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October 2000 - Return to Complete Index                           MiddleEast.Org       10/03/00
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     This eyewitness account from an Israeli student in Haifa
     who took on Haifa's Mayor, the former Military Commander
     for the West Bank in the days of the Intifada:

                  THE BIG SMUG LIAR!

The Haifa protest was probably the least violent of Palestinian
protests inside the green line today. No deaths, only light
injuries (up to broken bones). Here's some of what happened in
Haifa today.

Several 100s [mostly Palestinians but also some Jews] were protesting
and blocking Hatzionut/Khouri junction in Hadar (Wadi Nisnas). Just
standing there shouting slogans against the occupation and the
killings. Yesterday, a similar protest ended peacefully, when the
police stayed away. But today, at some point, the police decided
to open the blocked road. Maybe because there weren't that many
Jews, unlIrite yesterday. They arrested a few, including our friends
Yoram and Yoav (who pretty much volunteered to be arrested, instead
of running away and letting others take the heat lIrite most of us,
the less heroic). Arrest means that you're dragged on the cement
by the arms or legs, while beaten with bats.

They said we can block Khouri and they won't interfere. At that point
the protest turned louder, and although illegal, still not violent.
A few tires were put in Khouri and set on fire. More objects were put
on the road to block it. Not a huge pile of them, but a symbolic pile
of stones and other small objects. The police thought this was too much
of a reaction to a little bit of killing, and moved in. I missed a
crucial 20 minutes, when I moved my car which was parked close to a
burning tire and got stuck in traffic. In these 20 minutes there
were stones thrown at the police, which was using tear gas and rubber
bullets trying to disperse the protest. No serious injuries, but
several light ones.

When I got back, Khouri was blocked by protestors, and the police were
all around, occasionally moving in and arresting one or two more.
Amram Mitzna (the mayor of Haifa and commander of the west bank during
the Intifadah) came to cool things down. He thought he could do that
by telling people that they were hurting the coexistance between Arabs
and Jews in Haifa ('enemies of peace'). The crowd surrounded him and
said they will let him go if the detainees are released. He said we
should let him go and he promises they will all be released by midnight.

Yoav called from detention and said that his arm is broken and they
won't let him see a doctor. From this point on, Iris (his wife) and
I were focused on this issue. One of the lawyers involved was with
us and said that a doctor was sent to the police station but wasn't
allowed in. I went to Mitzna and had this exchange with the big smug

Irit: Are you aware of the fact that there is a detainee who has a
broken arm and is not receiving medical care?
AM: This is not true. You are nourished by rumors. If you will send
a doctor he will be allowed in.

[Never mind the fact that the POLICE was the one which was
supposed to find a doctor, and not me].

Irit: Why doesn't his lawyer know that?
AM: I don't care what his lawyer knows or doesn't know.

I brought the lawyer to Mitzna and he said that a doctor was sent and
was not allowed inside.

AM: I'm not talking to him.
Irit: You lie to me and don't talk to him?
AM: I'm not talking to you either.
Irit: Is that your vision of coexistance? [The lawyer is a Palestinian].
AM: What are you doing for coexistance? You're just inciting!
Irit: [Loud, for everyone to hear]: You'll bring coexistance in
Haifa just like you did in the West Bank during the Intifadah!

That was my brightest moment today.

This is already around 22:00. Yoav was arrested at about 18:00. It's
not good to let a broken arm swell up unattemnded for hours.

We went down to the police station. We found there a doctor waiting on
the doorsteps, not allowed inside. We waited and waited, while the
policeman at the entrance said nothing but "I'm not an officer. I
don't know. I can't answer..."

At some point two men came with a young woman who said she was almost
raped. She looked very depressed. He said the officers are too busy
to take care of her. He can't help her. She can wait but it will take
a long time. She left. That's what the police is doing for you, in
case you wondered.

We waited, with the doctor, outside. At exactly midnight, Yoav and
Yoram came out. Yoram was limping and it turned out he was also
beaten. His foot was very swollen. So we took them both to the
hospital, where it turned out that Yoav's arm is indeed broken.
Yoram's x-ray showed no broken bones, but his anckle was bandaged
and he will limp for a while.

In emergency, we met one guy from Shfar'am. He was sitting next to
his brother's bed. His brother was hit in the forehead by a rubber
bullet which broke his skull.

Around 3 AM, we went home feeling very lucky, compared to those
in Shfar'am.


The author can be reached at Irit@MiddleEast.Org

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