Sunday, February 27, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Alt. Media, Anarchists and the villages daily anti-Wall struggle Feb 27

The Tel Aviv-based Anarchists Against the Wall had a busy week. The following account was provided by organizer Yonathan Polak. “At Bila'in the bulldozers are working quite close to the village houses, about four or five kilometers from the Green Line (pre-'67 border). Not that this is the decisive factor for us, we would protest even if the Wall was being built on the Green Line itself, since we oppose the whole idea of erecting walls to separate people from each other. Anyway, Bila'in and its neighbor Safa to the south are suffering very much from settlement expansion. There is the big settlement-town of Kiryat Sefer inhabited by ultra-Orthodox, and another settlement called "Menora" which is supposed to be an extension of a third settlement called "Mattityahu" - not that these names make much of a difference to the Palestinians whose land is taken.

What matters is that this settlement complex is fast expanding and swallowing more and more land. They build about 300 new housing units per year, and now the Wall is being built according to the settlement municipal boundary - that is, to enclose the territory which is earmarked for further expansion.

There were some media reports of "violent clashes" where we had been, especially at Bila'in. Actually it was not much more than what we are used to in such struggles. There were some three hundred villagers, joined by ourselves - about five Israelis and some internationals - marching from the village center. When we came close the soldiers formed a line to block us. When we went on walking, they used tear gas and rubber bullets - no live ammunition on this occasion. We were not able to really block the bulldozers - the last time we succeeded in that was at Iskaka a few weeks ago, that was a great day. (Iskaka is much deeper in, near the giant settlement of Ariel, work there is now frozen by a court order but this week the army presented confiscation orders at Marda which is in the same region).

Altogether, we had this week two demonstrations at Bila'in and one in Safa. At one of those in Bila'in the army and police caught Einat Podhorni, she did not run fast enough when they started chasing us. She spent a night at the Russian Compound Detention Center in Jerusalem, some of the fellows in Jerusalem organized a late-night solidarity picket outside. On the morning she was set free on condition that she does not come back in 21 days. Then, on Tuesday the Bila'in villagers got a temporary injunction to stop the work until next week. I am not sure of the legal details.

Yesterday (Friday, Feb 25.) we had a bigger Israeli presence at Raf'at which is further to the north (not far from Mes'ha where the big anti-Wall campaign started). At Raf'at there were some 15 of us and 15 of Ta'ayush, we joined up with the villagers and managed to walk quite far. Only when we were quite close to the bulldozers the army succeeded in stopping us, they had to bring up quite big forces to prevent us from getting nearer.

Contact: Yonathan Polak

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Rafat, The protesting against the fence building continues Feb 26

The fence continue to devour trees and fields. Inhabitants of the villages Rafat and Dir Balut did a quiet demonstration but encountered tear gas and shock grenades. On Friday, 25.2.05, about 200 of the inhabitants of Rafat and Dir Balut in the Rafat village. They were joined by few tens of Israeli* and international activists. The fence robe in this region about 70% of the lands of the two villages. At about 10:00 started a march from the village towards the building site of the fence - a distance of about 2 kilometer, in a path along the village olive trees orchards - towards the bulldozers. At about one kilometer from the building site, the marchers encountered army forces who shoot them gas canisters in an effort to block the advance of the demo.

The demonstrators insist in continuing the march forwards and the shock and gas grenades do not deter them.... but the repeated shooting succeed to block the march from arriving to Dir Balut.

The demonstrators stood for a while on a hill from where they can see the bulldozers. There were carried speeches - including by Abu Firas the mayor of the Dir Balut municipality, who talked in Hebrew to the soldiers. He talked about the lands taken from them at 1948 - on which is built the Israeli town Rosh Ha'ain. He asked the soldiers why they want to rob the remaining lands. He ask them how there will be peace and what sense there is in all the talks if at the same time they continue in uprooting trees, to separate between the villagers and their fields and harming the demonstrators who protest that.

When the speeches were ended, the villagers males organized in lines for prayers on their fields. At the end of the prayer, the demonstrators who were blocked from arriving to Dir Balut started to march back towards Rafat. The commander of the army power, marching at the head of his soldiers kept minimal distance from the retreating demonstrators trying to provoke a confrontation and stone throwing to show his mighty force....

When he failed, he lead his 10 cars in a wild driving into the village showing off with horn blowing and sirens.

Pictures at

ainfos trans.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Safa 22/02/2005 - The daily struggle continue Feb 23

Media: "Two border policeman were injured during the demonstrations of the anarchist* activists and leftist activists near the village Safa not far from Modi'in heights [settlement - Tr.]. It was reported that 20 demonstrators were hurt from inhaling smoke and other three from rubber [coated metal] bullets. Three adults who were injured were taken to hospital for medical treatment. The demonstrators protest the separation fence".

We continued to the near by village Safa arriving there at 9:00.
Safa have 4000 inhabitants, nice view with green vegetation all around and plenty of olive trees. The route of the fence at this region annex to Israel 90% of the lands of the village. The destruction is revealed... in front of our eyes the bulldozers work in full speed and uprooting tens of trees - while few tens villagers stand and see to their distress the continuing destruction.

A band of soldiers of the border police advanced towards us with an officer named Oren Tibi at their head who appeared to be very aggressive. He yelled on the demonstrators to go away but with out waiting for response started to throw shock grenades.

The demonstrators climbed on a near by hill with view on the working bulldozers... Youth from the village approached the site and as a response the border police applied again the "demonstration dispersing means" - teargas grenades, shock grenades batons, and rubber coated bullets. The efforts to remind the soldiers the talks between Sharon and Abu Mazan, and the cease fire found deaf ears.

