Breaking through to Mufkara
|13th April, 2002
Wilmslow Express Advertiser
Dear Sir, Re: Breaking through to Mufkara
Last November, you kindly reported on a coffee morning that "The Noah
Organised by Ta'ayush (Arab-Jewish Partnership) the rabbis joined by activists from some of the thirty or so different NGOs (non-government organisations) devoted to practical peace making, 57 private cars set out towards the hamlet of Mufkara. They were carrying blankets and tents for its Palestinian inhabitants whose houses and even emergency dwellings in caves had been destroyed.
On the way they encountered an Israeli army roadblock. The officer in charge decreed the area "a closed military zone". Convoy organisers pointed out that Mufkara was outside the 'closed' area and that taking blankets to destitute people was not a threat to security. They were eventually allowed to proceed. This was only to be met further on by members from the nationalist-religious settlement of Susya. It is these settlers who have been egging on the army to expel the inhabitants of Mufkara and other Palestinian hamlets and they were angry at the "leftists" interfering and taking humanitarian aid to them. Armed and shouting abuse at the convoy, they had parked their cars to block the road ahead.
The police then intervened and promised to move the settlers so that
Undaunted, the activists decided to go on foot and carry the blankets
Then scores of police violently set upon them kicking and pushing them. They were kneed in the groin, grabbed out of line, put into a neck lock, hit over the head and choked. And, the Arabs in the group were systematically singled out for more brutal violence. Throughout it all, defending each other, the activists continued to move forward chanting "Down with the occupation"!
Meanwhile, the settlers, thus delayed from reaching Susya before the
start of the Sabbath, honked and yelled at the peace activists and one
tried to run over a group of them, hitting a policeman by mistake.
The police, forbidden to shoot their own Israeli citizens (though free
Suddenly, Yasser Akawi an Arab Ta'ayush activist was jumped on by a policeman, kicked and punched severely and accused of assaulting him, whereupon the activist Salamka Danievsky ran to the jeep where Uasser was still being hit and pushed her way through to defend him. The rest of the group kept moving while some 25 activists surrounded the jeep and prevented Yasser from being taken away in it. Word was passed to the larger group ahead, who stopped and stay on on the road blocking the way of screaming settlers. Again the organisers negotiated with police and eventually Yasser was released.
United again, they climbed the last stretch of hillside to Mufkara.
Finally, at dust, the Ta'ayush group reached the hamlet. The residents,
So, I think I ought to hold another coffee morning, out in the open
air of my
Mrs. Joy Pagano
c.c. Rabbis for Human Rights UK and Israel, George Osborne MP, Peace