Arbor Update

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Kiblawi Released from Israeli Captivity

21. June 2004 • Ari Paul
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Fadi Kiblawi was released by the Israeli military today after his lawyer fixed a settlement stipulating that Kiblawi could no longer enter the West Bank with the exception of East Jerusalem.

Writes Kiblawi to AU reporters,

“The protest Sunday was completely non-violent, not even a stone was picked up. However, the soldiers beat us, threw sound bombs at us, and fired tear gas at us. The entire time I was in prison, my eyes were burning me from the amount of tear gas I sucked in. I also have deep bruises on both my arms and some scars on my neck and face, which I intend to photograph shortly.

“I do not consider this in any way some sort’ve MLK experience, that’s a tremendous insult to Dr. King. I do not consider my experience and actions here any more courageous than those of the Palestinians who come out every day in Az Zawiya, Biddu, Iskaka (and the list of villages goes on) with no weapons. God, the sight yesterday was just unbelievable. The oldest villagers, men and women in their 70s, led the protest with their arms up telling all the shabbab (youth) to not depart from the straight path after they fire the tear gas, and to march through the line of soldiers and in front of the bulldozers to stop them. What is happening is a nightmare, and the entire world has turned their back on it.”

Kiblawi was held on charges for being in a “closed military zone”. Kiblawi explained to the military that this was not posted anywhere, or at least where no one could see. He was then told that the entire village was a “closed military zone”.



  1. ari – if you want to editorialize thats fine. but at least, for the sake of ethics youpreach of – use correct language. Hostage implies he ws taken and released for ransom – something i am not seeing here.

    also – on a small technical legal point – the area around the wall – 500 meters each way is, and has been a closed zone – it deosn’t have to specify this at each meter along the way. if he tried chargin the line – and he seems to say he did – then he did enter the zone (most likely) and he was arrested.

    on the question of his legal future – it wont stop him at the bar. But if he ever has a desire to work in teh corporate environs it will cause him to be ruled out by any respectable law firm. he doens’t want that, so no biggie.
       —David Livshiz    Jun. 21 '04 - 12:47PM    #
  2. livshiz,
    i changed the bit about the hostages…you are right about that…

    ummm, yeah, fadi’s career will be just fine…there are plenty of activist offices that have hired attorneys for doing far, far worse…and i’ll take the nyu-law-all-star’s comment on fadi’s future over who-the-hell-what-t.j.-does any mitvach or donisdict…

    my yiddish sucks,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jun. 21 '04 - 12:55PM    #
  3. Well, my prayer worked. (See other Fadi thread) He’s out and about.
    ...He is too modest in saying he’s not like MLK; I mean, even if he’s not up at that exalted level (and how many of us are?), one could plausibly say that some sufferings he’s undergone, are not wholly unlike some of those that people in the Civil Rights Movement had to undergo.
       —David Boyle    Jun. 21 '04 - 02:07PM    #
  4. MLK, as greatly flawed as he was, fought for equality for people of all races. He preached that violence was not the way to achieve the end. He worked toward a just cause.

    Fadi rushed the Israeli soldiers to try to get them to tear down the wall so that “Palestinians” could strap themselves up with bombs and blow up elementary schools and weddings without having the obstacle of a fence in their way.

    I am not an MLK fan. He frequently used blatant exaggerations and insane rhetoric in his speeches much like Jessica Curtin did. However, to use his name and Fadi’s in the same sentence is a gross injustice.

    One worked for civil rights, one works for terrorists’ rights.
       —T.J.    Jun. 21 '04 - 03:11PM    #
  5. “Let my people go!!!”

    —Moses
       —David Boyle    Jun. 21 '04 - 04:59PM    #
  6. It strikes me as odd that, in the Reuters video, Fadi is seen marching at the very front of the pack (of irate Allahu-Aqbar chanters) with a small video camera.

    In order to truly have merited a reference to MLK, Jr. and other non-violence activists, Fadi could have easily turned around, screamed “STOP!” with an outstretched hand, and explained that this group’s misguided venture would not end well.

    Unfortunately, it was clear that Fadi was there to join-perhaps even to instigate-a confrontation to be publicized by various media.

