'U' alum arrested for protest in West Bank
The MichiganDaily - Tuesday, July 6, 2004 - 3
The interview has been edited for space.
On June 20, Israeli Defense Forces
allegedly arrested University alum Fadi
Kiblawi for participating in a nonviolent
protest in the West Bank. Kiblawi, who co-
founded the campus group Students Allied
for Freedom and Equality, is currently a law
student at George Washington University.
While at the University, Kiblawi was also a
member of The Michigan Daily's editorial
board for a brief period, the Minority Affairs
Chair in the Michigan Student Assembly and
the organizer of the 2002 Divestment Con-
ference. He has been living in East
Jerusalem this summer and traveling
throughout the country and said he plans to
return on Aug. 7. In an interview conducted
by e-mail, Kiblawi explained to The Michi-
gan Daily his involvement with the protest.
The Michigan Daily: Associated Press pho-
tos show you being arrested. What happened?
Fadi Kiblawi: I attended a nonviolent
protest against the Israeli army's land theft
and uprooting of olive trees in the Palestinian
West Bank village of Az-Zawiya.
We attempted to reach the Caterpillar bull-
dozers and block them from the olive trees.
Israeli soldiers responded violently by beating
and tear-gassing us. Eventually, after these
methods were unable to scatter (us), they
arrested me. I was taken to an Israeli prison
in the illegal Jewish settlement, Ariel. After
24 hours of captivity, I was released on the
shoulder of a road outside of Tel Aviv.
TMD: Could you explain (before adding
how you felt and the conditions surrounding it),
just the basics of where you were, what was
going on, the sounds and images around you
and then give a timeline of what happened?
FK: I was in the Palestinian village of Az-
Zawiya. Az-Zawiya is in the West Bank
southwest of Nablus. In recent weeks, the
Israeli army has initiated preparations to con-
struct their wall around the illegal Jewish set-
tlement of Ariel. In so doing, they have
confiscated village lands and begun uprooting
olive trees. Olive trees are the lifeblood of
Palestinian farmers, and losing one is tanta-
mount to losing a family member. Since
1967, Israel has uprooted over 360,000 Pales-
tinian olive trees.
Israel falsely claims that this wall is for pro-
tection against terrorist attacks inside its bor-
ders. However, if this were the case, they would
construct it on their internationally-recognized
borders. Rather, they are building it deep inside
the West Bank, in villages such as Az-Zawiya,
indicating that in fact the abomination amounts
to nothing more than a land grab.
Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, of
which Israel is a signing party, this wall is
illegal. The Palestinian villages on which
the wall is being constructed have begun
organizing themselves into popular resist-
ance committees. Every day, they coura-
geously confront the Israeli army and
bulldozers nonviolently and are dealt with
beatings, tear gas, sound bombs, and some-
times live ammunition.
They have requested the involvement of
internationals with the hopes that our pres-
ence would curtail the Israeli response. This
has proven futile as the army has shown little
concern for the well-being of internationals.
The protests begin inside the village. From
there, we march to the village lands, chanting
calls for unity and an end to the occupation.
As the protest approached the soldiers,
positioned on top of the villagers' lands, tear
gas was shot at us. We covered our faces and
continued to march to the soldiers. Upon
reaching the soldiers, we tried to advance
around them to the bulldozers. At this point,
the soldiers began beating us with clubs.
Much of the demonstration was now dis-
persed, however, the village elders remained
steadfast in their nonviolent resistance. The
most shocking site was seeing Israeli soldiers
beat unarmed 70-year-old Palestinian men
and women. Through the next hour, we were
tear-gassed and beaten repeatedly. Eventually,
they violently arrested me. I spent the
evening in prison with bruises and scars all
over my body.
TMD: What are your feelings about what
happened, what are your current and future
plans and would this stop you from attending
an event like Sunday's again?
FK: What happened to me is a testament to
the egregious violations of human rights tak-
ing place in the Holy Land. It is important to
keep in mind that I was arrested by a decades-
long occupying army inside a Palestinian vil-
lage while nonviolently protesting the illegal
theft of land and destruction of livelihood. ...
The conditions of my release were that I
would no longer enter the Occupied Territo-
ries again, with the exception of East
Jerusalem. ... Furthermore, the immigration
intelligence informed me that I would not be
allowed entry into the country again. As an
American tax-payer, I find this provision
unjust, given that Israel is the largest benefici-
ary of our foreign aid. Moreover, as a Pales-
tinian, I reject Israeli dictates preventing me
from returning to my native homeland.
Compiled from Daily staff reports
University Alum Fadi Kiblawi is arrested by the Israeli
Defense Forces for protesting the uprooting of Palestinian
Olive Trees. Kiblawi was arrested on June 20 and released 24
hours later. He plans to stay in the country until early August
and will return to George Washington University in the fall,
where he is a law student.
Allawi: Death penalty for Saddam is up to court
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The inter-
im prime minister said yesterday he
would not interfere with an Iraqi tri-
bunal's right to decide whether Saddam
Hussein and his top lieutenants should
be executed on war crimes charges, the
Arab language television station Al-Ara-
Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said he
was willing to abide by whatever the
court decides in the trial, which is not
expected to begin for months. Iraq
assumed legal custody of Saddam
from the United States last week and
reinstated the death penalty, which
had been suspended by U.S. occupa-
"As for the execution, that is for
the court to decide - so long as a
decision is reached impartially and
fairly," he said.
Saddam's first court appearance
Thursday dominated the media across
Iraq. The broadly outlined charges
include the slaughter of Shiites dur-
ing a 1991 uprising and a chemical
weapons attack against Kurds in the
northern city of Halabja.
Thousands of Kurds demonstrated
yesterday in Halabja, demanding that
Saddam and one of his key lieutenants
- Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as
"Chemical Ali" - be put to death for
the gas attack that killed 5,000 people on
March 16, 1988. Carrying photos of
their slain loved ones, the marchers said
they want Saddam to be tried and exe-
cuted in their town.
"Every family in this city lost no
less than five of its dear sons," said
demonstrator Sabiha Ali, 50. "There-
fore, we want to execute Saddam on
the soil of the land."
Also yesterday, the spokesman for
militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr
tempered threats to continue fighting,
saying his movement only planned to
wage "peaceful resistance" against the
Iraq's oil exports were cut nearly
in half as workers struggled yester-
day to repair a key pipeline shut
down after looters sabotaged the
line, according to officials with the
South Oil Co. and traders.
The looters, trying to steal crude oil
for sale on the black market, breached
one of the country's two key southern
pipelines, said an SOC official, speaking
on condition of anonymity.
A land mine detonated yesterday
along the main route to the southern
city of Samawah, where Japanese
troops are based, police said. There
were no reports of injuries. The route
is frequented by coalition forces.
In southern Iraq, insurgents fired
rockets at a government building early
Monday, but instead struck nearby
homes, killing one person and wound-
ing eight, police said. The attack tar-
geted the province's main offices near
the center of the Basra.
Interior Ministry officials also said
two Iranians suspected of trying to det-
onate a car bomb were captured but
gave no details.
Iraqi officials have blamed foreign
fighters and religious extremists for
a wave of recent vehicle bombings.
The attacks have led to fears that
religious fanatics and Saddam loyal-
ists may be joining forces to fight
both the multinational force and the
new Iraqi government.
Iraqi troops thwarted a car bombing
outside their regional headquarters
northeast of Baghdad on Sunday,
killing an attacker before he could
detonate his vehicle.
Two bystanders also died in the
assault in Baqouba, the scene of
fierce fighting last week between
American soldiers and insurgents
who tried to seize government build-
ings and police stations.
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