Five days of struggle - the same repression a new day.
With the resumption of construction of the separation wall a familiar pattern repeats itself. Negotiation is not even attempted, and Israeli policy is set unilaterally by the army and government without consideration for Palestinians. At the same time, every attempt at protest and non-violent resistance is repressed violently. In addition to the criminality of this repression, by making negotiation and peaceful protest impossible the army and government contribute to the escalation of the conflict in a direct way.
In the course of the last five days (September 19-23) the occupation forces returned to their attempt to literally cement their existence on Palestinian lands. Naturally the residents of the effected villages resisted this attempt and we are with them. Our method and our aim, which we have declared and consciously acted on for the last two years, are popular non-violent struggle.
Beit Awwa and Sikka, Sunday Sept 19.
For the first time since the beginning bulldozers started wrecking in the village lands, about a week earlier, we headed for the bulldozers together with the residents of Beit Awwa and Sikka. In spite of violence directed at the march we managed to get to the machines. For about two hours we stood in their way and prevented the theft of the land. During that time the soldiers and the police tried to remove us using brutal violence, which caused a resident of Sikka to lose consciousness for about 15 minutes and three others to be wounded. When large amounts of reinforcements arrived we were forced to retreat.
Budrus, Monday September 20.
When the bulldozers entered the village lands after a few weeks ago, following a long struggle a compromise was reached by which the path of the wall will not be on Budrus land- the people of Budrus went to their lands. Men women and children sat on their lands and with their own bodies prevented the bulldozers from taking their lands. The army did not have sufficient forces and after several unsuccessful attempts to remove the demonstrators, the bulldozers left.
Budrus, Tuesday September 21.
At dawn we went to the land to stop the bulldozers but this time the army was waiting with many troops. In spite of that, together with the people of Budrus we managed to get pass the soldiers and to the land. After about two hours of work being halted an agreement was made with a representative of the army that the bulldozers will not work on Budrus land during that day and that we will leave the lands. When we began to leave, the border police attacked people with clubs, shock grenades, tear gas and rubber coated metal bullets in violation of the agreement reached. In spite of that, during the attack, a representative of the village attempted to continue negotiating with a representative from the army. Finally another agreement was reached by which we will return to the lands where we stood first and the army will retreat from the lands. When the representatives headed their own way a border police force attacked the village, again in violation of the agreement reached. The resistance to the invasion of the village continued to about 5 pm when the army left the village. Many were hurt during the confrontation amongst them 26 people injured by rubber coated metal bullets. Two Israeli protesters were arrested and released the next day by Adv. Gaby Lasky who represented them in front of a judge who restricted their access to the Budrus area for 14 days.
Budrus, Wednesday September 22.
About 500 villagers, together with Israelis and internationals were attacked by the army with rubber coated metal bullets and tear gas even before leaving the village and at great distance. In the first minutes of the demonstration five demonstrators were injured by rubber coated metal bullets. Two of them, a 12-year-old boy and a member of the popular committee against the wall were shot in the head. The attempt to reach the land lasted about two hours and in the end the army occupied the schoolhouse and another house. The shooting continued during the course of the day as well as wide use of tear gas, which was sometimes shot directly into homes. The occupation of the village, which was carried out while the soldiers shouted "Budrus is ours!" was not only humiliating, illegal and immoral but also caused a large number of injuries. 17 Of them were hurt by rubber coated metal bullets.
Beit Awwa and Budrus, Thursday September 23.
On our way to Beit Awwa we heard that a full curfew was declared in Budrus at 8 am, after the beginning of the school day, thus trapping the school children in school. The army occupied several buildings and besieged the school. The curfew was lifted only after it was dark.
In Beit Awwa, about 1000 demonstrators were gathered, amongst them about 600 women and girls. We headed towards Sikka where the bulldozers were working and at a distance of about a kilometer from the bulldozers we were attacked by the army without any warning. For about two hours the army used tear gas rubber coated metal bullets in one of the most extreme displays of violence used at a demonstrations in a long time. We managed to hold our ground and were reminded of the most difficult demonstrations in Dir Kaddis and Harbata when an Israeli demonstrator was hit very near his eye by a rubber coated metal bullet. The daily toll was 120 wounded, of them 35 from rubber coated metal bullets. 45 of the demonstrators were evacuated to hospital in Hebron because their condition was too severe for the village clinic. Many of the wounded were women and girls who took the lead in facing the army throughout the day. In addition, 2 Israeli demonstrators were arrested. They were later released on condition that they do not return to Beit Awwa for 14 days.
Unlike the occupation forces who are not interested in dialogue, the people of Beit Awwa declare again that they invite anyone who wished to come and meet with them.
The bullets which try to silence protest will not silence us. Neither will political persecution, the corrupt system of military orders and courts, police interrogation or live fire stop the struggle. We are in integral part of the struggle against the wall and the occupation and for true liberty for all living beings.