Article on Mohammad by Ben White

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Journalist and writer Ben White has written a blog post about Mohammad’s arrest.

Nonviolent Palestinian Activists Arrested as Israel Cracks Down on Wall Protests
by Ben White

Earlier this year, I was shown around Jayyous by Mohammad Othman, Youth Coordinator of the Stop the Wall campaign, a nonviolent grassroots movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. His community, like many others, has been hit hard by Israel’s Separation Wall, their very livelihoods threatened by Israel’s drive to carry out a land grab under the claim of security.

Yesterday, Othman was detained and arrested by Israeli soldiers as he attempted to cross back into the West Bank from Jordan, returning from a trip to Norway. He will apparently meet with his lawyer tomorrow, and there is a court appearance scheduled for Tuesday next week.

Across the Occupied Territories, the Israeli military has been cracking down on Palestinian civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance, particularly as it relates to the Separation Wall. Bil’in, a village now famous for its protests against the Wall that Desmond Tutu compared to Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., has been repeatedly raided by Israeli soldiers, with nonviolent activists and their families intimidated, beaten, and snatched from their homes.

The Separation Wall, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice at The Hague in an Advisory Opinion in 2004, cuts through the West Bank and East Jerusalem, territories under Israeli military occupation:

About two-thirds of the 700km+ route, featuring a 8m-high wall, electric fences, sniper towers and “buffer zones” up to 100m wide, is completed or under construction. Of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, 8.5% will be on the “wrong” side of the wall.

In the absence of foreign governments applying pressure on Israel to abide by international law with regards to its military occupation, the settlements, and the Separation Wall, courageous individuals like Mohammad Othman have sacrificed much in order to stand up for Palestinians’ basic rights. Hindi Mesleh is a volunteer with the Stop the Wall campaign, and a friend of Mohammad’s. He told me today that Mohammad is motivated by his concern for “the youth of Palestine – he wants to support them, and always encourages them to stay, not to leave, and to fight for Palestinian rights”.

This is not the first time I have written here of peaceful protestors being detained for speaking up for equality for Palestinians. Let’s hope that there is a similar clamour for the release of Othman – and indeed the many other Palestinian political prisoners jailed solely for nonviolently exercising their rights of free expression.

Ben White is a journalist and writer based in London. He blogs at www.benwhite.org.uk.

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5 Responses to Article on Mohammad by Ben White

  1. W. R. Cole says:

    There is only one possible solution for this tragic affair and that is to impose sanctions on Israel until she not only removes those settelments but the walls as well.

  2. W. R. Cole says:

    There is only one possible solution for this tragic affair and that is for the Un ited States to impose sanctions against Israel until she removes the West Bank settelments and those walls.

  3. Laraine Goddard says:

    This is yet another example of Human Rights Abuse by Israel, who consider their actions beyond reproach. I shall be contacting my consular representative and urge all others to do the same. I shall do all I can to participate in his release.

  4. Mohamed Reza Zoodashna says:

    Hopefully Mohammad Othman will be freed imediatly and that no harm will be done to him. This world needs people like him, people who are an example for others in showing how important it is to stand up for the oppressed and have the courage to speak their mind, and even go to prison in their effort to help creating a better world.

  5. alaina says:

    this is extremly sad and depressing, surely the international community cannot go on turning a blind eye to Isreali atrocities in palestine.

    Its time, Uk govt imposed sanctions on Isreal if we truely stand for human rights. There are more than 50,000 palestinians in Isreali prisons including children!!

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