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Jun-09-2010 06:07printcomments

Salem-News.com Writer Arrested After Protest Near Bethlehem

Nobody should be arrested for peace activism, particularly when it involves a rogue soldier and a grudge.

Image from Dr. Qumsiyeh's arrest: Ma'an Agency
Image from Dr. Qumsiyeh's arrest: Ma'an Agency

(BETHLEHEM / SALEM) - We are alarmed and concerned in reporting that Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh PhD, has been arrested by border police while involved in a nonviolent political direct action in al Walaje, in Occupied Palestine. This village near Bethlehem has been the scene of an Israeli wall under construction, that has sparked confrontation with locals.

Mazin is a regular contributor to Salem-News.com and an esteemed Duke/Yale Professor, who currently teaches in Bethlehem.

We were advised by a contact in Israel, that the arrest took place this morning. Police also arrested two Israeli activists, Shay Chalatzi and Yotam Wolfe, which is becoming increasingly more common.

We understand that as everyone was walking away after the action, a border police officer who knows Mazin and has been harassing him, singled him out and arrested him.

All three are now being held behind the Wall Checkpoint (checkpoint 300) in Bethlehem.

Lawyers have been contacted. Mazin is a Palestinian citizen who also has US citizenship. If you are a US citizen, please call the US consulate to inquire on his behalf. This is the Website for the Department of State.

Mazin is a rare individual and a very distinguished educator. He has been taking part in non violent demonstrations and coming under increasing scrutiny and arrest. It is unfortunate that a soldier or police officer apparently has a grudge against this noble man; perhaps this article will allow authorities there to intervene and put an end to the ridiculous notion of a 'troop' taking a personal grudge against this professor, it is unacceptable.

For those just dialing in, Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh contributes articles regularly to Salem-News.com and he is involved in a long term effort to raise awareness about the need for peace. This is the only 'crime' he is taking part in, and it is amazing to many that any country or state willfully uses violence regularly against unarmed protesters.

Obviously the recent events involving the Rachel Corrie, Mavi Marmara and other vessels in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla have flared passions. Of course last week's shooting of an American Jewish art student from New York by an Israeli soldier, in the eye with a tear gas canister, is likely adding to the tensions.

According to a Ma'an Agency article published today by Aaron Dearborn, Dr. Qumsiyeh was not arrested until the protest had ended. That is when he was called out of the crowd by name, from a crowd leaving the scene. It appears that the Israeli forces may be targeting Dr. Qumsiyeh specifically; I doubt that sits well with other professors who are reading this.

It is reported that he is not formally charged. His wife Jessie Chang, told a reporter with the Palestine Monitor, that he should be released this afternoon.

While Professor Qumsiyeh was detained as he left the scene of a protest, Israeli activist Yotam Wolfe, who had chained himself to an army bulldozer, was detained as soon as an Israeli Border Police unit arrived. The second activist from Israel, Shay Chalatzi, was taken away while protesting Mazin Qumsiyeh's detention.

According to Ma'an: 'Walaja residents have reported a series of incursions in recent days, as Israel attempts to enlarge its Jerusalem municipal borders. Israeli patrols have been spotted frequently around the construction site. More than 80 olive trees were uprooted Tuesday, as well as several 70-year-old Cypress trees, a landowner said.'

Again, Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh is an American and Palestinian citizen. Israel needs to release him immediately.

Background on Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh PhD:

Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine. He previously served on the faculties of the University of Tennessee, Duke and Yale Universities.

He served on the board/steering/executive committees of a number of groups including Peace Action Education Fund, the US Campaign to End the Occupation, the Palestinian American Congress, Association for One Democratic State in Israel/Palestine, and BoycottIsraeliGoods.org.

He is now president of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People and coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Sahour.

Mazin advised many other groups including Sommerville Divestment Project, Olympia-Rafah Sister City Project, Palestine Freedom Project, Sabeel North America, and National Council of Churches of Christ USA.

He is an active member of a number of human rights groups (Amnesty, Peace action, Human Rights Watch, ACLU etc.). He published several books the most acclaimed of which is "Sharing the Land of Canaan: human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle" which was also translated to Spanish.

Dr. Qumsiyeh also has an activism book published electronically on his web site (qumsiyeh.org).

His main interest is media activism and public education. He published over 200 letters to the editor and 100 op-ed pieces and interviewed in TV and radio extensively (local, national and international).

Appearances in national media included the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, CNBC, C-Span, and ABC, among others. He also regularly lectures on issues of human rights and international law.

He has a new book out shortly titled “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment" which reviews resistance going back to the beginning of the Zionist project in the 19th century until today.

Salem-News.com is extremely proud to work with Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home
Also please visit: pcr.ps

Special thanks to: Ma'an News agency

=========================================

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Chuck Palazzo June 10, 2010 7:16 pm (Pacific time)

Outrageous! When will Israel get off their high horse and learn, once and for all, they do not rule the earth? Freedom must be given to our brother journalist and peace activist!

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