    He has now been banned from the West Bank as a result of his poor choice of action/restraint. No matter how many editorials he publishes about his night spent in prison, he must now live with the shame that, as a direct result of his poor choices, he has limited his ability to champion an enhanced Palestinian living condition.

    Then again, I’m not convinced that this was really a priority of his.
       —bystand    Jun. 21 '04 - 06:55PM    #
  7. The wall is a great idea with bad implementation. The way it is destroying some peoples farms and homes is really bad. But even if it had been ‘drawn’ on a better path, there would still be much resistance. The idea originally came from Isrealis tring to find a way to ‘end the occupation’ for some. For others it was a way to just get the military out of the West Bank and Gaza, where they were having the most casualties. This should happen when the wall is complete, and will be a good thing IMHO.

    The reason it’s a great idea, is it will force both the Israelis and Palestinians to deal with themselves. Both groups have a very big gap between political views internally, as well as with each other. As long as they can keep going at each other, it keeps them from having to deal with their inner conflicts. Until both sides can unify they will never be able to have relations. No PA ‘prime minister’ or any other Palestinian leader can offer peace, because there are too many factions who can destroy that peace with ‘independent’ military action. The Israeli people are also much divided on many issues and have to deal with many issues within their society too.

    Unfortunately, if the Palestinian people unite, they may also go to war, but at least then it can be ‘civilized combat’ (that’s a joke, kinda). That’s another reason the fence is a good thing, because even if the boundaries are bad, they will be set, and when Israel crosses it will be a breach of border. Same for Palestinians.

    If you are pro-Israel or pro-Palestine you are pro-war. The only side to be on this issue is for peace. I am a realist, and just can’t see the two sides coming out of a ‘summit’ with a peace deal, David II was the last chance. It failed miserably. I can not see a solution, though will support any good idea.

    Oh, yah, and lets not forget that nothing can happen while Arafat is still alive. He doesn’t have the power to make peace, and there are too many factions that won’t let him. While many people will scream and yell to get rid of Sharon (no charmer either), it is a democracy, so deal, at least he wasn’t court appointed like some democracies. Sharon will go with elections, but Arafat won’t go till he dies, and then there will be a scary, possibly civil war, situation in Palestine.
       —Just a Voice    Jun. 21 '04 - 07:49PM    #
  8. There’s clearly a Ann Arbor/U of M connection to this story, but for the benefit of those of us who do not know what that connection is, some reference or link would be helpful. As written, this article is out of context with the blog.
       —sergei    Jun. 22 '04 - 06:56AM    #
  9. Fadi was a U of M undergrad. From the first arborupdate post about his arrest:

    Kiblawi was the co-founder of Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, a member of the Michigan Daily’s editorial board for a brief stint, and the Minority Affairs Chair in student government during his tenure at Michigan. He was also the organizer of the Divestment Conference in 2002. He is currently a law student at George Washington University.
       —Scott T.    Jun. 22 '04 - 07:27AM    #
  10. Although many people at the action would have like to see the wall gone alltogether.
    As my freind max said. “there not asking for much, they just dont want it on their land.”

    Az Zawiya as i understand it is an agricultural village. And becouse the of the fence they are being cut off from their (emphisis on their) land. I could not even see the olive grove becouse we could not get far enough.

    The fence does not even go there according the the U.N map that was relleased in march. But it was extended as far as Az Zawiya (which is fairly deep in the west bank) For the purpose of having it far from Arial which is the largest setlement in the west bank.

    I know this becouse i was there
    -Benjamin Ayer
       —Benjamin A    Jun. 23 '04 - 09:44AM    #
  11. Ben,

    Although your friends words are enlightening, that they just don’t want the fence on their land, they are somewhat untrue.

    Palestinian terrorism existed long before the security fence, and it will exist long after. The fence is just the newest reason to pose an argument on the side of the Palestinians. And you may or may not be right about the reason of it being right where it is, but if you are, what exactly is wrong with that? Keeping that village far away from Ariel is completely legitimate, considering that all of the large settlement blocs, which are just suburbs of Israeli cities anyways, are daily targets or Palestinians from neighboring villages. They come and attack these people who are tending their farms or walking their children to school. They even shoot from hilltops at busses that take these children to neighboring cities high schools.

    You know how I know this? Because I was there.

