Bill Capowski

Deported? We Have Done Nothing Wrong

We write to you from cell #4 in a police station in the illegal settlement of Ariel. We are all together, in good health and in high spirits. We are determined to stand up for justice and human rights.

We are awaiting deportation although we have done nothing wrong. We were arrested while at the peace camp in Arrabony, a village of 900 people on the outskirts of Jenin. Israel has stolen more than half of Arrabony's 5000 dunams of land (4 dunams == 1 acre) since 1967, with the army stealing 800 dunams directly for the building of the Apartheid wall. The people of Arrabony are filled with rage and despair at the loss of their lands and their livelihoods. The people of Arrabony led a protest against the wall on July 6 2003, which was followed by the establishment of the peace camp. We, as internationals, stood with the people of Arrabony in reclaiming their land.

Our goals are simple: to encourage other communities to resist the theft of their lands and to show the world the atrocities committed in the name of Israel's state security. Israel's theft of 9500 dunhams from Salem to Elqana alone is recognized to be about changing the facts on the ground, as Condoleeza Rice once stated. This is an extension of Israel's infamous policy of stealing Palestinian lands for building illegal settlements. At our peace camps we are involved in the most dangerous activities of all: regaining dignity and building hope. In the daytime we play football, chess, other games, and play with the children. At night, the men and women sit and discuss the path their lives will take as a result of the apartheid wall, a serious discussion punctuated by beautiful cross-cultural curiosity and exchange. We spoke about the past present and future.

The future of the camp is far from certain, but we know our obligation. As international citizens, we plan to document the effects of the apartheid wall on the lives of the Palestinians, taking down personal stories and facts about the devastation.

We also plan on making clearer our opposition to the apartheid wall, both in our media work and actions. The end result will hopefully be to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians to form a legacy of resistance against the despicable apartheid wall that is another attempt to break them. As we meet our fellow prisoners we realize this more and more. Their mistreatment makes us ashamed we are telling our story and not theirs.

Nasser is one small example of the treatment we will never receive. He was jailed 4 months and 19 days ago. Nasser is charged with selling a stolen car to a known car thief on February 9th 2003. He has not yet had a proper judicial hearing, in which his lawyer might bring up the fact that the man he supposedly sold the car to has been in jail since 5 Feb 2003. Nasser knows not to expect much. He has spent 6 years in jail, 3.5 of them without charges. Since he got here, he has seen the sun twice, each time for only a few moments. We wish we could tell you that Nasser's case is an anomaly. The fact is that all of Ariel's prisoners are similarly treated. Justice, like the sun, is something the prisoners of Ariel can only dream of.

--Bill Capowski (USA), Tobias Karlsson (Sweden), Tarek Loubani (Canada), Fredrick Lind (Denmark)

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