all, today is the third anniversary of the second intifada, and the Israelis are presumably worried about celebratory demonstrations, or something of the sort. Its hard to imagine, however, what the Palestinians might think they have to celebrate, and it appears that nothing, in fact, has been planned.

Second, a 19 year old boy (about the upper limit for shabab kids) was shot through the neck about a week ago while he was throwing rocks at a tank. He died four days ago, but apparently the family tried to keep the death a secret for fear of demonstrations to which the Israeli army would respond with more killings.

At any rate, the news got out after a couple of days (there are very few secrets in Jenin), and the funeral was held yesterday. There is a great deal of anger over the boys death, particularly because he was not a member of the armed resistance. The way one can know this is one of the more bizarre aspects of the conflict. Apparently, there is a great value placed upon not dying as a helpless victim of the occupying forces. Because of this, a huge number of older boys and young men get their pictures taken with rifles, whether theyre involved with the armed resistance, or any other kind, or not. Whenever a boy/man is killed, or dies in a suicide bombing, these pictures are used for martyr posters that are put up in various places around Jenin.

There are roughly 99 young school children in a nearby village who have been locked out of school for around five days, now. They live in the north part of their village (Abad?), and their school is in the south part, with a checkpoint in between. Until yesterday, the children were simply turned away at the checkpoint (and, of course, denied access to their education), but, the last time, soldiers tried to get them to sing, "Saddam, Saddam, drop your chemical weapons on Jenin".

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