10 Activists Arrested at Demonstration in Solidarity with Mousa Abu Maria

24 May 2008

The weekly Friday demonstration in South Betlehem included the theme “We Are All Mousa Abu Maria” in solidarity with Mousa, co-founder of PSP and now political prisoner being held in the Ketziot prison in Israel. Israeli and international activists joined Palestinians from al Ma’asara and Beit Ommar in wearing signs saying, “I am Mousa Abu Maria” in several different languages. Mousa has been a key organizer and supporter of demonstrations in the area and has been attending the demonstrations in the Um Salamuna/Al Ma’asara region since their inception in early 2007. Partcipants met at the entrance to Um Salamuna and Al-Ma’asara and marched down the road where they were soon stopped by the Israeli military. The head of the regional Popular Committee, Mahmoud Zahre, and Yousef Abu Maria, member of PSP and Mousa’s brother, both spoke about Mousa’s importance to the non-violence movement in the area and the fact that he was being targetted by the Israeli military for his leadership in the popular resistance. Some activists then crossed the barbed wire that had been laid across the road to move towards the site of the construction of the Annexation Fence. When they refused to leave and sat down in front of the military jeeps, 10 were arrested and carted off. When asked their names by the Israeli Police, they all replied, “Mousa Abu Maria”. They were later released into an Israeli settlement near Jerusalem.

Mousa was arrested on April 11 and has spent over a month in prison without charge or trial. He is being held in Administrative Detention, meaning he nor his Israeli defense attorney may never see the “evidence” against him. His appeal is this Thursday, May 29, though without knowing what he is being accused of in any detail, a tactic commonly used when there is in fact no evidence against a detainee, a defense is all but impossible. There has been widespread international support for this case and PSP is hopeful that with this international pressure he will not be held indefinitely.