Kelly, one of two activists who visited Sheffield in April to talk about Palestine and show a film, has now been imprisoned in Israel for filming.
On Tuesday December 14, the people of Bil'in accompanied by international and Israeli activists and journalists marched peacefully against the construction of the illegal Israeli Apartheid Wall. The village of Bil'in, located west of Ramallah, has been told that three-quarters of its land will be confiscated and handed over to the neighbouring Israeli settlement during wall construction.
The Palestinian demonstrators marched peacefully through their land, using their presence to obstruct the military surveyors planning the precise route of the Wall. To repress the nonviolent demonstration, 30-40 Israeli Border Policemen fired tear gas and plastic-coated metal bullets into the crowd, before baton-charging those remaining.
Kelly, who was filming throughout the demonstration, documented several Palestinians being dragged off for individual beatings by groups of baton-wielding soldiers. When the soldiers realized she was filming, Kelly was wrestled to the ground and dragged up the hill. Later, a second American was arrested for filming.
Kelly said, "I was arrested filming the unprovoked attacks of gangs of heavily-armed soldiers on women and teenagers who dared to say, 'Stop stealing our land!' Israel depends on shooting mothers with tear gas and beating their children with batons to enforce the occupation and subjugate the people of Palestine. It relies on violence to quell civil resistance, yet tries to hide this fact from the world. That is why I am in prison."
Since her arrest, Kelly has been stripsearched in an attempt to humiliate her and interrogated in the Ministry of Interior. She is currently being held in Hadera Deportation Centre, where a judge issued Kelly with a deportation order. Kelly has neither been informed of her charges nor been allowed to represent herself. She has not been told when she will be deported or informed of her rights.
Kelly writes from jail - Dec 20th 2004
Today marks the seventh day of my illegal imprisonment in Israeli jails. During this week I have been moved 3 times: most recently to Tsochar prison, 10 km from the Gaza Strip. I have been interrogated by the Ministry of the Interior, Police, Shabak and finally a 'judge', employed full-time at the deportation prison. Repeatedly I asked for my charges, my rights, and access to a lawyer but each time I was met with a blank stare.
The kindness and strength of the women I have met in this prison system continues to amaze me. In a situation of dehumanization where we are called 'Mongolia', 'China', 'USA' instead of our names, where there are only a female prison is run only by male guards, where those same guards burst into our cells at any hour of day without knocking, where are cells have no doors to the shower or the rooms where we change, each the woman goes out of her way to help the others cope and survive.
All of these women are immigrants, some recent while others have lived here for more than 10 years. Many of the women have husbands, boyfriends and children still in israel. They are treated as criminals, despite having worked and contributed to Israeli society for years.
Every mundane detail of our lives is controlled by the male prison guards. Many of the women here are extremely vulnerable - not speaking Hebrew, far from their homes, dependent on guards for everything. The prison administration appears to turn a blind eye to widespread abuse as individual prison guards take advantage of their captives, many of whom have been previously raped and smuggled into Israel as sex-slaves.
This process of dehumanization by viewing someone as 'other' when convenient to justify the injustices being perpetrated is the same technique employed against the Palestinians. Soldiers at checkpoints and demonstrations, Border Police invading Balata Camp and shooting 6 year-old children, Israelis knowing what is happening to Palestinians living a half hour from their homes but choosing to ignore it - all can live with themselves at the end of the day only because Palestinians have no names or faces; they are animals, a nuisance that needs to be pushed away.
I am refusing to co-operate with the deportation administration, as I was arrested in Occupied Palestine while attending a local demonstration on the invitation of local Palestinians. The Israeli occupation is unjust and illegal; therefore I refuse to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Israeli court system over the West Bank and Gaza. Furthermore, the Israeli 'judicial system' was designed and functions not to provide justice but to legitimize and obscure oppression.
She can be reached in the prison by telephone at ++972 54 6346923 and would appreciate messages of support Alternatively, emails sent to Kelly@riseup.net will be relayed to her.
Kelly is a journalist and community activist. She is working on various media production and training projects as part of the Balatacamp.net collective. See www.balatacamp.net/~balata/website/balata.htm for further information. Kelly entered the country legally in October and has a visa. She has never been deported or denied entry.