Saturday, February 14, 2009

Update - Im Kamel and Running the Gauntlet

An interesting turn of events has taken place in the case of Im Kamel, the elderly woman who was forced out of her home in East Jerusalem. By way of quick review, settlers moved into a part of her and her husbands home three years ago. They were fighting in the courts to have them removed for three years because the police refused to do it. They won the case and the settlers were to be removed. The housing authority refused to execute the court order and on the day after the settlers were supposed to be removed, she, and her husband who was in a wheelchair and died from the trama, were removed from their own home, She has been living in a tent nearby with the daily support of many internationals.
Last week, just ahead of another court date for other settler related issues in the neighborhood, the settlers in Im Kamel’s home were removed. The house is now empty. The settlers were however allowed to return for the Sabbath to celebrate Shabbat in the house and then left again. She has still not been allowed to move back into her house. The case that was to be heard last week was postponed until the 19th at which time the judge will deal with many pending cases in the neighborhood related to the same settler group together, including the case of Im Kamel. Our team and many other international observers will be in the courtroom to see how this turns out. I will let you know.
I traveled with the hospital medical team again this past Wednesday, one day after the Israeli national election. This time on the way to the village clinic in the morning we were refused passage at the first of the three checkpoints they must pass. The young soldier was quick to point out that he voted for Lieberman, the Russian ultra conservative right wing fanatic who wants to significantly increase the dominance over Palestinians, and demand that all Palestinians sign an oaf of allegiance to Israel. He is in favor of forced expulsion of anyone who does not sign the oaf. He got the third largest number of votes behind Livni and Netanyahu who are both very right wing themselves. It is clear that Lieberman will have a significant role in a new collation government in Israel. I will write more about this later.

The politically motivated soldier was not happy that his guy came in third and decided to express his unhappiness by not letting the team pass. The team indicated they had never been stopped at this particular checkpoint. We tried to argue and once again started to work various help networks. The hospital administration decided that in the interest of time (there were patients waiting at the clinic) we should turn around and go a different way. We drove back to Jerusalem and crossed the checkpoint in Ramallah. We drove to the village over roads that were like wagon trails. We arrived at the clinic at 10 AM, two hours late. On the return trip we sailed right through the checkpoint we spent an hour at the week before with the same staff that was refused then. It is clear that there is no real process to these checkpoints. The Palestinians refer to the soldiers as the kings of the checkpoint. It appears they are.

60 Minutes - Is Peace Out of Reach?