Saturday, January 20, 2007

Making Connections, Protesting Rice

The following from the Independent Middle East Media Centre from last week:

Some 100 Palestinian residents, peace activists held a peaceful protest at Huwwara checkpoint near Nablus in the northern part of the West Bank, dressing like Native Americans to send a message to the visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The campaign is planned to last for thirty days, and is called "30 days against roadblocks".

Some of the protesters chose to deliver a message to Rice by dressing up like Native Americans, and were wearing traditional headdresses and regalia.

The Israeli Ynetnews reported that at about 11 a.m. the protesters gathered at the Hawwara checkpoint south of Nablus, and held up signs in English denouncing the military roadblocks across the territories.

The Ynetnews added that the protest was originally organized by a peace group calling itself "Palestinians for Peace, Dialogue and Equality".

The peaceful protesters slammed the Israeli policies of closures and difficulties the checkpoints impose on the Palestinians on daily basis. The checkpoints restrict the freedom of movement of the residents, barring them from reaching their workplaces and their educational and medical facilities, in addition to enclosing them in enclaves, and even restricting their entry to their own farmlands and orchards isolated by the checkpoints and the Annexation Wall.

One of the signs at the protest reads, "The roadblocks are ruining the Palestinians' lives," while another poster aimed to juxtapose between the native-Americans, whose lands were stolen by the newcomers from Europe, and the Palestinians, the Ynetnews reported.

Another sign addressing Rice reads, "The Indian wars are not over, Ms. Rice, We are still here too".

On Sunday, Rice held a meeting with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Abbas told Rice that he rejects a Palestinian State with temporal borders and called for a comprehensive solution to the conflict.

Rice told Abbas that the United States is committed to the Road Map peace plan, and that the US administration is interested in speeding up the peace talks in the coming months.

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