The village elders tried to talk to the soldiers and convince them to stop the works as they have already apply to the supreme court - but failed. The uprooting of the trees continued and so the demonstration.

The demonstration continued some times quieter, some times a wave of violence of the soldiers using the same means, with out caring for the female demonstrators whom they push violently. At that stage it was impossible to convince the youngsters to refrain from stones throwing - resulting with easy finger of the soldiers on the trigger and the results: 26 injured, 6 of whom were taken to the hospital in Ramala.

At the evening, the supreme court decided to expand the temporary stay to include the works on the lands of Safa.

To the villagers their trees were uprooted that day it was too late. Pictures and the Hebrew original at:
* Though not too many, the people of The Anarchists Against The Wall initiative are involved in the nearly daily struggle of the palestinian villagers against the fence. Usually, international activists join too and often other Israeli activists join too.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Palestine-Israel, The struggle against the fence/wall enhanced by the Israeli Anarchists Against The Wall, continue Feb 22

The naZionists project of annexing more lands confiscated from the palestinians continue. The building of the "security" fence/wall is the main tool for this project. As there are lot of international presures on Israel, intensified by media focus on local resistance Israel compromise a bit. They already consented to get down from the 15% of the previous compromise to around 6.5%... And the struggle continue last three dais focussed on the Bil'in village. And the Israeli supreme court of "justice" pretend to restrain the Israeli state as adversary. And electronic media reports today that the supreme court issued a stay on the works of the fence near Bil'in following the demonstrations.

The demonstration of Palestinians, Israelis and internationals continued today along the work sites in the region.

To read more about the two years involvement of the israeli anarchists in this struggle, and their unique contribution to the enhancement of it: Do guggle search on "Anarchists Against The Wall" + "ainfos"

Monday, February 21, 2005

Palestain-Israel, Bil'in 21-2-05:"this is what they wanted" Feb 21

The army would not have anyone marching or getting near the work site and as they said they would, they violently attacked the crowd when it refused to retreat. At one point during the 6 hours long confrontation, standing at a safe distance from the soldiers and wiping tear gas from his eyes Hatib said "this is what they wanted". Two months ago, at a demonstration in Bil'in Yasin Basman likened the settlement expansion and wall construction around his home village to a cancerous growth. Today, as he was watching the bulldozers uproot olive trees he elaborated on the process. "First they used ottoman law to take our land, then British law, Jordanian and finally Israeli law. And when that fails they break their own laws. We have a court decision returning almost all the expropriated land to us but the army just ignores it"

Today's demonstration at Bil'in followed the familiar pattern set last spring in Biddu. The border police wait for the demonstration at the exit from the village and greet it with large amounts of tear gas as soon they see it. Like the people of Biddu, the people of Bil'in responded with stones and so it was for the rest of the day. Gas, stones, rubber bullets gas and more stones. The method of tear gas use is also familiar from last year, the border police shot tear gas canisters horizontally and in the direction of people. Two people were hit the head by the heavy canisters and several others in other parts of their bodies. In total about 20 people were hurt including an infant who suffered from gas inhalation when a tear gas canister landed in the front yard of his house.

At several points the demonstrators regrouped, stopped the stone throwing, and tried to march back towards the work site. At one point it was even possible for Muhamad Hatib, the head of the local popular committee against the apartheid wall to reach one of the officers and talk to him but to no effect. The army would not have anyone marching or getting near the work site and as they said they would, they violently attacked the crowd when it refused to retreat.
At one point during the 6 hours long confrontation, standing at a safe distance from the soldiers and wiping tear gas from his eyes Hatib said "this is what they wanted".

The demonstrations in the last two days was supported by the ISM and Israeli Anarchists who plan to return tomorrow for another demonstration in Bi'lin and another at the neighboring village of Saffa. One of the two Israelis arrested yesterday, Einat Podjarny was released today after spending the night in jail. She was represented by Adv. Gabi Lasky who argued in court today that since the arrest is for violating a military order a civilian court can not hear the case and it should be thrown out. Furthermore, Lasky contends that in that case all such arrests would be false arrests since they can not lead to charges being laid.

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, Media, Joint Palestinians, Israelis and internationals struggle against the fence continue. Feb 21

Sunday the media reported on 100 palestinian, Israelis and internationals participating in a demonstration against the separation fence. At the end of the day one of the Israelis was detained in the Jerusalem jail and solidarity with her was called by the comrades. Internal communication: "folks, our friend E. P. is being held at the russian compound in jerusalem tonight after being arrested at the bil'in demo today. a spontaneous solidarity vigil is being put together for tonight (sunday) if you can't sleep please call m. 052-xxxxxxxx" "folks who want to show support for E. P. in court can do so tomorrow (monday) at 8:30 at the court in jerusalem. the address is hashin 6. for details call i. 054-xxx" Today, Monday the demonstration renewed an media report on hundreds of participants - Palestinians, israeli and internationals.

Media reports: 10 palestinians injured after the Israeli forces attacked the demonstrators with rubber coated bullets and teargas grenades. Media ( - 21/02/2005) also reported: "a two months baby lost conscious after soldiers shoot gas towards her house in the village Bil'in - so said activist of the anarchists against fences - who is there now."

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Kadum, Alt. Media, "If there is violence today, it will not be started by us" report by Adam Keller Feb 19

The road to Kufr Kadum is long and complicated. We change taxis several times along the way from Tel-Aviv, and pick up international activists at a junction filled with a medley grafitti and half-torn posters (?Free Palestine? in English and Arabic, ?Down with the occupation? in Hebrew but also ?Death to Arabs and traitors? and ?It is G-d?s will: Eretz Yisrael belongs to the Jewish People!? and overall, a giant poster with the smiling face of Palestinian President Abu Mazen). An army jeep passes in the opposite direction, taking no interest. Then at Hija begins the ordeal which Kadum inhabitants must endure daily: going over the bare track, up hills and down dales, with the car jumping and jouncing and shaking at every pothole and strewn rock along the way. ?At least, today the track is passable at all? says our guide. ?You should have seen this place a week ago, after the rains. There was a real lake, exactly where we pass now.?

