Autumn 2013 newletter
Autumn 2013 newletter
Hastings Friends of Yatma member Gill Knight was part of the weekly demonstration in Nabi Saleh last week. See video Residents of Nabi Saleh have conducted peaceful demonstrations against the occupation following the seizure of a spring and land by settlers from the nearby illegal Israeli colony of Halamish. These are normally family affairs, involving children and much of the community. The demonstrators walk to the settlers-only road near the village, where they are met by the army, which blocks their progress. Typically the demonstration is broken up by the Israeli army, using tear gas, and sound grenades, in a pattern described in an article Normalising Violence-a Report from Nabi Saleh. The army also often sprays the demonstrators with a vile smelling liquid called ‘skunk’. (There are many videos of the Nabi Saleh demonstrations on YouTube, which can be accessed by entering ‘nabi saleh’ )
Demonstrations end with teenagers throwing stones at the army, and the army firing tear gas and rubber bullets (steel balls covered in rubber) at the stone throwers. Recently a young Palestinians was killed at Nabi Saleh when an soldier fired a tear gas canister at his face at close range. Occupation forces have conducted night raids in Nabi Saleh to capture and imprison the teenage stone throwers, many of whom languish in Israeli jails. See Wikipedia entry
Sources in Yatma say that about 15 Yatma teenagers are in Israeli prisons, after being seized from their homes, generally in the middle of the night, over the past few months.
Many of these teenagers are followed to their homes after being seen throwing stones at the occupying Israeli armed forces at Za’atara, a large road junction and military checkpoint about 2 km from Yatma.
Palestinian teens seized for throwing stone are typically kept in prisons for long periods, without trial, while Israeli stone throwers are rarely sanctioned. The Yatma teens presently in Israeli jails have mostly been there since January. Teens often languish in jail because their parents cannot afford bail. Until last year, when world outcry focussed attention on the practise, Palestinian teens over 15 were treated as adults and kept in adult jails under adult conditions, while Israeli teens under 18 were treated as children, a clearly discriminatory practice.
There are a very large number of Palestinians in Israeli jails. Some of these are in jail for violent resistance against the occupation, but many are in jail for minor infractions at checkpoints or involvement in demonstrations. People involved in criminal activities are normally dealt with by the Palestinians authorities.
Many of those in Israeli jails are juveniles, often arrested for stone throwing. Under occupation rules, Palestinian juveniles are treated more harshly than Israeli juveniles for the same infractions.
Hastings Friends of Yatma recently attempted to discover how many residents of Yatma were in jail. It seems that in November there were approximately 10 Yatma residents in Israeli jails, as well as three recently released. We didn’t get information about the ages are reasons for incarceration.