Israeli police use new force on Palestinians as protests mount in support of hunger strikers

ActivismIsrael/Palestine
on 17 Comments
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                                       Maath Musleh arrested today outside of Ramle prison.                                          (Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

UPDATE: This account has been updated below with more accurate information.

Today, Israeli police confronted protestors outside of prisons in both the West Bank and Israel with rubber bullets, tear gas and electric shock, arresting 15. Protesters gathered in support of approximately 2,500 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike since April 17, 2012.

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In Ramle, demonstrators amassed outside the prison medical clinic where police shot electrical currents from a Taser gun and arrested eight demonstrators chanting for prisoner rights. Later, protestors moved to the Ramle police station where those arrested where held, and seven more were taken into Israeli custody.

“They beaten us and arrested some because we refuse to leave our comrades who were arrested alone,” tweeted journalist Abir Kopty, whose hand was injured by police. According to Kopty’s updates, Israeli authorities also shouted expletives while arresting protestors.

Within hours, several of the detained, including a bus driver who transported the activists, were released.  Although, remaining in custody is 15 year-old Ward Kayyal, who was transferred to a nearby hospital.  A regular contributor to this site, Leehee Rothschild was also arrested.

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UPDATE: One of those arrested says that 17 in all were arrested and were not released for a full day. No one was tasered outside the Ramle prison, but protesters were during a subsequent gathering outside the police station. All 17 were later attacked, beaten and tasered while in custody in the police station.

Meanwhile in front of the West Bank’s Ofer prison, for the third consecutive day protesters were met with rubber coated steel bullets and tear gas. Five are reported injured, including one man who was struck in the leg by a tear gas canister.

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Palestinian women protesting outside of Ofer prison on May 1, 2012. (Photo: Hamdi Abu Rahma)

The actions come as two Palestinian on extended hunger strikes, Bilal Diab and Tha’er Halahleh, enter their 66th day of fast. Held at the Ramle prison medical clinic, today both met with an Israeli judge who refused to release the men from their administrative detention orders, or imprisonment without charge. As their health is now in imminent risk of death, the continuation of their captivity is considered a de facto death sentence.

Early this morning, the prisoner rights group Addameer posted the following update on Facebook:

No decision was made in today’s Israeli High Court hearing regarding the administrative detention of Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, currently on their 66th day of hunger strike. Both Bilal and Thaer were brought to the hearing and attended in wheelchairs. During the hearing, Bilal fainted and there were no doctors present inside the court. Thaer testified to the mistreatment he has suffered since his arrest. Judge Amnon Rubenstein announced that the panel of judges would make a decision after reviewing the “secret file”, but after the review there was still no decision. He said that the parties will be informed of the decision later on, without stating when.

For more on the arrests and protest in support of the hunger strikers follow @AbirKopty and #PalHunger.

17 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    May 4, 2012, 10:14 am

    Why did southern (USA) racists use such violence against civil-rights marchers in the 1960s? Why does Israel use such violence against protesters today? What is the threat to these kindly folk, just trying to preserve the legally established status quo, you know, which makes protest against their “law” so threatening or annoying or dangerous — or what? — that they must use such violence merely to put down peaceful protest?

    And why are our churches so loathe to call Israeli “status quo” by its name, racism, and to call them on the violent response to protest?

    • Woody Tanaka
      May 4, 2012, 11:19 am

      “Why did southern (USA) racists use such violence against civil-rights marchers in the 1960s? Why does Israel use such violence against protesters today? ”

      Because to the authoritarian mindset, any act of opposition is a threat.

    • Fredblogs
      May 4, 2012, 12:01 pm

      In the South? Racism. In Israel, because the protesters usually throw rocks, or otherwise attack the soldiers. Or try to get into closed military areas.

      A death sentence is where other people kill you without you having a choice. When you choose to kill yourself, that’s called “suicide”.

      • Blake
        May 4, 2012, 2:46 pm

        @fredblogs: Were blacks in the South even confined to open air prisons?

      • Bumblebye
        May 4, 2012, 3:20 pm

        BS fredfrog.
        The protesters usually wave flags, but then the IOF start firing their various missiles – you know, the skunk, the tear gas, the rubber bullets – at which point SOME of the protesters respond in self-defense. You of course, have tunnel vision and can only see those parts of the picture your zio-handlers tell you to look at.
        As for the hunger strikers, they have not been charged with ANY offence, they’ve been incarcerated on Israel’s prison version of a ‘rolling contract’ just for existing and breathing while Palestinian. If any ‘secret evidence’ were revealed, the whole world would be laughing its head off at Israeli stupidity and cupidity.

