International solidarity activist, US citizen held in Israeli prisons for over two weeks
International Solidarity Movement | January 2, 2010
Israeli authorities continue to detain Ryan Olander, US citizen and solidarity activist, who was illegally arrested on 18 December 2009 for his support of Palestinian families evicted from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.
Minnesota resident Ryan Olander is facing deportation after being held in Israeli prisons for over two weeks. He spent his Christmas and New Year at a deportation facility in Ramle, where his request for release has been rejected by the prison judge. His lawyer submitted an appeal to the District Court in Tel Aviv on 27 December 2009 challenging the request of the Israeli Ministry of Interior for Mr. Olander’s deportation. The lawyer is anticipating the decision of the judge within the next 48 hours.
Ryan Olander was arrested from a tent the Palestinian al-Kurd family built in their own backyard following a recent settler take-over of a section of their house. He was drinking tea and talking to the family members when six Israeli police walked into the tent and took him for questioning at the Russian Compound police station in west Jerusalem. Despite being released without charges the following day, Ryan was illegally re-arrested by immigration police only a few moments later, right outside of the same police station that told him he was free to go.
Following his arrest, Mr. Olander made the following statement:
“I have become a target of the police for standing in solidarity with the Palestinians of Sheikh Jarrah who struggle against the unjust and illegal evictions from the places they have called their homes for nearly 60 years. Now I face deportation from Israel.”
During the time Ryan Olander spent in Israeli prisons, the residents of Sheikh Jarrah in Occupied East Jerusalem have been subjected to further harassment and violence from the Israeli settlers and their supporters who recently took over the houses of several Palestinian families:
- 21 December 2009: An attack of about 40 settlers throwing stones at the Ftyaney family house left the Palestinians with two broken windows and fear of future attacks.
- 23 December 2009: Several hours of settler harassment following a Christmas celebration in Sheikh Jarrah included spray-painting ‘Death to Arabs’ in Hebrew, throwing fruit at Palestinians sitting in front of occupied al-Kurd house, violently pushing Palestinian residents and international activists, spray-painting one in her face.
- 25 December 2009: Around 30 settlers attacked the Palestinian Sabbagh family, breaking into their house and injuring seven family members. Two of the injured were cut with a knife and a pregnant woman, who was kicked in her stomach, had to be taken to hospital. Another family member was hit in the face and had a gun pointed at her.
- 26 December 2009: A group of settlers attacked Palestinians from the neighbourhood with stones. Three children and one adult were injured as result, and a French man who took pictures of the episode was violently attacked by a settler.
- 2 January 2010: A Palestinian woman, Nadia al-Kurd (65), had to be hospitalised with respiratory problems after being attacked by a settler in her own garden.