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

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