      • Miss Costello
        May 5, 2012, 4:17 pm

        Fred Blogs; “Throw rocks”??? My, my.

      • justicewillprevail
        May 5, 2012, 4:44 pm

        Fred, you are utterly clueless. Are you a kid?

      • tree
        May 5, 2012, 5:34 pm

        In Israel, because the protesters usually throw rocks, or otherwise attack the soldiers.

        That can’t be the reason, because when Jewish settlers rioted and attacked an IDF base, not only did the IDF NOT use rubber bullets and tear gas and electric shock on the rock throwers, they only detained a single one of the rioters during the attack.

        link to jpost.com

        The Jewish rioters in this case were most definitely violent, but yet they were treated with kid gloves by the IDF. But they were Jewish, so they were treated differently (with much more consideration) than non-violent Palestinians. That’s racism, Fred.

        A large number (some 300, we’re told) of yarmulke-wearing pogromchiks stoned Palestinian vehicles, stormed a military base, caused severe damage to equipment there, stoned a brigade commander and his XO – the stones were thrown into their command vehicle, no less – and managed to get away with it without any pogromchik being shot in the face by a gas grenade. Actually, the IDF only managed to detain one of them. When military reporter Carmela Menashe asked the IDF Spokesman, Brigadier Yoav Mordechai, this morning how the brigade commander would react of he was stoned by a Palestinian, Mordechai answered (Hebrew recording, circa 12:00) that “I assume, Carmela, that you wouldn’t expect the brigade commander to open fire on a Jew standing in front of him, I am certain you didn’t mean that.”

        And there you have it. The IDF’s official spokesman defines the apartheid regime in the West Bank. There are stone-throwers who may be shot, and there are some, those of the Chosen People, who can’t be. Same offence, same region, different reaction.

        link to 972mag.com

        Or try to get into closed military areas.

        “Closed military areas”, otherwise know as your own home or village if you are a Palestinian. An actual IDF base, however, is not considered a “closed military area”, liable to get you shot for entering it, if you just happen to be a Jewish settler.

      • Talkback
        May 5, 2012, 6:11 pm

        @ Fredblogs

        “In Israel, because the protesters usually throw rocks, or otherwise attack the soldiers. Or try to get into closed military areas.”

        Can you prove this or is it just the latest pseudologica fantastica seizure?

        “A death sentence is where other people kill you without you having a choice. When you choose to kill yourself, that’s called “suicide”.

        Who commits suicide, Fredblogs, and how?

      • Talkback
        May 7, 2012, 8:22 am

        Bad news for Fredblogs’ “the protesters usually throw rocks”- pseudologica fantastica.

        “Undercover soldiers hurled stones in the “general direction” of IDF soldiers as part of their activity to counter weekly demonstrations in the Palestinian village of Bil’in, the commander of the Israeli Prison Service’s elite “Masada” unit revealed during his recent testimony in the trial of MK Mohammed Barakeh (Hadash).”
        link to haaretz.com

      • Citizen
        May 7, 2012, 7:46 am

        Israeli undercover Israeli noncombatants invent violence to counter occupation protests, here’s a recent example–pretending to be Palestinian protesters, they threw rocks towards the IDF troops sent to quell the protest in the West Bank: link to haaretz.com

        The “Lavon” style of Israeli ethics.

  2. Talkback
    May 4, 2012, 12:00 pm

    I’m waiting for olegR, Fredblogs and other state violence legitimizers to spin this here on Mondoweiss.

  3. Fredblogs
    May 4, 2012, 12:02 pm

    BTW, you have a typo “arraigned” not “arranged”.

    • Woody Tanaka
      May 4, 2012, 12:51 pm

      Typical Fredo: ignore the injustice to the Palestinians, but fixate on trivial minutia.

  4. Blake
    May 4, 2012, 12:46 pm

    Palestinians have my sympathy and that of all decent civilized human beings.

  5. Annie Robbins
    May 4, 2012, 7:05 pm

    check out this photo tweeted by michael treiger who was at the demo:

    Michael Treiger ‏ @Dustbowl_Pal

    This is the hero of the demo today btw, he’s only 16 years old #Ramle #PalHunger link to facebook.com

  6. munro
    May 7, 2012, 6:22 am

    Follow @MaattMusleh the guy in red at the top of the page.

    Maat’s blog http://palestineyouthvoice.wordpress.com

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