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NYTimes reporter among arrestees in West Bank protests

In what seems to be an orchestrated campaign of detaining and deporting internationals, the IDF conducted targeted arrests during Friday demonstrations across the West Bank.

By the Popular Struggle Committee Coordination Committee

Demonstrator in Kufr Qaddoum (photo: Activestills)

Four Israeli activists and six foreign citizens, including a New York Times correspondent, were arrested this Friday in Nabi Saleh. The Israelis and the reporter were released last night after a short investigation. The international activists remain in custody and will most likely be deported. According to various reports, New York Times reporter Ben Ehrenreich was in Nabi Saleh to write up a story for the magazine, and  despite repeatedly showing IDF soldiers his press card and asking why he was being apprehended, he was detained for nearly 2 hours before being released without being told why. Ehrenreich is an acclaimed novelist and son of writer Barbara Ehrenreich.

NY Times reporter Ben Ehrenreich after arrest in Nabi Saleh (photo: Tamimi Press)

Large army and police forces awaited protesters in the village. “We were surprised they didn’t start shooting right away, like the do every week” says PSCC spokeswoman Abir Kobty. “Then we realized they were waiting for us with handcuffs.”  Activists say the officers literally chased protesters on the hilltops, seeming particularly keen to arrest activists who they could profile as “international.” In addition to the targeted arrests, army forces raided the village, shooting tear-gas canisters and rubber coated bullets inside a residential area, and purposefully spraying the ‘skunk’ into homes. A glass door in one of the houses was broken by the foul-smelling water stream, causing injury to a boy who was standing behind it.

Israeli activist and B’Tselem spokesperson Sarit Michaeli was reportedly also arrested in Nabi Saleh and released.

BTselem spokesperson Sarit Michaeli being arrested by IDF (Photo: Activestills)

Kufr Qaddoum, Ni’lin and Bil’in

Weekly demonstrations against the Wall and settlements persist despite the scorching heat. Several injuries from tear-gas canisters and rubber coated bullets reported in Qaddoum and Bil’in.

Some 300 Palestinians and a handful of Israeli and international solidarity activists joined the protest in Kufr Qaddoum. The demonstration opened with speeches, following which the crowd marching towards the main road of the village. Without waiting very long and without any provocation, the army started attacking the march with tear-gas canisters and rubber coated bullets, as well as the ‘skunk’ water.  Large military units surrounded the village from all sides and continued shelling residential areas. Three people were injured and required medical treatment.

A Palestinian medic treats an injured international activist (photo: Activestills)

The protest in Ni’ilin started with a sermon and prayers on the land, following which the demonstrators marched to the gate in the wall. The army unit that was stationed on the other side of the wall used tear-gas canisters against the demonstrators, but did not make any attempt to cross the wall and conduct arrests.

In Bilin, demonstrators marched to the Abu Lamon grove and burned tires near the barbed wire protecting the wall. The soldiers reacted with a barrage of dozens of gas canisters, shot all at once, causing direct impact injuries to several demonstrators and journalists.

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    1. A few days ago Nitzan Alon signed an order giving the Population and Immigration Authority the power to search for internationals in the West Bank in order to deport them – including in Area A, supposedly under the PA’s jurisdiction. Perhaps the targeting of internationals at demos has something to do with this?

      Reply to Comment
    2. sowhat

      Most of the Internationals are really spies using NGO’s as a cover. Just Israel sending a message to the EU that the game is over.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Philos

      @sowhat, I love this line of thinking. It’s hilarious because it betrays profound ignorance (as well as paranoia) of Israel’s trade relationship with the EU and the role of NGOs in civil society. But let’s look at the former. If Israel told the EU the “game is over” and demanded an end to all agreements between Israel and the EU then the Israeli economy would collapse. You see Israel is treated as virtual member and can export without almost any duties whilst being permitted prohibitive duties on European imports of goods and services. Quite the beneficial agreement for Israel, where 70% of its trade is the EU. But please don’t let the facts confuse you.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Rafael

      “Ben Ehrenreich” — interesting, the names of the reporters the NYT sends to cover Israel. I sure can expect balance, impartiality and depth.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Kolumn9

      It is about time Israel deported these ‘activists’. It is silly for a bunch of foreigners to be allowed to run around the country on their spring break for the express purpose of making trouble.

      @Philos, your numbers are off. Israeli imports and exports to/from the EU are roughly 35% of total. Israel has a free trade agreement with the EU. It doesn’t have one that protects European donations to politically active NGOs in Israel, also known as direct interference in Israeli politics. A law to that effect can be passed.

      @Rafael, Based on the last names of the 972 writers I have never seen such a group of hasbara Zionists gathered in one place.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Rann

      Vicky: unlikely. The order was very specific in nature: the Oz unit that is in charge of deportation arrests was given expanded powers in the West Bank. Soldiers and Border Policemen at protests aren’t Oz, at least not for now.

      If anyone has info contradicting this, I’d be glad to be corrected.

      Reply to Comment
    7. […] others it wasn’t as sweet. As Israeli comrades are being restricted right and left, international activists are facing increasing deportations and arrests. The Man fears there are too many critical eyes, too close to the (no-)Occupation. In Nabi Saleh […]

      Reply to Comment