BürgerInnen gegen den Krieg
im Landkreis Ebersberg



Bericht 7 aus Jayyous (13. März 2009)


Israeli soldiers provoke Jayyous people

When Fraser, Cindy and I arrived at the Mosque at about 11:50 this Friday two jeeps of the Israeli army were standing in front of the building, later a third one came. While the people got to the Mosque to attend the service the soldiers left the jeeps, their guns pointed at the people. Evidently some young people had gotten upset about the soldiers being there so that elderly men held them back and kept them from approaching or provoking the soldiers. Nevertheless, as more and more people got to the entrance of the Mosque, the excitement among them increased. We tried to talk to the soldiers, asking why they came here ("Somebody was throwing stones at us."), who exactly of the people in the Mosque did so (no answer) and what they would do if Palestinian jeeps would be standing in front of the Synagogue at home (no answer). There seemed to be a discussion going on among the soldiers because the ones that were talking to us were pulled back and spoken to in a very strict manner. Another soldier told us there was curfew. When asked since when, he said "Since now." He waved his hands, meaning to step back, and said if we would not do this we would be arrested. When one of the press photographers stepped in front of one of the jeeps instead of stepping back, a sound bomb was thrown at him missing his feet only by a few centimeters. On this we again tried to argue with the soldiers, but it was for nothing. Once and again elderly people argued with young men, evidently to keep them from provoking the soldiers.

During the service the jeeps left and drove through the village. They reappeared -a bit later two police jeeps joined them - when the service was over and the people left to go to the village centre, without forming a demonstration. One of the police jeeps came from the village centre, encountering the people. It stopped several times, and one door was opened, but the people were allowed to pass.

In the meantime the army jeeps were standing behind the village centre facing the people coming from the Mosque. When the crowd had passed the village centre the jeeps were clearly to be seen, and some children and youngsters started throwing stones at the jeeps. The soldiers shot tears gas and soundbombs. Fraser and I were still close to the Mosque on our way to the village centre. Some of the tears gas canisters were hurled high above the youngsters and almost hit us so that we had to find shelter in a house nearby.

I am quite sure that the soldiers knew that, other than on the Fridays before, there would be no demonstration this Friday because everybody else in the village knew. So, why did they come to the Mosque? There was no military reason to be there. For instance did they not try to arrest anybody who they accused to have thrown stones at them, and we do not know of any other specific actions they were taking. Maybe the reason is to be found in the strategy of the Israeli military to intimidate the Palestinians and to demonstrate total control over their daily life whenever they think this is appropriate: "Service in the Occupied Territories requires Israeli soldiers to control the Palestinian population in a total, absolute and daily manner."(Breaking the Silence: Soldiers` Testimonies from Hebron, Jerusalem, April 2008, p. 4) Maybe they were not aware that their presence in front of the Mosque would provoke the people. But maybe the soldiers wanted just that: To provoke the people and to wait what would happen because, maybe there would be an opportunity to practice, for example an opportunity for a "false-arrest". It means "that in order to prepare for a real arrest, you carry out an arrest assignment in some house, of someone who is not really wanted. You close in on his house, go through the whole procedure, for practice." (Breaking the Silence, Testimony 52, P. 71)

As I write this, sitting on the roof of "our" house - it is 3:30 p.m. now - the solders are still in the village. From the Southern part of the village shooting of tear gas is to be heard. Some minutes ago soldiers climbed on the roof of the house across the street yelling at the owner who was standing on the roof. Fortunately they did not enter the house but left after some minutes. Most routine military missions in the occupied territories "are also intended to make the Palestinians know you`re there. That the army`s there. That they mustn`t relax for a second." (Breaking the Silence, Testimony 7, p. 14). It`s military law, soldiers do not need any court order to invade into private lives.

I work for the Evangelische Missonswerk in Südwestdeutschland (EMS) as an Ecumenical Accompanier serving on the World Council of Churches` Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The views contained in this email are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the Evangelische Missionswerk in Südwestdeutschland and the WCC. If you would like to publish the information contained here, or place it on a website, please first contact the Liaison Officer for the Middle East, Pastor Andreas Maurer, at the EMS, (Maurer@ems-online.org) or the EAPPI Communications& Advocacy Officer (eappi-co@jrol.com) for permission. Thank you.

Götz Schindler, Ecumenical Accompanier in Jayyous im Rahmen des EAPPI

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