    All of this has an overall theme… There was Palestinian terrorism against Israelis before “Palestinian” was even a term, before there was an “occupation” and before Israel was even a state. Even if Israel takes down the fence, gives back all the territories, and creates a Palestinian state, there will still be Palestinian’s who blow themselves up in the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, who kidnap 14 year old Israeli boys and kill and mutulate their bodies, and who desecrate holy places.

    And you know why? Because it never was because of the “occupation.” It was because they don’t want an Israel, a Jewish state, or a Jewish people, and this is their way to rid the world of it…

    Just a few words…
       —Just a thought...    Jun. 23 '04 - 04:49PM    #
  12. Y’know what else? There was also Zionist terrorism before there was an Israel, when Palestine was simply the name of the British territory! So obviously, the Jews don’t want the Palestineans there, and will stop at nothing to destroy them.
    See how that’s flawed logic? Yes, there will always be Arab terrorists who simply want to kill all Israelis and drive the country into the sea. There will also always be people who hate Jews for whatever reason, and people who hate blacks irrationally, and desire to kill them. Using those outliers as justification for any colonial fancy is bullshit, just as much as defending “settlements” as suburbs is. The fence may or may not be a good idea, but from what I’ve heard I still think the Palestineans whose land it’s appropriating are getting screwed royally and have a legitimate greivance. And when people have legitimate greivances without political and lawful means to resolve them, guess what— they turn to violence!
    Israel should be endeavoring to help Palestineans have a political voice, both in the occupied territories (where Arafat is a joke) and in Israel.
    The Great Wall didn’t keep out barbarians, the Berlin Wall didn’t keep out capitalism, the Israeli fence won’t keep out terrorists.
    js
       —js    Jun. 24 '04 - 10:12AM    #
  13. Actually, the settlement policy itself began not because of fear of antisemitism, as many are led to believe, but because of attacks by neighboring Arab states. Before 1967, Jordan used to bombard Israeli towns from the West Bank. Syria used to pound Israel from the Golan Heights. Israelis and tourists to Jerusalem would be shot by Jordanian snipers in East Jerusalem. Things like that. There were and still are legitimate security concerns for Israel regarding the West Bank and Golan Heights (and maybe Gaza, but I’m not sure).

    Regardless, its apparent that the settlement plan has failed. Settlements are a drain on Israeli resources, and, most importantly, lie on land that Palestinians desire for their own state.

    But, to argue that they are a colonial venture is a stretch. I would go back and read the definition of colonialism and see if it matches up.

    Oh, and by the way, Jew-hatred is NOT an outlier. It wasn’t an outlier when people in Europe and the Middle East butchtered Jews during the Middle Ages, and it’s not an outlier now.

