Israeli demolition squad arrests activists

Two international peace activists were arrested by Israeli forces after they tried to prevent the army from demolishing a Palestinian home in the Balata refugee camp, near the West Bank town of Nablus.

    The Abu Salim family survey the remains of their home

    According to witnesses, the Scottish and Swedish peace activists, part of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), chained themselves to the second floor of the house in an attempt to save the Abu Salim family home.

    “The heroic attempt was unsuccessful,” resulting in the detention of the pair, ISM told Aljazeera.net.

    The demolition occurred at about 0100 GMT on Sunday morning after the two were removed by chain cutters. Israeli soldiers blindfolded the two, handcuffed them and led them away.

    Andrew Nuncie, 29 of Scotland and Andreas Konenik, 20 of Sweden were held and questioned at the Ariel police station.

    “They are being held on charges of disturbing soldiers during the destruction of a house”

    Israeli official

    Andrew's parents expressed concern about his situation. “All we know is that he has been able to speak to a lawyer, but is still in detention,” said Mr John Nuncie from Spean Bridge, Fort William, on the west coast of Scotland.

    "We expect him to be deported in the next day or two. We are very proud of our son. He was there six days and he will be disappointed he didn't stay for the full six weeks, but he has already accomplished much."

    An Israeli official, who refused to be identified, told Aljazeera.net that the two would be deported on Monday to Sweden and Scotland, respectively.

    “They are being held on charges of disturbing soldiers during the destruction of a house,” he said.

    The official added that the demolished home was the house of “terrorists”, and claimed that explosives were being manufactured there.

    Israel’s policy of destroying the homes of Palestinians has been internationally criticised as a form of collective punishment.

    But Israel justifies such attacks by linking individual resistance action to entire families. In the case of Abu Salim's family, a relative recently carried out a resistance attack, killing himself in the process.

    ISM representatives said there had been nightly destruction of Palestinian homes for the past week – but they are expecting at least one more revenge Israeli attack on Monday evening.

    The ISM is a Palestinian-led movement of international and Palestinian activists working to raise awareness of the struggle for Palestinian freedom and an end to the Israeli occupation.

    At least 2647 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the Intifada in September 2000.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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