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Peace Resistance, Israeli Arrests and Shootings ContinueKaren Douglas Special to Salem-News.com
The number of arrests and charges being laid against the residents and activists are continuing to mount...
(AL ARAKIB Occupied Palestine) - Over the past two days, the Jewish National Fund (JNF), Israeli Land Administration (ILA) and Yassam riot police returned to Al Arakib.
After a brief few days of relative peace in the village, the residents had erected approximately 15 temporary wooden structures in between the terraces of earth that had been created by the JNF.
On Wednesday, these were again demolished by the ILA's bulldozers while the residents, including the children who had not yet left for school, were detained in the cemetery by police. The JNF then continued its work preparing the ground, simply shoving the wreckage to the side.
On Wednesday, even in the face of peaceful resistance, a variety of ammunition (including what is suspected to be FN303 bullets) was used by the Yassam police force on the residents and activists.
An 11 year old boy and his grandfather were hospitalized as a result of shock and a fall respectively.
Others who were injured from bullets refused to go to Soroka Hospital out of fear that they would either be arrested or not allowed to return to Al Arakib. Sheick Sayach later visited Rahat clinic. One man visiting from Rahat was arrested and is still being detained.
The following morning, the JNF began earlier than usual to continue its work preparing the ground around the cemetery in Al Arakib under the heavy protection of about 40 Yassam police officers.
At around 11:00 a.m., approximately 60 residents from the neighbouring Bedouin township, Rahat, attempted to enter Al Arakib to show their solidarity with the residents and pray with them, however, were refused entry by the police.
While trying to negotiate with the police at the turn-off to the village from Route 40 (the main road into Be'er Sheva), the police began to shoot at the group (that included women and children) with sponge bullets.
Dr. Awad Abu-Freich, a well-known resident and spokesperson of Al Arakib, and five others from Rahat were arrested. A number of charges have been laid against Dr Awad including incitement, disturbing the peace, causing a police to fail his duty and disturbing a policeman.
The other five arrested have since been released.
Two residents, Ibrahim and Ahmad Abu Medigem who were both arrested on February 10 are still being detained and have been charged with attacking a police officer.
The Be'er Sheva District Court decided on Thursday that they will be held until the completion of the proceedings which may be as long as nine months.
The three activists who were arrested last week and received restriction orders against entering the village appealed on Thursday. The judge said she would reach a decision by the end of the day, however, did not.
The number of arrests and charges being laid against the residents and activists are continuing to mount up, suggesting a new tactic by the authorities to bring an end to the struggle through the sustained pressure of legal action.
Attached are photos of the ammunition used, resulting injuries, the incident at Route 40 and the arrest of one of the supporters from Rahat.
This morning we organized an inter-faith pray lead by Rabbi Arik Ascherman in the village.
Karen Douglas is the Resource Development Coordinator with Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, visit them online: dukium.org
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