Finally we get to the center of Kadum, at the town hall and post office which form the modest civic center of this 4200-strong community. We alight ? some twenty-five activists, mostly young anarchists with t-shirts bearing such slogans as ?The Wall must fall!? and ?Psychiatric discharge means neither shooting first nor crying afterwards?. Several Machsom Watch women from Jerusalem arrive by a different route, walking much of the way, together with the irrepressible Yafit-Jamila Bisso who came from Syria some ten years ago and whose fluent Arabic makes her a great asset in such contacts. And there is the usual leavening of international activists: Dorothee, a French activist residing in Switzerland, who had now lived long enough at Hares to call it ?my village?; Fatima, a Muslim from South Africa; two inhabitants of Stockholm who belong to different international volunteer groups and who met each other for the first time here, in the heart of the West Bank? Palestinian activists hasten to offer us cold drinks, welcome on this unnaturally warm winter day.

The vendor refuses to take payment for his falafel balls in pita bread. The mayor and his deputy are already waiting to welcome us, discuss details of the coming action and fill us in on the village situation. ?It is up to you to decide how far to go with the army and settlers. We have come to offer our solidarity? says the anarchist Yonathan, veteran of countless such actions in the past two years. ?If there is violence today, it will not be started by us? answers mayor As?ad Shtawe, a rather young man who got to his position out of being a grassroots Fatah activist. Municipal secretary Abu Arab fills in details on the current situation.

We already knew in general that the settlement of Kdumim has been created astride the only paved road connecting Kadum to the outside world, that the settler security guards deny them passage and the army fully backs the settlers. But we hear more details of what it means in daily life: ?The fare in service taxi along the paved road was six Shekels (about $1.5). Now, a taxi going along the mountain tracks where the car is frequently damaged and needs repairs is asking for 26 Shekels ($6.5). For many of us, especially the unemployed, traveling outside the village has become a luxury they can hardly afford. We have become prisoners! Since Sharm A-Sheikh, the army removed the blockage on many other villages. We are happy for them, but why are we discriminated? Just because the Kdumim settlers have a lot of pull with the Sharon government??

The town square fills up, and the procession forms. Young and old men, some in working clothes and others in neat suits. A contingent of women in the traditional muslim headscarves, and younger women with their heads bare and the brassards of the Palestiniasn Medical Relief Committees. Banners in Arabic and English are held aloft, with some Palestinian national flags. "We welcome our Israeli friends who came to share this struggle with us", came the announcement in Hebrew over the loudspeaker. Many Palestinian marchers glued the round two-flag sticker of Gush Shalom on their shirts. From an open courtyard, a matrone with a brood of children behind her were waiving cheerfully.

Soon we can see the pseudo-European red roofs of the Kdumim settlement - a bit incongruous for people who pretend to be the direct continuation of biblical ancestors. In between, some twenty soldiers block passage, strung in a ragged line across the road and into the olive groves on both sides. This is the moment of decision: going forward would likely be answered with a volley of teargas or worse. It could easily have happened, when the village youths started surging towards the soldiers, chanting "Open Our Only Road!" But mayor and councillors succeed in making them halt and sit down. With the soldiers looking on impassively, mayor Shtawe takes the microphone. "We have not come here for violence, we did come here to deliver a clear message: the closing of our road is illegal, immoral, intolerable. We start the campaign today, it will not end until the road is open."

Gamila Bisso speaks first in Arabic, but shifting suddenly to Hebrew: "Dear soldiers, and also dear settlers listening from your windows. I am speaking to you on behalf of the Israelis here in this demonstration, standing shoulder to shoulder with our Palestinian brothers and sisters. We have not come here to attack you. We do demand that you open the road; that you let pupils go to their schools and sick people to the hospital. We Israelis claim to be living in a democratic state, an enlightened state of law. Segregating roads, separate roads for Jews and for Arabs - a good road for Jews, and a very bad one for Arabs - this is not democracy. It is Apartheid."

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Palestine-Israel, The War of the Roads- Saturday Action Palestinians Protests Strangulation of their village Feb 17

On Saturday the 19th of February at 9-00 AM residents of Kefar Kadum will be joined by Internationals and Israelis* on a march to the locked Israeli Gate at the entrance of their village. Kefar Kadum and its four thousand residents are surrounded by the settlement of Kedumim and the Kedumim military Base. The settlement uses the main road to Kefar Kadum as its own. Since the beginning of the current Intifada the Israeli military installed a gate at the village entrance which they have closed periodically. Two weeks ago the gate was locked and the villagers told by the military that they would no longer be allowed to use the Road. Their Village has become a prison.

This Israeli strategy is wide spread throughout the occupied territories. Particularly in the area Israel plans to annex as the Ariel settlement block. More and more the roads that settlers have taken over for their own use are being closed to Palestinians who are left with round about agricultural roads as the only source of access to their villages.

