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The Only Democracy? » Human Rights Activists in the Crosshairs » Israeli Forces Invade Palestine Solidarity Project in Beit Ommar

Israeli Forces Invade Palestine Solidarity Project in Beit Ommar

The Palestine Solidarity Project reports on a March 8 raid by Israeli Forces on the Beit Ommar homes of the Project’s founders and family, and on the offices of the Project.  This invasion comes one day after Beit Ommar residents blocked Routh 60 in southern Palestine, the main highway for travel between settlements in the area, in protest against Israel’s plan to annex religious sites as their national “heritage sites.”
Bekah Wolfe, co-founder of the Palestine Solidarity Project with her husband Mousa Abu Maria,  was recently  in the United States on a speaking tour about the Project.  She spoke of their committment to  grassroots organizing against the Occupation, and looked to the American Civil Rights Movement as a model for the kind of mass-mobilization that is evolving in the West Bank.  Bekah is expecting their first child later this month.

Just before 1 am Monday, March 8, six Israeli military jeeps with over two dozen soldiers surrounded the homes of Mousa Abu Maria  and his wife, Bekah Wolf  and Mousa’s father, Abdelhamid Abu Maria, 78, who lives with his wife, adult daughter, and two small children, Sarah, 2, and Hamze, 1 month.

The soldiers broke down the doors of Mousa and Abdelhamid’s houses and ordered the adults, along with the small children, outside. Mousa, Palestine Solidarity Project co-founder and well-known activist in Beit Ommar, was forcefully searched. The soldiers then made a cursory search of Abdelhamid’s home and demanded to see the ID’s of the adults present. The two small children, particularly Sarah who was awakened by the invading soldiers and well aware of their guns and shouting, were terrified. The soldiers left after about 20 minutes, with no questioning or any notice of why they had come.

Sarah Abu Maria, 2, whose home was raided Monday morning

At approximately 3am the soldiers returned to the area of Mousa and his family’s homes, this time breaking down the door of PSP’s office space and community center, the Center for Peace and Justice. They then took a computer, scanner and laser printer, as well as photographs and maps off the walls. While no one was arrested, it was a clear act of intimidation aimed at PSP, which is one of the organizing forces in Beit Ommar. This invasion comes 1 day after a demonstration was held on Route 60, the main thoroughfare in the Southern West Bank. The commander of the unit that attacked the peaceful demonstration Saturday was directing the raids last night.  Soldiers then raided two other homes in Beit Ommar, causing significant damage in one and giving two men orders to appear for the intelligence services (Shabak) for questioning.

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Carol Sanders was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. She is a retired legal services attorney and author of legal texts. She lived in Israel from 1963 to 1966, where she worked on a kibbutz, did graduate studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and served as an assistant to the then-mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek. Carol is a long-time activist with Jewish Voice for Peace, and is the JVP representative to the Middle East Advisory Committee and a member of Bay Area Women in Black.

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