In an echo of restrictions already firmly in place in Gaza, Israel has begun barring movement between Israel and the West Bank for anyone holding a foreign passport, including humanitarian aid workers and thousands of Palestinian residents.
The new policy is designed to force foreign citizens to choose between visiting Israel, including East Jerusalem, which Israel has annexed illegally, and the West Bank. In most cases, travel between the two areas will no longer be possible.
The new regulation is in breach of Israel’s commitments under the Oslo accords to western governments that their citizens would be given continued access to the occupied territories. [continued…]
A plumber by trade, Ezra Nawi is a Jewish member of a small band of Israeli peace activists who put themselves on the line week in and week out by traveling to the stony hills outside Hebron to help Palestinians defend their land against right-wing Jewish settlers. And he has the lumps to show for it. Four years back, some settlers at Susya had tried to drive a Palestinian family off their land by tossing a dead dog into their well in order to poison the family’s water. The following day, Palestinians hauled the dog out of the well and were trying to draw water under the protection of Nawi and some other volunteers from an Jewish-Arab peace group known as Ta’ayush. Masked settlers appeared, smashed one activist with the butt of a gun and broke a long wooden stick over Nawi’s head.
Nawi reacted as he always has — by holding his ground — without resorting to violence. In his many confrontations over the years with Israeli police, soldiers and settlers, Nawi has never struck back, say his colleagues at Ta’ayush. “Non-violence is Ezra’s natural affinity,” says David Shulman, a Ta-ayush member and professor of Sanskrit who has on multiples occasions witnessed Nawi’s encounters with settlers and police. “He is amazingly gentle and empathetic. He’s not capable of violence.” [continued…]