Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Palestine-Israel, Budrus action report 07.12.04 - by kerem: Our right to protest - the struggle against the fence continues 08/12/04

The protest's main aim was to demand our right to protest. The 2 main messages that we, the israelis, wanted to put across in this protest was one: to protest against the closed military zone that is presented to us every time we protest. This consequently makes the israelis hide from the soldiers in the fear of being arrested. The second message was to go against the political persecutions. 2 israeli activists are being persecuted for entering a closed military zone in a protest in Budrus, a few weeks ago. Ahmed Awwad, a 43-year-old high-school teacher and father of six, was arrested on October 21 in Budrus. He is in administative arrest up to this date, for no reason that is known to him or his lawyers.

We arrived at the village at different times, from 9am, to about 11 am. We were about 60 israelis and 40 internationals. We, the israelis divided ourselves into affinity groups, of between 5-12 people in a group, who's job was to look out for eachother during the protest. We all put signs on ourselves saying "I am Ahmed Awwad" in a few languages.
The protest began at 1 pm. We walked down to the land with about 100 palestinians, and arrived about 30 meters from the bulldozers, where the soldiers were. The soldiers immediately began with pushing and shoving us, and threw tear gas and shock grenades. The soldiers showed us a closed military zone order. They then decided that they would go back, and so should we, but the israelis decided not to retreat as we planned.

The soldiers retreated and tried to stop us from advancing but we held hands and managed to get to the bulldozers. When we got there I saw one israeli who was wounded in the head. I said to the soldier that she needs to get he medical treatment and he replied that it's her problem that she's here and got hurt.
The were many stunt grenades at that point, and a lot of different conforntations with the soldiers near the bulldozers. There was no attempt to stop them from working. At that time I saw the village people retreating, and the soldiers began shooting rubber bullets at them.
We saw a roller tractor coming toward us and a few people sat down in front of it. It wasn't about to stop until the soldiers made him stop, the driver swore at us, and more of us joined to sit there. I got pulled backwards very strongly by a soldier and screamed very loud, and came back to sit infront of the bulldozer when he let go.
The bulldozer finally turned around. At that point I saw someone from my group being arrested by about 7 soldiers. I found the rest of the group and we walked with him, when he was taken away to where more israelis and soldier were. We sat down and were told that we're allunder arrest. More israelis were coming on their free will to where we were and joined us. We were 34 israelis in all.
We waited for about 2 hours. We wouldn't identify ourselves, and had no I.Ds.
all of us said : "we're all Ahmed Awwad".
The blue police came as well. And all that while we heard shooting inside the village. (we were later told that the soldiers went into the village, took over the school and 3 private houses and were shooting at people on the street. One boy was injured.)

The police brought a Safari vehicle to take us. Which is only enough for 10 people, they told us not to worry, that they have enough cars to take all of us. One of the police officers recognized one of the protesters and told him he wants to take him in his jeep. We then thought that they recognize a few faces and maybe they'll only take them and leave the rest of us. We put 10 "not wanted people" on the safari and they drove off. We received a call a few minutes later that the Safari dropped them off somewhere and told them they weren't arrested. The intentions of the police were made clear by themselves a few minutes after that. They only wanted specifically 3 men and one woman and pointed them out. They gave us a few minutes to organise. We said we wouldn't let them take the targeted ones without a fight.
With about 20 soldiers around us, and the targeted sitting surrounded by all of us, the last struggle began. It took about 5 minutes for them to get the 4.
The soldiers and police went, and we walked up to the village where the rest waited for us. On the way up the village's kids were still throwing stones at the soldiers on the hill.

The 4 were released later that evening, and were paid bail for on the condition that they don't enter Budrus for 7 days.
See also
(en) Israel-Palestine, Trial of two members of Anarchists against the wall Thursday the 9th of December 20004 at 12:30
(en) Palestine-Israel, Budrus, Media, Anti-fence protest detained - another take on today's demo

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