Friday, April 22, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in 21.4.05 a war zone update by Adar 22 Apr

Seven demonstrators (six Palestinians and one Israeli) and a news agency photographer were injured by rubber coated bullets, the Israeli soldiers repeatedly shoot at the demonstration in Bil'in against the robbery of the village lands for the expansion of near by [Israeli] settlements and for the building of the apartheid fence. Another step of escalation in the violence of the army against the village. How you can summarize a demonstration of 6 hours net (not including traveling time) which all along it there was not any full 5 minutes period without the shooting of a salvo of rubber coated bullets? May be you have simply to start from the beginning. But, do not expect that this pattern of beginning, middle and end will dictate by itself a logical sequence of the evolving of the happenings.

The opposite will be truer. So, never the less, we will start from the beginning that was quite optimistic. We went out of the village about 70 demonstrators. Palestinians, Israelis from the Anarchists Against The Fence group, and Internationals. We advances in the path that lead to the route of the fence and discovered to our surprise that only three soldiers are waiting for us.

The policy decided on by the comity was to refrain from stones throwing and to try to advance towards the fence building site. The tear gas grenades thrown on us by the soldiers did not deter us. "this is a nonviolent demonstration and we will not move from here. You can throw as much gas as you wish. We will not run away."

We said and we did so. The forces of the border police joined very soon the three lone soldiers. We continued singing and shout against the fence. The commander of the border police said to us: " it is your right to demonstrate. Only with out stones... And indeed, no stone was thrown and the demo continued. While we were at it, additional jeeps of the border police arrived with a closed military zone order. And just from no where a soldier appeared to be aiming his riffle towards a young demonstrator who stood about 200 meters away. Two other soldiers told him "let it go, do not shoot" but he insisted and said: "I have to teach him a lesson". And he shoot rubber bullets - a retaliation for nothing. This was the match that ignited the fire...

The teenagers of the village responded with stone throwing... and so it went on.
From that act and on, continued a 5 hours saga of shooting of salvos of rubber coated bullets with short pauses in between that let us to have a a short rest... and to balance these, from time to time they gave us a "commercial" amounts of tear gas. Along the prolonged confrontation, 7 were injured from rubber bullets - five Palestinian villagers, one Israeli, and also a Palestinian photographer of a French news agency. The injured were treated at the site by teams of the red crescent ambulances. The Israeli army mouthpiece denied for unknown reason that any Israeli was injured in the demonstration. The pictures: tell a different story.

Along the confrontation, the army used a group of Palestinian workers returning from their day work who passed there as a human shield from the stones. They detained the workers for a long time ordering them to stay between them and the demonstration - cynic mode of exploitation as addition to the daily mode of exploitation of the occupation.

While the shooting continued, the army advanced its invasion into the village from various directions. At one stage the Jeeps entered deep into the village in pursuit after demonstrators with no obvious criteria. The took hold of a villager named Fadi Mustafa about 22 of age treated him roughly - pushing and hitting. Israeli demonstrators tried to stand between him and the raging soldiers but were pushed violently away.

Fadi was very distressed and said repeatedly he did nothing. The soldiers did not let him go and continued kicking him and the Israelis that stood near him. While hi tried to escape from the soldiers he fell down to a deep ravine, was injured in his head and back and was rushed to the hospital in Ramalla. His condition seemed serious at the beginning but later it was reported he was improving. After that incident or probably because of it, the army retreated from the village. Up to 01:30 - the time this report was written, the army have not returned to the village.

The answer to the first question, that was to remind you: "how you summarize for a report a demonstration of such scale", is: "you do not summarize". You write a whole page and making the readers of the indymedia tired.

The more important question is how we continue (first of all the Palestinians but also us the Israelis) with the nonviolent popular struggle against the fence, without loosing moral along the bumpy road the occupation forces of the state of Israel force on us.

Following Is the answer I extracted from the late poet David Avidan:
"What justify more than all
the dream, the huge despair
the knowledge that there is no justification
and the search every minute a new
the excitement and the distress
is the simple fact that they* have nowhere to go"
* In the original it was "us", but as I am Israeli I changed it to "them"... not any intention to diminish the solidarity with them.

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