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Jul-10-2011 16:25printcomments

Israel Accused of Mistreating Elderly Western National Prisoners

'Welcome to Palestine' partipants who simply told Israeli authorities they were there to visit Palestine were arrested in droves for simply trying...

Palestine sign
Photo courtesy: UK Embassy

(BETHLEHEM / JERUSALEM) - Israeli authorities set stringent conditions for release of "Welcome to Palestine" prisoners. The large majority of international visitors are still incarcerated under brutal conditions, begin a hunger strike in Israeli jail Bethlehem, today.

Over 120 internationals attempting to visit Palestine were arrested and are still being illegally detained in two Israeli detention centers, in Ramle and in Beer Al-Saba' (Beersheva). These friends of Palestine, among which there are minors and elderly persons with medical conditions, have been and are being mistreated and subjected to unnecessary brutality.

For example, Dr. Hikmat Al-Sabty, 57, of Rostock, Germany, is being denied needed medication that is in his suitcase; this was reported to his wife by the German Embassy in Tel Aviv, but his wife has not been allowed to speak with him directly.

All of those detained have stated repeatedly that they are non-violent and want only to accept the invitation to visit together with Palestinian friends in the program "Welcome to Palestine."

The Israeli authorities released two older German men from prison yesterday, but only on condition that they sign an Israeli legal document that was presented to them only in Hebrew and English.

One of the two men came to Bethlehem. He is uncertain of the full contents of the Israeli paper he signed because his English is not good, and he was unable to first consult with his attorney in Israel before signing the paper: the Israeli authorities yesterday made attorney access to prisoners very difficult, and large number of those detained can only be seen by their attorneys today and tomorrow.

The German man now in Palestine believes that he has agreed in writing not to go to Ramallah, Jenin, and certain other Palestinian cities, but that the Israeli authorities have allowed that he to go to "tourist" areas in the West Bank.

Because he is still uncertain of the full content of the Israeli document he signed, he prefers not to give his name at this time. The Israeli authorities refused, in violation of international law, to give him a copy of the paper he signed. His attorney is seeking to obtain a copy of the document he signed from the Israeli authorities.

We received a letter from the Belgian group in Bersheeva prison, who state that they began a hunger strike last night. In the letter, the Belgians demand, on behalf of all the prisoners, to have contact their families and with their attorneys.

They demand an international investigation into the behavior of airline companies and Israeli officials. They also demand to be able to have contact with each other in the Israeli prison.

For example, because the French and Belgian men and women are separated in the prison, the men do not know whether the women are also aware of the hunger strike. It is believed that the French men have joined the hunger strike.

According to the Germans who were released, the German men and women there are also participating in the hunger strike, but the men and women are not allowed to speak with each other.

Those few international guests who were able to reach Bethlehem on Friday were invited by their Palestinian hosts to go to either to a demonstration in Qalandia at noon or else to attend a gathering in Bilin at 11:00 a.m., from which they then joined Palestinian friends in Nebi Saleh.

There Israeli soldiers prevented the bus-loads of passengers and local Palestinians and Israeli supporters from holding a peaceful demonstration. The Israeli forces shot stun grenades and at least two kinds of tear gas canisters at them. The nearby agricultural fields were set ablaze by these tear-gas canisters.

The Israeli forces illegally detained -- kidnapped -- four peace activists, including three Israeli citizens and one Brazilian. Several participants were injured.

Events planned continued. Today, there was a gathering in Beit Sahour in front of the Greek Orthodox Church, an event at Aida Refugee Camp and an event in Al-Walaja.

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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dshap July 12, 2011 3:54 pm (Pacific time)

I've given you several opportunities over the last day and a half to provide ANY legitimate rebuttal supported by legitimate facts. Typical of closed minded short on facts, long on propaganda, you choose to shout me down and cut me off. It's been fun. I suggest you go hang out with your friends in Judea and Samaria or in Gaza... See if they don't take care of you as they did their Italian journalist "friend". I did just a little more looking and see I've given you about as much notoriety as all of your other readers combined, as evidenced by the advertisements and ads in your classifieds.

Editor: We are the team on the side of humanity and what is right in the world, we believe in peace and reducing and ending the cycles of violence.  You are the enemy, so why do you think you can drop in and spread your BS?  Don't you think that is kind of funny?   You are just one more shill from Israel. 

dshap July 12, 2011 1:53 pm (Pacific time)

So, a true representation of facts is now considered propaganda... Interesting coming from a "journalist" who does no fact checking and relies upon the bias of other journalists with checkered pasts who get no respect from mainstream society. I've tried engaging you in respectful dialogue, but you have no interest and no ability to do so due to your commitment to spreading your filthy hatred.

