Thursday, April 28, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, a joint grand-demo. 28 Apr

In addition to the nearly daily demonstrations of the villagers of Bil'in together with Israeli Anarchist Against The Wall, for the last two months, a grand demonstration was initiated. The villagers comity against the fence recruited enforcement from the neighboring villages and the city Ramalla. The anarchists recruited the radical organization of Israel under the umbrella of "the coalition against the fence". After a week of preparations, we converged to the region Bil'in is part of with busses and private cars few hundred activists from Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv. We were prepared with various tactics to go around the blocks the Israeli state would put on our way - as they usually do, but they did not.

We discovered later why they did not even tried in a symbolic way to hinder our convergence to Bil'in.

We arrived to the region through the modern wide roads used by the Israeli settlers, and crossed the unguarded debris blocking the traffic to and from the much less convenient network of roads for use of the Palestinians. We last part of the travel to Bil'in we did by cabs who can maneuver in the narrow roads.

On arrival to the Bil'in village, we were warmly greeted and socialized with people in the center of the village. On the pavement, the locals organized an Exhibition: On its two sides were large letters that read NO TO THE SEPARATION WALL. Between them there were collections of the enemy ammunition: used tear gas canisters, remnants of shock grenades, teargas grenades, and some "graphity written with rubber coated bullets and other used ammunition.

After all the participants arrived, (and the media workers included Al-Jazera, and the Israelis) we started the march towards the route of the fence where the heavy machinery work on the lands confiscation from the Bil'in village. On the route, the speaker of the village comity called the anarchists and the internationals to relocate to the head of the march - which we did.

So we marched accompanied by the bit of a drum and slogans, many of us in the shade of a huge Palestinian flag of 50X6 meters till about one kilometer from the building site. Here started the confrontation. The soldiers tried to block our way a chain of theirs with not so gentle way, but still without batons or real vicious behavior.

About hundred of us broke the first line of the soldiers - mainly going around them through the fields and among the olive trees. The rest of the demonstrators were blocked more efficiently using in addition to tear gas shots, for the first time, plastic bullets (less lethal they say than the usual rubber coated metal bullets).

Our group - Palestinians, Israelis (mostly anarchists) Internationals, and even dignitaries (Israeli Palestinian members of parliament and members of the Palestinian parliament, was blocked about 50 meter from the work site - still mainly by physical power only.

During this engagement, the "secret weapon" of the Israeli state was exposed: prison riot suppression unit persons disguised as demonstrators tried to provoke a violent clash with the Israeli army and police to justify a harsh suppression of the demonstration... However, the demonstration was highly organized, and they were immediately approached by village activist to enforce the nonviolence program... This exposed them to be outsider provocateurs. When reposed, they put their masks of and arrested two Palestinians.

The group of the 100 or so demonstrators and the soldiers were in a kind of non friendly draw. All the time the army succeeded to prevent reinforcement to us from the main body of the demonstration, but refraining from brutally dispersing us.

After more than an hour it was clear that we will not be able to break the block and stop the work of the heavy machinery.
A negotiation started in order to get the release of the two arrested Palestinians in return for our retreat to the one kilometer distance.

During the negotiations, two Israelis got themselves arrested to be in solidarity with the two Palestinians.

At one point, a high officer promised that if we retreat, after 15 minutes the 4 arrested will be released. So we retreated not counting too much on him keeping the promise.... And he did not.

A second wave of advance towards the building site failed due to diminished energy of the demonstrators and an intensive use of tear gas. So we regrouped to the one kilometer point. Bout 11 of the demonstrators decided to increase the number of arrested in a solidarity protest. They defied tear gas shots and reached the soldiers standing near the work site... and failed. The army agreed to arrest only two of them. Too many Israeli arrested is not good for public relations... So, after 3 hours from beginning of the demonstration we started the long way to the village and than home.

Along the demonstration, and later - including the main news programs of the Israeli radio and TV, the demonstration was reported - with lot of video clips taken in the demo.

The media reported on 300 Israelis and 700 participants. It also reported on the experiments done in the suppression of the demo. They also gave a false explanation to justify the failed provocation of the undercover agent provocateurs who tried to incite by their stone throwing.

They gave the ridiculous lie that they had to throw stones to keep them from being exposed.... (Which was of course the opposite - throwing the stones when no real demonstrators did it exposed them.

22:40 - last update: The 4 arrested Israelis were released. the two Palestinians were detained in the Ofer military compound. Israeli activist are now in the middle of formal complain in the police station against the undercover agents provocateurs and testifying about the bogus accusations against the two palestinians. Ilan

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