2018/03/20By Dr abraham Weizfeld PhD
(Beginning with notes written the day of the event)
While maintaining a presence with a Palestinian friend, Myassar Atyani, on her land next to the Zionist colony of Eli, otherwise known in Arabic as the region of BirAli, we were confronted by the soldiers from COGAT, the colony security and the Israel police who came at first to observe the plowing underway.
The COGAT military claimed to be protecting Myassar from the colony fanatics who had come prepared to throw stones.
The soldiers came onto Myassar’s land surrounding us three internationals from New York, France and Canada. The latter one being me fitted with a Jewish Agency A1 visa for three years. One international from France escaped down the mountain. The soldiers first demanded that my camera be closed and then demanded its confiscation, as well as to turn over my passport. I refused to give up my passport and my camera was taken by force.
I followed the soldiers up to the colony demanding the return of the video camera.
At the colony road the soldiers demanded my passport again and I produced it and the passport was confiscated. I let them know that the Canada Embassy would object if it was not returned. After being photographed, my passport was returned. I still refused to leave until my camera and that of the other international from France were returned. After 2-3 hours the camera was returned with the memory wiped. A photo was taken of the ‘Tanweer’ Palestinian Cultural Enlightenment Forum vest that I wore. During the detention of ~4 hours we were variously told we were arrested for “criminal provocation” and then that we were not and then released but charged anyways.
We were shown a paper declaring the land of Myassar to be a closed military zone. I asked if this was new order and the COGAT soldiers said it was not.
This was a day of planting to commemorate the international martyrs of Rachel Corrie, Tom Hurdell and Vittorio Arrigoni. [end]
The COGAT is the military administration of the West Bank under the
authority of the Zionist State of Israel. Coordination of Government Activities in
the Territories < http://www.cogat.mod.gov.il/en >. That is to say, the bureaucratic name for the Occupation of 1967. The 1967 Occupation of the Gaza Strip was ended previously. Myassar had a 5-day permit from COGAT to work her land but it was revoked that day on the pretext that the internationals were present, as if she could not invite such solidarity activists to help protect her from the settlers.
Rachel Corrie was crushed to death in Rafah, Gaza in 2003 during the second Intifada, Tom Hurdell was shot in the head by a Druze Arab minority soldiers in Rafah as well. Previously he worked as a volunteer with the ISM (International Solidarity Movement) in the Balata refugee camp, Nablus, West Bank with me in 2003 for two weeks. When he told me he was going to Rafah afterwards, I remarked that it was dangerous and he said, “I know”.
Walking down the mountain to our friends waiting for us at the bottom was
a new form of exercise for one who is used to sitting at the computer
and doing Yoga in the morning but a welcome escape nonetheless.