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Nov-13-2011 15:29printcommentsVideo

Israeli Soldiers Arrest Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh for Recording Video

This is not the first time Mazin has been arrested for participating in peace protests in occupied Palestine, or in this case, for documenting what is taking place.

File photo of Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh
File photo of Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh

(AL WALAJA, Occupied Palestine) - Salem-News.com writer Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh was arrested in Al-Walaja this morning around local time 11:30 a.m., Sunday, while filming Israeli soldiers arresting an Al-Walaja villager gathered at the site of apartheid wall construction to prevent the use of explosives near their community.

Currently Mazin and Mustafa Odeh are in custody at the Israeli military/police compound near Rachel's Tomb. Please call the US Embassy or the US consulate, and the embassy of your respective country to demand their unconditional release.

Today, November 13, a group of residents from Al-Walaja assembled at Ein Al-Hadafa area of the village in an attempt to prevent Israeli Occupational Forces from implementing an order to use explosives to widen a path where the Separation Wall is being extended (see video below for IOF's action a few days ago at the site on November 3, 2011).

The Wall will totally enclose the village on all sides. The villagers, including the community spokeswoman, Sheerin Al-Araj and the head of the village council Abu Ahmad were joined in a short notice by Mazin and several international observers and members of the press.

We learned that prior to our arrival, the Israeli had arrested one community member Mahmoud earlier at the site. After negotiations between villagers and the IOF, the Israeli police and military agreed to release Mahmoud in exchange for the villagers and their supporters to withdraw from the area. When Mahmoud was released, villagers and supporters began to retrieve.

At the same time, we noticed more Israeli reinforcement came and the commander ordered the soldiers to don their crowd control gear and arm themselves with pepper spray and tear gas projectiles. As the majority withdrew, several villagers continued to vehemently protest as they were pushed back by the soldiers. At that moment without any warnings, the Israeli soldiers/police grabbed Mustafa Odeh and tried to arrest him.

Observers nearby tried to prevent Mustafa from being arrested but of no avail. As IOF soldiers were forcibly holding Mustafa near a shallow embankment at the edge of the road, by accident both the IOF soldiers and Mustafa fell down the embankment into an olive grove terrace down below. Mazin actually had slowly moved away from the site earlier but returned to film Mustafa's arrest. In the lower terrace, we saw Mustafa was still restrained by one IOF soldier and were quickly surrounded by several other IOF soldiers.

They captured Mustafah and pepper-sprayed and beat him. As Mazin was filming and unaware of the advancing soldiers, a soldier grabbed him and tried to arrest him. Shortly thereafter, Mazin was push to the ground then picked up by a group of soldiers, each holding one of his arms or legs.

The occupation forces arrested Mazin and hauled him away and put into an IOF jeep. Mazin was able to give his FLIP camera to an observer next to him during the arrest. Meanwhile Sheerin Al-Araj was also pepper-sprayed.

During the IOF action, another village woman collapsed and was tended first by villagers and later by the Palestinian paramedics. All together, possibly three Palestinians were arrested and detained, including Mazin. Video of today's action and Mazin's arrest will be available on YouTube as soon as possible and the link will be available on Mazin's blog later at http://popular-resistance.blogspot.com. Please pressure your government (especially US government) to call for the unconditional release of Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh (a US citizen) and Mustafa Odeh.

This is not the first time Mazin has been arrested for participating in peace protests in occupied Palestine, or in this case, for documenting what is taking place. We have in fact reported a number of prior arrests:

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