Another example is the village of Salfit which serves as a regional center. Its main entrance has been confiscated by the settlement of Ariel and its residents have been barred from it for the last four years. An arrangement that now appears to be permanent. Fore more information:

Samech ISM media 0547.621.592
* Mostly of the Anarchists Against The Wall initiative and Ta'ayus

Friday, February 11, 2005

Israel, Tel Aviv, A solidarity demonstration at the juvenile court (it) 11 Feb

Tuesday 9th February - a cold morning. 30 people of Anarchists Against The Wall and other supporters gathered in front of the juvenile court and held a demo with placards and slogans.
Inside, there was to be the trial of 4 activists who were indicted for direct actions (obstructing traffic) in previous demonstrations in Tel Aviv related to the struggle against the apartheid wall. 4 police cars came "to supervise" the demo but did not interfere and just displayed curiosity.
Inside the courthouse, about two hours late, the jodge only read to the defendants the formal acusations... and remarked to the prosecutions that it rings exagerated and needs toning down for the next hearing...

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Israeli Anarchism Being Young, Queer, and Radical in the 'Promised Land' Feb 10

Yossi is a young resident of Jerusalem and a member of the International Solidarity Movement. He is part of many social movements in Israel and Palestine, including Anarchists Against the Wall and Black Laundry, a radical queer group. Yossi is currently working at the Alternative Information Center. Here he speaks about anarchism in Israel, it's relationship to the Palestinian struggle, and radical anarchist and queern culture. Interviewed by Aaron Lakoff*
Aaron: Can you tell me about the anarchist movement in Israel?
Yossi: Well, anarchism in Israel, or may we say in Palestine, was never a big movement or a popular movement. It's because zionism was a nationalist movement, and most of the refugees who came here held beliefs of nationalism and zionism, and supported the idea of a Jewish state. And they chose to come here and not to other places. They chose to come into Palestine and build the Jewish state. So anarchism was very strange to them - it was not in their agenda. Although, there were a lot of socialists coming here, but they were socialist and nationalist at the same time. They were not trying to overcome the nationalist visions of socialism. So for historical reasons, anarchism was very small here.
Also, in the Palestinian or Arab culture, anarchism is not well known. It isn't a popular stream of thinking. There are no anarchist philosophers in Arab culture. So for those reasons, we don't have a historical background that goes back to the 19th century, or even the middle of the 20th century.
The first anarchists who were here came to Israel and then left back to Europe, understanding that Israel wasn't there place. Quite a lot of anarchists were born to zionist families and chose anarchism as their ideology, but again it was very small groups.
In the 60s there were a few more because of the student movement in Europe, and people were influenced by all the revolutions outside of Palestine and Israel. You can see only at the end of the 60s and beginning of the 70s more and more anarchist groups coming together, but mostly from the same milieus. In the 80s the movement grew bigger because of punk. Punk fans came into the anarchist movement. The animal rights movement was really big here and still is big and it was very anarchist in the beginning. All of this was happening in the 80s and 90s. There were beginning to be more and more books and pamphlets about anarchism in the 90s. At the end of the 90s more people became anarchists because of the wave of anti-globalization that was sweeping the world, and this came to Israel as well. Up until the beginning of the Intifada, there were many groups who were anarchist, anarchist-affiliated, or non-hierarchal.

A: Going back to 1948, you mentioned anarchists came to Israel and found it wasn't a place for them. But if we look back to Emma Goldman's time, just prior to 1948, there were large Jewish anarchist movements throughout Europe and the United States. Isn't it surprising that none of them found their way into Israel?

Y: Well, the anarchist movement hated the Zionist movement. It's not only anarchists - there were communists as well. Many communists came here and discovered that all those slogans of socialism were really just socialism for Jews. There were so many racist campaigns. One of them was Hebrew Labour - to make capitalist Jews take all the Jewish labour, and this was the biggest campaign of the Zionist movement in Palestine.
People came here and found that their communist views had nothing to do with these racist policies happening here. A lot of them left and went to places like Spain, but many of them had no choice but to stay here because of Hitler and because they couldn't go to the USA.
There were some anarchists that came here as refugees, but they didn't want to come here. You can see all along an anarchist history which is quite Jewish. They were very, very anti-zionist - always criticizing the zionist movement, saying it was not answering the problems of the Jewish people.

A: You mentioned different issues that anarchists in Israel have been involved with over the decades, and then you mentioned the Intifada. Then recently there has been the Anarchists Against the Wall. Can you talk a bit about this group and what you do?

Y: When the Intifada came, there were two processes going on at the same time. There was the mainstream left, what we call the Zionist left in Israel, which became much more right wing. They began to show their real racist face again. The radical left became more and more radicalized at the same time. You can say that both the mainstream and radical left were becoming polarized. This process brought more actions into the radical left. During the Oslo-era, the radical left was much more quiet. Today, since the beginning of the second Intifada, there is a demo almost every day.
So many new movements came to life, working really hard against the situation. All of this energy, and people seeing what was happening in the occupied territories, made people more alienated against the state. People could see that the state is the enemy when the state is shooting at you. It ceases to be theoretical, and becomes very much alive to see the true face of the state. When the apartheid wall was beginning to be built in 2002 and 2003, many people - very young Tel Avivian people, punks, gays, lesbians, and transsexuals - came to a village in Palestine. It was a very conservative village, but they were invited by the village to come there and to build a peace tent against the wall. This was in Mas'ha. That was for 5 months, and it was to make Israelis and internationals realize what was happening with the fence, what it was, where it was going to be built, etc
. All throughout those 5 months, a new thing came about in the radical left. It was the first time we were meeting Palestinians daily and living with them. It was a new thing for Palestinians as well. This was really a place of dialogue.

Out of this came a very close relationship between anarchist Jews and Palestinians. Of course anarchists were always against the occupation and the oppression of the zionist state, but I believe that this camp brought these issues into our daily lives. I think that this was the first steps of the Anarchists Against the Wall.

