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.