Eva Novakova slept soundly in her apartment in Ramallah, in the West Bank, when she was rudely awakened at three in the morning. A team of some 20 Israeli shock troops burst into the building guns drawn. After checking each and every aparment in the complex, the Israelis arrested the 28-year-old Novakova, of the International Solidarity Movement. Her offense? Overstaying her visa. Her Israeli visa.
But wait, isn't Ramallah in the West Bank and under the control of the Palestinian Authority? That's what Novakova thought, too.
"The spot where I was detained is called "zone A", an area where the Palestinian Authority is supposed to have complete sovereignty," Novakova told the Czech daily Mlada Fronta dnes. She spoke to the paper on January 12, the day she returned to Prague.
"Furthermore, never before had they [Israeli] come into this area for a foreigner with an expired visa. They've only come in this way for Palestinians with perfectly prepared military precision."
Novakova said the Israelis gave her two choices.
"They stuck two papers in front of me. One said that I was ready to leave immediately. The other said I would be taken to court. The interrogator said when he left the room I wouldn't have the chance to sign the document about leaving. They didn't give me a chance to speak to a lawyer. Only after I signed the document agreeing to leave was I able to speak to a lawyer, and the Czech consul in Tel Aviv, Dusan Kralik. But by that point there was nothing that could be done."
Later, the Israeli embassy in Prague added that Novakova had taken part in "violent" protests, without divulging when and where or how.
Novakova laughs off that charge, saying she took part only in non-violent demos, and helped the movement spread its message through the MSM.
Is the Czech government upset over how Israeli soldiers manhandled one of its citizens?
Nope, according to Czech TV. The Czech foreign ministry said while the style may have been over the top, Prague had no real issue with the Israeli action.
Novakova said she no real interest in the Palestinian cause until the Israeli assault on Gaza that left some 1,400 Palestinians dead.
Novakova said she could no longer remain "indifferent."
Novakova said she plans to share with Czechs her experiences in the occupied Palestinian territories.
She also left behind in the West Bank her boyfriend and has no idea when she'll see him again.
The Israelis have a history of dealing harshly with members of ISM. Rachel Corrie, an American, was bulldozed (yes, you read that right by a machine, designed, made and delivered by US manufacturer Caterpillar for the despicable task of house demolitions) to death by Israeli soldiers as she tried to defend a Palestinian family from having their house destroyed. Sadly, many Americans have no idea who this brave girl was.