We began doing actions in the last days of the camp. We did direct actions against the wall in other villages. We tried to stop the building of the wall in Mas'ha, and the camp was destroyed by the army. They ordered us to never return there. This was the beginning of a direct action group that was anarchist-organized, non-hierarchical, and directly democratic. We began doing more actions in villages all over Palestine and all along the route of the wall.

Then there was one action again in Mas'ha when one of the anarchists against the wall was shot in the legs, seriously hurt, and almost died on the way to the hospital. This was in late December, 2003. Before that day, the group always changed its name. We were Jews Against Ghettos in one action, the Mas'ha Group on one day - we never stuck with one name. But on that day, we used the name Anarchists Against Fences.

We got a lot of media on this day, much more than we had gotten before. The media was really interested in us. People actually began asking what anarchism was. It was not very known in Israel - people knew the word, but they didn't know what it meant. After that action, we became much more active in the fight against the wall or against the occupation because a lot of Palestinian villages began to recognize that there is an Israeli group which is coming and doing stuff in Palestine. Palestinians started to rebel against the wall as well as it came closer to their homes, and there were many villages, especially Budrus - one of the symbols of non-violent opposition to the wall – when we were there for almost a year to stop the construction as much as possible. We were really going to Budrus almost every week for a long time. Every day people got shot. Some days people were killed. Until now, there were 6 or 7 Palestinians shot dead by the Israeli army in non-violent demonstrations against the fence.

These Palestinians were shot dead at demonstrations when Israelis were not there at the time, because the army does not like to use live ammunition when there are Israelis in the area. So we were acting as well a bit as human shields. This is not why we were there, but the fact that we were there made the army a bit less violent. The army thinks we have better blood.

A: When a Palestinian is shot at a non-violent demonstration, it falls under the radar of the media. The interesting thing was that when the Israeli anarchist was shot in Mas'ha, it did make it into the Israeli and international media because it was an Israeli being shot by an Israeli. How did that action on that day change what you were doing as anarchists and how the rest of Israel saw you?

Y: First of all, we always thought, We're Jewish. We're not going to be shot by the army. It doesn't happen.' That's why there was such a media hype - the army just doesn't shoot Jews. Settlers are always doing much worse stuff than we do. They act very violently towards the soldiers, but no one would ever dream of shooting them. This was the day that I understood really that the state was my enemy. The army is my enemy. I have nothing to do with the army. I had been shot before with rubber bullets and tear gas, but that was my first time seeing someone being shot with live bullets. It made a lot of us realize that this army and this state are not ours.
In the Israeli public and the Israeli media, we were actually embraced quite warmly for the first two days. A Jew was shot, it's not nice. People thought that since we did destroy the fence, we should be punished for that, but not by being shot.
As there were more demonstrations, more people kept getting shot, and even Israelis being injured, we did generate more media attention. But the media started treating us like hooligans. They accused us of acting irresponsibly and affiliating ourselves with terrorists.
Actually, in the last year you can see much more repression against the Israeli left. Tali Fahima is one example. She was never in the anarchist movement, but she is in jail now for doing things that they could have arrested any of us for; contacting a terrorist, violating a closed military zone, etc. The repression against us is becoming more severe. The state is taking us to court, although they lose. They haven't even won one case yet, but it's very important for the state to take us to court and to take our energy and our money.

A: There are many groups in Israel who are working in the peace movement to put an end to the occupation; Gush Shalom, Ta Ayush, and Peace Now are just a few. How do the anarchists differ from these groups in their actions?

Y: First of all, there are many groups in the peace movement who are very close to us. Black Laundry, for example, is a queer group against the occupation who are working a lot with the Anarchists Against the Wall and vice versa. Ta Ayush is quite active, and we work with them. We are not organized the same way, we don't work in the same methods, but we do work together. In terms of our ideology, we don't have a list of our demands. Of course, most of us would like a ‘no state solution'. We are against any kind of separation, and we are against the wall no matter where it is going to be built. We are against the Palestinian Authority as well. We see the PA as another tool of oppression. We will work with them sometimes, but we still don't support the PA like Gush Shalom does.

We don't agree on a lot of things as well. We act differently to the police than most groups. We would never inform the police on an action. But in the end we all support each other and work together. There are arguments, but we maintain a dialogue. There was a coalition against the fence of many groups in the radical left, and there were no big problems in this. If there are problems that are so crucial, all those endless debates about anarcho-communism or anarcho-syndicalism become insignificant. We do quite well in Israel, and the radical left is acting together all the time.

A: Do you have any criticisms about how the other Israeli leftist groups are operating?

Y: Of course! And they have many criticisms of us. They could say that they anarchists are always running from one village to another, that we're not organized, that we're doing a lot of reckless things. We have similar criticisms of other groups - that they can't do spontaneous things at all, they have strict rules. But this has nothing to do with the fact that we're still working together.

A: You mentioned that anarchism doesn't have a tradition in Palestinian culture. How do you feel that anarchism relates to the Palestinian struggle?

Y: Of course, we're always in demonstrations with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, nationalists, racist people, and we fight alongside them for the same goals. But there's always a problem; how do we uphold anarchism, animal right, women's rights, and queer rights while working with people who are against them? It's hard. We work with Palestinians all the time and we still say we don't want a Palestinian state. I'm not fighting for a Palestinian state, I'm fighting for the end of the occupation and that's the main goal. And we're not alone in fighting for this. There are many Palestinians who are not anarchist, but who are on the left - communists, socialists. There are so many that are fighting for the same goal; a one-state solution, and this is very close to our goal.
I still believe that you need to fight alongside national-liberationists sometimes, because the main thing within that is to liberate themselves from the oppression of the other. Before you liberate yourself from the oppression of your own society, you need to liberate yourself from the oppression of the other society, which is usually much more cruel. This is evident in Palestine.
First, we need to end the occupation and give the Palestinians their rights. After that, we can speak about how we want to live here. If the Palestinians chose to have a one-state solution, we will be with them. If they chose to have their own state, we will be with them. We have nothing to say about it. There are Palestinians who are working with us for the same kind of solution.

