Independent Media Center, Israel

Urgent appeal: Abnaa el Ballad leaders arrested%PM %31 %b %2003
author: SWL

A communique on behalf of the arrested leaders of the "Sons of the Country" movement and against the political persecution:

Five leading members of the Abnaa el Ballad ("Sons of the Country") movement, including its general secretary Muhamad Kanaane and Yoav Bar, were arrested today in the morning in the summer camp the movement has in the town of Kabul.

Abnaa el Ballad has conducted a summer camp for years; this year it was held in the northern town of Kabul, in the Galilee, where more than 300 hundred children and youth assisted. Coincidentally with the summer camp, a political meeting was held yesterday, where Jewish and Arab members of the movement and other left activists, including members of the SWL, participated in order to promote common activitiez between the Palestinian and Jewish masses within Israel against the national and social oppression of the Zionist regime.

Yesterday, the Israeli television Channel 10 released a blood libel about the summer camp, arguing that the organizers teach the children to be suicide bombers and act as apologists for Hamas. Today’s edition of the Hebrew daily Ha'aretz also presented a similarly vicious slander. Later in the day the police arrested some of the leading comrades of Abnaa el Ballad.

The police and the security services have been carrying on a campaign against Abnaa elBallad for years, especially after the demonstrations held in October 2000, when 13 Arab demonstrators were killed by the police. This is another step in the persecution of the Arab population in Israel and its political parties. Let us just recall that the leaders of the Islamic movement, a legal political organization, have been imprisoned for several weeks already, and that today the Knesset is debating a racist law denying the Israeli citizenship to the sons of couples where one of the partners is an Israeli Arab and the other a Palestinian from the Occupied Territories.

We demand the immediate release of the arrested comrades and the end of the political persecution against Abnaa elBallad, and ask all the democratic forces in the country as well as an international campaign of solidarity on their behalf.

Socialist Workers League (Palestine)

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