Friday, February 17, 2006


Mohammad Mansour: Still free, but still pursued by the occupation

I went with Mohammad Mansour (right) to his trial. We met up in the morning before befor traveling to Jerusalem from the West Bank . We had to go a longer way to get to Jerusalem. This longer trip included switching cabs and moving around a checkpoint.

This was all because Monsour does not have a permit to enter Jerusalem. Several young women also circumnavigated the checkpoint. Monsour made the point that this is just one of the daily inconveniences that Palestinians have to go through.

The absurd thing is that we were all able to get through. If it was possible for us to get past the checkpoint it could hardly stop a suicide bomber. As Monsour pointed out it "isn't about stopping terrorists it is a land grab."

We attended the court with another international. We were nervous that Monsour could be sent to jail then and there, but before the case was heard the judge decided to move the hearing till March 21. Monsour had mixed feeling on one hand he was pleased that at least he had another month of freedom, on the other he was annoyed that he couldn't get it over and done with. I thought about all the effort it took for us to get to the court and all the trouble it will take us to get their next time.

Monsour asked the judge why he was not called about the moving of the trial date to which the judge replied that they felt it easier for the decision to be made without him there. Monsour received a piece of paper stating that he had been to court and proceeded home with two American comrades, while I stayed in Jerusalem but the story doesn't end there. On the bus ride back to Ramallah Monsour's bus was stopped and ID's were checked. Despite proof that he had been in court the soldiers instructed him to get off the bus. Monsour and the two Americans got off the bus and were forced to wait an hour in the rain.

When one of the activists asked "What's the problem? He was required to be in Jerusalem for his trial, and now he's going home," soldiersders reply was "there is no problem. Only, he is wanted."

Finally they were allowed to aftere afte Monsour was 'invited' to visit Israeli Intelligence next Thursday and another time following that. The last time Monsour was 'invited' by Israeli Intelligence and he failed to show, they came around to his fathers place and threatened to arrest his father. After being blackmailed to show up last time he was offered amongst other things to be a collaborator for Israel to which he refused. It seems like Monsour and others like him will continue harassedrrased by the occupation, so long as they are prepared to continue defying it.

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