A: Here you have anarchists who protest with Hamas, Fatah, and many factions of the Palestinian struggle. In essence, they're still fighting for the same goal. Where do you view the anarchist role in this? To influence the Palestinians to adopt an anarchist society?

Y: It's important to see that we're not working in Palestine to educate. We are the occupiers, after all. We're not there to tell them what to do, but we're there to help them liberate themselves from our state's oppression. That's our main goal. We're not there to educate them about animal rights or other things we're fighting for. We do have conversations with them or to influence on a personal level, but we're not there as a group to change their minds. We would never hand out leaflets in Arabic explaining what anarchism is and why you should join us, because this is not our way.
However, we do try to influence when it comes to women's rights. When we speak with the villages, we say we want the women in the demonstrations. Women from our group try to arrange women's activities with Palestinians to empower women against the occupation. I think the main thing we should remember is that we're not there to educate, because while they're being occupied by our state we have no reason to come there and preach.

A: On a personal level, what does it mean to you to be an anarchist, but also a Jewish person living in the Jewish state?

J: Yeah, there's something funny about it. Being Jewish in the Diaspora, as I understand it, is much different. You feel your Jewish identity. But you don't feel that in Israel. You don't care about Judaism in Israel. We say fuck it. It's like Christianity in the USA. Do you ask anarchist Christians in the US whether they feel Christian in their daily lives? No. They're atheist, they're anti-Christian, and they're the anti-Christ most of the time. My feeling here is that I do have some relationship with Judaism. I am an atheist of course, but Judaism and Hebrew is part of my culture. So I do have something Jewish inside of me like a Canadian has something Canadian inside of them. But again, I don't feel Jewish in the religious way of it. I don't care if I marry a Jew or a non-Jew, or about 'keeping the Jewish people'. I have no problem with assimilation. My culture is Hebrew culture, Israeli culture. This has nothing to do with religion at all.

A: Can you explain the group Black Laundry and its relationship with the Palestinian struggle and the anarchist movement?

Y: Black Laundry was a group formed at the beginning of the second Intifada, like many others. It was formed in Tel Aviv, just prior to the pride parade. At the pride parade, there are a lot of handsome, naked boys dancing on big trucks with lots of corporations trying to sell you stuff. It's quite disgusting most of the time, very capitalist.
It was the first pride parade after the Intifada began, and we came there with the slogan, 'no pride in the occupation!'. We were trying to say there is no real liberation without liberating our neighbors. We, as a queer community, have an interest to stop the oppression of other groups, and other groups have the interests to stop the oppression of us. We try to always connect struggles; Palestinian liberation, animal rights, queer rights, sexual freedom, body oppression, capitalist oppression. All of this we try to connect, usually working in a performance-art way. We try to make a show out of our work. We work a lot inside the queer community about the Palestinians and about teaching people that their fight is part of a bigger fight against oppression. Being gay and rich in the center of Tel Aviv is not liberating yourself because it's not liberating your community.
About the Palestinian struggle, Black Laundry has never done actions inside Palestine. People in our group always go to Palestinian demonstrations, but we have never organized our own activities there. Only in Mas'ha was there a good connection between us and many women in the village, and there were some women's meetings with Black Laundry. It's always very hard. You're not allowed to be queer in the Palestinian culture. I work quite a lot in occupied Palestine, and I'm not out most of the time. It's not something I would mention in a demonstration. But again, I am not there to educate the Palestinians or tell them how to act. And it's not like Israel is the most liberated society, either. The main queer population in Israel who are being oppressed are the Palestinian-Israelis. If the Shin Beit (Israeli secret service) catches two Palestinian men in an Israeli park having sex, they often force them to become collaborators by saying that if they don't cooperate, they will tell their families. This is a death threat in some instances. There have been numerous incidences when queer Palestinians have been forced to become collaborators. A lot of them are fleeing to Israel, and they are illegally here, but no one is giving them the rights of a refugee. When they are caught, they are usually sent back to their villages. Even queer Palestinian-Israeli couples aren't allowed to stay together.
So again, it's Israel which is not good for queers. Many queer Jews are being oppressed here in Jerusalem, so it's not as if the Palestinian society is dark and cruel and the Israeli society is open and free.

A: Often times you hear that Israel is remarkably open towards queer culture….

Y: No, it's the center of Tel Aviv which is open for queers who have money and who are consumers or part of the system. It's not open for poor queers who are coming from Jewish-oriental families, it's not open for Palestinians, and it's not open for religious queers. Israel can say one thing, but usually they act differently. The situation here is a lot like in the US, and you wouldn't say the US is queer-friendly. Maybe San Francisco, but not in general.

(Aaron Lakoff is a member of the International Solidarity Movement, and a journalist with CKUT community radio in Montreal. He is currently travelling and working throughout Palesine. To view his previous writing and photos, visit He can be reached at
* Ed. Note: Aaron Lakoff is sympathizer of the "small 'a' anarchism". ** Since the early 70s, and up to the late 90s, the Israeli anarchists were in some contact, and nonfrequent cooperation with people of the Israeli Libertarian Communist 'Matspen' that was started few years earlier (early 60s).

