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October 2000 - Return to Complete Index        MiddleEast.Org         10/11/00
News, Information & Analysis that Governments, Interest
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 "Contrary to what the reports say here, the protests
 have intensified daily with the biggest turnout yesterday
 in both the occupied territories and inside Israel."

 "Jewish Israelis have now burned two Churches in
 Haifa, three Mosques in the Galilee, and have
 mobbed and in some cases killed dozens of Palestinians."
I have been in contact with my Father who is currently in Ramalla as a Fulbright Scholar teaching at Bier Ziet.  He and my cousin Rola go out everyday, along with the demonstrators, to the Settlements around Ramalla where all the protests end up.

Their accounts are inspiring and enlightening.  They describe how everyone does their part during protests.  As Israeli soldiers stand near their Jeeps, Rock throwers continue to advance on them until they get close enough to hit them.  Runners with buckets of rocks, usually younger kids, run up to the "front line" and drop off rocks.  If an Israeli soldier is hit by a rock then they either retaliate by firing back into the crowd or they
fire off tear gas.

The use of tear gas has been the most effective tactic the Israelis have to disperse the protesters.  So now, the demonstrators have an onion and filter-mask  person they call 'abu bassal'.  This is my cousin Rola's current role.  She runs around giving masks, the kind worn by painters, and onions to combat the effects of the gas.  But because she goes where the tear gas is, yesterday she was knocked out by to much exposure and was taken to the hospital.

Still others, bring buckets of water to drop the gas canisters in.  If someone is wounded by gunfire, he or she is carried back to a spot where first aid is ready at hand.  Usually though, the shot is fatal and the 'carriers' immediately go notify the family that their son has been killed.

One such case happened in yesterdays demonstration where a young man was shot in the head at very close range.  My cousin described it in gruesome detail from her vantage point 10 meters back. She recalled trying to run away but couldn't out of fear and ended up just falling flat on her face.  She composed herself, got up a minute later and went back to distributing masks and onions.

Recently, the mothers have started coming out and more young women are joining the rock throwing at the front line - a picture of one such young woman was shown in the New York Times Yesterday who was at the same protest I'm currently describing.   This seems to frustrate the soldiers more to the point that they shoot all the
young men around any woman throwing rocks trying to scare her off.

Moreover, contrary to what the reports say here, the protests have intensified daily with the biggest turnout  yesterday in both the occupied territories and inside Israel.  A colleague of my father form Nazareth said he got news from his family that Jewish Israelis have now burned two Churches in Haifa, three Mosques in the Galilee, and have mobbed and in some cases killed dozens of Palestinians.  In addition, Nazareth has had daily riots
by Jews who break windows and destroy property in the Palestinian neighborhoods.

The news crews covering the protests stand back behind everyone at a 'safer' distance but still wear bullet-proof vests.  My Father talks to them and they say it's surreal how the Israeli soldiers pick off teenagers without being in real danger.  "Its a turkey shoot" said one American reporter.  Many of them have almost been shot themselves.

Two days ago my Dad was standing talking to an American news crew when 3 volleys came inches from them all.
Needless to say, they called it a day.

It is clear as day to the reporters what the Israelis are doing and because of this the majority of them are squarely with the Palestinians on a personal level.  Lets hope their stories get picked up here.

I'm going to call Gaza tomorrow where all my uncles live along with the rest of my cousins.  I'll try to get a recent picture from them and relay it to you.  In return, I tell them about the protests here in the U.S and our efforts with the media and they are surprised yet very pleased since they don't hear about it in the news there.
      In Solidarity,
      Tarek Elaydi - 10/11

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