[News] Kate Raphael: Free at Last! Free Budrus!

News at freedomarchives.org News at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jan 9 08:47:48 EST 2004



Dear all:

I was released tonight at about 6:00 p.m. after some last minute screwing
around by the prison and the Ministry of Interior (surprise, surprise), and
incredible awesome superlative hard work and persistence by Dunya and Susi.
Thanks so much to all of you for your work, agitation, support, love,
messages, cosmic hugs and every other thing.  It feels great to be free, I
had a lovely dinner with Dunya and Susi and am now getting ready to sleep
before going to bed so we can all be sane for tomorrow's Mikarov session.  I
cannot say enough about the organizing efforts of Dunya, Susi, Karin, Deeg,
Tory and Naomi, and I know there are many others who are not on that list
who should be.  The whole IWPS house team has done an outstanding job as
always, picking up my slack and also other work to leave Dunya more time to
work on my case.  Anat, Jonathan, Francheska, Jeremy, Arik, Naama, and a lot
of other Israelis have pulled out all the stops for Frederick and me.  I
know that in general, I have had the easy part, just sitting around studying
Arabic and sleeping 10 or 12 hours a day, while others worked day and night.
All of you are amazing people in my life, and I am privileged to know and
work with you.

Now we look at the future, and there are three important pieces.

Legally, we will see about finding long-term legal assistance and filing to
stop the deportation and defend the right of internationals to witness and
accompany Palestinian resistance here.  This must include but not be limited
to the right of Jewish visitors who do not support the policies of the
apartheid government to equal protection with those who do.  I am
particularly interested in finding out if a trial will enable us to show the
tape that I shot and other documents of the army's assaut on nonviolent
demonstrators in Budrus.  If it seems likely, I will do everything possible
to make sure that that trial happens, and that I can be here for it.  Right
now, the terms of my release are that I must leave the country by January
17, and the trial will not take place before that.  However, certain things
are required to be done for that date to be in effect.

Second, we need to continue the campaign to Stop the Apartheid Wall, and the
other work we are doing to end the occupation and promote a more just
society in Palestine/Israel.  For Dunya, Susy and me, that means helping to
coordinate the next days of Mikarov, which is the critical five-day stay in
the northern West Bank.  Because I am barred from going to the occupied
territories, I probably will not be able to participate in the actual group
activities, but there are still logistics to arrange and I will help with
that.  I also want to download the video from Budrus and some other footage
to make a short piece on women's resistance to the Wall, that can be used
both in and out of the country to mobilize and hopefully capitalize on the
publicity our case has received here, in Europe and the States.  Israeli and
international activists are continuing to provide accompaniment and
documenting in Budrus, and we will help to coordinate this as long as
needed.  Also, I spoke with my friend Ayad in the village tonight when I was
released, and learned that his brother and another organizer were arrested
there a week ago.  They are held in Ofer Prison.  We will be doing
everything we can to get them released.  When I get more information,
hopefully tomorrow, I will be sending you requests for urgent action on
their behalf, and I hope you will do everything for them that you did for
me.

Finally, while in prison I have written a few things about the experience
and about the little-publicized underside of Israeli apartheid, which is its
attempt to rid itself of foreign workers, especially trafficked sex workers,
while importing new ones every day.  Since I saw first-hand the conditions
under which women are held and the routine denial of human and civil rights,
because they do not have access to the media, to lawyers or to international
support, I want to get out the word on this and see if we can make a change.
I met an inspiring young woman from Liberia, who has been imprisoned for
nearly three months because the Ministry and the UN are dragging their feet
on her refugee status.  At one point today, I wrote in my journal, "I can't
believe there are press conferences and demonstrations about me, and not
about her."  I want especially to see what I can do to help her situation.

So I will be busy until I leave, and when I return to the States, around
February 12, I hope to be able to speak and show slides and video about what
I have witnessed and experienced.  I will focus especially on IWPS's two
major projects: the campaign against the Apartheid Wall, and Mikarov
(Neighbor To Neighbor), our Israeli public education project.  I am
especially interested in speaking to Jewish communities, women's groups,
church groups and schools, but would be happy to do anything that anyone
wants to organize.  I expect to be in Washington, D.C., Richmond, VA, San
Francisco, Seattle and Boston, and possibly Montreal.  Would be happy to go
anywhere else but probably couldn't pay for travel there.

Feel free to give my email and phone number (972-(0)67-387-806) to
responsible media and others who have legit reasons to contact me.  In the
next days I will send out some more detailed pieces about the demonstration
in Budrus, my detention, arrest and incarceration, and the situation in
Khadera, which you can hopefully use or at least appreciate.

Sorry for not using bcc, but for some reason my email isn't allowing it
tonight.

Lots of love and Happy New Year,

Kate



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