Photo: ActiveStills
Yonatan Shapira arrested
Photo: ActiveStills
Photo: ActiveStills
Police and left-wing activists
Photo: ActiveStills

Police detain 5 left-wing activists

Combatants for Peace members arrested while attempted to remove dirt roadblocks near South Mount Hebron village. Refusenik Yonatan Shapira: No one will stop us fro carrying out non-violent activities for peace

Members of the Combatants for Peace organization vowed Saturday to continue their battle against West Bank roadblocks, despite the arrest of five of the group activists.


One of those detained was refusenik Yonatan Shapira, a former Israel Air Force pilot, who was released after eight hours of questioning.


"We won't be stopped, not by police officers, not by settlers and not by politicians. This is our future. If we fail to act, we won't survive," he told Ynet upon leaving the Hebron police station.


The police detained the Combatants for Peace activists after they took part in a demonstration calling for the removal of dirt roadblocks around the village of Samoa in South Mount Hebron.


Some of them tried to physically remove the obstruction, while others were detained for questioning on their way to the area.


The police reported that four men and a woman were detained for questioning for fear that they would damage dirt roadblocks erected by the Israel Defense Forces. It was also reported that the woman detained had complained of injuring her hand while clashing with one of the policemen, and was evacuated to hospital for medical treatment.


Police clash with protestor (Photo: ActiveStills)


Moshe Pesach, the Israeli coordinator of Combatants for Peace, told Ynet about the incident.


"We arrived at one of the roadblocks near the village of Samoa. We were about 30 Israeli activists and 100 Palestinians and we began removing an obstruction without using violence. We evacuated the road for some time before large army forces, and mainly Yasam (Israel Police special patrol unit) and Border Guard officers, who asked us to leave the area.


"Before we managed to leave, the police came in and acted violently. Policemen shoved us and threatened to beat us up and arrest us. They eventually detained three Israeli activists for questioning, claiming that we obstructed the work of an officer in the line of duty."


Two additional organization activists were detained for questioning on their way to the area. According to Pesach, "The fact that Israelis who are not religious are banned from entering areas in the territories shows that acts of protest are being prevented. This is not the policy that should be adopted in a state which calls itself a democratic state."


'We must prevent future violence'

IDF forces have been operating in recent years to block roads in the Samoa area by placing piles of dirt and large rocks.


"As a result of these activities," said Pesach," the village residents are forced to talk many kilometers in order to receive medical treatment or sell goods. Even when they leave the village by car, they are forced to travel about an hour and a half instead of 15 minutes."


This reality has created a lot of bitterness and anger among the residents, he added. "The feelings of bitterness may lead to a violent uprising among the villages' residents. We call for a removal of the obstructions in order to prevent future violence."


Yonatan Shapira said, "This event demonstrates that we are prevented the right to carry out non-violent activities for peace. We must remember that our activity is aimed at preventing the violence created following the ongoing oppression and the illegal obstructions imprisoning the Palestinians in the territories."


Shapira added that "the places where Israelis and Palestinians work together are placed which barely produce terrorist activities."


The Combatants for Peace organization is comprised of Palestinians and Israelis who were actively involved in the cycle of violence in the region and decided to lay down their weapons and turn from fighters in war to combatants for peace.


According to Shapira, who has been a member of the organization since its foundation in 2005, "If there is one thing that gives us hope in this area it's the joint activity between Israelis and Palestinians committed to reconciliation."


Efrat Weiss contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 05.25.08, 08:30
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