Stop the Wall released the below statement today after Israeli forces raided the group’s Ramallah offices, stealing laptops, hard drives and memory cards related to the organization’s human rights advocacy work challenging Israel’s illegal wall and settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The group’s coordinator, Jamal Juma’, stated: “It is not surprising that the Israeli authorities have chosen this moment to escalate their repression against the Stop the Wall grassroots network of civil resistance against the wall and the settlements, choosing to act on the same day that the Israeli high court rejected the appeals of Palestinian hunger strikers Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, imprisoned without charge and without trial, effectively condemning them to death.”
At 1.30am this morning ten armored jeeps of the Israeli Occupation Forces surrounded and raided the offices of Stop the Wall in Ramallah. Israeli military stole 2 laptops, 3 hard drives and 10 memory cards containing files and photos as well as archive material relating to the work that the organisation does in opposition to Israel’s apartheid wall and the attack on Palestinian human rights that the wall and the settlements represent. This is yet another attack upon Palestinian civil society and their struggle against the physical and psychological oppression, land confiscation and ethnic cleansing policies of Israel.
For photos see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stopthewall/sets/72157629631856082/
Stop the Wall is one of the most vibrant organizations of human rights defenders in Palestine, and has been promoting, for almost ten years, civil resistance and advocacy campaigns against the Wall and in defense of Palestinian rights to self determination. Human Rights Defenders are internationally recognized as an essential element in political processes and their repression further underlines Israeli unwillingness to achieve a just peace.
Jamal Juma’, coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign, comments:
“It is not surprising that the Israeli authorities have chosen this moment to escalate their repression against the Stop the Wall grassroots network of civil resistance against the Wall and the settlements, choosing to act on the same day that the Israeli High Court rejected the appeals of Palestinian hunger strikers Bilal Diab and Tha”ir Halahleh, imprisoned without charge and without trial, effectively condemning them to death.
The courageous steadfastness of the more than 2,000 hunger strikers in Israeli jails is underlining once more the power of civil resistance as part of the Palestinian struggle. Almost daily people are out in the streets to protest in solidarity with the Palestinian political prisoners, and the discontent with the fruitless and completely stalled diplomatic processes is growing stronger. At the same time, the Israeli authorities announced in 2011 to UN agencies that throughout 2012 year they will systematically displace the Palestinian population in area C. While the displacement drive is underway in the Jordan Valley, home demolitions are rising and the settlement construction is accelerated, the people across the West Bank are always more constraint behind the cantons of the wall.
This raid on the Stop the Wall offices is a clear message that the Israeli authorities are fearing widespread nonviolent action will challenge their policies effectively. Israel is preparing for confrontation and more repression, clearly showing that it is not ready to relinquish any of the international sanctioned rights the Palestinian people are struggling for.”
This is not the first time Stop the Wall has been the target of Israeli repression. In September 2009 Stop the Wall youth coordinator was arrested and the Stop the Wall coordinator, Jamal Juma’, was arrested a few months later, in December 2009. The Israeli authorities were not able to formulate any accusations against either of them and after a sustained international campaign, that saw the active involvement of the diplomatic missions in Palestine and European foreign ministries as well as countless human rights organizations around the world, both had to be freed in January 2010. This attack was followed only a few months later by an extensive office raid by the Israeli military on February 8 2010 and mass arrests of grassroots human rights defenders in the villages most actively protesting against the Wall.