    It’s a serious problem that’s not getting the attention it deserves.
       —Jared Goldberg    Jun. 24 '04 - 07:40PM    #
  14. I’m reiterating the comment I made in the previous trail of comments after the arrest. To repeat:
    I think the big picture is missed by most who are addressing the arrest / release on personal levels. The real issue here is the Mass Strangulation and Suffocation carried by the Israeli Government and IDF against the People of Palestine. It only reminds us of the NAZI Gas Chambers. The Appartheid Wall that Israel downplays and calls Barrier cuts deep in Palestinian lands, Palestinian groves, and Palestinian villages, resulting in a slow mass murder and extermination of the innocent Palestinian People of that land. This is no less of a historic Crime than the NAZI’s actions against the Jews in the last century. Here the Victims of the NAZI’s have perfected the “Torture and Crime” means and methods and have become themselves the most vicious Victimizers. For 56 Years, These Zionists have been terrorising and committing the same type of historic mass murders against the innocent People of Palestine, though at a more painful and slower rate. Instead of focusing on how to exterminate the Palestinians and/or continue to force them out of their historic homeland, a concerned JEW should rather worry about the obvious erosion of “Humanity” in the so called Modern Israel. What the Israeli Government, the IDF, and World Zionists are committing in Palestine is a horrific “NAZI” style Ethnic Cleansing that will some day haunt the entire Israeli Society. You guys who condone the Israeli crimes and vicious violations of human rights in Palestine should better worry about what your future generations have to face and suffer as a result of what today’s Israel has been doing for over 56 years. What an awfull Legacy you are leaving for your future generations!! I am just writing this for the record, and I trust that no real human being (of any ethnicity or religion) should stay silent about the murderous acts of the Israeli Governments, IDF, and Zionists at large. I also hope for the moderate voices in Israel to get stronger and be heard in order to STOP the continuing “NAZI” acts committed by the governing Zionists.
    Finally, you should all know that the Only Solution for the Historic Crime of displacing the Palestinians in 1948 (and continuing), the Only Solution is for the Land of Palestine to be one Truly Democratic Nation for all Israeli’s and Palestinians. If that land can absorb the Jews from all over the World (including the 100’s of thousands who have over history converted to Judaism), it should be able to equally accept the Palestinians who until 56 years ago had been in that land and part of its history for over 4000 Years. That might be a missed fact subdued by the Zionists, but it could not be denied forever. One Nation for Palestinians and Jews is the ONLY Peaceful and Just resolution of a Conflict created by the Zionists and can not go away through unjust forced so-called “solutions”.
    —Madeleine T
       —Madeleine T    Jun. 25 '04 - 05:54AM    #
  15. J.S~
    You claim the existence of “Zionist terrorism” before there was an Israel, and you are correct. There were terrorist-like organizations in pre-1948 Israel. However, one of the first things that David Ben Gurion did upon becoming prime minister was disband all of these groups. Arafat, however, and every other leader of his have continued to not only allow terrorism, but support it, both financially and through mass media manipulation.
    And unfortunately, there will always be people who hate others unconditionally, but it is much more frequent in a society that is bred to hate not only Israel, but America as well. They are bred to be suicide bombers from young ages. Whereas Israeli schools teach peace and coexistence as a manner to achieve peace in the middle east, Palestinian schools teach hate and anger and terrorism as the answer, not even including the word “peace” once.

    I didn’t say all settlements were suburbs, however, the big settlement blocs essentially are, existing on the outskirts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in the technical West Bank.

    Also, the Palestinians do have political and lawful ways to resolve them. Many time, Palestinians, although they are not citizens by Israel by their own choice, have appealed to the high courts of Israel and had the route of the security fence changed. Not only that, a majority are given reimbursement for land that stood in the path of the security fence. It is not Israel’s job to give Palestinians a political voice in their own territories, it is the PA’s. Unfortunately, their leadership is unable and unwilling to do this for their own people. The Palestinians that became Israeli citizens and live in Israel have a political voice, with some even becoming judges in the high courts.
    And finally, the security fence, that you call “the Israeli fence” does keep out terrorists. Three years ago, there were suicide bombings or shootings by Palestinians almost daily. Now, there is hardly one a month, thank god. And it isn’t because they aren’t trying anymore. The amount of attempts are actually up, but because of the security fence, they are more able to stop the terrorists before they get through to Israel to blow up innocent Israelis.

    There are obviously faults on both sides, but don’t try to legitimize Palestinian terrorism as a method of showing their voice, because that is not what it is. And if they want their voice heard, they should try revamping their own governmental bodies that remain corrupt and manipulative of their own people.

    Madeline T.-
    Your comments are obsurd. Sixty years ago, when Jews were being killed in the Nazi concentration camps, you know which side the Arab population of Palestine was on? The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem spent many of the WW2 war years in Germany helping Hitler. He even had drawn up plans for an actual concentration camp in Nabulus, so that after Hitler was done cleansing Europe, he could rid the Middle East of the Jews as well.

    And look in Israel… There are no concentration camps. There is no systematic killing. There are no ghettos and mass starvation implemented by the Israeli government, only by the Palestinian government itself. Your claims are ridiculous, and I suggest that you stay away from Nazi claims, because they are completely and utterly unfounded.

    Israel is a state for all of its citizens. Everyone seems to forget that the Arabs living in Israel in 1948, and again in 1967 were offered citizenship, and many refused. Those that didn’t are Israeli citizens. The Palestinians should fix their own government, in an effort to achieve the state and living conditions that they strive for, and wish to have.
       —Alana    Jun. 25 '04 - 11:37AM    #
  16. Seems to me that Fadi is glad he can notch this one up as ‘real world’ experience, and he can no say he has tasted what it is like to suffer opression as a rich suburbanite kid growing up int he united states…. This is more of a joke than anything else… For shame
       —randomreader    Jun. 27 '04 - 01:02AM    #