* For those interested in getting involved with Palestine Peace & Solidarity in Korea, we meet weekly on Mondays at our office in Hapjeong at 7:30pm. Please email Tom @ firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We welcome you to join us! *
Palestinian artists, activists and community leaders recently joined with international activists to carry out a 9-day “Freedom Bus Tour” of “cultural resistance” in Area C in the occupied West Bank which remains completely under the control of the Israeli military. The tour, which was coordinated by the Freedom Theater operating in Jenin Refugee Camp, was extended to 13 days to conclude on Land Day. One international participant from the U.S. was arrested by the IDF when the tour party entered the South Hebron Hills on March 29.
Land Day (March 30)
The 30th of March is Land Day which marks the day in 1976 when 6 Palestinians living in Israel were shot and killed and hundreds arrested and injured by Israeli forces during a protest against the illegal appropriation of Palestinian land in the northern Galilee to build Jewish-only settlements. Al Jazeera is reporting that a dozen people were injured in the demonstrations which were met with tear gas and rubber bullets by the IDF. Last year one protestor was killed after being shot in the head by the IDF but this year no deaths have been reported.
Palestine Peace & Solidarity in Korea is still finalizing plans for its Land Day action which will take place this week and focus on the calling on Hyundai to ensure that its construction equipment is no longer used for the illegal destruction of Palestinian homes in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Casualties of Apartheid and Occupation
In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 21- 27 March 2013, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) reported that Israeli forces continued to employ excessive force against peaceful protests in the occupied West Bank. Over the reported period, the IDF carried out a total of 37 incursions into Palestinian communities, injured 4 protestors and abducted 26 civilians (including 6 children) in the occupied West Bank.
Five members of Hamas including an acting member of parliament were arrested in their homes in Hebron by the IDF at dawn on March 27, most likely for their suspected connection to an Islamic militant group. The IDF has carried out 50 such arrests in the last few months. Palestinians living under the authority of the U.S.-backed Palestinian Authority continue to face restrictions on freedom of expression. Journalist Mamdouh Hamamreh from Bethlehem was sentenced on March 29 to one year’s imprisonment for “harming his Excellency the President” after comparing Palestinian Authority President Abbas to a French spy in a Syrian television show. He is the second Palestinian journalist to be imprisoned on such charges this year.
The Rafah tunnels providing a lifeline to many Gazans continue to prove hazardous for workers under the ongoing Israeli military siege of the Gaza Strip. One tunnel worker was killed and another two sustained injuries when the tunnel they were working in collapsed on March 28.