[Fsmed-general] Zochrot in Ramla and the police

FSMED fsmed en fsmed.info
Lun Dic 13 10:45:22 CET 2004

> Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 18:06:19 +0200
> From: Davidi <davidief en netvision.net.il>
>             A "Dangerous Tour" at Ramle / Eitan Bronstein
>  Yesterday Zochrot conducted a tour of the city of Ramle to learn
> about the Nakba of 1948 and the organized uprooting of most of the
> local population, as well as to mark 56 years since the signing of UN
> Resolution 194 calling for the return of the Palestinian refugees.
> About 200 men and women listened to testimonies from Palestinians who
> experienced the expulsion. During the tour we visited the old Arab
> area of city and posted a sign on Herzl St. designating its Arabic
> name until 1948: Jaffa – Jerusalem (Yaffa – al-Quds) Road.
> An alert police patrol unit picked up that the tour was endangering
> public memory, and hurried to interrogate those responsible for the
> event. Police back-up quickly arrived and discovered the purpose of
> the tour. Investigative officer Meir Ahrenfeld (three stars) informed
> us that ours was an illegal gathering and that we would be asked to
> disperse. I told him that we would not disperse, because this was an
> educational tour that did not require a special permit. We agreed that
> within half an hour we would finish the tour and that is what we did.
> He also demanded that we remove the signs that we had posted without
> permission.
> We gathered at the Terra Sancta Church to listen to testimonies and to
> watch a film about the city and the difficult conditions under which
> Arabs in Ramle have been living since the Nakba and up through today.
> During the event the police informed me by telephone that I was to
> immediately return to the police station for questioning. At the end
> of the event about one hundred of us marched to the police station. I
> entered and the investigator informed me that I had been called in for
> questioning on suspicion of organizing an illegal gathering and
> disturbing the peace. He told me it was my right not to speak and
> asked me for my response. I told him that I was reserving my right to
> remain silent. He seemed surprised: “Who are you, Rozenstein?” — a
> reference to the notorious (suspected) Mafioso. He tried various
> tactics to get me to talk but understood that nothing would come of
> it. I refused to sign the protocol of the investigation. Officer Meir
> Ahrenfeld (three stars) informed me that I was prohibited from
> entering the city of Ramle for one week and that I was free to go on a
> self-guaranteed bail of 2,000 NIS. “What would you want to do in this
> place, anyway?” both of them chuckled. I told them that I was insulted
> on behalf of the residents of the city. The senior officer offered me
> a cup of coffee and complimented this interesting project of ours. I
> didn’t say another word so as to avoid setting grounds for further
> allegations , but I directed him to our website address which was
> printed on my t-shirt. Before I left the station someone managed to
> tell me I should fix a factual error in the brochure we had produced
> on Ramle and the Nakba in the city.
> Clearly, the goal of the ridiculous prohibition on my entering the
> city is to try to prevent a democratic political struggle that
> questions the existing order and the Judaicization of the city space.
> Zochrot rejects this attempt and will continue to work toward the goal
> of reminding the public of the Palestinian Nakba at many additional
> places in this land. In a mixed Arab-Jewish city, the police should
> also have demonstrated sensitivity toward Ramle’s Arab public and the
> city’s past. Apparently this is not clear to the Ramle police.
> On leaving the city we were happy to see that the old-new sign
> designating Jaffa – Jerusalem Road was still standing in its proper
> place. Incidentally, in Haifa, more than a month after the Zochrot
> event in the city, the signs designing the names of the city streets
> up until 1948 are still standing today. In fact, a city council member
> recently forwarded this query to the mayor: “WHO AUTHORIZED THE
> POSTING OF THESE SIGNS?” Who, indeed? Heaven help us!
> There are some reports in news-sites in the internet. We found only in
> Hebrew and Arabic:
> http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/513026.html
> http://news.walla.co.il/?w=//638721
> ttp://www.aljabha.org/q/index.asp?f=-3311997640.htm&m=menu.htm&t=top.htm
> Eitan Bronstein
> Zochrot, Serial disrupter of public memory

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