Beit Ommar Activists Released From Israeli Jail with 1500 Shekel Fines
Yousef and Saqqar Abu Maria, two Palestinian activists from Beit Ommar who were arrested on Saturday, February 11, 2012 during an unarmed demonstration against the Israeli occupation, have been released from the Israeli prison of Ramle on the evening of February 13th. Both men were released after being held for more than 48 hours, after they each were ordered to pay a fine of 1500 shekels (roughly $450 usd) each by the Israeli courts. Please consider donating to the Palestine Solidarity Project legal defense fund to help cover these costs and other costs for unarmed Palestinian activists on the front lines of fighting for their freedom. Since the beginning of January 2012, 34 Palestinians have been arrested from Beit Ommar village alone by Israeli Forces. Seven of these were minors under the age of 18. To make a contribution to their defense, go to: http://palestinesolidarityproject.org/donate/
For more information about Yousef and Saqqar’s arrests:
On Saturday, February 11, 2012 the popular committee of Beit Ommar and Palestine Solidarity Project held their weekly demonstration against the occupation and settlements. Residents of Beit Ommar, accompanied by Israeli and international solidarity activists, marched to an area of Beit Ommar’s agricultural land near the illegal Israeli settlement Karmei Tsur. The demonstration, which carried pictures of Palestinian political prisoner Khader Adnan and included owners of land which had recently been confiscated by the settlement, was met with dozens of Israeli soldiers who immediately began to attack the demonstration. Two Palestinians, Saqqar Abu Maria and Beit Ommar popular committee spokesman Yousef Abu Maria were both arrested, along with two Israeli solidarity activists. Saqqar was sprayed with pepper spray as he was being held on the ground by soldiers who fiercely attacked the demonstrators and prevented others from helping the detained individuals. Yousef Abu Maria, who was injured in the face earlier this month at a demonstration, was also thrown to the ground and suffered additional injuries while being arrested. They remain detained while the two Israeli activists were released later Saturday.
Last week, 2 new mobile homes were erected on privately-owned Palestinian land inside the so-called security fence that was built through Palestinian land around Karmei Tsur in 2006. Though an Israeli court case determined that the land between this security fence and the actual settlement would remain in the hands of the Palestinian land owners, in reality the owners have not had access through the fence to their lands since the fence was completed. The theft of this land, in contradiction of even Israeli civilian law, was solidified by the construction of these two new homes on the land. The demonstration on Saturday was against the construction of these homes, as a symptom of the ongoing displacement of Palestinians from their land, as well as in solidarity with political prisoner Khader Adnan.
Adnan, who entered his 56th day of a hunger strike on Saturday, is being held in administrative detention. A friend of PSP co-founder Mousa Abu Maria, Adnan has become a rallying point for Palestinians and solidarity activists who wish to draw attention to the inhumane treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, especially those held in Administrative Detention.