People were invited to the meeting in a leaflet distributed at the just released 5 refusnics reception happening last Thursday. Teens and older people came to the meeting and were given a short introduction to the initiative, as well as basic tips for new Israeli participants in the direct actions in the joint struggle against the Apartheid wall/fence. After coordination of next day actions (Tuesday) and future dates, video documentaries of lasts days actions in Awwa and Budrus were screened. Following reports from two of this week actions:
1) bulldozers stopped in beit awwa, september 27 2004, by kobi snitz
2) bulldozers stopped in Budrus, Sunday, september 26 - at the 44th action
1) A small but unified march manages what a large march was unable to do: stop the work on the wall. after an early departure from Tel Aviv we arrived at beit awwa and got ready to join people who were gathering for the demonstration. The march was delayed when we heard that the army was around and looking to arrest israelis and internationals. (See the pictures at: https://israel.indymedia.org/feature/display/778/index.php)
The army and police were in the area in large numbers, especially on the route to the bulldozers, and the feeling was that it would be dangerous to head right towards them.
At around 9:30 a group of 50-100 people started to march from the center of beit awwa towards a field where olive trees were cut and away from where the soldiers were.
Two police vans arrived and after them more army jeeps. we got to within site of the cut olive trees and from there we headed back to beit awwa.
after regrouping near the center of the village, the march grew to about 200 people. We walked in the direction of the cemetery, where some preliminary work on the wall was being done, but the army was everywhere. either following us inside the village or moving troops to where we were heading. in spite of initial reluctance to get close to the soldiers we eventually headed towards the bulldozers. I guess the feeling was that we are close to the soldiers in any case so we might as well try to stop the bulldozers.
The odds were against us, last thursday a group of 1000 of us was unable to get past 20 soldiers who used lots of tear gas and rubber bullets and today we were no more than 200 and faced with what looked like 100 soldiers and police.
the soldiers must have expected the shabab to throw stones and did their best to provoke them, they drove their jeeps through the marching crowd but the shabab did not fall for it.
we linked arms in the open field where we were gassed on thursday and started up the hill.
unprepared for a unified and disciplined march the soldiers ran frantically trying in vain to stop the marchers. photographers later told us that the soldiers were yelling at each other for letting us get this far.
WE made it up the hill to a distance of about 100 from the machines. our proximity caused work to halt and we stood our ground in front of growing numbers of police, border police and army. At this point in what was the symbolic highlight of the day, a young man from beit awwa planted an olive tree in the place where trees were recently uprooted.
In the course of the standoff with the army and police a group of women advanced a small distance further and the situation came close to erupting when the border police and private security guards pushed and threatened the women.
after holding our ground for about 35 minutes and with the arrival of the border police notorious crowd control units it was decided to head back to the village instead of risking injuries. The thought was that we should retain control of the situation by deciding when to leave and that this will put us in a strong position to continue the demonstrations. We did manage to get back to the village without injuries and virtually no stones being thrown.
later, over cups of super-sweet palestinian tea there seemed to have been general satisfaction with the performance of the marchers as a group.
Pictures are at:
2) Sunday 26.9.04 was the 44th demonstration in the struggle against the wall at Budrus. And the bulldozers were blocked again, for a while. Following a a week of curfew, violence and threats to the Budrus villagers by the army, gendarmes, and occupation authority, 40 Israeli and international activists came to express solidarity and join the daily demo.
At 10:30 the villagers and activists released the kids from the school to prevent their detentions in the school by the Israeli forces - as they did lately got into the "habit" of "conquering" the village when dispersing a demo and holds the kids in the schools.
At 11:00, the the demo departed from the village towards the building site of the fence. About 100 participants - women and men of the village accompanied by the Israeli and international activists started to march towards the bulldozers. A big group of reporters from all over the worlds that came to cover the demo restrained a bit the soldiers brutality.
The demonstrators succeeded to mount the bulldozers and stop their work for 15 minutes. In spite shock and tear-gas grenades, the demonstrators held their ground for a while. When a big reinforcement of gendarmes arrived, the villagers decided to disengage to evade harsh violence towards them. It seems that the absence of violet clash at the site disappointed the gendarmes who came spoiled for action. As the villagers went away peacefully, the decided to follow them to the village - as they are used lately, to "educate" the villagers and to deter them from future demos "at any cost needed" (as was said to the villagers by occupation authority the previous week). They entered the village, and "conquered" the school using tear gas and shock grenades and rubber coats bullets.... Just that this time they got empty school with no pupils to "educate".
Tuesday 28 September a big demonstration is expected at the village at noon.
For details, Einat