Editor (Tim King): OMG, you are a real pan.  I know you are fully indoctrinated, that you want to see Palestinians die, that you are a hasbara scholar at best and that you do not care when truthful facts are presented.  Don't see yourself as unique, I have Israelis bothering me all day in every way possible.  You state things that are not true in your dialog and disqualified yourself, the rules are clear, don't blame me.  What I hate are war crimes against humanity, which Israel is committing without oversight or accountability.  I have been clear that I have many friends who are both Israeli and Jewish, so go blow your smoke somewhere else, and if you think less of me because I hate war crimes, so be it.

dshap July 12, 2011 10:17 am (Pacific time)

As I suspected...

Editor: I'm sorry, is not used as an Israeli propaganda board, thanks for checking in.

COLLI July 12, 2011 10:13 am (Pacific time)

How much longer must "Brotherhood" be classified as a dirty word in Israel? Have all of those who suffered under the hands of the Nazis died now? Why have the stories they told be forgotten or swept under the rug? Why must history repeat itself with the victims now playing the part of the monster?

dshap July 11, 2011 4:48 pm (Pacific time)

OK Editor, now I'm really laughing... You hold up as "proof" a...

Editor: You are done.  No truth, no way.

dshap July 11, 2011 4:29 pm (Pacific time)

Editor, You lack credibility when the only "proof" you provide is reference to slanderous articles written by your band of "journalists". I took a look at the resumes of your staff and it is clear to me that your "publication" is written with closed minded focus hell bent on vilifying Israel". I have never read any balanced articles which might show your beloved arabs who call themselves "Palestinian" to be in the wrong in any instance. The only modern day nazi in this conversation is you. Clearly you learned how to distribute propaganda from Joseph Goebbels the nazi propagandist. Your rebuttal is full of misinformation. It is clear to any thoughtful person willing to do any legitimate research on their own, that you and your publication are not at all interested in truth, only spreading your hatred of Israelis and Jews, but hey, that's the arab plan to exterminate Israel, The Nation State Of The jewish People.

Editor: Judaism was never intended to be an oppressive government.  You want to know who an antisemite was?  Your Zionist founder, Theodor Herzl  You have no credibility and Israel has none either.  I knew that you would not respect what I presented, you would not do it under any conditions because you do not want peace, and therefore you probably won't have what you could have held onto.  However Zionism is racism and you are therefore a racist.  My father's generation fought and defeated the Nazi's and I suspect I know far more about WWII than you do.   You are what I would call truth-challenged, it is sad.

Tippol Aleihem July 11, 2011 11:44 am (Pacific time)

Any fair and respectable editor does not regularly publish anti Israel articles without balancing it with a pro Israel one.
You have constantly shown your severe biased views when responding to a reader who comments on an anti Israel article. Never have I seen a pro Israel article published in your website and I don’t think I will ever see one in the future.

Editor: Well you can have your dream world but I live in the real one.  Israel needs to be sanctioned and corrected, there is no question that war crimes have been and continue to be committed.  This is very serious, no country suspected of crimes of this nature has 'its side' represented.  The greater reality is that we live in a world that fully caters to the needs of Israel.  Because we don't pretend Israel is a fair govt., a small amount of fairness is added.  

anonkephas July 11, 2011 11:31 am (Pacific time)

Love it. These comments do wonders for the deligitimization process. Makes them look like monsters. Man... Israel keeps taking the bait...Hook line and sinker!

dshap July 11, 2011 3:16 am (Pacific time)

Apparently "Editor" is of a one track mind and disparages anyone with a different opinion than his/hers.

 Editor: I don't and never have allowed Salem-News to be a propaganda board. We have reporters in place all over the world and appreciate intelligent comments and when they state things that are not true based on what we know, the information is countered.  If you think a media organization is a public utility obligated to publish every word sent to them, you are mistaken. 

Clearly we are not reading a neutral publication.

 Editor: this is an open-minded humanitarian publication rooted in the concept of Truth, Justice and Peace..

 I challenge "Editor" to provide facts (not propaganda) to support his accusation that the most moral army in the world, the IDF, murders innocent human beings for sport, the IDF and its supporters are baby killers.

Editor: I only work in facts, and I challenge you to examine the material I put forth that you claim does not exist: A Mother's Loss - Operation Cast Lead Mass-Murder - Ken O'Keefe  - With regard to being baby killers: Murdering Babies is 'Permissible' When They're Palestinian - Alison Weir

I wonder why there is has been no mention of the repeated targeted attacks by the PA/Hamas terrorists on school bus missile strikes, family massacres, suicide bombers, shelling from Gaza hospitals, mosques, schools and other "civilian" population centers.

