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Marie Campbell is a retired University of Victoria professor who left on December 12, 2002 to spend a month in Palestine doing observational work with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Observers from Europe and North America act not only as witnesses, but also provide a measure of protection and emotional support to Palestinians.

Jayyous, January 12, 2003

Marie’s Report to ISM: Woman seized and detained for seven hours by Israeli Occupying Forces

In a series of military raids in Jayyous, West Bank, on Thursday January 8, Alla Ali Sedah (age 22) was taken from her home and held in detention for over seven hours. Soldiers had appeared at her home in the early morning hours and herded the woman, her husband and five-month old baby, along with her husband’s mother, brother and his wife into one room while they questioned the men separately, and then searched the house. At about 8 am they left the house, taking the two men away.

Later in the day, they returned and neighbours reported that they grabbed Alla roughly and pushed her into their vehicle. Nobody knew where she was being held until about 9 pm when she called her family from the Betah Takfa prison in Israel and asked them to come and get her from there. Her husband and brother-in-law whom neighbours insist are innocent of any wrongdoing are still in custody.

Villagers are appalled and insulted to have a woman, a nursing mother, treated in this manner. They see it as a sharp escalation of the harassment by Occupying Forces of the people of Jayyous and neighbouring villages. Villagers believe that they are being intimidated and punished for their resistance to the “Apartheid Wall” whose construction is causing economic and social hardship in the village. Everyday life in Jayyous is becoming increasing intolerable. People are becoming anxious, sleepless, and despairing.

Human rights workers request the help of women’s and peace groups and of all Israelis of conscience to raise awareness of the tactics being used to terrify and control Palestinians. It is recognized that there is insufficient information available publicly to Israelis about the practices of the Occupying Forces and their harmful, humiliating, effects on the people. This first detention of a woman reported from this village adds a new dimension to the routinely insulting and gratuitously violent treatment of local men.

Israeli women are being requested to add their voices to those who deplore this new form of humiliation of the Palestinian people.