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Holland, Organization Dutch Anarchist Eastern-festival has started 08 Feb

The organization of the yearly Dutch Eastern-festival that always takes place in Appelscha, has started. On 5 february the first meeting of the organizing committee took place in Utrecht. The festival will as always be held from friday 13 till monday 16 may on the anarchist campingsite ‘Tot Vrijheidsbezinning' (free translation as think about your freedom). The Eastern-festival has a long tradition in the Dutch anarchist movement. The first edition was in 1927 organized by young anarchists in the north of the Netherlands. In 1933 local anarchists in the village Appelscha where the movement was quite strong, bought for 500 guilders a piece of land which they changed in a camping- and meetingplace. They feared local autorities wouldn't let them use the forrest anymore (as they always did) because the political climate had changed dramatically under influence of the international situation, (the takeover of Hitler in Germany) With exception of the period of Worl War II (the nazi's forbid the anarchist movement) every year the Eastern-gathering took place. For years it is the biggest anarchist event in the Netherlands, last year with more than 500 visiters.

The festival has a political program, a cultural one in the evening with music, movies, poets and so on and a childrens program as well. Since the nineties more and more children and their parents attend the festival as well. Furtheron there are many bookstalls. Last year we invited the Anarchists against the Wall from Israel which was the take off for a small European tour in England and Germany as well and welcomed Abel Paz, an old warrior from the Spanish revolution. The program is always overloaded with items, the policy is that everyone who wants to do something gets a change to do so. This year also we have plans enough for asking groups to contribute to the program, but it is ofcourse too early to be specific about it.

A new feature this year will be the broadcasting of the days by internetradio. Radio Black Red Active will take care of this adventure. (

As always the mobile kitchen of Rampenplan ( will prepare the daily hot meal (biological and vegetarian/vegan).They do so since they started in 1985! There will be also a canteen for bread, coffee, thea, cookies only with biological products.
Although the language is Dutch of course, the organization is open minded to everyone who wants to contribute to the festival. You can write to:
Check out our website: which will be up to date within some days with the 2005-section. Information is also available on

The adress of the campingsite is: Aekingaweg 1a in Appelscha. By train you go to Heerenveen or Assen and take there bus 16 to Appelscha. Step out at the busstop called the ‘Camelmarket'. From there signs will guard you to the place to be! The costs for the whole weekend are only 10 euro (food not included). Bring your campingstuff along.
The campingsite is also open in the period of may until october. Especially during the summermonths a lot of people visit the camping for holidays and/or activities.

Organization Eastern-Festival

Friday, February 4, 2005

Israel, Jerusalem, demo to protest the prosecution of Matan Cohen. Feb 4

Demo at Jerusalem courthouse in the Russian compound - Sunday Feb 6 11:30 am. 16 year old Matan Cohen was arrested at a demonstration in Khallet Al-Dar near Hebron, on Tuesday and is charged with assaulting a police office with aggravating circumstance. See: where Cohen can be seen pinned down by several officers.
The charges as baseless, as even the commander of the police station where Cohen was held over night agrees.
Nevertheless, in an unprecedented move the prosecution is demanding that he be held in cutody until the end of the trial ! Just the fact that the prosecution even asks for such conditions to be placed on a 16 year old is a severe escalation of political persecution of lefties not seen since Tali Fahima. Cohen is currently under house arrest until Sunday when a hearing will be held on the extension of his arrest. Please come and support Matan this Sunday Feb 6 at 11:30 at the Jerusalem court house at the Russian compound. A demonstration will be held outside the courthouse, we should show a large presence this time to deter further persecution. Any one of us can be next.
In the demonstration in Khallet Al-Dar participated 300 Palestinians, and some Internationals and Israelis summoned by the Anarchists Against The Wall initiative.
See: (en) Palestine-Israel, Palestinians injured, Israeli and international activists detained in Hebron after nonviolent demonstration - International Solidarity Movement Wed Feb 02 08:15:39 GMT 2005 (en) Palestain-Israel, Hebron district February 1 - another take on the demo - Report - "I Got My Ass Kicked by the Israeli Army" Worker - Wed Feb 02 21:38:29 GMT 2005

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

David Rovics will come to help in israel and palestine 02 Feb

Hi all, during october or september (we are not so sure yet) david rovics will come to play in israel and palestine. david is a well known jewish revolutionary* folk singer from the usa. he writes lots of songs about the occupation of palestine, the occupation of irak, against capitalism and so on. you can download all of his cd's from we are now organizing some gigs in jerusalem, tel aviv and haifa, but we also want to have some gigs in palstine.
if anyone has any ideas about where he could play, or would like to organize a gig, you are most welcome to contact.

thanks a lot, l.
* Of the antiauthoritarian left

Palestain-Israel, Hebron district February 1 - another take on the demo - Report - "I Got My Ass Kicked by the Israeli Army" 02 Feb