 Editor: Mainly because it hasn't happened to any great degree for many years.  The Palestinians and their supporters have been attacked while protesting, attempting to end the blockade, etc.  Hamas called an end to suicide bombs years ago.  Of course Israel doesn't benefit from mentioning that.  Here is the link to the story about Hamas that contains information that can easily be cross checked and verified, don't take my word only: If HAMAS is a Terrorist Organization, What Does That Make Israel? - Political Perspective by Tim King

Further, I challenge "Editor" to provide one shred of proof as to the mistreatment of the "peace activists" who were warned of the consequences of being arrested and chose confrontation as well. These people are now in jail, not a hotel and not summer camp. Jail is a punishment and "gentle treatment" is not to be provided. I can only imagine the treatment they would get in ANY other country's prisons for a breach of that country's sovereignty with the stated intent to disrupt the peace.

 Editor: Are you listening to yourself?  All they did was attempt to go to a fellowship in Palestine.  They are mostly senior citizens and kind, gentle people.  This is an undisputed fact.  Read the JP, learn about their reporter who was attacked by a crowd for trying to keep Israelis from attacking elderly activists.  You are utterly amazing that you would think these people should be brutalized.  You lie about their stated intent to disrupt the peace, you are indeed a liar.  Ignorance is not an excuse for willfully stated misinformation. AIRFLOTILLA ----Welcome in Palestine -

What sovereign country in the world would allow outside provocateurs to enter their country?

 Editor: They are again, people from nations all over who mainly wanted to show that people can not travel to Palestine if they declare that is what they are there to do.  Israel says it doesn't maintain a blockade on West Bank and this proves that it does.  Get your facts straight at least to some degree and don't make it up. This is a piece we published by an Israeli writer, and not the only one either: 'Air Flotilla' successful in exposing Israeli blockade of West Bank - Noam Sheizaf Special to

These people wanted to "merely visit" their "palestinian" friends? Explain the few who did get past security and within a day, were clashing with IDF and Police at "peaceful protests". Wake up Editor, the world is not with you or the terrorists you represent or are part of.

Editor: Israel is responsible for several times the number of deaths than the people it claims to be terrorists.  I have never been more sickened by a government aside from my own, than Israel.  I mean maybe Burma, (Myanmar) but Israel has terrorized the Palestinians for so long, keeps stealing their land, killing innocents; the Palestinians were there first.  The Jews of Palestine got along with Arabs and Christians, but Israel is Zionist and that is one step short of Nazi.  Would you like me to explain that too?  What links should I supply, how many?  The jig is up, the news is out...

Angel July 10, 2011 7:42 pm (Pacific time)

Anonymous is right: they want to do a hunger strike? Let them. It's their choice, and if as a result they die, it will be by their own choice, so why should Israel be blamed, and why are you even surprised at his remark? When you choose a given course of action, you need to also accept responsibility for the consequences. I know, that's a concept the Palestinians have never understood, what with blaming everyone but themselves for all their screwups. But it doesn't change anything: if you choose to starve yourself to make a statement, don't be surprised if you end up dead. Duh.

Editor: If you had any idea how you sound, you would regret your words.  However I'm sure you don't, you would have to be a fair minded human being to understand.  You are like a modern day Nazi, and that is a sad thing to say, I don't pose it lightly.  

Angel July 10, 2011 7:37 pm (Pacific time)

These are all great news. It's about time Israel uses its sovereign right not to let in anyone suspected to come for the sole purpose of demonstrate in favor of Palestinian murderers and killers. If the (unnamed) elderly man with a medical condition had any brains, he would not have embarked on this charade. Of course, if he dies in the process, he will become a "martyr". Well, no, he won't be a martyr. He will be a moron who died for going where he had no business going. I hope Israel expels them all.

Editor: Israel murders innocent human beings for sport, the IDF and its supporters are baby killers.  A change is coming and Israel is going to change its unruly, superior belief system.  We are all too aware of this war crime state's deeds and there is barely room for forgiveness.  And on our side, are growing numbers of Israeli citizens who are incredible people and they hate the injustice you whore behind as much as the Palestinians, or we western humans who are willing to step out of the indoctrination and confront the realities.  You are a sad, sick excuse, farthest thing from an angel in reality.  

Anonymous July 10, 2011 6:25 pm (Pacific time)

Let them all starve themselves to death

Editor: Why would you write such a thing?

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