In a country where fear is so ingrained in the culture and many are racked with the fright of being attacked at any second, it's strange to see what can pass as a security threat.
I am a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). The ISM is a non-violent organization. All members of the ISM must abide by its principles at all times. Therefore, as logic follows, I am a peaceful activist.
Many, if not most, of the Palestinians I've met are also peaceful activists. To be peaceful for them is one choice of many, but to be an activist is not. When your lands are being erased, your children are being shot, and your very identity is being denied, resistance becomes your only option. You must resist to exist.
So, on the morning of Tuesday, February 1st, when we were called to a demonstration in Khallet Adar, just south of Hebron, to protest land destruction for the building of a settler bypass road, I wasn't surprised to find a fervent passion in the crowd.
A note on settlement roads - settlement roads connect settlements to settlements and settlements to Israel. Settlements are bad. They are illegal under international law. Many Israelis think international law is bad. Too many scoldings, too many headaches. Many of the settlers are bad too. Some think it's their god-given right to steal land from Palestinians and build fancy homes on it. Settlements are for Jewish people only, and settler roads are for Israeli cars only. In South Africa, they would have called this apartheid. In Alabama, the word was segregation. In Israel, they just call them settlements.
The raod in question today was being built to connect the Israeli settlements of Kiryat Arba and Beith Khagai in the Hebron area. It has already received much opposition from local Palestinians. So much so that the Israeli Supreme Court made an injunction recently that the construction had to be halted for 21 days. Rather than wait for a legal ruling on their already-illegal road, the Israeli authorities just decided to move the path of the road about a kilometer and start anew. Yesterday, the Israeli Occupation Forces uprooted 300 trees on the road's path. Palestinians here say that this kind of land confiscation is shattering their peace - a peace that many are hoping for, the Western media is obsessing over, but Palestine isn't seeing.
As the demonstration marched towards the hill where the road was being built, you could hear the crashing sound of the demolition drill hard at work. Silhouettes of a few soldiers could be seen, watching the winding path of our march from above.
Just before getting to the hill, I was overwhelmed as hundreds of young students who had just been let out of school flooded into our march to join. They were excited, eager, and ready to go. It was clear they had done demonstrations like this before.
It was almost frightening how much energy there was in this demonstration. People were chanting in Arabic as if their lives depended on it. The chants in Hebrew were also refreshing and welcoming from the Anarchists Against the Wall group. They chanted “The occupation is terrorism!” and “Refuse soldier refuse!”
For about 30 mintues, there was a feeling of sheer victory in the air. We managed to force the demolition vehicles to retreat a few hundred meters, and everyone was cheering madly. That was until the driver emerged from the cab of the vehicle with a pistol and threatened to shoot at people. Luckily, he didn't.
Another amazing act of resistance took place when a prayer session was held directly in front of the soldiers. The soldiers just looked on as if puzzled, not knowing what to do or who to point their guns at.
All of the sudden, the army decided it was time for everyone to leave, and our non-violence tactics were wearing them thin. Three of us ISM activists were caught, trapped between a massive Caterpillar wrecking machine and the army.
I was grabbed, and immediately they started hauling me away. I managed to grab hold of another detained activist, and we locked our limbs together and went limp. This not-so-cozy position didn't last for very long, as I was torn away from him and began to be dragged mercilessly across sharp nettle thorns and jagged rocks.
At this point, a couple Palestinians and some of the Israeli anarchists jumped on top of me in a courageous effort to de-arrest me, but to no avail. After about a minute, I had bad cuts all over my back, torn clothes, and a broken pair of glasses. When the soldiers finally had me behind their jeep and away from the demonstration, one proceeded to hit me in the head with the butt of his riffle while another punched me in the face. I get the impression these kids get a twisted kick out of taking cheap shots at activists.
After standing in the custody of the soldiers for another minute, they were distracted from me and were worried about another activist who was taking photos of them. Picture-taking is very threatening to Israeli soldiers, because it means that the world might see what they're doing. Since there weren't any soldiers holding me, I just decided to walk away, plain and simple. And it worked!
In the end, two ISM activists had been detained (one from Canada, and one from England), along with five Israelis from Anarchists Against the Wall (one of whom is being charged with assaulting an officer). Two Palestinian men were injured, and one had to be hospitalized after being pushed roughly to the ground by a soldier. Many were suffering from the effects of the tear gas and sound bombs that were used.
Unfortunately, this kind of response from the army is typical for non-violent protests in Palestine. I left the demonstration with a headache and stinging back from my beatings, but I have relatively nothing to complain about. People everywhere in the world are talking about peace for Palestine, but as long as the occupation forces continue to expand settlements and settler roads, our non-violent tactics are meaningless to them. The occupation is the ultimate violence in Palesine.

(Aaron Lakoff is a member of the International Solidarity Movement, and a journalist with CKUT community radio in Montreal. He is currently travelling and working throughout Palesine. To view his previous writing and photos, visit He can be reached at
--To view the photos which accompany this story, visit

Palestine-Israel, Palestinians injured, Israeli and international activists detained in Hebron after nonviolent demonstration 02 Feb

[Hebron, West Bank, Feb 1.] In the West Bank village of Khallet Al-Dar in the Qalqas area of Hebron, hundreds of Palestinians with the support of international and Israeli activists prevented Israeli bulldozers from continuing construction of an illegal bypass road.
Today's protest was an effort to plant trees in the location where over 300 trees were uprooted on Sunday, January 30.
Two Palestinians were injured during the nonviolent demonstration, one of whom was hospitalized after Israeli soldiers forcefully pushed him to the ground. One Canadian activist with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) was hit by Israeli soldiers in the head with the butt of a rifle and then punched in the face. Israeli soldiers launched tear gas and sound bombs. A number of Palestinians were treated for respiratory problems as a result.

The Israeli military detained two ISM volunteers from Britain and Canada and five Israelis from the Anarchists against the Wall. They were brought to the Hebron central police station where they have been held and interrogated since 2pm. The two ISM volunteers were released at 8pm on the condition that they not return to the area for two weeks. One Israeli minor has been charged with assaulting a police officer and is still being detained. The remaining four Israelis were offered to be released but have chosen to remain in police custody in solidarity with the Israeli minor until his release.

Today's assault on peaceful protests continues the Israeli authorities' campaign against nonviolent Palestinian, Israeli and international activists.

In the Hebron district alone there are more than 120 kilometers of bypass roads connecting the Israeli settlements with one other and with Israel. All Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law. If built, the new road will connect the two illegal Israeli settlements of Kiryat Arba and Hagai. In effect these roads carve up the Palestinian areas into isolated ghettos.

Photos available on request.


Aaron: (English & French) Abed: (Arabic) Raz: (Hebrew) ISM Media: +972.(0)546.326.392